Private Deputies' Business. - Constitution (Removal of Oath) Bill, 1932—Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
"To delete all words after the word "That" and substitute the words "believing that the rights and liberties and the economic freedom and privileges assured to the people by the Treaty of 1921 are placed in jeopardy by this Bill, the Dáil declines to give it a Second Reading pending negotiations and agreement between the Executive Council and the British Government upon the question at issue."—(Deputy Cosgrave).

It is really with great regret that I ask the House to withdraw for a few moments from the consideration of the big problem with which the President has been dealing. I would, for my part, willingly try to accept his request and to follow him, so far as I could, in any schemes which he has to put before us for the relief of unemployment. I can assure him that I have no feelings against him in that respect. Such help and co-operation as he could get from me as an independent member in dealing with the question he might count on. I wish I could feel that I could follow him equally in what he said about the Oath, because I feel from the bottom of my heart that the first step he has taken, this removal of the Oath Bill, is the very worst way in which he could have proceeded to deal with what is the important question of unemployment.

He has stated that no one in this House has yet raised a voice in favour of the Oath. I rise to take up his challenge. I am here to speak for the Oath, and I want the House to bear with me if I say things that are unpopular and unpleasing to them. I am one of those who hold, in the first place, that there is nothing in the Oath which can offend the most nice feelings of any one as regards independence. I hold, secondly, that an Oath is necessary in this State particularly, and I hold, thirdly, that for those whom I have the honour to represent, and I refer to those who used to be called the Southern Unionists, the Oath is a pledge of the bargain that was made with them.

Perhaps the House would also forgive me if I, in the first place, deal with this matter, which I do regard as the minor matter of this Bill, from a personal point of view. May I say, in order to express what I believe many others feel, what the Oath has been to me, what it meant when I took it originally and what it has meant in the endeavours that I have made to act loyally in accordance with that Oath and as a loyal subject of the Irish Free State?

Prior to the Treaty I was no politician. I voted Unionist. I held Unionist views. I took no part in political activities, but with many I was sick of strife. I was sick of things that were done on both sides, things that I abhorred and abhor still. But the Treaty came and there was a chance in it that old things might pass, that we might wipe the slate and start fresh with every section of the community bound together on one platform to work out the salvation of this unhappy land. I, sir, took that chance. I swept away every feeling that I had, that the salvation of the country rested in the Union. That has gone. Sad to say I find that that is not accepted even after ten years. I do not mind it personally, but it cuts me to the heart to feel that even after ten years that feeling remains with so many.

I suppose I shall be still regarded when speaking here to-day as—what was the phrase used?—one of the British outposts. I never took that stand and still less do I take it to-day. I speak to this Dáil and I make no appeal to England. I speak to the Dáil as the representative Assembly of this country, as the representative Assembly which I claim that those who were Unionists have done their best loyally to make a success. But that Treaty involved to my mind—it was accepted at the time universally, or almost universally, I think—the taking of this Oath. It was because of that Oath and because of what it contained that I for one was able to accept the Treaty. I was able to come here and take the Oath with all that it meant to me and it meant a lot. I was able to come and say that I would swear allegiance to the Irish Free State, and in doing so I swept away all my previous views. I understood that I was wiping the slate; that I would forget and was forgetting everything that had happened.

I came here to meet men, and I met them on the level, whom previously I had regarded as doing things which my innermost conscience condemned. I wiped the slate. I have never referred to that since, and after this day I hope I never shall. But the Oath meant to me a very great deal in that respect. It meant, in the first place, that I swore allegiance to this State. Any feelings with regard to the Union that I had before were gone. But I do not think it meant more to me than it meant to many. They were a minority I grant, but what were our hopes? That as we, a minority, were sacrificing our views, so other minorities were willing to and did sacrifice their views; that we agreed on a common basis and to work on that common basis for the salvation of this country.

Why was I able to take that as a common basis? Because the second part of the Oath was there and what do I understand by that second part? I can see no trace in it of subservience, no trace of foreign domination. All that I can see in it is that we as citizens of the Irish Free State accepted by our acceptance of the Treaty a voluntary position in an association called the British Commonwealth of Nations; that we accepted it on equal terms, and that we swore and swear in that Oath allegiance not to the king of a foreign country, not to some foreigner in any sense of power or otherwise, but to the Crown, as the symbol of unity under which these nations in that Commonwealth could stand together.

So much has been said about this Oath, so much has been misunderstood about it that I fear I am speaking very uselessly about it, and that in its present form the Oath will always be regarded by many as a bar. I agree with what the President said—I accept it—that the Oath in its present form is a bar to unity in this country. I accept that, and I accept it in a wider sense than that in which I believe he intended it. It is a bar because of the misunderstandings which have adhered to it.

It is a bar to many of the kind, though, I say, at the same time, they have stated that that bar is of very little consequence to them, and that, even if that bar is removed, it will make no difference to their attitude, until other steps have been taken. They say that they will not co-operate with others, until those other steps have been taken; that they will not cease the threat of violence, to gain, by any means in their power, the things which they regard as their ideal, but, of a sort, the President was right—the Oath in its present form remains to them as a bar. But take it away, it still, by its very absence, is, and will be, a bar to the unity of this country. It is a country we want, is it not, and not twenty-six counties? The hope of having the country united was our hope in accepting the Treaty, in accepting the Oath. Pass this Bill, and, as has been so ably urged by many, you put the final seal on partition.

The Minister for Finance showed a complete misunderstanding of the feeling in the Northern Counties about this matter. Those who took the opposite view know the North better, as I know it better. You can take no better steps to isolate, completely, the Six Counties, with their big majority, from the Twenty-six Counties than to pass this Bill. You will inevitably, and irrevocably, humanly speaking, put an end to hopes of an alliance, union and co-operation between the Twenty-six Counties and the Northern Counties. Deputy O'Hanlon, in the course of his speech, drew attention to the fact that, by your passing this Bill, you are cutting off, from yourself, the 400,000 people, who hold Nationalist views in the Six Counties. You do more. You break —I will not say, a pledge—but you smash the hopes of the Southern Unionists who gave up their views to join with you. You smash their hopes; you will turn many of them into exiles, and you are doing it, and will do it, if you pass this Bill, not from their own will, by any means, but force of circumstances will compel it. The Southern Unionists accepted the Treaty, with misgivings, I grant you; they did it, in a spirit of self-sacrifice, and in a spirit of hopefulness, prepared to do their best. They saw Arthur Griffith, through their representatives, and interviewed him many times. They met Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins, and they were cheered by the reception they got. They found men of wide outlook, men who recognised them, as part and parcel of this country, as men who ought to take their share of the responsibilities of this country. Would to God that Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith were here to-day, for an hour, to speak for us! but I still have hopes that, in appealing to the Fianna Fáil Deputies, I shall not be met by deaf ears.

I do appeal to them, as the leading Party in this House, this national Assembly of the country, a national Assembly which I regard as having full authority to legislate in this country, and to deal with the problems which have arisen, to give attention and consideration to a minority that has always held that it will not force its views by appeal to arms, or violence. Are they to be lacking in consideration because of that? I say no, and I do not think that any Fianna Fáil Deputy will say yes. I appeal to Fianna Fáil, not for the sake of any minority to sacrifice us, or to sacrifice their friends in the North as I tell them they are doing. If they do not believe me, if they want to find out, let them take the steps to find out. Let them do everything in their power to find out. I have no doubt what the result will be. Give yourself time to find out. Surely it is worth knowing. Common prudence suggests that it is worth knowing, before you take a step which, as has so forcibly been pointed out by Deputy O'Sullivan, will be an irrevocable step. I will say no more about what I feel is a minor matter. We are only a minority, but I come on to what I cannot help but think is the major issue in this Bill.

I absolutely accept the President's statement made, in what, perhaps, he will permit me to call, his extremely moderate and restrained speech, at the opening of this debate. I accept the statement absolutely, that he and the Fianna Fáil members believe that they are doing, in this Bill, nothing contrary to the Treaty. I am not challenging that at all, but I ask the House to follow me with reference to the only two arguments which I could understand were put forward in support of that contention, and to establish that view. It may have been quite possibly due to my slowness of apprehension, but, although I heard the President reiterate the statement, that he would prove that that belief was true, I could find only one argument in his speech, by which he substantiated it. If that argument is sound, one argument is enough, but I hold that the argument was absolutely unsound. Perhaps the President will correct me if I venture to restate his argument, as I understood it, and, if I have misapprehended it, perhaps he will correct me. If I state it wrongly, I certainly do not do so, of intention. The argument, as I take it, was this: there are two statements (1) the Treaty is violated by the removal of the Oath from the Constitution and (2) the Irish Free State is co-equal with Canada, Australia and the other members of the British Commonwealth. The President's argument, as I take it, was that you cannot hold by those two statements, logically. If this Bill, in so far as it removes the Oath, is a violation of the Treaty, it must follow, that we are bound by a restriction which does not bind Canada, and, that therefore, we are not on co-equal terms with Canada. Is that a fair statement of the President's argument? If it is not, I should like to hear it corrected, but that was what the President's argument seemed to me to be. I willingly give way to the President.

It is a pleasure to find somebody dealing with the question at issue, and trying to deal with it as a matter of law and argument, and not mere assertion. The position I take is this: that the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty clearly contain certain articles which might be classed as articles of an international character. Mr. Lloyd George, in his letter to Mr. Griffith himself, pointed that clearly out. I am not making the contention, and have not made the contention at any time that I remember, that the whole question of the Oath is to be determined by the meaning of Article IV. in itself. It is not. I have not depended upon the argument that the words "to be" are not the same——

I did not touch on that.

I want to indicate my line of argument. The words "to be" are different from the word "shall." I only point that out to show that there was a special meaning to be attached to the words "to be," inasmuch as I knew Lord Birkenhead was quite capable of using "shall," and knew its meaning if he wanted to say "shall." The words "to be" only can have a meaning if somewhere in the Articles of Agreement there was an implication that an oath of some kind was to be taken. That implication might be held to be in Article II, on account of our position at the start being the same as that of Canada, where an oath was taken. Article II being assumed to imply an implication of an oath of some kind, Article IV indicated what the form of the oath was to be. It was not to be the form used in Canada; it was to be another form. In the status Articles in that Treaty we hold—and it is not the present Government that hold it; it is not those who have Republican views, and believe that the best interests of the country would be served by having all our people in an united Republic, who make that statement; that position was held by our predecessors in office —that the status Articles indicated the position at which we were to start, and that the progress of Canada, Australia, and so on, in status would, step by step, be accompanied by similar progress here. I will admit it did not mean that we were to be identical in every way; that whatever procedure Canada might have we would have the same procedure here.

Assuming Article II involved the taking of an oath of some kind, Article IV indicated the form. I am not going to argue whether Canada could or could not at that time have got rid of the Oath, and whether their getting rid of the Oath would have involved at that time the power of getting rid of the Oath here. But we do hold that Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, having got confirmed the privileges which they were understood to have even long before they were confirmed by law, because of having got what I would call full legal recognition of the constitutional rights which they claimed to possess, and which the previous Government here claimed the Free State to possess in even greater measure than the others—that that being so it is clearly within our competence, as these Articles have reference to status alone, to remove any Articles which could be suggested as having been imposed by one member of that group upon another. That is our position. We believe, therefore, that on account of the nature of the Oath and the position it occupies in the whole Treaty arrangement, we are quite at liberty —just as Canada or Australia could to-morrow, or Great Britain could to-morrow—to remove the Oath any time we choose and that the removal of it has nothing whatever, good, bad, or indifferent, to do either with our proper Treaty relations with Great Britain, or our position in the British Commonwealth. That is our position.

I do not think the President has made the matter clearer. One of his points on Wednesday was that Canada and Australia could proceed to remove the Oath without reference to members of the Commonwealth and without exclusion from the Commonwealth. One of my replies to him was, and is, that I do not know whether they could or not. I do not think the President knows whether he could or not. I do not think anybody at present is in a position to state whether, if Canada or Australia were to take such a step, they would remain in the Commonwealth or not.

My argument is this. A position of co-equality with the other members of the Commonwealth does exist, but it exists on a totally different foundation with reference to this State from what it does with reference to Canada and Australia. This was the whole keystone of the position taken up by those who negotiated the Treaty.

Do the British accept that?

I think they did in the Treaty. Those who negotiated the Treaty were not prepared, and I am sure the President is not prepared, to accept that position. I am merely speaking about those who negotiated the Treaty and not about individuals in Ireland. But the whole keystone of the position of a large body in Ireland was that they were not a colony or a Dominion; that they were a free and independent people, negotiating with another free and independent people; that they were in a position to make a Treaty with that people, and that they did proceed to make a Treaty and, voluntarily of their own free will, they accepted, in making that Treaty, a position of co-equality in administration, in control of their own affairs and in government with Canada, Australia, and every other member of the Commonwealth, including Great Britain. Instead of putting the argument the way the President did, I put it this way: The Free State became co-equal with Great Britain in enacting a Treaty on equal terms by bilateral consent. There was a common Act passed in each House to ratify the Treaty. The Free State took up the position that it was an independent country, not a Dominion and not a colony, and that therefore its foundation was absolutely different from that of Canada or Australia, and that is the position established by the Treaty. It is only the foundation, the super-structure is the same.

The British never accepted that position.

I never said they did.

Then they are going to have it both ways.

The point is, what view was taken by those who accepted the Treaty on this side. They accepted co-equality in the Commonwealth with Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the other sections. They accepted it on terms of equality established on that foundation and basis. I put the argument this way: That Treaty, ratified in both Houses, does itself establish that position of equality between this State and Great Britain. Am I speaking as a citizen of the Free State or not? I say that does establish the position of equality between this State and Great Britain. Great Britain is co-equal with Canada and Australia, by the terms of their agreement, in the Commonwealth and, therefore, we are co-equal not only with Great Britain, but also with Canada, Australia and the other Dominions in the Commonwealth.

The second argument was the one to which the President has referred in his explanation. To that I attach no importance whatever. That "to be" argument was definitely abandoned as an argument at the time of the negotiations on the Treaty. I have before me a statement which I can read if the House wishes, which to my knowledge has never been replied to, a statement made by another Irish statement for whom I have the greatest admiration and respect, the late Kevin O'Higgins. He made the statement that the argument based on the use of the words "to be" cannot be logically sustained. If the Dáil wishes, I shall read the passage, but it is hardly worth detaining the Dáil. It is, however, well worth reading the discussion which took place at the time the Treaty was ratified. The statement appears in Vol. 24, Col. 481 of the Official Reports. Let us pass from that. Is the question really, whether we can satisfy ourselves, or not, that we can do this without abrogating the Treaty? I say definitely no.

We have obligations in this matter; we have national and international obligations in this matter. We have not only international obligations with Great Britain but with the world and the nations the world contains. Just as an individual claiming his own rights and privileges is morally bound to consider the reactions of his actions upon other individuals, so any State, small or great, ought to consider the moral effect of its actions upon other nations of the world. If there is any future, as I hope and pray there may be, before this country in the history of the world, are we going to establish that hope on the foundation and basis proposed in this Bill? If any country in the world should be scrupulously careful as to how to proceed when any question of a violation of a Treaty arises, it is this new State, this Irish Free State. To a large extent it holds in its hands the international future of small countries and the possibility of small countries obtaining for themselves the recognition from great powerful countries of rights and privileges. If we by our action to-day show that we care so little for treaties that we are prepared even to sacrifice a treaty unless our interpretation of it is taken, what hope is there for other small countries that big countries will not be put in the position that Great Britain is put in to-day by our action?

If you do not care for the Southern Unionists as they are called, if you do not care for minorities here, if you are satisfied that you can do this without in any way breaking our obligation, then, in the name of God, prove that, not only here, but before England and before all the countries in the world. Do not let happen what will happen if you pass this Bill. What will Great Britain say? They will not proceed to argue it. It will be said that you have broken the Treaty. We know that is going to be said. What will the whole world say? The Irish Free State took a step that they were told by the other signatories to the bargain was breaking the Treaty, and nevertheless they took it, careless as to how it would affect other treaties and possible international obligations. That argument, I would hope, might appeal to everyone in this House. After it, I hesitate to put any argument that more affects our future prosperity, but it must be said, if you do this with this Treaty what other nation will make a treaty with you? If the meaning of the Treaty is only to be determined by what view we take of it, not at the time we made it, but at any future time by any future Government that comes into power, what is the validity of international obligation? What other country will bind itself with us in any international obligations? An argument like that, moral arguments and arguments of equity and arguments of international claims, appeals that we should look even beyond our own selves, that we should look to our obligations with others, are those on which I principally rely in my appeal to the Fianna Fáil Party.

At the same time, we have been challenged by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to indicate how we think this Bill, if passed, is going to affect us economically. I definitely refuse to accept that challenge here. I am pressed by my constituency and by many others throughout the country to accept it and to state in detail what are the consequences that will follow. I cannot for one thing. I can say what may follow. I do not agree with the various views that were put forward as to what actions may follow on the part of Great Britain. That is not the point at all. I am willing to meet the Minister for Industry and Commerce and to tell him in private what consequences I believe will follow.

Consequences and reactions of such a wide nature will follow that I think it is impossible for any one in this House to realise or to estimate them, but they are consequences that I am convinced will bring misery to this country. I fear, as I speak, that I am speaking very largely uselessly, and that nothing will convince us of the truth of what I say except bitter experience, and that we have got to go through the mill of bitter and sad experience, before we realise what we are doing in this Bill. I am as convinced of the truth and the reality of these consequences as I am of the fact that I am addressing this Dáil. I do not think anybody can realise what this Bill will mean to the farmers, to the businessmen, to the Universities, everywhere, if we pass it into law—consequences which I dread to attempt, and which I am not going to attempt, to put into words here. My reason is that any such attempt to put into words every specific consequence of this action could only expedite and precipitate the particular action of which we are afraid.

As I said, I am perfectly willing to speak fully to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the President himself if they are prepared to hear me. I appeal for time. Prudence demands that we should examine as carefully as we can whether these dreadful consequences are not going to occur or whether my imagination is running riot. I believe the consequences have begun. I am not going to indicate to-day how, but I am prepared to state everything I know to the Government if they care to hear me. But for every reason, for prudence, for the sanctity of our promises, for the meaning of treaties, for the sanctity and possibility of future treaties, I appeal to the Fianna Fáil Party to hesitate before they put this Bill into law and bring about things that they do not believe are going to happen, but which I am convinced will happen.

It is indeed with a feeling of great sadness that I rise to oppose this Bill. I never believed that any Parliament in this State would so debase itself as to bring in a measure of this nature—a measure which is about to proclaim to the world at large that the policy of this Government stands for repudiation, and that they have set their face against all a country should hold most sacred, the honour of their word. The Government declared that they hold a mandate to introduce this measure. I maintain they hold no such mandate. The utmost strength that could be placed on any mandate they received with regard to the Oath was to negotiate the question with the British Government.

By the action they have now taken they have usurped the power given to them. They have outraged the feelings of every decent person in this country. The county which I have the honour to represent was, in the recent General Election, most emphatic in the construction which they placed on what meant the honour of this country. No one knows that better than the Labour member for the County Wicklow. If he votes for this Bill he will be letting down all those people who trusted him. If he votes for the Bill he will do that. I am certain of one thing, and that is, that Labour in the County Wicklow would never voice repudiation or anything that was dishonourable. This is my opinion of Labour in the County Wicklow. I believe I am not making a misstatement when I say that that is what Labour all over the Saorstát would do.

Some time or other in the career of a member of Parliament, there is likely to arise an occasion when he has to make a vital decision, a decision which may be contrary to the views of the rest of his party. However, honour and country stand before everything else. We had a very striking example of that in this House only a short time ago. The action of the particular Deputies in that case was overwhelmingly endorsed by the electors of this country when they found that Deputies Morrissey and Anthony placed the honour of the country first. I am sorry that the Labour member for Wicklow is not here at the moment. If he were here I would say to him: "Stand for the honour of the country like a man and refuse to be a pawn in the machination to ruin your own country."

On the 16th August, 1927, Senator Johnson, then Deputy Johnson, the leader of the Labour Party, had a motion down that the Executive Council had ceased to retain the support of the majority of Dáil Eireann. The object of that motion was to place the Party then led by President de Valera in power in conjunction with the Labour Party. In my speech on that occasion I warned Deputy Johnson of the pit into which he was walking. At that time the Labour Party numbered 22. There was a General Election in September following, and Deputy Johnson never sat in this Dáil again as Deputy, and the Labour Party was reduced to 13 at that election. We had an illuminating demonstration this morning of the now corporate body of the Government Party and Labour Party. When the dog barks the tail wags. I advise the Labour Party that if they vote for this Bill, which they know perfectly well is a breaking of the Treaty, they are going back on their former policy on this question, and I feel that if they do not heed this warning their Party will cease to exist at the next General Election.

I agree with Deputy Norton that this Bill will not provide employment for any single man or woman who is now unemployed. I agree with him that it will not feed one hungry child and I agree with him that it will not improve trade, promote industries, or give an impetus to business. I fear the very reverse will obtain and it is well they know it. To the Government I say, the essence of this Bill is the breaking of the Treaty. They have received no mandate to do that. Legal opinions may be advanced for and against, but personally that does not sway me one iota. Right is right, wrong is wrong. A solemn Treaty was made between this country and Great Britain and cannot be altered without mutual consent, but it can be dishonoured by one Party and that is what this Bill will do if it is passed by the Dáil.

Ten years have elapsed since the signing of this Treaty and during that period the Irish Free State under the late Government and Great Britain under the various Governments, Coalition, Conservative, Labour and National, have scrupulously honoured every word of that Treaty. There is apt to be a certain amount of loose talk about the good faith of England since the Treaty was signed. It often struck me that there would be a great deal less of this if people on this side of the water who make these statements would make an honest endeavour to understand the people across the water. If they did, there would be much less of this loose talk.

I will recount to the House the experience I had thirty years ago and it may surprise them. I was then in Patagonia in South America and in these days communication was very much restricted. There were no railways and for over a year I received no letters. I was unable to send out any letters. I got no newspapers. I tell you that just to give you an idea of the conditions under which I lived at the time. When one made a bargain or a deal there were no lawyers to draw up conditions. Everything was dependent on faith and honour. I will say this that during my stay of ten years there, I was never let down once. What struck me as most extraordinary is this: the usual custom of making a bargain or a deal was to shake hands and to use the following words "palabra Englera,""the word of an Englishman." How that custom had travelled down into the wilds of Patagonia I cannot tell, but there is no question about it that it had been based on approved facts that the word of an Englishman was his bond.

I cannot help thinking that if this Bill passes, out there in Patagonia when they require a suitable phrase to designate a broken or a dishonoured contract, those who vote for this Bill will have supplied a very suitable one—palabra Irlandera, the word of an Irishman. I would like to ask the President has he taken into account all possible repercussions, economic and otherwise, that may arise if this Bill passes the House? If so, it is his clear duty to state that and to indicate what measures he proposes to counteract them so that both the House and the country may know every possible aspect. If he has not taken into account every possible reaction, then I most emphatically declare that he is trying to conceal essential facts.

To my mind this Bill is nothing but a fraudulent gamble. The people are asked to stain the honour and good name of their country, endanger her economic welfare and the hope of the North and South being united. And the price is what? The removal of the Oath, the breaking of a solemn Treaty in order to satisfy the egotism of President de Valera. With regard to the North, I look upon this Bill as a very important declaration on the part of the present Government that they have definitely renounced for all time any wish or idea of a united Ireland. I can hear the death-knell ringing of all hopes of every true Irishman to see our country united. The bell ringers of that sad knell will be those who vote for this Bill.

Deputy MacDermot said that the Treaty was unpopular. I entirely disagree with that statement. I remember perfectly well when the news came that the Treaty was signed. It was exactly as if suddenly one day the sun came up and one had not seen it for months. I remember the joy on the faces of everyone I met. People who would not pass a good morning or a good evening for months were only too willing to do so. There was joy everywhere. That Treaty was one of the most popular things that was ever brought to this country. The real damage to that popularity was done by President de Valera when he refused to accept majority rule, and when he brought about the Civil War, all over the Treaty. That is what made the Treaty unpopular. Not only that, but by his action then he created a cancerous growth which has spread. When I say a cancerous growth, I mean the bitterness started by the action he then took.

In conclusion, I will say this. Out there in Leinster Lawn there stands a memorial to three brave Irishmen, men who worked for the Treaty, lived for the Treaty and died believing in and for the Treaty. If there is any shred of decency left in any member of this House who votes for this Bill and perchance he shall stroll by that monument, then I say to him "Pass on, it honours none you wish to mourn."

Speaking just before 2 o'clock the President said something to the effect that he wished there would be very little talk on this measure and that the legal people on both sides would talk. I asked yesterday whether the Bill was to be withdrawn in view of the silence, particularly from the legal members on the Government Benches. We have to ask ourselves is there a legal defence of this Bill at all. The President is putting the measure before us on a purely legal basis, yet not a single Deputy of legal standing has spoken in support of it. There are four members of the Fianna Fáil Party in the House now and one member of the Labour Party. The absence of legal members' speeches, the vote we had already here this morning and the arguments that have been extracted from the Minister for Industry and Commerce, if they can be called arguments, all go to show that the Government Party is going to put this measure, with the assistance of the Labour Party, over this House by a majority of six or whatever it is.

The legal arguments do not matter one bit. That being so, we again ask for some kind of clarity, apart altogether from legal arguments, as to where the policy of the President is leading us. Speaking on the unemployment debate just now he said: "We do not want to go off without a general idea of the direction we are going in." That is our position in regard to this measure. We do not want to go off in any direction without knowing in some kind of a general way what the consequences are of our going in that particular direction.

On a point of order. There is not a full House.

There are three Government members and a leader.

There is a House, and the Deputy may resume.

I apologise for delaying the House.

It is certainly not made up from the Fianna Fáil Benches or the Labour Benches.

History repeating itself.

We want to know where we are going. We are concerned with the position in 1932, with the persons in authority in 1932, and with their policies. The President implies that that is his attitude, that he has not gone back into the past, but is simply dealing with things present. Members of this House who supported his election as President have risen and pointed out that they are not satisfied with the legal position in connection with this Bill, that they are not supporting it. Nevertheless he has made no attempt to satisfy the wants of those Deputies on the legal point. We have got no statement from him as to where his policy is leading us. The only reply that has been made to Deputies speaking from these benches has been the reply of persons who can conveniently be repudiated, the replies of Deputy Maguire, Deputy Carney, Deputy Breen and the Minister for Finance. These can be conveniently repudiated in connection with the point at issue. What these Deputies have dragged across the present debate, while the President washes his hands of anything like it, is the charge of treachery and the charge of traitorism on the part of persons on these benches. Deputy Thrift, speaking now, made it clear that he was not replying to the challenge of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to tell him what were the consequences of proceeding with this measure without previous conference, at any rate, with the other party to the agreement. The Deputy would have been challenged both in this House and in the President's Press with being a traitor to his country and with putting suggestions into the hands of the British if he made any attempt to answer the challenge of the Minister.

In putting this measure before the country the Deputies who have spoken have attempted to throw over the arguments from these benches, the kind of charge that the Deputies on this side were the King's English. The Minister for Finance usually wants to keep himself right with history Deputies on the opposite benches attempted in a minor way to follow up. The Minister for Finance is supposed to be very busy yet he was able to come into this House and, on this debate, deal with one of those matters that the President said he was not dragging across the debate. He came in to challenge Deputies on this side with being responsible for the gross betrayal of the Six Counties. Quoting from the Irish Times, this is what he said:

What were the implications of Article 12 and what was the interpretation of the Article accepted by the men who signed the Treaty? It was the broad view that considerable tracts of South Armagh, South Down, Tyrone, and Derry would be added to the territory of the Free State. If Mr. Cosgrave now held that International Agreement should be interpreted not in the letter or form but in the substance then in 1925 when he agreed to amendment of the Treaty in regard to Article 12 Mr. Cosgrave was guilty of gross betrayal, and his name should be held up to obloquy.

The Minister for Finance busied himself with coming into the debate in order to cover up his tracks with history. Speaking on the 28th April, 1922 on his attitude in that period, he said

When the history of this period comes to be written whatever else may be said of me I will be numbered with those who put principles above expediency, who placed honour above honours and the interests of Ireland above the interests of the British Empire.

He is interested in history. He wants to keep right with history. He comes into this debate and charges those who are standing for conference and agreement as a way of settling disputes, with acting the traitor. But on the 22nd December, 1921, Deputy MacEntee who is now so concerned that considerable tracts of South Armagh, South Down, Tyrone, and Derry should be added to the Free State said at that important time when opinions were being formed on which decisions were going to be taken:

Its effect is to remove from Northern Ireland the strongest force that makes for the unification of Ireland. It is going to remove from Northern Ireland the strongest force that makes for the unification of Ireland.

He repeated that.

It is going to remove from under the jurisdication of the Northern Government that strong Nationalist minority which every day tries to bring Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic. They, I might almost say, are to be driven from their native Ulster and, instead, their places are to be taken by certain sections of the population of Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal; and that is being done in order that Carsonia shall secure a homogeneous population which is necessary for her in order to develop, as England intends and as the Orange politicians intend it should develop, into a second State and a second people usurping the Irish soil.

Deputy Cosgrave is charged in this debate that when in negotiation in 1925, he prevented from coming about a position that would have brought a very regrettable and disastrous state of affairs, a position that, in the opinion of the Minister for Finance, would have come about if the people of the Six Counties in small units had expressed their opinion as to whether they should be in or out of the Free State.

History is not a very good looking baby at its birth. In its earlier years it is not very careful of its words, and when it associates with the English Sunday Press, you may almost suspect its morals. We are having history dished up to us across the floor and in the Press of the Deputies opposite. Deputy Maguire last night did not attempt to explain to us the difference in soul between the Deputies on the benches opposite and Deputies on these benches. Although we are told by the Deputies' writers that it is not a difference of opinion that exists in this House, but a difference of soul, we want to find out what the differences of opinion are. When asked by Deputy Cosgrave what these ideals of Irish nationality were that Deputies on the opposite side were talking about, Deputy Maguire said that, if instead of being at a wedding in Newtownforbes, Deputy Cosgrave had been following the hearse of Mrs. Pearse, he would know what Irish national ideals were.

As I say, history, when a young lady, is sometimes not very careful of what she says. When Deputy de Valera was elected for Clare recently and Deputy Cosgrave for Cork, Deputy de Valera's Press reported the fact and told us who the two Deputies were. We were told in the Irish Press of Thursday, February 18, that Deputy de Valera, elected as Fianna Fáil Deputy for Clare, was a Sinn Féin T.D. for East Clare since 1917, that he was a commandant in the Insurrection of 1916, that he was sentenced to death, the sentence being commuted to penal servitude for life, and that he was released in the general amnesty in June. We are told that Deputy Cosgrave was President of the Executive Council since 1922, having succeeded Mr. Michael Collins; that he was Minister for Local Government in the Provisional Government and that, in 1918, he was elected and M.P. for St. Patrick's Division of Dublin. Of course, Deputy Cosgrave was not in the Insurrection of 1916. He was not condemned to death. Deputy Cosgrave was a Sinn Féin T.D. in 1917, but, in this organ of the Irish nation, he becomes an M.P. Deputy Cosgrave followed Pearse in 1916. History, as recorded from the far benches and by their organs, carefully and deliberately obscures that fact, just as the sub-editorial history writers of the far side are able to draw their blue pencil through the list of people who attend funerals such as Mrs. Pearse's, as they are able to draw them through arguments that Deputies on the other side do not like. It comes very well to have charges like that thrown at these benches when we remember that

Mrs. Pearse's coffin was carried out by one who, five years after Padraic Pearse's execution, and up to some months after the truce had been wrung from the British, was still accepting briefs from the Hamar Greenwood Government here against Irish public bodies who gave their allegiance to Dáil Eireann rather than to the British Government at the time.

That statement is evidently directed towards me and is inaccurate.

Will the Minister refer to the records of his colleague, the Minister for Local Government, and he will tell him if it is inaccurate?

The word of the Minister, as of any Deputy, must be accepted by the Deputy and by the House.

I withdraw the statement. Deputy Breen comes along with a statement so reminiscent of a statement made by his leader that we might very well, when we are facing the question of the path we are going, relate it to the statement of his leader. Deputy Breen tells us that he, at any rate, stands and will be true to those things for which his comrades died, for which he even went out to kill Lord French, and if it were possible to kill the last link of British supremacy in this country he would do the same again to-morrow if the occasion arose. That is where he stands to-day. In connection with that, I want to recall a statement made by Deputy de Valera on 27th April, 1922 (column 308 Official Report). Deputy de Valera said:

I have said here in Dáil Eireann definitely that my position was that if there was something which I thought the Irish people should take under the circumstances while I personally could not be myself the sponsor of anything less than that for which my comrades had died with which I associated isolation to a large extent as well as the sovereignty of the country—if there was something less than that whilst I myself could not take it yet I would never do anything to stand in the way of the Irish people accepting it. But I am now in this particular case standing against this Treaty because I do not believe the Irish people should accept it.

Many times the President told us that he saw circumstances in which a particular line of action should be pursued by the people of this country in their own interests, but if it was anything less than that for which his comrades had died and with which he associated isolation to a large extent he would not sponsor it. I want to know what he is sponsoring to-day. The President plays the traditional role of national leader and not a Party leader. He has long ago declared: "I have never been accustomed to the Party spirit and I will never be a Party leader." In January, 1922, at the Paris Assembly, so impressed were some of the delegates with that statement that a delegate from the Argentine said, "With the greatest pleasure I heard Mr. de Valera the other day giving his word that he would never be a leader of Party politics in Ireland, and if it had been possible for him to gain greater love and respect in my heart he could not have said anything that would appeal to me more." It is true the President then interjected and said: "I hope you do not interpret me too literally."

We want a clear interpretation here, dealing with the very important measure that is before us, a clear interpretation as to what position exactly the President is going to hold and what policy he is going to pursue. We want to know in a general way what the consequences of it are likely to be. He cannot either before this House or before the country escape the responsibilities which have come down definitely on his shoulders. From the day on which he was elected President of this Assembly he has the responsibility of being a Party leader, of carrying out a policy, and of being held responsible by this House and by the people for that policy.

We are asked for unity on this question, and for unity on the economic question. We are asked, in the first place, by a man who in Paris again declared "I feel that without the existence of our Party (that is the anti-Treaty Party) Ireland is ruined. The one thing that would have ruined Ireland altogether would have been unity." We do not stand for anything like that. We do not say that you would not have had a much better position in the country with an all one Party operating the best thought-out policy that can be thought out. But when there are questions to be asked about policies, we stand for asking them. We stand for the clearest possible examination both of the proposals themselves and their consequences; and we say that no talk of history from the opposite benches, blotting out, as it were, from participation in the national life people who are labelled traitors by Deputies on the opposite benches, no talk of history blotting out that, no talk of blotting out the opinions of the people in the Six Counties, when we talk of Ireland as a whole, no talk of putting these people in a back place, or in the shade, can make the President in his present position a national leader, unless, as Party leader, he puts before us policies and explains them to us in such a way that we can accept them, feeling that there is any reasonable hope at any rate that they are on sound lines both national and economic.

We are in this position, that we are told that the President is going to take the Oath out of the Constitution. I think he tells us that that does not affect the Treaty. But by the President and the old Cabinet, and the plenipotentiaries as a whole, the idea of the Crown was accepted. And the Oath is to be taken out of the Constitution. That might all be very well in itself. But, as some Deputies here have said, we had an occasion the other night on which an action that was an insult to the representative of the French Government here has been subsequently explained by the President's organ as under no circumstances and in no way intended to be an insult to him, but an insult to and a denial and repudiation of the representative of the Crown here.

If we are going to have no Oath here, if we are going to have no representative of the Crown here, we are entitled to ask what recognition of the Crown is the President prepared to have? First and foremost, if he is going to have, as quickly as he possibly can, a Republic for the Thirty-Two Counties, is he going to have a Twenty-Six County Republic here? If he is, why does he not declare it now and then invite, in the words of his Minister for Finance, the Presbyterians of the North to come in and join in setting up his Republican Government, as a Republican Government is more in keeping with their traditional line of thought? If he does not do that, then what kind of recognition of the Crown in this country is he going to have? The President may deny that he is going to have any recognition of the Crown here. Then he is driven back again to the position with regard to the people. Bitterly, in every possible way, he opposed the setting up of the Free State here. Nothing has been left unsaid against those who supported the setting up of the Free State and who have carried it on since. Nothing has been left unsaid that would weaken the prestige of the Free State as such in the eyes of the Irish people; and yet ten years afterwards, he comes into this House to admit that the people of this country still stand for the Free State. And still standing for the Free State, we are entitled to ask on the part of the people what recognition of the Crown is there going to be in this State?

The President told us to-day that what he has worked for all his life in this movement is for power to order the industry of this country and to control the resources of this country, so that the people might live in this country without any other people interfering with them, the power to turn the resources of this country to the best advantage. Both from his side and from Deputies like Deputy Breen we are challenged to-day that Deputies on this side cannot stand for a recognition of the Crown. When discussions were about being entered on in 1921, and after the election in 1921, President de Valera addressed the Dáil at that time to bring to their notice that he was entering upon certain conversations with the British; and he said on the 16th August, 1921, as reported in page 8 of the Official Report of the debates:—

You all understand the seriousness of that reply. You all understand that it is intended by the British Government to make the issue one of peace or war with this nation.

And having told them that we were about entering upon a discussion that in his opinion meant peace or war with the British, he then went on:—

Two and a half years ago, as you know, the old Dáil was elected as an expression of the will of the Irish nation in a General Election which was, in effect, a plebiscite. The question was to put to the Irish people, what form of Government they wanted, how they wished to live, so that they might have an opportunity of working out for themselves their own national life in their own way, and the answer that the Irish people gave was unmistakable. I do not say that that answer was for a form of government so much, because we are not Republican doctrinaires, but it was for Irish freedom and Irish independence, and it was obvious to everyone who considered the question that Irish independence could not be realised at the present time in any other way so suitably as through a Republic. Hence it was that the Irish Republic as such was sanctioned by the representatives of the people.

After that, drawing the attention of Deputies in the Dáil to the fact that this was a matter of peace or war, and that the Irish people had declared not so much for a form of government, that they were not, including himself, Republican doctrinaires, he afterwards wanted to know how he would get out of the strait jacket of the Republic, and he told us in the Dáil later on that he had battered down the walls of an isolated republic and that he had sent Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith to London to negotiate a Treaty, with no instructions that they were to get an Irish Republic. Collins, in the debate on 19th December, 1921, page 36, deals with this position as one who had occupied the position that he did in the struggle for independence, and who had been sent to London not to negotiate an Irish Republic but to negotiate association with the British Commonwealth of Nations. He said:—

I knew when I was going over there that I was being placed in a position that I could not reconcile, and that I could not, in the public mind, be reconciled with what they thought I stood for, no matter what we brought back—and if we brought back the recognition of the Republic—but I knew that the English would make a greater effort if I were there than they would if I were not there, and I did not care if my popularity was sacrificed or not. I should have been unfair to my own country if I did not go there. Members of the Dáil well remember that I protested against being selected.

That is the Collins spirit, the Collins outlook on realities, and that is the spirit in which, replying to the President to-day and to Deputy Breen and to Deputy MacEntee, we say that if they keep their eyes too much on history they will find themselves like the Labour Party here who have kept their eyes and kept their lips too much on democratic principles. We face the situation of to-day and nothing but the situation of to-day. And it is in that spirit that we ask the President to-day to tell us here in this House, and to tell the people of the country through this House what form of recognition he is going to accept of the Crown here in the Free State.

It would have been too late ten weeks after Easter Sunday of 1916 for Deputy de Valera to tell Patrick Pearse or James Connolly that he approved of their judgment. It was too late two years after the decision on the boundary and the financial settlement was discussed here in 1925 —it was two years too late in 1927 for Deputies on the far side to come in to affect that. They wanted then to keep themselves right with history. In the Shelbourne Hotel the President's idea was that the members of the Fianna Fáil Party together with those members of the Farmers Party who would assist them if they were in here, together with the members who left the Cumann na nGaedheal Party at that particular time—he wanted to write their names upon a paper to show that they were against the settlement that was arrived at at that time. They could not swallow the "empty formula" then and come in and influence the decision of this House. As I say, it was two years too late in 1927 to influence that. It was five years too late in 1927 to swallow that "empty formula" that was not there in 1922 to be swallowed, and to take their part in argument and discussion here that would have stopped the civil strife that lost us Collins and Lynch, and young men from Donegal to Kerry and thirty or thirty-five millions of pounds. It is going to be too late in 10 months' time for the President to realise what the consequences of his act here to-day are. And it would be well if, instead of rushing this measure through this House in this particular way, he would take the week-end to think it over, and if Deputies would take the week-end to go down and think it over themselves and be helped to think it over by their constituents in the country.

"Stand fast to the Free State. It is your national need and your economic salvation." Is there a man behind the President there on the two benches who does not realise, or does the President himself not realise deep down in that heart of his that he talks about, that never, never was a truer piece of political advice given to the people of this country than the piece of advice that Griffith enshrined in that statement? It has grown, you may say, truer and truer ever since. Deputies on the far side told us to-day that their economic policy is the economic policy of James Connolly. We are not told any details about what that economic policy was or is to be. But I do challenge them that there is not a single one of them, facing Irish conditions, if left to himself, sitting down at his own fireside or walking in his own farm, or meeting people at his own business—I do challenge them that there is not a single one of them whose policy for this country is any whit different from the policy economic, social or national that Deputies on these benches have. They have different policies for the sake of being different, and that is why the President is so oppressed to-day when he thinks of the problems that lie before him for solution, because he is going about them in a way that is different just in order to be different. The Labour Party to-day choked down discussion on this Bill, choked down the talk that they would hear from their constituents if they went home to them for this week-end. There is a paper called the "Watchword," said to be the official organ of the Irish Trade Union Congress and of the Irish Labour Party. The policy propounded in it has, I must admit, not always been subscribed to by the Labour Party in this House on very important occasions, but such as it is, and such as is the connection, the "Watchword" has been circulated among some of us. I see it every week, but it was thought well to circulate it specially amongst some persons recently in order to draw their attention to an article which appeared in it on the 26th March, 1932, page 3. The article is entitled "The New Patriotism" by Mrs. William Carson. In this article we are told:

We are entering a new era—the international era—and the watchword of this era is fraternity and co-operation. Previous to the outbreak of the Great War the idea of national independence was dominant. The world had scarcely sensed the idea of co-operation amongst the nations. Now the idea of world federation is gaining ground, and to that objective the nations are slowly moving. Natural evolutionary processes are bringing us into this era of internationalism.

And later:

There is evidence of two opposing currents of thought to-day, one that moves in the direction of the old methods of violence, bloodshed and the use of the battlefield as a court of appeal, and the other current moving towards the newer method of the settlement of disputes by reason—by a conference table or a world court.

They ask, "which thought-current is strongly?""The destruction or the safety of the race hangs on the answer to that question." Later on it points out that in the new current that moves forward towards a peaceful settlement, we find amongst other things "the easy communication which leads to understanding and understanding leads to good will." Then it says: "The patriot of to-day sees that above all nations is humanity. All the fervour of the new patriotism is directed against what divides and what destroys."

The new patriotism would progress, in doing away by the conference table with these disputes and the causes of them that arise between peoples and that divide and destroy. Here we have a Party supporting a measure which repudiates the conference table and repudiates it on a matter in which the members of that Party by their vote and argument took a decision in this House in 1922.

Both Deputy Corish and Deputy Davin took a different side on a vote of this kind in 1922. Both of them realise the progress that has been made arising out of the Treaty as an organic instrument to develop our full powers of nationality here. Both of them have seen the growth, not necessarily in our powers here because these powers we have contended were there all along, but the growth in the wiping out of disputes and differences of opinion and in getting a common level of understanding as a result of the conference table work that has been carried on by members from these benches with the British during the last ten years.

Now, although the members of the Labour Party have not been spoken to about the legal side of this matter by the legal Deputies who sit on the Government Benches, and though they have not been given any idea as to the possible consequences of discarding conference, they are rushing, by their vote this morning and will again by their vote this evening, a situation in which the conference table as a means of achieving the objects of the new patriotism, which is, I take it, the old patriotism to be worked out by different means, is to be discarded. That is the Labour Party's contribution.

I do not know why those who produce the "Watchword" and who include these articles should circulate them free. The position in 1932 and the men of 1932 and their policies is what we are concerned with, and what does stand out as wanting in this debate is a statement by the President as to what recognition he is going to recommend of the Crown in the Free State.

The ground has already been so thoroughly covered, at least by Deputies sitting on this side of the House, that it is extremely difficult at this stage to find anything new to say. On an issue of such vital importance, however, the most important that has come before the Dáil since the Treaty, I am reluctant to cast a silent vote. I am in full agreement with the position taken up by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney: That this Bill is not only what Deputy Dr. O'Higgins described as an oblique attack on the Treaty, but I consider it a complete military operation, an attack in mass formation, a mass frontal and flank attack on the whole Treaty position. When, as a result of that attack, the Treaty is swept out of the way, I do not know what the position will be. The legal Deputies on the other side have not given us any information on that point. I presume that we return to the status quo ante. So far as I know, there seems to be no precedent in international law for the position that will then arise. What our position will be at the time, whether we will be in Limbo, Purgatory or Hell is a matter that I would like to get some enlightenment on from the legal Deputies on the opposite side.

However, I consider that this Bill is a threat to all the institutions, social, political and economic, that have arisen out of that Treaty position, during the last ten years. I regard this as a condemnation of, and a vote of censure on, the whole policy of this Dáil, from the time of its inception down to the time of the passing of the Statute of Westminster. Before Deputies on the opposite benches take up arms against such a sea of troubles—troubles that, I fear, will not be ended by opposing them—I would ask them to look very carefully into the whole situation and see if there is no other path, no better path, no more statesmanlike path, along which they can travel to achieve their object; and, above all, I ask them to look carefully into the amendment put down by Deputy Cosgrave to see if it does not provide the common ground, so dear to the heart of Deputy Cleary, from which we can all advance with a united front.

In the present serious economic condition of this country, there is a very heavy responsibility on the shoulders of every Deputy in this Dáil, but particularly on the shoulders of the Deputies on the Government Benches. A heavy responsibility rests on them, in introducing any measure likely to worsen the position of our trade and commerce. What, after all, is our principal duty, as representatives in this sovereign Assembly? President de Valera said, and I agree with him, that he considers that our main duty is to preserve peace and order. He said to-day, on the debate on unemployment, that it was also the duty of the Government to endeavour to secure a measure of frugal comfort, a fair measure of the things worth while in this life, for the people who sent us here, for the people of our generation. I consider that if we in this Dáil are able to accomplish these things, and to accomplish them without, at the same time, putting an irremovable barrier, or obstacle, in the line of the Nation's march to its ultimate destiny, whatever that may be, then I consider that we have deserved well, not only of this, but of future generations. I maintain that this Dáil from its inception down to the present time has succeeded in accomplishing those things.

Common sense suggests, and our history proves, that it is not always wise to attempt to envisage, or define, too clearly, the needs and aspirations of future generations. It is not always good policy to sacrifice the interests of our contemporaries for some imaginary, and possibly some illusory, advantage for those who are going to come after us. No previous generation could possibly have envisaged our needs and our aspirations and our achievements of to-day. Similarly, looking back, we find that the current of our history did not always run in the same channel, or in the same direction. The history of the relations between this country and Great Britain was, for a long time, merely a record of the struggle of those supporting some Royal House in Ireland, on the one hand, and those giving allegiance to an English King on the other hand, and it sounds strange in our ears to-day to be reminded that, for the first time, there was something like general co-operation in this country between Irish Royalists and English Loyalists, when they were confronted by the stern reality of an existing Republic. The reaction of Irishmen to that Republic was of such a definite kind, that a bitter phrase has been coined which has rung down the ages to our own time— the phrase "the curse of Cromwell!"

Republicanism, as Deputy Gorey pointed out, first of all became fashionable in Ireland when the American War of Independence and the French Revolution had given a new turn to political speculation. It has remained fashionable ever since, mainly because of its appeal for progressive sentiment throughout the world, and especially because of its appeal to the people of our own race in the United States. I do not share Deputy Gorey's contempt for republics. I have a great admiration for certain republics, and particularly for the Republics of France and the United States. I was born an American citizen, and I never gave up that citizenship until I became a subject of Saorstát Eireann. I still believe that, considered in vacuo, the republican form of Government is an excellent form of Government, but, as practical statesmen, we must realise that you cannot divorce political questions from other questions that are closely associated with them. You cannot divorce the political question in Ireland to-day from the economic question, and you cannot divorce it from its connection with the ultimate unity of this country. Neither can you divorce it from the effect it is going to have on the nations with which we are associated at the present time, nor from the effect it is going to have on our whole international status. But, even assuming that as a result of the break ing of this Oath and the going ahead with the programme—I do not know what the programme is; I can only assume it from what has been hinted at here to-day—we have either a republican external association—I do not know what the exact name is; there is no name in international law to describe what this anomalous political entity will be—does anyone here imagine that the majority of those who are advocating republicanism in Ireland to-day will be satisfied with a republic based on the French or American conception? Everybody here knows perfectly well that our modern revolutionaries, whether in Ireland or outside Ireland, would regard such a political institution as something quite as obsolete, quite as inadequate, to meet their views as would be a resuscitated Grattan's Parliament. In order to mark their appreciation of the deficiency of their own slogan: "Up the Republic," we find that cry continually supplemented with such phrases as "The Workers' Republic,""The Socialist Republic,""The Friends of Soviet Russia," and so forth.

In the midst of the kaleidoscopic development of new political institutions which is proceeding all round us in the world to-day, who will have the hardihood to say here what form of government would best suit the interests of this or any other country in thirty years time? Where is the prophet who will tell us which, if any, of these forms of government will be worth purchasing at the price of sound, safe, and rational economic progress? If there is one thing that emerges more clearly than anything else out of the present welter of world crises, it is that politics are everywhere gradually taking a back seat and economics are everywhere becoming more and more important. Political exploitation of one people by another people is now happily almost a thing of the past, and nations with imperialistic ambitious are not nearly so much concerned with the creation of as with the creation of markets.

Deputy Kennedy compared the position of Ireland with the position of Denmark, to the great advantage of Denmark. He did not remind us, however, of the fact that not only has Denmark gone off the gold standard to retain her hold on the British market, but that public men in Denmark have come out openly and said that there might be something to be gained by negotiation with Great Britain, to see how they could become associated with the British Commonwealth in order that they might take advantage of her Imperial preference. We have in the United States to-day a strong and influential party, not as one might expect in order to prevent the Philippine Islands from seceding, or to prevent them from resuming their old allegiance to Spain, but in order, if necessary; to force independence down their necks, so that they can force the goods of the Filipinos outside the American tariff wall, which at the present time is proving a source of great embarrasment to the goods produced by native Americans. Going further afield, we find the whole world in arms in Geneva to-day threatening Japan not, as one might imagine, because Japan is trying to force a Japanese prince on the Manchurian throne, but because she has set up a new State to be ruled over, whether by a Chinese emperor or by a high Russian general is of no importance to the Japanese, so long as that rule can ensure a constant and adequate supply of beans from Southern Manchuria—this may seem highly ridiculous to us, but it is very important to Japan—on Japanese ships into Japanese ports to feed her teeming population. It is at such a time and in such a world we are contemplating taking a political plunge that may very easily inscribe the words, "No Irish produce sold here," over the shop-fronts of our best and practically our only customer.

We are told that the removal of this

Oath will open a constitutional path to certain elements of our population who, at the present time, feel obliged to agitate by forceful and illegal methods. I do not believe that the number of people who will be influenced very much one way or another by the deletion of the Oath, assuming there are no other consequences to follow, is very large. I agree, however, with Deputies on the Government Benches that if we could increase the number of people giving willing allegiance and obedience to this Dáil, and represented in this Dáil, even by one per cent., we would have done something useful. The whole question is: What is going to be the cost of doing this, and what is the best procedure to adopt when doing it? I maintain that the proper procedure to follow is the procedure that the late Government followed all along, and that procedure has to its credit many big things, including getting rid of the control of the Privy Council and the whole development of our constitutional position from the Treaty up to the passing of the Statute of Westminster. I believe that this also could be done by negotiation and agreement by all the parties concerned and not by this method of jackboot diplomacy which, in order to be made effective, would require the sanction of a fleet of 20,000-ton ironclads and Zeppelins instead of being supported, as it is, by the solitary might and majesty of the Minister for Lands and Fisheries' only warship—the Muirchu.

We are living in trying and hazardous times. Unemployment, as the debate to-day only too clearly shows, is on the increase. In spite of what the President has said here, the prospects for its immediate relief are not very rosy. Those of us who are meeting farmers at fairs and markets up and down the country have heard in the accounts of our principal industry a note of despondency, almost of desperation, which we have not heard there before. I will not touch upon the possible effects of this measure on the ultimate unity of our country, which I know that Deputies on the opposite benches have as much at heart as we have. I think, however, that everybody realises full well that the effect of this measure on that is not going to be a good one. It may be putting this debate on a low standard, but I maintain that in the present economic condition of the country and in the possible effects of this measure on that economic condition, we have an argument sufficiently convincing to show us that this is possibly the worst time, and this the worst method of embarking upon this unnecessary and provocative political experiment.

I regret allowing myself to be trapped, I may say, into using the time of the House in debating this question. I have never in all my experience heard so much talk over such a long time with such little sense. The question of the Oath of Allegiance is a national question, has always been a national question. We all know with what abhorrence the Irish people in the past looked upon people who through force of circumstances were forced to subscribe to an Oath of Allegiance by joining the British Army. Knowing that, we still feel we are interpreting the feelings of the people of Ireland when we stand up in this House with the intention of demolishing that Oath of Allegiance. The thing that amazes me is when I hear Deputies opposite, in expounding the case from their point of view, putting forward a case that should only be put forward by Englishmen in the English House of Commons. It makes me feel that we are a nation that can still produce people without very much brains, to put it mildly.

Deputy Mulcahy, a few moments ago, was telling the House what he thought about certain things. I want to say what I thought about certain things also. I want to say that the Deputy Mulcahy of 1932 would have been shot down by the Deputy Mulcahy of 1916. I want to say, and I served under Deputy Mulcahy, that he would have lined up the gentlemen sitting on the benches opposite who are propounding the views they are propounding to-day, and he would have ordered that they should be shot at sight during the period of the "Tan" War. They can deny that.

Has nothing happened since?

Deputy Blythe wrote an article at that period which he termed "Relentless Warfare." He had to suffer for the writing of that article. If I am not mistaken he advocated most relentless measures against every man, whether active or non-active, as long as he was a member of the British Army in Ireland. I am not advocating any of those measures to-day. We are here under the leadership of President de Valera, going to secure for the Irish people what we failed to secure through the medium of arms. We are here to-day, oath-bound if you like, or otherwise, with the intention of demolishing that Oath of Allegiance, and we are going to accomplish it.

The point that I think vexes the people on the opposite side of the House more than any other point made here is that we have secured a certain amount of unity in this House. We have secured unity with the Labour Party and I would go further and say that the Labour Party is now on the right path to labour emancipation and from this on is going to build itself up as a national labour organisation, what it should always be, and it will be built up at the expense of the Party opposite, and I hope to see that day. A Deputy opposite during the course of this debate called one of the most gracious figures that ever graced the pages of Irish history a murderer. I have seen Deputies in this House spring to their feet when a Deputy on this side of the House referred to a person in some part of Ireland in terms that the officials of the Government referred to him later in their reports. I have seen Deputies on the other side of the House spring up because the poor fellow, as they said, was not here to defend himself. I did not hear a solitary voice raised in defence of this dead man. I say that the Deputy who made that charge of murder against that gracious figure did a greater injustice to himself than to the dead man.

Deputy Mulcahy talked about conferences. He was pointing out that there was a way to secure something from conferences. I know that Deputy Mulcahy turned down the possibility of a conference when blood and tears might have been saved had he accepted a conference. He did not accept a conference and the war went on. Yet he stands up now and has the audacity to tell the House and the people of the country through the House that he stands for conference. He stands for conference when he finds he is on the beaten side. I solemnly believe that the thing that hurts the people on the opposite side is the fact that the nation is at last going to make progress, that it is going to be proved to the people of Ireland that the nine years the Party opposite were in office have been nine years of uselessness; and that now because we are going to clear the decks and produce work for the people they are nervous of the fact that that will be made clear to the masses of the people in Ireland. We are going to produce work and to do everything possible to help the people of Ireland to be put in the position they should be in ten years ago, and because we are going to do that these people are more grieved than they are at the removal of the Oath.

As a member of the Independent group. I wish to state shortly my views in opposition to this Bill. Deputy Thrift spoke here to-day on behalf of the Southern ex-Unionists. No one was better entitled or better qualified to speak on their behalf than Deputy Thrift. I cannot unfortunately speak for them. I have to speak from a different angle because I was associated with the National movement before the majority of the members of this House were born. I have remained connected with that movement ever since. I never altered my beliefs. They are the same now as they were when I was twenty years of age.

I do think that the history of the debate on this Bill will go down as the one glaring instance when a Bill was put through the Dáil, founded upon two props which are not only absolutely without foundation but so baseless that they almost verge on dishonesty. The first of these props is the statement made here over and over again that the country has given a mandate for the Bill. The country has given nothing of the sort. No one can, with honesty in his mind, and a readiness to face the facts, suggest for a moment that this Bill comes before the House on a mandate from the Irish people. Nothing can be further from the truth. One would imagine that during the election the whole country was discussing this Oath. As a matter of fact we heard very little about it in the country. The people did not want to listen to it, although here and there as I was on a political platform I referred to it.

It was not this Oath that got office for the Government. They secured their votes by undertaking to give to those deluded people the Land Annuities. They were told that the Land Annuities would be retained and that cut of these moneys they would get complete agricultural derating. What is the result? What is their answer now? They got that mandate, and their answer to me the other day when I put down a question was, first of all, that instructions had been given to the county and urban councils to "proceed with the collection of the rates; business as usual; do not mind our electioneering chaff." When I asked a further question as to what was the present policy of the Government towards agricultural derating I was told that that was a question that would require notice! That is the mandate they got, and that is the way they kept it.

They got a mandate to deal with unemployment. With great respect to President de Valera the mandate was not given on the statements he made here to-day. It was given on the unconditional pledge from every Fianna Fáil platform in the country that I had the misfortune, or otherwise, of listening to. All his followers, man after man, and speaker after speaker said "We will get rid of unemployment. There will be no more unemployment once you return us." On the strength of that pledge they got a mandate to do away with, and abolish, unemployment. How are they keeping it? If it were within human ingenuity to invent a system, or method, of increasing unemployment in this country, President de Valera has succeeded in doing it by the introduction of this Bill. It cannot, and will not, have any other effect but to increase unemployment.

He got a mandate, also, in the matter of national economising. We had the usual discussion as to the Governor-General's salary and the salary of several Ministers. Each of these discussions of course was greeted with open arms. I hope that each of these economies which we were promised will come. I am waiting, particularly, to find out from President de Valera the nature of the economies he is going to effect. In connection with the allowances to be given to the Deputies in this House, I am anxious to know the nature of these economies also. He has, undoubtedly, a national mandate to effect these economies. There is no reason why there should be any delay about that matter. His Government has been elected now for practically three months, and there is no reason why he cannot take up a matter of that kind, and get rid of it in half an hour. It requires no consultations and no officials. The people have given him a mandate to do it and he ought to do it. The Government got another mandate on Wednesday last, as clear a mandate as could be given, when on the first important division his Government was defeated by six votes. What form of mandate does he want from this House that could be clearer? That was a mandáte telling him that he had not the confidence of this House. That is the only mandate he got from this House, and it ought to be a lesson to him. When we are told that there is complete unity between President de Valera and the Labour Party we might take that with a grain of salt.

During the last election four of the five Deputies in my own division advocated the Treaty and the Constitution. Out of the five Deputies for West Cork there were four who stood for the Treaty and the Constitution:— Deputy O'Neill, Deputy O'Donovan and I advocated the Treaty or the

Constitution. There was the fourth Deputy who advocated it more strongly than any of us from every Labour platform. We had no meeting of the Labour organisation in which Deputy Murphy, my colleague in West Cork, did not advocate the maintenance of the Treaty and the Constitution. It was as a result of the pledges he gave to support the Treaty and the Constitution that he succeeded in being returned at the head of the poll. That is the mandate Deputy Murphy has got. How will he observe it?

President de Valera is very anxious that the mandate should be carried into effect. I spoke in favour of the Treaty, and I spoke in favour of the Constitution and so did the Deputies who came first, second, third and fourth, but one Deputy who out-Heroded us all in his advocacy of the Treaty and the Constitution was Deputy Murphy, who put before the electors the view of the Labour Party. He assured them that he was speaking for the Labour Party, and as a result of the policy he advocated on the public platforms he is now senior member for West Cork.

The next prop upon which this Bill is founded is that it is not a breach of the Treaty. We heard a lot of talk about legal opinion. There are some things that require no legal opinion, things on which any Deputy of this House is just as well entitled to form an opinion as I am, or even as the Attorney-General himself. It requires no great ability to translate the words which state clearly and openly: "The Oath to be taken by the members of the Parliament of the Free State is to be in the following words." I cannot understand any form of words that could be clearer. If a six-year old child told you that he, or she, did not understand these words, his or her ears would be boxed. I suggest that they have nothing but the plain meaning which Deputy Finlay put so well last night. That is, as clear as an agreement for a lease or tenancy at, say, a rent to be paid of £20 a year. "The Oath to be taken is in the following form," and anybody who tries to read into that Oath, or Article of the Treaty, words such as this—that the Oath is to be taken or not to be taken, just as the Deputy pleases, at his own discretion— anybody who does that is a hoofler.

A hoofler, meaning somebody beneath the honour and dignity of the gentleman who plies the three-card trick at country fairs. There is no doubt whatever about it. The meaning of the Treaty is just as clear as the statements that have been made here, and I repeat it is clear that this Bill is a breach of the Treaty. We are to be condemned, as a result of this debate, to be held up by England as the country of the violated Treaty. But if so, do not let us be held up by England as a nation of dullards. Do not let us be held up by England as an Assembly that is not capable of understanding the words which are quite clear to the meanest intelligence. I came into this House five years ago. Up to that time I had never taken an oath of allegiance. But when I came in here I took the Oath. I was taught at my mother's knee what an oath meant. I took the Oath knowing the solemnity of what I was doing and swearing—that I was swearing before God that I would carry out the Oath and keep it.

Was that your first oath?

I kept that Oath. When I came here I was astonished to see almost in every corner of the House people who had taken the Oath long before I had taken it. When I look at the occupants of the Government Benches and at the occupants of other benches I can still see that in every corner of the House there are people who took the Oath of Allegiance here before I did. I got into the Dáil some time in June 1927. President de Valera may possibly remember a speech he made in Kilmallock around that time. He told the young men that they would be all lying in their graves before he or the Party associated with him would take that Oath. Yet what happens? A few weeks later President de Valera made the alarming and, to my mind, blasphemous discovery that the taking of the Oath was nothing but a mere empty formula. Every man-jack of his Party flopped into the House and took the Oath.

Does the President still think that the taking of the Oath was a mere empty formula? If so, why all this nonsense? Where is the necessity for this Bill? Is it not really in order to get rid of the Treaty? President de Valera went better than that. Two years passed and at the end of that time he made a more alarming discovery. He discovered that he had never taken the Oath at all. I do not know which of these discoveries is the more important, but I do submit in all seriousness that the good sense of every member of the House will indicate to him that the Oath he has taken is a solemn thing and it remains as serious and as solemn to-day as on the day he took it. When taking that Oath he called upon God to witness that what he was swearing was true.

What will be the result of the passing of this Bill? I believe its passage will be greeted with joy in Denmark. It will be greeted with more joy than anywhere else amongst a certain section in Northern Ireland who are opposed to any suggestion of unity with Southern Ireland. What will be the result so far as the legal position is concerned? If we understand the President correctly the Treaty will still remain, but on the face of the Treaty there will still be this Oath and the declaration that the Oath must be taken by every member of this House as formerly. We are trying to repudiate the Treaty, but take care that we succeed. The one immediate effect of the passing of the Bill will be to do more to divide Ireland than anything that has been done within the past twenty years.

We have all hoped and prayed and worked for a united Ireland, but if this Bill passes all our efforts will be frustrated. For the last ten years there has been built up, in Northern Ireland, a feeling of confidence. I verily believe that we had almost succeeded in getting a very large section of support in Northern Ireland. There are men and women there to-day hoping and praying that unity can be achieved. Many of those men have been opposed to us who had national politics in the past. What will be their position if the Treaty is broken? They will be content to remain in the North, and the President will have succeeded in sending them back. That will be one result following the passing of this Bill. What will be the effect on agriculture? The agricultural community were to be free of all rates, according to what they were told at the election. The first gift they received was in the nature of an intimation that the price of agricultural machinery would be increased by 33? per cent.

Spades and shovels.

The fact is the agricultural community will be left in a state of poverty. Unemployment will be largely increased. The unemployment created by this Bill will be more than anyone here can realise. Deputy Mulcahy was very anxious to ascertain how far the President would recognise the King in the Free State Constitution. Deputy Traynor had also some views on that question. I will tell you how far the President says he is prepared to go. He is prepared to swear this: "I, Eamon de Valera, do hereby swear faithful allegiance to the Constitution of Ireland and to the principle of the association of Ireland with the British Commonwealth of Nations and recognise His Britannic Majesty as head of the Associated States."

Where did the Deputy get that?

Does the President suggest that I am not quoting Document No. 2 correctly?

Where did the Deputy get it?

Mr. Hogan (Galway):

Does the President not recognise it?

I am taking it from Document No. 2.

It was not in Document No. 2.

Old Document No. 2. The President has so far forgotten Document No. 2 that he does not recognise the Oath.

The Deputy has no idea of what he is talking about.

Mr. Hogan

Does the President not recognise it?

I do. I have heard it many times from the other side.

And dictated it.

We have got the President's admission that there is a document which he recognises. We have got that far and I think it would be only fair if the President would explain to the House the relationship of his present tactics to Document No. 2. He will get the opportunity later and we will be all very pleased to hear from him what has become of Document No. 2. What amendments does he want to it, and does he now propose to adhere to his former declaration that he was willing to sign and subscribe to Document No. 2?

It would require more time than we have at our disposal to discuss that matter.

What is the real object of this Bill? I have set out some of its consequences and I have told you, so far as I could, what are the results that will flow from it. What is its real object? I found great difficulty in ascertaining that until I heard the declaration by a Deputy, whose name I do not know but who sits on the Government Benches, say that one army would soon be the official army— the I.R.A. That is the object of this Bill as announced from the Government Benches. Is it because he thinks that the passage of this Bill will have the effect—and I do not at all suggest that he may not be right in his conclusion—of placing this country once again under the control of the I.R.A. that the Deputy is going to vote for the Bill? I hope and pray that day will never arrive.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

As Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney said the other evening, this is certainly a strange debate. Practically every legal mind in opposition to this Bill has contributed to the debate but not one of those Deputies has succeeded in disproving our contention that we have a perfect right within the Constitution to introduce and pass this Bill. They have set out to prove that the Oath is mandatory in the Treaty, and in support of that they quoted the words "the Oath to be taken."

I requested Deputy Finlay last night to give his interpretation of the words "one to be appointed" which were contained in Article XII of the Treaty and in another Article of the Constitution. He omitted to deal with the point. Deputy Wolfe and others have done likewise. All through this debate there is a ring of insincerity so far as those who are opposed to the Bill are concerned. Running right through the speech of Deputy Cosgrave in particular there was a ring of insincerity. Let us cast our minds back ten or twelve years, or a little further, sixteen years, recognising that this is practically the anniversary week of 1916. During that week the man who is now Deputy Cosgrave went out on the streets of Dublin an armed man, animated with one desire. What was that desire? Complete separation for this country. Picture that man walking with his rifle on his shoulder into the fight in Easter Week. If anyone had said that sixteen years later we would find that man leading the Opposition here to a Bill to remove an Oath of Allegiance to the English King what would be the answer? That is the man who now urges his Party and the section of the Irish people over whom he ruled for ten years to declare that they shall finally and definitely revoke their right to any further freedom, that they shall forego that right. That is exactly what the opposition to this Bill means. He asks that they shall forego their right to advance any further along National lines. Notwithstanding all the foolishness and everything else that the Deputy was responsible for during his ten years in office one cannot help feeling very sad to find him occupying that position during the anniversary week of 1916. I am really and truly sincere in suggesting to his colleagues, to advise him not to continue his opposition, because if he does and carries it into the Division Lobby Irish history must put him on a parallel with Castlereagh, the man who, so far as he possibly could, sold his country into bondage. Therefore I appeal to Deputy Cosgrave's colleagues who still believe in National ideals, as I hope Deputy Cosgrave does, to point out to him the folly of his ways and to save him from this irretrievable blunder.

Deputy Dillon wants to get rid of the Oath, but he wants to dictate the exact manner in which we are to get rid of it. He harps back to the villainies of Sinn Fein. There again we come up against the type of opposition to this Bill. Was there ever such a heterogeneous collection of individuals figuring in any public discussion? There is just one unifying force holding them together, one burning desire overriding everything else, that perhaps will hold them together for a few months longer, and that is their deadly hatred of the President of this State. They hate him with an unholy hatred. I do not know for what reason. Many of them through misunderstanding and others for other reasons. That seems to be the only plank on which they stand together in this House. There was nearly being a breach in their ranks last evening.

Deputy Fitzgerald is as ever the true blue-blooded and choicely spoken Imperialist, a man who is filled with the idea evidently that the only proper and fitting national anthem for this country is "God Save the King." If, as some other Deputy said, we were suggesting that we should dress our Ministers in Court dress and supply them with tall hats and with all the other necessary paraphernalia, and send them to King George saying "Please Your Majesty, may we introduce a Bill for removing the Oath," I believe we would have Deputy Fitzgerald supporting us.

Deputy O'Higgins endeavoured to give some colour of logic to his speech. He reverted to the Treaty debates and quoted anti-Treaty speeches to prove his case, that the Oath was mandatory in the Treaty. Let us follow Deputy O'Higgins a little bit further. I want to ask the Deputy what becomes of the main overriding arguments used during the Treaty debates that the Treaty was a stepping-stone to freedom? Will anyone in this House deny that that was one of the principal planks on which the Treaty was passed with a majority of seven, that it was a stepping-stone to freedom— freedom to achieve freedom? We were to have Irish culture, Irish ideals and the Irish language propagated under the Treaty.

And you have got them.

Now when we propose to take the very first step forward since the Treaty was passed, when we propose to apply the acid test to the argument that it was a Treaty that would enable us to advance further, and was a stepping stone to freedom, we are met by this type of political carrion crows shouting about external force and external aggression. I never listened to more unreal talk during the five years of the last Dáil than I have listened to during the last few days. To say the least of it, it is disgusting. I do not know what impression a visitor from any other country would form of the mentality of people who claim to be Irish citizens standing up in defence of an oath of allegiance to an English king, and saying to us, notwithstanding the fact that we have a perfect right to put the Bill through—a right which they claim to have secured for us—for God's sake do not exercise this right or some terrible consequences will ensue. I want to answer a question that Deputy Cosgrave asked following the introduction of the Bill by the President. He asked for a definition of Irish national aspirations. I think I can answer it by simply quoting words that he himself used in a speech in Kilkenny, in 1917, when he said:

"Irish nationalism and British Imperialism can never mix. One is a denial of the other. All we want is to be allowed to live our own life in our own country without interference from any outside source whatsoever."

Are we entitled to exercise that right? That is all this Bill asks. We are not trailing our coats to anybody. We are told, and have been told during the last ten years, that we have got absolute and complete freedom, that we have even the right of secession. We are simply seeking to take a clause out of the Constitution, which we claim we are legally entitled to do. I appeal to the Opposition, for the sake of the future of this country and its history, for the sake of the place which some of them hope to secure in that history, not to go into the Lobby in opposition to this Bill.

Before I address myself to the maze of arguments and the quibbling statements that have been made in connection with this Bill, I should like to introduce myself to this debate by two remarks. I want to stress, in the first place, the rather humble and somewhat embarrassing position in which I offer myself to the House to-day—a sprat to catch a whale, or perhaps I should say a sprat to catch two whales, the whale of the Minister for Justice and the whale of Attorney-General, two persons who have in the last couple of days broken the record for endurance so far as submersion is concerned, who have not come up yet to spout and who it is to be hoped will shed whatever legal light they have to shed upon this debate before it concludes. My second introductory remark is that if it were permissible to address the House instead of addressing the Chair, I feel I could include the whole House in one general declaration and address them as "Fellow-Treatyites all." You may have been republicans isolated, or republicans associated or acceptors of the Treaty as a stepping-stone or acceptors of the Treaty as it was or even supporters of the old Nationalist Party or ex-Unionists. The one thing we seem to be unanimous about in this debate is that that much maligned instrument, the Treaty, gives us at any rate the power to do whatever we like in relation to England.

The Labour Party, which I see before me, finds itself in an important position in this debate. We have had a division in this House, one which will probably rule the figures for the division that is to come. In that division, a victory was secured by six votes, with seven Labour Deputies voting on the side of the Government. Again, a vote is likely to be carried by six Deputies, with seven Labour Deputies voting for the Government. The onus of this measure rests on the Labour Party in a way in which the onus of no other measure ever rested. It is they who have got to face their constituents hereafter on that particular issue and to demonstrate how far the mandate they got—whatever mandate the Government got—entitles them to act as they are doing in this debate and as they will act in the division to come. If Deputy Norton were here, I would address him on this point in language that would be slightly tinged with melancholy and compliment—somewhat like that of an obituary notice because Labour leaders have been notoriously unlucky in this House. There was a Deputy who is now a Senator and he disappeared. There was the last leader of the Labour Party—may I say sincerely that I regret his absence from this House at this moment—who is in the limbo where some Labour leaders must suffer for a time before they are relegated to the Seanad. Deputy Norton must at this moment almost see the plank out over the sides of the ship for himself. He must almost feel that the walk is for him.

The plank you walked a few days ago.

The Deputy is getting voluble for the first time in this debate. Why have the Labour leaders suffered in this way? The Deputy who was leader and is now a Senator came into this House in September, 1923, and in an aggrieved way—because his Party had not got better support at the polls—said that he had taken certain action with regard to political prisoners and it seemed to him—I think I quote him rightly—that the verdict of the people was that they should not attend to that type of matter but should confine themselves to social and economic problems. But the Deputy persevered, with his Party, and he went to the election of 1927 after paying attention mainly to social and economic matters. He got returned at the head of the biggest squad of Labour followers this House ever saw. He played politics immediately. He went to the country again and we have not seen him in this House since. Deputy O'Connell has gone, and Deputy Norton is now playing politics—playing politics for which he has got no mandate—and Deputy Norton is likely to meet the fate of those who have preceded him. Deputy O'Connell, speaking in this House on 17th July, said:—

I think there can be no doubt that so far as the right of the British Government to interfere in the affairs of this State is in question any such right has definitely disappeared.

Senator Johnson, speaking in the Seanad on 23rd July on the same subject—the report of the Commonwealth Conference—said:

The question of a monarchy or hereditary power gives us little concern so long as the hereditary monarchy has nothing to say to the affairs of this State. We do not see any real difference between a hereditary monarchy and a President so long as that hereditary monarch does not interfere with the affairs of the State, and, particularly, so long as he does not land on the shores of the State.

He then went on to say that Labour members had an objection to monarchies because of the hereditary principle, and continued: "So long as only the name appears and there is no reality behind it we are not going to be very much concerned."

Further on he said:

"With these exceptions we believe in regard to the relation between Great Britain and Ireland that this part of the country which comes within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of this State is as free from British influence as it would be with the most radical Republic that could be established."

Speaking in the same debate Senator O'Farrell opened by saying:

"I subscribe to Senator Johnson's whole statement and support the amendment which he put forward." He said further:

"I too have to admit that the whole tendency since the Free State became part of the Commonwealth of Nations has been towards the decentralisation and dismemberment of what was the British Empire. I have no brief, good, bad or indifferent, from those who represent the State here, but I have to admit that they have assisted other members of that Commonwealth and led them in asserting their independence as co-equal members of the Commonwealth."

Later Senator O'Farrell continued in this way:

"As to the question in regard to the King, some people have the King as great an obsession as the Orangemen have the Pope. I certainly cannot see that the question of a King, President, or anything else in Britain matters very much to us except as merely a theoretical arrangement."

Later he said:

"If I could see that it was not going to help the State I certainly would strongly advocate our boycotting of these conferences, but I think not only are we developing without violence, force and the generation of hatred, not only are we developing the independence of this country politically, but we are helping the other States of the Commonwealth to develop their independence also; not only are we helping ourselves, but we are helping others. There is no alternative, having accepted all the implications of the Treaty, whilst that Treaty does exist, but to make use of the machinery that it provides in order to improve our position and help others, if we can. When the people of this country alter that and put it aside, and when the war drums beat for action and we are prepared to tell all and sundry ‘Every man to his tents, O Israel,' I am prepared to follow that course, but until that is done I think we should use the machinery placed at our disposal, and that is what is being done in this, and that is why I am supporting this amendment."

Deputy Norton is now going to refuse to vote for a motion which asks that there should be negotiation and agreement upon the question at issue between the two contracting parties to the Treaty. He is in this strange and illogical position for the reason given by himself, that the British themselves have made up their minds irrevocably that the Oath is mandatory in the Treaty and he asks then: "Why negotiate with them?" Deputy Norton agrees that this Bill will not put any boots or shoes on unclad feet, but he is going to accept the Bill which takes out the Oath which the other party to the instrument declared to be mandatory, and he is going to risk all that may follow from that, rather than negotiate. I thought the Labour Party—the few we have over there— thought that negotiation and conference were what should be accepted always, and that force should only be resorted to in the ultimate. Deputy Norton and the Deputies who sit beside him, if they carry this measure, because it will be they who will carry this measure, have got to go to their constituents and say to them that they had helped to take boots and shoes off feet that are now clad. They will have to declare that in what they are going to do to-day they are not going to help any of the people to whom they owe their places in this House, and that they are going to do it on an issue which is trifling. Deputy O'Connell's statement that the British Government had no force or power in this country, and all that Senator Johnson and Senator O'Farrell have said in the other House—are all these going to be put in jeopardy because Deputy Norton and his colleagues will not agree to negotiation? It is not that they will not agree to give anything away, but it is that they will not consent to have this matter settled by the method of negotiation and conference usually employed by Labour to settle disputes. And because the British Government have made up their minds that the Oath is mandatory, Deputy Norton is going to allow it to be taken out of the Constitution, because he says there is no use in negotiating with people whose minds have been fixed. Deputy Norton's mind was on occasion declared to be fixed when a strike was pending, and it was proved not to be so fixed before he came out of the conference.

Quote the case.

No, I will not go into it.

Will you withdraw the inaccurate statement then?

The President is against negotiations. And why? "I would," he said "be justly accused of a retrograde step and the giving away of something which the present Opposition say they gained during their term of office." And for that reason and for no other he will not be drawn into negotiation. Previously he had referred to the analogy of my dealing with the Privy Council; and while repeating the analogy he says that he will not be drawn into negotiations because the present Opposition would say that it was a retrograde step. Did we not negotiate about the Privy Council?

What date?

For years past and up to the moment that we left office.

And what were you prepared to do then?

I was not prepared to bring in a Bill to break the Treaty. The procedure that we established for him was negotiation. I am meeting the only argument that the President himself has put forward that we would say if he negotiated that it was a retrograde step. How could we say it —we who have negotiated time and time again? And how, especially, could we say it after the motion which has been put down by Deputy Cosgrave, that the Dáil ask the President to have negotiation and agreement with the British Government in this matter? Where is the force of the argument that we could ever say that it was a retrograde step when we ask him to take it? We preclude ourselves from the argument if it was ever likely to be used. May I take the President back a step, and I want the phrase observed? Was he justly accused—I stress the "justly accused"—of a retrograde step when he negotiated in 1921? Was he justly accused"—of a retrograde step and, if not, where can the justice lie now in the accusation that might be brought against him for negotiating now under the circumstances I have described? What is it he fears? Is it the fact of negotiation or is it the likely result? If it is merely the fact I give him the case again. We tie ourselves by our motion in the House from arguing against the President that it is a retrograde step merely to enter into negotiation with the British Government in this matter. Is it the likely result? We have learned enough while in office to know that no matter how good a case at times may be put forward, it may not always win out at the moment, but it can be so shaped that the winning through of it later on is only a matter of a very small point of time. If the President goes to negotiate and finds that the results are not what he would desire, if he brings back to the House a statement of the alternatives and the consequences that may ensue from any of the alternatives, he will get fair and decent treatment from this House when he lets the House see where we are. But, certainly, negotiations should be entered into so that the people should know where they do stand; what is the likely result; what is the eventuality in any particular set of circumstances that will emerge from it, and so arrive at a decision; a decision based upon reason and based upon knowledge of the facts present and to come. Let him even negotiate and let the negotiations drag out as negotiations over other matters have dragged out. I think we can promise here that there will be an absence of the nagging criticism and the captious comments that used to be made when we were doing what was called "degrading this country," and what is now discovered to be nothing but bringing the Treaty and the Constitution to the point that the President now thinks enables him to bring this Bill before the House.

We are told that the necessity for this is peace. I am reminded of the old exhibit in the old-time circus where you had a notice outside telling you of "The Great Two in One," and when you paid your entrance fee and went in you found an ordinary, average, middle-sized man, and he was described as the greatest dwarf and the smallest giant in history in one. President de Valera has become the greatest Free Stater and the smallest Republican in this country. We are all Free Staters at this moment, or nearly so. The Minister for Industry and Commerce intervened in a very brief way the other night to lecture Deputies on this side and, in his own vehement way, said that he did not think he would ever live to see the day that a Deputy like Deputy Mulcahy would be found to say: "Do not do that in Heaven's name or the British may kick you out of the Commonwealth." The Minister for Industry and Commerce in saying that, said it in this atmosphere: "We can do this because there is not the slightest likelihood under Heaven that the British will kick us out of their Commonwealth." These are the Republicans of the olden times. Republics are almost to be had for the asking at the moment. There is almost an auction of republics and there is no bidding.

You did not get the declaration yet?

Is there nobody to raise the bidding? There is a Republic to be had. In fact, you are tottering on the edge of the Republic and what you are afraid of is that somebody is going to give the last shove and knock the country over. A definite recognition there is, and it should be admitted, that the Treaty is or has become almost an instrument in two parts—the part which is political and the part which is commercial. And what a Party in this House wants is to retain the commercial side of the Treaty and the advantages that it may bring as long as they can do what they please with the political side. That is not done by decent people in their relations with other decent people. The statements I heard when I was introducing motions to pass reports of the various Imperial or Commonwealth Conferences used to be "that it did not matter about the consequences—it was the old-time phrase ‘Damn the consequences; we want our rights.'" Where are our rights now in comparison to the consequences? Where is the peace that is to be got by reason of the passage of this Bill? Among what section of the community is the removal of the Oath going to bring peace? We did know at one time of a certain group of the elected representatives of the people who said that the Oath and nothing but the Oath kept them from coming into the House. They are all here now, every man of them, having taken the Oath, and the only people who said the Oath was the obstacle are here in this House. Why should we delude ourselves into the belief that there are others who are going to have their passage into this House made open to them because the Oath is removed?

May I remind the President of the resolution that he proposed to the Sinn Féin Assembly some years ago a resolution the terms of which ran something like this. That when the Oath was removed it would no longer be a matter of principle but only a matter of political expediency that members should take their seats in the Dáil. That resolution put forward to Sinn Féin was beaten and the President left. Remember the form of that resolution. When the Oath has been removed it will be only a matter of political expediency and no longer a matter of honour as to whether or not these people should take their seats in this House. The President could not get a majority vote in that assembly even for that resolution and he left, and, as I say, the only people who were found to have the Oath as the only obstacle to their entry into this House swallowed the Oath and came along and they sit here now backing the Government. Are the people who would not accept the resolution that when the Oath was abolished it was only then a matter of political expediency but no longer of honour to come into the House— are they going now to come in after that resolution was defeated? May I quote from the Government organ—"An Phoblacht"—the organ of the people who drive the present Government? Let us see what their views are. They say that "they are concerned not with the altering of the British-made Constitution of the ‘Free' State but with the operating Constitution based on the Proclamation of 1916.... not the Constitution that Mellowes died to abolish but the Constitution Mellowes died to obtain." That is what you are catering for—"a Republic for the Thirty-Two counties of Ireland free from any dependence on or connection with the British Empire, a Republic in which there shall be civil and religious liberty and equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, a Republic based on the public ownership by the people of the land and of instruments of production, distribution and exchange." Are those the people that are going to be dragged into this House if this Bill goes through? They have proclaimed themselves that that is not what they want, and if there is no peace upon that issue, no peace, say, after this Bill has been got through, are we to have a series of other measures all catering for the peace of these peaceful people who remain outside? Have we got in the end, as I asked before, to cater for the tender consciences of the men who found it in their consciences proper to shoot Curtin and Ryan and whose consciences, despite those dastardly deeds, are so tender that they cannot do what the President did and make their appearance in this House? Is there going even to be peace apart from these people who are outside the ranks of the Fianna Fáil Party? I doubt it. On the 16th July last on the Report of the Commonwealth Conference Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly stated:—

We have, as I have already said, no pride in that status and therefore no pride whatsoever in being associated, so far as we are obliged to be associated, in any way, with the work of the present Minister for External Affairs or his predecessor who attended the Imperial Conferences at different times as representing this Free State. We felt, and feel still, that Dominion status was a derogation of the dignity of this ancient nation. We objected to it as such and did our utmost to prevent its acceptance by the Irish people.

Later Deputy O'Kelly said:

What interests have we in common with Australia, Canada, New Zealand or South Africa? Considered economically some of them are our greatest competitors in the produce market. Our interests—speaking not at all politically—are very far apart from those of those Dominions or Colonies with which we have co-equal status. We have very little common interest with any of them. It would probably be better for us economically to be disassociated from them and to be as far apart from them as possible.

That is a speech which surely entitles the Minister for Local Government and Public Health to favourable consideration when the delegation to Ottawa is being chosen this year.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce said:—

It was never the accepted aim of the Irish people to develop and evolve as a component part of the British Empire. It was always our aim that we should get outside that political combination altogether, to abolish the last vestige of British domination.

and concluding he said—

Even if the Act that is the Statute of Westminster was as the Minister declared, it should not be accepted by us because it means that we are accepting the theory that our national aspirations have been realised in full within the British Empire. Even if we were prepared to accept that theory nevertheless we should reject this Act because it does not achieve what the Minister pretends in that direction.

In the Seanad, Senator O'Doherty, speaking on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party, said:—

We do not want the British monarch, either as a shadow or as a reality, in the constitution of a free Ireland, and we ask the House to take the same point of view.

The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, speaking in the Seanad on the same day, 23rd July, 1931, said:—

We deny the right of England, or the British Empire, or any other country to come in here and occupy our territory. We deny the right of anyone to partition the country, as it has been partitioned under our present administration and Executive. We deny the right to attempt to control our territorial waters, and I hold that we jeopardise our moral position by our activities in connection with Imperial and the Commonwealth Conferences.

Another aspirant for the delegation to Ottawa this year, Senator Connolly, was more precise than this vague phrase would seem to be. He was replying to what Senator Johnson had said. Further, in the course of his speech Senator Connolly said:—

The relative difference between the physical presence of the King here and his signature to the enactments of this Oireachtas is, to my mind, something that is not worth consideration. The actual presence of the King is felt in so far as we have got to recognise him and in so far as this country voluntarily recognises him. Whether the King is fishing in County Galway or living on the Thames the actual power exercised and imposed by the King is the power that is exercised by and through the Governor-General signing for him and on his behalf. To discuss it on any other basis is simply burying our heads in the sands. It is that fundamental issue that has been the cause of all the trouble in Ireland, that has been the cause of the worst period that we went through, and it is going to be the cause of further trouble.

If the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs is not sent on the delegation to Ottawa after that, then clearly he is the man who should be sent as the representative of the Government to any functions that may be given by international personages here in order that he may show what he thinks about the Governor-General. Is it the Republic that is being talked about under the guise of this Bill, and if it is, may I ask again the question that I asked in July when the Commonwealth Conference Report was being discussed? What is the difference for which we are being asked to jeopardise the present situation? Some one man in any country in modern society has got to be found to symbolise the will of the people— a King or a President. What is the difference? Is the cause of the trouble this: that the person whom we have got to symbolise the ultimate will of the people of this country happens to be, and must be, while the Treaty lasts, the King of the Island that is beside us? Is there any objection to that state of affairs lasting as long as it is clear to everybody that the King cannot deviate in the slightest from the wishes of his Ministers; that the King, as far as Irish affairs are concerned, is completely and entirely under the control of his Irish Ministers? Is that the issue towards which we are being asked to take the first step to-day? Is it on that issue that the people are going to jeopardise the preferential position that we occupy at this moment as regards certain items of our produce? Would the President go to the country frankly on that issue, weighing the removal of the Oath in one hand and the loss of even the ten per cent. preference on butter— one item alone of our produce—in the other, and would he be easy in his mind as to what the result would be?

The Minister for Agriculture in introducing this subject the other day, hoped that the imperial preference would continue, and that it would equate the British consumers' desire for Danish butter over ours. Does the President believe that if he went to the country on the straight issue of the Oath; leave it and the 10 per cent., or the Oath removed with the 10 per cent. on butter alone—one single item of our produce on the export side—is he easy in his mind as to the result that he would get? The Minister for Defence, the other day, said that if we could not export we could eat. Imagine the Minister for Agriculture going around this country in the new conditions with 320,000 cwts. of good Irish butter in his hands for the forcible feeding of the Minister for Defence.

On a point of order, I think the Minister for Defence is being misquoted. Would the Deputy give his exact words?

No, I will not bother with these interruptions at all.

I think I may be allowed to say that the Minister for Defence made it quite clear when speaking on the matter that he appreciated the fact that so long as we require goods that we cannot produce at home it would be necessary for us to have exports. I think he made that clear in his speech.

I am not referring to what the Minister made clear in his speech.

Then why misquote him?

The Minister said that if we could not export that we could eat. At any rate, we have got to indulge in this horrible debauchery of this 320,000 cwts. of butter that we have for export. If enough of that is fed to the Minister for Defence he will find himself on a slippier slope than was ever introduced into the Treaty debates. What does this symbol, against which all this agitation has been raised, mean? It means, as I have put it already, that the ultimate will of the people of this country has got to be expressed either by a man who is called a king or a man who is called a President, both subordinate, so far as the affairs of this country are concerned, to the will of the people.

What did the British think of this matter when it was previously discussed? What did the British think of the meaning of this symbol? If we are going to be complacent in our view that this symbol may be attacked in every way we had better get some little historical perspective, and see what is the view that was held with regard to certain things that were put into the Treaty. There is a record from one of the Treaty signatories, Mr. Barton, reproduced in the "Republic of Ireland," and published as a pamphlet in the National Series, No. 2. It gives a record for certain days of the Treaty negotiations as to the things that happened.

From one conference, at which the English Attorney-General was present, there emerged a statement, an aide-memoire, sent by him to the Irish representatives, and this is the record of the particular conference:

Objection was taken by the Irish representatives to any possibility of interventions by the Crown in the internal affairs of Ireland. Powers which existed in theory might be of little account in relation to distant Dominions. They would appear much more real to the Irish people, and, in relation to Ireland, ought not, even in name, to exist. Their view was that Ireland was to be associated with the British Commonwealth of Nations for certain defined purposes. For these purposes they were prepared to recognise the Crown as head of the Association. But, apart from these purposes, the Crown was to have no function in relation to Ireland. Ireland would be willing to evidence a recognition of the King as head of the aggregate of States by voting annually a contribution to the King's personal revenue. The British representatives pointed out that there were the gravest objections to any proposal to limit, or subtract from, allegiance. Irishmen could not be both aliens and citizens.

That, I say, is the issue that is before us in this Bill, at the moment. Does the President believe that he can have Irishmen both aliens and citizens?

Of the British Commonwealth.

Is there such a thing?

Does he believe that he can have the economic advantages, likely to be derived from an association with a recognised symbol, with a loyal acceptance of the association, while, at the same time, he is going to repudiate what is the present symbol of the association? The aide-memoire continues:

It was answered that, except for the purposes mentioned above, there was no question of allegiance, nor could the present Oath of Allegiance be recommended to an Irishman. The British representatives were willing that the position of the Crown should be the same as the position of the Crown in Canada and Australia. They could not accede to anything else. They regarded that as fundamental, the real test, of common citizenship.

Their test of common citizenship was, that this country would have to recognise the King, as the King was symbolical in Australia and New Zealand.

The Lord Chancellor emphasised the objection above mentioned. The Irish representatives thought that a formula might perhaps be contrived to express the limited sense in which they were prepared to recognise the Crown, and they undertook to prepare and suggest a formula of the kind.

They did suggest a formula, and they forwarded it, in a memorandum, as follows:—

Memorandum by the Irish Delegates on their proposal for the Association of Ireland with the British Commonwealth.

(1) The legislative, executive and judicial authority of Ireland shall be derived exclusively from the Elected Representatives of the Irish people.

(2) Ireland will agree to be associated with the British Commonwealth for all purposes of common concern, including defence, peace and war, and political treaties, and to recognise the British Crown as Head of the Association.

(3) As a token of that recognition, the Irish Legislature will vote an annual contribution to the King's personal revenue.

Those were the three proposals in the memorandum, but, in addition the memorandum was to express, or to give, not merely a formula, but an explanation of the formula, and the explanation followed:

The proposal is that Ireland, while preserving her national independence, shall, for all purposes of common concern, associate herself with the British Commonwealth of Nations, and recognise the British Crown as Head of the Association. By a method such as this, permanent peace can be established. It is fallacious to assert that Ireland is now offered the substantial freedom of Canada, and the other British Dominions. Canada, and the other Dominions, lie thousands of miles away from the shores of Great Britain. Great Britain, therefore, has neither desire nor temptation to interfere in their home affairs. The Crown, to them, is a symbol of the external unity of equal States, and not of the internal repression of subordinate States. Ireland, on the contrary, lies beside the shores of Great Britain, which has been accustomed, for generations, to interfere, in the name of the Crown, in every detail of Ireland's life. The desire, and temptation, to continue interference will remain, if the Crown remains, as it cannot be the symbolic Crown that the Dominions know, but will continue to possess the real power of repression and veto, which Ireland knows.

Then there is a quotation from a speech, made in 1913, and it then goes on:

We acknowledge a reasonableness in the desire of the British Government for certain naval facilities in Ireland, differing from those which they receive from Canada, or the other Dominions. The propinquity of the two islands is a fact that must be recognised in arranging a just and permanent settlement, and we have recognised it, in this matter. Equally, it must be recognised, on the other side, that the same propinquity imposes on us a necessity for safeguarding our independence, which does not arise in the case of the Dominions. The Crown, thousands of miles away, will never menace the Dominions with its powers. The Crown, close at hand to Ireland, would form a constant menace of the kind, and the object for which both sides have striven—the satisfactory ending of the long conflict between the two Nations—would not have been achieved.

That was the last memorandum presented, which, according to Mr. Barton, is the memorandum, which was a skeleton of Document No. 2, put forward by the President, as his alternative, and there starts out from that, that the one thing to which the Irish representatives objected, when the negotiations were going on, was the King, not as a symbol, but as a reality. Is the King a symbol, or a reality, at the present moment? Is the Oath to him——

I would like to point out——

Can it not be done in a speech? In the Oath that has to be sworn, where it mentions the King, what is brought in? Is it the King, interfering in every detail of Irish life? Is it the King interfering in a single detail of Irish life, and if it is clearly the King not interfering, what is all the talk we have of Irish independence at this moment? Irish independence has been won, only there are some people who are so foolish that they cannot see it. A Deputy in this House, speaking on that Commonwealth Conference report, was challenged by the present Minister for Industry and Commerece, that either his view, Deputy Tierney's view, of the Commonwealth Conference was incorrect or else the Treaty was obsolete, and his answer was very effective—the Treaty was not obsolete; the Commonwealth Conference report was not a sham, but what was obsolete was the Fianna Fáil Party's view of the Treaty, and it had been obsolete from 1921. I think they are beginning to realise that now.

The Statute of Westminster was not discussed, as such, in this Dáil. The report of the Commonwealth Conference, leading to it, was, and I have made quotations from it. The Statute of Westminster was discussed in the House of Commons, and in the House of Lords, in England, and it was passed, and if people are going to argue about the Statute of Westminster, or what it means, they have got, at any rate, to bear in their consciousness the words that were used, while it was being passed, on the other side, but I make quotations for the purpose of showing that, and also for the purpose of showing what Englishmen think of the Treaty. Sir Austen Chamberlain, speaking on the 24th November, 1931, said:

I am satisfied with the public acknowledgement by the authorised spokesman of the Irish Free State Government, that the Treaty is an agreement between the two nations, standing, irrespective of statutory authority, upon their mutual faith, and only to be altered by their common consent. That gives me all that I could ask and all that I want. I am glad to understand that, and accepting it, in the spirit in which it is made, and in which the Irish Government have acted since their establishment, I shall go now with confidence and faith, into the Lobby, on behalf of the Statute.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Baldwin) speaking on the same day said:

I am advised by the Law Officers to the Government that the binding character of the Articles of Agreement will not be altered by one jot or tittle by the passing of the Statute.

He then went on to say in answer to certain objections that had been made by members of the House of Commons:—

My right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University seems to think that it would make a great deal of difference, supposing there were what, in fact, would be a rebellion in Ireland, if that rebellion were illegal. The whole Committee is in agreement in believing that the present Irish Government will adhere with perfect faith and honour to the Treaty, but many hon. members seem to feel difficulties about what may happen, and they are very anxious that if serious difficulties occur they should be conducted on a legal basis. I can almost see my right hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton), on the 30th January, 1649, paying a visit to Cromwell and saying: "Do you know you have committed an illegal action?"

He continued to speak in that way about the Treaty, and said further:

If the Treaty is to be repudiated in such a manner, there will be no question of Statute Law. The repudiation will have to be dealt with otherwise. The sanctity of the Treaty, which has been acknowledged over and over again in the fullest and most generous sense by Irishmen—the great sanction of that Treaty is that it is a Treaty. I speak as a layman. I do not know whether I am using the right words in law, but I do know what a Treaty is and the Irish Government knows what a Treaty is.

In the other House statements were also made. One speaker, speaking on behalf of the Government, said, referring to a statement made in the House of Commons:—

That statement was read by the Dominions Secretary in another place, and if the House of Commons carried this Bill, as it did, and if your Lordships carry this Bill, as I hope you will, it will be relying upon that statement of Mr. Cosgrave's, that this Treaty cannot be modified without the consent of both Parties.

He referred later in this way to the same incident:

In concluding this part of my speech, I must say that the efforts which we made have been abundantly justified, because we have drawn and placed upon record this solemn assurance on behalf both of the British and of the Irish Governments.

He continued to refer to the special point of the Oath of Allegiance, and one of the phrases used was: "Of course the Oath of Allegiance cannot be modified except by consent."

To deal with the President's objection right at the moment, I may say that nobody in England now, except possibly two people of note, holds that the Treaty is not a Treaty. There is going to be no argument and quibbling on that. There is recognition of it as a Treaty and an agreement binding on both peoples and only to be altered by the consent of both contracting parties. There was acceptance when the debate was going through, not merely of the Treaty as a Treaty, but also of the honour of this country and the honour of Great Britain, that was also involved in it, and any change which might be made in it. These being the circumstances, we are faced now with a Bill which asks us to delete Article XVII of the Constitution and a subordinate deletion which does not matter, and which also deletes Section 2 of the Constitution Act of 1922—I shall call it that—and certain words from Article L of the Constitution. The President, in introducing the Bill, divided his argument, as far as I could follow it, on the deletion of the Oath part, into three sections. I am not sure that the ghost of what I this morning called the honorary Attorney-General is not still about. I am not at all sure that we have dropped the nauseating quibble that the words "to be" are not mandatory.

Is it in order for a Deputy to refer to a person outside this House in this way?

I have no idea who the person is, and I do not know that anybody else has.

I suggest that it is grossly out of order.

If the Deputy mentioned a name it would be different, but I cannot ask the Deputy to withdraw something in the nature of a general remark.

Might I ask if the word "honorary" is objectionable? If I had spoken earlier, I would have said that the President, to his credit, did drop that argument. I can only say now that he did not star that argument, but it is in the penumbra of his consciousness—it is somewhere about, ready to be brought out if another argument fails. Supposing we take that argument, and it has been adverted to by other Deputies, then one argument is that the words "to be taken" are not mandatory. It is most appropriate that the Minister for Finance should appear at this moment.

I heard that the comedian was up.

The cross-talk will now begin since the Secretary has come in. I said earlier to-day that the Minister for Finance would blunder into something wrong if there was anything wrong to blunder into, and he did.

You should patent that phrase.

He does not know what a patent is.

The Minister for Finance referred to the words in Article XII, "one to be appointed." He is apparently under the delusion that somebody raised the point about that Article that the words were not mandatory. I never heard that the Northern Government or the British Government in that connection argued that the words were not mandatory. The phrase that I was told was used in connection with that was, that the Northern Government respectfully declined to appoint, and they have put their refusal, not upon the quibble that the words "to be appointed" were not mandatory, but upon this, that they were not a party to that agreement and consequently were not bound. The Minister for Finance apparently thought that it was otherwise. Supposing it had been otherwise? What was the attitude the British Government adopted in these circumstances? Was it to use a difficulty in machinery in order to get out of a pledge? By no means. A Bill was introduced called the Irish Free State (Confirmation of Agreement) Bill, and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as he then was (Mr. Thomas), in speaking about it in the House of Commons on 1st August, 1924, said that he had to lay before the House the Report of the Privy Council on matters in connection with that dispute that had been laid before them, and then went on to say that they had discovered that there was a casus improvisus in the Act implementing the Treaty, and that if the Government of Northern Ireland maintained that refusal there was no constitutional means under the existing statutes of bringing the Commission into existence.

After saying that he hoped, even at that late stage, the Government of Northern Ireland would see fit to appoint a representative, he continued —and I would recommend this to the notice and examination of the Minister for Finance:—

I must make it clear that if that hope is not fulfilled the Government propose forthwith to introduce legislation to give effect to what was the undoubted intention of the Treaty and to press for the passage of that legislation through Parliament regardless of the consequences to themselves. Not merely the honour of His Majesty's Government, but the honour of this country is involved in seeing that an obligation definitely imposed upon the United Kingdom by a Treaty is fulfilled in spirit and in letter, and my colleagues and I are not prepared to omit any step which is, in our view, necessary to place the good faith of Parliament and of the British people beyond question.

Was it Feetham or Cheetham they nominated?

That ought to be put in contrast with the quibbling of the Minister for Finance. Why did he, except through blundering, ask that that statement should be made, blundering on the phrase that the words "to be" were not mandatory?

My statement is a fact, and that is the gloss to cover the duplicity of Deputy Cosgrave.

They did not merely take the line of stating that their honour and the honour of the people were involved in seeing that the Treaty obligation was fulfilled——

Like a highwayman protesting his honour.

I hope the Deputy is not referring to himself. He has not protested his honour, but only his dishonour by his whole attitude on this matter. We are told the words "to be" are not mandatory. Can the Attorney-General say that it is his view, and if he does will he bear with me while I take him back to the early days of 1922, when he was coquetting with the Treaty and when, if I might so describe it of a modest man, he gripped the Treaty to his bosom until, like a man who had become a little wayward in his love, after he has seen something else, he wrote a letter to "An Phoblacht" declaiming his allegiance to another cause. I ask him to bear in mind the words of the phrase he did use. Was there any impression in his mind then that the words "to be taken" did not imply an obligation? Are we to take it that when the whole Treaty debate was being conducted that what was being fought for in this issue was merely an alternative form of optional declaration and that the Oath which we hear was not in Document No. 2 was put forward as an alternative by somebody but was only put forward as an alternative optional declaration? Surely history defeats that argument as well as the argument Deputy Finlay used yesterday from the law. If this Bill proceeds from the Attorney. General of the present Government it clearly shows his conscience on this matter.

The President said, with regard to Section 2, that it is an abnormal thing to have treaties made part of the municipal law of the country and with that everyone must agree. This Treaty was made part of the municipal law. It is now proposed to take it out and it is proposed to take it out in a Bill, the title of which is "An Act to remove the obligation now imposed by law on members of the Oireachtas," etc., and for that purpose to amend the Constitution and what I call the Constitution Act. Why the words "for that purpose"? Why then introduce into this Bill that particular clause? If Article II were left there, and if the courts hereafter had to decide upon the words used in the Treaty, is there not a betrayal here of a fearful consciousness that the judges would be bound to decide only in one way? The President said he took legal opinion upon this, and that that legal opinion warranted him in saying that these words were not mandatory. He takes legal opinion but he funks the judges. That is the situation declared in this Bill and for that purpose in this Bill we remove Section 2 of the Constitution Act. Is there any other meaning to be read into that than the fear that if the judges had to decide on the terminology in Article IV of the Treaty they would be bound to decide that the Oath had to be taken, and that there was no other way out of it. Otherwise why is that section introduced into this Bill and why, particularly, is it introduced with this preamble to it by way of legal title, that we are setting out here to remove the obligation imposed by law? For that purpose we have decided we must take out Section 2 of the Constitution Act—to remove the obligation imposed by law. Suppose we take out Section 2 of the Constitution Act and only leave what the President considers to be the non-mandatory words of the Treaty why object to carry those into the Constitution or why is it necessary to remove these words for the purpose of removing the obligation now imposed by law on members of the Oireachtas?

The second argument which the President advanced upon this was rather by implication than by direct statement. He referred us to the Statute of Westminster, and on that many a brain has been fuddled in this country for the last three or four months. What was the real effect of the Statute of Westminster in so far as this country was concerned remotely with regard to it? It repealed the Colonial Laws Validity Act, and be it remembered that we held the view and have a sound argument to show that the Colonial Laws Validity Act never applied to this country, but whether it applied or not the Statute of Westminster withdrew it. But where are we in relation to the Treaty under that statute? Bettered in no way in regard to the Treaty.

I do not at this moment intend to go into any description of what the Colonial Laws Validity Act was or how it arose. But I want to say this about it, that it did mean in the ultimate this— that if any of the old Colonies passed laws which were repugnant either to the statute or common law of Great Britain then to the extent of that repugnancy these laws failed. Such a situation never existed as between, say, Germany and Italy. The Statute of Westminster took away that power, and that power only as far as this debate is concerned, and this country vis-á-vis England or any of the other Dominions stands now in the position in which Germany would stand with Italy in regard to a treaty. All that the British did in regard to the Statute of Westminster was that they took out of their hands one sword of contingent invalidity that might have been wielded upon certain statutes of Colonial legislatures, but they never put out of their possession the moral argument, the persuasive argument, that treaties are treaties and ought to be kept until both parties agree to change them. As far as the Statute of Westminster is concerned in relation to the Colonial Laws Validity Act, it only brings about that situation, that the legal weapon Great Britain used to have against her colonies has been thrown aside by her. What effect has that upon a treaty made between two contracting parties? The Treaty obligation still subsists. The Statute of Westminster can only be imported into the argument by us on one thesis. I was glad, for the sake of the State, that the President did not adopt that thesis. If we adopt the thesis that the country holds its Constitution by an Act of the British Parliament, that it is the creature of the British Parliament, then, undoubtedly, the Statute of Westminster gives you power to rewrite that statute, but the dangers and the pitfalls before any nationalist in this country in accepting that thesis are so obvious that nobody who desires the name of nationalist could ever adopt it. If we adopted the thesis that this country holds its legislative powers through an Act of the British Government would we not be forswearing all the past?

Would there be any use in our attending to the lessons of history? Would we not have done what no nationalist in any generation previous to ours would so completely and entirely have done? Apart from that, would we not be giving the British Government this right, that as they had given this country a Constitution by the creation of their legislature they could quite soon withdraw it and we would revert to the position that none of our ancestors willingly took up, but that we first in any generation of men had adopted, we the creatures of the legislature of another country? In that connection the Minister for Industry and Commerce made use of the phrase that we surely can change our Constitution. If that is so, what is all the pother about in this Bill? The word "can" is ambiguous in that sense.

If the Minister for Industry and Commerce were here—I know he often engages in a game of cards—I would put this analogy to him—that, if he sits down to play, nobody doubts his physical competency to draw the wrong card and cheat. He can do it, but an honourable man will not or, if an honourable man so-called persists in doing it, he will be kicked out of the club in which he plays these cards. We can change our Constitution. Of course we can. There is not a ludicrous and foolish thing that would ever enter into the head of the Minister for Finance that this Dáil cannot do—not one, legally.

I am wondering who prompted the Deputy's parable about the club.

Whether we are going to do all these foolish things depends upon the point of view of members of the House. When they are facing up to a Treaty they have to have regard for the Treaty obligations. They can do it. Any country can break a treaty by its own municipal law. But there is one thing it cannot do. It cannot make a breach in an international obligation and attempt to hang on to the international obligation at the same time. It cannot do away with some things it considers disadvantageous in an international bargain and hang on to what it considers advantageous.

The last point upon which the President founded his statement, as far as I could take it, was that the Treaty, plus the enlargements of it, had given us the power to remove a specific Article of the Treaty. In that connection he asked me (1) about my own attitude towards the Privy Council and (2) as to what answer would I give if challenged on the rights of Great Britain and the other Dominions to remove the Oaths of Allegiance from their Constitutions. As regards the Privy Council, I will answer this, that the difference between the Privy Council and the Oath is that the Oath is explicitly in the Treaty and the Privy Council is not. If the Privy Council is carried at all into our Treaty it is through Article II, the status article. It is not explicitly mentioned. We took the point that status has so advanced that we had the power to get rid of the Privy Council. But mark how we did it. It was raised in 1926 and a certain declaration was achieved about it. It was raised again in 1930 and certain arguments went on about it.

The President is now in possession of information with regard to those conferences that he had not before. Nobody can lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds those conferences, but I think I will be permitted to say this, that if the President tells me that on the occasion of facing a group of Commonwealth statesmen he has got the same sort of support for the proposal to remove the Oath as I got for the proposal to remove the Privy Council, then I will admit he has gained a victory, even though the Privy Council has not yet formally gone out of the Constitution. How did we do that? Negotiation, negotiation, and repeated negotiation. I am sure the President will realise from the documents he can get that if the Privy Council has not gone it is as good as gone. And it is gone with the goodwill, not merely of the other members of the Commonwealth, but even with the goodwill of Great Britain herself. Very little more would be required to get the Privy Council excised, if it be in our Constitution at all—excised from it with the consent of the other partners of the Commonwealth.

The Oath is not on a parallel. The Oath is explicit unless, as I said, the ghost of the honorary Attorney-General is going to pop up and we are going to be told that "to be taken" is not mandatory. On the basis that the words "to be taken" do imply obligations, then the Oath is explicit in our Constitution and is explicit as an obligation. If I am asked whether we have now advanced by reason of status, by reason of the enlargement of the Treaty, to the point that, relying on status, we can get rid of a written item in our Treaty, then I would have no great hesitation—I put it no higher than that—in answering, yes. If I am asked, further, do I think the time may come when even the enlargement of the status Article will give the Government power to point out that the Oath should go also, I will say I believe that day can come and could be brought very near by the President if he negotiated on the point.

The difference between the Privy Council and the Oath is that one is explicit as a written item in the Treaty and the other is not. The status can grow and develop until things that depend on status are definitely cleared out of the Constitution. But there must be a big development of status that will enable people to get rid of a special Article to which people put their names, an Article which is apparently considered to be so vital as emerges from the documents I read dealing with the Treaty negotiations at a particular point.

I am asked can Great Britain remove whatever oath of allegiance is at present imposed upon members of her Parliament. I do not know what the answer to that question is exactly. If it is to be merely on the basis can Great Britain do a particular thing irrespective of the fact that she is a member of the Association known as the British Commonwealth of Nations, the answer is clear. She can. Britain has no treaty obligations with regard to an oath. We have. But Britain may easily find herself in this position that, having signed a document beginning with the preamble "That whereas it is meet and proper to set up by way of preamble to this Act that inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the Members of the British Commonwealth of Nations and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown... ...," then certain things follow. Inasmuch as that is implemented by the passage of that Act in the British House of Commons, I think the point could easily be taken that Britain is not capable at this moment of getting rid of the Oath of Allegiance imposed upon her members—not capable of getting rid of it on her own.

I am asked can Canada do it. At this moment I have no hesitation in saying that Canada can not legally do it. If the President wants information on that I refer him to the documents he has in his possession, which will show him the points taken when at a discussion in 1926 the legal capacity of certain of the Dominions to do certain things was raised. And let him read the answers and mark them and he will find himself answered on the points he put to me. Status can grow as I say to abrogate explicit items of an international obligation. I will not deny that. But that it has grown at this moment to that point I do deny. Those, as far as I remember, were the legal arguments upon which the President founded his case.

Before I pass from the Oath, let me put this point, that the Oath has been changed in the passage of the last nine years. Yes, the Oath has been changed. We are told when it was first discussed that it was a triple Oath of Allegiance. It was an Oath to the King because the King was contained in the phrase "allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established," the contention being that the law which established the Free State was British law; that there was allegiance to the King therefore imported into that phrase. Secondly, that there was allegiance to the King in virtue of common citizenship and thirdly that there was allegiance to the King in virtue of the membership of the group of nations known as the British Commonwealth of Nations.

I wonder will anybody argue now that this Constitution was by British law established? Is there recognition in the House that this Constitution came through British legislation, and that when the phrase is used "as by law established" will anybody deny that this phrase means the law as established in this House? That is the only phrase in which the word allegiance is used. After that there is to be sworn fidelity, faithfulness to King George, his heirs and successors by law, "in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain, and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations." What does that amount to? That we are swearing that we are going to be faithful to an Association while in the Commonwealth and that we are going to recognise a particular King who might have been described as King of Great Britain but not King of any other part of the Commonwealth in December, 1921, but who can now be described, as subdivided, as being King of the Irish Free State, King of Australia, King of New Zealand, King of South Africa and King of Canada, as well as being King of Great Britain. The Oath has changed fundamentally from what it was in 1921, but whatever it is it is there, and as long as the Treaty lasts it has got to be adhered to as a symbol. It may cause unrest to take it out. It may only lose us the preferential advantages we have by remaining a member of the Commonwealth association.

But Deputy Norton is going to lead his six colleagues into the Lobby irrespective of negotiations to have that symbol removed. The President in opening on this Bill said that when the people were prepared to go into the Republic he would lead them. I have quoted from Deputy O'Kelly in this House that there are certain things he does not desire to tolerate and from the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in the other House that there are certain things which he will not tolerate. I have asked whether there is even going to be peace amongst the Fianna Fáil Party if this Bill be passed and if no other movement of this type be attempted? What a programme of unrest does this mean for this country! The Oath now and, in answer to the objection of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, the Governor-General will have to be attacked, and in answer to the objections of various other Deputies and Senators in that Party the "Ports" and "Ulster" will next be attacked. All these things have got to be attacked. Does Deputy Norton think of the people whom he represents— does he think of what benefit is going to accure to them from the programme of unrest that has been put before the House in the simple statement of the President? This is the opening, the first step to the Republic. The President objects to negotiations. He objects to negotiations on the grounds on which I have already spoken. He says we would accuse him of its being a retrograde step. I have shown that that argument is forbidden to us if the President were to go about negotiations. Why can he not negotiate? I spoke of conscience already. It seems to me that it is conscience that makes a coward of the President in that matter. The President has had a varying series of phrases as marking what he stood for at different times since 1916. In America there is a speech at any rate on Cuban status.

Quite untrue.

We had the isolated Republic at one time. Then that was abandoned and we had the Republican association and external association and there were negotiations for an externally associated Republic. Then there was Document No. 2 whatever type of Republic that meant. Then again there was the full Republic later described as a forlorn hope for which the President went out in arms, and for which many people were killed. There was his oath to the Republic, subject to his own interpretation at a later stage that it only meant that he would do the best he could for the Irish people in the circumstances in which he found himself. Then there was later an oath to the existing Republic meaning apparently to that form of government and to no other. There was subsequently the resolution to Sinn Féin that it was only a matter of political expediency and not national honour to enter this House if the Oath were abolished. Then there was the statement quoted to-day that he and the young men around him would be in their graves before he and his followers would take an oath and within a few weeks that Oath was taken after it was discovered to be a formula that was empty. He fought against the Treaty and he is now pro-Treaty but he will not negotiate. I said it is conscience that forbids him to negotiate. It is a difficult thing to face men to talk about the removal of an Oath which the President has treated in a way in which he has treated that solemn obligation. It is a better thing to write letters about. There is no shame apparent when the President rises to speak about the Oath. The President wrote on one occasion to explain a phrase he had used, the famous "wading through blood" phrase. He is now founding upon a Treaty which he decried, and founding still more on a Treaty enlarged by the efforts of Kevin O'Higgins whose murder I put down in great part to the phrase used by the President at Thurles; he is going to mount upon the reputation, fame and work of that dead man to get himself in this backdoor way reinstated as the great prophet, and the inspired person in Irish history. He wrote to the papers to explain that speech and said in reference to the Treaty:—

I showed that instead of opening a way it erected in the nation's path two almost impassable barriers.

The first is the nation's own pledged word. That barrier is still before the President, and it is an ugly barrier to get over, face to face with other people who can point out to him that the nation's own pledged word is behind the Treaty. It is a thing much better done by long distance dispatch, because, as I say, the President cannot be ashamed when put up against the nation's pledged word and against his own performances with regard to this solemn obligation. Really the President has another object in his mind, and we should clear up the fog about the removal of the Oath. The President was really always anti-Treaty, and still is. He thinks if he puts a good instrument to a use for which it is not yet fashioned he will get people eventually to agree with him, that the instrument is no use whatever, and he can put this country in the dilemma that he is right and has been always right. In the dilemma we will accept that, and admit that this instrument is not what Collins, Griffith, O'Higgins and Cosgrave said it was. Then we will have another complete and entire anti-Treaty move. That is the real move. There is an instrument in his hands fashioned for a good purpose, fashioned better than the men who made it thought it might come to be, useful for a great many purposes, but not yet strong enough for what he wants it to do at the moment. He is going to use it for that, and if the instrument crumples in his hands we will be told that there is no force whatever in it to justify him retrospectively and through the centuries. Either that or it is a move of complete and entire irresponsibility. It is either of the two. The irresponsibility will include the other thing I have spoken of—the attempt to smash the Treaty. This good instrument, into which ten years of powerful work have been put, and through which we have had peace at home and honour abroad, honour in our whole international relations, recognised by having ambassadors sent here, and by the attainment of a position on the League of Nations, ten years work may now crumble, because this instrument is not suitable for the purpose for which it is going to be used. It is going to be tried by the President, who is not going to have negotiations, for fear that some achievement narrower than what he has promised leading on to greater success might come. Let us hope that it is irresponsibility. It is irresponsibility in which the Labour Deputies share. The irresponsibility is almost entirely theirs, because they have it in their power to adopt the Labour device, the ordinary Labour policy, what I might call almost the ordinary Labour principle, that you are going to have conference and an attempt at conciliation before you have your struggle. If Deputy Norton comes to play politics at this time, irrespective of his constituents, he may join the other two leaders who are languishing outside this House, though I fear one of them is still an influence in it.

Now that the man with the harpoons is gone away, I suppose I may come up. Deputy McGilligan twitted me this morning, and he has again twitted me this evening, on the fact that I have been, as he seems to suggest, hesitant to join in this discussion. If the obligation to join in this discussion lay upon one Deputy more heavily than upon another, I say that it lay more heavily upon Deputy McGilligan than upon any other Deputy. I frankly admit that I awaited with interest what he had to say on this Bill. I did so with a certain amount of curiosity, both as to the arguments he would advance and, perhaps, as to the new material which he might spring upon the House. We have had experience of the late Government consulting counsel other than their Attorney-General. We have had experience of them submitting serious issues that affected this country in a most vital way for the consideration of counsel. We have had printed at the Government expense an elaborate document, running into 65 pages, making a case for the retention of the land annuities, and throughout that document concealing from counsel, whose opinion they were asking, the document upon which the British Government eventually based its case.

Not published for political reasons.

I confess that it was with a certain amount of wonder I awaited Deputy McGilligan's speech on this debate as I did feel that again there might be something up his sleeve, and that even though we have had the advantage of looking at certain secret documents we had not yet had all the information at our disposal to help us to arrive at a clear apprehension as to what is the position between the late Government and the British Government both as regards this matter and several other matters. Now that the Deputy has spoken, I pass by with scorn his reference to me personally. I pass by his sarcasm, unmerited I suggest. However, I am told that the Deputy is very fond of that particular type of amusement, baiting his opponents for the pleasure, apparently, it gives him, but serving no particular purpose in advancing the subject under discussion. I pass by his remarks about me and I pass, too, what he has said in his long speech. I do not pretend that I will be able to cover everything that he said. I go back to what I said at the opening, that the ex-Minister from his peculiar position with regard to this particular matter, owed it to the House, firstly, and owed it to the country, secondly, that he should have intervened in this debate at an early stage. I say that he has failed in his duty both to the House and to the country in not intervening in this debate, and raising it to a different plane from that upon which it has gone. He concentrated from the first word he uttered on an attack upon the Labour Party position. Feeling apparently that they are gone from him, he thinks he can bait them as much as he likes. I should have thought that no person in this country could have read between the lines of the first dispatch of Mr. Thomas more clearly than Deputy McGilligan and that nobody understood better what Mr. Thomas was at. If any duty was owing, it was the duty owing by the Deputy to the country to step in and prevent the people being fooled by the verbiage used by Mr. Thomas in his dispatch. The Deputy knew full well the implications. He realised quite well that Mr. Thomas was shifting his ground. He knew quite well that several of the arguments which he advanced here this evening had no weight with Mr. Thomas or with the British Government, that they do not care twopence for them. Yet he neither intervened in public discussion nor did he intervene early enough in this discussion to keep the debate from going on the wrong lines and to prevent a case being made here for England which England would not dare make for herself. I say that seriously and I say it sadly.

I felt from the very first moment of this debate that this was a national question. I felt that it should not develop into a mere political wrangle but, unfortunately—owing, I say again, to the absention of the ex-Minister from this debate until a late stage—it has developed into a political wrangle and has done far more harm than good. I listened to Deputy McGilligan's speech intently because he allowed several Deputies to get up on the opposite benches and quarrel with our Bill. I do not care from whom that Bill emanated. I do not care who the legal advisers were who put it forward. But, again, about the letter which came from Mr. Thomas, no Deputy was better qualified to study and understand the implications of every line of that Bill than Deputy McGilligan. He needed no help from legal Deputies on these benches. It was not necessary that they should get up and argue the case to enable him to understand every section and every line of that Bill. I say it is dishonest of him to suggest that he refrained from participating in the debate until I or some legal member got up and put the case from the legal aspect before the House. He was waiting, I suggest, to get after me and try to weaken any argument I might advance by arguments other than legal arguments. However, he did not do that. I listened to his speech because I knew he understood every line of this Bill. I knew he was faced with much the same position as we were faced with. I knew that he knew that I knew exactly what the attitude of the British Government was in this matter. I knew that he knew the trap into which Mr. Thomas was endeavouring to lead us with his dispatches and the trap into which we might easily walk in this debate here. The President, in opening, said sufficient in regard to the appeal to the Privy Council to indicate to Deputy McGilligan exactly what was in his mind. He said sufficient to indicate to Deputy McGilligan exactly the answer which was required from him on that matter. I listened with interest to hear what his answer would be. What was his answer? He found himself driven to differentiate between the Oath and the appeal to the Privy Council and to adopt the line of reasoning that one was explicit in the Treaty and the other implicit in one of the Articles. One of the arguments advanced, I think, by Deputy Blythe and one of the arguments relied upon as Deputy McGilligan knows by the British is that this is implicit in Article II. That is one of the "to-be" arguments —that because we got the status of Canada in 1921, following the Constitutional practice in Canada, we are obliged to take the Oath. I say without fear of contradiction that the British regarded the removal of the appeal to the Privy Council as just as much a breach of the Treaty as the removal of the Oath. What did Deputy McGilligan do? He went across to England and he says he negotiated. I was anxious to hear what the negotiations were. He negotiated before 1926 and got a declaration from the Imperial Conference in 1926. Granted. That declaration contained this reservation—that the question should be reserved for consideration owing to the facts of this particular case. It was reserved for consideration and we are supposed to believe that negotiations were going on over a long period down to 1931. When we get the report of the Imperial Conference of 1931, there is not one word in it about the removal of the appeal to the Privy Council. That being so, I should like to know what Deputy McGilligan meant when he, in answer to a question in this House, indicated positively and definitely that he was bringing in a Bill to remove the appeal to the Privy Council. Was he not challenging the British view just as we are doing? Was he not doing the very same thing that we are doing? When in 1926 he passed a Land Bill here, was not that a breach of the Treaty? Was not that interfering in a much more backdoor way with the "sacred document" than we are doing here? "Negotiate" is a wonderful word. Negotiate with a man who has stood up representing the British Parliament and said he does not want any negotiations, that they have made up their minds! I say that the position with regard to the removal of the Oath is no whit different from the English point of view, and remember we are arguing with England. This case should be argued with England and not argued between two sides in this House. The case we will have to meet is the English case, not the so-called Irish case. I say that Deputy McGilligan understood every line of that Bill.

Does Deputy McGilligan deny that he is adopting the line that has been taken in some of the speeches here, that the repeal of Section 2 of the Constitution is a repeal of the Treaty? Does he not admit that if his view of the present position is correct we are clearly entitled to remove that section? He made a lot of play with the view of the Oath clause which is held by different Deputies. He wanted me, if I recollect him aright, to say whether I believed the Oath obligatory or not, and suggested that he was confident that there was something on the consciences of the draftsmen of the Bill. I think I can give no better answer to Deputy McGilligan's point on that than to quote from one of his own speeches with regard to an analogous matter.

First, on the question as to whether the Oath is obligatory or not, I admit that there are two views. Any lawyer would be silly, on a difficult question which has been discussed over several years, to lay down positively that his own interpretation of certain things is absolutely the correct one. I admit that there are two views. I say that there are eminent lawyers, men whose eminence would be admitted by every Deputy on the opposite benches, if I mentioned their names, who do hold that the Oath is not obligatory. They hold it for different reasons from the reasons that Deputy Finlay made such amusing play with and which were repeated by Deputy Wolfe and Deputy McGilligan. They hold it because, interpreting the status which was given to us at the time and examining the position in Canada, they will not quite say—owing to the structure of the various Articles and the interpretation of them—the Oath is not obligatory. That is a view which might quite easily prevail with a good many courts.

Deputy Fitzgerald referred to the honest lawyer and attempted to examine the workings of lawyers' minds. I do not think that the workings of lawyers' minds are so extraordinary as many people seem to suggest. Most lawyers will admit that there are two views on certain questions. Deputy McGilligan held the view that the Colonial Laws Validity Act did not apply to this country. That view is not held in England. He would not attempt to argue such a case in a British court. When the Imperial Conference drafted the terms of the Statute of Westminster—when it was being framed—I understand that the view of the Deputy at that time was that, so had we grown from the position that the Treaty gave us in 1921 that it was quite unnecessary for Great Britain to pass any express legislation acknowledging the freedom of this country to enact any laws it pleased.

Deputies here, I am sure, have listened to the Deputy's speeches. I read them to see exactly what he said was the position which he had achieved by reason of his various negotiations in England. I read the speeches to mean that, without the Statute of Westminster being passed at all, we had achieved a measure of freedom which would entitle us to make such laws as we cared for the peace, order and good government of the country. I think he even suggested at one stage that the only difference between him and the other side of the House was the pace at which the advance should be made. He said we were legally and constitutionally entitled to advance as far as we wished. That is our position here. Our position is not a foolish one. He suggests that we are entitled to do every silly thing that comes into our heads. The view I take, and that any thoughtful lawyer must take, is that this Bill is quite competent, constitutionally, and that England must so admit, and that Mr. Thomas in his despatches does not so deny.

We have Deputy MacDermot, on the opening day of the Dáil, coming in here and taking advantage of his first appearance in the House to make a speech without considering what was the legal position, without even reading the articles which appear in responsible papers, inspired obviously by legal men on the other side of the water who admitted it was within our legal right. He comes and charges us with being guttersnipes. I say any decent Irishman should at least have held his tongue in this dispute between us and England. I say it is a very serious thing for the country for a responsible man to come forward and take up the position which Mr. Thomas wanted. What was Mr. Thomas really at? Mr. Thomas was at the very same game that Deputy McGilligan was at. He was firing his arrows at the Labour Party. Mr. Thomas knew that during the whole of the election campaign here the removal of the Oath was on our programme. The mandate as read out by the President was clearly placed before the country. Every line, I am sure, was carried to Downing Street by the post each day, and if he wanted to say what was the position of the British Government why did he not say it then? He waited until Fianna Fáil was in power, with a majority which might easily be detached, and instead of sending to negotiate about the position why should not he have come to negotiate about the position? Why should it be on us to negotiate if all we have been told is true? Deputy McGilligan and his Government had been negotiating for eight, nine or ten years and had achieved a position in which we were entitled to do this. What was there to negotiate about? The position taken up by the other side in their discussions with the British up to this was, as I understand it, that any objection to our making an advance such as this or an advance such as the removal of the appeal to the Privy Council was on the part of the British Government a breach of the Treaty and that Mr. Thomas when he raised the Treaty issue was raising a dishonest issue. The stand which was taken up by Deputy McGilligan and others on the Privy Council issue was: if you deny that we have grown in status to enable us to do this—perhaps these words will ring familiar in the ears of Deputy Fitzgerald, the companion in arms of Deputy McGilligan at these conferences—it amounts to saying that we are fixed as we were in 1921, that we have not grown, and the person who said so was far more guilty of a breach of the Treaty than any person on this side of the water. So when Mr. Thomas charges us with a breach of the Treaty and when this passage is picked out and paraphrased by Deputy MacDermot and by ex-Ministers on this side of the water I say Irishmen should at least have held their tongues because our position is this, that the breach of the Treaty is on the English side and not upon ours.

I say that is the proper attitude for responsible people to take up on this side of the water. That, unfortunately, has not been the attitude we have taken up and we have here dismal speeches as to what is going to happen and so on. But we have had failure to recognise if all the things that were said by Deputy McGilligan were true, all the things that were said about the Statute of Westminster were true, that Mr. Thomas could not have a single legal ground for taking up the stand he did. The answer is made, of course, that he had legal ground.

First of all, I am afraid I passed by the quotation I meant to give about the necessity for providing in the Bill Section 2. I referred to Deputy McGilligan's outlines of the proceedings which led to the framing of the Statute of Westminster. He, as I said, made the case that it was quite unnecessary that any such Act should be passed. He went on to say in his speech in the Dáil:—

The last words in the long story of British legislative supremacy occur nowhere more fittingly in a Statute passed as its own deliberate act by the Assembly most closely associated with that phenomenon. Lastly there were the courts—you had to put an end to speculative judicial thought, you had to coerce the judicial mind, I do not say here, but in those States of the Commonwealth where the Imperial Statutes —as it was called—ran for so long and where the swift sword of the Colonial Laws Validity Act has been wielded so frequently and dealt such quick disaster to the laws of their own Parliament. And the House will agree that the only way in which to coerce the judgement of lawyers trained in such a tradition was by putting an end once and for all to the principle upon which it rested, putting an end to it in a definite legal way, a way which would leave no margin whatever for those amazing speculations in which judges sometimes indulge—in a word, by an Act of Parliament.

Col. 2294, Dáil Debates, Vol. 39.

Will any responsible lawyer, other than the Deputies who have spoken here, say that the growth of the status of the Free State cannot be marked by making the law exactly conformable with our constitutional position? That is all the sections of the Bill do. When Deputies come forward with scare statements as to the effect of the terms of our Bill they need only consult a constitutional lawyer and they will find that they are completely wrong. I say again that Deputy McGilligan knows that that is so. I say that that is the sole effect of the repeal of Section 2. I say it is the effect which any person who wished to record in Statute the exact position that we hold here would find it necessary to make. The alteration is exactly the one that was necessary to make in order to bring the Constitution Act into conformity with the present real constitutional position. Quoting again Deputy McGilligan about the Statute of Westminster: "The legal position is being made to square with the central predominant political facts of absolute freedom and unequivocal co-equality."

I listened to Deputy Fitzgerald's metaphysical distinctions about the various meanings of the word "status." I failed, I quite confess, to grasp a good many of the phrases which he used. I failed to follow the involved trend of thought which he gave expression to here in an attempt to show that there was a difference between the legal position and the moral position. While we may have a legal right to do this we are not morally entitled to do it. That seems to be the case on the other benches. That is the case from England; it is Mr. Thomas's case. I seriously would like to know under what code of morals is it wrong for persons to exercise their legal rights? Is not that what was said from the other benches? I might quote from the report of the debates in the British House of Lords from which Deputy McGilligan has quoted. To quote the view of one of the speakers there on that very point, Lord Danesfort:—

We have heard it said that if the Free State chose to alter the Treaty, whether there was an amendment or not they might pass legislation abolishing it in all or in part, and we should be unable to protest. I venture to think there is a vital and essential difference which has been overlooked in that statement. Supposing the Free State, if there is no amendment, were to repeal the Treaty, and supposing that the eminent jurists who said that they have a legal right under this Bill to repeal the Treaty are right, how could we protest? Their answer would be: "You gave us the legal power to do this."

That is what Deputy McGilligan has been boosting as a great achievement, which he has worked from all these negotiations at Imperial Conferences, and why have to negotiate again about it?

You gave us the legal power to do this; deliberately by your Statute of Westminster, you gave us legal power to alter or abolish this Treaty. What right have you to protest?

There is the case dealt with by a speaker in the British House of Lords. "I confess," he said, "it would be rather difficult to answer that question." If he had been here the last two days he would have heard speakers on the opposite benches attempting to answer the question by parading a new code of morals, that although you have a legal right to do a thing it is immoral to do it. In my view, that is a wholly wrong position to adopt in this matter. Either the position is as has been pointed out here, or it is not so. If it is not, then the words which filled the ears of members of this Dáil from the Deputies on the other benches, when they were here in power, should be withdrawn, and we should be told that we are back to the position as it was in 1921. When they talk of a frontal attack upon the Treaty, I deny that we are making a frontal attack upon the Treaty. I assert that we are merely attempting to bring legal framework into consonance with the actual position, as it is admitted it is the law, and as in fact it has been boosted by the Deputies opposite when they were governing here.

I say that every line of the Bill can stand examination by any constitutional lawyers, and it will be found that we attempt to do nothing that we are not legally and constitutionally entitled to do, and if one-tenth what we have been told of the advances that have been made here is true we are doing nothing more than any Dominion is legally entitled to do, under the status of co-equality and all the rest of it that we have heard so much about for the last eight or ten years. If that be the case, then the case against the Bill falls to the ground, the case against the Bill that is a legal document falls to the ground. I again assert, at the risk of repeating it much more than is necessary, that the Bill is watertight legally, that the Bill will stand the criticism of any legal person on either side of the water, and, mark you, no suggestion has come from the British side that we are not entitled to do it legally. There has been only this reliance upon an alleged breach of the Treaty. Deputy McGilligan well knows what is at the back of Mr. Thomas's mind, and he well knows the position in which he is trying to pin this country. I suggest again that he should have intervened with his own Party to prevent some of the back and front benchers from making such statements in this Debate.

Deputy McGilligan dealt, I think, with the historic, and economic and other aspects of this question. He dealt with the Labour Party's decision and challenged them as to the wisdom of doing this. I can quite appreciate his talking along the lines which he did to-day, but I do understand that the Labour Party should consider that it is wise and necessary to do this. What has been the position here in the last ten years? The position here in the last ten years has been that there has been something disturbing conditions, something in the whole structure here which has produced a state of unsettlement and preventing Parties forming along normal lines. What have we had for the last ten years? First of all, the so-called Treaty Party and the anti-Treaty Party; then the 1923 and the 1927 elections, in which the Labour Party were crushed out of existence. I think they had 22 members in the Party after the June election in 1927. That number diminished to 13 after the September, 1927, election, and went down to seven after the last election. That is the present strength of the Labour Party, unless I count the Imperial Labour members as Labour members, the two members who have been so vocal here on behalf of the unemployed.

The Jimmy Thomases.

I had been wondering why Deputies Morrissey and Anthony were so vocal until the bright thought struck me that twins always make more trouble than anybody else. I do not know whether they are really Labour members or not.

I have been asking myself is this a real lawyer?

Is not the Attorney-General himself a twin?

He is making a lot of trouble for you.

I suppose that is why I know so much about it. I wonder whether the two Deputies I have mentioned represent the rich unemployed or the poor unemployed. At any rate the numbers in the Labour Party came down to seven after the last General Election.

Both of you had a hand in that.

As Deputy Davin says, both of us had a hand in it. At any rate, until a position of political settlement is arrived at here, would not any thoughtful Labour man realise that there is no hope of Labour getting a fair show? I feel sure that the Deputies who sit on these benches here with me got far more support from Labour at the last election than the members of the Labour Party got. Why was that? Because there is a state of unsettlement here. Does not England realise that? If Mr. Thomas and the British Government really want to create a condition here in which some form of friendly relations between the two countries will be possible, then why for goodness' sake cannot we appeal to them to allow us to do something to produce a state of things in which normal party division, common to most countries, could be formed here? I see in the Labour action here the result of a ten years' attempt to ignore the fact that issues are raised between the two big Parties which prevent such a thing happening. I see in Deputy Norton's action, in deciding to lead the members of his Party to vote with us, an attempt to end that position.

In regard to our action here we have had history gone into at such great length that I am not going to go into it. But I do say that this Bill represents a genuine attempt to produce a condition of affairs here in which normal political development may take place. If England does not see the wisdom of allowing a slight advance to be made—unless I regard the Act of 1926, which flouted and broke the Treaty according to the British, and unless I allow the announcement that was made by Deputy McGilligan at the time that he was going to bring in a Bill to abolish the Privy Council to be called advances, where, I ask, are all the wonderful advances that we heard so much talk about? There has been a lot of vague talk, but where are the advances? Is this the first? There is a French proverb: "C'est le premier pas qui est le plus difficile." This is the first step that has been taken, and as a result of that we are met by a volume of abuse from the other side of the water taken up by Deputies on this side of the water. This boasted position of freedom in which we are supposed to be, if we are not allowed to take this small step, is shown to have been imaginative fantasy on the part of those who have painted it as it has been painted for the last ten years. On the legal side our Bill will, I am sure, stand the test of examination by the law officers of the Government that has gone out of office.

Section 2 has been relied upon here as an attempt to stampede the people, as something which is a breach of the Treaty. I venture to suggest that it will stand the test of examination by these law officers and will be admitted by them to be a necessary expression of the true legal position here. It will be found that the Bill does no more than it says it is doing. Then there is the deletion of Article XVII and the making of the consequential amendments necessary in order to prevent any judicial misrepresentation of the position.

Good man, you are doing well.

Or, to put it this way: this is the only one member of the British Commonwealth of Nations which has such a shackle upon its Constitution. There is no shackle in the Constitution of Canada analogous to this. Constitutional lawyers will tell you that such a thing is an anomaly in our Constitution, and that it should never have been there. They certainly will tell you that the growth of the position here has been such that from the legal side there is not the least contradiction in taking it out now, and that all the talk we have heard about the massed flank and massed frontal attack on the Treaty position is all moonshine and nonsense, and is known to be such by the man who should have kept his Party quiet, the man who knew what exactly the position was in which we found ourselves in our dealings between England and ourselves and might have kept the ring for us.

Deputy McGilligan knows that every word I say is correct, that the Bill is following the correct lines and is in accordance with the Constitutional developments that are dictated by the legal position obtaining here. The only question is whether we have got a mandate to do this, and whether it is necessary that that mandate should be followed. In that matter all I can say is that the Irish people have given that mandate.

Another thing I might have said if Deputy McGilligan had intervened at an earlier stage of the debate was this, that Deputy Dillon would have found that his reason for voting against the Bill is quite unsubstantial. So far as the one reason he advanced is concerned, the Deputy need not have the slightest fears that the position he envisages will arise. Our legal right to frame and pass the Bill in this way is incontestable. I have not covered all the ground that has been covered by Deputy McGilligan and other speakers, and I do not want to take up the time of the House further. I do not know whether I have answered the desire that has been expressed for some legal light from this side of the House. I do not know whether the opinions I have given will commend themselves to Deputies, but again I say that I am satisfied not of my own opinion alone but on the opinion of people who would be admitted by Deputies opposite to be competent to judge that this Bill is quite correct, and puts the legal position correctly. It is framed correctly and represents the true legal and Constitutional position here. It cannot be attacked on that ground whatever other ground it may be attacked on.

On a point of personal explanation, the Attorney-General complained that I had charged Deputies with being gutter-snipes. I just wish to say that statement is incorrect. I would not dream of charging any Deputy with being a guttersnipe.

The Deputy said: "Let us not behave as gutter-snipes."

Is Deputy MacDermot withdrawing his statement?

If I made it I certainly would withdraw it.

Mr. Hogan (Galway):

The Attorney-General seems to be suffering under an extraordinary grievance for a Deputy on the opposite benches. He seemed to think that it was our duty to make the case for this Bill. Of course, it was not for two reasons, or I will say for one reason, that we have no case to make for it. We do not believe there is any case to make for the Bill, good, bad or indifferent, and all I have to say about the Attorney-General's speech is that he has lamentably failed to make any legal case of any kind for it. He has confined himself to this, that he thoroughly agrees with Deputy McGilligan's statement of the legal position. That is what his whole speech comes to, from start to finish. He just asks one question—under what code of morals would it be wrong to exercise legal powers? Let me answer it by putting a case to him. France is a sovereign nation, and Germany is a sovereign nation. Suppose France and Germany made a treaty. France has the legal power to break that treaty, and Germany has the legal power to break it. Will they be right in breaking it? That is the answer to the question the Attorney-General asks, and there is no more and no less in it.

The President opened this debate, by claiming that he had a mandate for this Bill, and he quoted the Fianna Fáil manifesto in proof of that. He quoted the following sentence: "The first item on that programme was as follows: To remove the Article of the Constitution, which makes the signing of the Oath of Allegiance obligatory on members entering the Dáil," and he added, "The following note was added: This Article is not required by the Treaty." That is the manifesto. Now, off every Fianna Fáil platform, without exception, it was explained, that the basis of the Fianna Fáil claim was this: That the Oath was optional, on the wording of the Treaty itself, and that it was only, if you like, the malice, or the weakness, or the political bias of the last Government, that had it in the Constitution, and the country was told, that, in fact, we had already got the consent of England for the removal of the Oath, because the Oath was a matter of choice—agreed and admitted to be, by the wording of the Treaty itself, a matter of choice. That was the case made by the President, and by every Deputy of the Fianna Fáil Party, at the last election, and it was on that basis they got whatever mandate they got. So far as they have a mandate, it was on that basis they got it. How are they keeping that mandate? They come here to the Dáil with this Bill, and the President of the Executive Council explains the Bill, and what does his explanation amount to? He abandoned—I do not, for a moment, say that he will not return to it, because he is always going back and forward, but he must stand somewhere —for the purpose of this Bill, and for the purpose of getting it through the Dáil and of justifying it, deliberately and definitely he abandoned not only in his opening statement, but in the Bill itself, the case which he made to the electors for the last five years, that the Oath was optional by reason of the wording of the Treaty itself. He takes up an entirely new position, and that position is, to put it as best for him as I possibly could, whether the Oath is mandatory or not in the Treaty itself, the advance which we had got in constitutional status, the advances which have been won in the last five years, have given the power to take the Oath out of the Treaty. That is the case he made in his speech, and that is the case he made in his Bill.

Why did he not make that case to the country? There are a number of reasons. I take it that that is a sound case, the case which he wants to stand on, internationally, and with the Irish people, here and now, but why did he not make it to the country? He could not make it to the country, because, for the last ten years the President and the Deputies who sit beside him have spent their time maligning, belittling, worsening and bedevilling the Treaty position so far as ever they could do it; because, for the last ten years, for political reasons, they thought it necessary to malign, belittle, and slander every Minister of the last Government who went over to England and who were responsible— especially the late Kevin O'Higgins, one of the biggest men this country ever produced—for the great advances we have had in our constitutional position, which, on the showing of the President, and his Attorney-General, makes us an independent nation to-day.

Whenever we went over to an Imperial Conference, I heard the Minister for Local Government, Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly, who is built like that, talking about tall hats. That was the thing that stood out for the whole country—the tall hat, the knee breeches, the dinners and all the rest of it. That was the sort of thing that was told to the country; that was the point of view that was put to them, to strengthen them, and to enable them to build up the State. That was the only thing that stood out, and it would not do now or even at the last election, to come before the country and tell them that the constitutional position had been so improved, that we have now the legal sovereignty, which France or Germany has. It is retained here for the Dáil now, and it is on that basis that the Bill has been brought in. The President of the Executive Council should be ashamed of his position to-day.

Now, take the Bill itself, and the President's explanation of it. The first section, we are told, removes the Oath from the Constitution—admitted. "The next section," we are told, "proposes to remove the section of the Free State Constitution which made the Constitution subordinate to the Articles of Agreement." The President explains that, as a rule, treaties are not legalised, and that municipal law overrides them—admitted. He goes on: "We say that we propose to put the Treaty in the self-same position as other treaties made by this State." I might point out at this stage that there are various treaties in Europe that by reason of their terms are partly or wholly the municipal law of the countries negotiating them. "We propose to put the Treaty in the self-same position as other treaties made by this State, and we know that in this case the courts are compelled to interpret the municipal law, and that, where-ever municipal law and treaties are in contradiction, treaties must give way"—that is used to explain the section in this Bill, which takes away legal validity from the Treaty. The Attorney-General has gone. It takes away, not only legal validity from the Treaty, but the superior position of the Treaty. What was the point of that section? The President himself has explained it, and no matter how he twists he cannot get away from the fact that that section was imposed for one reason, and one reason only. He knew perfectly well that the Oath was mandatory in the Treaty, and he knew if the Treaty was the law of the land and if his Bill without that section taking away legal validity from the Treaty, came before the Irish Courts what the result would be. So what did he do? He gives an undertaking to the people at the last election that he will remove the Oath without breaking the Treaty and on his own showing he comes to the Dáil with a Bill that removes the Oath and explicitly breaks the Treaty. Explicitly breaks the Treaty, because he repeals the section under which he knows the Courts would find if he left it in that the Treaty was broken. That is the position of the President. In that state of affairs does he maintain that he got a mandate from the people for that? Whatever mandate he got he got no such mandate.

The President told us anyway that he has legal power to do this and the Attorney-General repeated it. I expected a little more from the Attorney-General than a mere repetition. Deputy McGilligan made a very long and closely-reasoned speech, whether Deputies opposite agree with it or not. I expected some light on the differences between the Attorney-General and Deputy McGilligan, but I got none whatever. He just said that they had the legal power. That is not denied. One of the conceptions Deputies opposite must get into their heads is that legal powers, either for an individual or for a nation, are comparatively-speaking of no importance. What is important in life for the individual and for the nation is the discretion and judgment in the exercise of these powers. I have legal powers as an individual or a farmer to refuse the best price for my cattle and take them home. I have legal power as a shopkeeper to refuse good customers. I have legal power as a customer to buy bad value at the dearest price, but I do not do it unless I am a fool. The Attorney-General is merely pushing an open door in that matter. No one denies that the Dáil is sovereign and has legal power to do this. Nobody is asking the President even to negotiate on that question. What we are asking the President to consider is whether he ought to exercise that legal power. We ask him to consider it, not from the point of view of trying to justify his own political past, but from the point of view of doing the best thing in the interests of the country. We do not even ask him to negotiate on his legal powers. We do not ask him to prejudice them in any way. But the country is entitled to know where the exercise of these legal powers is going to land the President.

Will the President answer specifically this question? What is going to be the result of taking the Oath out of the Treaty? Does Deputy Norton know? He seems to have a special knowledge. It is a really serious question and should not be dismissed lightly. Does the President know? Does any member of the Government know what is going to be the result, and where is it going to lead us? I do not know, but I am genuinely anxious to find out. Is it going to lead us out side the British Commonwealth? I do not say it is, but is it? Can the President answer that question? Or is it his line that he does not care whether it does or not? Is that Deputy Norton's line? If it is, I tell both of them that there is a majority in this country who do care and who are entitled to be told. Make no mistake about that. There is only one way to find out, and that is to go over and find out. I say further, that before an answer to that question can be had you must have consultation and negotiation not only with Great Britain, because Great Britain is only one member and only one co-equal member, but you must have, and can have, consultation and negotiation with every member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I say this, that if this act which the President is going to do now takes us outside the British Commonwealth of Nations by the backdoor, then no people in the history of the world have been so grossly betrayed and deceived as the people of this unfortunate country have been deceived by the President. I challenge him to say whether he knows where this is going to lead; what effect it is going to have. He does not, and could not know it, nor does Deputy Norton or Deputy Davin. They cannot know. But they have to close their eyes; they have to go ahead; they have committed themselves, for one reason or another; and they are now taking blindly and the President quite deliberately——

Who told you?

Mr. Hogan

Why did you not speak already and state your point of view?

That is my own business.

Mr. Hogan

If it is, do not interrupt me. They are doing blindly, and the President quite deliberately and quite carelessly, in the sense of not caring what the results are, something that generations in this country may yet rue. I am making no scare speech. War is not the greatest of evils, but it is a terrible one. Persistent poverty, persistent unsettlement, persistent politics, persistent confusion and chaos, are worse than a decent war, far worse; worse for the man and the woman who are poor, worse for the unemployed, worse for the under-dog, worse for everybody. A war is over between two civilised countries and something is settled. What is happening here? Nothing ever begins; nothing ever ends; we are always going round in a circle, and this Bill will keep us in that position. If you ask me, there are a great number of people who call themselves patriots who want to see this country kept in this position, because they know perfectly well that politics and the Republic and all the rest of them are merely a way of avoiding work, and they know that their living, their raison d'être, will be gone if once you have settled conditions here. What made France and England great countries, because they are, materially, spiritually, in literature, art, and everything else? That they happened to get a fixed Constitution hundreds of years ago, due to the fact that they had great leaders, and that the citizens of these countries could forget politics, except periodically, and settle down to the really important matters. the business of life. We never could do it. It was not our fault up to 1922. We got a chance in 1922 and the President stepped in between the country and the chance that this country has been looking for for centuries.

I say that the issue to-day is not whether the Treaty is good enough for us, but whether we are good enough for the Treaty. That is the real issue. The President said: "We have independence, let us do this." That is what his speech amounts to. He said in his opening speech: "Members opposite claim that they got it. My Attorney-General and legal advisers advise me that we have got it. We have got independence." That is his line. What is Deputy Lemass's? That the people who achieved this independence have been committing gross betrayals of the country and dishonouring it for the last five years. What is the line of the back-benchers so far as they have spoken? That we on this side should all shut up; that the independence of the country is at stake; that the present position between Ireland and England is the same as the position in 1914 between France and Germany, and anyone who opens his mouth is a traitor. Does the President not know that is not true? Does the President not know that independence is not at stake? Does he not know that, so far as we can in this House agree on anything, we are agreed that we have independence and that we have a legal right to exercise any independence we like? That, in fact, is admitted, and that is the case on which he based his Bill. Why then allow all these foul calumnies of us—that we are acting in English interests; that I represents Lancashire interests and not Galway; that Deputy McGilligan represents Yorkshire, and that we are concerned with English interests purely? That is a foul slander and is a serious charge to make, especially as the President himself by this very Bill admits that independence is not at issue. Separation is; the Republic, if you like is, but a Republic is not necessarily independence, nor is separation independence. It may be the exact opposite.

The President asked is this Treaty to be a perpetual barrier to advance. What did he mean? He meant, in fact, that taking out the Oath and going further outside the British Commonwealth of Nations is an advance. He is entitled to his opinion, but I say that a big section of this country hold the exact opposite, and that it is not an advance, and no pretence now that we are prejudicing the independence of the country ought to prevent us saying our say here for the people who sent us here. We got no mandate under false pretences. But, in any event, whether the President or Deputies opposite think independence is an advantage or not; whether Deputy Norton thinks that the taking out of the Oath will bring frowns from abroad or contentment at home or vice versa, is not the question. The question is that the issue raised in this Bill was never before the country. It is a serious issue, and the President has no right to proceed with this Bill without the country having a full and square and deliberate say on it.

Why did you abolish the Referendum?

Mr. Hogan

Is that the only difficulty that the Deputy has or is it a mere debating point?

Answer the question.

Mr. Hogan

There are many ways of consulting the country, and if the Deputy set any value upon the Referendum he might have been able to make another deal. But does he suggest that the country cannot be consulted without a Referendum? Is it seriously suggested that if this Bill raises a much wider issue than was before the country at the General Election, there is no way of dealing with that? Is there no way of raise this question? I asked Deputy Norton what has happened to a man who at the election put unemployment first on his programme and the Oath midway down the list. What has happened since then to create this great urgency so that the Oath must go first? It is now the first item on the programme, and unemployment and all other social problems must take second place. What has happened? The country has a right to know, and it will deal with those Deputies of the Labour Party who have turned and twisted upon this question.

The country dealt with you at the last election.

Mr. Hogan

There is a reason given for removing the Oath, a reason which has found an echo amongst Deputies of all Parties in the House and which I am fundamentally incapable of appreciating. Deputy Dillon put it in a neat way. He said that there are large numbers of Nationalists in the country who do not like this Oath and will not take it. I can understand that there are a small number of Nationalists in the country who are Republicans. There are. I can understand their position while I can disagree with them and respect them. They are a small number. They are not represented on the other side of the House, but they are there. But I am incapable of understanding the position of a man or woman who desires to remain within the British Commonwealth of Nations, but draws the line at saying so, and that appears to me to be the position of the Nationalists of the country who are not Republicans, but who object to the Oath.

Mr. Hogan

I cannot see it otherwise. I can understand the position of a Republican who wants to go outside the British Empire and to establish a Republic but I cannot understand the position of any man with a primary education who desires for reasons of his own well thought out to remain within the British Empire but will not take the only constitutional way of expressing it. What is the position about the Oath? The Oath is the expression of your intention to remain within the Empire and to be faithful to the laws so far as they are common. The Oath recognises the King as head of the Empire. If you do not recognise the King you are a Republican. If you do not recognise some form of a King there is no alternative form of government that I know except a Republic. The Oath recognises the King and the laws and procedure that are common to the various States in the particular organisation, and the Oath when taken acknowledges that he who took it will abide by the Oath and recognise the King. That is all it is. I cannot understand how any Nationalist who is not a doctrinaire Republican could object to take that Oath. I do not believe Irish Nationalism has come to that futile position. I quite appreciate and understand the man who says I want a Republic, I quite appreciate and understand the man who says I want to remain within the British Commonwealth, but I have no use for the man or woman who says I want to remain within the British Commonwealth and get all the advantages and wants to save his or her face—I can but I will not say so. I do not believe there is any real number of Nationalists who will take that position. I would be sorry if there were. If there are I say this: It is an argument that we are hardly capable of or fit for modern self-government and democracy. I say the President has done his very best to demoralise the people on these lines for the last few years. So far from trying to educate the people long enslaved he has done his best to demoralise and bedevil and confuse and darken counsels for them for the last few years. I do not believe he has succeeded. I believe there is an instinct and education amongst Nationalists that prevents them from taking up what I would regard as an absolutely futile and childish position. I do not believe there is any such demand.

There is another reason given for removing the Oath—that it would bring peace. What did the Labour Party say to that? I said this argument is an insult to the Dáil, is not valid and should not be used. I do not want to quote from the official organ of the people whom they want to cater for. Every Deputy knows perfectly well that they stated openly that the removal of this Oath will not bring peace and that they want more. The President is entitled to say "Very well, they may say that and I shall deal with them." But he is not entitled to take that line. Deputies opposite have no right whatsoever to object to this Oath. This Oath was agreed to first by an all-Ireland Assembly. The Treaty was accepted by an all-Ireland Parliament. I do hope that at this hour of the day we will not go back to the other futile catch-cry that it was accepted under duress. Of course it was accepted under duress. Every treaty is accepted under duress. The English accepted it under duress. Do Deputies think that the English desired to evacuate this country, to clear out their army, to hand over all services and give us an instrument which on the President's account gives absolute independence with it? They were here for 700 years and they made well out of it. Do you think they cleared out voluntarily; they did not. They accepted the Treaty under duress. There was one statement I read in a letter to the Press during the election which seemed to sum up the whole situation. In one sentence it said, "What the Fianna Fáil Party wants is not a Treaty but a capitulation. If you only knew it, that is what you are asking for. You will never get it. You will never get capitulation. The Treaty is as much as ever we will get. The Oath was accepted by an all-Ireland Parliament, it was accepted by the people at three or four general elections afterwards and no minority outside armed or unarmed has any right to say nay to it.

If there is any section in this country—and this doctrine must be understood—who declined to accept anything given legal effect to by the majority of the people that section must be content to remain outside and to disfranchise itself. That is the position. They must realise that. That is the only way you can carry on democratic government. Of course the President knows this is not going to placate them. It is no argument now to say people desire the Oath to be taken out. Remember the people you are trying to placate take the line that whether the majority desire it or not they are not going to have it. The President comes forward with this Bill and makes his argument in favour of it that the taking of the Oath out of the Treaty will placate a certain section. That argument should not be used, it has no validity and Deputies upon the benches opposite should be the very first to protest against that argument.

If it can be used in favour of that section it can be used in favour of another section, and it can be used until it brings about anarchy. It will be used, as it has been the experience of every country in the world, until it brings about anarchy. Who is going to suffer most from anarchy? Who will suffer most of all in the long run? The particular class that the Labour Deputies profess to be interested in and say they represent in the Dáil. They should be the first to protest against that. It is not valid, and, if it is genuinely held by the Government, then it bears out the second argument that this country is scarcely fit for self-government, and has scarcely reached the standard of character and hardness that are required for self-government.

Someone from these benches said that this was going to postpone unity. That was sneered at across the way. No Party here should make capital out of the Boundary. Deputies opposite asked did England always act honourably in this Treaty, and I think it was the Minister for Finance who said: "What about the Boundary Commission?" I will not say that we got the full benefit of the law. I will say that we got the full rigour of the law on the Boundary Commission. That is true. Why did we get the full rigour of the law? What lesson should that convey to us? Just this lesson. We made fools of ourselves. We dissipated our strength and we put ourselves in an impossible position in this country— down South—by the actions that were taken. I do not mind now who took them. We left ourselves in the position that instead of getting the full benefit of the law we got the full rigour of the law. If this country is to draw any useful lesson from that it should be this lesson, that a small country can never afford to make a fool of itself. Every time we do, we weaken ourselves; every time we do, we postpone unity, independence and strength. That is the only lesson to be drawn from the Boundary.

Deputies opposite have sneered at the word "honour." They have taken the line of Falstaff—"There is honour, here is no vanity." I will meet them on their own ground, and I will tell them this, and it is true. A big country can afford a tricky policy. Germany, France, England, can afford a tricky policy; but remember, a tricky policy was never yet embarked upon successfully by any country that had not a big army and navy behind it. We cannot afford a dishonest policy; we cannot afford a tricky policy. If we do, we will not get away with it. I put that to Deputies who have sneered at the necessity for keeping a bargain honourably. I put it to them on the lowest ground that honour pays. Honour is an essential for a small country.

It was Deputy Fitzgerald, I think, who, at an early stage, not in this debate but elsewhere, said that he would like to see a straight issue. So would I. I would have preferred, while I would be absolutely against it, to see a Bill brought forward here for the establishment of a Republic. I want to see this issue settled. Ireland cannot afford it any longer. This country is poisoned by politics. I would regard it as an economic disaster for this country to go outside the British Empire. Notice that I have studiously refrained from arguing the merits of that case. It is held by a big section of the people that it is an advantage to be inside the British Empire. It is not for us here to decide that. It is for the people, and it has never been put to them.

My own personal view is that it would be disastrous, but I would be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices for one purpose, and that purpose is to put an end to the business of the political agitator. I would do a lot if that could be achieved. It would be a great day's work for this country if it could be effected. All through this country during the last three months, while these long range negotiations were going on, and when the English Press were making comments on it, and it was becoming perfectly clear that we could have a Republic without either a military or an economic war, and merely on our own terms, by being treated as aliens and as a foreign country, I am perfectly certain I detected a note of dissatisfaction amongst the people who call themselves the most ardent patriots in the country. There was a feeling that if by any chance that happened, their business was gone and they would have to settle down to work. In particular, I detected that feeling amongst the body of men who call themselves the I.R.A.

I think our bluff is very nearly called, and I think it is very nearly time. The day is fast coming in this country when every politician's pose of being a soldier will not work any longer, when every man in the country can call himself a soldier, with the enemy at Holyhead. That day is passing. If we go outside the British Empire there is no doubt sacrifices will be called for, but these sacrifices will not be military sacrifices. The revolver will not be of any use; the trench coat will be no use. It will be necessary to drop the revolver, to take off the trench coat and not only the trench coat but the coat underneath it, and roll up your sleeves and be prepared to work harder and take less. These are the sacrifices in the future that are going to count to this country. If there are any young men serious in their anxiety to make sacrifices for the country, the time is coming when they ought to make them on those lines. I doubt very much whether they are prepared. I would like to see that bluff called.

I am dissatisfied with this Bill. I think it is a bad Bill and a dishonest Bill. It is a fraud on the people. I think it is possibly the most effective Bill from the point of view of causing insecurity and instability that could be introduced. Its reactions on employment and prosperity will be extremely bad, and I will oppose it by every means in my power.

I am satisfied that one of the results of the passing of this Bill will be that men will have to take off their coats and the coats under them and that men will have to turn up their sleeves and work. I am satisfied that one of the consequences of this Bill will be that men will do that and will do it, knowing for the first time probably in the history of this country for hundreds of years that they will have an opportunity, when they do take off their coats, when they do turn up their sleeves and when they do work, of working for themselves and not for somebody else. That is my belief. I believe that we are going to clear the road for three successive generations of the hardest worked people that have ever worked in a country. I am anxious to produce a condition of things in which every man in the country will feel that he has a bounden duty and that there is an absolute obligation on him to do those very terrible things with which Deputy Hogan threatens us. I believe that it is necessary to get back to stable conditions in which every man will work, because he knows that to him, his family, his country and his own people will go the result of his work.

To that extent I do agree with Deputy Hogan. Deputy Hogan has told us that we have had the rigour of the law. We had. When it came to an interpretation of any portion of the Treaty, we got the rigour of the law. We did not get the honourable obligations. We did not get the atmosphere of a gentleman's agreement. We got the rigour of the law. When this Treaty came here it was represented as giving to the people of this country, not merely the Twenty-six Counties but two other counties whose transference to the Twenty-Six Counties would have made impossible the continuance of the four counties. It was brought to us and lauded as a bargain in which the Thirty-Two Counties would have automatically come under the jurisdiction of the Irish people. We were told that was what it meant. We were told there were clauses in it under which the counties in the North which had a Nationalist majority would have a right under a plebiscite, under a democratic method of ascertaining their will, to vote themselves out. That is what we were told. It was on that basis, that in it, was the inevitable root of the unity of Ireland under the Irish people, that any acceptance of that Treaty was obtained from the people.

That was an honourable agreement. That was a gentleman's agreement. But F.E. Smith said: "When did Michael Collins and where did Michael Collins ever learn to interpret an Act of Parliament?" We got the rigour of the law. We got Feetham. We got a Commission. We got the lawyer's interpretation of a tricky phrase which deceived the laymen and under which we lost the two counties. In losing the two counties we lost the six counties. We had built up to us under the rigour of the law, under the closest and narrowest interpretation of the legal meaning of documents, and we had made permanent, as far as human ingenuity could devise it, the division and partition of this country.

And yet the people who plead that way had to suffer and had to bow down to that rigour of the law which meant the permanence of that separation, say that we, on our side, are bound by the gentlemen's agreement. A gentlemen's agreement not to plead the law, not to plead what is obviously and openly our power under the law. We have contracted out of that, and in some strange curious way, whatever may be the legal meaning of that Treaty, as a static instrument, whatever may be the advantage of the developability of that Treaty, whatever may be said of evolution in it, we are bound by the gentlemen's agreement not to use the legal powers and the legal meaning of that Bill for the purpose of the development of our liberty. The same agreement holds legal powers. The rigour of your law was used to insult the unity and the integrity of this Irish people by this permanent partition. Honour it is, not law, that is to govern when it suits the other side. Law it is, and not honour. The rigour of the law. What is to govern? And the interpretation of that law enables the dream of Ireland, the only dream she ever had of a unitedly free land, to be torn from her. Honour on one side and law upon the other? That is the contention.

We must not, as honourable men, attempt to find the legal meaning of this document at all. We have got to find, in the beautiful interpretation which is the imaginative sense of honour of the gentlemen who now no longer control this country, what they think suits them for the purpose. I believe and always have believed that the position of this country—and I am speaking of the Twenty-six Counties, and I am not saying it for the first time in this House—that under the condition of that particular document, having regard to all its surrounding circumstances, and having regard to the nature of the terms in which liberty was suggested or defined, that development would take place, and that the development which has taken place was inevitable. In saying that I do not want to be taken as taking by even the inflection of a word from Kevin O'Higgins the credit that belongs to him in the matter. Kevin O'Higgins, whatever else he was compared to the men he sat amongst, as a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, was a giant amongst pigmies. He was a man of great mind. I have said that there was no second class mind left in that body. Whatever else he was, Kevin O'Higgins was a man of first-class mind. I am speaking now from a knowledge of the people on the other side, from representative men on the other side who said to me in relation to the First Imperial Conference: "Two more Imperial Conferences with Kevin O'Higgins representing the Irish Free State and the British Empire as we have known it, will have disappeared." That was inevitable.

England had a choice at the time of the Treaty of giving this country a peace of liberty. On the other hand, she had the choice of driving this country in as a partitioned country, as a foreign body, into that community on a peace that was not a peace of liberty. She chose not to take the peace of liberty; she chose to define the terms of the Irish Free State's position in the terms of the liberty of Canada, Australia and other places. In so doing unconsciously she had the choice of smashing up the British Empire, or making a peace of liberty with us. There was no question at all that the developability was there and I say, and have always said, that I saw that there were only two possible endings to that particular Treaty. One was that the Free State itself, or whatever that meant, would be enabled to develop into a sovereign position, or that the British Empire, in attempting to deny it, would be destroyed. That exactly is what has happened through the energy of Kevin O'Higgins, in the first instance, using that great opportunity. Broadly speaking, through the inevitability of circumstances, and having regard to the various activities and ambitions of the various lines of development which were natural to the different portions of that Empire, what has resulted has resulted, and the position is that we are in a double position, in no sense contradictory.

We may have the power, under the Treaty as it exists as a static instrument, to remove this Oath. We may have the power under the developed condition of the Free State, due to the evolution of the Free State under that instrument and within it, to remove it. These are not in any way contradictory propositions. We are not put to election. A man may have power along two different lines which are in no sense contradictory. Personally, I contend that both under the static position of the Treaty itself and, demonstrably, under its evoluted condition, what we are trying to do here we are doing in accordance with law; in accordance with the Constitution and, I believe, without any hesitation, in consonance with honour. If this is to be a prosperous country, it has to be a country which is stable. As long as there are the disturbances of mind, as long as there are certain points upon which men can legitimately hold violent differences of opinion with the constituted authority, you are bound to have these particular opinions as germinating sources of evil. I believe without doubt that we have the power and the right, and having the power and the right, recognising that the exercise of that power and that right will produce a condition of stability, we have a duty to carry on upon these lines. I am quite a materialist, perhaps, in some ways. Someone has said that there have to be a Martha and a Mary in every household. Perhaps I am a Martha more than a Mary in these matters. I look at things from a material point of view. I have seen this country in much closer association with Britain over all these years. I look back over the whole thing. Deputy Hogan says the effect of our action is going to lead to persistent poverty, uncertainty, and depopulation. What has it been in the past? Under all her full and complete jurisdiction, poverty, uncertainty, depopulation. What condition are we in to-day? The poorest country in the world, the most depopulated, while she was in the position of trustee for our future. How has she exercised that trusteeship represented by the population of this country and represented by our poverty? She showed no signs of it in the past. On the contrary, we get a threat of the things she may do if she chooses. All these things she will do if she chooses, if it pays her, whether we pass this Bill or not. I am not blaming her once she is clear of responsibility or of pretending to take responsibility for us. She has never paid one penny for anything she received from us over and above what she had to pay. She never would. Never at any time in her history has she restrained herself from exercising any activity of any sort, to suppress any industry, any trade or any national or economic hope we had, except on the grounds of her own interests. She will continue to do that. To that extent Deputy Hogan and I are in full agreement. Whatever we do in this matter, whether we take the Oath out legally or illegally, whether we put it in or keep it in, or whether we say it is a matter of honour or a matter of law, she is going to go on as she has always gone on, looking after her own interests. In my opinion, it is our duty to take that action which shall be in our own interests, and at the same time in the interests of our own honour.

Before referring to the Bill, I would like to reply to a remark made by Deputy Cleary that we on this side of the House were united in one thing only, personal hatred of the President. To my mind, that is a serious allegation. It is so serious that I would like to make it clear that I would never enter the precincts of this House if such were the case, or if I were animated by personal hatred to the President. Having said that, I would like to refer to the Bill. The ultimate fate of the Bill depends entirely upon Deputy Norton and his Party. I was not so very much interested in the debate until Deputy Norton spoke. I know that it makes no difference what appeal we may make to those on the opposite side of the House, the Labour Party having decided to support the Government. It makes no difference if we appeal for the opening up of negotiations with the British Government. When Deputy Norton was speaking I could almost hear the parchment upon which the Treaty was written tearing and tearing until, when he sat down, it was torn up. Deputy Norton referred to the ex-servicemen, and said that the British Government should remember the services of the thousands of Irishmen who served in the Great War when considering this Oath question. Does Deputy Norton suggest that these ex-servicemen should ask Britain to do what these ex-servicemen did, namely, go to war for a scrap of paper? The ex-servicemen of Ireland went to fight because a treaty was being denied to a small nation by Germany. Deputy Norton, as he proceeded, made no mention except of the Oath. He did not mention all the mutilation that lay behind removal of the Oath. When ex-servicemen from every part of the British Commonwealth assembled in London, Winston Churchill stated that the Irish Free State did not care one snap of its fingers for the British Constitution or British institutions. He recognised that this infant State had become almost a nuisance, and had completely changed by its influence the whole position of the associated nations of the Commonwealth. How was that done? It was done by going to the British Government, looking successive Cabinets in the face, and showing that we were not afraid to meet them. This Bill would imply that we were afraid to meet them, afraid to make our point, and to say that the Oath was an intolerable burden on the Irish people, and we wanted it removed. Let the President endeavour to remove it if he can in that way, and if he fails, he can come back to this House and we will have another say about it. Reference was made to common ground on this matter. What common ground can there be? Is there any guarantee that there will be common ground for a month, six months, or for twelve months?

The liberty of small nations for which you went out to fight.

Give us a common ground; guarantee us a common ground. All we are offered is uncertainty. Is there anything more upsetting to the economic life of the country than uncertainty? Is there anything more destructive of commercial enterprise than uncertainty? It is uncertainty that paralyses progress and holds up enterprise. Let the uncertainty be ended by negotiating this question with the British. Let the Government let us know definitely whether there is going to be certainty or uncertainty in the country. Let the people of the country know exactly where they are going. There is talk about duress and immediate and terrible war. It was Mr. Lloyd George who enunciated that. Where is Mr. Lloyd George to-day? He has not even got a Party in England. Where is the duress? There is no need to be afraid of Mr. Lloyd George. I remember, when the President of the Executive Council went across to Downing Street, seeing a photograph of him with his hand clasped in that of Mr. Lloyd George. Lloyd George was smiling but Mr. de Valera looked grim and upset as if Mr. Lloyd George had already him in his pocket. Is that why the President is afraid to open negotiations again? Let us have a bit of pluck and courage instead of talking about tall hats and silk stockings. They appear to be the fears of the Party opposite. They have an inferiority complex and will not go over and meet these men face to face. People outside do not know what is going to happen the country or whether the country is going to ruin itself. Deputy Flinn referred to what Mr. Kevin O'Higgins—I speak of him with reverence—said, that if there were two more Imperial Conferences there would be no such thing as a British Empire. Why did the Party opposite not rally around Kevin O'Higgins and end their trouble with the British Empire by dissolving the British Empire? They were not willing to go over and help him.

I did not intend to intervene in this debate. The remarks made by Deputy Cleary more than anything else induced me to rise. For ten years, I took no interest in politics whatsoever. Since the Treaty was signed, I found, as an old nationalist, that I could accommodate myself on these benches on the basis of the Treaty, with the hope of our people becoming united and not slipping, like the shifting sands, until we find ourselves in 1933 with a Twenty-Six County Republic with nothing for anybody.

The last Deputy who spoke said he came into this House in the hope of getting some kind of unity. How can he get unity on a document that is full of ambiguities and full of prevarications—a document that will be interpreted across the water in one way and interpreted in Ireland in another way? Surely, the only way we can have unity is to come to a common understanding as to what we want to get and to take a natural and proper meaning out of the instruments imposed upon us—to be guided solely by Irish sentiment and Irish interests in interpreting the Treaty and other instruments connected with it. When I read the Treaty first, I was far away from Ireland and I had no other people to assist me in forming a view upon it. The view I formed about it on my own responsibility was that it was too good a thing not to be accepted by some and too bad a thing not to be rejected by others, that it was an instrument of dissension which would keep the Irish people divided for a generation. That is exactly what it has been and is to-day. Our attitude at present is that seeing it is inevitable for the time being and that we must leave the Treaty where it is, we ought to try to get a real spirit of unity among the Irish people, tide over the ambiguities in these documents and get a real understanding amongst all sections of Irishmen. We are not going to press forward as far as we would like until the people are ready to go the whole way towards a Republic for all Ireland. We are not anxious to rush them into a situation where they do not wish to go but we wish to impress upon them that they should put an Irish interpretation on these documents and come to a common understanding so as to get the fullest amount of freedom out of the documents, such as they are.

An invitation to London is an invitation to the fly into the spider's web. If we go to London, we must take it for granted that a hostile interpretation will be placed upon this clause. One of the greatest lawyers England ever produced, Lord Birkenhead, who knew the weight of any clause ever put into any document, called this Article "the greatest prevarication in history." There is evidence from several quarters that he used that phrase. Even foreign journalists have admitted he used a phrase of that kind. We do not want to be led into a trap in which that prevarication could be used against the Irish nation. Therefore, we must fall back upon our own strength and give that document an Irish interpretation and an Irish interpretation only. There is no substantial difference between the different sections in this House. Everybody except a small minority agrees that it would be well to get rid of the Oath altogether. That small minority we might persuade after a little time, it was in their interests to get rid of the Oath. Most of the Deputies in this House are in substantial agreement that it would be well to get rid of the Oath. We are also in substantial agreement in that we want to interpret the Treaty status which we have—and which it is contended by some is independent of the Treaty—so as to get the largest amount of freedom out of that status. At the same time, we cannot lose sight of the fact that there is another point of view—the English point of view— that Irish freedom is purely statutory, that it is only created by British statutes and can be destroyed by British statutes. If England is weak to-day, she can lull our suspicions into quietness so that we will not make our position strong and so that when she grows strong again, she will be able to destroy our freedom by merely repealing a statute.

We have seen that happening in the past. The Act of Renunciation which established the powers and freedom of the Grattan Parliament was destroyed afterwards by the Act of Union and subsequent legislation. We do not want that position repeated, and, therefore, our object must be to go forward, as far as possible, and with the greatest amount of unity towards the situation where Ireland's freedom will be absolutely undoubted and beyond question by England or by anybody else.

I did not intend to speak to-night, but I feel I must, though it is with considerable diffidence—I might say fright—that I come into this debate. Big guns have thundered from every side. There has been charge against charge, and I am in a cloud of perplexity. The question to which I want answers I have heard propounded, but I have heard no answer yet. I am not—the leaders of the House will realise—a great politician. I am only an ordinary perplexed Irishman, like many who deplore, and have deplored this unfortunate Party strife, and perpetuation of these feuds that have, in the past, undermined our prosperity and prevented us becoming a nation. During the recent elections there was a lot of talk, and I read it with considerable pleasure, of the necessity for the real unification of Ireland, the promotion of sympathy and of better understanding between all the various creeds in this country and above all, for the creation of a general peace in this country in which we might have time to breathe and the country time to revive. President de Valera and others made such professions, and I know they made them in all sincerity. Perhaps it is unfair to expect that they should be able to redeem their promises in so short a time: I am anxious to be patient, but I do feel that the methods they have adopted in facing this question of the Oath, are methods likely to produce anything but peace.

I shall try to put it in the form of a metaphor to you. We sometimes give up portions of our gardens to children. They like it. They work hard and they feel very important. They plant and replant, they dig in and dig up, but you know the actual product at the end of the year is not very much. About ten years ago the late Government were given the cultivation of Ireland. They dug up a lot of old things and planted a lot of new things. I will be frank. I did not, at the time, approve sometimes of their choice, but I must say that some of the plants seemed to be very promising. Now Fianna Fáil has taken over ground and it has found, in the corner of the garden, one little plant that I had not noticed very particularly until my attention was called to it. They think it is poisoning the soil and everything growing in the garden, and they are proceeding to dig it up. In doing so they are ploughing up the whole garden. All that does not seem to be necessary, as far as I can gather, for the removal of the Oath, and the worst of it is that I am not satisfied that they are the last of the gardeners. I think behind them is another Party who would like to try their hand, and perhaps there is another Party behind them again, and we old people who are looking for peace, settled government, and orderly paths to move on, looking for the conditions in which one might initiate industry and put our country moving prosperously and happily, in honour among the nations, are beginning to despair of ever living to see that. We are beginning to think that that day is put off for another generation, and, as you know, "hope deferred maketh the heart sick." This debate may have been interesting and exciting to some, but it gives one an ache to think of the Party divisions and of the failure of the brains on either side to think together. There are plenty of brains in this country.

I really do not know whether the removal of the Oath will amount to a repudiation of the Treaty, but if it does, and this is a question which I would like answered, where are we, where do we stand? Do we move automatically outside the British Commonwealth of Nations or do we go back to that Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from which we emerged in 1921, or do we remain in a state of Limbo? Is this miserable state of insecurity, to which Deputy Minch just alluded, this uncertainty still to continue? I know often that disinterested and patriotic leaders in their enthusiasm have led their people astray. Many a time a great leader has led his people into a wilderness, and sometimes those people have not emerged. Even Moses led his people for forty years in the wilderness. I want to know where we stand, supposing this Bill becomes law. I want to know is there any hope that we older people—if not we ourselves, our children—may cease to tread paths of perplexity, weariness, pain and uncertainty?

I am very glad that we have got, in this House, sufficient time to discuss this matter. During yesterday and to-day, we have heard any amount of talk about mandates. Some Deputies opposite tell us that we have got a mandate for this, others tell us that we have got no mandate whatever to remove the Oath. First of all, I want to deal with a few mandates. What was the mandate, or would I say justification, for the murder of Rory O'Connor and his comrades? The justification for that was carried in this Dáil by 39 votes to 14—39 out of 152 elected representatives. That is one mandate, and it was used for the murder of 73 others. Those are the people that talk of mandates. The mandate for the Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Bill was carried by 46 votes out of 152. I could travel along every single Coercion Bill that was introduced in this Dáil during the last nine or ten years and give you the same number for each mandate. The highest number of votes was 49, and it went from that down to 23. Mandates under which citizens of this State were arrested and shoved into jail and kept there as long as the 49 liked. Those are the people who now talk of mandates. But the 72 elected Deputies of this House have no mandate ! We heard no talk about that. We were asked why was not this put before the people. If there was anything clearly put before the people at the last general election, it was the question of the Oath. Not alone was it put before the people then, but it was before them since we came into the Dáil and even before we came into the Dáil. When we came into the Dáil there was machinery in the Constitution by which this matter could be referred directly to the people and a direct decision on that question alone could be given by the people. We got a petition for the Referendum signed and brought it in here, but the very day it was presented, there was a Bill brought into the Dáil for the elimination of that Article of the Constitution, an Article which would have enabled the citizens of the State to impress their will on the Dáil. That Article was eliminated and now we hear a lot of noise and useless talk here about the elimination of another Article of that Constitution. We are about sick of that. Every single portion of the Constitution that gave any rights to the people of this State was eliminated, one Article after another.

Then we hear about economic dangers. I am a farmer and I represent as many farmers as any Deputy in the Dáil. I can speak here for as many farmers as any Deputy in the Dáil, and they are not one bit afraid that John Bull is going to do anything about the price of cattle, the price of sheep, butter or eggs. They know that John Bull has only one law, and that is: "On the day we can buy a pound of butter, a dozen of eggs or a pound of beef as good as yours one farthing cheaper in any market other than yours, we will do it." That is John Bull's law, no more and no less. If anything could be said about preferential treatment, the Danes have got preferential treatment for the past nine or ten years. They have got better prices on the English market than we have and I am sure we were then conforming with the Constitution, with all the Articles imposed by John Bull. We did not hear a single word about preferential treatment from John Bull in these days. We did not hear that we were going to get a better price for butter because our Deputies were taking the Oath nor did we hear that John Bull was going over to Denmark to ask Deputies there to take it.

Then we see the combination against the Bill. Was ever such a combination seen before as the combination against the Oath? We have Deputy Fionán Lynch who took his rifle in 1916, went out and fought and Deputy Shaw who mobilised the Mullingar Specials to hang Deputy Lynch. That is the combination now!

I would not think it worth while to contradict the clown of the Assembly.

Does the Deputy deny it?

Absolutely.

Do you deny you were a member of the special constabulary in 1916?

Absolutely. It is an invention.

Mr. Brady

A very good one.

Deputy Corry will speak to the Bill.

Will Deputy Corry withdraw his insinuations? They have been definitely denied by the Deputy who stood up and against whom they were directed, and I think he should withdraw them.

Would you not think that was praise?

I would not ask him to withdraw, because anything he says is a compliment to decent people. There is one thing anyway, I have white hands, which he has not.

I think we should insist on the withdrawal of the statement. When a Deputy is assured that there is no proof for a charge he makes, he should withdraw it in common decency.

A charge against a certain Deputy that he mobilised a certain section to murder another Deputy. That is a statement that should not be made, particularly when it is expressly denied by the Deputy himself. I would ask Deputy Corry for the sake of the dignity of the House that he should withdraw the statement, and that he would not repeat such statements but confine himself to the terms of the Bill.

Certainly, I withdraw the statement.

It is like all the statements you make.

We have seen this very strange combination that is here and we want——

Is that not by implication a reiteration of the charge that has already been withdrawn?

Any Party is open to certain statements. Anybody can describe it as "a certain combination." Surely that is not a matter to which anybody can object.

I submit that by again repeating the words "this combination" of which he says one was a man who organised a body of men to assassinate another, he expressly repeats the allegation.

He is making no personal charge against any Deputy. When he made a personal charge against the Deputy I got Deputy Corry to withdraw it. A Party is fair game for such statements as Deputy Corry is making. Any Party is fair game for such a charge.

Another Party is, but what about the combination? This combination includes Deputy Shaw, who, he said, organised a body of men to assassinate another Deputy.

I do not know where I am. I understood that the Deputy who has spoken came into this Dáil four years ago. I saw him solemnly coming in here to vote for President de Valera as President of the Executive Council. Where is he to-day? I am sick of this kind of humbug.

We hear a lot about the economic viewpoint on this matter. We heard a lot of noise as to what John Bull is going to do. Deputy Roddy told us last night that we have already lost a farthing a lb. on our beef, while Deputy J. J. Byrne became quite eloquent about the unfortunate farmers who could not sell their milk, butter or eggs to John Bull. But look at the blessing that would be for the unfortunate people that Deputy Byrne talked about the other day when he said they were not able to buy a pound of butter. Look how cheap it would be for them. You cannot have it both ways. Then we had a speech from my colleague, Deputy Brasier, from East Cork. He was put out entirely about our losing our best customer and about all the trouble there would be. I know exactly where the shoe pinches the Deputy. I know he is highly troubled over the Oath business for fear the gentry who came over here recruiting in 1914 beating the big drum, and inviting young Irishmen to go out and fight for small nations, will no longer be sending over their cast-off clothes for the unfortunate maimed cripples who acted on their advice.

There is not a word about 1914 or the Great War in this Bill.

Would the Deputy like to have some of them? He cannot even rise to that.

I have been trying to explain the different reasons Deputies have given for opposing this Bill. A number of Deputies to-day gave their reasons as to why Labour were voting with us. I think I am entitled to point out some of the reasons why Independent Deputies are going to vote with Cumann na nGaedheal to see that the Oath which nobody wants is kept in force here. Then we had Deputy Minch telling us about those who went out to fight for small nations. He forgot to tell us that when these unfortunate individuals came back they had to handle their rifles again—a lot of them—and fight for the freedom of this small nation.

I think I never listened to anything more ridiculous than the arguments which were put up here during the last few days. It was absolutely sickening. The whole cry from Deputies on the opposite side for the last two days has been that the Oath should remain. Deputy Minch and practically every Deputy who spoke on that side of the House admitted that we have the legal right to do what is proposed. If we have I do not see why we should go negotiating about it. I do not see John Bull coming over here to negotiate about anything.

Everyone knows that the people of this country are morally entitled to the land annuities. We had legal arguments put up from time to time as to why the land annuities should be paid over, and as long as the last Government were in power they insisted on observing that so-called legal right and paid over the annuities. I got up to say that I am glad Deputies will have plenty of time to discuss this until midnight to-morrow, and I hope they will take full advantage of it. They are not going to be limited as we were when the last murder Bill, or the Public Safety Bill, was being steam-rolled through all its stages in the Dáil in one day. We are giving them plenty of time and I hope they will take full advantage of it.

I hope it will be possible even at this late stage to get the House to come back to a serious consideration of the very important subject that is before us. The difficulty in addressing oneself to the consideration of a Bill which has ranged over such a wide field is the fact that some persons in this House seem to consider that all Irish history began in 1916. They seem to think that the State or the form of Government is a greater thing than the nation. The late Tom Kettle described the vagaries of some of our politicians. He once used the phrase that we were endeavouring to create an impossible future out of an imaginary past. We might paraphrase that epigram, as I may call it, and say that this House is going to create for this country an impossible future out of an imaginary mandate.

The word "mandate" has loomed largely in the discussions, but what we mean by a mandate has never been defined. I take it to be the unequivocal desire of a people or a nation towards some end. Judged by that, even the Fianna Fáil people have not got a mandate to form a Government. They have not a working majority in this House, and they can only get a majority by a coalition with the rump of what was once the Labour Party. The Labour Party has got no mandate whatever to take hand, act or part in any proceedings that are likely to jeopardise very seriously the security and the future good order of the country. If there was any doubt about that Deputy Norton their leader, in more than one pronouncement that he made since the election, laid it down definitely that he would be no party to tampering with such things as the Oath unless and until they could be re-arranged by negotiation. Furthermore he promised that these things would get no consideration from his Party while such an important economic subject as unemployment remained unsolved.

If there was any doubt whatever about the attitude of a single individual of that Party I can speak for the senior member for West Cork, Deputy T. J. Murphy. He gave an unmistakable pledge to the people of his constituency on more than one occasion that he stood by the Treaty, and it was on that promise and pledge that he was elected as senior member for that important constituency. Some short time ago the Labour Party dismissed from its ranks two men decause their consciences directed them to take a certain course that was not in consonance with the agreement they had with their Party. Now this same Party, which took such great account of a Party pledge, is going seriously and deliberately to break a solemn pledge they made to their constituents. We shall see that verified in a very short time. It is difficult for us on this side of the House to escape some of the taunts that have been levelled at us. It would seem from the speeches delivered from the other side that we are here holding a special brief for John Bull, and that we are taking up a very pro-English attitude on this.

I, personally, protest against that. I am sure that, if we were looked into, there would be found in us as much Fenian reaction as there is on the other side. It is no more pleasure to us to have to take this Oath than it is to many of the individuals on the opposite benches, and the only distinction is this, that we, by implication, feel bound in honour to take an Oath which was part and parcel of a solemn Treaty, entered into ten years ago, between this country of ours and England. Two things emerge from the very important speech of the Attorney-General, and these two points that stand out boldly are, first, that he acknowledged that there were two viewpoints. That is an important admission from a gentleman occupying his position. He also said that the speech he was delivering should be delivered, not against us, but rather against the supporters of the Oath in England. These two points are the very points that this Party, in the amendment it has put on the Paper, claim consideration for. We wish not to proceed, by deliberate action, to take this Oath out of the Treaty, or out of the Constitution, and thereby interfere with the Treaty, but to do it by consultation, and after due deliberation, and after consulting authorities on the subject, and also by addressing ourselves, or asking the Attorney-General to address himself, on our behalf and on behalf of the House, to England on the question. That is our case. We want negotiation on the matter, and it will be found better for this country, hereafter, if a little more discretion is exercised before this important matter was rushed through in this manner.

Ten years ago a very important mission set out from this country with a problem for solution. That problem was to find out how far Irish national aspirations could be reconciled with membership of the Commonwealth of Nations known as the British Empire. There was unity in Ireland then. That formula was arrived at to express what would be acceptable to this country, and it was after many vicissitudes, on the solution of that problem, that the Treaty was founded, and it was then, and there, and at that time, that the Republic was let down. Where we stand to-day, it is difficult to decide, as it is difficult to understand the political mentality of our friends, on the opposite side of the House. Up to a certain point, they call themselves Republicans, and then, they call themselves the Fianna Fáil Party, without any deliberate policy, and without any attitude towards this country, except the very negative one, of doing everything possible to destroy the Free State, and burst up the institutions, founded here in the last ten years. We have been told that we should read between the lines of Mr. Thomas's communication. There is an insinuation also that that communication of Mr. Thomas was sent from this side of the House. We were told deliberately that the matter of this Oath was one, purely and solely, for ourselves. We were told it was purely a domestic question and the first thing done, in regard to settling this domestic question, is to send a note across to Mr. Thomas to the British House of Commons.

Not at all.

It is not true; the note was to the High Commissioner.

I stand contradicted, if you wish, but the communication was received by Mr. Thomas and it came from the President.

At Mr. Thomas's request.

At all events it was said to be a domestic question and it was taken out of the jurisdiction of this House and sent across to Mr. Thomas at his request.

It was not.

Well, that is what gave rise to the further communications. We, here, quite agree that if this is a domestic question it should have been discussed here, and this House should have been consulted before any action was taken in the matter.

When the Deputy gets a little older he will know something about practice.

If the President has anything to say would he say it so that I can hear it. I am not a bit afraid to listen to it.

When the Deputy gets more accustomed to the practice of the House and the work an Executive has to do he will understand.

The opportunity was taken in this communication to speak not alone disrespectfully, but rather to traduce the memory of two men who died for the observance of their honour in regard to that Treaty. We were told in this correspondence that "the agreement divided the people of Ireland into two hostile camps—those who deemed it their duty to resist, facing the consequences, and those who deemed it prudent, in the national interest, temporarily, to submit, the latter being placed in the no less cruel position of having apparently to hold Ireland for England." I think that is a reflection on the honour of two of the greatest men of modern Ireland, who came from my constituency— Michael Collins and Seán Hales—and I protest, in the strongest manner, against their memory being traduced in the statement that they were men who were compelled to hold Ireland for England.

We were told that this Treaty was originally freedom to achieve freedom, and that statement was used sneeringly from the Government benches; but who, in any part of the House, will deny that Ireland is better off to-day, in its legislative institutions, than it was ten years ago? There is, in fact, nothing to stop President de Valera to-morrow from declaring definitely and openly that he will walk out of the British Commonwealth of Nations and set up a Republic for the Twenty-six Counties. You have freedom to achieve that, and I do not believe England will stir one hand, or fire one shot to prevent that beautiful consummation.

Partition has been brought into this question a good deal, but who created partition in this country? Partition, I suppose, was really created by the Government of Ireland (1920) Act, but when the Free State was set up, it was set up for all Ireland, and the Treaty was made for all Ireland, it being left to the North to opt out if they wished. There was a chance, a great chance, and a great opportunity, when the Treaty was passed, that the North might possibly come in. In fact, for a time, there was a little waiting space, during which it was hoped that some negotiations might be entered into that might bring about that result. The negotiations either did not take place, or had an abortive result, and the North, all this time, had not said a word about the passing of the Treaty, although the Free State applied to them, as well as to us. It was not until President de Valera raised the standard of revolt here that the standard of revolt was raised, at the same time, by Sir Edward Carson in Ulster. That is how partition was consolidated, and now the only chance you have is to keep firmly within the Commonwealth of Nations. There is, then, some common ground on which you can meet the North. Abolish your Oath; do away with your Treaty, and never again will the chance arise of coming to an agreement with the North.

The economic consequences that follow from this I do not propose to enter into. They may be too big and too serious to contemplate. But we cannot get over the fact that recently the firm of Messrs. Jacobs intimated in no uncertain way that if the Treaty is tampered with they certainly will have to create a lot of unemployment amongst their hands. A like situation may arise in the case of Guinness's stout. If you abolish Guinness's stout what are you going to substitute for it in the City of Dublin?

A Deputy

Beamish's.

No. "Spanish ale will give you hope, my dark Rosaleen." Take care that Spanish ale may have a lot of froth on it, and it may contain some corrosive acid that will eat into the vitals of our country.

Was it a Kinsale man that betrayed Kinsale?

Our position is clear. All the rights you require and can exercise for the development of social order and national self-consciousness are given within the limits of the Treaty, and you can use them, but there is nothing to prevent you from becoming as Irish as you like and as anti-English as you like. There is nothing to prevent you from developing and making laws protecting your industries in any way you like. What more freedom will you get under a Republic or any other form of government that you do not derive at present from the position under the Treaty and from being within the Commonwealth of Nations? If we take this dispute, if you like to call it that, with regard to the Oath and the Treaty for consideration with the other parties to that Treaty. I am sure it will be capable of adjustment and rearrangement if necessary. I agree with the Attorney-General that countries advance and institutions develop and if we find it necessary now for any purpose, for the internal peace and good order and harmony of our country, to have certain changes made I am sure there would be no difficulty about having them made. But do not let us go take them like a bull at a gate. Let us take them with consideration. The matter is a delicate one. There may be strained relations that may have very serious consequences for the country. In connection with the negotiations, I have here before me a copy of a letter written by General Smuts to President de Valera about the time the settlement was made in 1921. General Smuts is a man something like our own Michael Collins who fought very hard against England and who fought to maintain the status of his own country once peace was made. Writing to President de Valera he said:

If, as I hope, you accept, you will become a sister Dominion in a great circle of equal States, who will stand beside you and shield you and protect your new rights as if these were their own rights; who will view an invasion of your rights or a violation of your status as if it was an invasion and a violation of their own, and who will thus give you the most effective guarantee possible against any possible arbitrary interference by the British Government with your rights and position. In fact, the British Government will have no further basis of interference with your affairs, as your relations with Great Britain will be a concern not of the British Government, but of the Imperial Conference of which Great Britain will be only one of seven members. Any questions in issue between you and the British Government will be for the Imperial Conference to decide. You will be a free member of a great League, of which most of the other members will be in the same position as yourself; and the Conference will be the forum for thrashing out any questions which may arise between members.

The Labour Party have been criticised for the action we have taken on this occasion. What is more natural for the Labour Party than to be with the Party which is prepared to advance along the road of complete freedom of this country? I have been criticised to-day by my colleagues from County Wicklow who asked me where I got a mandate for this. I got a mandate from the people who returned me for the past ten years to do everything possible in their interests and the interests of the Irish nation. I got a mandate to improve the conditions of the poor and to demand legislation for the widows and orphans. The Government have agreed to bring in proposals so that these poor people in future will have some hope, instead of depending on the charity of the public. I represent an ancient constituency that had the honour of returning a man to represent Wicklow and vote against the betrayal of Ireland by the Act of Union. That constituency also had the honour of producing a great leader of the Irish nation who always maintained in his fight for this country that no man had the right to put a limit to the onward march of the nation, and that was Charles Stewart Parnell. I say that we are now attempting to bring Ireland a step further. Deputies on these benches have not made any reference to men who may differ from us. I respect their opinion and I hold that they are probably as patriotic and as good Irishmen as men who are taking the other side to-night. We should be prepared to differ. We are all concerned as to what we should do for the advancement of the country. I belong to one of the largest trade unions in Ireland—the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. One of the leaders of that Union in 1916, when he was bringing out his men to fight for the freedom of the country in the Citizen Army, unfurled a banner bearing the inscription, "We owe no allegiance to King or Kaiser, but to the people of Ireland." That was Jim Connolly. I am proud to maintain that doctrine and vote with the men who say that the people of Ireland are the only people who claim our allegiance. We are told that this will bring strife. We have been attacked by Deputy Gorey who said that we always had maintained that the removal of the Oath should be by negotiation. I admit that, but with whom are we going to negotiate? Is it with the Dominion Secretary who before he receives any communication from the Irish people or the representatives of this State said that he refused to allow any change or alteration in the Oath? Before any negotiations could be begun, before this Dáil got an opportunity of discussing the matter, Mr. Thomas closed the door of any hope of successful negotiation with him or his representatives. We are told that this will bring strife. God knows that the people I represent, the unemployed and the working classes, have suffered for ten years misery and hardship as the result of that Oath. If its removal will bring peace to this unfortunate country then, I say, it is our duty to take any risk to try and reunite the forces of the country, because, to my mind it is most important to have our countrymen, no matter how we may differ on other matters, united now which will bring peace and hope for the future, instead of having as we have had for the last ten years brother against brother, family against family, and misery and starvation for the purpose of maintaining what we consider is not worth fighting about and that is the Oath of Allegiance to a foreign monarch.

We have always maintained that this was not a final settlement. If the Irish people, by a majority, have given authority to the Fianna Fáil Party to remove this Oath, they have not been deceived. Cumann na nGaedheal had their Party machinery in my own constituency. They brought their paid organisers there, and ex - service officers went round amongst the people and tried to impress upon them that if the Fianna Fáil Government were returned the Oath would be removed and we would have war. The people did not heed their appeal because, in the last ten years, they heard similar appeals and because the working class people know that no matter what happened they could not be treated worse than they have been in the last ten years. They were prepared to take risks and to place their confidence in the Fianna Fáil Party that had adopted the Christian principle that it was the duty of the Government to do something on behalf of the poor and the unemployed people of the Saor-stát.

We have heard talk about honour— honour with a nation. Honour with what nation? With a nation that only recognises honour when it suits herself. As pointed out in the correspondence that has taken place, England does not know what honour is, that is, in her treatment of Ireland. I did not intend to intervene in this debate only I was challenged by my colleague. I have nothing personal against him. It is enough for England to put up her own case against the rights of Ireland. If we have coequal partnership and equal status, surely we have a right to do what the Irish people believe those rights permit them to do, and, if necessary, to change the Treaty. I would be prepared to change the Treaty if that meant bringing peace and happiness to this country. We are not to be dictated to by any foreign country.

Speeches have been made here, and arguments put up that would not even be put up by representatives of the British Government. Time enough if trouble comes, and if it does, let the Irish people get together and remember what we were able to do in the days of the Sinn Féin movement, when all parties were united. I believe that as a result of the removal of this formula men and women in the Irish-Ireland movement will leave certain associations and come together with the Fianna Fáil Party and the Labour Party to stand for Ireland against England. I am sure all parties in this House will be prepared to make a sacrifice, and in 1932 to put us in the position we were in in 1921, and then we will have the people of Ireland— labourers, shopkeepers and others— standing for Ireland, united against the common enemy in the interests of our unfortunate country.

I did not desire to intervene in this debate and only do so as a result of the speech of the last Deputy. He said that the people of Ireland had a right to govern their own destinies. They have, and we are meeting here to-night on the sixteenth anniversary of the occasion when, possibly, a small minority of persons did something which made it possible for us to meet here to-night and discuss this matter. They made it possible for the President and his Ministry and for the work of the last ten years to be carried on. I take it that is accepted, but when Deputy Everett says he was sent here to this House to speak on behalf of Labour, and that he had a mandate to destroy the instrument which enables us to meet here, I say he is making a statement that is not in accordance with facts. Neither Deputy Everett nor any other Labour Deputy got a mandate to come to this Dáil to vote for any measure that would be a violation of the Treaty of 1921. Never during that ten years did any member of the Labour Party suggest that they would do anything that would jeopardise the Treaty position, as they always described it. If Deputy Everett, or Deputy Curran, or any other Labour Deputy say they did not make such a statement, I am prepared to withdraw it. The President said a division on this important measure will be taken, and why should we talk about it; it will be decided by votes in the end. Why is it that people are present in this House to cast votes? They are here because they were elected by the votes of the people of Ireland. And I say here, without fear of contradiction even from Deputy Everett, that the votes that will really decide this issue were obtained under false pretences.

Never did Deputy Curran or Deputy Everett or any other Labour Deputy say that he or they would do anything that would interfere—I will use their own words which were "jeopardise the Treaty position." They were always very careful to say that. Deputy Everett said to-night that they stood for pensions for widows, for an extension of the Old Age Pensions Scheme, for pensions for orphans and so forth. That was a very plausible and a very proper scheme to put forward. But on every occasion wherever I heard any Deputy of the Labour Party speaking or wherever I read their reported speeches there was always this statement "we will do nothing which will jeopardise the Treaty position." If Deputy Everett desires to correct me I am prepared to withdraw but he does not.

Not worth while.

It was not Deputy Everett said that. The leader of the Labour Party told this House that it was important that this measure should be passed. Why is it important that it should be passed? The leader of the Labour Party spoke at many meetings not only in his own constituency but throughout the country. At that time not as leader but as a responsible person in the Labour Party he stated the case for the Labour Party and why the people should support them. On no occasion did he say that his Party would do anything that would be a breach of the Treaty. He said, and he was always very careful to say it, that they were prepared to negotiate with Great Britain. His followers here can contradict me if that is not so. He said they would be prepared to negotiate with Great Britain for an alteration of the Treaty terms and of the terms of the ultimate financial settlement. The motion which we are discussing to-night is a motion that this Bill should not pass until what the Labour Party asked for is done— namely that there should be negotiations with the other Party to the Treaty and the ultimate financial settlement. That was what was promised by the Labour Party—what is left of them now and it is very small. I do not think it is necessary at this hour to ask why it is the Labour Party has changed its attitude.

I would like to ask, on a point of order, whether Deputy O'Sullivan is discussing the Labour Party or the motion before the House?

It is not the first time that Labour saved the country.

Deputy O'Sullivan is in order in discussing the action of the Labour Party.

I bow to your ruling, sir.

The Deputy is not discussing the motion before the House.

Who is the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, is it Deputy Allen or Deputy Hogan?

I have the right to discuss in this House the motion and to urge that the Bill before the House should not get a Second Reading until what the Labour Party promised the electors has been carried out. What I I am discussing is a matter about which the Labour Party should see. I am discussing the attitude of the Labour Party to this motion because I believe that the seven members of the Labour Party were returned to the House on a promise that they would not support a motion like this; because of a promise that they would not take any steps that would, as they themselves said, jeopardise the Treaty position. If Deputy Everett will say that is not so, I am prepared to withdraw.

Deputy Everett answers for himself.

In other words I am right.

We are not interfering with the Treaty.

The President said when introducing this Bill that there was no need for further speeches because it is the votes that will tell in the end.

I doubt if I said that. I doubt if I could have made such a statement.

I do not think the President should have made it but he made it.

I do not believe I said it.

"There is no need for further discussion on this matter," said the President in opening the case, "because," said he, "we will decide it by votes." I do not want to misquote the President. He is often misquoted. If that is not a fair interpretation of what he said, I am prepared to accept his interpretation of what he meant to say. There is no doubt about it the people of this country did give to the President and his Party a number of votes sufficient to make his the biggest Party in this House——

Not the slightest doubt about that—we are aware of it.

So am I. After his own argument there is certainly no reason why the President of the Executive Council elected because of the votes got from the people should come into this House and say flamboyantly if I may so describe it "I have got a mandate from the people of Ireland to remove this Oath." He said that. But did he ever say to the people of Ireland during the election campaign that it was quite possible that the removal of this Oath from the Constitution may be a breach of the Treaty? Because had he said so I submit that he would not have got even the increased votes that he got. President de Valera sits in the President's Chair to-night under false pretences.

What was the meaning then of the bonfires all over the country?

These were lighted by fellows who were hoping to get jobs.

If Deputy Flynn will translate into Irish what he said I will reply. The President sits here as President of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Party who are alleged to have behind them the support and the votes of the people of Ireland. I tell him that if he insists in pressing this measure to a conclusion he will be doing it and acting under false pretences. Deputy Everett has agreed with me that never did the Labour Party or any member of it say that they would in any way do anything in this House which would interfere with the Treaty position. It is quite possible that persons would say that they were not interfering with the Treaty position. I see no reason why the Irish people should not make a bargain with any other people, Great Britain, France, Portugal or America if their Government thought fit. I understand that the Fianna Fáil Party got several votes at the last election because of the Treaty made by the late Government with the French Government in connection with the reduction of taxation on French wine. I see no reason why we could not repudiate any such Treaty but let us say so openly. This measure does not do what President de Valera said to the people of Ireland he would do. He told the people that he would remove the Oath out of the Treaty without breaking the Treaty. He got his votes on the grounds that he was going to remove the Oath without breaking the Treaty, and by removing the Oath he would bring about peace. I say he was wrong. If he removes the Oath it will break the Treaty and it will not bring peace.

There was no attempt made by the President, or anybody speaking on the Government's behalf, to defend the measure. I may have misunderstood the President's words, but I think he did say something very like this: "What is the use of talking about it? This will be decided by votes in the end." I say that is fair enough, provided the votes have been got honestly. The seven Labour members who will decide this will march into the Division Lobbies in favour of this measure, but will the President feel that he has got those votes honestly?

There are times when people have to come down to hard tacks, and they should say what they really mean. I have challenged the Labour Party to say whether or not any individual member ever did seek votes on the ground that he would stand for the removal of the Oath, and so interfere with the Treaty position. No member of the Labour Party can say that he has adopted that attitude. It is not for me to explain why the Labour Party has taken up its present position. They got votes in the country under false pretences. I challenge Deputy Curran to say if, at any of his meetings, he ever declared he would support the President in any effort he would make to remove the Oath, whether or not that would be detrimental to the Treaty position.

I rise in order to contradict a statement. The people of County Dublin knew Curran's views since 1917, when he was instructed by Sinn Féin to pledge allegiance on all public boards with which he was connected, and Curran's name is recorded on several minute books throughout County Dublin.

It is very interesting to me to hear that Deputy Curran's views have been known since 1917. I am sure it is very interesting to Deputies who applaud, and also to those on the Gallery who join in the applause. But what does it mean to the people of the country what Deputy Curran thought in 1917, if, by his vote now, he is going to put them into a position which will be detrimental, not only to the interests of the people of County Dublin, but to the interests of the State from one end to the other? The Deputy has not answered the question I put him. I asked him if, during the course of his election campaign, he ever said he would do this. No, he did not. The seven Labour members who will vote, as they have got to vote for this measure to-night, will be really voting against the persons who returned them here. They were never sent here to vote against the Treaty.

It was declared here that this measure was not a breach of the Treaty. I believe we here form a sovereign Parliament. I understand that under one of the Articles of the Constitution, the State cannot be involved in warfare except with the consent of the Oireachtas. The President could declare war on any country in Europe, or the world, if you like. He laughs at that, but that is the unfortunate tragedy of it all. The President can declare war on France and get a resolution from this House on the grounds that he has already indicated, that it is the votes that will count in the end. It is not the reasoning or the common sense that will count; it is really the votes that will count in the last analysis. He would have his votes here to support his proposal.

The President and Deputy Norton, the leader of the Labour Party, have told us that this proposal will bring peace. There are numbers of persons in this country who think they are soldiers, and that they cannot be soldiers unless they are fighting the State. Is there anything in the Constitution to prevent the President from conscripting these persons and making them real soldiers? He could make me a soldier if he liked.

I do not believe he could.

I was a soldier before many of you fellows thought of it.

Mr. Brady

You have a good pension now for service.

I did not catch the Deputy's remark.

Mr. Brady

It was quite loud enough for you. I said it out in Rathfarnham, too.

There is sufficient power in the Constitution to enable the President to bring in a measure to do anything he wishes, provided, as he has mentioned, that the votes will count in the end and that the Labour Party will be there all the time. He could introduce a measure making it compulsory on every able-bodied youth of seventeen or eighteen, and upwards, to be a soldier. He could, at any time, mobilise all these youths and declare war on France, Russia or America, or even Northern Ireland—any place he likes. That is the freedom which we possess, but this measure is going to take that away. Why? It is going to take it away so that persons who do not believe that President de Valera sits in the Presidential Chair as head of the Executive Council and has the legal, moral and proper right to govern this country, may be facilitated. These people claim that the real Government is a Government outside this House. The seven members of the Labour Party who will follow the President into the Division Lobby will, by their action, show that they stand for that immoral principle. Deputy Curran did say something about the Oath, which appears in the Official Debates of the 22nd April. I am sure he will repudiate it now. He said:—

I hope the present Government will get to work immediately to remove unemployment. Deputy Byrne, as far as I can see, is more concerned with the Oath. I am not concerned at least with the Oath.

On a point of explanation, on this day week we were speaking of unemployment, and the speech of Deputy J.J. Byrne was all about the Oath. I said at the time that I was not concerned with the Oath but with the unemployment question. To-day, we are dealing with the Oath, on which I am not going to say anything because I am only a new member of the House. That is my explanation of what I said on this day week. It was unemployment that we were dealing with then.

The explanation is excellent, and I think Deputy Curran and the Labour Party should go back to the people and say something like that to them. I ask Deputy Curran now what he has to say about the Oath. Did the people of Dublin send him here to remove the Oath and abrogate the Treaty? He has not replied to that question. As the President said, this measure will be passed and decided in the end by votes, but I want to have on record that I stated that President de Valera and his Party did not get a mandate to remove the Oath in this way. Never did he say that he would break the Treaty. Never did he say that he would do anything which would abrogate the Treaty. Yet, the Dáil will reject the amendment of Deputy Cosgrave that this matter should be dealt with in another way. The amendment will be rejected by the votes of seven Labour members—the remnant of what was once a Labour Party. On one occasion, two members of the Labour Party disagreed with their fellow-members. What did the people of their constituencies say when they went to them? They sent them back here.

What did the workers say?

I take it that it was the workers of Cork who sent Deputy Anthony here.

You are making a mistake.

Who else sent them?

Well you know.

Did they send anybody else here? Did Labour send anybody else from Cork or Tipperary?

Yes, they did. They sent me from your own constituency.

The Deputy wants to draw me into a discussion about what he calls my own constituency. It is very far from Dublin.

Mr. Murphy

If we met there, we could have a very interesting discussion.

Deputy O'Sullivan is, I think, doing a great deal of drawing himself. I suggest that interruptions should cease.

I did say that the remnant of what was the Labour Party will break the Treaty entered into solemnly ten years ago.

What about the remnant of the I.R.B.?

Who is speaking now? Whoever he is, I want to tell him that I was never a remnant of anything.

What about the remnant of the I.R.B., which was swept out?

I do not know what the Deputy is talking about.

I want to hear what Deputy O'Sullivan has got to say on this Bill.

What has the I.R.B. to do with this Bill?

It has a lot to do with this Bill. Any possible excuse to show that the people of Ireland returned President de Valera with a mandate to break the Treaty is good enough. I was pointing out, when I was interrupted by many persons from the opposite side, that the two Labour members who are not the remnant of the Labour Party and who had the courage to say to their constituents that they would not break the Treaty and would not be associated with anything dishonourable or dishonest were returned by the big constituencies which returned them before. Deputy Anthony came back from Cork and Deputy Morrissey came back from Tipperary. If I am wrong in that, I am wrong in everything I say. Deputy Murphy said somebody else came back from Cork. I do not want to refer to Deputy Murphy because, though I am not ashamed of the fact that I came from West Cork, I desire not to be drawn into West Cork politics. Deputy Murphy came back to this House—I challenge him to deny it—because he gave to the electorate of West Cork a solemn pledge that he would do nothing that would jeopardise the Treaty position.

Mr. Murphy

I was never asked for any pledge in West Cork and I am not afraid to repeat here anything I said in West Cork.

I put it to the Deputy that he said to the people of West Cork that he stood for the Labour programme, which was entirely nonpolitical and that it was in the economic side he was interested. On every occasion that the Oath question or the policy of the President of the Executive Council arose, Deputy Murphy—I almost said hedged —avoided the issue by saying he would do nothing to jeopardise the Treaty position. That is my only interference in West Cork politics. The President of the Executive Council never got a mandate to interfere with the Treaty. The Labour Party remnant came back here pledged not to jeopardise the Treaty position. I do not want to discuss the results of the passing of this measure. I do not desire to discuss the situation internationally. It has been said by Deputies on the opposite benches that anybody who spoke here spoke from the British point of view.

We never said that.

I accept the Deputy's statement. I was not sent here to represent the British point of view. I never took up the cudgels for the British.

You are taking them up now.

The cudgels for the British.

I am speaking for the Irish people who sent me here. The persons who are so plucky and so heroic to-night were not so heroic some time ago. The Labour Party or the remnants of that Party will go down in history as the persons responsible for this betrayal of the trust that was given them, even as the remnants of what was supposed to be a Labour Party. Let it not be stated that they were not told publicly in this forum what their responsibility would be. Let them not apologise by saying: "We thought there would be peace." They never said that during the election. They never got a mandate to come here and vote for this measure. They are frightened about it now and they want to make excuses.

Not a bit.

Deputy Curran cannot say that he ever stated in County Dublin, Deputy Everett cannot say that he stated in Wicklow, or Deputy Murphy that he stated in West Cork that they would support Deputy de Valera, as he then was, in a movement which would lead to a breach of the Treaty. There is a serious responsibility upon every person who votes for this measure. It is rather usual for those who are in opposition to talk wildly and to vote casually. I would say that on the President of the Executive Council there is a greater responsibility to-night. He is getting his Party in this House to vote for a measure for which they got no mandate. Greater than that is the responsibility on the remnant of the Labour Party, upon the Deputy Murphys, the Deputy Everetts, the Deputy Currans and others.

We are not shirking the responsibility.

There is a rule in the Standing Orders governing reiteration of their speeches by Deputies. I heard the Deputy repeating himself three or four times, and I warn him that he will have to say something new if he is to proceed.

Mr. Brady

Could not Deputy Duggan supply him with a fresh point?

If you, sir, allow persons to interrupt me at the rate at which they are interrupting me and insult me to the extent of saying that Deputy Duggan supplied me with points, I cannot conclude. I would ask every member of this House to think seriously of what the consequences of a defeat of this amendment will be.

On a point of personal explanation. My name has been mentioned in the course of the debate; also the name of Deputy Morrissey, and I want to say in reply to Deputy Everett ——

We cannot have Labour matters discussed here.

I am not going to discuss them.

I will not hear anything about any matter except it refers to the Deputy's own statement in the Dáil.

I know that I am not entitled to speak as I have already spoken on this stage of the Bill.

I cannot hear you on any matter concerning the private differences of the Labour Party.

The reflection was that I was not returned for Cork by Labour votes. I think it was Deputy Everett made that statement. If Deputy Everett says that such is not the case, I am satisfied. Might I suggest that I think this Scriptural quotation would fit in with the whole position: "The stone which was rejected by the builders has become the keystone of the arch."

I do not think I would be doing my duty to the people who sent me here without entering an emphatic protest against the introduction of this measure. We have had the opinion of many lawyers in this Dáil as to whether the Oath is mandatory in the Treaty or not. There is disagreement between the lawyers, and experience teaches us that it is very seldom agreement is found between lawyers, for the simple reason that if there were agreement and unanimity there would be no use for them. Consequently, I am not surprised that we have one opinion expressed by the Attorney-General and another expressed by Deputy Finlay as to whether the Oath is mandatory, and as to whether the Bill introduced by the President violates the Treaty. I am going to take the common sense view of the whole question. The President says that the Bill does not violate the Treaty. The Right Honourable Mr. Thomas, to give the Minister who represents Great Britain his proper title, says that it does. There you have a difference of opinion expressed by the parties to the agreement. I hold that the only common sense thing to do is to settle the matter either by negotiation or in the alternative, by arbitration. What I am going to say now applies in a special manner to the Labour Party. As one who has practical experience of what work is, as one who was a member of a trade union for the past 35 years, if there is one thing more than another upon which Labour depends to secure, maintain and defend the rights of the workers it is that in the event of a dispute between employers and employees, failing an agreement, it is to have recourse to arbitration or negotiation. Any employer who dared to lock out his men without first intimating to them the reason for his action and without giving them an opportunity to negotiate with a view to a settlement would, I am sure, have public opinion against him. Equally the employees, if, instead of submitting their grievances to negotiation and arbitration, they adopted what has brought untold misery upon this country and upon every other country, what is known as the lightning strikes, would have public opinion arrayed against them. So much importance have the Labour Party attached to the settling of disputes by negotiation or arbitration, failing agreement between the workers and employers, that as regards the greatest industry in the country, namely the railways, they had a judge of the High Court to act as the final umpire. I say to the President that he will not be lowering his dignity and I am one of the men who will support him, if he enters into negotiation with Great Britain on this question of the removal of the Oath. As far as I am personally concerned, I did not do very much to secure the signing of the Treaty between this country and Great Britain or this agreement with Great Britain, but I maintain that the agreement cannot be broken except by mutual consent of the parties to it. I am going to enter my emphatic objection and record my vote against the passing of this Bill from an angle totally different from many of the angles from which Deputies have spoken here to-night.

During the past three or four weeks the President, I think, gave as his reasons for the introduction of this Bill that it would have the effect of bringing peace to this country and unless I misjudge the President I think his remarks were in particular directed to that small section of the people of the Free State who have stated that they will not enter the Dáil until the Oath is removed from the Constitution. These people have declared from many platforms in this country that they will not even submit themselves as candidates for election to this Dáil unless the Oath is removed. The view I take of it is this, and I want to emphasise it. Am I to understand that Deputies like myself have got to go through the worry, the expense, the annoyance and the trouble of an election—the fact of the matter is that you have got to be a Jack Dempsey sometimes to defend yourself in fighting an election? Am I to understand that the 153 Deputies who at present occupy these benches have got to go through a campaign such as the last which, in some instances, undermined the health of Deputies and that a small section of this country can without any trouble determine the course that legislation should take in this Dáil? They say, pass such and such an Act, or else! Or else what? That is the question I am going to put. Are this small section going to have greater power than the vast majority of the citizens of this State? As a humble Deputy in this Dáil, elected to one of three seats in the smallest of the 26 counties that constitute this Free State, that is a position that I would not hold for five minutes. If you follow that policy to its logical conclusion, I am convinced at any rate that any other section of the people of the Free State can band themselves together and by threats and in secret can determine the course that legislation should take in this Dáil. Is that an honourable position for an Assembly such as this to adopt? That is really the position that is brought about by the introduction of this Bill that a minority will not condescend to come into this Dáil until the Oath is removed. President de Valera himself, mark you—I want to give him all credit for it took a certain amount of moral courage to do it and moral courage is badly wanted in the country at the present time—had the same objection to entering this House and to his eternal credit be it said he subordinated his own personal views and feelings to the interests of the people of the 26 counties. Has it done him any harm? In my opinion, if there is one thing more than another that has been responsible for President de Valera being in the position he now holds it is the step he took on that occasion, when he severed his connection with that small minority and took his place here in the Dáil. By his work here, supported by the members of his Party, he was enabled to have Acts passed here that were to the advantage of the vast majority of the people of Saorstát Eireann.

One might speak on this question for quite a long time, but I am not going to take up the time of the House very much longer, except that I would like to reply to some of the remarks that were made by certain Deputies during the course of this debate. It would seem, as one Deputy has already stated, that there were no Irishmen in this country until 1916. After all, there must have been some Irishmen before 1916 or there would have been none in 1916. Innuendoes have been thrown out that it is unpatriotic to oppose this Bill. We are not opposing the Bill. All we ask is that before the President proceeds with the passing of this Bill he should enter into negotiations with Great Britain. I would wish that a little better spirit of cooperation would exist between all parties in this House. I admit that I am perhaps one of the worst offenders myself at times, but I do say that it would be in the interests of the economic position of this country if there was a little more charity exhibited in the remarks that Deputies sometimes pass in regard to other Deputies. There is one thing that grates on my nerves, and it is that constant reference to what is known as Freemasonry. It seems to be the view of a great many people in the Free State that because a man is a Protestant he must be a Freemason.

There has not been a word about Protestants or Masons.

I know that; but you will understand that these references have been made here, not alone during the course of this debate, but for the past three or four years.

I did not hear any reference made to any religion.

It is sufficient to say that I respectfully object——

Would the Deputy resume his seat. I think no reference whatever has been made in this Dáil to any religion of any kind, and I think it is ill-befitting anybody to make such reference in any discussion in this Dáil.

There was a reference to Freemasons.

Freemasonry is not a religion.

I will not press it.

I am only suggesting that such references should not be made. That is all I say, and I resent it. We want to live in peace with all people in the Free State, irrespective of what their religion is. That has always been my principle. In conclusion, I feel that I have got a mandate from those who sent me here to vote against this Bill because in their and in my opinion, it will violate the Treaty. For that reason I do hope, in the interests of the good relations that have happily prevailed between Great Britain and this State for the past nine or ten years, that the present position will not be jeopardised. My appeal may be in vain, but I do appeal to President de Valera that the right policy—in fact, the only policy—for him to adopt at the moment, is to use a Latin expression, festina lente, hasten slowly.

I would like to say that I sincerely re-echo what was said by Deputy Norton at the opening of his statement in regard to this whole question. Like him, I have no illusions about the ultimate result of the passage of this Bill. So far as the obtaining of a livelihood for the people of this country goes, if I had my own choice in this matter and if the discussion had not taken a certain course in the statements that were made a few minutes ago, I would have much preferred to refrain from taking part in this discussion. An experience of almost ten years in this House has convinced me of one thing and that is that I have become heartily sick of this eternal question that is being discussed in the same old way, month after month, during that time. It is with very great personal reluctance that I intervene in a discussion of this kind this evening. I have been challenged in regard to where I stood in the recent election in my constituency. I have no hesitation in stating now, as I stated publicly then, where I stand. I did declare in the recent election that I was in favour of the maintenance of the Treaty in this country as long as the Parliament of this country functioned under that agreement, and I declare my attitude in that respect in exactly the same terms now. If Deputy Gearóid O'Sullivan had been here I could tell him that I can reconcile my vote in favour of this measure with support for the Treaty. I am sorry that he is not here because that is the attitude I take up and that is the declaration that I make.

As far as I can strip the discussions that have taken place here of the legal phrases and the vague language in which they were clothed, that view is not contested, and it appears to me that that issue only arises in connection with subsequent sections of the Bill. As I understand the attitude of the Government it is that the subsequent sections are consequential on the first provision. I cannot get behind the statement of the President made very definitely to-day that he is not prepared to exceed, during the lifetime of this Dáil, the mandate he obtained at the recent election for the removal of the Oath. If some of us are members of another Dáil that will come to deal with the whole Treaty question in another way in the future, it is quite possible that I may take a very different view, but until I see the President taking up a very different attitude to that which he has taken up to-day in respect of this measure, I am perfectly satisfied and perfectly convinced that I can reconcile my attitude, and that my constituents can reconcile my vote and action as supporting and giving adherence to the provisions of the Treaty.

Of course, I am not able to discuss this matter from the angle in which it was approached by Deputy Gearóid O'Sullivan. The flippant manner in which he treated the subject, and the circles he took in discussing it, make no appeal to me. I prefer to examine the question, and try to understand it, from the viewpoint of the plain person in the street. I want to deny emphatically that I or any member of our Party endeavoured in any way to run away from the position that was taken up during the recent election. I have no use for wrigglers, and be it said to the credit of the Party I belong to, that I know of none in that Party. I do know this, that there are people in this House who, I understand, earlier in the evening associated the action of some of us with wriggling out of our election promises. I know that some of these people are authorities on that subject. During the nine years that I have been a member of the House, I have endeavoured to direct my criticism of the legislation that came before us along constructive lines and to avoid taking the purely destructive line merely for the sake of taking it. I certainly would not like to be put in the position of having on election platforms and prior to the opening of my election campaign, accused members of the late Government of connivance in connection with the murders that took place in Cobh, and then come in here and say ditto to everything they said afterwards.

We are asked to decide this question along certain lines. On the one hand, it appears to me we have a very well defined attitude in the case of certain important organs of the Press in England. They take up a certain line, and as against that attitude we have the declaration of Mr. Thomas. Well, sir, there are some of us in this House who have heard a good deal about Mr. Thomas, and there are certain members of this Party who know quite a lot about him: who know that the attitude that Mr. Thomas would take up to-day would be as different as day is from night from the attitude he would take up to-morrow. It is very hard, in the case of a gentleman of so variable a character, with such a capacity for developing dramatic parts that apparently fit him best, to be very much influenced by his airy statements and the general line he takes up on some occasions. Personally, I am not very much impressed by the declarations of Mr. Thomas, either inside or outside the House of Commons.

I regret that it has fallen to me to delay the House at this late hour with my contribution to the debate. In saying that, I am reminded that on one other occasion on which we sat to a comparatively late hour, we were engaged discussing the action of certain gentlemen who were connected with the National Army. Somebody spoke about the members of the Labour Party being kicked out. Well, we may be kicked out by our constituents or out of the Labour Party, but I do not think our exit from our constituencies or from the Labour Party would be half as inglorious as the exit of certain gentlemen was from the National Army—gentleman who talk in a very cocksure manner about the stand they are taking on this question. It is true that we had a late sitting here on another occasion. I would remind Deputies that at that late sitting we were engaged discussing the conduct of Deputy Gearóid O'Sullivan——

I am trying to find out what this has got to do with the amendments to the Bill before the House.

Mr. Murphy

My reason for referring to it is that some people in this House profess to speak with great authority on the will of the people. I submit that in taking up a certain attitude in this matter we are endeavouring to give effect, as we see it, to the will of the people. What I want to suggest is that people who are now so fervent in their protestations of reverence for the will of the people, if their own public records are to be an example of their faith on that, then it does not carry them very far. I am asked to decide my choice on this matter. On the one hand I have a declaration from the President of this State accepting the obligation to provide work for the unemployed people of this country— 80,000 in number. We have also had from the Government acceptance of the obligation to put into force a scheme providing pensions for widows and orphans, as well as acceptance of the principle of ending the tyranny which has been associated with the Department of Local Government and Public Health in their dealings with public authorities in this country. We have had an indication that a different outlook is to prevail, in regard to the administration of the central authority in this country. I do not say, that all the schemes and obligations I have referred to, can be honoured, 100 per cent., but I think I would be most unfair to the people I represent, and to myself, if I was not in favour of giving the fullest opportunity to the people, who have accepted obligations of that kind, to discharge them, and, on the other hand, I feel that the choice, as between persons who have accepted that responsibility, and people who have wilfully failed to discharge responsibilities of that kind, makes my decision very easy indeed. I accept that choice.

I do hope that, when the subsequent sections of this Bill come to be examined, we will have a very definite statement, that Sections 2 and 3 of the Bill are, following on the first section, necessary to give effect to that first section, and that so far as the life-time of this Dáil is concerned, we will hear no more of this issue of the Treaty. I do admit, of course, that if this was submitted to the country, and a definite decision sought as to the utility of retaining that instrument, the decision of the majority of the people must, and ought, to prevail, but until that is done, I regard this measure as one item which, having been dealt with, will enable the Executive to get to grips with the other questions I have referred to, to get to grips with remedying the social evils that exist in this country, and to justify, very definitely, as far as lies within them, the obligations they have accepted.

I have no reservations, whatever, about my vote on this question, and I feel that the people of this country, have no use for the fine distinctions that have been drawn here as between one particular section, or one particular interpretation of a section and another, that they have no use for that kind of phraseology. I prefer to regard this matter in a commonsense way, and, if for nothing else, than to get to the end of this unfortunate wrangle, and the subsequent discussions fruitless and futile, in my opinion, that have gone on for the last ten years If the passage of this Bill is going to end that state of affairs in this House, it will have done some good, and we can claim some credit for having supported it.

I will be very brief. I understand that during the many speeches that were made on this issue here, I was honoured by being quoted by many of the Deputies on the Opposition Benches, and amongst them by that notable Deputy, Deputy J.J. Byrne, who represents the North City. I want to make it quite clear that, in the recent General Election, I as a candidate standing for the Labour Party, said quite clearly and distinctly that I was not making the Oath a major issue in the election campaign. I stated from several platforms, in the presence of hundreds of my constituents, however, that if the Oath was raised in this Dáil, I would vote for its abolition, and I want that to be taken as a definite answer to Deputy J.J. Byrne and the others who have quoted statements made by me in this House in 1922, and I ask them to remember that this is 1932 and not 1922. I want, however, the President in his reply to answer a question. I want to ask him, in view of the fact that he has stated at the beginning of this debate, that the Oath is not required by the Treaty, does he still consider it essential to retain Sections 2 and 3 in this Bill, and if this Bill should secure a majority on Second Reading Stage, will he give the House an assurance that any proposal for the removal of the sections referred to will not be made an issue of confidence by the Government on Committee or subsequent stages?

I have given notice of that question to the President, and I hope that in his reply he will give a very clear and a very definite answer.

As I said when I opened the debate, I had hoped that it would be confined mainly to the question at issue, but that I expected that was likely to be a vain hope, and that, in a matter like this, the discussion would range over the whole region of controversy that has existed between those of us who refused to submit to the Treaty and those who accepted it. It was not germane at all to the present discussion. It does not arise in connection with the present discussion, except in so far as the historical background gives you a better understanding of the issues involved.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

Now, I will take some of the points that were made here, in opposition to the Bill. It was stated by the Opposition that we had got no mandate for the removal of the Oath. I say there was scarcely ever an election held in which an issue was put so definitely to the people as that issue was put in the recent election. In order that there should be no doubt about it, several days before the election, I, myself, wrote that manifesto which was published in all the papers, and it was not published on the day of the poll, as in the case of the Free State Constitution. The people were given several days to consider it, and we could not, of course, disentangle it from another series of questions. Whose fault is that? I remember when we brought in here, in accordance with a former Article of the Constitution, a petition asking the Oireachtas to set up the machinery by which there could be initiation of legislation, one of the arguments I put forward for the action, according to that particular Article, was precisely, that there might be occasions in which it would be very important for the people to be able to separate one single issue, and to give their decision upon that issue, apart from any other issues, such as are always entangled more or less together in an election. What did the Opposition do when they were here in a majority? They came along, and because through this Constitution, which they boasted of as being one of the most democratic in the world, there was an opportunity presented to us of getting the decision of the people on a question of this kind, and they deprived us by a trick of the right we were entitled to exercise. Seventy-five thousand names were necessary in accordance with that Article to get the matter brought before the Oireachtas. We got over 100,000 and we brought them in here and were laughed at. To their eternal discredit be it said not merely did the Independent members of the House take part in that trick, but they initiated it. It was the first piece of disillusionment I must say that I got in this House as to the action of Independent members.

There was no trick.

I am not going to say anything bitter against anybody. What I am doing at the present time is trying to secure the rights of those who are at present excluded by a conscience test, and when I am trying to do that for one section of the people, I am not going at any time to do anything which will be unfair to another section. I do say, however, that I shall never forget to my dying day the disillusionment I got on that occasion when the one group that might have been expected to stand for the rights of the Constitution became a party to ending the power that was there of having that question brought before the people. We cannot prove, as we could with the Referendum prove, that we have a majority of the people behind the removal of the Oath, but probably no Government in the world would be able to prove as definitely as we can that we have got a majority. Either you will have to give up elections as giving a mandate at all, or you will have to accept that we have a mandate here. We have certainly as good a mandate as the gentlemen on the opposite side had when they accepted this Treaty originally. Because we have got the people's mandate, having put it to them, to remove this Oath, we are going to remove it, or we will not continue to occupy these benches.

We are told that perhaps we got a mandate, but that we got it under false pretences. I deny that. In the most explicit way that I could I said to the people, "We can remove that Oath without violating the Treaty," and I say that no member of the Opposition has proved that we are violating the Treaty by removing the Oath. The legal luminaries on the other side did not prove it. I would say that our word is just as good as Mr. Thomas's word, and Mr. Thomas just saying, "We regard it as a violation of the Treaty" does not make it so, and he did not even say that. He is beginning to say it now when he thinks that the campaign which has been going on is likely to influence votes in this House and public opinion in this country. But I mistake the Irish people if he is going to succeed in it.

We deny that we are violating the Treaty. In order that there should be a greater degree of unanimity here I argued a case, not perhaps as I would argue it with the convictions that I have, but as the case might have been argued by the ex-Minister for External Affairs. We are told that it is a Treaty now. It is rather late in the day that the British are beginning to regard it as a Treaty in the proper sense of the term. When did they begin to regard it as a Treaty? Only when they think it will put shackles upon us. So long as it was a means of getting some advantage beyond the position that was occupied, in certain respects, by Canada, Australia, etc., they tried to deny it was a Treaty in the proper sense. But the moment they thought it would shackle us, hold us in an inferior position to the position occupied by Canada, Australia, etc., then we hear them talking about it as a Treaty.

I have heard people talking of honour. Deputy Cosgrave spoke about honour. I would have more regard for the Deputy's opinion of honour if he had used that argument when the Treaty was being discussed in Dáil Eireann ten years ago—much more regard for it. Who were the people who talked about the honour of the country being involved and the dangers we were running into in trying to proceed along from the Treaty to the freedom hoped to be got from it and who said we would be met with the cry that we were tearing up the Treaty and making of it a scrap of paper? It was not Deputy Cosgrave. It was not some of the gentlemen on the opposite benches. No, their argument then was "This is being imposed upon us by superior force. We can submit to it and we will have a moral right to get out of the position we are being forced into by any means at any time." It was they who were leading the young men along at that time to take this Treaty. I remember well some of them told us, "Get guns under this Treaty and when you have got the guns, then you can get the freedom to which you are entitled." It was because we were aware of these facts that members on this side of the House tried to warn the young men of the path they were being led into.

The ex-Minister for Agriculture quoted from a letter of mine that was written when a perfectly honest and fair statement made in Thurles was being twisted by an infamous Press and an equally infamous set of opponents at the time—twisted in order to pretend that I was setting brother against brother. That letter has been hidden away. Nobody has heard about it. In vain I said it was written and published a day or two after the original statement. It has been hidden away. What is it brought up to-day for? It is brought up because I said in it that the road the young men were being asked to travel was a road in which they would encounter very serious obstacles, and not the less serious of these obstacles, I pointed out, was the fact that the day they tried to act on the stepping-stone policy they would be met by that charge that we are being met with now by Deputy Cosgrave, that the honour of this nation is involved.

Yes, we are a people who have respect for honour; we are a nation that loves honour and likes to act straight. We have never been treated as such by the nation opposed to us. Appeals to honour and chivalry have always got a response from Irish hearts. It was such an appeal that took our young men out to the trenches and left their bones whitening in Suvla Bay and elsewhere. It was the appeal to their chivalry, sense of honour and the nobility of the Irish character that took our people out. These men on the opposite benches know, as the English never knew, how to appeal to that sense in our people, and they have abused it, abused it as shamefully as those who went out that time recruiting abused it, whether they did it knowingly or not. They abused it in the case of the land annuities when they told our people we were refusing to pay our lawful debts; when they told our farmers "these people are leading you along immoral paths," and when people in high authority, who ought to have known better and who ought to have examined into what they were saying, took part in the same campaign and tried to misrepresent us as people asking the farmers to break one of the Commandments. Now it is honour again, and they make a charge of dishonour against us without examining the question whether we are acting honourably or not.

I have no fear of negotiations with England, none whatever—not a bit. But when we do negotiate with Britain we will negotiate about the unity of Ireland, as far as I am concerned, and not before. There are no negotiations needed for this. None. We are acting perfectly honourably in the course we have taken. I do not care what view you take of the Treaty, whether you take the view and line of argument I took in the introduction of this Bill, or whether you take the British view, either that this Constitution under which we are working was a British creation, or there was some quasi-international settlement, no matter which side you take, the course we are taking to-day is in perfect accordance with any of the three views you take. We are dealing with England. If we are going to keep in contact with our minds at all, and to argue it out, we will have to try and get some common ground.

What is the common ground? It can only be a legal ground. We hear of gentlemen's agreements. If some new member of the Dáil spoke in that fashion, I could understand it. If the Deputy who spoke to-day and who did not understand the procedure, or what the Executive should do, spoke in that loose fashion, I could understand it. But between peoples, between nations, this sort of back-door agreements cannot be held. They would mean international anarchy. You must have something definite, and that is the meaning of law. We are here to deal with legal matters—legal matters pure and simple. We are entitled, being the weaker nation upon whom this Treaty was imposed, to get the last letter out of our legal rights, and we propose to get it—the very last letter.

You are going a bad way about it.

Fan go fóill; we will see. Our legal rights entitle us to determine what conditions shall be imposed upon the representatives of the people entering into this Assembly. It is a domestic matter. I repeat it because there was some Deputy on the opposite benches who seemed to think that phrase should not be used. But the relation between the State and its citizens is a matter for ourselves alone—Sinn Féin. It is going to remain a matter for ourselves alone. And we are going to put it to the test now whether this co-equality which Britain says the States of the British Commonwealth have is a mere, empty, deceptive phrase or whether it has solid substance behind it.

We, the representatives of the people of the Twenty-Six Counties, have a right in the name of our people to determine what conditions shall be imposed upon representatives here. No outside people ought to have any interest in it; no outside people ought to be able to interfere if we are co-equal with that outside people. The very attempt at interference is an attempt at domination and there is no justification for it good, bad or indifferent in the Treaty.

In the opening of the debate I read a letter from Mr. Lloyd George written I think on the 10th or 13th December— it was just when the discussion was opening in Dáil Eireann on the Treaty. Mr. Lloyd George made it quite clear that there were certain Articles that referred to our status. He made it quite clear in that letter that the status of this country would advance step by step with any advance that would be made by the British Dominions; and, in so far as the Treaty does impose the Oath, it imposes it through Articles 1 and 2 and not through Article 4. And the reason is as I explained to-day, when I intervened during Deputy Thrift's speech. That the peculiar words "to be taken" appeared in Article 4 is easily explained by the fact that Articles 1 and 2 give Ireland the same status as Canada, and impose upon Ireland if you like the same relations between the Crown and the British Parliament as were imposed on Canada, and as an Oath was taken in the Canadian Parliament, there was, if you like, an implicit understanding that the same Oath should be taken here. The form was prescribed in Article 4, but the obligation of taking it was not prescribed in Article 4. It was contained, if at all, in Articles 1 and 2 by implication. I think Mr. Lloyd George's letter also referred to Articles 6, 7 and 8 as being more or less of an international character. The other articles were devoted to status. The status of the Free State having advanced step by step if it did not precede—I know it could be argued, in a sense it preceded—but, at any rate, taking the worst case, having advanced step by step with Canada, Australia and the other Dominions the position to-day is that, so far as these earlier Articles of the Treaty conferring status, are concerned, we are exactly in the same position as Canada, Australia and New Zealand; in other words, to use a legal phrase, these Articles are spent, so far as the Treaty is concerned. They have been given effect to in the recognition of co-equal status which has been fully recognised by the British Parliament in the Statute of Westminster. We are, therefore, to-day quite free to do anything here without any violation of the Treaty, anything that they can do in Canada, anything that they can do in Australia or New Zealand, anything that they can do in Britain as regards relations with the Crown.

I asked at the beginning was there any Deputy in this House who would stand up here and for a moment say Canada could not remove if they wanted to, the Oath in the Canadian Parliament. Is there one who doubts for a moment that they could do it? They talk about the Oath as the symbol of connection. It is nothing of the kind. The monarch is the symbol of connection. The Oath has nothing to do with it. There was a monarch in England and there was no Oath in the British Parliament for centuries. The Oath in the British Parliament is the result of the religious situation. The Oath is a comparatively new thing. Relations could subsist quite independent of the Oath. The Oath is a conscience test that I would not have in any democratic assembly. I did not like it when it was imposed.

Unlike Deputy Cosgrave, had I been there at the time I would probably have opposed the taking of the Oath on the grounds that that sort of coercion of conscience is wrong. It is no good. It is as bad as cast-iron Constitutions. They end in revolution and violent explosion, because the flexibility that is necessary is taken away. If we were here an independent Republic in the morning I would not stand for it if it was proposed that there should be an oath of fidelity to it imposed upon its members; I would be against it. I believe if you want to have a really representative, democratic assembly it must be possible for the people to send their representatives there without any shackling of their consciences.

There is nothing, I think, so mean as the attempt to impose upon a man something which his conscience revolts against and the conscience of Irishmen revolted from the start against this particular form of test. On December 3rd, 1921, when the Irish delegates who were sent to London came back to report and when they brought the latest British proposals to us, I remember there were three or four Articles before they came to the Oath. Then there was the Oath. It was not this form of Oath at all; it was the direct form of Oath that you have in Canada and Australia. Every one of the members of that Cabinet was against it—every single one of them. I took it up and criticised it to such an extent that, feeling that my criticism of it would be misrepresented, one of the members present asked me the question, in order that it might be put on record, was it only to that I objected and I said "Of course not."

I took up the Oath because to me it summarised in the neatest form, in the most explicit form, everything I objected to in the Treaty or in these proposals. This was simply a summary of the lot. I said I did not want to take Sections 1, 2 and 3. I had got them all succinctly there. "Everything I object to," I said, "is concentrated there." One of the delegates said, "But the British want to know it," and in my innocence I thought what they wanted the Oath for was that they were suspicious that we would not keep the Treaty we would make with them and, never being of the kind prepared to make agreements and not to keep them, I said "I, for one, am prepared to swear to keep any agreement I make."

And remember, here was the sort of agreement that we had proposed. It was not the Treaty. When Deputies and others accuse me and say "You were prepared to take such and such an Oath," they take mighty good care never to put it with the agreement that would go with it. The position would be different if I got the agreement that Oath was associated with—that agreement that would give us a united Ireland, that would have given to Ireland whatsoever advantages there were in the association, and that would have given to those who were Unionists in our midst North and South that concession to their feelings and their sentiments which would have been consistent with the rights of the majority of this people to enjoy the independent status that they wanted. The policy of the Republican cabinet in those days—and I do not mind confessing that I was the one to start it, and if there is any accusation ever to be made against me from the Republican point of view, let it be put to me honestly—was this that when it became a question of the negotiations I did a thing that it was my duty to do. I gave a lead and I said "There is a solution to this problem, a solution which will leave us and the State which has been declared by our people a Republic; will leave us that State and will bring to that State the loyalty of all sections of the people; the loyalty of the Unionists because they are not going to be completely cut off from Great Britain and that would give to our own people an opportunity of being loyal because they would have independence, they would have the Republic." The proposal made to us was that we should have this system of External Association. I was told that the British wanted an Oath. I said "Very well; I for one am prepared to take an Oath to keep any settlement I make. I am prepared to do that and to give my pledge on oath that any settlement which I make I will keep."

That was the origin of that Oath which is now imported into the Treaty settlement and said to be the Oath that I dictated for the Treaty. I did not dictate it. I was not even aware that my words had been taken down. I said offhand that I did not mind swearing allegiance to the Irish Constitution. I did not believe it was necessary. I believed that the very fact that you come along and take part in the Assembly is sufficient. I did not mind swearing that I would be faithful to any Treaty that we made provided we made it with our own free will and that it got the consent of the majority of the Irish people. This settlement would have been put before the Irish people to consent to or reject. We were prepared to recognise for the purpose of that association the British Crown. And I was prepared to swear that we would recognise the Crown for the purpose of association. I did it in my capacity as President of the Republic. Everything I did at that time I did it scrupulously. I did it with scrupulous regard to my obligations as such.

I am not quite sure that I heard the President aright. Did he say that he did it as President of the Republic?

Yes, as President of the Republic.

[Applause in gallery.

There was no such office.

I have had occasion recently to draw Deputies' attention to the fact that they are responsible for the conduct of their visitors in the Gallery. I hope there will be no necessity to do so again.

It is about time that visitors to the Gallery should learn to deport themselves in accordance with the dignity of the House.

Yes, I answer the Deputy; I did it as President of the Republic.

There was no such office.

It was recently the Deputy learned that. The Deputy learned that after the Treaty, not before.

On the contrary I was present at the first meeting of the Dáil at which that matter was discussed. I was also present at the meeting of the 16th or 17th August, 1921, when an amendment was proposed that the words "of the Republic" should be inserted in the Constitution. I was also present at the first meeting of the Cabinet when President de Valera returned from America when he explained that he had to use that title in America, a title which was illegal for him to use and he asked the Cabinet to justify that in a sort of post facto way, with retrospective effect.

That is quite untrue and a misrepresentation, and the Deputy is always misrepresenting me. It is always three-quarters of the truth with one-quarter of a lie thrown in.

It is three-quarters true now.

Sit down.

It is not true, and I can prove that.

It is true.

It is untrue, and that can be proved by reference to the records of the Dáil debates.

The President should withdraw the word "untrue."

Why? I will just put this point to you. "Untrue" is an objective word. It has no reference whatsoever so far as the Deputy's contentions are concerned. I must protest against having to withdraw the word "untrue." Things are true or untrue. If it is a lie, then I am accusing the Deputy of deliberately telling a falsehood. I simply stated that what he said is untrue, and I can prove it is untrue by reference to the Dáil debates.

On a point of order——

The word untrue, as used objectively, was in order.

In fairness to the President, I want to say clearly that I proposed President de Valera in the Assembly in August as President of the Republic.

I thank Deputy MacEoin. I was going to refer to that.

On a point of personal explanation, I wish to say that the Dáil on the previous day had refused to have any such office.

I suppose we have plenty of time; at least I have. I can stay all night if others are not too tired. I will tell the truth, the whole truth, about that incident, and I can prove it from the records with reference to Deputy MacEoin's motion. In addition to that, I have seen the Trustee Deed of Dáil Eireann, which was signed when I was in America——signed by Acting-President Griffith, who was Acting-President of the Republic. The document is there, and, please God, it will be a State document one of these days.

There was no such office under the Constitution.

Mr. Boland

The Deputy was contradicted from his own benches.

The fact is, there is no special minute that one could refer to. When I was in America and was presenting to the President of the United States a plea for the recognition of the Republic which was established here by the will of the Irish people— as democratically established as ever a State was—it was not, I will admit, internationally recognised, but when I was presenting that plea for the recognition of that Republic, I wanted to do it in a strictly legal way, and I tried to get a minute of the appointment with the words "as President" and the words were not there. Then when I came back, and when there was an opportunity of putting in expressly what had been implied all the time the question arose whether, if we did expressly put it in at that stage, there might not be an implication that it had not been there all the time.

That is right.

And in order that that implication might not arise, the definite motion was not made to insert it as such in the Constitution and the way that Deputy MacEoin has referred to was resorted to, namely, that instead of having anything which might imply that it had not been there all the time, it was held that it would be a declaration of the fact that it would be, so to speak, an act declaratory of the true situation if Deputy MacEoin or others proposed me formally to the Dáil as President of the Republic. That was done and it is in the records.

That is absolutely correct.

I was at the point about the Oath. I state definitely that I did not dictate that Oath. I simply stated it as casually as I say it here. But next morning when the delegates went back to London some of them met and thought that it was their duty to present certain proposals. By the way, I have refreshed my mind on this matter since I came into office by looking up the old Cabinet minutes. My recollection, therefore, of the whole thing is freshened. The delegates went over to London and the understanding was that there would be no signing; there would not be a break-off and they would not take the responsibility for breaking-off. There would not be, as I say, any signing. The document would come home and would be presented to the Dáil as a proposition and it would be left to me and to the Dáil to reject it. When they went over the delegates met and some of them thought that it would be their duty to present to the British Government a set of counter-proposals which had been our policy. They sat down to compose those counter-proposals. They embodied some of the articles that were read out here to-day. They came to a certain point and they began to discuss the question of inserting certain matters in the counter-proposals which, I again want the Dáil to remember, were for a united Ireland.

I was in negotiation with Mr. Lloyd George. Somebody suggested in the debate that he never heard what happened. If he had been very interested in Irish history during the period I think he would know what happened. On 20th July Mr. Lloyd George handed me a set of proposals and I told Mr. Lloyd George that they were of such a character that I would not be seen taking them home to Ireland. Mr. Lloyd George made all sorts of threats, did what some of the Deputies over there are trying to do to-day—to saddle me with a certain responsibility—and I told Mr. Lloyd George what I tell the Deputies to-day, that there is no responsibility on my conscience at all, that what we are proposing to do we have a right to do, that if there are any consequences—which ought not to arise from a just act—the consequences are the responsibility of those who take an unjust action against us; we were not the aggressors; we were only doing a thing we had a perfect right to do.

Mr. Lloyd George failed in that. When the threats failed, he gave us time to discuss the proposals with the members of our Cabinet. Unanimously, on the 16th August, I think, Dáil Eireann supported me in turning down these proposals. The main reason I had for turning them down was that they involved the partition of our country. Deputy Dillon implied that we here—whichever side of the House we are on—had not a terrible lot to boast of, that we had not achieved very much more than the Irish Party would have achieved. Speaking for myself, I felt that if we were not able to achieve the unity of this country, we had not much to boast of beyond what the Irish Party might ultimately have achieved. It was, therefore, to secure the unity of this country that I fought when I was in negotiation with Mr. Lloyd George. No other proposal had any interest for me. We could have gone home, dumped our arms, or burned our arms, and, after a time, Home Rule in one form or another would have had to come, without a doubt. We might not have advanced as quickly to the stage we have advanced to to-day for the Twenty-Six Counties. That is true, but it is a futile thing to speculate as to the "might have beens." We can only say what "has been." The unity of the country was the thing I was struggling for. Because, in my opinion, the Treaty involved—I had experience of Mr. Lloyd George's mind and knew what he was aiming at—partition, I did not think I could propose it for acceptance here. I felt it my duty to those who had been comrades of mine and who died for the freedom of this country, that neither I nor anyone I could influence should be a party, directly or indirectly, to the partition of this country.

Mr. Lloyd George's tactics were these—it might be as well for Deputies to know, because this has reference to the land annuities as well as to the Oath. Mr. Lloyd George's Government had put through the 1920 Partition Act. He had got a Parliament working in the Six Counties. He took good care to present us with a fait accompli by having that Parliament working before he invited us to negotiate. He could not get the Parliament of Southern Ireland, as it was called, to work. It was made a laughing-stock. About four members turned up to its meeting. Mr. Lloyd George said “I must mend my hand and get a Parliament working in the South as well as in the North.” He set out to mend his hand by increasing his offer, by giving something more. In British law, the whole Treaty settlement is based and built upon the Partition Act. That is the position. He went out to give more. It would defeat his purpose if he took anything back. That is why there is nothing in British law that takes back the land annuities given under the 1920 Act. Anybody who had met Mr. Lloyd George for five minutes would know what he was after. I tried, time and again, to get him to discuss the question of Ireland as a unity. On each occasion, he would not. Then he said it was like a merry-go-round. When he tried to catch at me, he could not, and we were the same distance at the end. That was because Mr. Lloyd George did not want to come to business on the only basis on which business could properly be done. These things could have been done in such a way as would really establish friendly relations on a lasting basis between the peoples of these two countries. He may have had his difficulties.

We come to the Oath. The Oath is quoted out of its context. It is used to misrepresent the things I stood for. So far as I am concerned, the day that the British are prepared to negotiate on the basis of a united Ireland I am quite prepared to meet them and to go as far as any Irishman could go in the hope of getting anything like a final settlement. They do not propose to do that. We are told "Go and negotiate." What do the Deputies who tell us that hope to get from negotiations? If we are going to get our rights, we have them here and are entitled to them without negotiation. If we negotiate, will not the same threats be used privately in negotiations that are being used publicly now? If we are not going to give up our rights, we must be prepared to face these threats, publicly as well as privately. When a small nation comes to negotiate, the last word with a big nation is the big stick. In my opinion, it is as well to show that in public as to show it in private. If they are going to use the big stick, to use threats and all the rest, let them do it in the face of the world. We are not, in this Bill, seeking to go one step beyond what we are entitled to do. I asked Deputies could Canada, Australia and New Zealand Parliaments determine whether there was an Oath to be taken or not. Deputy McGilligan hedged in the most extraordinary fashion. I am sure he did not, for one moment, believe the argument he was putting forward when he read the Preamble to the Statute of Westminster. That has nothing to say to the question whether an oath should be taken by the members of the Parliaments to the Monarchy—nothing whatever, good, bad or indifferent to say to it, and he knows it. I cannot show the relationship better than to say again that this is a domestic question. What does it do? Is it any good to anybody? Why should England bother about it? We might as well be clear about it and tell the truth. I am here as President of the Executive Council and I have never taken an oath—never. No man who knows what an oath is will say I have. Not one of these Deputies here has taken an oath. There are members of the Seanad who have not taken an oath. If Article 17 of the Constitution was to be the oath, you violated it long ago and you connived at that. I came up when there was a crisis— when the Oath was being used as a machine to keep the Party yonder in power. When they wanted to exclude from this Assembly everyone except their own particular group and assure themselves of a continuance of power, they resorted to this. They brought in an Act saying that henceforth nobody could go up for election to represent the Irish people unless prepared to comply with Article 17 of the Constitution. They demanded that declaration. The moment that declaration was demanded it was quite clear that you could never, so long as they were in power except by force of arms—even if you had practically the whole people behind you—bring about a change. Deputies opposite could get the total number of members elected and they could say "Look around. We are unanimous. We have the whole people behind us," while they could have excluded by this means three-fourths of the people from representation.

It was an intolerable situation. My policy had been to try and get unity outside this House, to get the representatives of the people to meet elsewhere outside this House. I saw that there was no hope, with such an Act, of ever doing that. I would have been prepared to wait for another five or ten years to do it but they adopted a system by which they were going to secure perpetual power for themselves. I asked myself what was my duty in the matter. Anything that was not wrong in itself I was prepared to do but I was not prepared, and would not have felt justified, in committing perjury or anything equivalent to perjury.

What was the situation at the time? The situation was this. In order that the oath would not matter to the people they told them—and you all know it—all these years that there was no oath at all, that it was not an oath. Believing that "I swear" would mean an oath, I said, in my opinion, it was an oath. My view was that it was an oath. But the Deputies opposite had said quite differently. They said that it was not, that it was a mere formality —they used the words long before I used them—and had no binding significance whatever, that anyone could take it, and that it meant nothing. I asked myself whether in a crisis like that I would be justified in staying outside if it were, in fact, true that this thing was a mere formality. I could only find out in one way. In order that the people's attention should not be attracted to it, instead of taking the oath—as they would have done, if they dared to stand over it as a thing the Irish people would stand for—publicly, as in other Parliaments, they hid it away in a back room, hid it away out of sight, so that the public could not know what it was. I said that at least we were entitled to find out. We published a declaration and here is the original document, signed by every member, in which we stated our attitude. The attitude was in fact this: the majority party of that time held that this was no oath at all; we are going to put it to the test. In order that our coming in here might not be misrepresented we made a public declaration as to what our intentions were. When we came to take this so-called oath I presented this document to the officer in charge and told him that that was our attitude— there were witnesses present for every word—that this was our attitude; that we were net prepared to take an oath. I have here the original document written in pencil, and in Irish of the statement I made to the officer who was supposed to administer the oath. I said: "I am not prepared to take an oath. I am not going to take an oath. I am prepared to put my name down in this book in order to get permission to go into the Dáil, but it has no other significance." There was a Testament on the table and in order that there could be no misunderstanding I went and I took the Testament and put it over and said: "You must remember I am taking no oath." That has been done by every member of our Party and it has been said that it conformed with Article 17. Is it not time to get rid of this nonsense?

On a point of order. Does the President say that he did not sign the roll?

That is not a point of order. It is a question.

I signed it in the same way as I would sign an autograph in a newspaper. If you ask me whether I had an idea what was there, I say "yes." It was neither read to me nor was I asked to read it. I was told—perhaps this is only second-hand and I cannot vouch for it—that Deputies on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches were so disgusted with the whole performance that they used to walk into the room and say "Sign that for me." This is the thing that all the threats are about. What is it? It is a humiliation for us, and it is no good for anybody. I say that I am acting more truly and more honourably than Deputies yonder who were parties to that. I say further that if I were the guardian of that Constitution, there would not be a single member allowed in under such conditions. I would either have the Article out or have it obeyed. It is time, I think, that we should have a little bit of light. It is time that we should end all this mummery and that we who have been accused of perjury and blasphemy should not be subjected to this humiliation and this semi-blasphemous performance carried on there. It is time to end it. We can, thank God, end it now.

Might I ask the President if he signed a declaration in the sheriff's office before his election?

Yes. I will make the point clear to the Deputy. I was allowed into the Dáil to my surprise. I heard the Clerk of the Dáil stand up and say—I forget the exact words—that we had conformed to Article 17 of the Constitution. It was as much as I could possibly do to resist standing up and saying, "That is an untruth." I will tell why I did not. I said that if that is their interpretation of Article 17 of the Constitution, as they are the guardians of it, it is not incumbent upon me to put a different interpretation upon it. They were interpreting it in that fashion. I will give them, if you like, all the credit in the world for it, from the point of view that if they want it they could have used it. I confess now that if I had been asked to subscribe to an oath, asked to take a solemn oath, I would not have taken it. I deserve no credit from anybody, because I was not prepared to do that violence to my conscience. We are here to end something which has been the cause of disaster in this country for the past ten years. I believe that it could have been removed at any time by the Deputies on the opposite benches. I may be wrong, but I believe it could have been. I believe that, having gone the distance they did, they used it as a political weapon. Again I may be wrong, but that is my honest opinion. We are in a position to remove it to-day, and I for one will not be occupying this position if it is not removed. If the British Government attempt to take any measures of reprisal for doing that, then I will say, as far as they are concerned, they have proved that this pretence of co-equality is all bosh.

We are either entitled to do this, or we are not. They tell us that we are going out of the British Commonwealth by doing this. What my own desires are on that question do not matter at the moment. I have taken certain obligations. I did not choose the course of events that has taken place for the past ten years. It would have been quite different if I had my own way. We find ourselves in a certain position since the Treaty was passed, and I have only one ambition and that is to defeat British policy in dividing our people here. I have restrained myself in public many a time when I felt impelled to say things that I believed were true, that I knew to be true in fact—I restrained myself when I said to myself: "Very well. To say such things would only help to perpetuate divisions which I do not want to see." In order to prevent division we had to get some rule by which we could have unity. I knew of no rule but one under the circumstances. When, immediately after the civil war was at an end and when it was clear to everybody that it would not be possible to maintain the Republic by force of arms, or to prevent its disestablishment, I put forward a proposal at that time, and that proposal was at that time accepted by all responsible Republicans in responsible positions. The proposal was that the people should be free to send their elected representatives to whatever place the majority were to meet, that they should meet there with their consciences free, and that they should come there pledged to nothing that would appear to violate their consciences and that majority rule should be accepted as the rule of order.

I defy anyone else to get a better plan. If they do I will give way as far as I am concerned. I do not know of any other way. It is unfair and unjust that we should try to impose a conscience test on people who will by such a test be excluded from accepting that rule of order. And if there was to be a three-fourths majority here in this House to-morrow and if they were to try to impose a minority test and if the minority was one that wanted this test opposed, I would oppose it. Deputy Thrift spoke here, and he spoke for the retention of this conscience test. I wonder does he realise the full implications of what he was asking for. He was asking that a conscience test should be imposed upon people whose aspirations undoubtedly —whatever their methods may be— correspond to the aspirations of the majority of our people.

Deputy Cosgrave says that he does not know what the aspirations of the Irish people are. I am sure that he does, quite sure that he does. He has no difficulty whatever, that I know of, in understanding what the general aspirations of the Irish people are. They want complete freedom to determine for themselves what form of government they should have, and what their relations with other States should be. They want complete freedom to do that. And the moment that freedom is given, as far as I am concerned, I would never bother to say a word, much less attempt to strike a blow against whatever form of government they choose to have. Perhaps Deputy Coburn is at one with me on that. As far as I am concerned, I say here that I do not care what form of government the Irish people choose as long as the Irish people as a whole are free to suggest that. I never had any special interest in forms of government as such. I have always believed, as far as I was concerned, in the rights of the Irish people completely to determine freely for themselves what they wanted. I opposed the imposition of an outside will upon them. If they were free and if they chose to have a Monarch instead of a President, I for one would not attempt to interfere. As far as I am concerned I do not care a thraneen. I have no particular interest in it. It never affected me. And I did not wait until I came here to say that. I said that in 1917, and as a result of saying it I was pointed at as not being a proper Republican. Deputy Hogan has frequently referred to that fact. I stand up here and make open confession of the fact that forms of government, as such, do not particularly interest me, because what I want to see and what I have striven for is that the Irish people should determine freely for themselves what their governmental institutions shall be.

To go back to this test, I wonder would Deputy Thrift like to have a conscience test imposed upon him. If there was here some particular form of conscience test would he like to have it imposed upon him? I do not think that he would. I do not propose that he should have any conscience test imposed upon him, but I do say that the liberty that we are prepared to give him, he ought to be prepared to give to others.

All I ask for is what the Irish people stood for in the only way in which they could speak when this Treaty was proposed and accepted. The Irish people accepted this Treaty in the only way in which they could speak, and as it was the decision of the Irish people we accepted it, and we claim that that kind of acceptance should not be asked for year by year. It should be given once and for all.

If there had been many Deputy Thrifts to ask for that in the old Dáil Eireann, I do not think you would have got a majority for it.

I do not think so. I think at that time there were probably not a half dozen members of Dáil Eireann who accepted that settlement in the sense that the Deputy says.

However it was given.

There were two or three probably. There may have been two or three who had that point of view.

We do not know where we are. We took it because we thought it was accepted by the Irish people.

As far as those whom Deputy Thrift represents are concerned, I have only to say that they will get from us the same protection and liberty that I want to see given to the men outside who are debarred by a conscience test from coming in here. They are entitled to that and they will never have to complain as far as we are concerned.

That is not the point I was speaking of.

We are going to see that the section of our people who are entitled to be represented, are represented here. As I said what is all this pother about? It is not we who have raised this "rumpus." We want to get rid of this performance which was keeping our people apart. We want to get a rule of order, some stability here, some opportunity to develop here. Nobody will be hurt by it. But because we do that we are told by the British that all sorts of consequences are going to flow from it. Our attitude is this: If we are going to be threatened at every step we take then we might as well be in prison. If we are going to be threatened when we attempt to exercise our rights, that is the end of it.

I notice that General Smuts was referred to here. He wrote a very clever letter at the time—I remember it well —telling us how, if we stood for our rights in association with Canada, Australia and the other States they would stand by us against any interference by Britain. What does General Smuts do now? He writes in a case like this when he knows as well as I do that we are entitled to what we are proposing to do—this gentleman sends a telegram to Mr. Thomas telling him that he was glad he was taking a strong attitude in regard to us. That is his position—that he was glad Mr. Thomas was taking a strong attitude. We are not proposing to injure anybody. We are not proposing to violate any agreements that have been made. We are within our strict legal and moral rights in proposing what we are proposing to do; and because we are within our strict moral and legal rights we are asking the House to agree to it, and to stand up for those rights.

Deputy Davin has asked an important question. This Bill was framed with all the care and all the consideration that we could give it. Clause 2, removing the Oath section, was considered carefully and we came to the conclusion that it should go. It was not because we are afraid of the courts or anything of that kind. Our domestic courts ought to have no function in the matter. No country in the world would have it. And why? There is the very good reason that if a verdict was got in the courts against their own people even though it was a mistaken judgment—and judges are no more infallible than the rest of us; they make mistakes, they can be wrong—but if a domestic court in any country gave a judgment against its own people on an international issue, it finished it because the other party would say: "Your own courts have found against you." There would be something in putting it to the courts if their decision held both parties, but it would not hold on both parties, because if you got a judgment in your own courts in favour of your own country, the outside party would say: "Oh! that is only from your own courts." Therefore you have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by submitting a question of that kind to the domestic courts and it should not be done. Deputies over there would not dream of doing it if they were in office. Take the case of the Privy Council. They were advised in exactly the same way as we are being advised that it was essential in the interests of the State— and any Executive is bound to safeguard the interests of the State when it has the responsibility for doing so— that it should be done. They proposed to do it and we propose to do it. Even if Deputy Davin or Deputy Dillon chooses to go into the Lobby against that Clause, then let them go. We have considered this Bill with extreme care. We take it as Government policy and we stand or fall by it. If the House are not going to support us in it they can get the alternative.

Question proposed: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."

Will there be any further motion put after this?

There will be another Vote on the main question under debate.

There will be a further Vote on the question whether this Bill is read a Second Time or not?

Yes, if the House desires it.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 77; Níl, 71.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Bryan.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Mícheál
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Curran, Patrick Joseph.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flinn, Hugo. V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Gormley, Francis.
  • Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Keyes, Raphael Patrick.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Rvan, Robert.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.)

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Broderick, William Jos.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis John.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hennessy, Thomas
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Keating, John.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Kiersey, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank
  • McDonogh, Fred.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Brien, Eugene P.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Hara, Patrick
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mrs. Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin
  • Shaw, Patrick Walter.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Vaughan, Daniel
  • White, John.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Question declared carried.
Question—"That the Bill be now read a Second Time"—put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 77; Níl, 71.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Bryan.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Mícheál
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Curran, Patrick Joseph.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flinn, Hugo V.
  • Flynn, John
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Gormley, Francis.
  • Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
  • Sheehy, Timothy.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare)
  • Humphreys, Francis
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph
  • Keyes, Raphael Patrick.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moylan, Seán
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.)

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Broderick, William Jos.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis John.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Keating, John.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Kiersey, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McDonogh, Fred.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Brien, Eugene P.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Hara, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mrs. Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick Walter.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • White, John.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Question declared carried.

When is it proposed to take the Committee Stage?

It is proposed to take the Committee Stage on Tuesday next. I move now, "That the Dáil do now adjourn until 3 p.m. on Tuesday." We propose to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday only of next week, as Thursday is a Holy-day and there would be no use bringing members back on Friday. We only propose that for next week.

Up to what date will amendments to the Bill be accepted?

We shall have to accept them up to Tuesday morning. The Committee Stage will, therefore, be fixed for Tuesday.

Can we get any information about the Butter Bill?

On Wednesday of next week.

What about the Old Age Pensions Bill?

Is the Budget to be taken next week?

The Budget has been postponed until May 11th.

Is it proposed to take the Tax Resolutions next week?

There are certain resolutions confirming Emergency Orders to be taken next week.

That is not my question. The question is about the income-tax resolutions.

They will be taken in the usual way.

My question is as to the date on which they will be taken in the usual way.

Is the Minister aware of the fact that that may be late?

I have not been so advised.

Will the Minister get advice on the subject?

It is not necessary.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 3rd May.
The Dáil adjourned at 12.25 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3rd.