Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 65—Army.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £1,002,368 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1936, chun costais an Airm agus Chúltaca an Airm (maraon le Deontaisí áirithe i gCabhair) fé sna hAchtanna Fórsaí Cosanta (Forálacha Sealadacha); chun costaisí airithe riaracháin ina thaobh san; agus chun costaisí fén Acht Bunreachta (Leasú Uimh. 17), 1931.

That a sum not exceeding £1,002,368 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, for the cost of the Army and the Army Reserve (including certain Grants-in-Aid) under the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Acts; certain administrative expenses in connection therewith and expenses under the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act, 1931.

I want, first of all, to draw the attention of the House to an error that appears in page 305 in connection with the Vote. There is an item, Superannuation, etc., Vote No. 16, appearing as £465,000, whereas it should be £465. That will bring down the total from £2,641,280 to £2,176,745.

The Estimates of the Army Vote for the financial year 1935-36 are based on the following establishments:—Regular Army—583 officers, 5,300 other ranks, 16 nurses, 27 cadets and 9 chaplains; Class A Reserve—4,800 other ranks; Class B Reserve—1,000 other ranks; Reserve of Officers—250 officers, and Volunteer Force—22,000 all ranks.

As regards the Regular Army, the number of officers shows an increase of 23, and that of other ranks a decrease of 50 as compared with the number provided for in the Estimate for 1934-35. Of the 23 officers, 16 are cadets who will be eligible for commissions during the financial year, four will be specially recruited for the Army Corps of Engineers, and the remaining three are three of five officers specially commissioned for scientific research in connection with experiments which are being carried out in the Army. The number of other ranks provided for has been reduced by 50, but the total number of 5,300 represents the actual average strength maintained during the year 1934-35.

The reduction in the number of Class A reservists from 5,200 to 4,800 is simply due to the discharge of men whose period of service in the reserve has expired. This factor also explains the reduction of Class B reservists from 2,500 to 1,000, but while the A Reserve will continue to be fed by transfers from the Regular Army, the B Reserve will gradually disappear, because recruiting for it has ceased, and there will not, therefore, be any further transfers to it from the Regular Army.

The Volunteer Reserve and the Officers' Training Corps have been disestablished consequent on the establishment of the Volunteer Force. Officers of the Volunteer Reserve have been for the most part transferred to the Reserve of Officers—a fact which explains the increase in that arm of the Reserve from 239 to 250. Cadets of the Officers' Training Corps and the rank and file of the Volunteer Reserve have been given the option of transfer to the Volunteer Force or of taking their discharge on terms governed by the regulations relating to those units.

The 22,000 all ranks provided for under the heading of the Volunteer Force comprise the following:—12,000 1st Line Volunteers enlisted and trained during 1934-35; 5,000 1st Line Volunteers to be enlisted and trained during 1935-36; 3,000 1st Line Volunteers to be enlisted but not trained during 1935-36; 1,000 2nd Line Volunteers enlisted and trained during 1934-35; 1,000 2nd Line Volunteers to be enlisted and trained during 1935-36.

Further in pursuance of the policy of making this force self-contained, provision has been made for the pay of 3,500 non-commissioned and 100 commissioned officers who will have undergone and passed the required tests during the financial year 1934-35.

Turning from the basis of the Estimate to the financial structure which has been erected upon it, we find that the total gross cost is £1,538,556, which represents a gross increase of £35,720, or, deducting Appropriations-in-Aid, a net increase of £26,637 on the amount granted in the financial year 1934-35. The Army Estimate, as it stands at present, is not a very compact structure, representing, as it does, many additions to the original structure, necessitated by the development of the Army. Instead, therefore, of dealing with the financial aspect sub-head by sub-head, we may get a clearer idea of what it involves if we deal with the figures under the four comprehensive headings of:— (a) Pay (including Cash Allowances); (b) Maintenance (including Rations, Clothing and Quartering); (c) Transport, and (d) Warlike Stores.

Analysing the figures under those headings, this is what we find:— (a) Pay and Cash Allowances absorb £935,216; (b) Maintenance absorbs £426,643; (c) Transport takes £62,290, and (d) Stores take £114,397, making a total of £1,538,546.

Now, stores and transport are common to all arms of the defence forces, so that it would not serve any useful purpose to determine how much is absorbed by each arm. Omitting those two aspects, and concentrating on pay and maintenance, totalling £1,361,859, we find on analysis that the cost is distributed as follows:— (a) Regular Army (5,927 all ranks), £980,461; (b) Reserve (6,050 all ranks), £97,580; (c) Volunteer Force (22,000 all ranks), £146,335, and (d) Civilians, £137,483, making a total of £1,361,859.

On a previous occasion we stated that our defence policy was, briefly, to have a small standing highly-trained Army which would serve as a pivot around which might, if necessary, be organised, developed, and trained, the entire man-power of the State. In the light of the figures just given it is clear that the most economical method of carrying out that policy, and of making full use of the standing Army is to develop the Volunteer Force along the lines begun during the past financial year.

The cost of transport, £62,290, is made up as follows:— (a) mechanical transport, £26,490; (b) horse transport, £15,845, and (c) rail transport, £19,955, totalling £62,290.

The cost of conveyance by rail shows a decrease on that for the previous year, but the provision for horse and mechanical transport has had to be increased in the case of the former, because of the increased cost of maintenance, and in that of the latter because of the necessity of renewing cars and lorries which have outlived the period of their economic existence.

As regards stores, there is also an increase due to the necessity of renewing aircraft, which has become obsolete, and has had to be put out of commission. In connection with stores generally, it should be noted that in relation to the total cost of the Army, we are spending less on warlike material and equipment than any other country in Europe, with the possible exceptions of Albania and Bulgaria. This is principally due to the fact that hitherto we have concentrated more on man-power than on mechanical power. We are not, of course, neglecting the aspect of mechanisation, and as far as our resources permit, we are making every effort to familiarise the Army with this new form of defence. We are, for instance, training the troops in the use of modern tanks, new mechanical fighting vehicles, the latest pattern of trench mortars, the latest models of heavy and light machine guns, and the most up-to-date methods of wireless telephonic and telegraphic communication in the field. Our efforts in this direction have so far been mainly experimental, but we hope with the lessons thereby acquired to provide the Army gradually with the most modern equipment which our resources can afford.

Reverting to the formal printed Estimate, there are a few points which would seem to require explanation. The first is the provision for compensation, sub-head U. This is not a new sub-head, but a reinstatement of an old one. Up to the year 1928-29 compensation was treated as a separate sub-head, but from that year, as the amount required was small, it was no longer treated separately but was included under sub-head X, "incidental expenses." This year, as the amount required has again become large, it has been decided to make it the subject of a special sub-head. It includes: (a) the former provision for compensation arising out of accidents in which Army vehicles are involved; (b) provision for property commandeered or damaged by the National Army which is necessitated by the passing of the Damage to Property Act, 1931, and (c) a new provision to compensate officers or men who are killed or injured during training, and who cannot be dealt with under the ordinary Pensions Acts.

There is also a new sub-head for "Honoraria to Secretaries of Sluaighte." This was included under sub-head C of the previous year's Vote, but as the secretaries are not strictly either civilian or military subjects of the Department, it has been decided to make separate provision for their service. Included under sub-head X are two new items—one for a military tattoo, and the other for assistance to athletics and gliding. For the former a token sum of £10 is required to authorise the holding of the tattoo, and for the latter a sum of £500 has been asked to promote by means of trophies, etc., the development of sport and athletics in the Army, and to enable the Department through the Army Air Corps to assist the development of gliding.

At the military tattoo, which will be held in September, we hope to be able to give a demonstration of the Sokol system of physical culture, which, under the guidance of an officer of the Czecho-Slovakian Army, is being taught for some months past at the Military School at the Curragh. Every modern nation has realised the importance of physical culture not only for its soldiers but also for the general body of its citizens. In CzechoSlovakia, for instance, it has been inculcated as a national duty, and has formed no small part in the national revival of that country. The characteristic of the Sokol system is that it stresses the sport, games, or playing aspect of the exercises, and thus eliminates the fatigue element in them. It is obvious that such a system opens up a wide vista of possibilities for developing physical culture in this country, and it is hoped that in time we shall be able through the medium of Army instructors to introduce the system into our schools and colleges, and thus stimulate the physical development of the nation.

The outstanding fact of importance in the life of the Army during the year has been the development of the Volunteer force. Applications for enrolment have exceeded all expectations; enlistments have been so numerous that we have had to seek the help of the ordinary civil medical practitioners in examining the applicants; and barracks have had to be opened as depots to provide training centres for recruits. The training of the Volunteers has taxed the resources of the regular Army almost to the limit, but to the credit of both officers and men it must be said that they have thrown themselves into the work with energy and enthusiasm. Many of the Volunteers after completing their initial training, have undergone special courses of training in the technical branches of Army service, and have returned to their local units as instructors. Under the circumstances we have had to concentrate mainly on the development of the first line of the Volunteers, but during the coming year we hope to be able to give more attention to the organisation and training of the second and third lines, the recruitment of which has also been quite satisfactory.

The physical well-being of the Army is excellent, its discipline even under the stress of the past year has been all that could be desired, and no higher tribute could be paid to its morale and efficiency than the manner in which it has during the year faced the task of handling and training some 5,000 reservists and some 12,000 Volunteers.

I move: "That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration."

In putting my name to a motion that this Estimate be referred back for further consideration, I want to make it clear that nobody on this side of the House has any objection either to Army payments or Army costs and that nobody on this side of the House has any criticism to offer with regard to Army administration or the conduct of the Army. There is dissatisfaction, however, not only here but outside, with regard to the manner in which the Army has been used for the last 12 months and is being used. The Army of Ireland is the plaything of no politician. It is not the personal property of any political party, and it is unfair to the Army and to the country, and to all those who are depending on the Army for their safety, to attempt to appropriate that important institution of the State as the toy of politicians.

All too frequently of late we have had, at great cost to the taxpayers, and merely for the political effect in the Party sense, the Army and the unfortunate personnel of the Army hurled from point to point merely to salute the political chiefs of a political Party. There is no objection—and it is the custom here as well as elsewhere—to the President of the State or to the Minister for Defence or to any person representing either of them, being saluted at a march past, but it is going a little bit beyond the normal expectations to have Army units hurled helter-skelter all over the country in order to pay a tribute to every member of the political party in power—members of the Executive and Parliamentary Secretaries. I think it would have taken nothing from the nation's tribute to St. Patrick if those various salutes had been taken by Army officers.

We have, in addition to that, the Army hurled around from one political meeting to another, where their presence was not required, to the discomfort of the unfortunate officer in charge and to the irritation and aggravation of those attending and addressing the meeting, for the vindictive political purpose alone of giving the impression that those who oppose the present Government could only hold meetings under Army protection. We have these parades being carried out as a bellicose gesture to any and all who happen to differ from Fianna Fáil in their political policy, even to their late comrades, the I.R.A., with the result that the Army was submitted to the humiliating position of being shelled with rotten eggs, or witnessing the Army's Minister being shelled with rotten eggs, merely in an attempt to carry out a political demonstration in a county that had changed its allegiance, or merely to enter into a political squabble between two sections in that particular county.

The Army and the country went through difficult times, and times of political controversy, in the past, but never before this régime was there the same deliberate and determined attempt to use the Army as the political plaything of the Party in power. It is not good for the Army. It is not good for the Party in power, nor is it good for the country. I am pleased to stand up here, at a time when the Army is recognised by the present Minister for Defence, just as it is recognised by myself, as Ireland's Army and as the only Army that has a right to exist here. Too often, in the past, however, we had to listen to the same Minister jibing and sneering at Ireland's Army. I put down my name to this motion in order to make a protest against that kind of thing. Precedents can be established—good, healthy precedents, and dangerous, unhealthy precedents—and the present Government is neither the first nor the last Government in this country. If we allow that type of precedent to be established and to go unchallenged, little by little others will come to use that Army more and more for political purposes and political demonstrations, relying on the discipline, loyalty, and good conduct of the personnel of the Army; but it is a thing that should be discouraged irrespective of what side of this House we sit on and irrespective of what political Party badge or label we carry on our coats.

We have in advance of us a big military demonstration planned for Easter. There is to be a big military parade in the streets of Dublin in order to bolster up and attract attention to, and attract the crowd for, a Fianna Fáil flag-day to be held in the city at the same time and at the same hour. The Minister has had passed on to him a splendid, efficient, and highly disciplined Army; an Army whose conduct is of the best both in and out of barracks, on duty and off duty. It is a mistake to be playing tricks by forcing these men, who had been detached from politics, back into the arena of controversial politics. It is neither fair to the Army nor to your Party or to this Party.

The Army must be above and outside of politics. It is a mere accident that a politician must be Minister for Defence and he should not attempt to stamp his political views on the Army. Neither should he attempt to associate the Army with his political parades.

The last 12 months have shown a disastrous turn in the affairs of the Army, and a thing about which a word of warning has to be raised, and I hope that the protest I am making and the words I am using will be taken in the spirit in which they are given. It is the duty of the Army to obey and the minister should be proud of the obedience he has got. As a little return for or tribute to the good conduct and discipline of Ireland's Army, he should refrain from provoking anything like a spirit of tacit resentment of the instructions he issues to that Army. He will get support; he will get obedience; and a little human charity and understanding from him is due to them. If there were a change of Government or a change of Ministers to-morrow and some other body and some other Party sat over there, I would still resent any attempt by that Party or that Minister to march or transport the Army around from point to point in order to pay tribute to second-bench politicians or to bolster up the flag-day of a political Party.

The Minister is treading on very thin ice. His political anxieties were sufficiently pronounced in the formation of the new reserve forces. In order to show that they were different from Ireland's Army and the personnel of that Army he deliberately went out of his way to provide different uniforms and to officer that new group by rabid politicians who had been so violent in their political activities that they had been leaders in arms against the Army of which he is head to-day. Every one of us could encourage the growth and the spread and development of a Volunteer reserve in this country, but why pick out the men, bring them home from abroad, who had been in arms against the National Army in order to officer that new Volunteer reserve force? Neither the Army nor the people over here can forget that when seats were changed we had on the Army Estimate year after year the voice of the man who is now President of the Executive Council crying out against the continued existence of a standing Army in this country and pointing out that sooner or later it had to be replaced by some form of Volunteer reserve. Has his policy on that point changed like so many other things? If it has not changed, is the Army to welcome this new force that the President has brought into being to wipe out the Army itself?

We have listened to the numbers read out by the Minister. This new semi-political force numbers 22,000 and the standing Army and the A Reserve and the B Reserve number approximately 7,000. Is the Minister rapidly reaching the point where he can carry out the President's policy as enunciated from this bench? Are members of the standing Army, who have given good service to him and his predecessors to see the day approaching when they will be told: "Go; we have sufficient of the new force to take on your duties?" If the Minister wants this reserve more generally supported inside and outside the Army it has to be made clear that no force is growing in this country outside the gates of the barracks that is going to tell those within: "Get out; others will carry out your functions." If the Minister wants this or any other reserve more generally supported he has to see that it is officered by men free from rabid political views. If we have to appreciate the fact that vested interests have been created, rightly or wrongly, and that a man taken out of a job and put into an Army appointment is entitled to some security of tenure, then I suggest to the Minister that those officering that new force should be sent into areas where they had no previous associations of a violent nature. I think that is only fair to the people.

The ordinary Deputy sitting behind the Minister, the ordinary man who wears uniform in this country, does not stand for reviving old spleens and bitterness. It would be as unwise to send prominent members of the National Army back into areas where there was hot blood and hard fighting, and station them in some kind of semi-permanent position, as it was unwise to do what the Minister has done. I suggest that if there was some necessity for a political gesture at the beginning the mere figures he has read out show that he has reached the point where there is no necessity for such a gesture; that it will be misunderstood; that it will give cause for uneasiness; that it will create uneasiness in the Army, as well as undermining the confidence of the public. The Minister should meet people on this side as far as possible in ensuring that Ireland's Army will get the support of all. We stood for that in the past; we stand for it now; we want to support that Army and every uniformed branch of that Army; and it should not be made difficult for us, and difficult for recruits down the country, and as far as committees have a political complexion, and as far as the officers are definitely stamped with a political brand, that particular situation should be remedied in the interests of all.

I heard the Minister, when referring to the reduction in the strength of the Army reserves, say that the strength of the Army reserves had been reduced by those who had completed their service or were time-expired. From my own knowledge, I am definitely of opinion that that statement was not strictly accurate. There have been many members of the Army reserve dismissed or removed from the reserve, not because they had served their period, or because they were time expired, but because they showed and exercised the citizen's right to support the political organisation of Fine Gael. They were removed for no sufficiently stated reason, but the world knows that it is because of their support of Fine Gael that they were removed from the Army reserve. When I say Fine Gael I include the League of Youth. But we have not heard of any regulation or of any removal from the reserve because of reservists' associations with the Irish Republican Army. There has got to be very strict justice at the head of the Army.

There has got to be very careful handling not only of those in the Army but of reservists outside the Army. When a reservist goes out into civilian life he does not shed any of his citizen's rights or of his citizen's privileges. His support for any political party should not be made a condition of his continuing on the reserve. A reservist has a perfect right to support a political party opposed to the Minister, and should not be penalised by losing his position and losing his few pence a day. That has been done with an intensity and a ferocity in the past 18 months that are surprising even in the Minister for Defence. It is just on a par with what I said earlier with regard to the use of the Army. By every act and every gesture there is a deliberate and dangerous attempt to steep the Army in politics, or to dictate the politics of the personnel of the Army, inside and outside barracks.

The League of Youth is an organisation which has a perfect right to exist. In case there was any doubt as to whether it would be unjustly treated in the same way as previous organisations, they were not afraid to go and invoke the advice and protection of the courts of the land. What right has any Minister to say: "Because you belong to that organisation you will not belong to Ireland's Army?" If he understood the minds and aims of the men who constitute that organisation he would understand that if the Army ever wants a friend in any crisis it will be to the members of that organisation it will turn. The whole thing is stamped with the mark of the political tyrant at the head, dictating to the people who happen to be his subordinates for the time being. It is wrong; it is disgraceful; it is doing the Government no good, and it should cease.

With regard to political meetings, it is unwise to send Army units to those meetings. I do not know what their orders are. I have seen violence at meetings where the Army was present, and it was quite clear that it would not do for the Army to intervene. If it was unwise for the Army to intervene—and I agree that it was—what was the point in sending them to such meetings? I saw a big party of steel-hatted troops at a Fine Gael meeting at Dundalk, in the Minister's constituency. Was the Minister so very solicitous for our safety in his own constituency? Did he know so very much about the elements which supported him that he thought life would not be safe? We had the Army standing by, inactive, and properly so. We do not care what the Army costs provided the people get value for it and provided the Army is allowed to give the value it is capable of giving, but an Army confined to barracks when evil conditions flourish in the country, an Army released from barracks only for political effect on political occasions, is not going to be of value to the people. It is not going to be subscribed to willingly by the people. The Army is willing to protect and capable of protecting the people against any armed menance, and we are not unaware of armed menances in this country. What is there in the Army distribution to indicate that the Army is even allowed to do its job in that regard? We have the Army deprived of a national intelligence system. The whole intelligence system has been transferred to another body. The Army is left to rely on secondhand information, and is possibly drinking out of poisoned wells. That is not a sound position in which to have the Army. We have some subterranean rumblings, and very evident activity here and there, but what function or what liberty has the Army? Towards what end is it being used? The biggest menace I see for the people of this country comes from within and little by little we have the Army becoming concentrated at certain points. From a purely military point of view that might be all right, but from the point of view of the county or from the point of view of the citizen who has only the Army to rely on for protection, it is anything but sound. Now that the Army is highly trained, now that its conduct is beyond question, and that certain latitude has promoted the growth of other organisations in the country, I would suggest that the time has come when the Army should be more generally distributed throughout the country. I know that the Army is strong enough to face and break any menance that will grow up within this country, but it will take time before contact is established. It will take time before the Army is spread out through the various counties. What about the taxpayer inside those counties during the interval? Does he not count?

History and experience tell us that when there is any kind of violence and that kind which will be directed against persons and property, that the last target for such activities will be the Army itself. And we will have that interval, be it long or short, between the time when violence raises its head and the Army gets out and establishes contact. The Army was thrown in, sucked into the central pivot, because there had been no previous time for training, because discipline had to be instilled in the troops, because perfect contact had got to be insured. There is nobody now nervous about the discipline or conduct of the Army. I believe that if it is to be really the type of insurance for people that the people know it could be, and if you really want to instil into the minds of the people that they have an article there that is well worth paying for, I would say the Army should be more widely distributed. It will reassure the citizens throughout the counties. It will show the people what they are paying for, and the people will understand that they are paying for it. The Army Vote and Army costs would be given more freely by the general public if the Army was more widely distributed throughout the country.

I heard the Minister, in the course of his remarks with regard to this new reserve, point out that it had increased so rapidly that civilian medical personnel has got to be requisitioned to deal with it. Before the Minister stated that at all I had noticed the numbers of the medical officers in the Army—very small numbers indeed. The numbers are given in a way in which it is rather difficult to dissociate or to separate the doctors from the dentists. The total number is 29 and I take it that there is no doctor with a rank lower than captain so that there are 23 doctors and six dentists. If the present personnel of that corps with the service is insufficient to deal with the present ordinary situation, should not the numbers be increased? Personally I am satisfied—it is my opinion for what it is worth—that the numbers are entirely inadequate. If there are 23 doctors and each man is entitled to a month's leave in the year, that means that there are really always two of them on leave and that brings down the number to 21. Rather than calling in civilian doctors I would suggest to the Minister this point: we all know with regard to recruiting that recruits and recruitment are of quite a different standard in the case of military doctors and civilian doctors. It is an important thing for an Army to have uniformity to the very greatest extent. If you have 1,000 men recruited according to one medical standard and another 1,000 recruited according to an entirely different medical standard you have nothing like the uniformity that is desirable in an Army. I would, therefore, suggest to the Minister that the strength of that particular corps should be increased rather than have the system which the Minister says has already been adopted.

Then take these figures again and assuming that the six lieutenants are dentists, I suggest to him that the time has come when those six lieutenants should disappear and be replaced by six captains. One profession is in no way inferior to the other. The professions are co-equal. The last lieutenant-doctor has been promoted captain and the dentist is a lieutenant since 1922-1923. He has been ten years there doing his job efficiently, giving satisfaction to all or he would not be there still. Is there to be no avenue to promotion open to that particular profession? Is there any particular military necessity for keeping the dental lieutenant down all the time? Surely he is a far more valuable man now either as a dentist or as an officer than he was ten years ago. When this particular Estimate comes next before the House I hope we will have the number of captains increased by the number of lieutenants and that none of the present or existing lieutenants will still be lieutenants.

I have heard many complaints—I do not know and I am not in a position to say exactly what grounds there are for them—that there has been a fairly deliberate pruning out of members of the Army who were previously in the British Army. I have heard that complaint from so many different sources that I am slow to doubt it. I want to know definitely and clearly from the Minister if those particular men who served in the British Army and subsequently enrolled in Ireland's Army are being thrown out now. The Minister knows as well as I do that the nearest thing to a professional soldier is the man who served in the British Army and then had a ten or 12 years' period in our Army. Leaving sentiment and all that kind of thing on one side, if the Army is as efficient as we are proud to say it is to-day, if it is highly trained and highly skilled, we have got to recognise that to a very great extent that was done by the men who had previous experience and who freely gave their experience and their knowledge to building up and making a competent and capable Army in the country. Now because the Army is trained to a very great extent by these men, it seems like biting the hands that fed you to turn around and jerk all these men out of the Army and throw them aside as is done with an orange that is squeezed. These men gave their knowledge and their services and loyalty to make the Army the credit that it is to the country, and they should get fairer treatment than we have heard they are getting.

I desire to second this resolution. The very fact that the Minister whose usual reception on his Estimates in this House had been very sympathetic in previous years has drawn on himself the criticism that Deputy O'Higgins spoke of this evening, shows the position that has arisen. The Minister found an Army which was above politics. It was above personalities. He had a difficulty in many ways in approaching the situation, and the belief that that was so, the speeches and acts of the Minister and his colleagues up to the very date of taking office would have prevented him realising that he was approaching the administration of an Army that was, as I said, above politics and above personalities. It is to his credit that he was not long in realising that, and if there has been so little of criticism on the Army administration up to the present it is because everybody recognises in spite of his difficulties in the matter, that when he found an Army like that, he appreciated the situation and dealt with it on the merits as he found it.

The tragedy, because it is a tragedy, of the present situation is that the political difficulties into which the Government have got themselves, arising out of their general economic and political policies, are of such a nature now that every expedient is tried to either meet these difficulties or overcome them, and in a despairing kind of way, it would appear that the Army during the past nine months, has been thrown into the political situation and is being monkeyed with for the purpose of seeing whether by using it politically it cannot be made help to get the Government out of some of its political difficulties. The Minister cannot but realise in his heart that he is only creating additional difficulties, not only for the Government but for the country generally, and as Dr. O'Higgins said, we come to a peak point in a situation developing over the past nine months when we find the Army brought to Dublin on Easter Sunday to be made the centre-piece of a collection for the Fianna Fáil political Party's funds.

This House last year in a Supplementary Estimate, voted £1,000 for the purchasing of a piece of sculpture with the intention of placing it in the General Post Office and unveiling it sometime as a monument for the men of 1916. There was a criticism of that proposal from these benches when that Estimate was brought before us. There has been no announcement that this House knows of, that it is proposed officially to unveil the memorial on Easter Sunday, but we have seen Press notices that the Minister has met a number of persons and formed a committee—it is probably called an Easter Week Memorial Committee— to control and look after some kind of demonstration to take place in the city on Easter Sunday on the occasion of the unveiling by the President.

It was announced about 21st March that the Minister had seen representatives of seven different bodies. That they had agreed to form this committee. We have seen notices in the papers from this committee apparently inviting persons to apply to them in connection with partaking in this type of commemoration, and taking their places in the procession. We saw in the Press of April 1st a notice that three of these bodies, although they unanimously agreed to form the committee, have dissociated themselves from it. We do not know whether it is an official committee but whatever kind of committee it is, it now seems to be broken up by political disagreements. We do not know whether this committee is to control and direct the Army's march on that occasion or whether the parties applying are going to take part in the procession with the Army, or whether it is a different procession, but we do know that the Dublin Corporation has been invited by this committee, as if it were an official committee, to take part in the proceedings.

Everything about the procedure of the committee and the notices that the Fianna Fáil Party intends to hold a flag-day on Palm Sunday and on other days in Holy Week, and on Easter Sunday, gives it the complexion of a Fianna Fáil Party political demonstration, and the Army is brought into the picture to be the centre-piece of the whole lot, and the Army, as far as we can understand, is to include the Army drawn from every county in the country, the new Volunteer force, as well as the Regular Army. This is the culminating point of developments which have taken place during the last 12 months. As Deputy O'Higgins said, the Minister has never been criticised with regard to expenditure on the Army. Those who sit on the Front Benches had their own ideas as to what should be spent on an army before they got into power. Speaking at Waterford shortly before he came into power, Mr. de Valera, to take the extreme, said:

"The Army was never necessary. It was kept there by people who believed they would not be left in power if Republican and Nationalist Irishmen could be in one common assembly."

That was three months before he took over office. The Army was not necessary, but in March, 1932, the expenditure on it was £1,247,000. The Minister is now asking us to expend £1,503,000. The Estimates have risen. They were up last year and, no doubt, a considerable part of the increase was due to the creation of the new Volunteer force. Nobody has particularly criticised the Minister in his scheme for developing the Volunteer side of the Army in the particular way he has planned. He tells us his idea is to have a small trained Army and to develop a Volunteer force around it. Personally, I have my doubts whether he is doing it in the proper way, but I am willing to give the Minister all the benefit of the doubt, and I am willing not to criticise his expenditure on the Volunteer side of the Army or in either the organising or administrative aspect of it, but we do require to know from a Minister who got an Army entirely above politics and entirely above personalities, what kind of an Army he is going to hand over to any successors of his?

He need only look around him to see the type of speeches made by various members of his Party and the various units of his organisation to see that in the rest of the country some kind of an answer is wanted. In February last, the Fianna Fáil Executive in Kerry devoted some attention to the Army, and in a rather elaborate statement issued by it and published in the Irish Press of February 8th, they said:

"Instead of `perpetuating and popularising the same Free State Army of 1922-23,' the Government has proceeded to displace it by a new Volunteer Army, built on a new system and with a predominantly new personnel. The latter are young men who were not involved in the civil war. Their inclusion is a more commendable step towards the noble objective of ending the legacy of hatred and disunion left by the civil war."

Here we have a Fianna Fáil Executive telling us that the regular Army is to be displaced by a new volunteer Army. We have, as Deputy O'Higgins said, a movement which developed very definitely within the last year of getting rid of members of the League of Youth and ex-members of the British Army. When we see tendencies of that particular kind and when we see statements made by the Fianna Fáil Executive, we are invited to ask the Minister here whether he is going to hand over an Army above politics and above personalities. If the Minister is thinking in terms of a citizen army he should, in his administration, appeal to the manly thought and instincts that are in the country. The Minister, in my opinion, is deliberately trampling on the manly instincts of a very big part of the population, or rather he is trampling down a big part of the population and spurning them from his citizen force. The Minister cannot shut his eyes to the fact that if there did arise in 1932 and 1933 a particular movement amongst certain young men in this country—that they were not going to be put down and pulled off political platforms by any particular political Party or any other crowd—that the attitude of himself and his colleagues to the political circumstances of 1932 was entirely responsible for it. He is blind to the fact that the present Minister for Justice called upon the country, as it were, to get the accursed crowd out of the way and the accursed crowd were people who went to various parts of the country to political meetings to discuss matters affecting Irish politics and Irish economics. The Minister knows it was necessary—if a big section of our people were not to have their months shut and their minds beaten down— for some young men to come out and assist the State forces, as they did, to get freedom of public speech, a right for which this country has striven for many generations where people fought for it and worked for it. It suited the political managers of the Minister's Party and the Ministers themselves to brand these men as forces of lawlessness and disorder that challenge their particular movement. The Minister should remember that last year he continued to apply that brand to those who were members of the League of Youth and, in reply to a Parliamentary question in May last, he indicated that in a number of different counties he had discharged from the reserve before their time and without any reason being given 61 members because they were members of the League of Youth. Quite a number have been discharged since. A number of these were not members of the League of Youth but they mended boots or made clothes for or had some social connection with the League of Youth and they were put out of the Army. The Minister is aware that what Dr. O'Higgins says with regard to the ex-servicemen is only too true. While he knows that he himself in, say, an area like West Donegal is glad to avail himself of the services of an ex-British soldier to train some members of the Sluagh, nevertheless, playing up to some of the lower instincts of his own political followers he runs a vendetta against members of the Army who were in the British Army. And he has in several cases inflicted hardships on families in putting them out of the Army. I would like to think that recently he has changed, but there are particular cases that have come to my personal knowledge and I feel that any change in the situation is brought about by the fact that he could not stand over some of the cases in which families of men who served for many years in the Army would have been evicted out of the Army houses and put on the roadside without a house or prospect of employment for the ex-soldier.

The Minister ought to think of the Army as a machine, not because a mere piece of machinery is going to be of any use to the country but because if the Army is not thought of as a machine, there will neither be a national spirit nor any other kind of spirit in it. If the Army is to be the cockpit of politics, it is not going to have any national spirit but it will have all the friction and disagreement which it is possible to bring in amongst a crowd of men. One thing will make the Army national. It is the same thing which will make it effective—to look at it purely from the point of view of technical efficiency and sound administration, a body with a definite service to give to the country. If it is the Minister's thought that the Army can throw open its physical instructors' training to the country, that would be a national service probably as great as the Army in 1935, 1936 or 1937 will be called upon to give. That is a service which has been very badly neglected up to the present by the Department of Education. Even if the Minister thinks that that service can be rendered by the Army at present, or in the next few years, then, for the purpose of rendering that service alone, he ought to keep the Army clear of the type of politics that are gathering around it at the present time.

We do not know what to think with regard to the political tendencies of the new Volunteer reserve. As has been already said, if it was necessary to salute anybody on St. Patrick's Day, they ought to have saluted the military officer. What is going to be the effect on this Volunteer force of being brought to Dublin on Easter Sunday and made the cockpit of an ugly political kind of fight? If the Minister brought together a group of societies only two or three weeks ago for the purpose of running this commemoration and if they have split in half, does he think that no reflex of that is going to reach the various Volunteer units throughout the country? It is quite impossible to think that it will not reach them. I should like to know from the Minister what exactly is to be the function and the position of the Army on Easter Sunday next. Again, I remind the Minister that he has never been exposed to criticism of any kind on his Estimate here. We do realise that, approaching the Army with wrong views about it, he took the situation as he found it and that, in the early stages of his administration of the Army, no complaint could be made. He has obviously reversed his thought with regard to the Army and, if we criticise him now, it is because we see he is developing in a direction which is going to leave us with an Army which not only will be no use but which will have lurking in it all kinds of serious dangers.

Now that all the experts have voiced their views, I think it is time that an ordinary back-bencher should have an innings. The experts have intervened not for the purpose of improving the situation but for the purpose of throwing sand into the cogs of the machine. Deputy Mulcahy made use of the historic words: "The Minister found an Army above personalities and above politics." It would be well if the sponsors of that Army—the sponsors who attempted to justify their actions in the past in regard to the Army—were as much above personalities and politics as is the Army for which they pretend to speak. "The whole thing is stamped with the political tyrant in the saddle." There you have personalities; there you have politics. Would to God those men who attempt to speak for the Army would follow the example of the Army and avoid personalities and politics. "The whole thing is stamped with a political tyrant in the saddle." Who is the political tyrant who is in the saddle? Is it the present Minister for Defence? During the past two years I have been speaking to several members of the regular Army. They were ordinary privates and one and all assured me that conditions in the Army had improved tenfold under the régime of the present Minister for Defence. A little human charity, Deputy O'Higgins said, would not be out of place. He ought to adopt that advice. I never heard such a vitriolic farrago of nonsense as I heard from Deputy O'Higgins on a number of occasions here. His very manner, his aggresiveness and his tone of voice, would turn blood to gall in any man's veins. A little human charity would not be out of place in the case of Deputy O'Higgins.

Members of the regular Army—scores of them—during the past two years have told me—they were not members of our particular political creed—that the conditions in the Army were tenfold better under the régime of the present Minister for Defence than they were under the régime of the last Minister for Defence. So much for the human charity of which Deputy O'Higgins speaks so soothingly. "The whole thing is stamped with the political tyrant in the saddle." Is there any human charity in that? "Physician, cure thyself." So far as the Volunteers are concerned, they have come to stay. Deputy O'Higgins's speech, from the first word to the last, was an attempt to drive a wedge of discord between the Volunteers and the regular Army. It was a deliberate and malign effort of which he only would be capable. He referred to "Ireland's Army." Ergo, the Volunteers are not Ireland's Army. Why not call it the Irish Army? I say emphatically that the Volunteers are Ireland's Army. They are here and they have come to stay. If there is one criticism I would offer, it is that their remuneration is not nearly sufficient for their service—the service they have already rendered and the service which, I am sure, they will render in the future.

The regular Army has, as a matter of fact, welcomed the Volunteers. Captains, lieutenants and other officers of the Volunteer corps who foregathered with the National Army on the occasion of the inception of the Volunteer scheme told me that the National Army received them with open arms, that there was perfect cordiality, amity and agreement between them. That agreement has remained. Deputies on the opposite side have sought to introduce the apple of discord—Deputies who, save the mark, pose as champions of the Army. They are not in a sweat about the Army except in so far as it affects their own interests. Their sole grievance is that they are where they are now and that we are now where they were and where they will never be. That is their grievance. We are told: "You found the Army above personalities and above politics." The Army is as much above politics as it ever was. But that does not suit the book of Deputies opposite. They talk of military panoply and of the Army being used in connection with some function on Easter Sunday. Has it every been used in connection with other functions —in connection with Cenotaph functions, for instance?

We did not have a flag-day for our political funds around the Cenotaph.

Then the Army was used for Cenotaph functions?

I merely put the question and I am glad it found a billet. The Volunteer force has been subjected to malign criticism from the opposite benches. Remarks have been made about men having been brought from abroad. I wonder why that is so much harped upon. The men brought home from abroad are as popular in their areas as any men could be. I can vouch for that. The Volunteers are officered by men who fought for Ireland and I think the Volunteer units should not be subjected to undue criticism. They are here and they will stay here. Fantastic theories have been put forward with a view to discrediting the present Army administration. It is a good old lawyer maxim—"throw mud and some of it will stick." If I were to deal with some other aspects of the criticism of Deputies opposite, I might say too much. I do not want to do that. I should like the Minister to look into the question of the adequacy of the remuneration of the Volunteers. They are the nucleus of Ireland's Army.

The idea was a brilliant idea and the inception of the Volunteers was also brilliant. I see no reason why the Volunteer scheme should not become even a more brilliant success than it is. Everywhere they went, the Volunteers impressed the people of the country. The Volunteers' organisation is not a fool-proof organisation. No more is the regular Army, or any other army. The Volunteer movement was hastily got up. It has been only a year or two in existence, and I think the Volunteers have fully justified the ideas of those responsible for the scheme. I submit to the Minister respectfully that he should recompense the Volunteers a little more generously than he has hitherto done.

From this side of the House, adverse criticism has often been directed at the Government for failure to carry out the promises contained in the speeches of its members before it came into power. I want on this occasion to congratulate the Government on not having carried out its promises or threats of that time. Many people thought that, when the present Government came into power, it would take certain action with regard to the Army which would have been disastrous. I myself had no fear upon that score because I knew perfectly well that when Fianna Fáil came into power it would necessarily and inevitably realise that the Army is the one thing that stands between this country and anarchy. Consequently, I think the Government was moved by commonsense in that it maintained the Army as it had been maintained before and very largely avoided bringing a political complexion into it. Consequently, my criticisms are not going to be in any way acrimonious and not going to be the sort that would excite my friend, Deputy Kehoe who seems to be excitable.

There are one or two points I should like to raise. The Minister says, and, I think, quite rightly, that the Army should be a small nucleus, a very highly-trained body of men, around which would be built a loose framework of men who will not be given that highly specialised training. In his remarks on the points of expenditure involved in the Estimate, he referred to 16 cadets. Obviously, an Army formed in the way the Minister says must have very highly-trained officers. The highly—trained professional officer cannot be got through the ordinary channels of recruitment and promotion. He must be got quite young and given a training specifically directed towards the capacity he will fill as an army officer. I was glad to hear the Minister refer to the 16 cadets. One or two things during the last couple of years, including statements by the Minister himself, led me to believe that the system of recruiting cadets, that is to say, having a young man come up at the beginning for training as an officer and, then, commissioned as an officer and to continue that training during his officer career, had been given up and that there was some proposal of getting men to join the Volunteers and ultimately absorbing them into the regular Army and making officers of them. I hope I am right in understanding from the Minister, when he refers to these 16 cadets, that that system of recruiting by examination and by interview and giving cadets the training that was previously given is being carried out.

I feel for the Army, for certain people not in the Army and for myself, a certain indignation and certain amount of grief by reason of the treatment the Minister gave to a body of civilians, into whose selection political considerations never entered, who came forward to do very useful and very necessary work, for men in the Army to-day and men who were in the Army but who are no longer in it. In the case of the ordinary soldier, no provision is made for his retiring on pension. He does not get a large gratuity and a great many men, having given good service in the Army, particularly at a time when the Army was most immediately necessary, went out, having lost their place, as you might say, in civilian life and, in their new condition of civil life, were at a definite disadvantage through the service they had given in the Army. We had no provision for assisting them out of State funds and we asked people to come forward and organise some machinery for giving financial assistance to such of those men as might need it. That organisation was in operation when our Government went out of office. I presumed, and I was justified in presuming, that the new Government was going to behave as we did and have much the same attitude towards the Army as we had. It was justified 90 per cent.

With regard to the Committee of the Army Benevolent Fund, one of their means of operating was to run, in Horse Show Week, a dance, the proceeds of which, which were very considerable, were to be used for assisting necessitous cases amongst the men and their families who had been in the Army and who had gone into civil life. That committee was no respecter of one Government more than another. It set out to do really good work and the members were perfectly prepared—there was no question of their resenting the change in the control of the Army—to carry on just as before. The Minister refused to co-operate, although, in his position as a Minister of the Government, he must have recognised that he was beholden and indebted to those people. Not so much more than a year ago, to my knowledge, communication after communication was sent to the Minister which he had not the ordinary decency to answer. The last I heard was that this committee, being unable to get an answer from the Minister and not being assured of the co-operation of the Minister, decided that there was nothing for them to do but to dissolve.

That was an affront to people who had come forward to give selfless service on behalf of men who needed such service, and it was also most unfair to those men who may need that assistance. This Army Benevolent Fund Committee ran a number of things in addition to the Horse Show Week dance, and the moneys thus got were distributed to the assistance of those men. So far as I can gather—I am quite ready to be corrected by the Minister—as a result, not of the Minister's action, but of his failure to act in a manner which certainly would not have hurt him in any way, the men are deprived of that assistance which they previously got and which they probably need as much now as they ever did before from that Army Benevolent Fund Committee which has gone out of existence.

When the Minister took over, there were various branches of the Army. The Volunteer force had been started, but only in Dublin, I think, and I personally was glad to see that the Minister took advantage of his particularly advantageous position as compared with mine to extend the Volunteer system in the Army. I am not being political or Party or anything like that because every Fianna Fáil Deputy here knows it perfectly well when I say that if, for instance, we had run the Volunteer force in the various parts of the country as the Minister is doing at the moment, there would have been definite and active hostility led by the Fianna Fáil clubs and by the Fianna Fáil leaders to it. When we started the O.T.C., Fianna Fáil supporters proceeded to make trouble in University College, Dublin. I am very glad to know that the Volunteer force is going on as well as it is.

The O.T.C. was drawn mainly from students at the universities. The average life of students at the universities happens to coincide with the very best time for training for military service. These young men, presumably, have their minds already trained and made apperceptive by higher education. While students they are young and their day's work and their year's work is not as continuous as it is in the case of men earning their living. They are, by the fact of their education, as I say, particularly apperceptive for training and for acquiring the knowledge that is required. I do not quite know what the Minister's attitude is, but I do know, and I am speaking now of individual cases, that during the last year, two members of the O.T.C. whom I happened to meet complained that they, being members of the O.T.C., knew that normally, under the regulations of their membership, they were due to be called up to go to camp for, roughly, a fortnight during the year. They knew also that, at the end of that fortnight, they were to draw a sum of money—a payment, gratuity or honorarium or whatever you like to call it—and, therefore, in the economy of their year's life, they anticipated that fortnight which they would spend in camp and the sum of money they would get at the end of it. I do not know what the Minister ultimately did, but I do know that, as last year progressed, some members of the O.T.C. hung about and postponed their holidays. They were unable to make arrangements because they were not quite sure when they were going to be called up, and month after month went by without their knowing when they were going to be called up or if they were going to be called up. Neither did they know whether or not they were going to get the money which they had anticipated having as of right.

Reference was made to the importation of outsiders as officers for the Volunteers. I personally resented that because that act was an act of injustice to officers in the Army. There are men who are lieutenants and second lieutenants in the Army—I am not quite sure what the position is; the Minister knows it better than I do— who have been in that position for a very long time, owing to the peculiar circumstances of the Army, which was formed only about 12 years or so ago and in which higher officers were much the same age as younger officers. Every development of the Army which permitted, opened a place for men who had not been promoted, through no fault of their own, but merely because there was a sort of static position in regard to officers and there was not the natural out-flow of men of retiring age. I suggest that it was an injustice to import outsiders into the Army, putting them over men who had done training as cadets, men who had been officers for a number of years. These men were brought into the Army and given special preference. Of course, that is all over and we do not need to worry about it, but nevertheless that is what happened.

I presume that in the inner circles of the Government, if an argument were required to justify that, the Government would say that they thought it was nationally desirable that the I.R.A. and other revolutionary organisations should be placated and that by bringing in men who had been engaged in operations against this State they would be indicating that the Army was no Party Army and that the men acting in one particular manner in 1922 had equal rights there with other men. I can imagine an argument being put up in that way and it would possibly have commanded a certain amount of agreement, but during the last year we have seen, time and again, that men who responded to the Minister's call and who joined the new Volunteer force were assaulted. I remember one case of a man who was chained near the Dominican Church in Tralee and I remember other men whose houses were raided and whose uniforms were seized; some of them were even court-martialled by the I.R.A. These men had come forward as citizens to give service in the country's Army, while still carrying on their civil avocations.

There is an unlawful association, an association which aims at creating a condition of anarchy here, which by the ends it proposes and the means it makes use of is the enemy of social order in this country, and that unlawful organisation, fulfilling the definitions that make an unlawful society under Article 2 (a) of the Constitution, has been left practically immune by the Government. The Government has power to ban that organisation. It can bring members of that organisation before the Military Tribunal, charge them with nothing else but that they are members of it, and they are due to be punished by law for that. Here were members of that organisation brutally attacking the persons and the property of men for the reason that those men answered the Government's call, and the Government failed to use the power the law gives it for getting after these people. I say it was a negative act of betrayal of the men who came forward to serve the Government.

I hope the point is being reached when the Government will act in a manner that will indicate to the members of this revolutionary organisation that they are not going to be tolerated any longer, that Irish citizens are going to be freed from their menace and that the Irish citizen who volunteers his service to the Government is not going to be the target for their attacks. It seems to me that the Government has failed there. It owed a duty to the citizens of the country and a particular duty to those citizens who came forward and volunteered their services. The other day the President said something like this: "We have tolerated things that no Government in the world would have tolerated, for the last three years." That is quite true, but what does it mean? The President tolerated things that no other Government would tolerate. He actually did so and that was a true statement. He tolerated a condition of things in which certain organisations were allowed to commit murder; he tolerated a condition——

The Vote before the Committee is for the Army. The President is not the Minister responsible in that connection.

The President, on the occasion to which I have referred, was speaking for the whole Government; but I do not want to argue that matter any farther. My point is this, that the Government whose President boasts that he has tolerated what no other Government would tolerate, leaves the men who came forward and volunteered their services in the Army to be the target of these blackguards, to be chained to Church railings, to have their houses attacked, to have their houses shot into, to have their uniforms seized, torn up and burned. My point is that the Government knows of the organisation that organises all that and yet it refuses to deal with it as an organisation.

Reference was made here to men who had been in the British Army before being in our Army. Again I speak subject to correction, but that does not quite explain the whole situation. In the beginning, when the Army was recruited hurriedly, rigid conditions were not laid down as to membership, age and other things; but after a few years rigid conditions were laid down and in order to join the Army one had to be not above a certain age. Consequently, you may roughly say that any man in the Army who was also in the British Army is a man who has particularly long service in our Army. I think, again subject to correction, that it will be found that practically every member of the rank and file in the Army who was in the British Army prior to being in our Army has service from 1922 or 1923. If it is a fact that the Minister has directed the machinery so that those men, as they become time expired, will be eliminated from the Army, there is, I will not say exactly an absolute injustice, because the Government has only contracted for the period of service for which they are attested, but there is certainly something contrary to equity. I refer to the men who came into the Army in 1922-23, who gave years of service and therefore got completely out of the stream of civil life, who came into the Army when the work was particularly strenuous and dangerous, who served through the heat of the day, and that machinery is now going to be directed to eliminate from the Army service.

Before I left there was a Bill relating to Army Pensions. I do not know how far the Minister varies from it, but there was provision for men with long service, service up to 20 years, that they should have that long service recognised by being given a pension. Here are men presumably, if I am right in my assumption, with 13 years' service in the Army, who would be entitled to thirteen-twentieths of a pension and instead of having that service recognised, they seem to be, so far as one can judge, selected for elimination from the Army. When we speak of this small nucleus Army with a loosely flung, not completely trained Volunteer reserve, it is clear you want non-commissioned men highly trained and highly experienced. I think that the Minister will probably find—we are not saying anything against ourselves in this—that the N.C.O.s in the Army best equipped for training Volunteers and other men coming into Army life are these men with the long service and these men who, as it frequently happens, had British Army service. I urge that not merely is it unfair to select them for elimination because they were in the British Army, but it is particularly unfair to select men to be disposed of when time-expired who are the very men who have given the longest service.

If a man comes into the Army for one year or two years, he goes out and falls again naturally into his place in civil life. The interruption does not amount to much in his career. If, however, a man came from, say, the British Army into our Army in 1922 and is still in the Army in 1933, it may be taken for granted that the planning of his life is based on the assumption of an army career. If the Government chooses that man particularly to fling him out into civil life, that is an injustice, to my mind.

Periodically, during the year, Deputy Mulcahy asked questions as to why a good reservist was removed from the reserve, and the usual answer that was given by the Minister was to say that the cause of the man's removal was because his services were no longer required. On one or two occasions, however, the Minister admitted under pressure that the man's services were no longer required because he was associated with our political body. If our political body conflicts with the Constitution, then we should be declared illegal. Certainly, the Blueshirts were banned by the Government. That is to say, the Government declared that the Blueshirts aimed at a certain end, or made use of certain methods in attaining an end they had in mind, which fulfilled certain conditions laid down under Article 2A of the Constitution. Any Fianna Fáil Deputy in this House who likes can take up Article 2A of the Constitution and read it and, if he reads it, he will know perfectly well that when the Government stated that, in its opinion the Blueshirt organisation was an unlawful association—that is, such an organisation as is described in detail and by definition under Article 2A of the Constitution— it was stating an untruth. I invite any Fianna Fáil Deputy to read the Article and see whether or not the Government was telling the truth when it affirmed that it believed that the Blueshirt organisation fulfilled the conditions that are prescribed in the Article. Consequently, irrespective of any Government ban, the Government cannot make that body unlawful unless it is unlawful, because what constitutes unlawfulness is declared definitely in the Constitution. All that the Government could do was to put the Military Tribunal in the position that, when it received a certain statement from the Government as to what the Government thought, it had to accept that statement even though it knew that that was an untruthful statement from the Government.

I agree quite readily that the Government should not tolerate in the Army, and that the Government would be perfectly justified in eliminating from the Army, any man associated with organisation which were directed against the State. Certainly I quite admit that the Government would be pre-eminently justified in not allowing any man in the Army to belong to the I.R.A., or the Republican Congress, or the half-dozen other aliases that the I.R.A. takes, because, clearly, if a man belongs to an organisation aiming at the overthrow of the State, you will not expect good service from him in an organisation which aims at defending the State. I can even understand the Government carrying that a little further and saying that they did not want any hectic organisations, or any organisations that were carried too far or too hectically, associated with the Army. What the Government did say, however, was that this applied to one political organisation. If you were associated with Fine Gael, and happened to be a private on reserve, you were then in the Government's power. The Minister has full power. All he has to say to a man is, "Your services are dispensed with," and that man is gone. What happened was that that was done when a man was associated with the Fine Gael organisation. Whether or not the Government inquired as to whether men were associated with any revolutionary organisation in this country, I do not know. Certainly, if one read the resolutions passed by Fianna Fáil clubs in this country, protesting against the Government action in not recognising that membership of a criminal organisation should make a man exempt from the sanctions of the law, you will find that Fianna Fáil, not in its totality or in its direction, but in regard to the clubs and to the kind of mentality that finds expression in these clubs, is clearly much more of an anti-constitutional movement in this country than Fine Gael is. I do not suppose, however, that anybody thinks that, for instance, a man would have been fired out of the reserve because he belonged, say, to the Edgeworthstown Branch of Fianna Fáil. It is quite unlikely. If, however, he belonged to the Booterstown Branch of Fine Gael he had every chance of going out.

I have had to point out these things which, I think, are departures from what I shall call the basic Government policy with regard to the Army. Although from hundreds of platforms the Government had announced that, once a de Valera Government came into power the I.R.A. were going to turn into lambs and say that that was all they wanted and that they were quite satisfied, the Government knew that was untrue. The Government knew that there are organisations here which seek to overthrow Government in this country and that they are restrained only by one thing-not by any question of moral sanction, but merely by the fact that there is an Army here ready to defend Government institutions if these organisations take any overt action for the overthrow of the Government. In that way, the Army is the real salvation of the State and even the Government itself has recognised that the Army should be above politics and merely be the servant of the State. It was for that reason that I have pointed out one or two things in which, it seems to me, the Government has departed from its own right and general policy with regard to the Army. I can say with absolute sincerity that during my time in the Army my great aim always was to see to it that the Army should get no political complexion from being the servant of a Government that happened to be of our Party rather than another Party. I think that, in the interests of this State and of the Government itself, the Government will find out that the real threat to the institutions of the State does not come from the constitutional Opposition, but from the anti-constitutional and anti-moral forces in this country. I think that this Government itself should be most meticulous and most careful to avoid anything that gives even the semblance of a political colour in the work it gives the Army to do and in the administration of the Army.

I listened to the statement made by the Minister for Defence in the opening of this debate, and although I admit that he spoke rather low and rather fast, there was one point which struck me very forcibly. It was a point which was agreeable, I think, for everybody in this House to hear. That point was the tribute he paid to the Army. As we all know, the Army or its officers are in no position whatever to defend themselves against attacks, not alone in this House, but even outside in the country, and they will read the morning or evening papers, as the case may be, in order to see how this debate turns out and how far the Army is to be discussed from the point of view of political partisanship from one side of the House or the other. I think that the tribute that has been paid, not only by the Minister, but by the leaders of the Opposition, to the Army, and the feeling they have given expression to that this small Army is giving good value for the money expended upon it, and that it has the confidence of this House, should be displayed in bold black type for the Army to read. The Army in this country has a far more difficult part to play than any other army in the world. This country is so upset and there are so many labyrinths and peculiar political twists and turns that the Army could very well be forgiven if the feeling in it was one of depression and indefiniteness. Unless an army can feel that the people are behind it, it cannot have that self-confidence and that pride and alertness which really go to make an army. Those who have served in an army know what I mean. One of the pressing necessities for the Army is a change from the uniform which they have at present. I do not mean the colour of the uniform but the fashion and cut of the unifrom. First of all, I hold that there is nothing more monotonous on a march, either from the soldiers' point of view or that of the public watching them, than the brown leggings which the Army wear. I hold that the soldiers would respond to a brighter and better type of uniform. For instance, the cut of the infantry breeches or trousers could very easily be improved. The type of breeches issued is not one which appeals to the soldier's imagination or makes him a good soldier. If some improvement could be effected it would certainly appeal both to the public and to the soldiers.

The next thing I suggest is greater encouragement of athletics in the Army. I do not know how much is contributed from Army funds towards the encouragement of athletics. I believe that whatever encouragement can be given by officers is given and that whatever help can be given by regiments is given to athletics in the Army. We do not, however, see half enough of them or hear half enough about them. I shall probably be severely criticised if I say, "Why not have inter-army competitions across the Border; why not send up our best athletes to compete with the neighbouring Army across the Border?" It might do a lot of good and I cannot see what harm it could do.

I should also like to suggest that we should have more opportunities in the country of listening to army bands. There may be difficulties about that; there may be difficulties in having parades in view of certain conditions which have arisen. I believe, however, that we do not get as good service as we could get if more money was allotted for the bands, so that the performances could be extended and the people of the country could have an opportunity of hearing them. There is a great lack of musical recitals in this country and some of us look for a lead from the Army in that respect. Nothing could inspire young people more than listening to good military bands. That was proved even in the stress of the World War. Why can we not have more of these military band performances?

I would also strongly urge that there should be an investigation as to how the Army transport service could be improved. I am not referring to the personnel of the service but to the obsolete lorries and cars. At present the Army transport service is catering for an emergency in this city with great tact which has merited the appreciation of the citizens. I believe that further money should be provided to bring the Army transport service up-to-date and make it what it ought to be.

I would also suggest to the Minister that the development of physical training to which he referred should be expedited. Any encouragement which can be given in that respect should be given. When the Volunteers were formed I thought that they would be given an opportunity of encouraging physical training by example and otherwise in this country. When they have concluded their ordinary duties physical training demonstrations on a large scale should be given up and down the country. That would do a great deal in some parts of the country to remove any political tinge, if such exists, in the Volunteers. What is done in that respect in many European countries could be followed here with advantage.

I hold that a proper outlook and spirit could be encouraged in the country through more frequent displays by the Volunteers. I should like also to say that, if the Volunteers are going to amount to anything worth while, greater care ought to be given to their appearance and their physique. Arch-backed men, carrying themselves carelessly and looking badly, are not fit for the Volunteers or for the Army. I do not say that the Army is suffering much in that direction. On the whole, the men who join the Army are a fine type of manhood, but occasionally you do find in its ranks a sort of small, weary man. That should not be the case, as it is in the best interests of the country that the finest and best types should be attracted to the Army. There is too much publicity given to the Volunteers at the expense of the regular soldier. The regular soldier in this country is not given the proper amount of admiration and encouragement through the publicity services which are available. It is by that method that you promote that wonderful spirit of pride and confidence. It can only be brought out by giving far greater admiration and publicity to our regular Army.

I desire to emphasise one point which struck me when the Minister was making his statement, and that is the appreciation of the Minister for the regular Army. That appreciation has been re-echoed by speakers on this side of the House. We have heard Deputy O'Higgins, Deputy Mulcahy, Deputy Fitzgerald and Deputy Kehoe. They had their own criticism and accusations to make, but there is one matter on which everybody can agree and that is in the tribute paid to the regular Army. That tribute is all the greater coming as it did from those who fought in the past against the regular Army. It seems extraordinary that no matter what comes up for discussion in this House there must of necessity be something political in it. I do not believe that in the discussions in any other Parliament political issues are so widely introduced. Please God that will die out by degrees, and a new tradition will be introduced into this House, to be handed on to those who succeed us. In regard to the Army, I seize on that tribute paid by the Minister, which was re-echoed on this side of the House, and if in the course of my speech I have done nothing more than emphasise that tribute I will have contributed something of value to the debate.

I regret that I was not present when the Minister was introducing this Vote, but there are a few questions which I should like to ask and some information which I should like to get. It seems that the Army is coming in for compliments from all sides of the House, and I do not think they are necessary from me. This time last year, when the House was discussing the Army Vote, the Minister definitely stated that as far as lay in his power the sluaigh committees would not be partisan and would be representative of the country as a whole. I had my doubts about that at the time. I do not know whether it is general, but I regret to say that in the County Longford this promise was not fulfilled. With one or two exceptions, the committees are formed solely from the Fianna Fáil branch in the district. In a sense that may be good tactics on the part of the Government, but I maintain that it does not help us to get a really representative committee or a really representative Volunteer force. The result is that to-day we are back again with the old charges of a partisan and political Army and a partisan and political Volunteer force. I regret that more than I can say, because I am perfectly satisfied that it is in the interests of the country that its Volunteer force should be built up on truly national lines. The Minister may have had the best intentions in the world on the matter and his intentions may have been set aside, but in view of his promises to the House I think he should have seen to it that more care would be taken in the formation of those committees. No doubt there were some difficulties in the way, but in my opinion those difficulties could have been surmounted. In the committees in North Longford there are only one or two people who are not members of the Fianna Fáil organisation. The people who formed those committees deliberately excluded people of other political parties. I do not think that is wise, and I would ask the Minister to see that that state of affairs is righted as soon as possible. If people are invited to become members of the committee and they refuse to do so, the Minister is exonerated and we have nothing to grumble about.

I would like to ask the Minister again as to what happened to the munition factory. Is that another Fianna Fáil ideal gone wallop? The Minister, when he was on this side of the House, talked a good deal about the necessity, the advisability and the desirability of having our own munitions manufactured in this country. He used to talk of what an unpatriotic thing it was to be dependent upon Great Britain for our arms and munitions. It seems to me that the little strong man of Finance must have butted into this particular matter and stopped it. At least I could think of no other reason, knowing that the Minister was so very strong on the point. Perhaps he will tell us what happened that particular scheme. Even though it was a thing proposed by Fianna Fáil when in opposition, it was an undertaking which I would be very glad to see in being. It was a proposal with which I agreed if it were feasible. There are several other matters to which I wish to refer. One is the amount for the military courses. The item in the Vote for officers being trained abroad has been reduced from £2,000 to £1,000. Is there a change of policy in that direction, or does the country not get value for the money spent there, or is the idea that the officers were not very much improved by it? To my own knowledge, they were, and I think it is a very great addition to the Army. To my mind, instead of there being a reduction in that direction, there should have been an increase and a considerable increase. Everybody knows that if an army is too insular in itself and does not keep track with the latest things in international armies, it will have to take a back seat at some particular time. I think the Minister should see to it that these courses are not interfered with even if he were to bring in a Supplementary Estimate.

The Minister talked a good deal about a permanent Army. Yet we do not seem to be anything nearer to that position. I suppose he has that Bill in cold storage. It is time, however, to give it an airing. The Pension Bill for the standing Army was to be introduced last year, but it seems still as far away as ever. Deputy Fitzgerald in speaking about the men and officers who had made the Army their career spoke truly. But I think it is very unfair to those in the permanent Army that they should not know exactly where they stand so far as their pensions are concerned or the end of their Army career is concerned. I would like to know if it is the intention of the Minister to introduce that Bill this year? If not, why not?

I would like to know from the Minister the number of secretaries of the sluaigh committees who are being paid. I think it would be quite possible in the matter of these committees to get men who would be willing to give their services voluntarily. Of course it may not always be so easy to get that. It would do away with a good deal of local criticism if it could be done. Every time a position of that type is created and the person appointed starts to organise anything there is the usual cry that he is doing it because he is paid for it. In order to remove that slur I think the Minister should try to get voluntary workers. I believe that would be possible. I do not say it would be possible in every case but the Volunteer forces have to surmount difficulties. The development of that force is meeting with difficulties. Everything that it is possible to do to overcome these and remove them should be done.

I am a bit astonished at the item for Transport. The increase there seems to be very great and out of all proportion to the requirements. Is it because some of these vehicles are likely to be seconded to the Department of Justice or what exactly is the necessity for the increase in transport? Of course it may be that the proposal is to purchase new vehicles instead of repairing the existing ones. If that is the case it is the policy with which I am in perfect agreement. If possible new transport should be purchased instead of repairing old vehicles.

I am glad that everybody has paid tribute to the Army. It is well deserved. The Army as far as I know it—and I think I can speak as well as anybody in the House on that particular matter—is definitely non-political. It has always been the Army of the State and Army of the people. I would wish to point out to the new heroes, the new would-be soldiers that if and when they get the support, if they ever get the support, of the majority of the people of this country that there is an Army there fit and ready and willing to defend the nation's interest against all comers; and that they would be much better advised and they would be serving the country much better by supporting and helping that Army rather than criticising or thinking of taking the field against it. That will be a day that will be a sad day for them. However, I suppose it takes experience to teach us all. Even the Minister has got some experience in that now and he realises that what I am saying is true—that the Army is a non-political Army; that it was built up by men on this side of the House for that purpose and I think that it is something to be proud of. I repeat again that it is a non-political Army, the Army of the State and of the people. I hope and trust that the Minister will keep it so because if he does this country will have something to protect it in its hour of need.

I had no intention of participating in this debate until Deputy MacEoin rose. At the very outset the Deputy made a statement that ought not be allowed pass by Deputies who have any knowledge as to the way the sluaigh committees were formed in the different parts of the Saorstát. Deputy MacEoin stated in a general way that these committees were formed in the different counties of one particular Party to the exclusion of the other.

In one county.

The Deputy specified one particular case. He certainly mentioned North Longford. Lest the House or the general public should think that his statement represents the real state of affairs in all Ireland, I will state what happened in my county; other Deputies can answer for theirs. In my county no such state of affairs existed at all. When the officers for the Volunteers came to County Galway I know at least of one town to which they went. There was a list of 22 names honestly and conscientiously submitted to them. That was 11 from each side of "the Jordan," if I might say so. The 11 on the Cumann na nGaedheal side—it got a bit "Finer" since—were approached and one of the men approached by the O.C. was a Deputy of this House. He was appealed to for the sake of the country, for the sake of the Volunteer movement and to further that movement, to join the sluaigh committee——

You will get that officer dismissed.

Yes; the officer's instructions were not to approach any Deputy.

He wanted to get the support of all parties. I will stand by any statement I make. It was in order to have the thing non-political that that move was made. It is very strange then to have a Deputy standing up here and saying that nobody is in charge of a sluaigh committee except Government or Fianna Fáil supporters. My reason for speaking in the debate is to contradict that statement, and to say that such a situation does not exist at all, so far as I know. The position was this: that the supporters of the Deputy opposite refused point blank to act on these committees. Somebody had to act, and because of that the people who compose the committees are, in the main, members of the Fianna Fáil organisation. We are acting willingly on the committees and we are showing no political bias. If the Deputy comes to Athenry, some N.C.O. will parade a company for him. He will be amazed, I suggest, to see it, because he will discover that three-fourths of those composing it do not agree with Fianna Fáil at all. I have spoken in this debate lest people might believe the statement made here by Deputy MacEoin. What he said as regards the composition of these committees is not a fact. In any case, where it is true it is due to what I have stated: that people of his way of thinking would not act on the committees.

I think that Deputy Jordan might have waited and allowed the Minister to say if our people had refused to act on these committees. I stated that the sluaigh committees were formed of Fianna Fáil supporters. Deputy Jordan admits that that is right, but makes the excuse that it is because our people refused to act. That may be true of Athenry, but I can assure him that it is not the case so far as Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon are concerned. We were not asked to act. Even Deputies were not asked. He says they were. Well, I would like to hear the Minister on that, as to how it came about that Deputies in one part of the country were asked while Deputies in another part of the country were not. The officer that has been referred to went so far out of his way as to beg this particular Deputy, for the sake of the Fianna Fáil Volunteer force to join and to give it a chance.

It is not the Fianna Fáil Volunteer force. Do not define it that way.

Would the Deputy allow me to make my speech in my own way?

The Deputy should state what is true.

The fact remains that even in Galway the sluaigh committees are solely Fianna Fáil.

Not solely.

I would like to hear from the Minister if, in Galway and Longford, Fine Gael supporters refused to act on the committees. When speaking earlier, I said that if that were so I had no complaint to make. My information is that they never got an opportunity to act and that they were willing to act; that, in some districts, the local Fianna Fáil Club objected to any Fine Gael member being on the committee, and that in places where one or two were put on the committees they refused to meet for three weeks until the Fine Gael members were put off.

I am inclined to think that, in so far as the new Volunteer force has been given a political complexion, it has been the fault to some extent of both sides. I think it is true, as Deputy MacEoin has said, that in many districts there has been objection to asking supporters of our Party to co-operate, but I think there have been cases in some parts where supporters of our Party have been invited and refused. Personally, from the very inception of this force I advised anybody belonging to our Party who consulted me to accept an invitation to act, and to do their best to make the force a success as it had been started. But, I think, what we are more concerned with is the future rather than the past. The sluaigh committees are, to a large extent, one-sided now, and the question is whether that cannot be remedied. I think it could with a certain amount of exertion on the part of the Minister.

This force was started under very unfavourable auspices. There was great resentment in our Party because of the fact that the particular officers, to whom the recruiting of the force was handed over, were all men who were reputed to be bitterly hostile to our Party and, consequently, our supporters were not in a mood to take a perfectly dispassionate view of what their attitude to the force ought to be. I think that a further effort might very well be made now to make these committees all over the country more representative than they are. There was also a lot of ill-feeling at that particular time because of the efforts of the Government to smother our Youth organisation. That militated very much against the new force. It is time now for that particular sentiment to have died down and for feelings to have become calmer. I think it ought to be the desire of all of us, and I believe it would be the desire of the Minister, to see that throughout the country this volunteer force should lose any political tinge that it may possess at present.

There is only one other matter that I want to refer to, and that is the question of those men who have been dismissed in the course of the last 12 months on the grounds that their services were no longer required. I feel rather strongly about that, because I believe that the Minister does not wish to run the Army on political and partisan lines. It would be a crime on his part if he did, and I am willing to acquit him of any deliberate desire to do anything of the kind, but I do feel that in this matter the political prejudices of some of his supporters have preverted his mind and led him to do something that he ought not to have done. If those men were guilty of acts of illegality, even if there were grounds for a strong suspicion that they were guilty of acts of illegality or were about to commit acts of illegality, I have nothing to say; but if, as I understand the case to be, those men's services were dispensed with merely because they were members of the League of Youth, then I think the Minister has done something very improper—something that, on more mature consideration, he ought to see is very improper. The League of Youth is not an illegal organisation. The Government does not even purport to regard it as such, whatever it may have done with its predecessor. That being so, I would appeal to the Minister to consider whether he cannot reinstate the men he has dispensed with, merely on the bald statement that their services are no longer required and without any record of evil doing against them.

The Minister to conclude.

I must say that I was rather sorry for Deputy O'Higgins at being put up to justify the motion to refer the Estimate back. If ever politics were dragged by the hair of the head into a debate to which they did not belong, it was certainly on this occasion. In order to justify the accusation of political management of the Army, Deputies had to ignore the fact that when a political Party took over the reins of Government and when the Deputies of that Party became Ministers, they became Ministers, and, as such, were entitled to a certain amount of respect in the carrying out of their duties. It is no dishonour to the Army to salute these men, no matter who they may be, when they are here in the position of Ministers, and, in saluting the Government, the Army is not taking part in politics, but is carrying out its work. It is showing the people that it is going to support the Government in office in all circumstances; that the Government elected by the people is going to be supported by the Army in the last analysis. It is a most ridiculous argument to say that when parades were called in a number of districts, in order to bring the Volunteers and the regular Army out, that these were political demonstrations because the units that paraded gave a salute to a member of the Government or a Parliamentary Secretary. Deputy O'Higgins must remember this, that his particular Party is not the Government now, and that the men who have been given responsibility for governing the country are entitled to respect.

I have dealt with the St. Patrick's Day demonstrations. I think everybody connected with them was pleased at the way they passed off, and that the people in the districts in which parades took place were delighted at their success. It would be very difficult to please Deputy O'Higgins and Deputy Minch at the same time. Deputy Minch wants more and Deputy O'Higgins wants less displays. I agree with Deputy Minch on this occasion. On Easter Sunday there will be another Government function—not a political Party function—and, as well as having an official side, it will have a non-official side. The people who will be invited to take part in the official side of the ceremony will include Deputy Mulcahy and all members of the Oireachtas.

That is the first we heard about it.

It is never too late to hear a good thing.

Who is going to invite us?

The Government. In order that all the old I.R.A. and pre-1916 men might have a part in it, I got together representatives of the various groups in the City, and I asked them to form a committee so that they might marshal their men. Anybody who is dealing with military service investigation knows how difficult it is to select men who were concerned in 1916, and I thought the best way was to leave it to the different organisations composed of old I.R.A. and old 1916 men. Their function ceases with selecting the various groups that will march according to the garrisons they held in 1916, and supplying a firing party to fire volleys at the G.P.O. Instead of having any criticism of that committee offered we should really be thankful to the men who were coming forward, and going to a great deal of pains to organise civilians and old I.R.A. and 1916 men, as well as the civilian end of the demonstration. The function itself is an official one. The monument is erected out of State funds that were voted by this House. It will be unveiled by the man that this House elected President, and to that official function all the members of the Oireachtas will be invited, as well as the relatives of men killed in 1916.

Must they wear a torch?

No, you can wear a lily if you like.

Will we be allowed to wear a lily?

I am beginning to suspect that all the Deputy implies is that the vast majority of the Nationalists of this country who want to honour Easter Week are going to be forced to wear a lily and to pay funds to a certain organisation in order to do that. If not, I wonder what objection he has to another Party having a distinctive emblem of its own to honour the men of 1916?

Will the Minister say if the Fianna Fáil Party is not the only Party which was given a permit to sell emblems on Palm Sunday, Good Friday or Easter Sunday?

That question will have to be addressed to the Minister for Justice. I do not know.

The Minister does know, surely.

I do not.

I can tell the Minister that that is so.

The Deputy must not have tried himself. I do not know of any reason why he should not.

The Minister ought to know.

I know that the Deputy's organisation has applied on many occasions throughout the year.

Will the Minister say if any Government organisation in the past carried out a Flag Day on a day supposed to be an official commemoration? Could not the Minister find out by a single question to the Minister for Justice that the only Party that is going to be allowed to have a Flag Day on that Sunday officially is the Fianna Fáil Party?

That question does not properly belong to this debate. As the Deputy introduced it, I say that the Fianna Fáil Party and the Fianna Fáil official organisation has every possible right to sell a torch to its members or its supporters if they want to show, by wearing that torch, that they are honouring Easter Week. If the Deputy does not like to wear it he can go and buy a lily. So much for Easter Sunday. On that day, as on St. Patrick's Day, the Army, in passing the saluting base at the G.P.O., is going to salute the President. It will not be saluting him as a member of a political organisation but, as head of the State, to whom it owes a duty. Another question was raised about Blueshirts members of the reserve. For the first time I got an admission from members of the Opposition that certain members of the reserve were Blueshirts, and no merely innocent members of Fine Gael. I have no objection to any reservist being a member of Fine Gael and, as a matter of fact, Deputy Mulcahy must know very well that, at least, a couple of officers employed in Fine Gael offices are members of the reserve. He must also know that I have no objection to that. But, as Minister for Defence, I issued an Order in October, 1933, forbidding members of the reserve to be members of the Blueshirt organisation, under any alias, and I certainly will not permit any officer or man in the reserve to belong to that organisation, as against that Order.

Do they belong to the I.R.A.?

Is there any Order to that effect?

The Order covered any military or semi-military organisation.

Has the Minister got a copy of the Order?

The Deputy can see the Order in the Library.

My recollection and the Minister's do not coincide.

I stated that it covered membership of the Blueshirt or any other military or semi-military organisation.

When——

There is no use in disputing about it.

If the Minister does not give way, the Deputy has no right to intervene.

The Deputy can look up the Order in the Library.

In the public interest, the question should be thrashed out.

I have stated the fact and the Deputy can look it up.

He looked it up long ago.

Then the Deputy's recollection is wrong. I have the Order here now and it states:—

"Membership of the Army Comrades' Association or National Guard or any military or semi-military body not lawfully maintained by the Government of Saorstát Eireann is forbidden to officers and men of the reserve as is also membership of any secret society."

Do you link up the first few words of that Order with the last few words?

They are all written on the same paper and there is not a comma between them.

How many were put out because of membership of the I.R.A.?

None that I know of.

You are blind at the I.R.A. end and you have spectacles at the other end.

The Deputy is one of the worst intriguers I ever saw.

I salute you in that respect.

He goes about his intrigues so openly and so blatantly that anybody can see through them.

You fish in the dark.

If I could not fish better in the open than the Deputy does, I would keep in the dark.

You are a champion at that.

I am not particularly vindictive against members of the Blueshirts who were led astray by the Deputy and those associated with him.

If you had any tact, you would not talk at the present moment about leading people astray.

If the Blueshirts could agree amongst themselves, they might be some sort of menace.

That is not the only falling out.

The Deputy and those associated with him who made damned fools of themselves over the Blueshirt business are more to be pitied than blamed.

Always the gentleman.

That Order against the Blueshirts and other semi-military organisations was issued and I shall see that it will be kept by the reserves. That is all I shall say.

We shall rely on you for that.

Certain officers were taken in in connection with the new Volunteers force. That matter was debated before and I have no apology to make in respect of it. These officers are members of the regular Army, engaged in Volunteer organising work and these 20 men are associated with 500 other men in carrying out that work. The combination of both in organising the Volunteers has been very successful. Unfortunately, I cannot conscript members of Fine Gael into membership of sluaigh committees, but we did our utmost in all parts of the country, so far as I am aware, to get people of all shades of political opinion on these committees. If we failed in any particular district, it is not my fault. If Deputy MacEoin has any qualms about any particular district, I shall try to get him the names of the persons who were approached to form a sluaigh committee in that district.

The Minister can take the County Longford.

I shall look into that but if there is any particular district about which a Deputy wants exact information, I shall get it for him.

Nine persons were approached in the whole county.

Allegations were made that, because certain men were not retained in the Army, there was victimisation—that these men had formerly been members of the British Army. The fact is that nobody in this country has any edge on people who were misled into fighting for small nations in Flanders in the years 1914-18. A lot of the men whose time expired during the past year had British Army records and they were given first consideration if they had I.R.A. pre-truce service also. Numbers of them who had no I.R.A. experience were continued in service. Deputy MacEoin raised the question of the munition factory. I am sorry we have not got it going before now. At present, we are having a site examined and I hope that, before the end of the year, further steps will be taken. Deputy MacEoin also raised a question as regards courses abroad. Last year, we found that the amount of the Estimate was not fully expended. Although I am keen on getting as many officers as possible trained abroad, I am satisfied that the sum we have estimated for this year is as much as we can expend. If we go slightly beyond that sum, I do not suppose there will be any objection.

Deputy MacEoin asked about the permanent Army Bill. That Bill is about to go to the Parliamentary draughtsman and I expect he will take a few months working at it. We shall have it here before the next annual Bill is due. Deputy MacEoin raised the question of the Pensions Bill for the standing Army. We are waiting until we see the Widows and Orphans Pensions Bill before we bring our measure before the Dáil. Deputy Fitzgerald spoke of pensions for N.C.O.s and men, but in the scheme I found in the office, there was no mention of N.C.O.s and men. We are working out a scheme for N.C.O.s and men, as well as officers, and we want to see the Widows and Orphans Pensions Bill before we definitely decide what will be the rate of pensions for N.C.O.s and men. We have decided upon the officers' rate already. As soon as the Widows and Orphans Pensions Bill sees the light, we shall go on with our measure. Deputy MacEoin inquired regarding the position of secretaries of sluaigh committees. They get a very small honorarium—only £5. If the Deputy reads the regulations regarding the duties of a secretary, he will see that he has quite a lot of expense.

I am not disputing the amount.

In ordinary times, I think that it would be wrong to ask a man to accept that amount of expense without giving him something for his trouble. That was all right in times of great national stress —for instance, during the Black and Tan war—but you cannot do that in ordinary, peace times. Deputy O'Higgins and Deputy Mulcahy raised practically the same questions. I think I dealt fully with all the questions which demanded an answer. Deputy O'Higgins suggested that we were making the Army the plaything of a political Party and, as I say, in order to sustain that allegation, he had to go into very deep water and say that the men who are in charge of the government of the State are no more than a political Party. They are more; they are the Government of the country. Deputy Mulcahy asked a question, and an important question, as to what type of Army we would leave behind us. I hope that we will leave an Army that will be no less loyal to the next Government than the present Army is to this Government, and, if it does that, I think the country has a good deal to look forward to.

I asked a question in relation to Army transport. Perhaps the Minister would answer it.

Army transport is a little higher in this particular year. There are three large lorries of three to four tons which cost £3,700; there are four lorries which will cost £3,900; and other cars and ambulances which will cost about £5,500.

We are withdrawing the motion to refer the Vote back and we will let the Vote go through without a division.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Vote put and agreed to.