"I gcás an Bhille Bhunreachta (Leasú Uimh. 17), 1931, go dtabharfar dhá lá do chéimeanna eile an Bhille, agus Céimeanna an Rúin Airgid d'áireamh, agus go raghfar ar aghaidh leis na Céimeanna mar leanas:-
(a) Cuirfear sios Dara Céim an Bhille mar chead ghno Rialtais go bhfreasabhra Déardaoin, Deire Fomhair 15adh, 1931, agus mara mbeidh na himeachta bhaineann leis an gCéim sin críochnuithe roimh 6.30 p.m. an lá san críochnófar iad an uair sin tríd an gceist seo do chur ón gCathaoir laithreach. eadhon, Go léightear an Bille Bunreachta (Leasú Uimh. 17), 1931, an dara huair anois, agus tar éis na huaire sin an lá san ní cuirfear Ceist ar bith ón gCathaoir i dtaobh aon leasuithe bheidh curtha síos le déanamh ar an tairisgaint go ndeintear an dara léigheamh:
(b) Breithneofar Céim Choiste agus Céim Thuarasgabhála an Ruin Airgid agus Céim Choiste an Bhille díreach ar chríochnú Dara Céime an Bhille Déaraoin, Deire Fomhair 15adh, 1931, agus mara mbeidh na himeachta bhaineann leis na Céimeanna san críohuithe roimh 10 p.m. an lá san críochnófar iad an uair sin tré aon cheisteanna is gá chun na n-imeacht do chríochnú do chur ón gCathaoir láithreach agus i ndiaidh a chéile: Ach tar éis na huaire sin an lá san ní cuirfear Ceist ar bith ón gCathaoir i dtaobh aon leasuithe bheidh curtha síos le déanamh ar an Rún Airgid ná i dtaobh aon leasuithe bheidh curtha síos le déanamh ar an mBille nách leasú do chuir an Rialtas síos agus is sa bhfuirm seo bheidh an Cheist i dtaobh a leithéide sin de leasú, eadhon, Go ndeintear an leasú; agus tar éis na huaire ceaptha isi Cest a cuirfear ón g Cathaoir chun na n-imeacht i gCoiste ar an mBille do chríochnú láithreach ná Go bhfanaidh an tAlt, na hailt mar chuid de Bhille agus gurb iad an Sceideal agus an Teideal a bheidh mar Sceideal agus mar Theideal don Bhille, no go bhfanaidh an tAlt, na hAilt (mar do Leasuíodh, má rinneadh leasuithe) mar chuid den Bhille agus gurb iad an Sceideal agus an Teideal (mar do leasuíodh, má rinneadh leasuithe) a bheidh mar Sceideal agus mar Theideal don Bhille (pe'ca ceist acu is gá);
(c) Cuirfear síos Céim Thuarasgabhála an Bhille mar chéad ghnó Rialtais go bhfreasabhra Dé hAoine, 16adh Deire Fomhair, 1931, agus mara mbeidh na himeachta bhaineann leis an gCéim sin críochnuithe romh 12 meán lae an lá san criochnófar iad an uair sin tré sna Ceisteanna is gá chun na n-imeacht do chríochnú do chur ón gCathaoir láithreach, agus tar éis na huaire ceaptha ní cuirefear Ceist ar bith ón gCathaoir i dtaobh aon leasuithe nách leasú do chuir an Rialtar síos, agus is sa bhfuirm seo bheidh an Cheistg i dtaobh a leithéide sin de leasu, eadhon, Go ndeitear an leasú;
(d) Breithneofar Cúigiú Céim an Bhille díreach ar chríochnu na Ceathrú Céime Dé hAoine, Deire Fomhair 16adh 1931, mara mheidh na himeahta bhaineann leis an gCéim sin críochauithe roimh 1.30 p.m. an lá san crochnófar iad an unair sin tríd an gCeist is gá chun ns n-imeacht do chríochnú do chur ón gCathaoir láithreach.
That in the case of the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Bill, 1931, two days shall be given to the remaining Stages of the Bill, including the Stages of the Money Resolution, and the Stages shall be proceeded with as follows:-
(a) The Second Stage of the Bill shall be set down as first Government opposed business on Thursday, October 15th, 1931, and the proceedings on that Stage, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 6.30 p.m. on that day by putting from the Chair forthwith the question, That the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Bill, 1931, be now read a second time, and after the said hour on the said day no Question shall be put from the Chair on any amendment set down to the motion for Second Reading;
(b) The Committee and Report Stages of the Money Resolution and the Committee Stage of the Bill shall be considered immediately on the conclusion of the Second Stage of the Bill on Thursday, October 15th, 1931, and the proceedings on these stages, if not previously concluded shall be brought to a conclusion at 10 p.m. on that day by putting from the Chair forthwith and successively any questions necessary to bring the proceedings to a conclusion: Provided that after the said hour on the said day on Question shall be put from the Chair on any amendment set down to the Money Resolution, nor upon any amendment set down to the Bill save an amendment set down by the Government, and the Question on such an amendment shall be in the from. That the amendment be made; and after the appointed time the Question to be put from the Chair to bring the proceedings in Committee on the Bill forthwith to a conclusion shall be (as the case may require), That the Section, the Sections stand part of and that the Schedule and the Title be the Schedule and the Title to the Bill, or, That the Section, the Sections, the Schedule and the Title (as amended, if amendments have been made) stand part of and be the Schedule and the Title to the Bill;
(c) The Report Stage of the Bill shall be set down as first Government opposed business on Friday, 16th October, 1931, and the proceedings on that Stage, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 12 noon on that day by putting from the Chair forthwith the Questions necessary to bring the proceedings to conclusion, and after the appointed time on Question shall be put from the Chair upon any amendment save an amendment set down by the Government, and the Question on such an amendment shall be in the form, That the amendment shall be made;
(d) The Fifth Stage of the Bill Shall be considered immediately on the conclusion of the fourth Stage on Friday, October 16th, 1931 and the proceeding on that Stage, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m. on that day by putting from the Chair forthwith the Question necessary to bring the proceedings to a conclusion."
The best justification of this motion is the immediate necessity for the power which are sought to be conferred in this measure. That necessity will best be understood when I have explained the situation which renders the measure necessary. The long title of this Bill explains the scope and purpose of the Bill itself and the aim and intention of the Government in introducing it. It is pre-eminently a Bill to safeguard the rights of the people and to ensure to them the full and peaceable enjoyment of those right. The Constitution of the Irish Free State when adopted in 1922 was hailed as one of the most democratic Constitutions in the world. The new State was founded on principles guaranteeing to the individual the full enjoyment within the law of civil and political right and securing through the medium of adult suffrage and proportional representation a menthod by which the will of the people as a whole could best be expressed and given effect to. Under the Constitution there is full and untrammelled liberty for any person to advocate and recommend to his fellow-citizens, openly by speech and writing, the adoption of any political programme whatsoever, even the adoption of different forms of Government and to put his programme into operation as soon as he has induced a majority of the citizens to support it in the polling booths. There is therefore, no shadow of an excuse for the adoption of violent or extra constitutional methods in order to attain political ends. Unfortunately such methods have been adopted. The rights of the people have been attacked, and the Parliamentary institutions set up under the Constitution have been menaced by the actions of persons relatively small in numbers who have elected themselves as dictators of the policy which the country should adopt, and who have endeavoured to enforce their dictatorship by means of violence, intimidation and murder. The object of this Bill is to protect the ordinary law-abiding citizen and the country as a whole from such unwarranted invasions of his rights. As the Bill aims at safeguarding constitutional rights, it is proper that its provisions should be inserted as an Article in the Constitution. When the Bill becomes law no hardship or disability of any kind will be imposed on any law-abiding individual or section of the community whatever his or their political opinions may be. Nothing in the Bill forbids the advocacy of any political ideals. We only ask that the advocate shall not speak with a gun in his hand.
Since the establishment of the constitution the Government of the Iris Free State has endeavoured to direct all its energies to the economic reconstruction and development of the country. That task, difficult in itself and rendered all the more difficult by reson of the depressing economic conditons almost universally prevailing during the past few years, has been rendered almost impossible because of the existence in this country of the menace, never altogether removed, of unconstitutional action and revolt. On more than one occasion since the establishment of the State our energies have had to be diverted from the great work of economic regeneration because the very foundations of all economic and civil life were in jeopardy. And now, at a time of unparalleled financial stringency and depression, we have once again to pause in our work. This time the meanace must be removed once and for all. This Bill furnishes the means for doing so. The powers and machinery provided by this Bill are necessary, not merely for this Government but for any Government that may be in power if the will of the majority of the people is to precail.
There are people who affect to be unaware of any reason why legislation of this kind should be introduced; people who say "What is all the trouble about? Where are the criminals whose repression is so urgent?"
It is really very difficulty to believe that there is any sincerity behind this attitude. Nobody adopts such an attitude about other important but less fundamental matters of public concern which are no more obvious; nobody pretends to doubt that there is a housing shortage, or a tariff problem, but many people who can see these things quite plainly affect not to be able to see all any serious threat to the peace and order of the State.
I cannot see how anybody can take the line that there is not at the present moment a widely organised conspiracy to overthrow by force the Constitution and Government of the State, and that the conspirators are ready to use murder freely as a means to that end. But if any man has any shadow of doubt that the murders or other numerous outrages of all kinds, which have recently been perpetrate, might be susceptible of any other explanation than that they are the result of such a conspiracy, he has only got to read the principal organ of the conspiracy, the weekly paper calling itself "An Phoblacht," which, week in and week out, preaches the conspirators, that the true Government of the State is vested in the Army Council of the Irish Republican Army, that the Oireachtas is a mere cover or instrument of British usurpation, that the police and the courts maintaintned by us have no more authority, and that the murder of any State servant is a perfectly proper procedure and is in Fact, the only immediately practical step towards a Republic. These doctrines are preached with a directness, with a continuous incitement to violence and crime which I do not believe has a parallel in any other State in the world.
On the 14th February last, Immediately after the murder of Patrick Carroll, who was murdered because he gave information to the police repecting the I.R.A., this paper published an editorial headed "Executed by the I.R.A.", in which the murder we explained and justified. On the 7th March it published an editorial explaining that "British Imperialism" could not be overthrown by mere votes and exhorting the leaders of Fianna Fáil to be prepared, when in power to shoot "not the I.R.A. but those who stand for English rule in Ireland," which is its stock designation for the present Government and its supporters. On the 21st March it promised that the guns would soon make themselves heard. On the 28th March it justified the murder of Superintendent Curtin. On the 4th April is asked for recruits for the I.R.A. On the 9th May it advocated open drilling. On the 16th May it warned the Gárdai not to interfere with political crime. On the 23rd May it said that British Imperialism in this country could be overthrown by armed force only. On the 29th June it remarked "there are rifles in Ireland still" and that they would be used by the Volunteers. On the same day it deplored the discovery of the kilakee dump but consoled its readers with the reminder "there are at least some hundreds of such dumps" still available. On the 29th August it threatened the Minister for Justice by name with "the gun." There is hardly a week's issue from which similar excerpts could not be made. This journal boasts that it has a circulation three times as great as that any other weekly paper published in this State, and whether that boast is true or not it is certain that it has a considerable circlation among young men. We have passed Acts of Parliament to protect our young men from the dangers of licentious and indecent publications. It is time, I submit, that we protected them also from the continuous stream of incitement to crime.
As another instance of their efforntery and contempt for the people of Ireland who have elected this Dáil, I may refer to a recent interview accorded in the offices of "An Phoblacht" to the special correspondent of the "Daily Express" By Frank Ryan and Geoffrey Coulter. It appeared in the English edition on the 24th August, 1931. Here is the interview:
They spoke with a freedom that staggered me. They answered with astonishing candour questions I felt sure they would dodge.
They told me exactly what the I.R.A. stands for, and the lengths to which it is prepared to go to achieve these objects. They told me plainly that the I.R.A. believes in force, and, in certain circumstances, the taking of human life.
We had a long discussion on the ethics of killing, and Mr. Ryan disclosed to me all the considerations which decide the question of whether the death penalty should or should not be enforced.
And at the end of our long conversation they both assured me they had no objection to the publication of the interview, and they gave me full permission to use their names.
Both declared that they were speaking only as individuals and both are well qualified to expound the policy of the I.R.A.
I opened the interview by asking if it was true the I.R.A. objected to the "Daily express" using words like "murder" and "assassination" when referring to the shooting of unarmed men. "Yes," said Mr. Ryan, "the shooting to which you referred were not murder; they were acts of war. You must remember this, the Irish Republican Army is still at war with Britain.
"We regard the Free State Ministers merely as the agents of Britain. We shall not lay down our rms until we have achieved the object Irishmen have been fighting for these many years—a completely independent republic for all Ireland. The ‘Daily Express' has represented us as a gang of terrorists who have only a small following in Ireland. We say that we represent the majority of the Irish nation.
"We have to meet force by force. That is why the I.R.A. will not surrender their arms. Let me tell you the inside story of these shootings you have called murders. Take the case of Supt. Curtin. As you say, he was shot after he had conducted a prosecution for illegal drilling. But that is not all the story. Supt. Curtin belonged to the Civic Guards, which is supposed to be an unarmed force that does not concern itself with political affairs. Supt. Curtin exceeded his duty. He went out of his way to persecute the I.R.A.
"We draw a distinction between members of the Civic Guard and the men in the C.I.D.," went on Mr. Ryan. "The Civic Guard have no right to interfere in matters that do not concern them. If they ask for trouble they must not be surprised if they get it.
"Our attitude towards the C.I.D. is different. They are recruited for political work. It is their job to hunt us down, and while we do not like it we realise they are only doing what they are paid for. Therefore, we bear them no ill-will.
"There are three armed detectives watching this office at this moment."
Mr. Ryan went over to the window and looked down on the busy street.
"I have only to give the word, he said, and every C.I.D. man would be wiped off the streets of Dublin to night. It is not fear that hold us back."
I believe that when Frank Ryan said this he was saying nothing more than what he believed was the truth.
"You ask about the other shooting," Ryan went on when he was back at his desk. "Take the case of the farm labourer who gave evidence for Curtin. He was nothing else than a traitor.
Then there was Carroll, the young man found dead in a Co. Dublin lane. This is the truth about him. He was an agent provocateur. One night he met two Republicans, and handed them parcels of explosives and told them to take them to some of their friends round the corner. That was a police trap. It does not matter how it was known. Many curious things come to our ears. Who can say that Carroll did not meet with his deserts if his head was blown off with one of his own bombs? Military organisation cannot tolerate spies or traitors. But let me tell you this—these things are not decided lightly. Decisions are made only with very, very great reluctance. Traitors must be punished, but there are fewer in our ranks than anywhere else. Almost every day our men are offered bribes to betray us to the police. One man who works in this office was offered £5 a week to give away information."
I invited Mr. Ryan to tell me how the I.R.A. proposed to overthrow the Free State Government. "All I am going to say is this," was his reply, "one of these days there will be crowds in the street, and they will not be dispersed by baton charges. You know the old saying that England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity. England will be engaged in another great war soon. Then she will try to take advantage of the provisions of the Treaty for garrisoning ports in Ireland. That will be the end of England's rule in Ireland."
I quote this interview because it epitomises the doctrines that have been for months preached in "An Phoblacht" and because it is an example of the ideas that pring from perverted patriotism and ignorance of fundamental Christian teaching.
No State could remain in existence if such people were allowed to preach their doctrines freely and to enjoy the immunity that has been theirs under existing conditions.
The existence of a serious conspiracy against the State, determined to bring about its overthrow by force, has become increasingly evident in the last tow years and especially during the last nine months. This conspiracy has found expression through a number of organisations, partly independent of each other; some of them having definite affiliation, others being kept in touch by means of a certain overlapping of their controlling personnel, but all united in the immediate work that is to be undertaken, namely the overthrow by force of the existing State, as the necessary preliminary to the realisation of their utimate aim.
Among these may be mentioned the I.R.A. an avowedly military organisation, responsible to nobody but its own chiefs. Its numbers, activities and crimes have increased in recent times, and have in many cases struck terror into the hearts of the ordinary law-abiding citizen.
Closely allied with it, leading it material assistance and encouragement, is the Cumann na mBan which has taken a large part in the campaign of terrorisation, and in the breakdown of the judicial system. To it are affiliated various other organisations of women with the same general objectives. Future recruitment, active assistance, and the inculcation of subversive doctrines into the youth are secured by the existence of Fianna Eireann. There are also a number of Communistic Groups such as "The Irish Friends of Soviet Russia,""The Irish Communist Party,""The Irish Working Farmers' Committee," the "Workers' Revolutionary Party in Ireland," the "Irish National Unemployed Movement," the "Workers' Defence Corps," and the "Irish Labour Defence League."
The members of this conspiracy have not only committed one crime after another against the State and against the public, but have made a marked advance in the openness with which they acknowledge their crime, and the vigour with which they repudiate the efforts of apologists to clear them of the guilt. They have shown themselves more eager and ready openly to assume the functions of properly constituted authority. Efforts to suggest that their crimes are the work of others are abandoned, and they claim the right to "execute," they deploy as an army, and proclaim public meetings. And all the time there is not even a semblance of sanction, moral or political, for their usurpations and actions.
The methods by which these dangerous organisations endeavour to enforce their will on the people are varied and terrifying and their overt acts have in recent months become more daring and more apparent. Intimidation is a powerful weapon, unfortunately too well known in this country, and it has been employed to the full limit of its terrible power. Young men, desirous only of attending to their ordinary business, have been forced by threats to join the I.R.A. and their employers forced to dismiss from their employment men who refused to join the Association. Threatening notices and letters are daily commonplaces. Witnesses or potential witnesses in State prosecutions are prevented by threats from giving evidence or information, and the detection of even ordinary crime is rendered difficult by the presence and dread of intimidation. Since the commencement of the present year —that is, during a period of less than ten months—numerous dumps of arms and ammunition have been discovered by the police; several murders and attempted murders have been effected; drilling has become common all over the country and numerous miscellaneous crime perpetrated. Let me give a summery of the crime during that period:—
On the 30th January Patrick Carroll was murdered by armed men at Captain's Lane, Crumlin. He was a member of the I.R.A. but was discovered by that organisation to have been giving information to the police. Deputies will remember that an attempt was made to attribute this murder to the police, who were in fact attacked during his funeral. On 21st March, Superintendent Curtin was murdered by armed men at Tipperary as he was returning home from duty at night. He had conducted a local prosecution for illegal drilling shortly before. On 20th July, John Ryan of Tipperary was taken by armed men at night from the house where he was employed and murdered on the roadside and the body left there. He had made statements to the police in connection with the same drilling charges as led to the murder of Superintendent Curtin. John Ryan was murdered because he refused to commit perjury. For these crime it has been impossible to make any person amenable.
On 23rd April, at night, two young men crossing the Dublin mountains were fired upon by an armed drilling party and one of them was severely wounded.
On 1st August shots were fired into a dance hall at Drumreilly, County Leitrim.
On 12th September, Mr. William McInerney, of Kilrush, was fired at when entering his own house and seriously wounded.
On 15th September, shots were fired into the house of the State Solicitor for County Clare.
On 18th July warders from Mountjoy Prison were attacked, whist off duty, by armed and one of them was handcuffed to an iron rail and chained by the neck and legs.
On 11th October, an attempt was made by armed men to release the brothers Gilmore from Mountjoy Perison. Five or Six armed men entered a house adjoining the prison and held up the occupants.
On 14th April, in order to embarrass a political function, the electric cable at Tipperary was malicioulsy damage so as to dislocate the lighting arrangements.
On 15th April, Dublin shopkeepers were visited and ordered not to sell imported sweets.
On 11th May, the lighting arrangements at Tralee were interfered with for the same motive as in the case of Tipperary on 14th April.
On 21st May, an armed assault and an attempt at arson was made at the North Wall to prevent the importation of English-made sweets.
On 12th July, the railways, buses, and telegraph lines in Kerry were interfered with order to prevent attendance at the Garda Sports at Tralee.
On 9th August, the railway line at Dore (West Triconaill) was blocked with boulders; the railway telephone wires were cut at Puck (East Triconaill) and the main road from Stranolar to Letter kenny was blocked with stones. The police were fired on when they interfered. Special trains had been arranged to attend the Garda Sports at Letter kenny. At Clonkeen (Portlaighise) 40 telephone and telegraph wire were cut, delaying a Dublin special to the Gárda Sports at Clonmel.
On 12th August, a public meeting at Cootehill, County Cavan (Orange Meeting) was prevented by the I.R.A. The railway line was torn up. It was subsequently announced that this was done by order of the Cavan Brigade, I.R.A.
On 24th August, a party of Boy Scouts camping at Dunleer were visited at night by about 20 armed men and their hut burned down.
On 12th January, 1931, a threatening poster was sent to Dublin residents with a view to influencing them as jurors.
On 6th February, 1931, several men were found openly drilling at Tipperary.
On 23rd April, 1931, Dublin jurors received intimidating posters.
On 30th April, 1931, a resident of Tipperary received a threatening letter signed "I.R.A." ordering him to leave the country.
On 5th April, 1931,a very large number of men, approximately 100, were found drilling at Dangan in Offaly under Sean McGuinness who was at that time an escaped prisoner.
On 14th April, 1931, drilling took place at Loughanure, County Donegal. One of the men was in the possession of a revolver
On 18th May, 1931, a determined attempt was made to break into the explosive magazine at Mooretown, Castleknock. Gelignite was used in the attempt.
On the 21st June, 1931, a large assembly of I.R.A. units was convened for Bodenstown under cover of the Wolfe Tone Commemoration.
On 12th September, 1931, a recently completed Garda Station at Kilreacle, Co. Galway, was blown up.
Crime being the stock-in-trade of the conspirators it was essential that they should endeavour to provide themselves with immunity from their crimes. The campaign to secure immunity has been conducted in a thorough-going manner; the methods adopted have been progressively bolder and more ruthless.
The police and Courts of Justice are the institutions of the State for the enforcement of law and the punishment of the offender. The attack upon the police, notwithstanding that some of them were murdered in the course of their duty, did not succeed in breaking the morale of the force, though it has succeeded in greater or less measure in different districts in rendering nugatory their efforts to detect offenders guilty of any crime which is associated, however remotely, with the activities of the conspiracy. The attack upon the Courts, on the other hand, has been a complete success. At the present moment, so far as what is loosely termed political crime is concerned, large bodies of the people have been prevented by terror from giving the necessary assistance to the police, so that evidence other than police evidence cannot be procured for production in Court, and juries, even in face of the most definite proof, refuse to convict. These facts are known to everybody who reads the daily Press.
For some years prior to 1929, efforts were made to influence jurors to refrain from conviction of persons charged with offences against the State. They were circularised and visited by members of the Irish Republican Army and of Cumann na mBan. This process of intimidation met with indifferent success, and although miscarriages of justice occurred from time to time, the jury system was in the main unimpaired. In that year, however, a new situation was created. Political pressure in the Dáil, combined with the fact that there had been an absence of serious political crime for a considerable period, induced the Government in December, 1928, to consent to repeal special legislation for the repression of anti-State activities, and within two months of the repeal one witness (Armstrong) was murdered and a juror (White) was gravely wounded in Dublin because of the conviction of certain activists. This signalised the breakdown of the jury system for this class of offence. The unprotected citizen who was liable to be called on as a witness or to serve on the jury panel was reminded of the fate of the murdered Armstrong, and it would have been to expect too much of human nature to hope that this terrorism would not have its effect. Citizens were exhorted to give no information to the police and were warned of the penalties administered to traitors. The campaign against members of the public who might assist the police culminated in the murder, a few weeks ago at Cappawhite, of John Ryan, whose offence was that he had answered the questions of the police engaged in prosecutions for illegal drilling. A man named Carroll, as I have already stated, had previously been murdered in Dublin for supplying information to the police concerning anti-State activities. The result of this campaign of terror is that well-disposed persons are in fear of their lives to assist the police in any way, even to talk to them in certain districts, and that no ordinary jury will now convict in any prosecution for a treasonable offence, or in any case where the impression is created that the accused is a member of or is associated with this armed conspiracy. And so the criminal can go on his way secure.
Even if the police received from ordinary citizens all the information and assistance that could be expected; even if the actual witness of a crime had the courage to face the threat of assassination and to testify publicly in the witness box against the criminal, all this would now be useless and would merely result in an additional crime-the subsequent murder of the witness The State realised its duty to the juror and has done its best to protect him but it has failed, and the juror has made it clear to the State and to his fellow-citizens that he is not prepared to deal with political crime so long as the criminals remain as powerful and are as ruthless as they are.
A recently distributed pamphlet of the Publicity Department of the Cumann na mBan makes the proud boast "Arming and Drilling of Ireland's faithful Soldiers of the Republican Army is taking place all over Ireland. And in spite of special Juries Acts passed recently by the Irish Free State Government no jury can be got to convict Irish patriots." I say no Government, and no self-respecting nation can allow itself thus to become enslaved by the terrorist activities of a small minority. Since it became apparent that the Government proposed to seek from the Oireachtas fuller and more adequate powers to deal with the situation these organisations decided to take action against the elected representatives of the people. They decided to try on them their usual weapon of intimidation. The normal procedure was imitated. "Information" as to the attitude which Deputies would adopt to the so-called "Public Safety Bill" was politely asked for. Following the procedure adopted by them in their attack on the judicial system, the next step would be definite threats and ultimately it may be the murder of Deputies would be resorted to if drastic action were not taken. This Government, and the members of the Parliament, will not tolerate any such attempt on Parliamentary institutions.
Within the past few months a new element of danger has been added to our existing perils. The I.R.A. has accepted as its ally the new organisation known as "Saor Eire," which is simply an organisation for setting up in this country a State on the lines of the Russian Soviet Republic. The means by which Saor Eire proposes to achieve its object may be quoted:- "(1) To organise Committees of Action amongst the Industrial and Agricultural Workers, to lead the day-to-day struggle of the Working-Classes and Working Farmers against exploitation, and to secure a revolutionary leadership for their common struggle. (2) The mobilisation of the mass of the Irish people behind a Revolutionary Government, for the overthrow of British Imperialism and its allies in Ireland, and for the organisation of a Workers' State."
Many of the organisers of "Saor Eire" have, in fact, actually been in Russia to receive training in the authentic Soviet gospel. The actual methods of this new body are "to exploit strikes, establish Communist cells in work-shops, mines, factories and trade unions, and they have a special organisation for exploiting the unemployed."
The existence of such an organisation in our midst, in active co-operation with an organised band of armed criminals, at a time when we are endeavouring to ward off from this State the terrible economic disasters of other countries is so obvious a menace that I need not emphasise it. No State has, in recent years, been less troubled than this State by economic upheavals; we are regarded throughout the world as a rather fortunate country, but that good fortune cannot continue if we are to tolerate in our midst men whose whole labours are devoted to a wrecking of our economic system and who have enlisted armed allies in that campaign. The advocacy in this State of Communist doctrines by those same men or their close allies who are also members of a secret, illegal armed association, who put in their printed programme such words as "revolutionary leadership,""mobilisation of the people behind a Revolutionary Government," and who do this at a time when every decent citizen is concerned to find a peaceful and orderly way out of our difficulties, cannot be tolerated, and they have, I submit, put themselves beyond the pale of constitutional activities.
It would seem incredible, in the light of these facts, with dumps of arms and explosives still at the disposal of irresponsible gun-men, with murder and treason preached openly, with this additional menace of Communism to our whole national life, with so much of our limited resources already wasted in repairing and checking the damage caused or threatened to the country by an armed minority—it would seem incredible that any member of this House, of whatever Party, should deliberately increase the danger in which this Nation stands by impeding the passage of this Bill. That a dangerous conspiracy exists is therefore beyond all doubt except for those who wilfully shut their eyes to what is occurring all round them. As a result of the activities outlined the methods heretofore provided by the Constitution and the Law, whilst adequate as regards ordinary crime have, in fact, proved entirely ineffective to deal with a conspiracy of the nature described. Thus the ordinary law-abiding citizen has been placed completely at the mercy of the least scrupulous fraction of the community. The conspirators have thoroughly grasped that fact and have brought their organisation to a state where they have secured, in practice, immunity from punishment.
In this Bill we are setting up a Tribunal which will not be amenable to terroristic methods. The suggestion has more than once been put forward when similar but less menacing conditions prevailed, that a Tribunal composed of two or more members of the existing judiciary acting without a jury would furnish an appropriate Tribunal for dealing with so-called political crimes. A moment's reflection will convince of the impracticability of such a proposal. The existing Judges were appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and they might, with every justification, object that their functions and their term of appointment did not include in criminal matters the decision of questions of fact which is a matter for a jury. These particular classes of crime are outside the ordinary scope of the criminal procedure.
I might mention that in connection with the Public Safety Act introduced here two or three years ago that I got a note—I am speaking from memory— I have seen one—from at least two members of the Supreme Court saying that they would require to relinquish their office if they were called upon to act as a Court in these matters.