I move: "That the Bill do now pass."
Dáil Eireann Loans and Funds Bill, 1933—Final Stage.
We have sat through many speeches on this Bill and, personally I do not think that any case has been made out for taking the action that is proposed to be taken in this Bill at this moment. As I say, there have been many speeches—a great flow of words—but many relevant points have not been dealt with. The case made for passing the Bill in its present form has been based on quite a number of things. The President, in many speeches, endeavoured to prove that his attitude had been perfectly consistent all through. Anybody who took the trouble to listen to his speeches and to the facts contained in other speeches will realise, of course, that that is not so. One of the reasons we are called upon to support this Bill is that everybody was given clearly to understand from 1922 until to-day that such action would be taken. I am not contesting that point, but I do say that in 1926 the President himself said that he did not believe it was the intention of the then Government to do it.
With regard to the change which I wished to be made in the Bill, as was indicated in my amendment on the Committee Stage, the President resisted that amendment and gave what he would like us to take to be reasons. One of them was, of course, as he said: "I know that it is gall and wormwood to them that they are not here to do it, and that is the whole trouble. They are not here to do it, and it is the great and supreme pleasure of my life to know that they will have to digest that gall and wormwood." Those words that I have just read out, in which it is announced, by a man who purports to have one object in life, which is to set up a Christian State, that it is the supreme pleasure of his life to know that his political opponents will have to digest gall and wormwood, are the words of an energumen. That is the outstanding reason, we are told, why the Bill should be passed in this form. It is argued that it should be passed in this form because the change I proposed was dictated by no other consideration than a desire to injure a certain enterprise in which the President is interested. I gave the President an opportunity of looking up certain matters. I told him that away back in 1924 or 1925, when the matter of repaying the loan that had been raised here was before the Cabinet, and before the Department of Finance, action such as I proposed in my amendment was considered.
At that time there was no question whatever of a paper calling itself the Irish Press—no question of that whatever. We had reason to believe that there was an attempt being made, once it became known that the internal loan was going to be repaid, to defraud the unfortunate people who had contributed to that loan. As I pointed out, it was much easier for people in this country to know the facts and to know that it was the intention of the Government to pay back the money in full with a certain amount of interest than it was in America with regard to the repayment of the American loan, because in this country that information was a matter of great news value. Our papers, being preoccupied primarily with Irish affairs, naturally would give that news a good deal of space. In America, as I pointed out, where newspapers run to as many as 120 pages—newspapers too big practically for anybody with anything else to do in life to read them in one day— and being published where Irish affairs are relatively of no importance at all— I pointed out that in that huge country with the people scattered all over it, it was much easier for people not to be aware of what was going to happen with regard to these bonds than for the people in this country. I told the President that although there was so much more reason to believe that it was impossible for people to be swindled by people offering them payment for their bonds which bore no relation whatever to the value of the bonds— although there was no possibility of the people being swindled in that way here, yet it was the intention of the Executive Council at that time to put a clause in the Bill to prevent anybody who had defrauded or attempted to defraud the original subscribers from benefiting by their dishonest actions. As far as I remember, some sort of warning was issued to people that if they attempted to get the bonds of the internal loan without giving adequate compensation for them, the Government would take steps to see that when it came to repayment, the repayment would be made only to the original subscriber and not to the assignees. I invited the President to inquire from his officials as to whether what I stated was true or not, because my memory is —and I was interested in it—that it was only when the Executive Council was satisfied that none, or practically none, of the bonds had been thus assigned against something that did not in any way bear any relation to their value—it was only when the Government was satisfied that no such swindle was occurring or that it was occurring only on a minute scale that they allowed the repayments to flow.
If what I state is true it means that the President knows that when he says that the change in this Bill which I proposed was dictated by no other consideration except a desire to injure the project with which he is associated, that is not true. In 1924, or whatever the date was in which we proposed that action, the President will agree that we could not have had any object except to protect the interests of the people who originally subscribed and to save them from swindlers and to see that the people who attempted to swindle them would not benefit from their dishonesty. But we are now told that the Government insists on passing the Bill in this form because they are not going to give way to an opposition which is dictated by no other desire except a desire to injure an Irish concern. I maintain that the form we wanted this Bill to take was to attain an object which was clearly before our minds in repaying the home loan and I invited the President to see if that matter was considered at that time. The President should be able to find amongst the officials of the Department of Finance or amongst the matters considered by the Cabinet at the time, a clear indication of the intention of the Government at that time, with regard to that home loan which, therefore, had no relation whatsoever to the Irish Press.
When it comes to the American loan it is ever so much more important, as I pointed out. There are 120,000,000 of people in America, and scattered among them is a comparatively small number of Irish people or of Irish sympathisers, of whom, presumably, a comparatively small number subscribed to that loan. These subscribers are scattered all over that continent. There is a vast number of newspapers there. In San Francisco they read the San Francisco something-or-other. In Philadelphia they read the Philadelphia something-or-other. In Boston they read the Boston something-or-other and so on. The President triumphantly came out and referred to some secret document in the files in which, he said, we were advised that we could not claim in America that the people were unaware that a certain repayment was going to be made on these bonds. I pointed out before that it is one thing to be able to go into a court and get a decision from the court that people were unaware of certain things because the court will hold that if there were the means by which they could possibly know these things, then they themselves are to blame if they did not know them.
But what was actually the fact? The most enlightened people in America, those who were closest to things, could know that on these bonds they were entitled to receive 58 cents in the dollar. That 58 cents in the dollar has now been paid. We are told, therefore, that because the most enlightened of them had means of knowing that they were entitled to get 58 cents in the dollar and agreed to part with them, therefore, they were absolutely enlightened as to the fact that there was a further 67 cents in the dollar to come to them. There was nothing in America at that time to give any assurance to the people that they were entitled to get more than 58 cents in the dollar. The President says that we, as a Government, have from time to time stated that it was our intention to repay the loan. The present Government themselves stated their intention to give pensions to widows. I should like to ask what a widow in this country could raise on her potential pension at the present moment. If a widow goes to a bank or a moneylender and says: "Here is my husband's death certificate proving that I am a widow; here is a statement by the President (or some other Minister) saying that we widows are going to get pensions; I ask you to give me an advance on my pension." What is her interest in that pension worth as an negotiable object at the present moment? It is worth exactly nothing. That was the position with regard to these bonds in so far as any sum over the 58 cents in the dollar was concerned. That 67 cents in the dollar was as negotiable as the widow's pension.
The President, speaking in a most disinterested way, stated that, of course, he had to take no chances, that he had to see that with regard to the money that was embarked in this enterprise, as he called it, every safeguard was going to be taken. Therefore, it is still his duty, as trustee of these moneys in the Irish Press, to see to it that these bonds are repaid, that the assignments are recognised by this Government, and that the money goes to the assignees. At the same time, the President stated that he was perfectly sure that if we were in his place we, as a Government, would have taken appropriate steps to see that this additional 67 cents in the dollar would not go to the assignees.
The President also stated that the Irish Press, this business that he is associated with, has entered into commitments in view of the assignments. Did the President and his Company enter into commitments to the extent of that 67 cents in the dollar? If he did, was he not clearly betraying the interests of those who are, with him, financially interested in the enterprise by committing them to an expenditure on the understanding that they were to receive this additional money, when he himself says that he was perfectly satisfied that if we had still been the Government the 67 cents in the dollar would not have gone to the assignees in that case? He also stated that when he went to collect this money the last thing that ever entered his head was that he himself would be the President of the Executive Council when it came to the repayment of this money. I suggest that his statement contradicts itself. He says that these assignments were legal, that they were made over to the Irish Press, and that the Irish Press, involving a large amount of Irish capital, had entered into commitments on the strength of the assignment of these bonds. Quite possibly, up to the extent of 58 cents in the dollar, but not to the extent of the additional 67 cents in the dollar, unless the President was hoodwinking the shareholders in that company by pretending he felt perfectly certain that the additional 67 cents in the dollar would be given, when he himself admits that he was perfectly satisfied that if we were there we would not recognise these assignments. He was right. He had great reason for believing it. He had this good reason, that with regard to the repayment of the internal bonds it was our intention to see that if people had parted with their bonds without getting adequate compensation for them the people who had got possession of the bonds should not benefit by that deal. He says:—
"The Irish Press, which went ahead with the work of establishing a newspaper, and which entered into commitments with those who assigned the bonds, is to be deprived of the capital on which they had counted.”
Had they counted on this additional capital? By the President's own words he had no reason to count on it. He did not look forward to a change of Government taking place in the meantime. The President also said:—
"With regard to this amendment I say we are rejecting it because it was designed from a mean party motive, namely, to try to prevent going to the Irish Press the money which is legally due to it—money on the strength of which the Irish Press started perhaps earlier than it would otherwise have started. I say the attempt to deprive it of this money by any subterfuge of this kind would be an act of positive injustice, an act which the attitude of the gentlemen opposite showed they were quite ready to perpetrate, if those gentlemen had been on this side.”
We were quite ready to perpetrate it. We intended, in a like case, to have done exactly the same thing in 1924 and 1925, when the Irish Press was not established.
What other arguments have been put forward with regard to the repayment of this money at this moment? I do not want to misrepresent the President, but I gathered from him that he felt it was desirable to repay this money now before the trustees who were appointed by the court are disbanded. I do not want to misunderstand the President, but I would judge from that that his intention would be that the same men who distributed the 58 cents in the dollar——
Will the Deputy please give me the reference to the quotation where I said that?
I do not know whether I can at the moment. I do not want to misrepresent the President. I did understand from him, however, that one of the things was that the distribution of the 58 cents was drawing to an end.
The Deputy has the volume of the Official Reports and, I think, if he is quoting he should give us the reference.
It would take me a long time to find it, as the President makes many long speeches. I think I can take it from what the President said that one of the reasons why this moment is particularly appropriate, and why there is hurry about it, is that the trustees who were distributing the residue of the money are just finishing their work; that if this were delayed for any length of time their office would be done away with and they would not be there with their office operating. That is what I thought was one of the reasons he gave. If the President says it was not, I will not pursue it.
It was not.
I presume, therefore, that if this Bill goes through, and these moneys are to be distributed, the official receivers appointed by the court will have nothing whatever to do with the distribution of this remaining amount of money. May I ask if the President agrees that that is the case? The President, or some other speaker for the Government—I cannot give the exact reference, but I do not think he will refute it—did seem to suggest that we had been wrong; that when the court appointed these trustees to distribute the 58 cents in the dollar the right and proper thing for us to have done at that time would have been to provide for the repayment of the whole loan, so that when the 58 cents were being distributed by the trustees the whole sum would have been distributed by them also. Am I misrepresenting the President there? I cannot undertake to find the exact reference. As the President does not deny that, I presume it is so.
I want the House to understand that these trustees were appointed in this way, and it is a regular thing in America. They have an interest in getting a percentage of the total amount to be distributed. They get a very large sum of money out of this. It is a very well known thing in America, and a thing that many Americans object to, as they feel that it might easily tend to corruption. It might be that a judge, when there is a large sum of money to be distributed, a million dollars say, could go to two or three men and say: "There is a million dollars to be distributed. I have the appointment of the official receivers for that purpose. The law provides that the official receivers shall receive such a percentage of that sum. I am prepared to appoint you people as official receivers provided that you will hand over a portion of that money." That is a thing that could happen. If we had handed over the whole amount of money, as was suggested, to be distributed by those official receivers, they would have drawn an enormous sum of money as a percentage of the total amount of 6,000,000 dollars. It would have been a public scandal if that had happened. I raise the point now, as I should like to give the President an opportunity of giving an assurance that that will not be the method of distribution. We maintain offices in America. When the official receivers' work is over, and it is the intention that this loan is to be repaid in full, with 25 cents in the dollar interest, it would be appropriate that this Government should apply to the American courts that all documents and lists should be handed over to us for that purpose. The American courts have no interest beyond the repayment of the residue. We have an office in America, and, as the President stated —he need not deny it, as it is in the Official Report—a very good and perfect list of the subscribers was kept at that time. Our representatives, being appointed to act on our behalf, could distribute the remainder of this money. They will have the whole lists, and I hope there is no suggestion that the official trustees or receivers or whatever you like to call them are going to be utilised for this purpose. I know that the people appointed are very good friends of certain people in America, but if that is so it would impose on this country an additional 2 per cent. or 3 per cent. of the whole amount that is to be distributed. The President said: "A perfect record was kept in America, and the only difficulty there has been in America has been the difficulty that a number of subscribers did not continually register their changes of residence." That is in column 1923 of the Official Debates. I should like an assurance that we are going to use the ordinary method of distribution. We have our machinery over there, and we should not employ people at a high percentage.
There was another point that I asked the President to clear up, and to the best of my knowledge he did not do it. The President, periodically during the debate, in showing how perfectly well those original subscribers are being treated with regard to the Irish Press, said: “They were taken £ for £ of their value, in the sense that every person who assigned a bond knew that he was going to get the equivalent amount of interest on a similar amount in actual cash.” The President has stated that he has formed an American corporation to look after the interests of the bondholders, and that an interest in the Irish Press has been assigned to that corporation. I should like to ask the President, first of all, whether when that assigned interest was handed over, as he tells us it has been, to this American corporation of bondholders, the interest that they were given per dollar of assignment was the 58 cents which the Irish Press had already got or the 125 cents that they are due to get when completely paid? The President has stated that the Irish Press has entered into commitments assuming that they had this full amount of 125 cents in the dollar and not 58 cents. He has stated that the bondholders in America, this American corporation, recognises their interest in the full value of what they assigned. When this Bill is passed the full value of what they assigned will be 125 cents in the dollar and not 58 cents. I should like to ask the President if this American corporation gives to each bondholder an interest on 125 cents in the dollar and not on 58, and if that was done when he formed the corporation.
There is also another point. During the debate, as I have just read, the President said: "They were taken £ for £ of their value, in the sense that every person who assigned a bond knew that he was going to get the equivalent interest on a similar amount in actual cash." When I was speaking here last I did not want, in this instance—I put that in because I might be considered hypocritical otherwise— in any sense to misrepresent the President. I asked him to state if he really meant that every person who assigned a bond is going to get the equivalent interest on a similar amount in actual cash, because the prospectus issued in America did not state that. It stated that everybody who gave a bond of less value than ten dollars was not to have a proprietary interest in the Irish Press, and was not to draw interest when the Irish Press, if ever, should make a profit.
I asked the President whether what he stated in the Dáil here was true, which would mean that what was stated in the prospectus had been departed from, or whether he has kept to what was in the prospectus. He has not answered that. If I go on the assumption that the prospectus was adhered to, as one has the right to do, and it does happen that everybody who handed over those bonds has been put in a position to receive interest to the value of that bond, 125 cents in the dollar, if ever the Irish Press makes a profit, the President will say that I am misrepresenting him. I gave him an opportunity of making that point clear. I quoted from Miss MacSwiney's statement that most of the people who had subscribed large sums to the loan were “Free Staters.” Now I know to my own knowledge that many people who are what are called “Free Staters,” or supporters of the Cosgrave Party, were misled into parting with their bonds in this case, but it was their own look out, it may be said. One must assume that the majority of the people who parted with them were people for whom the very name “De Valera” wove spells, people who were supporters of the President's Party. It was stated by Miss MacSwiney, who had been over in America and had been personally associated with the case in the courts and with this matter generally, that most of the people who gave the larger sums were “Free Staters.” Consequently those who were non-“Free Staters” were mostly subscribers of small sums to the loan. One is accordingly justified in assuming that the majority of the bonds that were assigned to Mr. de Valera were of smaller denominations, probably most of them less than ten dollars. If the prospectus is adhered to, those people parted with their money, and it does not matter to them whether the Irish Press becomes such a property that it could pay 200 per cent. They are not due, under the prospectus, to get one penny. The most they can hope for is to get an occasional copy of the weekly edition of the Irish Press. I maintain that, if that prospectus has not been departed from, the President has completely misrepresented the position in this House, and has done it more than once in this debate. The President can correct me if I am wrong. I should like to ask him now, so as to save further argument, was the prospectus adhered to, or were the statements he made in the Dáil true? I must assume that the prospectus was adhered to.
You assume a lot.
I am ready to be contradicted. Can the Deputy tell me whether the prospectus was adhered to, or whether the President was actually correct when he stated that everyone who assigned a bond would be due to receive interest on it if the Irish Press should make a profit? The Deputy can “butt in” but he cannot answer my question. It would save a lot of time to have that point cleared up. The Deputy does not know a thing about it.
The President said that this propagandist organ which is to benefit so much as a result of the passage of this Bill is not a Party organ. Strictly speaking I think he is correct there. When that venture was being launched it was not announced that the policy of the paper would be controlled by the Fianna Fáil Party, but the public were given to understand that irrespective of directors and shareholders the policy of the paper would be directed by one individual and that individual Mr. de Valera. If that is so, the President can correct me if I am wrong, it means this that if the whole Government Party, nine or ten Ministers and the Back Benchers disagreed with the President and the President went out of office and the whole Fianna Fáil Party disagreed with him that then the Irish Press would not represent thereafter the views of the Fianna Fáil Party but the views of Mr. de Valera as he would then be. That is what I understood from the case. Strictly speaking we are told it is not a Party organ. It is at the moment a most unscrupulous Party organ for the Fianna Fáil Party because the Fianna Fáil Party are at this moment, if I may say so without offence, pawns of President de Valera.
That is a most extraordinary statement.
I am not afraid that Deputy Kelly will rise. We know too much about him. He will stay where he is as long as circumstances are the same. If some temptation should come now to the whole Party then the Irish Press is not going to be a Fianna Fáil Party organ. It is going to be the organ of President de Valera or of Mr. de Valera as he would then be.
It is a national organ.
The Fianna Fáil Party are always trying to limit what Irish nationality is. We are only traitors, the Centre Party are only Imperialists; Miss MacSwiney does not fulfil certain conditions. It is bad enough in all conscience to limit the nation to Fianna Fáil but if you are going to exclude everybody and make President de Valera the Irish nation, then it is about time some of us began to protest against it. I quote from column 1930 of volume 48, No. 5 of the Dáil Debates, 6th July, 1933, where the President said speaking of the Irish Press:“The Party does not own it or control it.” That is true. “It is owned by the shareholders and its policy can be controlled by the Board of Directors. The only case where I would intervene actively—and I would intervene as trustee on behalf of those who subscribed the moneys—would be if the policy of the paper were to depart from that of supporting the movement for Irish independence and supporting the policy of economic independence also. Are its rivals Party organs? It is no more a Party organ than they are.”
Now the President does indicate there that in certain circumstances he would intervene as trustee on behalf of those who subscribed the moneys. I presume that the people in this country who subscribed moneys are shareholders and they have power to elect the directors; they have power of going to the shareholders' meetings and making their voices heard. Therefore, President de Valera does not need to intervene on their behalf. He is a director only as long as they keep him a director. I gather however from that it means that the people in America who gave the money to him in his name and to his heirs and assigns to do as he likes with, knowing that he was going to use it to invest it in that paper and knowing that he was acting as their trustee, handed over all this money to him to put it into the paper as they intended it should be put, and he now comes as their trustee to see that the paper is carried on on the lines they meant to have it carried on.
One would have gathered, possibly wrongly, from the course of this debate that there was rather more Irish money subscribed in Ireland to this venture than there was subscribed of American money, even counting the assignment of the bonds in America. But if we take what the President said there it means that he as trustee of the people in America who subscribed a less sum of money, would intervene to override the decision of the subscribers of a larger sum of money in Ireland. Even if the people in America did subscribe as much what does it mean?
I do not wish to interrupt the Deputy but I think at 8 o'clock we will pass on to other business and I would like to know whether this is in order.
The question has been asked on a point of order whether all this debate is in order. We are now on the Fifth Stage of the Bill and the question is that the Bill do now pass. Entering into details as to the policy and control, possibly of the action of the directors of the board of a paper in a certain eventuality, is not in order on the Fifth Stage of the Bill. It might be appropriate to use as an argument on the Second Reading but entering into details on the policy and control of a paper is not now in order. A debate on the interests of Irish shareholders in a particular paper is not in order now.
I regret you say that, sir, because I have a number of objections to the passing of this Bill. There has been ample opportunity in the previous Stages of this Bill to clear up a number of points which might conceivably have removed a number of my objections. I raised certain points which I considered very real objections to the action pursued by the Government. One of them is that this is not an opportune time for repayment and the other is that I do object to legislation in this country in a set form to permit a possible wrong on people who parted with certain values that they possessed and parted with them when they were not fully advertent to what they were parting with and to its value and were not in a position to be watchful enough to see that they got full value.
I have a strong objection to the Government of my country promoting such legislation. The Government have a duty to protect the weak and the ignorant and to see that every care should be taken that nobody should be wronged. I have a strong objection to this Bill passing in this form. I have a very strong objection that certain people who parted with their bonds should lose what they should get and that certain other people should get these bonds—I will not say under false pretences—but in circumstances where they were able to forecast the future in a better way than the subscribers. I have an objection that these people should benefit by their cute work. I object to that very strongly. I would refer the House to an incident in the papers just a few days ago. That was a case of a man buying a Correggio in Italy some time ago. The person who owned it was not aware that it was a Correggio.
Is this in order, this talk about a Correggio picture?
As an illustration.
I am prepared to hear the Deputy.
I am mentioning it as an analogy. The buyer who bought this Correggio was a picture expert. The seller was not aware that there was any chance of this being a Correggio. He sold it for a comparatively small sum. Later on the seller found that the buyer some years previously had published a book which contained in it a copy of this picture and in the book the buyer had referred to it as a Correggio. The seller took the case into the courts and the case made was that as the buyer was probably aware that this picture had a much higher value than what he paid for it that therefore the seller had been in that way prejudiced. The Italian law found in favour of the seller although the buyer had handed over his money for the picture. It was found that the buyer had a wider knowledge and was using that wider knowledge in order to get this picture for less than its value. The result was that the Italian law stepped in and said he must pay over a large sum to the person from whom he bought the picture. I am suggesting that a similar case is happening here and I strongly object.
The Italian law stands to protect the ignorant from being made the victims of the cute, smart fellow. I object to our legislating here to see to it that the ignorant are to suffer by not being able to advert to things that people in a much better position to anticipate what is going to happen can advert to. I object to a law being made here in a form specially designed to see to it that those who got certain bonds for considerations in no way equivalent to their value should be able, by the act of this Dáil, to benefit by that sharp practice. I object to that very strongly. I also object to this, that we should be voting money here for this purpose. I object that we should be, as I judge from what the President said here with regard to acting as a trustee, legislating to pass money for this newspaper which is going to be controlled by people outside this country. The people in America, I judge from this, are to decide what is to be the policy in this country, and this organ is to be used for misleading, for concealing the truth from our people and doing everything to direct our people in a line of policy which is to be decided by people in America, who will act through President de Valera as their trustee, to see that the paper pursues the policy that the people over there want, and not what the people in this country, with their eyes open and well enlightened, may deem to be in the best interests of this country.
The President can get up and say that Deputy Fitzgerald tries to insinuate, tries to suggest, and all the rest of it; but when you give almost the identical words the President uses he gets up and challenges them. When I read out here the exact words that were in this document that the President had circulated in America, the Minister for Finance demanded that I would produce the identical document. He was going to suggest that unless I produced them, which I did afterwards, that what I was saying was contrary to truth. But the President can get up and say that the tendency of what we say is that we try to suggest and all the rest of it. So far as he is concerned, if one happens to have a comma wrong, one is to be denounced as a blackguard trying to misrepresent all the President ever said.
I would like to run over some of these objections. Is it a fact, as the President said more than once in this debate, that every single person who subscribed in bonds of any denomination whatsoever is now in a position to feel perfect security through the operation of this American corporation, to get full dividends on the value of their bonds, or is it a fact that those who subscribed less than ten dollars are not due to get any benefit, no matter what profits the Irish Press may make? The President time and again— and if necessary I will read out his statements—has stated that everybody who gave over these bonds is due to get paid. I invited the President to look up whether or not with regard to the repayment of the home loan we intended to put such a condition into the Bill on that occasion as I wanted inserted in this Bill. We intended to do that unless we were satisfied that no such transfers had taken place. It was only when we were satisfied that the warnings we issued were effective that we abstained from putting such a clause in the Bill as I wanted introduced in this measure. The President knows perfectly well when he says the change I want has no other reason behind it whatever but to affect the Irish Press and that it has no concern for the well-being of the original subscribers, that he is saying something that all evidence proves to be false. Why should it be said, if in 1924 and 1925 we took all the trouble we did take to protect the interests of the original subscribers here that when we try to do the same thing with regard to the subscribers in America that we are moved by nothing but Party spleen and spite? What is the truth? The President gave us his own mentality on this, both in his appearance when he leaned over the bench with his pale face and the lock over his eyes and with a face filled with venom when he said: “I know it is gall and wormwood to them that they are not here to do it, and that is the whole trouble. They are not here to do it, and it is the great and supreme pleasure of my life to know that they will have to digest that gall and wormwood.” There is the man revealing his mentality. There is the man who goes around talking about the Christian State he is trying to create in this country. There is the man who goes around and appeals to every cupidity in the country, urging people, as his whole policy has done, to vote for his Party so that the other man's property and possessions will get into their pockets and he calls it Christianity. He talked in the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis about himself and Griffith as being brothers when he really tried to bilk Griffith. He gave the game away there—“it is the great and supreme pleasure of my life to know that they will have to digest that gall and wormwood”.
The President can do that if he likes but his little story about gall and wormwood does not hold water when we know the facts of 1924 and 1925. The very people he is denouncing now were taking exactly the same steps before the Irish Press was heard of. He knows the change I wanted in this Bill had one primary object and that was to see that the unfortunate people in America who subscribed originally and who in 1929 when things were very flush in America realised that they were due to get 58 cents in the dollar, or did not realise it and parted with their interest in the bonds, should get a fair deal. My interest was so far as the further 67 cents were concerned that they could give it to the Irish Press if they so desired but that they should have an opportunity of getting that money which is only part of the money that should have been returned to them and that they subscribed in 1920 and 1921. My suggestion was that they should get the money in their hands and they should be entitled to decide for themselves what they wanted to do with it. They may, and if they do, nothing that we can do will prevent them, say, “here are the 67 cents in the dollar. In 1928 and 1929 we signed an assignment giving that to President de Valera. It would be perfectly wrong of us to retain that money now. We will give it to him.” No amendment we could propose would prevent them from doing that. To suggest as was constantly done from the opposite benches that the whole meaning of our amendment was to deprive the people of an opportunity of giving it to the Irish Press was incorrect. We were told that we wanted to prevent people giving the money to the Irish Press. Nothing of the sort. As regards the people who handed over their bonds, how many of them were there?
Is it in order for the Deputy to speak on an amendment that has been defeated already in the House?
It is in order for the Deputy to give reasons why he objects to the Bill.
But he is speaking on an amendment that has been debated and defeated in the House.
I am explaining why I am objecting to the Bill.
Was there not an arrangement by which the debate was to terminate at 8 o'clock?
But not to conclude. I do not want in any way to run counter to any arrangement that has been made. The Minister will remember that we agreed on this side that this matter should be taken and debated up to 8 o'clock, but there was no other arrangement beyond that, in regard to this Bill. If the Government wants to get on with some other business now, I am willing to move the adjournment of this debate.
By agreement it was decided that this Bill was to be interrupted at 8 o'clock for the purpose of taking the Industrial Credit Bill, item 10 on the Order Paper.
That being so, I now move the adjournment of the debate.