Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Friday, 3 Mar 1939

Vol. 74 No. 11

Offences Against the State Bill, 1939 —Second Stage (Resumed)

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I have nothing particular to say with regard to the details of this Bill. It is only the Government can know, on their present information and their past experience, the nature and the extent of the threat either existing at the moment or likely to arise from organisations in the country. It is only they know the manner in which they intend to use the powers which they seek under these particular Bills, to deal with any situation that exists at the present moment or that may arise in the future, and it is only the future can justify either the bona fides of their action at the present time or the intelligence of the kind of plan they are putting into operation. As has been repeatedly stated here, they can rely on the strength of those who sit on these benches in the House to resist any organised attempt to interfere with either the liberty or the wellbeing of our people or the stability of the State.

What I would like to address myself to at the moment is the things for which we require the State. One of the things that is a cause of trouble at the present time and that is interfering with the whole of our political life and the whole of our social life is the deification of the State, and the dification of the State with a particular kind of label to it. Names are used of those who worked in the past. Take, for instance, the name of Pearse. To direct the energies and concentrate the actions of the people of this country in a particular line, Pearse immolated himself. It was because of particular circumstances that the date of his immolation was 1916 and the circumstances of his immolation were the circumstances in which a republic was declared and supported with arms in Dublin, but Pearse's plan of self-immolation did not begin in 1916 nor did it begin in 1912, when he stood on the same platform as the leaders of the Irish Parliamentary Party at that time, asking the support of the people from one end of this country to the other to get the Home Rule Bill passed that was at that time being demanded by the leaders of the Irish Parliamentary Party, and to get it passed with the greatest possible powers in the country.

But what Pearse did immolate himself in 1916 for was the very same thing that he self-dedicated himself to in 1908 and 1912. And, instead of the minds of the people of this country being allowed to dwell on what are the real things for which our people struggled in the past and the real things that in their hearts and minds were their national traditions, their minds have been concentrated on the State and on the particular type of State labelled in the particular circumstances of 1916.

We have got a State here now and that State has to be secured. It has been stated that it is necessary to get the support of all the people of this country behind the measures for the protection of the State that are introduced in this House. That is so. But you will not get the support of the people of this country for measures or for actions or even for the normal support of a State in this country until the State is a less artificial thing in their minds than it has been for a long time and until they realise more clearly in their minds the relationship between the State and the liberties that they won and struggled for in the past and the actions of the Government. I do not want to go back into the past, but the actions of the Government, even to-day, are obscuring from the people's minds the utility of the State as a means of securing their liberties. They are hiding from the people the real objectives of the people who struggled and worked in the past to achieve Irish freedom. Those real objectives were some of the things that Deputy Kelly found enshrined in the democratic Constitution he read out here the other night.

Partly read, yes, and I would have wished he could have got an opportunity of reading the whole of it because there is no use in thinking there were things enshrined in that, that we might like to read into them now, that actually were not. However, some of the things referred to in that—that it is not on bread alone that the nation is going to live; and the ideals of our people and the ideals they had for their own lives and for the dedication of their lives—were not so clearly expressed in any of the statements made at that particular time as the material ideas. But even the material ideas that were expressed there have been subordinated, since 1922, to the State idea and to the idea of a particular type of State.

The Taoiseach, yesterday, spoke of the sanctity of the Constitution against any attempt to overthrow it by violence or unlawful means. It is not the Constitution that is a sanctified thing. It is not because it is a particular gathering of words that he particularly subscribes to that makes the Constitution a sanctified thing; it is the fact that the majority voice of the people of this country was expressed in support of it as being the Constitution of this country. The same thing that is sanctified to-day was equally sanctified in 1922 and the concerns that Deputy Kelly spoke about yesterday were equally the concerns and the objectives (and the natural and right objectives) of the people of this country in 1922, as they are to-day, and the possibility of our dealing with them has been injured by the way in which a particular idea of State has been intruded into the political situation for the last 17 years.

What we are concerned with to-day— speaking for myself—is not the exact powers that the Government have, not even the exact things that they are going to do with these powers, but the spirit in which they are going to use them and the objectives they have in front of them. Sometimes I have the hope that they can and are going back beyond the narrow objective, or the narrow interpretation of the objective, of 1916, that they put on it for particular reasons; that they are going back, beyond that, to the objectives that men really had in 1916. But sometimes these hopes are very much dashed to the ground.

Deputy McGilligan, last night, read out the fundamental principles of civil liberty that were enshrined in the American Constitution and he asked what was wrong with them. I do not think that Catholic Ireland, in 1939, is below or behind the level of the definition and appreciation of the necessity for personal liberty than the Americans were 150 years ago, but when I hear, say, the Minister for Finance perform as he did, say, with regard to the Press, on the Valuation Bill, the other night, then I am afraid for the future. I am afraid for the esteem with which this State will be held in the minds of the people of all classes and I am afraid that this State will not get the support from people of all classes throughout the country that, in their own interests, it is necessary that the State, as a piece of machinery should get.

The State as it stands to-day in the minds of our people, if it is represented by any clear thing at all, is represented by our President and our Ministers. They are the people that stand as the chief executives of the State before the people, and when Ministers can demean themselves and their offices in the way in which they do, unfortunately, demean themselves, in their treatment of public business, then we may be afraid for the State. Those are things that, in the discussion of important matters, we do not want particularly to refer to. We regret that, in the discussion of matters such as these, we could have such, shall I say, an inefficient episode as we had this morning.

What we are concerned with is the future. We are prepared to give the Ministers of the Fianna Fáil Party, the members of the Fianna Fáil Party, and the members of any other Party in the House, credit for being concerned for the future, and we want to let nothing be said here to-day that would interfere with the full use of our individual faculties, or the faculties of our Parties, or the faculties of combinations of Parties, to act for the benefit of our people in the future. We want to say nothing that would detract in any way from the abilities we have to give, personally or in groups, for the future well-being of the country. A lot of leeway has to be made up. The number of men a nation turns out to serve it in public life in any particular generation is limited. We have had the unfortunate experience of the generation that was in manhood in 1922 having brought about great achievements for this country had, so to speak, its potential political power broken up into two, and the possible contribution which the groups as a whole had to give to the political and economic direction of the people not only divided into two, but smashed into smithereens. The Ministers who are bearing the burden of Government to-day are handicapped both in regard to the economic situation here to-day, to which they have contributed, and in regard to the dissipation of their own energies in political ways. They are handicapped in dealing with the political, social and economic problems of the country. That fact is all the more reason why every other class in the country should assist them in every possible way, and should keep out of their political activities and their words anything that would take from the abilities of the Government, or the Government Party, to-day to deal with circumstances here.

In discussing these measures, I ask members of the Government and of the Government Party to go back to what were the real objectives of the men whose names they used to narrow the political intelligence, to interfere with the political perspective of our people. Pearse is painted as having immolated himself in order to get for this country a State of a particular type. I want to ask the people who are concerned with the present situation to go back to what Pearse had to say himself, coming up to 1916. We know that in 1912 he stood on the platform, as I have said, of the United Irish League and that he supported them in every possible way, not only to hold up their hands, but to get all the people he could get to hold up their hands, and in his Barr Buadh on 16th April, 1912, in a leading article headed “Ní Síothcháin go ”, he was able to say:

Goirimíd Sean Réamonn agus Seán Díolúin agus Seosamh Ó Dobhailean, óir is triúr iad sin atá ag caitheamh a ndúthrachta ar son leasa Gaedheal. Acht tuigidís nach bhfuil d'ughdarthás aca ó Ghaedhealaibh síothcháin do gheallamhaint do Ghallaibh go fóill. Tá catha cruadha romhainn sul bhéas síothcháin i nEirinn. Ní síothcháin go saoirse.

He was able to praise men from whom he differed and to go on to hold up their hands, and he was able to warn them that they should not promise them peace with Britain, that there could not be peace until there was freedom. At that time, he wrote a number of open letters to Irish leaders in the country. He wrote under a penname, and he wrote at that time a letter to himself. What was Pearse saying to himself in the spring of 1912?

Is maith an gníomh do rinnis an uair do chuiris Scoil Éanna ar bun. Is maith an gníomh do rinnis an uair do chuiris Scoil Ide are bun. Mo chomhairle dhuit: tabhair aire do Scoil Eanna agus do Scoil Ide agus ná bac a thuilleadh le cúrsaíbh poilitidheachta. Tá do dhóthain mhór ar d'aire. Caith uait an "Barr Buadh", scaoil urchur le n-a fhear seannma, cuir deireadh leis an nCumann Nua úd gan ainm, agus déan go maith an rud do chuiris romhat le déanamh ceithre bliadhna ó shoin.

He was then urging himself to stick to the work to which he dedicated himself originally in 1908, and to step aside from political work. He had freedom to do the things he wanted to do. He felt that he would get them then under the Home Rule Bill that was then coming about, and his dedication in 1916 was a dedication to the things to which he dedicated himself in 1908 and 1912.

Terence MacSwiney used to say that it was a pity that the Councils Bill of 1906, or whatever year it was, was not accepted because it would have given us control over education. What he immolated himself for later on, when he stepped from the uniform of a soldier and became a citizen in Cork walking among his people, undaunted by anything that might be done against him, was not either the glory of soldiering or a particular type of state. His objective was to see the citizens going about their ordinary work, free, as citizens, to go about their ordinary work, and he, like Pearse, would have wished to leave politics and to go on with education, those things behind the State for which our people in the past sought liberty.

What we want to-day is to get behind the narrowness which has been introduced into the political outlooks here, to see what we mean by the nation, what we mean by the people and what we mean by liberty. If there was a little more thought over that, a little more appreciation of the avocations and dedications from which men were called in 1916 to fight for a freedom which was then being denied by force; if we could get a little thought as to the avocations and the work from which men were called through the futility of the British Government in their dealings with this country from 1919 to 1920 and 1921 in order that they might stand up and defend the political liberties of this country; if we could get some idea of the work from which men have been called from 1922 down to deal with an unnecessary situation in this country; then, we would have some clear idea of what we want here as a State and why we wanted it.

There is a tendency at present for Ministers and Government Parties to deify themselves in the way in which the idea of State has been deified during the last 17 years. If that continues, no machinery of this so-called State is going to be of any use in preserving the State for the people, because the people will realise that it is not something concerned with their liberties, except to interfere with them and to reduce them.

If the Minister want to preserve this State, then they will have to get a clear idea as to what is meant by the liberties of our people. I have hopes that, gradually, they will get that idea. I could give many instances of things and statements and attitudes on the part of Ministers that would, as I say, dash these hopes to the ground. They are being given these powers now. They say that they have their responsibilities. I would ask them to realise that their responsibilities are, no doubt, to preserve the State, but not as an abstract responsibility. There is no use in this State or this Constitution being preserved except it can so preserve the liberties of our people that, with the dedication of their minds and their works to their own social work here and the national work here, this country can be made great and prosperous.

I intervene in this debate simply for the purpose of asking that nothing in the present circumstances will drive them to identify themselves more with the State, as a thing that has to be exalted, respected and protected, than they have done in the past. They stand on the same Irish ground as the rest of us stand on. They are of the people here. They must know what the people are and what the people hope for. They must know what the liberty that the people want is, and they must know how necessary it is to the people to have it. I ask them not to allow themselves to be driven by any pressure of responsibility at the present time into exalting themselves into the unfortunate position in which, as I say, a very narrow idea of the State has been exalted—to the misrepresentation of men of the past and to the misrepresentation of the best traditions of our people. The powers they are asking for are great. Personally, as I say, I am not concerned with the details of the measure but with what is going to be the result of giving these powers to the Government, and the result is going to depend upon the spirit in which the Government ask for these powers and take them, as well as upon the spirit in which they exercise them and the view they have as to what Irish liberty means.

Deputy Mulcahy has raised important issues in his speech, and the unfortunate part of it is this: that for a number of years a very big barrage of propaganda, directed towards Fianna Fáil, has made a lot of people believe that what we were in some way fighting for was a sterile name rather than for the full and living reality of freedom.

That is what Collins said 20 years ago.

I am going to say a few things, and I can prove them if necessary because there are written documents on the whole thing that cannot be denied. I was only a boy when I started out in the fight for freedom, and I, like everybody else, started off because we wanted to see the people of this country completely free to govern themselves and to develop their own culture and their own resources without any interference or any coercion by an outside Power. We wanted that complete liberty for our people, and our difficulty then was to get an organisation that could direct the energies of all our people towards that end, so that our people's energy would not be frittered away in disputing amongst themselves as to how best to achieve their desired objects. As long as human nature exists, there will be differences of opinion as to how best to achieve even one single object desired by all of the people, and our difficulty always has been—or it was in the past—to get an organisation and to get certain rules by which the people could decide peacefully what were the best means to go forward so that all their energies could be concentrated on going forward rather than on disputing how they should go forward.

In 1918, when the elections were held, and afterwards, when Dáil Eireann was established, or immediately after that, I was in the Irish Volunteers, like a large number of other people. A resolution came down from Headquarters to say that we should give our allegiance to Dáil Eireann. A number of volunteers held at that time that we should not do so, but in my own part of the country—in my own brigade—I supported the idea very strongly that the volunteers should give their allegiance to the Dáil and that there should be one single authority directing the energies of the people, directing both their military and their peaceful activities, in order to oust the British Government from this country and get freedom to govern ourselves. Now, when the Treaty came along, and afterwards, I did my utmost to get the Oath of Allegiance dropped out of the Treaty because I did not believe that a Constitution, with that Oath of Allegiance to a foreign Power in it, could win the respect of the vast majority of the people. It is untrue to say that the Constitution of 1922, with that Oath of Allegiance to a foreign Power in it, had anything like the same sanctity as the Constitution we have today when the only sovereign recognised here is the sovereign Irish people. It is untrue, and it is wrong to say that, because we objected then to that constitution, our objections were based on some sterile idea of the State. We, at that time, wanted to get a Constitution that the people would respect, and, following upon the civil war, Eamon de Valera, then President, put up certain proposals to the then Free State Government and asked them to agree to abolish the Oath, promising that if the Oath were abolished, the arms of the I.R.A. at that time would be placed at the disposal of the Government. Unfortunately, that offer was turned down, and Mr. Cosgrave said that the Oath could not be abolished and that he was not going to abolish it.

We were not holding out for any sterile name. We wanted to get a Constitution here that was respectable in itself, so that it could be respected. We wanted to get the Oath of Allegiance dropped out, but unfortunately it was not done at that time. It took a long struggle to get the Oath removed out of the Constitution and to get a Constitution established which people could respect. We have at the moment, so far as the Twenty-Six Counties are concerned, a Constitution which upholds their sovereignty in every way, and we have also in this Constitution a claim that the Irish people have a right to the complete control of their destinies and to complete sovereignty over all the thirty-two counties of Ireland.

There are certain things, I think, that the vast majority of the people here desire. Starting from the basis of our present Constitution, I think it is true to say that the vast majority of us desire to see our resources developed to the greatest possible extent so that our people will have the highest possible standard of living. That is one ideal that we have. The first, if I might put it that way, would be the restoration of the Six Counties to the Irish State. But, even though the vast majority of us agree as to these two objects, there will be a thousand and one minds as to how best they can be achieved, and we will have to settle our differences on policy either by peaceful means or by force. If we were to settle our difference on policy by force, we would fritter away our national energies and there would be nothing left to bring pressure to bear for the restoration of unity, and there would be no energy left for the building up of our standard of life.

Those who fought on the side on which I fought in the Civil War recognised that fact in 1923, and that was why the "cease fire" proposals were put forward. I hope the young men outside who may read the debates here will not be misled by propaganda regarding the attitude of the I.R.A. who fought the civil war; they can see that attitude from the "cease fire" proposals. I hope that these Bills which we are discussing to-day will be Bills that can be held in reserve, and that they will never be needed. I hope that the young men of to-day who are tempted to use force outside will study the history of the past and see that if this nation is to make progress in the future it must be on the basis of the proposals which the I.R.A. put forward at the end of the civil war, or, if you like, the present Constitution, because they are both in essentials one and the same thing.

In the Constitution we have certain rules of the game by which everybody must abide. There are representatives elected, these representatives elect a Government, that Government has certain powers, and the Houses of Parliament have certain powers. The Government cannot declare war; it cannot step outside the Constitution, and neither can the Dáil. If the Dáil attempted to pass something which was unconstitutional, there are ways and means, through the courts and the President, of stopping it. I hope that all the young men in the country who want to see our people going forward to the highest standard of life, and who want to get the unity of the country restored, will realise that the only way to do it is to settle our differences of policy peacefully, so that the utmost possible energy will be left to concentrate on the restoration of unity and on the development of our standard of life.

Deputy Mulcahy stated that all of us here should be more concerned for the future than for the past. The only interest I have in the past is to see whether anything happened that might guide me as to the best way to act in the future. In the future we are going to have differences of opinion here, just as they have in other countries. I believe that if we get a fair chance here we can make progress in the coming years towards the two ideals I have outlined and which, I believe, have the approval of the vast majority of the people; that in the next few years we can increase the standard of life of our people by developing our resources, and that we can make progress towards the restoration of a united country.

The one thing I am sorry for in this debate is that the Labour Party used certain phrases which will create a wrong impression outside. Deputy Norton has stated that these Bills were tyrannical. What is tyranny? It is the wrongful use of force, I suppose, on the part of a Government. But other people besides the Government can use force wrongfully. I do not think that any Labour Deputy can say that under the Constitution anybody is entitled to use force for the achievement of a political end. The Constitution is there and can be changed by the free vote of the Irish people.

If we do not put force on one side in the settlement of our differences, we are going to fritter away our energy in settling what is to be done, and any energy that is frittered away in that way will detract from our standard of life and will further postpone the restoration of unity. If there is one section of the community which should be more concerned for the peaceful settlement of political differences than any other it is the Labour Party, because if trouble arises here it is the poorer section of the community who will get hit first and worst.

Well we know that.

From certain phrases used by the Labour Party here, it will be taken that they favour a certain armed organisation continuing.

No, but we claim that you have sufficient powers under the Constitution to deal with any development.

The Constitution gives us no actual executive power. The Constitution only lays down the rules by which laws are to be framed. It does not actually give us any executive powers. For instance, the Constitution declares what treason is, but it does not provide any effective punishment for treason. Therefore, we had to introduce the Treason Bill to say how people who are guilty of treasonable offences should be dealt with.

Did you hear what Deputy McGilligan said last night about the powers you had under the Constitution?

I did. I do not think Deputy McGilligan stated that we had these powers under the Constitution. I do not think he would go that far, because he knows well that the Constitution gives no such powers. It gives certain rights, but it gives no powers.

Are they not in the Bill which you propose to repeal?

That is what I am saving. Deputy McGilligan stated that. I raised that question myself, a lot of us raised that question, about the 1925 Act and the 1926 Act. As I said, I am not a lawyer, but lawyers have said that those Acts of 1925 and 1926 might be held not to be constitutional since the Constitution was changed. I do not know whether that is true or not.

It is quite true.

The fact of the matter is that we were advised that we should not rely on those two Acts because they were of doubtful legality. If we could rely on those two Acts something might be said for not bringing in those Bills at the present time. But in our present internal situation we cannot depend on instruments that are of doubtful effect from the legal point of view. I am perfectly prepared to argue any question with anybody who will restrain himself to wordy argument. But if I felt that when he came to argue with me he had a stick behind his back, I would be a damn fool if I did not also have a stick behind my back.

Or something more effective than a stick.

With modern technique a very small number of people can create a lot of disturbance. If there are certain people in the country who claim that we here are an intrusion on the national life, that we are tyrants and should be got rid of, then if they are logical they have got to try to destroy the whole lot of us and "do us down." In such circumstances the Government would be neglecting its duty if it did not come to the Dáil and arm itself with powers to deal with any such activity that might threaten us. I hope that it may not be necessary to use the powers in this Bill. I hope to God it will not. I hope that those who might be misled with regard to the past will study the real history of the country and that they will use their wisdom and commonsense——

If they have any.

They might not have a terrible lot of wisdom but if only one could get hold of a number of them and hammer sense into their heads they would, I am sure, have enough honesty to admit the truth when they see it. The unfortunate part of it is, as I said at the beginning, that a number of these people are misled, not by what Eamon de Valera said but by what other people said he said. And there is a very big difference indeed. I appeal to those people here and anywhere to really study past history and to study the present situation. I ask them to realise that if we are to make progress towards the raising of our standard of life here and towards the restoration of the unity of the country, we cannot afford to fritter away any of its energy. All the energies of the country must be organised and devoted to these two things. Any energy spent in armed activities, shootings and so on will only create a state of disturbance here and render our nation and people less able to pursue the objects they have at heart. I hope the Labour Party, as they are concerned or should be particularly concerned with the people who are the worst off in the country, the people who are in greatest need of assistance, will not, by anything they say throughout the country, create a situation that would help to fritter away our national energy.

The Minister can rely on that.

I think the Minister for Justice will be able to meet the points put forward yesterday by the Opposition, that is, to take certain sections out of the ordinary Parts of the Bill and put them into the abnormal Parts, that is to say the sections with regard to special courts. Let not the Labour Party say that the State here should not have special courts and special powers to deal with people who take armed action against the Government. We must have these special powers. If certain Continental Governments—who in the last few years have fallen away from being run on democratic lines— had these special powers some years ago and used them against the efforts that were being made by force of arms to effect their overthrow, they would still have retained their democratic forms of government.

Is the Minister referring to Spain?

I am referring to certain Continental countries and what happened there in the last few years. The Deputy can apply that to any country he wishes. If we are wise here we will not be led away or dissuaded by any talk whatsoever about coercion from taking powers here to deal with armed action against our people. What did the Irish people fight against for 750 years? Was it not coercion by a foreign people or coercion by people in our own country?

For social and economic freedom as well.

I am for social and economic freedom. I have stated that already. The fact is that there is a lot of claptrap talked about coercion. It takes two sets of people to make a war and if one section starts to coerce, the other will have to try coercion too. Coercion is the use of force to obtain a desired object. Our people have striven for 750 years to get rid of coercion and they are not going to allow any small group to coerce them when the coercion that for so long had been attempted by the foreigner has gone. I would appeal to all the people in the country to look upon the situation in that way, and to realise firmly, once and for all, that if we are to make progress no section of Irishmen should try to coerce his brother by force of arms to his way of thinking: if he does that, his reply will be force, and force is no argument, in my opinion, for one Irishman to try to use upon another, because the other will not be cowed by it. If there is any small section or group here that think they can use force, well, if they attempt it force will be used in return. We must try to get that idea put on one side in the settlement of national policy. We must try to get everybody to accept the rules of the game as outlined in the Constitution. Under that Constitution, anybody with any social, economic or national ideal can go before the people, and if he wins a sufficient number of votes he can come in here and form a Government and put his principles and ideals into effect. As the Taoiseach said yesterday, in those circumstances, the use of force must be condemned. I trust that the Labour Party will not give encouragement to any people who might have such ideas.

We have never done it and do not intend to do it.

What is the use of that sort of claptrap from those benches, in view of the quotations that we had from your own speeches?

They were quotations from our own speeches in quite different circumstances.

The Minister will say that, but the people may not.

The people of the country have said it, and the Labour Party must recognise this: that the people of this country passed the Constitution by a majority, and that Constitution is there.

The majority is even questionable.

"The majority is even questionable." Now, there is a phrase that may cause some trouble, too.

Did you have a majority for the Constitution?

The Constitution was passed by a majority of the people here. Does the Deputy not accept it?

39½ per cent.

Is Deputy Keyes questioning the validity of the Constitution?

No. I just referred to the majority that it was passed by. Some people were so lackadaisical that they did not come out to vote either for or against it.

The Deputy cannot question a majority.

Is there any Deputy in the Labour Party who questions the validity of the present Constitution?

Is there a Deputy in any other part of the House who questions the validity of the present Constitution?

On a point of order, is it expedient or calculated to produce order, if the Minister for Defence is going to fire out challenges to all sides of the House with regard to certain intentions when we have listened to him in silence and with respect? I urge on him most strongly that he should not pursue that line.

If the Minister is throwing out challenges he should remember that the debate has not closed yet.

No, but I do not think any of us would question this: that we all accept the present Constitution as the rules of the political game here.

The only trouble is to give practical effect to what is contained in it.

The only trouble is this, that there will be differences of opinion as to how best to put it completely into effective operation. If we are going to use guns to settle that question then we will never get anywhere.

The Labour Party never did.

I think that these interruptions might cease.

The present Constitution is accepted by our people as the rules of the political game and of our national life. That Constitution puts aside force for the settlement of internal political disputes. We have got to hang on to that because if we do not we are going to have chaos and anarchy in this country, and chaos and anarchy will not help our people, or help to settle the unity problem. We hope, and I trust in God, that it may not be necessary to use any of the extraordinary powers that are called for in this Bill. If we are forced to do it, then it has got to be clearly recognised that such a thing is going to slow down increasing our standard of life, and is going to put back the day upon which national unity will be restored. As I have said, it is necessary in the present circumstances to have such powers to use to protect the people here and to protect our Constitution. It is on that ground that I ask the Dáil to give its approval to the Bill.

It is important to state at once, so as to provide the appropriate background for the very few observations that I propose to make, that I consider the Fianna Fáil Government to be about the most incompetent Government in Europe. But the Irish people have a perfect right to choose an incompetent Government if they want to, and that they have done so is beyond question. Once they have done so, it is important for all sections of our community to realise the fundamental fact that is not infrequently forgotten, namely, that that Government rules this country by the authority of God. That, to my mind, is the essential and fundamental fact of Christian democracy. I was brought up in the school of 19th century liberalism, and I am a radical liberal to-day. But I do not close my eyes to the fact that we are not living in the Victorian age and that the types of dangers that democracy has to face to-day are quite different from the types that it had to face in the 19th century.

Persons who sought to overthrow Governments in the days gone by raised an army, threw up barricades and sought to overthrow the Constitution by violence. The forces of the State went out to meet it and the best men won. Since the war, in recent years, the technique of potential tyranny has completely changed. Certain intelligent persons, observing the inherent weaknesses in any political system, such as democracy, that cherishes individual liberty, made up their minds that the way to destroy democratic government was to exploit those inherent weaknesses, and instead of seeking to overthrow the Constitution, they seek to use the very privileges conferred by the Constitution for the purpose of destroying the Constitution itself. That is a danger that every democratic Government has to face at the present time, and they have to face it not only on one side; they have to face it from the left and from the right, and we have got to face this fact, we who are radical liberals. When we read a Bill of this kind we instinctively recoil from much that is in it, but we have to realise this, that if we provide any Government with effective powers to protect the things we want if we are to be happy, such as individual liberty and freedom of speech, those powers with which we supply the Government are of their very nature capable of abuse by the Government itself.

The powers in this Bill can be abused, and we are in this dilemma, and it is a dilemma we cannot escape from, that we have either got to surrender to the forces of the left or right for destruction or we have got to put in the hands of the Government powers capable of abuse, which we can only pray to God that the elected Government of the Irish people will not, in fact, abuse. That is your dilemma and you cannot get out of it, and I put it to members of the Fianna Fáil and the Labour Parties to think well on that dilemma. The potential totalitarians from the right and from the left bank with confidence on the reluctance of democracy to face real dangers. They bank on the belief that the democrats will say the situation is not so bad as to demand that we should surrender all our fundamental rights, and while democracy is shivering on the brink they can give democracy the felon's blow, destroy it and grab power and after they have grabbed power then proceed to subjugate the people. In every case in Europe recently in which liberty has been overthrown you will find it has been overthrown by an infinitesimal minority.

Because democracy did not do its job.

Exactly, and I want to give democracy the power to do its job.

Try coercion then.

I put it to the Fianna Fáil and to the Labour Party that they must face facts. I admit it is a dilemma and one I hate to be in, but when I am in it I have to ask myself am I going to play the game of the potential totalitarians, the potential tyrants, or am I going to trust to God that the Government which the Irish people elected, whether we like it or not, will not abuse these powers.

The people made their decision last year and there has been no alarming situation created since, and they made their decision the year before.

What we are doing in this measure, says the Minister for Justice, is to prevent this country from being precipitated into a civil war. These are the words of the Minister for Justice, and in another paragraph he says that in the absence of these powers the situation will continue to deteriorate until catastrophe comes upon the country. Deputies here may say, and I sympathise with them—the trouble is that my instinctive sympathies are with the people who hate this Bill.

Leave it to the common sense of the majority of the Irish people.

As I have said, my instinctive sympathies are with those who are against this Bill and I believe the instinctive sympathies of 95 per cent of the Deputies here are with the people who oppose this Bill. But you cannot govern a country by instinct. You have to govern it by such common sense as the Lord Almighty gave you. If our instincts are against the Bill we have to take cognisance of the grave statements made by the Minister for Justice. I freely say that if the Minister for Justice had not made these statements I would have urged our Party to vote against the Bill. But when he has made them. I do not think we can accept responsibility for withholding from the Executive's hands the powers which he says they must have if they are to avoid catastrophe and civil war.

I ask Deputies to remember this. We who are public men in this country understand the country and we understand the true significance of passing events. We understand what steps will nip undesirable developments in the bud and how to prevent isolated incidents growing into a system of disorder. But we have to bear in mind if the Minister comes to this House and says to us that civil war and catastrophe must be averted and this measure will effectively do it, are we then going to insist upon his opening the whole budget of secret information that he may have received through the police in relation to isolated incidents which, if published abroad and exploited by sensational newspapers, might create the impression in foreign countries that this country was in a state of pandemonium when, in fact, it is not?

Some of us who travel—Deputy Kelly, of Meath, and myself were once together in Paris—will realise that it is astonishing how ignorant foreign people can be about the internal affairs of our country. It is astonishing until we begin to ask ourselves how well-informed are we about the internal affairs of any other country. Deputy Cogan is as well-informed a man as there is in this House, yet I venture to think that if I asked him about the internal affairs of Czechoslovakia or Yugo-Slavia or Latvia that he could not tell me even the name of the Prime Minister—and I certainly could not tell him. So that we have to remember that while we might be able correctly to evaluate the incidents set out, if these incidents were plastered over all the newspapers of Europe or abroad they might create a very different impression of what the true situation here was, and to the advantage of just those people whom we do not want to advantage.

And do not forget that with some people who are interested in anarchy and who want to see democracy destroyed, one of their regular armaments is to create a general atmosphere of insecurity and alarm, and if you arrange with 20 fellows to go out at the proper time and do 20 isolated things according to plan in 20 separate places, if you can get the right publicity for that little demarche you can create a general impression in the world that there is howling pandemonium. We who know the country realise that, as regards the gentlemen engaged in these activities, you would not let them run a fish and chip shop. They would be decent, innocent goms, many of them; innocent poor goms who are sent out to make fools of themselves and, after they have been used, those who use them stand by, see them thrown into penal servitude from seven to 15 years and do not give a snap of their fingers for them. Then we and the likes of us go around trying to get them out of prison again, saying that this or that poor fellow has got himself into trouble and God knows he has caused enough of trouble and the best thing would be to let him out again. The astonishing thing is that when you do get him out, he has the deepest respect and admiration for the man who put him in and nothing but contempt for those who got him out. That is a true picture.

Those of us who know these facts understand and appreciate them, but these facts, splashed all over the papers of foreign countries, are serving the very purpose of the people who are behind these activities because they are creating an atmosphere of alarm. It is largely for the sake of the goms that it is necessary to say now that the Parliament in Ireland can be as bitterly divided as any legislative assembly in the world. There are deep divisions of opinion about many important questions in this House, and Parties contend most vigorously, but let anybody threaten our democratic institutions, the right of free speech and individual liberty and they discover that in Dáil Eireann they hit a solid rock. When that stage is passed we shall resume our discussions and differences and, so far as our Party is concerned, we shall do our damnedest to get out Fianna Fáil. But it is not for a Fianna Fáil Government, a Labour Government or a Fine Gael Government that such powers as these might properly be asked. It is for the Irish Government, no matter how that Government may be constituted. So long as there are in the world threats to democracy and liberty, of the character that at present exists, I, for one, and I am happy to think every one of the members of the Party to which I have the honour to belong, will not refuse to the elected Government of the Irish people, even powers so drastic as these in defence of the fundamental liberties of us all.

Now, there are two considerations I want to emphasise. One is that whatever powers we give are powers in defence of the institutions of the State. Alternatively our institutions must be founded on force and coercion of the majority by the minority. The pivot of this State is this Parliament, because here is the citadel of free speech. Here any man who is elected a representative of the people has the right to say anything he likes. So long as that right is preserved, the right of free speech will be sacrosanct throughout the country and the individual citizen will have the right to speak his mind without fear of violence. In the classic words of President Roosevelt he "need not fear to be seen walking down the street with the wrong neighbour." The moment this House loses this right of free speech—and there are some Deputies in this House who sometimes get impatient when that right is being exercised—the moment you curtail the right of free speech, free speech perishes in every home in Ireland. You have got to look over your shoulder even in your own home to see if anybody is listening before you can open your mouth. So long as the elected representatives of the people have the right to express their minds freely here, then you need never fear for the right of free speech in the country, but if that right perish here, it perishes throughout the country and, after that, any foible of tyranny a powerful minority wishes to impose on our people is only a matter of time. Drastic as these Bills may be, they are in defence of the people's liberty, and that is the only conceivable excuse for voting for them.

I recognise that in choosing your words you may not always emphasise correctly the tenor of what you wish to say. The Taoiseach made two statements yesterday to which I wish to direct attention. He said—I am quoting from the Irish Press of Friday morning:—

"There can be no progress unless there is some way of determining national policy. If we are to try and work half a dozen different schemes and policies at the one time, we will be in each other's way. The result of such a thing is national frustration."

Later on, he said:—

"We have got to a situation when we believe that the rest of the road can be travelled and that we will see in our generation the completion of that work, provided there is a proper direction of the people as a whole."

Now those two statements taken together are capable of various interpretations, but it should be made clear here that there is no claim being staked there to establish a dictatorship of the Government. The Government may have its own view as to what is the right line to adopt and it is perfectly right to seek the support of the majority of the people for its policy, but it has no right to say to another Party: "You have no longer any right to agitate amongst the people so as to get them to change their minds." That is the very essence of our freedom. We are bound to acknowledge the right of the Government to administer the affairs of the country when it gets a majority, but it is the very essence of our freedom that every other Party should be allowed to ask the people to give that majority to them. The words of the Head of the Government are carefully followed. Young people, particularly, are liable to take a lead from what is laid down in his public utterances and the fact should be emphasised that he lays no claim to anything but that he is entitled by virtue of the majority his Party at present enjoys to carry on the Government of the State. Every other Party must have an equal right to put its views before the people. God forbid that this House should deny that right to any Party. So far as Republicans are concerned, I would gladly give my life in defence of their right to speak their minds and to defend their policy, with every line of which I profoundly disagree. The very essence of our liberty is that we should be jealous to protect their right to speak their minds. The more profoundly we differ from a man, the more scrupulous we must be to see that that man is given the fullest liberty to speak his mind, lest our own prejudice should away us to take away any iota of a right to preach a policy which, we say, he should not use physical force to advocate.

The last thing I want to say is this. There are certain details in this Bill which have been referred to by other Deputies, particularly Section 24 (1) which provides curiously enough, that if I go down to Ballina, as I did go down to Ballina, and hold a meeting in the constituency of the Minister for Justice, and the Minister for Justice's hooligans come out and attempt to shout me down at that meeting the Minister for Justice can add insult to injury by prosecuting me for holding that meeting in Ballina. Under subsection (1) of Section 24 that is possible. I have no doubt that it is merely a drafting oversight which can be disposed of in Committee, but I think there is one point of substance that requires reflection between now and the Committee Stage. It has been pointed out that it is very bad to impose duties on jurors which jurors cannot be reasonably expected to carry out because you start off by disregarding the juror's oath. He finds that it is not physically possible for him to return a verdict of guilty and, consequently, prisoners are acquitted who should be convicted. We should consider, therefore, whether we should not provide that offences against this Bill should be triable before special tribunals. Is it right or reasonable for the Legislature to ask 12 ordinary men to deal with the main offences that this statute envisages? Let us think over that between now and the next stage of the Bill. I put it to any Deputy to ask himself what he would do if he, as an individual citizen, were summoned as a juror and sat into the jury box to listen to a case being put forward against a prisoner who claimed the right to overthrow the State by force of arms. The prisoner refuses to recognise the court and announces his intention of blowing up anybody who disagrees with him. If that individual Deputy, serving on a jury, were asked to vindicate the law by finding that man guilty of an offence against the Offences of the State Act, what would he do?

Write his will, say the prayers for the dying and return a verdict of "guilty" or say, "The Lord God Almighty never expected me to keep an oath of that kind, and I absolve myself and return a verdict of `not guilty'." I ask every Deputy to put himself that question honestly in his own heart. If he comes to the conclusion that he would absolve himself from the oath let him not place that rather questionable obligation on his neighbours, but say that, with our background, these crimes cannot be properly tried by the ordinary criminal jury and are properly cases for special courts.

Subject to these observations, I propose to vote for the Bill, because I am profoundly convinced that, despite the dangers of abuse that must exist, no matter what Government is in office, fundamentally these Bills are instruments to protect freedom and democracy in this country. Had similar measures been available to continental countries—I am not afraid to name one, Germany—there would be no Nazi system. It may be that the German people like the Nazi system. They are quite entitled to do that and it is not our business, but I do not like the Nazi system or any similar system in this country and I, therefore, propose to permit our Government to have effective measures to prevent any threat of this kind in this country, because whatever they have in Germany, Russia or elsewhere, in this country I like liberty, I like democracy, and if these things be dead I have no desire to continue living in this country or, indeed, anywhere else.

We have had a very interesting lecture from the Minister for Defence. I congratulate him on his calm remarks without any personal attacks on individuals. He made, in his calm way, certain insinuations against the Labour Party. He suggested that the Labour Party were making statements which, if used outside, might be the means of encouraging certain individuals to take up arms against the State. The Minister's supporters at one time used arguments against the Labour Party because we remained in this House when called upon and ordered by other people not to come in here. We held that this House, and this House only, as elected by the Irish people, was entitled to make laws to govern this State. No member of the Labour Party will make any statement outside to encourage any person or group of persons to overthrow the laws of this country by force of arms. The suggestion was made in a nice calm way, but when we find it published in the Press it may convey a different meaning.

The Minister objects to quotations being used by Labour members. He does not deny that the quotations were correct and that the language quoted was used by himself and his colleagues when a similar Bill was before the House some years ago. He says the circumstances were different. We are not aware of any difference. We opposed that Bill then as we are opposing this Bill now. The Prime Minister asked us to place ourselves in his position and he asked the Government to place themselves in the position of the Labour Party. What would they do in such circumstances? I can well imagine what the Minister for Finance would be suggesting against the Labour Party if he were over here and we were introducing a Bill of this type. He would tell us that we were betraying democracy and that we were traitors to the cause we represented by bringing in a Bill which denied the right of employees of the State to look for justice. It is rather a peculiar coincidence that this Bill is being introduced at a time when the Minister for Finance or his Department have sent out circulars to employees of the State—not men in receipt of £400 or £500 a year but men in receipt of 27/6 or 30/— stating that though they had these wages up to a year ago they are not going to enjoy them now.

I cannot see the relevance of these remarks.

I shall try to point out their relevance. Orders are being sent out by the Minister for Finance——

Has this anything to do with the Offences Against the State Bill?

Yes. Under Section 8, if any employee of the State refuses to work he will be liable to two years' imprisonment, and any trade union official who encourages him to refuse to accept the conditions, as laid down by the Minister for Finance for the forestry workers, will be liable to a penalty. This is the Bill that the Government and the Minister for Justice are asking the Labour Party to support. Section 8 prescribes a penalty for any person who incites or encourages any employee of the State to refuse to perform his duties. I suggest that, when the Minister for Finance sent out this circular within the last fortnight, he was trying to coerce the unfortunate employees of the Forestry Department to continue work by threatening them under this Bill with arrest. Here is the explanation of the whole attack upon the Labour Party.

We have heard a lot of speeches about armed overthrow of the State. Some of the Fine Gael speeches were hot and cold, and we did not know where the speakers stood. Like Deputy Dillon, they criticised the various sections of the Bill but intimated that they were going to give the Minister the full powers asked. Deputy Morrissey accepts the statement of the Minister for Justice, that the Bill means life or death for the nation. We are not prepared to accept such a statement. I am sure Deputy Morrissey is in sympathy with the workers and that he is not going to give the Minister for Justice the powers he seeks under Section 8. Deputy Cosgrave did not ask for these powers under this Bill. Ministers have omitted to mention anything about Section 8. The armed organisations constitute the whole smoke-screen. Have we not voted a large amount of money for the defence of this country? That money will be used for certain works on which a number of labourers and trade unionists will be employed. This Bill means that, when the Minister for Finance fixes the wages and conditions of these men there will be no remedy. Trade unionists have, for a considerable time, made many sacrifices to protect the rights they have won. They have also made many sacrifices for the country and, no matter what this Bill may provide, they are not going to allow any Government—whether a Fine Gael Government, a Fianna Fáil Government or a Labour Government— to exercise such powers as are sought under this section to prevent trade unionists protecting the rights of their members.

The Minister has made an appeal. We wish to remind him again that we are still of the same opinion which we had in connection with a similar Bill. If there is any change, it has taken place on the other side. We are not trying to make political propaganda. During the 15 or 16 years I have been here, I have not endeavoured to make any personal attack or suggestion against any Minister or member of any Party. I believe that they are doing what they think is right. I may disagree with them, but they have a right to their opinion. I would then ask the Minister to remember that during the last few days the Minister for Finance has endeavoured to charge the members of the Labour Party with being members of some foreign international organisation. When we have the Minister for Finance in this House making that innuendo against the Leader of the Labour Party, and the Party as a whole, then we find that they are already found guilty by the Minister. When we have a Minister of the Government in this House making a statement by which the Labour Party are accused by him of being associated with some foreign organisation, what hope will an individual outside have under those new powers—an individual who will not be in the fortunate position of being a Deputy of this House or, having an organisation behind him? We say there will be a miscarriage of justice if the mentality displayed by the Minister for Finance is used in connection with this Bill. We ask the individual members of the House not to give to the Minister or his Executive the powers they seek under this Bill. We can assure the Minister, as far as we in the trade union movement are concerned, no matter what the position may be we will never allow the powers we have won to be taken from us under any coercion Bill.

I think if the Government, on an important measure such as this, were to treat this House as it is entitled to be treated, it should have taken the House into its confidence, and told Deputies here what exactly is the true position. One would have expected the Government to speak with one voice on an important measure such as this. But what do we find? We listened to the Minister for Defence this morning telling us that he hoped it would not be necessary to use this measure, and last evening the House was informed by the Minister for Justice that a situation was developing in this country which was leading to a deterioration of the present position, and which he believed would eventually precipitate a catastrophe. Which of the two Ministers are Deputies of this House to believe? Conflicting statements of that kind certainly make it very difficult for any ordinary Deputy to make up his mind on the matter, but I suppose we must accept the serious and important statement of the Minister responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the country.

We on this side of the House propose to support this measure, provided that the portion of the Bill which pertains to the ordinary law of the country is drastically amended. No man has the right to challenge the God-given right, the sovereign right of our people, to choose in a free election whatever form of government they wish. In the exercise of their sovereign right the people of this country at the last election—an absolutely normal and free election—rightly or wrongly elected the Fianna Fáil Government. Therefore, the Party opposite are entrusted with and charged with the preservation of the sacred rights, privileges and liberties of our people. It is their responsibility to preserve those rights, privileges and liberties. If the responsible Minister, in the exercise of his duty, and acting on the information at his disposal— information which is not available to the ordinary Deputies of this House— says that, in order to preserve and maintain those rights and privileges, it is necessary to get this extraordinary measure through, then I think it is the duty and responsibility of the Deputies of this House to give that power to the Government. If there is any indication of any subversive element in this State rearing its ugly head to challenge and defy legitimate government in this country, to challenge democratic government and the rights of democratic institutions, then I think it is the responsibility of the Government to take the necessary powers to deal with that situation, and I do not think those powers should be denied by this House.

It is time for the people of this country to recognise that we must have respect for the law, that we must have respect for democratic government, that we must have respect for the wishes of the majority of the people, and that we must have respect for constitutional methods. The history of the country for the last 17 or 18 years has given many opportunities to young and irresponsible fellows to strut around the country as national heroes. I think it is about time that that type of nonsense should be dropped, and that this country should get down to normal conditions so that our energies can be directed towards securing the welfare and prosperity of our people. So far as the latter parts of the Bill are concerned, on that serious statement by the Minister we believe that the Government are entitled to get that necessary power. In regard to the earlier parts of the Bill dealing with the normal law under normal conditions, we consider that it is the duty of this House as the sovereign authority of this State to ensure that legislation enacted in this House is not of such a character that it can be abused either by the present Government or by any future Government which might wish to do so. We recognise that, if the Government wished to do so, those powers could be abused. We recognise that the right of free speech, the right of free expression of opinion by the individual, the right of the freedom of the Press, and respect for private ownership of property in this country must be maintained. There is a definite threat in those portions of the Bill that refer to normal law. They should not be exercised and we want them drastically amended. If the Government are not prepared to do that we will be forced to oppose the further stages of the Bill.

I must say I have not a superabundance of enthusiasm for this Bill. For Parts I to IV to be incorporated in the normal law is a matter for serious consideration. It is all right to point to the tyrannies that have sprung up in Europe, and to the dictatorships that have been formed, but in every case where they have sprung up they started with what is called "democracy," getting control and abusing the power vested in it by the democratic vote of the people. I have enthusiasm for this Bill on one ground, and that ground is, that it is the greatest monument that could be raised to the greatest men this country produced. I am referring to the late Arthur Griffith and the late Michael Collins. It is a monument to them that will endure for all time. They were Irish statesmen at the right time, and it is they, and not the Constitution that we hear so much about, that made freedom possible. I listened with great attention and respect to the address here to-day by the Minister for Defence. I do not believe there was one person in this House, whether a Deputy or a visitor to the gallery, who did not listen with respect and welcome the words and the manner in which these words were spoken by the Minister for Defence. The terrible pity is that these words were not uttered by the Minister for Defence and his colleagues many years ago. What millions would have been saved, and what divisions that are now in the country would never have been here.

In this debate on the Constitution that we have, and that we are all loyal to, and respect, we are being treated as children. We are asked to look upon the Constitution as our charter of liberty. I look upon the Constitution as the consequence, not the cause, of our freedom. That Constitution would not be there to-day had Collins and Griffith not accepted the Treaty in 1921, and had Cosgrave and Mulcahy not taken on the mantle that fell from their dead shoulders and carried it to victory. It is a justification beyond doubt and a monument not only to the late Arthur Griffith, the late Michael Collins and the late Kevin O'Higgins but it is also a monument to the living leader of this Party. No man in this House dare get up and contradict that statement. I remember being a spectator in the gallery when the Treaty was debated. When the late General Collins was taunted, after he claimed to have brought home a charter of freedom, he jumped up and said to President de Valera as he then was: "This is not freedom, but freedom to achieve freedom." The Constitution we have to-day is the freedom that has been achieved by that Treaty, of which Collins was the prophet. Personally, I am glad that Collins has been vindicated—I do not want to use this word in an offensive sense—by the action of his enemies. I do not use that word in any offensive sense, because I must say that I have been speaking privately of the late General Collins to every member on the Front Government Bench, and I never heard one of them say a harsh word of him or of his memory. He has been vindicated in this Bill. That is the only thing I like about it. So has Arthur Griffith and Kevin O'Higgins, and what seldom happens in this country, where there is respect for people when they are dead, this Bill is a vindication of the living—the leader of this Party.

I hope we will not hear any more talk about secret agreements and about the treachery of the Cosgrave Ministry. I could agree with the case made if the Minister for Justice, who is the responsible Minister in the Irish Government, and not in the Fianna Fáil Government, came here and said he wanted certain powers, but I do not agree that he should get them on request. He should certainly get them if he makes a case. I should like to see a better case made for the Bill. All the evidence the Minister produced was two proclamations. Good Lord, have we had any industry that prospered like the production of proclamations in the last 20 years? Everywhere people go proclamations are staring them in the face, so much so, that my friend, Deputy T. Kelly, said he spent his time reading them. I am surprised that any Deputy would waste his time reading proclamations, there has been such a number of them.

Mr. Kelly

I consider a proclamation a serious document. That is the difference between us.

A serious document since you went to that side of the House, but not serious when you were on this side.

Mr. Kelly

I was never on that side.

This might be the instrument that will put you on this side. I do not think the Minister for Justice has made a case, and I do not see why we should freely hand up our liberty. There has been a great deal of talk about the liberty of the people, with all of which I agree. But let us consider the other side of the picture. Are we not giving up our liberty if we pass this measure? I am not so alarmed as the atmosphere in the House would suggest about this terrible conspiracy and this terrible danger to the State. I do not believe this is a danger to the State. When Irishmen were murdered in their homes we heard nothing about the dangers to the State. I hope I will not be taken as condoning or supporting in any way, but, on the contrary, as condemning in the strongest manner in which an individual Deputy could condemn, what has happened in Great Britain. But it is strange that this organisation only became dangerous when it interfered, or people living in England interfered, with the peace in England. Surely the British Government is capable of looking after peace and law and order in Great Britain.

I think the Deputy had better let them look after it. We have no jurisdiction over matters occurring in England and I think the Deputy had much better avoid any reference to them.

I agree, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I am only drawing attention to events happening together. In this Bill power is reserved as to the cases that will go before special criminal courts. There are all sorts of ways and means. I would like to withdraw a statement published in the Press, alleged to have been made by me, when I spoke, I think, on the Treason Bill, if I may be permitted. It was published in the Press. I do not know if it was on the records of the House. I want to go as far as I can now to withdraw it. I am reported, in effect, as saying that when the culprits in connection with the murder of More O'Ferrall were caught, so-and-so happened. I should not have said "culprits." I should have said when those accused were arrested, and so on. They were only accused and that is what I meant. I did not mean culprits, because by "culprit" you suggest a person that is guilty, and every man is innocent until he is proved guilty. I would be glad if I can make the correction. On that occasion, the Government had special powers and it is very strange, at a time when the special powers were being operated, when people if they only attended a cattle sale were brought before the Military Tribunal, and when in a foul murder like that, where a man was murdered in his own house and three or four persons apprehended, accused of the murder, that that case was not put before the Military Tribunal. I think there is no doubt that there was polities behind that murder, but, if the case that is made for this Bill here is to be taken seriously, and that in such circumstances no jury could be expected to convict, then, in the case of the More O'Ferrall murder, was it tried before the ordinary court because it was not expected that the ordinary court would find these people guilty, even if they thought in their heart that they were guilty? That is a very serious position.

It is very questionable for a Deputy to raise matters of that kind in connection with verdicts elsewhere.

I would not do so only for the fact that they have been raised in a different form by previous speakers and I am only asking the same latitude that previous speakers have received.

I think it would be much more desirable if the Deputy avoided such references.

There is another aspect I would like to put to the Government and to this House. Unemployment is in a bad state here or, you might say, unemployment is progressing here. It is in a progressive state and that is due to shortage of loans. The Minister for Finance knows that very well.

And can create turmoil in the country.

Sure, and there is more danger from that quarter than from the other.

Much more danger. There is much more danger from hungry multitudes than from doctrinaire republicans.

And they are likely to think on wrong lines also.

Because an empty stomach has no conscience.

Some full ones have no conscience either.

To get that money we want credit. Is this Bill going to establish credit or consolidate it? We are going to spend a large sum of money, so the Minister for Industry and Commerce told us, on the tourist traffic now. We have been told, in very nice, plausible language, on which I again compliment the Minister for Defence, that this country is in a fine state. Of course, he was thinking of the reactions of saying the opposite. After seven years of Fianna Fáil Government it should be in a happy state, and he hoped that they would never want to use this measure. But the case made by the Minister for Justice is that there is a necessity for it and they must get this measure or we may be threatened with a revolution and the whole State may go up in smoke. The Minister for Justice is in charge of the Bill and, I suppose, we must consider seriously a certain amount of his statement, but I would like to put this to the Minister for Defence. Supposing he and I were two wealthy Americans, or wealthy foreigners, who thought we would spend a holiday in Connemara. If we read the speech of the Minister for Justice, I wonder would we go to Connemara to spend a holiday. Why are we going to spend money on the tourist traffic in this condition of affairs?

The case has not been made for this Bill and I do not believe that it has been introduced at the right time. Either there is a need for it or there is not. If there is a need for it, tell us the need. I agree with all that was said to the effect that a Government should govern and that if they cannot govern by the ordinary powers of government there is nothing that should be refused them in order to govern and protect the country. All that goes without saying. I do not think there is one in the House who will refuse them, but there is a need for this or there is not. If there is not, it should not be brought in, to destroy our credit and our tourist traffic. If there is a need for it, the case has not been made.

The Taoiseach yesterday carried us over a lot of ground, but we must not forget that the Taoiseach has not been infallible. As a matter of fact, he has not made a major decision in the last seven years that has not been proved wrong and that he has not admitted himself was wrong.

I do not agree with the Minister for Defence in his explanation of the position to-day and the position that obtained even, say, seven years ago. Mind you, it is a very difficult and unenviable position for the Minister for Defence to find himself in. The Minister for Defence was against a previous Act similar to this Bill, and it was by the use and the abuse politically of that Act that the Minister came to power. That Act, among other things, provided that any sentence could be revoked by the Executive Council. When a new Executive Council was formed, in 1932, the Minister for Defence and the then Minister for Justice, without waiting for the Executive Council, according to law, resolved to revoke the sentence on certain people who were in Arbour Hill; went up and, against the law, opened the gates and let those people out. I venture to say that the people who were set free and who carried the Minister shoulder-high down Blackhall Place are some of the men he has in mind to put into Arbour Hill again. Surely it is only in Ireland a thing like that would happen? When will we come to straight thinking, straight seeing and straight acting?

I was glad to hear the Minister for Defence, who had a long and unselfish association with the national movement—I know a good deal about it, and nobody will deny he is a man who made sacrifices and took risks— defining the outlook in the national movement. I had a long association with that movement and I never yet met anybody in it who was a doctrinaire republican who was any good. It was the freedom of this country that concerned the people in the national movement rather than the form of government the people of the country would decide on when they had got freedom. I think that was the burden of the Minister's argument to-day, and that was the outlook. I agree with that. I agree, too, with his pronouncements, as I did with those of the Taoiseach, that we are free as any people in the world. Is there an arrangement as to when this discussion should finish. Sir?

I do know there is a desire to have this matter concluded to-day. It is for the House to decide.

I am not aware that there is any arrangement.

There is certainly a general desire to conclude to-day.

I was not aware of it.

The Chair now understands that all sides desire to conclude. There are, I believe, two other Deputies who wish to speak.

No bitterness has entered into this discussion. I hope the Minister for Justice will give his reasons for this measure. The only thing that will induce me to vote for it is a pressing necessity at the moment. I do not believe in passing such legislation, as I think the Taoiseach said, in times of comparative calm and peace, and hanging it up over the chimney like a kind of blackthorn stick so that you can take it down and give a fellow a clout of it if he becomes unruly. It is time enough to pass such an instrument, because if you start parading your strength, you will merely provoke trouble. If there is a necessity for it tell us what the necessity is, and tell us that it is not fellows from whom cattle were seized that you want to prosecute and to let off those who committed murder. Let us know that you will be serious about it, and, to my mind, you can only make a case to satisfy me if you can show that there is a present danger. If there is not, why not wait until it comes along? We cannot forget that statements were made in this House within the last year or two by the Taoiseach that he knew the arms were there, but that he would not take them up unless people came out to parade with them. What are they there for? Is it for picnics, and why did the responsible Government then not function properly? Now it is going to function by a kind of inquisition. I should like the Minister for Justice to tell the House where the danger lies, and where he has tested the ordinary law and found it wanting. I do not remember a political trial for a couple of years, and how does the Minister know that the ordinary law would not suffice? I should like him to show cause for this Bill. I do not think there is any cause he could show that would warrant a democratically-elected assembly handing over to any Government Parts II, III and IV of this Bill for incorporation in the normal law.

I am taking the same line as that indicated by the Leader of our Party. I take it, perhaps, from a more close point of view, related to the actual facts of the position. Reason and commonsense have been referred to by the Minister for Defence, but, to my mind and to the mind of the ordinary man, there is very little indication of reason and commonsense in the people at whom this measure is aimed. In fact, when you come to think of it, it would not be reasonable to expect it. This section, which is giving trouble in the State at present, is the remnant of a great movement of 20 years ago. That great movement underwent several sheddings or skinnings. The big skinning took place in 1922, and it was followed by another big skinning in 1925, and by several minor skinnings since. What was left was not remarkable for either reason or commonsense, and all their actions since have proved it. If this measure stops the buffoonery we have seen in the streets of Dublin and around the country since, I for one am prepared to support it. I think the greatest act of buffoonery of the lot was that act of which evidence was given here yesterday in the reading of one of the proclamations by the Minister for Justice, the proclamation that handed over the republic to the care of the Army. We know the efforts these people made, and have been making, to prove that the only Dáil which had legal sanction was the First or Second Dáil, elected at the end of 1918, and that everyone elected since had no status. For a time that was apparently a useful enough weapon, but the time limit was against them. Age was coming on. Twenty or more years had elapsed and the few that were left were ready to hand over the sceptre. They could not bequeath it to their relatives or their heirs, and they adopted the policy of issuing a proclamation, handing it over to the Army. If anybody can conceive any act with less reason, less commonsense and more of the buffoon I should like to hear it. They found themselves on their deathbed and went and made their will and handed over the republic to the Army. Who are the Army? After all those skimmings and sheddings, who are the Army? Are they the people who ought to be doing the thinking of this State, or on behalf of this State, and who ought to be entrusted with actions on behalf of this State? Everyone knows when the mob starts doing the thinking and the acting for the State what it is going to be like, and any State that allows the mob to do its thinking, or any Government that allows the mob to do so, instead of occupying a responsible position, ought to be in an asylum.

This Government is only doing its duty in trying to end this buffoonery which has been almost an insult to common sense for the last 10 or 15 years. There is another reason, however, and here is where I differ with some of my colleagues with regard to the introduction of these Bills. They want the Minister to give reasons and, in effect, they say that these proclamations and other instances that have been given are not sufficient. There are other things, however, that people can see for themselves. Reference was made here to the murder of a gentleman down in Cork and to the murder of another gentleman up in Longford, but there was another case which had a distinct and clear connection, and that was the murder of young Egan of Dungarvan. He was murdered because he belonged to a secret society and had refused to obey their orders. I am not referring to the fact of the murder itself as an indication, but to the fact that when an individual was apprehended for that murder, put on trial, convicted, and afterwards released, a mob went to meet him—I am given to understand that they had fifes and drums—and marched him into Clonmel. If that is not an indication of an unhealthy frame of mind and something that should be taken cognisance of, I do not know what it is. I do not see how anybody in a responsible position could fail to take that as a serious indication that a body of people came to meet that person and acclaimed him as a national hero. When we hear further that, in my own county, this particular individual had been on a visit to certain local organisations, attended their drillings, called to houses, reviewed the troops, and that sort of thing, I think that should be an indication of what the condition of affairs is. These facts are all in the possession of the Minister and, I am sure, of most Deputies. What further need is there, then, for the Minister to be more explicit than he has been with regard to this matter?

Many of the people carrying on this agitation have never taken on the responsibilities of marriage; they have never reared a family and there is nobody to come after them and, therefore, they cannot be expected to be imbued with the ordinary instincts of a parent. I view these things in the light, not of how they will affect me, personally, but how they will affect the State and the people who will come after me, my family and the people of the young generation that will come after us. I want to emphasise for all time that this buffoonery and make-believe could not exist in any other country except this, and it would appear to me that in this country humour seems to be dead. In any other country the comic papers would have killed all the claims of these people years and years ago, but I suppose it is the fear that some of our cartoonists might be taken out and shot that has prevented that. I shall be thankful to this Government if their action with regard to these Bills will kill that sort of thing for all time, and if the Irish people will for the first time become reasonable and show that common sense to which the Minister for Defence referred.

We know that there was an old phrase used, I think, at the time of the French Revolution, to the effect that a Field Marshal's baton is in the knapsack of every soldier. Now, we had a fair share of easy batons falling to people in former days here, and that idea is still rampant in the minds of the unthinking and the minds of the foolish people who are following some of those organisations. It is time that that was killed and that the idea was definitely conveyed to these people that that excursion ended long ago and that the opportunities that were there 10 or 15 years ago are not there now. It is time that they realise that these opportunities are gone and that it is better to devote their energies to selecting some other career than politics as an easy way of getting a good time in this world. For that reason, I welcome this Bill, if it kills those mad ambitions and expectations of easy honours, easy money and easy positions that have been remarkable with some of the people on both sides of this House. However, I shall not enter into that. I do say, that some of these people who are claiming the power of life and death could not earn 25/- per week at any occupation in this country.

A Deputy

Or 5/-.

Somebody suggests that they could not earn 5/-, and I agree; I suppose it would not satisfy their trade union principles to accept the wage they would be working for. I have nothing more to say except this: It has been suggested here that the liberty of the people is being infringed by this Bill, but it is to the mass of the people in this country whose liberty deserves to be preserved—a lot more than that of the people about whom they are talking here and about whom they are worried—the liberty of the masses of the people and not the liberty of the criminal or of the man with a potentially criminal mind. I shall not say other things that I intended to say with regard to the attitude of certain people and certain Parties as to the reasons for the attitude they are taking. I should like to come down to the kernels, but perhaps it would be better to avoid that atmosphere generally, and I shall not refer to certain Parties who have consistently taken a certain line, hoping that the crumbs that would fall from the table would fall into their laps.

As this debate is to conclude at 2 o'clock, I shall be very brief. At this time of year great preparations are being made down the country for what they call stations, and in the preparation for those stations a lot of whitewash is used on the houses, but I think that all the whitewash that has been used in connection with the stations in West Cork this year would pale into insignificance compared to the buckets of whitewash poured over the Ministerial Bench in the last few days. I may say that I am unreservedly in favour of this Bill. I do not think it is very necessary for me to give very many reasons, because I do believe that this present Government, having put on its whitewash garments, has been facing in a new direction and going more and more to the right and turning its back on the left. I think that it behoves everybody in this Parliament to share in the responsibility the Government are taking upon themselves and that they should be given the powers they seek in this Bill. The Taoiseach has said that a Government that cannot govern should get out. I do not believe in that policy at all. It is a defeatist policy. So long as a Government is there—so long as a member of it is alive—it should govern, or attempt to govern. To get out is a defeatist policy and is running away from the Government's responsibilities. It is to prevent anything like that happening that we are prepared to stick you where you are and keep you there until you face up to the situation and wipe up the mess you have created. It is on that account that I unreservedly give support to this Bill.

A Government should have extraordinary powers. While the ordinary canons and principles of democratic government prevail, and while these principles are accepted by the majority of the people, there should be no necessity for any extraordinary coercive measures. But a very small minority can, as we have evidence and experience of in the past, do a great deal of damage amongst a civilised democratic community, and that is the reason I believe these powers should be vested in every Government. Even if they were never used, they should always be held there to be used if the time comes when they should be used. I do not agree, perhaps, that the present time is opportune for the using of these powers. The Minister has adduced very little matter or very few concrete reasons why they should. But there are grave potential dangers in this country. There has been a lot of confusion of political thought. The minds of a lot of young men are very much unsettled and they are arrogating to themselves, as Deputy Gorey rightly said, the right to do the thinking for the Parliament of the people. I think that is a situation which cannot be tolerated by any Government which claims the right to rule.

I am not going to go back on the past of the Government or the Fianna Fáil Party, but I think that while the evil that men do lives after them our future must be determined to a great extent by our present outlook and past records. If we are not able to take a decent stand on our past experience we will never be able to frame a policy for the future. We cannot build for the future except on the solid foundations of the past and that is the trouble the Fianna Fáil Party are finding themselves in at present—that their past is very shady, and their political foundations are laid on a quagmire of confusion of political thought and certain irregular activities.

I am not going to go very far back. I will not go back to the civil war, but I will not be very far out in reminding the House that certain gentlemen came in here to this democratic Parliament, elected by the votes of the people, and deliberately proclaimed that the real authority in this country was outside the House. Coming from that point down, confusion in other ways has been deliberately raised in the minds of our young people. There has been talk about a republic, and that word republic has caused a terrible lot of confusion. I was very glad to hear the Minister for Defence say to-day that his idea of liberty is not based upon the use of a sterile word. That is a remarkable phrase from the Minister and I welcome it, because the word republic is a sterile word with regard to freedom, or the liberty of the individual, or the liberty of the nation. We had Deputy T. Kelly last night reading out the economic programme of the republic instituted by Dáil Eireann in 1919. That is a very excellent document, but that very Deputy walked into the Lobby in December, 1936, and created King George VI of England an organ of government in relation to the external affairs of this country.

On a point of order. I was not here in December, 1936; I was 2,000 miles away.

I accept the Deputy's correction and I apologise. But the whole Fianna Fáil Party as a Party by a majority accepted that position. Various other things have arisen in this country to cause confusion in the people's minds. The creation of a Volunteer force was thought to bring in the Republican element in this country and make good soldiers and respectable law-abiding citizens of them. That was so; but in order to get officers for the corps, men were brought in from all over the world. They were fine fellows, who did their bit in their own time, and did it remarkably well and courageously. But they never accepted the principle of the Free State or the Constitution, and when they came to take over the sluagh these men never shed any one of these principles. They were still politically irregulars; at all events, their attitude towards this State was one of a very irregular outlook.

That matter might be raised on the Defence Estimate.

Then they created a body called the Broy Harriers. What were they? Another body of political police of the worst type. I had experience of them in the Marsh's Yard shooting and other things. These men went all over the country. In Marsh's Yard, I saw them taking charge of the whole regular police forces, and the attitude of the police was dictated by one man who afterwards went into the witness box and swore that he deliberately went out and took his gun to shoot people.

That episode was already discussed on two Estimates.

There is the same confusion prevailing outside. There is no necessity for that sort of thing. The confusion that has arisen has been caused to a large extent by the Fianna Fáil Party. The Taoiseach laid down a very fine principle—that as long as there is free voting in this country and while men are free to express their opinions through the ballot box there is no necessity for violence or force. Of course there is not—there never was. I tell the Taoiseach that we have adult suffrage in this country, and that adult suffrage did not begin with the Constitution. The Constitution is brought up to show that the people have given themselves freedom. The people did not enact the Constitution; they never enacted anything. The Constitution was enacted by this House. It was referred to the people on referendum, and the people were so indifferent to it that only a vote of 39½ per cent. of the people was given in favour of it.

That Constitution did not give power to the people. The people would not have power if they had not the power to make the Constitution. Where did they get the power and the authority to pass the Constitution? Did it not come from the Treaty? Did it not come from Michael Collins, the man who was maligned and murdered because he brought freedom in 1921? There is no use in saying that freedom comes from God's right hand per the Constitution and the Taoiseach. The freedom we enjoy comes from the freedom obtained in 1921 through the Treaty, and I think Ministers to-day will be the first to admit it. In the course of a speech in this House within the last fortnight the Taoiseach has been quite prepared to admit that advances have been made and that certain conditions of freedom were arrived at in this country; that they were only arrived at by building up and shaking off shackles, I think he called them, from time to time. Who gave him the power to shake them off? The freedom to achieve freedom that Michael Collins secured. As a West Cork man, I am glad to support this Bill, because this Bill is the finest vindication of the Treaty of 1921 and of the memory of the most maligned man in our history. This Bill is also a vindication of the fact that this country has the power and the freedom to guide its own destinies and govern its own people in the best way for the comfort, prosperity, and happiness of the greatest number of our people.

There are a lot of troubles in this country. Some have been brought about by economic evils as a result of the Fianna Fáil policy. There is unrest and disturbance in people's minds. A lot of people are poverty-stricken and thousands are without employment. All these things have caused a lot of trouble. It is not so much political opposition to the present Government as general unrest. And general unrest is a great breeding ground for evil principles. I am afraid that evil principles are sinking into the minds of our young people, the people who know nothing about the republic or about 1921 or the Civil War of 1922; people whose ideas of a republic are the result of the confused ideas of the Fianna Fáil Party which at one time called itself in parenthesis "the Republican Party." I think they have left that out altogether now. For that they are to be congratulated. They have substituted for it now the beautiful phrase a "sterile word." The whole trouble in this country is that the Civil War of 1922 and 1923 was never finished. The confusion arose from the fact that it was never finished.

Why not let it end now?

That is just my trouble. I want to see it finished now. But I do not want to see it finished in the way that everybody who was in it fighting against the Government should be taken out and shot. What I mean is that the people who came in then and dumped their arms should have come in as decent citizens and accepted the Constitution. But they did not do that. They were allowed to carry their arms with them and that was winked at. A great deal of that confusion would have ended if definite action were taken then to finish it. I do not want to deprive the Minister of adequate time in which to reply. I do support this Bill and I welcome it as a great desire on the part of the Fianna Fail Party and the Ministerial Benches to whitewash themselves beautifully in the eyes of the public and to turn their backs upon their horribly lurid past.

I am not prepared to give the powers that are sought for in this Bill to the people who comprise the present Ministry. I say that because it is quite evident from the speeches we have heard on this measure and, apart from this measure, that some of the members of the present Ministry have not got that evenly balanced mind which would enable them to administer a measure of this kind in an impartial way. The question was asked yesterday by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney from the Minister who was the only Minister able to answer that enquiry, whether there was anything in the statement circulated not alone outside this House but inside this House and in the Lobbies and adjacent rooms that certain arms and ammunition were taken from military barracks in Dublin. I have listened to paid officials of the Fianna Fail Party, officials who work in the Mount Street Offices, indicating in the precincts of this House that arms and munitions were stolen from the military barracks in Dublin. I was asked was I aware of that. The Minister for Defence denied that allegation in a vague way. Does the Minister for Justice deny that any such incidents have taken place? I readily recognise that this Government, with its clear majority, have received very definite authority from the people of this country to carry on the government of the country in accordance with whatever policy they may decide, whether industrial or financial and to defend this country against all enemies, internal and external.

As far as I am aware, and I have as much knowledge as any other Deputy as to what is taking place in the country, I am quite certain that there is no anti-State activity going on in my constituency in the past few years. I have not heard any Deputies from the Fianna Fail Benches get up and allege that there have been anti-State activities going on in the country and that, therefore, this Bill is justified. Deputy O'Higgins has already spoken on this measure. He knows what is going on in my constituency as well as I do. The Fianna Fail Party is in the majority in that constituency. I invite the three Fianna Fail Deputies for that constituency to state whether in that constituency, within their knowledge, there is anything taking place which would justify the passage of a repressive measure of this kind?

I am aware that nobody in the constituency gave more effective support to the Government candidates when seeking election in this House in the last general election than the people who would like to have themselves designated as I.R.A, whether the old or the new I.R.A. These people did their work well in pushing in three Fianna Fail Deputies in my constituency and they did that in a constitutional way. I have no definite knowledge that they have changed their attitude from being constitutional to revolutionary since helping to put in three members of the Government.

I warn Ministers that the introduction and passing of measures of this kind can do more harm than good. If the I.R.A. and other bodies which the Minister has in mind are lifeless bodies, I suggest that the introduction and passage of a provocative measure of this kind is more likely to put new life into them than anything else. The entire history of this country shows that provocative measures of that sort do much more to create than to kill efforts at rebellion. It is because I am convinced of that that I am opposed to the giving of those powers to bigoted members of this Ministry who could not be trusted to use these powers in an impartial manner.

I have listened here to speeches of members of this Ministry which could not in any way be justified. These speeches are the speeches of people who have not evenly balanced minds. In one of those speeches by a Minister here it was alleged that the Leader of our Party, Deputy Norton, stood for a Caballero policy, the sort of policy that Caballero stood for in Spain, a policy that is being killed by the approaching victory of Franco. That sort of allegation, coming from a man who has been placed in a position of authority by the people of this country, a man who holds a Ministerial position in the Government, is most provocative. The Minister concerned knows perfectly well that Deputy Norton, the Leader of this Party, is as constitutionally-minded and as good a Catholic and as good a Christian as the Minister for Finance. The Minister evidently wished to convey a different impression and to use the power he got from the people to do so. He wanted to create the impression that Deputy Norton as a leader, and his followers with him, stand for the policy which Caballero stood for in Spain. It is a damned lie.

That is not a parliamentary expression. The Deputy must withdraw it.

Yes, Sir, I withdraw it.

Deputy Davin has taken the opportunity, when speaking on this Bill, to go into matters that are quite irrelevant. The Deputy is answering the speech which was made by a Minister on another measure. The Deputy should now get down to what is before the House.

I suggest that the Minister for Finance or any other Minister who might feel like him and who endeavours to make allegations of that kind is not a fit and proper person to whom powers of this kind should be handed. I am very glad to recognise the fact that there are very few other Ministers who would come into this House and make use of their position here to make what they knew to be unfounded allegations of that kind against the Leader of a Party that has stood for law and order in this country and stood for constitutional government when the Minister for Finance was outside engaged in revolutionary activities.

The Deputy might now get down to the Bill.

We had a statement from the same Minister here the other evening. I was delighted to hear him say that the Fianna Fáil Party and the Fianna Fáil Government, as now constituted, does not stand for revolutions. Is not that like an act of contrition for past political sins—to hear a statement like that coming from our Minister for Finance? As far as I can see, this Bill, if passed in its present form, will certainly carry out the final execution of the republic that up to now, we understood, the Minister for Finance and those who think and talk with him, stood for. At any rate, measures of this kind can only be justified by a state of disorder, or of alleged disorder, inside the State. We have not got one example to justify the introduction and passage of the measure from that point of view.

Mr. Morrissey

Would it make any difference to the Deputy's vote if he had?

Certainly, because, as I said before, I believe that a measure of this kind provokes disorder rather than helps to kill the alleged revolutionary activities supposed to exist in the imagination of those who introduce such measures. A Government with the mentality of the Minister for Finance are people of the type who would make use of machinery such as we have in this Bill.

The Minister for Finance is not responsible for this Bill. The Minister responsible is the Minister for Justice.

The Chair knows perfectly well that there is collective responsibility in the Cabinet.

And the Deputy should know that when a Minister introduces a Bill the House deals with the Minister who introduces it.

The Minister for Justice has his name written on the back of this Bill, but if one Minister more than another tried to make the case for the introduction and passage of the Bill it was the Taoiseach during a certain stage of the discussion. The Minister for Justice, whose name is on the back of the Bill, was not even present in the House to listen to the discussion. I listened to Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney question the Taoiseach in connection with certain matters arising out of the contents of the Treason Bill, which is a brother-in-law to the measure we are now discussing. The Taoiseach's reply was that he had not time to consult his lawyers as to whether the interesting points made by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney had any foundation or not.

The Deputy is now dealing with another Bill.

I suggest that in connection with the discussion on that Bill, the Minister for Justice, who is recognised to be a very capable lawyer, should have been sitting beside the Taoiseach to help him out of his difficulties.

The Deputy must limit himself to the Bill before the House.

We know perfectly well that certain Ministers have certain ideas in their minds with regard to the activities of trade unions in this country, and politically-minded and bigoted-minded Ministers are not incapable, if they get the powers contained in this Bill, of using those powers to suppress trade union activities, and of connecting them, or, at any rate, alleging that trade union activities in certain circumstances could be regarded as anti-State activities.

It has not been definitely stated that these two Bills have any connection with the activities which have taken place recently in Great Britain. As far as I am personally concerned, and I think I am expressing the views of the members of our Party, I want to say that, in our opinion, the people who think that by such activities they are going to remove Partition are certainly going to prolong the day when this country will be united rather than bring about the unity of the country by such activities inside their own life-time. I, personally, strongly disapprove of the activities of Irishmen, if they are Irishmen, associated with recent activities in Great Britain. I believe that they have been doing a bad day's work for this country as well as for those Irishmen who have to earn their livelihood in Great Britain.

The Deputy is possibly aware that their cases are sub judice, and, whether nationals or not are implicated, it is hardly fair to jeopardise their position.

I am entitled as a public representative to express a personal opinion as to the justification, or otherwise, for such activities.

The Deputy is travelling to another country and assuming that nationals are concerned. He had better not refer to the matter further.

I want to know whether the introduction of these two measures at this particular period has any connection with the recent activities in Great Britain to which I have referred. That is a straight question. It is one to which, I am sure, the Minister for Justice, if he desires, can give a straight answer. Certain powers are being taken in these measures to take out of another country Irish nationals, and, presumably, under the powers given in one or other of these two measures now before the House, to deal with them here in this State. I want to know if that is the intention of the Ministry, and if that is the real reason for the introduction of these measures at this particular period.

I readily recognise the fact that the Government got a very clear majority to carry out whatever policy they were supposed to have put before the people in the last general election. I feel certain that—no matter what may be said against this particular measure, no matter what questions may be asked and no matter whether the Government Minister responsible may think fit to answer any of these questions or not— this measure will go through the House in the usual machine-like way. I would warn Fianna Fáil Deputies who may not be aware of all the powers that are contained in the Bill, and of the way they may be used in the future, that they will have to answer to the people of this country at some future date for the passage of measures of this kind, and particularly for the way in which they are administered. I do not know of any other country in the world to-day that is so peaceful as this small country of ours. For that reason alone this cannot be considered to be an opportune moment for the introduction and passage of such a measure. There must be something behind the hurried way in which this Ministry, without giving any previous notice to the people of the country, introduced this measure. The Taoiseach in his speech dealing with Partition announced his intention, apparently in a very hurried way, in the Lower House of bringing in measures of this kind. Their introduction must have been decided on in a very hurried way and as a result of some peculiar kind of representations coming from some particular source. Why do I say that? Because the measures were only published and printed about three weeks after the Taoiseach had given notice of his intention to introduce them. If a decision to introduce this type of legislation was calmly and coolly taken after careful consideration, as it should have been taken, then this House should have been informed, instead of the Taoiseach going to the Lower House and making an announcement about these measures in the course of a discussion dealing with Partition. That was the time he selected to indicate his intention of introducing these measures, leaving the members of this House to wait for a fortnight or three weeks before they had a chance of acquainting themselves with their contents. May I, Sir, with your permission, now move the adjournment of the debate?

There are two minutes to go.

That clock, I suggest, keeps Belfast time, not Irish time.

Would the Deputy agree to let the Minister move the adjournment and conclude?

No, Sir. I want to emphasise the fact that more information will be required to be given to the members sitting on these benches regarding the alleged irregularities or revolutionary activities inside this State before the members of our Party can calmly and coolly accept responsibility to their people to vote for the Second Reading of this Bill.

Sure, you are not voting for it. What is the use of pretending that you have open minds?

I have a more impartial mind than the man who would make use of his powerful position in this State to make unfounded allegations against the Leader and members of this Party.

On that note will the Deputy move the adjournment?

I move the adjournment of the debate to Tuesday next.

Agreed. Debate adjourned.

The Dáil adjourned at 2 p.m. to Tuesday, 7th March, 1939, at 3 p.m.