Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 3 Jan 1940

Vol. 78 No. 10

Emergency Powers (Amendment) Bill, 1940—Second Stage.

I move the Second Reading of this Bill. Deputies are aware of the reason for summoning the Dáil before it was due to assemble in February next. The Government believed they had the power of internment. As the House is aware, it has been decided by the court that they have not that power now. The Government is absolutely convinced that they must have that power. By accepting the amendments proposed in this Bill, we are satisfied that we will have that power for the period of the emergency.

Deputies will recollect that when the Emergency Powers Bill, 1939, was first introduced the particular clause dealing with internment, that was Clause (k) of Section 2, had not got the words which are now proposed to be deleted, that is, "other than natural-born Irish citizens." These words were introduced at the request of the Opposition, who pointed out that we had already got powers in the Offences Against the State Act enabling us to deal with natural-born citizens, and that these powers then were only necessary to deal with persons other than citizens. If the amendments are accepted we will have the Emergency Powers Act in the form in which it was first introduced. As the House is aware, that power will be effective only so long as the emergency lasts, and although the Act can run for 12 months, still if, by some chance, the war in Europe were over, which everybody would be glad to see, I do not think it would be desirable to proceed under that Emergency Act. The Government does not think so, and would prefer to have the Offences Against the State Act or some permanent measure under which to proceed. The Government, as I say, is absolutely convinced, and I think the House will agree also, that the power of internment is absolutely necessary. The event that has occurred very recently, that is the raid on the Magazine Fort, should have brought it home to everybody that there is here a body of persons who are highly organised. They are not very numerous, but they are highly organised. They have in their possession large sums of money. They have stores of arms and explosives. The Government is not in a position to bring evidence that will satisfy a court to deal with all these people. It can certainly do it in respect of some and has done it, but there are several of them about whom the Government is quite satisfied that they are engaged in activities hostile to the State and that they are a menace and a danger, but still, if it came to bringing them to court, we could not produce sufficient evidence to convict them. That is the position which we must face. Consequently, the power of internment must be given to the Government. We are satisfied that for the period of the emergency, at any rate, this particular Bill that is now before the House will give us that power.

When the Offences Against the State Act was going through the House it was said by members of the Opposition that the Minister had not made a case, that he had not given sufficient reasons for claiming the drastic powers which are included in that Bill. Several members of the Opposition said that. Although the Minister did give some instances in which rather serious events had occurred some time before the occasion on which the Bill was being debated here, such as the explosions that occurred in Donegal where three men were blown to pieces, still at the time the Bill was before the House there was undoubtedly a period of quietness here. There was nothing of an unusual character happening in this part of the country but the Government were aware that it was the intention of this body to take violent action of some kind. What exactly it was we were not in a position to say, but we had sufficient information to satisfy us that they did contemplate violent action of some kind which we could not tolerate. Consequently we decided to intern certain people who, we were satisfied, would likely be the leaders in any such events. We did intern certain people. They are now at large and we have got to get them and perhaps others into safe keeping until we are satisfied that it will be safe for the community, to release them.

For the information of the Dáil, I might give some few instances of incidents that have occurred in recent times. There was, firstly, a case reported from Kilcormac, Offaly, where, most people will remember, the police discovered a party which was being instructed in the use of explosives. Explosive materials were found there and a man was actually seen demonstrating on a blackboard methods of using these explosives. I have a list here of the stuff that was found on that occasion. Of course these people have been tried since. I just want to point out that this was one class that was actually found in operation. We are satisfied that there are several more in different parts of the country but we have not been able to come across them. Still, we know that they are going on even at the present moment. In this case, all the materials for making time bombs and incendiary bombs were found and a person was actually caught in the act of demonstrating the use of these bombs on the blackboard. That was on the 15th August. I need not read out the list of the materials found there, but they include all the materials necessary for making these bombs: flexes, toy balloons, etc., all sorts of chemicals, in small amounts and ingredients of these incendiary bombs.

On the 9th September, in the Rathmines district, in the course of a raid four people were found who had a large quantity of aluminium powder in the house together with two Smith and Weston revolvers and one Colt automatic with ammunition. On one man the police found a sum of 7,950 American dollars and on another man 315 American dollars. A large quantity of documents was also discovered. I want to draw attention to the fact that on these people was found a large sum of American dollars. We are quite certain that large sums have come from America. There was no label or note attached to this consignment to say: "This has been sent to the I.R.A." But we are well satisfied where that money came from.

Do you know who in America is sending it?

Mr. Boland

We have a shrewd idea of where it is coming from.

Why do you not tell us?

Mr. Boland

I am not in a position to prove it.

Perhaps the Minister for External Affairs would tell us.

Mr. Boland

I may be pretty certain of where it is coming from, but I am not going to make any statements that I am not able to substantiate, and I do not think I should be asked to do so. I should like to quote some extracts from these documents to show some of the activities in which these people were engaged. One document is headed: "Oglaigh na hEireann, 6th September. Drogheda Battalion to Department of Intelligence. Report on enemy forces in area." It goes on:

"(1) As far as I am aware there are about 20 ‘Free State' troops posted at Drogheda railway station ostensibly for the purpose of guarding communications. According to a report a strong force of ‘Free State' troops are about to be billeted in the Whitworth Hall for the purpose of garrisoning the town.

"Battalion Adjutant."

It will be observed that the troops in this State are referred to as "enemy forces." The next document is from the same battalion and states:

"Please supply electrical detonators, delay action, red oxide iron, aluminium powder, sulphuric acid carbon disulphide and phosphorous, gas bomb. The training officer has given me this list of materials he requires for his classes."

Some of these classes have been going on in Drogheda, but we have not been fortunate enough to get any of these people yet.

Another report deals with an absentee from the Bodenstown parade. It says:

"The absentee from Bodenstown parade is Volunteer——, late of—— Battalion. He is very unsatisfactory and seems to think army was formed to ornament him. The O. C. desires you to billet him in training class with a view to early transfer to active service. Urgent—If you can arrange it all billet Q/M Finglas B. Coy. who wish to go active service. Good and intelligent."

Then there is a document from the Longford Battalion. They have a requisition on the Quartermaster-General's Department for the following arms and ammunition:—One Thompson sub-machine gun with two butts, drum magazines, 2L, 2C type, 20 Lee-Enfield service rifles, 10 revolvers, 8 Webley, 1 Colt, 1 Smith and Weston and 4 automatics, 10,000 rounds of .303 and 4,000 rounds of .45 revolver, 50 rounds of Peter Painter, 6 grenades charged and primed, 2 grenades for lectures and throwing practice, 2 signal outfits, buzzers, lamps, telephones, flags and wire, complete instruction on signalling and first aid.

The last document is written from Dublin and is dated 8/9/39. It reads;

"Dear Seán,

"Just an urgent note before bearer leaves. The war has changed the whole position here. The lads are anxious to have you back as soon as possible. You will be needed here at once. Ask Clann to try and rush supplies. In haste.

"(Signed) Busher."

I should like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that it was after that raid that any internments were made. That letter was dated the 8/9/39. I am trying to assure the House that before we did use our powers of internment we took the greatest possible care and that we had every reason for taking the action which we subsequently took. On the 7th November the Guards succeeded in capturing, not just another dump, but a "lab." They found a certain amount of material in it. It was a well equipped laboratory for the purpose of making explosives and was in Killiney area. I have here a long list of the materials that were captured there. In bulk they do not amount to a great lot, but a number of the things found there showed quite clearly that this place had been used for the manufacture of incendiary and other bombs, and possibly, for instructing classes. Nobody was there when the Guards came on it. It was an empty house, and everything had been very well concealed. It was a perfectly made dump. The police were very lucky to discover this dump. They found there a clock worked by switch action, a handbook on oxy-acetylene, four alarm clocks fitted with contacts for time bombs, two rat traps, also fitted with contacts. That may appear very funny to some Deputies. It would not be so funny for the unfortunate individual who put his hand to a rat trap, set with contacts, because the moment he tipped it the bomb would go off. Other things found there were 6 lbs. and 10 lbs. of gelignite, test tubes and capsules and all sorts of chemicals, igniters, one revolver, a rifle with 100 rounds of ammunition, a Thompson gun and a sack containing a lot of those rubber balloons that Deputies have heard so much about recently. All over the floors of the rooms were traces of aluminium powder and iron oxide showing that they had been extensively used for the making of these bombs.

On the 3rd of December a party of men were arrested out near Brittas. Those people have been convicted, but we are quite satisfied that they had been doing very much more than we were able to prove. It would be alarming indeed if we had to release them at the end of the internment period. What was got there was in a car. There were some instructions about a Lewis gun. The police had information as to where they had been, and knew that a van had accompanied them, but unfortunately the van had escaped. They got away with the van and whatever was in it. On the site where they had been working, there were found:—381 discharged 303 revolver cartridge cases, 8 undischarged 303 bullets, 12 discharged 45 cartridge cases, an ammunition box and other materials. Traces of aluminium powder were also found in this district.

We then had the raid on the Phoenix Park. That matter is sub-judice. People have been tried——

What is that?

Mr. Boland

First of all, the military who allowed those people in are being tried now. At any rate, the matter is under investigation by the military. As well, there are six or seven men before the courts, and I do not want to say too much about it except to give an account of what was taken from there. The full details of the raid were given before the courts yesterday, and anyone who wants the full information will get it from the statement made by counsel appearing for the State. He gave a full account of what happened.

I think the Minister should give the House the information. We should not have to go to the newspapers for our information.

Mr. Boland

I am a bit reluctant to do that, because if we start on this then somebody, appearing on behalf of those people in the courts, may get up and say that this matter has been tried already. I put that to the Deputy. I have no hesitation in the wide world in giving the information, but I am pointing out that danger, that they may make that defence: that they may say: "The Dáil has tried us already and our case has been prejudiced."

And Ministers may escape their responsibilities.

Mr. Boland

I am not afraid of that.

I presume the Minister is not putting forward the view that one of the things we are not to discuss in this House is the state of Governmental control that made such a thing possible.

Mr. Boland

Not for a moment.

We want to know precisely what happened. We want to know what the actual facts are.

Would the Minister indicate what set of circumstances permitted such valuable State property to be taken with such apparent case, and who is responsible for that?

Mr. Boland

I cannot say who is responsible, if the Deputy means individuals. The Government are admittedly responsible. They cannot escape responsibility for anything under their control. If the Deputy is asking me what individual is responsible, I cannot say who was directly responsible and who failed in his duty.

The Minister for Defence.

Mr. Boland

Yes, if you like the Government. But then there is someone lower down.

Has the Minister for Defence tendered his resignation?

Mr. Boland

Is this going to become a cross-examination?

We only want to get the facts of what occurred.

Mr. Boland

I think if you get the number of rounds taken——

No, we want the facts.

Mr. Boland

I think a lot of Deputies know how much was taken. I do not know what position I am going to be in if at the trial——

It is very hard on the Minister to have, when the House asks him for information, the Taoiseach putting his hand on his mouth.

Mr. Boland

I have asked him for advice. I do not deny it.

May I intervene for a moment. There are two sets of judicial inquiries taking place: one in the public courts. Certain people who were caught are going to be charged with certain offences and will have to be tried. In the other case, there is a military investigation taking place. At this investigation information of various kinds has to be got. The trouble with me, and with the Minister obviously is this: what are we to go into here? As regards the things for which the Government are responsible, there is no shirking of responsibility. For anything that happened the Government are ultimately responsible, and we are not shirking the responsibility at all. What we do not want to do here to-day is to go partially, as we can only do, into the question as to how certain things happened and as to who was responsible, as Deputy Norton wants us to do. What can be given here is the amount of material that was taken, the circumstances under which it was taken, and things of that sort, but we cannot go into the question as to who are the individuals responsible, what exactly happened, and so on.

What precautions did you take to prevent its happening?

All that can be said about precautions is this, that they were the precautions that had been in existence all the time.

Tell us what they were.

We have got to be clear about what we are going to discuss. In the first instance, we are saying here that this is a Bill in which certain powers are asked for. The introduction of the question of the Magazine was only in general to point out that there is such a body active and able to take action of a certain kind and that it is necessary for the Government to have certain powers. If there is going to be an inquisition on the whole question of the Magazine incident, that will have to be postponed until certain other inquiries have taken place. We cannot go into it now if we are to be impartial here. If the Opposition care to have an opportunity—and they are at liberty to do so if they wish it—for the taking of a vote of want of confidence in the Government, they can do so and the opportunity will be given to them then to make any charges they wish.

Any date the Deputy wishes.

It cannot be taken to-morrow. Can the Taoiseach give us a date?

Next week.

What date?

Next week, when we have got this Bill through. It is essential for the safety of the State.

Give us a date.

I cannot give the Deputy a date unless I know in advance that it is required. I am not prescient.

Will the Taoiseach take a motion from me now, and give us a date—the earliest possible date?

The motion can be put down in the ordinary way. The Opposition will get all the rope they want.

We will give you the rope.

We will see, when it is finished. At the moment, what is required is to have the House appreciate the need that there is for getting these powers. It was to show such a need that this question of the Magazine Fort was brought in. If we are to go into all the details and have an examination or an inquisition, that can only take place after certain inquiries have been completed.

May I point out that we have a Minister for Defence, and also an auxiliary Minister?

Mr. Boland

We are discussing the Second Reading of a Bill and it seems to me that we are being side-tracked. This is a very important Bill, yet we are not discussing it. As the Taoiseach has indicated, if the House is anxious to have the whole question of the Magazine Fort discussed by putting down a motion, we are prepared to facilitate them; but what we are doing now is asking the House to give us power to see that the like of that will not recur, that we will have power of internment. I submit that that is what is before the Dáil at the moment.

May I submit that it is very unusual to have two Ministers introducing one Bill, which is what we were treated to a few moments ago.

I intervened on account of a remark made from the opposite benches as a result of the Minister communicating with me. I wanted to explain the position.

The Taoiseach did not at all explain it. May I put this point of view: we have a Minister for Defence and a Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures. According to the newspaper reports 1,000,000 rounds of State ammunition have been taken from the Magazine. Some Minister is responsible for that; some Minister is paid by this House for looking after that property; it has been taken away from the Magazine at leisure and with ease. Surely we ought to have some indication from the Government as to who was responsible for the set of circumstances which permitted such valuable State property to be taken. That is the point on which the House wants information. The Taoiseach says that some inquiries are proceeding, but this property was taken 11 days ago. Surely it ought to be possible to give some definite information now. Otherwise, the Dáil should be adjourned until it has been found out who is responsible for this negligence.

The Taoiseach indicated certain things in which he saw no objection to the House having information, namely, the facts of the case, as to what actually occurred, the amount of ammunition that was taken, the measures that were in force in the Magazine to see that it was properly protected. The Taoiseach, in the opening portion of this statement we have listened to, said that that information could be given now. I suggest that at least that much information should be given now.

The Bill before the House is an amending Bill effectively of one clause—to delete some six words. The matter for discussion is the Bill and the reasoned amendment. Order is Heaven's first law and it is the first law of the Dáil. Extraneous matters leading to wider discussion cannot be introduced without the unanimous consent of the Dáil, and the assent of the Chair. The discussion may not range over the administration of Departments.

I am not anxious to enter into a debate on the conduct of the Department of Defence or of the Department for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures or of the two Departments; but, in order to enable the House to make up its mind as to whether it would entrust the Government with the powers that are asked for, I suggest with all due respect that the limited information I have asked for might be put at the disposal of the House, purely for the purpose of helping the House to come to a decision on the two measures before it. I do not seek a roving inquiry into this particular matter at the moment, but I think this request is reasonable. We have had information about other things—cases that are dealt with; cases that cannot be dealt with because there is no evidence sufficient, in the minds of the Government, to deal with them; cases partly sub judice—and why should we not have a limited amount of information on this most spectacular of all the cases?

I suggest that the man in the street understands that this Bill arose from a decision of the courts given prior to happenings in the Phænix Park. The Chair does not suggest that certain information should not be asked for or given, but the debate must be relevant to the measure. If such matters as the raid on the Magazine Fort were to be discussed, then, on a motion of no confidence, there would be a duplication of this debate. In any case such matters are irrelevant now.

Speaking as an ordinary man in the street, my view is that if this legislation were urgent and necessary it would have been introduced before Christmas. The view of the ordinary man in the street, as I understand it, is that this is due to what occurred in the Phænix Park.

Arising out of your ruling, Sir, is it to be understood that members of the House will be precluded by your ruling from commenting on the Minister's remarks?

The Chair does not rule in advance, nor give hypothetical rulings.

Mr. Boland

On the point that has been raised I am not prepared to give any more details, other than the quantity of ammunition which was taken, until the military inquiry and the court proceedings are finished. I do not think that the Government will agree to give such information, even if the whole thing is discussed by a motion, until those proceedings are finished. The total amount of ammunition taken in that raid was 1,084,000 rounds. Up to date 850,990 rounds have been recovered and there is still in the hands of those people 234,309 rounds of ammunition—between Thompson gun and .303.

Mr. Morrissey

Is all the ammunition which has been recovered ammunition taken from the Magazine?

Mr. Boland

Other ammunition has been recovered, too, but I am referring only to stuff which was taken from the Magazine and which was recaptured. Other dumps have been captured during the searches.

Is there still 234,309 rounds missing?

Mr. Boland


From that particular raid?

Mr. Boland


Can the Minister say how much unofficial ammunition was captured in the meantime?

Mr. Boland

I am not in a position to say now.

You mentioned that 850,990 rounds were recovered.

Mr. Boland


On adding up the two figures, they do not tally, but there is not much difference.

Mr. Boland

There may be a small difference. I have not much more to say on this Bill, but I am satisfied that had it not been for the decision of the courts—I do not want to comment on the decision of the judge—that raid would not have occurred. That is not going far, but it is my opinion. Deputy O'Sullivan said that we were lax in not coming back at Christmas. Perhaps that is so. If you like we took a chance. We thought perhaps that these people having beaten us in the courts, and having lauded our Constitution, that that would be all, but we were foolish. I quite admit that we should not have waited, but should have brought Deputies back before Christmas. Unfortunately we did not, and perhaps to that extent we are blameworthy. We hoped that things would have lasted over Christmas, but unfortunately we were caught out. We are doing the best we can to see that it will not happen again. As long as a body of men, organised as they are, with plenty of money at their disposal, and thinking only of getting arms, are allowed to be at large there will always be that danger. I hope, whatever members of the Dáil may think or say about the Government in this whole matter, that they will not unduly delay the passing of this Bill, because it is very urgent.

Can the Minister tell us what they want the arms and ammunition for?

That matter does not arise.

Mr. Boland

I do not know. They must want them for something. If we thought they only wanted them as the Fenians wanted them, or to let them rot, it might not matter. But what is the case here? For ten years there have been spasmodic murders and outbursts. I do not know what these people are after. Sometimes I hear that they intend to invade the North and, at other times, that they intend to bring off coups here. What we want to do is to get these arms and to get the people that are trying to use them, and not to let them go until we are satisfied that it is safe for them to be at large.

Can the Minister say what is the estimated strength of the I.R.A. in the country at the present time?

Mr. Boland

An estimate is no good. I am not prepared to give an estimate. I do not think it is very strong numerically, but in certain counties, from the information we have, it is very highly organised and I should say is pretty efficient. It is very dangerous where it is in a position that it could be mobilised. I am perfectly satisfied that not less than 100 men took part in the raid. Maybe they were not actually on the job, but with outposts at least 100 were engaged in the Phoenix Park raid. That is speaking as a person with some little experience in these matters.

Is there evidence of efficiency or inefficiency?

Mr. Boland

I would say that it took at least another 50 men. They had lorries at their call. There are suspicions that I will not mention. They had an organisation, not very big, but of some people prepared to act. Anyone who knows the type of campaign that is carried on by an organisation of that kind will realise that it does not require very large numbers, provided they are fairly well organised, well instructed and have plenty of money. I may tell the House that I am more worried about the money they have than anything else, because once they have that they can be far more difficult to deal with. This is not a laughing matter. It is a very serious matter. If it were not for that, there would not be so many people who have nothing else to do, to take part in these things.

Is the Minister suggesting that the money captured of ammunition?

Mr. Boland

I did not say that. I say that the money enables people to act whole-time in work of that kind. I am not making any suggestion, as to how the ammunition was captured. Except people have plenty of means they must be maintained by someone. It takes money to do that. There is no other way. One of the biggest dangers that I see is the flow of money. If it were not for that I would have greater hope of dealing with this matter more quickly.

What percentage of the ammunition in the Magazine was taken?

Mr. Boland

I could not answer that. It was a small fraction.

Will the Minister say whether some ammunition discovered at Crossmaglen, according to a radio message, is included in that?

Mr. Boland

It is. I have a report about it, that two and a half tons were discovered at Crossmaglen, 15 yards over the Border.

And you have that.

Mr. Boland

We will have to get it from the other Government. We will have to make representations to them. It is included in the figures given.

I move the following ammendent:—

To delete all words after the word "That" and insert the words "Dáil Eireann being of opinion that the objects aimed at in this Bill can only be effectively secured by an ammendent of Article 28 of the Constitution adjourns the consideration of the Bill until the Government have introduced a Bill to amend the Constitution by extending the scope of Article 28, Section 3 to meet the existence of a domestic emergency."

This matter has been very carefully considered by us. We do not see any great prospect of a different decision being given by the courts from that already given in the case that was brought before them. In our view, it is necessary to get from the fountain head, that is, from the Constitution powers to take extraordinary statutory authority to deal with the situation which confronts the Ministry and the country. Having that power, it is then for the Dáil to make up its mind upon the policy that the Minister has just put before us, but only when it is certain that we have the authority from the Constitution, which in this case, I believe, has hampered the Ministry, but which in the opinion of a great many people it was the right of citizens to employ in order to ensure that they could not be sent to jail or be interned or that anything of that sort could happen, without something more than mere suspicion. We have had experience of something like 17 years of internment as such in this State. It is not a method of dealing with a situation of this kind which appeals to me. In the first place it seems unreasonable that citizens on mere suspicion should be deprived of their liberty. Something more than suspicion should justify loss of liberty.

We were led in the early years of the formation of this State to consider what were the best methods of getting the general support of all citizens for the legislative Assembly which passes Acts pf Parliament. By reasons of our special care in ensuring that legislation will deal justly with all citizens, we have certain rights as well as responsibilities when taking steps to deal with those who will, on the one hand, take every possiblelegal loophole they can and,on the other hand take unlawful methods to carry out their objects. The Ministry in this particular case has not particularly clean hands, either from its past record or from its immediate past record. We gave powers to the Ministry in two measures and they abused them. They dealt with certain small disturbances in the State as if they were major disturbances. They used 15-pounder guns to deal with what should have beeen dealt with by a popgun ora policeman's baton. The same people, having that record, come to us asking for extraordinary powers. Even the powers they are asking for, and the method in which they propose to get them, do not appear to us to be sufficient. If they are not sufficient, and if, by reason of any defect in the legislation now going to be passed, the Minister has to come here in a month's time or less and say:"The powers I have are still unsufficient for me and I want still more," does not the administration of government in this country become a mockery and a laughing stock? It is possible that those who were so physically efficient a short time since will commence to pat thmselves on the back and say that they are also a much bigger intellectual proposition or commonsense proposition.

We put down this motion then, in the first instance, to clear the decks. This Government does not appear to me to be likely to last very long. In fact, if they had any decency, if they had any sense of responsibility, if they had a spark of patriotism, they would not alone retire from office but retire from public life. They are not fitted for the one and they ought not to continue in the other. The peopleof the country from the incidents of the last few weeks, have had one more example of Ministerial incompetency. They had handed over to them seven or eight years ago an efficient, disciplined, well-equipped Army. They had handed over to them a disciplined and competent police force. They had handed over to them an economical Civil Service. So far as one can judge from the incidents of the last few days, they must have sabotaged the Army and paralysed the police force, and they have made the other institutions of the State more and more expensive and extravagant. Never had we more Ministers than we have at present. Never had we a larger Army in peace time. Never had we more men in police force. As to the Civil Service, we could not accommodate any more, and we have had to erect more buildings in order to house them. Notwithstanding all that, we are presented with a loss of 1,250,000 rounds of ammunition. There is one thing which seems to be common between the Government and those who are opposing them at the present time, and that is, an inability to hold what they have got. The Government could not hold the ammunition; those who have taken it from them cannot hold it either. We have, therefore, a nice example of incompetency in this country.

The Minister's statement lacked lucidity and that sort of persuasiveness, that sort of exhortation to those with whom he was until a few years ago in collaboration. Why could not this statement have been made by the Minister; why should he not have got up and told them: "For many years I did the same as you are doing, or tried to do it, and it was wrong. It was neither patriotic nor national. There was no moral justification for it. You are now going along the same road I went, and you ought to leave it"? These young men who are engaged in this work, we were told here some years ago by the Prime Minister, are practically in the same position as the Government party were a few years ago. It was wrong. The activities going on in Great Britain, the explosions there are wrong. In my opinion, they are morally and nationally doing damage to the country, and all that we got from the Ministry is that they do not approve of them.

What right has any body of men to organise themselves here and endeavour to exercise authority either here or elsewhere unless they get the authority from the people? All power comes from God to the people. Whatever authority the people exercise, they exercise it only as coming from God. Whoever is responsible for the exercise of that power, whoever is in Ministerial control at any time, is responsible to God and the people for it. If the men, by reason of their activities, have been on the wrong track, they ought to be told it. This country will never progress either spiritually, morally, economically, culturally, or in any other way unless we lay down ourselves proper orders and proper regulations, for the conduct of public policy, for correct appreciation of the citizen's rights and duties, his responsibility and his obligations as well as his rights.

The Ministry had information on the 7th or 8th December regarding the imperfections of the laws they had passed to deal with the situation. They have, as I said, a large Army. They have an augmented police force. They have had the benefit and the experience of ten years of a previous Government. They have had their own seven years of office. Yet they could not get no information about this major onslaught on the people's property which was entrusted to them, and of which they were the custodians in trust for the people, and they have lost it. This State has been upset on a festive occasion, at a time when the world is in the throes of various wars in one place or another, and when we have messages sent out from Ministers to the effect that here at least we have peace. Have we peace, taking into consideration these measures which are being brought in here? Have we inculcated into the people of the cuntry—and that is a responsibility of the Ministry—a respect for law and for ordered conditions in the State? It is true that there were two different methods employed by the two Administrations in dealing with this menance. When there was another Government in office they were told that they were not dealing with this matter properly, that there was a better method and a proper method which, if they were in power they would exercise and would put into force, and they were quite confident that they would succeed. What have we got here but a confession of the most abject failure, of the complete collapse of the policy in operation for the last seven years, of futility failure and incompetence to deal with the situation when the country might have hoped that, whatever experience the Government might have had when they came into office, at least seven years of office would have taught them something? It is not alone that the State has been robbed of its ammunition; it has also been robbed of its money, and the ordinary citizen has been robbed of his money. Robberies, in fact, are the order of the day and night.

I am loath to interrupt the Leader of the Opposition, but must draw his attention to the terms of his reasoned amendment. It seems to be indicated that there will be tabled in near future a motion of "no confidence", discussion of which should not be anticipated in this debate.

Mr. Morrissey

On a point of order, may I ask if the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition is being debated in conjunction with the Second Reading of the Bill?

Yes, in accordance with precedent.

Mr. Morrissey

Then I submit, with all possible respect, that the Leader of the Opposition is not confined to the wording of the amendment, but is also at liberty to deal with the Second Reading of the BIll.

May I ask if, from the attitude of the Government, we are to understand they are opposing the amendment?

Mr. Boland


Then I submit that the insistence of the Government on pursuing the line of pressing their own Bill as a means of dealing with this situation is simply a part of their general incompetence, and, therefore, their general incompetence is liable to be discussed.

The aim of this Bill is to delete some words from an Act. The whole Act is not open to discussion. Neither is the conduct of the Government nor the administration of Departments, during the past seven years. This is in scope a small Bill. It is obvious that a debate ranging over the conduct of the I.R.A., the administration of this Government in relation to the Department of Defence and other Departments, and the strength of the Civil service or police force is not relevant.

Might I suggest that, although this Bill only contains a proposal to delete six words, its weight and importance cannot be decided by the number of words proposed to be deleted, because it strikes at what in ordinary circumstances would be the liberty of every citizen in the State—the most vital thing we could discuss. I agree that this is an amending Bill, but it is an amending Bill of tremendous scope. We have to decide whether this Government should be entrusted with such tremendous powers as this Bill, even though it is an amending Bill, proposes to give them. I suggest that the operations of the I.R.A. are relevant to this debate. They were made relevant, if they were not relevant before, by the speech of the Minister in introducing this Bill. This Bill is necessary because the Government was incapable of dealing with the operations of the I.R.A., as it has proved itself incapable of doing. I do not see how we could have a useful discussion on the Bill if we are not to discuss that. We might as well walk out of the House if we cannot discuss whether the present Government is a fit Government to be given these powers.

When the Deputy maintains that a relevant subject of debate is the fitness of the Government for these powers, is he not anticipating a forthcoming motion? There is an alternative in the reasoned amendment to the Government's proposal. These conjointly are open for discussion, the administration generally is not.

May I submit that this Bill is the result of Government policy. It arises out of and lays down Government policy. Surely it is open to us to discuss that?

The answer is obvious. Practically every Bill Introduced by a Government arises out of Government policy, but general Government policy may not be reviewed on every Bill.

May I make the point that, because of a motion which has not been tabled, we are being debarred from giving our reasons for having a certain hesitation as regards our attitude to this Bill. I suggest that that is unduly limiting the rights of the House.

The Deputy suggests that the Chair is endeavouring to prevent the House from giving reasons why this Bill should not be read a Second Time. The Chair has merely stated, in reply to the suggestion that this Bill exemplifies or arises out of Government policy, that the same might be said of almost all Bills. The House is not, however, entitled to discuss every aspect of Government policy on a measure dealing with one definite aspect.

Mr. Morrissey

May I submit a final point of order. As you, a Chinn Comhairle, say, this an amending Bill. The necessity for this amending Bill arises out of certain circumstances. In discussing the amending Bill and whether there is a necessity for it, surely the members of the House are entitled to discuss the circumstances that brought about the Bill. May I also submit that while, as a matter of procedure, this Bill is described as an amending Bill, in effect, it would have far greater force than many Bills brought in as original Bills. On Second Reading, I submit that it is open to Deputies to argue that the Bill is unnecessary, that it goes too far, that it does not go far enough, that there are certains things in the Bill which should not be in it or that certain things are not in the Bill which should be in it. I submit, with all respect, that Deputies cannot be precluded from putting before the House for its judgement the circumstances which, in the opinion of the Government, made the introduction of this Bill necessary.

Again, and finally; the Emergency Powers Act was passed by the Oireachtas. Only part of a sub-section of that Act is affected by this amending Bill. I quite agree with Deputy Morrissey when he says that Deputies are entitled to argue that the Bill is too wide or too narrow, that it is to drastic or not sufficiently so.

Let us face the fact that we are discussing this Bill because of English interference in this country. If the British took their hands off this country, there would be no more peaceful country in the world.

In so far as the preservation of order in the country is concerned, it is fairly apparent that the vast majority of the people are of one view——

There is a buzz of conversation goin on.

Not from Deputy Cosgrave.

No, but from some of the ignorant "yahoos" on the other side.

If the Deputy refers to fellow-membersas "yahoos," he is quite out of order.

I did not intend that the Chair should hear that observation. If it was heard by the Chair, I withdraw it.

We could not expect anything better from over there.

That interjection also is disorderly.

In making that statement, I am fully satisfied that the country is willing to entrust to the constituted authority in this State power to deal with any situation that may arise. On more than one occasion the powers which have been asked for have been generously given. It is quite evident that those who asked for powers in this case did not get all they wanted, or abused some of those they did get. So far as my recollection goes, it was not asked, when the Emergency Powers Bill was introduced, that power should be given to intern our citizens.

Mr. Boland

That would have been possible as the Bill was introduced. It was after representations from the Opposition that an amendment was brought in.

The Minister said, when asked about that, that it was not his intention to take power to intern Irish-born citizens.

Mr. Boland

That is true. Still it could have been done.

According to page 142 of the Official Report of 2nd September, 1939, Deputy McGilligan asked: "Is paragraph (1) confined to persons other than natural born Irish citizens?" The reply by the then Minister for Justice, Deputy Ruttledge, was: "That is my interpretation of it." It is quite true that this arose out of the amendment which I put down, providing that a court of inquiry be made available for persons to be interned. To avoid that court of inquiry, apparently, the Minister took the view that Irish-born citizens would not be interned. Consequently, the necessity for the court did not arise. If we are going to intern people now, we are entitled to ask before what court these persons will be entitled to make a case for release. Will the Minister give us any information on that?

Mr. Boland

I can. As the Deputy is aware, the procedure under this Act is by way of an order, and provision has been made for a commission, before which internees can go. That provision is made in the order, and the order cannot be issued until the Bill is passed.

Well, am I at liberty to use the instrument that has been published?

Mr. Boland

As far as I am concerned, the Deputy is at liberty to use it.

It is mentioned there that the court to be set up shall consist of three persons, who shall be appointed and be removable by the Government, of whom one shall be a barrister or solicitor of not less than seven years' standing, or be or have been a judge of the Supereme Court, the High Court, or the Circuit Court, or a justice of the District Court. Now, one of the three persons, according to this, must belong to one of these classifications, but the other two members of the commission can be anybody at all-a member of the Fianna Fáil organisation, an officer of the Army, or an officer of the police force. I suggest that that is not a court. It may be a commission, but it is not a court. After all, in the normal course, a citizen has a right of appeal to a court in connection with imprisonment, but this is internment. Now, let there be no misunderstanding about this. I have no faith in internment—none at all—having regard to my experience of it. There is a procedure in connection with these matter—and it is embodied in legislation already passed—which will enable the Minister to deal with any citizens whom he desires to have arrested, and under that procedure he can bring them before a court and deal with them. Surely, it is not necessary to develop that point? If these people are thought to be members of an illegal organisation, they can be questioned about it, brought before a court and dealt with as such; but, above all things, do not give them any cause of complaint. If they are dealing with military matters, you can deal with them in a military style; if they are dealing with law matters, then deal with them in the law style; and if you are dealing with them as as ordinary citizens, then deal with them as citizens; but do not mix all these things up and give these people a cause of complaint. Set up a court against wich they can have no cause of complaint, and do not let them have it to say that you loaded a court in order to get a decision against them.

Now, the use and abuse of internment powers are very closely allied, one to the other; and whether they are or not, we have entered now on a stage or phase in the life of the world when propaganda and excuse and propaganda explanation are almost synonymous terms, and nobody has a better knowledge of that than the gentlemen of the present Ministry.

Mr. Boland

I suppose the Deputy never did the same kind of thing?

Mind you, I can claim one thing, and I am sure the Minister himself will give me the credit for it, and that is that, whether or not it was popular to say a thing, it never bothered me about saying it, so long as it was the right thing to say. That is the reason and the cause of this Bill. The fact is that you were trying to straddle or to ride two horses at the one time, and the mistake, unfortunately, is this: that young people in this country are being deluded. Some of them have been deluded by the Ministry, some of them have been deluded by their successors, amd some of them by the successors of the successors of the Ministry. Why do you not tell them that all this nonsense of the last 17 years, so far as your participation in it was concerned, has been a failure and a futility and that you are seeing now the fruits of what you sowed yourself? Powers we are prepared to give, but in these powers we have no faith whatever. In order to put the matter right we have advised you to amend the Constitution. You will not take that advice. You seldom do take advice until you realise that you have put your feet into it. You have gambled in the matter that happened over the Christmas, and have been gambling on it, for the succeeding days, and the result is that this country is a laughing-stock all over the world. Were the Americans told, in the message that went out over the radio, that you could not hold 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition, although, at the same time, I presume that we were ordering more? It is not right to say that the same precautions were taken as had been taken in the last ten years. Does not the Minister know that there was the same amount of ammunition there? The common argument was that even a fly could not get into the Magazine Fort, that the Minister himself could not get in, or the Commander-in-Chief, without going through the proper forms. Notwithstanding that, we have now lost 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition and have spent a week in collecting about four-fifths of that. I suppose, Sir, that by your ruling I am prohibited from giving an opinion if this Government and all its works and pomps, but I think they know it very well.

The Deputy, in his introductory remarks, expressed some opinion on that matter.

In my opinion, there is not a Government in this world that would have survived the loss of this 1,250,000 rounds of ammunition.

Which, of course, is not an expression of opinion on the Government.

At any rate, Sir, it is my opinion, and I think it is a better opinion than that of the Government. If they were to do the decent thing and the Irish thing, they would retire from the Government and from public life.

I want, formally, to second this reasoned amendment that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition, and I hope, as far as possible, however great the temptation may be, to keep within the rulings you have given, and to confine my remarks to supporting the reasons underlying the reasoned amendment which we are moving. This Bill which we are discussing has been described by the Chair, I think, as a small Bill, small in its scope, and a Bill merely to delete six words of a previous Act. Although the Bill may be small in one sense, however, it is big in its principle and the scope of its principle. The principle involved in the Bill now before us is whether or not to give power to intern natural-born Irish citizens. I take the liberty describing that as a very big principle, and one to which we are opposed. I am personally opposed to it, and opposed to the putting of it into a Bill of this kind, because, however much we may desire to give whatever powers the Government may need —even in spite of their incapacity and inefficency to deal with the present situation—we think that they have adopted the wrong method, and a very insecure and unsafe method of achieving the purpose which, apparently, they have in mind. We think that the method they have adopted may lead to further insecurity in this State, and bring derision and scorn, not merely on the present Government, but on future Governments and govermental institutions in this country.

We were told by the Minister for Justice, in one of his closing remarks, that he did not wish to say anything against the judge who gave the decision which necessitated the release of the people who were kept in custody before Christmas. Now, at the outset of my remarks, I should like to say one or two words in praise of that judge and of the judiciary as a whole, and I think it is, and must be, a matter of great congratulation to the people of the country that we can have the secure knowledge that, where illegalities have occurred, they will be set right, in the first place, and that the Government will act on the appointed decrees of the court, in the second place.

Hear, hear!

If the Deputy speaks in praise of the judiciary, he might do so in general terms, since commendation of any member thereof would entitle Deputies who might hold opposite views to give expression to them.

My remarks were addressed not merely to the members of the present judiciary, but of the judiciary since 1922 as an institution, and not to any particular individual. I tied up my remarks with the remark of the Minister, that he did not wish to say anything about a particular judge. I do not repeat that it must be a matter of congratulation to the people that we can confidence that the rule of law will be enforced by the judges, and that it will be respected by the Government, as it was respected in this case.

The party stood, has always stood, and still stands for two things, above all things, in matters of political principle. They stand, in the first place, for the maintenance of ordered conditions in this country and for the reign of the rule of law; they stand, in the second place, for the guranteeing to citizens of the country of their constitutional rights and, in particular, of the right of the liberty of the citizen. When we were asked to give the Government powers of this kind, which are a grave infringement of the constitutional rights and liberties of the citizen, we demand that the Government shall make a case, a strong case, and an unanswerable case, for the granting of these powers. If such a case be made, and if we are satisfied that it is the Government's intention to use these powers properly and prudently, from this Party they will get these powers whatever our opinions may be as to their inefficency, their past conduct or their past history. They will get them in the interests, not merely of the maintenance of the rule of law, but in the interests of the guarantee of the liberty of the citizen, because some of the conduct of which the Minister for Justice complained here to-day is a graver infringement of the liberty of the citizen than even the powers which might be granted under this Bill.

We are asked in this Bill to give the Government power to intern Irish citizens. The Minister for Justice rather suggested that the Government found themselves in the present difficulties by reason of the fact that certain members of the Opposition had persuaded the then Minister for Justice to limit the scope of the Emergency Powers Act of 1939 by excluding from the operations of the section dealing with internment natural-born Irish citizens. Deputy Mcgilligan, Deputy Mulcahy, Deputy O'sullivan and myself all argued against the inclusion in the Emergency Powers Act of 1939 of the power to intern natural-born Irish citizens. I argued against it on the Second Reading and Committe Stage of the Bill, and I argue against it here to-day as a matter of principle. It is bad in principle, in my opinion, and we take our stand here on the reasoned amendment we put forward and say that not merely is it bad in principle, but that the wrong method has been adopted. We make no apology for the fact that we moved, and successfully persuaded the then Minister for Justice, to limit the scope of the Emergency Powers Act of 1939, so as to provide that the Government would not have the of interning natural-born Irish citizens.

In my view, and it is still my view, a Bill which was passed to deal not with the state of war existing in this country, but with a public emergency created by a war situation outside this country, is not the place where a domestic problem should be dealt with and an effort made to solve it, because the problem which we are dealing with and which the Minister asks us to solve by the Bill we are discussing, is, purely and simply, a domestic problem, a problem that existed long before war was declared between Germany, France and Great Britain, and a problem that still exists in precisely the same form as it existed months before the state of emergency was created which the Emergency Powers Act of 1939, was passed to deal with. Therefore, the view we took when that Bill was passing through Dáil was that it was not the place in which powers should be sought to intern Irish-born citizens.

We still take that view, and we have no apology to offer for it; but whether we are right or wrong, the then Minister for Justice took the same view, because, in the passage quoted by the Leader of the Opposition, at coloumns 141 and 142 of the Official Debates of 2nd September, 1939, we asked was it intended under paragraph (1) of the particular section to include natural born citizens, or, rather, was paragraph (1) confined to persons who were not natural born citizens, and the Minister for Justice said that that was his interpretation of the section. In order to make his interpretation of the section absolutely clear, he there and then moved the amendment which now appears as part of the substantive law in the Emergency Powers Act of 1939. But whether that was the Minister's view or not, I am not making any apologies for taking that view. I would do the same again. I say that this Bill is not the place in which to provide powers for the Government to intern natural-born Irish citizens, because the Emergency Powers Act of 1939 was passed to deal with a war situation, or an emergency created by an outside war situation. The problem we have to deal with is, purely and simply, a domestic problem and let us deal with it in a domestic way, and not under cover of an Act passed, and powers obtained, to deal with a situation caused by external forces at war with each other.

That is one of the reasons—from the point of view of sheer principle—for my objection to the particular method being adopted by the Government, but there is possiblly even a greater objection, and it is the objection embodied in the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition. The Government was faced before Christmas with the decision of a judge interpreting Part VI, if not the entire of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, and it is to deal with the situation created by that decision that this Bill and the Bill, the First Reading of which was moved to-day, have been introduced. Have the Government considered whether or not this proposal is contrary to the Consitution? Have they considered the grave effects that will follow if a decision is given that this particular Bill is contrary to the Constitution? It is not for me in this House to give what is, or is not, my legal opinion on the effect of this Bill from the point of view of the Consitution, but I am entitled to say, and I confine my observations to this, that, taking the Bill we are now discussing and considering it in relation to the judgement of the learned judge who gave a decision in the habeas corpus application before Christmas, there is not merely a reasonable possibility, but a fairly certain proability, that this Bill will be declared to be contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of the Consitution, and the Government will then be faced with the fact that they have again failed in their efforts to deal with the present situation, and that they have brought in, or have tried to get the Dáil to forge a weapon which will break in their hands again as Part VI of the Offences Against the State Act broke in their hands.

That is not a situation the country ought to be confronted with. It is a situation which may bring into derision the institutions of this State and the Government of this State, and render it immpossible not merely for this Government but for any Government to deal with the threat and the menance with which the present Government is faced by the people who are to be interned under this Bill. I ask the House to consider very carefully whether they ought to take the risk of passing this Bill and next week having a court decision that this is unconstitutional, with the inevitable result that anybody who is interned under the provisions of this Bill, when it becomes law, is again realeased and we have for the second or third time the spectacle of the gaol gates being opened during the régime of this Government.

I do not want to anticipate—in fact I had very great doubt as to whether or not it was my duty to draw attention to this aspect of the case at all, but I ultimately felt it was—the arguments on which that may be based, but it is essential for me to explain to the Dáil at least in outline the kind of case on which that may be built up. The Emergency Powers Act, 1939, was passed for the express purpose of dealing with an emergency. In order that that Act should be passed it was essential that the Constitution should be amended; at least it was a wise course to have taken to amend the Constitution. Article 28 of the Constitution, even as amended now, merely deals with a situation which arises from war, an emergency created by an outside war, or armed revolution. Paragraph 3 of Article 28 of the Constitution prevents the Constitution being invoked to invalidate a law which is expressed to be for the purpose of securing the public safety and the preservation of the State in time of war or armed rebellion. Under a recent Constitution amendment that would include the present emergency. Now, we have there: war, an emergency created by an outside war, or armed rebellion. The situation we are facing here, in the argument which I conceive would be advanced, is neither war in this country nor is it an emergency created by the war in France, Great Britain and Germany, nor it is rebellion. Therefore, Article 28, paragraph (3), cannot be put forward as a sheild against the Bill that we are now considering, if it is passed into an Act, being declared unconstitutional along the lines of the judgement of the learned judge before Christmas.

I think I have said sufficient to show at least that i have justified the statement I made at the beginning of my remarks that not merely is there a reasonable possibility but there is almost a certain probability that the Act which we are passing now will be declared to be unconstitutional. I say again, and I emphasise it with all sincerity and earnestness, that we cannot afford to have the Government make another mess such as they have made in the last four or five years in the administration of law and justice. The country cannot afford to have the Government again made a laughing stock, because it will not merely reflect upon the existing Government but will reflect upon the existing institutions of the State, render and Government impossible in future, and give a fillip to those enemies of the State whom we are all trying to curb and whose acti vities we all wish to see at at an end. Therefore, we put down this amendment to draw the attention of the Government to the fact that they are pursuing the wrong method and adopting the wrong course. We ask them to pause and consider that the introduction of a few words, even the six words that they have here, the six little words in this Bill, those little words put into paragraph 3, Article 28 of the Constitution, will guarantee and secure that the instrument which the Government wants to forge for the protection of the State against the people referred to by the Minister for Justice will be an effective instrument, a powerful instrument and a strong instrument.

We say, if you want those powers you must make a case for them, and adopt the proper method of getting those powers. I very gravely doubt whether the country will be convinced, by the statement made by the Minister for Justice here to-day, of the necessity for those powers. We are convinced of it, but we do not want to be manoeuvred into the position that we are the people who want to deprive the citizens of this State of their constitutional rights and liberties. We are in favour of giving those powers, because we think that the people who are exercising the illegal methods referred to by the Minister for Justice are the real menace, or one of the real menances, to the liberty of the citizens of this country, but we do not want to adopt the wrong method. I do say that here we are proposing to pass this Bill into an Act, and there is at least a grave danger that it will be declared to be unconstitutional.

I do suggest to the House, therefore, that this reasonal amendment which is put down by us is worthy of support. I assume that the Government simply read our motion and said: "This is a Fine Goel motion; therefore we will oppose it", and never gave it proper or adequate consideration. I do not care whether the Government regard my observations as of any weigth or not. I do think that I have made a case here for very grave consideration by the Government before they turn down this amendment which we have put forward. There is a simple method of resolving this difficulty. Six little words were dealt with here to-day. Six little words will do it, copied from another Article of the Constitution here, which appear in our amendment—the existence of a domestic emergency. That will do it. That will safeguard the Government in the conduct of their operations under this Bill.

I do not know whether it is the intention of the Government to adopt, in reference to this Bill that we are now passing, the provisions of the Constitution enabling the President to refer this Bill to the Supreme Court for decision on its constitutionality or not. I take it there will not be time to do that, if we are to agree with the statement of the Minister for Justice that the powers in this Bill, or similar powers, are urgently required. I take it, therefore, that it is not intended to refer this Bill to the Supreme Court under the provisions of Article 26. We have introduced here to-day a Bill which really proposes to re-enact Part VI of the Offences Against the State Act. If we are to accept what is the common belief at the moment, that it is the intention of the Government to refer that Bill, if and when it is passed by this House, through the medium of the constitutional provisions of Article 26 for decision to the Supreme Court, what is the position going to be if Part VI is declared to be unconstitutional? What guarantee is there that the rest of the Offences Against the State Act of 1939 will not be declared to be unconstitutional by some judicial personage?

What will the position then be? This Bill we are now passing will be unconstitutional. The one we may or may not pass to-morrow re-enacting Part VI of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, may or may not be unconstitutional, but at all events the net result will be that in three or four weeks this Government will find itself not merely without any powers but in a position never again to be capable of getting or exercising the powers which they say they require to deal with the situation with which they are at present confronted. I do not know how they can get a decision of the Supreme Court on this Bill. Presumably they can do it under the machinery of Article 26. I do not want to comment on the machinery of Article 26. I do not know how it could be argued when there is no legitimus contradictor, when there is no one to go before the Supreme Court and argue the contrary. I do not know what weight or authority such a decision would have. Under the machinery provided by Article 26 it is difficult to see how any effective decision can be obtained. Whether that can or cannot be, it appears to me that the plan of the Government to deal with the present situation is to bring this six words Bill, this Bill with its six little words, and pass it into law straight away, and pass the next Bill into law and immediately get the President to refer it to the Supreme Court.

What is going to happen, in the meantime, to the people who are looking to be interned, as the Minister for Justice would say, under this Bill? What is going to happen if and when a habeas corpus application is brought and again a judge declares that the Bill we are now passing is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution and is not safeguarded by the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article 28? What is going to happen then? There is no appeal to the Supreme Court. That decision is final and conclusive, and where are the powers then? What is the use of going on with this futile farce of referring the Bill we are next going to deal with to the Supreme Court?

I repeat that it is incumbent upon this House not to adopt the particular method or plan that has been put forward by the Government. It is typical of their inefficiency, typical of the fact that they cannot walk straight, that they must walk in a crooked way. If they want to walk from point A to point B, instead of walking in a straight line, they walk in a curve.

The Government have here an opportunity of walking in a straight line, of placing themselves in an impregnable position, ready to meet any emergency. Instead of doing that, they must go through the futile farce of bringing in this Bill with the six little words in it to enable them to intern Irish-born citizens under the cover of an Act passed to deal with an emergency created by a state of war existing outside this country, and they must pass a Bill repealing Part VI of the Offences Against the State Act, solemnly re-enacting it with some small amendments and then referring it to the Supreme Court, where there is no legitimus contradictor. This House ought not to take part in that futile farce; they ought not to expose the country to the spectacle of the Government and the machinery of justice being a laughing stock, as it has been. I submit that this reasoned and very reasonable amendment that we have put down should get the unanimous support of Deputies.

Perhaps, now that so much steam has been let off, we can get down to practical business. The present legislation was introduced because of a decision in the High Court which was based on the view that an Act passed here last June, under which certain Irish citizens were interned, was not constitutional. The decision was on a habeas corpus case, and the judge, in giving his decision, gave what is termed, I understand, a speaking order. I cannot decide why the speaking order was given unless it was to enable an appeal to be taken to the Supreme Court. That appeal seemed to us, at any rate, to lie, because of the explicit words in an Article of the Constitution. When the Constitution was being passed here, nobody suggested that there should be finality in a decision on constitutional matters, as to the repugnancy of any law to the Constitution, unless the decision is given by the Supreme Court. Running right through the whole Constitution, it is clear—it seemed to us to be clear—that the final decision as to whether an Act was or was not constitutional lay with the Supreme Court. The High Court, no doubt, could deal with the question, as a court of original jurisdiction, but right through the intention undoubtedly of the Oireachtas at the time—certainly it was my intention and that of my advisers—was that that should be so. In the campaign in the country, when the matter was put before the people, it seemed to be so, but the judge, in examining the matter, came to the conclusion that that was not so—or at least the Supreme Court, when the matter of the appeal came to them, decided that an appeal did not lie.

I want the House to remember that that is the only thing that has been decided. The Supreme Court has not decided on the question as to whether the judge who gave the writ of habeas corpus was right in his view in the speaking order which he gave in connection with it. There has been no decision by the Supreme Court yet as to whether or not Part VI of the Offences Against the State Act is or is not constitutional. The view of the Government, until the contrary is proved at any rate, is that it is constitutional and, like any other case in which there is a decision in one court from which there is an appeal, when we believe that we are right, notwithstanding the decision which the judge gave, we want to see this question decided finally as to whether, in fact, internment is forbidden, because that is really what it amounts to—whether internment is forbidden by the Constitution. We hold that it is not and we will continue to hold that view until the contrary is decided, and we want, if possible, to have that matter submitted to the Supreme Court to decide.

I do not see why we should rush in at every moment to try to amend the Constitution. We talk about bringing institutions into contempt. Well, if we bring the basis of the institutions as a whole into contempt, it will be very much worse. The fewer amendments that are necessary to the Constitution, the better. There is always a danger, when you have a written Constitution and when it has to be interpreted by a court—and although the Legislature may have given all due care to have its laws within the Constitution—that the views of the Legislature and the views of the court may not agree. In the case of a written Constitution, to try to prevent any such thing happening there have been well-known maxims to follow. In the case of the United States, for instance, the view that has been taken is that the Legislature is to be presumed to be acting bona fide and the presumption is to be in favour of the Legislature having taken due cognisance of the constitutional limitations and desiring to act within the Constitution. When these Bills were being passed in this House, we had competent lawyers on the other side, and I do not think anyone suggested that the procedure adopted was not constitutional. However, this difficulty has arisen and we are not anxious to change the Constitution or to attempt to change it until it is proved to be necessary.

Deputy Costello in speaking seemed to suggest that the changing of the Constitution was quite a tiny affair. The President has to be considered and his view may have to be taken in all this matter. I would like to remind the House that if it were proposed to change the Constitution, if the President were of opinion that the change was of a fundamental character or of such a kind that it ought not pass without the opinion of the people being taken upon it, a change within three years might involve a plebiscite on the question. First of all, I do not think it desirable that changes in the Constitution should be lightly embarked upon, and secondly, I do not think it would be right for any member of the House to think they could easily be effected. I cannot anticipate what view the President might take on matters of that kind, but I think that any Deputy in the House, if he were the President, would ask himself in the case of any amendment of the Constitution within the period of three years whether or not the matter was of a fundamental character or whether it was simply a change that was necessary, in order to make clear the commonsense intent of the Article as it stood. Amendments of that sort, I have no doubt, would pass through, and no President would be likely to question them, but when you come down to the very difficult question of the safety of individual freedom you have quite another matter. There you have that very difficult question of the proper balance between securing the right of the individual citizen and the safety of the community as a whole and, as I think one of the speakers on the opposite side suggested, the freedom of members of the community other than the particular group that may be affected or the particular individual that is affected, because in securing the safety of the State as a whole and in securing the maintenance of its system of law you are thereby securing the freedom of the other individuals. But, there is a difficult point as to how you are going to provide the greatest amount of safeguards for individual freedom, so that an individual may not be wrongfully deprived of his liberty and, at the same time, give to the organised community, the State, an opportunity of preserving its institutions, preserving its organised life, and thereby preserving the individual rights of the other citizens who would be affected by abuses of the liberty of the people.

This Constitution was intended to be a balanced document in which the safeguarding of the rights of the community as a whole was clearly envisaged, and in which, at the same time, in so far as it was feasible, it was endeavoured to ensure that the right of the individual citizen to his freedom should not be jeopardised. We, at any rate, had no doubt that in the Constitution full power was given to the State to defend itself, to defend the institutions which were set up by the people, to defend other citizens from abuses of liberty by certain groups or certain individuals. The measures we took were passed through this House, but, as I have said, it was found that the Article giving the right of habeas corpus, the right to appeal to a judge where an individual is deprived of his liberty, was one from which there was no appeal. At a later stage, at another time, we may have to consider the wisdom of leaving the Constitution finally in that form, but for the moment we are not concerned with that. We are not questioning or trying to deal here with the question of whether or not there is an appeal in the case of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court has decided that there is not an appeal and, undoubtedly, until the Constitution is changed, there is no way of remedying that particular state of affairs if it is considered by the Oireachtas desirable to remedy it. There can be arguments on both sides of that question, but I again want to point out to the House that that is not precisely the question we are dealing with here or proposing to deal with here. What we are proposing to deal with here, what will be dealt with here in these two Bills, is the question as to whether or not the State can, for its own protection, intern an Irish citizen. That is being dealt with under two heads. One is concerned with the particular circumstances of the present emergency when there is a war taking place which affects us, affects us in a variety of ways, and which creates difficulties here which do not occur in a normal time.

I would like to reply to some remark made on the opposite benches a short time ago that this is purely a domestic question and that the war situation has nothing to do with it. I say that the war situation has greatly to do with it. There is in times like these a ferment which is creating a very different position from the position we have to deal with in normal times. I am not saying for one moment that there is not also a position that has to be dealt with in normal times peculiar to ourselves here. There is, and it was on that account that, before the war situation came at all, we brought in the other Bill, the Bill under which internment of citizens took place. A domestic question obtains for which provision must be made in times other than the time of the particular emergency we are dealing with, but it would be completely wrong to say that this present emergency situation has not affected that question and perhaps changed its character, perhaps completely changed its character.

We are at the moment dealing with the domestic question in the particular atmosphere and the particular conditions of the war emergency, and we think that we are fully justified in using the war emergency legislation to deal with it. The view of the legal advisers of the Government is that in view of all the circumstances and the situation as a whole the proper line to take is, if possible, to re-enact Part VI of the Offences Against the State Act, giving an opportunity of having it referred to the Supreme Court for a decision as to whether internment is within the Constitution.

In this matter, any more than any other matter, I cannot presume to know what attitude the President may take, but again, asking ourselves what anyone here was likely to do in the circumstances, we would say to ourselves that the President is likely, having seen a decision of the judge of the High Court to the effect that this Act as it stood originally was unconstitutional, and being possessed of the power, before signature, to refer a Bill to the Supreme Court, we would say that he is likely to refer it. As I say, he will have to form his own opinion upon that after consultation, in accordance with the Constitution, with the Council of the State. But we believe, on the grounds that I have stated, that it is likely that the President will do this and we are not going to take the view that was expressed by Deputy Costello. I am talking now, in case there is any confusion, of the No. 2 Bill, that is, the second Bill, the one for ordinary times, the Offences Against the State Bill. That is the one on which we hope that the matter will be decided.

We think that in this present emergency, which creates a particularly difficult situation, unless the language of the ordinary man is to have no meaning, the legislation here is covered by Article 28, Section 3, sub-section (3) of the Constitution, namely, that "nothing in this Constitution shall be invoked to invalidate any law enacted by the Oireachtas which is expressed to be for the purpose of securing the public safety and the preservation of the State in time of war or armed rebellion, or to nullify any act done or purporting to be done in pursuance of any such law". I think that Deputy Costello suggested that as this had only reference to a time of war, it might be held that the present was not a time of war. But there was an amendment passed a short time ago which assimilated a situation such as this to a time of war and which defined the expression "time of war" as meaning a time such as the present. It seems to me, therefore, that unless words in the common ordinary way in which a man expresses himself are to have no meaning—in which case, of course, there is an end to everything—unless words in their plain meaning are to have no sense, it should mean that legislation in the present circumstances and under the present conditions cannot be nullified by an appeal to the Constitution.

Unless the judges agree with the Prime Minister, there is an end to all.

Not at all. I say if the Constitution which was brought in here, which used common-sense language and which had to be submitted to the people for enactment is not to have the meaning which the Legislature and which the people think it has, and if we cannot get some common ground on which there is an understanding of words, then we certainly cannot get on. If the Legislature and the judiciary are going to be at loggerheads in that way we shall have to change that situation.

Yes, because it means bringing everything here into confusion.

It is like Alice in Wonderland.

If the various organs of the State here, which are intended to fulfil certain purposes affected in a certain way, serve quite a contrary purpose then they cannot carry on. The Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature have all their proper functions. To a certain extent they are a check on abuses, one on the other, but if they cannot carry on in harmony, which is the premise upon which I am talking, if words like these have not the meaning which ordinary people attach to them, I say there is an end to working in that particular way. It cannot be done. I am assuming, therefore, that words will be taken in their ordinary commonsense intention. Taking them in that intention, I have no doubt that the legislation we are passing through is constitutional and the contrary will have to be proved to me, at any rate, before I act as if the contrary were true. Deputy Costello wants us to act as if the contrary were proved true and that is what the amendment implies.

They will have to steal the whole Curragh Camp before they bring that home to you.

They want us to act as if we believed that the Judiciary was going to take what I might call a perverse view of things because that is what the suggestion is.

Not at all.

That was the suggestion. The suggestion is that we have got to go and change the Constitution before the judges have given a decision on the grounds that the Judges are going to give what I would call, in view of this Article, a perverse decision. It is the opposite benches that are making that suggestion.

You do not believe that. It was not stated and it is not true.

What is that?

That we say that the judges are going to take a perverse view.

How can we change it and get words that are more clear than these? If these words cannot carry, how can we hope to get any words that will carry? These words appear to us and to our advisers to be straightforward, and their intention to be without doubt. Until the court says the contrary, we believe they have the meaning that we intended them to have there. We intend, then, to go on with this Bill, which will give us immediate powers in order to safeguard the State in the present circumstances. We are not, therefore, taking the line suggested by the Opposition. We are bringing in this Bill which, we believe, will be good, sound law the moment it is signed by the President. We shall believe that until the contrary is proved.

With regard to the other Bill, we are anxious to have the decision of the Supreme Court obtained on that, if it can be obtained. There is no way at present under which we can directly and immediately refer this question as it stood to the Supreme Court, but under the Constitution, if the President so desires, it can be referred to that court. In view of the decision that was taken, and the opinion expressed by the High Court judge in his judgment, we believe that the President will feel constrained more or less to submit this question for decision. He will, probably, say: "Very well, this Bill does not seem very different from the other Bill, and consequently it is my duty to have the Supreme Court express its opinion upon it." I hope I have made clear, at any rate, the distinction that exists. First of all, we are not trying to deal with the question of appeal in cases of habeas corpus at the moment. Secondly, no decision has been come to as to whether or not in the Constitution there is power given for the internment of Irish citizens. Thirdly, we believe that that can be denied only by the Constitution, and it was held by the judge to be denied by the Constitution. Even in his judgment he seemed to indicate that if it had been under this Bill—that is, the Emergency Powers Bill—that the internment had taken place, the views which he held would not apply. We feel quite certain that they would not apply. We feel that once this particular Bill becomes law, we shall have the powers which are necessary. That being so, we propose to go on with the other Bill which will probably be referred to the Supreme Court. I may be asked one question which I think was mentioned—what happens if the President refers this particular Bill to the Supreme Court. Well, we do not know.

It would be a perverse view.

We take it that this particular Article, this commonsense statement, will carry through. Again, we shall not believe the contrary until we find it out to be so. With regard to the situation in the country which demands these powers, we dealt with that in June last. What the Minister for Justice has said to-day was said in other words at that time. There is nobody who doubts for a moment that there are arms in the country in the hands of private individuals and groups.

There is nobody who is ignorant of the fact that a certain group have issued proclamations taking it upon themselves to declare war in the name of our people, and, generally, they do not recognise the institutions which have been clearly set up here by the majority of the people of this community. They are prepared, apparently, to use these arms, whenever it suits them, without any question of getting power from the Irish people to do so, and they are prepared to use them, apparently, against the organised forces here in this State. They are prepared to embroil this State, if they think it accords with their purposes, with neighbouring States. Now there can be only one Government in this part of Ireland—in this community, and there can be only one Army, and only one Legislature. There is no doubt that any reasonable man can have that the Irish people here in this community have adopted a Constitution, have adopted the organs of Government, and have adopted a Legislature and all the rest of it. They have given to that Legislature certain powers to protect the community. They have given to their elected representatives the sole power of determining how national policy is to be prosecuted, if that means a prosecution with arms. At any rate, they have made it clear that, if there are to be any domestic differences of opinion about policy, these must be settled by the people in a peaceful way, and in no other way.

By constitutional means?

Yes, by constitutional means, and in no other way.

It is a good phrase. You did not always accept it.

I always did. It was the gentlemen on the opposite side who put the Constitution aside. If we want to go back on that, my view of it, and it is not likely to be changed——

——because it was well founded—is that it was the people who were putting on us the responsibility of departing from constitutional means who did it. However, we are not likely to settle that now. We are likely to go to our graves, on both sides, keeping our views on that. But, leaving that, there is no doubt, and there can be no doubt now, that the people who are assuming to act in the name of our people have not ever been elected by the Irish people in any election which they were free to go up for, if they chose to go up. They are usurping authority here, and they cannot be permitted to do so. The State must be in a position to defend itself against them——


Hear, hear!

——and the individuals concerned must be brought to book, in so far as it is possible to do it.

And quickly.

As quickly as possible.

And legally.

We are looking for legal proofs. I am as interested in the freedom of the individual as anyone in this House, but we are dealing with a situation in which we know perfectly well that what would be full, legal, demonstrable proof cannot be given in many of these cases. That was stated from these benches by the previous Government. It is well known that if a group of people meet in a private house, and if they have organisations which will obey them and decide that there is to be an attack here, there or anywhere else, if A, B and C are appointed as the people to arrange with others to meet on a certain occasion, then every one of the orders given can be a verbal order, and there will be nothing left unless they are caught in the actual act. Their responsibility will be well known, but you cannot prove it in the sense of giving proof which would be demonstrable proof to carry conviction to anyone who did not want to believe or tried not to believe. Now, we know that that exists, and are we to go on here talking about legal niceties when, in fact, there is happening something which can end this Institution and end the liberties of the individuals that we are trying to protect. It certainly cannot be permitted. Any commonsense community would not allow it to continue.

Hear, hear!

Very well. In order to end it as quickly as possible, and in the way in which it can be done in the best manner, we want the powers that we believed we had in the Act which was declared to be unconstitutional. We believe they are the powers that are best fitted to deal with the situation. We want to restrain people who are capable of causing a great deal of mischief from doing things which would bring this country into a position from which it could not get out. We want to see that that thing does not happen. They have no authority to do it. There is no wisdom in their methods as far as the national point of view is concerned.

It was suggested by some member, I think on the Labour benches, that it is because Britain's hand is interfering that this thing is caused. Fundamentally, there is no doubt it is the partition of our country that is the urging motive which is keeping this organisation in existence and keeping it together. But the fact that this evil, and we all recognise it to be an evil, exists, is not going to be an excuse for putting this community here into a position in which it might lose everything that it has got. That fact, therefore, is not an excuse. This community here is prepared to take every measure that it can effectively take to try and bring partition to an end.

May I ask the Taoiseach why we do not use the wireless?

If we could do it by means of the wireless, and if that could be effective, it would be an easy thing to do, but I take it that the Deputy is not suggesting that the use of the wireless would bring partition to an end.

I suggest that it could hurry it on.

Very well, we will try and get the Deputy to give us some hints as to how it might be done. Undoubtedly, the Deputy would go down to history as one of the saviours of this country if he could tell us how the wireless could be used to bring partition to an end, because it certainly would be a very inexpensive and easy way of getting our common desires secured.

If given an opportunity I will do so this evening.

If the Deputy tells us, either publicly or privately, how it can be done I will be quite prepared to give his views the fullest consideration.

Would not a note broadcast to America help?

Sometimes it does.

Put the Minister for Industry and Commerce on the wireless next, from Belfast.

We all recognise that the existence of partition is going to be a disturbing factor in this community. We know that and we want to remove it as a disturbing factor, as one which is always coming between us and our neighbours. Those people who say that they have a method for doing that successfully ought to be able to convince the people that they have that method, and when they have convinced the people there is no need for them to get arms and to call the forces of the State "the enemy". They can get possession of those forces as well as any others that they are able to get, if they are able to convince the people that they have a plan. I am perfectly certain that the Irish people would put into office immediately any Government which could show that they had an effective plan for bringing partition to an end.

The Irish people have not got a tradition of lawlessness, as we have been told to-day by a certain journal in this country.

The Irish people have been maligned in the past because of their resistance to laws imposed from outside, and it has been said on that account that they were lawless. On another occasion I spoke of the tribute paid to the Irish people for obedience to law and willingness to submit to the rule of law in the past. The position here is that a group within the country take upon themselves the right to say that they represent the nation and that what they want to do is the right thing to be done. That is not possible; if that were to continue, every group in the country could say the same. We would have different sections, with different theories on economics and other matters, and each one would say that its particular thing was essential for the well-being of the country and that they had the right to use arms in order to make it effective. I do not think that it is necessary to convince this House that there is a position which needs the active intervention of the Executive, and of the powers which it can command, to control. A gap has been made in those powers by a decision of the courts, but we believe we can fill that gap by means of the legislation which is proposed here. I take it that the objection on the other side is that we will not get those powers back, as I have not heard anybody suggest we should not have those powers to deal with the situation.

The Government should have full powers to deal with the situation. The difficulty is that the method being adopted is not the best way.

That is a matter of opinion. We, on this side, are giving our views and giving the reasons why we are proceeding in this way. We believe that legal advice which we have got is as good as any legal advice being got on the Opposition side. Finally, which is right and which is wrong will only be proved when the matter is tested by the courts. It will be unfortunate if we are wrong. It will be unfortunate that we will have to come and amend the Constitution. We are not willing to believe, in view of the explicit statement in the Constitution, that an unfavourable decision will be given. It is on that belief that we are proceeding as we are proceeding. I take it, therefore, that our reasons are understood. From suggestions made on the opposite side of the House, I take it that on no side of the House is there any denial that we do need powers to deal with the situation which has been revealed by activities of recent date. No doubt everybody agrees with that. The remaining question is as to whether we are right in the method we suggest or whether the method suggested by the Opposition should be adopted. We are convinced that we are right, and our advisers have no reason for giving us advice which would be contrary to what they believe the law to be; we are convinced that our advisers in this particular matter are as good as any advisers elsewhere.

I want to call the attention of the House to just exactly what it has been invited to do by the Government this evening. Some months ago the House passed the Emergency Powers Bill. The reason then given for the introduction and enactment of that Bill was that a State of war existed in Europe, that an emergency situation had arisen there, and in consequence, that it was necessary that the Government should have emergency powers set out in the Bill, the object being to make provision for securing public safety and the preservation of the State in time of war, and in order to make provision for the maintenance of public order and for the provision and control of supplies and services essential to the life of the community, et cetera. When this Bill was introduced, therefore, its object was to deal with repercussions in this country of an international situation, and to enable the State to have powers to deal with that situation in so far as it had those repercussions on this country. Having given the Government powers to safeguard the interests of the nation vis-a-vis the international position that confronted it, we now find that this Emergency Powers Act is being used for the purpose, not of dealing with an international emergency situation, not of dealing with a war situation, not of dealing with any of the matters which flow from those two events, but for enshrining in the Bill a code of punishment in respect of natural-born Irish citizens. I say that a provision of the kind set out in the amending Bill circulated this evening is not a provision which ought to be in an Emergency Powers Act of this kind.

The Government, having been defeated in the courts—the Judiciary having stood up to safeguard the Constitution—now comes to the House and does not care where it gets power to violate the rights of the citizens, so long as it gets that power through some Bill, and exercises it in any manner it likes. The House is being asked to use an Emergency Powers Act, which was intended to deal with an international situation, for the purpose of shoe-horning on Irish citizens a piece of restrictive legislation of this kind. This Emergency Powers Act might as well be a British Act—it is virtually a copy of the British measure. Probably there is not a dozen words in the British measure which are not in this Act. If one compares the two Acts, it will be found that they are almost identical. That, then, is what we are using: a piece of British-patterned legislation for the purpose of giving to the Government the right to intern Irish citizens.

What does the Deputy mean by British-passed? It was legislation passed in this country.

I said British-patterned. The British passed their Bill and we——

Surely the Deputy will understand that we have a situation here which we have got to deal with, and that similar circumstances naturally give rise to similar difficulties and similar remedies.

Surely the Taoiseach will hardly deny that this piece of legislation, which is described as the Emergency Powers Act, is virtually a copy of British emergency legislation?

I can only say that I have never seen a copy of the British legislation.

I thought somebody was getting uncomfortable.

The right of habeas corpus lies with the British still.

Even at the risk of making it uncomfortable, I will tell the House something more.

Has the Deputy's Party the same objection to British trade unions?

Of course the Minister for Industry and Commerce must distinguish himself in every debate by the same disorderly, unmannerly and unintelligible interruption.

Who is getting cross first?

The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs is allowed to speak this evening. The main Act is a copy of the British Act, and we are now using it for the purpose of giving to this Government power to intern natural-born Irish citizens. We are doing that in face of the fact that citizens have the constitutional right of being charged and tried according to law, if guilty of any offences under the statute law of this country. When discussing the Bill which is now an Act, we were assured by the Minister for Justice that it was not the intention to take power in the emergency legislation of that period to intern natural-born Irish citizens, and the Minister introduced an amendment, the effect of which was to ensure that while an alien might be treated in time of war as a person who ought to be interned for its duration, because of his mischief-making capacity, it was not desirable to put into the Emergency Powers Bill a provision which enabled natural-born citizens to be detained without charge or trial. We are expected to believe, from the speech of the Minister for Justice this evening, that a situation has arisen since then which justifies the Government in seeking power to intern natural-born Irish citizens without charge or trial.

The Minister said that the Government wanted to get at people who create mischief and to keep them in until it is safe to let them out. That is what we are going to have after all the mouthing that went on for months and months about the democratic character of our Constitution and the safeguards that the individual citizen has under it. What was the case made this evening for an amending Bill of this kind? The Minister quoted a number of cases, the bulk of which were relatively minor incidents, when one considers the type of case of that kind which we have had to face in this country for the past 20 years. There was only one outstanding case, and that was where inefficient methods were allowed to operate whereby over 1,000,000 rounds of State ammunition were taken away from the custody of the State; that occurring a short time after we had a panic mobilisation of troops and a calling to the colours of soldiers that we could not then utilise, and at a time when the Army was bigger than it was for ten years. It was under circumstances of that kind that a certain organisation could manage to get from the custody of the State 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition which they could not get when the Army was only a fraction of the size it is to-day. An incident of that kind, and inefficiency of that kind, showing complete incompetence to safeguard State property, is not a reason why we should do violence to the Constitution and violence to the fundamental rights of the citizens.

Is the situation to-day any worse than it was in 1931? It is true that the organisation could not then get away with such ease and with such leisure with 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition from what was probably thought to be the most strongly defended fort in the country. Generally speaking, is the situation to-day, so far as the peaceful character of the country is concerned, worse than it was in 1931? In 1931, the case made by the Cosgrave Government when they introduced legislation equivalent in scope to the Offences Against the State Bill, was that there existed within the State 11 organisations with subversive tendencies, each of which was catalogued. We were told then that there was widespread undetected murder of State servants and State witnesses, for instance, Superintendent Curtin, Seán Ryan and Patrick Carroll. It was then stated that there was proof of the existence of a widespread conspiracy of forces to overthrow the Constitution of the State. Nobody can deny that such a situation as existed then was more serious than the situation which exists now. What did the present Government Party do then?

The Taoiseach at that time said there were incidents which everyone in the House regretted but "incidents which do not justify in my estimation anyhow the bringing in of a Bill of this sort". This Bill gives the right to intern people without charge or trial. The Taoiseach went on to say then:—

"The ordinary law is quite sufficient to deal with anything that has been referred to by the President in the long list which he has given."

We got a short and unconvincing list from the Minister this evening. There was only one incident, and that a grave one, and it was due to the incompetence of people responsible for guarding State property. The present Minister for Supplies when dealing with the Bill introduced by the previous Government said:—

"There is ample power under the ordinary law to deal with any conspiracy of violence."

The present Minister for Local Government and Public Health, who also opposed the Bill at that time, said:—

"The Government has been a hopeless failure in dealing with the economic position and they look to the one thing in which they have been a success, that is, in waging war upon their fellow-countrymen."

The Minister for Supplies at another stage was quoted as having stated at an Aeridheacht that "the object of the Bill was to stamp out the last vestige of militant republicanism." Deputy Hugo Flinn thought he could plumb the debate lower than anyone when he said:—

"This law is not respectable. It is a law for worms, it is a law for crawling creatures."

That is the kind of viewpoint which was held about a Bill of that type. The present Minister for Industry and Commerce, with all that profundity of democratic thought which he occasionally arrogates to himself, said:—

"No democratic assembly and no national legislature can afford to give uncontrolled power to the Executive."

Yet, that is precisely what the present Bill does. It gives power to suppress the courts, it gives power of arrest and internment and violates many principles of the existing common law. In or about the same time we had the Taoiseach telling the people how unnecessary it was that they should be governed and conditioned by legislation of that kind. That kind of coercion, he said, was something that did not appeal to him. It was something that was quite unnecessary. Speaking at New Ross on the 23rd January, 1932, he said:—

"He did not believe that in this country they were so vicious-minded that there was a large class of the people who had to be governed by coercion Acts. That was the British attitude towards this country. Was it to be their fate in this country that they were always to have Irish Governments like that?"

Deputy Kissane delivered himself of this when acclaiming the triumph of his Party and the abolition of coercion:

"The jails have given up political prisoners, peace has replaced war, and £1,000 of Mr. de Valera's salary and £500 of each of his Ministers' salaries have been voluntarily surrendered to the people and have helped to relieve destitution."

That was the kind of stuff we were being treated to in 1931 and 1932. Yet this evening we are given a list of relatively inconsequential incidents to justify a gross outrage on the Constitution of the country and a violent assault on the liberties of the individual. Is it any wonder that people outside continue to engage in activities such as these. At one time they used to be encouraged and aided and abetted to engage in these activities. The trouble about some of these people is that they have adhered to words and principles which other people have abandoned. The present Taoiseach told us on one famous occasion in this House that he still held that their right to be regarded as the legitimate Government of the country is faulty and that this House is faulty. There are some people outside who still believe that this House is faulty.

They have no justification now.

You had no justification in 1929.

That is your opinion. In any case, there is none now.

There was no justification then, and there is no justification now for alleging against this House that it has a faulty title. The trouble about the whole matter is that what people believed in 1929 they are being advised to forget now. They were encouraged to take roads and paths which have not been of service to this country or to its internal peace. It is by speeches and actions of that kind that you have got a difficulty such as the country has to face up to to-day. We are being asked to face up to it in a manner which blows sky-high and makes an ironic mockery of that Constitution which for two years we have been told is the badge of our nationhood and the symbol of our democratic thought.

The Minister for Justice told us in the course of his speech this evening of certain cases where people were apprehended for doing certain things. Where they have been apprehended surely there are sufficient powers to prefer charges against those people and to try them. There is no deficiency of power or inadequacy of machinery in dealing with offences of that kind where a person is actually apprehended. In addition to the extraordinary and unusual powers enshrined in the Offences Against the State Act, is the reason for seeking powers of arrest and internment without charge or trial for an indefinite period merely because some Minister thinks, or somebody with malice reports to the Minister that he thinks, a certain person is likely to do a certain thing is not immediately apprehended and interned?

I regard the power of internment as a drastic power which should be used only in a war situation in respect of a non-national, in respect of an alien who could not be expected to conform to the statute law of a country which was not his own country, and who might, out of a sense of military responsibility, be engaged in tactics calculated to have a subversive influence on the State in which he lived. It is only in a war emergency that it can be justified, and it can only be justified in respect of aliens of that kind. Where you have a peaceful country with no internal violence, except that which is encouraged by incompetence, there is no justification whatever for giving to the Government the power to arrest and detain a person without charge or trial. When a Government get power of that kind they get the most tyrannical power which it is possible for the Legislature to give them—the power to imprison a citizen and never once be called upon to prefer a charge against him.

We will be told, I suppose, that a commission will be set up to which an arrested person can submit a case for his release. That is a complete inversion of all normal law. A man is entitled to be adjudged innocent until he is proved guilty. If the Government, with their vast resources, with the expenditure of thousands of pounds on their secret service organisation, are not able to get sufficient evidence, then they are not entitled to say, "we will intern a person simply because we are either inefficient or legislatively too lazy to get evidence against a person."

I am opposed to giving these drastic powers of arrest and internment without trial. I think it is vital to the Legislature that it should insist that every citizen must be tried in accordance with law, and that it is foreign to our conception of the Constitution and democratic thought that a man can be arrested and cast into prison and that he shall have no rights as against the Government unless he is prepared to submit to a complete inversion of the normal processes of law. Nothing has been said by the Minister for Justice this evening to justify the invasion of that fundamental right. No set of conditions in the country to-day justifies the Government in seeking, either in this Bill or any other Bill, to utilise a recent set of circumstances, some within their control, others perhaps out of their control, to take the step of abrogating the fundamental right of the citizen; his right, before he can be deprived of his liberty, to be charged and tried by his own countrymen.

Towards the close of his speech this evening the Taoiseach said: "It is not necessary to convince the House of the necessity for this legislation." My main objection, and the difficulty that the Government have put us in on more than one occasion, thought we have asked them not to do it, is that they do not make a sufficient effort to justify to the House and to the country what they are doing. I am convinced, and have been for a considerable time, that there is a dangerous situation. But I am equally certain that the Government have always neglected to make a decent case for the legislative steps they propose taking. We have listened to two speeches from the Government Benches to-day, one from the Minister for Justice and the other from the head of the Government. Twelve months ago, when similar legislation was being introduced, we also had two Ministers in charge—the then Minister for Justice and the Taoiseach. On both of these occasions, I say without any hesitation, there was a marked difference in tone between the Minister responsible for the Department of Justice and the Taoiseach.

We have heard an academic condemnation of force and disorder from the Taoiseach—nothing more than that. I have not the slightest doubt that some of those people whom he academically condemns will be able to quote portions of the speech he made to-day in justification for what they are doing— wrongly quote; but they will do it. There was no real, definite, strong condemnation. He has time and again been asked to give such a clear condemnation; as for example when the Offences Against the State Act was being passed through this House 12 months ago. On no occasion up to to-day has he done it. The situation is serious; it was serious 12 months ago. What was the attitude then taken by the Taoiseach?

The attitude taken then was that there was no immediately serious situation but this type of legislation ought to be on the Statute Book for a Government to use should occasion arise. It is not, we were told, that he feared anything immediately—he did not! The Bill was not really directed against any existing situation, any immediate danger. It is because a Government ought to have these powers that the Bill was pushed through. I admit that a somewhat different colour was put on the whole picture by the then Minister for Justice. But that is what I complain of. The Government speak if not with two voices, certainly with two very different tones, and there is always an excusatory tone about the attitude of the Taoiseach when dealing with these people. I cannot make the same charge against the then Minister for Justice or the present Minister for Justice. But the least we could have expected from a man in the Taoiseach's position is that he should show the necessity for this legislation. We are convinced of it; we have been convinced of it. We never grudge the Government any of the powers for which they ask. I think it was unfair and ungenerous of the Minister for Justice to suggest that in any way we hampered the passing through of the Offences Against the State Bill 12 months ago. He knows well that we did nothing of the kind.

Mr. Boland

I did not suggest that you did. If I gave that impression, I did not mean to give it.

I admit that I should be surprised if the Minister deliberately did so. His words were, unfortunately, capable of that interpretation. I immediately accept the Minister's statement. Having devoted most of his speech to discussing legal technicalities, the Taoiseach tells us there is no time to discuss legal technicalities. "My opinion is," he tells us in reference to the meaning of these words. I remember, when the Constitution was going through the House, we pointed out to the Taoiseach—of course, he was not convinced; nothing we could say would ever convince him —that it did not matter what his opinion of the meaning of the words was, that what counted was the views of the judges as to what the words meant. The Taoiseach is adopting the same attitude now. We are told that if the judges disagree with him their judgment is perverse.

No. I said that you were suggesting in advance that their judgment was going to be perverse.

Because it differs from yours.

What I stated was the common-sense meaning.

The Taoiseach's meaning has been turned down by the judges, and the judges are, apparently, wrong, and he is right. The Taoiseach refers to the words as they would be interpreted by an ordinary man. When it comes to interpreting ordinary words by an ordinary man, I hold that I am more an ordinary man than the Taoiseach.

We shall agree to differ.

Is the view put forward by Deputy Costello a perverse view? It might, at least, have got into the head of the Taoiseach that there was the possibility of a division of opinion as to what the words meant. You are going to submit one of these Bills, I understand, to the court.

We hope to do so. That is all we can say about it.

You seem to be very sure of what the President will do in one case—seeking the judgment of the Supreme Court—while you cannot say what he would do in the other case—demanding a referendum. If it is brought before the courts, who is to state the case against it? Are the courts to be made a mockery of by being asked to pronounce on the constitutionality of this particular Act, without the question being properly argued before them? Who is to argue before the Supreme Court that this is an unconstitutional measure? Does the Taoiseach expect his republican friends or enemies—I do not know which they are after his speech—to do it? Take the Bill we are discussing at the moment. Deputy Costello put forward the view that, to my mind, represents the ordinary meaning of the words. Interpreting English in the ordinary sense, I cannot see how the present Bill can be brought within the provisions of the Constitution. I know the Taoiseach thinks it can, and that, therefore, if the judges differ from him, they are perverse. But it will be sufficient for one judge to be perverse. If you intern a man under this Bill, he can immediately apply for habeas corpus. If he gets any judge to grant his application, the powers of the Government become worthless. There is no appeal. The Taoiseach will not take the ordinary method of securing the necessary power because it is proposed by the Opposition. He says that the President would probably feel himself coerced to submit the measure to a Referendum.

I did not say that. I was more careful than that.

The Taoiseach said the President might do that. We have, as an example, a case in which he did not do it. The Constitution was amended last September. Was that amendment merely verbal? Was that not an important amendment? Remember what the purpose was. The purpose of the amendment was to make this emergency legislation possible. Surely that was an important amendment. It might be quite as important as the measure we are now discussing. The Taoiseach had no hesitation as regards what the President would do in that case. We shall be in a nice situation if the Government proceed against people on certain lines, as provided by these two Bills, and are then told that they have acted unconstitutionally. The Taoiseach says he is prepared to risk that. He is always prepared to risk the good name, the prestige and the safety of this State. That is what I object to. He has now laid down that, unless the judges decide along the lines he wants, unless they take not the ordinary meaning of the words but what the Taoiseach thinks is the ordinary meaning, they are perverse.

I said no such thing.

You used words which amounted to the same thing.

I should like to say, again, if I may——

Is Deputy O'Sullivan giving way?

What I said was quite the opposite. I said that we would be suggesting that the judges were going to act perversely if we adopted the views of the Opposition.

We have had a view put forward by an eminent lawyer as to what certain words mean. If the judges act on that, they will be acting in a perverse way.

There are more eminent lawyers than those sitting on the Opposition Benches.

If the judges happen to agree with that particular lawyer, they are perverse. That is a nice view as to their power to interpret the Constitution. If the judges do not follow the Taoiseach, then they are perverse and will have to go. That is the main contribution made by the head of the Government in justification of this Bill. If the judges give perverse judgments, then, according to him, they will have to go.

I did not say anything of the kind.

The public can read what the Taoiseach said.

You can turn and twist words.

That phrase was used.

There is no better man for twisting words than the Taoiseach. He is a past master in that. The Constitution was meant to be a balanced instrument, he tells us. It is about as balanced as the Budget. Further, the Taoiseach tells us: "We had no doubt we had these powers." It is because you were so sure these words meant what you thought and would listen to nobody that you are in the predicament in which you now are. The court decided there were doubts and you refuse to take the obvious means of remedying the matter because you do not want, above all things, a Referendum on this Bill. Would it not be a terrible thing if the people were allowed to vote on this Bill?

The objection was because of the cost.

We pointed that out when the Constitution was going through. We stressed the question of cost, but in vain. When fundamental liberties are in question, the objection of cost turns up! Cost is being weighed against the liberty of the people of this State! That is the view taken by the head of the Government.


He has the greatest possible reverence for individual liberty, but it cannot weigh in the scales, not against £80,000—that is too much to pay for it. Yet the man with whom we argued in vain to drop this idea of this Referendum now fears that the President might challenge a Referendum.

Now, far be it from me to defend the present Constitution. I have one view about it. Possibly the Taoiseach and I would be in agreement on this point, although he did not say so. I think he is of the opinion that a certain judgment was wrong. Possibly, we might find agreement as to the conclusion that can be drawn from what I am going to say—that I never thought the Constitution guaranteed anything that was of any value to anybody in this country, and I still hold that view. I do not think it guarantees the liberty of the individual. There are judges, of course, who take a different view from mine and I submit to their view. Therein, the Taoiseach and I differ. I do not call these judges perverse because their views happen to differ from mine at the moment or because their views may differ from mine in the future.

Now, I think it is a pity that we had not a more convincing statement from the Minister for Justice—a perfectly reasoned-out statement showing the real necessity for the powers that are being asked for at the present moment. I am sorry that that has not been given to us. It is the one thing that I have asked the members of the Government, again and again, to do in connection with legislation of this kind. I do not intend to follow the historical grounds that Deputy Norton covered, but he did point out that, in the passing of a similar Bill in 1931, every care was taken to make as strong a case as possible. This Government has not made a case for the passing of this particular Bill, and it must be remembered that the situation that has given rise to this necessity is not a thing that has been here for the first time. It has been here for a number of years. The danger has been growing, and it was the business of the Ministers to open their eyes to that fact. They cannot escape the charge that the trouble in which they find themselves now, and in which the country finds itself, is largely due to their unwillingness to see that danger in its real nakedness. I hope there is a realisation now of the extent of that danger, and that there is also a realisation of the unwisdom of having any truck with that particular kind of activity.

If I listened to the Minister for Justice alone, I should have hoped, or I would have hoped, that effective measures would be taken to safeguard the rights of the citizens, but I must confess that, in listening to the statements that were made by the Taoiseach in connection with this Bill, and also in connection with the Bill of 12 months ago, which became law last June, I despair of anything that would guarantee the ordinary rights of the citizens of this country, even with the powers that are now asked for. I wish that, in his reply, the Minister would give a very reasoned statement of the case, and a full connected statement of the case, for this Bill. A passing reference was made, for instance, by the Taoiseach about the possibility of embroiling us with other countries. Now, that one sentence may be of tremendous importance or it may be of the importance that the mere one single line devoted to it might suggest. But I hold to leave it at that means that the House is not treated with candour. Why is the House not treated with candour and respect? That is one of my main complaints—the refusal by the Government, time after time, on different occasions and in connection with different questions, to treat the House and the country with candour and respect, and to place, so to speak, their cards on the table: to let the House, if it is willing to give the Government these tremendous powers, which they undoubtedly are, have at least the full satisfaction of knowing why they are to give these powers to the Government.

We are entitled to that, but I am sorry to say that we have not had it. I said that a much better case might have been made for this Bill. I agree that the situation is dangerous, although I dislike the powers that are sought. However, I shall deal with my dislike of these powers in a moment. If the Government that have been elected by the people come before this House and say to this House that, unless they get these powers, they cannot govern the country and that the forces of anarchy and disorder will triumph, then I cannot take the responsibility of refusing these powers to the Government. In return for that, however, I think that at least all sides of the House and the country are entitled to ask that a far better case be put up.

Now, powers were asked for in the Bill which was passed into law last June. These powers were asked for by the Government, and the Opposition knowing perfectly well that they could have played party politics and exploited the unpopularity of what the Government were then doing, or the unpopularity of that legislation—and for some reason it is always unpopular—took a very different line—the line they are taking to-day, as a matter of fact— and that is that as long as the Government is there—that is, an Irish Government genuinely convinced that the present situation requires extreme powers —and these undoubtedly are extreme powers—then, as responsible people here, and people who have had experience in Government ourselves, we have no intention of refusing these powers to the Government. Let nobody, however, be under the impression that we are not supremely uneasy on that particular matter. We have not been given a real statement with regard to this matter, and it is practically the same in connection with every other matter. The Taoiseach asked for co-operation and he was promised it, but in dealing with the other Parties in this House he did not advance an inch in the direction of co-operation. What he did do was, when information was asked for and criticisms of incompetency were made, he came down to the House and complained that he was not being treated generously. Now, I know of no Government in this country that has been treated so generously by the House in regard to money voted to it and in regard to powers sought as this Government has been treated, and yet the only acknowledgment that we get from the Taoiseach, in the way of co-operation, is a pettish complaint that everything that he proposes to do or that his Government propose to do, no matter how inept or how harmful to the country, is not greeted with pæans of praise. When information is sought, all the Taoiseach has to answer is to come down and complain that he is not getting co-operation and to say, as I think he did on one occasion, that he thought that Parliamentary institutions were not worth while if that kind of criticism were to be made.

I do not think I said that.

Perhaps the Taoiseach did not use these exact words, but I think he said something remarkably like them, and the ordinary man, versed in the ordinary use of words, would interpret the phrase in that particular way I think.

It would be interesting to see what was said.

If the Taoiseach thinks that I am going to aid and abet him in a rambling discussion of his own sinuous past, he is making a mistake, and I shall not aid or abet him in explaining that black is white or that white is black, or that A is Z, or that Z is A—and that is the usual way of the Taoiseach—or to explain the difference between the ordinary man and the Taoiseach or between the Taoiseach and the ordinary man. However, although I have accused the Taoiseach of many things, I must say that, whatever else I may have said he was, I have never accused him, so far as the use of English is concerned, of being an ordinary man.

What have we at the moment? We have a situation in which, owing to bad management at the top, one after another of our national institutions has been severely damaged in the course of the last seven or eight years, culminating in what happened two days before Christmas. That is the one thing they have to show the people. They now require these powers. They are still the Government and they have powers, and I am sure whatever powers are required will be given to them; but I wish we could get some guarantee that these powers which are being given will be used for the purposes for which they are now being asked in this House. You have the experience of the very recent past, and that is not such as to give us much ground for hoping that these powers will be used most energetically against the people against whom they are being sought. Let us consider last December.

Does the Government think it was a wise thing—I shall not put it any higher than that—at a time when the whole constitutionality of their procedure was being challenged in the courts, when they suspected that the decision of one of the judges of the High Court would go against them, to bring into operation against a strike the powers in the Offences Against the State Act, and to do that at a time when there was no interference, or suggestion of interference, with the ordinary courts? Was that wise? Was it not almost criminally insane to do that sort of thing at a moment when they thought they would have to go before the House to ask for increased powers, for the amendment of fundamental legislation? Was it a wise thing to show that they were willing to use, that they jumped at using, these powers against people who, in all quietness, had been brought before an ordinary district justice whose court was not interfered with? Is it not extremely difficult for the country and for this House to have any kind of confidence in a Government which abuses its powers as these were abused? We were told by the Taoiseach that these were general powers which the Government ought to have, and we were assured again and again when the Offences Against the State Act was going through, that only in very exceptional circumstances would it be utilised. Yet it was utilised against a strike, a strike in which there was no suggestion of interference with the ordinary courts, no suggestion that the ordinary legal procedure had broken down, or was in danger of breaking down, or that there was likely to be an attack on it.

I should like a solemn assurance, despite all our experience of the past, from the Minister that, if the Government get these powers, they are to be used only against the threat or the approach of armed rebellion, or against what may lead us, in the words of the Taoiseach, to embroilment with a neighbouring State. We want some assurance of that kind. The Government are going to have power to put people in prison and to keep them in prison without trial, and surely the nation is entitled to see that these powers are not used for any other purpose except the purpose put before the House by the Minister for Justice—I shall not say by the Taoiseach—to-day. That is not an unreasonable request. We know perfectly well that it would be a much more popular thing to get up and smite the Government hip and thigh in relation to their statements on similar legislation—to do what Deputy Norton did and to quote all their past pronouncements on similar legislation —but we will take the responsibility of not refusing the Government these powers. In return, however, we think the Government ought to pledge themselves to the House and to the country not to use the powers in the haphazard, light-hearted fashion in which they used them last December.

People have spoken about democratic liberty. I have always argued that it is not democratic liberty to allow a body of armed men to go about trampling on the liberties and endangering the lives of everybody else in the State. That is not liberty, and no general doctrine about the rights of the citizen can deprive a Government of the power to deal with such a body. We have always argued that, and have always stood for that principle. It is because we stand for that principle that we are not opposing the giving of these powers to the Government. We still think there is a danger—and Deputy Costello said no more, despite the misrepresentation, unconscious, I have no doubt, of the Taoiseach—that this whole thing may be declared to be unconstitutional. We suggested a method by which the Government might get out of that difficulty, but the Taoiseach could not think of allowing such a thing as an amendment of the Constitution, because the President might say that a referendum is necessary, and then the country would collapse because of the terrific cost involved in it. Imagine a Fianna Fáil Government talking about the cost of anything at the present moment! I will say this for the Taoiseach, and it is not often I accuse him of consistency, that that is consistent in its futility and quite in keeping with the rest of the statement he made here this evening.

I should like to join with Deputy Costello in his expression of rejoicing that, in the very difficult days through which this State is passing, we can still assert that the right of habeas corpus is sacrosanct, that there are still judges to vindicate it, and that the Government, however inconvenient it may find its vindication to be, bow before a judicial decision and open jail gates when directed by the judiciary to do so. It is important, when the institutions of the State are attacked by the methods by which they are now being attacked, to avoid the all too common temptation to rush to extremes in one's anxiety to preserve stability and to jettison readily vital rights in panic before the attack. These rights should never be jettisoned in this State, and we should bear in mind that the day we are driven into jettisoning those rights by this kind of attack, the attackers have scored their first and most important victory against democratic institutions in this State.

There is no one who knows the history of Ireland but must have his judgment conditioned by a contemplation of the Government we at present have. They were described by a member of the Fianna Fáil Party on one occasion as a row of tombstones. It is an apt description—a row of tombstones on the graves of the institutions of this country—but whether we like that or not, we have to face the fact that the Irish people put them there, and put them there in a general election which was as free and as peaceful as any general election ever held in any country at any time. Freely, openly and after a full statement of the facts, the Irish people submitted to the deception of electing a Fianna Fáil Government by a clear majority, and, when they did, the Government, good or bad, is entitled to govern this country until the Irish people choose another one.

For that reason, I shall be no party to withholding from that Government the powers which they aver are vital to the preservation of peace and to the preservation of liberty in Ireland; but I am entitled to ask myself, and I do ask myself: Is the conferring of such powers sufficient to remedy the dangers that beset us, or is what is lacking now that spirit of resolution and honesty in the Government itself which is vital to the creation and maintenance of public confidence.

I listened with horror to the Taoiseach today. A gross outrage has been perpetrated on the Government of this country. A gang of irresponsible men have burst into the national arsenal and stripped it. That incident has not only made that Government the laughing stock of this country, but it has made this country a laughing stock the world over. If that incident had taken place in one of the banana republics of South America before the war, it would have been the subject of gibe and jest on every music hall in London and New York for a month afterwards, and we would have joined in the laughter This country, having had imposed upon its people an intolerable burden of taxation for the purpose of mobilising the Army, the Reserve and the Volunteers to resist possible external aggression, wakes up on the morning of Christmas Eve to discover that the Army is mobilised but its breeches has gone. I say deliberately that not only the incompetent Government responsible for that public scandal is disgraced and humiliated by that incident, but everyone who was proud to claim his Irish nationality is shamed and humiliated that an Irish Government could show itself to be so grossly incompetent, so shamelessly devoid of the qualities of loyalty and efficiency and devotion.

What about England's share in the matter?

England be damned in this. We are the custodians of our own honour. We are the custodians of that undertaking which our fathers gave that we could govern this country. Let us not try to put on England's back the shame and disgrace that we betrayed all those who fought to make this country free; that we have held ourselves up before our enemies in England as the incompetent fools that they have often jeered and gibed our fathers and grandfathers before us as being. When our fathers before us were fighting to make this country free they were told that if we got that freedom our own Government would make this country a byword before the world. We have done it, and it is a shame and a disgrace to the Ministers who are responsible for having done it.

I am not going to admit that the Irish people are the laughing stock of the world.

As stated by Deputy Costello in the course of this debate, these two Bills arise directly from a recent decision in the courts, to which decision the incident with which the Deputy is now dealing was posterior.

With all respect, I claim that that arose out of English interference in this country.

I wish Deputy Hickey would not interrupt me. I do not interrupt Deputy Hickey.

Then do not describe the Irish people as the laughing stock of the world.

Let the Deputy intervene after I have finished, and satisfy the House and the country that they are not, for the people feel they are. I propose to examine this question from the point of view as to whether the powers here sought are sufficient to deal with the main evil, and I am going to submit to the House that those powers are not sufficient unless the Government accepts responsibility for a change of heart, and endeavours to vindicate individual liberty, of which they are the trustees.

The Deputy will confine himself to the amending Bill and the reasoned amendment tabled to it——

Emphatically, Sir.

——and not proceed to an examination of Government policy generally.

Emphatically, I shall comply with the letter and the spirit of the Chair's ruling.

Surely, the incompetence of the Government to handle those powers is a proper matter for debate here?

Many submissions on that point were dealt with at the opening of this debate this afternoon.

An attempt is being made in this Bill to say that the Minister sitting opposite me can intern me to-morrow, and the justification given for that is that there is no other method of grappling with the danger which assails the State except to take that power.

Another method is suggested in the reasoned amendment.

I am going to suggest a third method. I am going to say that, if you take the reasoned amendment and the Government's proposals, there is still something lacking, and I am going to ask the House to insist on that lack being filled, and I submit I have a right to do so.

If the Deputy intends to pursue the line he was following a few minutes ago the Chair would not be prepared to hear him.

I am going to pursue the line I believe it to be my duty to pursue, and I shall pursue it to the bitter end. If the Chair considers I am out of order, the Chair I know has full powers and, I have no doubt, will exercise them to the limit of the law. I say, Sir, that neither those powers nor any other powers can meet the threat to the State unless the Government shows the country a lead; unless the Government shows the people that they are going to fight the methods of gangsterism with effective weapons. We are all going to be enslaved by a more detestable tyranny than any which has hitherto been set up by the Nazi powers of Berlin or the Bolshevist powers of Moscow. The people of this country too long, Sir, have confused ends with means. Ends do not justify means. It does not matter whether you use the methods of gangsterism for the purpose of running "hooch" into Chicago or for the purpose of achieving political objectives in Ireland, the result is the same. They are the methods of gangsterism; they are the denial of liberty; they are the claim of a minority not only to rule but to tyrannise over the majority of the people. I say that at this hour we have to recognise that though the objectives of those men in Ireland are not the same as the objectives of Dutch Schultze or Al Capone in New York, their methods are the same; because they claim the right to take weapons in their hands, to override the elected representatives of the people, to set aside Parliament, to overthrow the Army and establish a rule of law in accord with their own sweet will.

I saw that happen in America. I saw popular Governments effectively overthrown in America. I saw a democratic free people intimidated to the point when they were afraid to denounce crime because they believed that the Government would not defend them, and I saw public men use the same language about those gangsters that I heard the Taoiseach use to-day. I heard the people around me saying: "He is bound to give lip service to authority, but he does not mean to face them." That is what the people of this country will say to-morrow when they read what the Taoiseach said here to-day. I saw the Federal Government of the United States of America say: "The time has come to call a halt. We give those men a limited time to suspend their activities and surrender their arms, but after that day we tell them that, if they want to be rough in challenging the liberties of the people, we who are the trustees of those liberties will be rougher still, and if there is to be a competition in violence let those who challenge the State in that arena know that the fight is over before the fight begins."

If the Taoiseach meant business, what he would have said here to-day was: "Seven years I have tried a different policy from Deputy Cosgrave's policy." Deputy Cosgrave said "I will give those men a fortnight to lay down their arms and recognise the authority of the State. After that I am going out to get the arms and to vindicate the liberties of the people." The Taoiseach came into office and said: "I am going to appease those men. I am going to win them over." If he meant business here to-day be would have got up and said: "Seven years, in which patience has been strained too far, have passed. I have gone further than any colleague wished me to go to appease them. Now there is a halt. Ten days, and every gun in Ireland must be in the hands of constituted authority, or I am going out to get every gun or let this State fall." If he said that, and meant that, 90 per cent. of our people would rally behind him and say: "On that at least we have common ground. We differ with you on economic questions; we differ with you on many political questions; but there is one fundamental question on which there is common ground in Ireland, and that is that the elected Government of the people in Ireland shall be the only authority to exercise force over their fellow-citizens." But he did not say that, and I tell him to-day that his failure to say that is the greatest treachery to Ireland of which any man was ever guilty. We cannot say it; we have not the authority to say it, or by heaven we would say it and we would mean it; and we would say it meaning this, that with those forces of anarchy we would go into conflict resolved to see this State finally go down or the rule of law prevail. We would never tolerate that Ireland would stand before the world as a nation in which anarchy was the rule of law and no man's life or property was safe.

There is no man who has worked and died for this country who must not turn in his grave to see the stage we have reached after 17 or 18 years of our own government. My God, if the shades of Balfour and Bonar Law could walk, what a glorious vindication there would be of every insult and humiliation that they heaped on my father and all those who stood with him! When you think of the people who were driven into exile, when you think of those who gave their lives to prove that Ireland would be a nation amongst nations if she had a chance, and when you see what we are doing with what we have got——

Who is preventing you from being a nation?

I do not believe there is any use in rhetoric or vituperation unless one is prepared to indicate clearly what one thinks should be done and to invite the Government to do it for the common good. I still do not believe—I never did—all the claptrap of benevolent cranks when they quack about national government and bodies of men all sitting down together and miraculously agreeing overnight. I do not believe, in ordinary life, that that kind of thing happens. I believe it gives rise to confusion, as it did in Great Britain, rather than to any consensus of opinion. But I do believe very definitely that, deep as the disagreements may be between public men in this country, they have a certain common interest, and that is the common love of our country.

Now, up to a point, men may be misguided, men may be foolish and may be difficult to control, but then you reach a stage when the continuation of those imprudent men's activities becomes a danger to the State. And even at that eleventh hour you may be tempted to say: "Let us argue and reason with them, and try to get them peacefully to concur in some accepted rule of law." but there comes a time when, by some supreme outrage, they make it perfectly clear that their sole concern is to destroy the State, no matter what you do for them. Just as great a responsibility then rests upon the Government to be resolute in its purpose as there did rest upon them in the past to be merciful in the execution of the law. There comes a point of weakness when weakness becomes treachery.

The office of trustee is always an onerous and, indeed, a disagreeable office, but no man has a right to enter public life and expect nothing but plaudits. No man has a right to face the responsibilities of public life, confident that there will always be palms and never dust. The Taoiseach has had his years of palms when he was fêted through this country as the deliverer of the poor and the father of the oppressed. He has tasted the wilderness, and he has known the joy, which I think he enjoyed, of popular favour and of supreme confidence. He has reached the most testing moment of his life, and, I think, unhappily the fortunes of Ireland are deeply engaged with him. If he abdicates and hands over this country to the forces of anarchy now, God help us. If this country be properly led, the forces of anarchy will never prevail. It can only be sold from within the citadel.

For good or ill, the present Prime Minister is the captain of that citadel now and he can sell it. To defend it is going to be a thankless task. It is going to be a hard task; it is going to be a task that will be much misrepresented, and let those of us who remember too well the Taoiseach's past be chary if we under-estimate his difficulty in reconciling his future duty with much of what has passed in years gone by. He has his own view of those past years and we may have ours. It is certainly in the national interest now that they should not be discussed; but we ought to bear in mind when we urge courses of resolution on the Prime Minister that it does not make it easy for him to think that some of his past acts might be interpreted by the persons whom it is his duty now to control as a justification of what they are doing. He sees the distinction; it may be that others do not, but that cannot be helped. This much is certain, that unless the Prime Minister is prepared now to lead this country against anarchy, he should get out and let in somebody as a Government here who will do that. If he fails, he is selling this country from within and it will be the greatest betrayal that ever was perpetrated since Dermot MacMurrough sold us to the English. To sell us to anarchy would be the wickedest thing of all.

I know Deputy Hickey to be a well-intentioned man, but there is one final injury that Great Britain can do us. For 700 years she persecuted this country and heaped upon it evil of every kind. We got her out and I believe she is well-intentioned now, desirous of living in peace and friendship for the future. Thank God for that. But there is one final injury she can do us and that is that her name should be used as an excuse for allowing anarchy to take the place of government in Ireland—that her name and prestige should be used as a justification for the madmen who would destroy the Irish State. I am convinced that Deputy Hickey is in good faith. I am convinced that Deputy Hickey is allowing his heart rather than his head to dictate his words. I know that in this country there is a tendency, all too strong, amongst our people in times of stress and difficulties to allow their hearts to dominate their heads.

God knows, in all she ever did to us wittingly, Great Britain will never have struck us a more deadly blow than this unwitting thrust that her name should be used to justify the enemy within our gate. We have put out the enemy who invaded us. We are confronted to-day with the enemy within. Methods of conciliation have been tried. I speak in the full realisation of the gravity of the situation because, whether I am right or wrong, I believe that the ultimate end of the activities of these gentlemen must be organised assassination. That is what it is going to mean when the State grapples with it. There are men amongst them who, born of their very despair, will turn to the traditional weapon of men in their place. God knows how many of us may be the victims of that campaign.

With that fully in mind, I say we should face it. We entered public life; we accepted the responsibilities of public life, and we cannot run away from them now. I say, in the full knowledge that that phase may have to be gone through and that some of us may not come out at the other end, that we should face it and go through with it and end once and for all time the claim of any minority in this country to impose their will by force. I hate the obligation that they have thrust upon us to limit personal liberty either in accordance with the terms of our amendment or of the Government's legislation. That course is thrust upon us. It is not of our seeking. But it is worthless if we make this great sacrifice without the proper spirit of resolution to follow this contest out to the bitter end.

Deputy O'Sullivan has said that he hopes when the Minister for Justice comes to conclude he will be explicit and exhaustive in what he has to tell. I hope for something better than that. I have said on another occasion here that, whether we in the Opposition like it or not, the fact is nevertheless true that there is only one name in the Fianna Fáil Party that carries weight in this country, and that is the name of de Valera. That could be for this country a great blessing. To date, in my humble judgment, it has been a terrible curse. If the Government mean to face this situation, mean to establish the rule of law for all men, they may depend on the Opposition to give them such help as they stand in need of, not to suppress any political Party, not to deny any individual in this State freedom of speech or the right to state his views, only and simply to deny to all parties in this State the right to use force or to advocate the use of force against the legitimate Government of the Irish people.

I hope this debate will not conclude without the Prime Minister intervening again and intervening in a very different sense from that which inspired his first observations. Let there be no talk of Partition at this stage. Let there be no suggestion that Partition, or the existence of that curse in this country, entitles minorities to threaten their neighbours and to defy the legitimate Government of our people. Let there be no extenuating, for ulterior reasons, of the supreme crime of treason against the Irish people. Let there be a recognition that we are all agreed that that Party, that Government, is the legitimate Government and is entitled now to obedience. Let there be universal agreement—as there must be universal agreement — that the greatest danger and threat to continued good relations between this country and Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations itself and all it stands for in the world is the continuation of Partition.

I have said that in Australia, New Zealand, America, Great Britain and all over the world and I have done more, by telling that to our people all over the world, to hasten the day of the disappearance of that curse than these madmen have done by making a byword of the name of our country, by plundering the national arsenal in defiance of the powers of the Government. Let there, then, be no talk of extenuating this madness for such reasons as have been advanced here to-day. Let the Taoiseach give up talking about sanctioning the use of force if he thought force would be effective. Those cursed words were spoken by the Taoiseach in the Seanad and I say that they are a justification of what these men are doing. If the Taoiseach thinks that force would be justified to redress this wrong if it had hopes of success, why should not men who do think that force will redress the wrong use that force?

The Deputy may not initiate a debate on Partition.

I am trying to bring these oppositions to a close. I am asking the Minister to say the things that will make common cause amongst us, to protect our country from ruin, but if the Taoiseach says in one place that force is justified if force will succeed how, in the name of God, can he go to the men who say: "We can make it succeed" and tell them that he will not let them do it? There is no use talking with one voice in the Seanad; there is no use talking strongly and trenchantly in one tune in the Seanad and coming down here and weakly, hesitatingly, doubtfully, deploring that his advice has been thus interpreted by certain irresponsible elements in the country. He is the custodian of the citadel which cannot be taken except by treachery from within. Whether he likes it or not, that responsibility is on his shoulders. There are no elements within the citadel of this State who are not prepared to vindicate his right as the head of the established Government of the Irish people to vindicate the law. If he abdicates that duty he does it because he is a coward in the face of his responsibilities. He need not hope to prove to posterity that he was blocked, hindered or harassed in the moment of crisis. All the forces of the State are prepared to combine with him against this common threat. Nothing but cowardice or incompetence can deliver us into the hands of anarchy. Let him at the end of this debate, or before the end of this debate, intervene and pledge his word to do his duty or else declare that the burden has become too heavy and that he will pass it on to the shoulders of another man who did not find it too heavy when he had to carry it, beset as he was on all sides by irresponsible enemies striving to tear him down.

Let him pass it back into the hands of a man who built up this State with one hand while he beat down civil war with the other and who, in the last years of his administration, faced misrepresentation, faced abuse, faced unpopularity, faced the political wilderness rather than betray his trust. And in the future, as in the past, he will man that gap again. I think I know his mind, and there are few men in Ireland with less political ambition than he, few men who would be happier to leave the prizes of public life to others, and give nothing but such help as within his power lay. But there is no man in Ireland who would step more readily into the gap of danger that is opening now, to defend it and hold it for the Irish people, than Deputy Cosgrave, and if the present Prime Minister, Deputy de Valera, is unequal to the task, thank God, we have someone who will not run away. I am certain he has no ambition. In so far as I am concerned, I shall be quite content that this issue should be determined either by the Taoiseach or the leader of the Opposition. This is one matter on which we can make common cause, and it does not matter what Party or what Government must lead the van. This is one matter in which we should be, and must be, a united nation. If the present Prime Minister will lead the country he will get everyone to follow him, but if he will not accept that responsibility then, in the name of God, let him make way for someone who will, and let him pledge his word to follow that man as we pledge ours to follow him.

I want to say at the outset that I claim to have as much regard for law and order as Deputy Dillon or the Taoiseach himself. I think the Labour Party and the Labour movement, as a whole, have played a very worthy part in trying to establish law and order in this country from the very first day this State was established. I for one will not agree to give any Government—I do not mind even if it were a Labour Government—power to arrest any citizen without charge or trial. For that reason, I am not going to vote for the Bill that has been introduced. I should explain the reason why I interrupted Deputy Dillon when I introduced the name of England. We know as well as anybody that the first people who will suffer as the result of any turmoil in this country are the poor. We know well the sacrifices that the working people of this country have made for the independence of this country. We know only too well how any destruction is going to impose upon them more sacrifices.

I want to say, however, that it is because the Government are not frank enough with the people, because we have too much of that make-believe of saying that there is no interference in this country, that we have these disruptive elements within the country at present. We do not want to jeopardise the position of the country by standing against the Government, but we claim that we have given the Government sufficient powers already to deal with disruptive elements. If a man, or a number of men, are known to be engaged in disruptive activities I am quite satisfied that the Government have already sufficient powers to arrest and try them and punish them if necessary. But we do not agree that a man should be arrested and interned simply because he is suspected of certain activities or because he is known to be in sympathy with certain people.

Deputy Dillon stated that it was foolish to draw the name of England into this discussion. I say again with all candour that it is because the Taoiseach and the Opposition are always trying to make believe that the Twenty-Six Counties are free and independent that you have much of this trouble. I claim that we are not free of English interference and it is no use broadcasting to America that the Twenty-Six Counties are sovereign because we know only too well that the hidden hand of England is responsible for many of our difficulties. I, for one, say that the hidden hand of England smashed the late John Redmond and the late Arthur Griffith, that it was responsible for the fate of poor Michael Collins and responsible for much of the criticisms to which Deputy Cosgrave was subjected while in office and for whatever criticism the Taoiseach is subject to to-day. Whoever will follow Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy de Valera will have to face the same thing so long as England tries to dominate this country. Who will deny that if the people of Ireland had a free choice they would not vote for a 32-County Republic? It is because we are denied that freedom that we have so many disruptive elements in the country. I for one cannot give any co-operation in arresting and detaining these people without trial under present conditions. It is much more honest to tell these people what the shortcomings of our freedom are than to be asserting that we are free from interference. I want to say that we are not agreeable to giving to any Government the right to arrest any citizen without trial or charge. I believe there is not a more peaceful country in the world than this or any people who are more obedient to law and order than the people of this country. I resent very much some of the statements made by Deputy Dillon that we are the laughing stock of the world. I saw a statement recently in which we were told that the people of Ireland had a tradition of lawlessness. I want to say to the Government, and I have said it before, that if they paid a little more attention to economic conditions and to the condition of the unemployed they would not have so many recruits joining those forces about whom they complain to-day.

I look upon the position as very serious—serious from the point of view of what was quoted by the Minister for Justice and from the point of view of the army of unemployed. A short time ago we walked into the division lobbies in this House to vote on a motion that an unemployed man, when employed on relief work, should get as a minimum a week's work and that motion was defeated. I want to say that I have as much regard for the institutions of this country as any man but we cannot have very much respect for institutions which are responsible for legislation of that kind. I must again express my resentment at the statement by Deputy Dillon that we are the laughing stock of the world.

It is not my intention to vote against this Bill but I must confess, Sir, that it is seldom I have refrained from voting against a measure with more doubt or with more hesitation than I refrain from voting to-night. This is a measure which takes away, without trial, the liberty of the subject. In my judgment, it is only as the very last resort that a procedure of that nature is justified. In my opinion these lettres de cachet should not be used except in very abnormal circumstances and in a very difficult position. But, Sir, much as I dislike in theory this doctrine of internment and this principle of the concentration camp, it is not because I dislike it in theory that I have hesitation in not voting against this Bill. It is rather because I am absolutely satisfied of the utter futility of adopting a measure of this nature—I go very much further and say not merely the futility, but the pernicious effect which the adoption of internment always has had and always must have. Internment may be necessary in certain times but internment is only a remedy for a quick and sudden and, if I may put it that way, a violent attack on disease in the State. Internment is no remedy when the disease has become chronic.

Internment, in my opinion, has this effect: that it may alleviate the situation for a moment or two, but in the long run it makes the situation very much worse. I am not speaking now entirely without having given this matter very grave thought. I once occupied the position which the Minister for Justice now occupies. We had then powers of internment. I considered very carefully whether it was wise to exercise them and, after long and careful deliberation, I came to the conclusion that this utilisation would not only not alleviate the situation, except possibly for a moment, but that in the long run it would aggravate it. That view was taken by the Executive Council of which I had the honour to be a member. Though the power of internment was on the Statute Book from the close of the civil war onwards, it was not used. I would ask the Minister and every member of the Government, before they intern a single person, to think the matter out. The statement of the Minister for Justice to-night that as to A, B or C, the proper course to pursue was to intern was a mere begging of the real question.

What is the effect of the internment? As I see it, you are not dealing with a temporary situation, but with one which has hardened into being practically permanent. You collect together in a concentration camp a large number of elderly men or young men. You bring there men from Cork, Donegal, Mayo, Wicklow, or some other county. You congregate in one camp all the men whom you consider to be dangerous to the State. What is going to be the effect of that? A man who may be lukewarm will, by the environment in which he is placed, become as fiery as the most fiery person there at the end of a very short period of time. Atmosphere must have its effect. Secondly, it is very difficult indeed, if the police do their work, and I am sure they do, for the I.R.A. leaders to meet together and work out their plans. They have to meet by stealth—to meet by night. It is extraordinarily difficult for men in Cork and Donegal to get in touch with one another, but if they are brought together in a concentration camp, they are together from morning until night, and will have nothing on earth to do except to plot and plan and consider how they can further their ends: to consider what methods they can best adopt when they get out to further their plans and to injure the State. You cannot keep them in for ever. They will be more violent coming out than when going in, because, during the time of their internment, they will have had plenty of opportunities for threshing out every single plan that came into their heads, having practically nothing else to do. They will have brought their plans to as great a state of maturity and to as near perfection as they are capable of doing.

The Minister said to-night that possibly, if Judge Gavan Duffy's judgment had been the other way, there would have been no raid upon the arsenal in the Phoenix Park. Possibly that may be so. But would the Minister consider this: that if he had never interned a single one of those persons, there probably would never have been a raid upon the Phoenix Park, because they would then not have had the opportunity of getting together for a long period of time, and of discussing, in the concentration camp, how the magazine could be best raided, of working out with each other how many lorries would be required, and the number of motor cars that would be needed to relieve the lorries and distribute the ammunition. Their time in the concentration camp gave them an opportunity to work all that out.

Suppose you do intern those people, how long are you going to keep them in? Under the Bill before us, you can only keep them in as long as the present war lasts. I will deal with that in a moment, but suppose you keep them in for five or ten years, at the end of the ten years those men will come out just as determined as they were when put into the concentration camp and with a halo of martyrdom around their heads. You are not dealing with a temporary phase in the country's history. You are not dealing with a matter like the civil war. You are dealing with a permanent situation, a situation which may remain very much as it is, but weakening, I hope, over the years to come. It is a situation, however, which will not be alleviated by shutting up men for five or ten years, because they will be just as determined when coming out as they were when going in.

What is the necessity for this internment? It is not only the futility of it, but what is the necessity for it? The Minister says the police may have suspicions about persons against whom there is not the slightest bit of proof that they are members of the I.R.A. That seems to me to be incredible. One of the most famous persons interned by the Minister under his last order happens to be a constituent of mine, Mr. Burke of Ballinrobe. There would not be the slightest bit of difficulty in proving that he is a member of the I.R.A. He has been a very well known member of the I.R.A. Is it not, thereford, absurd to say: "Because I have absolutely no evidence of that, I could not prosecute, and, therefore, I have to intern."

I would like the Deputy to address himself to this problem. He has said that it is well known that a certain person is a member of the I.R.A. What witnesses would the Deputy produce in court to prove that the person mentioned was a member of the I.R.A., and what would be the likely fate of those witnesses?

The first thing you would do—I may tell the Minister this because he seems to be living rather in the clouds—is this: You know that a gentleman is a member of the I.R.A. You arrest him, and you ask him. He refuses to answer. You promptly proceed against him for refusing to answer. That is to begin with.

The point is, the Deputy has not proved that the person in question is a member of the I.R.A.

We will assume for the moment that he refuses to answer; there you are entitled to imprison him and to keep him in prison. If he refuses to account for his movements and to answer every single question that is put to him, you can imprison him and deal with him in that way. The Minister will then put to me a problem: supposing that he answers untruly. If he refuses to answer and you have no other evidence, having found no documents or anything of that kind in his possession, then you must simply deal with him on the section which makes refusal to answer an offence. There is a second case, in which a man who is a member of the I.R.A. denies that he is a member of the I.R.A. That would happen, I think, in exceedingly few cases, and certainly not in that of the known leaders or any persons of importance. I think it is a case which might be left out of consideration, as the moment a person has denied to the police that he is a member of the I.R.A. his utility to the I.R.A. ceases. We had a great deal of experience of that. I know, when we were dealing with the I.R.A., and certain gentlemen said they would leave the I.R.A., they ceased to be of any importance even if they tried to go back. That is an historical fact.

I would just like to deal with that question. On the first man, who has refused to answer, and who is brought to trial and is sentenced, presumably the court might inflict what it would regard as a moderate sentence. The person serves the term and is released; would the Deputy proceed to repeat the procedure? Would he again question him, bring him to trial, again ask the court to sentence him? Ultimately, what view would the court take of a continued enforcement of the law in that way?

Of course, that could not be kept up repeatedly, but it can be done. We have had practical experience of it. After all, we dealt with the I.R.A. in the position which existed after the murder of a Superintendent and other murders which the Minister must remember. We dealt with the I.R.A. and beat the I.R.A. When the Minister came into office the I.R.A. had ceased to be.

They had ceased to be an effective power in this State when the Minister came into office, and he cannot deny that if he looks through the files. I say they can be beaten in that fashion again. You can keep watching them; but you cannot beat them by interning them. You are helping them on by interning them, and it will be found that if these powers of internment are used, instead of hampering the I.R.A. it will really help them to mature their plans and become a stronger body.

I am sure there are many Deputies listening to me at the present moment who have been in internment camps themselves and I would ask any Deputy who was in an internment camp if, when he came out of it, he had abandoned a single one of the principles which he held when he went in, or whether he came out more determined than when he went in. Can not the same principle be applied to the I.R.A.? I am not attacking the Government at the moment: I am simply putting forward the result of my matured thoughts on this matter. I would ask the Government to give attention to them and to be very very careful indeed before they utilise this method of internment. I believe that by internment you will not check or hamper, except for a short time, the work of the I.R.A.; on the other hand you will encourage it and make it a stronger body. You may stop them for six months or for a year but at the end of that time the position will be very much worse than it was when you started interning them. It is for that reason, because I am afraid this measure will be used haphazardly by the Minister for Justice, that I am full of reluctance in not opposing the Second Reading of the measure.

I am very much afraid that the moment this Bill is declared valid, if it does stand the test of the courts, the Minister will immediately proceed to use his powers and will immediately start interning. Instead of improving the situation that will aggravate it. Unfortunately, the Minister is a man who is very fond of using his powers. No doubt he has very admirable qualities; nobody could challenge the fact that the Minister is a man of considerable moral and physical courage, unafraid to fulfil the duties of his office; but I am afraid that the Minister tends on the other hand to be a person who is very easily scared, a person who is very much inclined to exaggerate enormously the difficulties he has to face, one who is very much inclined—to use an expression—to make "mountains out of molehills". We had an example of that when a very small number of cases—some ten or 12, I suppose, and none of them very serious—had to be dealt with arising out of the farmers' strike. Those could have been dealt with by the district justices in the ordinary way. They were insignificant in number and none of them very serious, but the Minister immediately proceeded to invoke the special powers conferred upon him. That is an example of the hysterical exaggeration of which the Minister is capable. He seems to have the idea that because he has got abnormal powers it would be very wrong if he did not use them. He has got his very nice bright sword and does not like to leave it in its scabbard; he likes to draw it and to flash it about, for it would be a pity that it rest unfurbished; he is very determined that it should shine in use. So, when he gets the slightest opportunity of using the abnormal powers which he has got, the Minister is inclined to use them. That is entirely wrong; that is a principle which will tend to undermine the real sense of liberty which ought to be in the people of this State.

The ordinary law should always be invoked, and ordinary methods of procedure should always be adopted as long as they have not broken down. Burke, in one of his great speeches on American affairs, charged the British Government with making the medicine of the Constitution its daily bread. That is what the Minister is inclined to do. These abnormal methods of procedure which should only be resorted to in times of desperate stress, he is inclined to resort to when there is no necessity of so doing, and on the smallest excuse. I am very much afraid that, having this power of internment, and not having the papers before him, when considering whether he shall intern this person or that person, the Minister will always say: "Yes, intern him." We will thus have a very large number of internees, and, as a result, we will have, not a weakening of the I.R.A. in this State, but very much of a strengthening of the I.R.A., if not at the moment, certainly within a very short period indeed.

I stated at the beginning that I will not oppose this measure, but I am very much afraid that, in the hands of the present Government, it will turn out, not to be a remedy for the disease with which they are endeavouring to cope, but rather an aggravation of that disease. However, the responsibility is theirs, and if they, as a Government, demand these powers and say that they consider they are right, well. I suppose we will give them the powers; but I believe that they will find out, in dealing with the I.R.A. in this particular fashion, that they are making a very great mistake. There is another thing that I do not like about this Bill. This Bill is a lie. One cannot shut one's eyes to the fact that the I.R.A. would be here, and that the arsenal would have been attacked—I understand we can debate that on another occasion—just precisely the same if there was no European war.

Nobody can say that this Bill is due to the war in Europe. Nobody can honestly say that. Yet the House is asked to vote that it is. There is no justification for the putting in of a section under the legislation we passed to deal with an emergency arising out of a state of war. To say that this emergency has arisen out of a state of war is simply to put on record what everyone in the House knows to be a lie. There is no getting away from that, and I strongly object to this legislation under false pretences. Maybe when this Bill is challenged in the courts, as I have very little doubt it will be challenged, the courts may come to the same conclusion, and maybe when you come to prove that this Bill is in any way due to the state of war in Europe, you will have a very tough proposition. Whether it passes the courts or not, is it not a dishonest thing to do? We passed a Constitution. We are bound by it now. To be accurate, the people enacted a Constitution and we are bound by it. Yet, here you want to get round it, by deliberately putting on record what you know to be untrue.

The Constitution is rather an interesting document. To-night's debate has made it a little more interesting than it was. Judge Gavan Duffy decided that the Constitution was a reality, that it did give some protection to the subject, that the clause in it which stated that a person should not be arrested except under process of law was a real protection. Then we heard the Taoiseach coming along and dealing with his darling child, the Constitution. He seemed to be very angry, and seemed to consider the judges perverse because they thought the Constitution did mean something, and was not what the Taoiseach evidently thought, if I might use the words of Lord Denman, "a fraud, a delusion and a snare", because the Taoiseach wanted us to believe that the safeguards are so much waste paper, while Judge Gavan Duffy says they mean something. Of course, that to the Taoiseach's mind is perverse.

As I stated, I am not voting against this motion with very great hesitation, not because of any sympathy I have with the I.R.A. or with any persons who try to impose their will on this country by force. My views on that subject are thoroughly well known in this House, and have been reiterated so often that I need not repeat them now. I believe this is going to be a futile, and worse than futile, a pernicious method of dealing with the evil, by aggravating rather than curing it, and it is with great hesitation that I am not voting against this measure.

The eloquence and histrionics displayed by Deputy Dillon in the course of his speech were undoubtedly impressive, but I do not think that he impressed Deputy Hickey, the Lord Mayor of Cork, very much, nor do I think did he impress very much those people outside whom he described as being the forces of anarchy and forces subversive of law and order. These are labels and epithets which have been flung at the I.R.A. at every stage of its existence by one Government or another. Be that as it may, I do not think abuse and loose language of that kind is going to deter Irishmen who have set their minds and hearts—and who are prepared to sacrifice their lives—on establishment of an Irish Republic by any means. I quite agree with the Taoiseach that there can be only one Government here, a Government elected by the free vote of the people. I quite agree that that is fundamental. I am quite sure every Deputy agrees with that. While that is so, and while the Taoiseach may lecture us, as he is so fond of doing, on that particular matter, I think if he stands at the bar of his own conscience he will find himself responsible for the undesirable position that exists in the country to-day.

The Taoiseach and the present Government snatched office from their predecessors on the cry of: "Up the Republic,""On to the Republic.""The nation is on the march." They were not very many years in office when they gradually departed from that cry and that principle. That fact was obvious to all intelligent people. But it became perfectly obvious, on the occasion of the abdication of King Edward VIII, that the Taoiseach and his Government had abdicated from the ideal of the republic, because they assembled this House for the purpose of making possible the succession of the present King of England and preserving the link which this country undoubtedly has with the British Empire and the British Dominions.

It is my intention to oppose this amendment and it is my intention to oppose this Bill. I am opposing it because I am not prepared to give to any Irish Government the right or the power to put in concentration camps Irish citizens, men of their own flesh and blood. I am not prepared to give this Government that power, nor would I be prepared to give any Government that power. Furthermore, I foresee the danger, when these concentration camps are established, that there will be a likelihood of the infliction on the unfortunate internees in these camps of the inhuman treatment and the tortures that have been inflicted on internees in concentration camps on the Continent.

Like Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, I cannot support this Bill, but it is with the very greatest difficulty that I can make up my mind to vote against it. In doing so, I should like to state that anything I have to say is not intended in any way to encourage any unlawful activities that may be going on in this country or elsewhere by Irishmen at the present time. There are a number of reasons why this Bill should not be supported, but I only intend to deal with two or three of them. The first reason is that, in my humble opinion at all events, the powers which the Government took under the emergency legislation passed last September were quite sufficient to deal with any matters that would arise as the result of the extraordinary situation in Europe. The second reason is that the powers that the Government possess at present under the Offences Against the State Act are sufficient to deal with any trouble that may arise in this country as a result of domestic strife. Therefore, I feel that, if the Government had carried out their duties efficiently and effectively under either or both of those measures there would be no necessity for them to come to the House to ask for additional powers.

In not being able to support this Bill, I am in no way inconsistent with the attitude I adopted practically alone in this House on the occasion of the passing of the emergency legislation. I disagreed with the principle then, but I did not vote against the Bill, because I felt that my will should be overborne by the will of the majority of the members of the House. Therefore, in not being able to support this Bill, I am completely consistent in my attitude.

The reasons stated here by the members of the Government for the introduction of this measure are, as far as I can understand them, twofold. The first was that, as a result of a decision recently given in the courts, some difficulty had been put in the way of administration; and the second, that owing to a raid upon a very important ammunition arsenal very near the City of Dublin, a necessity further arises for passing this measure. What I want to know is this. If we pass a dozen measures of this character, is that going to put the sentry at his post with his rifle at his shoulder when the gates are opened in the arsenal? Is that going to put the Captain of the guard in his place? Is it going to give adequate protection to the stores of ammunition for which we have paid so much recently? The horse has bolted, but the stable door is there. If the Government anticipate further instances of this character, it is by gingering up the services we have at present, and not by coming to the House and saying: "We want further powers," that such offences can be stayed. When a good surgeon or a good doctor tries to get at the root of an evil he investigates the complaint.

Deputy Dillon referred this evening to his father and those who were with him. I was one of those who were with Deputy Dillon's father. With Deputy Alfred Byrne, I share the distinction of being one of the two members of this House who were members of the old Constitutional Irish Parliamentary Party. Young as I am, I am old enough to have seen the constitutional movement for freedom in this country changed into a physical force movement and back again into a constitutional movement. Twenty years ago the misguided members of the I.R.A. to-day were listening to doctrines that were preached by members on both of the front benches of this House. These doctrines were preached to me, and I was called a West Briton because I would not accept them. The only way in which I differed at that time from those in the physical force movement was, not as regards their objects and their aims, but as regards their methods. I say that now without offence to every ex-member of the physical force movement in this House, and they are numerous.

Ever since this country was first oppressed, when two Irishmen met together for the purpose of freeing their country, they either went left or they went right; they sought a way to achieve freedom either by constitutional methods or by unconstitutional methods. Remember, the members of the I.R.A. in this country to-day were schoolboys of an impressionable age when the leaders of public opinion on both sides of this House taught them the doctrines they are enunciating at present, doctrines which very nearly converted me also at that time. The position is this, that so long as our country is divided in two, so long as six counties are disconnected from the rest, and so long as the constitutional movement, as now represented by the members of this House, does nothing to remove that anomaly, so long will there be in the minds of the present members of the physical force movement justification for their activities.

The Taoiseach was kind enough to deal with my interruption during his speech this evening, in which I suggested that the Border might be removed by the method of employing the radio. We have not yet given the constitutional movement in this country a real chance. During the two years that I have been a member of the Dáil I have never seen any resolution proposed or any real reference made to the dismemberment of this country. It is our duty to guide those people who are misguided at the present time by showing them the way to achieve what they have in mind, what we all have in mind, and what every Irishman has in mind—ultimate freedom for the whole of the country. Therefore, I say, before you pass a measure of this kind, we, in this House, should give some direction and example to those people to show that the constitutional movement is a movement which can and will succeed.

The Taoiseach was courteous enough to say that he would receive any suggestion from me as to how the wireless could be employed in this matter. I shall tell him how the wireless can be employed. Every time the British announce their war aims to the world, our wireless should be belching forth and explaining how their war aims are inconsistent with the position of the Six Counties. Every time there is gerrymandering in the North and our unfortunate fellow-citizens are subjected to infringement of their rights, our wireless should play its part. That would not take money or power. One voice and a little microphone will send our propaganda around the world. There is another method by which we could show to these misguided people that we have within our province a remedy for the wrong which they are striving to remedy by their own means. Why do not we have 30 seats draped in black here to indicate the absence of representatives from the North so that visitors to the Distinguished Strangers' Gallery would be told that they represented the seats of our absent colleagues from the North.

The Deputy should not refer to any visitor in the gallery.

I apologise to you and to the House. This House is the guardian of the constitutional movement, and I say that we should give a lead and show the proper way to deal with the disabilities under which this country is suffering so that no excuse will be given to those people outside to arrogate to themselves the right to deal with matters of this kind.

This Bill has been described as a very short one, which is true. But it gives to the Government power to arrest any member of this House for any reason whatsoever and to leave him in an internment camp. That places in the hands of the Government greater powers than, I suppose, are exercised by the Government of any civilised country. Before this is done, I think the Government should seriously consider their position and adopt the suggestion I have offered regarding the grievances which these people, I assume, are seeking to remedy.

I am sorry to have to say that, in my opinion, the Government are not wise in asking for these powers. We should face facts and ask ourselves why it is necessary for succeeding Governments to introduce such measures. As two or three speakers have said, the obvious answer is that we are still, unfortunately, not a free people. The fundamental cause of any unrest abroad to-day is attributable, in my opinion, to this fact. Any evidence of unrest we see in this country is due to the yearning desire of our people for their God-given right to the complete and absolute freedom of our country. I do not for a moment blame the Government or any section of the Irish people for the position that exists here to-day. The fault is England's and England must take the responsibility. Before they can, with justice, champion the cause of small nations, the British Government should put their own house in order and remedy this grave injustice at their own doorstep. To-day the hearts of the British people go out in sympathy to the gallant Finns in their struggle to maintain their independence. They have expressed in no uncertain manner their sympathy with the aspirations of the Poles, the Czechs, the Austrians and other peoples struggling to regain their lost freedom. If these countries are entitled to recover or maintain their freedom—and I am sure all of us here will agree they are—why are we, who have been struggling to achieve it for the past 700 years, denied ours? I think that it is only fair we should ask England that question. I have no doubt in my mind as regards the matter and I am glad to notice that members of the Opposition are speaking as I should like to speak.

It seems evident that all of us in this House are united, at least, in this respect—that we want to achieve the complete freedom of our country. The one thing that remains to be settled is the means by which we will achieve it. We are all agreed as to the objective. It only remains to agree as to the best means by which that objective can be achieved. The history of our struggle for freedom should show that any attempt to impede the onward march of a nation is doomed to failure. I know perfectly well the Government do not wish to do this but I am afraid the arrest and detention of men under this Act is not likely to meet with success now any more than it did in the past. Let us, then, in God's name abandon such an idea.

I would put it to the Government— in doing so I am sure I am voicing the opinion of the majority of the people of this country, irrespective of political affiliations—that they should not enforce this Act. I know I am voicing the opinion of the majority of the people of my own constituency. I am making this brief statement so as to let the Government know the exact position in the country. I am, however, afraid that this Bill will be passed. The Government should, however, at least suspend the operation of it. I feel that it is not the wish of the Government to deprive any of our citizens of his freedom and I sincerely hope that they will be slow to do anything that might precipitate civil strife in this country.

If ever there was a time for unity of purpose and action it is the present. The Great Powers in Europe are involved in a doubtful conflict and nobody can tell what the outcome of that struggle will be. It is a time when Governments should appease minorities and when generous statesmanship is essential. If we could have six months, or even three months, in which the people of this country could examine the situation and think coolly and calmly of the consequences that any precipitate action might entail; I feel sure that some responsible people—perhaps people outside this House—would think it worth while to bring together the representatives of the different sections of our people, North and South, and see if it would be possible to formulate an agreed policy to which all Irishmen worthy of the name would subscribe. Not only would this be welcomed at home but it would be welcomed in the greater Ireland beyond the seas and wherever Irishmen are in exile the world over. I would appeal, then, to somebody outside this House—perhaps the Lord Mayor of Dublin, with Cardinal MacRory, or some such distinguished personalities —to initiate a movement such as this, and I feel sure something good will come of it. Each and everyone of us here to-night, whether we vote for this Bill or not, can do his part to bring about that unity, and I sincerely hope that everyone of us will use his influence to bring peace and harmony to a united country.

You will all recall that, on the outbreak of the present European war, this House very generously gave the Government the full powers for which the Government sought and that the members of this House took the view that the Government of this country should be given almost unlimited powers in order to carry the country through a period of emergency such as then confronted us. In giving the Government these powers, members of this House felt that the Government would realise the great responsibility which had been placed upon them and that they would use these powers judiciously, cautiously, and impartially. Unfortunately, however, we found that, within a few months, when the situation here was not as serious as had been anticipated at first, the Government proceeded to use those powers, not in any grave national emergency but in order to intervene in an ordinary trade dispute— an ordinary dispute between milk producers and wholesalers, which dispute was only an attempt on the part of milk producers to get an adequate price for their produce—and all the powers that had been conferred on the Government by the former Emergency Powers Act were put into force in order to crush the unfortunate milk producers and prevent them from getting an adequate price. In view of that fact, and in view of the irresponsibility shown by our Ministers, I am afraid that this House cannot honestly decide to confer further powers upon the Government. Before the powers that are now sought can be given to any Government there must be a very complete change in the outlook of the Government, and there must be a clear realisation of their responsibility on the part of those who exercise executive authority in this country.

Everybody, I think, will realise that this nation is facing at the moment a very serious crisis. Everyone, I am sure, will realise that the independence of this nation is in danger. In my opinion, the independence of this country is in danger, mainly because the people have lost confidence in the Government. Not only have they lost confidence in the Government, but they have lost confidence in Parliamentary institutions. I might also go further and say that the people have almost lost confidence in themselves and in their power to run this country. Now, that is a very dangerous situation, and a situation which, if it continues, will only lead either to a dictatorship in this country or to a handing over of this country's affairs to some outside Power. For that reason I think there should be very serious consideration and very serious thought on the part of all Parties in this House, and all leaders of Parties, in order to try to solve this problem without resorting to dangerous and panicky measures such as this. Therefore, I would ask the Government to withdraw this Bill for the present, and to sit down and consider how to strengthen the democratic institutions of this country, and how to restore confidence amongst the people of this country in democratic government.

I am not prepared to agree that all the unrest that exists in this country at the present moment is due to the existence of Partition. I believe that the unrest which exists in this country is due, mainly, to economic causes, and to the condition in which a large number of people find themselves at the present moment. I believe that it is due to the hopeless outlook before the country and the people of the country at the moment. Therefore, I ask that this Bill should be withdrawn until such time as confidence is restored. I believe that confidence can be restored if the plain people of the country are brought together. If legislation were introduced whereby there could be set up in every parish a parish council, in which the plain people of the country—the ordinary electors— could meet and discuss the national and economic problems, as they appear to the plain people of this country, confidence would be restored, particularly if, on these parish councils, the clergy and the generally-recognised leaders of public opinion in the various districts were permitted to take a more active part in shaping public opinion in this country. When confidence has been restored, then it might be possible to consider a measure of this kind.

I am prepared to support this Bill for the simple reason that most of us over here have always professed the fact that, if there is a dangerous situation, or if there are dangerous organisations in the country, any Government that at any time asks for powers to deal with such a situation, or with such organisations, should get these powers from us. Having said that, however, I am bound to say that I should prefer to be giving these powers to a Government in which I myself, and the public generally, could have more confidence.

Apparently, however, the idea is that the more critical is the situation the greater is the number of major blunders that are made by the Government. After all, it is only a few short months ago—since the early days of September—when a really critical and dangerous situation seemed to be looming ahead of us. The Government called us together on a Saturday night and asked for the most extraordinary combination of powers that any Government in the world ever asked for. They were given all the powers they sought, freely and generously, but ever since that particular meeting of the House we have had nothing but one major and costly blunder on top of another; we have had black-out regulations, putting private householders and business concerns to immense cost, and we have had these regulations cancelled, reconsidered, re-issued, and then withdrawn. We have had prisoners being arrested and the power of arrest being threatened by the weapon of a hunger-strike, and then we had a lachrymose speech made by the head of the Government in this House, to the effect that, no matter how many of these men might die in jail, their release might mean the end, not only of this Government, but of every other Government in this country for all time.

Now, either that was the speech of a really sincere man or the speech of a real champion humbug. We were impressed by that speech, but three or four days later we had the end of government in this country for all time —if that particular announcement were to be believed. Then we had a number of other people interned under the legislation brought in by the Government, apparently with the advice of all their advisers. The very minute things got sufficiently serious, and a sufficient number of dangerous people were congregated together in jail, we found that with very little trouble, very little labour, very little effort, the courts of the country decided that the detention was illegal. Even that simple piece of legislation in critical times could not be properly brought in, and even then there was power to hold those men if they were dangerous for a number of days, while complementary or special legislation was being introduced. The Dáil was actually in session, but nothing was done beyond that every prison door was opened and every man who was dangerous released, and having released every dangerous man, when damage is done, we are all called together once again and supposed to sit down, in a very serious and deliberative manner, to join together in shutting the stable door when the horse is gone.

It is fair to say that this country never had more Ministers, had never more civil servants, had never more police and never half as many soldiers, and we were never so definitely humiliated as we were quite recently. I suppose in the whole history of armies since the world began there was never such a disaster as the picture of an army losing all its ammunition without as much as a blackthorn being used. If we were properly instructed in the traditions of government, and if we had a sufficiently long experience of government, the morning after that particular disaster, at least two Ministerial resignations would have been tendered and accepted, and the earliest possible date would have been selected for the assembly of Parliament and the resignation of the whole Government. Remember that you may be proposing to legislate to deal with dangerous forces that are threatening the safety of this State, but no matter how rapidly those forces grow, they will never be as big a menace to the State as the Government that passes over all its ammunition in a couple of hours to lawless organisations without even using an ashplant to defend it. What happened us, taking relative strength into account, is just the same as if a great British, French or German army lost all its ammunition between 10 and 12 o'clock to-night, without one man getting a black eye.

Quite aside from the danger, quite aside from the increased prestige of the lawless elements which carried out this particular piece of work, and quite aside from the damage to the prestige of this country as a whole and of the Government in particular, ammunition is not bought for nothing. It is only a couple of months since we assembled here to tax the necessaries of life in the poorest homes in Ireland, and there was more ammunition lost in a couple of hours a couple of weeks ago than could be bought by all the revenue which will be obtained from the sugar tax and the tobacco tax put together. In face of all that, without a word of explanation, without a word of apology, with every Minister sitting smugly in his seat, and with no blank file in the whole lot, they come in here and ask for more paper powers. All the paper in Dáil Eireann is useless unless there is determination on top, and the will to carry out a policy. We could see the absence of determination, and the vacillation in the Taoiseach's speech to-night, when he was clear about nothing except his determination to disestablish the courts if they happened to differ from his own point of view on a question of law. The courts might as well be in the fashion. They are the only important institution within this State which has not been tinkered with, to the detriment of the institution and of the State as a whole.

Here we come apparently to join together in one effort anyway, an effort to intern people without trial, to give powers of arrest, search and detention, and to join together in order to strip the last shred of the constitutional coat from the backs of the citizens. It is only a couple of years since every jazz band in the country was parading the villages and towns behind a Fianna Fáil Deputy because all that kind of thing was at an end, and a paper Constitution had been introduced that was going to make all that kind of thing impossible for all time. We told the people then that these fellows were all humbugs, that the very minute the old boat rocked, they would be more ruthless and more greedy in their demands to interfere with the rights of the people than ever any of their predecessors were. Here we have the demand. There is a Bill here to give the right, over the signature of any Minister, to intern the whole population without charge. There is an amendment designed to do the same thing. The only difference apparently between the Bill and the amendment is that the amendment would, boldly and candidly, blow a hole in the middle of the Constitution, while the Taoiseach's technique is to blow a hole in it, but to do it from behind.

We heard in the course of the debate that this piece of legislation may have to be carried through the courts. If that is so, I hope it will be carried, but I would venture to prophesy that it will not be carried through any court, without a lot more frankness and candour than we have seen here to-night. I believe the Minister for Justice came in here this evening in the unfortunate position of a Minister, in critical times, with an important Bill, who had got a gag in his mouth before he came in, and that he was doing his best to ride to orders. We are given this Bill, because of what we know of the situation from outside this House, because of what we believe of the gravity of the situation from information received outside this House. Is not that a scandalous state of affairs? Is it not discrediting to say that about the Government in the presence of the Government—that they come and ask for the most extraordinary and ruthless powers over every individual citizen, and withhold the reason for it, and that withholding of information is a matter of deliberate policy because of cheap political expediency. We are living in times when cheap political expediency should be pushed on one side; when there should be bluntness and candour at least inside Parliament; whatever the real dangers are, let Parliament know, and do not leave Deputies to get the information from outside. However, I have certain doubts as to whether the means suggested are the best way of dealing with the particular danger that is there.

We are all much older now than we were when we first experienced internment in this country. For 26 years, scarcely without a break or only with very short breaks, one government after another—a foreign government, one type of home government and another type of home government—has been interning people for membership of organisations, and all the time, steadily, throughout that 26 years the particular organisation whose members were interned grew and doubled and quadrupled its strength following each phase of internment. The Government got a shock when they saw the growth of the organisation directly as a result of internment, and they opened the gates of the concentration camps. Then, when they found the problem so big, their minds changed again and there was another phase of internment. That went on all the time until one Government after another was over-thrown—the British Government first and then the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. The Party that is responsible for government at the moment grew, like a mushroom in a dark room on top of a dunghill, out of internments. Internments and imprisonments were what made your strength in the early days. We could see your following and your party grow out of each period of internment, and your organisation become more perfect and more efficient because of the interchange of opinions inside an internment camp. In the light of that experience it is defensible to ask: Have we no better means, have we no other way of dealing with the problem? Have we learned nothing from experience?

We are up against certain difficulties in this country. Great Britain is up against somewhat similar difficulties in her country. The path she is taking is the path of a very full trial and a particularly heavy sentence where conviction is secured. The drawback of such a system is the difficulty of finding evidence, and the fact that a great number of known conspirators must be let go for want of evidence. We are selecting the easier road, the line of least resistance. We are going the road that appeals to the policeman. It is much easier to say: "I suspect him; put him away", but remember we are deliberately choosing a path that experience must teach us is going to make a comparatively small organisation grow, and grow very rapidly, into a mighty organisation. I believe that, if we implement this Bill to the extent of having half-a-dozen internment camps, an organisation which could be dealt with at the present moment by a few hundred determined policemen will assume such dimensions that it will require every soldier in your mobilised army to deal with it within a year or two. I am speaking sincerely. I am speaking to men who, like myself, were in internment camps. I am speaking to men who had later experience than I have of that particular type of thing. I am speaking to men who saw not only one but two organisations grow and flourish as a result of internment camp contacts. I am asking them can they devise no better means, no less dangerous means, of grappling with our problems at the present moment?

Remember this: You must look at the matter from the point of view of the member of the illegal organisation. If I were a member of an illegal organisation, and there was a policy of internment, I would view that very lightly. I would say: "If those fellows grab me I will be interned, but the whole history of internment is that you are out in six months or a year." But if I thought I was going to be tried, that the penalty for my offence, for proved membership, was ten or fifteen years in jail, and that I had a Government which had sufficient moral courage, in spite of all appeals, to make me serve out every day of my sentence, it would have a far more deterring effect on me, or on anybody else, than the mere risk of being in an internment camp for a few months and coming out a village hero. The fact of launching a policy of internment means that the policy of trial and verdict will be entirely departed from; that the major conspirator and the minor conspirator will be similarly treated, by being interned, and then a kind of popular demand will go up or the Christmas spirit will prevail, and after six or eight or nine months they will all be free again. I am prepared to give those powers merely because they are asked for, but I think, after nine years' experience of our own and many years in opposition to another government, we should have learned some policy designed to produce better results in the long run than the policy of internment, which has failed under a foreign Government in this country, which has failed under a home Government in this country, and the only result of which in any country, or under any Government, will be to double and quadruple the strength of the organisations it is attempting to eradicate.

The criticisms of the proposals contained in this Bill have, I think, been based upon three grounds; first, that, even if given to the Government, the Government will not use those powers effectively; the second has been that internment in itself is not an effective weapon to employ in the present situation, or against a conspiracy of the kind with which we are now dealing; and the third, I think, though it has not been used by every person who has spoken in this debate and who has been critical of the Bill and of the Government—the third argument has been that there is no justification for the powers sought. Now, I am not prepared to take up the attitude that, in the light of recent events, the Government can stand blameless before this House, and I am not going for a moment to pretend that if I were in opposition I would not make the most of recent events. No doubt the question of the responsibility for the recent occurrence will have ultimately to be settled by this House. No doubt members of the House, in more quarters than one, feel very strongly in regard to that aspect of the present situation. But that aspect of the question cannot be debated adequately to-day, nor is it, in point of time, the most urgent.

The most urgent aspect of this matter is that there should be given to the Government of the day, whatsoever be its constitution, so long as that Government is responsible to this House and to the people who sent us all here, the powers which may be necessary to deal with the immediate situation which now confronts the State. We come to the House and we say that because of the nature of this conspiracy, because of the "expertise" which characterises its organisation and its methods, it is not possible for us to bring to trial, either before the ordinary courts of this land or before the special courts which have been set up to deal with such a situation as now confronts us, those who are the prime and principal movers in the conspiracy, and secure their conviction. We tell the House that for that reason we require very special powers, powers which I, speaking as a private individual, as an individual citizen, would be most reluctant to entrust to any Government except in a state of the gravest emergency.

The powers which it is proposed to give under this Bill are such as will enable any Minister of State to intern persons who are suspected of being engaged in activities which are prejudicial to the preservation of the public peace and order or to the security of the State. There is nothing novel in a Government coming to this House and asking for such powers. Our predecessors asked for them and received them. We asked for them even so recently as last year and we also received them, and it was felt in all quarters of this House that the statute which purported to give us those powers was an effective instrument of law. The courts, for reasons which it is not necessary here to discuss, have decided otherwise. We, as the Government, have obeyed the law, and these men have been released in consequence of our respect for the law. Therefore, there is nothing novel or new in the powers which we seek.

The only question which arises upon that issue is whether, in fact, those powers are likely to be effective. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, speaking with the experience of a member of a former administration and as an ex-Minister for Justice, told us that in his view these powers would not be effective. Deputy O'Higgins takes the same view. It is a matter upon which there may be a legitimate difference of opinion. I can only say this, that so far as our experience goes, detention, even for an uncertain term, has acted as a certain deterrent. I do not at all accept the view that if lukewarm persons are brought into an internment camp they become zealots in the cause which has been the occasion of their internment. I think that our experience of the effectiveness of internment in the period between 1922 and 1924 is a proof of what I am saying. There are many excellent examples in this House of the beneficial effect of internment. I know there were 13,000 or 14,000 individuals in internment in the period which ran from 1922 to 1924 and I think that a great many who were interned during that period made up their minds that that was the last occasion upon which they were going to find themselves behind barbed wire.

So far from the organisation to which these men were assumed to belong when they were placed in internment waxing in strength in consequence of that internment, it waned and was on the down-grade for a considerable period of time. I believe that so far as its numerical strength is concerned it is very much less to-day than in any period of its history. But it has become a more closely-knit organisation. It is an organisation which has had great resources, mainly monetary, placed at its disposal. It is an organisation which may get and, I believe, has already secured, a certain amount of co-operation and help and support from forces outside this State, and, therefore, it is, to my mind, an even more dangerous organisation from the point of view of the maintenance of law and order and the preservation of peace here than it has been at any period since 1924.

It is so serious that it has ventured, in the name of the Irish people, to declare war upon a neighbouring State, to carry that war into the territory of a neighbouring State and to endeavour by every means in its power to embroil the people of this country in war with that State. Even if that were all that it had succeeded in doing, would not that be enough to justify this Parliament and the Government which is responsible to this Parliament employing every means that it might conceive necessary to deal with an organisation of that sort?

We have heard Deputy Hickey speak in this House. Is he prepared to stand behind everything or anything that this organisation has done?

I am prepared to do nothing of the kind and well you know I am not.

Well, the Deputy made the speech of a person who was in active sympathy with them. I am asking the Deputy now is he going to assume responsibility in this House for the organisation which he has defended?

I want to say that I have not defended any such thing but I could not stand the cant and humbug of trying to make out that it was the policy of this Government and the other Government that was responsible for all this turmoil. I said it was plainly due to England's domination of this country and no more. I am still maintaining that. I have as much regard for law and order as ever the Minister has or had.

I shall leave Deputy Hickey.

He apparently is prepared now to swallow his words.

I am not swallowing any words.

And to disclaim responsibility for this organisation or for the actions of it. But let us come to Deputy Hickey's leader. He stated that the bulk of the cases mentioned by the Minister for Justice, to show the sort of campaign that was being pursued by this organisation, were relatively minor incidents when one considers what has happened during the past 20 years. I wonder did Deputy Norton forget, or has he forgotten what has happened in this country since 1935? Has he forgotten the Edgeworthstown murder? Has he forgotten the murder of an old man of 90 years of age in West Cork? Has he forgotten the murder of a young boy in Dungarvan? Has he forgotten the fact that, I think, less than 15 months ago, as the Minister for Justice told us, three men met their deaths while they were manufacturing infernal machines? Has he forgotten the fact that there have been many deaths within the past two or three years, apart altogether from deliberate acts of murder, arising out of the illegal use or possession of firearms and explosives?

Were any of them brought before the Military Tribunal?

Does the Deputy remember what has happened to some people who have testified before other courts in order to secure the conviction of those who have been charged by the State in these matters?

Farmer prisoners were brought before the Tribunal, but the murderers of More O'Ferrall were not.

Does the Deputy want these men to be dealt with, or does he not? Is he riding two horses again?

It is the horse you rode that is kicking against you now.

All I can say in regard to that—and I hope Deputy Belton will appreciate it—is that there are many stables under Deputy Belton's control where certain horses have been sheltered.

But your horse turned out to be a mule.

I am not going to get on to that aspect of the matter. What we are really concerned about is whether there is a situation which would justify the Government, all other powers failing, in asking the Dáil to give it powers to intern Irish citizens, and is there justification for the Government to exercise those powers if such powers be given? That is the point we are on. As we know, there have been at least three murders directly traceable to this organisation within comparatively recent times. There have been many deaths due to the illegal use or illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and there have been many instances throughout the country where the person and properties of individuals have been molested or interfered with by members of this organisation, and that interference has invariably been accompanied by a threat to use firearms upon them, and, lastly, we have this raid on the Magazine Fort.

No doubt, that raid upon the Magazine Fort was a grave incident, but its gravity did not lie and does not lie mainly, as Deputy Norton wished to imply, in the fact that certain laxity was indicated on the part of those who were placed in charge of the Magazine. Its gravity lies in this fact, that it was an attack, an attack by armed persons, upon the forces of this State. Speaking as a layman, it was, in my view, an act of armed rebellion. And its further gravity lies in this fact, that so far as we know, a considerable quantity of ammunition, amounting to over 200,000 rounds, is at the moment in the hands of those who were responsible for the raid on the Magazine. We have reason to believe that not merely are those 200,000 rounds of ammunition within their procurement but they have under their control further stocks, large or small, of ammunition.

Do the members of the Labour Party or do those who have opposed this Bill on the grounds that the situation in this country does not warrant the Government asking for these powers, think it a light thing that over 200,000 rounds of ammunition should be in the hands of organised desperadoes in this country?

It is a shocking thing, an outrageous thing.

I think so too.

And why has not somebody been sacked for it? Why has not some Minister been sacked for it?

That is a matter which, no doubt, will be discussed later. I am only dealing with the present situation, and I am trying to bring it home to those who have talked here to-day as if this were a sentimental mothers' meeting, those who have talked about what these young men will do and what those other young men will do, as if all we had got to do in this House was to come together and, like a band of Pilates wash our hands of the whole situation. We have the responsibility for peace and order in this country.

And you are not shouldering it.

We have the responsibility for peace and order in this country and for the good government of this country and we are responsible to the Dáil. Whatever may have been our failings or our weaknesses or laxity in the past two or three months, the Dáil can always call us to account for it. I assume that, in due course, the Dáil will do so and it will be for us to satisfy the Dáil and, what is more important in my view, the country, that we were not guilty of any culpable neglect. But that is not the immediate issue.

That is the issue.

The immediate issue is whether the Government for the time being, whatsoever Government it may be, so long as it is a Government composed of persons who recognise their responsibility to the Dáil, to the elected representatives of the people and through them to the people of the country as a whole, should get the powers which we are asking of you to-day. That is the question which is the immediate issue. I am asking those who have said that the situation does not justify their handing over these powers to us whether they regard it as a light thing that this enormous quantity of ammunition—enormous at any rate judged by what used to be the revolutionary standards in this country—should be in the hands of men who contemn and spurn the State and all its institutions, who deny our authority, who attack our forces, who raid our magazines, who claim to exercise the power of life and death over our citizens? Which is of more importance to the people of this country, the liberties of young men, many of whom have been brought perhaps unwittingly into this organisation, not knowing what responsibility would be imposed upon them when they joined it, and some of whom are now held by force within it as those who heard the document which was read by the Minister for Justice in this House to-day and who pondered over its true purport must have realised—which is the more important, their liberties or the peace and security of the State? This organisation claims to send its members wheresoever it will, on whatsoever business those who control it will. Not all the men who have been sent outside this country and have been ordered to embark upon certain undertakings have gone there of their own free will. Many of them have been pressed. What we have got to ask ourselves—we who are responsible to the people of this country for the safety of themselves and their property, we who have responsibilities to all the fathers and mothers of this country—is this: if we know persons responsible for this organisation and for its proceedings, are we going to lay them by the heels, at any rate, until such time as we shall have curbed its activities and drawn its claws, until such time as we can bring them into court and men can go in there and testify against them without fear of life or limb? What we have got to ask ourselves is, if we can do it, will we lay such men by the heels or will we allow them to go free to send other men on dangerous missions to other countries, to plan revolt and rebellion here, and to terrorise every citizen who dares to oppose them?

Deputies have come into this House to-day and have told us what we ought to do, how we should try to negotiate with and placate, if you please, the gentlemen who are running this rival State, the persons who are controlling this rival army, the persons who characterise the Defence Forces of Eire as enemy forces, that we should truckle to them, negotiate with them, placate them, and try to get some kind of intermediary who will find a compromise between the forces of the law in this country and the forces of lawlessness.

That speech came from your own side.

I think that those who sit on those benches ought to remember their constitutional obligations. There is no oath-bound member of this Dáil. Any man can come into this House, and he does not have to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution or to the Head of the State, but when he goes before the public, and particularly when he goes before the public as the candidate of a constitutional Party, I say that by that very act he pledges himself by every word and deed of his to uphold the Constitution of this State and the forces of this State. Therefore, I say that no Deputy has a right to get up in this House and give comfort or countenance to those who attack the forces of this State or who deny the authority of this State. We speak here, for good or ill, as the voice of the people of Ireland. The suffrages of over 1,000,000 electors are represented by the 130 odd Deputies of this Dáil. How many votes do those who have been responsible, not merely for the occurrences of a week or ten days ago, but who have ben responsible for the murders which I have recalled to your mind, represent? If they have gone before the electorate at all they have not been able between them I think, in the past ten years at any rate, to poll as many as 3,000 votes.

They voted for you the last time.

They never did. I, at any rate, have given them no cause at any time to vote for me.

I did not say for you personally.

I do not believe their support in any election has meant anything, because if they ever have voted for one Fianna Fáil candidate as against another candidate in any constituency they did it with the idea of making themselves powerful in our organisation. It certainly was not because they wished to see Fianna Fáil in power any more than they wished to see Cumann na nGaedheal.


Oh, oh!

At any rate, it is beside the point.

It will be an important point the next time.

There are, as I have said in this House representatives of over 1,000,000 electors. Over 1,000,000 electors voted at the last general election, and we owe a duty to them. In the light of that duty at the present moment, whether the Government that is in power is effective or ineffective, it is quite clear from our past history that not merely must we have special courts, that not merely must we have special provisions within the law to deal with members of this organisation, but we must have power to act on suspicion if those who are responsible to the country for the government of the State feel their suspicions to be well founded.

Speaking here at the opening of this debate, the Leader of the Opposition said that he felt that he wanted to have something more than suspicion to act upon. Well, I cannot see any half-way house between well-founded suspicion and absolute proof in law. Either a person must be in a position to act upon a warning, definite or indefinite, if he receives it, to consider that warning for himself and to weigh it up in the light of what he knows about the person who gives him information, and if he comes to the conclusion that the information which has been given to him is authentic, then he must, I think, do one of two things. If he has the power to apprehend that person and to hold him, he must either do that to prevent a crime, or he must allow a crime to be committed, and then trust to chance and good fortune to give him the proofs which will enable him to secure a conviction. The history of this conspiracy has been such that it has been almost impossible, wherever a crime has been committed in this country, if it has been committed by members of that organisation, to bring it home to the perpetrators. There has been only one case, say, between 1924 and 1939, out of all the murders that have been committed — Superintendent MacCurtain, the young boy in Dungarvan, the case of the old man and the dozen others— out of every one of these cases, and they have been, God knows, numerous, there has been only one case in which a man was brought to trial and in which a conviction was secured, and that before a Military Tribunal.

The Minister refused to give powers in 1931 to deal with three murders, one being an officer of the State.

That may be so, but the fact that I am here to-night, and the Deputy can make what he likes of it——

Mr. Morrissey

I do not want to make anything out of it.

But, looking back on it now—and I think that we have got to have the courage in this country at the present time to confess our mistakes—if I made very ill-judged speeches, the fact that I am here to-night making a speech on behalf of this Bill——

Which you may consider unjust in another few years.

——is, at any rate, an admission that those powers were necessary then and that those powers are necessary to-day, and the Deputy can take what he likes out of that. I feel it my duty to say that, not merely to this House but to the people of this country——

Mr. Morrissey

Hear, hear!

——and the sooner that everybody who wishes the writ of the law to run in this country, who wishes to feel safe in his own property and in his own person, brings that truth home to himself, the sooner that conspiracy will be broken. I am not one of those who believe that this country has got to go on continuing to be governed by some sort of Black-hand organisation, some sort of Mafia, but not until the ordinary common people of this country wake up to a sense of the gravity of the situation, and make up their minds that they are going to stand behind the Government of the country and help them by every means in their power, by giving them the information which they so urgently need, by telling where those people lurk and where they may be apprehended, by having the courage to come forward and tell the Government whenever proof comes to their hand that a person is a member of this organisation, or has been engaged in some undertaking on behalf of this organisation, will this conspiracy be broken. But not until that moment will the Irish people begin really to rule in this country. This Government has been elected by the people, whether for good or ill, to determine what our policy is going to be. If we become divorced from the real feelings of the people of this country, it does not matter whether we may happen to have at the moment a passing, a temporary majority in this Dáil, the Government will fall, but there will come into power, drawn from the members of this House, another Government which will be more in keeping perhaps with the real views and real feelings of the majority of the people of this country. We are the servants of the people, and the people are our masters, and therefore it is in the people's name that we speak. It is for the people that we determine policy and it is the people who ultimately control that policy, whether it be domestic or external. But of whatsoever sort or kind it may be, that policy cannot really be effective until the people of this country, and the members of this House who speak for the people, and who are responsible to the people of this country, make up their minds that there is only going to be one Government in this country, that there is only going to be one Executive in this country, and that there is only going to be one army in this country, and that that army is not going to be the army of the enemies of this State.

The Minister who has just sat down opened the speech to which we have listened with some amazement by saying that if he were a member of the Opposition he would, no doubt—and this was his chosen phrase—make the most of recent events. With that as a preamble he worked himself up to the conclusion that people who do not accept the proposals of the Government at the moment were comforting those people in murderous terrorist organisations outside. I do not like the Government's proposals, but the Minister who has just sat down has no greater abhorrence of murderous terrorist organisations outside than I have. The Minister talks of recent events. How recent are the events? The Minister has talked about methods and the steady growth of them. How far did Ministers connive at the methods of these organisations, or in any event turn their eyes away when the facts were pointed out to them? What has the situation here been for years? People from these benches put down questions desiring information to be got of rumours, rumours which are now well justified, as to the importation of arms, and the controlling and preparation of armed forces inside this country contrary to the Government's authority. Never once, until some 18 months ago did we get any acknowledgment that these rumours were believed in. On one occasion, when a gang of men seized a house in Cork, the then Minister for Justice admitted that there were arms coming in. His statement was: "How the arms came in I do not know." The organisation was apparently there.

In June of 1939 we were asked by the present Government to help them to pass the Offences Against the State Act. We gave it to them. We were told, with regard to the part now in jeopardy under a court ruling, that it was not regarded as anything to meet a sudden emergency but that it was something which the Government felt it should have in its hands as part of the ordinary law: that there was no growth of armed organisations to warrant panicky powers, and that these were not panicky powers, but an ordinary development of the ideas lately adopted by the present Government. We came then to the date of the passing of the Emergency Powers Act in September, 1939. When attention was called to the amazing powers of arrest and detention of people, including citizens, taken in that Bill, the Minister who was in charge of the measure told us that he did not want those powers. He did say that he thought he had all he required in the Offences Against the State Act. He did not say that there was any big organisation which required extraordinarily severe powers in order to curb their activities. The Government got their Emergency Powers Act and gave guarantees that those powers would not be used against ordinary citizens. The Government brought in amendments on their own to exclude natural-born citizens from the effect of the powers given to them.

Within a month of that, members of this Party decided that the calling up of volunteers and reserves was a panic measure for which there was no justification whatever. We sent a reasoned note to the Government about it, and we had consultations with them as to whether expenditure of this kind should be put upon the country. We were told many things in secrecy that cannot be spoken of, but that cannot be said of one thing: we were told by the Taoiseach that he had anxieties which lay in many quarters, but the least of his anxieties was about the internal situation. That was, I think, in the month of November, 1939. The least of his anxieties then was about the internal situation. Then there came a series of arrests and internments and the High Court judgment which has been so much commented upon here. On the day on which that High Court judgment was delivered, the Minister for Justice asked members of this Party would they wait and sit late to give him emergency powers to meet that gap driven by the High Court in the legislation. We thought that was sound and we agreed to do it. Then we got a representation that the people whom they wanted to keep in prison were very dangerous. That was, I think, in December.

Mr. Boland

May I intervene at this stage? It is most unfortunate if Deputy McGilligan is going to give his interpretation of what was said. That is a very bad practice altogether.

Is it denied?

Mr. Boland

I am just saying that if talks of that kind have gone on it is most unfortunate if Deputy McGilligan should take advantage of this debate to introduce them. It is a very bad practice altogether. We are asked again to have consultations, and this is the way they are treated.

I am entitled to speak of——

Mr. Boland

The Deputy is quite entitled, but I submit that it is a very bad practice.

I am not going to say what arguments were put forward, but that this House was asked to wait in order to give further emergency powers, and we agreed. Is not that so?

Mr. Boland

I did ask a representative of the Opposition whether, if we wanted these further powers, they would agree to sit late, and he said they would. We thought that matter over. At the same time, why should that be——

It is only for the sequel that I mention it. What happened? The Minister told us he did not want those emergency powers. He certainly intimated to those who were in conversation with him that day that there would be no jail delivery because the men were regarded as dangerous. Two days later those of us who heard anything about those conversations saw with astonished eyes in the newspapers the report that these men, characterised as dangerous, had been let loose on the country. Mark the sequel to all that. Here, in any event, in the month of December there is recognition that there are certain people of a dangerous tendency. I think it was about that time that the present Minister for Industry and Commerce told us that all the taxation that was being imposed in the recent Budget was being imposed for the purpose of keeping this country safe from the murderous terrorists and the murderous organisation with a perfected technique. That was in December.

The Deputy is wrong there. It was in the middle of November.

There was a danger which was appreciated by the Minister in the middle of November and in early December by another Minister, and this country was burdened with immense taxation at that time in order to support an Army, Volunteers and a Reserve. Over and over again in this House the point was raised as to why these unfortunate men were kept, some of them, along the Sligo coast gazing vaguely out to sea for the purpose of spotting submarines, with no means of communication with a Civic Guard barrack even if, indeed, they did see something which appeared to them to resemble a submarine. They were kept with their eyes turned out to sea while dangerous men had been loosed throughout the country. The chief magazine in this country, the great arsenal, the fort in the Park, 50 yards from a public road and a half mile from a barrack, on the night before Christmas Eve, could be raided and well over 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition taken away; yet now the Minister who admits it is nothing to boast about, says that the response to the raid ought to be to smash the Constitution further, instead of smashing the Minister responsible for it.

One Deputy here to-night said that outside the annals of some banana republic in South America, there has been nothing equal to what happened in this country on the night before Christmas Eve. As I say, within 50 yards of a public road and within less than half a mile of a military barrack a group of men—variously estimated as between 23 and 70 in number—raided that place and used an unknown number of lorries to take the material away. Apparently they worked very hard, much harder than trade union regulations permitted them, to do the work.

They were doing overtime !

Over 28 tons of ammunition was taken away. Let me refer again to the South American republic where it was stated that such a thing might happen. I doubt if history will give an example of that in any circumstances except those where the taking of the ammunition was a prelude to the troops going over to the new pretender. Is there collusion in this matter?

Might I call attention to the fact that the Ceann Comhairle has ruled to-day that the circumstances and details of the raid on the Magazine may not be discussed?

Two Ministers have spoken of it, including the Taoiseach. Although I do not take it that they give good example always I am not going to take it that they can refer to it and forbid me.

If a ruling has been made on the matter already, it should be followed.

Mr. Morrissey

There was a ruling, but not on the lines now suggested by the Minister; that is the Minister's interpretation of it.

The Minister himself suggested that over 200,000 rounds of ammunition were still unrecovered. Where did the ammunition come from? Was it not from the fort? Apparently I can only follow the Minister in referring to part of the ammunition, but cannot paint the picture I want to paint.

If the Deputy spends a little more midnight oil he will be able to paint that picture in a week or ten days.

If the Minister for Industry and Commerce had spent a little midnight oil trying to find out how efficient the Guards in this country were and where the dangerous men were and in what activities they were engaging, we might not now have troops wasting so much of another type of oil trying to recover the stuff that was taken. Is there a parallel in the world for what happened here on the night before Christmas Eve, excepting in circumstances which argue collusion?

I will let it be admitted here that for incompetence in recent months the record of the Government has been something almost unsurpassable. A court judgment here has been referred to where a judge declared that certain warrants were, in his opinion, unconstitutional; but he did more than that —he declared that the present Ministry is not capable of drawing up one good warrant out of 53 chances: not one single warrant could they stand over on which to put these persons into jail. They could not even write a warrant correctly; they could not address it to the proper people; they did not fail to make mistakes even in drawing up the document, and one of the measures being discussed to-night is one which provides them with a new statutory form which it is said, is fool-proof. All we can say is that, if it is fool-proof, the Minister deserves to have such fool-proof provisions made for him.

I have referred to complicity. I think the country, and certainly this House to-day, expects the Taoiseach to come into this House and tell us that the democratic institutions are certainly going to be ruthless in this respect. There must be greater collective responsibility for all the acts of individuals with duties assigned to them. In this case we have two Ministers looking after the defences of the State.

One man, who was Minister for Defence, was given, apparently, a bigger job—to co-ordinate defence— and another Minister moved into his shoes. Democratic institutions ruthlessly demanded that when a scandalous affair like that at the Magazine Fort happened, these two men should have walked the plank. The Government will get no confidence through the country that they are even tackling this problem seriously, as long as they retain in membership two persons whose reputations were so definitely besmirched as the reputations of these two men have been.

We have been told on many occasions by the Taoiseach that this Government is a happy family. I should like to have been present on the day on which the happy family met to discuss the raid on the Magazine Fort. Was there anybody even criticised for what had happened? Was it alleged by anyone, even by the Taoiseach, that anyone had failed? Was there even a suggestion that there should be a new shuffle of the group which had previously undergone two shuffles? Was any word said by the Taoiseach to the group which indicated that he was not pleased entirely with what had happened? I do believe that the Taoiseach did not say anything in the way of criticism or in a carping spirit on that occasion. He could not.

The third thing which is disquieting public opinion after we have considered incompetence firstly, and the possibility of collusion secondly, is that the Government have not the strength to control this matter. They have not that strength because of their background and their recent history. The Minister for Industry and Commerce recanted a certain amount of his previous doctrine. He is the only one who did so. To-night, the Prime Minister made a speech which was almost a benediction of those people who are outside. He was reminded of his past utterances about this being a fake Parliament and having only a de facto existence. There was no definite taking of a new line. In fact, he reverted to what he said in the Seanad, and at a recent Ard Fheis, that force still would have his blessing in certain circumstances. As long as that is the background, and the atmosphere, no one can have any belief in the present group of Ministers tackling this thing seriously, until they definitely turn their backs on the past and try to lead this country out of the mess that they, more than anyone else, are responsible for getting it into.

The Constitution that we are going to disembowel still more this evening is filled with piety. The name of the Deity occurs in it here and there, and various pious sentiments are wrapped up in certain of the Articles. Even piety has its uses at times. I remember a greeting that was sent at Christmas time "to soldiers and citizens of the Republic". It ran something like this:

"As we consecrate ourselves anew to the achievement of the independence of our country, and pray for our comrades who have fallen in the fight, let us humbly beg Almighty God so to enlighten and direct us that we may do His will and obtain His blessing on all our efforts to bring to our harassed people the liberty, the peace, and the happiness which they need and desire."

That was published at Christmas, 1922, and was signed by Eamon de Valera, Chief of Staff and President. The blessing of Almighty God was being asked on what the Bishops in those days characterised as murderous and assassinate acts. We have the statements of people opposite that this was a fake Assembly and that the legitimate authority lay outside.

Is there not always on the people on the other side that attempt still to hold the rear, that they would still have this retreat open, that they would not cut themselves off from their allies, and that if force did become a useful thing, then there were still chieftains to adopt force? How can any one believe while that spirit prevails, until it is exorcised and fully and ruthlessly cut out, that merely giving the Government greater powers is really going to end this business? I am all for giving power, but I want to be assured before giving power, first, that it will be competently used—and I have no belief in that—and, secondly, I want to believe that if I give further power to people they will not be demoralised by their background owing to the fact that certain people have stronger ties with socalled enemies. I want to have completely rooted out all thought of collusion between any members of the present Government and those supposed to be their enemies. I have not that fear out of my mind yet. I want to see also that the past is definitely and entirely forgotten, and no matter how much comfort Ministers may have given in their own past to people now described as their enemies, from this time it is going to be ruthless antagonism, with complete and efficient use of the powers and that we will get this thing rooted out at long last, if possible by the measures now being asked. I said before that the Government's record entitled them to come to us in a mood of humility and to say: "We want to get power to make this foolproof, in the hope that our capacity for blundering will not again find some way out and enable us to make mistakes."

The Minister asks us to destroy the Constitution. I object to the proposal before us to-night because I think it is the wrong way to deal with the matter. I will not fight much about that. I would rather see this particular problem met and mastered than have it held up because of one way of giving power as against another, but I suggest to the Ministry that this is the wrong way to do this thing. In June of this year, there was no thought of war and the Government asked for the Offences Against the State Bill. They got it. That was not phrased as a war measure and there was no war situation then. In September, they came with the emergency powers proposals and asked for them as being required for a war situation, and got them, and they themselves made the distinction between the powers asked for in connection with the war and the powers required for ordinary peace in the country. Beaten in one small matter, and only beaten in one court on that point, with regard to the Offences Against the State Act, they now ask us—and do not make any case for it and do not put it forward in any way that anyone could believe—suddenly to take this jump. That which was previously ordinary legislation required for ordinary peace-time has now suddenly become legislation for a war situation. They ask us to enable them to take certain words of limitation out of the Emergency Powers Act and to give them power to arrest and detain people.

I believe the Ministry run a definite risk, under these circumstances, in trying to have that which was definitely a peace time situation brought in as if it were a result of war. I said in September of this year that people on the Continent were blowing up certain bridges over certain rivers that run along the frontiers, and that as we had nothing else valuable to blow up, we decided to blow up the Constitution. That was a wrong metaphor. I should have said that we scuttled the ship of State. We left a bit above water to which certain national-born citizens are able to cling. We want now to submerge the whole lot. Why? Has the conspiracy grown so big? Is there a change since the High Court judgment? Are powers now required that were not required in June and September of last year? Deputy Costello asked if the matter had been discussed with the legal authorities. Is it believed that if this Bill is passed in the form it is in, it will stand the test of another case in the courts? Even if all these questions could be answered satisfactorily, do the Ministry not consider that this would be the proper thing to do? They have had experience of Government; we had the same. We both are at one in this: that no modern country can wait until the point when conspirators are ready to come out openly against them. You cannot wait until the point when there is armed rebellion or something approaching it. You must grapple with them when it is growing. Is not that an ordinary power? Is not that a power that should be looked for in an ordinary piece of legislation?

We suggest that the Government should hold up this legislation. I do not mind giving them temporary powers by allowing them to operate one paragraph in this measure which they can operate as it stands. Let them operate that for the time being, with a guarantee that, as soon as they can get the matter discussed, they will come in here with legislation to amend the Constitution, so that they will have in their hands not merely this weapon which they think they should have in the two or three years of the war, but that they will leave it to their successors for ordinary peace times; that these successors will not find themselves hampered by the strait-jacket of the Constitution the way those Ministers were hampered by the strait-jacket of the Republic.

I suggest that the proper thing to do is not to be taken by panic in this matter, but to realise that under the Emergency Powers Act, paragraph (m) of Section 2, there are sufficient powers, once the guarantee the Ministry gave in this House about not using that against nationals is withdrawn. We would accept the withdrawal in an emergency; but it is only for a temporary period until good legislation, legislation under the Constitution, can be thought out and brought forward. That is the motion which we have down, that we adjourn consideration of the Bill until the Government have introduced a Bill to amend the Constitution by extending the scope of Article 28, Section 3, to meet the existence of a domestic emergency.

Have the Ministry no pride in their recent work about the Constitution? We were told that it was a great and effective guardian of the liberty of the people. But the liberty of the people could be destroyed by a Constitution too narrowly construed as much as it could be by having no constitutional rights or safeguards at all. Not with much enthusiasm the Constitution was passed. It can be amended. There is power to amend it by ordinary legislation within a period of one and a half years yet. Surely it is possible to have these things considered outside the more or less scared conditions of this period? Let us have the legislation brought in that this Party desires to have, this Party giving an undertaking, as we have already done in speeches to-day, that if the Government seek to enlarge that Constitution so as to give this power of dealing with a domestic emergency as an ordinary legislative power, we will support them and support them to the fullest of our power.

I personally am suspicious of all this. I think that the Ministry have realised that what happened at the Magazine Fort the other night required some discussion here. I think it is a discussion that they probably feared, a discussion which they were not anxious certainly to have, and we have this introduced, which is something of a red herring. If this legislation which is promoted now is seriously meant, I do not see why it was not promoted within three days of the High Court judgment. It was certainly being thought over that time. Why was it not brought forward? Only one thing has intervened since, and that was the raid on the Fort. This will not prevent further raids. If there is the same incompetence in administration and the same incapacity amongst Ministers, further raids are possible.

Probably this partially emptied Fort will be closely guarded, but there will be other places which can be raided. The Bills proposed to us to-night will not stop that. It is a matter of clearing out the Cabinet, certainly clearing out those members who are responsible in respect of their particular posts for what occurred.

What did happen except the raid on the Fort? I know of nothing. We have not been told of anything as between the date of the High Court judgment and the present day. Why is it we are asked to do this now instead of three days after the judgment? There is only one reason, and that is what happened on the night before Christmas Eve. The Ministers come in here in an attempt to blind people, to make us believe that if they had been sufficiently armed, if the weapon had not been struck from their hands by the High Court, the raid would never have taken place. Let that excuse be put aside—that there is no connection between these powers and the raid on the Fort.

There is one last matter I should like to raise in connection with this matter. As I say, we are being asked in an emergency situation to give a Ministry, who have confessed their weakness, exceptional powers. I am not disposed to quibble very much about the form in which they are given and the conditions under which they are asked, but I think this ought to be said. People in this State have a suspicion not merely about whether effective use will be made of these powers, but whether there may not be an abuse of these powers. Because the Ministry are in a dilemma, just because they find themselves weak, I do not like just suddenly to throw away every constitutional right there is, even though it is limited to the period of this war. I know there have been abuses.

When the last Minister was speaking, Deputy Belton interrupted and asked him one question which was not answered. The Minister was talking about murders. There was one very foul murder—the More O'Ferrall murder. At that time it was possible to bring people charged with certain offences before the Military Tribunal. Were the people apprehended and charged with that particular murder brought before that Military Tribunal? They were not. Why? Is it a fact that, at the same time, certain farmers, because of something in connection with the non-payment of rates, were paraded before that Military Tribunal. Why? The ordinary courts were not found sufficient to deal with farmers supposed to be defaulting in a conspiracy on the rates. But the ordinary courts were supposed to be capable of dealing with one of the foulest murders that has stained the history of this country. That was an abuse. At any rate, I have heard no explanation that justifies the use of one court in relation to one set of supposed criminals and the use of the other in connection with that murder.

We know that recently certain powers given to the Ministry under the Offences Against the State Act were brought into force by proclamation against farmers who were on strike around Dublin. That was characterised, and must continue to be characterised, as an abuse. It was found possible to discover a law officer who, to my mind, prostituted his position by signing a certificate that the administration of justice and the preservation of law and order had broken down; and that at a time when not a single District Court in this country had been prevented from meeting; when there had not been a profane word uttered in a single District Court, when there had not been an insult offered to a district justice sitting to hear the preliminaries of these cases.

It even goes further than that. While these things were at hearing, one group of farmers from the County Kildare were on trial in Kilmainham and another group of farmers from the County Meath were brought up the same day and put on an identification parade. They protested that it was not fair to put them on parade with what they described as townsmen; that the distinction would be too clear. It was suggested that the other body of criminals from County Kildare should be paraded with this group from County Meath to see whether proper identification could be made. These two lots of people who had brought law and order into defeat, who had broken down the administration of justice, left the court, emerged into the courtyard, and stood obediently to help the police to identify the groups. Notwithstanding that, a law officer of the Government found it possible to certify that the administration of justice had broken down. That rests for ever as a slur against him; it rests also as a slur on the Ministry that permitted that to be done. That does not breed confidence in people who would like to give this Government those powers that, once they get them, even though competent to use them, they will use them in a way which will not turn out to be an abuse.

I wonder is the House to assume from the concluding remarks of Deputy McGilligan that in an emergency such as exists at present the Government are to contemplate with equanimity the growth of activity of an organisation that sets out to interfere with persons in the discharge of their ordinary everyday business. Two questions arise in connection with the particular cases to which Deputy McGilligan referred. The first is that the Government was determined under the powers which they had under this emergency legislation to see that the food supplies of the City of Dublin were safeguarded. Does any Deputy contend that the Government were not fully justified in taking whatever measures they considered necessary to ensure that the people of Dublin had their daily supply of milk? Does Deputy McGilligan or anybody else contend that the Government were not entitled, when we had groups of men holding up persons coming to market with vegetables and other foodstuffs, to take steps to prevent the obstruction of these people and to see that the farmers who wished to bring their stock or produce to market would be permitted to do so? When I was down the country I was told that at an important centre in the South of Ireland, when a fair was held just before these arrests were made, a certain number of the gentlemanfarmer type who know more about greyhound racing than they do about ploughing, prevented the small farmers of the locality from bringing in their stock to the fair, but the number of wagons of cattle which went from that fair was larger than had gone for a considerable time previously from any fair, because, while these gentlemen were preventing the small farmers from driving their stock to the market, they were getting cattle dealers to go out and visit their own farms and buy up their stock. That is the type of thing that went on in one area.

That certainly broke down the administration of justice.

The Minister pointed out to the Deputy, when he raised that question before, that peace commissioners had not alone refused to carry out the functions allotted to them but saw fit themselves to take part in these activities. Does the Deputy contend that when that state of affairs existed in an area it was a suitable area in which to follow the ordinary legal procedure?

Are we to take it that that is to be the test for the future?

The Government were determined to take speedy steps to put an end to that situation. They can, I think, claim that, by the speedy steps taken, they put an end to a situation which might have become very dangerous, indeed. We know that the particular organisation against which the Bill now under consideration is directed is only too anxious to avail of any type of labour trouble or discord in the country, to ally itself with those taking part, to shelter under such troubles and, somehow or other, to let the lawless activities which are its real object masquerade under some kind of legitimate movement. That is one of the things for which the Government have to look out. We have seen in the past firearms used in connection with disputes which it was claimed were legitimate trade disputes. Where the legitimate trade dispute ended and where the semi-revolutionary activity began is a nice point that the Government at a period like the present cannot enter into with the delicate feelings which Deputy McGilligan suggests.

The first duty of the Government is to take such action as will ensure that peaceful conditions will obtain and that people will be enabled to carry out their ordinary business in their own way without interference from anybody. Mistakes in regard to individuals are always likely to happen in these cases. We were told by Opposition speakers that the proper way to deal with that situation would have been by the batons of the police. If the batons of the police were the sole remedy the Government had— and it might be a proper remedy in certain circumstance—the policeman's baton might hit the wrong skull in the same way as an individual who might not have been implicated in these illegal activities may have been arrested. Surely the people aggrieved have remedies at their disposal. If mistakes are made, those concerned can, as experience in the past shows, resort to the courts or to the Dáil. Is it suggested that Deputies on the opposite side are not sufficiently voluble or eloquent when they get examples of cases with which they can thrash the Government?

Deputy McGilligan is not above quoting private conversations to which he himself was not a party. Responsible Ministers would like to have consultations so far as that is possible with leading members of the Opposition, but I should like to know what confidence the Government can have in such consultations if one-sided accounts of them are to be given in the Dáil. The Government have, in the last resort, the day to day responsibility. The Opposition represent a body of feeling in the country but they have not the responsibility the Government have. I doubt very much that the Taoiseach ever said—I have not had an opportunity of discussing the matter with him; perhaps he himself will deal with it—at any time that the internal situation in the country did not cause him worry. The actual phrase used by Deputy McGilligan was that it was the thing that "caused him least worry." When the war started, no member of the Government—we are all wiser as the war goes on—and nobody else knew what problems were going to arise. The powers we sought and obtained from the House were very extensive. No member of the Government could foresee in what way war problems were going to develop. We had to experiment and see how the situation would move from day to day. Lest there be any doubt in anybody's mind about the internal situation, I can say that the internal situation and the welfare of our own people have always had, as must necessarily have been the case, a foremost place in the minds of the Government. I should like very much to know from the parties who took part in this conversation what exactly the complete statement was.

The Deputy also said that the Minister for Justice asked whether or not the Opposition would be prepared to sit late if the Government decided that it would be necessary to bring in emergency legislation. It was not considered necessary at the time, and the Deputy may make as much use as he can out of this further conversation to which he was not a party. No member of this House and no person outside it knew, as the Taoiseach emphasised, when we were bringing in this emergency legislation at the beginning of the war, what the future held in store. Nobody knows that yet. The fact that you have a long period of comparative peace is no indication that some question may not arise or that some attack on some post may not eventuate which may cause the gravest disturbance. We know the type of rumour that was going about at the beginning of the war. These rumours had no foundation, but everybody knows that, during a war period, you are going to have rumours and that incidents which may be comparatively harmless in themselves are going to be magnified. Moreover, we are not apparently going to get the co-operation from the Opposition Party which a Government which is trying to preserve the neutrality of this country and which is, admittedly, faced with a very difficult situation, is entitled to expect.

One would have imagined, from the speeches that were made here at the beginning of the war that the Opposition were going to co-operate to the fullest extent with the Government, but we have the extraordinary spectacle here to-night of leading Deputies of the Opposition saying—some of them at least—that they are going to vote for the measure that is now before the House, but at the same time speaking against it and making as much use as they possibly can of this occasion to criticise the Government. Then you have other prominent Deputies who say that they are voting, reluctantly, against the measure, not because they differ about such powers being sought, but because they are doubtful as to whether or not the powers being sought are the proper powers that should be sought under the circumstances. Now, of course, one may make allowances for the fact that Opposition Deputies, whenever an incident of this kind occurs, would naturally make the fullest use of it from the political point of view. Naturally, that is the prerogative of an Opposition, and no one contends that they should not have the the fullest powers to criticise the existing Government, but I think it is rather a mistake to pretend that this is a situation which confronts us merely at the moment, or that mere criticism of the Government is going to provide a remedy for the situation that now confronts us. One would imagine that those lawyer gentlemen, who had not a word to say, either when the original Offences Against the State Act was being put through, before the war, or in connection with other legislation that was introduced—when it might have appeared that certain matters in connection with the Constitution might occur—would now have a more helpful attitude, under present circumstances, rather than the doleful and bewailing attitude that they have adopted just because the courts have given an adverse decision about things that were enacted under previous legislation.

Deputy McGilligan has been humorous, or at least, has tried to be humorous, about soldiers in the wilds of Donegal. It would not be half as humorous, even with all his legal help —if it were given—if it were found that, as a result of some negligence on the part of the Government or of the Government forces, or as the result of some serious incident that happened in connection with the war outside our shores and which created difficulties with the belligerent Powers, we were involved in these difficulties. I am sure that the Deputy would have a lot to say if that were the case. Our position is that we try to do the best we can with the forces at our disposal, but we cannot guarantee, and no Government could guarantee—and I am not attempting to defend any shortcomings that the Government may have with regard to the taking of precautions against surprise attacks—that surprise attacks may not occur. Even if the number of people concerned is only a small number, if these people are well armed, and if they have the financial resources that we know they have, and if they have the necessary determination, no Government can give a guarantee against such surprise attacks. We know that a very small body of men can create a very serious situation indeed. It may be, of course, that in carrying out their plans they do not seek to take human life and that they may deliberately abstain from the taking of human life—that they may even carry out their activities in such a way that, to a certain body of people who may have sympathies in that direction and who may have sympathy for their declared objects, it may appear that, having regard to the past activities of these people and to their sincerity, more latitude should be shown to them than if they were engaged on activities of mere violence without any reason or definite political aim.

The position with regard to the abuse of the powers which the Government seek under this Bill—which abuse Deputy McGilligan seems to fear—is that you have the Dáil there at all times. A promise was made that the Dáil would be called, and I do not think that any suggestion can be made that that promise has been departed from. As a matter of fact, the present call of the Dáil is evidence of that fact. The promise that was made was that, at any time the situation demanded it, the Dáil would be called together, even at the request of the Opposition Party. You have the courts, and you have also the fact that the Government is not dependent solely upon the powers of internment. Where a charge can be instituted and where there is any reasonable chance of supporting that charge you can be sure that the Government will certainly bring that charge against any individual in whose case it may be considered necessary. There is the further safeguard that a commission is being set up which is to have power to get such information as may be necessary from the Minister for Justice and to assure itself that there are reasonable grounds for detention of individuals who may be detained under this legislation. If the commission feels that there are no reasonable grounds for such detention, a recommendation is made accordingly to the Government and the Government will then consider the recommendation and act accordingly.

The Deputy laid great stress on the fact that certain prisoners were released, and one would imagine that he was trying to give the impression that the Government, of their own volition, had simply thrown open the jail gates on this particular occasion. The position was that a decision was given in the courts, the effect of which was the releasing of a prisoner, and that, in a very short time, undoubtedly—possibly in a few hours' time—there would be a decision for the release of the other prisoners. There was no difference, so far as we could see, between the case on which the decision had been given and the cases of the other people concerned. We considered the matter very carefully, since it was a very serious matter, and there was a very important decision for the Government to have to take. Naturally, we had to consider that matter most carefully, and we did consider it most carefully and decided that the only position that a Government could take up was that any Government in a democratic State, and any Government in the position in which we found ourselves, must obey the law and not to have the slightest hesitation in obeying the law, even though our own feelings may have been of a certain nature, and even though we felt that there were very important considerations in regard to the maintenance of order in the country, which were involved. No matter what our own feelings were with regard to these important considerations, we felt that no other consideration than obeying the law should stand in the way, once the issue had been set up as to whether the Government of the day was to obey the ukase of the courts or not. We obeyed, of course, and as has been pointed out already in the House, with regard to the compulsion that has been placed on us, we had no alternative except to call the House together now in order to pass the necessary amending legislation.

I do not think there is any other point, Sir, that I wish to make except to say that, as one member of the Government, I only wish that the Opposition would try to co-operate with the Government wherever necessary, even though such co-operation may be against their political instincts. Even though their individual feelings may be very strong in regard to certain matters, I would ask them to realise that it is a question of the security of the State. They, when in office, stressed that point more frequently perhaps than we have done, but I think that as responsible men, leaders of a big body of opinion in the country, in a situation such as the present, when no one knows what the future may hold for our country, every true Irish man and woman, no matter what his or her individual opinions may be, should be asked by everyone in authority to co-operate with the Government of the day as far as possible in the essential things, in the fundamental questions, where it is necessary that the full and wholehearted co-operation of the citizens should be available. We know that times are difficult; we know that a war is in progress which may be only in its early stages and which may grow to dimensions altogether beyond anything we contemplate at present; and, therefore, I suggest that our people ought to be asked to co-operate with the Government in seeing that that peace and order, without which no progress in the solving of economic problems, in the improvement in the conditions of our people, or in dealing with the general difficulties which have arisen from the war position, can be made, will be preserved and that every individual should be asked to give the Government the fullest possible strength and the very fullest powers to deal with the present situation.

This Party is opposing both the Bill and the amendment for the very simple and obvious reason that they both mean the same thing, that is, the curtailment of the liberty of the subject and of his right to be charged and tried for an offence alleged against him. I want to say at the outset that this Party has as much regard for law and order as any Party or any group of individuals in the House. The finger of scorn used to be pointed at the members of the Labour Party, that they had no national record; in other words, that they had not taken any part in armed resistance at any period in the country's history. I am not going to follow that line, but I want to say that while we have a very high regard for law and order, we have a greater regard for the right of the citizen to liberty. The fight in this country for generations was a fight for individual liberty as well as for national liberty.

This Bill is not a Bill in the ordinary sense to establish law because it is a Bill founded on suspicion, and the speeches we have heard from the Government side clearly demonstrate that. It is based on suspicion, and not on any basic principle of law. The amendment seeks to set up that idea in another fashion. I suggest that there is a deficiency in the Bill, because, in order to carry out that idea of suspicion to its logical conclusion, there should be some form of Gestapo or Ogpu set up in the country. I understand that that is usual in dictatorship countries where this form of law, or so-called law, is in operation. We have the power given to dictators to intern, to imprison and to put into concentration camps people of whom they are suspicious, and that is the basic principle of this Bill, that not alone can aliens be interned, as was provided in the original measure, but that citizens, by the deletion of certain words may also be interned. That obtains in countries in which dictatorships have been set up.

I have rather a suspicion that there may be more behind this Bill than the suggestion of the Government that it is designed to deal with certain armed resistance in the country. I have in mind the fact that there are other causes of unrest which may call for the operation of the Bill against other people, and against other forces which may not have arms and against whom the suggestions that are made with regard to the people the Bill is supposed to deal with cannot be made. It is no secret at the present that the economic unrest in the country through unemployment, rising prices and the general disregard of the utility of this House by the people will be a very serious matter in the near future, and probably the Government, in its wisdom, sees that point of view and are taking the necessary steps in this measure, because there is no doubt the Bill can be used against such organisation, legal or illegal, in the country. We have had instances of that already. We had a meeting of unemployed in the City of Dublin banned under the Offences Against the State Act. The unemployed were not allowed to congregate and discuss their grievances because the meeting was banned under that Act. Why should not people who want to agitate for the redress of their grievances be interned on suspicion that they may commit some subversive action?

Another, and a very sinister, aspect of the Bill is that people can be interned on the suspicion of a Minister. That suspicion is very often aroused by communications from down the country. I am aware that certain people in the country receive money for information and, of course, these people must show some return for that money, and very often, the information the Minister will get will be false, but he will be inclined to act on it. That puts the ordinary citizen in a very peculiar position. If somebody who has a grudge against him sends up a report to the Minister, that report may be acted on. In regard to people who were interned I have a very shrewd suspicion, and I think I am right, that one of these lads was interned for something in which he had not hand, act or part. These things can happen under the Bill and, therefore, we strongly oppose it. We also oppose the amendment because there is no difference between one and the other. They both seek to carry out the very same object. It could also be used against a trade union organisation. If the Minister thinks that an agitation for an increase in wages or for better conditions of employment justifies him in putting this Bill into operation, when it is passed, against the leaders of a trade union, he can do so. There is nothing to distinguish between the type of people to be interned under this Bill.

The Minister for Lands referred to a case where arms were used in a trade dispute. I have no knowledge of arms having been used in any trade dispute in this country for the past ten or 15 years. I have no recollection of any such thing happening, but the Minister cites that as an instance where you may have the mixing up of armed people with the ordinary trade unions. I want to point out to the House that this may be used as an excuse to deal very harshly with the ordinary people of this country in their ordinary avocations. That power is in the Bill and that power may be used. As I have said, it has been used to a certain extent already in other things. The Minister for Lands also said that the policeman's baton may hit an innocent person, and that the Bill may also hit an innocent person. Then he went on to the fact that there is a commission to be set up. I am not quite clear, but as far as my reading of the other Bill goes I gather that a commission is to be set up to which the aggrieved party may apply. From what the Minister said, it looked as if the commission would go into every case. Even at the very best, that idea of a commission after the event, when a man has been imprisoned, is simply an inversion of the law, because in the first place the suspicion is that the man is guilty and then the commission comes along to see whether that suspicion is correct or not. That is an inversion of the ordinary law where a man is presumed to be innocent until he is adjudged guilty. Therefore, for this and other reasons which have been mentioned by other members of this Party, we are definitely opposing this Bill and, as I have said, we will also oppose the amendment which has been put forward by the Fine Gael Party.

The Minister for Lands speaking a moment ago accused us of not co-operating with the Government in providing legislation to deal with certain emergencies in this State. I think that accusation might reasonably and easily—I will use no stronger word —have been left out by the Minister. There is an old saying that people in glass houses ought not to throw stones, but I do not want to start comparing the co-operation extended by the late Opposition with that extended by the present Opposition. When this State is threatened in any way by any section of the people inside the boundaries of the State the Government have always got and always will get the fullest co-operation from practically every Deputy on this side of the House in dealing with that situation. It has been the policy of this Party to admit and recognise that the Government in office ought to be given at all times all reasonable and necessary powers to deal with emergencies for which the ordinary law is incapable of providing. We have given the Government those powers before now. We have criticised the Government when they brought certain Bills before the House, certain Bills which are now Acts. It was our duty to criticise them, and even though we criticised them and saw the dangers in some of the legislation that they passed, we agreed—reluctantly, perhaps, but we did agree—that the Government should have certain powers to deal with certain situations.

Our objections to the present proposals of the Government are not that we do not want to co-operate with the Government or to help the Government to deal with the emergency that they say exists and which we agree does exist. Personally I agree that the emergency exists. Our objection to the proposals of the Government is that we do not believe this is the proper way to deal with the situation. I do not pretend to be in any way familiar with higher legal procedure, nor do I want to follow the lawyers who have spoken, but to my mind if we do pass this legislation proposed by the Government there will still be a doubt as to whether or not the legislation will prove to be sufficient or effective. We think that the proposal contained in the amendment is the proper way to meet the situation. It would ensure in any case that no doubts would remain as to the authority which the Government would have in dealing with this or any other emergency.

I do not think I would have got up to speak at all on this matter—enough has been said—were it not for the fact that the Minister for Lands thought fit to make an accusation against a certain section of the people of this country who are amongst the most law-abiding of the people. Mind you, I am as whole-heartedly as any Deputy of this House in favour of giving the Government of the day any reasonable co-operation in dealing with a situation such as this, and if I have any reluctance whatsoever it is because in the hands of the Government as they are and in the light of some of their recent acts—we will not go into the past— there is a fear in my mind that the powers might be used otherwise than in dealing with the emergency which we all have in view. The Minister referred to an accusation by, I think, Deputy McGilligan, that certain action was taken against the farmers of this State. It was; to my mind certain unjustifiable action was taken against the farmers of this country recently. The Minister, in an effort to justify that action, asks does anybody contend that the Government was not justified in safeguarding the food supply of the City of Dublin and of the county. Nobody ever contended that they were not. Nobody now contends that they were not.

What about the pickets on the road?

What about the ordinary law to deal with them?

I am not saying anything about pickets. I am answering the remarks of the Minister. He asks does anybody contend that the Government were not justified? Nobody contends that they were not justified. I am not now contending that they were not justified in making some effort to deal with that situation if they thought it was dangerous, or, even if they did not think it was highly dangerous, I am not contending that they were not justified in providing for it if they thought there was any danger to the food supply of the city. If, further, they thought that this group of people was a danger to the State in any way, they were justified in dealing with such people. Nobody contends otherwise, but I will put this query to the Minister and to the Deputy. Does anybody contend that the ordinary courts, the ordinary law, could not have dealt with these people if they were guilty of any breach of the law? Does anybody contend that if the ordinary law was used and those people were brought before the ordinary courts that there would be any concerted attempt to question the jurisdiction of the courts or the ordinary law? If the ordinary courts found them guilty of any offence, does anybody contend that there would be any effort made by their associates to retaliate—if you like to call it retaliation—against the justice that was meted out to them?

We had farmers proceeded against recently under the emergency powers that we gave this Government. I submit they were unjustly proceeded against when the ordinary courts could reasonably be used, as Deputy McGilligan suggested. There was not a District Court in the country that could not try them, nor a district justice that could not safely have sentenced them to any punishment he thought desirable and he might not have a fear in his mind that he would suffer any disability because he enforced the laws of the country. No legal authority in this country would suffer any disability for enforcing the ordinary laws against those people from the judge down to the lowest counsel. There is no juror in the State who would be interfered with because, in his capacity as a juror, he convicted any of these people.

The Minister stated that farmers could not be proceeded against under the ordinary procedure. He went on to say that in some place that he knew of certain farmers, who knew more about greyhounds than farming, prevented some small farmers from bringing in their stock. I do not know whether the Minister for Lands knows more about farming than about greyhounds, but most Deputies know that if big farmers prevented small farmers in the manner suggested—I do not believe they did and that was never proved against them —and they were brought before the ordinary courts of this country and whatever punishment was desirable was meted out to them, they would have taken their medicine and the country would not have suffered any ill-effects because the ordinary laws were put in force in that situation.

These are the things that create a feeling of reluctance in the minds of some of us in giving what I freely admit are necessary powers for the Government in this situation. These are the things that cause a fear in my mind that what was done recently may be done again; that the powers we are now asked to give may again be used in a certain situation against decent citizens who may, perchance, in certain situations violate, if you like to call it so, in some small way, the laws of this country. If they are proceeded against under the ordinary laws they will be quite satisfied; they will not make any attempt to deride the ordinary laws and they will take whatever punishment is meted out to them. I should like, before I give my vote—and I admit that I want to give my vote to any measure that is necessary to help the Government to cope with the present situation —to be assured that we will not have a repetition of the procedure adopted in dealing with people for whom any extraordinary legislation was not necessary.

Everybody who lives in this country and who does not live in a glasshouse knows that there is a very serious financial, economic and political situation and, if the political situation is not satisfactorily cleared up and the political atmosphere purified, God only knows what will be the fate of this country. Here is a measure brought in to meet the political situation. I am as anxious as any member of this House to meet the political situation and to give the Government any measures they need to cope with the situation that is alleged to exist. I do not agree altogether with the analysis of the situation that has been made in this House, and I certainly am not going to vote for the Bill introduced by the Government, because it is not more power the Government want, but rather the guts to use the power they have.

It is not a gun or ammunition you require. God knows you had plenty of it in the Magazine, but you had not the men behind the guns, the men who would use them. If cowardice has been shown there, thank God it was Irishmen who raided them and showed pluck, for the sake of Irish pluck. If there was any supervision at all, how on earth could 20 or 30 lorries go into the Magazine, take over 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition, 28 or 30 tons, be there for two or three hours, escape out of the city and get the stuff to different parts of the country? How could that be done under even the most perfect organisation unless there was some laxity? The people who are responsible for that laxity come in here and ask for more powers to deal with the situation. What were you doing when the Magazine was being raided? Is that not the question that the people of this country are asking?

It is not the question for solution in this Bill.

Mr. Brennan

It is the cause of the Bill.

The aspect of the situation that has been laboured by almost every speaker here to-night was the raid on the Magazine Fort. That is the dangerous element in the situation. The point for us to consider is, if the Government get those powers, can they be trusted to utilise them properly? I have as much respect for members of the Government, in their personal capacities, as any member of this House and I am not now speaking personally and I hope the Minister will accept that.

Let us look back on the situation and analyse it. The Minister for Justice mentioned a few cases of murder which occurred during the last few years. One murder was committed in my native county and it was probably the foulest murder that was ever committed in this country. I refer to the time when young More O'Ferrall was murdered in his own house. About that time the military courts were functioning and one of the first to be brought before a military court was myself. I was at a sale where cattle seized in Tipperary were being sold. The Government who now want those extraordinary powers had in that sale yard 25 or 30 people who were only a fortnight in the special force. They were all armed with guns and they swore in court, some of them, that they never handled a gun until they joined up. They diluted the police force then and they diluted the Army since and that diluted Army would not defend the arms that they were protecting in the Park and that is the cause of the whole trouble.

I would bring the Minister for Justice to another incident that he mentioned here to-night where something happened in Donegal and two or three men were blown up there. They were members of this alleged dangerous organisation. I put it to the Minister how many of those who were blown up there were prisoners charged and sworn to by Miss More O'Ferrall as the murderer of her brother—these very men that were blown up there? Yet, a few of us here for attending a sale of seized cattle, were put before the Tribunal at that time but the alleged murderers of More O'Ferrall were not put before the Military Tribunal and they could not be discovered by the Gárda officers in Longford until the Gárda officer that the present Government had appointed had been removed from Longford. They had to send for Superintendent Liddy to come back and he put his finger on them in a few days, but they were not put before the Military Tribunal and they got away. If a Military Tribunal was necessary, if extraordinary powers were necessary, why were not they used? If they were used against one section why were not they used against another? No Minister has to-day urged that any farmers' organisation is dangerous or that any farmers' organisation necessitates a Bill of this kind. Yet, farmers were put before the Military Tribunal but people for whom the Minister for Justice says this Bill is required, when caught red-handed in murder, were not put before the Military Tribunal. And why? The Magazine was raided and over 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition taken. The Minister did not say when he heard about it. That was on Saturday. At about 12 o'clock the next day I heard about it. I was not in the raid, but I heard about it the next day and heard that the guards there were disarmed by the officer in charge of the guards.

Mr. Boland

That whole matter is being inquired into.

The Minister stated to-day that there is in session a military court of inquiry. The case might be prejudiced by statements made in the House.

I withdraw that. I hope this does not contravene any code that we should observe here. It was pretty well known about town on the Sunday afternoon. The Minister should have been one of the first to know about it. I think it would be about Tuesday that the military were operating on the streets of Dublin, on the main roads. Why was something not done between Sunday morning and Monday or Tuesday—I would not be sure of the exact date—but I know it was after the weekend anyway.

The Minister's statement implied that not only are men being charged with offences but that a military inquiry into all the circumstances is proceeding. The Deputy's questions might be put at a later date.

The officials that should have attended to that, I presume, are being inquired into. I will get away from that altogether. The point that agitates my mind is that even if you never had emergency powers, even if you had only the powers in the Constitution, you should have been well able to deal with that situation. Of course, when we come down to criticise it more closely we are told that the cases are being investigated by the Government. My difficulty is in seeing the necessity for extraordinary powers as the Minister and the Government have most extraordinary powers at the present time and, candidly, I must confess that from the way in which the Military Tribunal has been used, I would be reluctant to invest the Government with any more extraordinary powers. The question of habeas corpus and the rights of the citizen has been sufficiently dealt with by the lawyers but I wish the lawyers on the Government side and, for that matter, all lawyers, would be a little more accurate in their drafting and not make such a mess of everything. Surely the lawyers ought to be able to draft a Bill that would be foolproof and when it is put through and enacted that it should stand the test of the courts. If it does not, I do not know how the ordinary man is going to get justice. The investigation of the trouble handicaps the discussion of this case.

Mr. Boland

You will have another day for that.

To a great extent, it takes it out of our hands. I am quite sure that it was an accident; it was not designed.

Mr. Boland

The Deputy can have another day for that. It can all be debated in the proper time.

Do not make Deputy Linehan blush.

It would take Deputy Corry to do that.

I am not so enamoured of the amendment but I certainly cannot see any grounds or any case made by the Government for the extraordinary powers of detention that they ask for. History has been gone into here and it is alleged that we have had internments stretching over a number of years and that it is the same trouble we have handed down from one generation to another. I certainly did not agree with the line of argument of Deputy Esmonde on that point. The fight for freedom here against the British was an entirely different matter from what has happened subsequent to the exit of the British and has no parallel in the present case. The Partition of the country is probably the root cause of the present commotion and the raid on the Magazine, too. I hope that those people who think that way will get a proper sense of proportion and realise—as many of us have learned to realise—that the way to achieve the objective that they have, and that perhaps many members of this House have, is not by raids on a Magazine here or by force of arms against a power that is infinitely stronger than we are and that any further pursuit of those aims in that way might involve this country in very serious consequences and have a serious effect upon the economic and financial stability of the country. It could be much stronger and more stable than it is at present. The recent test demonstrated that, but if that test had to be made now, after this armed demonstration against the State, probably the results would be even worse. So that a very serious situation, from every angle from which the matter can be viewed, confronts this country. Personally, I would have no hesitation in voting for any powers that the Government say are necessary to maintain the State, but in my view they have sufficient powers already. They have the guns if they put the right men behind the guns.

I must confess that I have a great deal of sympathy with my colleague, the Minister for Justice, in the very humiliating position into which he finds himself being pushed to-day. To my mind, it is a very humiliating position. I think that he, or at least the Taoiseach ought to call for the resignation of at least two members of the Executive Council, the two persons who are directly responsible to this country, for the conduct of the Army and for the safe keeping of the munitions belonging to this country. It is certainly very humiliating to think after we had blistered this country with extra taxation in order to maintain an Army, in order to increase that Army and in order to purchase munitions, that these munitions were so badly looked after and that the whole thing was so badly managed by two members of the Executive Council—the Minister for Defence and the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence—it is humiliating to think that these munitions, purchased so dearly by the people of the country and supposed to be purchased for the safety and security of the people, could be stolen to be used apparently for their destruction.

I find it hard to follow what I might call the democratic mind of the democratic Labour Party. I must say that in this respect there is a very close affinity between the Government and the Labour Party. The Labour Party, because of what they call the infringement of the liberty of the individual, because this Bill impinges upon that, because this amendment of ours and the Bill before the House takes away in their view the liberty of the individual, will not touch the Bill. They are going to oppose it. There does not appear to be any regard at all for the security of the individual. Does it matter at all what security he has?

There is law enough to deal with that already.

Mr. Brennan

Does it matter whether his life or property is imperilled? The same attitude of mind is shown on the Government Benches and we have proof of that fact from the Taoiseach himself. We have, according to him, in the Constitution a sacrosanct Christian document in which we have preserved so meticulously the liberty of the individual that we cannot impinge upon it. We want the Constitution to remain as a sacrosanct Christian document to show the respect we have for the liberty of the individual in this country. To my mind, the liberty of the individual of this country is of no use unless he has security. Perhaps the Labour Party is right in saying that the Government have already the necessary machinery. Perhaps they have, but so far the history, the tradition and the background of these people have prevented them from using that machinery. It is quite possible, I admit, that no matter what machinery we put into their hands they may not use it for the security of the people of this country. At the present time, there is not alone a wave of no confidence in the Government, but there is also a wave of indignation in this country against the people who have blistered the country with taxation under a pretence of providing for the security of the people of the country. At the same time, they have not been able to secure the ammunition which they had purchased for that purpose. It is a disgraceful and a humiliating position in which to put the people of the country. It is a humiliating position in which this House finds itself, and whoever is responsible for that should certainly in decency leave public life. There has not been recorded in the world anything like it. As Deputy Belton said, the one redeeming feature of it is that if there was cowardice in defending the arms——

Is not the Deputy now discussing a matter which is before a court of inquiry?

Mr. Brennan

No, Sir.

If an allegation of cowardice against certain men is not an attempt to compromise them, I do not know what it is.

Mr. Brennan

I am repeating what Deputy Belton said and he was not interrupted.

The Deputy is not trying to rebuke the Chair? Deputy Belton was interrupted and requested to withdraw a similar allegation. He did so.

Mr. Brennan

The Minister for Lands, speaking a while ago, referred to the fact that these people who have now in their hands munitions and who had their hands strengthened by further munitions they obtained in the raid, might in future take refuge behind some particular quarrel or some type of public controversy and use that new situation in order to force their views on this country. That may be quite true and I hope that the lesson that was learned from Edgeworthstown, to which reference was made by Deputy Belton, has sunk well into the mind of the Minister for Lands. That was the very thing that happened in Edgeworthstown and the Government knew that. They knew that it was not an ordinary dispute, that other agitators, armed people, were taking refuge behind that. What happened? Deputy Belton said that these men were not brought before the Military Tribunal although ordinary farmers were brought before it.

The Minister for Justice referred here to-day to a certain explosion which occurred in Donegal. I should like to bring the Minister's mind back to that because, after that, I felt that a situation, something akin to what has happened, would develop in this country. If any member of the House will bring his mind back to that incident he will remember that one of the men blown up in that explosion got a public funeral and that a force of Gárdaí was sent there because the Government believed that arms would be illegally used to fire a noble salvo of shots over this patriot's grave. What were their instructions? According to rumour, they hoped that their presence would prevent the firing of shots but if they were fired they were not to do anything. In any case, what happened was that the shots were fired by people who had arms and who brought them there, arms which were not under the control of the Government, and these people got away with them. Is it any wonder that the present situation has developed? Is it any wonder that we have in the country to-day a feeling of contempt and of no confidence in the Government and, what is worse, a feeling of no confidence in Parliamentary institutions? As far as I am concerned, if the Government say that the machinery available to them at the moment is insufficient to keep everybody inside the law, I am prepared to give them whatever extra machinery they think is necessary for that purpose but we do not believe that what is proposed in this Bill is a sufficient guarantee that they will be able to do that. We feel that they may again get a rebuff from the courts. The only difference between the Taoiseach's attitude and ours is that, as far as we are concerned, we want to make sure here and now that what the Government is doing is something that can be worked and that will be worked, something that is at least capable of being worked without interference. The other is doubtful, but no man ought to be outside the law in this country no matter who he is, and there ought to be no connivance and no collusion. If we had to-morrow a repetition of what happened over the grave of the gentleman who was blown up in Donegal, I wonder what the Government would do. It is because of the backboneless attitude that the Government have taken up with regard to those people, ever since they came into office, that you had the happening that took place in this city on the night before Christmas Eve. That is a disgraceful and humiliating position to find ourselves in. It is not only injurious to the credit of the present Government, but it is injurious to the credit of the country and injurious to the institutions of this State. A superhuman effort will be called for to restore the confidence which is necessary for the well-being of this country.

Deputy Belton, in the course of his speech, made the point, and, apparently Deputy Corry was in agreement with him on it, that he hoped the time would arrive in this country when the members of the Government in bringing forward legislation would see to it that the drafting of it would be watertight. Actually, the position is that two years ago we got a Constitution. It was to be a Constitution for all time. We were told that it covered everything that was necessary for the country, both politically and economically: that it was a Constitution that placed the position of this country so high that, in the words of the Taoiseach, there would never be any reason for any internal disturbance on the part of people who might seek to improve it or otherwise. When Fianna Fáil were in opposition they talked a lot about the old Constitution. They used to refer to the number of amendments made to it, and, holding it up, described it as a ragged and tattered document. But, if they continue to go on as they are at present, then in a few years' time they will not be able to hold up the new Constitution even as a ragged and tattered document because nothing of it will be left by the time they have made all their amendments to it.

The Taoiseach, in particular, referred this evening to judicial decisions. He referred to the recent case in which a High Court judge granted a habeas corpus order. A number of members spoke on this and their attitude was extraordinary. They seemed to think that it was almost an illegality for certain people to go into the courts and get a habeas corpus order. The Taoiseach's statement was amazing. He referred to the recent Act under which the habeas corpus order was granted and said, although the powers exercised under that Act have been declared to be unconstitutional by a High Court judge, that he still does not believe that they were unconstitutional—that it was never anticipated that the High Court would be entitled to declare anything unconstitutional under that Act. Those who criticise the granting of habeas corpus orders should not forget that it may be a good thing that loopholes are found in legislation which enable people to get habeas corpus orders. The Taoiseach appears to think that the mere fact that the High Court held that an Act of this House was unconstitutional was something that the High Court should not and dare not do, and that the Supreme Court is the only body apparently entitled to decide that.

I want to get the position clear both from the Taoiseach and from the Minister for Justice. We are now being asked to pass emergency legislation. In that situation is the legal position going to be this: that, where the opinion of the High Court disagrees with the opinion of the Government, the Government's idea is that the Government is right and the High Court wrong? Either we are going to pass a law that can stand on its own in the courts or we are not. What is the good in saying, as the Taoiseach has said, that nobody anticipated that what did happen in the court would happen. Actually, it did happen. Therefore, the Government had better make up their minds, when bringing in emergency legislation of this kind to amend the Offences Against the State Act, that if they want to do the job at all they had better do it properly, and not have another series of habeas corpus orders being made. There is very little good in the Government taking up the attitude and saying, when the High Court gives a decision, that they think the High Court is wrong.

A lot has been said from all sides of the House to the effect that because a certain position has arisen the Government are entitled to get the powers they are seeking. Before I would be prepared to give the present Government these powers, I would require to see certain safeguards inserted in the Bill. A number of Deputies have said that they have the highest confidence in the integrity of the members of the Government and were quite satisfied that Ministers, in their personal capacity, would, generally speaking, use the powers well. I have not the same confidence in them. I do not think it would be right for this House, in the absence of Constitutional guarantees or safeguards, to put the powers asked for into the hands of the present Ministry: to give them the right, on the mere suspicion of a Minister that an illegal act was about to be committed or that someone belonged to an illegal organisation, to intern or detain for any period of time, any person in this country. As Deputy Brennan has pointed out, the State must be secured. The rights and livelihood of the people must be secured and preserved. At the same time, Deputies must remember that in this Bill they are being asked to hand over absolute powers to the Executive authority. Members should know, first of all, what those powers are going to be used for, secondly, the reasons why they are going to be used, and, thirdly, the House should be satisfied that the people who are getting those powers will use them properly and that, say, in six months' time they will not be used for an entirely different purpose or against entirely different groups of people. I have too little faith in the present Government not to expect, or at least to suspect, that a time may come in this country when, for political or other reasons, the powers under this Bill would be used against people who are not engaged in armed rebellion or anything of that kind against the State.

We listened this evening to sanctimonious speeches from the Minister for Justice, and particularly from the Minister for industry and Commerce. The attitude that they took up was that any criticism of this Bill was an attack on the State. The mere fact that anyone dared to criticise the Bill was regarded by them as an attack on the State. Listening to them one would imagine that legislation of this nature had never previously been before the House; that this situation had never arisen before, and that the present Minister for Industry and Commerce had never had to make a speech about emergency legislation before. There is no good in saying that this thing came about three or six months ago or even six years ago, because the responsibility for the present situation, if they are prepared to face up to it, lies at the door of the present Government and at the doors of individual Ministers who, as we know, had their own opinions about emergency legislation eight or nine years ago. Because some Deputies criticise the possible operation of this measure, there is very little good in any of the present Ministers saying that those who make that criticism are attacking the State. It appears to me that the only good reason the Government can advance for getting this Act is that there is a Fianna Fáil Government in power, but when another Government dared to come into this House and ask for emergency legislation the Ministers now sitting on the Government Benches shrieked in holy horror at the idea of such a thing, and, mind you, their encouragement and their attacks on emergency legislation nine years ago is, in my opinion, mainly responsible for the situation that they are now trying to remedy. One does not have to go back very far to find out.

We listened to the Minister for Industry and Commerce talking to-day about the responsibility that was on his shoulders to protect the fathers, mothers and children in this country. Ten years ago, in October, 1931, when an Emergency Powers Bill of a similar nature was being introduced, the present Minister for Industry and Commerce, at column 168 of volume 40 of the Official Debates, used a phrase that anybody might have used in opposition to the present Bill to-day. It was this:—

"The point is whether you are going to give uncontrolled powers to the Executive Council. That is a thing that no democratic assembly and no national Legislature can afford to do."

In the opinion of the present Minister for Industry and Commerce in 1931, no democratic assembly and no national Legislature dare give uncontrolled powers to the Executive; yet to-day the Minister for Industry and Commerce thumped his breast and put hand on heart about the responsibility there is on his shoulders, and of course he expects this House to give him and his Executive uncontrolled and unrestricted powers.

Can anybody in this House visualise a situation, if the present crisis or the present menace passes over and this Act remains in force and there is political activity of an apparently Constitutional nature in this country, that there are not Ministers of the present Government who would not utilise powers under this Act to intern and detain people because they were engaged in Constitutional activities against the Government? I do not believe that it is right, as, if the Government were facing up to the present situation, they have ample powers to deal with any trouble.

One of the remarks made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce was that, in addition to the 200,000 odd rounds of ammunition still remaining undiscovered since the Magazine raid, the Government have information that various stocks of ammunition are at the disposal of certain people. If the Government had that information and knew that those stocks were available, they did very little about it either under powers conferred by previous Acts or under the powers given in the Offences Against the State Act passed last year.

Again, is it the Government's idea that they want uncontrolled powers because power might be necessary to arrest and detain people, or is it that they want uncontrolled powers of such a nature that they cannot be questioned any more? Is it the Government's idea now to build up water-tight legislation which will give a Minister power, by merely writing a note stating that he suspects a person of a certain offence, to keep that person interned for even ten years if the Minister or the Government so wishes it? And is a person so interned to have absolutely no power to appeal to the Constitutional rights before a court or otherwise? Constitutional rights should not be filched from anybody. If people do not choose to recognise the court, that is their own affair. I do not believe in giving to this Government—and particularly to the Ministers of the present Government—the power to certify that so-and-so in their opinion is a member of an illegal organisation or that so-and-so is suspected of illegal activities and may be detained and interned without any explanation.

In 1931, also, the Taoiseach was very prophetic and in those days he was not quite the same man as he is now or, rather, he is not the same man now as he was then. Anybody comparing his utterances over the past 11 years will understand that. He made one remarkable statement in 1931:—

"I for one and every man sitting with me here this afternoon think and believe that if we were here in five years' time or in ten years' time we will see Bills introduced on lines like this if the present state of affairs is allowed to continue and that we will be dealing in the last with causes and not with results."

His opinion was in 1931 that, if the present state of affairs were allowed to continue and the emergency powers asked for at the time were given to the Government, the people who were governing would still be passing emergency legislation. But when he got into power there was to be an end to all that, the Oath was to go, all political objection to the Constitution was to go. Nobody in this country could be more politically advanced than the Taoiseach was then; once he got into power everybody, no matter how extraordinary they were would feel impelled to follow him into Dáil Eireann once the Oath was abolished. Yet he was prophetic, his Constitution did not make matters right and he is here after ten years—having settled things for all time with his new Constitution—and is proving what a prophet he was in 1931.

Regarding the Emergency Powers Act which was passed last September, when it was going through, the then Minister for Justice inserted the words that we are now asked to remove, in order to make it perfectly clear that there would be no power to intern Irish citizens. I am not satisfied at all about the capabilities of the Ministers, whatever I may think about the genuineness of the Minister in operating Acts like this. I am not quite satisfied about giving these extraordinary powers to the Minister. If some of their servants are going to have power to pick up whom they like, search wherever they like without domicilary rights, I am not quite satisfied that the last state will not be worse than the first, and I object to giving people in the forces of the State at the present time the right to detain any man, to intern him, or even the right to enter a man's house.

Ten years ago there were ample forces of law and order in this country to deal with any situation, but the Gárda force was demoralised by the Minister for Justice when he put them into the position that they were afraid to do their duty. When they were put into that position he had to create a new force; and a second new force was created at the time of the land annuities question. Now he is creating a third new force, and the attitude of his Party towards the Gárda Síochána seems to be that the sooner these fellows are got rid of the better, and every tenth Fianna Fáil supporter is measuring himself for uniform expecting to be called in for duty immediately. When the Minister for Defence was put in charge of the Army one of his great contributions to the forces of law and order was to dismiss people from the Army because they were politically objectionable, their families were supporters of another political Party, and when challenged in this House the only answer was that they were dismissed because their services were no longer required. The Minister for Justice was also responsible for little details of matters like that. People like reservists were dropped even at a time when we were recruiting a new force. People known to have political affiliations not in agreement with Fianna Fáil were dismissed. That was the way the forces of law and order were maintained and these people never got any redress. They are still out of the Army and still out of jobs, simply and solely because they were not of the same political colour as Fianna Fáil, and these are the very Ministers to whom we are asked to give absolute and uncontrolled powers.

We have had the lamest explanation of the reason for this Bill that anyone ever heard of from the Government Benches. The Government says that the powers they have had failed. Did the Government attempt to use any powers they have against any type of organisation of this sort during the last ten years? Is it now they are waking up to the fact that they have to do something? Are they now in the position that they are indignant because the courts did something that is repugnant to the new Constitution? I will not support a measure putting into the hands of the present Ministry the right to detain and intern anyone on suspicion, or to raid houses merely because somebody suspects that persons may be connected with illegal activities, or to have persons kept in custody in saecula saeculorum, if Fianna Fáil supporters wanted to keep them in. I would give these powers provided there was a guarantee that people interned are allowed to go before a court and not a commission appointed and removable at the will of the Government. It is a very sad state of affairs, after 17 years of National Government and seven years of Fianna Fáil Government, that the Government have to admit that the ordinary forces of the State are not able to control law and order; that the ordinary legislation is useless, and that they want extraordinary powers, without the faintest idea of what they are going to do with them.

Will the Government give a guarantee that no man will be interned and detained on suspicion or otherwise, without being entitled to the ordinary right of going before the courts—any court as long as it is a court? A military tribunal would be far better, than to be held for an unlimited time. Remember, if there is due respect for the courts and disrespect for a military tribunal, it can be laid at the door of the present Government. If we had the Minister for Industry and Commerce whining to-night that there was no respect for Governmental institutions, it is his fault mainly, more than any other member of the Government. In case the Minister would not agree with that statement, that he is mainly responsible for the disrespect that some people have for the courts, that they have failed in the eyes of some people, and that disrespect was hammered into them, I recall his own words, with regard to the Military Tribunal in 1931, a body that he and his friends put into operation against us in 1934. Speaking on the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Bill on October 14, according to the Dáil Debates, volume 40, page 170, he said:

"Only in this case we are not going to have seven bloodhounds— we are only going to have five—five officers of the secret tribunal..."

That is the sort of stuff that made disrespect for the courts and for government in this country, and that put the Government in the position they are in now. I warn the House, no matter what the Government says about these powers, not to walk into the position of handing out absolutely uncontrolled power over the liberties of the people. If they are to have these emergency powers of detention, on suspicion of being connected with illegal organisations, we must insist on every man having a chance to go before a competent court to have his innocence or guilt decided.

I will vote for this Bill, but I will do so reluctantly, I will vote for it because I am in favour of law and order. The present Government have not inspired me or the people with confidence. Since they got into power the Guards are not confident as to whom they should arrest, as those they arrest may go on hunger-strike and be let out next day. This Emergency Powers Act was used against farmers and other people in connection with the non-payment of rates, and they were brought before the Military Tribunal, but when men who had guns were charged, for instance, the Edgeworthstown murder in my constituency, they were brought before the ordinary courts. Farmers and ordinary people were, however, brought before the military courts. That is why I have been thinking why I should vote for this Bill. Being a law-abiding citizen and wanting nothing but law and order I will have to vote for it. In my opinion the Government are not honest in their efforts to preserve law and order. They change from one thing to another every other day, and the people are losing confidence in them. I think the people would be more satisfied about this Bill if we had heard speeches from the Minister for Defence and from the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures, because from what I hear there are rumours throughout the country, that the former Minister for Defence was at the head of what happened in the Phænix Park. In order to ease these rumours the Minister should have spoken here to-night. The people in the country have fears about the position. They do not want to hear of any more fighting here. If the former Minister for Defence and the present Minister for Defence had spoken in the debate the people would be happier about the situation. I ask the present Minister for Defence to give a guarantee that when he gets these powers farmers, who get together to agitate for their rights, or even the labouring people, will not be interned. If the Minister gives that guarantee everyone will be happy. Nobody wants to see arms taken up against the Government elected by the people. Everybody says that that should not be allowed. I ask the Minister for Justice to see that the powers given in the Bill will not be used against ordinary law-abiding citizens, but against those who take up guns or have anything to do with guns.

As far as I am concerned, I have no faith whatever in the competence of the present Government, and I do not think many people in the country have confidence in them. But we are faced with the fact that the Government was put into office by the majority of the people and we have to decide whether the measures they put before the House are required, not to safeguard the Government or the Fianna Fáil Party, but to safeguard the rights of the people. One is tempted to go back and refer to other measures that were introduced by the predecessors of the Government to meet a situation which was, at least, as dangerous as the situation that exists to-day. We had speeches from the Government Front Benches, from the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Industry and Commerce to-night, about the necessity of smashing this conspiracy, this armed organisation, asserting the rights of the people, so that no body, unless one authorised by the elected representatives of the people, should have the right to carry arms or to have possession of ammunition. We know what happened on the night before Christmas Eve. In introducing this Bill the Minister gave certain particulars regarding the amount of ammunition taken, and the amount that had been recovered, or to be more accurate, the amount discovered, because I think he admitted in reply to a question I put to him, that all the ammunition discovered during the last week was not ammunition taken from the Magazine on the night before Christmas Eve. Whether we like it or not, one of the difficulties of dealing with the present situation is what I might describe as the moral weakness of the Government's position. I am not going to go back into the history of the present conspiracy. I am not going to go back on what led to the development of this organisation. I am not going to go back and talk as to how Ministers might be held responsible. But I would like to know this, and I believe there are many people in this country who would like to know this. When the men who now compose the Government were in armed opposition to the majority of the people in this country there was a "cease-fire" order away back in 1923. We were told at that time that all the arms and all the ammunition in the hands of those people were dumped in this country. I do not know what became of those arms and ammunition. If the arms and ammunition were dumped at that time in this country, the people are entitled to know where the arms and ammunition are to-day. Have they been surrendered and given into the custody of the only authority entitled to have arms and ammunition —the State? If they are not in the custody of the State to-day, where are they? Why are they not in the custody of the State? That is a question I am entitled to ask and that is in the minds of many people in this country.

So far as I am concerned, the line I take on this Bill and which I have taken on similar Bills introduced both by this and the previous Government, is that if a Government freely elected by the majority of the people come here and say that, in order to safeguard the lives and property of the people, certain powers are necessary, and that they cannot guarantee the safety of the State unless they get those powers, then I believe we are in duty bound to give them the powers. What we have to face is this: that there is a minority—it may be a very small minority—in this country which holds that it has the right to lay down policy for this country and that the majority of the people has not that right. We are sent here, whether we belong to the Government Party or the Opposition, as the representatives of the Irish people, and it is our duty to take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard the interests of the people.

Like many of my colleagues, I do not think the Government are taking proper steps to safeguard the interests of the people. I do not think they are going the proper way about it. However, it is the way, apparently, that they think is the best way, and we must presume that they have been advised that it is the best and most effective method. So far as I am concerned, I am going to vote for it but, like many of my colleagues, I will do so with very great reluctance, not reluctance to give any powers that are necessary to safeguard these fundamental rights, but reluctance because I am afraid to put such powers into the hands of a Government who have proved themselves so absolutely incompetent.

I think the feeling, not only in the Government or in the Fianna Fáil Party, but the feeling of every Irishman at home and abroad when it was announced over the Radio and in the Press about what happened on the night before Christmas Eve was one of shame and humiliation, a feeling that we were being held up to ridicule before the world. I have no hesitation in repeating here what has been said by my colleagues, that, if the Ministers faced up to the position, they would have no option but to come to this House and tender their resignation. They have failed and failed lamentably. They have failed to take even the most elementary precautions. As Deputy McGilligan very rightly emphasised, the House must keep before its mind that there is very little relation between the measures we are now asked for and what happened at the Magazine Fort; that if the court decision had never been given by Mr. Justice Gavan Duffy, the raid on the Magazine Fort could have taken place and could have succeeded, as it did succeed. Those are the facts, and, no matter what our opinion of the Government may be, as I say, we have to face up to the fact that they are the Government, that they are the only people who have the right to speak and act for the people of the country, and, as long as they are there and come before this House and tell us definitely and clearly that these powers are necessary to safeguard the fundamental rights of the people, we have no option, however reluctant we may be, but to give these powers to the Government.

While I stand for law and order as much as any man in this country, I am not prepared to vote in favour of this Bill, because a few months ago we were asked to pass emergency powers and we reluctantly gave the Government those powers. Then the first thing the Government did was to turn their special powers on to the most honourable, decent, and innocent section of the community—the farmers—while we have at large in this country ten, 20 or 30 deliberate murderers and assassins. We on this side of the House are convinced, and so is the country, that a good many of those on the Government Front Bench know very well who those murderers are and could have brought them to justice if they liked.

That is a statement which should not be made. The Deputy must withdraw it. He is accusing Ministers of knowing about murderers and saying that they have not brought them to justice. It is a charge which should never have been made.

I suppose I will have to withdraw it. Any person listening to the Taoiseach's speech certainly would be convinced that he could not vote for this legislation. To think that the Taoiseach of all men, in the emergency that he says exists, would make such a speech as he made to-day—a real milk-and-water speech—when it was his duty to say: "I am going to lead the people to purge this country of the dirt and abuse that the people are getting!" But he made no such speech; he made the usual milk-and-water one, playing to the extreme section. I could not vote to give a man like that the exceptional powers he is looking for. It would be unfair; because I am satisfied that if the present powers were properly used you would not want this panic legislation. We have an Army and a police force. They were here before the present Government came into power and they did their work well. When a rowdy element needed to be made "toe the line" they got the jack-boot and they got it effectively and got out of the way. We had detectives here also who were prepared to use the gun when needed and they used it effectively, with the result that armed bullies who tried to trample on the rights of the people were made to "toe the line" or get out of the country.

The Government are the last people who should be whining and crying for such powers. They are responsible for the position in which we are to-day and until they repudiate their dirty past the people will not have confidence in them. I have no confidence in them, and I believe I never will have confidence. I say that they have sufficient powers. If they get the Army and the police force to do their duty, there is no need for special powers to intern people. We were all gaol birds in our day and we know that when you intern people or put them behind prison bars you make them good rebels. I myself was a rebel; when I was put behind prison bars I was a better rebel; and when I came out I was the same—they never broke my spirit.

Remember, that a great many of the men you are dealing with are a pretty decent type of men. I know that there are thugs and bullies who are bribed and have taken foreign money; but they are very few. I know that this organisation is small, though it may be determined. The raid on the Magazine Fort showed that there are men who are brave and determined and who will do their job at the risk of their lives. I give credit to any man, whether good or bad, who carries out his job. I do not stand for any men in this country using arms against the lawful Government or the property of the Irish people. Still I say that the Government have sufficient powers. If they get the Gárdaí to do their duty as they should be doing it, there would be little need for interning any one. There are plenty of people and nothing more than the jack-boot or the blow of a baton across the back would be required to get them to mind their own business. The power of this Parliament will be abused and taken from the people lawfully entitled to it if you start imprisoning or interning these so-called warriors. If you do that, you will have parades and hunger-strikes and you will make heroes out of these people who are nothing, perhaps, but ill-led, unfortunate dupes. I could not vote for new legislation of this type seeing the legislation we passed a few months ago was so badly abused. There are men going about this country who have foul deeds to their name. They go unscathed whereas if a soldier or a policeman does his duty he is transferred to the West of Ireland or, perhaps, to the south. I could not conscientiously back up this Government.

In my county, there has been a great deal of military and police activity during the past week or so—and rightly so. A large amount of the ammunition taken from the Magazine Fort is said to have passed through my county and the rumours there are very disquieting. If they have any foundation, there are men on the Front Bench of the Government who ought to resign. One man whose name is bandied about in the country should speak—and speak with a loud voice. He should state his case and where he stands, because his name is not held in any honour in my county to-day. A good deal of the ammunition was found in a farmer's shed not far from Drogheda. I do not know what foundation there is for it, but they are supposed to be the leading men who nominated the Minister and the Minister was supposed to be down in these people's houses less than a week ago. I am not saying that that is the fact but that is the rumour—and a strong rumour. People are thinking it strange that the Magazine could be raided at the same time that the Minister was dining and wining with these people.

I am one of those who stood and fought for law and order. I will fight again to-morrow for law and order if called upon, but I will not be a party to passing new or fresh legislation for a Government which has proven incompetent and inefficient and which has heaped injustices on the heads of the Irish farmers. You used the legislation we passed to "down" the farmer and to drag him in the mud. I will not be a party to helping you to do it further. Use your legislation where it is needed, but you will get no respect from me or any man who lives by the soil for using it against the farmers. You are a band of "besters", and I say it with all respect. You are really the curse of the country—you and your Taoiseach who should never be in this country.

The expression "besters", which is a term of opprobrium, was used by Deputy Giles and I must ask him to withdraw it.

I will withdraw nothing.

Mr. Boland

Do not mind a withdrawal. We will take it as a compliment from the source from which it comes.

Many Deputies who have spoken in this debate have expressed their willingness to vote for this measure if they get sufficient guarantee from the Front Bench that the powers proposed to be given will be used only for the express purpose set out. If these Deputies got an assurance from Ministers, individually or collectively, that these powers would be confined to the scope of the emergency aimed at they would be prepared to vote for the Bill. Many others have expressed the view that, because the Government are invested with responsibility for the affairs of the State, any measure they consider it necessary to bring in for the protection of State interests must, ipso facto, get the support of everybody in the House. I take the liberty to disagree with both these points of view and, at the same time, I suggest that I stand for law and order and that my Party stands for law and order equally with any other Party in the House notwithstanding the insinuations of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that anybody who does not wholeheartedly accept the nostrums of the Government must be held to be actively supporting the reactionary forces outside. We stand for law and order, but we are entitled to disagree with the methods proposed by the Government. I suggest that the remedy they set out to apply will have the reverse effect to that intended. Experience ought to teach us that. The prophecy of the Taoiseach quoted to-night from the debates of 1931 is borne out very remarkably by what we are doing here to-night. We do not seem to have learned the lesson. An unjust law, whether it emanates from a native or an alien Parliament, is offensive to all right-thinking citizens. It does not command the loyalty and co-operation of the people, and the best guarantee we could have for the State would be widespread support of the people of the State for the law, quite apart from the views expressed here.

The people of the State do not take kindly to repressive legislation, which reacts on the liberties of the individual. They claim that if a citizen is alleged to be guilty of any offence, he should get a trial. Whether a person be charged with a political or a criminal offence, in our own heart of hearts we feel that he ought to be brought to trial. That will be conceded by everybody. We are told by Ministers that there is difficulty in securing sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction in the circumstances obtaining. That is a very weak case to put forward. If the forces of the State have sufficient reason for arresting a man in the interests of law and order, they must have some information before they act. If they are not going to act, as suggested by somebody, on the whisperings of informers, they will have some information to guide them in associating a particular person with participation in the activities of a criminal organisation or with the intended commission of criminal acts. If they have sufficient evidence to arrest him, why not bring him before a court and try him? No Government should be invested with power to arrest anybody they choose and put him into an internment camp for any period they like. We have protested in this House and in the country against similar legislation in an adjoining State. Yet, we are copying their measure down here, with the knowledge that it is not going to be effective.

The most effective remedy for illegal organisations and for the maintenance of the right of the majority of the people to run the affairs of the country is the loyal co-operation of the people as a whole. I suggest that the legislation proposed here this evening is not going to be helpful to the Government or to the country, but rather the reverse. We know that, when somebody is interned without trial, he becomes a magnet for an admiring circle and that the movement he is concerned with grows. The very action of the State in putting him into camp is sufficient to secure the growth of the movement with which he is associated. For that reason, this Party is voting against the Government measure. They are also voting against the amendment of the Opposition Party, which aims at doing the same thing in, perhaps, more permanent form. As I understand, the Government proposes to take powers in this emergency to do to Irish citizens what they are already empowered to do to aliens. The Opposition would rather amend the Constitution so as to give the legislation more permanent form. If the Opposition amendment were accepted, it would become part and parcel of the normal law for all time. So, between the two of them, I see no effective difference as regards the principle involved, and I suggest that the Government are acting unwisely, even though they may have evidence of a certain movement, and whether it be of lesser or greater magnitude it is the business of the Government to discover.

I do not want to refer here to-night to the incident that happened about a fortnight ago. We are dealing now with the matter of internees who had to be released from internment as a result of a judgement of the High Court. As I say, I do not wish to refer to certain incidents that happened recently, but I wish to say that I was opposed to the measure that went through in September last and I am also opposed to the measure which it is proposed to pass to-night and which has to deal with Irish citizens. I suggest that the Government, in this connection, should use the ordinary law of the country and thus gain the confidence of the people in the administration of the ordinary law. I suggest that the best way to gain the support of the majority of the people of this country, and to gain their confidence, would be by giving effect to the ordinary and normal law, instead of having measures such as this. The Government should also endeavour to wake up their forces so that such a thing as happened a week or so ago will not happen again, and which I hope will not happen again. In saying that, I would like to point out that I am not one of those people who say that there is inefficiency in our Army or in our police force. As a matter of fact, in this case it was a matter of the exception that proves the rule, and I think the incident that happened will prove to be a sufficient shock to ensure that such things will not happen again; but I think it would be much better for the Government to tighten up their forces and use the ordinary law to deal with these matters, and I believe that in that way they would secure, if not the unanimous support, at least the overwhelming support, of the people.

Mr. Brodrick

I shall be very brief in my remarks, but at the outset I should like to say that, although I agree that Army ammunition should not be distributed through the country unless under Government control, we find that when you give the Government certain powers these powers, very often, are abused and that the powers they get, in order to enable them to deal justly with certain people in this country, are very often used merely to deal with those who are in opposition to the Government. Now, every time these powers are asked for and given by the House we hear certain funny statements from the Taoiseach. For instance, quite recently we heard his statement at the Ard-Fheis, and I believe that his statement at the Ard-Fheis really tended to help the armed minority in this country. We can go back to former days, when the Taoiseach was then Leader of the Opposition, sitting on these benches here, and when he stated that the right to rule in this country was not in this House but outside it. We can go back even further than that, to the time when the civil war started, when the same Deputy, who is now the Taoiseach, said that in order to obtain his objective he was prepared to wade through the blood of Irishmen. When you have statements such as these, how can you blame certain young people now for what they are doing? We have had these funny statements as I say, from the Taoiseach from time to time, and it is quite possible that, if these powers which he now seeks are given to him, we will have some other funny statement from him.

Now, there is one thing that is upsetting the people at the present time, and it is the reason why confidence in the Government is fading away day after day. I refer to the possession of arms by certain minorities in the country to-day. These arms are a menace to the country and they should be taken away. The Government have been elected by the people, and the Government should have control of these arms. However, when you take such statements as I have referred to, and when you see the tactics of the Fianna Fáil Party since they came into this House and the statements made by back benchers of the Fianna Fáil Party here, it is understandable why there should be this lack of confidence. I listened to them here in 1927, when they got in, saying that the detective force and the Gárda force of this country not only should have their uniforms taken from them but that they should be deported to some other country. We know that members of the Gárda were victimised, and we know that the reason for their victimisation was that they were doing their duty, and the position is at the moment that the members of the Gárda Síochána do not know when they are doing their duty. That is the position. You have a good Gárda force in teh country, if they were treated as a Gárda force and allowed to do their duty with regard to every Party or every trade union in this country, but the fact is that they are not allowed to do their duty impartially. That is the great danger that I see with regard to the powers that the Government seek to get to-night. There was one good sign this evening, when you had the Minister for Industry and Commerce admitting the incompetency of his Government during the past seven or eight years. He admitted that the Government were responsible for a number of the things that had happened in this country in the last few years, and he even went so far as to say that, inside the last ten years, in connection with the number of murders committed in this country, only one person was found guilty. I say again that if the men who were put in charge of the forces in this country were allowed to do their duty you would have more than one person committed in connection with those occurrences. The Minister also admitted that, in connection with what happened in Dublin quite recently, the Government were responsible. If the Government are responsible, there is only one thing for that Government to do, in fairness to the people who voted for them, and that is to resign from the Government, and that would be the decent thing to do.

When we look back again on the legislation that has been passed in this country since the present Government came into office, we find that not alone was there danger to the lives of candidates of all Parties who were opposed to Fianna Fáil but that even the people who supported them were battered up and their property destroyed. If the Government are given these powers to-night, at least we hope that legislation in the future will be carried out in a different manner, and that the people who are charged with the carrying out of that legislation will be allowed to do so impartially and be given a free hand to do their duty. If that is done, I believe that you will have justice in this country, but you will not have it until that is done. I do not like internment myself because, knowing what internment and prison life are, I know that organisation can be carried on much better in an internment camp than outside. Most of the organisation in this country in the past was carried on in internment camps; but in order to meet that, I should like to see established a court before which people whose arrest, for political or other reasons, may be ordered, could appear to show whether they were guilty or not. If you were prepared to do that and give people the power to appear before that court—I do not mean the court suggested here this evening, but a representative court that would give justice to the people—the numbers in your internment camps will be very small. If, however, you throw hundreds of people into internment camps, by the time they are released from these camps their organisation will be on a much better footing than before they were interned.

I have listened with much attention to the debate and I have heard experts giving their opinion. Therefore, I do not propose to give any opinion on the Bill and I do not know whether I will vote for or against it.

The Deputy should have made his mind up by now.

I simply want to get more information. I think the Minister, or somebody on the Government side, should have given the House more information on the whole thing. I listened with attention to Deputy Costello's criticism of the Bill and to his opinion as to how ineffective it is likely to be and the likelihood of its failing again. I do not know whether that is right or wrong, but I attach great weight to his opinion. I think the Government have been experimenting for a very long time and they should be fair and straight with the taxpayers who have to pay for all. They should tell the House, and the taxpayers through the House, what all these experiments have cost them. They did not tell us what the collecting of the ammunition taken away cost. We have not been told the original price of this ammunition, or the cost of the portion that remains out. We have not been told, either, the cost to the country of all the experimenting by the Government in various directions, for instance, the cost of the previous Bill. Yet the Taoiseach and the Government Front Bench decided, notwithstanding the criticism offered by Deputy Costello and Deputy McGilligan, to go on with this measure and possibly have to summon the Dáil again to pass other legislation.

These are all matters for which the taxpayer must pay, and there is not a word about what the taxpayers have had to pay for all this nonsense, all this experimenting and all this folly of the Government. They did not tell us what the amendment of the old Constitution and the passing of the new Constitution cost the taxpayer, and we have been told nothing about what the defence of these cases in court has cost. The taxpayers are paying for all and they are entitled to consideration. The least consideration they are entitled to is that the Government should tell the House what the entire cost is likely to be and what the cost has been for the past seven years, since 1932, of all the experimenting. The Government are getting back to the exact position in which they found the country at the time they opened the jails and let these people out. They have not told us what the opening of the jails cost—encouraging these people to continue on the same lines and then discouraging them again, summoning the Dáil and going through all these formalities— but, in the long run, they will get back to the exact position in which they were when they started. They have not told the country how much all this is costing the unfortunate taxpayers, many of whom have been cut down in their luxuries, but a great many of whom have been deprived of the necessaries of life because of all this experimenting. Yet the experimenting is going on.

All these are facts which I should like to hear stated by somebody because the taxpayers are worth consideration. I do not pretend to be an expert and that is why I do not propose to criticise the Bill. I have listened with attention to experts and have heard different views expressed on the Bill and the amendment, but I think the taxpayers are entitled to some consideration and I hope the Minister will give some information on these points. I do not think it would be too much to say that all this experimenting by the Government has cost the taxpayers something like £8,000,000 or £9,000,000 a year. I should like to know when this experimenting is to stop and when the people of the country are to get a chance to live, to carry on decent government and to conduct the affairs of the country as the affairs of any civilised country should be conducted.

Mr. Boland

One of the last Deputies who spoke, Deputy Brodrick, made the statement that it was the speeches of the Taoiseach that were responsible for the trouble in this country and he deliberately went out of his way to mis-quote the Taoiseach. The old game is still being played—if you repeat a lie often enough it will be believed. The Taoiseach at no time said he was prepared to wade through the blood of his fellow-countrymen, and Deputy Brodrick knows that quite well. Other statements of the Taoiseach have been twisted in the same way and it is the twisting of his statements that is responsible for any damage that may have been done in that way. Some Deputies have stated that they would not support the Bill and I feel inclined to say that I should be very glad that they would not support it. I should much prefer to do without the support of Deputies like Deputy Giles.

You will not get it anyhow.

Mr. Boland

I prefer to be without it. The position is that we do require this power of internment, but I should like to point out that this is not the only power. We have ample powers to deal with cases in which we are able to bring evidence which is sufficient to satisfy a court that a person is guilty of activities against the State, and I want Deputies to realise that not for one moment do we mean to neglect to use these powers. There are other cases in which we are well aware that people are engaged in these activities, but in respect of these people we are not in a position to produce evidence that will satisfy a court. Dealing with that phase of the subject, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney suggested that we should use the power of asking questions and bringing people before the court and having them tried for refusing to answer questions. I think the Deputy himself admitted, when asked by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that that would prove to be quite inadequate and unsatisfactory.

I admitted nothing of the sort.

Mr. Boland

I may be wrong, but I thought that was what he said—that they could be tried for not answering questions. If the Government is satisfied it is not safe to have him at large, a person may get a sentence of two months for not saying where he was, but I would remind Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney that there is no power to ask him whether he belongs to an illegal organisation. He can only be asked to account for his movements, or questions about some crime that has been committed or that it is thought is about to be committed. It is not likely that the courts would deal with the matter in any way which would satisfy the Government would remove that man for a sufficiently long time. I do not believe that is a satisfactory way. It has been resorted to recently, and will be resorted to in cases that we think can be dealt with adequately by that method, but there are people against whom we would find it impossible to proceed with the proof at our disposal. Remember, the court has to be satisfied; you must produce evidence. Evidence is not knowledge. There is a difference between the two things. You may be perfectly satisfied that something is in contemplation about which you could not produce evidence.

Deputy McGilligan said one thing which was quite true—a lot of the things he said were absolutely wrong —and that was that you cannot expect the Government to wait until a movement becomes really engaged in open revolt or does something desperate before they grapple with it. We have to grapple with it before it gets into that position. That is just the situation we are in. As I said in my opening statement, we have had information that certain action was contemplated by those people, action of such a character that the Government could not stand for it. We were not able to get precise information as to the nature of that action, but we were quite satisfied that they did contemplate something of that kind. In the case of any people against whom we could get evidence we did proceed against them. I think all the cases which I mentioned to-night were dealt with, and in all these cases the people have been sentenced and are at present in prison, but there are others at large about whom we could not get evidence, because they have brought this thing to a fine art now. Most of their orders are given by word of mouth. If you do get a document it is generally typewritten, with some sort of initial at the bottom which you could not identify. As far as papers are concerned, it is practically impossible, except with a bit of luck, to produce sufficient evidence to get a court to convict. I want the House to realise that. The technique in that regard has become very clever, and it has made the task of bringing evidence before a court very difficult indeed, so that there is no way of dealing with some of those people except by internment. I want to emphasise that that is not the only power. We are well aware of our other powers. We have used them, and will continue to use them where we can produce evidence.

This power is something that we want, and we want it immediately. We want it immediately because we are satisfied that we are living at the present time in a rather dangerous situation. There are certain people against whom we may be lucky enough to get evidence, but in cases where we do not get evidence we want to be able to hold them until such time as we consider it safe to release them again. That is the position. I cannot say any more than that as to what the situation is, because we have not got precise information as to the nature of the activities that those people intend to engage in, but I think everybody must be satisfied that this organisation cannot be allowed to continue. Whatever blame may be attached to those who were in charge of the Magazine, certainly everybody will agree that an organisation which was capable of doing what they did cannot be allowed to continue, and that any power that we require to deal with them should be given to us. We have been advised that the power we are looking for now can be exercised without reference to the Constitution; that it is covered by Clause 3 of Article 28. We are satisfied that that is so, and if we get this Bill to-night and through the Seanad to-morrow we believe we can have this power within a week; whereas if we were to go on the other Bill and wait until the Uachtaran refers it to the Supreme Court, if he does so, goodness knows how long it would take. The Taoiseach has dealt with the amendment of the Constitution that is proposed by the Opposition. We are not satisfied that the Constitution does not give us the power of internment. We want to have that matter settled by the Supreme Court, and hope to have an opportunity of getting it done in this new Offences Against the State Bill which will come to be dealt with by the House when this Bill has been disposed of.

I do not know what more I can say about it. We have had discussions going back to the past. I do not know if we went back to 1916 or even beyond that. As I have often said here, if ever the Dáil wants an opportunity to have the whole 1922 position debated they can have it, but I do not think it is fair to come in here and there with remarks about our attitude at that time and then object when we reply. I do not want to reply, simply because I do not think there is any good in doing it. It is not that I am one bit ashamed of my actions at that time; I am prepared to defend them before any tribunal in the world. But the fact is that things have changed since. Whether we were right or wrong, we were beaten in arms, and that has been proved as good a way to set up Governments as any other way. That was my personal view. Once we were beaten on the field I was quite satisfied that it was futile to continue.

With regard to the futility of internment, I do not agree with Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney at all on that question. I was interned on a couple of occasions myself, and I admit—I cannot deny it, and I think Deputy Mulcahy and others will agree—that when we were all interned in 1916 it was very, useful, but I was interned for two years afterwards by the last Government, and nobody in that Government had the slightest idea of what my personal attitude was to the whole situation, because I was caught under arms. But I can tell Deputies here that I myself had not the slightest intention—seeing that we had been beaten as well as we had been beaten—of pursuing such a futile policy any further, and that the vast majority of those interned were of the same opinion as myself, with the result that when we were released only a small number ever went back to that movement. I am speaking from experience. I will agree that it would not be advisable to intern large numbers of people at the present time. I agree that it is not necessary, and the Government has no intention of doing it. I am quite satisfied that the police can deal with this movement in most cases. They will be able to handle the people down the country all right and keep them in order, but there are certain people that that cannot be said about, and whom we will have to get. If we can get evidence against them well and good. I would remind the House also that when we had that power we interned only a little over 60 people. We did not see any necessity for interning any more than that. There may be now; I believe there will be necessity to intern perhaps twice that number, or perhaps a little more. I believe that when we get this power we will be able to grapple with this organisation so that it will not be anything like the menace it has been up to the present. I am quite satisfied about that. I do not mind the taunts thrown at us by some of the people opposite. They ought to be ashamed of themselves for some of the things that they said.

Deputy Keyes made what I consider was a very good speech, but he appealed to us to do a thing which I think we have done, and which I for one think has not been a success, and that is to try the other method. The difference between our Government and the last Government is that we were always asking them to try other methods, to try methods of persuasion, to give people a chance to wipe the slate, and they did not do it. We have tried that and I must admit it has not been the success I had hoped it would be. We have to deal now in a more drastic manner with those people. They are small in number, but they are highly organised. Unfortunately, they are able to lay their hands on money, too much money. They have a certain amount of technical skill in the making of bombs and things of that kind and they are a menace and, although they are not anything like so numerous as they were when we came into office, they are still more dangerous; in view of their better organisation they are more dangerous. They are a more compact and a more dangerous body. There are more whole-time members among them than when the last Government were going out. They have to be dealt with in a drastic way and these powers are necessary to deal with the situation. There are some people to convict whom, even when we do arrest them, we will not be able to get sufficient evidence. It is necessary to have sufficient powers to deal with a situation of that sort.

We are often told that we have made no case; we are told that we are incompetent and that it is purely Party politics. I do not know what better case I could make. I cannot recite the list of happenings over the last few years. There were certain periods when there was great activity by the members of this body, then they were quiescent and then they came on again. An effort will have to be made to see that what happened on Christmas Eve will not happen again. The Government will have to see to it that that kind of thing cannot occur again in the Army and that there will be no one there to take advantage of any opportunity if there is some slackness. I hope there will not be any such opportunity again.

The main point is not to have an organised body of people ready and willing to take advantage of certain opportunities, no matter how watchful others may be. No matter how good a soldier may be, he may nod sometimes. The only Deputy who did not completely blame the Army was Deputy Keyes. He realises that it is possible, even in the best army in the world, to spring a surprise, to work a ruse. It has been done from time immemorial. I quite admit that this thing has happened on the most vital post in the whole service, and it is a shameful thing that it did happen. I will merely say that surprises have been worked even against the last Government—not, of course, at the Magazine, but in other places. I would like to remind them of what happened at Mountjoy Prison, which I happen to know very well. It was entered and prisoners were taken out. They were actually handpicked; anyone the raiders wished to take out, they brought him away.

On what date was that?

Mr. Boland

The human element broke down. Twenty-five prisoners were picked out. If I were there I might have been inclined to pick the whole lot of them. Anyway, the human element failed, and it is not fair in this case, because one human being failed, that the whole Army should be blamed. One man failing on his post has often led to a big disaster, as everyone with a knowledge of military history knows. Thank God we have got most of the stuff back. We have had a shaking up that will serve us for many a long year to come. The main danger is the presence here of a body capable and determined enough to carry out such a job. We want to see that that will not happen again, and Deputies may be assured that we will tackle this job and that we will see this organisation will not be in a position to carry out a stunt of that nature again.

We are not accepting the amendment, because we are not satisfied that the Constitution does not give us the powers which we think we have. We are hopeful a decision may be given to that effect yet—that is, by the Supreme Court. If the President sees fit, and I hope he will, to submit the Offences Against the State Act to the Supreme Court, we are quite satisfied. This is an Emergency Act for the purpose of dealing with a war situation. There is a war situation in the world to-day. This is in an entirely different category, and we are quite satisfied we are within the law in exercising our powers under this Act. For that reason I ask the House to pass the Second Reading of this Bill.

Reference has been made repeatedly by the Minister to the large sums of money in American currency in the hands of the persons apprehended. It is common knowledge amongst us that for some years large sums of money in American currency have not been forwarded by the traditional Irish organisations in America to any political movement in this country. Has the Minister any reason to believe that these large sums are coming to persons in this country from a foreign Embassy, directly or indirectly?

Mr. Boland

There is the fact that the money was in American dollars. There was a big sum found on one individual. It does not, however, give you much idea of what the total sums are. I understand they have been able to put cash down for houses, to buy cars, and other things like that. The only evidence we have is contained in a message—in one of the notices that I read out to-day—where the Clann was asked to give all the help they could. It is from that source we think it is coming—from an organisation in the United States.

Has the Minister made any inquiries in America as to where the Clann are getting these vast sums of money?

Mr. Boland

There, again, it is only an expression of opinion. It would not be right or proper that I should indicate the sources from which I think the money is coming. I have my own views, and I think the beliefs I have are well founded.

But the Minister will make inquiries in America?

Mr. Boland

Yes. I think Deputies will agree that that is the worst feature of the whole thing—the fact that they have so much money at their disposal.

The Minister will make inquiries in America as to where the money is coming from?

Mr. Boland

I will.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 33.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Fred Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Friel, John.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Mullen, Thomas.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.


  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William J.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, John.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Smith and Brady; Níl: Deputies Bennett and McMénamin.
Question declared carried.
Question—"That the Bill be now read a Second Time"—put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 92; Níl, 10.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William J.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crowley, Fred Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Friel, John.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Keating, John.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Mullen, Thomas.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.


  • Burke, Thomas.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Everett, James.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Norton, William.
  • Pattison, James P.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Smith and Seán Brady; Níl, Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Motion declared carried.