Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 2 Nov 1932

Vol. 44 No. 7

In Committee on Finance—Estimates for Public Services. - Vote 26—Law Charges.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £19,577 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1933, chun Costaisí Coir-Phróiseacht agus Dlí-Mhuirireacha eile maraon le Deontas i geabhair do Chostaisí áirithe is iníoctha amach as Rátaí Aitiúla do réir Reachta.

That a sum not exceeding £19,577 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for the Expenses of Criminal Prosecutions and other Law Charges, including a Grant in relief of certain Expenses payable by Statute out of Local Rates.

I am going to ask the House to vote against this Estimate, and I am going to ask the House to vote against it because this Estimate contains the salary of the Attorney-General. I am asking the House to vote against the Estimate because the Attorney-General, by his conduct in his office since he was appointed to that office, has shown himself unfitted to discharge the duties of that office.

The Attorney-General is the head of the Irish Bar. By reason of the position which the Attorney-General holds, he is head of the Irish Bar, and it gives me no pleasure, as a member of that profession, that I have got to stand here and make charges such as I am going to make to-night, such charges as it is my duty to make, against the man who is the head of the profession of which I am a member. I am perfectly aware that when he acts in an unworthy and improper manner, he drags not only himself down but he drags down the whole profession to which he belongs. It is no pleasure to me to show to the House and to show to the country how unworthily the Attorney-General has acted in the position which he holds.

The post of Attorney-General is a very important post in the administration of justice in this country. There is a tendency to consider that the Attorney-General is Law Adviser to the Executive Council and that he is nothing more. I want to point out to the House that the Attorney-General has other duties than that. I want to point out that it is by no means his sole duty and that it is not by any means his most important duty. The Attorney-General is responsible for the administration of criminal justice in this country. He stands in the position that is occupied in England by the Director of Public Prosecutions, and it is expected of him, and it is his duty, in carrying out public prosecutions, that he be swayed by no ulterior motive of any kind and that no political considerations of any kind shall enter into his mind when he is deciding what charges ought to be brought and against whom they are to be brought. For that reason the Attorney-General is made completely independent of the Executive Council. He is responsible by himself for the prosecutions which he brings and for the form of those prosecutions—for the persons he prosecutes or the persons he does not prosecute. He is perfectly independent. He is not under the control of the President nor is he under the control of the Executive Council.

The Attorney-General is absolutely independent of the President and of the Executive Council. The responsibility is his, and his alone, if wrong is done. He cannot be dismissed by the President nor by the Executive Council, and he has been put in that position deliberately by the laws of this State in order that he may be able to act uninfluenced by any political pressure of any kind. The Attorney-General cannot be dismissed. He stands there under nobody's control. He remains Attorney-General as long as the President who appointed him remains President. He cannot be removed from his office, and, as I say, the object and reason of that is that in the carrying out of the administration of the criminal law in this country he can be swayed by no individual, and he is under the control of no individual.

We must come to consider how the Attorney-General is carrying out, and has carried out, the duties of his post. I am going to give the House some concrete examples by which they can judge how the Attorney-General is acting. I am going to give the House some examples which are known to the whole public of how openly and bare-facedly the Attorney-General has acted in certain cases. The first case I am going to allude to is a case in which a charge was brought against a young man named MacWalter, for an attack upon the house of Mr. Patrick Gavan, who lives in the neighbourhood of Belcarra, in the County of Mayo. The facts and circumstances of the case are these: Mr. Gavan's house was attacked by a body of men on the night of Monday, 1st August last. This body of men came to his house and demanded that Mr. Gavan should come out to them, to be treated by them as their tender mercies should direct. Very properly, Mr. Gavan told them that he was not coming out, and that if they attempted to enter his house he would defend his house— that he had firearms, and that he intended to use the firearms for the defence of his house.

These men proceeded to break in the door of his house, and one man was coming in holding an electric torch extended in one hand. Mr. Gavan fired at that torch and the attackers decamped. Some little time afterwards he heard groaning outside his house, something that seemed like a human being in pain and suffering. He went out, and he discovered a young man named MacWalter lying some 30 or 40 yards outside his house, it being obvious that when he had fired at the hand holding the electric torch the scatter of the shot had penetrated his lung. That subsequently transpired. MacWalter was lying there in a very seriously wounded condition, completely deserted by his own comrades. Mr. Gavan then acted in a way which, I think, must have the approbation of every single Deputy in this House, no matter upon what bench he sits, because I do think that every Deputy in this House will admire the action of an extremely brave and Christian-hearted man. This body of persons who had attacked Mr. Gavan's house had decamped, as I have said, leaving their wounded comrade behind. Gavan's house is something like three-quarters of a mile away from the main public road, down a long, narrow road. Seeing a man there, who had come to injure him, in danger of death possibly, Gavan got on a bicycle and rode down to get a priest for the wounded man— the man who had come to attack him —not knowing where MacWalter's comrades were ambushed or what risk he was running. I think that a man, who, at his own risk, and knowing that those people had come to his house to attack him, knowing that those people had come to his house to injure him, a man who, at great personal risk to himself, goes out to help a wounded individual who had shown himself extremely ill-disposed to him, is certainly deserving of commendation by every person in this House.

Now, I come to the sequel, which I think will surprise the House very much. MacWalter of course was arrested. He was brought into Castlebar under arrest, but the House will be astonished to hear that no proceedings were taken against him for the attack upon Gavan's house. He was not proceeded against for conspiring with other persons to injure Gavan. The only charge brought against him was the very minor charge of having a revolver and having ammunition for that revolver in his possession. He was charged with precisely the same offence—nothing more—as if that revolver and ammunition had been found in his pocket as he was going along the road, or had been found in his house under his care and custody. The major crime of which he was guilty, the crime of attacking Mr. Gavan's house and of conspiracy with other persons to injure Gavan, he was not charged with at all.

I want to know from the Attorney-General why that attack upon that house and that conspiracy to injure Gavan were completely ignored by him. Is it, as it seems to be, that as a member of the I.R.A. he is to have the law against him administered differently from the manner in which it would be administered against any other person, or is it that the Attorney-General approves of the attacks by night of armed men upon the houses of innocent and properly conducted citizens of this State?

As I have said, MacWalter was not alone. There were a considerable number of men in company with him. They came in a motor vehicle from the town of Balla. That is known by every single person in the neighbourhood. The names of the men are known by practically everybody in the neighbourhood. It is common knowledge. I want to know if the names of those men are not known to the Guards. I want to know why no proceedings against those men were ever taken, or why no attempt to make those men amenable to justice was ever made.

I come now to deal with a very curious and a very sinister aspect of this particular case. As I have told the House, this outrage against Mr. Gavan's house was carried out on Monday, 1st August of this year, and this conspiracy was hatched in the town of Balla and in its neighbourhood. It was carried out on a Monday evening, and President de Valera had spent the previous night and the morning of that particular Monday in the neighbourhood, and had only left it that afternoon. Now I want to make this perfectly clear—I do not want anybody to put any implication upon my words; I do not want anyone to come to the conclusion that I am in any way suggesting that President de Valera was aware of this outrage, or approved of this outrage, or did anything else except disapprove of it. I want to make that perfectly clear, but it is a fact—and a fact of very considerable significance—that it is the night of the day upon which President de Valera leaves this particular neighbourhood that these men choose to carry out their outrage. Why did they choose that particular day? I think there are two reasons which can explain it. The first reason is that evidently the I.R.A. accompanying President de Valera during his tour through Mayo possibly thought that this was a way in which they could earn his esteem. As I have said, I believe they were wrong in that, but I think they had another idea in their minds as well. I think they thought that they could bring influence to bear upon the Executive Council and upon the Attorney General, which would prevent any prosecution of them if they carried out their raid successfully. Subsequent events have shown that they were right.

McWalter, of course, who was arrested on the spot, had to be charged with something. He was charged, not with being on the dwelling-house, not conspiring against Mr. Gavan; he was charged with the mere offence of having firearms in his possession. He had to be charged with something. But if he had not been caught there on the very spot, is it not perfectly plain that no proceedings would have been brought against him, or against any single member of that party? I want to know from the Attorney-General, has influence been brought to bear upon him; have persons spoken to him about this case? I have said that he, and he alone, is responsible. Nobody should be able to influence him— neither the Executive Council nor anybody else should be able to influence him. I want to know if people have approached him.

President de Valera, when he stopped in this particular neighbourhood, was the guest of a particular family. I should like to know from the President why, as the whole County Mayo knows, the Chief Superintendent of the Guards, and a member of that particular family, had a very, very long consultation on the following Tuesday, early in the morning. I should like to know what was the reason of that, and as to whether influence has been brought to bear on the Chief Superintendent by a member of that particular family to have these proceedings cloaked up, and to prevent proceedings being brought against persons who were implicated with McWalter in this outrage. I believe that this outrage was carried out on this particular day because the individuals who carried it out believed that they could get the family who were President de Valera's hosts to bring such influence to bear that prosecutions would not be brought against them and the law would not run in their case. A member of that family was, last autumn, a member of the I.R.A. and a member of Saor Éire. Last autumn he informed the Guards he resigned from both those organisations and he did not intend to rejoin them. I do not suggest, for one moment, that he has broken his undertaking, but I do think that the persons who carried out this outrage might consider he was very frendlily-disposed towards the persons who had joined with him in these organisations, and that his family could bring, if he could not himself, influence to bear on the Attorney-General and Executive Council. I should like to know if the Attorney-General was approached, either directly or indirectly, either by any member of that family, or through any member of the Executive Council by that family, to lessen the charge which was brought against McWalter, and let the other people go scot free.

I hope the Attorney-General will be able to stand up in this House and say that he was not approached by anybody, that he did not consult with anybody, but that he decided himself as to what should be done, and that he was not influenced by anybody. I sincerely hope the Attorney-General will be able to stand up in this House and tell us that, and tell us the reason why he directed that only a minor offence should be charged against McWalter showing that influence had been brought to bear. We know, of course, the Executive Council does what the I.R.A. tell it to do. We had a good example of that some time ago. We had the case of Dempsey, a man who was sentenced to a term of imprisonment by a Judge in Dublin because he refused to recognise a Court properly and lawfully sentencing him to a term of imprisonment. We then had meetings held outside demanding his release; we had a trial of strength between the I.R.A. and the Executive Council, and we know it was the I.R.A. won, and that after they held their protest meetings this man, properly sentenced to a term of imprisonment for refusing to recognise the court, was released. But the Executive Council may be under the thumb of the I.R.A.; the Executive Council may do what the I.R.A. tells them, but that is no excuse—no sane excuse—for the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General has his own responsibilities and he cannot shield or hide himself behind the Executive Council, and no matter what the Executive Council have done, no matter what the President said to him, it is the moral duty of the Attorney-General to carry out the duties of his post without fear of the I.R.A. or affection for the I.R.A. or favour to the I.R.A.

That is one case. I am coming on to another, a still more shocking case. I am coming on to the scandal which is connected with the Kilrush affair. I think the House is pretty familiar with the Kilrush affair. Two gentlemen, Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Ryan, whose names are well known to this House, were in Kilrush and an encounter took place between them and the body of men who were with them, and two members of the Civic Guard. Two different accounts have been given of that encounter, one the account given by Mr. Ryan and his friends, saying that they had been wantonly fired at, wounding them both, the other the account given by the Guards that shots were fired at them; that a body of men was there about to attack them, or actually attacking them, and that they used their revolvers in self-defence—in necessary self-defence—having, as an eminent judge puts it, "a reasonable apprehension of serious bodily violence." They said they were attacked, and fired at, and they said, also, that they were being otherwise attacked and that they had a "reasonable apprehension of serious bodily violence" when they fired.

Now, that is a matter for inquiry, and they arrested and brought a charge of attempted murder, and two other charges, against Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Ryan and another man. Then we come to a very interesting sequel. We have, of course, courts in this country; we have courts set up to administer the criminal law, and we have courts of criminal jurisdiction, and if a charge was brought by Guards against Mr. Ryan and Mr. Gilmore, or against anybody else, or if there was a counter-charge to be brought against two or three members of the Guards by Mr. Ryan or by Mr. Gilmore, there was one place, and one place only, in which that charge and counter-charge should be investigated, and that place was the courts having criminal jurisdiction in this State.

That was not done in the Kilrush case. That would have been fair and just. That would have been to put before the magistrate, whose sense of justice or fairness could not be impugned, both sides of the case, and if he considered that the case was worthy of being sent for trial the men would have been sent for trial before a jury. That course was not adopted here. Another procedure was adopted. We are told that the Minister for Justice set up a Commission. He set up a Commission to inquire into the conduct of the Guards. I am aware that I cannot go very deeply into that, because the salary for the Minister for Justice is not on this Vote, but I can go into it to a certain extent because the Minister for Justice could not have set up this Commission, the Minister for Justice could not have denied fair play and a fair hearing to those two members of the Guards, unless the Attorney-General had conspired with him to prevent the Guards having justice and fair play. The Minister for Justice set up this Commission—a very curious Commission, a Commission which had as one of its members a solicitor who was standing counsel to the I.R.A. in Kerry. They were determined that the Guards would not have a tribunal which would be fair and impartial, that there would not be a tribunal that could do anything else except find against the Guards. They set up a tribunal the findings of which cannot carry conviction to the mind of any fair-minded man. They set it up in circumstances which must shock and horrify any individual in this State who has any sense of justice.

As I say, they set up a very carefully chosen Tribunal. I am not going further into that, but in order that that Tribunal should function at all, that that Commission should go into evidence at all, it was necessary that the Attorney-General should be consulted and that the Attorney-General should come in. As I have told you, there were charges brought against Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Ryan, the charge of attempted murder with other charges. Those are not investigated. They are not even charged until this precious Commission has been set up. If the Attorney-General had any sense of justice, any idea of how the criminal law should be administered, then the Attorney-General would have insisted that these matters should be investigated by the ordinary court, having competent criminal jurisdiction in this country. If the Minister for Justice wished to satisfy himself as to the conduct of the Guards, after the criminal prosecution had been closed and finished and all criminal proceedings terminated, then and then only should the Minister for Justice, in any fairness, have set up a Commission and set it up only for his own knowledge and his own information. That has not been done.

The Attorney-General not only takes away this case from the seisin of the ordinary District Court, not only tells the world at large that in a case where two important leaders of the I.R.A. are concerned, the courts are not to function, he not only attacks that particular District Court, but attacks the whole system and administration of our District Courts. He attacks the whole administration of criminal law in this country when, by his conduct, he says these courts are not fit to try and cannot be trusted to try cases of this nature. Mark you, he does not ask that these cases should be adjourned, that these cases wait over until the precious Commission's report is received, and that then criminal proceedings shall be taken. Not at all. He withdraws the charges and offers no evidence. In other words, in order to make assurance doubly sure, in order to make perfectly certain that the Guards will not get a fair show before the Commission, he, as plainly as he can, says to the Commission: "The charges which the Guards are bringing against Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Ryan are faked charges." That is the only meaning which can be put upon his action.

There was another matter, small possibly, but a little significant. The Attorney-General was represented by counsel before the District Justice. Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Ryan were also represented by counsel. Counsel on behalf of Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Ryan stated that it had been his intention to apply for cross-summonses against the Guards, but in the circumstances he would reserve the right of bringing any charges of a criminal nature his clients might like to bring against these Guards. He would reserve those and then he proceeds to read out a long series of affidavits, apropos of nothing, in order that the public mind may be prejudiced against the Guards. While he is reading out these affidavits he is not making any application. He reads out these affidavits perfectly irrelevantly to anything that is before the court. The Guards are not represented, and counsel representing the Attorney-General has got such a sense of fair play that he makes no protest against this very unusual procedure. The Attorney-General is anxious that every single thing should be done which would prevent that Commission from going into the trial of these Guards with a fair and impartial mind. He did every single thing he could do to prejudice that Commission, and, as a matter of fact, that Commission was a Commission as much—indeed more— trying the Attorney-General as it was trying the Guards, for if that Commission—and of course it would not, that was pretty well known—found, as it should have found, on the evidence reported in the newspapers, in favour of the Guards then, by the consent of everybody in this State, the Attorney-General would have proved himself absolutely unsuited to his office because he would have withdrawn charges against men who the Commission believed had been guilty of a criminal offence.

He was more on his trial before that Commission—of course the Commission knew it—than the Guards were on their trial. He held evidently some Star Chamber inquiry or, perhaps, held no inquiry at all and made up his mind entirely against the Guards and that he would not allow their case to go into court, would not allow them to state their case. He deliberately stops the proceedings against men who, they were ready and willing to swear, had attacked them. He does that before even this Commission has sat in order that he might prejudice the minds of the members of the Commission. It could have been for no other purpose. Deliberately to prejudice the minds of the Commission—that was the only object that could have been in his mind. I say he was as much on his trial as they were on their trial because, if the court decided that the Guards were attacked then the Attorney-General would be guilty of this offence: He would have been guilty of stopping proceedings against guilty men. He would be guilty of interfering with the administration of justice because he is seemingly afraid that certain gentlemen who refused to recognise our courts would be brought before those courts. After all, I think that the majority of the people in this House, and outside, really, in their heart of hearts, believe in fair play, and like to see fair play and to see even-handed justice administered by any persons administering justice. They do not see it here. They see the very opposite here. They see men who, if charged with any offence, should be brought before the ordinary lawfully-constituted courts set up by the laws of this country. They certainly should not be denied that right. Instead of that they are brought before a Commission, and they are to be condemned on the finding of a Commission, which, at most, is an inquiry into a disciplinary offence. The men who attacked them are to go entirely scot free and that very Commission is itself to the prejudice of the Attorney-General, and to the prejudice of all his actions.

These men are being treated with gross injustice. Of course, there has been a finding against them. Everyone who saw the personnel of the Commission knew that there would be a finding against them. Everyone knew that the Commission was set up for the purpose of finding against them. Does anyone think the Attorney-General would have taken the risk he did take if he did not know, before-hand, what the Commission would find. He took a great risk when he set up these proceedings. As I say, if the findings of the tribunal were against him, he would have to resign his office and if he did not, if he had declined to resign his office, I believe the voice of public opinion would make him resign. He took the risk because he knew, as well as everybody else knew, that the Commission was a Commission set up to find against the Guards and in favour of Ryan and the Gilmores. I have mentioned things done in the open and brought to light, things done in defiance of public opinion. These are things that were done in the greenwood. What is being done in the dry? How many cases come up against the Guards about which the public know nothing, and in which there ought to be prosecutions, but in which the Attorney-General is advising against such prosecutions, knowing it would be bad for the Fianna Fáil Party if he did his duty as Attorney-General? I wonder how many such cases are there? We cannot know that. We do not know the files that come before the Attorney-General. But from the manner in which he acts in public we may form a very fair conclusion as to how he acts in those cases which never meet the light of day. If he braved public opinion, in the cases I have mentioned, how is he going to act when there is no need to brave public opinion, when all his acts are completely secret and unknown? Of course, it may be and, I suppose, will be, that the Attorney-General will have the support of his Party in his conduct here. And, of course, if he has the support of his own Party he will have the support of the Labour Party as well. We know that perfectly. But outside this House there is a body of public opinion that hates to see injustice done. There is a body of public opinion that believes the Guards have a right to fair and just treatment, and it is to that public opinion and not to the Fianna Fáil Party or the Labour Party that I speak now. I speak not to the Parties who do not care whether justice is done or injustice is done if it happens to suit their political purpose. It is to the great body of public opinion outside, that hates to see the law administered as the Attorney-General is administering it, that I speak. There is a body of public opinion outside this House to which I am confident I can appeal and which I hope will be strong enough to make the Attorney-General, if he survives this debate, act in his position as an honourable man ought to act.

The Deputy has lashed himself into a wonderful fury. I never saw him in such a fury before, and it would not be good for him, or even for the Attorney-General, if he continued to keep himself in such a fury for any considerable length of time. He criticised the Attorney-General and the Commission. There is no man better qualified to talk of what is done in the greenwood, and what is done in the dry, than Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. Of course Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney never did anything in the dry. It was always done in the greenwood. He never prevented a charge from coming before a Court of Justice while in office.

Never. Let the Deputy name one.

Now, of course, he tells us——

I rise to a point of order. The Deputy has said that I prevented, when in office, cases coming before a Court of Justice.

I said the Deputy never prevented them.

The Deputy stated to the House, in very clear language, that I had stopped prosecutions being brought, and I submit that the Deputy must name the particular case in which I acted in that fashion.

The words used by the Deputy were: "Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney never did so." With the tone in which the words were said I have nothing to do; moreover, we cannot discuss the administration of a previous Government on the Estimate for this year.

May I ask, a Chinn Comhairle, whether you would not say that there was a clear suggestion that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, as Minister for Justice, prevented prosecutions from taking place? Surely there was a clear suggestion to you and to everybody else. Are you going to allow that to pass? Will you not compel the Deputy to give fair play to Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, and ask him to name a case?

I cannot compel the Deputy to cite cases.

Mr. Hogan

Can you do nothing?

I distinctly said, and emphasised it, that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney in his office did nothing in the dry wood.

On a point of order. Seeing the innuendo in Deputy Cleary's remarks, surely Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney may ask him to cite a single case? If he cannot name a single case he should say so.

The Deputy is quite entitled to ask Deputy Cleary to name a case, but I have no power to compel him to do so.

Do the Opposition feel so guilty in certain cases without being mentioned by me at all?

Mr. Hogan

You are getting courage again.

Deputy Cleary made a charge, he has run away from the charge, and I am perfectly satisfied.

I emphasised the fact that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, while Minister for Justice, never prevented a case from coming before the Courts. Does Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney feel so guilty that he put the other construction on it?

Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, ex-Minister for Justice, Deputy Hogan, ex-Minister for Agriculture, and one of the legal advisers of the late Government, Deputy O'Sullivan, gave it a construction that seems to suggest that they know cases. They should not display the guilty conscience so quickly.

I deliberately emphasised the fact that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney never did prevent a case from coming before the Courts. I will say it again for him if he wants me and emphasise it further. He has criticised at length the setting up of a Tribunal to inquire into certain incidents that happened in County Clare. That Tribunal was set up by virtue of power given under an Act of Parliament passed by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government while in office. What was it passed for? Was it because a case might arise when a demand would be made for setting up a Tribunal? Did they do it for the purpose of pushing it aside in the Fitzgerald-Kenney fashion of dragging in a kicking cow to account for the hammering of a certain person? Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney does not like things of that kind. When a Tribunal was demanded to inquire into that case, a kicking cow was discovered.

There were the Courts of the country to hear everything. That is the line I took and always will take.

When Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney criticises the Tribunal, what he is really doing is criticising the Cumann na nGaedheal Government while in office. He should have thought over it more. I really think, if he had not lashed himself into such a fury, he would have thought of it in that fashion. Some of the findings of that Tribunal have been published I understand. Nobody in this country is more satisfied because of that inquiry in the County of Clare than the really decent body of the Gárda Síochána—none prouder or happier or more satisfied. If that attitude was taken up by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney while in office, some of the members of the Garda Síochána would be given much more respect throughout the country, because the black sheep would have been weeded out long ago and not replaced by kicking cows, as they were by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney while in office. The Deputy lauded at length the action of a Mr. Gavan, in County Mayo, because he defended the sanctity of his home against people who tried to break in during the night —a very laudable thing, a very praise-worthy thing. There is only one other precedent in recent history for such bravery. When that action was taken, however, and the man defended the sanctity of his home, what was Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's laudation? What did he do? He sent his agents to South Mayo with placards giving it a construction of I.R.A. marauders. When that unfortunate tragedy took place in County Leitrim, and a man defended the sanctity of his home in broad daylight against gunmen, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney would turn against the man who defended the sanctity of his home, call him a black-guard, an ex-I.R.A. man, a man that should not be given any place in this State—one attitude towards one man who defends the sanctity of his home and another attitude towards another. I admire the attitude of Mr. Gavan. I think it is a praise worthy thing he did and a manly thing, but I do not admire the attitude of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, who will laud one man who defends the sanctity of his home and turn his rage against another who defended the sanctity of his home, because the armed men who went to that other man had political affiliations which were not Fianna Fáil.

What case is the Deputy referring to? I am told I lauded a particular individual who defended his home.

Yes, Mr. Gavan.

Who is the man I condemned?

Mr. Leddy. You got posters out through your election agents.

Do you mean the man who shot Deputy Reynolds and a Guard, who got twelve months for shooting Deputy Reynolds? Is that the man?

Mr. Leddy in Leitrim.

If I condemned him, then I condemn him again, and the court condemned him.

The Deputy did not wait for the decision of the court or for a tribunal to find out what happened in Leitrim until he sent out his election agents to get votes for him by giving it a complexion of Republicanism.

The Deputy should get away from what happened a year ago or two years ago.

I shall get down to what happened in the last two or three days. The Minister for Justice was attacked the other night because of a certain man that he released. It is strange that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney did not mention that this evening, that a Mr. Dullea was released after very heinous charges were made against him and after he had been sentenced. Why did not the Deputy bring that in?

We are not discussing the Minister for Justice.

He was released after being sentenced. The Minister for Justice was charged here with releasing a man from jail who committed a serious crime, one of the ugliest of crimes, and it was insinuated by Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies that he released him because he was a Republican and a Fianna Fáil follower. Deputies opposite made these insinuations, while the real facts of the case were that the person who approached the authorities to have the man who committed that terrible crime released was Deputy O'Neill of Cumann na nGaedheal.

Of course I know Deputy Cleary's form. He is one of the Deputies I have most contempt for. That statement would not be made if Deputy O'Neill were here.

He was here the other night and I made that statement and I make it now.

Mr. Hogan

You did not make the statement the other night when he was here. You waited until he was gone. It is just your form.

You did not allow him to speak.

I suppose I will be allowed to proceed.

That particular case does not come within this Vote. It is a matter for the Department of Justice.

Anyhow I am finished.

I take it Deputy O'Neill will be allowed to reply.

Sit down. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney insinuated party politics and everything else about these charges. I say they are just as well founded or as likely to be as well founded as the charge made in the case of Mr. Dullea, after influence being brought to bear on the authorities by a Cumann na nGaedheal Deputy to get him released.

The Deputy has been told that that case comes under the Department of Justice. We are now discussing the Attorney-General's Department.

The discussion on this Vote is really very serious for the members of this House. We may disagree as to what is the best system, economically or politically, for this country, but there is one thing on which, I think, all persons and all parties should agree, and that is, that the law should be administered in a way that would have the confidence of every person in the country of any and every political party. I think that it was at the time of the Boer War that Kipling said: "Love to live by no man's leave underneath the law," and there is no Party in this House that should not stand for that, should not stand over it, and fight for it. Of the matters that have been raised by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney this evening, the most serious case, which happened to arise in County Mayo, was replied to by another Deputy from the same county, and that does lead, as the House will agree, to constituency political notions of what the law is. There is nobody in this House who should realise more clearly the importance and the necessity that we should not argue matters of principle on the basis of what happened in this constituency or that constituency, or what the political affiliations of this or that person were, than the Attorney-General.

The two or three cases that were raised by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney were serious and they do require serious consideration from this House. It really does not matter, as I say, in the discussion of this affair, what our notions on the uneconomic war are or what our notions on political affiliations with other countries are, but we, at least, must accept this, that we must stand for a sense of law and a standard in the administration of law whatever Party may be in power at the time, and it is on that matter that I would like to hear the Attorney-General or whoever will reply—and I take it that the Minister for Finance will reply for him. I would also like to draw the attention of the House to the sneering of the persons most affected, or the persons who pretend that they represent the persons most affected, namely, the Labour Party in this House, on this discussion.

Name them!

The whole front bench, except Deputy Davin.

The one saint!

I certainly have not sneered at anybody.

I challenge the Deputy to show that I have sneered at his remarks.

I, for one, resent that charge.

In saying the whole front bench, I mentioned the two exceptions.

The Deputy said "except Deputy Davin."

I added your name. This is a very serious matter.

There is no doubt about it.

I would like to assure Deputy O'Sullivan that I think he is doing my colleagues an injustice in saying that they were sneering at remarks made by him.

I did not suggest that they were sneering at me. They would not do that. I think that they were likely sneering at the suggestion.

I said sneering at remarks made by you and not sneering at you.

The Deputy will try to have it both ways as usual but it has nothing to do with the particular case.

Oh, do not be wasting time, for Heaven's sake.

It has nothing to do with the particular case we are discussing at the moment, namely, the administration of law in this country. I want to refer to two of the cases raised by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. The first was the McWalter case, and, in this regard, I must say that I am speaking only from the newspaper report. A man's house is attacked, and a battering ram is used to break in the door and shots are fired, after midnight. A number of persons are there; they disappear. The man in the house hears groaning and, finding one of the men wounded, he goes down for the doctor and the priest, and reports the matter to the Civic Guards. What do all the great heroes who attacked his house do? They run away and leave their wounded comrade to die or to be killed, whichever may happen to him.

Is the action of these people, who are alleged to have attacked this House, an issue in this debate, or does it arise on this Vote?

Of course it does not.

It is only incidental.

Of course it does not! The action of people who came to a house and said they would break it in and murder people, does not arise on this Vote! Of course, it arises on this Vote. They were in conspiracy with the man who was accidentally caught, shot by this man whose first act was to attend to him because he was wounded, and to go for the priest and doctor.

There is nothing in this Vote to defray the charges in that regard.

One of the questions arising on the Vote is the legal action taken in connection with this particular criminal offence, the criminal offence being breaking and entering and conspiracy to murder.

But not the running away.

If the Minister wants to apologise for their running away, let him have it. If he is ashamed of their running away, so am I.

Friends of yours?

No friend of mine ever ran away, but I know people who did. This is a matter which concerns not the County Mayo alone, and that is why I regret that the ex-Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, and Deputy Cleary happen to be the persons who, so to speak, discussed this matter. It is a matter that is outside any constituency, county, province, party or anything else. It is the administration of law outside of all political parties, and that is why I support Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's motion that the House refuse to pass this Vote. There are several other things which could be said with regard to the particular action, or inaction really, as the Minister reminds me, in County Mayo. I should not refer to the inaction of the heroes of the charge of Balaclava, or Balla, or wherever it was, but I should refer to the inaction of the Attorney-General in not having a criminal prosecution instituted against the persons who ran away, not because they ran away—the Minister is quite right in saying that I should not refer to their running away—but because they were in conspiracy with the person who was there caught in flagrante delicto on the job of attempting to murder this man.

Another matter referred to by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was the Kilrush affair, as it is called. The organ of the Government was very lucid and eloquent on this subject. It said that there was a Tribunal against whom there was no suggestion of partiality. I would like to say that if an offence is committed there are judicial institutions to deal with them. As was stated by Deputy Cleary, the last Government did institute a system by which judicial, or semi-judicial inquiries could be set up to inquire into charges against the Guards. Perhaps the Minister, or the Attorney-General, will tell us whether there will be laid on the Table of the House the findings of that Court of Inquiry. There are different courts in this country, District Courts, Circuit Courts, High Courts and the Supreme Court, and this is the High Court of the land; but there is still a higher court—the court of the people outside.

Well the Deputy knows it.

The Minister made a remark. I would like to know what it was.

The Chair has not heard it.

Perhaps it has something to do with going off the gold standard. There is that court, the highest court of all, to be reckoned with. There are thousands of people outside who want to know why two persons, who flagrantly flouted the authority of this House, were not dealt with. Those persons are not flouting the authority of the Government which sat here a year ago; they are flouting the authority of this House; they say to this House: "You have no right to govern this country." Why did the two leaders with ten or twelve others—the number does not matter—march, at 11 o'clock at night, towards a place where they knew there were two detectives protecting a house? That is what the people in the country would like to know, and that is why I suggest the Attorney-General, or the Minister, should lay on the Table of the House the findings of the Court of Inquiry. After that, perhaps the Attorney-General will tell us why it was he found it necessary to set up this Court of Inquiry; why it was he found it necessary that charges against persons who repudiate, not the authority of the Cosgrave Government, but the authority of this House, should not be investigated in the courts of the land. Is it not because he knew those persons would repudiate the courts; that they would say: "We refuse to recognise your courts; you are a usurping authority; you are only a pale pink edition of President Cosgrave?" Is that not the reason why he set up a special court and why he selected the personnel of his court?

Particular individuals were represented at that court by counsel. One of the most important statements made there was that these persons had spent the night before painting the streets of the town—I understand they painted them red. At any rate, they painted Nelson's Pillar white with the inscription "Boycott British Goods." That was described by their counsel as being not only a patriotic, but an excellent work. I used to take it that everything patriotic was excellent, but in this instance their work was not only patriotic but excellent. I suggest it is because of those declarations "Boycott British Goods,""Boycott Dáil Eireann,""Boycott President de Valera's Government,""Boycott the Attorney-General,""Boycott any type of Government set up in this country except that set up by the authority outside this House," that the Attorney-General felt compelled—I should say was compelled—to set up a Tribunal in order to give him an excuse to prosecute these persons. There were the Guards and there were the headquarters staff of the I.R.A.——

I would like to draw the Deputy's attention to the fact that it has already been stated that the Tribunal was set up by the Minister for Justice, the Vote for whose Department is not before the House.

I quite agree, sir, What I should have said was that the Attorney-General did not direct a prosecution against these persons. If he directed a prosecution against the Guards on the information of the headquarters staff of the I.R.A., he could have directed a prosecution against the headquarters staff of the I.R.A. on the information of the Guards. I should have put it that way. There is one thing upon which emphasis must be laid. Deputy Cleary said that they were proud of the Guards. It is only right that this country should be proud of the Guards. Quite a lot has been said about the plain people and it is but right to give a little credit to the Guards. We are very proud of the Guards, and I think the nation will not forget the fact that these two detectives arrested the whole headquarters staff of the I.R.A. and brought them into the barracks.

A considerable amount of play has been made about certain incidents in Kilrush and, as one of the representatives of the area, I would like to reply to the statements that have been made. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney referred to even-handed justice. I think that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney contributed more to the down-fall of his Party than any of his colleagues in the Cabinet of the former Government, and that was because of the sort of justice that, in the opinion of the people, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney meted out when he was Minister here. Nothing has happened recently that has given more satisfaction in the County Clare than the setting up of this particular tribunal. When that tribunal was set up it gave the people to understand that for the first time they were going to receive even-handed justice. It is the duty of the police to protect the people, not to attack them, and it would be a bad thing if the state of affairs were to continue where, no matter what charges might be levelled and no matter how truthful these charges might be, they would be met by the Government of the day with the argument of the kicking cow.

That position has changed. It has been changed by the highest tribunal in the land, by the court of the people. That was changed by the free vote of the people. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, and his Government, because of the sort of justice they meted out during their term of office, were found wanting by the people.

I do not know if it is in order for certain legal luminaries in this House to attack brother professionals at the Bar. I do not know if it is in order to make personal attacks on the eminent lawyers who formed this tribunal at Kilrush, one of whom is a distinguished Clareman, and a leading light at the Bar. I do not think it adds to the dignity of those who belong to the profession to make these personal attacks. Deputy Gearoid O'Sullivan has asked why the Attorney-General did not direct a prosecution. I hope he will. I hope it is not too late and that a prosecution will be directed in this case. What would have occurred if a Cumann na nGaedheal Government was in office when this thing happened? These unfortunate men would have been arraigned in court, tried for their lives, and, perhaps, under testimony that would have been forthcoming, might have paid the extreme penalty. That could easily have happened as it happened before, perhaps, on less evidence. Another case of a similar nature happened in Lisdoonvarna and I will just quote a statement, not from this tribunal, but one made by Circuit Court Judge McElligott.

Will the Deputy give the date?

October 15th, 1932. I am reading a quotation from the "Clare Champion":

His Lordship: Were there any Guards present in the barracks besides this ruffian?

These are the words of Judge McElligott. As Deputy Cleary stated, even the ordinary members of the Guards will be as well pleased with the action the Government has taken in that particular case as the ordinary public.

I think we might hear the Attorney-General.

If I am attacked I should be given an opportunity of replying.

Mr. Hogan

I think this is a most extraordinary procedure. Charges have been brought in connection with the administration of his office by the Attorney-General.

Mr. Maguire

I shall waive the point. I think if it was seriously intended to raise these points, as I am not very conversant with the facts, it would have been more just to have given some intimation of the particular topics that were to be raised, as this discussion, at this late hour, finds me without any files to refer to. Although I have endeavoured to get the papers in connection with the cases that have been mentioned by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, I have been unable to do so, and I must rely on my memory for facts in connection with my handling of these cases.

May I make a suggestion? If the Attorney-General is incapable of answering, or if he feels himself at any disadvantage in replying to the charges which I have brought against him, on this side we are perfectly willing that the discussion should be adjourned until to-morrow, and that another estimate should be taken in its place.

Mr. Maguire

I said that it would be more fair if I had notice. I am quite prepared to deal with the charges now. I accept entirely Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's opening remarks as regards the position of the Attorney-General. I accept his statement that the Attorney-General is independent of control by the Executive, independent of control by the President, independent of any control whatsoever. He must act on his own independent judgment, and while I find it rather difficult to deal calmly with the charges which have been made against me by the Deputy, and by some people who are looked upon as responsible, I assure Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, and I assure the House, that not in one single case that has come before me, have I been swayed by political influence or influence of any kind whatsoever. At the end of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's speech he made the unworthy suggestion that there are numbers of cases which have come up, and which have been stopped for political reasons. I say that charge is entirely and absolutely false. No case whatever has been stopped by me for political reasons. I have no reasons other than the reasons which the Attorney-General should have in mind when considering cases that are brought before me. It is his duty, and I accept it as such, to examine carefully the evidence put before him, and to examine only the evidence put before him by the responsible authorities, to decide whether a case is to be prosecuted and the nature of the charge to be preferred. I repeat that that has been my course of action in connection with the particular cases mentioned by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, and about which he made so much play. I assure Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney if he will accept my word—and his judgment seems to me to be unbalanced in this matter—that no one spoke to me in connection with this case. I spoke to no one and nothing was before me in my office save the police report.

I am very glad to hear it. I said in my speech that I would be very glad if the Attorney-General would make such a statement.

Why not ask the question first?

Mr. Maguire

That particular case gave me a considerable amount of worry both from the circumstances and from the absence of evidence upon which to lay certain charges. It has been suggested that there was evidence involving other people who were alleged to have been with McWalter on the night in question. I can only say to Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney that there was no evidence brought before me to identify any single person there on that night, and if any evidence is put before me, I will unhesitatingly prosecute. I have no sympathy whatever with the people who took part in the raid upon the house on the night mentioned by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. I am prepared to condemn that action, and the action of people who went there that night in as strong terms as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney or any other Deputy, and I assure the House that if evidence is put before me identifying those people I shall bring a charge now against any of these people.

Now, as regards McWalter himself, he was so seriously wounded in the attack upon that house that he nearly died in hospital. He was under arrest in hospital. The moment that he was well enough to be arraigned before a court, that the Guards reported that he was well enough to be brought before a court, I had him brought before a court. Having regard to the evidence before me and to the whole situation, weighing it up as carefully as I could and without the slightest sympathy for McWalter, I decided that the best and the wisest course was to bring him up on a charge for the possession of firearms. He was speedily dealt with on that charge. He was sent to prison for six months, and as far as I understand his six months in prison have been spent between life and death in hospital. I assure the Deputy again that I dealt with the case without being influenced in any way. None of the persons who have been mentioned by the Deputy, or hinted at by him—no person whatsoever—spoke to me.

I may say at this juncture that when I came into office I did find that certain people thought that perhaps I might be swayed by representations made to me. Certain persons thought apparently that the Attorney-General was approachable. Since I came into office I have deliberately set my face against any interference whatsoever by any persons, Executive Council, or anybody else, with me in the discharge of my duty. I can say that there have not been three occasions in the last three or four months when even the slightest shadow of a hint has been made to me as to how I should deal with any case. In these circumstances I do resent and feel most keenly the charges that have been levelled against me by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. I feel it from his position as a member of the Bar. I feel, too, that there has been nothing adduced here to justify the suggestion that has been made.

Now, to deal with the Kilrush case: What I want to say in connection with it is that it was a very serious and troublesome case, as serious and difficult a case as ever came before a legal officer. The duty of the Attorney-General, examining such a case, was to weigh up the evidence put before him to see whether or not he was justified in taking steps to prosecute the charges suggested. I am sure that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney will not for a moment deny me the right to use my judgment. I may have been wrong in certain cases in the action I took, whether or not to prosecute. I may have been guilty of an error of judgment, but surely Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney will not deny me the right to use my judgment. What I do resent is the Deputy's complaint that my judgment has been swayed or influenced by considerations which should not have influenced it. In the Kilrush case I deny that. In the action taken to drop the charges in that particular case, I had to assist me a leading member of the Irish Bar. I approached the case in the same way as I approached every other case, with the determination that if there was evidence to justify a charge being made that charge was going to be made, no matter who complained. Approaching the evidence in that way it was decided in all the circumstances that the particular charges referred to by the Deputy should not be proceeded with. In view of the fact that this Commission was about to be set up it was intimated clearly to the court that my hands were kept absolutely free to take whatever action I wished after the findings of the Tribunal. Had the Tribunal, as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney suggests, found that these charges should be proceeded with, that the evidence justified the charges being made that were then formulated or that other charges were to be preferred, I would not have felt in the least bound by anything that had happened at the earlier investigation to drop the charges. I would have proceeded with the charges.

I take it that the Minister for Justice will now yield to the demand made from the other side of the House to lay upon the Table of the House the report of the Kilrush Tribunal. I can tell Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney and Deputy Gearoid O'Sullivan that when they see the report of the Kilrush Tribunal they probably will not be so pleased that they asked for it.

That Tribunal will convey nothing to my mind. I do not accept the verdict of that class of Tribunal.

Mr. Maguire

I think it is a monstrous thing for a Deputy who, again I say, is regarded by some people as being responsible, to allow his judgment, his prejudices, to be so unbalanced that he should here, in a place where they are unable to defend themselves, make a slanderous statement about the men who sat on that Tribunal. No whisper or suggestion was made until it was made here in this House, that the men selected to sit on the Kilrush Tribunal were not eminently suitable men to investigate this very difficult and troublesome case. I listened with astonishment to the suggestion that Mr. Patrick Lynch, K.C., is a man who could be suborned and one whose judgment I am supposed to know in advance.

You did your best to prejudice him.

Mr. Maguire

At the date of the dropping of the Kilrush proceedings, if my memory serves me, the Minister for Justice had not then nominated his Tribunal. It was only subsequently that the Tribunal was nominated by the Minister for Justice. It is being calmly suggested here—I should not say calmly because it was not calmly suggested—but it has been suggested, and the suggestion will go out through the country, that Mr. Lynch, the Chairman of the Tribunal, is incapable of giving an impartial verdict on evidence submitted to him. I say that is a monstrous charge for anybody who knows Mr. Lynch to make. What I have said about Mr. Lynch applies also to the other members of the Tribunal. I do not happen to know Mr. McGrath. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was very careful to make no reflection on either Mr. Lynch or Mr. McGrath by name. He only chose to attack Mr. Brown, one of the most prominent solicitors in Kerry, because he happens to hold certain political views, and then the suggestion is that he is incapable of giving a fair and impartial judgment.

He must have a most biased judgment. A man who has been solicitor to the I.R.A. for a considerable time must have his mind biased in favour of them.

It is very undesirable that the personnel of a Commission should be discussed in the House at all.

Mr. Maguire

I only referred to it as it has been referred to by the Deputy. I can only hazard the opinion that the Deputy is seeking in advance to take away some of the weight which the public will attach to the findings of that Commission. It will be found when the Report of that Commission is laid on the Table that if I erred in connection with the Kilrush case at all it was in not preferring against the Guards the formulated charges in the first instance, charges in connection with their conspiracy to make false charges against Ryan and Gilmore. These charges, according to the findings of this Tribunal, should have been considered by me and not charges against Ryan and Gilmore. However, the report will speak for itself.

The report of the sound men.

Physically and morally!

Mr. Maguire

Certainly it is coming to a nice pass when men cannot venture to go on a Tribunal like the Kilrush Tribunal without being slandered by men in this House who apparently do not know who they are or care.

And whose own words do not carry very far.

The sound men!

Mr. Maguire

I have dealt with the only two cases which were brought forward after the wild attack by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. The wild attack now narrows down to two particular cases and a hint that there were several more if they could only be uncovered. Since I came into office I have acted independently and have been to the best of my judgment actuated in every case by one consideration only, and that is what are the facts of the evidence which has been brought before me by the police. I think it is monstrous that I should be charged in the way I have been charged to-night by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.

We accept the Minister's statement that he is acting bona fide, but the Minister knows that that does not dispose of these cases. The debate has lasted for some time and thanks to Deputy Cleary and the other Deputy who spoke the real points have been fairly successfully evaded. Even the Attorney-General has taken refuge in the question of whether the Tribunal in Clare was good or not, knowing full well that that was not the point of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's charge at all. Deputy O'Sullivan said that it was a charge that ought to be taken seriously by the House and especially by the Labour Party. I feel that that is so, and that it should be taken seriously, especially by the Labour Party. What is the issue? What was said here by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was that the Minister, through political influence, either failed to make a charge when he should have made it or modified the charge he ought to have made.

There were two cases cited, and I would ask the House to attend carefully to the facts of those cases. Remember, you have the advantage that the facts are admitted. We are not disputing about the facts at all. We are not disputing the question of whether it was a good or a bad tribunal that was set up to deal with the Kilrush case. That is not in dispute and it should not be in dispute. Take the McWalter case in Mayo. It is admitted by the Attorney-General and by everybody else that an attack was made on the house of this man, Gavin, and that the attackers were armed. It is admitted that one of them was captured in the attack and that he was captured attempting to break into the house.

Mr. Maguire

That is not admitted.

It was admitted up to this. It was published in all the papers that the man had a gun. He was actually charged with having a gun, surely?

Mr. Maguire

I have no objection to the Deputy stating his version of the facts, but I do object to his attributing statements to me.

Those statements were made by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney and the Attorney-General has not helped us. Surely that was the charge? Surely it is not denied that there was an attempt to break into the house, and that McWalter was one of the men? What misstatements have I made or what have I said that was not admitted? I agree with the Attorney-General that it did not matter that this man went for the doctor or the priest. There is a bigger issue. That man was caught red-handed trying to break into a house with a gun. He was only charged with the offence with which I would be charged if I was found walking down the road with a gun in my pocket—having a gun without a licence. Is not that an extraordinary thing? Do the Deputies on the other side think that the Attorney-General has met the case when he says that he considered it on its merits. There was murder committed in this country before.

A Deputy

Who did it?

Never mind who did it—shut up for the moment. Houses have been broken into and murder has been committed. Supposing it happens again—they are not all Gavins—and murder is committed? That sort of thing is contagious and I must say that if such should happen the Attorney-General will have his responsibility. I do not care whether McWalter was wounded or not. There is no hurry about McWalter. He can get better. That is an appeal ad misericordiam and has nothing to do with this. The thing that matters is that he broke into a house with a gun and under circumstances which made it extremely likely that he was attempting to commit a felony. What charge was made against him? That of having a gun without a licence! I say that that is a most monstrous thing.

Suggestions have been made here by previous speakers on the lines of tu quoque—“You did as bad.” We never did. We never withdrew a charge from the magistrate or from the Court. They cannot suggest that any Minister for Justice or Attorney-General has ever done anything but prefer the charges that ought to be preferred. The late Kevin O'Higgins established a high tradition here, to start with. There is a high tradition in England, one of the few countries where there is a tradition, that of equal law. Ours was higher—equal law, equally administered—and that was carried on by every Minister for Justice and Attorney-General up to the last election. I put it to the Labour Party that from the point of view of the poor alone this is a most important question. The Labour Party may think that political influence is on their side at the moment, but taking any sort of a long view, it suits the poor that there should be an equal administration of law. I put it to them, and to anyone with a respect for the conception of law, that this thing should not be allowed to stop at this. One of the most serious crimes is breaking into a man's house. We know what it means in this country especially. It makes it more serious that it should have been done with a gun, and no mercy should be given to the man who did it, and it does not meet the case that he should be charged with the offence with which he was charged. If there is any real sense of real liberty in this House they will not allow this matter to remain where it is. They will not allow a man guilty of a foul crime to lie in jail for a short sentence for having a gun without a licence. I say that it is a disgrace.

Now I come on to the Kilrush case. I do not want to say anything about the Court——

You cannot say anything about it or against it.

I will not ask your leave for anything I say. I said that sentence in order to underline this:—That it is not the point whether the Court was right or wrong, good or bad. The point is this—that it must again be admitted that two Guards made a charge against certain persons of assault and of using firearms—revolvers. That charge was made. That charge might be wrong. That charge might be made by you or me and be wrong. The law is not powerless. The resources of civilisation are not exhausted.

When such a criminal charge is made, the usual procedure—the normal procedure—is that informations are sworn. Is not that so? Why were they not sworn here? Did the Guards refuse? The public should know that. The next step is to go before a magistrate. We need then have had no argument as to whether the Court was good, bad or indifferent, or the solicitor Fianna Fáil or Cumann na nGaedheal. The Courts are there. It is generally admitted here and elsewhere that our magistrates and our magisterial system are first class. We had the magistrates there. Why was not the charge brought before a magistrate? Why were not depositions taken? The facts could have come out that way. Why was the usual procedure altered this time? I am in a difficulty in all this. The Attorney-General acted bona fide, but it was most unfortunate that the usual procedure, the invariable procedure, was altered in a case where the two injured innocents were two well-known and dangerous characters, to everybody's knowledge, in the I.R.A. It is most unfortunate that that should have occurred—most unfortunate. I personally—I am not speaking now as a lawyer—have never heard of a case before —the Attorney-General may be able to quote one—where the Attorney-General entered a nolle prosequi, before depositions were taken. I thought that was an unusual procedure. All I have to say is that where you had two members of the Civic Guard, two esteemed members of the Civic Guard—but, again, that is neither here nor there—making definite charges of assault, and assault by people who had guns, it is most unfortunate——

Mr. Maguire

I have explained to the Deputy that I did not enter a nolle prosequi.

You withdrew it?

Mr. Maguire


Mr. Hogan

The Attorney-General has left us all guessing by his failure to reply.

Mr. Maguire

The position is that if I wish to bring charges what has happened in the District Courts does not debar me, as the Deputy well knows, from preferring the charges now.

Mr. Hogan

It is open to the Attorney-General I know to charge those two Guards with assault. I am not speaking of them.

Mr. Maguire

No—to charge Gilmour and Ryan.

Mr. Hogan

Oh, I see. Well why not do that first? Why not follow the invariable procedure? The invariable procedure was to proceed to the Court of first instance, have depositions taken there, and see is there a prima facie case made out. That normal, almost invariable, procedure was not followed. Why? Whatever the reason may be the Attorney-General, before he came to the conclusion that he should refrain from carrying out the normal procedure, must have practically tried the case himself. I put it to the Dáil that that is a very serious state of affairs, and that that is a new function for the Attorney-General. I go on to the third case that is the case of this man Dempsey. Dempsey was sentenced by a Judge. He was out in a few days. Why was he out?

Mr. Maguire

I prosecuted Dempsey. He was convicted. Beyond that my jurisdiction did not go.

Mr. Hogan

Well then it is your colleague. It is not the Attorney-General. We can refer to that again. I will leave out those two cases. I have outlined for the Dáil what has occurred. Now the principal facts are admitted. In fact the Attorney-General has had to admit them. I have not made a single statement of fact that is not admitted on both sides. I put it to the Dáil that what has happened is this: The high tradition which was laid down here at the beginning, of impartial and impersonal law, has, if you like unconsciously, been departed from—and that is the worst day's work that could be done—and that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice are gradually allocating to themselves the functions of the Judges. It may suit the political exigencies to do this, but it will turn this State into a fourth-rate State, and a State in which there will be no liberty and no law no matter what form of Government there is.

A Leas-Chinn Comhairle: This has been a very valuable debate, but it has also been, on the part of the Opposition at any rate, a very badly stage managed debate, because the Opposition did not follow the precedent which it created last week and raise the issue, the so very-important issue which has been raised on this debate, in a debate upon the Adjournment. The Government now are in a position to examine the charges which have been made against them—the charge, in the words of Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy Patrick Hogan, that in the administration of justice he had been governed by political influences. That charge was made last week. It has been repeated to-night. Apparently it is going to be one of the catch cries of the Opposition from this time forward—that we have been governed in the administration of justice by political influences. It is safe to make a charge like that when you feel you are going to have the last word.

It was noticeable on the part of some Deputies in this House when they were members of the Government that in a debate they preferred to follow feminine tactics—they wanted always to have the proverbial last word, and because they felt secure in that last week they launched the charge again, that we were governed by political influences in the administration of justice. This debate would have been as shameful as the debate on the Adjournment last week, when spokesmen of the Opposition Benches got up, knowing they had right behind them not merely in the case of Dullea but in the case of Levison, Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies who had gone on deputations to the Minister for Justice asking that they should be released.

We should have the names.

Deputy O'Neill's name was mentioned. What about Deputy Finlay in regard to Levison— Deputy Finlay who sat beside Deputy McGilligan priming him as regards the case he had to make, I am sure in the cause of justice, on behalf of Dr. Levison. That matter was raised on the Adjournment. It could have been raised on Notice of Motion if necessary. It could have been raised in such a way as would have enabled all the issues in it to be debated, and it would have been well for the Opposition if in raising the issue again to-day they tried to adopt the same tactics as last week, and have had a debate upon the Adjournment. We have heard Deputy Hogan speak. We have heard him again come forward, and, on behalf of the late administration, make a plea which the records do not substantiate, that they had established a high tradition for equal administration of the law in this country. I have heard the Attorney-General arraigned because a charge, which was I think a matter of summary jurisdiction, was preferred in the case of a man who is alleged to have broken into a house in conspiracy with some others, and who was wounded by the householder. I am not going to condone in any way what McWalter did. If I were to make any comment at all it would have been to commend the householder who defended his home. I do not know the circumstances of the case, but I am prepared to say from what I know of the Attorney-General that he took the right course, bearing everything in mind, and I rely on his judgment for that. My only regret is that the last Government, in much more serious circumstances which recently came to my notice, did not arraign people against whom there was conclusive testimony to prove that they were not merely guilty of house-breaking, but guilty of armed robbery, not only on one occasion but on three, and not merely of armed robbery, but of murder, and not of murder on one occasion, but on at least three.

A Deputy

You ought to give us the names.

In November, 1923, a civilian was murdered in the streets of Dublin, a civil servant was murdered in the streets of Dublin.

I cannot allow this——

I am dealing with the issue raised by Deputy Hogan, the last speaker, who said the administration of which he was a member had established, on his own words, "a high tradition for equal law."

I cannot allow this. We are discussing the administration of the Attorney-General's Department and we must confine ourselves to that.

I suggest that, as the matter has been raised, and as this matter has been raised, in substantiating a charge against the present administration, I am entitled to examine that argument, and discuss that argument——

Deputy Hogan said the late administration set up a standard of justice which was very high. That was merely a passing reference to the administration of which he was a member. He did not go into details.

I am not going into details.

I cannot allow a discussion on the late administration—it is not at all in order. We will never get anywhere if this is allowed.

I suggest, A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, in view of the wide range of this debate, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was allowed to perverse the reason for the setting up of the Kilrush Tribunal——

With great respect I mentioned I was not going into the Kilrush Tribunal, or anything about it, except in so far as the Attorney-General is concerned.

Mr. Hogan

I dealt with two cases —deal with them you.

Deputy Hogan asked why the usual custom is not followed. He said the usual procedure, when evidence came before the Attorney-General and those who were responsible for the administration of justice, was to have information sworn. I want to show that up to the present Government came in office that was not the usual procedure. I think I am entitled to show that——

On that reasoning we could open up every case from 1921 up, obviously that could not occur on this Vote. I have had the advantage, or disadvantage, of hearing Deputies Hogan and Fitzgerald-Kenney, and they did not go back on these cases.

I want to show that, in a case where detectives in Court identified men who committed two crimes informations were not sworn, and that instead of that instructions were sent out from headquarters that no action was to be taken.

This is not a discussion on the administration of the late Government. We are concerned now with the administration of the Attorney-General's Department on this Vote and we must confine ourselves to that.

The question of the usual procedure was discussed by Deputy Hogan.

That is a matter of law.

No, what was the usual procedure is very often a matter of precedent, not a matter of law.

That is not for me to determine what is the usual procedure.

I submit that when you are debarring me from discussing this you are debarring me from the usual procedure. You accept Deputy Hogan's definition of what is the usual procedure. I submit what he alleges in regard to the procedure of the late Government is not proved.

The Minister is trying to raise an issue with which I am not concerned at all. I am concerned with the administration of the Attorney-General's Department.

I submit that the most that could possibly be revelant is, what was the usual procedure in the year 1931, not in the year 1923.

Deputy MacDermot does not occupy any position of honour in this House. He is responsible to his own constituents and possibly they will deal with him later. At this moment I suggest that I am entitled to show what the usual procedure was in this case.

The Minister is not entitled to show that what the late Administration did in 1924, '25, '26 or up to now, is right or wrong. He is entitled to show that what the Attorney-General did in the administration of his Department is right during the year under review or not, and nothing else.

Deputy Hogan has asked us why not adopt an invariable procedure, I took a note of his words. Why not adopt an invariable procedure. In adopting an invariable procedure, I want to show the procedure was not invariable—that in fact it varied. I think I am entitled to show that.

Deputy Hogan is referring to the procedure adopted by law, not by the Government.

Why was the usual procedure altered? I want to show that there is no established procedure, that it is a matter of fact so far as precedents go and precedent determines procedure, just as law. There are precedents on both sides and I want to cite one example where informations were not sworn.

It has no reference to the administration of the Attorney-General's Department.

Oh, yes, it has, because the allegation is that we have been remiss in the prosecution of justice, and I want to show that in certain serious matters there have been long intervals, so long that no action has been taken, and I think I am entitled to show that at any rate the late Government did establish a certain procedure, not an invariable procedure, but a procedure which they departed from on occasions which suited them.

The Minister is entitled to make these statements. He is entitled to say the late Government did this, that or the other, but I am not going to allow this Dáil to debate matters that the late Government did as far back as 1923, or any year prior to the year under review, but what is under discussion on this Vote on the administration of the Attorney-General's Department. Otherwise we would never get anywhere.

I am not asking you to permit the Dáil to discuss it. I want to repeat again that there is no such thing as invariable procedure——

The Minister will proceed on the lines I have already indicated.

I think the Government, being attacked, should at least be given an opportunity to defend itself. We have heard the most shameful allegations made by the late Minister for Justice, the late Minister for Justice who will go down in history as the author of the story of a cow which kicked with both legs at the same time.

The Minister ought to be a little more accurate. Mr. Ryan was not kicked. He was knocked off a stool by a cow. He should be a little more accurate with his facts.

A Deputy

The kicking cow will live in history.

Oh, yes, it is the invariable procedure. Why was the usual procedure altered?

If a cow knocks down a man and the Guards are charged——

Informations are always sworn! Well, they were not sworn at any rate, I know, in February, 1924. What was the usual procedure? I do not know what the Opposition had to complain of in regard to McWalter. It may have been a fact that no accomplice of his was arrested. Possibly because an accomplice was not arrested and had not confessed to his complicity in the crime and had not by his confession implicated Mc. Walter——

A Deputy

He did.

—— that accomplice not having been brought to trial on a charge of attempted murder, and not having been remanded on bail, as an accomplice to a murder in 1923 was in 1925 under the late Government— possibly what Deputy Fitgerald-Kenney has been complaining of is the fact that when this hypothetical accomplice to McWalter was allowed out on bail in this fashion, he and his accomplice in the crime were not permitted to abscond, as three men who were guilty of two murders and three armed robberies were in 1923 under the late Government. That is how justice was invariably administered !

Nobody minds the Minister.

That is how justice was invariably administered under Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney and his predecessors. That is the high tradition which they established for equal administration of the law. Possibly what Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney had to complain of in regard to the Kilrush inquiry was that the Civic Guards had not received instructions from their headquarters when they identified men alleged to have committed crime, when they could have easily have apprehended these men, not to take any action until ten months afterwards when two of them got an opportunity of fleeing the country. Possibly that is what Deputy Fitgerald-Kenney has arraigned the Attorney-General for. Of course if we had done that, if we had so perverted the machinery which has been established in this country as to permit self-confessed criminals to escape, simply because they happened to belong to one or other of the forces under our control, then we would have been following the high tradition established for equal law by the late administration. But because whether the accused be guilty or not, whether the complainant be in uniform or out of uniform, we are going to examine the evidence that will be made available to the Court to satisfy ourselves that a charge justly lies before we put a man upon his plea, we are attacked in this fashion. When after a searching investigation into the evidence we set up a tribunal which will approach the issue without any bias in favour of one party or the other, and when the findings of that tribunal vindicate up to the hilt the action which we have taken we are attacked as we have been attacked by the Opposition, but that attack has recoiled like a boomerang on the head of the man who launched it.

What standing has Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney at the Bar of the country to attack a man with the record of Mr. Patrick Lynch? What record has he in the country's service except for the fortuitous fact that he happened to be available in the House in 1927 when a Coercion Bill was being rushed through by the late Government, when trafficking in the murder of Kevin O'Higgins, they tried to crush every element of constitutional liberty in this country? They rushed a Treason Act through the Dáil, and when they were looking round for a worthy successor to Buckshot Forster, to Arthur Balfour, to Hamar Greenwood, they picked Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. Who in this country would ever have heard of him? But we have heard of him. History has heard of him and he will go down in history. He will go down in history in the same category as these others, as one of the great instruments of Imperialist coercion in this country.

I did not intend to intervene in the debate were it not that my name has been mentioned by the Minister for Finance.

On a point of order, I regret to have to interrupt Deputy Finlay, but the proceedings of the House have been disturbed day after day by outrageous demonstrations in the Gallery. If members of the House are to be intimidated by guests of other members, the proceedings of the House cannot go on, and I confidently appeal to the Chair to take whatever action may be necessary to put an end to these disgusting outbursts.

I think it would be more convincing if Deputy Dillon had raised this matter with the Ceann Comhairle without waiting to consult his so-called colleague, Deputy MacDermot.

I think the Ceann Comhairle has already indicated that the responsibility rests with each Deputy as to the visitors he introduces into the Gallery. The Gallery is not the place for demonstration either for or against anything said here, and each Deputy is responsible for the conduct of visitors he introduces into the Gallery. It is within the discretion of the Ceann Comhairle to close the Gallery to visitors, and I think the Ceann Comhairle is so minded if these demonstrations continue. He will be forced to take drastic measures to relieve the House of these demonstrations.

As I said, I did not intend to intervene in this debate were it not that my name has been introduced in the course of a speech by the Minister for Finance. I want to hear from him here and now, does he state to the Dáil that I at any time advocated the release of Dr. Levison from prison or any reduction in his sentence?

He stated that.

He did not, but he tried to state it in an oblique way. At no time did I advocate the release of Dr. Levison.

I have not said that the Deputy advocated the release of Dr. Levison but I said, and I think I am right, that he interested himself in the case.

Anyway, it does not arise on this Vote.

If I am wrong in that opinion I withdraw it, but I believe I am right.

Am I not to be allowed to discuss this matter? In all fairness I should be allowed to clear it up.

I shall allow the Deputy to clear it up in so far as his name has been mentioned but it cannot be discussed further.

I do not want to discuss it except to make a personal explanation. I state here and now that if anybody makes the statement in the House that I at any time advocated the release of Dr. Levison he is stating a deliberate falsehood. The only reason I intervened is that if a person with the mind of the Minister for Finance is put up in this House to justify the actions of the Government on these various matters at the very outset by stating a deliberate falsehood——

I cannot allow that to pass. The Minister for Finance did not state a deliberate falsehood. That is tantamount to saying that the Minister had stated what is a lie.

What is incorrect?

The Deputy will have to withdraw the words "deliberate falsehood."

I withdraw that statement.

Do I understand the Deputy to say that he did not interest himself, in the case of Dr. Levison, because if I understood him to say that I would accept his word, and be prepared to withdraw the statement I made?

The position with regard to Dr. Levison's case was this: I prosecuted, and Mr. Lupton, counsel, who defended, asked me if I would accompany him to the Minister for Justice, with a view to correcting him in anything he might say to the Minister with regard to the course of the trial. I told Mr. Lupton that out of courtesy to a brother at the Bar, I certainly would accompany him to the Minister and, also, out of courtesy to the Minister himself. On that occasion the Minister said to me "May I take you as petitioning on behalf of Dr. Levison?" And I said "Certainly not." In the interview I drew his attention to one matter, when Mr. Lupton was putting the matter before the Minister, and that was, that at the end of the trial Mr. Lupton asked for liberty to appeal on the ground, amongst others, that there was a miscarriage of justice and the trial judge said: "I will not accede because in my opinion there has been no miscarriage of justice." I pass now from that.

On a point of personal explanation: The House will recollect, when this matter was on a night or two ago, I said I would take the responsibility in both cases. But there is now the question of fact, and I would like to give Deputy Finlay every opportunity of conveying to the Dáil everything that is material concerning this matter. As Deputy Finlay has thought fit to intervene will he deny this: that he came to me in my room and told me that he had prosecuted Dr. Levison—that he did not expect he would be convicted, and that the trial judge did not expect he would be convicted?

I did not.

You deny you said that?

Certainly I deny it.

I have a perfectly clear recollection that Deputy Finlay said to me, in the presence of Mr. Lupton, that he did not expect a conviction, and went further and said the judge did not expect a conviction.

I would not deny that because I have not a clear recollection. If the Minister has a clear recollection I will not deny that.

I want to be perfectly fair——

I have no recollection of saying that I did not expect a conviction. What I said was that the judge in his charge certainly charged in favour of the defendant, and my recollection is that Mr. Lupton said he did not expect a conviction.

So that Deputy Finlay may have every chance I put it to him now, in the presence of the whole House, that he stated to me his own condition of mind. He can tell the House now his condition of mind but I put it to him now, and he can deny it if he wishes, that he told me specifically—and that influenced me greatly —that he, the prosecuting counsel, did not expect a conviction, and, furthermore, that the judge did not expect a conviction. That had tremendous weight with me.

All I can say is that I have no recollection of these words, and I do not believe I could have used them, because my own state of mind was that I considered there would be a conviction. I recollect undoubtedly saying that the judge charged in favour of Dr. Levison. I now pass from the matter. I did not desire to enter into it in this House because it places me in an invidious position, having prosecuted, and I would not have mentioned the matter if my name was not dragged into it in a most unjustifiable way by the Minister for Finance.

But to pass now to other matters. Let me say that the excuse given for the Attorney-General stopping the prosecution of McWalter in Mayo was upset by the evidence. As I understood, the offence was breaking into a house, or attempting to break into a house, with intent to commit a felony. The matter is entirely one of inference for a jury to draw from the surrounding facts in connection with a particular crime. In connection with McWalter, the position was this: The evidence showed that he attempted to break into a house. He was found outside in possession of firearms, and surely any reasonable person would come to the conclusion that there were facts established there, and that it was for a jury to say whether there was intention to commit a felony. The punishment for attempting to break into a house is more serious and greater than any punishment that can be given for an offence of having a gun without a licence, and I do suggest, while I accept the Attorney—General's word, that he examined this case bona fide, that there could be no doubt whatsoever that there were sufficient and ample facts before him to justify a prosecution for attempting to break into a house with intent to commit a felony. It was a matter for a jury. In this country, in cases of serious crime, the final arbitrator is a jury as to whether the offence was committed or not. It is for a jury to decide whether the offence was committed. The best place any person can find himself, if it is alleged that he committed a crime, is before twelve of his own countrymen. They are the best judges of the facts. No one can read or take a photograph of what was at the back of the person's mind at the time. He can only he judged by all the surrounding acts. I say this, no person reading these acts, as they were apparent to the Attorney-General, should take upon himself to decide that no reasonable jury would convict this man of breaking into a house with intent to commit a felony. That is the position of the Attorney-General. He decided, in the first instance, whether there was reasonable evidence to place the man on trial. And while I accept his word, that he considered this whole matter bona fide, I say it is, in these circumstances, regrettable that he did not let the law follow its ordinary course, in that there was abundance of evidence of intent to commit a crime, which should have been determined by a trial before a jury of the man's own fellow countrymen.

Very serious charges have been made against the Attorney-General here this evening. Perhaps not the least serious of the charges was the charge made by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, that the Attorney-General, to use the words of the Deputy, conspired with the Minister for Justice in order to deny justice to the Guards who were concerned in the affray at Kilrush. It is not necessary to emphasise how grave that charge is and how necessary it is that it should be met by the Attorney-General, and should be met by anyone else in this House who is in any degree concerned in order to assist the House. I shall endeavour to avoid going into any ground covered already, or that is manifestly within the knowledge of Deputies in this House. It is only for me to say, in regard to these charges at Kilrush, that there were allegations made by Mr. J. Ryan and Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Lowe against certain members of the Garda Síochána, and that there were counter allegations by two members of the Garda Síochána—Carroll and Muldowney—against Lowe and the Gilmores.

In so far as charges were made against Gilmore, Lowe and Ryan, I had no very direct or immediate concern. The Courts of the country were available to deal with any serious charge, seriously supported, against Ryan, Gilmore and Lowe. With charges against the Guards of gross violation of duty, of an attempt to pervert the course of justice, of wounding citizens without rhyme or reason, I, as Parliamentary head of the Department of Justice, was intimately concerned. I was bound to answer to this House in respect of that force. It has been suggested here, very speciously, that the way to deal with these charges was to have recourse first to the District Justice and afterwards to a Judge and Jury for trial, because no one suggested that the District Justice had jurisdiction in this case. It was an indictable charge. He had merely jurisdiction to return for trial. If Gilmore, Ryan and Lowe were returned for trial, unlikely as it would have been, if they had been tried at Ennis before the Circuit Court Judge and a Jury, and if they had been acquitted by that Jury, which Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney suggests is the method to try them, and I was to come here and tell the House that because of the trial at Ennis before a County Clare Jury disciplinary action had been taken against Guards, what would be said in this House, what would be insinuated?

In discharge of my duty I did not adopt any novel or unheard of procedure. Section 18 of the Police Forces (Amalgamation) Act, Statute No. 7 of 1925, passed by the Parliament of this country, provided for the constitution of a Tribunal such as the Kilrush Tribunal. The section was not called in aid for the first time by me. My distinguished predecessor in the office of the Minister for Justice, the late Mr. O'Higgins, appointed a Commission of three members, presided over by a member of the junior Bar, with another member of the junior Bar as one colleague, and with a layman as the third, to inquire into much less grave charges made against certain detective officers in the County Waterford. Perhaps Deputies have only to have that drawn to their attention to recollect it. The suggestion now made against the Attorney-General is that he entered into a conspiracy to draw the trial of this issue away from a jury in the County Clare and to put it before some hole-and-corner Tribunal. Some Deputy on the Opposite side used, as I felt sure some one would before the debate concluded, the phrase, Star Chamber. What does the House think of that charge made against the Attorney-General? Pursuant to the Statute of 1925, the Tribunal was set up. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney said—I was amazed and I was pained to hear him saying it—"Every-one who knows the personnel of that Commission knew they would find against the Guards. The Attorney-General entered into a conspiracy with the Minister for Justice to set up a tribunal, and everyone who knows the personnel of that Commission knew they would find against the Guards." I was gratified that a member of the junior Bar, Deputy Gearoid O'Sullivan, did not associate himself with that. I may differ from Deputy O'Sullivan in many of his opinions, but I expected that Deputy O'Sullivan would have the pluck to stand aside from that charge. I was also gratified that a member of the other branch of the profession, the solicitors' profession, Deputy Hogan (Galway) not merely did not stand by it, but got quite away from it. These Deputies knew the indecency of the charge as well as its injustice.

That Kilrush Tribunal was presided over by Mr. Patrick Lynch, a man of 42 years' standing at the Irish Bar, a leader of the Irish Bar, a member of the Bar that the late Government delighted to honour, and rightly delighted to honour. The late Government entrusted the conduct of some of their most serious cases to this gentleman and the Attorney-General is now accused of entering into a conspiracy to induce that gentleman to perpetrate an injustice on the police of the country. As late as 1931 the late Administration had Mr. Lynch as their leading Counsel in one of the heaviest cases of the year. Many times during the years they were in office, when they were in a tight pinch, Mr. Lynch was the man they resorted to. Not merely had they Mr. Lynch as an advocate, but when they appointed, pursuant to a Statute of this House, temporary Judges to hear the heavy arrears of Civil Bill Appeals, with all the powers practically of High Court Judges, they selected Mr. Lynch as one of these Commissioners and entrusted him with the trial of these cases. When some of these, including some who now sit on the benches opposite, had private litigation, we know from the public prints that they resorted to Mr. Lynch.

If that statement has reference to me, it is not true.

It has no reference to one in particular. Perhaps Deputy Cosgrave would like to associate himself with Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney in saying: "Every one who knows the personnel of the Kilrush Commission knew they would find against the Guards."

I am concerning myself with the statement made by the Minister.

I made no statement incidentally about Deputy Cosgrave.

"Some of the people sitting on the Front Bench opposite."

If I said the Front Bench opposite, I was not comprehensive enough. I should have said the benches. I think I did say the benches.

Perhaps the, to me, unknown Deputy on the back benches, would like also to associate himself with the statement that the Attorney-General entered into a conspiracy to procure a man to deny justice to the Guards. However, as I said, I am gratified that the two other members of the legal profession who spoke stood aside from that charge, and that even Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney had not the audacity to attack the third member of that Tribunal, a man whose success in the legal profession is eclipsed only by his success on the field of battle in the Great War. This is the conspiracy; these are the conspirators; these are the tools of the conspiracy, a conspiracy to wreak injustice on the members of the Guards. Deputy O'Sullivan challenges the Government to lay on the Table of the House the Report of the Kilrush Tribunal. I have before me the report of the Kilrush Tribunal. There is no mystery about the report of the Kilrush Tribunal and there is no attempt to keep back from the public the very valuable public document relating to the Kilrush Tribunal. The complaint is made that there are men who were denied justice, men whose complaint and allegation were not solemnly acted on by the Attorney-General, and a prosecution arranged against Gilmore, Ryan and Lowe on the strength of their word. The Attorney-General, who is one of the high statutory officials in this country, on whom the responsibility rests not to bring nonsensical prosecutions, foolish prosecutions, would have been prosecuting on the faith of the statement of two men in regard to whom the Kilrush Tribunal say—and I read from their original signed document:—

(1) From the evidence before us, we find, first, that Detective Officers Myles Muldowney and Michael Christopher Carroll and members of the party consisting of George Gilmore and others were guilty of jeering at and taunting each other at the Cappa Road, Kilrush, on the night of Sunday, 14th August, but that Messrs. Gilmore, Ryan and Lowe did not take part therein;

(2) that Detective Officers Myles Muldowney and Michael Christopher Carroll, followed the party consisting of George Gilmore and others, for a distance not warranted by the duty on which they were engaged, and that without justification they fired at and wounded Messrs. Gilmore and Ryan.

"Without justification they fired at and wounded Messrs. Gilmore and Ryan,"—and the attack on my friend here to-night is not an attack for failing to prosecute Carroll and Muldowney who, without justification, fired at and wounded Messrs. Gilmore and Ryan. He is not to be content with the wounding of these three citizens without justification but he is to pursue them with a hopeless prosecution which he knows in his heart and conscience he cannot sustain, and the House is asked to take the attack on the Attorney-General seriously. But it does not end with that.

(3) That no shots were fired by the party consisting of Messrs. Gilmore, Ryan and others.

That was found by this distinguished Tribunal. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney can directly insult the members of the Tribunal as much as he likes. Deputy Cosgrave, instead of openly and bluntly insulting them, or any of them, as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney did, may get up, it seems to me, quite voluntarily, and make a statement from which any inference may be drawn and may be construed in any way that any person, according to his own mind, may like to construe it, but the public——

I should like to know in what way I have insulted this Tribunal.

The members of this House here——

The Minister has made a statement which is either true or false. I characterise it as false.

When I drew attention to a remark of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's, and said that the Government of which Deputy Cosgrave was the head, repeatedly employed Mr. Lynch as their leading counsel and appointed him to judicial office, and when I went on to say that members occupying the benches opposite, when they had private litigation, had had resort to Mr. Lynch's services, Deputy Cosgrave thinks it well to get up then and make a statement like a sort of masculine Sybil.

The Minister has said "instead of insulting these men"—that implies clearly and distinctly that I have insulted them, and that statement is not true.

I have not any recollection of having said that Deputy Cosgrave——

Those are the words used by the Minister—"instead of insulting them."

I have no recollection of stating that Deputy Cosgrave insulted the men.

But the Minister said "Deputy Cosgrave, instead of insulting them." Obviously, that implies that I have insulted them.

Does it? I thought that implied the very contrary.

Oh, I see.

No one admires the adroitness of Deputy Cosgrave more than I do, but all his adroitness and ingenuity can hardly make that out to be a charge, and the Deputy really knows that.

But, at any rate, there is no charge?

There is no charge. The Deputy really knows that. The Attorney-General is charged with this abuse of his office, that he did not accept the words of men, who, without justification, wounded Gilmore and Ryan; that he did not make the injury done to Gilmore and Ryan greater by prosecuting Gilmore and Ryan, notwithstanding the findings that Carroll and Mudowney were themselves the aggressors without justification, and notwithstanding the findings that no shots were fired by the party consisting of Gilmore, Ryan and others. But there is still more that the Attorney-General would have had to swallow, because the Attorney-General is supposed to make himself conversant with the facts, and he is not supposed recklessly to launch prosecutions:

(4) That the said Detective Officers Muldowney and Carroll caused Messrs. Gilmore, Ryan and Lowe to be wrongfully charged with shooting at and attempting to murder them, the said Detective Officers, and for the purpose of causing them to be charged, deceived their own superior officers by making to them false and misleading statements...

What does Deputy Cosgrave think of that? What does he think of that? And his colleagues on the Front Bench accused the Attorney-General here of the grave impropriety and wickedness of entering into a conspiracy to refrain from prosecuting Gilmore and Ryan, and to refrain from acting upon the allegations of the two worthies, Muldowney and Carroll. Against these men these findings were come to by this court after a four days' trial, after cross-examination by the very eminent counsel who represented the police at that inquiry, after cross-examination of all the witnesses, and after an eloquent speech by that distinguished senior counsel, Mr. Fitzgerald, who represented the police. The Attorney-General is to be impleaded here in the cause of men who fired at and wounded citizens, without justification, men who deceived their own superior officers, men who made false and misleading statements, and, in favour of these men, after all that attempt to pervert the course of justice, the Attorney-General is, I suppose, to imitate the traditional figure of Justice itself, by placing some sort of wrapping around his eyes. He is to blind himself. He is to become blind to all these facts that were demonstrated so clearly at this four-day hearing in Kilrush and he is to prosecute not, as I said before, the men who fired without cause and wounded without cause; not the perverters of the course of justice; not the men who made deliberately false statements to their own superior officers. He is to prosecute the unfortunate men who were wounded without cause. Here is a further extract from the judgment:

We are of opinion that the superior officers acted in good faith, having been misled by these false statements.

In other words, the charges that were at first prepared before the District Justice and framed by a higher officer were framed in perfect good faith, because he was deceived. The superior officer was deceived, but Deputy Cosgrave here to-night or Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney or Deputy Hogan cannot say they were deceived because they have all the evidence. They have read the evidence given at Kilrush. When they come here to charge the Attorney-General with conspiracy, with procuring an injustice upon Muldowney and Carroll, they know the facts, facts that were not in the possession of the superior officers of Muldowney and Carroll, and those superior officers acted in perfect good faith but in error.

(5) That, in effecting the arrest of Mr. T.J. Ryan at Kilrush Hospital, Detective Officers Myles Muldowney and Matthew Mulkeen committed a serious assault on the said Mr. T.J. Ryan by beating him about the head with their revolvers; but that, having regard to our finding at No. 4 above, although Detective Officer Muldowney knew that the arrest was unjustified, Detective Officer Mulkeen was not so aware.

And by reason of that circumstance, Detective Officer Mulkeen is a member of the Gárda Síochána to-day.

(6) We are of opinion that the complaints of delay in conveying Mr. T.J. Ryan to hospital after arrest have not been established and that Superintendent Feeney and Sergeant O'Reilly did everything in their power to have him removed to hospital as soon as possible after his arrival at the Gárda Síochána Station. We find that during his detention in the Station he was not in any way ill-treated.

(7) Regarding the allegations of ill-treatment of Mr. G. Gilmore in the hospital, we are of opinion that he was unnecessarily disturbed and annoyed, having regard to his condition, by Detective Officer Thomas Murphy, but that the charges in this respect against Detective Officers Bernard Hanley and James Brennan have not been proven. No allegation was made against Detective Officers Patrick McCaffrey and James P. Hughes, and we are satisfied that they acted with every consideration.

(8) That the allegations regarding the ill-treatment of Mr. T.J. Ryan in hospital have not been sustained.


Patrick Lynch,

John G. McGrath,

D.J. Brown.

Is it to be published? Is the whole of the report to be published?


And the evidence also?

The report, I can say without hesitation, will be published, because the expense of printing and circulating the report will be trivial. If Deputy Cosgrave is serious in suggesting that the evidence should be published I shall be glad if, in a day or two, he will put that matter to me advisedly. The evidence after a hearing lasting four days is, of course, very bulky. The hearing lasted for four days; there was quite a lot of examination and cross-examination. The evidence is very bulky. I do not think the House would expect me here and now, impromptu, to give an undertaking that I will incur the very considerable expense of having that evidence printed. I am not saying that I decline to do it. I suggest to Deputy Cosgrave that he might consider putting forward that proposal on another day. I may say that I will be greatly impressed by any suggestion Deputy Cosgrave makes. If he feels that the expense of printing the evidence would be justified, I certainly shall seriously consider it and I shall probably seek authority for the expenditure.

Would the Minister also consider the advisability of printing a few of the earlier ones? I would like to see them in print.

Has not the bulk of the evidence been published in the Press?

I think it has. I have read the actual typescript from the stenographer as part of my duty. I read the newspapers in a casual sort of a way. The evidence as given in the newspapers is by no means as full as the stenographer's transcript. At the same time, I think the newspapers did give the substance of it; they did really give the meat of the evidence. However, it is really a matter for Deputies. If any Deputy feels that the evidence should be printed in the form of a White, a Blue, a Yellow, or any other sort of book, he has only to put forward the suggestion.

If the Minister's answer is quite correct, that the bulk of the evidence has already been published in the newspapers, then I think Deputies will agree that the publication of it would add very few pages to the report which it is proposed to publish. The amount of evidence which has already appeared in the newspapers, if it represents the bulk of the evidence, will not increase the volume very much if it is included.

The phrase I used —and if I did not use it I meant to— was that the substance of the evidence appeared in the newspapers. If I did say the bulk of the evidence, in the sense of suggesting that the newspaper account was as extensive and voluminous as the stenographer's typescript, then I was erroneous. I am not sure that I did say bulk. I think I said substance.

Deputy MacDermot's question was to the effect that the bulk of the evidence had already appeared in the Press.

I interpreted the Deputy as meaning the pith of the evidence.

That is what I did mean.

The material evidence.

I have made it perfectly clear that if there is any substantial demand for the publication of the evidence I believe I will get the authority of the Executive Council to accede to that demand. I give an unqualified undertaking as regards publishing the whole of the report from end to end. There were other allusions in the course of speeches from Deputies opposite that might in a sense be construed as extending to me. There was an allusion, for instance, to the case of Dempsey. The Attorney-General is being charged with being rather heinous in regard to it and, while the word "conspiracy" was not used in regard to the Dempsey case, the words used were almost equivalent to that. I merely want to say now that when the appropriate opportunity offers, if any Deputy wants to raise the Dempsey case, I will deal with that case. I will deal with it in this way: I will give the facts whether they are for or against the Government.

I believe that if all the facts of the Dempsey case have to be brought out they will have a crushing effect on the Party opposite. Before I sit down I want to guard against any possible suggestion that, because I do not now deal with the Dempsey case, it will be taken that I in any way assent to anything said from the opposite side, by way of attack on the Attorney-General. I do not. I venture to think that I cannot be accused of undue vanity if I feel that I am a member of an administration—including in that phrase the Attorney-General, because, as I said before, he is one of the great statutory officers in this State—that, in the short space of six or seven months, has done a great deal to root into the people of this country a sense of respect for the manner in which prosecutions are conducted, and a sense of respect for the administration of justice generally; an administration that has ensured peace in their movements and peace in their minds for all the citizens of the Irish Free State in that time.

Question put.
The Committee divide d: Tá, 69; Níl, 48.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • 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.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Keyes, Raphael Patrick.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • 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.
  • Sheehy, Timothy.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).


  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Broderick, William Jos.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis John.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Keating, John.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McDonogh, Fred.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • White, John.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Boland and Allen; Níl, Deputies Duggan and Nally.
Question declared carried.
Progress reported. The Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, November 3.