Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 8 Apr 1952

Vol. 130 No. 11

Personal Explanation by a Deputy.

I should be grateful for the permission of the House to make an explanation in connection with a statement by the Minister for Finance on the Adjournment debate last Friday.

I take it that there is no objection but, of course, it is understood that there cannot be any debate on a personal explanation.

At column 1574 of the Official Report of Friday, 4th April, 1952, the Minister for Finance, in the course of his reply on the Adjournment debate, said:

"Deputy Dunne has found a mare's nest, but let Deputy Blowick answer to the House as to why he abused my confidence and the Budget secrecy."

I was absent from this House on Friday as I was attending a family funeral. The Minister must have been well aware that I was absent and the reason for my absence, but that did not enter into any explanation. It is necessary for me now to explain what happened on account of the publicity the statement got in the House and throughout the country. As is customary, a copy of the Budget statement was given to me as well as to others. I placed the copy of the speech in front of me and I followed it as the Minister read his speech aloud. Other Deputies sitting beside me read it as the Minister was reading his speech. I did not read it in advance of the Minister. I want to make that point clear.

The Minister took advantage of my absence to make a statement which was wholly and absolutely misleading. The Minister must have known it was misleading.

Obviously, this is going to provoke a debate.

The Minister was careful not to name me specifically as the one who was guilty of this alleged breach.

The Deputy is named in the paper.

The Minister mentioned Deputy Blowick, Deputy Morrissey, Deputy MacBride, Deputy Everett and others in connection with some alleged Budget secret leakage. It was only done at the end of his speech, and one daily paper coupled the two statements so as to give a misleading picture to the people, as if it was I who had abused the Minister's Budget secrets. I had no Budget secrets from the Minister. Secondly, copies, not only of the Budget statement, but also of speeches made on the introduction of the Estimates, are customarily supplied, and there has never been any leakage.

The Minister's statement misled the House and the country because of the wide publicity given to it. In conclusion, I ask the Minister, before he resigns from office, either to withdraw the statement he made or else prove it.

I just wish to say that I was not aware of the circumstances in which Deputy Blowick was absent from the House and, on Friday last, was not even aware of the fact that he was not available in the House. I also want to say that it is quite true that copies of the statement which the Minister for Finance proposes to make to the House generally were circulated to some Deputies. I do not think that any ex-Minister for Finance, or any Deputy, who received a copy of the statement which the Minister for Finance proposed to make, ever treated such a statement with the levity and complete lack of responsibility with which the copies I circulated on this occasion, as a matter of courtesy to certain Deputies, were treated.

When I first entered the House in 1927 and subsequently when I again became a member of the Opposition in 1948, I received copies of these statements. I have never shown any such copy while I followed the statement which the Minister for Finance was making to any of my colleagues. I have not shown them to any of my colleagues on the back benches or those sitting alongside me except perhaps on an occasion when the Tánaiste may have had a copy or the former Minister for Finance, Mr. Aiken, may have had a copy to direct their attention to a particular point, but never were those copies which were circulated as a matter of courtesy treated by us with the same lack of discretion and lack of responsibility as they were on last Wednesday.

I cannot accept that as a withdrawal of the unfounded charge which the Minister made against me.

There will be no withdrawal.

I allowed the Deputy to make a personal explanation and that is as far as I can go at the moment.

The Minister tried to make a misleading statement the last day. I asked for a withdrawal of that statement and he has failed to withdraw it.

Obviously we cannot have a debate now. If the Deputy wants to have the matter discussed in a fuller way there is a way he can do it. This is not the way.

May I have your permission then to raise the matter on the Adjournment of the House to-night?

That is a question which will require grave consideration. I will give it to it and inform the Deputy later.