In Committee on Finance. - Vote 64—Army.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £917,521 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íochta an Mhuirir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníochta i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1930, chun Costas an Airm, maraon le Cúltaca an Airm.

That a sum not exceeding £917,521 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1930, for the cost of the Army, including Army Reserve.

I do not propose to say a great deal on this Estimate. Only a few months have elapsed since the previous Estimate was before the House, and I think it is only a month since the Army was under discussion here in connection with the Army Continuation Act. It will be noticed that there is a decrease in this Estimate of £361,912 from last year. That brings the total estimate to £1,442,521. It will be remembered that for the purpose of revenue collection the normal cost of the Army was estimated at £1,500,000. This is the first year that we got the cost of the Army down to what has been estimated as the normal cost; that is to say, the whole cost of the Army this year is met out of revenue and nothing is treated as exceptional expenditure. I rejoice very much both as a member of the Executive Council and as Minister for Defence that we have reached this position. As a member of the Executive Council it was quite evident that the position of meeting the cost of the Army—part of it—as capital expenditure could not be continued indefinitely, and as Minister for Defence it was quite evident to me that as long as the Army was paid for partly as an abnormal expenditure there could not be a proper feeling of stability in the Army. We have now reached normality with regard to expenditure, and I feel that the whole spirit of the Army will be imbued with a greater feeling of stability. The members of the Army will not now feel that part of their cost is being met as a capital expenditure, and that radical changes might have to take place possibly to their detriment.

As regards the strength of the Army, it will be remembered I stated that what I aimed at was approximately 500 officers and 5,000 other ranks. We have moved steadily in this direction. On 1st April last there were 502 officers and 6,474 other ranks as compared with 768 officers and 10,919 other ranks on 1st April, 1928. As I mentioned in the Dáil a short time ago, it is not intended to reduce the officers below the present figure. A stage has now been reached when officers can rely on security of tenure and can look forward to normal promotion as vacancies occur. Under these conditions there should be an incentive to each officer to become highly specialised in his sphere in the Army. Admission to the commissioned ranks will be by a system of cadetship. For these cadetships there will be open competitive examinations followed by an interview before a military selection board. The reduction in the number of officers was 266. Gratuities to the extent of two years' pay and allowances were granted to those officers who retired or resigned. The sum of £64,005 shown under sub-head A is, to a large extent, required to meet the cost of gratuities to officers who retired or resigned late in the financial year but whose claim for gratuities had not been investigated to admit of payment within the year. It will be noticed that we estimate for 6,000 other ranks. It is a figure that we estimate we can reach during the present financial year.

Consequent on the reduction of the strength of the Army it has been found desirable to concentrate troops in a limited number of districts. Certain posts have been evacuated. The number of district headquarters has been reduced from seven to four. This enables reductions in expenditure to be effected. An increase of approximately £9,000 will be observed in the capital expenditure on vehicles under sub-head J. Many of the lorries at present in use are from ten to fifteen years old, and the cost of maintenance has been heavy. Similarly, the ambulances have become unserviceable, and it is proposed to dispose of those and purchase new chassis. The bodies will be fitted in Army workshops. Tractors for artillery have become necessary, and the cost of those is included in the item for capital expenditure. In view of the purchases of these vehicles a considerable reduction in the number of cars in use has been effected. The cost of maintenance will be reduced, and there will be a decrease of 70 per cent. under this heading. To prevent any mistake I will take this opportunity of indicating that on page 289 of the Estimates, under the heading "Reserve of Officers— Annual Grants," there is a printer's error. The figure £12,370 should read £12,870. It will be observed that the total at the bottom will be made correct by making the figure £12,870.

"Dá gcuirfeadh aoinne isteach orainn d'íocfadh sé as go daor"—b'é sin brí na cainnte a dhin Aire an Airgid an lá fá dheire. Táimuid ar aon aigne leis an Aire go mba chóir féachaint chuige go mbeidh fírinne sa sean-rá san. Cionnus a déanfar deimhin de'n dóchas san? Sin í an adhbh. An bhfuil, nó an mbeidh in ár gcumas cosg a chur le h-aon chomacht mhór ar theacht isteach? Níl agus ní bheidh. Ach is féidir linn an méid seo a dhéanamh gan aon agó—féachaint chuige nár bhfiú d'aon chomacht mhór an tír seo do choiméad fá chois ar feadh i bhfad. Ní féidir sin do dhéanamh agus na mílte saighduirí a bheith in aon dream amháin. Bheadh sé orainn troid mar a throideamar i mbliain a 1920 agus i mbliain a 1921 agus ní bheimis in ánn úsáid do bhainnt as na gunnaí móra atá ag an Arm fá láthair.

Gan amhras, tá gá le h-Arm acht ní gá ach sluagh beag mar arm seasta nó buan-arm—abair 3,000 nó 4,000. Taobh amuigh de sin, bheadh gá le 60,000 óganaigh no mar sin—daoine oilte a bheadh reidh an tír do chosaint. Ar a laighead, bheadh gá leis an uimhir sin. Chun iad-so do threorú, bheadh tuairim 500 oifigí ag teastáil. Ach ní ceart—seo rud nach bhfuilimíd ar aon intinn leis an Aire 'na thaobh—"paid reserve" a bheith ann. Ní dó linn gur ceart tuarastal do thabhairt do na daoine seo atá oilte chun an tír do chosaint. Nuair a bhí Bille na bhForsaí Cosanta ós ar gcóir, rinneas tagairt don rud a thárla sa Spáinn. Bhí tuairim 200,000 saighdúirí ag troid in Aifric thuaidh agus nuair a cuireadh deire leis an gcogadh, ní fhuair duine acu seo pinsean, ach tugadh obair éigin do gach duine acu. B'é sin an rud ceart. Do réir mo thuairime, is olc an rud d'óganach tuairim 30 blian d'aois, pinsean do thabhairt dó agus gan faic a bheith aige do dhéanamh. Is olc san don duine agus is olc é don náisiún.

Thiocfadh linn a lán do dhéanamh dá mbeadh misneach agus an spiorad fíor-náisiúnta ins na daoine. Níl aon amhras ná gur d'aon dream polaitíochtá furmhór mhór an Airm fá lathair. Ní ceart san. Dá mbeadh arm againn den tsaghas san agus é faoi smacht an Rialtais, ba mhaith an rud é—ach cead a bheith ag gach duine, is cuma ce'n sort polaitíochta atá aige, bheith san arm. Is dó linn go mba léór dúinn 3,000 no 4,000 saighdúirí mar bhuan-arm ach 60,000 ógánaigh a bheith tréineálta oilte in a dteannta agus sluagh oifigeach maith a bheith ullamh le n-a dtreorú.

Maidir leis na h-eilteaín ná baineann leis an Arm, tchidhim go bhfuil £10 tugtha, no le tabhairt, mar gheall orra. Ba mhaith liom fios d'fháil cad tá a dhéanamh mar gheall ar eilteáin i gcúrsaí tráchtala. Ba cheart cuidiú leis an obair sin ach is beag an síntiús so.

Bhí a lán dá dhuadh ar Aire an Airgid laghdú leath-mhilliún punt a dhéanamh sna meastacháin. D'fheudfái an oiread céadna a shabháil sna Vótanna so an Airm. Ba leor £1,000,000 do chaitheamh ar an Arm, agus an ceathrú cuid de mhiliún do chur leis nuair a cuirfear monarclainn púdair, piléar agus gunnaí ar bun. Ní cóir "paid reserves" a bheith ann—ach na mílte punt do chaitheadh orra do shábhail.

Mar gheall ar thaillte an Airm, tá a lán airgid ghá chaitheamh orra— £22,460. Ba mhaith liom fios d'fháil cé mhéid acra atá ann, cé'n cíos atá ortha agus cé leis go n-iochtar é.

Dá réir ar dtuairime, tá an iomad airgid ghá chaitheamh ar an Arm agus tairgim go gcuirtear an Vóta so ar gcúl idtreó go ndéanfar athsmaoineamh ar an sgéal.

I support the motion to refer back the Estimate for reconsideration. I am sure the few Deputies who are present now were present when the Minister for Finance introduced the Budget. In the course of his statement, the Minister painted a rosy picture in regard to the adoption of certain badly-needed reliefs to income tax payers with large families. Then, after raising. I suppose, false hopes, he deplored his inability to afford such relief through want of £100,000. If this Estimate is referred back for reconsideration, and if the Minister for Defence gets down to serious work on it, with his colleague the Minister for Finance, I am sure that the difficulty of obtaining at least the £100,000 required for that purpose would not be insurmountable. If the Minister for Finance arms himself with the economy axe, and if the Minister for Defence uses the pruning knife, I am sure that between the two they will be able to clip the wings of the Army Estimate a little more closely. I am sure that I am on fairly common ground when I welcome such reductions as have been effected since last year, reductions which, I may say, are very much overdue. These reductions should have been carried out during the past two or three years. The attitude of the Opposition Party in this House in asking for reductions on the Army Vote has now borne a certain amount of fruit, but we are not yet satisfied with the result, and, like Oliver Twist, we will keep on asking for more. If we examine the situation in this country to-day and realise the urgent necessity of affording relief to the taxpayer and of finding the money which is required for essential social services, we, on this side of the House—and I am sure that in this matter we express the views of the ordinary man in the street—are far from being satisfied with the amount which it is proposed to spend on the Army in the coming year. We consider that further reductions are essential, that they are a crying necessity under existing economic conditions, and that such further reductions would be effected by any Government worthy of the name, and by any Government which had, as this Government professes to have on convenient occasions, the welfare of the ordinary people at heart.

We think that under normal conditions a sum approximately of one million pounds per annum would be a reasonable amount to expend on Army services. If it should be considered advisable in future to render financial assistance to officers' training corps, gymnastic clubs, rifle clubs, and associations for training the youth of the country, and to expend a certain amount each year on the manufacture of munitions and supply services, we think that a million and a quarter might be considered as the maximum cost. Present conditions, however, are by no means normal, and I think until this country is placed on a secure financial footing, until her industries are firmly established, and until trade and commerce are in a sound position, it is imperative that the cost of our defence forces should be reduced to the absolute minimum consistent with effectiveness. This matter of the Army was debated at length last October, I think, on last year's Estimate, and Deputies from this side of the House again and again pointed out and emphasised the utter uselessness of the present type of Army organisation to cope with attack or to defend this country against an outside power. The Minister for Agriculture, in that debate, frankly admitted that the Army was useless for that purpose and, furthermore, he said that it was not intended to use it for that purpose. That makes the position quite clear. The people of this country are being asked to provide a huge sum of money annually to maintain and keep in existence an Army which is, as the Minister for Agriculture said, utterly useless for the main purpose of any defence force, namely, to defend the country against attack from any outside power. We are supposed to be getting away from the old system, and we are told that the Army is being reorganised. I think that the Minister for Defence stated, on the 1st April, the approximate number of N.C.O.'s and men was 6,500, and the number of officers 500, approximately 7,000, and including them you have two types of reserve. The Minister, in introducing the Estimate to-day, made no reference whatever to the bringing into existence of a territorial force. This matter is apparently still in the air, and to my mind we are as far as ever from a radical change in the system. The Minister stated, I think, in last year's debate that he had hoped to bring a territorial force into existence. I would like to ask him to state definitely in his reply what his intentions are in the matter, and when he expects to make a start on this branch.

The Government, I suggest, is only tinkering with this question of national defence. The system in existence at present, with its tendency towards large paid reserves, is simply an extension of the old system which has been in existence in this country during the past five or six years. That system, as I said before in a previous debate, follows too closely on British Army methods and British Army organisation to suit either the requirements or the financial resources of this country. I spoke before also of our objection to the principle of large paid reserves. We on this side of the House consider it objectionable and unwise to promote any such system to a great extent. Our objection is not so much a question of the actual pay involved, although that is a matter which is deserving of serious consideration from the point of view of economy, as the wrong idea which we consider is behind the entire system. We think that the formation of large paid reserves should not be encouraged. On the other hand, we consider that the formation of a territorial or citizens' defence force should receive primary consideration from the Government and the Minister for Defence in particular. When the question of a volunteer force is raised in this House we have, of course, the usual cheap sneers about unpaid heroes, and so on. I suppose it is hardly worth while to pay much attention to remarks of that nature, especially when one considers the quarters from which they emanate. I will merely say that the unpaid heroes of 1920 and 1921 had a record second to none. They certainly had nothing to be ashamed of so far as their general conduct was concerned.

I suppose, in a way, it is difficult, and perhaps unfair, to blame the present Government for their refusal to tackle this problem of national defence in the right manner. They are unable to do so. They are not in a position to tackle it in the right way. It can only be tackled successfully, and at a minimum cost to the taxpayers of the country, when a national Government is in control, when you have a Government in office in this country in whose military policy, in whose national defence policy, the citizens of the country will have every confidence. There must be all-round support and a united national outlook for a satisfactory solution of this important problem. The hands of the present Government are tied. Their declared loyalty to the British Empire, their complete satisfaction with our present status, their refusal on many occasions to stand up for their rights, their attitude all along is the attitude displayed in this matter of national defence. We know what to expect from them in this as in other matters of policy, and we are not going to be very optimistic about their intentions. If we are going to have a defence force in this country, and if the taxpayers of the country are going to provide a huge sum of money annually to be spent on the maintenance and the organisation of an Army, it should be an Army which can be relied upon to defend this country if it were invaded by an outside power and not be, simply as I consider it at present, a glorified police force.

The Minister for Agriculture, as I said before, told us that the Army was utterly useless for the ordinary purpose of an army. If the Army is being maintained solely as an auxiliary police force, what necessity is there for having a Ministry of Defence at all? Why not abolish the Army altogether, hand over these armed men to the Minister for Justice, and let him control them as an auxiliary police force? If we are to tackle this question of an effective national defence force, we must organise and train our army with the object of securing an effective guerilla fighting machine which can be relied upon to make it impossible for an enemy to remain in this country or to attempt to govern this country. That, I consider, is the only basis upon which we can hope to defend ourselves against attack from an outside power, and any money and energy expended in organising or perfecting any other system is just so much money and energy cast to the winds. The position of the Minister for Defence reminds me of the picture of the lunatic who was attempting to empty a barrel of water with a bottomless bucket. The Minister for Defence is making just as much impression on this problem as the lunatic made on the barrel. We must rely upon ourselves entirely in this matter of national defence. All the talk about the League of Nations, the peace pacts and the disarmament conferences is, to my mind, just so much humbug and hypocrisy. The only guarantee we, in this country, can have is the guarantee of possessing an effective and powerful defence force. Armed neutrality should be the policy of this country in the future. To avert the worst, it is necessary to prepare for the worst. Again, as has been pointed out before from these benches, if our national demands are to be met, if we are to make any advance towards complete independence, our arguments must necessarily be supported by physical force. When I say that I do not want it to be taken that I am, in any way, advocating war. Personally, I am not a militarist.

I have the utmost horror of war and all the sufferings and misery war entails but I do hold that the best possible insurance against war, the surest way to avoid bloodshed is to have an effective fighting machine. We know from the history of our country in the past that the only occasion upon which our national demands were met were those when such demands were effectively supported by physical force. We know the example of the Volunteers of 1782 and in our own time we have seen the result of the organised national opposition to the conscription menace during the years of the Great War. I certainly suggest to the Minister for Defence that the activities of his Department might be profitably directed towards this question of guerilla warfare. I suggest that the problem be closely studied in all its various aspects. Units, I suggest, should be organised so as to be as mobile and self-contained as possible and special attention should be given to the training and equipment of machine-gun sections. The question also of the provision and use of a light type of mountain howitzer is deserving of special consideration.

With regard to the actual cost of the Army and the question of maintaining an effective defence force in this country for the sum of £1,000,000 per annum, I went into this matter in detail last October on last year's Estimates and there is hardly any necessity to cover the same ground again. Assuming £60,000 is the figure advisable to aim at for territorial forces and taking outside figures for the cost, maintenance and all the various charges in connection with that force I showed that the maximum cost of such a system would be about £450,000. Such total cost of £450,000 would not be reached for a period of ten or twelve years and the initial cost during the first two or three years would not be more than about £200,000 or £300,000. These figures are a very generous estimate of the cost of such a system and I am sure the Minister for Defence will agree with me when I say that.

If we examine the figures in this year's estimate for the cost of A and B reserves it will be seen that it is intended to call up approximately 7,000 men for training at a cost of about £84,000, or about £12 per man. If I were to base my calculations on this figure of £12 per man, or the cost per head of the B reserve only, which is £10 per annum per man— and these figures, I may say, approach the average cost of similar systems in other countries—the initial and ultimate cost of the system I have suggested would be reduced by about a half. As I have said, however, I have taken outside figures to be on the safe side of my calculations and to cover all possible contingencies. As far as the size of a standing army is concerned, we suggested last year, and we see no reason to change the opinion, that 3,000 men would be ample for all requirements. The cost of such a force should not exceed £600,000. If we add to this the cost of the proposed territorial force, the total initial cost of the entire system would be about £800,000, and the maximum cost over a period of years would be £1,050,000. These points were put forward from these benches last year and I suggest to the House and the Minister that they are deserving of serious consideration. We have had enough of the Minister's usual airy and flippant manner of disposing of criticisms with a wave of his hand and answering points made in a debate of this nature with a string of high-sounding phrases and attempted witticisms. We would like a little common sense this time.

There are a few sub-heads in the estimate to which I would like to refer. Sub-head A—Pay of Officers, Cadets, N.C.O.'s and Men. I would like to refer to the pay of the officers in particular. The Minister for Defence stated before, and I think he stated to-day also, that he had reached the minimum number of officers. We take it, therefore, that 500 is considered the minimum number and that there will be no further reduction, as far as the Minister is concerned, in that number.

The total cost of these 500 officers, taking such figures as are available for pay, marriage and children allowances, lodging and subsistence allowances, and the various other allowances which officers receive, is approximately £275,000, roughly £530 per head per annum, or £10 per head per week. In addition, a number of these officers have a free house and free light, and they all, I understand, have free hospital and medical treatment. There is also a regulation—I think it is still in existence—that there is a provision of £450 for furnishing married officers' quarters. In any comments I am making on the Estimate or on the particular sub-head, I would not like it to be taken that I have any antagonism whatever to the Army, or particular members of the Army. I may have a different opinion from the Minister as to the positive nature of their services to the country, but I am not going to discuss that now. As far as the cost of these 500 officers is concerned, I consider it is rather excessive. I suggest that these officers are being over-generously treated as regards pay and the numerous allowances which they receive. I might exclude, to a certain extent, the junior officers from these remarks. I consider that the officers in the Army should not be placed in a much more favourable position than persons of equal ability and competence in other Governmental services or in outside occupations. I consider that there is room for further reduction both in the number of officers and in some of the many allowances which they receive. I suggest that the Minister should have these points considered.

The next sub-head upon which I would like to remark is sub-head A 1—Military educational courses abroad for specially selected officers. I may say that I thoroughly approve of the idea of sending selected officers abroad for special instruction. I am glad to see, for this purpose, America is preferred to England. I hope, however, that any future expenditure under this particular sub-head will not follow along the lines of the last course, when, I think, six officers spent six months in America. The total expenses, I understand, of that trip were £5,600—a little over £34 each per week. I consider that cost excessive. I suppose I may be pardoned for voicing the suspicion that the entire amount of £34 per week per officer was not spent on the acquisition of military knowledge. I am sure that a fair proportion of it was spent on social extravagances and on hitting the high spots, I suppose, at West Point, or whatever other academy the officers attended.

Sub-head A 2—Gratuities to retired and resigned officers. This year's Estimate provides for £64,000. Last year, I think, £44,000 was spent on this particular item, a total of about £110,000. I think this figure covered about 290 officers. This amounted, approximately, to £400 per officer. I suggest that £200 per officer, as an average, would be a more reasonable figure and that some of the money which would have been saved in this way could have been devoted to providing a small bounty or something in the nature of a bounty for N.C.O's and men whose services were dispensed with on account of the reorganisation of the Army. I think the distinction which has been made in this matter was, to say the least of it, unfair. These men were thrown on the labour market without any little reserve whatever to enable them to carry on over a month or two until they could get employment.

Then we come to the question of stores and transport. I suggest that there should be better supervision and a more accurate system of accounting in connection with lodging and subsistence allowances, with all transport charges and with the purchase of various types of stores. I consider that there is room for a general tightening up in these matters. As far as general stores are concerned, I would like to ask the Minister to give some explanation of why it should be necessary to sell, every year, large quantities of what are described in the Estimates as surplus and unserviceable stores. Last year £10,000 worth was sold and this year provision is made for the sale of £15,000 worth. I would like to ask the Minister if all these surplus stores have been in existence since 1922 and 1923 or are they the result of unnecessary purchases during the last few years? Would it not be possible to have better supervision in this matter of stores and to have a closer estimate of the requirements of the Army in this matter and, consequently, avoid the waste and loss involved in such transactions?

Next we come to war-like stores. I know that there is an appreciable increase in this item since last year. I suppose it would be incorrect to assume from this increase that the British Empire is contemplating war with any of her trade rivals. I notice also that there is a new purchase of rifles intended during the coming year. I would like to ask the Minister what is the position with regard to the 40,000 or 50,000 rifles which were left over since 1923. Are those rifles out of date? Are they being discarded, or does the Minister intend sending commercial travellers to Mexico or some such place to dispose of them?

Next we come to the Minister's own dug-out—the Department of Defence. I notice that the estimated cost of the Army has been reduced by approximately 20 per cent., but during the same period the estimated cost of the Department of Defence has been reduced by only 3.5 per cent. If we go back to the earliest available figures I have, those for 1926-27, we find that the total cost of the Army then was £2,309,700, and the cost of the Department of Defence, £51,354. Therefore, we see that while there has been a reduction in the cost of the Army of practically 38 per cent., over the same period the reduction in the cost of the Department of Defence has been only 3.5 per cent. I suggest to the Minister that such a state of affairs indicates a great need for the pruning knife, and that he should get to work in his own Department and reduce the cost considerably below its present figure.

The last item upon which I wish to touch is the Army reserves. I notice that provision is made for 230 officers on the reserve during the current year, and that the cost is approximately £90 per officer for the year. I should like to ask how many of these officers will be called up for training, or to assist in training, during the current year, and how many will receive grants averaging over £5 without coming up for training at all? Will the Minister also indicate how many of these particular officers are in receipt of service pensions, and how many of them received two years' pay and allowances on retiring from the army? As to the A and B reserves, I should like the Minister to state his intentions as far as the total strengths of these formations are concerned and when he expects such strengths to be reached. I support the motion for the referring back of the Estimate for reconsideration, and would ask all those Deputies who mean, or ever meant, what they said, when they spoke about economy and retrenchment, to go into the Division Lobby in favour of the motion.

I should like to support one point made by Deputy Kerlin, and that is in regard to the 4,000 odd men who have been dispensed with within a very short period. As Deputy Kerlin has stated, those men have been thrown on the labour market without any provision being made for them. It should be borne in mind that after from two to seven years' service in the Army these men were dispensed with and they are not even entitled to unemployment benefit; that they are thrown out absolutely destitute and are left to be dependent upon their people to support them—if they have any people. I agree that provision should be made for officers leaving the Army, but I suggest that the N.C.O.'s and men are also entitled to consideration, even if it were only to the extent of having their unemployment insurance cards stamped, so that they would be able to get unemployment benefit at least. I should like the Minister to take serious note of this point, particularly in view of the fact that at least another thousand men are to be discharged from the Army. It ought to be plain to the Minister and the House that there is very little likelihood of these men getting employment within a reasonable time, and they are therefore left in a very precarious position.

With the case generally made by Deputy Kerlin I do not feel competent to deal, nor do I desire to do so. Deputy Kerlin, however, made one point which I could not agree with, and which I hope is not true— that the only way in which peace, not only in this country, but all over the world, can be guaranteed is by each country having the most powerful and the largest fighting machine it can get together. I am sorry that is the view of Deputy Kerlin—it is not my view. If that view were held by this House and by similar institutions all over the world, I am afraid there would be very little hope for the future peace of the world. I am prepared to place more faith even in the disarmament conference than I am in having every man fit to march into the fighting arena. So far as this country is concerned, I hope that this House, and the people generally, will give more thought to peace and to the building up of the industries of the country than to fighting and to war. That is a point that I hope the House will not agree with Deputy Kerlin upon—that the only way we can secure peace in this country, and in the world generally, is to have huge fighting machines. I cannot believe that that is going to bring peace to this or to any other country.

The Government are to be congratulated upon having kept their word in bringing this Estimate down even below the figure mentioned last year. Anybody who was here five or six years ago could not but be struck with the magnitude of the work the Government have had in bringing the Estimate down to this figure. When I became a Deputy nearly six years ago the amount spent on the Army was very different from what it is now. In making that reduction, I think the country will consider that the Government have given great care and attention to the matter, so as to avoid, as far as they possibly could, any unnecessary hardship. They have brought the Estimate down now to a very reasonable figure. The Minister states that the officer strength has now reached the stage at which it is proposed not to lower it any further. I am glad to hear that, because if we are to have a small permanent nucleus, they must be efficient, and in order that they may be efficient, these officers must look forward to permanent employment which they are to spend their lives at, and also to some compensation at the completion of their service. I should like to know if any arrangement was likely to be made in that respect, because no one can be expected to give up his entire life to any profession without the hope of some provision after he passes what is likely to be his period of useful work.

I see that the Minister proposes that there should be a literary entrance examination into the Army, and that there should be further studies, but the Minister did not mention anything about the establishment of a military college for officers which I consider is a necessity. Every country has one. The country of whose constitution we are a replica in many respects has a military college at Kingston, where all their officers are efficiently trained. It is recognised in every country that a college for the training of young officers in the subjects which are necessary to their profession should be established. I should like to hear what the Minister has to say upon that subject. Deputy Kerlin, I think, called the Army a glorified police force——

The Minister for Agriculture called it that——

Mr. Wolfe

And said that it would be practically useless to repel any attack that might be made on the country. Of course we are a small country, and could not fight any very powerful country permanently, but there is one thing we could do. If we were suddenly attacked we could keep the enemy at bay for a certain time, which would give us an opportunity for getting help from our allies, whoever they might be. That was the position in the case of Belgium in the late war. If Belgium had no army the enemy would have been very soon at Antwerp. The resistance she was able to put up gave time for assistance to be brought to her which was powerful and effective. I think the time has not yet arrived and that we have not reached that stage of perfection in which we could do without some armed force. In the days to come, when everything will be peaceful, when the lion will lie down with the lamb, and all that sort of thing, there will be no need for an army or a navy. But we have not yet arrived at that stage. I think that until we do, the course arrived at by the Minister in having a small and efficient nucleus is the proper course. By a nucleus I mean we must have a certain number of trained and efficient men who are experts in their trade and their particular line, always there, always ready to train men who may be called up suddenly. Of course, even as things are, war is possible. Even with the League of Nations established we have not yet done away with the possibility of war occurring by some untoward, very untoward circumstances, and we must be prepared for it.

Mr. Wolfe

I do not think there is any special item that calls for further remarks in the Estimate. I think reductions have been carried out fairly as far as that can be done. Of course, a number of men have to be discharged—that is the natural course of things—but I think, considering the numbers that have been demobilised in the last few years, it is very wonderful that there has not been more discontent and more unemployment than there is. I live in the centre of one of the biggest military districts in the country, and although, of course, a good many have come to me about different cases of hardship, and although I know there are many cases, still, all things considered, it might have been worse, and I do not think that it could have been prevented by any possibility. There has been a certain amount of hardship to some men and their families which is very regrettable. After all, if you have to reduce the Army it must naturally mean a certain amount of unemployment. You cannot have it both ways. The only thing that matters is to do it as slowly as it can be done and as carefully, and I think the Minister has done his very best to carry that out. I think that the progress made on the reduction of the Army is very satisfactory. I should like to ask the Minister if it is likely that a Bill will be passed this year for the regulation of the Army. Most Armies have an Act regulating matters in regard to discipline and other things connected with the Army. I think a Bill has been promised to us for some time, and now possibly the Minister will indicate when it is likely to be laid before the House. I think, on the whole, the Estimate is extremely satisfactory, and I have great pleasure in supporting it.

I am intervening in this debate in order to make another attempt to get my mind clear as to what is or is not the defence policy of the Executive Council. The Minister for Defence will recollect that we debated this question at some length last year. The result of the debate was to leave us even more confused than we were before as to what particular policy the Executive Council is following in Army matters, or that it thinks it is following in Army matters. During the course of that debate we had the spectacle of two Ministers making statements relative to the purpose of the Army and its utility to serve that purpose directly contradictory to each other. At the conclusion of the debate we had a speech from the Minister for Defence—an impromptu speech made from manuscript—which was undoubtedly exceedingly witty, but I do not think he clarified in any way the difficulties that had arisen in the debate—the difficulty of apparent division in the Executive Council as to what the policy of the Army was or should be.

I am going to put before the Minister for Defence now certain propositions relative to this matter, with which I hope he will agree, but whether he agrees with them or not, I hope he will tell us what his attitude is. It is undoubtedly a matter of great personal satisfaction to him to be able to score debating points against his opponents, but it is an unsatisfactory way of enunciating the attitude he holds towards his Department and its work. He considered that his duty was done last year when he made a number of witty remarks about various Deputies on this side of the House, but I submit to him that it was not done. Because there was not merely in the minds of the Deputies here, but in the minds of people outside the House who have taken an interest in the matter, a very serious doubt as to whether the Executive Council has any policy at all in relation to national defence. Considering the matter of Army policy, we have got to take into account all the facts of our military situation. In the first place, we are an island. I think that would be generally agreed to by Deputies in all Parties.

Even by Deputy Corry.

Mr. Byrne

He says Ireland is an island surrounded by water.

We are weak in man power. Our population is only 2,900,000, our man power is very low. We have got to take these facts into account, and taking these facts into account certain things are obvious, leaving for a moment out of consideration all questions of the possibility of war or strained relations between ourselves and Great Britain, and considering that the present political relationship between the two countries will continue.

The first obvious fact that faces us is this, that any nation that invades this country will be one strong enough to defeat the British navy on the seas, because it is quite obvious that while present relations continue at any rate Britain will not tolerate any other power establishing herself militarily here without resistance. I hope Deputies from all parts of the House will agree with that proposition. It indicates at any rate that such military opposition as we would have to face is likely to be very formidable. Any nation or power strong enough to beat the British on the seas and likely to invade this country in such strength is one that we could not hope to beat. The policy of the Executive Council according to the Minister for Defence, though not according to the Minister for Agriculture, is to maintain here an Army sufficiently strong and sufficiently effective to make an invader think twice before he decides to invade this country. Deputy Wolfe has just enunciated the same principle in other words—an Army sufficiently strong that if attacked we could keep the enemy at bay for some time until assistance came to us from our allies no matter where our allies might be.

The consequence of that policy must be fairly fully considered by the Dáil if it is going to express its satisfaction with it. We have, I think, to admit that if we are going to be invaded by an overwhelming force, by some power or combinations of powers, the strength of it will be such that we cannot hope for military victory. In fact there is no nation within striking distance of us with whom we could engage in war, with any hope of military victory. I think that is agreed. What would be the effect, therefore, of our offering resistance to the invaders who will come in the strength indicated? Merely to hold them at bay sufficiently long until assistance comes to us from some place. What will be the effect of keeping here an Army strong enough to make the invader think twice before he invades when the invasion has actually occurred? I think it is quite obvious that any damage that we could possibly inflict upon such an invader would be certainly not greater than the damage which the invader could inflict on us.

It is an old maxim of military science, first enunciated by Napoleon, that God fights with the big battalions and God would be with the big battalions against us. Also the war would be fought upon territory of this State and, consequently, the civilian population would suffer just as much as the Army would suffer. The Army would probably disappear altogether after a few battles. We would undoubtedly delay the enemy for a few days, perhaps for a few weeks. We would inflict a certain amount of damage upon him, but on the other hand, we would have so affected the fighting resources, the man power of this country, that any idea of continued resistance to that enemy's presence in the country would be out of the question for another generation. If we attempted to offer effective military resistance to any invader of the type that we are ever likely to encounter other than Britain, we would be only dissipating our strength by a futile demonstration.

When we take into consideration the type of Army which we would require and the type of Army which we should endeavour to maintain, we arrive at certain interesting conclusions. In the first place, we have no hope of military victory, and in the second place active military resistance of the type contemplated by the Executive Council would be worse than useless. It would be disastrous. We find that our conclusions lead us to the belief already enunciated in this country from Deputies on this side that the most effective form of resistance to aggression which we could possibly offer would be such as would be directed not towards expelling the invader but making it impossible for him to establish his position here in peace. Not merely do our arguments point to that conclusion, but the whole military history of our people points to the same conclusion.

If we are going to contemplate effective resistance to invasion or to attempted conquest it has got to be that type of resistance which is in accordance with our actual strategic position, and our available resources in men. It might be thought that this argument is an argument which is against maintaining an Army of any kind. It could be used for the purpose of spreading that idea if it were not for other considerations with which I will deal later. It is conceivably possible that a free Ireland might decide that its best policy was to have no military defence whatever. I am not arguing for or against physical resistance to attempted invasion or attempted conquest.

I believe that such physical resistance will come spontaneously if the right national spirit exists in the country irrespective of what kind of army exists in time of peace. I do not think that it is necessary that we should spend one and a half millions yearly in order to ensure that that resistance will take place. If the spirit of the people is right, if they want to resist aggression and to maintain their independence, resistance will come; and if the policy of the Executive Council recognises that fact they would be directing their energies not towards maintaining an elaborate military machine, but towards encouraging that spirit amongst the people and fostering it by encouraging voluntary physical drill, rifle clubs and volunteer associations, and those things that Deputy Kerlin mentioned.

There is, however, one other consideration that I must take into account, and that is our political relationship and our geographical proximity to England. Our proximity to England makes it essential that we should maintain an army of some kind. I think, however, there will be general agreement as to that in relation to the matter of political connection. It is desirable, and I am sure all parties in this House will consider it desirable, that in the event of England being engaged in a war we should be able to undertake, or claim to undertake our own defence, and thus obviate the possibility of England expressing a desire to utilise some section in the Treaty to send troops in here. We do not want to give the British people any pretext for sending their troops in here to occupy the country in a military manner. If we are able to show that there is an army sufficiently strong and sufficiently efficient to undertake the defences of the country, then we can raise a valid objection to any such proposal coming from our allies. It is, however, in relation to our geographical proximity that there may be some difference of opinion.

I maintain that it is in connection with England, and in connection with England only, that the policy of the Executive Council, as enunciated by the Minister for Defence, has any real validity. We should have an Army sufficiently strong and sufficiently well trained and equipped, as the Minister said, to make Britain think twice before she decides on any military demonstration against us. Britain is the only nation that is likely to indulge in any such military demonstration on anything except on minor points. Other nations will only attempt to intervene here if urgent military necessity compels them. Britain might conceivably think it worth while to intervene if this Dáil, in the exercise of its sovereign powers, which we are assured it possesses, passed some Act which Great Britain disliked. For example, if we amended the Constitution in any of its numerous Articles it is conceivably possible that some form of threat might be used against us which could not be effectively met unless there was in existence some sort of defence force with a promise of resistance behind it.

When we come to consider the type of army which our conditions require we should establish, we have to take several things into account. We must have an army so constituted, sufficiently strong, well-trained and equipped as to be able to justify our claim to Britain that we would be able, in the event of Britain going to war, to undertake our own defence and thus take from Britain any excuse she might allege for sending troops here. On the other hand, the Army must be capable of conducting that type of resistance which our own history teaches us will be the most effective against aggression. Again, it must be cheap to maintain, because any Army we can maintain under any circumstances must be well within the limits of the country's taxable capacity. We are at present spending something like 11/9 per head of the population to maintain a defence force. Perhaps I should have said we propose to spend that sum this year, because, in fact, we were spending a much larger sum heretofore. In my opinion that is too much. No one likes to take a figure of this kind arbitrarily and say: "We will spend so much and no more," but in this matter I believe we can do so. Personally, I would say that one million is the most we are able to spend upon defence.

Deputies will recollect that the views of the Executive Council on this matter have changed. At one time the Minister for Finance was under the impression that two millions a year would represent normal Army expenditure, and the actual expenditure up to the limit of two millions was met out of normal revenue, the balance being raised by borrowing. When the cost came to two millions and there was still necessity for deceiving the people as to the actual position, just by altering his calculation as to the normal Army charge from two millions to one and a half millions he presented a balanced Budget to the people. I was expecting this year, if the Budget position had not been a little easier that we would find the views of the Minister changed and that part of the Army expenditure would be met by borrowing. He has not done so, and we propose to get the one and a half millions out of tax revenue. It is really too much, in view of the country's capacity to pay. No matter how urgent may be our need to maintain a defence force, or what particular dangers we may see for the nation in the years to come, one million is the most we can spend and we will have to get the best possible army for that sum. These considerations rule out of account the idea of maintaining a standing army. The Minister for Finance agrees with that conclusion, judging by his speech on the financial resolutions the other day; at least, that is the impression that he left on the mind of any one listening to him. They rule out also the type of army we have now—a standing army with a reserve. Obviously that is only another form of standing army. It contemplates operations on a standing army basis. If the Army goes to war the reserves will be called to the Colours and together they will constitute one unit modelled upon continental lines and utterly incapable of dealing even with a part of any force likely to come against us. It would muster to-day something like 14,000 reserves. It is not the size that I would object to so much as the constitution of such an army. It would be useless divided into units. The policy contemplated is that of an army acting as a brigade and nothing else. Once the machinery of the brigade was broken I believe the parts would fall to pieces and be utterly useless for defence.

Such an army as we require, not merely for the purpose of administration, but also for actual resistance, must fulfil certain conditions. It must be a volunteer force. If we are to contemplate real, effective resistance to attempted aggression it will depend very largely on the spirit that animates the fighters. If we are to depend on the spirit of the fighters we must get the right type, the volunteer type. It is useless to hope that anyone attracted into the Army as an avenue of escape from the prospect of unemployment will be prepared to offer the same sustained resistance during a period of considerable hardship as a volunteer, knowing what is expected of him, will do. It must, of course, be organised upon a territorial basis, local units, capable undoubtedly of acting together if necessary, but trained primarily for the purpose of acting separately. That would involve, I think, elected officers. Certainly the officers who would be in actual command of the men would have to secure from those men some sort of personal approval. It was, I think, on that system that the Boer Army was constituted during the Boer War, and in view of the similarity which existed between the type of warfare fought there and the type which we would probably have to wage in time of invasion, we would find that that system would be exceedingly suitable here. No army in which there is a very distinct division between the officer class and the other rank classes would be likely to maintain its discipline under such circumstances as we contemplate may arise here. The only army that could maintain discipline and cohesion would be an army in which there would be absolute confidence in the officers on the part of the men, and in that way some form of limited election would be desirable.

There is one consideration which is more important than all the others put together. If we are going to get such an army in this country it must be a defence force and a defence force only. We cannot ignore the political conditions that exist. We cannot ignore our recent past history. If the Army is to be constituted on those lines during this generation it must have no function whatever in relation to such matters as labour disputes or the maintenance of internal order. If it is to have any other function than that of defending the country against foreign aggression it cannot get that support of all sections of the community upon which it would depend for success. One could go further and say that there are conditions precedent to the establishment of such a force as does not now exist. Deputy Kerlin put his finger on one point when he said that before a volunteer army could be constituted, whether on the lines he indicated or on those which the Minister has in mind, you must have an Executive in which the people will have confidence. I do not mean that they should have confidence in their executive ability. It is to be presumed that the people had confidence in the executive ability of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party at the last election, but the people must have confidence that the Executive Council will resist aggression, and I do not think that they have been given any grounds for such confidence by the present Executive Council. There are, in fact, on record a number of speeches by various Ministers all implying that they would not in any circumstances contemplate physical resistance to outside aggression. I am leaving out of account the speech delivered on last year's Estimate by the Minister for Agriculture because I do not think that it would be fair to taunt the other Ministers with that speech, as it is generally recognised that the Minister for Agriculture is not to be taken as being altogether responsible for what he says.

Other Ministers, however, spoke, and, whether they said so in actual words or not, they left the impression on the minds of the people that the Army was maintained only for the purpose of maintaining internal order and that it was not contemplated at any time that it should be used against outside aggression except we were fighting a war as the allies of England and that England's enemies were going to fight us. If we are to assure the people that resistance to aggression, from any quarter whatever, will take place, the Executive Council must take steps to see that there will be a realisation amongst the people of the fact that it desires such resistance and a realisation of the form which that resistance will take. There must also be amongst the people a general desire to resist such aggression. I am afraid that, if the Government continues much longer in office, and its economic policy continues to work out as it is, there will, I am afraid, be a very small desire among the people to resist aggression, no matter whom it comes from, even from the Zulus or some race of that kind. However, taking for granted that there will exist when this problem comes up to be settled an Executive Council in whom the people, irrespective of Party, will have confidence as regards their national outlook, we believe that the problem of defence can be solved by establishing a force on the lines I have indicated, at a cost much less than what we are spending to maintain the present force, which is utterly useless as a defence force. It is undoubtedly of some value as an auxiliary to the Civic Guard. There may occasionally be internal disorders with which the Civic Guard cannot deal but with which the Army could deal. We do not want an army for that purpose, but if it existed for that purpose it should, as Deputy Kerlin suggested, be under the control of the Minister for Justice. There is no need for the Ministry of Defence, except to control the machinery of a force necessary for defence against external aggression.

Deputy Morrissey expressed regret that Deputy Kerlin should have thought that it was necessary to maintain a military force in order to preserve the peace. Undoubtedly if the nations of the world adopted the proposal of Soviet Russia and scrapped all the guns, cannons, tanks and battleships, there would be no need for an army.

Mr. Byrne

We have scrapped the battleships.

Some of them, but the "Muirchu" is still left. My attention was drawn to a paragraph in the newspapers this morning relating to proposals before the Disarmament Committee at Geneva in relation to the use of poison gas in war. I thought that if there was one thing which the Free State Army would not use against its enemies it was poisoned gas. It is true that Ministers adopt that form of warfare in politics, but I am talking about an army engaged in resisting aggression. I find that their attitude in relation to poison gas is somewhat similar to our attitude in regard to armaments as a whole. Speaking through their representative, Lord Cushendun, a well-known Gael, they informed the conference that they would agree to the prohibition of the use in war of poisonous and asphyxiating gases with the reservation that it was conditional on all other Powers also ratifying. Whether other Powers will ratify we do not know. Presumably if they do not, the Free State is threatening the world that it will proceed to equip itself with the necessary poison-gas implements. I see by the Estimates that we are going to spend £25,300 more on warlike stores this year than last year. I do not know if the Executive Council have inside information that the Army is likely to be engaged in war this year. It is true that the Minister for Justice, through his Department, is doing his best to provoke a war. The Minister for Defence seems to be unduly optimistic. Of that £25,300 a sum of £10,000 is to be spent on munitions. The Army is going to expend this year more than twice the quantity of ammunition which it expended last year. I am not sure upon whom they expended that ammunition. Perhaps the Minister would tell us why they anticipate expending much more this year. Will he also tell us why this additional estimate for warlike stores is required? It includes £2,250 for anti-gas stores. It we are going to have anti-gas stores, perhaps we are entitled to ask why we are not to have gas stores, particularly in view of the threat which our representative held out yesterday to the nations of the world.

There is another minor matter about which I would like some information. I notice that we are giving £10 as assistance to civil aviation, to the Irish Aero Club. I would like to know, in the first place, if this is to be regarded as a token Vote or a grant-in-aid. If it is to be taken as a token Vote it means that we are going to be committed to a much greater expenditure than is set out here. If it is a grant-in-aid it is, of course, limited. Perhaps the Minister will tell us exactly what benefits the nation will derive from the activities of this Club. The exploits of the Club have been two up to the present. The first was on the occasion of the North City by-election. An aeroplane, the property of the Club, piloted by a gentleman whom we will call Colonel X, flew over the constituency dropping leaflets to the effect that "Colonel X is Ireland's greatest sportsman, and he supports Dr. O'Higgins in this election. This leaflet has been dropped from the sky by Colonel X." If it is intended that people anxious to announce their qualities, by dropping leaflets from the skies, should have the use of an aeroplane for that purpose, and if it is intended that the Army is going to get any benefits from the existence of the Club, we want more information. Perhaps it is hoped that the Army will get assistance presumably from the fact that it is included in the Army Vote. If it was a grant-in-aid of a "booster's" club, as they say in America, it would be included in some other Vote, perhaps in the estimate for the President's Department.

The other exploit of the Club was in taking the President back from his constituents in Cork on yesterday. I suppose he had to fly back from them. Although it was undoubtedly very useful for the President to be taken back in an aeroplane, it conferred very little benefit on the country, I think. Certainly I object to any of the taxpayers' money being expended on the Irish Aero Club, unless it can be shown that some benefit is to be conferred on the people of the country. It did them no benefit when Deputy Doctor O'Higgins was elected for the North City—of course, that is my personal opinion—and it did them no benefit when the President was taken back from Cork. I would like to know what benefit it is expected the country will derive from the activities of this Club, and if it is intended that a larger sum than the amount named is to be paid to the Club. I would like, before sitting down, to ask the Minister, when replying, to speak spontaneously. I believe that we would get nearer to his own mind if he did.

We have now the various criticisms of the Fianna Fáil Party on this Vote and I am sure that the country will greatly benefit from these criticisms. I wonder do the Fianna Fáil Deputies ask the House to take these criticisms seriously? We have had half a dozen different methods proposed here in the course of this debate, as an effective policy for which the Minister for Defence should be responsible. First of all we had the proposal that we should have an effective guerilla force that would make it impossible for an enemy to remain in the country. Next we had the proposal that we must rely upon ourselves, for, in this matter, the League of Nations is a mere humbug. Next we had the proposal of armed neutrality. What armed neutrality may mean, we were not told. On a previous occasion we had shall I say the exact antithesis to all these policies, the policy of what was called guaranteed neutrality for this country. Would it not be well, if, before coming into this House, the Fianna Fáil Deputies settled amongst themselves which of these many particular policies would be in the best interests of the country and come in presenting a united front, so that we and the country would know where they stood? Deputy Lemass told us that we had no army policy at all. Another fine contribution to the debate!

I think that as far as the policy of the party on these benches is concerned, I can do no better than to quote a few words used by the Minister for Finance in dealing with the criticisms of Deputy Lemass on the Budget. This will incidentally contradict the assertion made by Deputy Lemass that we on these benches have no intention of repelling aggression from an outside source. The policy laid down by the Minister for Finance is very pithy but it contains a good deal. He said that we must have an army here which would be a formidable army of defence in case the country was subjected to aggression. The Minister for Defence has outlined to you the plan by which he means to create that army should occasion arise. We have a highly efficient small standing army, highly trained and highly equipped. We have a number of men on reserve who can be instantly called to the colours, all of them trained men, so that as far as being in a position of impotence, should it ever happen that we should be attacked, is concerned I think that this country under the system which the Minister for Defence described to the House is in a really satisfactory position. Deputy Lemass went on further to say that we should take into account the fact that Ireland is an island and somebody said that even Deputy Corry would agree with that. He also said that we should take into account our man power, our present political relationship, and the fact that if the country were invaded the Army would probably disappear at once. These are the criticisms presented to a body like this, which should at least be entitled to believe that it is possessed of some intelligence. He told us, when my colleague on the right said that we should have some kind of force that would at least repel or delay aggression, that the mere fact of repelling or delaying aggression was of no material advantage. I wonder if the lessons of history have any value for Deputies opposite.

What history?

Mr. Byrne

I will give you an instance. In the Great War recently fought, a small expeditionary force was sent out to hold at bay a force nearly ten or twenty times numerically stronger than itself. What was the result of the delay? The result of the delay was the salvation of the kingdom of France. Those are lessons taught by history that I suggest should have some weight in a deliberative assembly of this kind.

May I ask if, according to history, the kingdom of France is not now the republic of France?

Mr. Byrne

I will take that correction. A slip of the tongue is no fault of the mind, and Irishmen are usually given that way. If you find nothing more serious than that in my remarks, I shall feel exceedingly pleased with myself when this debate is finished. Of course, we were also told that if England was engaged in war we ought to be able to undertake our own defence, and the defence suggested was that any army we had should run away. Speaking with some little pride in this nation, I may say that I never knew that Irishmen were a nation of cowards. Whatever we have done in the past, we have always been given credit for turning out some of the best fighting blood the world has produced.

I think if it comes to a case of the sort to which Deputy Lemass referred the Army we have will not run away, but will render an account of itself of which this little nation need not be ashamed. Deputy Lemass went on from one absurdity to another. The next thing he told us was that we should rely on a spontaneous spirit of nationalism by means of rifle clubs, etc. That should be the spirit that should animate the fighters, and then he told us, in another breath, that we should satisfy England that at least in the case of her being engaged in war we would have sufficient forces to defend this country from aggression without there being any need for her to land troops in this island. Was Deputy Lemass serious? Did he mean to ask England, that great nation, to rely on the spirit of nationalism by means of rifle clubs, and did he think for a moment that England would be satisfied that those were effective forces to defend this country? I never listened to such nonsense talked by a body of sensible men. It was purely ridiculous from beginning to end. Deputy Lemass told us in another breath that we will never be attacked by any nation except England. He asked us at the same time to take into consideration the political relationships existing in this country. I would like to take into consideration for just a moment the political relationships that exist at present. First, I would like to say that it is a matter to me of very sincere regret that this Vote upon the Army should be treated as a Party question. The salvation of this country should be considered by every man, whether he sits on these benches or those opposite. We have to-day at Geneva the question of armaments and of disarmament which is agitating the whole world. We come here and find one of those questions, highly important to every individual in the nation, treated in a spirit of levity and indifference by those men who sit on the opposite benches.

We are asked here to cut down this Vote to £1,000,000. The nation cannot afford to spend a million and a half, you have been told here from those benches. Another point clearly laying down the policy of the Government on this question is that, as far as the Army is concerned, we have now reached normal, and that it will be the effort of this country at least to keep it at its present strength. Why does this country want to go against the opinion of every other nation in the world? I referred a moment ago to the question of armaments and disarmament. We have France refusing to cut down the strength of her army, and we have Germany creating a secret army where she is debarred from having an army in the ordinary sense of the word by the terms of the treaty under which she laid down arms. The only country, we may say, that does not want these huge armaments is the great nation of America, to whom the forces of Europe are a matter of complete indifference. Every European nation at present is quarrelling and maintaining the upkeep of a certain army, and that army is regulated, as far as they are concerned, by the means at their disposal.

We are asked in this country to commit what may be termed political suicide, for that is what it really amounts to. We are to lose sight entirely of the strategic importance of this little country of ours. We have been told that it is not in the interests of any other nation except the great nation of England to come in here in an aggressive spirit. Was there ever such moonshine spoken as that? I would ask one for a moment just to realise that the whole international policy of Great Britain has, within the past few years, been completely revolutionised. We all know that at present we are a unit of the Commonwealth of Nations. What does that mean? It means that as a unit of the Commonwealth of Nations we are bound to receive, and not only that, but we will receive, the help of every other unit of which the Commonwealth is formed.

Surely the Deputy is travelling a long way from the Estimate now.

He is very interesting; let him go on.

Mr. Byrne

I have been examining the various propositions put forward by members of the Opposition Benches. I have been asked to examine for a moment the political relationship between this country and other countries, and if I have done so I hope the time I have spent will not be altogether wasted. I am only endeavouring to bring this debate from the level of comedy to the seriousness and consideration it is entitled to. I suggest that in this country there is an absolute need for a permanent army. Whether that army be great or small, I think there are few men who have the interests of this country at heart who will not admit that we must have a permanent army of some shape or size. I very often hear the question asked by the man in the street as to why we need an army in this country at all. It is a common question, and I say it is a question that we here should give some consideration to. Anybody who asks that question is an individual who never thinks. We have seen recently, owing to the regrettable internal troubles that occurred in this country, what the absence of an army cost this little State. We have seen in the past that the absence of an army cost this little State something from twenty to thirty million pounds.

Not in the last year.

Mr. Byrne

Not in the last year, but I am speaking of the necessity of a standing army. I submit, with all respect, that I am closely within the terms of the Estimate.

The Deputy can only discuss what is within this Estimate.

Mr. Byrne

I submit I am closely within the terms of the Estimate in dealing with the subject I am dealing with, and with the arguments that were presented to us by the opposite side of the House.

Mr. Jordan

I respectfully submit that the Deputy is wrong in the estimate of twenty or twenty-five millions. I am surprised that the Minister for Agriculture did not enlighten him and say forty millions, the same as he did in Galway.

On a point of explanation, twenty-five millions is my figure.

Mr. Byrne

If we take into account consequential damage, I think the Minister for Agriculture will not be very many millions out. However, I would like to say that we must have an army of some kind and of some strength in this country. Europe, at the present moment, is in a state of flux, and from it anything may emerge at any moment. I would ask Deputies of every Party in this House not to be led away by folly, because it is nothing else but folly that we have been listening to from Deputies on the opposite benches. I would especially ask Deputies on the Labour Benches not to be led away by the follies we have been listening to.

Mr. Byrne

I suggest Labour has an important interest in this question, as well as every other section of this community. I hope, when we go into the Division Lobby on this Vote, that we will have Labour following behind us to show that we are doing the best we can in the interests of the country and that they recognise that, and that they have not been led away by the futile arguments to which we have listened so long in this House to-day.

Not being an expert on military strategy and tactics, or guerilla warfare, I do not intend to advise the Minister for Defence as to what plan or plans should be adopted in case of invasion of this country. Deputies on both sides of the House are giving advice as to how we should meet invasion. In fact, they are anticipating invasion, and they want the whole country to be prepared for another little war. We, on the Labour Benches, do not want war; we want peace, so that we may get a living in the country and not have to spend another thirty or forty million pounds. We know that the workers are paying through suffering and privation at the present time for the last war. I would rather take the line of Deputy Morrissey in his desire for peace and in his desire to help the national soldiers who are about to be discharged. I suggest to the Minister that some small bounty be paid to them on discharge, and if he cannot do that he ought to make some effort to have these men's contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund paid up, so that they can receive unemployment benefit. At the present time we are setting discharged soldiers against employed civilians. They are trying to get civilians ousted from their employment in order to secure their jobs. I say that should not be.

I am informed that in the Curragh Camp civilian workmen who are giving efficient service are being dispensed with gradually in order to make room for national soldiers who are discharged. That is not fair to the civilian workers. I do not see why a civilian workman at the Curragh Camp should be discharged in order to make room for a man who may come from any of the thirty-two counties of Ireland. It is not fair. I would like the Minister to make enquiries into that matter and see if this practice cannot be stopped. We feel it very much down there. We have not very much employment. Therefore it is all the more important for the few workers that are around there.

To come back to the question of what an efficient army should be, there is some talk about setting up a military training college. I presume that college will be established at the Curragh, and I would like the Minister for Defence to state whether any provision is made for the alteration and reconstruction of the buildings there, so as to convert them into a training college. That, I presume, would mean considerable expense and it would give much-needed employment at the Curragh Camp. If I am to take the tenor of the speeches this evening, it is work that would be reproductive, because the officers in training would have that knowledge which would enable them to carry on these wars ad infinitum, as so many Deputies want, if we are to judge by the speeches this evening. I would like the Minister for Defence to pay attention to these two points, the question of the discharging of civilian workers who are giving efficient service to make room for discharged soldiers, and also the setting up of a training college at the Curragh, so that our officers will be fully trained to meet any emergency in case there is an invasion of this country.

On some previous occasions I have been a very severe critic of the action of the Executive Council in connection with the expenditure in this Vote. I spoke with special knowledge on the matter I criticised, namely, the medical services. I find, however, that great improvements have been taking place and that great reductions have occurred since those days. I find that the number of officers has been reduced by nineteen and the number of nurses by seven, so that there is a total reduction of twenty-six. That was one of the points that I insisted upon from the beginning. I said that in a young army, without any serious outbreak of war or casualties, I could not see what the necessity was for keeping such a large army of medical men. I never, for a moment, suggested that medical men should not be paid satisfactory wages or salaries. I never for a moment suggested that they should curtail in any way either the equipment or the efficiency of the service given to our soldiers. We should give them the best. What I did maintain, and what I still maintain, is that there is no necessity whatsoever for two large hospitals, one at the Curragh and St. Bricin's, for the soldiers connected with a small army like ours at the present time. I showed, on the first occasion on which I offered criticism on this matter, that as far as St. Bricin's hospital was concerned, although there were 256 beds there, only an average of 109 beds were occupied during the year, and the cost per week per bed was 12/9, amounting to a total of £232 per annum, whereas at the Curragh the amount per week was only 9/6, or £173 per annum. I suggested that the number of cases that were in hospital were not even sufficient to fill St. Bricin's, and that it would be more satisfactory to have the hospital at the Curragh established upon a little better footing and to have it the only hospital used for the soldiers.

I am not satisfied that that change should not yet be made. I see no reason yet for altering the opinion I formed in that matter six years ago. In that way six or seven thousand pounds could be saved without any trouble. The training school is down at the Curragh, and if there was any emergency it would be quite easy to get cases that occurred in Dublin treated in one of the general hospitals. As a matter of fact, that has happened. The Minister for Defence has taken advantage of the staff of the Dublin hospitals. He sent certain fever cases, in one instance, to the Richmond Hospital, and maternity cases to the Coombe. There were even tubercular cases sent to the tuberculosis hospital. In connection with that it is a very amazing thing that the Minister for Defence was only willing to pay two guineas a week for the patient sent to the tuberculosis hospital, whereas he was willing to pay for cases in his own hospital twice or three times that amount. I want to reiterate that there is no necessity for maintaining these two large hospitals with something between 350 and 400 beds, as the total number of beds occupied in the year in which I asked for figures was, on the average, only 252, St. Bricin's itself having 256 beds. As I say, the reason I would like the hospital at the Curragh is because the men will be in the country air, because it is the training ground for young men, and it is run much cheaper than St. Bricin's. The cost in a general hospital in the City here is something like £140 per bed, per annum, whereas the cost at St. Bricin's, at the time I made the inquiry, was £232 per bed, and the average at the Curragh was £173. I merely reiterate these statements—I have not asked for any further particulars, because I am convinced that a saving of a good number of thousand pounds could be made there.

In intervening in this debate, I can claim to do so with a certain amount of authority and a certain amount of representative responsibility, seeing that some Deputies claim that I was elected to this House by the 700 soldiers' votes, rather than by the other 27,000 odd. I rise to support this estimate for the Army. A motion has been made, on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party, to refer the Estimate back. I presume that means either to reduce the sum drastically or disallow it altogether. In either case, it would mean throwing a considerable number out of employment into a market which is already overcrowded. In their desire to do that. I think that that particular Party are prompted and stimulated more by dislike for the Army than by love for the taxpayers. Their policy is, and always has been, to reduce the strength of the Army, whether by legitimate or illegitimate means. Doubtless, if they succeed sufficiently well in their objective, and make the Army so small as not to be effective——

I should like to ask the Deputy what he means by saying that the Fianna Fáil Party always favoured the reduction of the Army by legitimate or illegitimate means. Will he tell us exactly what he means by illegitimate means in that connection?

By action against the law of the State; that I understand is illegitimate.

Would you show us——

The Deputy ought to be allowed to make his speech.

I do not want him to make a general statement against the Fianna Fáil Party without sustaining it. Will he now show where the Fianna Fáil Party took the action he says?

The Deputy must be allowed to make his speech without interruption. Deputy Derrig can deal with it afterwards.

If the Deputy wants to put me through a school of memory testing, I have not the time for that at present.

I protest against your being allowed time to make accusations which you have not the courage or the capacity to sustain.

Deputy Derrig does not know how to play the game.

Doubtless, if that Party succeed in their objective of reducing the Army sufficiently, we will then be let into the secret of where exactly the legal centre of gravity in this country does lie. I hold that the only real national insurance which this country and its people have against either internal strife or disorder or external aggression is a reasonably strong and a thoroughly efficient Army. The Minister for Defence can be congratulated on having an Army which has increased in efficiency during a few short years to an extent which even an optimist would not anticipate or expect in twice that time. He can also be congratulated on having reduced to a very small figure the cost of the Army. I consider that more attention should be given to the efficiency of the Army than to economies inside the Army. The sum reached at present is undoubtedly a reasonable sum for the purpose for which it is intended, but all future policy should be directed more towards trying to make the most efficient machine possible from the numbers available. A small army with perfect efficiency can only be obtained by aiming at the highest degree of mobility.

In connection with that, I suggest to the Minister that during the coming year, or in future, more attention should be given to providing additional transport for the Army. At present some services in the Army, on account of the necessity for rigid economy, have not sufficient transport. The Army Medical Service, for example, is one. The individuals in that service are thoroughly efficient and highly trained, but the service as a whole is as immobile as the solid rock of the Republic which certain Deputies amuse themselves and others by scrambling up occasionally and then gracefully sliding down again. That service has not got sufficient transport to transport its own stores—that is leaving out the question of ambulances, which are only used for the transport of casualties. More consideration should be given by people in this House and outside to conditions in the Army, to the welfare of those in the Army, and of those leaving the Army. The time, I think, has arrived when the Army should be put upon a pensionable basis. It is unreasonable that the one State service that made it possible for all other State services to function, should be at present the only State service without a Pensions Act. There is a very reasonable explanation as to why a Pensions Act could not be brought into being earlier. The Army was changing; its organisation was not completed; its strength was not decided upon. Now, I take it that the Army is more or less fixed with regard to its strength, etc., and I hope that in the coming year that matter will receive attention. More attention should also be given to the question of the resettlement of those leaving the Army. Some Deputies have referred to the question of insurance with regard to N.C.O.'s and men leaving the Army. I think it would be more practical if, through employers, etc., some drive could be made to give a definite portion of vacancies to ex-Army men.

Deputy Kerlin, I think it was, without saying whether he was satisfied or dissatisfied with the reductions effected in the Army, who likened the Minister to a lunatic attempting to bail out a barrel of water with a bucket without a bottom. That lunatic would be nearly as sane a man as the Minister for Defence if he managed to bail out 360,000 pounds of water per annum—that is exactly what the Minister did in the last year with his bucket. It is not bad work from the point of view of finance.

Deputy Sir James Craig referred to the two big hospitals, one at the Curragh and one in Dublin. The fact that 109 beds are the average occupied in the Dublin hospital, which has a total capacity of 250 beds, means that at times that hospital must be taxed to its fullest capacity. In order to have an average throughout the year of 109, it means that at certain periods of the year the number of beds occupied would be twice, or two-and-a-half times that number. I can speak from personal experience when I say that last January, and for a period in February, the hospital was full to the very last bed, and, in fact, in addition to that, there were influenza cases that had to be treated in barrack wards. At the beginning of every year practically there is an epidemic of influenza. So long as there is an average of 109 occupied beds, the very minimum accommodation compatible with the work to be done to cater for all would be a hospital of twice that capacity. Up to the present there has been every reason why there should be a big hospital in Dublin and another in the Curragh. There may be some other arrangement with the demobilisation of troops in the future, but certainly up to the present there has been necessity for two hospitals.

Generally, with regard to this Estimate I think the House should hear a little bit more as to what the Army has done, and a little bit less of the annual attacks launched upon the Army, in the efforts to reduce the Army a little here and a little there. That kind of thing will never bring about any mental stability in the Army, and without mental stability people cannot settle down to do their job with thoroughness and efficiency. The Army has done very well in more fields than one. In sport, in aviation they have shown that they can hold their own very well with any other army in the world. That is a matter that should not be forgotten. New, if you like, inexperienced, if you like, unaccustomed to great publicity and public performances, they carried off the International jumping competition here last August, and on the Continent they did equally well. In every form of sport they have shown that they can hold their own with any other Army, and in military learning and training, wherever the officers have gone, they have been amongst the upper groups of officers at competitive examinations. That certainly is very creditable, and no good is done to the Army or to this House, or to the people of the country by always preaching the dismal tale, always pulling the poor mouth, always throwing a little bit of dirt at our own country—that we are always poor, paupers, broken down and cannot stand this and cannot put up anything. That is only going to breed a poor, weak spirit in the country. It would be better if the people who think for and of the country should call attention to the good things done for the country or in the country rather than to be led and stimulated by a policy or by a Party which appears to have made it their objective to try to outrival the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

It did not surprise me in the slightest to hear Deputy O'Higgins make reference to the Fianna Fáil Party adopting illegitimate means. It was only what I would expect from Deputy O'Higgins. What qualifications he may possess to criticise the Fianna Fáil policy in Army matters I do not know. Undoubtedly in his own particular sphere as a professional man he might have but I have known him for some years and I must say that I do not know of any qualifications on which he bases his criticism of Army matters. He mentioned a matter that affects us particularly. He said that perhaps when we get into power people will be able to find out what is the legal centre of gravity. Our quarrel at the present time is that the legal centre of gravity is not in this House but in No. 10 Downing Street.

Now as regards pensions or a pensionable basis for a standing Army, I would point out to Deputies that that has already been suggested by the Fianna Fáil Party who have urged that there should be a small standing Army as a training force with a volunteer force behind it. We suggested a pensionable basis for the Army but we did not suggest pensions for those who served for a couple of years and came out of the Army scathless, without wounds of any sort or any disease or complaint and who got huge pensions which keep them walking about the country. We do not believe in that and we condemn it, but if any man has been wounded, has developed a disease or complaint in the Army, whether in the I.R.A. or whether in the service of the National Army we certainly would not stand in the way of a pension for that man. We object to people getting £300 down in pensions who have never been touched and who never suffered any wounds or any disease.

Deputy O'Higgins also spoke about our party launching annual attacks upon the Government in regard to the Army, but I would point out to the Deputy that I can use his own arguments against him for he says that the Minister has succeeded in reducing the expenditure on the Army and probably if we had not launched these annual attacks the Minister would not have reduced the expenditure on the Army at all. There is an item of £107,338 for Army reserve. We hold with a certain amount of truth that that Army reserve is only being created. The men are sent out of the Army. It was suggested there should be a certain amount of consideration given to them when they go out. Very good. That is all right but there are many unemployed to whom no consideration is given and who are supposed to be absolutely on the same basis as those in this Vote. But are they? Not at all. The sum of £107,338 is spent upon them in order to keep them loyal to the present administration and in order that they may be there during election times for the purpose of preventing anybody interrupting a Minister or a Cumann na nGaedheal deputy. We have seen it.

We suggest that there should be a small standing army and a volunteer reserve. My colleague, Deputy Kerlin, gave certain facts and figures the last time this debate was on. If we are going to be up against what we had to contend with before—aggression from possibly the only country that we need fear aggression from, or any other country for that matter—our best method of fighting, and anybody who knows anything about army matters will bear me out in this, is by the system known as guerilla warfare. We cannot hope to stand up against the gas attacks of England or any other country, or bombardments from the coast. Our best method is to train a volunteer force, an unpaid force. Undoubtedly it will cost something, but not as much as the volunteer reserve that is proposed. We had the men before when we wanted them, and if the country wants men again we can get them without having to keep them in a sort of humour by giving them a sum of £177,388 per annum.

Reference was made to army transport. I had a very short experience of the same army. I remember, when I was chief supplies officer, telling the Quartermaster-General that Napoleon once said: "An army marches on its stomach." I said that if these people continue to get what they are getting, this army is going to crawl on its stomach. I must say, without any disparagement to the men there, that evidently the horses over at Nice must have been crawling on their stomachs. Nevertheless, we hear a lot here about our reputation on the Continent.

We would like a definite declaration from the Minister as to Army policy. There are a couple of sayings that we could quote relative to their policy. For instance, we were led to believe by the Minister for Finance that in the event of a war in which England would be engaged the Free State Army would also be engaged in that war. Is that true? An ostrich, in order to escape seeing or hearing certain things, is said to hide its head in the sand. I believe that is a fallacy as regards the ostrich, and I do not believe the bird does it. There have been certain signs and portents within the last few years which would lead us to believe that all is not well between Continental and other Powers, such as America. The Minister will probably tell me I am romancing. If I were to produce English papers and also American papers, they would give a certain amount of proof of what I say. The Minister might not know that. The American papers are rigidly excluded; at least those that give any sort of proof of these matters are excluded. Several papers of that sort were sent to me, but they never arrived. Of course other papers came. In the English papers not so long ago there were certain denunciations of the United States in connection with the rumrunning schooner "I'm Alone." The most remarkable thing I know is that the "I'm Alone" was a rum-running common or garden schooner, but her crew embraced three of the principal countries of the alliance—England, France and Canada. Those countries would be intimately concerned with any quarrel against America. A rather remarkable thing was that the crew did not contain a Japanese. Probably if it did the whole thing would have been exploded, because the immigration laws in the United States will not permit Japanese to enter. Then there is a naval base being erected at Singapore——

Oh, now! I thought that the Japanese was the end of it, but Singapore!

I am only proving that those things may happen.

The expense of building a naval base at Singapore is not in this Vote.

All these things are happening and we want to know what position this country will occupy. If we cannot disclose these things here they will be talked about elsewhere, because the people in the country know very well of the matters I was going to talk about. If the Minister does not give a direct answer, if he tries to talk flippantly, we will know how to deal with him. We want to know, if this country is going to be mixed up in a quarrel between England and the United States, what part is the Army of the Free State going to play? Are they going to be neutral, or are they going to allow this country to be the jumping-off ground for either America or England? It does not matter a straw to me, but I would not like this country to be made a jumping-off ground for any other country. Are we going to allow Ireland to be made a shambles, and are we going to allow the people's money to be devoted to that purpose? The Minister must answer that. If he does not give a direct answer, if he remains silent, then he will plunge this country into a dirty quarrel possibly between America and England, or England and some other country.

Why not vote against it?

It does not matter about the voting, because we know we will be beaten anyhow. Are the members of the Dáil going to stand for that? There are numbers of people who think we are talking here merely for the sake of talking. That is not so. Many times here we would not talk at all if we set out to be merely obstructionists. But we put up certain constructive points which were utilised afterwards by the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. We put them forward, not from the point of view of mere political tactics, but because they were sincere. The very fact that the Minister has succeeded on two separate occasions in reducing his Vote, even by a very little, has proved that our policy was absolutely right from the beginning.

I believe with other Deputies that the best national insurance that this country can have is in a fairly efficient Army and in a fairly efficient police force. One would think from the speeches of some Deputies that there was an anxiety on the part of the ordinary people of this country to go to war with somebody else. I meet many people in many parts of this country, and I have never met one who expressed a desire or a wish that we should go to war with any country. I would be very slow indeed to say or do anything that would interfere with the efficiency of either the Army or the police force. There are, of course, a few things to which I would like to direct the attention of this House and of the Minister. That is in connection with the material position of the soldier while serving and the material position of the soldier when he has finished service in the Army.

I would much prefer that instead of discussing a war of aggression or a war of defence that we would be discussing the best manner in which we could induce our people, the people of the Saorstát, to so conduct themselves that we would be able to reduce our Army and our police force. But so far as I can see, there are no indications whatsoever that we can reduce the police force by one man, or that we can reduce the Army by one man, so long as we have in this country a stable Government threatened, and so long as we have a second mythical Army or a second mythical Government proclaimed. So long as you have these things you will have the necessity for a well-trained, efficient Army, and the necessity for a well-trained and efficient police force. Deputy Lemass I think it was who asked the question why it was that the Minister was providing in this Vote for increased expenditure in the way of ammunition and war-like stores. I presume that the Minister does not anticipate coming on any more dumps this year than last year, and he does not expect much help in that direction. Possibly if he were helped in that direction, and if some of those dumps turned up, he might not expend so much money on war-like stores and munitions.

Reference has been made by Deputy Carney to what might occur to us in the event of a war between America and England, for instance. I am not a military expert, but my own belief is, and the belief is commonly shared, that if we had a great war in the morning we would be treated just as Belgium was in the big war. Anything in the nature of the Army that we would have would certainly put up a fight. That Army might delay matters for the enemy or the invader, but beyond that it would do very little indeed. We are not in a position to place a very large or efficient army in the field. We certainly could do something to delay any power who might attempt to land her forces in this country, but beyond delaying them we would be able to do nothing effective. In face of the fact that we are an island and can be bombarded by battleships from any part of the coast, I do not see what chance we would have of surviving this bombardment. It may be rather a hopeless position and perhaps a confession that should not be made, but the fact is that the talk here about wars of aggression and what we could do in a great war is a thing that I cannot join in, and, in fact, personally, I must say that it leaves me quite cold.

Coming down to the practical side of things in relation to the position of soldiers when they leave the National Army, I want to recall that on a previous occasion when discussing this Vote I suggested to the Minister that he should provide by way of deferred pay so as to ensure to the soldiers on leaving the Army that they would be self-supporting or that they would have sufficient to live upon for six or eight months. It is humiliating to think that a soldier who leaves the Army and goes on to the reserve with a paltry ninepence per day is expected to live on that. Not alone that, but the more serious part of it is this: that he becomes a competitor in the already overcrowded labour market. As a general rule he has no trade, craft or calling. He is generally drawn from the ranks of unskilled labour. I do not use that word in any belittling way. But he is in most cases drawn from that class, and when he is not drawn from that class he is drawn from a class that follows a blind alley occupation. In the drafting of men of that kind into the Army the Executive Government surely have some responsibility. It is, in my view, a crime to be putting men out of the Army without insuring at least that they would have something to live on or in the alternative that they would have some employment to take up. The system of deferred pay is in operation in other armies, and I do not see why it should not operate here.

There are a few other matters affecting the welfare of the soldier. These I think the Minister also should consider. There is the case of the unfortunate soldier who may happen to get married while in the service. His case is infinitely worse than the case of the single man when his time is expired and when he has to go into the reserve. We do find in military centres where young soldiers have got married that when they leave the Army and go into the reserve they become a burden on the rates. That is a state of affairs that should not continue.

A matter to which I would like to direct the attention of the Minister is the position of the relatives of a soldier who while in the Army has contracted a disease such as tuberculosis or some malignant complaint. I understand there is no provision made for the burial of an ex-soldier who contracts a disease while in the Army. You will have cases all over the Saorstát where these men have been buried in a pauper's grave. Some arrangement has to be made for that. I want particularly to emphasise that matter, and I hope the Minister will give it attention.

The first matter to which I referred is really the most important.

Something should be done by way of deferred pay to make provision for these men. That is not going to take anything out of the Exchequer, and in my opinion it ought not to merit any opposition from the Minister. The Minister may say that this is not in the terms of the enlistment. I agree, but the terms of enlistment could be so altered as to provide that after a man has served with the colours he should not be allowed to starve in the street. That is what is occurring in many cases at present. I am a little more concerned with the material side of the soldier's life than I am about the possibilities of war with America, or France, or England. I much prefer to live in terms of amity and peace with these great powers, and I am not going to do anything to antagonise in any way these great powers. I do not want to fight them, and neither do any of the people in this country.

I shall try to confine myself to the Estimate, and I hope that what I say will not be taken as disagreeing with suggestions put forward by Deputies on this side. The items in the Estimate as framed prove to me that while we may ask the Government to define Army policy, the fact is that they really have no policy to define. The only way they can ignore the matter of definitely stating a policy is by continually gibing at suggestions put forward by Deputies on these benches. I notice that the Minister in introducing this Estimate had very little to say in spite of the fact that there are several new items in it. It is usual, I think—at all events it ought to be—that a Minister, in introducing an estimate which has an amount of money recorded for a new service or a new departure, should give some explanation as to what his policy is going to be in connection with that new departure. The House, at least, deserves that. Going through the Estimate, according to the various sub-heads, I would like if the Minister would tell us the total cost to the State of the competitions at various horse shows attended by officers in the Army. In sub-head A 3 there is a sum of £2,550, a new sub-head, and I would like the Minister to tell us the total cost to the State for the upkeep of animals, their fodder and feeding; the number of N.C.O's and men who are looking after them, and the cost of the buildings in which they are housed. The Minister ought also to be in a position to tell us how many animals are kept by the State and how many are privately-owned but fed and kept by the State. Sub-head G refers to lodging and subsistence allowances. It is strange that, while the Army has been so considerably reduced, and all through the Estimates there is a corresponding reduction, even when compared with the Estimates of 1926-7, such an item as this has gone up. I cannot understand, where the Army is less in numbers and where fewer men will be living out, why this item should go up. I hope that the Minister will give some explanation of that. At any rate, there must be something wrong with the framing of the Estimate when this particular item should have gone up to that extent.

I might call attention to the fact that we have not a quorum.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted, and 20 Deputies being present——

I hope that all I have to say will be strictly in order and thus spare the House the pain of repetition. The point in regard to sub-head H has to some extent been answered by Deputy Doctor O'Higgins inasmuch as he explained that sub-heads H and J are being increased owing to the fact that the Government want to have troops more readily moved than heretofore and, possibly, they will be practising the mobility of troops by moving them round a good deal. I do not know if that is so, but I would like to know the reason for the increase in the sub-head. In regard to the token Vote of £10 (O.I.), this is also a new departure and although a token Vote of £10 only permits the expenditure of money to that extent under this Estimate it is nevertheless the thin end of the wedge for new expenditure. I would like if the Minister would tell us—that is, if it is not a secret—the terms of the contract with the Aero Club and why he decided to give them this support. Perhaps he could tell us the total cost to his Department of the Air Force, and when I say Air Force I do not mean the actual number of officers and men and their cost, but the total expenditure under everything that could be called Air service.

In sub-head S—Barrack Maintenance and Minor Works—we have a new departure. We have £6,000 proposed to be spent for night-lighting at Baldonnel. I consider that to be a purely air matter and should be taken into consideration in conjunction with O, which refers to the Aviation section, amounting to £33,000. I would like the Minister to tell us the total cost of everything appertaining to aviation and also the number of pilots which his Department has qualified in any particular year, or hopes to qualify this year under this Estimate. If the Minister felt that he was going to hamper the possibilities of this State in future in regard to air matters, I could understand provision being made in the Estimates, but at the same time, if he were faced with the necessity of reduction in this particular branch of the Army as well as in other branches, I could understand him negotiating with a civilian club and pointing out that the cost to the State of qualifying pilots was very high, that the number of qualified pilots would be seriously reduced under the Estimate, and that he was going to get, as a result of this fraternal affection, some agreement or understanding whereby he could get pilots who would be used in an emergency or in time of war by the State. If this Club is going to do anything other than that pointed out by Deputy Lemass and is going to allow itself to be used for political purposes to support one Party against another, then this £10 will have to come out of the Estimate if it is referred back.

Would the Deputy say when the Club took part in politics?

Will the Deputy say whose was the aeroplane which dropped pamphlets during the North City election?

It was a private plane. It had nothing to do with the Club. The other plane referred to by Deputy Lemass is also a private plane registered in the State. It so happens that the owners of the planes are members of the Club, but that has nothing whatever to do with the Club.

I am glad to know that Deputy Esmonde feels the seriousness of the Club demanding Government support when it interferes in politics on any side. I can quite understand that the planes do not belong to the Club, because the Club has not got a plane.

It has a plane loaned to it by certain individuals, but it has not a plane at the moment. The members of that Club—at least one in particular—took up a certain attitude to which I, as a member of this House, would object. If that is going to be the basis of the arrangement, this £10 will have to be taken out if we succeed in having the Estimate referred back.

The Deputy says "If that is going to be the basis." What basis does he mean?

I mean if there is any basis of understanding between the Ministry and the Club, perhaps the Minister would state what it is. Why should this token Vote be given? The only indication which I have received of any contract existing is as I have stated, and as stated by Deputy Lemass, and if these are the only reasons why that particular Club——

If what are the only reasons?

Perhaps the Minister will explain to the House whether he has any arrangement or understanding with this Club as to what the future relations are going to be between it and the State, relations which would entitle the Club to get a Government grant under the Army Vote.

Political affiliations.

Let the Deputy explain himself. What are the understandings that he says exist between the Club and the Government? What is it he objects to?

I am asking the Minister to justify the introduction of this new sub-head in this Vote, by stating what is behind it, what he expects to get for the State?

That is not what the Deputy said.

I am qualifying what I am asking by stating that the only knowledge and the only instances I know of are those which I have stated.

What are they?

The support which the Government got from that Club in the North City by-election.

What support?

Does Deputy Esmonde dispute the fact that it was through that Club these particular leaflets were dropped during the North City election?

I do absolutely.

I am glad it is definitely denied. I am glad that the Club had nothing to do with it except through one of their directors. I accept that statement from Deputy Esmonde. It was generally rumoured that this Club was responsible, and I am glad to hear that it is not a fact. We are having another Vote, a token Vote for aviation for a concern, the directors of which are practically the same as in the other instance. We will probably deal with that Vote when it comes up for discussion. I hope the Minister will give us some information as to what the ultimate result is going to be for the State in return for this help that the Government is going to give to this particular concern. I maintain that no department of State has any right to subsidise any club, or any concern, to give them a grant in any shape or form, unless the Minister is in a position to state—I do not ask him to guarantee that he will get anything—that he hopes to get a certain return as a result of the arrangements entered into. If the Minister is able to state that this Club will eventually get a bigger subsidy and will do certain things which the State is now doing—if, for instance, he states that this Club will train pilots at so much per head and save the State the cost of training pilots by that arrangement, and that this particular expenditure is going to be reduced considerably—I would say that this is a reasonable arrangement, but I say that we must have some explanation and some reason given.

Deputy Lemass dealt with warlike stores and I do not want to waste any further time on that matter. I suppose that under the new system of reserves a lot more ammunition will be used for practice and I also presume that there will be some idea generally of reorganisation. I would like to hear from the Minister some expression as to his idea of policy. He is going to reorganise the Army. He is introducing new methods and new implements. I would like if he would give us a rough idea of what his methods of future defence are so as to warrant the House passing these new items of expenditure for warlike stores. In connection with sub-head G I would like again to refer to two items. First of all there is the item of subsistence allowances for officers and men on special duties amounting to £14,409. Will the Minister tell us what this new departure is and why that item happens to be brought in? There is then the subsistence allowance for officers and men travelling on duty. I understand that usually when members of the headquarters staff of an Army visit a district on inspection work, unless in very special circumstances the officers from the headquarters staff stay in the same barracks as those occupied by the unit which they are inspecting. I do not believe that this House would for a moment allow such a thing as this, for instance, to happen: the headquarters staff sends out officers to inspect the Custume Barracks at Athlone. The Custume Barracks afford suitable accommodation for the visiting inspection units and to permit an inspection unit to stay in the local hotel at the State expense, is not a thing that should be countenanced. It is generally expected that officers engaged on inspection work should stay in the barracks of the unit which they are inspecting. The usual phrase is that what is good enough for the officers in the barracks under inspection should be good enough for the officers from headquarters. I would like if the Minister would explain if this particular item covers expenditure incurred by officers visiting local units, for whom suitable accommodation could be provided in the local barracks, and so avoid having this additional expense put on the State as a result of staying in hotels.

I would like the Minister to refer to sub-head M also. In spite of the considerable reduction of the number of men in the Army this particular sub-head has not been reduced in the same respect. Perhaps the explanation that would be given is that a certain amount of the clothing and equipment under this sub-head would be used for the reserve forces. If that is the case I think it is wrong under that and should be transferred to the new sub-head under the reserve forces branch. The standing army on this basis must be kept separate from the reserve in order to be able to see what the reserve and the standing army are costing. The Minister, on the last occasion he was speaking, mentioned the fact that he had a baby tank on which he was conducting certain experiments. Perhaps on this occasion he will be able to tell us the results of these experiments and whether the baby tank family has grown, or if he intends to leave the single baby tank on its own and conclude his experiments. Perhaps he would tell us the cost of the experiments. I particularly emphasise again that where, as in the case of this Estimate to-day, new expenditure, new sub-heads are undertaken, this House is entitled, at least, to some explanation justifying on the one hand the new sub-head, as in the case of 01, and on the other hand justifying subsistence allowances under the other sub-heads I mentioned. Perhaps also the Minister will explain why those subsistence allowances are greater now with a smaller Army than in 1926-27, when the Army was much greater than it is to-day.

I shall take this opportunity of asking the Minister what his intentions are with regard to the Mullingar military barrack, which is at present derelict. It is one of the most up-to-date barracks in Ireland. It has a separate church and a fully-equipped hospital, a separate sewerage system and gymnasium, and in every respect it is a fully-equipped barracks. I think a better description of it would be that it is a miniature town, because I have very little doubt that the erection of this barracks cost sums running into a million pounds. It is a pity something could not be done, because those buildings are deteriorating. The Minister has said that it is his intention to send to Mullingar a number of the Army reserve who are going to be trained. What I would say to him now is that unless he is going to do that at once, and send a substantial number, I would ask him to hand over the barracks to either the County Council or the Town Commissioners, because if he did that I feel sure we would be able to attract some manufacturing company to start some industry there now that the Shannon scheme is going to materialise. It is a pity to see those magnificent buildings, some of the best in Ireland, going to ruin day by day. I hope something will be done.

I would like to thank the Minister for having handed over 36 houses there which have been repaired. Thirty-six families who were living in rooms in Mullingar are now living in comfort in them and are paying a fair rent for those houses. It is a pity to leave the barrack as it is; in conclusion I would like to ask the Minister either to send a large number of soldiers there or hand it over to us and we will make good use of it.

I desire to support the remarks which Deputy Briscoe made. It seems to me that the Minister has treated his responsibility very lightly in this matter by the manner in which he introduced this Vote. I think the House should insist that when a responsible Minister introduces new sub-heads or increases under different headings in his Estimate he should at least afford us an explanation. If that is not done it places members of the Dáil in a position that after an hour's discussion they do not know where they are or what is the reason of those changes, and the Minister is in the happy position that he can get up and give whatever answer he wishes. For all practical purposes, therefore, a debate of this character may be absolutely worthless. If the Minister had profited by the debate of last year and had gone to the trouble of making that statement on the present occasion he would not have given Deputies an opportunity of finding fault where fault perhaps could not really be found. I submit, in justice to Deputies and in order to prevent those attacks on the Army we hear so much about, that we ought to have had a full statement. The Minister is not satisfied to give us a statement as to the proposed changes in the Estimate and the additional sums required. Although Deputy Briscoe asked him a question and although we are in Committee he did not see fit to answer that question.

The Press has been full for some time past of statements with regard to the proposed subsidy for the Irish aerodrome, and I think it really too much of a good thing that the Minister should allow the opportunity to pass without giving us some further information. I do not know whether the Minister seriously pretended to the House that he did not understand what Deputy Briscoe was driving at. We have sub-head O 1, Assistance to Civil Aviation, the Irish Aero Club, a sum of £10. Apparently a new sub-head is being created, and next year, presumably, there will be a definite Vote under that heading for the purpose of subsidising this club. If the newspapers are good enough to get information on this subject I submit that members of the Dáil should get it. However, that sub-head by itself might merely mean that the Ministry had certain plans in their heads which they could not formulate at present or give any very definite indications of, but that having put in the Token Vote this year they would be in a position to make a fuller statement of what they really mean next year. Under sub-head O itself we find that the aviation estimate has increased from £20,937 in 1928-29 to £33,273 in 1929-30, that is to say, an additional expenditure of some £12,400 is being made this year on the aviation section, and there is no explanation from the Minister as to how and why that is. In connection with sub-head S, as Deputy Briscoe has already pointed out, we have an entirely new item in the matter of the night lighting of Baldonnel aerodrome of £6,000. I do not know what other details there may be elsewhere in the Estimate that indicate that this new service is being developed, but here, at any rate, we have two definite items, one an increase of £12,000 and another an entirely new item of £6,000, £18,000 in all. Several important principles that naturally come up under that question would have to be discussed here, and now would be the opportunity to discuss them, that is to say, the whole question of the potentialities of civil aviation in this country and its relation to the other forms of transport, whether it could be made a commercially paying proposition or not, and to what extent the State ought to subsidise it.

I submit that the Minister is not treating the House fairly in not giving it information on that matter. It might seem that Deputies were somewhat weary of Deputy Briscoe's analysis of the different sub-heads of the Army Estimate, but when we remember that we have to judge these Estimates by the Appropriation Accounts for 1927-28, which are the last accounts we have available, showing how this money has been spent, and when we realise that the Estimate has been, above all other Government services, particularly at fault in its accountancy and its relations with the Department of Finance, and in connection with the getting of sanction from the Department of Finance in certain matters, we can understand that if a Deputy does not get the information from the Minister in the beginning of the discussion he must get up and whatever information he may have acquired himself he must utilise during the discussion to the best of his ability.

I do not wish to go through those remarks of the Auditor-General in the Appropriation Accounts of 1927-28, but I desire to call the attention of the House to the fact that irregularities existed at that period. When the report of the Committee of Public Accounts will come before the House it will be old in relation to the new system that we will have before us next year Furthermore, it will be out of date in regard to the Appropriation Accounts that we have before us here to-day, with the result that whenever the Army Estimate comes before us we are in the position that we are always behindhand with the Appropriation Accounts which contain certain criticisms, but we are still more behindhand—three years, I think— in the matter of the report of the Committee of Public Accounts. I, therefore, think it right that I should call attention to some of these irregularities and ask the Minister whether they have been rectified and whether he can assure us that the new change in the administration of the Accountancy Department of the Army will mean that these matters will be regularised, and that we will not have the position in the Appropriation Accounts year after year that the Auditor-General will take up four or five pages or more telling us about the irregularities or inconsistencies, as he regards them, in any cases that he has come across. There is, for example, the case of the military educational courses which cost £5,600. I do not know whether we got value for the money in that case or not. I have heard Deputies here say that it would be very advisable to start a Military College, but I think when the Minister comes along this year and looks for still further money in connection with the educational courses abroad for officers of the Army, he ought to tell us whether the effect of the education that has already been given is to place the Army on an American basis or whether, as I understand, it is now the position that it is lapsing back again to the old foundation of working upon British regulations.

As regards sanatorium treatment, the Auditor-General calls attention to the fact that there is not a proper procedure in regard to that matter. We have no objection whatever to officers or soldiers who contract disease during the course of their duty getting the best possible medical treatment, but I think the House will agree with me that no opportunity should be given to the Auditor-General to criticise the procedure in this matter. This is a thing, like other things, that has been going on for years.

Another matter that we come across constantly is the purchase of equipment which seems to have been unnecessary or which has remained unissued. We have an example this year in the matter of flying coats and helmets and 500 draught lamps at a cost of £566, which have been still unissued. The Auditor-General has asked for information——

On a point of order, is it in order to discuss these matters on the Vote? I am merely asking it for information.

I do not know exactly what the Deputy is coming to.

I am dealing with the Appropriation Account.

I do not know whether the Appropriation Accounts for 1927-28 are relevant to this Estimate. I think the particular point of the educational courses abroad was. I do not know if the other point is.

The other point is in connection with the practice that exists of ordering stores that seem to be unnecessary. It is not alone stores that seem to be unnecessary, but there is not a proper account kept of these stores. The Auditor-General reports this year that there appears to be no periodical reconciliation of stocks. It is a very serious matter, if we are voting all this money every year for stocks of various kinds and stores, that the Auditor-General could at that hour of the day, the 21st February, 1929, tell us that there is no proper system for checking these stocks.

Another matter that I wish to call attention to is the question of officers not living in quarters. Deputy Briscoe has referred to it. In my opinion, if there are suitable quarters available in barracks, and an officer chooses, for some reason, or because some department or some official is kind enough to give him a residence, to live outside, I think that officer ought to be treated as an ordinary tenant, and that we should not have the position that certain officers have to remain in barracks and exist on the ordinary allowances, whether they be sufficient or otherwise, and that some officers have certain privileges; they do not live in barracks at all. They have special lodges and special furniture placed at their disposal. I do not think that you will have good feeling in the Army if you have a situation that certain officers are going to be treated as pets in that matter and in the matter of keeping their horses at the public expense. As Deputy Briscoe has indicated, under the lodging and subsistence allowances, which ought naturally to have decreased now that the Army is practically at its minimum figure, we have actually an increase of £2,500, and I submit if the Army is at its minimum figure, or if it is going to be very near it during the coming year, that is certainly an extraordinary state of affairs.

We should also have an explanation as to why we have such extraordinarily increased charges in respect of transport. The transport of troops costs £2,800 more than last year. That may be accounted for, to some extent, by the additional charges in respect of evacuation and the movements consequent on demobilisation, but that is not the only additional charge in respect of transport, because mechanical transport costs £3,000 more.

The Minister should explain to us how it is that while the Army is being steadily driven down to 6,000, and ultimately 5,000 men, we are not having compensating changes in regard to overhead expenditure. It seems to me that you are reaching a point now when you are going to have your standard Army, and what you ought to look for in that particular is to reduce your overhead expenses as far as possible. There is no use in having the position that while the actual numerical strength is decreasing at a certain rate overhead expenses are following very slowly behind. This year, although the strength in the Estimates is stated to be something over 6,000, while last year it was 9,500—that is a reduction of roughly 40 per cent. in the strength of the Army—there is no such corresponding reduction in the Vote as a whole. If this Vote, which last year accounted for £1,800,000 was to be reduced in the same proportion as the numerical strength of the Army has been reduced since last year, it ought not to stand at £1,440,000, but at something like £1,100,000, perhaps a little more or less. In that connection one of the most serious instances of the maintenance of high overhead expenses is the cost of the office of the Minister. It is a matter of general comment through the country that while economies are being effected in other Departments at the expense of the men, as, for example, in the Civic Guards, here in the Army, which is being reduced at such a rate, and which most of us believe could come down to £1,000,000, you have still a very insignificant decrease in the number of officials administering the Army. There are 201 officials this year. If the cost of the office were reduced in the same proportion as the strength of the Army, it would be reduced by a much greater sum than it is. It is reduced by £7,700, but if it were reduced in the same proportion as the strength of the Army, as shown for the last twelve months, it would be reduced by about £15,000.

Another matter that we have no definite information upon, and that we have simply to use whatever information we may have come upon in discussing it, is the Army reserve. The expenditure on the reserve this year is given as £107,000. Last year it was only £32,000—an increase of £75,000. Whether the whole £32,000 was spent last year I do not know. I know that in the preceding years it had been the habit to put the Army reserve in the Estimates, to place a certain amount opposite it, but at the end of the year the amount was unexpended. There was very good reason for that—that the plans for setting up the reserve had not been completed. This year I submit that the Minister, in looking for an increase in respect of the reserve of £75,000, ought to have stated what exactly the position was.

As every Deputy who spoke seemed to have had a grievance, I did not intervene to reply. With regard to the new sub-head 0 1 that is explained quite simply. The £10 is a token Vote in relation to certain services and conveniences that are allowed to the Aviation Club. That Club, I understand, was founded for the purpose of fostering civil aviation in this country. I understand from the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is the Minister directly interested, that the work done is such that he would like it to be encouraged. The only place in which there are proper facilities for aeroplanes in this country, or near Dublin at any rate, is Baldonnel. Therefore, the assistance that we give is to allow them the use of a hangar for their aeroplanes and certain accommodation there. We cannot give such accommodation to people outside Government employment, except it is accounted for in our Estimates. As we allow them certain facilities, amenities and conveniences at Baldonnel, which do not represent, strictly speaking, any outlay on our part, but as they get the value of certain outlay on our part in the maintenance of the place, we put down a token Vote. That is the sole extent of it. As to what may be done in the way of subsidising civil aviation in the future, that is not a matter affecting my Department, but the Department of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. This is put down here simply because we are allowing them certain facilities at Baldonnel.

Could the Minister state more exactly what facilities are given? This debate would be much more useful if we could ask a question of that kind and get an answer more or less immediately. That answer may be entirely satisfactory and may cut out a whole lot of debate, or it may be of such a nature as to make the debate which would follow that answer useful, instead of merely fishing for information. I suggest in all sincerity that the Minister might very often help in getting through an Estimate if, when a difficulty was raised, he gave a definite answer at once.

We allow them the free use of grounds and hangars, repairs at cost, plus 7½ per cent. for overhead charges, and the free use of an office in the hangar. For these services we put down a token Vote of £10. As regards answering points like that being a convenience to Deputies, certainly it would facilitate me to get rid of a whole lot of minor points.

The Minister has given an estimate of £10 as a token Vote. What is the estimate really?

I do not think we can conduct this debate by way of question and answer across the House. We should conduct the debate in the ordinary way.

That is what I am objecting to.

That is the usual practice and procedure.

I am suggesting that it is a bad practice and procedure, and that it is wasting the time of the House and the Minister, and preventing us from getting on with the job.

As far as my calculations go, I estimate that the service given as indicated by this Vote of £10 will cost nothing. A man gives half an hour of his time to the service—you know how it works out in any big establishment—you cannot map out five minutes here and five minutes there and say that is worth so much. But the whole assistance that will go to those people will undoubtedly be worth more than £10, and the actual extra cost to us I calculate is nil.

It is included in the £10?

The extra actual cost to us will be nil. I may be wrong, but that is what I think.

You may be wrong. I am suggesting that you may be a hundred per cent. wrong or ten thousand per cent. wrong, and anything that you have just said has shown that the figure was founded upon nothing but pure guessing. That is all I am suggesting. And the fact that such a query was raised by Deputy Derrig in relation to previous irregularities——

The Deputy might be right when he says I might be ten thousand per cent. wrong. We have more ground than is used at any one moment We have hangar accommodation there for more planes than we want. Therefore I do not calculate that it will really cost us anything, with repairs at cost, plus 7½ per cent. overhead charges. Even if men possibly having a few spare moments threw them in, that would be a gain. There is free use of an office in a hangar, not otherwise used. Of course there are periodical improvements. The place would require to be repaired and this office would be repaired as well as the rest. Even if these people were not there it would be repaired all the same. The Deputy can assess a certain amount of cost for general maintenance of the hangar, and we really would have to maintain it even if these few planes were not here.

Are we to assume that the labour given to the Irish Aero Club voluntarily or charged for would be included in the £10? What is the total amount of assistance that is given at Baldonnel to the Aero Club? What I am driving at is: surely the garrison assist the club in other matters besides the one the Minister mentioned. Surely they help to get off the planes and so on. Is there not a certain amount of manual labour connected with the landing and the getting away of the planes in which the garrison assist?

The officials at Baldonnel never assist. There is no compulsory labour on the part of any soldier at Baldonnel to assist anybody unless he wishes to take part.

Are any payments made by members of the Club to army ranks in Baldonnel? Are any payments made to certain soldiers by members of this club in Baldonnel?

I presume not.

Perhaps the Deputy will address the Chair.

This brings us back to the whole question as to why this aerodrome is there, what is it there for, what it accommodates and what it does. What is the £6,000 for extra lighting charged this year?

That is for Customs purposes.

£6,000 for Customs purposes. How much do we expect out of the Customs by aeroplanes?

I would like to know if I am to answer each question in this way?

I think the Minister should not interrupt the Deputy. Let Deputy Flinn make his speech.

I do not think the Minister is interrupting me at all.

It is not a matter of what the Deputy thinks. It is a matter of what the Chair thinks.

The Minister is, for once in his life, serving the House in trying to give a Deputy information. I want to know what this £6,000 is for, and to have that afterwards definitely correlated against some revenue that is coming from it. The Minister will recognise that this is the first intimation to the ordinary member of this House that £6,000 for lighting is charged for Customs purposes. Certainly if in the Army Estimates £6,000 is to be put down for that entirely extraneous purpose of Customs we ought not to have it dragged out merely by cross-examination. It is perfectly new to me.

It is not a separate sub-head. It is down in our barrack maintenance and minor works. Baldonnel is a recognised aviation station. As such it has to fall in. There may be 10,000 planes there next year, or there may not be any. It is an internationally recognised aviation station, and has to have accommodation ready at night. Its value is not solely on that ground. Men must be trained for night flying, and if it is an internationally recognised aviation station it must fulfil the required conditions.

We have an internationally recognised aviation station, but for the spending of £6,000 we must get some definite revenue, and we must get that co-ordinated and put up against some value we are receiving. Why should we not have ten recognised aviation stations and spend £6,000 a year on each for maintenance? I want to know what the aviation branch of this Army is doing for the country? How many aeroplanes have we? The Minister would not like to tell us that, or to tell us what they are doing. With the exception of carrying the President to an election meeting, and with the exception of going out during the Cleggan disaster, a very brave and a very meritorious effort to attempt to find people lost, and as a jumping-off ground——

On a matter of information, is it not a fact that the 'plane that carried the President was private property?

You are wrong. I shall bet you £100 on it. Will you take it?

Perhaps the Deputy would address the Chair.

Then through you, sir, I will offer to bet the Deputy £100. The publicly known work of the aviation branch up to the present is restricted to three or, according to Deputy Byrne, to two efforts of that kind. What else have they done? What is to be put upon the other side of the expenditure made upon that branch except to ask for trouble; except to say that this country, which cannot put into the field an Army of more than six thousand men, is deliberately saying to every air fleet in the world: "We are capable of military attack and defence in the air and we are prepared to take the consequences." What else have we to show for it? If ever there was folly, if ever there was criminal folly, committed by a fool in relation to a weakly circumstanced country, such as this, which was greater than for us to start a sort of anaemic toy air service in the name of military service and ask for all the risks of an effective air service by so doing, I would like to know what it was. If there is any other folly as great as that I am sure it would have to be matched out of the military record of the Minister for Defence.

It is time that this House asked itself whether it is getting one single penny of value, or ever has got one single penny of value from that air service. I can understand that air service being now transferred into a civil service; I can understand it never having existed, but I cannot understand the pretence that it ever was to this country anything but a military danger. As at present constituted and run, it can never be of any value in war or peace to a country circumstanced as ours. It is time the Minister gave up fooling or pretending that he has got an Army or has made it an Army.

The Minister's memory has been recalled to-night to a disgraceful scene in this House when, after he had read a carefully-prepared manuscript in relation to the Army, and when he had gone through all the flapdoodle of pretending that he had organised the service and divided into units an organised military force, a colleague of his in the Cabinet, a Minister of some importance, came into this House and kicked him into the corner, laughed at him and his Army and told us that it was not worth a damn. The Minister remembers it. He remembers the Minister for Agriculture telling this House— because he ignored the Minister—that everything said by the Minister for Defence was pure flapdoodle, that the Army was not an army. One or the other of the Ministers was deliberately lying or ignorantly stating what was untrue. Either the Minister for Defence was right and was dealing with an army, or the Minister for Agriculture had some justification for his statement; but if the Minister for Defence was right, then he should not be upon that bench now, having heard the Army actually called useless rubbish. If the Minister for Defence were sincere in defending this as an army, he should not be in the same Cabinet with the man who said it was not an army, that the one and a half millions spent upon it as an army was a fraud and a farce and that, in fact, our Army was only an adjunct to the C.I.D.

The Minister for Agriculture may be right in saying that this is an Army of no military value, that it could not last a minute in the actual test of military conditions, that it is an armed C.I.D., and that it is a gunman's gang akin to what the Chicago police keep in reserve and put out when the ordinary police are gone. If the Minister for Agriculture is right in saying that, then he ought not to be in the same Cabinet with the man who deliberately attempted to fool this House into the idea that we were spending one-and-a-half millions on an Army. If either of these men was right, and if this House had any respect for itself, the Cabinet that contained them should not be here or in any other Parliament. Now, it was lying——

Mr. Byrne

Is that a Parliamentary expression?

Does it really matter very much?

I think that Deputy Flinn all through his speech could be a little more moderate in his expressions. He has accused either the Minister for Defence or the Minister for Agriculture of deliberately lying and of deliberately deceiving this House. These are expressions that should not be used.

Or, in ignorance, saying what he did not know to be true —that is what I said.

The Deputy said that either the Minister for Defence or the Minister for Agriculture was deliberately lying ——

Or——

The Deputy said deliberately lying.

Or——

I am not dealing with the Deputy's alternatives, but with what he actually said, and his expressions ought not to be used.

Either the Minister for Agriculture was culpably and privatively ignorant of what the Army existed for, or the Minister for Defence was culpably and privatively ignorant of what the Army existed for. The Minister for Agriculture, in effect, said that the Minister for Defence was privatively ignorant of what the Army was for, and the Minister for Defence, before the Minister for Agriculture spoke, said, in effect, that what the Minister for Agriculture said was the truth was not the truth and that he had an Army.

The Deputy ought to get away from that and get away from it at once.

Mr. Byrne

Hear, hear!

That is the issue that the country will ask to have decided. What is the Army for? Is it a military police force or is it an adjunct? We would like the Minister to tell us what is going to be done with the Army. Frankly, I do not know. I incline to the belief that when the Minister for Agriculture laughed to scorn the definition by the Minister for Defence of the functions of the Army, that the Minister for Agriculture was telling the truth, that it was not an army, and that reasonable men on that Bench knew it was not an army which was masquerading under the title. Now, if it is not an army, are we prepared to pay £1,500,000 for an armed adjunct to the Civic Guard and the C.I.D.? If we do want an armed adjunct to the C.I.D. and the Civic Guard, is this the best armed adjunct? Is that a proper way in which to organise it? Is this a proper price to pay for it? Here is one Minister who said it was not an army. And the other Minister has now gone out and left it undefended as far as he is concerned—

Mr. Byrne

He is not done yet, go ahead.

I do not know whether we are in order in proceeding with the discussion of the Army Estimates without any representative of the Minister present?

The Deputy is quite in order.

To me this is a problem and it is not a problem which is being made any more easy of solution when that bold, unbiddable child, the Minister for Agriculture. contradicts in his own Department the responsible Minister's definition as to the functions of that Army. My difficulty, and I think there is a real difficulty, is that there is no logical basis upon which you can erect such an Army. The Ministers know it, and that is why they are playing about between one definition and another. They know they cannot stand on either of these definitions. They have got to play about between them.

What logical basis can you have in a divided Ireland for an army in the South? The suggestion is that this is a sovereign State. There is no man more anxious to exaggerate the status of this State in relation to the authority from which it drew its existence than I. The more you can exaggerate, the higher you can put the status of the Free State as against the English Parliament the better. But if you do accept it as a fact that this State could, from that origin, attain sovereignty, you must accept it as a fact that another State inside this country can obtain sovereignty in exactly the same way. One of the functions of a sovereign State, unfortunately, is to have an army. Exactly upon the same logical basis you can build up in this country another sovereign State with another army—two sovereign States within these boundaries, two States that have the right and the power to instruct their armies to kill the army of the other portion of Ireland. There is no logical basis upon which that can be defended. You have to take the right of this State as against the rest of Ireland to be a sovereign State in the sense of having the power of life and death over members within and outside her borders.

The Deputy is now travelling a long way altogether from the Vote.

The real difficulty is to find what this Army is for. I am formulating the question again. It cannot resist outside aggression of any important kind. It is cumbersome, expensive and inefficient as a backing to the civic force. It is playing about between two functions which are utterly irreconcilable. It is not a good Army. It is not a bad Army. It is an irrelevant force which has no relation to any actual existing problem which is or can be in this State as a permanent entity. Which is right and which is wrong? Which Minister did show privative ignorance of the function of the Army?

The Deputy ought not to go back on that again. He has used that phrase already half a dozen times.

I sincerely hope now that it will be in the recollection of this House that, speaking officially in relation to the Department for which he was responsible, and defining the functions of the Army which he was supposed to control, that the Minister was contradicted in every particular and detail as to the functions of that Army by the Minister for Agriculture when he said that it was not an army——

The Deputy must——

The Minister for Agriculture said what was a police force ——

I must ask the Deputy to discontinue. There are two things that Deputy Flinn will have to realise. First he must give way to the Chair——

I sat down and gave way to the Chair.

Not very graciously. When the Deputy has been told that he must not indulge in such repetition then he must not do so.

In speaking on this debate on various occasions I dealt with what seems to me to be the overstaffing of the Army Medical Service. I am glad that some reduction has been made since last year. But when that reduction is examined it is not a real reduction. I say that because if the number of medical officers in the Army has been reduced by nineteen, the total strength of the Army has been reduced also and the relative strength remains pretty much as it was. At the present time you have one qualified medical or dental practitioner for every 218 men. That ratio to my mind is far too high. In the poor law service in the country everybody knows that on an average there is one doctor to every 5,000 people. In that service the doctor has to deal with children, the old and infirm and with both sexes. He has to travel long distances between dispensaries and he is exposed to getting far more calls than a doctor in the Army. The doctor in the Army is dealing with people who, ordinarily, should never be ill. He is dealing with a young Army which I take it is in the very best condition physically because they were subjected to examination on entrance. Therefore, I maintain that in a country like this which already is overtaxed, one doctor to every 218 men is altogether out of proportion.

Deputy Sir James Craig spoke about hospital accommodation. He said that we could very easily close one of the large military hospitals. On a former occasion I asked the Minister the number of beds occupied in the various hospitals and the cost and the number occupied in St. Bricin's and the Curragh combined. That number was 189 per day last year. If the Army is smaller this year than last, if there is a reduction in its strength then we naturally expect that there should be a reduction in the number of patients, and it is plain as the noonday sun, notwithstanding the defence made by Deputy O'Higgins, that one hospital would easily accommodate all the patients in the Dublin-Curragh area.

Not alone that, but you have, in addition to this hospital, an hospital in Athlone, an auxiliary hospital at the Curragh, and you have hospitals in Cork. Athlone is within easy reach by ambulance from Dublin, and so is the Curragh, and the Curragh is within easy reach of Dublin. I would have expected that Deputy Dr. O'Higgins, as an ex-Director of Army Medical Services, would have made a better defence for that section. Neither he nor any other speaker on the other side of the House even ventured to suggest that there was any justification for the cost of this service. The Minister for Defence will, no doubt, give us figures as regards costings and so forth, but the fact remains that you can send patients to any civilian hospital—and I say this without fear of contradiction—for two guineas a week, either to fever hospitals or to surgical and medical wards. If a military patient, however, goes to St. Bricin's he will cost 11s. a day, as compared with 6s. in a civilian hospital. The cost per day at the Curragh is 9/8; in Athlone 11/10, and in one hospital in Cork last year I know that the cost was 15/- a day. Fifteen shillings a day amounts to five guineas a week. There is no justification for treating military patients at five guineas a week when civilians can be treated for two guineas a week. I expect that the Minister will at least show us how the cost is so high, and also how it is that patients in one military hospital can be treated at 9/8 per day. In one case at Portobello the cost was 7/-. Perhaps the Minister will tell us why the cost varies from 7/- to 15/-.

I submit that in this particular service, not alone in the number of medical and dental practitioners, but in the cost per patient per day, there is room for a big reduction. Looking through the reports of some of the debates in former years, I noticed that Deputy Cooper moved a reduction of the Estimate by some thousands of pounds.

If he were in the House this evening he could move the same amendment in regard to this particular service because, owing to the reduction in the total strength of the Army, there is a case to be made for a reduction of the number of medical officers. Even if we were to allow that the Army is not overstaffed, there is no justification for the present hospital costs. It is time that the question of closing down some of these hospitals was considered seriously. There is no use in keeping a hospital in Athlone with ten patients and three nurses, at the Curragh with fourteen or fifteen patients, and at a time when neither of the large hospitals in Dublin or Cork is taxed to thirty per cent. of its accommodation. The total number of patients in Dublin and the Curragh at any time, owing to the reduction in the strength of the Army, would not tax the capacity to the extent of fifty per cent. of the combined hospitals. There is no justification for keeping two of these hospitals open.

I have carefully searched the Estimate in the hope that I would find a certain new departure. Coming from a constituency which has very important fisheries along its coast, I hoped to see some steps taken towards providing us with a navy. I must say that this deficiency on the part of the Minister is not very creditable, especially when we remember the number of foreign trawlers which are sailing around our coast

The Deputy is on the wrong Estimate. He has made a mistake.

Very well. We will take that as a deficiency. None of the members opposite seems to know what the Army is for. In regard to sub-head A 2, "Resignations, retirements and discharges," I must say that the ordinary private soldier leaving the Army is being very unfairly treated while the amounts given to officers are outrageous. When an officer leaves the Army he gets anything from £500 to £1,400 with a pension to boot. I know several cases of private soldiers who served in the Black-and-Tan war and who retired during the past few years but who got no pension whatever. That is grossly unfair especially when such large sums are paid to officers, young men full of health and strength. Considering the present position of those who have to find the money, namely, the farming community, such amounts are outrageous. Deputy Dr. O'Dowd referred to the medical service and I know that the pay of officers in that service amounts to £24,650 for 6,000 men. As a member of the South Cork Board of Assistance, I know that we had complaints from dispensary doctors about having to attend the wives and children of soldiers. I think that with a medical man for every 180 soldiers they ought to be able to look after the wives and children of these soldiers instead of having to put them as a charge on the rates. I know that £2,550 is put down for the cost of the horse show circus which is travelling Europe. When the unfortunate farmers read the cold statement in the Budget some days ago that they were to get no money, no de-rating scheme, at a time when they have to meet in their own markets men who have to pay no rates I wonder what they will think of this item of expenditure.

I notice a contribution of £700 to the Dublin hospitals for the treatment of the wives and families of soldiers in the Dublin area. I have examined the whole Estimate unavailingly to see if I could discover anything like a similar contribution in the case of Cork area. Are the wives and families of soldiers in the Dublin area specially susceptible to disease or is the expense of treating the wives and families of soldiers in the Cork area being charged to the ratepayers? The letter which I saw from the dispensary doctor in Cork would suggest that certainly. If this item of £700 is being contributed to the Dublin hospitals for this purpose, why should there not be at least an equal contribution to the hospitals in Cork? With regard to sub-head A (3), the expenses of those gentlemen who are travelling Europe as a kind of circus, I notice that the horses were purchased for them out of public funds. The Minister for Defence must expect that this House has a lot of patience, or he must be definitely sure that his Party, which is in a majority in this House, will put up with any kind of nonsense which he proposes when he quietly put down a sum of £1,000 for the purchase of horses for the travelling circus in Europe.

In regard to the item for warlike stores, amounting to £72,145, while I am glad to see that the amount has gone up by £25,000, I still think that out of a Vote of £1,400,000 the amount devoted to Army stores is entirely too little. Now that we are starting a reserve force, I would like to see a decent lot of arms in the country. One never knows who will use them. If this country is ever threatened with invasion, I would like that there would be some army, even though we had to depend on the plain people, to meet it, and that there would be ammunition for that army. The amount provided for warlike stores is absolutely insufficient.

I think the item under that sub-head could have been doubled quite easily, and we could then hope for some results. I would like to know what is the number of rifles and arms under the control of the Department of Defence and to see some definite statement on that head. If this country was ever threatened with invasion I would like to feel that there was a supply of arms for the civilian population. Anybody who has any knowledge of history in this country will admit that it is on the civilian population we will have to rely ultimately.

Other Deputies have dealt with the use of the Army. Personally, I must say that I do not think the Army is of much use as a military force. I know very well that if this country were invaded in the morning it would have to depend absolutely on the young men of the country and on the patriotism of the young men of the country. I am sure if this country were invaded, we could definitely rely on the patriotism of the young men of the country. If this Vote were reduced to one million pounds, and if the greater portion of the one million pounds were spent in providing arms and ammunition, I think it would be making a better preparation and a better defence against invasion than the nonsense which we see provided for here.

It is with a certain amount of diffidence that I rise to support the Estimate. Of course I intend to vote for it. Having listened to the opinions of the various Napoleons and the Marshal Neys, or, should I say, le dernier des braves, and having heard them deal with guerilla warfare and guerilla tactics. I feel my position rather acutely. I feel myself that instead of cutting down the Army Estimates we should be increasing them some what. My opinion of our Army is that it has proved itself in the past, unhappily if you like, in internal strife. I hope we will not have any more internal strife, and I do believe that, if the Army was called upon to repel invasion to-morrow, our Army, small as it is, would render a very good account of itself. After all, every Government in the world is ultimately backed by force, and if you had not a Government backed by the forces of the nation, by an army, by a navy if they have one, or by what I believe is going to be the great force of the future, an air force, you would, I am afraid, have no country. You would have chaos and strife and no progress whatever. I have heard about light mountain howitzers; I have heard about guerilla warfare, but I believe that if you want to get at the bedrock of putting things in order you must begin in the schools and you must begin to teach the children of this country to abhor war. I think if any progress is to be made in the world at all, as far as peace is concerned, you must begin in the schools.

The League of Nations and the disarmament conferences may be of some avail, but still whilst these are sitting what do you find? You find the first-class Powers, instead of curtailing their armaments, are actually increasing them. I must confess that I am somewhat puzzled. Members on the opposite side to-day said our Army was of no avail, and if I understood them aright some of them suggested that you should have a defence force. You cannot have it both ways. You must either have an army or you must not have an army. I believe in our Army. What nation to-day is without an army? I do not think there is any. Anyway I believe that this country, for some years to come at any rate, must maintain an army. I do not look upon our Army as a costly, wasteful machine that some of the members of the Opposition seem to think it. After all, what does military training do for the young men of Ireland? It renders them spruce; it teaches them how to be men if nothing else; it teaches them how to obey, a very necessary thing with regard to the youth of any nation. Furthermore, where does the food come from that feeds our troops? Where does the clothing come from that clothes our troops? Are not the boots and uniforms to a great extent made in Ireland? I think they are. Consider the employment given in our factories. In my opinion the Army gives employment to various sections of the nation. I am not going to touch on the medical services. I prefer to take the word of the late director, Deputy Doctor O'Higgins, to any medical Deputy in the Dáil. One would imagine, hearing some of the Fianna Fáil Party talk, that everything in Ireland was couleur de rose, but unhappily I am afraid it is not. The only safeguard, or, to take the term used to-day, the great national insurance this nation has is an efficient Army.

I think it was Deputy Corry who referred to the army horses which took part in foreign equestrian shows. The horses of Ireland are famous the world over and, I think, require very little advertisement. But we are, if you like, a new-born nation and, to my mind, it is very important that we should bring ourselves to the forefront and let the rest of the world see—the world has forgotten, perhaps, in some cases anyway—that such a nation as Ireland exists. Furthermore, I look on these military officers who took part in these equestrian demonstrations as envoys, or, if you like, as business men advertising this nation. I make no apologies for them, but I think sending those horses abroad, bought, as Deputy Corry says, at public expense, a splendid idea.

As to the Air Force, I think that the Air Force will be the fighting arm of all nations in the future. Going back to 1921, I recollect, when we were discussing the Treaty, someone spoke about Ireland being the Heligoland of the Atlantic. So it is. I think it was Deputy Lemass to-day who mentioned that Ireland was an island, and somebody said: "Surrounded by water." Anyway, certainly Ireland is the key to the Atlantic. Ireland is the Heligoland, if you like, of the Atlantic, and Ireland, perhaps, is the key to international peace.

The "hell-ye-go-land."

I would like to see this aerial arm of the nation further developed. I do not think I heard Deputy Carney saying anything about bombs to-day. I certainly expected him to say something. The fact remains that I make no apologies for supporting this Vote to-night, and I regret very much that instead of a curtailment of the Estimate there has not been an increase.

I certainly would not intervene in this debate were it not for the fact that I have witnessed, what I consider to be the greatest demonstration of muddled thinking that anyone has ever witnessed in this House during the past couple of hours. I wish to comment briefly on the peculiar outlook as demonstrated by two or three of the various speakers supporting the Vote. Deputy Dr. White prefaced his remarks by stating that we should endeavour to teach the people of this country to abhor war, and he proceeded to tell us how we were to do that by increasing the Army and teaching the people to become efficient soldiers. I fail, for the life of me, to see how we are going to secure the idea of abhorrence of war by increasing the Army and training men, mentally and physically, in the military profession. Another ardent advocate of this Vote in the person of Deputy Anthony, who is reputed to be a member of the Labour Party, told us, on the one hand, that no reduction of the Army or police forces was possible. We cannot afford to reduce those forces by even one man so long as we have the present state of affairs obtaining in this country. We have, he says, a mythical army underneath the surface, and consequently he believes it is necessary to maintain the armed forces of the State at their present strength. He goes on to tell us in very frank language that he has no illusions whatever as to the effectiveness of this armed force as a defensive force against external aggression. He makes a statement that in the event of external aggression or interference in any form whatever this Army would be of no avail. Are we to take it then that this Army is being maintained for the sole purpose of dealing with what is termed by Deputy Anthony as a mythical army which is said to exist underneath the surface? I should like if the Minister would make that clear. Is that what we are asked to Vote £1,400,000 for? Does he believe that the people of the Twenty-six Counties would support that viewpoint?

I will not ask the Minister to make it clear at all. I will make it perfectly clear myself, I said whilst there was in this country a movement directed against ordered and settled government, a Government elected by the people, and whilst we have an institution, acquiesced in by the people, to carry on a legislative assembly, and so long as there was, in this country, an armed force which is said to exist to overthrow the Government of the people, so long will an army be necessary. I said also that we could afford to reduce the Army and the police force if and when we know where the dumps are, and when the dumps are given up and scrapped by what I term the mythical army. I will not ask the Minister to reply. I am able to defend myself.

I did not suggest for a moment that I was speaking on Deputy Anthony's behalf when I said I would like if the Minister would give a reply to that question. I am interested to have the Minister's reply to that question, not that of Deputy Anthony. According to Deputy Anthony—he has perhaps blundered into the truth—we are in reality paying out this sum of money to maintain an army for the purpose of perpetuating British Imperialism in this country. If we are to think clearly we must face that fact. Perhaps it is because I have not developed that finer sense of——

Brain power.

—rhetoric, or brain power, if you like, which enables Deputies to get up here and say one thing whilst thinking another.

Did you not say that wars were necessary?

I will come to that in a moment.

Do not withdraw it.

I will not withdraw it. Wars are necessary in certain circumstances.

And should be held periodically and without arms.

And we are asked, as responsible Deputies representing the people of this State, to vote this sum of money. For what? For an army that is admittedly incapable of defending these shores against invasion, admittedly according to the advocates who have spoken in support of this Vote. We are to take it, then, that the maintenance of this Army at its present strength and of the police force is for the purpose of maintaining British power in this country. When we speak of external aggression or invasion, again we are losing sight of fundamental facts. This country is still held by enemy forces. There will be no necessity whatever for invasion on the part of the British Empire. She holds the key positions in this country at the present time, and within twenty-four hours, if she so decided, she could overrun all this territory with her armed forces. There can be no denying that fact. Therefore, this game of make-believe should cease, and we should recognise that the only effective force in this country, if we are desirous of defending the nation's dignity, that we can ever organise will be the mass of the people, standing for the fundamental principles which all the people suffered and fought for from 1916 until December, 1921. There was no Army Vote during those years, except for the money which was raised by voluntary contributions from the people.

And the banks.

As I have said, this is, to my mind, a horrible game of make-believe, this whole attitude which we are displaying on this and various other questions. Yesterday I got an invitation to attend a certain function under the auspices of the Department of Defence. This function was to be held in honour of the men who died in 1916. I presume that the expenses in connection with that are being borne out of public funds. A further proof of the inconsistency of our position lies in the fact that this function is being held in honour of men who fought in 1916 and gave their lives in defence of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and is sponsored by men who executed others who followed on the lines of those men some years after.

The Deputy must keep to the Vote.

I am trying to.

The Deputy is not.

I am endeavouring to clear the air——

The Deputy is not clearing it at all.

In so far as bringing every Deputy in this House to a realisation of our true position. Deputy Davin I think it was who suggested that I advocated war. Some months ago this House passed a motion in favour of the Kellogg Pact, which was said to be the method by which all wars were to be abolished. Those who supported that Pact in favour of the abolition of war are standing up this evening and advocating the maintenance and the increasing of our present armed forces, a further proof of our inconsistency.

Are you withdrawing what you said?

I said then that it was an ignoble thing for an unfree people to preach the abolition of war. What are we maintaining this present armed force for? Is it in defence of the free will of the people? Is it in defence of the common rights of the people of this country? If so, I, for one, would be glad to say that we should increase it a thousand-fold. If it is out to secure the full rights of the people of Ireland, I would be the last person in this House to suggest that it be reduced. I face the fact that it is being maintained for the sole purpose of maintaining and defending British interests in this country, and that it is not a free agent. If, to-morrow, America and England were to go to war, the Minister tells us that this House could decide whether this country would remain neutral or whether we should take sides with either of these countries.

That is a deliberate misrepresentation of our position. Before this House could meet we would be presented with a fait accompli, and the Minister knows that well. The forces of Empire who intend to remain in control of the key positions in this country will decide that question. Our Army would be shown up in its true colours as a mere unit of imperial forces. That is why I feel it incumbent upon me to get up and suggest to those who want to face facts that you may fool some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Those who speak here in favour of this Vote are simply deluding themselves when they think the people will swallow the doctrine which they are preaching. The people are not such fools—they know the position perfectly well. I hope the amendment which has been moved from this side, to refer the Vote back, will be passed by this House.

I rise with great pleasure to support this Estimate. I have been here all day, like the Deputy opposite, listening to a great number of speeches. He called them muddled, and I endorse that. There were a good many of them so muddled that when the speakers got into them they did not know how to get out. We are here in this Dáil to stand by the Minister for Defence, because it is our bounden duty. We were elected by the people to sustain the Army; that is to sustain the Constitution and the State. If we were by any vote of ours to reduce the Army, or lessen the Estimate which the Minister has presented, we would be betraying the trust that we undertook when we were elected. Deputy Kerlin, who was one of the first Deputies to address the House, commenced by warmly congratulating the Minister on the admirable manner in which he managed his Department during the year. I thought that was a very favourable gesture, and I thought the next gesture would be to ask why should we not follow the example of Denmark, which has disbanded its army.

Denmark is a small nation that knows how futile it is to be standing up against all the mighty nations around her, and she has therefore disbanded her army. I thought that was what I was going to hear, and that it would be an encouragement to us to go in for further economies. However, I have to say that I would not face back to the South of Ireland if I thought for one moment a vote of this House would reduce the ranks of the Army by one soldier. We want them all; we want them not for aggression or to attack any Irishman on his own soil, but to sustain and support the honour of the State This State has only been seven years in existence, but, short as has been its existence, it has won the admiration of the world. Irishmen in other countries have shown that we are capable of governing ourselves. In the Parliaments of America, Canada and Australia, and all over the world our distinguished fellow-countrymen have shown what they can do in the administration of nations. Here we have had a grand chance and the State is functioning. This wretched, pettyfogging policy of trying to knock it down will be spurned by the Irish nation.

I think it will be agreed that this Estimate will meet with general approval throughout the country in comparison with previous ones, and I am sure that, with the advance of order in the country, it will be possible for the Minister still further to reduce it in future. As regards the functions of the Army as at present constituted, the less said about that the better. It would be well if both the great Parties would show a little more toleration in this House to each other, and let us get on with the business of the country that we were sent here to do. We all know that if this country is to make any progress there must be some sort of agreement between the two great Parties. As one who does not belong to either of them, I am frankly rather pained at times when I hear some of the speeches delivered from both sides of the House. It almost tempts me at times to remind Deputies of what transpired in this country before the Treaty, but that would do no good. I want, if possible, to forget the past because I am painfully conscious of the state of the country at present, with thousands unemployed. I hope and trust that as far as the Army is concerned the debates in future will be carried on with a little more toleration and forbearance on the part of the two great Parties.

In connection with the distribution of the Army, I would appeal to the Minister to consider the claims or Dundalk as a centre where a portion of the Army should be stationed. Some Deputies may not be aware of the position as far as the people there are concerned. Owing to its close proximity to the Border, the trade and industry of Dundalk suffered very much during the past few years, and anything that the Government can do to mitigate that state of affairs should be done. It would be only fair to the people there that the Minister, when he comes to introduce the final Bill dealing with the Army in general, should consider the advisability of at least stationing portion of the Army in Dundalk, more especially as I may call it the frontier outpost. In addition to the claims of Dundalk itself, I may say that the barrack there is supposed to be one of the healthiest in the country, and the district around has the most beautiful scenery.

In the event of the Minister not seeing his way to fall in with my suggestion, he should as soon as possible be in a position to transfer to the local authority the married quarters attached to the barrack. There are a large number of well-built houses there which would be very useful in meeting the housing shortage which is very acute there at present. I hope the Minister will give this matter his serious and earnest attention. In conclusion, I wish to express the hope that when the Minister presents his next Estimate he will be in the happy position of showing a still further reduction. We must bear in mind that this is a very small country which does not possess vast resources, and the less we spend on services of an unproductive nature the better for all concerned. I hope that with good-will prevailing among the different sections of the people it will be possible for the Minister to show a considerable reduction when he comes to present his next Estimate

This has been a very long and somewhat rambling debate, mostly repetition of what was said last year. Although a great many Deputies seem to take great pleasure in saying again what they said before, I must say it is not a function very pleasing to me. Deputy Lemass and Deputy Kerlin brought up the usual things. They said that reductions in the Army were only carried out because of the criticism so ably levelled at the Government from the Benches opposite. I might clear the minds of Deputies upon that point. I became Minister for Defence in June, 1926, before Deputies opposite came into this House. And I became Minister for Defence to carry out exactly the policy that has been carried out. This year we have a reduction of £360,000 odd following upon a reduction of £380,000 odd last year. If I made any mistake I made it in proceeding too rapidly and drastically in making my financial reductions. Anybody with any intelligence who knows anything about the Army knows that that is a fact, and that any attempt to go faster than I have gone would be a mistake and not a beneficial thing.

I have not much patience when it comes to: "We advise that the Army should be composed of volunteers." We had a certain amount of experience of the gentlemen known as volunteers in 1922. As fighters they did not count for very much, and they were beaten by a very inadequate Army of our own.

In 1920 and 1921?

I am talking of 1922.

But what about 1920 and 1921?

I shall come to that now. In 1920 and 1921 they were fighting in very peculiar circumstances. They were fighting against a Government that was handicapped by pretending that it was not carrying on a military but a police work. It would have been a very different thing if the mask was off and that it had been frankly military work it was carrying on. In 1922 and 1923 these men tried to carry out the same kind of thing and made a very poor show against a very inexperienced Army. A number of conditions are made; that such an economic army of volunteers can only be made successful by what is called a national Government, and then we are told that a national government must be supported by all the people of this country. But the one Party in this country which has the support of the biggest body of people in the country is the existing Government, and if we are going to wait until such time as Deputies opposite change their mind and their view of what they would like to consider a national government which will also have the unanimous support of the people of this country we will have to put things off until Tibb's Eve. We know well that this is merely talk for talk's sake and that the people who say that do not believe in it at all.

Any army to be anything other than a danger to the State must be carefully disciplined and carefully trained. I am satisfied you cannot have a trained and disciplined body of men in this country bearing arms unless you have a proportion of them permanently employed, and having the advantage of being permanently so occupied in order to get a high degree of training and becoming thoroughly amenable to discipline. Discipline cannot be inculcated casually. Deputies on the benches opposite who are opposed to the present system of the Army have an innate and inherent objection to discipline and order which has been shown in every manifestation on their part in recent years. We want order in this country, and we want order in the Army. I do not know of any serious thinker who thinks you can have in this country an efficient disciplined army organisation without any permanent body. My own idea of a permanent body is such as I indicated last year, roughly in the neighbourhood of 5,000, to deal with every branch of army work. Then as the men pass through that we put them into what is called the "A" reserve. Men who have two or three or five years' army service who have become thoroughly trained are kept in touch with the training that they had before by an annual period of training. Apart from that there are the lesser trained men who come in the first instance only for three months, and after that one month per annum. These men will necessarily not be as well trained as the others, but with the more highly-trained body of men leavening the whole body, I think, by such an arrangement as I have indicated, we can have a body which, acting as a body, will be a highly-disciplined one, but it will not be such a highly-disciplined body unless we have the leaven of a good percentage of permanent men who have had their training by membership of the permanent Army.

Deputy Lemass says this is an island, and he goes on to talk about possible attack. He says that for any country other than Great Britain to attack us would mean that that country would first of all have to destroy the British navy. As I said last year, that type of argument would mean that no country should maintain an army or a navy unless its strength was equal to the aggregate strength of all other countries. You might just as well say to Great Britain: "If all the other countries in the world organise against you you will be beaten." The British answer to that would be: "It is so improbable as to be practically impossible that every other country in the world will organise against us and beat us. We maintain our Army to meet what we consider possible contingency." In the same way here our business is to maintain such a force as will be able to resist or, at the worst, retard any such attack as we see any possibility of occurring to us. If a country was so powerful as to beat the British fleet what could we do? I presume that country would have beaten the British fleet with a view to breaking British power and, in so far as they proposed to invade, their first function would be to invade Great Britain. They would not proceed to beat the British fleet for the sole purpose of invading the Free State. I presume their first function would be to invade Great Britain, and therefore it is not to meet that power that we should have an Army but to meet such residuary portion of that power as would be sent over here—for what purpose I do not know.

I presume that once they have crushed Great Britain in the very centre—that is, in Great Britain itself—it would not be worth their while to concentrate a considerable portion of their forces here. We have at the present time 14,000 men available, with the country behind them. We would have at such a time of invasion a considerably greater number than that.

I would like to have something more definite to argue upon than what has been presented in the course of this debate. One must always presume a certain amount of intelligence in one's military antagonists, if not in one's political antagonists. We must presume a certain amount of intelligence in our potential enemies. One would first want to consider the aims and possibilities of any evil-minded Power with regard to our country, what value they will place upon achieving their object, and to what extent they will consider the advisability of detaching large numbers of men for whatever work they may have to achieve in our land. They would have to consider, of course, the number of men they would be obliged to leave elsewhere and how advisable it would or would not be to add to their opponents such a body of men as we could put into the field. We have people here who have talked about another round with England. They now assure us that this country is incapable of resisting any other country in the world, and is pre-eminently incapable of resisting England.

I think that this country is able to maintain a body of men which will create such opposition as to make it worth while for any Power that considers attacking us, presumably for a military object, seriously to weigh the advisability of such a project. We can maintain here a body of men capable of making such resistance as to make any attacking Power seriously consider whether it would be worth while to detach a section of forces in order to achieve here whatever military object it might have in mind. I say that the best and the most economical way in which to do that is along the lines that I have detailed. Every intelligent man in this country is well aware that we must have a standing Army for the purpose of training our whole armed forces. We, possibly more than any other country in Europe, have reason to know the cost of a volunteer force on a territorial basis inspired, as some Deputy said, by national ardour to do all the work for nothing. We found that they were too expensive to maintain in this country. I said that last year, and I repeat that this country cannot afford it. We prefer to cut down Army expenditure in accordance with the needs of any Army we think we should maintain rather than increase expenditure along the lines of the Army maintained a few years ago.

I was asked time and again did the Army exist solely for police purposes or to resist invasion. The Army exists to protect the Irish people from any enemies, whether they come from outside or inside. It is quite conceivable, not only in this country but in other countries, that the first duty of the Army would be to resist internal aggression. That was undoubtedly the first duty of our Army in 1922-23. I am very glad to say they carried out their duty splendidly. I do not foresee that the Army will be called upon on anything like the same scale or for the same work in the future, but we must be prepared. This country, the same as every other country, must maintain an armed force. During the last two years my work has been to create a position where we would maintain an armed force to meet the needs of the country and actually to do it at the cost of a lesser proportion of the country's revenue than is spent in any other country that I know of for the same purpose.

A great many questions have been put to me. Deputy Kerlin loves getting up and telling us about his 60,000 men. He calculates at so much per head and quotes us plenty of figures. He does this regularly and more or less automatically. He reminds me of a story—I think it was written by Balzac. I do not remember the story, but I know that there-is a scene in a prison where there is a dilapidated Communist prisoner. This prisoner is writing on a sheet of paper and someone asks him: "What are you writing?" His reply is: "I am making out a list of my Cabinet Ministers." Deputy Kerlin is something after that fashion. He has some form of graphomania. He repeatedly writes out figures about his Army and then he gives us 60,000 men at so much a man. All that sort of thing may amuse the Deputy. It really does not do anybody any harm, but it is very remote from reality. We on this side have to be closely associated with and, in fact, wedded to reality, and consequently that reduces our capacity for appreciating the gymnastics performed on paper by Deputy Kerlin, though I must say they are deserving of praise.

Questions were asked about surplus rifles. We have a great many surplus rifles. We may destroy them. There is difficulty in selling rifles. There are international conventions which make it necessary for us to see that anybody who wants to buy our rifles wants them for a good purpose. When a country possesses such a large number of rifles as we have, it usually transpires that people who come to buy them may not want them for a good purpose. We have a great many stores and most of them are for sale. We have stores not only since 1922, but stores which we took over from the British, and we are putting all these up for sale.

I was asked if the officers on the reserve will be called up this year. Roughly, one may say—and this is not to be taken too strictly literally, but it is roughly an indication—that officers not called up this year will not remain on the reserve.

A number of Deputies spoke about the hardships of the rank and file going out of the Army. That is a thing I cannot deny and I cannot contest. Unfortunately, I am not able by law to include them in unemployment insurance. That is a thing I would very much like to do. We have improved the position so far by a certain gratuity. There is nothing to boast about in that gratuity, I quite agree. I think that it may be possible for us to do more in the way of gratuity. I think also that we should be able to make arrangements so that men due for discharge would be in a position to get employment that would be suitable for them. Another thing is that as we get Army organisation tightened up we may be able to take steps towards getting the men Deputy Anthony said belonged mostly to the unskilled class into the semiskilled class, and improve the chances of employment. I can assure Deputies that no one here is more concerned about that position than I am, and I am considering a number of matters to ease that position.

Deputy Wolfe asked about a military college for officers. Deputy Colohan also asked about it. I hope it will be in operation this year, but I do hope also that it will be able to operate without too large an expenditure on reconstruction work in the Curragh, much as I sympathise with Deputy Colohan in that matter.

It is for a good purpose.

Even the better the purpose the more economically it can be achieved. Deputy Lemass was worried that he did not think the Army would be able to resist Great Britain. If he does not think that the Army, or any army that he will be able to put up if he were in the Government, will be able to do that, then I would recommend him to bear that in mind when his Government are considering their policy towards Great Britain. Deputy Briscoe asked what was the total cost to the State of the competitions. It seems to me that Deputy Briscoe wanted a complete rearrangement of the sub-heads in this Estimate. One could rearrange, practically to infinity minus one, all the sub-heads, but this is the form of sub-head which has been found most convenient for Government accountancy. One could take the cost of a soldier and work out what percentage of barrack accommodation he occupies, and what that cost is, but the actual way of working it out under these sub-heads is as it has been presented, and I think these sub-heads are sufficiently clear to enable people to form a pretty accurate idea of the cost of most things in the Army.

As to the cost to the State of the competitions, you have two headings here under which you can form an idea of that. There are certain reductions from that due to the fact that certain prize money has to be deducted. But just as in the case of the aerodrome and the conveniences we allow to the Aero Club, we have a certain number of stables and a certain number of grooms and horses in the Army. If you take the whole cost and divide that by the number of horses then you have the cost per horse. But we have a certain number there. Sometimes it happens that by adding a certain extra number you add nothing whatever to the cost. I think the Deputy will have to take the Estimates as they are and the details he gets there. Adding these together, he will form a rough idea as to the cost. He can add a certain amount of that for the general use of the barracks, and so on.

If it comes to going into a detailed analysis I do not think I can do it, because one can say one figure and another may say another figure. Both are equally right and equally wrong. Competitions are gone into largely because this is a horse-producing country. This country does a big business in horse breeding. Other countries come and compete and buy horses here. We have to take our part as an ordinary adult person amongst other nations that are competing. When they come here it is for the advantage of the horse-breeding industry. Our men going abroad are acting as commercial travellers for our horses.

Bad samples.

I did not hear what the Deputy said.

I said they were bad samples they had on the last occasion.

No, not at all.

Oh, no; very good samples. Quite the contrary. It was very good business. On sub-head G Deputy Briscoe presumed that the Headquarters Staff, when going on inspection, except under exceptional circumstances, stay in the barracks. That is not so. I do not allow the Inspection Staff to stay in the barracks when they go to inspect. I would consider that thoroughly bad for their work. As to the matter of clothing, Deputies spoke of a reduction in the Army and pointed out that there was no reduction in the clothing. There is an actual increase in the number of men in the Army. There is a decrease in the standing Army, but in the Army as a whole there is an increase. This is the form in which, financially, it is most convenient to present the accounts. I explained the matter of the new sub-heads which intrigued Deputy Derrig so considerably and seemed to have upset the digestive organs of another Deputy. There is an increase in the matter of rifles. In the same way as we buy a new set of clothes in one month we buy rifles in one year. You buy a suit of clothes in one month, and you do not buy it in another month, and one does not ask why did you buy the suit of clothes this month and not last month. That is why it happens that a great number of our rifles were replenished. They were replenished this year because they did not require to be replenished last year, or the year before that, and so on. In the same way, next year we will require certain things that we have not this year. Under general sub-heads certain things get worn out. Everything does not happen to get a life of one year. Some things bought run to three years, and some have a life of fifteen years. If certain things have not appeared in last year's Estimate and appear now, that is simply due to the fact that it was down last year, and that it is up this year.

As to the increases in the matter of aviation, there are a number of reasons for these. The first is because I do not feel justified in standing for a man going up into the air in any machine that I do not consider gives reasonable assurances of safety. I propose that the general mechanical side shall be increased in efficiency; also that a fair number of machines, whose lifetime is drawing to an end, require to be replenished. I think it was Deputy Briscoe, or perhaps some other Deputy, who asked what was the expenditure on the Reserves last year. The figure was £27,475.

As to the cost of ammunition, this does not necessarily go down with the decrease in the Army because, as I have already explained, the decrease in the cost of the Army is coincident with an increase in the number of the Army. Ammunition is required for the training of both the Regular Army and the Reserves.

There was a question about the great number of surplus and unserviceable stores that have to be sold, and the implication was that we bought wildly, and, having bought things that we did not need, that we had to sell them. I do not know if that happened in the past, but if it did it will happen much less frequently in the future. We have a great many things in our possession since this State came into being. We are closing down Gormanstown. That leads to a considerable saving. We are improving transport, though decreasing the number of vehicles. That leads to a considerable saving. Then there is the question of clothing. The implication is that we bought it and did not need it. But the clothing was bought and used, and its utility has ceased; it is due to be sold. There are huts that we inherited and we propose selling them. We inherited things that are useless to us. We propose selling them. There are various stores in barracks that have been evacuated and these things will be sold. We took over, amongst other things, old motor cars, from the British Government.

There is a question as to why the cost of the civilian administration did not diminish in the same proportion as the general cost of the Army. Well the civilian administration has taken over a great deal of the work done by the Army. It does not follow that as the cost of the Army has been reduced that the cost of the civilian administration should be reduced in the same proportion. I think it was Deputy Derrig who quoted the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. Well, as a matter of fact, in our general reorganisation of the whole Department, in our determination to diminish the possibility of such irregularities as he referred to, a great deal of the work that has hitherto been done by the various Army Departments has now been transferred to the Civilian Department. I may say at the same time that the same somewhat rigid attitude of mind that has so far been brought to bear on the military side is also brought to bear on the civil side.

I have no more use for waste on the civil side than I have on the military side. I think that about seventy per cent. of the officers on Reserve would be in receipt of military pensions. A Deputy asked that question and I give that figure as an approximate one. Deputy Sir James Craig and Deputy Dr. O'Dowd talked about the Army Medical Service. I think it may be possible to reduce the hospital accommodation. I do not think that it will mean a discontinuance of St. Bricin's. Deputy O'Dowd loves to talk about the cost of patients in civilian hospitals, and so on. I do not want to go over the explanation already given to the effect that there are probationer nurses in civilian hospitals who pay fees and that there are operating surgeons who are not paid. These are elements which come into the case, but I say that, even though military hospitals cost twice as much as regards patients, the actual cost of illness is less. If a man goes to an ordinary hospital we pay his wages while he is there. If he is in our own hospital, if he has any given disease, say, hydrophobia, the time taken to cure him and get him back to his unit is considerably less than it would be if he were in an outside hospital. He is much more closely under our eye and the period of recuperation seems, somehow or other, to curtail itself. Although it may cost so much per day, even if it cost twice as much, if he stays in a military hospital only one-fourth of the time which he would spend in a civilian hospital, I consider that that is a net gain.

There was a question about the cost of Reserves. It costs about £10 per annum in one case and about £16 10s. in the other. Even in the most ideal force, which is likely to exist only in Deputy Kerlin's brain, I think that the cost would be, at least, £6 per man per annum. I would prefer one of our men at £10 to four of Deputy Kerlin's men at £6. Deputy Dr. O'Dowd was rather wrong in his figures about the Medical Service. Deputy Colohan referred to civilian employees being discharged at the Curragh to make room for ex-soldiers. I am not aware that that is happening. Although it may have happened I am not aware of it, but I quite admit that I am very anxious, if I hear of a job, near or far, to secure it for a man demobilised from the Army.

Deputy Anthony spoke about deferred pay. A soldier can at his own request have a certain amount of his pay held back each week to be kept over for him, but we cannot insist on that if he does not agree. I already referred to the fact that I was endeavouring to see what I can do to improve the position of soldiers when the time comes for their demobilisation. Deputy Lemass still insists on misunderstanding the Minister for Finance when he gave his estimated figure for a normal Army cost. The Minister was dealing with the point that the cost of administration in this country should be met out of current revenue. Quite properly, and very conservatively, knowing that it would react against the financial credit of this State if it could be demonstrated that our ordinary living expenses were being met out of capital expenditure, he came to the point that the cost of the Army was considerably more than two millions, and he said that he considered that it was a safe thing to assume that the normal cost of the Army would not exceed two millions a year. Quite rightly he preferred to pay a certain amount of abnormal cost out of current revenue rather than run the risk of being in the position of meeting current costs out of capital expenditure. As the position improved he moved on to the definite position of one-and-a-half millions.

If I remember rightly, the Deputies opposite went round the country at that time saying that he was trying to fake his Budget and that he would never get down to one-and-a half millions. I do not think that Deputies opposite should allow us to dictate their policy. If we say two millions they will say one million and a-half, and if we say one million and a-half, they will say one million. As adult people, they should insist on having a policy of their own and not allow us to dictate it to them. Deputy Lemass said that our defence forces should depend on a spirit of loyalty, that they must be local units and have elected officers. I love that touch about elected officers. I always felt that the Party opposite were reactionaries against order, but I think that the system of elected officers is the last thing in the way of organised anarchy in this country. The Deputy told us that elected officers give a sense of confidence and make the men have confidence in their officers. I do not know if, in 1922-23, the officers were elected in Deputy Lemass's army, but if they were, the confidence that they inspired in their men does not seem to have been the kind of confidence that leads one very far. I think it leads only to a "Down Arms" order.

In 1920-21.

After 1920-21 came 1922-23.

But before that came 1920-21.

Before Adam fell he was in a state of innocence.

You never had that distinction in 1920-21.

A question was asked as to why we were spending £25,000 more on warlike stores this year than last year. It just happens that the figure goes up this year. We are asked why are we buying anti-gas machines and buying anti-gas instruments. Part of the military training is anti-gas training and certain equipment is needed for that. It happens that we are buying large amounts during the current year. In a few years' time we will probably be buying some again. Deputy Lemass will probably get up in five or ten years' time and ask again how is it that this thing is being done this year which had not been done last year. The explanation is that such expenditure has to be incurred at intervals of every few years.

Does the Minister not anticipate that the Government representative at the Conference on Disarmament will be able to carry his point?

As far as I remember, the Anti-Gas Convention applies only in regard to countries which are parties to it. We cannot sit down and state what we have made up our minds that we are only to be attacked by parties to the Anti-Gas Convention. Apart from the possibility that any of the parties may break away from the Convention, there are other countries who are not parties to the Convention, and there is no harm in having the Army instructed in this matter. I think I have dealt with the majority of points raised. Deputies opposite seemed to be largely talking for the purpose of keeping the debate going until somebody else arrived so that I may have lost track of some of their points.

I asked the Minister to give us some indication of the policy that brought about the introduction of the Token Vote for the Aero Club, and if there were any arrangements made by which the State would benefit by the advance to that particular Club.

Perhaps the Deputy was not here when I dealt with that matter.

I did not anticipate that the Minister would deal with it so soon.

The Deputy did not anticipate that I would deal with it so early, whereas Deputy Derrig had an enormous grievance because I did not deal with it earlier. I dealt with it, presumably, before Deputy Briscoe wished that I should, and after Deputy Derrig wanted me to. I said that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is the Minister relevantly interested in civil aviation, considers that the Aero Club should be encouraged. They asked him for certain facilities. The Minister for Industry and Commerce advised me to give them such facilities as I could. I read out the facilities which we are giving and which were roughly these: the use of a hangar, running repairs at cost plus 7½ per cent. overhead charges, the use of an office in the hangar. That actually represents to them much more than £10, but to us, roughly speaking, we might say it means nothing. We have more hangar space than we are using, and it does not deteriorate the hangar to use it for housing additional planes. The office there is not necessarily used by us. We have merely put down a sum of £10 because we are not allowed to give such facilities to private individuals without giving some indication in the Vote here that they are being given. The sum of £10 is put down, but I do not think it will cost the State anything, while the Club will get more value than the £10 represents. As to the benefits which the State may receive, I am told by my confrere, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that he desires to encourage civil aviation. I do not know whether his desire goes to the extent that he will provide any money out of his own Vote, but I know he is anxious to encourage the Club, and has expressed the desire that we should encourage it if possible without cost to the State. He has a benevolent and god-fatherly attitude towards it.

Will the Minister state that he does not anticipate that the expenditure will be increased as contact between the Army and the Aero Club become more familiar?

I think the Deputy can judge for himself. He knows what we are giving—use of the hangar, running repairs at cost, plus 7½ per cent. for overhead charges, and the use of an office. No matter how cordial the relations of the Army and the Club may become. I do not think that it will mean that we will have to ask for more expenditure because the members of the Club have worn more of the floors or because the office requires to be painted as a result of their having worn off the paint of the walls.

If they get ten aeroplanes——

I regard it as static and not dynamic.

Question put: "That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 63; Níl. 72.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Kerlin, Frank.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
  • Smith. Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.

Níl

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • De Loughrey, Peter.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmonde Thos. Grattan.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Higgins, Thos.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearoid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers: Tá:—Deputies G. Boland and Allen. Níl:—Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Motion declared lost.
Vote put and declared carried.