In Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 3—Department of President of Executive Council (Resumed).

Debate resumed on Vote No. 3— Department of President of the Executive Council (The President).

I understand that the Attorney-General is in possession.

The Attorney-General

I have nothing to add.

Do I understand from the Attorney-General that he has nothing to add in reply to the matter introduced into the debate on Friday by Deputy Cosgrave?

I have already said all I intended to say.

On the matter introduced into the debate by Deputy Fitzgerald?

No, but the House understands that the Executive Council propose to have no reply to the matter introduced into this debate by Deputy Cosgrave on Friday. Again, sir, I oppose this Estimate and the proposal that it covers. The proposal definitely is to use public funds for the purpose of party propaganda. The Executive Council propose to have a political shop-front of their own in Dublin, for which they have been seeking a man, and a political shop-front of their own in London, for which they have a man, but the work for these political propaganda shops and the material that is to be retailed through them is to be provided by this Information Bureau by persons paid at the public expense. It is to be given out through a party propaganda shop in the City of Dublin —obviously such—and through the new Secretary of our Legation in Washington, and thus the people at home and the people abroad are going to be doped with the necessary propaganda to cover the terrible state of affairs brought about here as a result of their policy, which will be issued through these agencies, prepared at the direction of these agencies, but paid for at the public expense.

The Minister for Finance has been terribly interested in avoiding delay in the putting forward of what is to be done here with regard to the production of industrial alcohol. He was urgently anxious on a similar occasion to tell what was going to be done with regard to beet. We will hear on Friday something of what is going to be done or what are the promises with regard to industrial alcohol, but I submit that after that, after these promises have been made, we are going to be in a position in which we now are with regard to general information on industrial development here which we have tried to get from the Minister for Industry and Commerce. We are going to be left without; we are going to be told that the statistics are not comparable. A new Department is being set up here to take out of the hands of ordinary civil servants the compiling and issuing of details of facts with regard to their Ministries. The position in the different Departments has come to this, that the facts set out by the experts who handle these inside the Civil Service are so clear and so unpalatable that they have to be issued with a coating of propaganda over them or they have to be obscured entirely by a coating of propaganda, so that the ordinary channel for getting facts from Government Departments is apparently going to be shut up and the public abroad and at home are going to be supplied with what is prepared in a propaganda Department instead.

Exception has been taken to statements made by Deputy Fitzgerald that certain passages were cut out of the paper, United Ireland, last week, and the Attorney-General has attempted to show that the Editor of United Ireland could print anything he liked and that the printer could print anything he liked. The statement of the Attorney-General, however, was explicit on this point, that he told the police the passages which he indicated should be taken out were definitely seditious and that he, as Attorney-General, might proceed against the printer if he printed them. Now, either the printer was being given, through the police officer, the opinion of a good Attorney-General or the opinion of a bad Attorney-General. If I, as a printer, got the opinion of a good Attorney-General that a certain passage was seditious, and if I considered the Attorney-General a good person, whose opinion was worth having, and a man who stood over his job, I certainly would not print that passage. On the other hand, if I saw the opinion of a bad Attorney-General and that his opinion was not worth much, I might, nevertheless, hesitate very much, because, just as it might be a lot more troublesome to be handled in a dentist's chair by a bad dentist rather than by a good dentist, it might be even more inconvenient in the courts to be handled by a bad Attorney-General than by a good one. What happened definitely with regard to United Ireland is that pressure was brought to bear upon the printer, and the printer was bludgeoned into leaving out a paragraph which, as has been stated, was a normal comment on the Government's attitude.

The President has informed us that the object of this Bureau is to keep the public at home and abroad right on certain matters—on the fact that there is no imminence of a civil war; on certain matters with regard to our finances; on certain matters with regard to our industrial development, and the position of employment here and what is being done for the people. The President said that the prestige and credit of the Saorstát have been injured by reports representing the country as being on the verge of revolution. The President suggests that part of the duty of the Bureau of Information would be to dispel those ideas. I want to suggest that the duty that is going to be thrust on this Bureau of Information is an entirely different one. It is to prepare this country and countries outside for actions that the Ministry propose to take, because, while the President implies by his statement that he is thoroughly anxious that nobody would think for a moment that this country was near revolution, his Ministers are going around the country every Sunday telling the people that it is. Take one particular Minister, the Minister for Education, who is reported in the Press on 5th February as having been in Kilkenny on the previous day, Sunday. The Minister is reported as saying:—

"The real purpose of those behind General O'Duffy, and who are using him as a catspaw in the game, is to seize power by unconstitutional means. There is no use in saying or pretending that this will not happen or that it cannot happen. We have seen and we know what is taking place on the Continent; and, if the object of that movement is not to seize power in the same way as has been done on the Continent, why is this movement modelled so closely and with such servility on the Continental organisations?"

Then he goes on to say:—

"I say that the promoters of this movement have one object only—to build up and develop a military or semi-military organisation in this country on a Fascist basis until such time as they are in a position to take over power by a coup d'étát, and if they get the opportunity they will take advantage of it. This is the purpose of these men who have been discarded by the electorate and turned down at two general elections.”

Do we understand from the President that the Bureau of Information is going to issue, either to outside countries or to the people here, information that will deny the suggestions made in Kilkenny on 4th February by the Minister for Education? I think it is important that we should hear the President on that point, because on the following Sunday, the 11th February, as reported in the daily Press of 12th February, the Minister for Education was again at it. Referring to General O'Duffy's movement, the Minister said that these people seemed to have it at the back of their minds that they could get into power in some other way than by the votes of the people, and he proposed a policy of education as the only policy that would put an end to a scheme of things in which a minority were trying to seize power.

The Minister for Education was again at it on the 18th February. As reported in the Press of 19th February he stated:—

"The position is a serious one so far as peace and good order are concerned. The fact that members of this private army do not carry arms, as we are told, cannot hide the fact that they are a private army with the object of overawing the people and setting themselves against the Government."

The President's own organ on 5th February published a statement in reply to a statement issued by the I.R.A. which stated:—

"As to the charge that we ‘take no note of the widespread anger and resentment against the Fascists,' and that we fail to urge the ‘appropriate action' against them, we take such note of these things that we see the almost certainty of civil war unless the action to be taken in the present situation is not left to those who alone have been given by the people the authority to decide upon that action and to direct it."

As to the attitude of the President's propaganda organ and the President's Minister on this subject, we have also had the ex-Minister for Justice, Deputy Geoghegan, explaining that one of the Estimates before the House at the present time, the new Supplementary Estimate for the Army, is to deal with a huge increase of expenditure incurred in order to throttle an attempt to rob the people of Parliamentary Government.

We might take the President at his word in this statement of his. The position taken up eternally by the President was that those who are politically opposed to him were unconstitutional. All his propaganda in the past had not only been to that effect, but definitely had as its kernel the charge that, whether they were in power or whether they were out of power, his political opponents were always preparing to prevent the majority of the people here from setting up whatever Government they wanted. His whole propaganda on that matter, both at home and abroad, particularly abroad, before he took over office, was to the effect that the Cosgrave administration were making every possible preparation to prevent the Fianna Fáil Government taking over office if they got a majority here. The greatest sample that we get of the President's capacity as a propagandist, or of the President's spirit as expressed in propaganda, is in the weekly issue of the Fianna Fáil dope through the columns of The Irish World in the United States.

I fail to see what relation weekly propaganda in The Irish World bears to this Estimate. On an Estimate the House usually discusses the administration of the Department concerned. It would require much ingenuity to relate propaganda in The Irish World or the President's capacity for propaganda in 1930, to the institution of this Bureau.

I say that this institution is being set up by the President for the purpose of issuing propaganda and that one of the matters upon which he is going to issue propaganda is the extent to which there is, or there is not, a revolution pending in this country. That is to say, for the overthrow of the present Government by force of arms. I am suggesting that what the President is proposing to deal with through this bureau of information is the steps which he proposes taking, alleging that he has to put down revolution in this country, for preventing its uprising and I am saying that the propaganda that will be carried out by the President on that subject through this Information Bureau will be in acordance with and in keeping with the propaganda carried out in the past. That is, it will be machinery for charging his political opponents with attempting to overthrow the majority Party in power here by force of arms. I want to speak briefly of the President's roots in that matter. We had a case here in this House where the President got up and told the House that I had been in Glasgow, meeting the British Minister for War for the purpose of getting armed assistance from the British Government to assist me and my colleagues in putting the Fianna Fáil Government out of power by force of arms.

The President's Department is not under review in this a Supplementary Estimate. Debate on a Supplementary Estimate is confined to the purpose of the Vote and its administration by the Department concerned. As I have already said, Deputies may not discuss every possible contingency that might arise, and if they were allowed to voice their conjectures and surmises as to the activities of a Department not yet functioning the debate might be interminable. The "roots of the President's information" on certain matters are not in order.

I am discussing the statement of the President in which he said that the prestige and credit of the Saorstát have been injured by reports representing this country as being on the verge of revolution, and the proposal put to this House that this Bureau of Information will have as part of its work the combating of suggestions made here and elsewhere that this country is on the verge of revolution. I am arguing that the President's statements cannot be taken at their face value. I am arguing that the purpose of the President in setting up this Bureau, in so far as it will deal with any aspect of what he refers to, will be to continue the line of propaganda that has been carried on all along— that his political opponents are acting in an unconstitutional way and that in particular they are seeking to overthrow his Government by force of arms. The person who was responsible for the President making these statements here has been the spearhead of the President's propaganda drive in that direction for years past. Before the President sat down in his presidential seat, and when it was absolutely certain what the result of the election in 1932 would be, the particular person who induced him to make that statement with regard to me here in this House, induced the Minister, who is now the Vice-President, to go late at night to the Archbishop's house, in the City of Dublin, and to make the charge to the Archbishop there that particular members of Deputy Cosgrave's late Administration were preparing that night to seize arms in certain barracks in the City of Dublin and to prevent Mr. de Valera's Administration taking over office.

The political history of 1932 is not relevant, neither is the present condition of any political party.

It was stated by the President here that one of the reasons that induced him to introduce this Estimate was the statements that are being made abroad that this country is on the verge of revolution. I am charging the President with proposing to carry on this Bureau in the same spirit and under the same influence as induced him to come into this House and make the statement that he did, and that induced the person who is now Vice-President to go to the Archbishop of Dublin late at night——

That incident is not relevant. Whoever called on the Archbishop of Dublin in 1932, it was not, I presume, the officer to be appointed under this Vote. The Deputy will please resume his seat. Debate on a Supplementary Estimate is normally confined to the administration and policy of the Department. This Bureau will be open to annual discussion in this House when the Estimates are being considered. That will be the time to review the activities of the Bureau. To forecast now what the Bureau might do in every eventuality would lead us from China to Peru and from Canberra to Kinvara.

As you have said, sir, the ordinary practice is to discuss the administration of the Department, but here is a proposal for some unnamed sum of money to be expended on a Department which does not yet exist. You referred, sir, to the person who is to be appointed, but as far as this House is concerned, the person responsible is the President. He is the person who is going to be responsible for the person who will operate this Department. If we could only discuss its administration, as it has only commenced its administration since the day before yesterday, it would seem futile to bring the Vote before the House at all. I submit that we should be allowed to discuss all its possible activities. The President himself indicated certain matters with which the Bureau will deal. This is a Department acting under the aegis of the President for the purpose of giving information to the world in relation to the operations of Government Departments and Government policy——

Does the Deputy rise to make a set speech or to put a point of order?

The point I make is that as we have been told already what we may not discuss, as it has been suggested that the proper thing to discuss is administration, and, as we cannot discuss administration, it does seem to us that some possible indication might be given to us of what we may discuss. Failing that, I would suggest, with all respect, that the President took certain specific items that might be dealt with. Are we to be confined to the items which the President suggested might be matters that might be dealt with by the Department, or are we to anticipate, arguing from the known to the unknown, certain matters which this Department may have to deal with, in giving service to the State which may be diametrically opposed to the interests of the State?

The Deputy suggested that the Chair referred to the official, who may be appointed to this Department, as a proper subject for debate. That is not so. He also suggested that I proposed that the debate be confined to administration. During the two days on which this Vote has been under discussion, the Chair, owing to the exceptional character of this Supplementary Estimate, has given considerable latitude. I say that the whole political situation here and the actions of any men three or four years ago are not in order in this debate. And every sphere of Government activity may not be debated. It is not for me to guide the members of the House as to what they may say; it is my duty to pull Deputies up when they say what they should not say.

I want to be clear with regard to your ruling. I do not understand you to restrict me to administration. I can have nothing to say with regard to administration. A Vote for the expenditure of a sum of money has been put to us for a particular purpose, action to be taken in the issuing of information by the Executive Council as a whole, with the President as the principal responsible person. I am discussing the policy. I am taking some of the President's remarks as to what he will deal with in the matter of propaganda through this Bureau, and I am indicating, not so much specific actions on the part of the President or any of his Ministers or any of his propagandists, but rather am I indicating the general line upon which propaganda from the Party opposite has proceeded in the past.

I have mentioned a single instance with regard to the President and a single instance with regard to the Vice-President, indicating the lengths to which they are prepared to go to make the charge against their political opponents that they are acting in an unconstitutional way; not only that, but they are endeavouring by every possible means to get arms, now from a military barracks in the city, owned by the Irish people and controlled by Irish troops, and now from what is supposed to be an alien enemy across the water, all for the purpose of using them against the elected Government of the day here. All these things have their roots in the past. In 1930 they were issuing broadcast to the world that we were on the eve of a dictatorship here if the old Cumann na nGaedheal Party could possibly help it. Anyone anxious to believe that could have the word of the chief propagandist of the Fianna Fáil Party, the man who induced the President to make a certain statement here, and the man who induced the Vice-President to go to the Archbishop's Palace. So far as propaganda along that line is concerned, the propaganda that is going to be issued here will not be propaganda in the nature of information that will clear the fair name of this country from charges such as the Ministers opposite have made against it. Only their own actions could ever bring a stain on this country.

For one reason I oppose this Estimate. I do not take the President's word at its face value when he indicates what he is proposing to do with regard to making it clear that this country is not on the verge of revolution. If the President wants to give the House some sign of his sincerity in that matter, he will take one of his Ministers and talk to him and shut his mouth. The others are just as bad, but for three weeks running now the Minister for Education has been at it, and his own organ has definitely stated that if they cannot do something that they have in their minds at the present moment, they see nothing before this country but civil war. If the President takes exception to the case I make against him, in fairness to this House and to our people outside he should deal with the matter and give the House greater earnest than he has given up to the present, if we take his statements in conjunction with all the other statements, statements even by himself and other Ministers and all his followers throughout the country on the same subject.

The President is going to tell the world and the people here the position with regard to our national finances and our alleged commitments to other countries. But no people in this country have so misrepresented the country as regards the burden of taxation under which the people are labouring as the members of the Party opposite, through their propaganda machine. As far as the world centre for the dissemination of their propaganda on the subject of taxation is concerned, the Irish World was their centre in 1930 and has been all along until the present; it was their chief propaganda agent for the world at large. We were told in 1930 that the overtaxation of Ireland was most appalling. The overtaxation of the Irish people a couple of years ago was, we were told, most appalling. This Information Bureau is now going to soft pedal to our people at home and the people abroad as regards what the taxation really means. The farmers are going to be told that their burdens are very much lighter than they used to be, that they have the MacEntee Millions coming to them every year to the tune of £6,000,000 or so. The propagandists on the far side specifically took certain statements with regard to the last Minister for Finance, Mr. Blythe, and they made very illuminating comments on them for the information of the world.

The Attorney-General

I understood the Chair ruled these references out of order. Is the Deputy entitled to attempt to bring those matters in again?

Articles in the Irish World in 1930 are out of order.

At any rate, Deputies over there pointed out that the last Minister for Finance had made certain statements with regard to expenditure and they pointed out that the Minister for Finance in his Budget speech had taken certain items, such as the Post Office, the service of debts, superannuation, police pensions, the Army, the collection of revenue and judicial salaries, and these added up made a total of £16,180,000.

The Attorney-General

May I point out that the Deputy is deliberately defying the ruling of the Chair?

Is the Deputy purporting to discuss the details of the financial position in 1930?

I am going to refer to the details of the financial position to-day.

The Chair has ruled that references to what took place in 1930 are not in order.

Am I out of order in pointing out that whereas the propagandists of yesterday——

The propagandists of yesterday were not the Government. This Government has been responsible for policy only since it assumed office.

This Government is going to tell the world that taxation in Ireland is really very light, although the people are asked to bear £4,000,000 more annually since this Government came into office. This Bureau is going to be used to show that an addition of £4,000,000 in taxation is the greatest benefit that could be conferred on the people, whereas, when they were promising before they came into office a reduction of £4,000,000 in taxation, they were pointing out that the taxation under which this country laboured at the time was appalling.

That is the mentality of the Deputies opposite. They saw the possibility of saving £3,000,000 out of £16,000,000 over a particular set of items in 1930, and they are asking us now to vote money to tell the world that because, instead of reducing the taxation of the country by £3,000,000, they have increased it by £4,000,000 or more, that this country is well delivered from the hands of the people who are now trying to get back into power by unconstitutional means and by an odd collection of arms from barracks here in Dublin or from the English War Minister in Scotland. The President says they are going to tell the country about the great industrial development that has taken place here. The mentality of the President, so far as can be known up to the present, has been that Irish progress has been sacrificed by the Free State Imperial clique, and when the Attorney-General made a short intervention in this debate he was shy of intervening on a second point. I would like to hear the Attorney-General on another point. The President is going to tell the world at large what he and his Government are going to do to revive Irish industry. But in September, 1930, they were charging Cosgrave's Government with wiping out the Clondalkin paper factory. I do not see Deputy Brady here——

Mr. Brady

I am here.

It would be interesting to hear Deputy Brady on the development of Irish industries——

Mr. Brady

You will hear me shortly about industry.

——because while the Free State Imperial clique was wiping out industries, according to the propaganda issued by the Fianna Fáil Party, two years before they came into office, they did not say anything about Deputy Brady's part in the matter or that the Attorney-General was representing an English company imposing a tariff on paper in this country.

The Deputy certainly could not contend that his present line of argument is in order.

Well, briefly, the mentality of the Party opposite in the matter of propaganda and the issue of information is what it has been in the past, and I oppose this Estimate, because, to repeat again, the people who oppose this Government, and every Party that opposes them are unconstitutional, and this Bureau Department is going to be used to show they are. Every Party who went before them in the past has been piling taxation on the unfortunate Irish people and has been sacrificing Irish progress to Imperial interests. They sought to carry out the work of exposing the prosperity fake of the Cosgrave Government, and they are going to continue by means of the public purse to misrepresent their opponents and to draw a smoke screen over the appalling damage that they are doing here to the country at large by over-taxation, by industries that are developed in the most haphazard way with no roots to many of them, and very little prospect in front of them except further unemployment and the loss of a certain amount of capital. We all know the position that has been taken up by the Minister for Industry and Commerce with regard to unemployment. Unemployment figures in the country rose enormously in 1932. They were so queer that he could not answer a question about them. Then he told the House in October, 1932, that he was making an examination into what exactly they represented.

The unemployment figures are not relevant.

The country is going to be told through the medium of this Bureau the position with regard to employment and unemployment in the country. The country could be told that by the Department of Industry and Commerce, but the Department of Industry and Commerce has refused, up to the present, to disclose it. Certain figures have been issued, and they were so queer that a year ago special examination was made into them, I admit, three or four months after the Minister promised to make it. In October, 1932, he promised an examination of these figures, and on the 4th January, 1933, his Deputy (for at that time he was away), the Minister for Education, told the House——

It should not be necessary to remind the Deputy that those figures are quite irrelevant.

Well, figures were published this week by the Department of Industry and Commerce showing the number of people registered as unemployed throughout the country. The Minister for Industry and Commerce examined the different classes of people registered in different areas for the purpose of ascertaining whether they were really unemployed or not, or what exactly was meant by the abnormalities shown in these figures. That was 12 months ago. He has got that information and he has refused it to the House. When we come here to the House we are told that the total number of unemployed in the country to-day is more than last year; that the tendency to-day throughout practically the whole country is a tendency towards an increase in the number of unemployed persons registered, whereas for two months last year they were decreasing. The Minister for Industry and Commerce will tell the House the figures are different, that you do not understand them. He will tell you it is all right and that there was never less unemployment in this country than there is to-day.

To side step away from the Civil Service whatever limitations there may be in the figures that are represented to the country and the House in regard to unemployment figures which you may have to-day, will mean that these figures will be worth nothing. They will be but the most useless kind of propaganda dope. When taken out of the hands of civil servants they are handed into the hands of a person whom it is proposed to employ for propaganda purposes in this new Bureau. The Department of Industry and Commerce in issuing figures either from the point of view of industry, employment or unemployment, would be much more satisfactory to the country. The people at home and abroad would be much more satisfied if they could get these figures from the Civil Service than from propagandists if they are to make head or tail of what is happening. We are to have this new Bureau set up and then there are to be three centres of Fianna Fáil distribution of propaganda. The main purpose of the setting up of this Bureau is to serve them with information and obey their beck as to lines upon which information is wanted by the Government. It is simply making use of the public purse to do the fag work in the gathering together of information to put them in the most suitable light, and to cover them with the most suitable skin for the purposes of the President's policy. The President's policy and the President's line of propaganda is a line that, while you may endeavour to cut off its tap root here in the discussions in the House, is going to have its tap root as long as the President is a propagandist.

I just want to refer to some matters spoken about by the Attorney-General on Friday morning. The Attorney-General's information was not quite correct. I am not at all saying that the Attorney-General wanted to mislead the House. I am quite satisfied that he stated the case as he understood it. In a nutshell——

Might I ask is this in order? Is there to be any end to the debate? Is every single thing which members on the Opposition side wish to raise going to be relevant?

The House being in Committee, Deputies may speak more than once. I do not yet know what line the Deputy intends to pursue.

Apparently they do not want a discussion on it. Quite right, too!

The Attorney-General said: "In any case, the result of the consideration of the matter by the printer and his publishers and editor was that these passages were excised voluntarily by the people themselves." I just want to tell the Attorney-General that he was misinformed in thinking that whatever understanding there was went beyond the printer. I want to say that I think the printer was quite right in coming to such an understanding—if he could do it—with the police. I wish to say also that under the circumstances which prevail in this country at the moment I think that one might almost express the word "appreciation" of the Attorney-General. We have got to a stage in this country at the moment when there is a most arbitrary interpretation by a tyrannical Government as to the meaning of the word "sedition." A printer, or publisher, or editor may ordinarily be expected to have some fair idea as to what he would be allowed to publish and what he would not, but we are actually in a position in this country now when nobody knows what might be declared to be sedition. Under such a declaration they may be put to enormous loss. Consequently any printer who could get any sort of guidance beforehand from an authoritative source is well advised to get that guidance. That arrangement did not go beyond the printers. The Attorney-General says he informed the police that he thought certain passages were seditious, and that if they were printed he might take the matter before the Military Tribunal. What I am informed—on this I have only second-hand information, so I am not purporting specifically to refute what the Attorney-General said—is that the police told the printers that the copy as it was would not be allowed to be issued, but that it could be issued if these three passages were excised. As I said, I have that information only second-hand. Even supposing what the Attorney-General said to be true——

The question of the excision of some paragraphs from a certain journal should not strictly have been raised on this debate at all. However, as the Deputy rose to make a statement of facts in reply to the Attorney-General, I shall hear him on those facts.

The Attorney-General suggests that those things were removed voluntarily, and that therefore there was no censorship. I want to say, first of all, that my information, which is only secondhand, implied no voluntariness but a direct instruction given to the printer that the thing would not be allowed to be issued.

Might I suggest that there is a more appropriate way to raise this matter if the Deputy wants to have it debated?

The Deputy purported to state some facts on which he alleged that the Attorney-General was misinformed. I allowed the Deputy to make his statement while pointing out that the whole discussion might be ruled to be irrelevant.

I do not wish it to be thought that, in saying the Attorney-General did not put the facts, I am suggesting that he sought to mislead the House; I am not questioning the bona fides of anything he said. The Attorney-General's argument was that there was no censorship. The information I have is that the printers were informed that the paper would not be allowed to be issued. 11,500 copies were already printed, and they were at a loss to that extent. I also want to point out that in the existing circumstances in this country, if a printer is told that the Attorney-General considers certain passages to be seditious, and that if they are printed he will probably take the matter before the Military Tribunal, that is absolute censorship, for this reason: sedition is a word——

I allowed the Deputy to get up at this point to make definite statements on questions of fact, on which he did not accept what the Attorney-General had said. But I cannot allow him to discuss the meaning of sedition. If the Deputy has facts to put I should like to hear them.

When you say you allowed me to get up to state certain facts, there seems to me to be a suggestion there that I am making a second speech on this matter under your tolerance, by special privilege. Am I not in order, sir——

The House being in Committee, Deputies are entitled to intervene more than once, but speeches must conform to the rules of order. It was straining the rules to allow that discussion to be initiated by the Deputy now in possession, or to be replied to by the Attorney-General. The discussion must end now.

It does seem to me that such a Bureau as this, which is going to issue information, will almost inevitably also have what I might call a negative operation in the form of censorship, especially in the existing conditions in this country, when the Government has a powerful censorship machine which it is using in a most arbitrary and tyrannical manner at this moment. Further, I would suggest that not only is it using it tyrannically, but most unevenly, and that this Bureau is going to be used for the purpose of ensuring that the great injustice which comes through the uneven operation of the present censorship can be more effectively done when this Bureau is established out of public funds. I should like to point out—but I will bow to your ruling—that whereas one item in one paper—an item which is merely a statement of opinion on Government policy; which is only what I might call an elucidation, the drawing of a conclusion to point out the moral of a statement made by the President himself in this House—is banned as seditious, another paper is allowed to print (after it has been submitted to some authority, whether the Attorney-General or the Military Tribunal, I do not know) open appeals to the young people of this country to join an organisation which is unlawful under the definition of the law as it is now applied in this country, the definition under Article 19 of the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 17) Act. A certain paper is allowed to issue appeals to all the young people of this country to break the law of this country by joining an unlawful association, whose purpose is to overthrow this State by force of arms, and to bring the people of this country into that immoral condition where the jurors will corrupt justice at its very source by committing perjury in the interests of that association. They are also allowed to print open Communist propaganda, after that organ has been submitted to some authority. There are things which I myself have written, and I can assure you, sir, and the House, that there is nothing further from my mind than any desire to embark upon a course of sedition. If I thought that anything I was writing was seditious it would not need the Attorney-General or the Military Tribunal to suppress it, because I would suppress it myself. There is this absolute injustice, which is against justice, morality, and the common weal of the people of this country——

May I ask again what is the relevance of this to the debate? Are we to go into every single matter which every Deputy cares to raise?

I protest against being interrupted.

The President, quite rightly, questioned whether the Deputy's speech was relevant. The Deputy's speech is not relevant, and he must bring it into relation to the Vote.

It is repetition also, I suggest.

I will come on to a more recent matter. I understand that this Bureau started operations on Monday. This Bureau, for which the public is to be taxed, is, presumably, to fulfil some useful purpose. On Friday morning last, Deputy Cosgrave referred to the fact that a certain building, used by an unlawful association in this country, was not interfered with, while another building, belonging to a lawful association, was interfered with. He pointed out that one of the things that have shocked this country more than anything might conceivably——

The Attorney-General

On a point of order, am I to understand that the Deputy is suggesting that No. 5 Parnell Square belonged to a lawful association?

The Attorney-General

I suggest that it is not in order directly to challenge the order of the Military Tribunal which closed that building because it was the property of an unlawful association.

Is this a point of order or an interruption?

The Chair cannot pronounce on the legality of any association.

I asked if this was a point of order.

The Attorney-General

My point of order, if the Deputy did not understand it, was to ask if it was in order, or within the Rules of this House, for a Deputy to challenge a ruling of the Military Tribunal.

Did the Military Tribunal lay down who owned No. 5 Parnell Square, or say that the people who owned it were an unlawful association?

The Attorney-General

They closed the building as being a building used by an unlawful association.

In answer to the Attorney-General's question, it is not lawful for this House to challenge the finding of any duly constituted court.

Is that relevant to the statement made by the Deputy?

Is this whole matter relevant to the debate?

Mr. Rice

Is it in order for the Attorney-General to misrepresent the statement of a Deputy addressing the House because that is what he did?

The Attorney-General

If I misrepresented the Deputy, I withdraw, but I understood the Deputy to say, and he accepted my interpretation, that the Military Tribunal has closed 5 Parnell Square, although it was not the property of an unlawful association.

My contention is that the Act defines what is an unlawful association and it states certain methods and certain aims which make an association unlawful. At the same time, it states that the Executive Council may state that, in its opinion —and we all know that the word "opinion" implies something which is open to doubt—a certain specifically named organisation is unlawful. The Act also says that when the Executive Council has done that—and whether it does it honestly or dishonestly does not matter—the Military Tribunal are bound to accept that affirmation by the Executive Council as full and conclusive proof. The Military Tribunal were bound to accept that false statement by the Executive Council as full and conclusive proof and the Military Tribunal had no option but to find as they found, but inasmuch as the organisation which owned that premises did not possess any of the aims or pursue any of the methods laid down in what is defined as making an unlawful association, I maintain that it was not an unlawful association, whereas, the other organisation is pampered and put in a privileged position by the members of this Government, an organisation whose method is crime and whose purpose is revolution but, which, for that very reason, is put in that pampered position and allowed to go free and to do all it can to seduce the young manhood of this country into their criminal ranks, under the very ægis of this Government. That is why I say that No. 5 Parnell Square belonged to an organisation that was not unlawful.

The ownership of No. 5 Parnell Square or of any other premises does not arise on this Vote.

I was referring to what was stated here on Friday last——

Which was of questionable relevancy.

I want to bring it in on the actual administration of the Bureau about which we are now speaking. That Bureau, I understand, was opened on Monday; it was open yesterday and the day before and, presumably, to-day, though I know nothing about to-day, but the whole people of this country, horrified by the appalling crime carried out under the ægis of an organisation put in a specially privileged position and immune from the operation of the law of this country, by the present Executive Council——

Is this relevant?

Is this a point of order?

It is quite legitimate to question the relevancy of a speech. What happened in Dundalk or Drogheda is not relevant.

I am speaking now about the very administration of this office since it was set up. The whole Press of this country and the Press beyond this country are interested to know whether there was any foundation in fact for the appalling revelation made by Deputy Cosgrave in this House on Friday. There was no point on which it is more important that information should be given to reassure the people of this country that the Government was not guilty of complicity before and after the fact of the crime in Dundalk. The Pressmen went on Monday, and went on Tuesday——

Again I ask, are we to be kept here all day listening to these irrelevancies?

Before you give a ruling, sir, may I suggest that it is quite relevant, if the facts are as stated by the Deputy who is speaking, namely, that this Press Bureau, which is meant to give information on important matters to the public, has been in operation for two days. If it has failed to give information on this important matter, I suggest that few things could be more relevant to this debate than that particular matter.

The Chair does not know whether the Bureau, for which sanction is sought in this Vote, is in operation, but in any case a detailed discussion of the Dundalk incident is out of order.

I thoroughly agree, and I fully accept the Ceann Comhairle's ruling, but I did not hear the Deputy entering on a full discussion of that incident. I suggest, with all respect, that he referred to the incident, and from the occurrence of that incident he drew certain conclusions as to the attitude of the Government on the question of giving information to the public. That, as I understood him for the two minutes he was on this question, was the gist of his argument.

I have stated here that it was my information that this Bureau, and the director in charge of it, began operations, presumably, at the public expense, and the director, being paid out of public funds, the day before yesterday, Monday, and was, presumably, being paid as an operative functioning in this Bureau by the State to-day, yesterday and the day before. I maintain that if this Bureau was to fulfil any useful purpose, if there was any justification for robbing the unfortunate taxpayers of this country, it had a pre-eminent opportunity of making it abundantly clear on Monday last. Pressman after Pressman was going around seeking information. They were ready to publish that that Bureau had stated that there was no foundation whatsoever for the affirmation made here on Friday by Deputy Cosgrave and, on the other hand, they were ready to publish a statement on behalf of the Government that the Government was determined to bring to justice everybody who was in any way implicated in the appalling crime in Dundalk. What service did the Bureau give? Not one scrap of information could be given. It leaked out that some number of detective officers had been suspended from their duty, but no word as to whether or not the statement made by Deputy Cosgrave here was true or, if it were true, what action the Government was taking to reassure the people.

All we have—and I presume it comes from this Department—is a reference in to-day's papers to what, I presume, was a private letter from the High Commissioner in Danzig to President de Valera. Whether this Bureau had the permission of the writer of that letter to refer to it or whether it was merely given by the recipient of that letter in the hope that it might bring some personal kudos to himself, I do not know, but I do say that we have now two or three days' experience of the operation of this Bureau, and it has failed and failed lamentably and failed criminally in its first function, which would be to give information to the people that would reassure them on one of the most vital points on which they could possibly be informed. As I said, it was stated here that the police were watching a certain place while arrangements were being made in preparation for a diabolical crime in which a woman and two children were mutilated by certain criminals. That statement was made last Friday. There has been a dead silence on the point ever since. It has been stated that a man named Gilmore was arrested and released. It has been stated that a caretaker of 44 Parnell Square——

The Deputy might relate those arrests to the Estimate.

I think so. I presume that the Bureau of Information is giving information as to the operations of the various Departments of State, and that it was its clear function to give that information.

Could it be its function if the police were making inquiries? Is not that a matter for the police Department? How could it possibly be a matter for the Bureau?

Is the Department of Justice a Department of this State?

The Department of Justice, as the Deputy should know, in connection with police matters has to let the police do their own investigations in their own way.

Is it not the position that the police were not allowed to do their own investigation?

That is not true. It is like some other statements that were made. The position with regard to this is that a certain statement was made last Friday by Deputy Cosgrave. I understood that statement to be that from No. 5 Parnell Square certain detectives or police officers were keeping in view certain other premises in Parnell Square. Anything that was done in that way was done by the police in the exercise of their duties and in view of any information they might have had. The Deputy went further and stated that he was satisfied that certain mining operations, or something to do with mines were going on there. He went further and stated that the only mine that was exploded was that exploded in Dundalk on the following day. This can be the subject of debate at a later stage in this House. All I am prepared to state to the House or to the people outside at this stage is that the police are satisfied that there is no relation between what happened in Dundalk and anything that took place in Dublin on the previous day.

If the Minister is prepared to make that statement now, will he say if he has made that statement after investigation of all the circumstances himself?

After investigation that has been in progress by the police. If I get reports from Dundalk or other places the Deputy does not expect that I should go down personally and investigate them. So far as having competent and reliable officers to carry out the investigation, from information, the source of which I could not disclose in any way, these competent officers are satisfied that there is no relation between Dublin and Dundalk.

A very serious statement was made on Friday, and it has been examined, and apparently judged and decided upon by all the persons that were implicated in it, and I am not satisfied with the statement of the Minister.

Unless I cannot rely on any officers under my Department, I am satisfied that there is no relation whatever between the regrettable and dastardly thing that happened in Dundalk and what occurred in Dublin. I am quite satisfied of that.

The Minister has had investigations made into this matter and he has had all the documents before him, I presume?

That is so.

It has been investigated by himself personally?

So far as documents are concerned. I do not understand what the Deputy wants to get at when he asks if it has been investigated by myself personally. Every document and every report that has come in dealing with these particular matters has been examined by myself personally. Certain conclusions are submitted in those documents from these competent officers, and I have no reason to disagree with those conclusions of those officers who made certain investigations and who are still pursuing their investigations. The Deputy will appreciate that at such a stage as this it is very difficult for me to go into any details, and I do not think that it would be proper that I should.

The Minister has gone a certain distance. He is satisfied now before the case is thoroughly investigated and sifted, and he has pronounced upon it, but I am not satisfied with it.

The Deputy made a statement last Friday. I had certain information at that time. The Deputy's statement seemed to be based on very definite information. I have made inquiries since, and I would be very glad if the Deputy can give to the police authorities the basis of his information on which he made this statement in the House that went through the country.

That is a "get out."

That is not a "get out."

The matter is too serious for that. It is a new order and a new phase of public business if those who are charged are going to be judges, jury, witnesses and all.

That is not correct. I should like to know what the Deputy means.

The Minister is in possession of information.

With regard to the incident, I think the Leader of the Opposition acted in a most outrageous manner in raising that matter. I think it was his duty either to raise it that morning by a private notice question or give information to the Minister for Justice in order that there would be no prejudice to any examination necessary in that case. He had a private notice question down that day on another matter.

I have longer experience of administration than the President or the Minister.

Of course.

Much longer. I have a greater appreciation of the importance of administration than either of them. If I were not satisfied that they had failed in their duty and that they were going to fail in their duty, I would not have raised it.

Give up posing.

There is nothing else but posing on the Benches opposite.

Give us information; do not be making statements which you cannot prove.

I want to be clear on the matter. I was not here on Friday. I understood the Minister to say that the statement was made that certain police officers entered 5 Parnell Square and from there observed certain things happening in another house; that the further statement was made that that meeting had something to do with the preparation or construction of mines; that furthermore an explosion took place next day at Dundalk and that that was the only explosion that took place. I understand that these are the statements that the Minister attributes to Deputy Cosgrave. He denies, I understand, that there is any connection between Dublin and Dundalk. His denial, I understand, is limited to that.

And that is based on the fact that the matter has not been completed while certain inquiries are being followed up.

Certain inquiries were made and the Minister has pronounced on them, although they have not been completed. His denial is limited to that.

Does the Minister deny the purpose of the meeting under observation was as I stated?

I will not say anything further. At a later stage I am prepared to have the whole matter discussed.

A discussion does not satisfy me at all. This is a matter which is too serious for discussion. It is a matter for investigation by persons——

If it is too serious for discussion the Leader of the Opposition should not prejudice the police work.

I have said nothing about police work.

What else is it?

Will the President state what I have said in connection with the police work?

Does the Deputy suggest that we have interfered with the police?

I say it is untrue.

Will the President say in what way I have interfered with the police work?

I suggest that if the Leader of the Opposition were acting properly if he had the information which he gave to the House here he would, in the first instance, have put down a private notice question by which it could be properly raised here and not by a side-wind, in a debate like this, be making political capital out of this serious business. Instead of bringing it in by a side-wind he could have asked a private notice question, just as he asked another private notice question, and given the Minister notice of it or else, if he had information which would lead to the connection of any individuals with this, he could have given that information to the Minister instead of coming along here and trying to prejudice enquiries which are essential in the matter. I protest against the question being raised in this way.

Of course these protests are all very well when they come from honest motives. The Ministry is at present engaged on an investigation by itself on a matter on which it is itself in the dock.

It is not in the dock. There was some talk of censorship, but we have in the Party organ allowed to be published—and if I had anything to do with it it would not be published——

Deputies

Hear, hear!

If there was a censorship it would not be published.

Mr. Rice

Is this relevant?

As relevant as the speeches which preceded it.

This is the United Ireland paper, and when we read this we can understand what is the object of the Opposition in raising this matter in the way it did. This organ says in a certain statement: "This is the story of Mr. de Valera's Dundalk bombers of women and children." I say that is a damnable suggestion and that there is no truth whatever in that. I say that if I were censoring, and if there were a censorship, a paper using such statements would not be allowed to be published.

It has nothing whatever to do with it. The President is not above the law. If he has legal rights, he has legal remedies, and there are places for them, but he is not going to pull any red herring across the track in respect of my statements.

The President has spoken in reference to the attitude taken up by Deputy Cosgrave and asked why the matter should not be raised by a private notice question. Might I ask if the matter assumes in his mind the importance which he seems to attach to it now, why he could not have made a statement here to-day after questions on the matter?

Because this thing is quite irrelevant to the debate and no statement could be made. The charge was altogether irregular, and so far as our information goes, there seems to be no foundation for it. Investigations are proceeding and at this stage a statement could not be made.

The President made a statement that Deputy Cosgrave's speech was prejudically affecting police work. Why when the matter is so important could he not make a statement with regard to it to-day?

That query is out of order.

These are peculiar points of order. I thought a speaker was only supposed to be interrupted on a point of order, yet the President got up and read out a paper. What I have been trying to point out is that this Bureau, as it has been already in operation for a few days, shows its lamentable uselessness. People are led to believe that this institution would be a means of getting authoritative information from Government sources, and the only authoritative information it could get since it was set up, as far as I can gather, seems to be a reference to a private letter sent from Danzig to the President. Whether it was published with the permission of the writer or not I do now know. I suggest that this Department, useless as it clearly is, for giving information in which the public are keenly and rightly interested, will be used for the purpose of adding to the already existing injustices which are operating under this Government. There has been an argument just now about a matter that took place in Parnell Square. The Minister for Justice——

The Chair is not prepared to hear anything further on that subject.

It did not seen to be irrelevant just now. On the one hand, the President said that if there is any reference which is not flattering——

It is irrelevant. Its introduction originally was irrelevant. The subsequent discussion was irrelevant and must be taken as concluded.

It seems to be wholly contradictory to me. It seems rather hard on me but I am respecting the ruling of the Chair. The Bureau of Information on its negative side is associated with that censorship. If it were anything, which would be worked impartially, something might be said for it but there is every indication, unfortunately, that we are going to have a tyrannical censorship, a censorship which, as between one Party and another, outrages justice. The President, in regard to a paper which represents one section, said that he would override the law, that whether the law allowed him or not, rather than allow himself to be spoken of in a derogatory way——

I did not make any such statement.

Is this a point of order?

It is a point of explanation.

I can only be interrupted on a point of order. I have been interrupted long enough in this insolent way.

I am prepared to hear the President on a point of personal explanation.

On two occasions already the Deputy has suggested that I was putting myself above the law. I said that if there was a censorship and I were censor, I would not allow that statement to be published because I believe it is calculated to bring the Government into contempt, and worse, that it is sedition of the worst type.

Mr. Rice

Would the President allow a Communist paper to be published?

The President's word must be taken as to what he did say.

Is it your ruling, sir, on a point of order in regard to a matter which has been discussed here in the House, that the word of the President in regard to a certain statement of his own must be accepted by three-fourths of the Deputies of the House who were witnesses of the statement and who have different impression of what he did say?

The practice of the House has been that until the Official Report is available a Deputy's assurance as to what he said must be accepted.

I suppose the Official Reporters can be reprimanded if necessary.

Again I say that is a damnable suggestion.

However, we shall see the Official Report. I understood that a speaker could only be interrupted on a point of order. The President has got up time and again and interrupted me on matters which were not points of order.

The Deputy may not, directly or indirectly, question the ruling of the Chair.

I was not questioning the ruling of the Chair. I was only talking about the general lack of ordinary good manners on the part of the President. There is just one other matter to which I wish to refer. On Thursday last a most immoral and diabolical doctrine was preached by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He said:

"The policy of this Party has been approved of by the people and if the purpose of this Party is to give effect to its policy, then any Party purpose that this institution may be used to effect, in so far as it conforms with the policy the people have approved of, is a good purpose."

That, to my mind, is a most diabolical doctrine. The argument is that the Fianna Fáil Party went out with a policy, and that they got a majority of votes. Now, of course we need not go into the fact that the declared reason for the last election was that it was necessary before a settlement of the economic war could be arrived at, that the Government was prevented from enforcing a settlement in the way of a surrender by the British——

How does the Deputy relate the settlement of the economic war to this Vote?

Yes, sir, I am relating it to the argument that because the people gave a majority of votes to a certain Party, because the people approved of the policy of a certain Party, there has to be a suppression of justice, there has to be a Party tyranny based on the supposition that that Party is supported by the people. The argument is that any money that the Government expends in promulgating and propaganding what they themselves want to be propaganded, is clearly justified, on the grounds that they got a majority vote at the last election. I say that is a proposal of Party dictatorship in defiance of all justice.

The President, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and other Ministers have consistently assumed that nobody in this country has any right whatsoever except the majority. They are assuming now that they have a perfect right to go out and pick the pockets of the unfortunate minority. The minority is waved aside. The only moral law is that the majority will must prevail. The majority may want to rob the minority. "These," says President de Valera, "are entirely my ethics.""That," says the Minister for Industry and Commerce, "is the policy of the Government." It seems to me that those statements and the whole argument of the Minister for Industry and Commerce must not be allowed to pass unchallenged. Governments exist to promote the well-being of all the people.

I should like to hear what bearing a speech on political morality or on the ethics of good government has to this Vote.

This Vote is a direct challenge to political morality. The Fianna Fáil Party, not satisfied with getting, by a side-wind, a subsidy out of the unfortunate people of America, are now going to impose taxation on the people here for the purpose of misleading those people to their own detriment. That is clear to every intelligent person here from the statements made by Government Ministers. At the last election the Government wanted to be given a majority so that they could put an end to the economic war. Since then the President has declared that he thanks God for the economic war.

The economic war may not be discussed now.

The argument put up by a so-called responsible Minister in this House was that the ethics of this proposal were all right because Fianna Fáil got a majority in the last election and therefore it has the right to seize public funds to be used in the interests of the Party. That is the argument put up in relation to the Bureau. I say that that is an immoral argument and should at once be refuted. This is merely an attempt to rob the Irish people in the interests of a certain organisation. Does it mean that whatever other Government comes into power it can say: "We have a majority. Our policy is to put money in our own pockets. The people voted for us and therefore we have a perfect right to do it." That is the argument submitted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and I say that that implies a Party dictatorship. The Government adopting that attitude has not in mind the well-being of the people generally, but rather the people in their own political organisation.

Every action of this Government has given an indication of that corrupt theory, and that corrupt theory has manifested itself in corrupt practice. Last Thursday a responsible Minister here preached a fundamental doctrine of corruption in justification of this corrupt thing that the President now proposes to do. I know that Deputy Norton and his henchmen have got up in their usual slavish fashion and they have signified support of this proposal. Presumably they accept the theory of the Minister for Industry and Commerce that Fianna Fáil, having got a majority, have a right to seize public funds in the pursuit of their policy. Deputy Corish, in the interests of his constituents in Wexford, voted to give this Government powers to continue an economic war which is doing so much for the well-being of the people of Wexford. Deputy Corish and the members of his Party are pre-eminently responsible for the existing condition of things. The present situation could not exist without their support. Apparently that Party now accepts the doctrine that Fianna Fáil, having got their majority, are not only right in pursuing their policy in complete defiance of and in utter disregard for any concern of public good, but they are also right in seizing public funds in order to blind the people as to what is the truth and as to what the real well-being of the country demands.

Anybody who votes in favour of this proposal is voting in favour of a Party dictatorship. Time and again we have had the President misrepresenting the situation. Without even purporting to quote, he has declared that our Party stands for dictatorship. Every act in his own career has clearly indicated that he is incapable of thinking in any other terms than in terms of dictatorship, and the policy of Party dictatorship was clearly proposed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

What about your Army dictatorship in 1924?

I had no Army dictatorship in 1924.

—You know you had.

There was no Army dictatorship in 1924.

Read the late Kevin O'Higgins's speeches.

The Deputy would be well advised to read Senator Johnson's speeches at that period.

The late Kevin O'Higgins took very good care that there would be no Army dictatorship. The late Kevin O'Higgins was murdered and the Deputy now comes in and in order to cover up his dirty act in supporting this proposal he refers to what the late Kevin O'Higgins took very good care should not operate in this country. Kevin O'Higgins stood always between this country and any attempt at tyranny. The Labour Party are now trying to use that as a justification for their slavish, crawling support of a corrupt proposal on the part of the present Government. I do not think there was ever such an immoral proposal made or such an immoral doctrine preached as that put forward by the Minister for Industry and Commerce the other day. I would not mind it so much except that he submitted it in all naïveté and simplicity. He seemed to presume that everybody in this country accepted that doctrine, because he is incapable of thinking in any other terms than in terms of Party graft and Party dictatorship. We are asked to vote here in order to give an additional machine to people who cannot think in any terms other than terms of corruption, Party graft and terms incompatible with any decent conception of public morality.

I rise on a point of personal explanation, arising out of a remark made by Deputy Norton. Deputy Norton implies that in 1924 I stood to arrange an Army dictatorship. I utterly repudiate that and I will recall to Deputy Norton and to members of the House certain facts. I would like, first of all, to refer Deputy Norton to the statement of the then leader of the Labour Party in this House on that particular subject. I will ask Deputy Norton to refer to that and then review his outlook on the whole matter. The second point I want to emphasise is that I handled the Army, so far as the State here is concerned, in 1922, 1923 and 1924. I left the Army in certain circumstances in 1924.

Left it? That is good white-washing.

I left the Army in 1924.

The Deputy asked permission to make a personal explanation and was allowed to do so. Personal explanations should be brief, particularly when, as in this instance, the explanation arose out of interruptions from two Deputies not participating in the debate.

What I am about to say is very material to this debate. As I have said, I left the Army in certain circumstances in 1924, when the Army had done its work. I and the officers who left with me left this House and the country with an Army that served the people when the people wanted its service, served the people under us, and that Army served this House and the people when we left.

Thanks to the Army.

Before the debate comes to an end I would like to point out that notwithstanding all we have been told there is one thing we have not yet been told. It is a matter on which we are entitled to a plain statement; that is, whether the opposition to the Vote is opposition to the principle of a Bureau or not. It would be a fair inference from Deputy Mulcahy's speech to-day, for instance, that the Opposition would approve of a Bureau of Information if there were any other Government in power. The Deputy, however, obviously contemplates this Bureau in present circumstances exuding dope, wrong information, and misrepresentation on every subject that it may touch. It would be possible I think to have a Bureau that would not act in that way. It would be possible to have a Government that would not mind telling the truth with regard to the big national questions that affect this country. What we are concerned to know is—would the Opposition oppose the idea of a Bureau in such circumstances as that?

Usually with regard to Estimates, we treat them as if they related to permanent things, as if the subject of the Estimate were part of the machinery of the State, irrespective of the Party in power. Not so, however, in the present discussion. I have heard a great deal of the discussion here and certainly a great deal of it has been based on the assumption that the Bureau will be used by the present Government to misrepresent the position in this country and particularly to misrepresent the opponents of the Government. I suggest that is a new way of discussing Estimates. If there is a lack of confidence in the Government with regard to this matter, it would seem that that lack of confidence would apply to every Department of the State and would be a good reason for refusing money to any Department. If the Ministers are prepared to mislead their own people, if they are prepared to mislead foreigners and to tell deliberate lies about the circumstances of this country, surely none of these Ministers is fit to be trusted with the guardianship of any Department. Would the same criticism not apply to every Estimate brought before this House?

I think if there is still anybody to speak from the Opposition, we are entitled to know whether they would approve of a Bureau of Information in ordinary circumstances or, if there were not such an immoral Government in power as there is at present, would they agree that such a Bureau could be very useful both to this country, to our friends abroad, and to those interested in the country abroad? Would they agree about the setting up of a Bureau which would tell the truth about the aim of the Government in power and what the policy of that Government was with regard to constitutional questions, with regard to cultural questions, with regard to their line of policy on industrial development and the treatment of leading social questions such as unemployment? Would a Bureau which would tell the truth about these questions serve a useful purpose? I think the House is entitled to know—and it is obvious that we ought to know in voting on this Estimate—whether the Opposition are prepared to agree to that, or whether their opposition is because the Government in power at present is a Government which not only may but must abuse the power that would be given to it by the approval of this proposal.

I suggest that if there is any speaker on the Opposition who will attempt to answer that question he will find himself in a peculiar position with regard to his colleagues who have preceded him in the debate. You could not possibly see any Government acting in so immoral a way as to misrepresent a situation with regard to every Department of life in this country at the present time. I believe it would have to be admitted by everybody who views it at all in an impartial light that such a Bureau would be of immense advantage to those who were interested in the country, particularly those living abroad. Even more, I consider that in the case of those living abroad, such, for instance, as the half a million Irish people living in Glasgow, that they are entitled, in view of their attachment to this country and in view of the very great services they have given to this country from time to time, to have information as to the Government's activities and to get it from sources to which they can attach confidence. It seems entirely right that they should not be left to rely on English and Scotch newspapers to tell them what is happening in this country. Anybody who has contact with the Irish abroad, in Great Britain or America, must know that one of the first questions you will be asked is what is your Government doing on a particular matter? You will be asked such questions as, what is the position with regard to unemployment in your country, and have they got rid of the landlords yet, and so on. It is not right, I suggest, in view particularly of the great services they have rendered to the home country from time to time that they should be encouraged to believe by prejudiced newspapers abroad that this country is in an anarchic state, or that this country is seething with discontent about unemployment, when that is not the case.

This debate throughout has, to my mind, been a very sad reflection on the ability of the Dáil to discuss questions of principle apart from personalities. As a matter of fact, there has not been five minutes of the whole debate devoted to the question of the principle of the Bureau. You have instead a whole list of accusations against different Ministers of the Government and against the Government collectively. So far as the Estimate is concerned that has left the debate a useless one, giving no help to any Deputy to make up his mind. So far as I can see for myself, the proposal to establish a Bureau is well justified in any circumstances; it must mean very great benefit to the prestige of this country and react to our advantage as a nation.

Deputy Moore has put a couple of questions. Really, though I wish to say that I generally appreciate what Deputy Moore contributes to this House and the spirit also in which he makes his contribution, yet surely he is asking us to do a thing that is completely unreal. We are not discussing the question of this principle of the Bureau in the abstract. We are discussing it in a concrete situation. We are not discussing it in reference to the individual who may be appointed as a civil servant as director of this Bureau, about whom I have absolutely nothing to say. We are discussing it in reference to the political head of the Department, the man who, I presume, so far as this House and this country is concerned, will guide the policy of this particular Bureau. I suggest in that connection that the most relevant thing we can discuss—and anything that ignores that and does not take it into account would be almost irrelevant and would certainly ignore the prime factor—is the President's control of this Bureau; not the use to which it will be put under some person in the abstract of whom we know nothing, but the use to which the President from what we know of him and his Government would put the Bureau. That use of this particular Bureau was plainly indicated by Deputy Fitzgerald as described by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He laid down the general principle that their Party having been chosen by the people of this country, and having got the confidence of the people of this country, were entitled then to help on their Party by any means that would help them on so long as the people put them in power.

That passage was clearly read out by Deputy Fitzgerald. It is as follows:

"The policy of this Party"

—that is the Fianna Fáil Party—

"has been approved of by the people, and if the purpose of this Party is to give effect to its policy, then any Party purpose that this institution"

—namely, the Bureau—

"may be used to effect, in so far as it conforms with the policy the people have approved of, is a good purpose."

I suggest that we must take into account—anything else would be completely unreal in this debate—the attitude of the President, and, to use a phrase used elsewhere by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, his conception of the truth. After all he is the political head of this Bureau. It is a portion of his Department. Does anybody in this House who is not committed wholeheartedly to the President believe, not that the President wants to tell the truth, but that the President can tell the truth or can see the truth. That has always been my tremendous difficulty with the President. I am not interested now in the question of whether he wishes to put the truth as he may see it before the people. That is not what I am debating. That question of honesty does not arise. What does arise is the proved incompetency of the President again and again to grasp the truth. It is not a moral delinquency that I mean; I am not suggesting that. It is an intellectual failure on his part to grasp the truth. Mind you, the man who is going to be at the head of this Information Bureau is the man who got up in this House and said that the Irish Press was not a Party newspaper. That is his conception of the truth. I am taking it that that must be the line of policy—as he is the head of this Department and responsible for the policy of the Department—which this particular Bureau must follow. Surely the President has made it quite clear again and again that he is incapable of seeing facts as they are—that he cannot see what is. He can prove, we know, anything. The Bureau I presume will have to do the same. If the man who is appointed is sufficiently subservient he will have to take his conception of truth—to use that peculiar phrase from this debate—from the President. I have no doubt that at the beginning you will find a man optimistic enough to think that he will be able to give his own conception of truth to the public. Does anybody, even in that Party, think that he will be able to convince the President if the President happens to disagree with him? I have asked in this House did anybody ever convince the President of anything.

Certainly not you.

And I do not think members of the Party have done so either.

There is no need.

I do not think members of the Party have done so either. The President is capable of seeing any truth he wants to see. He is capable of proving to his own satisfaction, and I presume the Bureau must do the same, that the people of this country have morally no right to get rid of his Heaven-sent guidance; that even constitutionally they would have no right to get rid of it; and that any steps he will take to prove to them that even constitutionally they have no right to get rid of his guidance will be correct. I suggest to Deputy Moore that the whole question hinges about the extraordinary conception of propaganda which the President has, about his conception of any other point of view, about his conception of indentification of the country, not of himself with the country, but of the country with himself, because after all remember you are dealing with a man——

Hear, hear.

——who, as head of this Bureau does not need to go to the country for the facts. He can find them like other people in other countries have found them, by looking into his own heart. That is sufficient. The Bureau will have to follow his conception of the truth, and that is the kind of dope which the country is bound to get; not merely may get, but, to use Deputy Moore's change from the word "may," must get, and cannot avoid getting with the present Government in power, and with the President at the head of this propaganda Bureau. It is precisely on our full knowledge of the propagandist powers and the propagandist mind of the Government and of the President that our main objection to this particular Vote lies. I do not think that the House can afford for a moment to let that out of sight. I can assure Deputy Moore that when discussing estimates it is not at all a question of discussing the Civil Service. It is a question of discussing the policy of the political head. That is generally what is debated when the general debate on the Estimate is on. I suggest to him that we are following that precedent here in discussing the attitude of the President to propaganda, the confessed attitude that that is a Party Government that is sitting there; that it can utilise this particular office, and apparently the funds that will subsidise this particular office, for Party purposes, and that it feels perfectly entitled to do so. We have had instances; I am not going into any detail in those things, but we have had instances as to their line towards those who critise them.

Leaving aside now the question as to whether the Attorney-General had any right to do, or whether he was doing out of the goodness of his heart—we will suppose that he was doing it out of goodness of heart—what he did in connection with that newspaper, I should like to ask him and ask the House to look at the passages that he excised, and to judge from them what is the Government's attitude towards criticism. I am not now dealing with whether or not he had a right to do what he did. I am dealing with the attitude of mind even towards criticism. The suppressing of your opponents views ought to require more justification than the particular Government dope that is likely to be put out in the interests of the President. We know they cannot stand any criticism of any kind. Does anybody, or does the Party that is supporting this particular Vote, really believe that the truth is going to the people from this? Is there the slightest chance that anything except the ordinary Party dope will go to them? Will it be anything except an officially acknowledged type of propaganda such as we get from the paper that the President has described as a non-Party organ? We have again and again here in this House tried to get various information from the President. He has made statements here and through the country. Most of the people have been surprised to learn, sometimes months, sometimes years afterwards, that his statements meant the opposite to what they thought they meant. Is that the truth we are going to get from this particular Bureau of which the President is the political head? It might, I admit to Deputy Moore—unfortunately not "must" on this occasion—give useful information to the country. It might, for instance, tell the country where all the industries are. That would be most useful. Again and again in this House—and Deputy Moore referred to industries— every effort has been made to get information on that point. Is there any reason why the information should not have been given and given effectively by the Minister for Industry and Commerce? Surely not. Will this Bureau give the information which the Minister for Industry and Commerce refuses to give? Can it give the information the Minister refuses to give? Here is a matter on which not merely the people in this Party but, I can assure the Deputy, the people in his own, Party, his own supporters, really do want information. I know, as I have said before, a Fianna Fáil Club in Kerry which cannot see the industries in its own native county and which suggests that there is a boycott there. Numbers of industries may be there, but they cannot be seen by that particular Fianna Fáil Club in Tralee. Will the Bureau give the information which the Minister for Industry and Commerce so determinedly refuses to give to this House?

I suggest that the most relevant thing in this debate is the proved inability of the President to put a plain, objective statement on anything in which he is interested before the people, and that, for that reason, this House ought not to consent to vote the money for the setting up of this particular Bureau. As I say, we know too well the propagandist activities, the propagandist spirit, the propagandist ability, if you like, of the Fianna Fáil Party and of the Fianna Fáil leaders. You need only read the speeches of the Ministers, any time you like, from that bench opposite. They are not dealing with the subject under discussion but are very often merely statements of propaganda and misrepresentation of their opponents. They have shown themselves always, in office and out of office, past masters so far as that is concerned. I suggest that that is the most relevant fact this House should bear in mind in the setting up of this particular Bureau, and it is because we know the spirit that is bound to, that must, if we use Deputy Moore's phrase, animate and inspire this Bureau that we oppose it. On the question of the individual, as I said at the beginning, I have no doubt that an individual might be optimistic enough to think that he will be able to give out the truth as he conceives it to the public, but how any self-respecting man will be able to stay in the position after the experience of, say, six months, I should be interested to see. Any such man who is not prepared to accept for the President, so far as this country is concerned what is called in reference to the Russian people the Messianic complex must certainly be an extraordinary optimist or extremely subservient, so far as the President is concerned.

I can understand any man being sufficiently optimistic at the outset to take up this particular work, but I am not interested in that particular side of the matter. I am not interested in the individual who is taking over this Bureau; I am interested in the Minister responsible for this particular Department, and I object to the Vote because we have to do with this Government, with its known characteristics, a Government that boasts that it is a Party Government —as is acknowledged by the man who, I may say even to the President is his best propagandist, the Minister for Industry and Commerce—which is not fit to be trusted with this power any more than it is fit to be trusted with many of the powers to which Deputy Moore referred. That really is the gist of my opposition to this. It is because I do not think that this sub-Department is capable of being used for anything but—that is putting it a little too strongly because it may be used occasionally for disseminating truth; if we could be sure that all it said was false, we might be able to arrive at the truth, but very often, I have no doubt, it will tell the truth but I am equally convinced that very often it will dole out and will be bound so long as the President is in control of it to dole out propaganda which is Party propaganda or will appear so to the great bulk of the people—Party propaganda in the narrow sense of the word. Many people on this side who oppose it know perfectly well what the Government propaganda is worth so far as truth is concerned. I suggest that it is because the people of this country—and very quickly, mind you, because it is not so long since the President got into power—are finding out what both the negative and the positive propaganda of the Government is worth, that this Bureau is called into existence. It is because the people are finding out that both the attacks of the Government, in the way of propaganda, on their opponents and also, the promises they made, are so much worthless propaganda that this particular sub-Department is called into existence.

When we listen for a little while to Deputy O'Sullivan, one can clearly understand what is the whole trouble with the Opposition. The whole trouble is that a Government other than themselves happens to be in power and that nothing can be trusted to us to be done properly and that the only people who can do anything properly, justly and fairly are themselves. There is a difference of opinion about that and that difference of opinion was pretty well settled by the country in two different elections and so far as the Deputies on the opposite side are concerned, they will have to put up for another three, four or five years, anyhow, with having a Government such as we have to-day. This Government came into office with a certain programme. That programme was endorsed by the electorate and we have no apology whatever to make to anybody for pursuing that particular policy. This debate, however, ranged over Government policy and the speakers on the opposite side were very hard put to it indeed to find an excuse for dealing with the debate in the manner in which they dealt with it. All sorts of excuses that anybody could see through were put forward for introducing all sorts of irrelevant matters. It was impossible for the Chair to prevent that from happening, because no sooner was a Deputy held up on one particular point than he immediately got some other excuse for proceeding on another point and he had got half way through it before the Chair or anybody else could see whether there was any relevancy in it or not.

Deputy O'Sullivan's effort, however, was a masterpiece. It is because of the personality of the person who is to be in charge of this Bureau that there is objection. It is not a question of a Department of State being put up or the merits of a certain policy in general but it is the merits of that particular Department because it happens to be directed by somebody to whom Deputies on the opposite side object. Deputy Moore asked that somebody on the opposite benches would speak to this as a matter of principle. One Deputy did and only one—Deputy MacDermot. He said that, quite irrespective of the Government in power or of any views he might hold or that any other members with whom he was associated might hold with regard to the Government, he would oppose it in any case. That is a point of view that one can understand—I can, at least. I am quite willing to admit straight off that it is a department that can very well be abused. But so could practically every other Department of State be abused if you have people in office who are corrupt enough to abuse it. There is scarcely a single department from which information is not being given out in one way or another to the public which, if inaccurate, could mislead the public. There is hardly a Department of State which, in one way or another, if abused, could not be used for what might be called narrow Party propaganda.

The Minister for Agriculture has officers in different parts of the country representing the Department. They have to do their best to have the policy of the Department put into operation. They have to appeal to the farmers and others to grow wheat and do a number of other things. There is no doubt that all those, if they were to be improperly used, could be used for very narrow Party purposes. All I can say to Deputy MacDermot is that when he objects to this particular Department on principle, because it can be abused by people who are corrupt enough and who are dishonset enough to abuse it, he has no remedy as long as there are dishonest or lying people in existence and as long as such people can by any possible means come to be a Government.

Listening to Deputies on the opposite benches one would imagine that this was something unique; something that did not exist in any other country; something that was the conception of Fianna Fáil; that it could not possible exist in any other part of the world except such parts as might happen, like here, to have, as they suggest, a corrupt Government. The fact is that there is scarcely a country in the world that has not such a Department. I have a long list here. It does not purport to be in any way completely exhaustive. In that list I find the United States of America to start with. The United States has a section in the Department of State for the supply of current information. The Department of Agriculture has also a special section for publicity. Then we have Great Britain. In Great Britain it is not definitely a Department of Publicity but there are Press officers attached to the Foreign Office and the Treasury and to the India Office. In Germany there is a specific Department of State under a Minister known as the Department of Educational Propaganda and that is probably one of the most active Departments of its kind in the world. In France there is an Information and Press Section attached to the Department of External Affairs. Japan has an Information Bureau in its Department of External Affairs. That exhausts the larger countries.

Now let us come to the relatively smaller ones. In the Argentine there is a Section in the Department of External Affairs called the Information Bureau. In Austria there is a special Commission known as the Federal Propaganda Commission. In Bulgaria there is a Press director in the Department of External Affairs. In Denmark there is a Press Bureau in the Department of External Affairs. In Finland there is a Press Section in the Department of External Affairs. In Greece there is a Press director in the Department of External Affairs. In Latvia there is a Press Section in the Department of External Affairs. In Persia there is a Press Information Section in its Department of External Affairs. In Czecho-Slovakia there is a Section in its Department of External Affairs for the distribution of political and economic information. In Turkey there is a Press Information Bureau attached to the Department of External Affairs. As I have indicated, this list is not exhaustive, but shows that this idea of a Bureau of Information if established here will not be unique and that it supplies a want which has been felt in practically every country in the world.

There might be some excuse for Deputies opposite talking as they did if they were ignorant of that, but they are not. I listened to the long speech of Deputy Fitzgerald which suggested indignation. It would be interesting to hear what that Deputy said when Minister for External Affairs when he introduced a Vote for a much larger amount for the same purpose that we are introducing it here. It was not in a period of war. It was in 1924 when there was peace. Let us see what that Deputy said who simulated all this indignation and who tried to attribute to me things that he knew could be done with it, because he had done them. I have a file here which shows how he misused it. If I were to read through the file, or extracts from it, Deputies would understand that what the Deputy was doing was suggesting to me things which he was capable of and did himself.

Would it not be more decent for the President to read them than to make the suggestion he is making?

I am certain, having looked through them, that what I state is true.

Would it not be more decent to read them than to make the suggestion you are making?

When I come to some of the remarks of the Deputy I will show you how decent he was. It would be more decent for the Deputy to suggest the name of the person who was supposed to inspire me, but he did not do it.

I gave the President every opportunity of finding out.

The Deputy suggests that there is something mean about my referring to the files. I am referring to them because the Deputy who was responsible at the time knows that what I say is true. As far as meanness is concerned, I say that the Deputy should not talk about it. He suggested a short time ago without giving the name that there was somebody who was prompting us in our propaganda.

Will the President take steps to give everybody that information? The President ran away from his promise in connection with it.

Why did not the Deputy give it if he knew it?

I asked the President to allow full information to go out with regard to it and the President took every step he could to prevent it.

In relation to the interview, the moment I found that the information I got was false—first of all I said what I did before the Deputy, not by innuendo. I said it because I thought it was true. I gave an opportunity to the Deputy to contradict it.

Did the President take any trouble to investigate it before he made the statement?

I have given a full explanation and I do not intend to go any further.

This matter does not arise out of this Vote.

Will it be the custom for the Press Bureau to publish a charge first and investigate it afterwards?

In order to give people a chance of denying it.

I propose to read what Deputy Fitzgerald, when Minister for External Affairs, said about this particular Department which was in existence at the time. I shall have to weary the House with it because, in order to contrast the speech which we have listened to this afternoon and the speech on Friday last with this, Deputies should hear the whole of it.

He said:

"The Publicity Department has decreased its expenditure by, roughly, one-half. This work falls into two classes. One activity of it might be described as a Public Record Office. It is necessary for this Government, as for every other Government, to be informed as to what is happening in the world, what is being stated in the Press of the world, and in other periodical publications; and for that reason, instead of each Department in the Government having such a Record Office it is found more efficient and more economical to concentrate that matter in one office. The work there, then, is to note the Press and other publications of various countries in the world, and to call the attention of each Ministry to such information as may be likely to interest them, and to keep a record and to keep files of any cases of important publications, and to keep a general record of all such matters as may either now or at any time in the future be required to be referred to. Apart from that we require to have some machinery for conveying information or for rectifying misinformation. It must be remembered that practically every country does this; and most countries are much better situated for doing it than we are. To begin with, we are a new country and an unknown quantity in the world. Ireland is not only an unknown quantity in a neutral form, but in a negative form. We have a definitely anti-Irish Press, particularly in the greatest news distribution centre in the world, namely, London; and we have recognised the fact that for the sake of our commercial relations, and for the sake of our general good name in the world, we do require not to be misled. Every country has such a Department, but other countries have an advantage that we have not got, and it is this; that the Press of other countries is usually supplied with a certain number of representatives in foreign countries; and the usual system is that the foreign representatives of newspapers who are away from their own country usually get in touch with the political representation in that country, and those journalists act as a channel for information and for correct information concerning their own country in the foreign countries in which they are living. Our Irish Press does not indulge in such a foreign news service. I think it has to be generally recognised that our Irish Press depends almost to an exclusive degree upon the London News Agencies. Therefore it is necessary to maintain this Department, for some time to come at any rate.

"In the early days of our existence this Department had another activity, namely, what you may call pro-State propaganda in this country. That was a very difficult situation to be faced with, because there was always the question as to whether the information which we put out could be considered as pro-State, or whether it might not be regarded as pro any one shade of opinion in the country. As far as I was concerned, I endeavoured, when we were doing such work, to confine the activities of that Department to the narrowest limits of pro-State propaganda; but I admit that there was very often considerable doubt as to where the pro-State began or ended and where the pro-Party began. Apart from that there are certain forms of advertisement which every Government has to indulge in. For instance, during the last year we had to advertise the National Loan. The publicity work of that was done by this Department. We had also to conduct a certain amount of publicity work for recruitment for the Army."

I have given the whole of the statement with reference to the Publicity Department, and Deputies will find it in columns 799-800, Vol. 8 of the Debates. Anybody who has listened to that statement must find it difficult to understand the statement made just recently and that made on Friday by Deputy Fitzgerald. As I say, he knew that in every country of the world there is such a Department and he knew full well how necessary such a Department was. It was peace time at that time. The need for the early pro-State propaganda that was referred to apparently had disappeared. With that knowledge he comes here and tries, I suggest, to mislead not merely the members of the House, but the public as to the situation. This Department is a necessary Department. Every word that was used by Deputy Fitzgerald when he was Minister with reference to the need of it I subscribe to and say it is a fact from my experience. This nation of ours is being assailed at the present time from outside and we are trying, in the face of outside attack to change our whole economic life. To do that, without the nation suffering more than is absolutely necessary, we require the co-operation of our people. We require that they should understand why certain things are done and that they should get the fullest possible information about the activities of the various Departments in order to save them from being misled by such misrepresentation of these activities as is constantly being put before them.

I am not going to go into the side issues that have been raised in this debate. I feel that if I did I would be as guilty as those who abused the privileges of the House by raising these matters in the manner in which they did. Every one of those points can be met in their appropriate place. There , however, I think in all fairness one thing to which I should refer and that is another statement made by Deputy Fitzgerald. He suggested in that of his of just giving half-truths, that in establishing this Department I was continuing something I had in mind back a long period and that I was about to bring into the office some agent or other who had served my purpose in the past. He read an extract from a letter which appears in this paper presented to Dáil Eireann entitled: "Correspondence from Eamon de Valera and others." He quoted this paragraph of a letter dated 7th September. I admit I wrote it.

The letter says:

"I would like to see Seán O'Keeffe for a Press interview. If you get in touch with him I will see how it can be arranged. Ask him to send me along leading questions."

There was some suggestion in Deputy Fitzgerald's remarks that this journalist who was referred to here was somehow an agent of propaganda for me. The director of that Bureau, Mr. Seán O'Keeffe, is a journalist who is known throughout this country and far beyond it. There is nobody in that profession who will deny for a moment that he is a journalist of ability and repute, and he has never at any time lent himself to anything which would bring discredit either upon himself or upon the country. As a journalist at the time, like many other journalists, he tried, on the inspiration of the newspaper for which he was correspondent, to get an interview from me. The newspaper in question was the Manchester Evening News. I have here the interview and I am willing that both he and I should be judged on that interview and I am prepared to put it in comparison with anything that emanated from the Department when it was controlled by Deputy Fitzgerald. I think that it is only right, when there have been suggestions of misuse of that Department attributed in advance to us, that I should read this interview.

I hesitate very much to interrupt the President, but I do submit that what he proposes to do is going far beyond the proper bounds of this debate.

You do not like to hear it.

The reference of Deputy Fitzgerald which I heard was a very transitory one and I personally did not draw the inference from it that the President says he drew. Whatever inference he drew from that transitory reference, I suggest that to read out the whole newspaper interview would be entirely irrelevant to what we are now discussing.

It was a very malicious reference.

I propose to read the interview because I think it is the best answer that can be given to the suggestion that either the officer who has been appointed—he has been appointed, because I believe that no better person could be appointed and he is now a civil servant and the suggestion that he could be anything else of course is absurd——

I would like to say this, and I believe I can speak for Deputy Fitzgerald as well, that there is no desire on these Benches to cast any reflection on the character of Mr. O'Keeffe.

I think Deputy MacDermot should confine himself to standing over his own views. I will say to him that it is a very dangerous thing to stand over anything Deputy Fitzgerald may suggest. As regards the expression "leading questions," everybody who has been interviewed by Press representatives will understand what it means. I am sure members on the opposite Benches have been interviewed many a time. These newspaper representatives come to them wishing to get information on certain points and views on certain points and there are leading questions. In fact, the words were in quotation marks and leading questions meant questions suggesting particular topics and, if you like, even the answers to these particular topics might come along. This is the interview in question——

I respectfully suggest that this is irrelevant and if you feel there is a difficulty about judging whether it is relevant or not I suggest that the President would read the remark made by Deputy Fitzgerald which he says justifies it. It is in the report, I think, and I believe it will appear that there is nothing in that report to justify the reading out of the interview.

Will we be able to comment upon it as a sample of the propaganda that will be indulged in now at the public expense?

I cannot give a decision in advance and I do not propose to give a decision in advance, but I think that what the President proposes to read is relevant inasmuch as it will indicate what the journalist, who, unfortunately, was referred to, and I think he should not have been referred to, and the President propose to utilise the Bureau for and how it will be utilised.

It is important that Deputies should remember the time. It was the 7th September, just before the Provisional Parliament met in 1922. The following is the text of the interview:—

"I asked if he could see any way out through a revision of the proposed Free State Constitution.

"I still maintain," he replied, "that the straight, bold course is the best. Those who try to be too clever end in over-reaching themselves. If you want to arrive at a constitution satisfactory to Irishmen, you must strain the Treaty out of the plain meaning of the terms. If the Treaty is so unsatisfactory that it must be strained, then go honestly about it and get a revision of the Treaty. It is the best for Ireland, and it is the best for England."

"But if England persists, under threat of war, in holding us to the Treaty, and if the majority of the Irish people choose to accept the Treaty rather than the alternative— war?

"If that should prove true, then I can only say that, in my opinion, both Ireland and England are making a terrible mistake and will suffer for it."

"For Ireland, the Treaty will mean violent political agitation and turmoil in one form or another for many years to come. Agitation that will make progress in a cultural or spiritual direction impossible, and progress in a material way more impossible.

"For England, it will mean a continuance of those impossible relations which resulted in the war of the last few years. An arrangement dictated under threat of war can never be the basis of anything but suspicion and distrust between the two nations, and an everlasting jockeying and intrigue—one against the other.

"Last December was the time to put the relations between the two countries on a stable basis. The opportunity was lost then. It is incomparably more difficult to secure that basis now, but it is not impossible if men of goodwill will set themselves to the task. For England a treaty entered into by Irishmen with goodwill would be of more value and give her more real security than all the guarantees she may be able to extract from an unwilling people by force. For Ireland it would mean internal peace and an opportunity to get on with the work of national regeneration and national reconstruction, for which all the best in Ireland is yearning.

"The trouble has been that in the last Dáil there was little attempt to discuss the Treaty on its merits as an effort of statesmanship, or to calculate its bearings on the future. Side issues of a personal and Party character were introduced to obscure the main consideration. The best case made for the Treaty, from the statesman's standpoint, was that made in the letter which General Smuts wrote to me, as President, about a year ago.

"If anything could have converted me to acceptance of the Treaty, that letter would. Without hesitation, a united Cabinet, however, rejected his recommendations. The change that took place in the minds of some members of the Cabinet between August and December can be judged from this fact alone. For Mr. Griffith, as for me, the securing of a united Ireland—a single State—was of first importance. To follow the lines suggested by General Smuts meant that we should first abandon our own proved impregnable position and face the certainty of disruption in our hitherto solid ranks, without any reasonable hope that the objective for which the risks were taken would be reached. Unfortunately Mr. Griffith was later led away by the chimera of the Boundary Commission which he had hoped would take Fermanagh, Tyrone and other areas from the Northern territory and so bring partition to end later, automatically.

"What might have been anticipated happened however. (This is the 1st September, 1922). At the first protest from Ulster the English politicians ran away from their pledges given in private and betrayed the Nationalist Irishmen that trusted them. These were too much committed by their previous action and could no longer make an effective resistance to the betrayal.

"The Ulster question is an Irish domestic question and must be settled in Ireland by the representatives of the people concerned. The problem is so to fix the framework of the relations between Ireland as a whole and England as to provide for the desired settlement between the north and the south being effected within it. To satisfy the sentiment of the south the sovereignty of the nation as a whole must be safe-guarded. To satisfy the sentiment of the north, at the moment, some connection with the British Empire has to be provided for. It happens that the condition imposed by the latter largely meets the material demands of the English as well. The proposal for External Association was, therefore, not a personal whim, but is the solution rigidly imposed by the fundamental political facts, at the moment, unless force or coercion is to be used against the north or against the south.

"The Treaty means the coercion of the south and the coercion of a large part of the north—both. The propertied classes, the manufacturers, the traders, if they were wise, would have opposed this peace by coercion for their interests suffer by the instability of any such dictated peace. The war on the south has wasted, in a futile attempt to destroy an aspiration that has outlasted the attempts of seven centuries, money and wealth that would have provided for the social and economic needs of all sections of the community, and made the people prosperous and happy. No one gains by this war—all lose by it. If the millions spent in the European War had been devoted to provide for the social wants—what a different world we would have to-day."

This was the interview that was supposed to paint me as a vile propagandist and was supposed to paint the officer who is appointed as director of that Bureau as capable of this vile propaganda. This was published in England. I have read it at length for the House because it does show that whenever there was a question between this country and Britain and my views at any rate were asked upon it, I did my best to inform the public who were to read it what were the principal facts of the situation.

From behind a wall of glass, a fortnight after Collins's death.

These were the facts of the situation—the facts of the situation as the Deputy knows they are.

From behind a wall of glass.

Talk about a wall of glass! It proved again what my attitude was, namely, that I could not prevent this thing which at this particular time I indicated was the danger. However, I am not going to go into that. I am not going to get back into any further discussion of the past. I simply gave this. I am willing to be judged on it, on this terrible piece of propaganda that was suggested as showing my powers as a propagandist by Deputy Fitzgerald. In principle then I disagree with Deputy MacDermot. I think my experience is that it is an essential part of State machinery, essential at the present time when we want the public to know the truth, to know the facts, and when we want the public to co-operate with us. This so-called immoral doctrine that has been suggested was used by Deputy Lemass is a statement of fact—that an Executive has been chosen by the people to lead them in a certain work and in order that the people may understand that they are being led in that particular work of reconstruction, they want to be able to co-operate by having the facts put to them. Every Department needs it and this Department, therefore, can with more economy as Deputy Fitzgerald says now that it has been centralised, secure this information so that it can be available for those who seek it and for the people as a whole. There is another matter to which I should refer. On every occasion the members on the opposite side tried to damage as much as they can the Irish Press. We know why. There is one suggestion which was made, and which is a false suggestion. I do not want to call it any stronger name. That is that the Irish Press has been subsidised by State moneys. That is a falsehood.

A demonstrable falsehood—not to Deputy McGilligan, of course, because there is none so blind as those who will not see.

That is a glass house story, at any rate.

None so blind as those who do not want to see. The capital of the Irish Press was subscribed by this country—10,000 shareholders in it—and by friends of Ireland in the United States. It is they who subscribed the capital. If the people who subscribed the money in the United States, and got Irish Press bonds for it, care to use those bonds or did care to use those bonds to subsidise the Irish Press, that is their business. That is their subsidising, and not the subsidising of the State, no matter how some people may twist it.

Even if the promise was got beforehand?

It has nothing to do with the State. The State owed that money to those American citizens. They subscribed that money and it was their money that went into the Irish Press and not any State money.

But not via them.

It was their deliberate will to put it into the Irish Press, and I say again that it is a deliberate falsehood, worthy of those who make it, to suggest that the Irish Press is subsidised from State funds. Still more contemptible is the original suggestion that I was subsidising myself, and putting State moneys into my pocket. I want every Deputy here and I want the country to realise what the real situation is. The capital of the Irish Press was subscribed by Irish people in cash and by American people partly in cash and partly in the bonds which they assigned for that purpose. It is their money then that is in the Irish Press and to suggest that this State is subsidising the Irish Press is just as untrue as it would have been to say that the United States Government was subsidising us when those same American citizens, when I was over there in 1919 and 1921, made available for our fight here American liberty bonds. I got American liberty bonds from American citizens. The capital values of them were redeemed by the Treasury of the United States. Could it be said that the Treasury of the United States was subsidising us? It was a friendly Government to England. Could it be said that because I got American liberty bonds from American citizens the American Treasury was subsidising us? Of course the American Treasury did not subsidise us. Individual American citizens put their bonds to the purpose they were entitled to put them to. They gave me those bonds and it would be as wrong for this State—more wrong for this State —to refuse to pay the moneys on those bonds to the Irish Press, when they had been assigned for that purpose, as it would have been for the United States Treasury to refuse to give the money on those bonds to me as trustee at that time, simply because I was doing something which, perhaps, the American Government did not want in any way to be associated with. I say, therefore, that there is no subsidising of the Irish Press.

As regards the Irish Press being a Party organ there is the usual quibble. What I said was that it was not a Party organ in the sense that it was not under a Party or capable of being controlled by a Party. The Irish Press is a newspaper owned by the subscribers—owned by the shareholders. I was, when I was a member of the directorate, Controlling Director of Policy. That was one of the articles of association. But the Party as a Party could not control it, and there is no control of that paper by the Party. It was founded with a definite policy and a definite purpose, and it has been constant to that policy and to that purpose. I know that the Deputies on the opposite benches dislike that very much, but they will have to put up with it. There is nothing else I feel called upon to comment upon. The question of the annuities was brought in, and there was a suggestion that I would put forward our view with regard to the annuities. The members of the opposite benches when they were a Government used State moneys to give their side of the case——

A Deputy

And England's side of it.

——and it was an imperfect statement of it. I have not got a copy, so I can only venture to give my recollection of the words. So incomplete was it that the very basis of the British claims was dismissed. First of all the fundamental document was not referred to. It was not published, and when Mr. Thomas referred to it as the fundamental document was the first time we got it as a whole. We had to go and search for it in the Departments. He said—I am not giving the exact words, but only their meaning as well as I can recollect it— that this particular original statement was confirmed by documents some time later. That second document was referred to. It was referred to in this particular pamphlet which was brought out. It was sent out at State expense. Lawyers were fed at State expense to give the case. This confirmatory document was dismissed by saying that it had practically nothing to do with it —that it had reference to another much smaller and simpler matter, namely the question of income tax. It is from people who know that such a department existed, from people who have abused it, as I have said, and from people who have used it to give this particular thing here with regard to the annuities, that we have objections raised to our having this Department. I suggest that their own knowledge of how they abused it in their own time is the prime moving purpose in their objections now. That may be valid. It may be valid in the sense that the fact that they did misuse it proves at any rate that it can be misused. I have admitted that. As I have said, so can practically every other Department of State, if there are people there who have the will and the dishonesty to abuse it. As a necessary department, just as other departments are necessary, I recommend it to you.

Those are the actual words in which the second document was referred to: "Those clauses accordingly" that is the ones having reference to the annuities, "represent nothing more than a statement of the dispute as to the right to make income tax deductions." There is somewhere else this other phrase that I have referred to —that it has nothing whatever to do with it.

The whole thing is very clear!

The whole thing is quite clear.

Your statement is extremely lucid.

If the House bears with me, we will explain. We might try and let this blind person who does not want to see, see a little bit of the light.

Have an adjournment and get it afterwards.

Take your time now, sonny.

"The above clauses one and two of the Heads of Ultimate Financial Settlement have no relation to, nor are they any authority, for such payment." That is more explicit than my words, "They had nothing to do with it."

Hear, hear!

I will repeat it for the Deputy. "The above clauses one and two"—that is referring to the annuities—"of the Heads of Ultimate Financial Settlement have no relation to, nor are they any authority, for such payment." That is what is stated in this—this case that probably cost a good part of £1,000 to get out, published by the Government of the day and published, what is more, in anticipation of a general election. This was such an accurate case for it, such an accurate statement of the case, and was so thoroughly honest, that when we come to get from Mr. Thomas the basis of his claim, the very opinion which they dismiss in these words which I have read for you was made the basis of his claim.

Rubbish—entire rubbish !

I have nothing more to say.

I am rising only for a moment. A reference was made by Deputy Fitzgerald to the past relations of the President and Mr. O'Keeffe as follows:—

"On 7th September, 1922, the President wrote: ‘I would like to see S. O'Keeffe for a Press interview. If you get in touch with him I will see how it can be arranged. Ask him to send me along leading questions.'"

Then, Deputy Fitzgerald comments:

"It looks as if the unfortunate people of this country are being asked now to give some unnamed amount—but more than £1,000 a year —to provide the President with somebody near-by whom he can have to ask him leading questions all the time."

In view of what Deputy Fitzgerald's remark amounted to, I put it to the House whether the reading aloud of that long interview is not something of a character that debars the President from accusing anybody else of misusing the privileges of this House. He made a statement a moment ago on the subject of the Irish Press. I am a steady reader of the Irish Press.

Mr. Rice

Do you buy it?

As a matter of fact, I always find that reading a newspaper of opposite political opinions to one's own serves better than anything else to confirm one's own political opinions. I listened, however, with astonishment to the President's statement that that organ is absolutely independent as regards its conduct of policy because if that be so, it appears to me a most extraordinary coincidence that never once have I seen in its columns the slightest reflection on the wisdom of the Fianna Fáil Government in anything, great or small, since it came into office. It appears to me that if a newspaper has swallowed as completely as that newspaper has done, the doctrine of the infallibility of a particular Government on all occasions, it is a misuse of words to call it an independent organ of opinion.

The interview which the President read to us was interesting, and, from a purely selfish and personal point of view, I am not sorry to have heard it. It gives me the opportunity of making this remark to him. Great objections can be urged, both from the Irish point of view and from the English point of view, to the Treaty and could have been urged at the time but I suggest to him that whatever objections there were to the Treaty fade into insignificance beside the objections there were to proceeding with his plan of seeking something called "external association." I suggest to him that the notion adumbrated in that interview, that external association was something which would have satisfied the sentiment of Northern Ireland, is utterly absurd and that there was no hope whatever of settling Irish affairs on the basis of that idea of external association at that time. I dare say many of us had alternatives in our minds as preferable to the Treaty. I myself had. I would have much preferred to see a system inaugurated of Dominion Home Rule here in Ireland for a period of years, with the understanding that after that period had expired, we should have a free vote on whether we should stay in the Commonwealth or go out of it.

What, however, is the good of going into all these old matters now? I suggest to him that a very useful thing which the new Press Bureau might do for him would be to keep him thoroughly informed as to what is taking place in South Africa. He mentioned the name of General Smuts, and it is worth while recording how completely General Smuts's policy in his own country has been justified by events and how General Hertzog, who, a few years ago, corresponded to President de Valera, has now come round to General Smuts's point of view, and how Mr. Malan, who, perhaps, might be said to correspond to Mr. George Gilmore or some other extreme Republican leader, has also come round nine-tenths of the way, and how the affairs of South Africa are now in a happier state on the constitutional side than they have been since the Boer War. For heaven's sake, let the Press Bureau inform the President and the country about things like that, that have a real lesson for ourselves. Instead of running after will o' the wisps, let the Press Bureau induce the President's followers to grasp the fact that it is the reality of independence that matters.

Might I ask Deputy MacDermot one question before he concludes? In the course of his remarks he said that reading newspapers representing political points of view different from those expressed by his own Party only confirmed him in his sense of the righteousness of his own Party——

I said nothing about my Party.

The Deputy said that reading newspapers representing different points of view from his own only confirmed him in his own point of view. Would the Deputy tell the House, if that is so, what is he doing on his present bench?

Mr. Rice and Mr. Anthony rose.

This debate has gone on for two days and many Deputies have spoken a couple of times. I think it is time it came to an end and I move that the question be now put.

I am accepting the motion that the question be now put.

Mr. Rice

I thought the Chair had called on me.

You have taken about three days at it already.

Question put: "That the question be now put."
The Committee divided: Tá, 71; Níl, 49.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cleary, Mícheál.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flinn, Hugo. V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin,
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • 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, Timothy Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Dolan, James Nicholas.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGuire, James Ivan.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Rowlette, Robert James.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Traynor; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Main Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 68; Níl, 49.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cleary, Mícheál.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Gibbons, Sean.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • 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, Timothy Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Dolan, James Nicholas.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGuire, James Ivan.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Rowlette, Robert James.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Little and Traynor; Níl; Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.