Committee on Finance. - Vote 32—Office of the Minister for Justice (Resumed).

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £22,757 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 Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Aire Dlí agus Cirt.
That a sum not exceeding £22,757 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 Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Justice.—(Minister for Justice.)
Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.
—(Risteárd Ua Maolchatha.)

I feel that the administration of law in this country and the general condition of the preservation of law and of respect for law and the formal and open defiance of law in the country have reached such a pass and have developed in the last couple of years under the present Administration to such an extent that it makes a discussion of an Estimate like this particularly difficult. It is because I am convinced that for that growth of disorder and for the progress we seem to be making, and which many people in the country fear we are making, rapidly towards anarchy, the Government's policy and the Government's attitude in the last couple of years and at the present moment are largely responsible that I intervene in this debate at all. The whole problem has become so serious that I should otherwise hesitate, were I not convinced that there has been negligence, and even more than negligence, on the part of the Government in this particular matter. I feel that their policy since they took office—and I see no real evidence beyond an occasional expression of goodwill, of a change of heart— and a continuing policy at the present time, has been such as to undermine the morale of the people, calculated to increase a disrespect for the law and a disrespect for the Government and calculated also—and this is particularly serious, it seems to me—to undermine the morale of the people whose primary business it is to see that the law is properly administered, and that there is respect for it in the ordinary districts throughout the country.

They have brought that situation about because from the moment they took office—almost, I think, from the very first night—up to some of their most recent performances, as those can find out who wish to read the proceedings before the Military Tribunal and the line taken up there by the Government spokesman—the Government has created and has encouraged disrespect for themselves and disrespect for the law. How can any body of men like the Guards possibly know what practical attitude they must take up towards the most serious menace to settled Government in this country? It is an easy thing for the President, occasionally, the Minister for Justice, perhaps, and, now and then, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, and the representative of the Government before the Military Tribunal, to take up the line that an armed association, that has for its primary object the achieving of its aims by upsetting the present Government by force of arms, cannot be tolerated. Merely words and nothing but words. The conduct of the Government has been nothing but toleration, full toleration, I might almost say encouragement, for that particular attitude. I will admit they have shown great activity, they have used the military and police forces of the State when it was a question of recouping the Treasury, when it was a question of grinding the last farthing out of the distressed and poverty-stricken farmers; but I see nothing like the same zeal within the last couple of years or even at the present day in taking a decisive attitude against those who openly state that their purpose is to upset the established Government by force of arms when conditions allow.

It is true they put certain machinery in motion exclusively, as everybody remembers, against their political opponents. It is quite true also that having set that machinery in motion, they found that the machinery worked and that some of those to whom they had been giving the full encouragement of tolerance got their fingers caught in the machine. They certainly have—I was going to say hesitated—a great deal more than hesitated about adopting any real attitude, any definite position, towards those who have made it the primary aim of their organisation to defy the Government, those who deny its legitimacy and who are determined to make that denial of the legitimacy of the present Government a reality by force of arms.

Nobody who has watched events in this country for the last 12 months or three years can say that there is any really clear attitude on the part of the Government in the matter. The Guards, with the best will in the world to perform their duty, cannot possibly know what line they are to take up when they see evidences of illegal activities in their neighbourhood. Anybody who knows the country knows perfectly well that what I state is a fact. The Government is not merely undermining the general morale of the population, but it is also doing its best to undermine the morale of the very effective police force that it got over. Does anybody know—does the President, or do the Ministers know—what the practical attitude of the Government is towards an association like the I.R.A.? I must say I feel a certain amount of sympathy, or at least I have a certain understanding, for the unfortunate Kerry farmer who told his story. "One son of mine," he said, "fought against the Black and Tans. The other was with Mr. de Valera in 1922 in revolt against the Treaty Party. The third took seriously Mr. de Valera's statement as to wherein lay the real authority of the country in 1929 and the fourth is also in jail." How can anybody really know what the Government stands for? How can those who want to respect the law know it? The only people who can bank with a fair amount of certitude on the attitude of the Government are those who have formally taken up a position of open defiance, not merely of this or that law, but of our whole system of law and government.

In office and out of office what have the Government done except to preach anarchy or, by their actions, encourage anarchy? It is really time, after three years in office, that in this, one of the most fundamental of their duties, the Government should know where they stand and should let the country without any doubt and without any ambiguity of statement or action know where they stand in this matter. If I could have any belief that even at the eleventh hour the Government are mending their ways and are determined in a really serious fashion to deal with the situation, I should have hesitated very much indeed to intervene in this debate. But I do not think that even their own supporters believe that they are serious in the matter. It is not their attitude years ago, before they were clothed with responsibility of office, that I now object to; it is their attitude since they assumed office, it is their present-day attitude to which I object.

My principal charge against them is that they have not made their position clear; they should have made it evident to everybody that they would have no truck with this effort to upset by force of arms the Government set up by the majority of the electors. As a matter of fact they have done the opposite. They have encouraged the belief that these people can go ahead. Undoubtedly now and then it is unfortunate for them that some of those engaged in their activities may get caught in what I call the operation of the machine, but that is to a large extent an accident. The representative of the Government at the Military Tribunal could say, in reality these men's hearts were sound, their heads were wrong. Apparently the character of the men—speaking now of their political character, their character as citizens—who wanted to upset the Government by force of arms—that was quite sound; their methods were wrong! I admit the speeches at the Military Tribunal had a very strong political flavour on both sides. They might have been delivered almost here in the House, and Deputy Lynch might have been sorry he was not there that particular day. However, I might not pay much attention to the line adopted there by the State representative, were it not that he was obviously either directly or by force of infection repeating the views of the Executive Council. The voice might be the voice of the counsel, but the views expressed before that Tribunal were undoubtedly, as everyone of us knows, the views that expressed the attitude, the actual conduct, of the President.

There is a serious position now confronting us. The Government whose business it is primarily to maintain full respect for the law and to see that there is no other army masquerading in this country, no other army openly proclaiming its intention to overthrow the Government, has failed definitely in its duty. The Government falls down in its primary duty, and because it does I call attention to the increase in the number of Guards. It is not the number of the Guards that is the important thing; it is the manner in which they do their duty, or are allowed to do their duty, and are encouraged to do it. They should be encouraged in their arduous work by the feeling that they are backed up by the full authority and all the influence of the Government. Anybody who seriously considers the situation will realise that no Guard could be quite sure that he was likely to please his superiors if he took the steps that seemed to him to be the proper steps to take against an association like the I.R.A. There has been an increase in numbers. In the case of sergeants the number has remained the same since 1931, but in the case of the Guards the position is different. In 1930-31 the Guards numbered 5,443; last year the Estimate indicated 5,864, and this year the number is 6,000. That represents an increase of over 550 Guards.

If I refer to past statements, especially of the President in this matter, it is because I think they are very germane at the moment. My purpose is not to show how laughably inconsistent he is—I think that is so much taken for granted, even by members of his own Party, that it would be idle to discuss it, a waste of time. In one passage in the speech from which I am going to quote, he said that the country ought to be run for £12,000,000 a year.

In the two sentences that I am going to quote he, unfortunately for himself, gives the reason why in that particular year he thought the Guards should be cut down and why he objected to the number of Guards there were then —President de Valera—then Deputy de Valera—speaking on the Vote on Account on the 7th March, 1929, as reported in column 1039 of Volume 28, said:—

"In regard to the Civic Guards, we believe that the cost could be reduced by nearly half."

He then proceeded to give the reason, and that reason should be interesting to the members of the present Government and their supporters. He said:—

"We believe that half the force, with public opinion properly behind it, would be able to do all the work that is to be done."

The last wicked Government, of course, was responsible for the fact that it had not public opinion behind it, and, therefore, it had to have a strong police force. But a popular Government, a Government representing the real heartfelt wishes of the people, could apparently carry on with half the number. Just a week later, in that speech which might be called the quintessence of anarchy, in which the President, then Deputy de Valera, discussed the competency and moral authority of this House we get the reason why we required these great police forces. He said:—

"And if you are not getting the support from all sections of the community that is necessary for any Executive if it is going to dispense with a large police force, it is because there is a moral handicap in your case. We are all morally handicapped because of the circumstances in which the whole thing came about."

That is from the Official Reports, column 1399, 14th March, 1929, Volume 28.

Does he still feel the lack of moral authority? Does the Minister for Justice and the Government feel that lack of moral authority which they felt here in this House in 1929? Is that the reason there is no real, definite and clear-cut attitude towards a body like the I.R.A., because the Government still have a semi-conscious sneaking feeling that they have no moral authority and that the moral authority that they ought to wield is still elsewhere? Is that the reason for the ambiguity of the Government's attitude towards this, the most important of all the questions that it should face? Of course, the Minister for Finance, the then Deputy MacEntee, could easily point out how savings could be made. He had the same story or pretty much the same story to tell. I admit it was somewhat earlier and he did not possibly have time to learn. He was then pointing out the supreme necessity of reducing taxation; otherwise the country would go bankrupt and could not carry on. The reduction of taxation was one of the most important duties that the Government should take on and the most important task that the country should face.

Speaking on the 17th May, 1928, as reported in cols. 1554 and 1555, vol. 23 of the Official Debates, the then Deputy MacEntee said:—

"Obviously, taxation must be reduced if the country is to prosper, and taxation"—he rightly goes on to say—and there is great wisdom in his words—"cannot be reduced unless expenditure is reduced."

However, he has found a way to do that since. Then he goes on:—

"The ratio of non-producers to producers in this country is altogether too high. The number of drones is altogether out of proportion to the capacity of the workers to support them. The number of men in services like the Army and the Gárda Síochána should be reduced, not in order that they may starve, but in order that they may be absorbed in industry and given employment as producers of wealth. At the present time they are only consumers of wealth, maintained by the rest of the population, maintained in a state of luxury to which the general mass of our people can never aspire, and in conditions of comfort that the general mass of the people do not know."

And he then proceeds to point the moral: this country is as law-abiding as England, and whereas in England they have 12 policemen to every 10,000 inhabitants, and in Scotland they have 13 policemen to every 10,000 inhabitants, we here in this country have 23 policemen to every 10,000 inhabitants. And that same Minister for Finance is now increasing that number of 23 Gárda for every 10,000 inhabitants.

First of all, I hope he has changed his attitude on one matter at all events, namely, that the Guards are or ever have been drones. They always had a very difficult task to perform in this country, and I can say from membership of the Government for several years that they did it with extraordinary conscientiousness. They were a force of which the Government of the day could be proud. If that was the situation that they had to face in the year 1928, there certainly are no drones at the present day, if they are allowed to do their duty. They are far from living in luxury. It is by no means an enviable position in this country. I could only wish that they could be assured of the moral support of the Government in carrying out their duty.

It is quite obvious that that healthy public opinion referred to by the then Deputy de Valera cannot exist so far as his Government is concerned at the present time. Anything they have done since they came into office has not been to create such a healthy public opinion, has not been to marshal public opinion behind the Guards in the performance of their duty. If anything, it has been the very opposite. As the result of the operations and the policy of the Government I fear that, so far as a healthy public opinion behind the Guards is concerned, there is a lot of leeway still to be made up—more than in 1928. The Government up to the present year, I might have said, definitely if somewhat slowly, were undermining the confidence of the country in any kind of government. Within the last couple of months, at an alarmingly accelerated pace, they are undermining the confidence of the country in any kind of government. But that statement of Deputy de Valera which I have quoted shows the extraordinary tendency he has always had, whether outside this House, as a Deputy of this House, or as President, to shut his eyes to facts.

We were told, and it was given as one of the principal reasons why this House was asked to pass the Oath Removal Act, that it would conduce to peace in this country. He professed to believe and possibly he believed, I might say probably he believed, that because he said the Republicans and others like them would then have no grievance and no reason why they should not come into this House that they would do it. It was pointed out at the time that there was no evidence that they would do anything of the kind. Since then surely it should have become quite clear to the members of the Government that the removal of the Oath, so far as that particular section of the population is concerned, has made not one iota of difference in the sense of improvement. Again hope, but no determination to face the facts. Not merely has it made no difference, but in reality it has given encouragement. It, and the conduct of the Government since then up to these trials to which I have referred the other day, are calculated to do nothing but give encouragement to these people who want to overthrow the constituted system of government in this country by force of arms.

I wonder whether it is believed that they could sap and undermine the influence of that particular body by conduct of this kind—by leaving it to the people themselves. Some time ago I heard an excuse given on behalf of the Government—it was alleged to have come from one of the Ministers—that they intended to take no definite steps because the thing would right itself; a volume of public opinion was growing up in the particular county in question —I need not mention the county—which would soon sweep the I.R.A. out of the place. If you have a Government or a responsible Minister capable of believing things like that, no wonder the I.R.A. finds itself in the exalted position in which it is and into which it has been exalted by the Government.

This statement by a Minister is only a rumour, but, again, rumour or not, it certainly sums up the best thing that can be said for the Government in their attitude on these matters. It is the best case that can be made for them, and a very bad case it is—the only case that can be made for the shameful neglect of their duty in this and other matters. Take a small matter: but again, though small, it is rather typical. Deputy McGilligan referred to it the other day. There is a law which requires a permit for collecting on flag days. The Government cannot pretend that they did not know that a collection without permits was going to take place in the city and in the country, and they took no action. Has the law lapsed? If it has lapsed, is that the first occasion on which it was allowed to lapse? Was it allowed to lapse on that particular occasion because the Government came to what they considered the prudent decision of avoiding conflict? In other words, is it not unfortunate that the first occasion on which the public found that that law was allowed to lapse the Government seemed to yield once more to the fear and threat of violence? We need not go into any of the details of the administration; but because the Government have lamentably failed in their primary duty as a Government I ask the House to support the motion in the name of Deputy Mulcahy.

I have listened to a few of the speeches made by the Opposition leaders, in proposing that this Vote be sent back for reconsideration, and, having done so, I am convinced that these gentlemen did not mean the words they uttered. They were more interested in making a case against a particular organisation than in anything else in order to cover up acts and things for which they are definitely responsible, and which have caused the increase that they complain about in the number of Civic Guards and the increased expenditure under this Vote. The attitude of three or four leaders on the Front Benches opposite when speaking on this Estimate is the greatest exhibition of brazen cheek that I know of. I think they felt that from the tone of the speeches, which I must admit have not been very telling, although they made the best effort they could. They were really not in earnest about sending back the Estimate, but, having regard to their anxiety that the morale of the Guards should be at the very highest level, I expected they would have made an abject apology to the people and to the country for their actions in the recent past which necessitated a great increase in the activities of the Guards and increased expenditure on the Department of Justice. We did not hear from them about the illegal activities that members of their organisation have taken part in, with the approval of the leaders of that Party. We did not hear anything about the general campaign attempted a few months ago to hold up all administration. We did not hear any apology about the organisation that Deputy O'Higgins handed over a short time ago, whose every effort from the first, was to hold up administration and to prevent this Government governing. The Opposition leaders know perfectly well that the activities of the Guards were increased one hundred fold, and that extra expenditure had to be incurred, in order to smash the campaign of the organisation by which members of the Front Benches opposite tried to hold up the work of the Government. Is it suggested that the attempt to smash the moral of the Guards was started by the Government? What about the Opposition? What about the statement made by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney in Mayo that whenever Guards were not present at his meetings they were peaceful? What about a statement that when the Guards absented themselves from meetings the Deputy was able to rule with the men who came there with bludgeons? Before they held the meetings they bludgeoned their opponents out of them and naturally they held very enthusiastic and peaceful meetings afterwards. Was not that an attempt to create the impression that if there were no Guards there would be peace, and that if Guards were present at meetings there was going to be trouble?

What about the statement of Deputy Mulcahy a short time ago that if reports were sent in by the Guards, confidential or otherwise, the information was in the hands of the I.R.A. within 24 hours? When the Deputy was asked to substantiate that statement he refused to give any information. The Deputy stated that here and the object was to smash the morale of the Guards, and he suggested that confidential reports were not sent in by the Guards because of the possibility that the I.R.A. would get hold of them, and that naturally the men who sent in the reports might be "potted." There was no apology from the Opposition Benches for these statements which were definitely made. When challenged on them Deputies opposite ran away from them, and would not give names, even in confidence to the Minister, to the heads of the Department or to the Commissioner. The attempt to smash the morale of the Guards was made, and was continued by members on the opposite benches. It has been a great disappointment to them that the morale of the Guards has not been smashed, that this Government is able to rule, and that, as a result, we have one of the most peaceful countries in the world, despite the attempt of the Party opposite to destroy respect for the law as well as the morale of the Guards. In their attempt to create disorder they have kept in their organisation practically every man who broke the law. In many instances men who broke the law or who ran counter to the Guards and were arrested and sentenced, or pleaded guilty, were promoted in the political organisation of the Party opposite. A particular man was charged with a very serious crime. One of the charges against him was attempted murder. He was charged before a competent court, in the opinion of Deputies opposite. They have never attempted to question the competency of that court at any time. While the case was pending, the Party opposite had not the patience to wait to see whether the man was a criminal or not and they exhalted him to a very high position, as they thought, to vice-directorship of the League of Youth. I think a day or two after he got the appointment he was convicted of a very serious charge. He was not dismissed of course.

On a point of order. I ask the Attorney-General's view in connection with a certain office, and a certain appointment.

Is that a point of order?

The Deputy said there was a charge of attempted murder, and I am asking if the person was found guilty or not?

I stated that this man was charged with a very serious crime.

Attempted murder.

One charge was attempted murder, and before the court gave its decision the Party opposite had not the patience, the decency, nor the civic spirit to wait to see whether he would be found guilty or not.

Which was it?

They exalted him to a very high position in the League of Youth. He was found guilty by the court of a very serious charge.

Was he found guilty of attempted murder?

He was found guilty of a very serious charge.

Was he found guilty of attempted murder? We should not use this House for slander.

There is an imputation against an unnamed man.

The man in question was found guilty of a very serious charge, but was not dismissed from the organisation.

The Deputy having referred to a certain individual as having been charged with attempted murder should have made it quite clear that he was not convicted on that charge.

I am prepared undoubtedly to make that quite clear. My case is that they had no civic spirit and have not got it yet. After he was charged before what they admit was a competent court——

Fancy the people who are lecturing us.

——competent to say whether he was guilty of that charge or not. What was the implication of that on every member of the League of Youth? Many of those in that organisation are young men who have not had much responsibility in public life or otherwise. Many of them are very decent young fellows but are led by the Opposition. What were they to take from such an attitude but that it was quite right to plot, to shoot into houses, when such conduct was not condemned by the Party opposite? At a very conservative estimate at least 200 members of the organisation that supports the Party opposite were charged and found guilty—many of them having admitted it—that they were guilty of serious crimes. It has never been known that a single individual who committed a crime was dismissed from that organisation. When these men come out they are met at the jail gates with bands and banners. They are regarded as national heroes. Yet the Party opposite talks about attempts having been made by the Government to break the morale of the Guards, while every man in their organisation who was found guilty of a crime is more or less looked upon as a national hero. A very serious incident occurred in Marsh's Yard, Cork, where the organisation that supports and lauds the Party opposite fixed £2 per head on poor men who were put into lorries to risk their lives. They fixed £2 per head as the price of their lives. The Guards were assaulted there and one unfortunate man lost his life in the attempt to enter the yard. Not a single Deputy opposite had the courage to get up and to condemn that as a criminal course. No, but £2 a head was to be paid to these men, while those who plotted behind the scenes would not go into the lorries. But they would allow an organisation to pay £2 a head to try to smash down the barriers of the law. Certain things happened that were a disgrace, but Deputies opposite tried to cover up happenings, for which they and the organisation that supported them are responsible. In August and September, 45 young men were charged in Country Limerick with cutting telegraph poles and blocking roads in Knocklong and Bruff districts.

I saw your friends cutting them on nine miles of a road, and now they are getting pensions for having done so.

If they were following example that may be explained at a later stage. The Deputy should at least ask for an example, now that he says he is following our example. The 45 men were charged with a serious crime. Many of them admitted in court that they were in the United Ireland Party. Mr. Danaher, who was defending them, said that from the manner in which the offences were carried out it was obvious they were done on instructions. On instructions, probably of the heads of the organisation. Whether it is a subordinate in the organisation gave the instructions or not, these men were in Deputy O'Sullivan's organisation. Were these 45 young men publicly drummed out of the organisation for admitting such offences? Not at all. They were made national heroes of. They are the men of standing in the country to-day; men who are doing time. These are the men Deputy O'Sullivan lauds. Fancy, a moment ago he talked about the morale of the people of this country being broken. What does he mean? He stands over every illegal act of these men and over every man who tries to smash the law, to break the morale of the people or to break the morale of the Guards, and he has the hypocrisy to get up and complain of the Government that is in control. In the case at Bruff one of the accused, who admitted the charge of cutting telegraph poles and wires, said that at meetings of the League of Youth he heard discussions about other men who had admitted their guilt in respect of charges of a similar nature and had heard them called "rotters" and "cowards." When he was asked if he had anything to say in mitigation of his sentence he said that he was acting under orders.

Another of the accused, a man named Linehan, on being asked why he cut telegraph wires said: "I had to do it; I got orders." The President of the court asked him if he thought he was obliged to commit crime if someone ordered him to do so, and the prisoner's answer was: "If I did not do so I should be dismissed from the organisation." Deputy O'Sullivan made a very nice speech but he kept that man in the organisation. That man broke the law because he was afraid he would be dismissed from Deputy O'Sullivan's organisation. I think it is nothing short of brazen cheek on the part of Deputy O'Sullivan to get up and talk about the morale of the people being smashed when every man who has broken the law in the organisation Deputy O'Sullivan belongs to and of which he is one of the heads, is encouraged to break the law. In fact they make national heroes of men who break the law. Yet the Deputy talks about the morale of the people being broken. It has been broken because people who break it are encouraged, are exalted and made political heroes. There was a case in County Leitrim late last year where four men were charged on eight counts, including the armed robbery of £2,600 from the Northern Bank in Ballinamore. These men were members of Deputy O'Sullivan's organisation. We have had no public apology from Deputy O'Sullivan's organisation about that. All the men are doing time and, as far as the public knows, they are still in the organisation. If we are to go on previous happenings, these four men when they have done their time for the armed robbery of the bank will be met at the jail with bands and banners and possibly Deputy O'Sullivan will be one of the speakers. If we are to take the example of previous happenings in the League of Youth and the United Ireland Party that is what will happen.

At Carrick-on-Shannon, on 3rd December, 1931, Mr. Gogarty, B.L. in defending the accused said that "in these organisations young men lost their heads, got firearms and were elevated to positions in which they acted in a foolish way." What effort did Deputy O'Sullivan or any of the Deputies opposite who have spoken on this Vote make to prevent young men in the organisation of which they are the heads getting hold of arms and doing foolish things, according to their counsel's statement at Carrick-on-Shannon? Until Deputies opposite make a most abject apology they have no right to criticise this Government, which has systematically tried to do its duty towards every section of the community. The United Irishman is the Bible of the Party opposite at times. Sometimes it is a paper to be repudiated and sometimes it is a paper to applaud—but in the issue of November 30 there appeared a reference to a drive in Cork against law breakers there. It mentioned that up to 80 members of the organisation were arrested and the leaders believed that they had worked up the atmosphere to such a pitch that every member would prove to be a law breaker, or would refuse to recognise authority, and refuse to pay dues to the State. The heading to the article was “Concentration Camps”. I admit that I was a bit worried when I saw that heading, because I know from other people that these camps are expensive items. If it were true that every man in the organisation was prepared to stand the acid test, and to go to jail rather than pay dues to the State, it would be a serious thing for the Government. What happened? The men lower down in the ranks had wiser heads than those at the top and they refused to go to concentration camps. At the first opportunity most of the 80 stood out against the heads of the organisation and up and down the country, when asked to pay up did so.

Despite the leading article in the United Irishman of November the 8th, they acted as fairly good citizens. They did their best to act as good citizens, considering the fact that they had been urged on every possible occasion by members of the organisation of the Opposition not to recognise this Government, to be law breakers, and to try to hamper the Government at every turn. We hear them demanding of the Government an apology for things they did in the past, an apology for not being more ruthless in certain things, and for not being more lavish in their easy treatment in other matters. I think they themselves might give a lead, and start off with their apologies. I have not seen a single apology by the members of their organisation for all those cases of lawlessness which were the general feature of Irish life a few months ago. The illegal acts they were committing ranged from attempted murder to bank robbery, the breaking down of roads and communications, and the holding up of the law on every possible occasion. But there is not a single apology—not even a condemnation, not even a drumming out of those men from the organisation. They were left there and exalted. We had a short time ago a statement in this House, something very similar to the statement which Deputy O'Sullivan has now made, about an outrage down in Birr, when the burning of a chapel there was attempted. We had a statement by Deputy McGilligan that the Guards in that instance did not act because they were afraid of their leaders on top; because they were afraid that if they arrested certain individuals for the crime those leaders would repudiate them and reprimand them for doing so. That insinuation was made by Deputy McGilligan here in this House. Was not the very same insinuation made to-day by Deputy O'Sullivan that the Guards are afraid to act; that the Guards are afraid to bring in the lawbreakers, because the Front Bench here might reprimand them for doing so? Is there any apology for the disgracefúl statement of Deputy McGilligan about the Birr outrage? Everybody in this country knew the type of people we have here; they knew of the civic spirit, the national outlook and the Catholic outlook of our people. Everybody knew at least the type of man that would be guilty of that horrible outrage, but the Party opposite were not a bit slow to try and make all the political capital they could out of it, to the extent of a statement in this House, by a man who poses as a responsible man, that the Guards were afraid to bring in the culprit because the Front Bench would repudiate them. Is there to be no apology for that disgraceful conduct? We know that Deputy McGilligan gets up in this House and scarcely ever fails to cover himself and his Party with mud, but could not somebody for him creep from beneath the slime——

Would it not be just to ask the Deputy to quote the statement?

If he cares to quote it. The Chair cannot prevent a Deputy interpreting another Deputy's speech.

I will furnish the Deputy with it within half an hour. It is in the Official Report. It is well known to those who were present here that he several times stated—not insinuated —that the Guards were afraid to act in that case because their officers higher up might reprimand them. It is known by men who were on the benches opposite at the time that he made that statement. What I complain about is that those disgraceful insinuations can be made here, and that Deputy O'Sullivan can get up to-day and make the same kind of dirty insinuation. Any decent man in any decent Party would, when he found out what happened in the Birr case, get up and apologise to the officers of the Gárda Síochána, if not to the Minister for Justice, for the disgraceful statement of Deputy McGilligan on that occasion. We had no apology from the Opposition about the condition of Cork. Is it suggested that there are too many Guards in Cork at the moment? Is it suggested that too much is being spent there in having justice inflicted on the people of County Cork? Are we to withdraw the percentage of increased Guards from the County Cork? No; they would be silent on that point. They will not even, in common decency, get up and apologise in this House when the house of a Deputy is burned down, but when a chapel is burned in Birr of course the Communists naturally get the responsibility. The burning out of a man's family is a crime too, and the organisation responsible for that, headed by the men opposite——

The Deputy, when citing a case awaiting trial may not make charges against any individual or Party.

Very well, a Chinn Comhairle. The leaders of the organisation which has been responsible for most disgraceful conduct throughout the country come in here and condemn the Minister for Justice and his Department for insisting that law and order shall be continued in this country. If the Party opposite acted as a decent political Party, employing decent tactics, they would be a much stronger Party, politically and otherwise. There would not be a broken Party there, ashamed to meet the men whom they formerly encouraged into certain actions. They would command much more respect in this State, and had they acted thus the Department of Justice would be able to reduce the Guards by at least 50 per cent.; but until they mend their ways it is poor consolation for anybody to listen to them trying to make the Minister for Justice out as black, when they themselves cannot find themselves out in the darkness which surrounds them at the moment.

It is well worth while sitting on a Tuesday if only to hear a lecture by Deputy Cleary on law, order and decency.

I am glad the Deputy appreciates it.

It is said that miracles never stop happening, and I am rapidly coming round to that point of view. I am not generally in the habit of following red herrings, but I am going to follow this particular red herring up to a certain point, for the simple reason that the patent dishonesty of the statements made by Deputy Cleary was only equalled by his discreditable desire to wound. He was unscrupulous in his attempt to slander, libel and besmirch the name of as fine a soldier as this country ever had——

I do not question that at all.

——and a man who does not happen to be present in this House to answer for himself. I can say this with knowledge, that the last man about whom Deputy Cleary would make those statements to his face and outside this House is the man in regard to whom he made use of the shelter of this House to slander and attack. If everyone of us were to be presumed guilty of every offence with which we are charged, even when a competent court finds us not guilty, life would be unbearable in this or in any other country. The manner in which he attempted to get away with the original insinuations was worthy of the general behaviour of the Deputy since he disgraced this Assembly.

There was no attempt whatever to slander him.

We have the Deputy presuming to lecture us because certain individuals who suffered hardship, penalisation and gaol, were welcomed on their release, and that comes from a member of a Party which encouraged an improper and anti-national welcome of men, before the expiration of their sentences. That comes from a member of a Government Party whose first governmental act was to turn the keys in prison doors and welcome men before they had purged themselves of the offences for which they were in. Is it a greater crime to welcome a man who has cleaned the slate and served his sentence, or to open the prison door and welcome a man before ever he has cleaned the slate or served his sentence? Yet you had the doors opened to every class of criminal— fanatics who claim on any kind of a political or semi-political complexion. If we are going to get lectures on cleanliness, let a clean man deliver them, and if there are stones to be thrown let the person in a glass-house refrain from throwing those stones.

Practise that.

A lecture on decency, law and order or State support is nauseating when it comes from anyone of the type of Deputy Cleary. We had his references—cheap, glib-tongued, unnecessary references—to the Army Comrades' Association. It is a fact that so long as that organisation lasted there was no suggestion or hint that it was an unlawful or illegal association, or that it was an organisation that should be banned as an anti-State organisation. It had a life of 12 months; its meetings were open; its correspondence was there to be examined; investigations were invited week by week; every statement that was made was spoken in broad daylight. It was a non-party organisation, or an all-party organisation, and there was no suggestion all that time that it was illegal. It changed its name and became a political organisation, and immediately it did that it was banned. There was no major change in its activities; there was no major change in its aim; but it became definitely political, and therefore a political menace to the powers that be, and then that organisation was banned, and in retrospect also the Army Comrades' Association was banned. But if the Army Comrades' Association is to be remembered for anything it should be remembered as a force that grew into being as an antidote to all that Deputy Cleary stood for in the past. If it was illegal or criminal, or had anything unlawful about it that Deputies charge to it, then that charge must be laid to negligence and cowardice on the part of the present Government, because it allowed that body to live its life from the beginning without any such charge being made against it, and if it had been made it could not be proved or carried even in the most biased political surroundings. We had reference here for the purpose of bolstering up the ban on the grounds that certain members of the organisation had arms. What the Minister told us in this instance would apply to any organisation, from the Irish Hierarchy and the St. Vincent de Paul Society down to the Fianna Fáil organisation, namely, that certain members inside these organisations are armed. Some of these arms are kept as souvenirs, some are kept for protection; but there is no organisation in this country, no matter what its claim be, or what its objects be, that certain individuals inside it could not be found in the possession of arms. And if an organisation is to be dubbed or branded as armed because certain isolated individuals in it are found to carry arms, then I presume that the members of the Party opposite, and this Party and the middle Party in the House could all be branded as members of armed organisations.

We had, as I say, this organisation banned in retrospect but not banned until it got into the field of political controversy, and we had its successor and its next successor banned. Because of this ban I charge the Government with debasing the greatest Department of the whole State. I charge the Government, or the Department of Justice, with utilising that Department for gross political corruption. We have, arising out of the turmoil and trouble and controversy of the last two decades in this country, three political Parties emerging—the Free State Party, which sits in these benches, the Republican Party outside this House, and the Tammany Party constituting the Government Party at the present moment. It is in pursuit of the Tammany policy of corruptly hitting your political opponents, and corruptly facilitating your political supporters that we are in the unique position of finding the Public Safety Act being utilised to ban an organisation that professes respect for this State and that exists for the service of this State as against the enemies of this State. It has a printed Constitution, and it has uttered objects.

The Minister may get up, and say "I have information that these are very far from its aims and objects." I am as much entitled to talk with knowledge and conviction about these banned organisations, at least, as the Minister with his hordes of mercenary informers. I have spoken time and again upon this subject. One swallow does not make a summer and one fool in an organisation, if there be such, does not make up its approved policy. While I am slow to say that every bit of information the Minister received was biased, or lying, it is always well to remember that if anybody inside or outside the Government pays for information they will get plenty of it; and the more they get the less it is to be relied upon. I think it is this surfeit of information that has driven the Minister and his Department rather crazy with regard to the use of the Public Safety Act.

There was no man worth his salt from top to bottom of any of these banned organisations that was not or is not at the present moment a better democrat than the Minister for Justice or any one of his colleagues on the bench opposite. If we are democrats and stand for democracy we have conceded majority and minority Parties and what I contend is that the only crime of these organisations that were banned and the only reasons that they were banned, was because they stood openly and frankly on the side of the State against the allies of the Government Party opposite. These organisations never made any secret of the fact that they stood in every sense of the word against the boast of the I.R.A. and of the Communists in various models spread throughout this country at the moment. I believe it is because of that, and at the beck of such organisations that the ban of the Public Safety Act was applied to our organisation. At all events, the point I make is this: that in all our utterances we stand for and on behalf of the State, and for and on behalf of the people.

There was at some time in this country another organisation that claimed quite proudly to stand for the violent destruction of this State. That is what they claimed and preached before the public. Our organisations were banned on suspicion of somebody, or on the word of some secret service agent. We were banned under the suspicion that we were an anti-State organisation. But those who claimed, week after week, that their aim and object was the destruction of the State were not banned. No suspicion was assumed in their case. If the present League of Youth, having learned a lesson from its predecessors that they will be banned for supporting the Constitution, and for standing for the State, takes another course, and holds meetings up and down the country, recruiting men to carry arms against the Government of the Free State, and if they carry on flag days defying the Government and declaring that the revenue from the flag collection is to be devoted to the purchase of arms against the Government, will they then be immune from being banned? Shall we then get the same privileged position as those bodies have got? Shall we then get a position of preference when it comes to employment, when it comes to land division, when it comes to any of the various services that it is within a Government's power to utilise? What is wrong with this State at present is that you on the opposite side have flirted, out of office and in office, with certain forces. You thought you were using forces that were merely using you. Having flirted in office with anti-State forces, allowing them to grow strong and fat, allowing them to grow in strength and increase in membership—having done that for two years in office and ten years out of office, you find it difficult suddenly to turn on your tracks and brand as criminal and unlawful the things you encouraged, advocated and preached for ten years and winked at for two years. I see your difficulties and I sympathise with them. But no matter how awkward the situation or how difficult the case, remember that it is you and you alone who are responsible for the present and, to a very great extent, for the future of this country. Recognising that an organisation has grown to such strength that it deliberately defies in the open the Government of this country, is it not time that the Government took some action?

A Government can be insulted and a Government can be offended; its laws can be broken; its laws may be defied; even anarchy may grow up here and there throughout the country, and a Government may still live and carry on. But one thing no Government can suffer and survive is to be publicly humiliated. It is rather tragic that this public humiliation should take place on the Easter anniversary. It was humiliating—no matter what side of the House we belong to we must feel that. On the Easter Week anniversary, when people were assembling to honour the men who fought and died to bring this Parliament into being, in association with a State function which was being held in order to pay tribute to the memory of these men, it was definitely humiliating to see the President and his Executive Ministers creeping out through a back door of Dublin Castle and getting by back streets to Portobello Barracks. It would have been better you had never attended that particular Mass, from the public point of view and from the point of view of the little brat who chuckled when he saw that exhibition. It does not matter what I think or what the police think, or what strong Fianna Fáil supporters think. What matters is what the little brat thinks, what the anti-State forces think. I believe your back-street tour on that particular day did more to encourage the I.R.A. and its various allies than will be counteracted by any display of force. That was the whole picture.

There is supposed to be a Department of Justice. There are supposed to be laws and regulations governing the rights and activities of the people of this State. There is supposed to be a law or regulation that nobody can sell flags in public except he applies for and secures a permit. We had these forces selling flags all over Ireland on Easter Sunday. We had a meeting in Parnell Square a fortnight before, when one of the highest officers in that organisation stated—this was published in the Sunday Independent—that they proposed to sell flags in order to secure money to purchase arms to overthrow this State. Fourteen days after that utterance and, so far as I know, without a permit, we had those emblems sold in every town, village and rural area in the Saorstát. I do not mind what revenue they got. Was not that humiliating, was it not undignified and did it not do immense harm to the prestige of the Government of the State?

I should like to remind the Minister for Justice of an incident about 18 months ago when that illegal Army Comrades' Association was in being. We held a flag day. Permits for different dates were obtained for different areas. The organisation in Waterford area had a permit to collect on a different Sunday from that for which the Wexford association had a permit. A Waterford collector crossed the river to collect in Wexford on the occasion of a big congregation there. He thought he would get money at that gathering. He had scarcely appeared in Wexford when he was caught by the back of the neck by the police. He was not collecting without a permit but he was collecting in an area for which he had not a permit. That is the type of even-handed justice administered in this country. The late allies of the Government can say "To blazes with your permit; we will sell our flags and use the money to buy arms to get you out of the country" and no action is taken. If people who say they stand against that, people who stand for the State, make a mistake as to the frontier line of a county, they are caught by the back of the neck even though they have a permit for a certain area. We have the rotten corruption that is evidenced by discriminating behaviour with regard to organisations that are leaning this way and organisations that are leaning that way. We have that type of biassed administration applying to individual members of the State forces. We have penalties imposed either directly and openly or lefthandedly and secretly. Not the least penalty that is imposed on police officers who carry on in an upright and impartial manner is what I referred to before as the tyranny of the transfer. We have police officers, high and low, saying verbally "If I am to hold my job round the corner of the next couple of years, I must be biassed in my activities." We have that quoted and re-quoted second-hand and third-hand and so continuously that there must be something in it. I have watched the transfers of Gárdaí, sergeants and officers. I have had at times at least, knowledge of political resolutions, a month, a fortnight—six weeks—in advance of such transfers, and I have been approached by Gárda officers who told me that they were informed, or at least that they had information, that a political organisation had passed a resolution asking for their transfer. I waited to see what would happen, and in every case the transfer took place.

Was that in the Deputy's area?

When I am speaking here, Deputy Davin, I am concerned with the Irish Free State and the administration of the Department of Justice, and not with specific areas. The next step in that kind of an interruption would be to ask for the name of the man.

As I was saying, the next step in that kind of interruption would be to ask for the name of the individual, and failing the name of the individual, the Deputy would endeavour to tie me down to a County, and then it would be just a question of reducing the number of transfers in that county to x. In that way, it would be much easier to arrive at the individual who approached me, and if he was transferred because of a political resolution, I am sorry to say that I feel that he would lose his appointment entirely because he had approached me.

We heard Deputy Cleary referring to illegal activities, and referring to a bank robbery in Leitrim. Evidently, he was very anxious to parade the fact that some of the bank robbers had, at one time, belonged to this political organisation. I make him a present of that. Perhaps they did. Practically every man in this country belongs to some political organisation, and if a supporter of Fianna Fáil robs a bank, or does anything else of that nature, would we expect the President, or the Vice-President, or any of the leaders of that Party, to get up here and publicly apologise because one of their followers committed a crime? Let us get away from that kind of nonsense. If a crime is committed with the knowledge or the authority of a political organisation, then the leaders of that political organisation have some cause to hang their heads and have something to apologise for; but they cannot be held responsible for the individual acts of every one of their supporters. That is a cheap kind of propaganda, and it is on a par with the Deputy's attempt to libel Colonel Jerry Ryan. The Deputy's argument is that, because three or four supporters of Cumann na nGaedheal were involved in such a crime, therefore, according to the Deputy, all supporters of that Party are bank robbers. I would hesitate to follow Deputy Cleary down that particular road. I do not think it would be in the interests of the good name of this Assembly, or in the interests of the good name of the country, to start retailing such crimes in this Assembly, and connecting the criminal in each case with his particular political Party. No good purpose would be served by it, and it would be better that that type of debating point were not made here, because there is always the inclination, either from this side or the other side, to reply in kind, and we are not so bankrupt in criticism that we have to go down to the ranks of bank robbers to get material to discuss a Vote of this kind.

I would say this, however, that so far as crime is even remotely associated with politics, we have, on one side, intense activity and a reasonable degree of success, as judged by results and, on the other side, inactivity. In other words, after a crime is committed, or a law broken, in some kind of a semi-political way, if an offence is committed against one Party in the State, we have intense police activity: we have hundreds of men rounded up and held for 72 hours, released, re-arrested and held again for another 72 hours. We have hundreds of men being interrogated individually and independent of one another, and the results of such interrogations put together and examined by experts, and we have action taken as a result of the information so obtained. When the crime or the offence is against the Fianna Fáil organisation, or is an offence that is remotely connected with political activity of that nature, that is what happens; but we have a rather striking contrast when the offence is committed against this organisation. We have no arrests in the latter case. We have no interrogations. We have no activity of the kind I have mentioned. I represent a constituency where I myself was present at at least five dance-halls where shots were fired either into the dance-halls or at the people coming to and from them, or where the electric current was interfered with at the dance. There was no police activity in connection with such incidents that I heard of. There were no arrests. There were no detentions for 72 hours. There were no interrogations. There was no great round up of suspects over the county. On one occasion, however, I regret to say, that there was interference with a Fianna Fáil dance in that constituency. As a result of that interference there was such police activity as was never seen in the County of Laoighis since the escape of Lynchehaun many years ago. Everybody in the vicinity had to account for their movements on that night and the night before. Every man who was in any way associated with this Party, was held up either in his home or on the roadside, and interrogated as to his movements. People who were absent from the neighbourhood at the time, but whom it might be possible to identify with this Party—my brother, for instance, who had been five months away—and who were known to the police to be connected with this Party were interrogated. My brother, as soon as he put his nose over the Laoighis frontier, had to be held up, and had to submit to examination by experts coming down there to put their glib and tricky questions to him. The blindest man in Laoighis could see the object behind all that. That, however, is the type of activity that takes place when there is interference with a Fianna Fáil function. On the other hand, we have inactivity— entire inactivity—when there is interference with a function held by the organisation constituting the political Opposition.

I put it to the Minister, and to the Attorney-General, that what was obvious two years ago has occurred. If a Government flirts, even for a week, with lawless elements—whether through motives of leniency of through a hope in the minds of Government Ministers that, by such methods of leniency, they will wean these lawless elements from their evil ways—in all times, and in all countries, Government weakness of that kind has always been misinterpreted. Government weakness of that kind, no matter what the motive may have been, has always been read, in all countries and in all times, as cowardice and as failure to implement rigidly and ruthlessly the law. Weakness of that kind in a Government has always been interpreted as fear to carry out the law rigidly and ruthlessly, and the courage derived from that thought, in the minds of evildoers, has always had the result of increasing the numbers, the strength, the influence, and the bellicosity, of such organisations, until little by little, if time is allowed to run, and their growth to go on unchecked, the time will come when such organisations will be strong enough to tackle the State itself. Inertia in a Government in the face of a growing menace is nothing short of criminal. Inertia in a Government with a menace of that kind grow ing, pushing in here and permeating through there, with intrigues growing and flourishing inside and outside and around the Government services, is more sinful than the actions of those very agents themselves. At least, such agents can say: "We regard that as the right course; we regard that path as the path of patriotism." They have no responsibility for the safety and security of the State. The people in the Government have an awful responsibility for the safety and security of the State. Putting trouble on the long finger, or inactivity at a time when you should be active, will always have in the national sense the same result as it had in the local sense with regard to the Dundalk bomb.

The Attorney-General

I did not intend to intervene in this debate at all, but Deputy O'Higgins referred just now to incidents in connection with which his brother was questioned. I think that while he referred to this particular case before, this was the first time that the Deputy referred in the House to the fact that his brother was questioned. I think that what the Deputy has said might be calculated to create an impression unfair to the Guards concerned in the interrogation. My recollection—I am not pledging it to be absolutely accurate—about the incident of how his brother came to be interrogated was that a rifle was found in the possession of some individual. At any rate, somebody was subsequently charged in connection with it, and I think that in the course of his interrogation he explained that he got the rifle from the Deputy's brother.

I do not want to interrupt the Attorney-General and I am sure that he is as anxious as I am to have the truth for what it is worth. It is correct to say that a rifle was got and the man arrested. The first question put to my brother was: "Did that man get the rifle from you?" and the first answer he made was "yes." He told the circumstances under which he had given out those two rifles. He got them from the Curragh Camp on the night that my father was murdered with the knowledge of the Camp authorities. He told the military authorities to whom he was giving those two rifles, and if those two rifles remained, as they did, in the custody of those two individuals it was with the knowledge of the State. He went away to the Colonies. He was away for eight years, and when he comes back he is caught by the neck about those rifles as if there was any doubt about them. That question was settled in the first five minutes, but he was held to the last fraction of a second of the 72 hours.

The Attorney-General

Despite what the Deputy has said I do not think that we have yet the complete story. When the Deputy interrupted I was going to explain what happened. My recollection of the incident, and I think it is correct, is this: that when the man was questioned he stated that he got the rifle within a very short period previous to the particular offence with which he was subsequently charged. The man was subsequently acquitted, but his statement as regards the period when he got the rifle and the statement which was subsequently obtained from the Deputy's brother was completely different. Now I am not going to make any point about that except this: that the Guards had in their possession the information obtained from the man who was questioned first, and he stated that he got the rifle from the Deputy's brother within a period which, if my recollection is correct, was covered by some months. When the Deputy's brother came to be questioned it turned out that the period was some years ago. I had the papers before me, and directed the acceptance of the statement made by the Deputy's brother. There was no charge made against him. When the case came on before the Military Tribunal no reference was made to the fact that there was any difference about the period as to when the man got the rifle from the Deputy's brother. I merely mention this because the Deputy seemed to suggest that the moment the outrage was reported the Guards set out hot foot to attempt to connect the Deputy's brother with the charge.

My point is this, that he would have answered all those questions—and I think the Attorney-General knows it—without having to suffer the humiliation of arrest and of 72 hours' detention. He never yet refused to answer any question put to him.

The Attorney-General

That may be. I do not question that at all. I merely want to clear the Guards in the area of the imputation which seemed to be made against them that they had no justifiable reason for questioning the Deputy's brother.

They could only arrest on suspicion.

The Attorney-General

They arrested on information given by the man who was arrested and made a statement as to where he got the rifle. There could not be better grounds for arresting on suspicion. One man was arrested and found in possession of a rifle. He stated that he got it from another man. I do not understand the Deputy's point. He must have only just woken up. There is just another point that I would like to deal with following the lines that Deputy Cleary has already covered. I do not want to say that the tu quoque argument is any other than fallacy. I do not say that it helps in the least for us to say that the Deputies' followers were guilty of this, that or the other if we fail to do our duty in the enforcement of the law generally. But I do think—I do not want to make the debating point of it of which I think it is fairly capable— that it is time that we had from the Deputies opposite something more than the type of speech that we have had here on this Estimate, when the public generally, and the House and everybody in the country knows that while not openly encouraging, they certainly do not openly discourage the operations of their followers throughout the country, there has been allowed to occur a series of outrages in parts of the country which undoubtedly have been perpetrated by their followers.

I have before me figures of the offences committed between the month of July last year and January, the 16th of this year, offences which I think can fairly be attributed to supporters of the Party opposite: offences of road obstruction, tree-felling, wire-cutting, etc. The total number of offences is 625. I agree absolutely with Deputy O'Higgins that it is quite unfair to seek to tar the Party with offences of certain individuals who happened to have been members of that Party. But here you have not individual offences or offences by irresponsible individuals who happened to be members of the Party, but a total of 625 outrages. 379 persons were brought to book, and of those a large number admitted the offences.

We have several instances of villages being isolated; of townlands and towns being isolated, and of wire-cutting operations. Everybody knows—it has become so common that apparently Deputies opposite think the ordinary public do not mind— that it is quite impossible to obtain a fair free sale of cattle seized for nonpayment of land annuities. When Deputies opposite get up here to talk about it, they blame it on the attempt by this tyrannical Government to exact the last penny from the distressed farmers. We had an instance only two days ago of a seizure made in County Cork. A number of cattle—I think, about 30—were sold for a tithe of their value, and the only man who bid there was a man who had to give the name of Mr. O'Neill, who, everybody knows, carries his life in his hands.

I saw yesterday paraded in the Cork Examiner, as something of exceptional public interest, the march of the distressed farmers through the town of Fermoy, the closing down of the shops in Fermoy, and the general campaign to excite antipathy against anybody who attends a sale to buy cattle and against the Government forces which carried out the seizure, and the whole atmosphere made to seethe with indignation against the Government. For what? For an attempt to levy from farmers the amounts due by them for land annuities. Apply all the principles which have been enunciated in speech after speech from Deputies opposite, and which rose to their climax in Deputy O'Higgins' speech, to what is going on with the covert approval and, I am sure, in other places, the open approval of the leaders of the Party opposite. How can they justify it? How can they justify the fact that when the sheriff now goes to seize, on foot of a warrant for land annuities, and, sometimes, decrees for rates, he carries his life in his hands and has to go armed?

The considerable addition to the police force which we are voting here is due to the fact that such was the condition throughout the various counties that it was quite impossible for the ordinary normal forces put at the disposal of the sheriffs to levy for annuities. When you examine the situation, you find that the difficulties are in particular areas. It is not a widespread state of affairs. We had the attempt here by Deputy O'Sullivan to paint the picture that, all over the country, there was a complete breakdown of the administration of justice, and that there was no respect for law or order. I have only to throw before my mind the picture of the country as a whole and sweep from one side to the other, from east to west, and I do not think it shows any disrespect for law and order or any feeling that people can get away with crime of any sort. Yet Deputies here have the hardihood to get up and attempt to paint that picture, and to convince and encourage some of their own misguided followers to suggest that, by their iniquities, this Government have allowed law and order to become a mere name in the country.

I do not wish to interrupt the Attorney-General but I want to ask him one question. With regard to the seizures of cattle in the Fermoy area, to which he has alluded, is it a fact that the Gárda notified the farmers concerned two days prior to the seizures that if they would make one instalment on the amount due to the Land Commission their cattle would not be seized?

The Attorney-General

I cannot answer that, but the Minister will probably be able to answer it when he comes to speak. I am now on a broader question altogether. Let it be admitted for the purpose of argument that there is a distressed condition amongst the farmers. I was going on to point out that this spate of outrage is curiously isolated and occurs in well-defined areas—areas which, to me, coming from the West, seem certainly not poverty stricken. Compare the conditions in County Cork with the conditions in my native county and in Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's native county, Mayo, and look at the returns of payments in respect of land annuities from Mayo and from Cork, and seek to build any argument on them justifying such a campaign as has been carried out, for example, in Cork against the payment of these land annuities. Anybody who knows anything about conditions in the country knows that, in the greater number of instances, the annuity is a drop in the ocean of the expenses which the farmer has to pay. That is not even the point. What I want to stress is that we have been charged—we have not heard it so much in this debate but it was a favourite theme of Deputy O'Sullivan's; he used it in discussions on this Estimate in previous years, on Budget discussions and on every possible occasion—that everything we were doing savoured of Communism; that we were Communists although we did not know it, employing the methods of Communism and heading the country towards Communism.

Anarchy, he said to-day.

The Attorney-General

Communism was the pet theme with Deputy O'Sullivan. Deputy O'Higgins has stressed the fact that in their objects the League of Youth profess to support the State, and to be in favour of law and order. So they do, but what about the 625 outrages in a period of six or eight months? Do they not speak far louder than the professions of the constitution of the League of Youth? I have here before me, if I cared to read them, statements made by numbers of these men in the League of Youth, officers of the League of Youth, who said at the Tribunal that they were ordered to cut wires and to block roads. On one occasion, down in Cloyne area, a tramp turned up in the locality, and immediately the area hummed with activity. Companies were brought out and men were sent to this, that and the other point, and in one night the entire area was isolated. Wires were cut and trees felled. The Gárda were mystified. There was no seizure being made, but this was rather the type of activity indulged in when seizures were about to be made. When some of these men were questioned, it turned out that they had suspected that the tramp was a member of the special unit in disguise; that, because he had been seen on the road, the special unit was coming down; and that there were going to be seizures and, consequently, the whole area was isolated.

I am endeavouring to approach this matter in a reasonable way. It seems to me that the Party opposite, consciously or unconsciously, are allowing the technique of Communism to be employed in their own ranks. The technique of Communism is to profess one thing and to do the other; to say you are obeying the law while breaking it. That is what is being done in many areas by followers of the Party opposite. Here is the proof of it; it cannot be denied. We have not a single instance of a gentleman convicted of this type of offence, or who admitted this type of offence, before the tribunal being put out of the League of Youth, expelled from the Party or adversely criticised in this House. It is what I have been waiting to hear from them—something to indicate that the Party discouraged this kind of operation. Compare the list of operations of this kind the activities of this illegal body, with the operations of any other body in the country. Do their activities not give the lie to all that is said by themselves about themselves and by themselves in their constitution? It seems to me that the technique employed is to allow local officers, whenever there are seizures, to do everything possible. We had instances in which signallers were sent out. Men went out on motor-bicycles when the sheriff was supposed to be going into a certain district. Information was circulated all over the district and the land was cleared of stock. We had the Fermoy incident the other day where cattle were sold at a tithe of their value and there were hundreds of protesting farmers. There was a meeting addressed by one of the Deputies of this House in which he referred to the Government as worse than Cromwell, and all the rest of it. There was a man with 30 cows on his farm and he was not able to pay some sum like £25 that was due in annuities.

How many cows were retained to pay that debt?

The Attorney-General

He allowed his cattle to be sold for what appeared to me to be less than £1 per head, and cattle must be very low indeed if they are not worth more than £1 per head.

The Attorney-General should try to sell a cow and he will gain some experience.

The Attorney-General

On one occasion we had Deputy Cosgrave emphasising that fair prices were not got at these sales. Who is responsible? Are not the members of the Party opposite stirring the troubled waters, deriving every possible advantage from the distressed conditions of the farmers? Is not that the very technique of Communism—wherever there is trouble, go in and exacerbate it. Everyone knows that farming is not thriving; everybody knows that farmers have certain difficulties to meet; but is it honest, fair or proper that a responsible Party should allow its followers in this new organisation, no matter what its aims may be, to attempt to cripple the ordinary machinery for the enforcement for the payment of debts and allow every Tom, Dick and Harry in the Blueshirt organisation to say to the farmers: "You are not to pay." That is, apparently, what is happening. People are not being allowed to pay. Then we have a condition of affairs, which is bemoaned from public platforms and in this House by some Deputies sitting opposite, in which a man has to go carrying his life in his hands into these sales to attempt to buy cattle and the Government has to expend an enormous sum of money in seeing that prices will be realised for the stock seized in execution of the warrants.

It seems to me that Deputies opposite have a great deal to answer for in connection with the campaign. The public are not blinded in the least. I am quite certain that the public generally throughout the country are not so dense or stupid as Deputies opposite would have one believe. They see through all this nonsense. Yet we have all this fume, fret and fury in the House. The people in the country are well able to weigh up the situation. In various areas this activity is encouraged to an extent which very nearly—and I am sure the Department of Justice will bear me out in this—brought the machinery to an end. Deputy O'Higgins has now paid it the tribute of saying that it has apparently got a grip of this campaign and has again made the machinery for the execution of decrees an effective instrument. I do think that we should have had from those Deputies here something more than the hypocritical canting humbug that we have had from several of them. It is really nothing short of that.

I would not intervene in this debate were it not for the fact that the Attorney-General has alluded to the seizure of farmers' cattle in the Fermoy area, which I have the honour to represent. The facts of the matter are that a great number of cattle were seized in Cork during the last week. One unfortunate poor dupe allowed his cattle including valuable milch cows to be seized for a very small sum of money. He did that on a guarantee from a certain political organisation in this country that in case he would be victimised his cattle would be restored and he would be at no loss in the matter. That unfortunate man is down and out at the present moment and is to-day on the roadside hopeless and helpless. If before that decree was executed that man approached me and if he put his case before me I would come up here to the proper quarters—the Land Commission—and I have no hesitation in saying that they would have taken a sympathetic view of his case and his cattle would not be seized. As to the people who advised that man, I want to say that one of the principal of these advisers as soon as the sheriff's officers made a seizure on him, produced his cheque book and handed over a cheque for the amount due to the Land Commission. He did that notwithstanding the fact that the other man's cattle were taken away by the sheriff's officers to an unknown destination.

Who is to be blamed for all this trouble in the country at the present moment? Is it the farmers themselves? I know that fifty per cent. of them are not in a position to pay their land annuities and rates notwithstanding the fact that they were willing to do so. But others of them have been advised, by the Imperialist element in this country, who were always opposed to every political movement set up to achieve the freedom and prosperity of our country, not to pay their land annuities. This Imperialistic element is to-day making a fight and endeavouring to create dissension and disunity amongst our people so that we may be back again to the rack-renting times of the landlords. I do not wish to refer further to these seizures of cattle, but I would wish to put this point to the proper authorities in Dublin—that is before they make seizures they should make all sorts of enquiries as regards the ability and willingness of the farmers to pay their rates and land annuities. If that were done there would be very little need for pounds, for flying squads or for sheriffs' officers down in the County of Cork.

As regards this Estimate of the Minister for Justice, I for one would like to see it greatly reduced. But under the conditions prevailing in the country at present I see no hope of reducing that Estimate for just now there is very little regard for life or property in the country. There is very little protection for people in their homes. We all remember the saying that a man's home is his castle and people cannot defend their wives and families against the blackguards who are going around at the present moment firing their homes and turning their wives and children into the roadside. Such men who are engaged in this diabolical work are not worthy of the name of Irishman. Have we enough protection in the country as regards the Gárda force? Some say we have and more say we have not. But if we had the right civic spirit amongst the people every man would be a Gárda in himself to assist the Government who were elected by the representatives of the majority of the people. We may not all agree with the policy of the Government. I for one do not agree with the Government policy but I can agree to differ. There is one thing certain, that every citizen is bound before God to help to maintain law and order in the country. It is a terrible state of affairs and reveals a terrible condition of lawlessness when men and organisations in the country look upon themselves as a government and want to rule the country themselves. When that is the position that is reached then may God pity Irish people. There should be a better understanding and a better civic spirit amongst us.

When we come down to bedrock, look at the economic position of the country and examine the differences which divide our people there will be some hope for a national betterment. But so long as we have political parties flying at each other's throats and mud slinging in this House and outside it; and when you have people abusing each other and trying to be masters of the situation there can be no peace in the country. The sooner that condition of things is ended the better it will be for us all. We can make no progress, industrially or politically, so long as we have Military Tribunals and so long as we have seizures of property of the farmers all through the country and until we cease to have distrust amongst ourselves. If that continues I can see no hope for the future of our people. It was not by these ideals that the men of Easter Week were animated. I am afraid I am departing from the Vote that is before the House but perhaps you, a Leas Chinn Comhairle, will give me a little latitude under the circumstances. The ideals of the men of 1916 were altogether different from the ideals that are now apparently in the ascendant. We have the so-called I.R.A. and the so-called Blueshirts and other organisations all fighting one another when we should be united in one common cause marching shoulder to shoulder as brothers and making a united effort to reach the goal set for us by the men of 1916 who died for that ideal. I will refer no further to that matter.

As regards this estimate I notice that the figure has been increasing year by year and what we have to ask is can the common people, can the ratepayers of the country afford to pay this figure for the protection of life and property? The expenditure is becoming enormous. In God's name let all this dissension be ended once and for all, let us come to a better understanding amongst outselves and bring the country that peace and unity which the common people so much desire. When that position is brought about there will be very little need for an Estimate like this and there will be no necessity to have the sheriffs' officers going around making seizures of the farmers' cattle. There will be no Military Tribunal sitting. Let us march forward in brotherly love as Irishmen should do and aim for the prosperity and independence of our country.

I think the Minister for Justice must have been very much disappointed in the support he received from the speakers on his own side this afternoon. We had a speech from Deputy Cleary. That was a characteristic speech, teeming with abuse and nothing but abuse. We had a speech from the Attorney-General and I am sorry to have to describe the speech of the Attorney-General as a speech marked by cowardice and nothing else but cowardice. We listened to a speech just now from Deputy Kent. That speech of Deputy Kent's was a speech steeped in ambiguity. It seemed to me that it was a worse attack on the Minister than any attack made from this side of the House. The Attorney-General in his speech showed nothing but what was characteristic of cowardice. Every point which had been made on this side of the House was a point from which the Attorney-General ran away. The Minister was asked by speakers on this side how is he dealing with military crime in this country. He was asked how was he dealing with organisations which announced themselves and described themselves as seditious. Did the words I.R.A. pass the lips of the Attorney-General when addressing this House? Not at all. At the mention of that body the Attorney-General seemed to be shaking in his shoes. He dare not express what the Government policy was in regard to that body.

The Attorney-General wants to deal with what is not serious crime in this country. He said he wanted to deal with the 379 persons who were charged with cutting down trees. That is not a serious crime. I know the Government are endeavouring to make out that it is. Some time ago the Minister for Justice gave a most extraordinary reply to Deputy Mulcahy when questions were put to him as to shooting into houses and endangering human life. The answer the House got and Deputy Mulcahy got was: "The Guards were so busy safeguarding telegraph poles that they had not any time to look after houses or the people in them." The real serious crime in this country consists in attacks upon dwelling-houses, the use of firearms, and shooting at citizens. That is the really serious condition of crime and it is a thing with which the Minister should deal and not run away from as the Attorney-General has run away from it. In running away from this serious crime the Attorney-General has been found wanting in courage. I want the Minister to take his courage in both hands and let us know the policy of the Government towards the serious crime of the kind to which I have referred.

The Attorney-General said that the cutting of telegraph poles and the cutting of trees had been done with the open approval of the leaders of the Opposition. I defy the Attorney-General to give any proof of that statement. I defy the Minister and I defy the whole Front Government Bench to show one speech of the leaders of the Opposition approving of the cutting down of telegraph poles, the cutting down of trees or the obstruction of roads. The House and the Minister know that the blocking of roads has been definitely denounced by the one man who can speak for this Party. That thing has been openly denounced by Deputy Cosgrave, the leader of this Party. The Attorney-General knows that right well, the Minister for Justice knows it right well. Deputy Cleary referred to Colonel Jerry Ryan: Colonel Jerry Ryan within the last few days even has definitely disowned on the part of the Blueshirt Organisation any hand, act, or part in the obstruction of roads. Let me deal with another matter. There have been covert allusions to the burning of Deputy Murphy's house, and it was asked why that has not been condemned. That outrage is condemned as vigorously and more vigorously by the members of this Party than it is by any other body in this House.

Quote a speech.

I speak for the whole of my Party.

Quote a previous speech.

Every single one of them. We denounce outrage every time. I say, and say deliberately, that no more disgraceful thing than to go to a man's house, turn out his wife and child, and burn the house, could be done. For the country, for the people who know the attitude our Party have taken up and always will take up towards crime, it requires no repudiation on our side. The country knows that we do not stand for crime. There is no need for us to repudiate it. The country knows that we repudiate and always have repudiated crime. The main difference between our Party and the Party opposite is that we have always stood for the supremacy of the law and against violence and crime as a method of political agitation. We have a Government elected by the Irish people and the personnel of that Government can be changed in one way only, and that is by the free vote of the people of this State. That is a doctrine that in office and in opposition we have always steadily and consistently preached.

Deputy Kent declared that one half of the farmers cannot pay their annuities. The Attorney-General says they all can and he instances Mayo. The Attorney-General and the Minister for Justice know why the annuities are paid in Mayo. The Mayo annuities are not made out of the land. They are earned in England and the Minister knows it. For the last 25 or 30 years, at any rate, there has not been such an exodus of young men from Mayo to England as there has been this spring. There is hardly a young man in Mayo at present. It is their earnings in England that pay the annuities for the holdings at home, and the Minister knows it.

If you say that, you will say anything.

It is perfectly correct, and I know it.

Give the figures.

The Deputy knows well that I have not got the figures, but if the Deputy likes to get the figures he can go to the railway company and see the numbers carried from Mayo stations this year, and I think they will stagger him.

That is why I know it is wrong.

I know it is not wrong. I will tell the Deputy something more: that the girls are going to England this year which they did not do up to this from most of the areas.

The Department of Justice is not responsible for that.

If the Minister goes down to his constituency he will find that what I say is absolutely accurate. That is how the Mayo annuities are paid and not out of the profits of Mayo farmers. I see the recuperative Deputy Cleary has come back. I am glad to see him.

I heard you were speaking.

I appreciate the compliment. He will hear a good deal that will enlighten him and I hope mentally improve him. The Attorney-General was very strong on this question of road obstruction. Of course, that is to be condemned and we do condemn it. What is the cause? If the persons who are obstructing roads and cutting trees are driven by poverty and desperation to the commission of crime, I condemn the crime, but I condemn more vigorously still the persons responsible for the condition that has produced crime and made crime inevitable, and that is the present Administration. "The interest of the people" wrote a great French statesman, and his words are quoted with approbation by, I suppose, the deepest of Irish political thinkers, Edmund Burke, "The interest of the people is never in disorder and when you find the mass of the people driven to disorder it springs, not from any desire for crime, but from inability to bear their present condition." If you have reduced the farming community to a condition of poverty, if you have driven the most law-abiding section of the community, the best conducted section of the community, the mainstay of the community, the persons in the community to whom the country looks most for stability, for the spirit of the observance of the law, into those acts of minor violence such as telegraph pole cutting and that sort of thing and, in some instances, acts of major violence, such as the cutting of the signal wires of trains, while I condemn the crime, I condemn also the real authors of the crime, and that is the present Administration.

In a very great and very remarkable speech of Henry Grattan's, when he was dealing with Lord Castlereagh and Lord Carhampton, he declared that the treason of the Ministry against the people was greater and more to be condemned than the rebellion of the people against the Ministry. I say deliberately that because this Ministry have been wanting in their duty, because this Ministry have been partial in the administration of the law, because this Ministry, by pursuing a foolish course of conduct, have driven people to desperation, it is not the men who, driven desperate, have committed offences that are so much to be condemned as the Ministry that have driven them to that state of desperation. The Minister has succeeded in getting this country into a very nice condition. I do not think that anybody can regard the outlook at the present moment as to peace, quiet and order in the country with any feelings approaching equanimity. I do not think anybody need feel very jealous of Deputy Ruttledge in his position or capacity as Minister for Justice. I think he has got a very unpleasant and difficult task before him, and it is a task that is daily growing more and more difficult. I know it is his own fault. It is entirely his own fault. When his Administration took over office they took over a country which was the quietest and most law-abiding country that could be found anywhere. Crime had ceased. When we handed over the reins of office the country was in an entirely quiet condition, so much so that the Minister himself has admitted in this House that the election which put us out of office was an election carried on without the slightest bit of intimidation of any kind.

They were unanimous.

They have learned a lot since. They would not be unanimous now.

When the Minister had been a year in office it was quite different. Intimidation was rife. But the Minister received over a perfectly quiet country, a country in which the supremacy of the law had been entirely established. Then, in spite of all warnings, they proceeded to try to get what they called peace— peace by surrender. I should like to ask the Minister how many men were in prison under Article 2A of the Constitution Amendment Act when this Government took over office? I should like to ask him then how many are there in prison at the present day? My recollection is that three persons were released with a great parade by the then Minister for Justice and the Minister for Defence. Are there 300 in prison now? That is the result of the Minister's and the Government's surrender.

Did the Deputy hear Deputy O'Higgins talk about the hundreds that were released when the Government came in?

My recollection—the Minister can correct me if I am wrong; he has the figures—is that three were released. It may have been five, but my recollection is that it was three.

Will the Deputy correct Deputy O'Higgins?

That was the number of persons who were in prison under the Public Safety Act when the Government took over. The Minister can correct me if I am wrong. That is my recollection, and I think my recollection is not wrong. How many are in prison now? There are, I admit, certain redeeming features in the position at the present moment. There is one redeeming feature to which I should like to allude, and that is the conduct, during this long run-out strike, of the Dublin Tramway strikers. That has been entirely beyond reproach. They were offered, as we know, I.R.A. assistance and communistic assistance. They refused both. They have acted in the most peaceable and law-abiding fashion, and I think it is right that that should be recognised in this House. Certainly we, on this side of the House, recognise it, and I hope it is recognised on the other side too. Long drawn-out strikes have a tendency to end up in sabotage. Thank goodness it has not happened in Dublin. That is, as I say, a very pleasant and redeeming feature of the present situation. Another is that the shooting at the police in Dublin has not in any way demoralised the Dublin Metropolitan Division. The fact that one sergeant and two men were fired at has had no demoralising effect on the D.M.P. I am perfectly satisfied about that. They are as willing to do and are doing their duty just as well now as they were doing it before those dastardly attacks were made upon them.

Since I have mentioned the police, there are two matters which I think the Minister should very seriously consider with reference to the Guards. One of them is the question of the franchise. When we were in office we had accepted the principle that the Guards should have the franchise, but we considered that in order that the Guards should not be regarded as being in any way a political force the time was hardly ripe for the franchise to be granted to them. That was the official answer which was made, but now I think that the Guards—or some of them at any rate—certainly cannot be accused of being anything other than entirely favourable to the present Administration. I do not see any reason at the present moment why the Vote should be withheld from the Guards. I also think—I am speaking for myself only—that the question of the boot allowance should be reconsidered. At the time at which we took away that allowance it was in order that, by means of that together with other economics, the Budget might be balanced without extra taxation. Those considerations have not influenced the present Government at all. They have increased the burden of taxation enormously, and they have created heaven alone knows how many hundreds if not thousands of new posts all over the country. Therefore, since the Government is determined that it will not practise economy in any other direction I do not see why economy should be practised in that one direction. I do not myself think that the entire amount taken off should be restored, because it was too large, but speaking for myself I think a reasonable allowance should be made to them for boots.

To get back to the main question which we have been discussing, that is the policy of the Ministry towards the suppression of crime and towards the maintenance of order in this country, considering that the Ministry received over an orderly country, and considering that nobody can at the present moment describe the country as being in anything approaching an orderly condition, it is well to examine for a few moments the cause of this alteration. The first cause, of course, has been the cowardice of the Administration, who, on being faced with a certain position, proceeded to indulge entirely in a policy of surrender, and refused to deal with persons who openly declared themselves to be breakers of the law, until the organisation to which those persons belonged became so strong that it is now very difficult for the Minister to deal with it, and the longer the solution is delayed, the more and more difficult that task is becoming.

That is the first reason. Another reason is that it seems as if respect for the law is leaving this country and if respect for the law is fast leaving this country it is due to the fact that there is no respect for the law in the Ministry itself, and no respect for the law in the Government's following. The Minister for Justice deliberately stands over crime. I have mentioned before in this House, and I will mention it again that the Minister has sanctioned crime, and has rewarded crime. Mr. Cronin was fired at in Thomastown. The Minister comes along in regard to that, with the statement that he fired at himself within 10 or 12 yards from a body of police. But the Minister knows, and everybody knows, that the shots fired that night were fired by members of the Civic Guards. Has there been any inquiry into this matter? Not at all, and then the Minister came along with this cock and bull story. We have had no inquiry and no indictment of the men concerned. What happened? These new untrained, undisciplined policemen fired in Thomastown and the Minister for Justice shuts his eyes. The Minister seems like Nelson to have a blind eye to which he can put his telescope when necessary. And within a few days of that we had one of the most appalling outrages in this country —the most appalling outrage—and that was the outrage committed in Marsh's yard in Cork by untrained policemen. There you had a small body of civilians, not 20 in number, who could easily have been dealt with by 60 or 80 Guards who were present in the yard, and yet these young men were shot down like dogs.

Was there not a verdict of a jury in this case?

Yes, it was a verdict of murder against the police. The crime of shooting down must be justified and everybody who takes human life must be justified in doing so.

Did the Deputy read the verdict?

I was there and heard the verdict.

It surely is not for the Deputy to bring up here for discussion cases in which he appeared and was interested?

I am entitled to bring in this particular case.

But did not the jury find against you?

They found for me—they found that the man died from gunshot wounds and if gunshot wounds were inflicted by the police it is murder in law, and I venture to think that I am as learned a lawyer as my friend the leader of the Labour Party.

But no better.

In the face of that verdict the Minister not merely makes no inquiry but actually promotes the men whose hands were dripping with blood because of it. If the Minister stands for crime of that nature how can he expect there will be any respect for law elsewhere.

I was told here before by the Minister for Justice, and by the learned Attorney-General, that the position was precisely the same whether soldiers fired or whether police fired. I say it is not the same. In every single judicial inquiry into such matters the difference has been pointed out. Soldiers have no other weapons, if they are to defend themselves, than their rifles. Policemen have their batons and to say that sixty police with batons are not able to control twenty men without batons and that instead they are to be shot down and killed——

What about the lorry?

It was inside Marsh's yard.

How did it come in?

It came in by breaking down the gate. I am aware these young men broke the law, but you cannot murder them for having committed an indictible offence. They were shot down like dogs and that is what Deputy Davin appears to approve of. That is precisely what took place on that occasion and the Minister for Justice stands behind it. As I said, before these interruptions, there is a difference between soldiers and police. The police on that particular day had their batons and were three to one, and, as a matter of fact, were outside in the street half an hour or so afterwards with their batons where they were outnumbered ten to one, but were well able to control the crowd. I was, also, told that there was no example in this country of policemen having been tried for shooting. I knew that was absolutely wrong. There was a case at Borrisokane where policemen were tried for shooting and where the magistrate was indicted for reading the Riot Act. Although not actually tried he was indicted by the Attorney-General but the Bill was thrown out by the Grand Jury. A Bill of indictment was sent up to the Grand Jury in the case of the two policemen and they were actually tried, yet we were told there was no example of this kind in this country. We were given Mitchelstown as an example. Mr. Balfour did not try the policemen in that case, and, now, the Minister for Justice, following that eminent example, declines to put policemen on their trial.

I now come to Article 2A of the Constitution in which I am very interested. I remember well when I defended this Article in the Dáil, that I received some very harsh words from Deputies opposite who were then in opposition and, also, from members of the Labour Party. They said some very strong things about me. I wonder whether they will take them back. I wonder whether firebrands of the Party opposite like Deputy Corry and Deputy Smith who used such vigorous language when talking on that occasion will take it back. So far as I understand the Act it was quite mild, and the number of times it was in force were quite small as compared with its use by the present Minister for Justice. If I was doing wrong then the present Minister is doing very much worse now, and surely all my friends opposite, out of a sense of justice and fair play, will either withdraw all the insulting things they used to say about me, or else will read up their speeches and use all the things they then said about me against the present Minister for Justice. Because Deputy Ruttledge has not followed entirely what I did——

The Deputy should have referred to the Minister for Justice.

I apologise. It was a completely unconscious slip on my part. If the Minister for Justice had done precisely what I did, then, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I could not say very much or many hard things about him. But he has not. When we introduced this Article into the Constitution, we considered that it was strong enough, and only just strong enough, to deal with the situation. We dealt with the situation completely satisfactorily and we restored peace in a very short time under that Constitution (Amendment) Act. Having denounced it so much, my friends discovered, at the end of two years or thereabouts of perfect peace, that they could not govern without this Act. I wish they would keep within it. We did. They are not keeping within it. The Minister and the Guards are taking powers to themselves that are not conferred upon them by this Act. If the Minister acts unlawfully, and if the Guards act unlawfully, as they are doing under instructions, then, as I have said before, you cannot expect that respect which the law should receive.

Every class of crime cannot be dealt with by the Military Tribunal. Only certain classes of crime can be dealt with by the Tribunal. These are offences under the Act itself, certain offences under the Firearms Act, seditious libel, any offence specifically described by this Article as an offence triable by the Tribunal, and then:

"Any offence whatsoever (whether committed before or after this Article was inserted in this Constitution, or before or after Sections 4 to 34 of this Article came into force) in respect of which an Executive Minister certifies in writing under his hand that, to the best of his belief, the act constituting such offence was done with the object of impairing or impeding the machinery of government or the administration of justice."

Apart from these categories of crime, the Military Tribunal has no jurisdiction. Yet, in order to give the Military Tribunal a jurisdiction they do not possess, the Minister is issuing—I shall not hesitate to use strong words— false and fraudulent certificates. I am not dealing now with the certificate which was commented upon in court —the certificate which was held back for duplicity, being in the alternate form. I shall give specific instances to the House of certificates signed by two members of the Executive Council—one by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the other by the Minister for Justice. I stamp and brand both of these as fraudulent certificates. I shall give the facts, which will be found in last Saturday's papers.

In the County Kerry, a water bailiff was dismissed and another bailiff appointed in his place. The dismissed man fired into the house of his successor. The Minister gave a certificate that that shooting by a water bailiff into the house of another water bailiff was an offence committed with the object of impairing the machinery of government. That is a false certificate. We know what a crime committed with the object of impairing the machinery of government is. Attacks on the Guards, shooting at the Guards, murder of the Guards—anything of that kind would be an offence committed with the object of impairing the machinery of Government. So would the burning of a Deputy's house to keep him away from the Dáil. But it is impossible to say with truth that the machinery of government is involved when a dismissed water bailiff fires into the house of another water bailiff.

I give that specific example. I myself read the papers; there is no hearsay about it. That I say is a fraudulent certificate and the Minister in issuing it is abusing the powers he has got under the Act. "Impairing the machinery of government" must be strictly interpreted and while I am specifying this case because it is the only case in which I myself have seen the papers, it is obvious from the convictions one sees in the papers that in many other cases this same class of fraudulent certificate is issuing from the Ministry of Justice. That should stop. If the Minister thinks the powers given him by statute are not drastic enough, let him come to this House. He has got his own Party and he has got his tame Labour Party. They will vote him anything he wants. But so long as the statute is there, his powers are limited by the statute and the Minister has no authority to deprive an individual of his right to be tried by a jury unless the case comes within that Article. He has no authority for giving a fraudulent certificate to take away from an individual the right to trial by jury.

That is not all. This Act is being very seriously abused. Take the matter we had debated rather earlier this evening—the questioning of individuals by the Guards. That is a very limited power. It is very limited, indeed, by the terms of the Article of the Constitution. It is not limited in practice under the present Minister's administration. On only one occasion and in only one set of circumstances, are the Guards entitled to interrogate. If they

"suspect a person of having committed or being about to commit or being or having been concerned in the commission of an offence mentioned in the Appendix to this Article or of having knowledge of the commission or intended commission of any such offence, they may stop such person and search and interrogate him and may then and there apprehend such person without warrant and may use for such stopping, search and apprehension, or any of them, such force as may be necessary."

That time, before arrest, is the only time at which the Guards are entitled to interrogate anybody. But they are doing it in every case long after arrest. After arrest, they have very limited powers. They are given to them by Section 15, which runs as follows:—

"Whenever a person is detained on suspicion under this Article it shall be lawful for any member of the Gárda Síochána, while such person is so detained, to do all or any of the following things..."

I shall only just relate the one of these things which is relevant, and that is:—

"...to demand of such person his name and his address and a full account of his movements and actions during any specified period; or, to demand of such person all or any information in his possession in relation to the commission or intended commission by another person of any of the offences mentioned in the Appendix to this Article."

Those are all the powers that the Gárda have. They cannot interrogate. All they can do, after arrest, is to demand the name and address of the person arrested and an account of his movements during a specified period. But you have only got to read the newspapers every day and you will find cases of men being convicted because they refused to answer the Gárda as to whether they were members of the Blueshirts, the I.R.A., Cumann na nGaedheal, and so on. All the power the Gárda have is to ask the man: "What were your movements during such and such hours or at such and such a period of time?" and the Gárda must be satisfied that the answer is correct. If the answer is not correct, they can prosecute. They cannot cross-examine, however, as to what organisation a man belongs to, and yet it is being done every day, and such things are being tendered in evidence; and, which is worse, where the Gárda suspect another person of having committed a crime, they can demand of the person arrested any information as to the commission or the intended commission of a specific crime by that other person. You have only to get the papers to read of persons being sent to prison on the evidence that they refused to answer certain questions, and you will realise, on reading the papers, that a considerable proportion of such questions—I believe all of them—are questions that they were not bound to answer.

There is another matter to which I should like to refer. In a way, it is also a very important matter for the Attorney-General and the Minister with regard to this particular Vote. The Gárda should be instructed that no statement taken under that Article of the Constitution is evidence against a person. Our law is perfectly clear and definite that a confession, to be used in evidence, must be a free and voluntary confession. If a person is questioned under this Article of the Constitution, his answer cannot be used in evidence against him, and yet, every day, the Gárda are tendering such confessions in evidence and they are being accepted. It is against the law, and, what is more, even after questions have been put by the Gárda, under this Article 2A of the Constitution, no statement made at any subsequent time by an accused person is evidence against him. That is the well-decided law of this country.

We have had a leading case where a policeman put questions to a man at 6 o'clock in the morning and held out inducements to the person concerned, which rendered the person's statement not evidence, and where a later statement was made at 9 o'clock that night —fifteen hours afterwards—and it was held that, although no inducement was held out to the person in the later statements, and that these statements were declared to be free and voluntary, none the less they were not evidence. That is the law, but yet I find the Gárda doing the same thing every day, and doing what the Minister knows, and what anybody with any legal knowledge knows, is not legal at all.

That is why I challenge the Minister. There will be no respect for the law if persons who have not committed offences are being sentenced. There will be no respect for the law, if the law is not being fairly administered. I do not care to what Party the persons concerned belong. There is nobody more opposed to the I.R.A., and the methods of the I.R.A. than I am. There is nobody more strongly opposed to physical force than I am. There is nobody more strongly opposed than I to a minority endeavouring to impose its will by physical force upon the majority. I hold that all power comes from God to the people, and that no minority has a right to endeavour to impose its will on a majority. I hold that the effort of the I.R.A. to impose its will, by force, on the majority of the people here is perfectly immoral.

What about the Blue-shirts?

I hold that it is immoral. I hold that it is just as immoral and just as sinful and just as disgraceful as the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party when it used force against the majority. Let Deputy Corry put that in his pipe and smoke it.

It was different when you had your kicking cow.

I hold that the I.R.A. are acting just as immorally and just as sinfully as the Fianna Fáil Party did ten or twelve years ago, but I hold that, even so, those men are entitled to have a fair trial, and it is utterly wrong that anybody, no matter what political Party he may belong to, who has not committed a crime, should be convicted and imprisoned. It is utterly wrong that any man, no matter what political Party he belongs to, should be convicted although there is no legal evidence against him, and that he should actually be convicted on the want of legal evidence.

It is because there is no respect for the law in those whose duty it is to administer the law—in the Minister for Justice, for instance, and his colleague, the Attorney-General, who intervened so unsuccessfully to-night— it is because there is such a want of observance of the law, respect for the law, and obedience to the law at the top, where it ought to be found; it is because it cannot be got in its natural habitation, that it is perishing away from the country. You must reform yourselves before you try to reform others; and until there is respect, and impartial respect, for the law; until there is no discrimination against this man or the other man; until offending supporters of Fianna Fáil are prosecuted just as often and as freely and as regularly as offending supporters of Fine Gael—until that time comes you will not have respect for the law in this country, but on the other hand, you will have nothing but contempt for the law and its administration. You will have nothing but contempt for the Administration, and the contempt for the Administration will be passed on to the law that they ought to but do not administer fairly.

It is undoubtedly amusing to hear Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney speaking on respect for the law, and on the law of evidence. If there is not respect for the law it is because Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, and those with him, instilled into the people a hatred and contempt for all law. When we hear him talk glibly, with his tongue in his cheek, about questions that the Civic Guards might ask and when we cast our minds back on the questions that the Civic Guards used to ask when he was Minister for Justice, as well as their manner of doing so, it is no wonder that the people would have contempt for the law, as the Deputy puts it. At that time the Deputy used to get up here and answer that such a one got a kick from a cow or that he got a beating from his comrades. I have a very good recollection of being in the hands of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's Civic Guards, and of being conveyed from Cork to Cobh. I was taken in a motor car and was assaulted four times with a revolver in the course of the journey. That happened in 1926 when Deputy Fitzgerald Kenney was Minister for Justice.

I was not a member of the Dáil then.

The Deputy has no recollection of that or of being asked across the floor of the House about the band of Civic Guards that he sent out from Union Quay barracks to assault and batter a handful of young fellows in Glanmire.

The thing never happened.

The administration of the previous Government is not under review.

I regret, a Chinn Comhairle, that you were not here when Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was speaking. He made comparisons between the manner in which the law was administered by the Government of which he was a member, and the manner in which it is being administered by the present Minister for Justice. He went back a lot farther than 1926. I would ask him to remember some of those things, to think them over—to think of the manner in which questions were asked and answered. I would ask him to remember the steps that he took to instil respect for the law when he was asked to parade those who were suspected of having committed that crime. What did he do? He moved them from Cork to Dublin and kept them in the Civic Guards here for six months because he feared they would be identified.

The administration of the previous Government is not under review, and if the Deputy cannot get away from it then he will have to cease speaking.

I do not propose to deal further with it.

The Deputy's statement is quite wrong.

I have stated facts, and I can stand over them. I saw these Guards myself in the streets of Dublin after they had been shunted up from Cork. They were sent up here because Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney feared they would be identified.

Then the Deputy identified them?

Yes, in 1926 and in 1928. The Deputy brought up his humpy jims from Cork and stuck them in rat holes in Dublin for six months. I can tell the Deputy that I have a very good recollection of all that. It is no wonder that there would be contempt for the law, as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney puts it. That is the kind of law that we had for ten years, and it is no wonder that the young people of this country grew up with a contempt for the law. We need only look at the camouflaged game that has been going on through the country during the last one and a half years in order to realise how it has been carried on and at the conspiracy that has been carried on in Cork during the same period. I see that the Deputy is on the run. It is time that somebody put him on the run.

As I was saying, one need only look at these things in order to realise what is happening and what has happened. If you dare pay your annuities, then none of your neighbours must speak to you; none of your neighbours must thresh for you and none of your neighbours must give you any assistance. If an engine dare come and thresh for you, then the owner of it must be boycotted or, better still, the engine must be burned. We had Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney with his tongue in his cheek talking about the terrible thing that happened in Marsh's Yard in Cork. The unfortunate youths in that case were led away by inflammatory speeches. They were led into that shambles while their leaders, and those who brought them there, were far away. Some of those people could drive the motor lorry as well as the unfortunate lorry driver on that occasion, and why did they not do so? They brought their unfortunate dupes there, but they took care to be safely out of the way themselves. We had the same thing all over Cork county— those fellows getting up day after day in public places, such as meetings of the county council, and saying: "These annuities should not be paid; this is an illegal collection; they should not be paid and we are bringing on a test case." One of them went out proudly and said: "I have not paid my annuity."

If he said that he told a lie. He paid them twice.

But the people that they fooled and duped had their cattle taken from them one by one and brought into Fermoy. One of the gentlemen who had been giving people that advice, and who was able to drive around in a motor car, when he was visited pulled out his cheque book and not only wrote a cheque for his annuities but for the costs as well.

He paid the second time.

And he paid his income tax before that. But the farmers whom he had duped let their cattle go one by one. That is the kind of thing that we see going on.

That is the kind of justice we have.

That is the kind of gamble that we have going on through the country during the last twelve months—attempts to boycott this man, that man, and the other man, and when that does not succeed to attempt stronger measures. They pick out the most inoffensive men they can find, the quietest men, but let them try it on some others and we will see. We have this kind of gamble going on month after month and year after year, and then we are asked, what is the necessity for all those Guards? I admit honestly and straightforwardly that when this Government came into office there was this definite section there. It was a rotten section and a corrupt section, but it was a section that had been kept there by our predecessors. I well remember when we sat on the benches opposite, a question being asked about a man in the Civic Guards. It was a case in which we had definite proof. It was the case of a man who was three times fined in the Courts for assualt, and when we asked why he was permitted to remain in the Guards Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, who was then Minister for Justice, stood up and said that he was a perfectly good Civic Guard.

Is he still in the force?

I suppose you still have track of him. He was a good boy at that time and I suppose he is a good boy yet. "A perfectly good Civic Guard" was the description given of a man who was fined £2, £1 and £5 in courts for assault, and when we asked good Civic Guard and was promoted by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney when he was Minister for Justice. That is the kind of thing we had going on and is it any wonder that ordinary individuals, who, for their political opinions, had that campaign carried out against them for ten years, had a certain contempt for the law? We have Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney now wailing. Why? Because we have brought Article 2A of the Constitution into force. He left us a pretty good stick to use on himself and his friends when they showed contenpt and disrespect for the law. I like to see a fellow getting a taste of his own stick once in a while. I got it for a long time. It does them good and I am glad to see those gentlemen getting a taste of their own stick.

We have Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney talking about the men who were brought into the new force. They are better men than ever Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was, and that would not be saying too much for them. Their characters, however, were far different from the characters of the hooligans he imported into his detective force and sent out to carry on the kind of armed terrorism that was carried into many Republican homes night after night and week after week during the last ten years. I did not intend intervening in this debate at all, but when I came in here and listened to that humbug talking in that manner, is it any wonder that somebody should get up and drive his lies back in his throat?

I should like to divert this debate into another channel and I should like, if possible, to refer to the Civic Guards as a body and without all this discussion which occupies the major attention of the House with the result that, by reason of the liberties which this Vote gives, the Guards, who are the real subject matter of this Vote, are more or less forgotten. There are speakers here who are far more competent than I am to speak of the use or abuse of the force in the past, but, at the present time, the rural Guards, as distinct from the Metropolitan Guards, have very good cause for complaint and very good reason to have Deputies from each side of this House pleading their cause and speaking on their behalf. Every bit of legislation that passes through this House—and, Heaven knows, there is a lot—ultimately descends on to the shoulders of the Guards until to-day their burden is almost an intolerable one. The burden of the Guard in the country to-day consists of nearly everything. Not only has he to look after the prevention of crime but he has to make out statistics; he has to go into rural areas and make returns on crops; he has to look after wheat schemes; he has to look after all the complicated motor and lorry licensing laws. One could go on for twenty minutes enumerating the different items which have been added to the Guards' daily duties, which to my mind have now become an intolerable burden.

Is the ordinary condition that exists in the Guards to-day one for the good and welfare of the force? I doubt it. It has certain reactions and certain repercussions. The Guards are living up to a very high standard. They have to do so and it seems to me that the Guards are being asked to live up to a higher standard than they are capable of maintaining. Is it that they are underpaid in view of the manifold duties they have to carry out, the high education they must have to carry them out and the high standard on which they have to live? In such a case, I would say that they are underpaid. It is a strange thing how many Guards to-day in country districts are getting into debt and it is strange how they are succumbing to the temptations of the moneylender. There are Guards, fine, decent fellows, whose duties bring them in contact with society wealthier than themselves or with people who ultimately bring them into such society. The Guards try to live up to it and they are not able.

I do not want to miss the main point in what I have to say and it is that there are up and down the country many decent, fine respected citizens in the Guards who are not able to maintain their position. What is the cause? The cause may be easily seen by any member of this Dáil who visits the districts in which they are. They are asked to subscribe to every single thing, but, however it comes about, they are easy marks for moneylenders. These moneylenders advance money at the rate of 2d. in the £. It seems a very attractive proposition but, by the time the expenses are deducted, together with the 2d. in the £. interest, it works out at a legal interest of forty-nine per cent. Many of these Guards, young men, are afraid of their lives to budge and their lives are made miserable as a result. These money hawks know very well that they have their man well tied up, because, if a Guard is reported he is finished. I would suggest that the higher officers be given greater powers of discretion than they have today; that Superintendents and Chief Superintendents be given more powers in regard to disciplinary action and more powers to deal with the complaints and troubles of the rank and file.

There is another point. Anybody who motors through our towns and villages late at night very often cannot find the Gárda Station if he wants it. I do not know what the regulations about duty at night are but it would seem to me that the regulations should provide that there will be an orderly on duty all night. Is that the case at the moment? We do not know. At times we hear of police stations being understaffed and in decency and fairness they cannot ask a man to stay up at night. In some stations there may be no response at a time of emergency. It seems to me that in some of the country towns the Gárda stations are understaffed, with the result that there is no night orderly.

Very important point duty work— and the traffic is just as dangerous in some country towns as in the cities— has to be neglected because they cannot spare an officer to take charge of the traffic. As a rule the police are sent out on clerical work, work which in the ordinary sense should not come within the duties of the Guards or, if it does, should come only in a limited way. It might be no harm if electric signs were erected outside Gárda stations, so as to convenience strangers or people motoring through the country at night time. There might be some indication such as you meet with on the Continent or in Great Britain or America.

In stations where the men have to perform excessive duties, they find it difficult to have a night orderly. Occasionally you may telephone and not get a reply. Naturally, when a man is exhausted carrying out heavy duties during the day, you cannot expect him to get up to answer the telephone. These points may seem small, but they are important. We all know that in the country districts the telephone service is very poor indeed in many places and the Guards are the only media through which very often one can get in touch with a doctor in case of accident or sudden illness. In the majority of cases those who have telephones very decently allow them to be used so that people may get in touch with the nearest point where they can obtain assistance.

I heard Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney referring to certain allowances such as for boots, etc. In the course of conversation with Guards some time ago they told me about certain allowances which, if restored, would be greatly appreciated and would do good to the force as a whole. I often think that their heavy coats might be improved or else they should be allowed some form of cape covering for light showers instead of having to wear their great coats. Sometimes the great coats appear to be the worse for wear, judging by their faded appearance. I do not know whether that is due to an insufficient allowance, but I think the authorities ought to assist the Guards more adequately in this respect. There is nothing so effective as a well dressed police force, particularly in small local areas, and every attempt should be made to enable the Guards to keep up their fine appearance. There should be a regular issue of decent uniforms so as to enable the Guards to keep up to their high standard.

I think every Deputy will be prepared to pay a tribute to the Guards. I am sure all that we heard in relation to the Army can be applied equally to-night to the police force. If ever a police force was pulled about it is the police force in the Irish Free State. Ours is a young State and this is the second Government under which the Gárda have operated. Despite certain unpalatable and unpleasant incidents, the Gárda have all along maintained a fine tradition and all Parties can be very proud of the force. Everybody knows that in the case of athletic gatherings it is to the Guards as a rule that the local committees turn for assistance and information and they are never refused. In the sporting world at home and abroad, in the boxing ring and in athletic fields, the Guards have done credit to our country.

There are certain political organisations such as the I.R.A. in this country which would do well to follow the example of the Gárdaí. At the time a new Government came into power in this country the Guards remained loyal to the decision of the majority of the people. The I.R.A. could very well copy them with advantage, respect the wishes of the majority of the people, and retire from their damnable activities and all the codding that is going on and that is upsetting the country. I did not intend to deal with that aspect of the situation. Before one would do so I expect one would have to prepare a speech. I have never done so. When I speak I speak spontaneously and sincerely. I hope my remarks with reference to the Guards will be sincerely considered by the Minister.

The Vote we are dealing with is the most important in any country and preeminently in this country where we have not that long tradition of ordered submission to law which exists in countries that have had a comparatively peaceful constitutional history for a long period. Listening here it seems to me there are two arguments put up to defend the Government in its action or inaction in the country. One has reference to what we did when we were a Government and the other tends to suggest that our organisation is itself of its nature detrimental to ordered society here. Deputy Cleary said there had been a great many offences occurring and there had been no condemnation from our side. I think within the last twelve months I made no speech in which I did not most formally state that the Government is the legitimate Government and as such it had a right to claim submission to all the just laws that it enforced and, secondly, I have denounced any outrage of the law no matter by whom it might be performed. Deputy Cleary said that had never been done. When I was present in Kilkenny some time ago with Deputy Cosgrave, Deputy Cosgrave most formally denounced what he called deplorable breaches of the law.

I have been in a difficulty in one respect. I want to be able to get up in the country and say clearly that the law is binding under sin and that there must be no question but that every law must be fully obeyed. Unfortunately, and I make the Government a present of this statement, I recognise that there is a limit to which a Government may use its authority. A Government has no right to make laws against justice; it has not the right to do that, no matter what power it may have.

The Attorney-General this evening referred to the resistance to the paying of land annuities. Personally if the Government had imposed a land tax I would have to say that there could be no doubt about it that everything indicated that that tax must be paid. But the word land annuity has a very specific meaning. In this country the land belonged to the landlords. There was a social evil created as a result and it was thought necessary that the tenants should become the owners of the land by buying the land from the previous owners, the landlords. They paid money for it to the previous owners. They paid that in the form of land annuities, and that is the meaning of "land annuities" here. When this Government came along they put the farmers in the position of paying twice as much to the British Government in the way of taxation on their exports as they paid before to the Land Commission. Then they also said to the tenants that they should pay them the land annuities. They said that the tenants must recognise that that money was due to the Government who had a clear claim to it and that the land belonged to the State. That was the land that had previously belonged to the farmers because of the annuities that they had been paying for it. But this Government in complete disregard of justice has expropriated the farmers. It claims now that it owns the land which belongs to the farmers by reason of the annuities they have paid for it.

In these circumstances you have the law saying that the farmer must pay to the Government money for what the Government never owned and never had. On the other hand you have the farmer saying that he himself had bought that land from the previous owner. You have him saying to the Government: "This land belongs to me; I bought it; I have been paying annuities for it thirty or forty years and I am still paying the person who owned the land; I am paying in the shape of the tariff that is imposed on my produce. Now I find somebody else coming along to me and saying I must pay him also." I want to tell the Government there is a law superior to any law which any government can pass. The Government have made a law that is contrary to justice. My own propaganda in this country has always been that the farmers, as long as they are able, must pay; not because the Government has a right to the land annuities, it has no such right. Merely to resist the law is to precipitate a state of anarchy which will be particularly bad for the country, particularly where we have organisations which have been maintained by the President, by the Attorney-General and by the Minister against the well-being of the people of this country. It does seem to me to create a very dangerous position, especially when we have these armed organisations.

When we took over in 1922 we realised that we had a right to create something new in this country, that is a sense of obedience to law and a love of order. There was a feeling in the country against law. We did our best against that. In addition we had to face up to the fact that there was an enormous organisation going about organising the young men of the country against law and order. From 1927 onwards we had the members of the present Government in this House and we had them acting in defence of the most abominable crimes by these organisations. We tried to establish a reign of law in the country and in 1931 we introduced an Amendment of the Constitution which gave the Government tremendous powers. These powers were immediately successful in dealing with the reign of crime which had been endemic in this country. That reign of crime collapsed immediately.

A certain number of people who had been tried and convicted were in prison, but when this Government came into power the first formal act of theirs was to release from prison men who had been convicted under that Article of the Constitution. The files in the possession of the Government indicated that these men had been parties to the commission of serious crime. There was every moral certainty about that. One of the men who had been released after having been found guilty by the Tribunal was immediately given a job as income tax collector. Every penny that that man has since received in payment has been illegally paid by the Government. The Government in acting thus in defiance of law and order has been robbing the people of this country. That man has been put into a particular position because he had been a party to creating anarchy in this country. The report of the Public Accounts Committee shows that one man who had been brought before the Tribunal had been paid by the Government during the time he was in prison. When the Government does that sort of thing should they not expect to have their Administration called in question and criticised? The President's private organ last week denounced us as being responsible for the scandalous attack on Deputy Murphy's house because we had dared to criticise the Government's administration. We criticised the Government because they illegally used the money of the people of this country in defiance of the law to pay a man because he showed his disregard for the law and Constitution of this country.

The President himself, although he knows that the law of this country prohibits the carrying of arms, except by people with permits or with licences, got up in this House and said he had no intention whatever of trying to take the arms away from the I.R.A. He made a statement in which he indicated that he would take action if they paraded publicly with the arms. The whole implication of his speech was that there was a tacit understanding with the I.R.A. that the Government would connive in the breaking of the law by the I.R.A. They put a limit on that understanding. The I.R.A. could retain the arms for the purpose of murdering their fellow countrymen when the position became safe, but the agreement included that they must not parade in public.

The President got up over there in his seat and as head of the administration of this country said that he was not so foolish as to try to collect arms from the I.R.A. When the President did that he shared in the guilt of the I.R.A., and he was a party to their crimes. Though he received his power from God for the maintenance of law and order here, he himself said that law and order was not to be maintined because he was not going to use the machinery in his hands for the maintenance of law and order. The ordinary law-abiding citizen when he wanted to possess arms would first have to get permission from the Gárda. On the other hand, the men whose aims are directly against social order and whose methods are murder are placed by the President in a peculiarly favoured situation. Because I criticised the President and the Government for that, the President's private organ says that I am responsible for disorder in the country. I criticised the Government by merely pointing out what is publicly known and what the Government has never attempted to refute. When we do that we are accused of having become a party to disorder in the country.

When this Government took office and for a good while afterwards certain of my colleagues and I were under military protection. I was not expected to go out without protection. As Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has pointed out, the military orders are very different from the Gárda orders. If the police see an attack coming on them they draw their batons. The military method is that the gun is levelled and the person approaching is called to halt and if he does not halt the soldier shoots. Deputy Blythe, as he was then, under this military guard went down to Cork to a meeting either of the A.C.A. or of the Blueshirts. The A.C.A. was never unlawful although the Ministry made a statement in defiance of the fact in which they declared that the A.C.A. was unlawful. Deputy Blythe went down to a meeting in Cork. Near the road on the way to that meeting there was a camp of the I.R.A.——

I do not like interrupting the Deputy, but this is a review of the administration of the Department of Justice for the past 12 months. The Deputy may refer to certain incidents in the past as showing policy, but surely going into details, which at least on one occasion during the debate on an Estimate were detailed in this House, is not referring to the past for the purpose of illustration.

I am not quite sure how long this is past. I do know that a special course was followed by the Government arising out of things which, to my mind, is indicative of the policy and that the disorder partly arises from what it is indicative of. As Senator Blythe went along 70 armed I.R.A. men with two machine guns levelled their guns right on the car on which Senator Blythe was seated. The military guard, acting according to their rule, immediately brought out their machine guns and levelled them at the I.R.A. The I.R.A., true to tradition, did not take the risk of going into danger and nothing happened. Immediately there was an outcry against the fact that these military guards were accompanying ex-Ministers. The I.R.A., that had been put in the position, when they levelled machine-guns against ex-Ministers, of facing the machine guns of the Army, controlled by their friends, the Fianna Fáil Party, were not standing for that. They immediately made an outcry and the guards were removed from Deputy Blythe and myself and some others. In the case of other ex-Ministers the military guard was done away with and police substituted, because when guns are raised the military guard raise their guns and shoot. There was a case in which the I.R.A. demanded that if they wanted to go round with guns and level them upon law-abiding citizens they should not run the risk possibly of being shot by members of the Free State Army in doing their duty defending citizens.

Week after week one read in An Phoblacht:“O'Duffy must go; Neligan must go.” Everybody who knew the position of the present Government said: “O'Duffy is going; Neligan is going; the I.R.A. are demanding it.” Personally, with possibly fatuous optimism, I refused to believe that until it happened. Week after week An Phoblacht said “O'Duffy and Neligan must go.” O'Duffy and Neligan went. The Government knew O'Duffy and had no fault whatever to find with the way he carried out his duty. He went because the I.R.A. demanded it. When a Government does that sort of thing in a country in which there are armed organisations aiming at overthrowing ordered government and does it at the behest of these organisations, can you wonder that you have such things happening as the murder of Mr. More O'Farrell, the diabolical murder of O'Reilly, the murder of Mrs. McGrory in Dundalk? Is it any wonder that these organisations think that they have a perfect right to wreak vengeance when Ministers themselves for years claimed that right? I myself was sentenced to death by Deputy Derrig, who sentenced me as a Deputy, and who sentenced bank managers and collectors of annuities to be shot at sight by his men. That was his order given——

Will the Deputy bear in mind the fact that this is a review of the administration and policy of the Department for Justice for the past twelve months, and not of what was done by Deputies before they came into the House? The Government surely cannot be held responsible to this House for acts done eight or ten years ago.

I entirely agree.

Agreement will be best shown by following on these lines.

As far as I am concerned, I would not raise the question of what the Government have done for six months back if I was satisfied that they were taking all the necessary steps to see that this unfortunate country is going to build up a tradition of law; that the law is going to be evenly maintained, so that at least the future will have a chance. It seems to me that that would require a certain line to be taken by the Government. I think we ought to have a statement that something has happened since 1929, for instance, which negatives the statement that the President then made—he was not President at the time—that the continuity he had claimed up to 1926 still existed in somebody outside the House. It is really in the interests of ordered law in this country in future that he should do that.

The Attorney-General gave a total of about 593 cases of wire-cutting and said that 379 people were arrested. He went on to assume that all these people were Blueshirts. On a number of occasions when Deputy Cosgrave was going to speak in certain buildings the electric light was interfered with. On a number of occasions when Blueshirt dances were going to be held, all the wires were cut in the district. Do they come within the 593 cases of wire-cutting? As far as I am concerned, anybody who cuts wires deserves all the punishment that the law provides. As a member of this organisation I say we have never, under any circumstances, justified or attempted to justify the denial of the legitimacy of the Government. Deputy Cleary ridiculed and jeered because certain people when brought before the courts or the Military Tribunal recognised the jurisdiction of this Government. Nobody belonging to our organisation has any right as a member of that organisation to do otherwise than to recognise the complete legitimacy of the Government, and anybody who refuses to recognise that is acting completely against the spirit and the teaching of the organisation to which I have the honour to belong.

It has been complained that certain prisoners when released were welcomed. That was so, and on certain occasions—I could not speak for all of them—that would have my entire approval. Reference was made to Colonel Jerry Ryan. Colonel Jerry Ryan, as everybody who followed the case knows perfectly well, was sentenced quite against justice. There was another occasion when Commandant Cronin was sentenced by the Military Tribunal. I admit that the Tribunal had no option but to find him guilty, because the Government suddenly, in the secrecy of the Council Chamber, made an order saying, with utter disregard of truth, that in their belief the organisation in existence at that time—the League of Youth or the National Guard—was an unlawful association. That is to say, that the means it used or the ends to be pursued were such as was detailed in a number of paragraphs in Article 2A of the Constitution. They made that order in the secrecy of the Council Chamber, and by doing that created the position that they could immediately send out the police to arrest a man who was a member of that organisation. They could then send somebody before the Military Tribunal to state that at such a moment the Government had made this order and the Tribunal was then bound to accept that that was an unlawful association and, consequently, to find the man guilty. There was a case which was completely and utterly outrageous to every idea of justice. A man belongs to an organisation which is a patriotic organisation, and an entirely desirable organisation. The Government, in the secrecy of the Council Chamber, make an order stating falsely that in their opinion this organisation fulfils certain conditions laid down in Article 2A. Having done that, before that man could take any formal step to dissociate himself from the organisation, he is arrested and charged with being a member of it.

No matter how his will may desire to conform in the most meticulous manner with the requirements of the law, there is a case in which a man cannot help breaking it. If anybody here belonged to any organisation the Government could put him in the position of a lawbreaker merely by retiring outside and making an order that, in their opinion, such an organisation fulfils certain conditions, and although that person may not have heard that they have done so, he has broken the law. The Government used that position and that possibility to sentence a man—it was an outrageous disregard of every idea of justice—to six months' imprisonment. When he came out he should have been welcomed by every law-abiding citizen, and by everybody who wishes to express their appreciation of a man who suffered, in defiance of justice, an unjust sentence. It was the duty of the people to try to make amends to that man for the fact that a Government elected by the people had such a dastardly and blackguardly act carried out. Personally I regard it as the duty of everyone, irrespective of their manifest duty, completely to dissociate themselves from the criminal act of the Government. While the Government is doing that it permits murders to happen. There was the case of O'Reilly in Cork, and many others. I only know what is commonly said. I do not know if the Minister considers it a crime to go into houses and to beat up the inhabitants. I know of that happening, where every one in the district and the people in the house could tell the names of those who they were led to believe broke in to beat these people up. No action was taken. I think a man is at present in prison but not for that. The fact of that thing happening must inevitably mean that that type of men are going to break the law again.

We had the case last December of a man in Co. Longford, judging by the evidence, getting up and inciting to murder. No action was taken. If I got up in Kilkenny and told the people, with regard to the Minister for Justice or anyone else, something that indicated clearly that people in an organisation I belonged to proposed to leave a branch of a tree to hang people on, I would be arrested promptly and brought before the Military Tribunal and, if I did that, I would certainly deserve anything they did to me.

Is not that case sub judice?

I merely said that that was what was said in evidence, and that no action was taken against these men who are said presumably to be members of the I.R.A., until a man was actually murdered. If I got up last December or January and made such a speech as was made on that platform I would be arrested immediately. Any Blueshirt would be arrested immediately. Why was not action taken there? Because men who are in an armed organisation for the purpose of murdering people are in a specially privileged position. They can get up and talk to men who are being trained in the way of murder, men whose consciences are blunted on every idea that is right. They can incite ignorant people, and no action is taken unless a murder does actually happen, when the whole conscience of the country is outraged and the Government has to take action. Months went by before action was taken. I should like to know, if nothing had happened afterwards, were the Government taking steps to have these men arrested and charged with inciting to murder a law-abiding man merely because he was acting according to the law.

Surely this is out of order?

It is clear that you have these revolutionary organisations existing, blunting the consciences and training young men in the way of crime, if they can incite people in that way, while the least slip on my part, or on the part of a member of my Party would mean that we would be immediately brought before the Military Tribunal. Is that justice? Is it not the negation of justice? There is my suggestion, that there is a privileged class and an unprivileged class, and that, in yielding, special privileges have been given to criminals who are seeking to make the whole people criminal by revolutionary methods which are against reason. The Irish Press comes along and says that by referring to these things we are enemies of order. Personally, as far as the people I have any influence with, my propaganda would be, even though the Government is breaking greater laws than it can ever make, even though the Government is transcending its legitimate sphere of operations, even though the Government and Ministers, because of their own appalling past, are pandering to criminals and prostituting the law in this country, in spite of that, they must, as long as it is humanely bearable, support and be obedient to the positive law. That is the propaganda that the Government makes it hard for people who stand for law and order to get up and use, merely because the position in this country is largely of the Government's creation, largely before they became a Government, and since by positive action and by negative action. Personally, I condemn the dastardly attempt to burn a Fianna Fáil Deputy's house. I do not care who did it. It is just as contemptible if it was done by one Party as another. If a breach of the law occurs and the Government takes action, I entirely approve of it. I do not approve of the fact that last February men belonging to a criminal organisation could meet in Parnell Square, that the police were in another house watching them, and that no action was taken. I do not approve of the fact, when the Government knows perfectly well what the I.R.A. is, what the Republican Congress and 20 other organisations are, which are essentially illegal organisations, that the Government should fail to make use of the legal power it has when, by merely naming these unlawful associations, they could save the unnecessary trouble of proving that they are actually unlawful organisations. The Government does not do that but, as far as the Army Comrades' Association, the National Guards, or the League of Youth is concerned, they promptly avail of the power they have against these organisations.

I see men brought before the Military Tribunal charged with being Blueshirts, while the I.R.A. can issue statements—the President's newspaper at times prints letters from these people—with the names of the leaders, of which they do not make any secret. The Government banned Young Ireland and men were brought up and charged merely for membership. What happens in the case of the I.R.A.? The police go around looking for the man who calls himself the chief-of-staff. We read in the newspapers that the police were looking for him. Everyone knows that an order was given to shoot police in certain circumstances, that the I.R.A. offered their services to strikers as an armed body, and that the leaders of the G.H.Q., as they call themselves, are parties to that. We also read in the newspapers that the police were looking for the chief-of-staff and the adjutant-general but did not find them. We also read that the men the police were supposed to be looking for, men presumably in a position of responsibility, got up and addressed 10,000 members of the I.R.A. near Clonmel. Are we to believe what we read, that the Government really wants to put down crime? Are we to believe that the police are trying to get these men? You read in the newspapers that the I.R.A. took control of the traffic, and although those 10,000 men are there no police are present. As far as that area of the Free State is concerned the criminal organisation has complete charge. Two weeks after that we see that President de Valera and his Ministers, with the most extraordinary military and police precautions that were ever seen in this city, hold a celebration in Dublin. Just immediately after that celebration the man who is supposed to be looked for by the police, the man who is the head of the organisation that presumably created the danger which made that elaborate and expensive protective system necessary, is addressing his henchmen up in Glasnevin. But he is not arrested. Why is it that the I.R.A. can have 10,000 men down near Clonmel—I admit that that is an exaggeration but it is the figure which the papers gave— while the police are withdrawn, and the traffic has to be organised in order to suit the movement of those men? The police are looking for this man, but, while they are so busily engaged in protecting the President and Ministers from the unfortunate dupes of those people, the man is perfectly safe to get up and make a public speech in Glasnevin.

We are told that the Government's only complaint is that we are encouraging people to break the law, while the Government is only anxious to give even justice, and put down all law breaking in this country. Anybody with half an eye who reads the situation in this country must necessarily agree that the Government, by its failure to use its power properly and justly, is conniving at continuing if not creating the lack of ordered conditions which exists in this country at the moment. I do not want to go back to the past. As I have said, years ago I got up in this Dáil and invited Deputy de Valera, as he then was, just to show me some action which had changed the situation; before that he claimed that himself and his friends had the power of life and death in this country in defiance of legitimate government, but something had happened to change that. Instead of doing so, he said that those outside this House could claim the continuity which he had claimed up to 1926. If he would get up and say that that sort of talk was all right before he became Government, but that the moment he became Government, he suddenly realised, as he had not realised before, that the elected Government is the one and only legitimate Government in this country, and that it intends to govern, its sole guide being the well-being of the people of this country, I would never look back at all. But at the moment, when I read the speeches of Fianna Fáil Deputies, and read his newspaper, I can only feel that in its desperate desire to attempt to justify the criminal actions of certain people in the past the Government has tied its own hands, is unable to act against the real menace to order in this country, and is unable really to institute a proper reign of justice here. As I said, I would withdraw anything I have said in the past, and never refer to it again, if I were satisfied that the Government were going to have no consideration whatever except to do its job and maintain order here.

What have we got at the moment? The Government is tying the hands of the police by carrying on a futile argument with the I.R.A. as to whether the Government is republican or not. When people tell me they are republican, I understand them to mean—recognising that a Government exists to promote the well-being of the people—they consider that the well-being of the people can only be procured and promoted by the institution of a republican form of government. When a person says such a thing as that I would personally be prepared to discuss with him how a republican form of government, in existing circumstances, would be an improvement at the present time. Now you have this criminal organisation who say that no Government in this country, unless it be a certain form of republican government, can claim any legitimacy or have its laws binding upon the people. They are republicans. You have the President and his Party getting up, and becoming excited and red in the face if anybody suggests that they are not republicans. Now what is the position? The President says he will not declare a republic because it would injure the people of this country so much; so that we have a Government which exists and has received its authority from God to promote well-being, and it publicly argues with criminals in this country that it claims to stand for a form of government which by its own admission has to be postponed because it would injure the people of this country so much. As long as the Government maintains that attitude it can never govern properly. The Government has one guide, and that is that in every situation and in every set of circumstances when action or inaction has to be considered it says to itself: "What will make for the well-being of the people?" By the President's own words, the President must preeminently be the greatest anti-republican in this country, because he is the one man who has got up and reiterated time and again that the republic cannot be declared because it will injure the people of this country, and it is his duty to put the well-being of the people of this country before every other consideration.

Last year has seen the continual growth of activity amongst lawless organisations. It is true that it has rather latterly seemed that the Government has to some extent broken its alliance with the I.R.A., and under force of circumstances it seems practically driven back to some sort of action against them, but again it is done in the minimum. Only last December people could get up and advocate the murder of a man, and no action was taken against them. We had the murder of two men on the railway, when a strike was on and those lawless organisations wrecked a train. We had the murder of Mrs. MacRory and young O'Reilly, but no adequate action was taken. I should like to know from the Minister whether there was any indication in the police reports which suggested that the I.R.A., the Republican Congress, or any other of those organisations, had any knowledge in relation to any of those crimes. If those reports indicated that, then it was the Government's duty to ban whatever organisation was suspected of being a party to those crimes. It was its duty to use the power which it had —the power of arrest, of prosecution, and interrogation—to the extent that they possess it by law. Instead of that, the Government was carefully leaving the I.R.A. immune, and using all their power against the Blueshirts.

We are told now about this wire-cutting. Wire-cutting is a thing that should be put down, I quite agree. But what happened? I remember going around the country to speak at meetings. Fianna Fáil or the I.R.A.— it is one organisation; it is very hard to tell one from the other at times— came along to break up those meetings. The Army Comrades' Association was formed. Those heroic Fianna Fáilites and I.R.A.-ites are always ready to be heroic as long as they have a written guarantee beforehand that it is going to be quite safe for themselves. Once the A.C.A. was in operation we had no trouble. I remember being down in my own constituency one Sunday. The Blueshirts—I do not know whether they were called Blueshirts at the time—were there, and everybody was perfectly silent; there was not a murmur. During that week the Government banned that organisation—the National Guards or whatever it was called at the time. On the following Sunday, when I got up to speak, the Civic Guards—there were only two of them present—finally had to struggle with a man. I was standing on a very flimsy table, which itself had to lean against a motor car, and those men having made as much trouble as they could were pushing forward to deal with me physically. I had to get down off the table, because I was not in a position to defend myself there. The previous week when the A.C.A. or the National Guard were operating I could get up and speak quite peaceably. Once the Government had done its job for the I.R.A. and guaranteed them security against the Blueshirts, their heroism and courage again came up and they tried to break up those meetings. My experience was that when the A.C.A. were operating you could have peace at the meetings, but when they were not operating you could not have peace. It was long before the cutting of the wires began that the banning of the Blueshirts took place. There is no case that I know of where there is reason to suspect that any brutal murder was the work of the Blueshirts, but I think I have counted five murders during this Government's regime, all of which it is reasonable to believe —I would not like to assert it right off —owed their origin to those organisations which are so pampered by the Government. After five murders, the official banning of the I.R.A. has not taken place. Certain men have been prosecuted and the Government say that they only want us to co-operate. So far as I am concerned, I will co-operate with the Government in putting down every breach of the law, because I think that in this country, with our bad tradition, more than in any other country, we must have a long period in which the law will be rigidly enforced and observed so that it will become second nature to us to obey the law. You are not going to get that as long as you have not evenhanded justice. We have had three years of this Government, with the President stating that, law or no law, he was not going to take their illegal arms from this illegal organisation, the I.R.A. We have him getting up and saying that publicly, and now we are told that the Blue shirts and our Party are the cause of all the trouble. Our Party, as a Party, has never connived at any breach of the law—even a minor breach of the law. I have no doubt that in our Party, as in all other Parties, there will be found people who will break the law and people who may be regarded as undesirable in other ways. But there is this difference—the I.R.A., when brought before the courts, do not recognise them because, as an organisation, they are essentially illegal, existing as an organisation to overthrow order by criminal means and to establish by force an order according to their own ideas. Our organisation may have bad characters in it——

You have not a good one.

I doubt if we have any quite as bad as you have. Those who come into our organisation and are led by the leaders can only absorb, in so far as they absorb anything, the idea of obedience to the law, even what I might describe as "excessive obedience" to the law, because my colleagues and I have time and again urged people to obey the law even though we were satisfied that the law was unjust.

I had not the advantage of listening to all the speeches on this Estimate——

Mr. Kelly

It was no advantage, I assure you—quite the opposite.

I delayed in intervening in the hope that Deputy Kelly, who had listened to all the speeches, would have got up and assisted me with a summary of all that was best in the speeches delivered.

Mr. Kelly

It is not too late yet.

When Deputy Kelly did not oblige me, I had to get up under the disadvantage I have mentioned. I heard Deputy Corry indulge in a tirade regarding what happened in Cork. He spoke of an organisation that the Government had to deal with and of a conspiracy against the payment of land annuities. He looked so intently at me in making a few strong points that I thought it necessary to say that I was not guilty. I do not want to go into metaphysical points but the Minister and the Government must now realise that there must be some reason for the increase in the cost of administering the Department of Justice, as shown by this Estimate. If more Guards are necessary to do work that heretofore had not to be done, there must be some cause for it. There is no analogy between the duties and responsibilities of the Gárda Síochána and those of the old R.I.C. The old R.I.C. were a semi-military force which were looked upon as a sort of army of occupation for England. Despite all the declarations of the Minister and his colleagues that they are a Republican Party—I make them a present of it for all the use it is to them—they are displaying a mentality somewhat akin to what the British displayed in endeavouring to rule this country. The Minister, when introducing an increased Estimate for his Department, should not have tried to excuse the increase by saying that certain people blocked roads, cut wires and would not pay their land annuities and that he had to deal with them. I hope he will speak all the truth when concluding this debate and that he will say that the people have boycotted the Government in this respect to a greater extent than their fathers and grandfathers boycotted the British Government and the rack-renting landlords during the land war.

The Minister knows that when cattle are seized under an Irish Government, put into pounds and put up for auction, there is no civilian to buy them. Who buys them? The paid members of the Civic Guards. I challenge the Minister to contradict that. An extra force of Guards is posted at all vantage points along a prearranged route, and the cattle are conveyed under armed escort from the south to the north. The men who do this work down south are men in the Minister's pay—Civic Guards. The cattle are conveyed along the route by Civic Guards and, when they cross the Border, they are handed over to civilian citizens of this State. I challenge the Minister to contradict that. I make him a present of this which he, perhaps, knows: I have followed a couple of the men who have been in charge of these cattle until they came out of the train at Goraghwood. Will the Minister not ask himself: "Am I doing what is right by my own people?" The British had no need to ask themselves that question. They were not here for the good of the people—at least, we thought so. They were here for their own good. They had only to ask themselves were they doing what was best for England. That is all Sir Hamar Greenwood had to ask himself. Will our Minister for Justice, Deputy Ruttledge, representing Mayo, put himself this question: "Is my administration in the Department of Justice such that it has the confidence of the Irish people?" I say it has not. Why? Because the Government is pursuing a policy which must inevitably bankrupt the country.

The Minister has beside him the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who inherited the tradition of a great policy formulated by the greatest Irishman of our time, from whose able pen, when we were youngsters, we learned sound constructive patriotism— I refer to the late Arthur Griffith—but in the hands of the Minister for Industry and Commerce I am afraid that the people of this country, who have backed that policy, will forsake it because of the bad way in which it is being administered. The Minister for Justice, however, can ask himself why he has to increase the Civic Guards. Will he ask himself why wires are cut, or why roads are blocked? Will he ask himself why there was a Marsh's Gate? I will not particularly define some of the things said by Deputy Corry about Marsh's Gate, but there was a good deal of truth in them and I know a little of what I am talking about. I have taken up no attitude in this that I do not stand over, and I do stand over the statement that the farmers lost their chance in 1932 when they did not, as a body, refuse to pay any annuities or rates while the British Government were collecting something in the neighbourhood of £5,000,000 from them. That is where they lost their chance. I do not blame the Minister for Justice, but I blame the deputy leader of Fine Gael, Deputy MacDermot, who, I am sorry to notice, is not in the House.

We are not discussing Deputy MacDermot here, but the Vote for the Office of the Minister for Justice.

That was the time when our case was compromised, and I am sorry that a Government who at one time claimed to be patriots themselves became the purest of politicians and took advantage of the bad judgment and the misguided leadership that was given to the farmers. They have paid a big price for it since, but it will not be too big a price if they have learned from that bitter experience. I do not make any apology for advocating that stand at the time. I believed then that it was right and I still believe that it is right but we have been compromised by alleged mushroom leaders, who sprung up in a night and who never knew what it was to grow up on a farm and who never knew anything about the toil and hardship of rural life or life on a farm in Ireland. I have made that unequivocal statement as to my belief and I have no apology to make for it. The facts are there. The fact is that the British Government are collecting that money.

I cannot see the relevancy of this. How does the Deputy relate the question of the collection or non-collection of the annuities to this matter?

I shall relate it in this way.

If we are to hark back to the question of the annuities I am afraid we will go very far afield and there will certainly be far more latitude expected than the Chair will allow.

I was about to relate it in this way, Sir. To put it in plain language—it has to be plain in order to get some heads to take it in, and that is why I have to go down to a lower plane—I am trying to come down now to the Fianna Fáil plane if it is possible to go as low as that——

Take care that you do not get a drop.

I admit that it would be a terrible drop if I came the whole way down. However, I am only coming down by degrees hoping that some intelligence will get into an odd head in Fianna Fáil.

I understand that Labour has refused to take the Deputy also.

The Deputy often swore that he would never come into this House, but he came in after all. A corkscrew is not crookeder than the career of the Deputy in politics. I suggest that he should keep quiet in that matter or he might be sorry. The reason that the Minister has to increase the cost of the Civic Guards is clear, and it is simply this. He and his lieutenants are trying to make the case that these farmers will not pay their annuities. This supposed case of the farmers not paying their annuities is being alleged as the cause of an increase in the cost of the Civic Guards. That, Sir, is how I was going to relate the annuities to this question. It is untrue, on the face of it, that the farmers are not paying their annuities. We know that they have paid them, and the farmers themselves know that they have paid them. I have never advocated that the farmers should not pay if they are able to pay. I have paid them, not because I was able, but for other reasons, and I do not believe that I should have paid them. I do not believe that I was morally bound to pay them. Why? I do not believe I was bound to pay them because the British are collecting the whole of them. The farmers believe that and it is an incontrovertible fact.

If we are to go into this question of the annuities and the economic war, this debate will be interminable. We cannot discuss, on this Vote, whether the British are collecting the annuities or not. We can only discuss the administration of the Department of the Minister for Justice and the question of the protection which is being given to the people who are collecting the annuities.

The reason that the Minister has to increase his estimate for the protection of bidders and puffers at auctions is that the farmers know that they have paid the annuities. The two things after that are the knowledge that they have paid the annuities and the conditions created by the present Administration impoverishing the farmers to such an extent that, whether the British have collected the annuities or not, the farmer is not able to pay them. But the Minister sends out his court messengers who, as in the case in Donegal on the 1st March, seized goods of a value of £50 for a debt of £3. I challenge the Minister to deny that at an auction a horse worth £50 was put up and sold to a travelling tinker for £3.

Was that the case that the Deputy wrote to me about?

Well, that case is still sub judice and I think it ought not to be referred to here.

If the case is not yet decided, Deputy Belton ought not to refer to it because remarks made here might prejudice the decision of the case.

I did not mention any name in the case and if the Minister had not interjected the query he did, he would not have drawn public attention to it. However, I am sure that the Minister will not deny that for about £5 worth of a debt court messengers or sheriffs go out to distrain and seize goods of about £50 or £60 in value. They are put up for sale at an auction and sold for a few shillings apiece. The Minister knows that. Why is that the case? Because he is trying to enforce the payment of a debt already paid. About the 18th December last, I put this question to the Minister for Agriculture: whether he was not aware that this debt had already been paid in another way—I am not going to go into the question now as to how that other way operates —and that the burden of the economic war which we have, and which the people have voted for and supported at a couple of elections, has not been equitably distributed and asking that a tribunal be set up to investigate that case, to suggest ways and means for arranging for its equitable distribution. The Minister would not admit that the burden was not equitably distributed and, therefore, he added, there is no need for setting up the tribunal suggested. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs dealt with the question in a speech in his own constituency over the week-end of the equitable distribution of that burden. If the Minister was correctly reported, he admitted that there was a case to be met there. The colleague of the Minister for Justice admits that the farmers have a grievance, and it is this grievance which the Minister for Justice ignores that is solely responsible for the increase in the Estimate. That is the position, if we are to accept the arguments put up by the Minister for Justice.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce has a cure for every ill. His cure reminds me of the time when I was a respected civil servant. We had an office doctor, and when we were not feeling well we went to him. No matter what was wrong with us he always gave us a bottle of some sort of lotion. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is like that doctor. He has only the one lotion for the cure of our economic ills, and that is a tariff of 60 or 70 per cent. He does not trouble at all about who is going to pay. He leaves it to the Minister for Justice to jail or to bankrupt the people who are not able to pay, and in order to do that effectively the Minister for Justice must have more Guards so that nobody will be allowed to escape.

I suggest to the Minister for Justice that he should not approach the present situation with the mentality of a "Buckshot Forster." He should ask himself this question: "Why are the people not with me in carrying out seizures for annuities; why, if a distraint is made by the sheriff or a Court messenger and an auction is held, is it that nobody will buy, and why is it that if any man does buy and goes into a fair later he is boycotted by all men? What is the cause of that? There must be some reason for it." After all, the man who is boycotted is an Irishman and the men who boycott him are Irishmen. I think with that situation the Minister should ask himself "Am I doing what is right?" I suggest that he approaches this matter with a narrow legal mind thinking, and thinking only, of the majesty of the law. The Minister knows that he has a cast-iron majority behind him here, and that when the bell rings that majority will give him any law that he wants. That is where the Minister gets his power, and not in justice or in equity, but simply by having sufficient numbers here when the bell rings. Under the tyranny of a law moulded in that way he is carrying out his duties in the country. We find many people rebelling against it, and because they are rebelling he has to employ more Civic Guards to administer that unjust law. I suggest that instead of doing that the Minister, who has a responsibility to the Irish people, should examine the position and ask himself this question: "Is what I am doing in the best interests of the Irish people?"

I doubt if the Minister has ever asked himself that question. If he has not, I am going to put to him some questions and I hope he will deal with them when replying. Does the Minister think it a proper duty for a Civic Guard, who is paid out of this Estimate, to attend under a fictitious name at one of these alleged auctions and purchase cattle? Is that calculated to increase respect for the Civic Guards amongst the people? Does he consider it appropriate, in a country ruled democratically by its own people, to recruit certain gentlemen for the Civic Guards and, within a fortnight after their enrolment, to give them guns and send them to sales with an order to shoot? The Minister has got to make up his mind that he is perpetrating a tyranny in this country unequalled for centuries, and unequalled by the British. In no British Crown colony is there such a tyranny being perpetrated as there is in this country to-day by the present Government. In carrying out that tyranny the Minister for Justice is the instrument of the Government. He has not at his disposal sufficient police to carry out his administration and he wants more. That is the reason for the increase in the Estimate. There is nothing simpler and nothing more logical.

I do not want to deal with the other aspects that have been dealt with as to discrimination by the Government in dealing with Blueshirts and with members of the I.R.A. I am certainly with the Government in its efforts to rule as a Government and whether the opposition comes from the I.R.A. or from the Blueshirts or anybody else, the Government, while it is a Government, should rule and make its order obeyed, but it should do so impartially. Colonel Jerry Ryan was charged, I think, with shooting somebody in Tipperary and he was brought before the Military Tribunal. I was a harmless spectator at an innocent cattle sale and I was brought before the Military Tribunal.

You were let down very lightly.

I do not know what sort of tribunal Deputy Kelly would bring me before if he had the chance. I have no complaint about being brought before the Military Tribunal and when the Minister and the Attorney-General had strained everything they possibly could to bring evidence against me and to make as big a case as possible against me—probably the Minister knows this —I shook hands with counsel who prosecuted me. I said: "You did your best and I did my best and devil the much change you got." I have no grievance about it, and I do not mention it for that reason. What I want to know from the Minister is why an innocent fellow like me was brought before the Military Tribunal and why was Colonel Jerry Ryan brought before the Military Tribunal, while four or five gentlemen charged with being guilty—I want to guard my language; I do not want to say that they are guilty because they will not be until they are proved guilty—of a terrible murder down at Edgeworthstown in Longford, my native county, are brought before a civil court?

Was Jerry Ryan not brought before a civil court?

Is that not a matter for the Attorney-General rather than for the Minister for Justice?

Surely the Minister for Justice has to take responsibility in his Department for the Attorney-General? The Attorney-General is not a separate Ministry.

If it is your ruling, Sir, that I should not touch upon it, I accept it, but it is strange to me. I am sure they will get a fair trial——

I have always understood, if I may say so with respect, that the Minister for Justice is answerable to this House for the Attorney-General's Department. In law, there is no reason why the Attorney-General should be a member of this House.

But, in practice, I do answer questions here that should be directed to the Attorney-General.

Surely the Minister is perfectly well aware that the Attorney-General need not be a member of this House. The whole constitution of this House requires that some member of the Government should be responsible to the House for every activity of the Government. It was always the tradition in our time, and the Ministers and Secretaries Act does not say that the Attorney-General shall be responsible for the Department as a separate Department, independent of every member of the Executive Council.

It does say that. It says that it is a separate Department under the Ministers and Secretaries Act, and I have no responsibility whatever in that connection.

Very well. The Attorney-General would be in a very happy position if he were not a member of this House, because the constitution would be outraged, and there would be nobody responsible.

We cannot go into that. If the Minister for Justice says he is prepared to answer questions put to him, I shall allow Deputy Belton to proceed.

That case is at a certain stage, and I do not think it should be raised at this time.

I quite see the Minister's point and I do not want to refer to the case beyond just referring to the court or tribunal before which those people are brought as compared with the tribunal before which an innocent country lad like me and Colonel Jerry Ryan were brought.

Cattle are more valuable now than human beings.

There is no fairer trial than trial by jury.

That is why Deputy Belton did not get it.

Then, I did not get a fair trial.

Sure, I know you did not.

I am afraid that if Deputy Kelly was on that jury, I would get some trial. I would be in yet. I think, however, that it is a point worth raising, but, in passing from that, I want to say that, from my little experience of the Military Tribunal, you get a fairer trial than you would get when hide-bound by the red tape of the civil courts, where you want a lawyer to talk for you, to show you in and do everything. At the Military Tribunal, the individual gets a chance of making his own case which, very often, is made better than the lawyers can make it for him. I understand from the Minister's interjection that the Attorney-General is responsible for something independent of the Minister. I cannot see that. In the Department of Justice, we can have only one Minister and I think the Minister for Justice is responsible for everything appertaining to the administration of justice.

He is responsible to this House.

Could the Attorney-General's administration not arise on the Vote for Law Charges?

Are you ruling, Sir, that every aspect of the Attorney-General's activity can be raised on that?

I am ruling with reference to one particular instance and I have ruled that if the Minister proposes to answer questions put to him, I will not prevent Deputy Belton from raising them.

I have made my point and I will pass from it. If the country is to have any confidence in the administration of justice and if we are going to have the machinery of the Military Tribunal continued, I think the Minister for Justice should classify offences or certain criminal cases and let them be dealt with by one court or the other, no matter who are the perpetrators of those crimes. If all criminal actions could be heard before the Military Tribunal, all criminal actions should go before it. Only then will there be some confidence among the public as to the administration of justice. At the present time the feeling abroad is that people belonging to a certain organisation, no matter what the offences preferred against them are, will be brought before the civil court, while members of another organisation, no matter what their alleged crimes may be, will be brought before the Military Tribunal. I think it would be well if the Minister scheduled certain offences which would be dealt with by the Military Tribunal and all other offences dealt with by the civil courts. There would then be some ground for confidence in the Administration.

As regards the ordinary civil administration, the court cases that arise in the most peaceful times and in the best regulated society, cases for the recovery of debts, title cases and things of that kind that come before the courts in the ordinary way, I think the Minister will admit that there is now great congestion. I wonder what is the cause? At the present time there is very little satisfaction in going to the court because it takes so long to get a decision. If you are suffering from an injustice and you seek redress and it takes a year or two to get it, it is very little use to you when you do get it. I am speaking now of cases of which I am aware and in which there have been no appeals. If appeals were lodged, God only knows how long litigants would have to wait for a decision. There is grave congestion in the courts. Some people suggest there are not enough judges; others say that the judges are not doing enough work. I do not know where the fault lies. That is a matter for the Minister to explain. The fact remains that litigants have to wait an unnecessarily long time to get decisions.

I have heard references made here to the Guards, with regard to their efficiency, etc. I have heard the Minister being taunted from this side of the House on the manner in which he recruits for certain branches of the Guards. I would like to know, with reference to recruiting for a special branch of the Guards—I am sure he knows the branch I am referring to— if new regulations were formulated before recruiting started. If so, in what way did those regulations differ from the regulations governing recruitment to the Guards prior to the establishment of the special branch? Were the same channels of information used to get the necessary standard of character? Were the same methods adopted to get the standard of education, the measurements and so on, as in the case of men recruited prior to the establishment of that branch? I am not aware that that information has yet been given in the House.

We have had all sorts of charges made, perhaps not without some foundation, that this branch was not of as high a standard as the older sections of the force. We would have something to go upon to gauge the standard of that branch if we knew what were the regulations governing recruitment. From my knowledge of some of the members of the new branch, they are far above the age limit and some are far below the height standard governing recruitment to the Guards prior to the establishment of the special branch. There were others who, I imagine, had not as unblemished a character as was required in former times, but I may be wrong in that respect. If the Minister can assure the House that the regulations under which the special branch was recruited were similar to those under which the older Guards were recruited, I will be prepared to accept his assurance.

It is rumoured that the members of this special branch were called upon to do special work, work apparently for which the branch was established. Rumour has it, and I hope it is not true, that the members of the new branch refused to perform that work. I wonder did that refusal necessitate the increase in the Estimate that the Minister has before us? Does he contemplate establishing a further special branch to deal with the new situation? Perhaps the special branch recently inaugurated might have sympathies in a certain quarter that would make the duties they are now called upon to perform somewhat distasteful. I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 8th May.