Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 9 May 1929

Vol. 29 No. 14

Private Business. - Juries Protection Bill, 1929—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I rise to oppose the Second Reading of this Bill. Its Title shows clearly that it refers to a number of diverse matters, and I would first draw the attention of the House to the manner in which the provisions for the protection of jurors are sandwiched in between other provisions which, in my opinion, make fundamental changes in the criminal law of this country, and which in other countries could not be introduced, much less passed by the Assembly, unless there was a fairly unanimous feeling with regard to the principle of such provisions and a unanimous public opinion behind it. If there is anything that must convince one that the introduction of the question of the majority verdict into this measure is entirely wrong, unsound and unnecessary, it is the manner in which the Minister for Justice treated that question in his opening statement.

The Minister's Department, I understand, have been discussing the question of reforming the jury system for a considerable period. They were, I believe, discussing the question whether they could not reduce juries to six in number, and were discussing various other alternatives as against the present system. It seems to me that if the Minister's Department have been discussing this matter, and if they have consulted legal opinion, as I am sure they have, the Minister should at least let the House know what the legal opinion thinks of this question of the majority verdict. I know that legal authorities say that a good deal can be said for the principle of majority verdict; but I also know that in countries like the United States of America and England the unanimous verdict of the jury in a murder case, for example, is necessary. Before this House takes such a far-reaching step as to change that procedure, and give nine out of twelve members of a jury the right to send a prisoner to his doom, they ought, I submit, to have very full, very detailed, and very substantial arguments produced in favour of that course. I say that, because if there is one thing more than another about this Bill that should convince us that it is an important matter, and a matter of serious import to the country, it is that cases tried under it will be very important. They will either be murder cases, treason cases, or felony cases, and in all these very serious cases, where the life of the accused is in danger, where there is any danger of a false verdict leading to the wrongful execution of the prisoner, the English law was extremely careful to maintain every possible safeguard. Here we are changing the procedure, and, as the Minister for Justice says, we are changing it because the Executive Council have considered that it should be so.

If we are advancing at all in the Free State, and if we are having the law and peaceful conditions, established and also if we are looking to the tourist traffic and for money to be invested here, we ought, at least, have reached a position where the Minister for Justice, in introducing a measure which vitally affects the lives and liberties of the citizens, should be able to give a more definite statement of what the Executive Council have in mind, and of the reasons that led them to this course, instead of simply saying: "We have considered it; that is the be-all and end-all." That might have been all right, as I have said here before, when the Cumann na nGaedheal Party were in undisputed authority in this House, when they could afford to jibe and jeer at the late Leader of the Labour Party and his supporters when he endeavoured to draw a rein upon their panicky legislation. Now, however, the conditions are different, and if the Ministry adopted the attitude that I mentioned a moment ago, of saying that there are stable conditions here, that there is security for life and property, that there is full liberty and protection for everybody, and that peaceful conditions reign, then I submit that that is a very definite and solid reason for voting against this Bill.

The Ministry, whatever the legal arguments in favour of a majority verdict may have been, were, however, not content to introduce that principle of amending the jury system in a measure. They sandwiched in many other provisions for dealing with political or semi-political cases, or cases that, at any rate, a large number of Deputies on these benches consider come under those categories. If in addition to that principle of introducing the majority verdict you add the question of secrecy, the secrecy under which all these proceedings are now to be carried on, you will see that instead of widening down from precedent to precedent we are going back steadily. I submit that the reason that we are going back in this matter— instead of going forward and extending popular liberties, restricting them—is that there is a certain attitude of mind in the Ministry and, I do not deny it, in other parties perhaps, which is chiefly prevalent in the ideas, utterances and policies of the Ministry but which is not reflected in public opinion down the country. That attitude of mind could be fairly summed up in the remark of the Minister for Defence last night that the axiom, "A man is innocent until he is proved guilty," should not hold in these cases. Why should it not hold in these cases? Is it sufficient at this hour of the day, in this Free State and in the conditions that now prevail, that we are going to pass a measure of this kind because the Minister says: "The State is in danger. Therefore, abolish the law, abolish the right of citizens, and do away with the principle that a man is innocent until he is proved guilty and substitute instead"—for that is what it would come to—"the principle that a man is guilty unless he can succeed in proving himself innocent?"

Formerly it was sufficient that one juror could secure the re-trial of an accused person. That was a very valuable right, and when I am told that the lives of the Dublin jurors are in danger I am sorry for it. Like every other member of my Party, I condemn the attacks on jurors. I believe that, instead of furthering the cause which some people may think they are intended to advance, they are only impeding that cause. I will, however, also say this, that in regard to Dublin juries you cannot, as was said in this House before, let the knife drop at a particular point and say to the Irish people: "You had a certain point of view before the 6th December, 1921, and after that you are to have an entirely different view."

You cannot make people change their minds by Acts of Parliament. People will have their own ideas of fair play and justice no matter what you may say here, and if the people feel that it is the will of the Executive and not fair play, justice and full liberty for the citizen that is being implemented in legislation here, you will not get the support of the people, and your last state will be worse than your first. If we have a young State which we are anxious to build up, and through which we are anxious, in due course, to reach the full aspirations of the people, I submit that during that precarious opening period, we ought to be extremely careful that any steps we take in these matters have the sanction of tradition behind them. We ought not, at any rate, to have the sanction simply of the old British tradition here. I am looking at it from as fair-minded a point of view as it is possible for me, and I cannot believe, when the Executive decides, as undoubtedly it will decide under this Bill, in spite of all the powers it gives it, to change all this type of case to Dublin City for trial by a jury, that the people can have any other feeling than that the Government desires to have a certain atmosphere here and a certain point of view, represented wholly or, as far as possible, in the juries. If we want the jury system to last, instead of confining it to a certain area and ringing it round with these restrictions and these so-called protections, we ought to try—and the co-operation of all sincere members of the House would be given—to spread the jury system so that it would not be necessary to take any prisoner, no matter what charge he was to be tried upon, out of his own area into what has been called a strange land where he has no information, where the State had full power and information at its disposal and certain privileges on its side that the unfortunate prisoner cannot have.

That leads me to the question of the rights of the prisoner in the Bill. You have, as Deputy Lemass pointed out yesterday evening, taken away one of the fundamental rights of the prisoner, and you have given no reason for it, when you have placed in this Bill the principle that a majority verdict will rule. The other safeguard that the prisoner had in these serious cases, where his life was perhaps in the balance, was that he should know the names of the jurors. If he is not to know the names, of what avail is that safeguard which English law gave him, though in a restricted form in this country, and in a still more restricted form by the Juries Act of 1927, and which we now seek to abolish, in fact if not in the letter of the law—the right of challenging the jury? How can a prisoner challenge a jury when he knows nothing about them, if he is not allowed to have any information except the colour of the juror's hair, as has been suggested, or the colour of the clothes he wears, or some other fact that comes under his notice? Before the House subscribes to that principle I would ask Deputies to consider whether it would not be better, as Deputies on the opposite side have suggested, to abolish the jury system altogether and to set up some other system, some system of real court-martial, as Deputy O'Higgins says, some special tribunal for special crimes, so that a real Star Chamber could be set up in this country, with the Minister for Justice as Grand Inquisitor and Deputy O'Higgins as Grand Torturer in charge of the rack, to put those special prisoners who had been arrested for special crimes into that Star Chamber and keep them as far as possible separate from the ordinary administration of the law.

By bringing in this complicated and unworkable measure you are simply heading straight for a complete dislocation of your legal machinery. You are also heading straight for the position that, instead of giving jurors confidence, instead of giving them the feeling that you are going to protect them, and that they will be henceforward absolutely safe, you are trying to put them into the position that they are going to be definite partisans of the Government Party in any political case that comes along. You are not going to give them an opportunity to escape from that position. You are going to take jurors, whether they like it or not, whether they agree with the law or not, whether they know that the confidence of the people is behind it or not, and force them, because that is what it amounts to, to bring in verdicts in accordance with the conditions that the Executive Council are now laying down. I submit that they can proceed in due course to the complete abolition of the jury system itself, because if the Government can come along on the flimsy pretext they have adduced in this case to destroy the jury system to the extent to which they now propose to destroy it, they can come along to abolish the whole system later on on some other pretext. It would be much better, as Deputies have suggested, if the jury system were left alone and if some other method, if method be necessary, were adopted, if the Government had some sort of Star Chamber method by which, I gathered from the statement of the Minister for Defence last night, he would like to try some ladies. It would be much better simply to go back to that Star Chamber method instead of upsetting the whole jury system in this country.

The prisoner under the Bill before us is to have his right to know who the jurors are taken away from him. That is, in my opinion, an absolute right, a right which no party in power in this House has the right to take away, if the party in opposition do not agree with it in principle. If the party in opposition, who may, at some future date, be called upon to carry out these provisions or to repeal them, do not support the principle of such legislation, some day or other the question will come up again. That will mean that the whole ground, and goodness knows what that might include, will have to be gone over again. The 1927 Act gave the accused, at any rate, the right to challenge for cause. The challenge which an accused person had under British law must be compared with the slight privilege that the Irish prisoner now has.

The accused person under English law had the right to challenge the whole array of the jury. That was a principle that English law recognised, and that was a safeguard imposed on a tyrannical or unscrupulous Executive. It was called upon in the case of the trial of Daniel O'Connell, and in later times I believe that the late Governor-General of the Irish Free State used that weapon, or at least, threatened to use it—the weapon of challenging the whole array of the jury in cases where he felt that the full legal machinery and the full resources of the Government were being exercised unscrupulously against the accused person. That was done away with, and in addition to that, the right that English law also gave accused persons in this country, in cases of treason or felony, the right of peremptory challenging without any cause, but simply on account of the gravity of the offence, was done away with under the 1927 Juries Act. The 1927 Juries Act should have been the last word with regard to interference with the rights of the accused person, because you took away the challenge of the array and the challenge without cause. You left the challenge with cause, and what does that mean? It means that before this Bill was introduced the prisoner had the right of challenging six persons. And what was the right of the State? The State had, and still will have, the right to challenge any number of persons to stand by, and in an ordinary civil case, I believe, in the Courts it has been known that the State has challenged twenty jurors to stand by. What will happen in a political case where the accused person will be charged with murder if feeling is strong in the country on the matter, and if there is ground for believing that it can be regarded as a political issue? If the State challenged twenty jurors to stand aside in an ordinary civil case they may challenge hundreds in that case if they do not think that this Bill gives them such complete right over the liberty of the accused person, and gives them such power to determine the issue in advance, that it will be quite unnecessary to exercise the stand-by which they have exercised to the fullest extent up to the present.

Now, how is the prisoner going to exercise this right that you are going to leave him of challenging six persons whose names he does not know? How is he going to exercise the right which I say the Irish people want for every person, the right which they had under English law and which you now want to take away, to challenge every juror whom he may reasonably charge with bias in the case? If he does not know the juror how is he to know whether he is biased or not? Let the Minister for Justice answer that question and if he answers it satisfactorily, and if he can get the Irish people behind him, very well, but I say that the Irish people want in the law the safeguards British law gave the accused person and that if, in a particular sense, you are abolishing the unanimous verdict, you must and ought to leave the prisoner the only other safeguard he has when his life is in the balance, and that is the safeguard of challenging jurors for bias. You are taking away that right and you are leaving the State the right to challenge as many jurors as they wish. You are giving the right to the State to change the trial to a venue where the prisoner, as I said before, will be in a strange land. You are giving the State the right to get the fullest possible information about the jurors and to make up its mind about them, and you are taking these things away from the accused person. I submit that is not law, that the Irish people will not accept it as law and that it is not in accord with the spirit of justice and fair play here.

I would like to point out that there is nothing in this Bill about the change of venue, that is, the change of place of trial.

There is nothing in it, but I say this Bill must be looked upon from the point of view—I am not going into it here—of the way in which they have dealt with prisoners under similar measures, which other Deputies will refer to later, and secondly, from the point of view of its general effect on the law as a whole and on the liberty of the prisoner in particular.

The Deputy says this is giving the right.


This Bill does not deal with the change of venue at all.

I would like to ask the Minister for Justice if he will be prepared to give up the right he claims of changing the venue when this Bill is passed?

That would never do.

I pass on to the provisions of the Bill, and I hope to be able to show the House that, in addition to doing away with the majority verdict and the right of the accused person to challenge the jury, —because in effect he can no longer do that— you are also giving them powers because the Executive Council thought there were persons in this country whom they disliked, against whom they had a personal animus, and against whom, let us say also, they had a suspicion of their participation in acts against the State. Ought they not to have been satisfied in this measure with the abolition of the right of the accused person to challenge and the right of the accused person to have a unanimous verdict? No, they are not satisfied with that, and they interfere with the machinery of the law. Those Ministers on the opposite side who told us that they have an independent judiciary take every opportunity they can get of rushing measures like this through the House to force the judges from one position into another, to put responsibility upon their shoulders that the judges do not want, and to give them every ground that the Executive can manufacture to stand upon except the right in law, because if this Bill were in consonance with law you would have got the opinion of your legal men upon it. But because a few officials in some Government office decide that certain devices will help the State in particular trials, they rush these devices in the form of a Bill. You throw it at the head of the judges, and the judges find it almost impossible to administer. Later on it has to be amended, and that is what is going to happen in this case, because, as I said before, you cannot alter such a fundamental principle of the criminal law as the administration of the jury system without setting the whole system by the ears.

In Section 6 of this measure there are provisions by which a person who refuses to recognise the Court or displays gross disrespect to the Court which, in the opinion of the judge, is equivalent to a refusal to recognise the Court, and so on shall suffer a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months. What is the reason for dragging in this question of the refusal of the prisoner to recognise the Court at the present time? The jury, when the prisoner is presented to them in the dock, when the charge is made against him, with the full array of State counsel behind it, and when the prisoner makes his statement, can then determine whether he is a patriot or a ruffian. I think it should be left to the jury to decide the question, but you are not going to leave it to the jury. The twelve good men and true whose common sense is recognised as the final arbiter in England and in the United States of America are not going to be recognised here as the final arbiters as to whether a man who refuses to recognise the Court is acting in gross disrespect of the Court or is acting in furtherance of certain conscientious principles that he holds. And you are going to say to the judge, "if in your opinion." Why should any legislature put down in law, "in the opinion of the judge"? On what law is the judge going to base his opinion? That is an example of the kind of legislation that is being passed through this House. If the Executive want the judges to do a thing, let them state the principles upon which they want the judges to give their decision. Let them not fix upon the judges the odium that should rest upon themselves, of having to decide, without any points of law to guide them, whether the accused person is guilty of gross disrespect or not. That is not the only section in the Act in which you are putting a certain arbitrary function on the judge. You are putting upon him the onus of making up his mind upon certain matters. But if the Executive cannot state it here now in their Bill it ought, I submit, be left to the juries to decide and not to the judges. If the judges are going to be the guardians of the rights of the people, and if they are going to be the foundation of peace, good order, and confidence in the State, they must be placed absolutely above these questions, and the Executive should not try—in my opinion it is quite wrong to the judges, and it will have unfortunate reactions later on—to place upon the judges this responsibility which, perhaps, I would go so far as to agree ought to be left to the juries.

Another matter that I want to refer to in this Bill is the liberty of the subject. The liberty of the subject is one of those principles which are recognised in countries where peaceful conditions prevail as being a fundamental thing and a thing that cannot be upset or changed every day the Executive gets panicky or whenever some member of the Cumann na mBan shakes her fist at the Minister for Defence. If you are going to have laws based on incidents like that and on personal opinions, you are going to have very confused laws indeed. If the Executive really believe that they are going to have the Fianna Fáil Party later on administering these laws, I would suggest, with all due respect to them, that they should take the views of the Fianna Fáil Party more into consideration, and in particular in matters which your Constitution lays down as fundamental. It is a most extraordinary anomaly, and one naturally that it is very hard to explain to the country, that the present Government can, whenever they think fit, without any reasons, come in by the exercise of a majority vote and amend the Constitution, even in its most vital articles. Here they are completely abolishing the right of the liberty of the subject that is supposed to be guaranteed in that Constitution.

Sub-section 4 of the sixth section deals with what is to happen to the prisoner after he has been sentenced to six months' imprisonment for refusing to recognise the court. Upon his release clause (a) states he shall be detained in custody as if he had been returned for trial at the sittings to which his trial so stands adjourned. That is to say, after the prisoner has been released after the completion of a certain term of imprisonment to which he was sentenced, he can be arrested and re-arrested, and he can get six months' imprisonment on an illimitable number of occasions and, at the end of it all, he can be re-arrested and interned. That is what it amounts to. But there is no safeguard whatever in the Bill to protect the accused person in this case. There is no safeguard or protection whatever to give the House the slightest suspicion that the Executive have any other purpose in mind in that clause and the succeeding one than to continue the policy that they have been working up to the present of arresting and rearresting large numbers of people without charge. If they had a better idea in mind, if they really wanted to further the interests of law and order, surely they would have to recognise their Constitution and that fundamental article in the Constitution to the extent, at any rate, that they would insert some safeguards which would have given the accused person some protection against trumped-up charges and against frequent arrests on bogus charges. In clause (b), if there was no verdict found when the accused person was tried on the main charge, "such sentence shall not prevent such person after he has suffered such imprisonment being tried again on the charge in respect of which such failure to find a verdict occurred." So that the Executive Council are not alone preserving the right to detain the person in custody when his term of imprisonment is up, but they are further reserving the right for themselves to have it both ways, and that is a most extraordinary thing for any Government to try. If there is no verdict found the prisoner can still be kept in prison until such time as a verdict is found. If that is not a definite direction to the nine jurors on whose support the Government counts to bring in a verdict in the case, if this man is sent to prison and comes out, we can again send him to prison for refusing to recognise the court. We can keep him in jail if we wish, under that system, for the rest of his natural life. In that way I say the Government are assuring themselves of the verdict of the jury. I have more respect for the jurors of Dublin city and county than to believe that such special provisions in an Act of Parliament are necessary to get them to bring in a fair and honest verdict.

Section 8 is the other Section which places new responsibilities on the judge, and it takes away from the jury one of the things, I think, which ought to be left to them, and that is: "Whenever and as often as a judge presiding in the Central Criminal Court, or a judge of the Circuit Court sitting for the trial of criminal issues, is satisfied that, by reason of intimidation, or attempted intimidation of jurors or witnesses," and so on, the judge can then adjourn the case to the next following sitting. On what principle is the judge going to act? Who is going to bring forward the evidence, and what is the evidence going to be that such intimidation or attempted intimidation of jurors or witnesses has taken place? It is rather a poorly-worded Bill that does not even state in this very important matter, which we are told is the origin and cause of the whole Bill—the question of intimidation—the nature of the evidence which is to be presented to the judge. If they want us to believe that the judge is simply going to make up his mind ad hoc because a police officer says there has been intimidation, I think they are trifling with the House, and I think it is a mistake for Deputies, who have at heart the principles that I am speaking about, to allow the Government to trifle with them in this matter.

If the Government believe that there is intimidation—they have had cases of it, they say, and they know exactly how it has taken place and the extent of it—why is there not in Section 8 a definite provision as to evidence being given before the judge? Why do the Executive Council take this whole question of intimidation and place it upon the judge's shoulders? Why do they at the same time that they say they have discovered a perfect measure for protecting jurors, place the full odium upon the judge of having to decide, and not show us—I am not a lawyer; perhaps the Minister for Agriculture will show us later on— how the judge is going to approach the question? If he is going to approach the question simply on the word of a police officer that is not sufficient, because that is one of the things that arises under this whole Bill—the question of increasing the powers of the police. I think it ought not to be done. If there were a reasonable provision and if the Executive could show us that they really intended that the judge should sit as a judge, that he would administer law in this question of intimidation, and that evidence should be submitted to him—surely that is not too much, considering that the judge, if he so wishes, can clear the court under another provision—I would say that the Executive Council had approached the matter seriously. But owing to the manner in which the judge has to deal with this question, I submit it is being dealt with purely as a party issue, purely as an issue against certain organisations in this country, and that is the way the Government are dealing with the Bill as a whole.

It was suggested that it would be better to change it—I suggest it myself—that this particular type of case, which Deputy O'Higgins said should be tried in a particular way, should be dealt with in a special measure. But when the Minister says that if this Bill is going to fail —he has not shown us how it is going to succeed—he is going to introduce another Bill that will abolish the jury system altogether, I say that he would have done that already, but he felt perhaps some inkling of what I said earlier, that the judges would be placed in such an impossible position that the very foundations of society, as the President said in another connection, would be threatened. I hope, whether the Bill is carried into law or not, and whether it is a success or not, that the Government will really stick to their word, if they have any word in this matter of an independent judiciary, and keep the judges, as far as possible, away from those cases in which it might be said they were acting under political bias, or acting under the direction or wishes of the Executive Council. When I see the Executive Council introducing definite provisions in a matter of this kind to place further responsibility on the judge's shoulders, I say they are not out to preserve the judiciary as an independent judiciary, but that they are first out to preserve themselves in power, and to have revenge upon their enemies by every means at their disposal, and after them the deluge.

We have had a number of discussions in this House in regard to the exercise of their powers by the police. Deputy Boland, who is not here at present, has definite examples of cases where the Executive and the police, who are their servants, are shown in a very unfavourable light in some of these political cases. If the ordinary Civic Guard superintendent were the person to be responsible in these cases, something might be said for it, although there is nothing to show that the Civic Guard superintendent can have any point of view in this matter, or that any other point of view will be allowed to direct him, except the point of view of the Executive Council, who are his employers. But we know that the powers which are to be conferred upon the police under this Bill are to be exercised largely, if not wholly, by the body known as the C.I.D., and I, as one Deputy, while anxious to give every party and organisation its due, say that I can have no confidence in the Executive which gives further powers to that body. I have had personal experience myself of the way in which they have carried out their duties. In my opinion, they are thoroughly irresponsible. Their attitude is simply to get a man into jail if the Executive Council presses them sufficiently hard to find the culprit in a certain case—to get somebody into jail, at any rate, and when he is in jail, to keep him there. By that means you will keep him out of danger, and you will be able to justify yourself to some extent to the Executive Council. That is putting very mildly, I think, the attitude in which large numbers, if not all, of the C.I.D. approach these cases, and in that they have been wilfully and maliciously encouraged by the utterances of the Minister for Justice here, when, as Deputy de Valera said yesterday, definite cases were brought before him, prima facie cases showing, at any rate, that further investigations should be made, he simply scouted the idea.

Will the Deputy connect all this with the Bill?

Yes. Under Section 6 (3) the prisoner shall be detained in custody as if he had been returned for trial at the sitting to which his trial stood adjourned.

Is there a reference to the Gárda Síochána in that?

No. There is a reference in the following section—Section 7.

It does not deal with prisoners.

The clearing of the court during certain criminal cases—"If an officer of the Gárda Síochána, not below the rank of superintendent, states on oath to the judge presiding at such trial that in the opinion of such officer it is necessary for the protection of the witnesses and jurors concerned in such trial that the public should be excluded from the Court during such trial, the judge shall order the Court to be cleared and shall not proceed with such trial until the Court has been cleared in accordance with this section." Further on Section 7 (5) says: "Whenever immediately after the clearing of a Court under this section an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of superintendent states on oath to the judge presiding in such Court that one or more than one recent issue or issues of a specified newspaper has or have contained articles or other matter calculated in the opinion of such officer to intimidate jurors or witnesses either generally or in the particular trial," then the judge shall forthwith order the representatives of all such papers to be excluded. Then there is the sub-section which states that an officer of the Gárda Síochána, not below the rank of superintendent, can have any person excluded from the court, because it is an officer of the Gárda Síochána who is to be the judge in this case, and the judge is simply to be at the beck and call of the officer of the Gárda Síochána; and when the officer orders the judge to exclude a certain person from the court, who has claim to be there as a representative of the Press, the judge is given no option whatever but to exclude him.

In my opinion Section 7 and the sub-section I have quoted place the police in an entirely new position in court, and give them powers superior to the judge, power to give him directions that the court shall be cleared and that the Press representatives shall be excluded, and so on. Now with regard to sub-section (6) a particular person claiming the right to be admitted to the court as representative of the Press can be excluded. The officer of the Gárda Síochána has to swear on oath that he knows such person to be or to be suspected of being concerned or associated in acts of intimidation of jurors or witnesses or acts of a treasonable or seditious character, or otherwise hostile to law, peace and good order, or is known to associate with persons concerned, and so on.

On the question of association, I should like to ask Deputies should not the fact that you give an officer of the Gárda the right to have a Press representative excluded by reason of the character of certain issues of a paper with which he is connected in a certain way, be sufficient without draggoing in here another provision by which many of us on this side of the House, at any rate, could be excluded from court if we went there as Press representatives. If the Gárda Síochána are able to prefer charges against those persons they ought to prefer them and have them tried in court. The Executive ought not to take up the attitude with regard to this matter of the liberty of the Press, which is as important in its way as the question of the liberty of the subject, and the right of full publicity for the case in which the prisoner may be tried for his life. The Executive Council have no right to take up the attitude that the whole question may be airily dismissed by a wave of the hand by saying that the police officer will instruct the judge to exclude such persons. If that was the law in this country before 1921, the Minister for Finance, for example, and and other members of the Government Party, would have got very short shrift indeed for writing articles in "Irish Freedom." If the Minister for Justice in his peregrinations goes up some day to the grave of Arthur Griffith in Glasnevin, he will see printed on the little cross over that grave a list of periodicals, called the Mosquito Press at the time, which kept the flame of nationality burning when the Minister for Justice was not heard of. I venture to say that when the Minister for Justice is gone organs of that kind, which the late Arthur Griffith and Seán MacDermott edited for so many years, may fulfil a very useful function in this country.

I do not say that any organ has a right to incite to murder, and I deprecate that just as much as I deprecate the petty attempt of Deputy O'Sullivan to seize on a particular phrase that Deputy de Valera let fall in a long speech and to try to twist and distort it into a most malevolent allegation.

I did not try to twist or distort the phrase. I used the actual phrase, and I raise this question in view of the decision of the Ceann Comhairle to-day that one must raise a point like this immediately. I ask Deputy Derrig to withdraw at once the suggestion that I twisted the statement made by Deputy de Valera into a meaning that it was not intended to bear.

I withdraw, but I leave the House to draw its own conclusion. The fact is that responsible men, great publicists in other countries, men like Mr. Hilaire Belloc have said that when they wanted to find out how things were in Ireland, and to get at the actual feelings of the people, you had to consult organs like "Nationality,""Irish Freedom,""Scissors and Paste," and so on. They did not consult the "Irish Times" or the "Irish Independent."

Or, Mr. Ketcham.

If it was suggested to this House that this will exclude the Republicans, the only people who would be interested. The rest of the Press will stand by the Government firmly as they have in the past in maintaining law and order, no matter what the cost. The Republicans will be the only persons interested in standing for the prisoner and in giving the prisoner's case full publicity, and stating to the public whatever arguments can be stated on his behalf—

Which Republicans?

Not your type. The law has given the Ministry full power already to deal with matters of publication in the Press. If these Republican organs which the Ministry are so much afraid of say anything concerning a particular trial which is sub judice the Ministry have full power to deal with that. Furthermore, with regard to the attitude of the prisoner in court in regard to matters of intimidation and so on, I submit that under a number of heads in this Bill judges have already full power under the powers of contempt of court to inflict summary sentences. The Government have full power to deal with the Press if it acts wrongly in these cases. But they deliberately want to take away from the prisoner the only right of publicity that he has. If they excluded, by Act of Parliament, the Ketchams and Brethertons who advertised the Government in such lurid colours well and good, but these gentlemen from across the water, as well as the Irish Press, are to be allowed in, to make the fullest possible capital out of the trial, to indulge in the fullest possible scaremongery and advertisement of Ireland in Great Britain. These gentlemen are to be allowed in. No restrictions are to be placed upon them; they can write what they like, but representatives of one solitary little weekly paper are to be excluded simply because they are on the side of the prisoner. That is the sense of fair play of the Ministry. I submit it is not a sense of fair play of the Irish people.

The reason for all this law, as it is called, is that we have a conspiracy on foot. We have heard the Minister for Defence and the newly elected Deputy for North Dublin tell us about this conspiracy. And what have they been able to tell us? They tell us that circulars were sent out to jurors within the past year or two on a number of occasions by certain organisations. Those associations are not large in number. They are all known to the Government and I submit if the Government believed there is such a conspiracy on foot, and if, as the Minister for Justice told us a few weeks ago, it is limited in scope and that they have their heels upon its throat, then they ought to bring these people to justice under the ordinary course of law instead of seeking special powers from the Oireachtas to deal with their political opponents. They have full powers already. I submit that there is not a conspiracy, and I submit that the statement of Deputy O'Higgins which I daresay was very carefully prepared in a certain Department, with the full details, is substantially the same statement that the Minister for Justice, if he thought it wise, would have made if he had been really trying to prove to the House that there was such a conspiracy.

There was, Deputy O'Higgins said, an organisation called "The Ghosts," there was an organisation of An Phoblacht, the organisation called the "Prisoners' Organisation," the Cumann Na mBan and the organisation called the I.R.A. With regard to those organisations they may be reduced to two classes. You have, at any rate, men and women. The Minister for Defence dealt at length with some of those ladies whose names are well known and who have appended their names frequently to anything they have written. I have no doubt whatever but that the ladies' part of this conspiracy, as it is called, is by far the most dangerous so far as the personal safety of the Ministers themselves at any rate is concerned. I cannot get away from the feeling, and I sympathise with the Ministers that their own personal difficulty and the animosities that have been created against them in the country have made them regard this question in a certain light.

But even if they have their own feelings in this matter, other people have their feelings also, but no matter what our feelings or our spleens may be, we ought not to trust them very far. We ought to trust to the better instincts of human nature; we ought to adhere as far as possible to the real constitutional course of law when dealing with matters such as these. I say there is not a conspiracy of the kind that it has been attempted here to prove. There are numbers of individuals who very often, I say, are goaded into desperation by incessant raids and attacks by the C.I.D. It is quite useless for the Opposition here to speak of that matter. I know that the Government Party does not place the slightest credence on anything that comes from this side of the House. We can only hope that they will alter their opinions in that matter, and that they will recognise that we here, equally with them, are the guardians of the rights of the people.

When we do produce definite examples of misbehaviour, I submit that we at least be given the satisfaction of having some inquiry made into these charges. No inquiry has been made, and I submit that that attitude and that particular force is very largely responsible for the most unfortunate things that took place during the last few months. The Ministry, instead of being like the Bourbons, in the position of being able to forget nothing and to learn nothing, should make some gesture to show that they recognise that we must all live in this country, and that, as far as possible, we ought to try to tolerate one another's opinions, and we ought not, because people belong to the Sinn Fein organisation, carry on an incessant persecution of them. If the Ministry would recognise that, I submit that they would be doing far more for the object they have in view than they can achieve by passing measures like this. I ask them if the danger is there, if a conspiracy is there, if they believe that this is the best thing they can do to protect jurors —I think I have shown the defects of this measure—it is better for them to admit they cannot protect jurors. The only way to protect jurors is to have such a public opinion of the country as will see that the law is obeyed. In order to secure that the public must have confidence in the Executive, and if the public have confidence in the Executive, the law will be obeyed. If the Executive leave their political bias out of the question and show that they are simply carrying on administration by their police for the welfare of the country and its people, then they will have a normal country. I ask the Minister not to pursue this measure. It would be almost impossible to work it. This measure has grave danger, as I have already pointed out here, of completely upsetting and confusing the administration of the law. It is far better to let things take their course, but to issue a warning that the Government intend to take action if any further attacks on jurors take place, and to withdraw the Bill, at least until we see whether the conditions will improve.

Deputies on these benches were solemnly warned yesterday by Deputy de Valera of their responsibilities in respect of this Bill. Now I am, I think, fully conscious of the fact that the members of the Dáil have definite and serious responsibilities in this matter. The responsibility is not a single responsibility but a double responsibility. They have a responsibility, in the first place, to the jurymen and to the preservation and protection of the jurymen who are being threatened at the moment. They have, in the second place, a responsibility to the people who are being accused or are likely to be accused of crimes. It is a very difficult position, and it is a very difficult task to secure evenhanded justice as between these two responsibilities. It is a task that the Dáil must face in dealing with this Bill. I believe that this Bill is capable, if properly understood, of being so used as to carry out both of these responsibilities.

It is an unfortunate thing that a matter of this kind which is concerned with the administration of the law should not be capable of being discussed except through a kind of political haze. The real difficulty in all this matter and the real reason why jurymen are now in danger of their lives, and why the jury system is in danger of destruction in this country is because it has proved impossible to keep politics and political consideration separate from the maintenance of the law.

When we talk about responsibilities, I would like to remind Deputy de Valera that if there is any one man in this country who is responsible for that state of affairs it is Deputy de Valera himself. Deputy de Valera's speech yesterday was a complete proof of what I say. He began his speech by referring sarcastically to the continuity of the British Government, as he called it, in this country. His speech was a very fine illustration of the continuity of Deputy de Valera himself. Deputy de Valera talks in the year 1929 in practically the same tones and with practically the same sentiment that he talked in 1922. We had again yesterday the same old phrases: "Men will be found who will render this Bill inoperative.""Others will come along who will see that this corrupt and tyrannical Government is not allowed to carry out the functions" for the carrying out of which it was placed in power.

Deputy de Valera has proved himself an expert both in prophesying and assisting in the carrying out of his own prophecies. The greater part of his speech yesterday, if it meant anything, was a complete throwing overboard of the whole case for Irish nationalism in this country. He produced a string of speeches delivered in the British House of Commons when dealing with Acts for what the British Ministers called the suppression of crime in this country and he produced a list of Acts passed through the British House of Commons for that purpose. He attempted to make it appear that there was a parity and a continuity between those British Acts and the Acts passed now, passed as they are for the purpose of maintaining order in this country. Now, either these British Ministers who made these statements had the right to make them or had not the right. If they had the right to make these statements, then the whole Irish national movement, and particularly that part of the Irish national movement with which Deputy de Valera was associated, was nothing but a humbug and a murderous humbug. The lives that were sacrificed at the bidding of Deputy de Valera and his colleagues in this country were sacrificed for a sham, if what Deputy de Valera tries to pretend is true. If Mr. Balfour and his colleagues had the right to make these statements, or had the right to pass these Acts, then Irish nationalism meant nothing. If they had not that right and if they were not entitled to pass these Acts or to make these statements, then Deputy de Valera's speech yesterday was a sham and a humbug and meant nothing. The Deputy cannot have it both ways. It has been always the doctrine of Irish nationalism—it was a doctrine held long before Deputy de Valera was ever heard of—that under any system of election, under any form of representation, any body of men elected by the Irish people had a better right to govern this country and to maintain order in this country than any body of men elected by the British people.

Quite right.

That has always been the doctrine of Irish nationalism. It is not a doctrine for the first time promulgated by Sinn Fein; it is an older doctrine. It is not a doctrine that hinges upon any particular statute or any particular treaty or any particular system of election. It has been always held that any body of men elected by the Irish people, no matter how, to act in the name of the Irish people had a better right to take any action in the name of the Irish people than any body elected by the British people.

Even to pass the Act of Union?

Yes, even to pass the Act of Union.

Mr. Hogan

Were they elected by the Irish people?

Even if they were elected by the Irish people. The Irish people at the moment have the right to elect representatives and to entrust them with any task that they think them fit to be entrusted with.

They have not the right to do wrong.

Does Deputy de Valera try to insinuate that the Irish people have no right to do what, for instance, Deputy MacEntee does not want them to do? Is that what he means? That has been the attitude of Deputy de Valera and his Party since this controversy began. The Irish people, we are told, have not the right to do wrong. They have not the right to do what Deputy de Valera, Deputy MacEntee or Miss MacSwiney thinks is wrong.

Let me now come to the second point of Deputy de Valera's speech yesterday. Because Deputy de Valera thinks that the Oath which members of this Parliament have to take is wrong, and ought not to be taken, therefore jurors are to be shot dead at their doorsteps in Dublin City.

Or only wounded.

Or only wounded. We have heard a lot of humbug about the continuity of British methods, and we have heard that the Government here, a Government elected by a majority of the Irish people and deriving its authority and its power through that election by the Irish people, is on a parity with past British methods. If that is sincerely meant, then Deputy de Valera and his friends have never understood at any time what Irish nationality means, and have been engaged in a murderous sham during the greater part of their political careers, or else it means they are trying to delude ignorant people throughout the country. It means either one or other of these things. I do not think that they are likely to delude members of the Dáil, but no matter how often those things are dealt with in the Dáil, we will have them repeated at cross-roads through the country. We will hear again the old story about the continuity of British methods, about King George's representative, about British Government methods, and about Forster's Coercion Act. Deputy MacEntee will trot out those things in Tullamore or somewhere else, or perhaps Deputy Lemass will, the idea being that the people in the country are too ignorant and thick-headed to see that their legs are being pulled.

The rest of Deputy de Valera's speech, when he was goaded by the ill-mannered interruptions of Deputy O'Sullivan and myself, boiled down to the statement that because Deputy de Valera does not like the Oath, therefore crimes are going to continue to be committed. The position is, on Deputy de Valera's and Deputy Derrig's admission, that there exists a body of people, or there exist bodies of people, in this country who are prepared to go to any length to oppose the authority of this Parliament. Their reason for so doing, according to Deputy de Valera, is because an Oath has to be taken by members of this Parliament. Deputy de Valera holds that if that Oath were removed all the difficulties would vanish. His alternative to the Juries Bill is a Bill to abolish the Oath. He believes everything would be quite right if we did away with the Oath. What does that mean? Deputy de Valera and his Party have, as part of their policy, if returned to power by a majority of the people, to do away with the Oath.

Then the position is that these people who are prepared to go to any lengths in order to resist this Parliament are faced at present with the terrible alternative of either supporting Deputy de Valera and his Party at the polls or else committing murder, and sooner than accept the alternative of supporting Deputy de Valera and his Party, they prefer to commit murder. That is the logic of what the Deputy has been saying. There is nothing to prevent Deputy de Valera and his Party, or any other Party, from wiping out the Oath from the Constitution, once they get the sanction of the majority of the Irish people for doing it. It is in the Constitution simply and solely because the majority of the people have agreed to have it there. Once they change their minds, then Deputy Lemass or anybody else able to make them change their minds can get the Oath out. If people are ready to go to any length to resist the laws made by this Parliament because they do not like the Oath, the only conclusion I can come to is, that little as they like the Oath they like Deputy de Valera and his friends a great deal less. All they have to do in order to get rid of the Oath is to vote for Deputy de Valera and put him into power.

Do not be so sure of that.

I am not saying that that is so; I say that it is Deputy de Valera's theory. He told us yesterday——

Mr. Hogan

Perhaps I had better amplify what I said.

Let the Deputy make his speech.

Allow him to make his own speech.

Mr. Hogan

I was merely suggesting that Deputy de Valera would probably hedge when he got the majority vote.

It is not fair to Deputy Tierney to be interrupting him like that.

In any case— here is where Deputy de Valera comes in again—he cannot give this House or the people of the country any guarantee that in the event of his getting into power and abolishing the Oath he would receive any more allegiance from these people than the present Government receives.

We cannot allow a debate on the merits of the Oath.

I am dealing with Deputy de Valera's alternative to the Bill which was seriously and responsibly put forward by the Leader of the Opposition Party. He said that his alternative to this Bill was to abolish the Oath. I ask him what guarantee has he that the abolition of the Oath will bring about that state of perfect peace which he, in common with the rest of us, desires in this country?

Give it a trial. Try common sense first.

It is not for us to give it a trial. It is for the Irish people. We will not stand in their way if they decide to do so, but, until they decide, we hope and we propose to take measures which will prevent anyone taking other than peaceful methods to make them decide.

Try common sense last; that is your policy.

You abolished the Referendum.

The Deputy who talks about abolishing the Referendum had better talk to his Leader about stone-age plebiscites. The Deputy's Leader is a much better authority on the Referendum than either the Deputy or I. The position of Deputy de Valera and his Party in this matter is that there is to be no redress for people like Mr. White. They are to have patience, as Deputy de Valera says, they are to be protected by the ordinary law. There is to be no further redress, and any attempt to shoot them on their door-steps is not to be resisted.

That is a deliberate lie and members on this side are getting tired of this deliberate misrepresentation of their statements. I demand that the statement just made should be withdrawn.

I am saying that the gist, the upshot, of Deputy de Valera's statement is that he asked: Why is the ordinary law not resorted to? He said, why not be patient, why not let this go on a little further?

On a point of order, the Deputy has ascribed to Deputy de Valera a statement which he certainly did not make. He said that Deputy de Valera, in the course of his speech yesterday, said: "Let this thing go on a little further."

I do not claim that Deputy de Valera actually used those words. I say that he used the words "have patience." I heard him definitely say "have patience."

Did he say "Let this go a little further"?

Then you are prepared to withdraw that?

I have withdrawn it.

It ought to be made clear that a Deputy has a right to state what his opinion is regarding another Deputy's speech. Deputies may not agree with an interpretation put on a speech made by another Deputy, but he has that right, a right which is availed of in this House almost every day.

But not to say things that a Deputy did not say.

No; but the Deputy has withdrawn that.

I do not know whether Deputy Lemass would withdraw the allegation made against me that I was telling lies. I will not however, waste time on that matter now. As regards the question of interpretation, Deputy de Valera cannot be got to agree even with an interpretation which he puts on his own statement. As I say, that was the gist of his speech—why not have patience, why not try the ordinary law? There is nothing like a sufficiently serious situation, according to Deputy de Valera. He did not use these exact words but he said something like it—one juror had been wounded and a witness has been killed and we are to have patience and things are to go on as they have gone on. Why is all that to be? Because Deputy de Valera and his Party, in common with other people, do not like the Oath in the Treaty. That is what it all boils down to. It is a kind of situation about which it is difficult to say anything satisfactory. It is not the sort of situation which argument will meet. We are all perfectly prepared to allow these people to do everything they can to get rid of the Oath and the Constitution, if they want to, short of committing murder, of committing violence, but we want to know where the Fianna Fáil Deputies stand in the matter.

Do they stand for enforcing the ordinary law which is made by the elected representatives of the Irish people? Do they stand for enforcing that law against everybody or do they not? Do they stand for protecting the instruments, the innocent and often unwilling instruments, of that law against attacks that are daily made on them? It has been said that the problem with which the Government is faced is that juries will not bring in verdicts to suit the Executive Council. That is another of those cross-roads' statements which are good enough to go down in the country but which will not carry weight here. People who live in Dublin know that that is not the situation, that the situation here is that ordinary citizens, called on without any initiative on their part, against their will very often, to serve on juries, are not certain that their lives are safe when they do their ordinary duty without political bias. That problem exists. It is a problem not of the Government's making. When we hear talk of doing away with trial by jury and abolishing the fundamental rights of citizens of trial by twelve good men and true, I would point out that if these fundamental rights are to be invaded and if these privileges of the citizens, or subjects, as Deputy Derrig called them, are being taken away it is not by the Government but by the people who are making it impossible for jurors to function in this city. The jury system is a vulnerable thing. The people called on to serve on juries are mostly, I imagine in nine cases out of ten, people who have no political interest and who, perhaps, do not bother about voting on the occasion of a general election. They, like the majority of us, do not want to risk their lives in this duty which is often unpleasant.

The jury system is very vulnerable and, if it is being taken away, it is being taken away by the people who set upon innocent citizens at night and punish them because they carry out the duty which they have sworn to carry out. I believe that this Bill has a chance of succeeding in dealing with this particular evil for this reason, namely, that this attack on juries is only an element in a political gamble. It is only, in one aspect, a method of advertising, and in another aspect it is a violent means of keeping alive organisations which would die unless they had some violent means of keeping them alive. I do not believe, if it is made difficult to find out who the jurors are, and if it is made difficult to attack jurors, that attacks on juries will continue. Some other method of propaganda will be discovered for keeping these organisations alive, but jurymen will be let alone. For that reason, apart from other aspects, the Bill is fundamentally sound and is well worth a trial. I would remind Labour Deputies that when the Government did take the steps which Labour Deputies are now clamouring for they were amongst the first to denounce the Government.

When the Government introduced Bills in this House, setting up special courts for dealing with a certain class of crime, nobody was louder or more fervent in his denunciation of these Bills than the leader of the Labour Party. The Government are taking the step that they are taking in this case because, if you like, they are not so extreme as the Labour Party, because they are not so anxious to take away the fundamental rights of the citizen, to take away those principles which lie at the root of the British Constitution, as the Labour Party puts it. They wish to see, before scrapping this method of trying the facts in cases like this by a jury of independent citizens, whether that method cannot be strengthened, whether it cannot be put on a basis that will ensure its continuance not only until this measure has been liquidated but in perpetuity. I think the attempt is well worth making. If it fails, then the Labour Party can come along with their draft of a more drastic Bill, if they like.

Trials in secret.

What kind of trials do the Labour Party propose? Do they propose that three judges should be appointed to try these cases in the open in College Green or in O'Connell Street?

You are afraid to ask the judges to do it.

The Labour Party are very bold. They have simple, straightforward short-cuts for dealing with all these political problems. If they were only in the Government's shoes I have no doubt they would crush this conspiracy within a week.

A Deputy

Put them there.

Is not that a better alternative than the Bill?

You said that you have no doubt that they would crush this conspiracy in a week.

If the people put them there we are willing to give them a chance.

You can put them there if you want to.

Deputies on those benches, having been elected by the Irish people, have a certain amount of responsibility to the Irish people. They believe that one of the reasons why they were put into office was to prevent the Labour Party getting office. The Irish people did not want the Labour Party to get office.

Cumann na nGaedheal have no majority.

You do not represent the people.

Deputy Anthony has probably been getting lessons in relativist mathematics from the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party. There are some features in this Bill which might possibly be amended. I feel that the matter, for instance, in regard to challenging jurors is left somewhat obscure. I am not by any means an expert on these questions.

You never had to pack a jury.

I do not know anything about the composition, the acts or practices of juries, but I do not think that it is even clear that the ordinary procedure of challenging juries is interfered with in any specific way.

It is not interfered with.

That is a point which is worth making clear, and I want to ask the Minister to make the point clear. I suggest that it should be possible under this or any other Bill to allow the advocate of any particular prisoner to have access to the jury list so that he might be able to challenge any juror. If some provision of that kind were made it would confine knowledge of the composition of the jury to as small a number of people as possible, and at the same time it would ensure that the prisoner in any particular case could protect himself. I would also suggest, though again this is a point on which I am not by any means expert, that even if this Bill were passed there does exist a protection in the right of appeal. There is the Court of Criminal Appeal for a prisoner who feels that his trial has been unfair. He is at liberty, whether this Bill is passed or not, to appeal against his sentence and against the findings of the court.

Not of the jury.

That is a point upon which I am not an expert. I am not sure whether he could not make the composition of the jury, or the judge's charge to the jury, or other items of the count, a ground of appeal.

The Minister ought to invite the Deputy to read the Bill.

Read the Bill in what particular respect?

Ask the lawyer on your right.

In what particular respect does Deputy MacEntee state that the reading of the Bill would improve my knowledge? I think I am as well able to read the Bill and have as good a knowledge of law as Deputy MacEntee. I can claim that in any case.

I yield that to you, certainly.

I said in the beginning that Deputies have a double responsibility in this matter. I believe quite sincerely that we have a responsibility, not only for seeing that juries are able to carry out their duties in safety, but also a responsibility for seeing that the scales of justice are in no wise loaded against ordinary criminals.

Ordinary criminals!

Against any criminal. Deputies know what I mean when I said ordinary criminals. We ought to see that in this Bill no unfairness towards people, accused of crimes, can take place. I do believe this Bill lends itself to being so amended and to its being made so explicit in certain respects that these two responsibilities can be fairly carried out under it.

Mr. P. Hogan (Clare):

This is the first time I ever had the advantage of being lectured by a University Professor and I confess, having experienced that advantage, his statement is all Greek to me. It is a splendid specimen of what one would expect from what has been described as a hack speech, a speech which considers his Party and the viewpoint of his Party before anything else. At the outset I would like to remind the two big Parties that in dealing with this Bill the citizens of the country ought to be considered more than the viewpoint of any particular Party, and that the matter of approach to this Bill ought not to be the scoring of debating points upon any particular Deputy but rather the consideration of what effects the Bill will have on the general community and the State. That is the way the Bill ought to be approached and considered. In considering the Bill in that fashion I suggest there are two points which we might very relevantly examine. The first point I suggest we should examine is what is the necessity for the measure? What is the necessity for this permanent and drastic legislation? I listened carefully yesterday to the speech made by the Minister for Justice and I endeavoured to find in it any evidence of a side and far-reaching conspiracy to overthrow the jury system in this country.

I listened to that speech and when he is introducing a measure of this kind that is permanent, drastic and far-reaching, I think it is his duty to tell us what is that conspiracy and to produce evidence as to that conspiracy and let the jury know. Deputy Tierney, of course, treated us to a certain amount of statements that there were conspiracies, that there were actions but he did not tell us what they were. He did not give us any evidence, I submit. The first thing that should be done by the Government, before introducing this Bill, is to give evidence to show that this Bill is a necessity and, having shown that it is a necessity, then we can proceed to consider the utility of the measure for the purpose with which it is alleged to deal. They say there is a conspiracy but I suggest to the Government that the Government after all is but a committee of the citizens of the State and that they have no more right to conspire against the liberty of the citizens, and carry through that conspiracy by force, than any other organisation of the citizens and under this Bill, if it becomes law, the ordinary guarantees and safeties of the average citizen will, to a great measure, disappear.

Mr. Byrne

Will the Deputy tell us how, and where?

Mr. Hogan

Deputy Byrne, of course, is very impatient and, of course, having his locker full of briefs, he has not time to read the Bill.

That is very nasty.

Mr. Hogan

I am prepared to be as nasty to people who have no patience to wait to hear the truth on both sides. I warn Deputy O'Kelly of that. He told us of incidents that, of course, everybody regrets. He told us of incidents that no considerable number of the citizens of this country stand for or are in favour of. But I suggest to him that incidents of a similar nature take place in other countries and there is no panicky legislation of this kind. I suggest to him that he need only do a night's travel and he will find incidents as serious, as grave and as menacing to the State and the citizens of the State, and there is no panicky legislation. I suggest there are other vast and extensive States, Republics, if you like, where incidents just as serious take place, and there is no panicky legislation to meet them. Does it mean that the police organisation and the Detective Division here, who were so very well praised here yesterday, and praised on many other occasions, are unable to deal with the criminal forces and the criminal instincts of some people of this State? If it does, let that failure be confessed, and let some other means be devised to deal with criminal intentions and criminal activities.

Now as to the utility of the Bill. Not being willing to discuss Deputy de Valera's speech or Deputy Tierney's speech, I do not propose to be very long in considering this measure. The utility of the matter is very important, and if we are to give it any consideration at all we must consider what is its utility. How does it propose to carry through the object for which it is introduced? How is it proposed to protect jurors? Fiction is full of mystery men who do impossible things on impossible occasions, but the Minister is going to introduce into the Irish State a number of mystery men about whom will hang an atmosphere of mystery and romance. He is going to number twelve, twenty or thirty men, and he is going to have them empanelled in secret. He is going to allow the prisoner the right to challenge, but why should a prisoner challenge number forty-six any more than eighty-two, or why should the prisoner challenge number eighty-one any more than one hundred and fifty if the prisoner does not know whom he is challenging? What is the good of challenging where he does not know whom he is challenging? The State knows exactly who the people are; it knows whom to challenge; it is not going to be guided by numbers. It knows the names of the people; the tags are to be put up for the prisoner, and he has no means of discovering who they are. Having numbered his jurors and empanelled them in secret, so that nobody would know who they are and nobody would be able to do them grievous bodily harm, he proceeds to march them into open court, where they can be recognised. Was there anything more silly ever introduced into a Bill unless it is seriously considered to close the courts against the public and the Press and give admittance to nobody. What is the good of putting numbers on the jury inside and marching them out into the jury-box where they can be recognised? Would the Minister tell us what would be the effect or advantage of it towards the jurors? Of course, perhaps the idea is to close the courts to the public and to close them to the Press. I know the Minister has power to do it, I know he suggests that it is here in the Bill, that on the sworn statement of a police superintendent the Press and the public can be excluded and you take away from the judge any discretion in the matter. You put the entire responsibility on the police officer that everybody is to be excluded from the court, and, having empanelled your jury in private, having destroyed the right to challenge of the prisoner, and having, on the evidence of a police superintendent, cleared the court, you proceed to deal with the prisoner in a democratic fashion! Surely, that is a democratically constituted court by a democratically constituted Government!

I can find no necessity for this Bill, at all events, from what the Minister has told us. He has given us no evidence as to the necessity for the Bill and no demonstration as to how this Bill will effect the purpose it was introduced for. Of course, we are all accustomed to the story of plots, counterplots and such things that have been the stock-in-trade of Governments in this country for ages. One would have hoped that this Government would have departed from that tradition. One would have hoped, when this Government came to this Dáil with the Bill which they say there is a necessity for, that they would produce sufficient evidence in this Dáil to convince the members that there was a real necessity for it, and having proven that there is a necessity for it that they would proceed to show how it is about to achieve the purpose for which it is introduced. I cannot see the necessity for it or even the utility of it when it is put into operation. For centuries we have been endeavouring to demonstrate to foreign people that we were worthy of self-government, but as far as I can see, since the present Government came into office, it has been endeavouring to demonstrate that we are incapable of self-government.

I had not the advantage— I have to use the word advantage— of listening to this debate yesterday, but I read the debate in the Press and I listened to portion of it to-day. I do say it is the most disgraceful debate I have ever listened to.

You said that about a good many other debates.

Mr. Hogan

I did not.

Mr. Boland

You did.

Mr. Hogan

I say deliberately it is the most disgraceful debate I ever listened to. The Deputy who has just sat down, Deputy Hogan, of Clare, said that the British in the old days used to make the charge against us that we were incapable of self-government. That is true. He also said that the technique of the British here—he copied Deputy de Valera in that—was to imagine plots, to discover plots. That is quite true. And he said deliberately that that is our technique, that we have discovered a plot that, in fact, does not exist.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

What I did say, sir, was that one would have hoped that the present Government would have departed from that tradition.

I do not want any hedging in this matter. We seem to have become past masters in hedging in this House. The double-meaning phrase is all over it. I have just been listening to the Deputy. The Deputy who has just sat down stated expressly, and he copied Deputy de Valera, as I will prove afterwards——

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

I did not copy Deputy de Valera. I was not listening to Deputy de Valera.

Neither was the Minister.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

I do not know what Deputy de Valera said nor do I care.

I claim the right to speak here, not to be interrupted.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

Do not misrepresent.

Let him misrepresent; it is all to the good.

I think this attempt that is being repeated here to prevent me, by interruptions, from speaking is cowardly. I think I am as much entitled to speak as anybody else.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

I am not going to allow the Minister or any Deputy in this Dáil to misrepresent me.

I do suggest that these interruptions are an attempt to prevent me from speaking.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

Who is hedging now?

I say that these interruptions are intended to prevent me from speaking, and I tell Deputy Hogan, further, that he is not going to put me off the point I am going to make. The Deputy, like Deputy de Valera, whom he copied, made the point that the British in this country in the old days, before we got self-government, whenever they were in difficulties discovered a plot, and he expressly stated, here in the presence of everybody, that that is one technique to-day that we are copying them in, that we are discovering a plot which does not exist. Now, what is the plot? Is there any Deputy in this House who does not know that there is a plot to abolish trial by jury here in certain cases? Is there any Deputy on the benches opposite who will deny, by statement, that there is a deliberate plot being hatched and organised at the present moment to prevent certain criminal cases from coming before the juries of this country? Will Deputy Hogan deny it?

Mr. Hogan

To what extent?

Let me go on. Will Deputy Hogan deny that that plot is there? Will any Deputy on the opposite benches deny it? What further evidence do they want?

But the statement of the Minister.

I will carry on.

The Minister should be allowed to speak.

The reason I am being interrupted is because I am telling the truth absolutely.

And because it is very bitter.

Because it is bitter. Will any Deputy on the benches opposite, or on any bench, deny that there is a cowardly plot at the present moment to smash trial by jury in this country? There is no interruption now.

There is silence now.

Is that a rhetorical question or does the Minister want an answer right off?

I will have the answer.

Mr. Boland

If you want silence you can have it. If you do not, you can have interruptions.

Allow the Minister to proceed.

Mr. Boland

Did not he ask for it?

That is part of his tactics.

Order. Deputies ought to realise that this is a very serious matter, and I suggest that it ought to be treated in a serious way from all sides of the House, and that Deputies ought to be allowed to make their speeches without interruption. I am certainly not going to allow any further interruption from any side of the House. I want to repeat that. Apparently there is at least one member of the House who seems to take it as a joke. I am not going to allow any further interruptions from any side of the House by anybody in the House.

A Chinn Comhairle, you said that this is a serious matter. I regard it as one of the most serious issues that was ever before this House, because I believe I am a democrat and I believe that trial by jury is the most essential but at the same time the most vulnerable institution of democratic government. I ask here now, and I want an answer to that question, an answer in the way that it should come if any Deputy is to follow me. Does any Deputy in this House deny that there is a cowardly and well organised attempt to smash trial by jury in this country at the present moment? I would like an answer to that question and if any Deputy in this House is inclined to answer no to that question, I ask him another. What further evidence does he want? Already one juryman has been badly wounded, already an attempt has been made to murder one juryman, specifically because he gave a verdict and because he did not perjure himself; already a witness in another case has been murdered because he told the truth. Do you want any further evidence or is this talk all humbug? If you want any further evidence I will give it to you here and now. I will go a bit further to say, with full responsibility for what I am saying, that I here and now will establish a connection between the party on the benches opposite and the organisation to which belong the members who are doing this. It is not unknown to the House that there are Republican Organisations outside. There is an organisation called the Fianna. There is an organisation that calls itself Comlucht na Pobhlachta and it is not unknown to the House that there is an official organ called "An Phoblacht." I will read an extract from it, dated February 23rd, 1929.

May I interrupt the Minister. When he is quoting the name of an organisation he might quote it correctly. I know he does not know Irish.

Mr. Hogan

I know none, and I know very nearly as much as the Deputy, from what I understand from people who do know it. That is an entirely irrelevant interruption, and this debate is a little too serious for that. That organ of the Republicans, "An Phoblacht," on February 23rd, stated:—

"In Maryborough Jail Hogan and Con Healy have been treated as ordinary convicts. The slave-minded jurors who convicted them are responsible, and are paying for their treachery. One is lying in a Dublin hospital, the others having to be protected by England's secret service men."

There is another statement:—

"Denial of a Rumour.—We have heard that a brother of Mr. White, Nevada, Terenure, is spreading a rumour around town to the effect that Mr. John White was not on the jury that convicted Con Healy and sent him to penal servitude for five years. This is not a fact. All good Republicans will be delighted to know that this is not a fact. He was on that jury. Well he knows it."

That is the organ of the Republicans. That is the organ of the so-called gunmen. I have another paper here. It is not the organ of the Republicans. It is the organ of the Fianna Fáil Party — Republican Party in brackets.

The Fianna Fáil Party has no organ.

Mr. Hogan

May I be allowed to continue? You will not get away with that now, Deputy O'Kelly. This is a paper called "The Nation." The editor of this paper is the Deputy who sits opposite there. So far as that Party over there have any organ, this is their organ, and it is the merest quibble to say this is not their organ, and whilst the Deputies opposite are capable of denying a lot, they are not deny before the public that that is their organ. I know they have reason to be ashamed of it.

I will deny it for them. The Fianna Fáil Party have no organ, official or semi-official.

Mr. Hogan

This is the organ of— I forget the Deputy's official title; he used to be Vice-President of the Republic, but he is now Vice-President——

The Deputy is Deputy O'Kelly in this House.

When we came into the House, as a matter of procedure, I understood the President to say that we were to accept definite statements made by them as true, and that they, on their side, would take definite statements made by the members of this Party as true also. Deputy O'Kelly has made a definite statement, and the Minister has completely turned it down. I should like to know is that consistent with what we understood was to be the arrangement between the two Parties?

Mr. Hogan

Deputy O'Kelly is trying to get away with the point that this is not the organ of the Party. All right, I accept that—we are glad to know that at least. This is the paper edited by the Deputy opposite—the Vice-Chairman of the Party. Members of the Party contribute to it every week.

They do not—I wish they did.

Mr. Hogan

It expressed their point of view through the country, and the pettifogging distinction which the Deputy makes in order to save his face is one of the meanest distinctions that I ever listened to. Take this article in the paper—it is signed "M.G. MacB."

Will the Minister give the date?

Mr. Hogan

"The Nation" of February 23rd, 1929. The person who writes these articles for "An Phoblacht" is the same person. I shall read it:

"As the ‘Prisoners' Notes' are often too gloomy, I am going to improve them this week by a few cheering items. If anyone wants an amusing sight let him venture out on a cold, wet day and view sad and shady-looking C.I.D. men standing outside the houses and also the business premises where the jurymen live or are employed, who were cowardly and misguided enough to convict of treason that Tipperary Volunteer, Con Healy, who has devoted his whole life to unselfish service of the nation, and thus handed him over to British vengeance—five years in Maryborough hell. The employers of some of these jurymen are not at all flattered by the assiduities of the C.I.D. They have to do business in the Irish nation, and it is never a good business advertisement to be watched by the police; people seem to take malicious pleasure in asking them why their premises are being watched."

This appears on the very same date as the notes in "An Phoblacht," after there was an attempt to murder a juryman. For what? Because he did not perjure himself—a fashion able crime in this country. Where does it appear? It appears in an organ edited by the Deputy who sits opposite, and to which Deputies on the opposite benches make weekly contributions; it appears in an organ that puts the point of view of the Fianna Fáil Party to the country. Who writes it? The very same person who writes the incitements to murder in "An Phoblacht." Then take "The Nation" of April 6th, 1929:—"Fianna Eireann (Boy Scouts of Ireland)"—we all know them well. This appeared after the last election in Dublin at which Deputy O'Higgins referred to the men who attempted to murder Mr. White and who murdered the witness as "sewer rats"—a perfectly proper term, in my opinion. He referred specifically to them and here is the comment signed "Langlaoich, Chief Scout":—

Another Irishman.

Mr. Hogan

Another gentleman who signs himself "Director of Organisation." Here is what he writes:—

"Yesterday England's John French called us vipers. To-day England's Free State spokesmen call us sewer rats."

The men who attempted that murder were called sewer rats by Deputy O'Higgins and they come out with this note in the "Nation." What is that? Is that a condonation of this murder? Is that a justification in Deputy O'Kelly's paper of this murder? If it is not, what is it, and what is the explanation of it? If Deputy Hogan wants any further evidence of conspiracy, will he be good enough to indicate what sort of further evidence he requires? The Deputy knows it well.

The very night Mr. Armstrong was murdered Deputy Cooney makes this statement in the Dáil:—

"Will the Minister deny, on the other hand, that we have in this State an Executive Council imprisoning men who tear down the Union Jack, which is not the flag of this country?"

I have here sheaves of these documents issued by this organisation with which Deputy O'Kelly and the organ which he edits, and to which Deputies opposite contribute, are so closely allied. Here are some of the contents of these documents:—

"To Irish Citizens. Break the connection with the British Empire. The Irish Republican Army are striving to-day as Tone strove in another generation to free Ireland from British rule. Unfortunately some of Dublin's degenerate and slavish citizens assist them in their work. Last month the following" (then follows a list of jurors, headed by "John White, ‘Nevada,' 3 Ashdale Road, Terenure)...."

Every one of the Deputies opposite knows of these, and the cowardly pretence that they do not know that there is an organisation attempting to murder jurors and to break down the law at present is beneath contempt. Every Deputy knows of all these publications—knows that these organisations are there and issuing these publications. Here is another, issued the next week, after the job had been done:—

"Packed Juries: John White, ‘Nevada," 23 Ashdale Road, Terenure (now in Steevens' Hospital)...."

Deputy Hogan cannot speak again in this debate, but I hope he is satisfied that there is a conspiracy. If he likes, I shall continue to read further extracts.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

Please yourself.

On this particular point, I want to know where does Fianna Fáil stand. It is true that under pressure certain statements were made disapproving of these murders.

Under no pressure whatever.

Mr. Hogan

What is the explanation of this? Why is it that "The Nation" publishes practically the same incitements to and condonation of murder and of this campaign as the organ of the people who are doing this? I was a little amused listening to Deputy Derrig saying that we were afraid of the Cumann na mBan —when he was trying to make a joke of this issue and suggesting that all that was behind this Bill was that some member of the organisation known as the Cumann na mBan might shake her fist at the Minister for Justice. He was indulging in utterly cheap and trifling jeers which are absolutely out of place on a subject like this, and asking what was the reason for this. I want an answer to another question. I want to know where Fianna Fáil stands in this matter. I want to know why it is necessary for their organ—it may not be their official organ—to condone this; why it was necessary for Deputy de Valera yesterday practically to condone it, as I will prove out of his own mouth.

I shall tell Deputies opposite, I told them before. They need not worry too much about us. We will not lie awake at night over these matters; we tackled bigger problems than these and solved them and we shall take whatever steps are necessary to save the jury system and jurors in Dublin. Democracy must protect itself as well as any other form of Government and we would be unworthy of the great men who went before us, and sat on these benches, if we did not take what steps were necessary to protect the right of the citizens to be tried before a judge and jury under an equal law in this country and we will do it, and if necessary abrogate that right for a period. Deputy Hogan can hear that. We are not afraid of the Cumann na mBan, or the little gang who are carrying out this campaign. I shall tell the House the position of Deputies opposite. It is exactly as I said it was on the Annuities debate. Any gang of ruffians in this country who shout the word "Republic" louder than you are your masters. You will learn that yet, absolutely. The day you challenged the Government that had the authority of the Irish people behind it, the day the leader of the party opposite brought about the civil war in this country, and talked about wading through blood, that day he put himself into the position that he is, that he will be, and will always continue to be in, that is at the mercy of any gang of ruffians, no matter how illiterate, how criminal, who care to shout the word "Republic" louder than he does. I say deliberately that the attitude of the party opposite on this Bill can be explained on no other basis except that they are afraid of these men and that they must be their spokesmen and must try to make it impossible for us to deal with them. But we will deal with them. I would not make so little of myself as to answer the arguments put forward by the opposite side.

Deputy Tierney explained that there was a difference between this Government elected by the people in 1922 and Mr. Balfour. Deputies opposite know that. Of course, they know it, but they have to keep up the pretence. They have landed themselves in this particular mess. Deputy Tierney also explained that trial by jury was being attacked. Deputies opposite know that. Deputy Tierney went to great trouble to explain that if the Party opposite ever got a majority, which they never will, in my opinion, they could abolish the Oath. Deputies know that; it is sheer waste of time to repeat these arguments to them; they know every bit of them. You have to use other arguments altogether.

To get back to Deputy de Valera. He declared: "The Minister for Justice had indicated his whole position and the attitude of the Government in the last part of his speech. He threatened them with another twist of the screw. Listening to the Minister he (Mr. de Valera) felt that he was reading some of the speeches made by Forster, Balfour, and, in later times, by Sir Hamar Greenwood. The whole attitude of the Ministry, and particularly the Ministry of Justice, in recent times had been one that proved the thesis maintained by Dr. MacNeill in the old ‘Volunteer' days of the continuity of British Government in this country. The Minister for Justice told them the Bill was an improvement of the law. But instead it went behind Magna Charta and undid every liberty for which men had been fighting and which they had won."

Coming from the mouth of a man who told the people some years ago that they had no right to do wrong; who told them the issue between majority and minority rule might well have to be bloodily fought out —I well remember the cliché—coming from this man it is the most arrant piece of hypocrisy I ever heard of. He went on to say that the Minister knew perfectly well that this was the kind of a Bill that would receive no sort of support from the Fianna Fáil Party in this House, and further he said: "They knew that crimes were committed, but no one on the Fianna Fáil Benches had attempted to condone these crimes. Was it because those two crimes had been committed that the people were to be deprived of trial by jury—the only safeguard that a citizen had?" Deputies should make no mistake. We are not concerned with protecting the criminal. The point of this Bill is not to protect the criminal, but to protect the jurors. We are thinking of the citizens, we are not thinking of the few criminals in the country, but of the people in the country. With regard to the charge of packing juries, we never pack juries. "Was it because one juror was wounded and a witness killed?"

He quoted the speech made by Mr. Balfour at great length and asked the House to reject this Bill "because there was a way of dealing with the situation—a way which would be successful where coercion would fail, and that was by giving all the people of the country an opportunity of accepting an Irish Assembly for the making of laws. ...I say a man has a fundamental duty not to be the instrument of corrupt and tyrannical power." You can divide these statements into two classes. There is one class which points out that we are exactly in the same position as Balfour and Forster—members of a Government who had no right whatever in this country and who were endeavouring to oppress the country and had no authority from the people. He tells us, further, that there is a way to settle this question—that there will be no necessity for this Bill if we scrap the Treaty. I do not hesitate to say that that is an absolute condonation of what has gone on. If we are in the position of Forster, we deserve to be shot and we will not whine about it. If we are in the position of Forster or Balfour, then the Irish people should deal with us. If we have no authority here, we are traitors in this country and the men who are our agents, if you wish, the men who are carrying out the law, judges and jurors, deserve the fate they are getting. That is the clear implication. If that is not the implication, what is it? Of course, again it is the old story—make a statement sufficiently vague that it can be read by one side in one sense and by another in another. That brings me back to the "wading through blood" speech made at a most critical time, 1922.

Deputy de Valera spoke about continuity with the British Government. There is continuity there—it is the same old story—the man who is always willing to speak daggers but uses none. I have positively more respect for the men who are committing murder than the men who are giving them authority for doing it because that is giving them authority for doing it. The Bill may be effective or ineffective but it will be tried and we will take whatever steps are necessary. Until the majority of the Dáil turn us out we have a sacred responsibility, and we would be nothing better than arrant poltroons if we did not stand up to that responsibility. Whatever steps may be necessary to deal with this campaign, we shall take. We have tackled bigger problems. I read with some amusement. Deputy Lemass advising us, as an alternative, to sack the heads of the police force. He spoke of their inefficiency. He is a good judge of inefficiency— I will say that. It came rather well from the Deputy who is the spokesman of members of this organisation and who has been squealing in the Dáil for the last six months because of the activities of the C.I.D. Make no mistake about it. We have had a pretty troubled time for the last five or six years. Deputy Hogan will be glad to know that we have made some attempt to establish decent democratic conditions in this country. We have made an attempt to show the British Government that they were wrong—that it was possible to give every man and woman an equal voice in the running of this country and at the same time establish a decent liberal country with decent liberal, social ideas. We have done that. Our reputation is fairly high in that respect all over the world. We are not going to smirch it now; we are not going to allow any gang of misguided criminals or any persons who may be their patrons to wreck the State, and we are prepared to take any steps necessary to deal with this menace. I am glad to say that the menace is not nearly as big a problem, is not nearly as dangerous as many of the problems that we met and solved.

The Minister for Agriculture has said that he would not make so little of himself as to answer the arguments of the Opposition Party. He fell back on his old weapon of vituperation. He asked the a definite question. He asked the people on this side are they afraid to deny, or will they deny, that there is a conspiracy to break up the jury system. I am prepared to admit that there is evidence of a conspiracy to do that. But the Minister himself says that this is only a gang of misguided criminals who are attempting this, and under cover of this vituperation and the panic of the Front Bench the Government are going to do something to amend the whole criminal law of the country. If this gang of misguided criminals that the Minister knows so much about are trying to break up the jury system, what excuse is that for the Minister making a farce of the whole system of trial by jury? Can he not be straight about it and bring into effect some of those emergency measures that they have on their Statute Book? The Minister said definitely that he was going to establish a connection between the Fianna Fáil Party and the murder gang. He failed miserably in that attempt. He quoted a letter from the "Nation" newspaper, edited by Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly——

Mr. Hogan

Not a letter, an article.

Mr. Boland

A signed letter. I understood the Minister gave the initials of the signature.

Mr. Hogan

The article was signed. Another article was unsigned.

Mr. Boland

It was signed by the writer. Anyway, that is not our affair. It is not the affair of the Fianna Fáil Party. What appears in the "Nation" is not the affair of Fianna Fáil. It is the affair, I presume, of the editor. It is also not true to say that every member of this Party subscribes to that paper.

Mr. Hogan

I did not say that.

Mr. Boland

He did not. Let that be taken in any way the Minister likes. The Minister has not established any connection between this Party and the murder gang, and neither is anyone here afraid to denounce crime wherever he finds it. What are we asked to do in this Bill? We are asked to give into the hands of that Government the semblance of trying people by jury, when as a matter of fact it will be drumhead courtmartial that we will have established. We will have established a perambulating jury; a jury of unknown people can be brought round the country under the provisions of this Bill. Who is to know but that these people may be members of the C.I.D.? They may be people who have been found to have returned a satisfactory verdict in other cases and who can be relied on to do the same in the future. They can be brought into areas where convictions are required—to do the work that the Executive Council wants them to do. These gentlemen who want to secure that power for themselves are notorious for their contempt of the law. Starting with the Minister who has just sat down who could not wait for an accused man twelve or eighteen months ago to get an ordinary trial, but had to get up and accuse him of a crime before he had been tried——

Mr. Hogan

On a point of order, the less the Deputy says about that case the better for himself.

Perhaps the Deputy is the best judge of that.

Mr. Boland

The Minister commented on a case that was awaiting trial. Speaking in this House on another occasion, on 28th March, 1928, the Minister for Industry and Commerce said that two other prisoners who were awaiting trial were guilty although they had not been tried. Is that not contempt of law and the court which every plain and honest citizen at least knows something about? The President, the first citizen of the State as he ought to be——

Mr. Boland

Say it louder. He ought to be anyway.

Mr. Boland

The President, on 17th November, 1926, when speaking on another of these panic Bills, the Emergency Powers Bill, referred to a, prisoner awaiting trial, a man who had been arrested in the Midlands. He did not exactly give his name, but everything else. He indicated beyond yea or nay who the man was and left no doubt in anyone's mind as to the guilt of this man, before that man met his trial. If that is the respect for the ordinary, decent law which every plain citizen knows should be observed when a man is on trial for his life or liberty, then I make him a present of their respect for the law.

I pass over the Minister's statement that this was the most disgraceful debate he ever listened to, because I heard him say the same on practically every debate here. He said the same on the Unemployment Debate, when Deputies from every Party, including his own Party, gave a picture of the state of destitution to which their constituents were reduced. On that occasion the Minister for Agriculture got up and said he was ashamed of them for showing their sores in public. In fact, in every debate of any sort in this House the Minister has adopted the same attitude. It is a pity anyone else is allowed to talk at all except the Minister himself.

We had to-day an example of acting in haste and repenting at leisure as the first business of the day. At the time I withdrew the implication or the suggestion that I made I said that the President had got a cut-and-dried scheme, and, of course, he had not, because the thing was too foolish. But he was able to get his solid majority to follow him into the lobby in favour of the most foolish resolution that was ever put before the House when the people of all parties sat down to consider it. We had the spectacle before the whole House of that resolution. What is going to happen to this Bill?

We had desperate measures brought in here, and big majorities for them, and then these measures were left in abeyance. We were told that the whole life of the nation and the future of the country were depending upon them, and then nothing was done. As Deputy Hogan very clearly pointed out, there is something serious behind this Bill. If it were an Emergency Bill we might pass it and never use it. But it is another of these stunts. There is another election coming off. The speech in the Rotunda was on the eve of the election in North Dublin. There is another by-election coming off in Sligo-Leitrim, and this is another emergency measure to meet the case of the election in Sligo-Leitrim. It is simply a by-election stunt, but it is more serious.

Deputy Hogan wanted to know what about the ordinary citizens. He belongs to a Party that more or less did not take part in the struggle as we did here. Speaking for the ordinary citizen, are you going to allow vituperative speeches like that of the Minister to carry you off your feet, to carry you away from your better judgment, so that the permanent criminal law of the country may be altered because what the Minister calls a gang of misguided criminals are attempting to break up the jury system? If there is such a situation let them bring in some of their emergency measures to deal with it. The President, when he found how far the words that he would like to have confined to North Dublin travelled, when he found they got to Australia, to America, and to the rest of the world, was very anxious to make clear that the situation was not nearly as bad as his speech would indicate. In fact, things were almost normal.

It was Ketchem said that.

Mr. Boland

Yes, that was only Ketchem's interpretation of the speech. I think he was quite justified in gathering such impressions from the Rotunda speech.

He did not know him.

Mr. Boland

He did not know him as well as we do. I hope Mr. Ketchem will remember the words the President let drop to-day. We are asked to pass this Bill which will give power to a jury of unknown people—they may be C.I.D. or they may be accommodating citizens who will bring in any verdict that is required—to try accused persons. That jury can be brought all round the country.

With their numbers.

Mr. Boland

Yes, they will be known only by numbers. They will be prepared to bring in any verdict that is required, and they will be put up to hear every class of case, whether it is a murder, an ordinary crime, or anything else. It does not matter whether the case has a political significance. This is going to be the law of the country, and before people allow the Minister for Agriculture, with all his abuse and vituperation, to rush them off their feet, they should consider that aspect.

We had a debate on the question of prisoners in March, 1928, and I made a suggestion there which, if adopted, would have obviated a lot of trouble. I claim to be a lover of peace although on a few occasions I did things that might not have have been too peaceful. However, I made a desperate effort on that occasion to get the Government to exercise a bit of commonsense and wipe the state. I appealed to them to give a chance to the people on the run and to stop the civil war. They turned down that suggestion. For the benefit of the Minister who is present I will read a small passage from the remarks I made in 1928. I believe if my suggestion had been acted upon we would not have had all this trouble. Let me not now be taken as trying to justify the shooting of Mr. White or Mr. Armstrong. I say that if the suggestion I made at that time had been acted on there would have been none of the shooting.

On the 21st March, 1928, I spoke about the harsh treatment meted out to one prisoner who came out, being forced out by economic causes. He got nine months for escaping, for walking out of the prison. I went on to say: "The others are going to keep as they are until they are beaten. On the occasion that I refer to, I also suggested to the Minister that the practice of bounding down these men on the run, as well as the incident that occurred a couple of days before in Clonmel, when one of those escaped men was fired on and wounded by the Guard would inevitably, if the Government did not take a decent line in this matter, lead to somebody amongst those prisoners firing back on the Guards. I am forced back to the statement I made in the debate on the Supplementary Estimate when I said that every effort that had been made by this Party here either to forget the past or to get the country into a decent line of ordered government again has been simply turned down, and that one attempt after another has been made to stir up strife again." The root cause of all this was that there were men hounded down. They were not going to face nine months' imprisonment. Some men are hotter than others and when they were pursued there was always the danger that they would fire back. One of them did and he got five years. If the Government had given them a chance and wiped the slate clean there would be none of this.

Is there such a situation in the country at present that the Government is justified in bringing in this measure to alter permanently the fundamental criminal law? If there is, then the President's contradictions of reports in the American Press and of Mr. Ketchem's articles are wrong. President Cosgrave said that things are practically normal. He said there was a small gang. Surely he will not hold that a small gang of people, who are probably known, is going to be the excuse for altering the criminal law so as to remove all public confidence in fair trial. That point is especially important because this is a Government elected by the Irish people. This Government have, on my own showing, been guilty of contempt of court because Ministers stated in this House that people who were not tried but who were in custody were guilty. We are told when we say that a person should be considered innocent until proved guilty that we are using a cliché of British Liberalism. I do not care what it is; I maintain it is a sound principle and it is a protection for the ordinary citizen. A man should be considered innocent until he is proved guilty. We are told that is a cliché of British origin. The whole thing reminds me of the man who got a steam-hammer to break a nut.

The Minister states that they have been examining closely the working of the jury system; that they were going to improve the jury system by this Bill which makes it possible for one jury to try all the cases they want to try. The Minister said they were obliged to alter things to meet present day requirements. That is a very significant statement to make. Deputy Flinn suggests that Sligo-Leitrim is the excuse and I think that is about the size of it. Other methods, we are told, will be used. I suggest that if the situation is so serious those other methods should be used. There are all sorts of threats by Government speakers. If the situation is as bad as they say, let them try those other methods and leave the jury system alone. Some Deputy—I think it was Deputy Hogan—said, quite truly too, that even with the case of a juryman being killed, or a sheriff, the present law would be able to deal with the people who did it.

Deputy Tierney made a statement with which I entirely agree. He admitted that this organisation would die if violence were not used against it. I claim that violence has been used by the Government to keep that organisation in existence. I said last March twelve months that the very action you were taking was keeping this organisation in existence. I agree with Deputy Tierney although he meant it the other way.

It comes to the same thing. We came to the same conclusion from different sides and we met in the centre. Violence begets violence. They have made no attempt to treat the thing in a decent, straightforward, and manly way. They are going on with this vituperation, pin-pricking, and steam-hammering. They came in to-day with another emergency measure to deal with disorder but they asked the House to discharge the order in that case. I think they would have more respect from this Party and from the rest of the country if they treated the thing in a decent and manly way.

I speak on this measure from a rather narrow angle. I represent County Dublin which supplies jurors, one of whom was "only wounded." Deputy MacEntee appears to sneer, but I would ask him to reply to questions which I shall put up. I am speaking for the people of County Dublin who sent me here, and they are the persons for whom this Bill is drafted. It is a Bill entitled an Act to make further and better provision for the protection of jurors and others concerned. That is the first reason why I speak. The second reason is because it was suggested here last evening that I never make a speech in this House because I am afraid. Whoever said that probably does not know me. The third reason why I speak is that I promise not to go back beyond the Act of Union. I happen to have the Official Reports here, and there is one quotation which I will make from them. After Deputy Boland's statement about terrorism, pin-pricks, sledge hammers and everything else, I would ask the House to listen to this quotation. Some Deputies will, no doubt, recall it, and those who cannot will hear it. On the 20th December, 1921, a Deputy speaking in Dáil Eireann asked: "Who would sit in judgement on the Irish people?" President de Valera replied: "Themselves."

Now that is the principle which this Bill insists upon, namely, that the Irish people have the right to sit in judgement upon themselves. I am quoting the words of the Leader of the Official Opposition himself and I want him and the House to understand that his statement last evening, when he went beyond the Act of Union and quoted speeches made in the British House of Commons, was answered by himself on the 20th December, 1921, when he said that the Irish people are the only and competent judges as to what is and what is not right in this country. If the people desire to change what is called the criminal law in this country they have a right to do it whether it is for good or evil. I believe that any measure which this House would pass to protect the jurors of the country, especially those of the County of Dublin, in whom Deputy MacEntee and myself are so interested, would have the whole-hearted support of the people of this country. It is very easy to get up in this House and say that So-and-so said that twenty years ago, that Balfour said that thirty years ago, or that somebody else said something else over a hundred years ago. It is easy to read out a series of Acts of repression which were passed by the British Houses of Parliament which purported to make laws for this country. It is an insult to this House to suggest that the laws which are enacted here are to be put on a parallel with those enacted in the British House of Commons, ten, twenty, or fifty years ago. The regrettable situation is that the chief Opposition in this House will not take upon itself the responsibility of condemning these crimes. I heard Deputy Tierney say that Deputy de Valera said that there was only one man wounded. If I remember rightly, and I am prepared to be corrected, Deputy de Valera said that if there were ten or fifteen wounded was it not better than that something else should happen?

I was not here at the time. The important thing is the something else. I do not know what that is.

I do not know either—that is the catch—probably better that something else should happen than that one innocent man should be convicted. At least, that, I think, is what he meant. Is it not better that one, ten, or fifteen jurors should be only wounded than that one innocent man should be convicted? That is not the principle at stake in this Bill at all. I hope that no innocent man will be found guilty. I regret to think that the ordinary criminal law, as they call it, is being paraded here, and it is suggested that Deputies on the other side of the House stand up for the ordinary criminal law. It is great for them to do so to-day, and to think that now all we want is the ordinary criminal law. Occasions were when it did not please them. There is no doubt that the Minister for Agriculture is right when he says that the members on the benches opposite must take their full responsibility for the happenings in this country They must take responsibility for what may happen as the result of statements made in this House last evening.

The Executive Council were described, not individually, but so far as I remember, as the Balfours and Forsters. I know that Deputy de Valera will come in and say: "I never said that." What did he mean when he talked about Sergeant Sheridans? That is the ordinary criminal law which they want to stand over to-day. They say that it is being filched from them. They say that they want the Sergeant Sheridans and that they want the laws administered to them by the Forsters. Deputy de Valera recalled even the Maam Cross murders and talked of the tyranny of the law. He declaimed that he was the one Deputy in the House who loved fair play. He appealed to the consciences of members on this side of the House. I wonder does the Deputy realise that there are other people besides himself who have consciences. Will the Deputy's conscience awaken to a sense of responsibility in regard to the speech he made last night, and to other speeches, if another juror is only wounded, or if another witness is only murdered? Will he then come back to the House and say: "You misinterpreted me," as he said in a famous speech that there were still in this county young men who might have to wade through the blood of Irish soldiers or Irish Ministers? He will come back and say: "That is not what I meant, but that is what people will say I meant." He is the person who has said it. It all comes back to the question of respect for this House as the law-making authority in this country.

Deputy de Valera and his Party must accept that or not accept it. If he gets up in this House and says he does not accept it let the country decide. If the country is not satisfied with what Deputy Boland and Deputy Lemass are so pleased with, the common criminal law, they can alter it. They have the right to do wrong. On the 20th December, 1921, the Leader of His Majesty's Opposition in this House accepted that. "Who will sit in judgment on the Irish people?—President de Valera; Themselves." The Irish people have sat in judgment and have decided this matter.

What was the decision?

Who is the authority to make laws or decide what the law is?

A Deputy

The Farmers' Party.

Mr. Jordan

Do not worry about the Farmers' Party.

We are not worrying about them. They will not trouble us after the next election.

You will not be here to worry about them anyhow.

I must claim the right if we are to have these little asides to quote the chief election poster posted up in County Dublin. "Peace with England, never—Vote 1 MacEntee." The people of County Dublin, the jurors whom we ask the House to protect, because jurors are principally drawn from the County and City of Dublin, these are the persons——

Who elected Deputy MacEntee? He is here.

He was only an "also ran."

He was elected before you. He is here.

I am talking of the respect for this House and the authority for it, the people's voice. I am sorry I misquoted the poster I read just now. It said: "Vote I Brennan." That was posted outside the Asylum in Dundrum.

And inside appealing to the appropriate electorate for their votes was the poster "Vote I O'Sullivan."

But all your followers got out of there.

Yours are kept in.

The Deputy must address the Chair.

This is a quotation from another poster: "Jurors, who prove their loyalty to the British Empire by convicting Irish Republican political prisoners, to be given a free passage for self and family to any desired part of the Empire—(Better protection guaranteed than that given to the unfortunate Carey)." While Deputies on the opposite benches have not condemned these things they have used every opportunity of attacking the institutions which this House and the country have set up in this State to preserve order, whether it is the Gárda Síochána, the Courts of Justice, or the prisons they detest so much. They have used every opportunity of freedom which the House gives them to attack these institutions. If, as I have said, in two or three months, another juror or ten or fifteen jurors, as Deputy de Valera said, are "only wounded" and other witnesses are "only murdered," I hope he will come back to the House and say, "Yes, these are the words I did use on that occasion." Deputy Boland spoke at some length in an attack on the administration of justice. There is a way of dealing with that. This Bill intends to protect jurors and witnesses concerned in the criminal trials and proposes for that purpose to amend the Juries Act.

I would suggest that there is no reason why solicitors and counsel should be excluded from the courts. I am sure the Minister knows that they are persons who would not avail of any information they would receive in court to do anything which would be derogatory to the strict administration of justice. I think it is very important that every step should be taken to protect jurors, even that of numbering them. As I said in opening, a very large number of them come from County Dublin, which I represent. I think every step should be taken to make it more difficult for persons who desire to kill them and to make it more difficult for persons of the type of Deputy de Valera and his followers to get up here when an unfortunate man has been killed or wounded and say "that is what he deserved." I desire to support the Bill as representing a class from whom the jurors of the country are chiefly drawn.

It was agreed that item No. 1 should be taken at seven o'clock. It is now four minutes to seven, and I think it would be better to take it now rather than to interrupt the next Deputy's speech.

I formally move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate accordingly adjourned.