Committee on Finance. - Vote 47—Defence.

Tairgim:—

"Go ndeonófar suim nach mó ná £5,126,700 chun slánaithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an mhuirir a thioc-faidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1962, le haghaidh Óglaigh na hÉireann (lena n-áirítear Deon-tais-i-gCabhair áirithe) faoi na hAchtanna Cosanta, 1954 agus 1960 (Uimh. 18 de 1954 agus Uimh. 44 de 1960), agus le haghaidh Costais áirithe riaracháin i ndáil leis an gcéanna; le haghaidh Costais áirithe faoi na hAchtanna um Chiontaí in aghaidh an Stáit, 1939 agus 1940 (Uimh. 13 de 1939 agus Uimh. 2 de 1940), agus faoi na hAchtanna um Réamhchúram in aghaidh Aer-Ruathar, 1939 agus 1946 (Uimh. 21 de 1939 agus Uimh. 28 de 1946); le haghaidh Costais i ndáil le Boinn a thabhairt amach, etc.; agus le haghaidh Deontas-i-gCabhair do Chumann Croise Deirge na hÉireann (Uimh. 32 de 1938)."

'Sé £7,897,396 méid iomlán an Mheastacháin seo, nó £7,690,040 glan taréis Leithreasaí-i-gcabhair a bhaint is ionann sin agus méadú de £217,300 ar an mheastachán glan do 1960/61. Feicfidh sibh gur mó ná seo an tsuim, £279,000 a mheastar mar chostas bliana do na méaduithe ar phá agus liúntaisí atá i bhfeidhm ó 1 Feabhra, 1961, i leith.

Maidir leis an mbliain seo ghabh tharainn, tá áthas orm tagairt a dhéanamh, i dtosach báire, don eachtra ba shuntasaí a thárla, ó thaobh an Airm de agus, déarfainn, ó thaobh na tíre féin de don eachtra úd i bPoblacht an Congo inar ghnóthuigh saighdiúirí na hÉireann clú is gradam agus inar thuit raint díobhtha go truamhéileach sa ghleo ag Niemba.

Go fóill tá ár dtrúpaí ag cuidiú le buíanta eile na Náisiúin Aontuithe san obair chigilteach dhuaisiúil seo. Féadfaimís, measaim, a bheith morálach asta seo atá ag déanamh cion fir i bhfad ó baile ar mhaithe le síochán eadarnáisiúnta agus is mó ar fad ár mórtas nuair a smaoinimíd ar cé comh aimpléiseach atá staid an Congo le tamall anuas.

Ní lú ár meas ar na Foirne Airm a d'fhan ag an baile. Bhí sé de chúram orthu seo na meithleacha a eagrú agus a threalmhú go gasta agus d'éirigh go binn leo ár nGéanna Fiáine a chur chun siúil. Níorbh é sin deireadh a ndualgaisí óir bhí orthu, in ainneoin nach raibh bealaigh teachtaireachta sách oiriúnach sa Congo, teagmháil a choimeád lenár saighdiúirí, a meanma a spreagadh agus féachaint chuige go mbeadh riar a cháis ag an uile dhuine aca.

Is mithid dom anso buíochas a ghabháil leis an bpobal i gcoitinne agus lena complachtaí uilig a chuidigh go deontach le sóluistí a chur ar fáil. Ba mhór an tógáil chroí é suim an phobail a mhothú ní hamháin nuair a bhí ár dtrúpaí ar a mbealach amach ach arís ag filleadh abhaile don chéad mheitheal. Gidh nach raibh sé indéanta paráid a bheith againn mar chúitheamh don phobal, beidh an 9ú Briogáid páirteach san ghnáth-pharáid tráth na Cásca.

Bha dheas an onóir dó fhéin, don Arm agus don tír gur ceapadh an Left.-Ghinearál Seán Mac Eoin ina Cheannasaí ar Fhórsa na Náisiúin Aontuithe sa Congo. Guidhimís rath ar a shaothar ansin, saothar nach beag é a dhualgaisí.

Ag féachaint siar, smaoiním ar thír eile, an Lebanon, inar thuill caoga d'ár n-oifigigh gradam mar bhaill den Ghrúpa Breathnadóireachta na Náisiúin Aontuithe. Nuair a bhí deire sásúil lena n-obair ansin, tóghadh duine díobh, an Cornal Mac Chárthaigh nach maireann, chun fónamh le hEagraíocht Stiúrtha an Sos-Chogaidh fé choimirce na Náisiúin Aontuithe sa Lár-Oirthear. Thairg sé a sheirbhís sa Congo dá dheoin féin agus ceapadh é ina Leas-Cheann Foirne agus Príomh-Oifigeach Oibríochta ar an bhFórsa ansin. Bá mhór an chailliúnt é don tír seo agus dona Náisiúin Aontuithe nuair a d'éag sé de bharr tionóisc ghluaisteáin ingar do Leopoldville.

Ba mhaith liom freisin focal molta a rá ar mhaithe le Foireann Liachta Cumann Croise Deirge na hÉireann. Beirt dochtúir a bhí anso, Seosamh Ó Bearáin (saineolaí lobhra) agus Seán Ó Murchadha go raibh teanga na háite aige. Do chuidigh na cáilíochtaí seo, nach raibh ag dochtúir ar bith eile dena céadta a seoladh don Congo, go mór leo le tuigsint agus comh-oibriú muintir na háite a chothú. Tá an Dochtúir Ó Murchadha go fóill ansin ar impí an údaráis áitiúil.

Dá mhéid saighdiúirí a chuaidh thar lear, sé is mó de chúram a fágadh orthu siúd sa bhaile. Is maith mar a d'éirigh leo a ndualgaisí a chomhlíonadh agus ní fhágaim as an áireamh An t-Aer Chór, an tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh, An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil nó An Slua Muirí.

Tá fhios ag cách go gcoimeádtar raint daltais ar leithligh gach bhliain do bhaill de na Buan-Óglaigh. Le tamall anuas, ámhthach, bhí sé de thuairim agam go mba chóir go mbeadh bealach eile ag oifigigh neamh-choimisiúnta áirithe céim oifigigh a bhaint amach agus tá an cheist dá scrúdú fé láthair ó thaobh raint ceapa-cháin riaracháin (Oifigigh Stórais agus a leithéid).

De bharr an snaidhm nua idir An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil agus Na Buan-Óglaigh, fuair baill agus aonaid an Fhórsa tréineáil beartach agus tréineáil le hairm nua. Ar ndóigh, ní raibh clár tréineála comh lán is a ba mhaith linn sa tarna leath den bhliain (riachtanaisí an Congo ba shocair le seo) ach tá súil agam go leighisfear seo i mbliana.

Tá an cosúlacht air go mbeidh an bhliain seo comh sásúil is a bhí 1960 i gcúrsaí Scoil Eachaíochta an Airm. Tá dóchas againn go dtíocfaidh linn marcaigh de chaighdeán maith a fháil as na trí daltais fé leith a dámhadh d'ábhar marcaigh, agus ar ndóigh, bítear i gcónaí ag faire amach do chapaill oiriúnach. Bhí foirne páirteach i rith na bliana i ndeich dtaispeántas eadarnáisiúnta agus do ghnóthuigh siad mór-chuid duaiseanna. Thug an fhoireann eadarnáisiúnta cuirt goirid sásúil ar an Mór-Roinn agus in diaidh san ar Mheiriceá. Anuraidh, freisin, don chéad uair cláruíodh capaill leis an S.J.A.I.

Bhí sé mar pholasaí ag an Rialtas, agus tá fós, cosaint shibhialta a bunú mar chuid de chosaint an Stáit. Ní gá domsa a chruthú díobh cé comh tubaisteach a bheadh cogadh domhanda le hairm eithneach. Ach ba dhíthchéille é a cheapadh go scriosfaí an tír uilig ag an bpléascadh agus an teas óna hairm seo. Ba ghá buamaí eithneacha de chomhacht meigitonna a scaipeadh thar fuaid na tíre 10 míle óna chéile. Ní dóigh linn go dtarlóidh a leithéid; fiú, measamíd go bhfuil seans maith ann go rachaimíd slán ó ionnsuí díreach. Dá n-ionnsófaí sinn, ámhthach, níl sé dearbhtha go bhféadfaí na hairm eithneach seo a theilgean le cruinneas agus, dá mbeadh tromlach an phobail scaipithe roimh ré, is cinnte go bhféadfaí raint maith daoine a tharrtháil fiú ó cúpla urchar díreach dá mbeadh tréineáil i gcosaint shibhialta ag an bpobal.

Mar an gcéanna le titim amach raidighníomhach; creidimíd gur feidir daoine a shábháil tré córas eagraithe cosaint shibhialta a gheobhadh bás ina éaghmuis.

Ní maith linn smaoineamh, bhféidir, ar chogadh eithneach; níl airm eithneach againn is ní dócha go mbeidh choiche. Táimíd ag déanamh gach iarracht ar mhaithe le síochána, mar is léir ón Congo agus ó Chomharlaí an domhain. Ach caithfear a admháil go bhféadfadh cogadh teacht; sa chás sin, 'sé cosaint shibhialta an sciath, bhféidir, a thabharfaidh sinn slán ón anachain.

Tá sé le rá fén dtír seo nach bhfuil bac ar bith ar thuairimí daoine; taobh istigh den dlí, tá saor-chead ag cách a thuairimí a nochtadh agus is follus dúinn go bhfuil malairt tuairime ar dhaoine áirithe faoi an cheist. Ba bhreá linn, ámh, go ndéanfaidís staidéir doimhin ar an gcruacheist seo, mar atá á dhéanamh ag an Roinn Cosanta feadh na mblian, sar a nochtann siad a dtuairimí go poiblí. Tá glactha againne le cosaint shibhialta toisc go gcreidimíd gur fiú é; tá glactha leis freisin ag Rialtais raint mhaith tíortha eile ar a bhfuil an Algéir, an Astráil, an Ostair, an Bheilg, an Bhulgáir, Canada, an tSeic-Slobhaic, an Danmhairge, an Éigipt, an Fhrainc, Iar. agus Oir. Ghearmáin, an Bhreatain Mhóir, an Ghréig, an Iodáil, an tSeapáin, na hIsiltíre, an Norbhuaidh, Pakistan, Philippines, An Spáin, an Eilbhéis, an Turc, Stáit Aontuithe Meiriceá agus an Rúis. Feicfidh sibh ón liosta seo go bhfuil go leor tíortha gan cheangal ann le cruthú nach ionann cosaint shibhialta agus bollscaireacht ó thíortha áirithe a chuirfeadh ina luí ar a muintir go gcaithfidís féin feidhm a bhaint as airm eithneach.

Má tá tuille eolais de dhíth ar Theachta ar bith, déanfad mo dhícheall é a sholáthar nuair a bhead a rá an focail scoir.

This Estimate is for the sum of £7,897,396 gross and, after the deduction of Appropriations-in-Aid, £7,690,040 nett, an increase of £217,300 over the nett estimate for 1960/61.

Pay, allowances and maintenance of Na Buan-Óglaigh account for the major portion of the Estimate, the provisions in these regards—spread over a number of subheads—amounting to almost £4,850,000 or about 63 per cent. of the nett Estimate. In relation to Na Buan-Óglaigh, the Estimate is, as usual, framed on the basis of the full Peace Establishment of 1,325 officers and 11,561 men, deductions being made, however, in respect of the numbers by which the actual strength is likely to be below establishment over the year. The net average strength for which the estimate provides is 1,100 officers and 8,000 men of all corps and services, excluding cadets.

Increases in pay and allowances have come into operation as from 1st February, 1961. The increases compare favourably with those granted to other sections of the public service and include the grant of children's allowances to officers at the rate of £20 per annum for each qualified child. These increases are estimated to cost, during 1961/62, the sum of £279,000, which is considerably more than the nett increase in the Estimate. The increases are provided for in Subheads A—Pay of Officers, Cadets, N.C.Os. and Privates; B—Marriage Allowances; E—Pay of Officers of the Medical Corps; P.2—Naval Service, and Y.1—The Reserve Defence Force.

Before proceeding further with an analysis of the Estimate, perhaps I may first say something about the year just gone by. For the Army and, perhaps, for the country too, the outstanding event of that year was the despatch of Irish troops to the United Nations Force in the Republic of the Congo. Having discussed and passed two Defence (Amendment) Bills—one temporary and the other permanent— to enable this to be done, the House will already be familiar with the circumstances surrounding this development and the course of events that followed, including the tragic loss of lives in the Niemba ambush.

The task of the United Nations Force was and continues to be a very difficult and delicate one. We can feel justly proud of the contribution our troops are making towards its accomplishment. In all, over 2,000 members of the permanent Defence Force, comprising the 9th Brigade, which returned home in January last on completion of its term of overseas service, and the 34th Battalion which took their place, have been involved. This, I think, is a worthy contribution in relation to the size of our Army and bearing in mind the difficult climatic and other conditions associated with the Congo. That so many volunteers were readily forthcoming is in itself a fine tribute to the Army.

Valuable military experience has been gained both by the personnel who served in the Congo and by the Army staffs at home who had the task of organising, equipping and despatching the contingents. These staffs did their work with admirable efficiency and expedition. But their concern did not end with the despatch of the troops. It was necessary, despite the chaotic conditions in the Congo and the absence of adequate communications facilities, to maintain contact with the troops overseas and to strive by every means possible to give them moral and material support. In this connection I should also gratefully mention the public-spirited activities of many individuals and firms in organising and providing comforts for troops overseas. This spontaneous expression of solicitude was most heartening and morale-sustaining.

A memorable feature of the despatch of the troops was the enthusiastic send-off which the general public accorded them and the warmth of the welcome which awaited the first contingent on its return home. A parade of the returning 9th Brigade would have been a fitting gesture in acknowledgment of the popular feeling, but in the interest of the health and well-being of the troops, such a ceremony was not feasible at that time. The Brigade will, however, be reassembled for the purpose of taking part in the forthcoming Easter Parade.

The appointment of Lieut.-General Seán Mac Eoin to be Commander of the United Nations Force in the Congo was a tribute not only to him personally but also to the Army, whose Chief of Staff he had been, and to the country. The House, I am sure, will desire to join me in wishing him success in the arduous task to which he has set his hand.

Deputies will recall that the Congo is not the only overseas theatre in which Army personnel have assisted the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace. In 1958, 50 of our officers served with distinction in the United Nations Observation Group in the Lebanon and one of their number, the late Colonel Justin MacCarthy, became Deputy Chief of Staff of the Group. When the Group had successfully completed its mission in the Lebanon, Colonel MacCarthy took up duty with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation in the Middle East and eventually became Acting Chief of Staff of that Organisation. He volunteered for service with the United Nations Force in the Congo and was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Operations Officer of that Force. His tragic death in a car accident near Leopoldville was a great loss both to this country and to the United Nations.

Before leaving the subject of Ireland's participation in the Congo operations, I should also say a word in praise of the Irish Red Cross Medical Team which volunteered for service in the Congo. The team, consisting of Doctors Joseph Barnes and John Murphy, has added lustre to the name of Ireland through its work. Both doctors have won favourable recognition from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Of the hundreds of doctors sent to the Congo by 18 National Societies, Dr. Murphy was the only one who could speak the native language and Dr. Barnes was the only specialist in leprosy. These qualifications greatly facilitated their work and secured for them the understanding and willing co-operation of the native population. Dr. Barnes returned home on completion of his term of duty. Dr. Murphy, at the special request of the local administration, agreed to extend his term.

In view of the absence of so many members of Na Buan-Óglaigh on service abroad, the demands of administration and training and the duties in connection with An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil fell particularly heavily on those that remained, and I would wish to pay them a very sincere tribute for the manner in which they met the greatly increased demands that had to be made on them. I include in that tribute the members of An tAer Chór for their excellent contribution to the airlift of the troops to the Congo; An tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh, whose work went on throughout the year unostentatiously but efficiently, and the members of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil and An Slua Muirí.

Deputies will be aware that noncommissioned personnel of Na Buan Óglaigh are eligible to compete for cadetships and that a number of places are reserved for them each year. I have felt for some time, however, that there should be some further way in which suitable experienced noncommissioned officers could progress to commissioned rank and the possibility of selecting such non-commissioned officers to fill certain administrative appointments—stores officers and the like—is being considered.

In the first full year since the integration of Na Buan-Óglaigh and An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, satisfactory progress was made in the field of tactical and weapon training. Many new weapons were fired by personnel of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil and many units of An Fórsa required by the re-organisation to convert to other corps were trained and exercised in new weapons and equipment. Tactical training of units of An Fórsa up to company level was achieved in conjunction with units of Na Buan-Óglaigh. Progress was, of course, hampered to some extent in the second half of the year, because of the strain placed on the resources of Na Buan-Óglaigh by the Congo requirements, but it is hoped this year to get back again to a full standard of training programmes.

The satisfactory progress of Scoil Eachaíochta an Airm was continued in 1960 and the prospects for the future look good. The results achieved during the year are very encouraging and the process of building up the quality of horses and riders is being continued. The Horse Purchasing Board is constantly on the look-out for suitable animals and the award of three special cadetships to potential riders and the introduction of horsemanship as a subject in the curriculum of cadet training will, it is hoped, ensure a supply of good quality riders in future.

During the year teams competed at 10 international horse shows at which they won 10 first, 10 second, 16 third, 27 fourth places and many other prizes. The international team started off with a short continental tour which, in view of the comparative inexperience of horses and riders, was very satisfactory, and finished up with a successful American tour. In addition, teams composed mainly of young horses in training competed at 20 Irish provincial shows. Last year, for the first time, horses were registered with the Show Jumping Association of Ireland and nine gymkanas were attended. Here again the performances and successes were satisfactory and both gymkanas and provincial shows provided valuable training and experience for horses and riders.

The policy of An Rialtas in endeavouring to establish civil defence as part of the national defence remains unchanged. In justification of this policy I should like to make a few comments: the cold and inescapable truth is, of course, that world war with nuclear weapons would be a catastrophe, almost beyond the scope of our imagination, to the world at large. We have never tried to hide this fact, but, on the contrary, have tried continuously to place before the people the nature of the hazards of a nuclear war. These hazards, must, however, be related to the position in this country.

It is, for example, sheer nonsense to think and talk of the whole country being completely destroyed by the blast and heat effects of nuclear weapons. To do this it would be necessary to straddle the entire country with comparatively high-power nuclear bombs of the megaton range at intervals of about 10 miles, or perhaps considerably less.

May I interrupt the Minister? Is it possible that there is only one copy of the Minister's speech available to the House?

It is not usual to circulate copies.

It has been done in the past by other Ministers. It is not possible to hear everything the Minister is saying.

I shall see if it is possible to get one or two other copies. It is not usual and no arrangements have been made, but if I can get a copy for the Deputy I shall.

That courtesy has been extended to the biggest Opposition Party, and should be extended to other Parties.

If I can get a copy for the Deputy I shall.

We do not believe that this bomb attack would take place. On the contrary, there are good grounds for hoping that we will escape direct attack— a not unreasonable hope in view of our neutrality and the fact that there are few, if any, military targets that would appear to warrant a nuclear attack. We must also remember that, even in the event of attack, there is no reason to believe that the means of delivery of these weapons are so accurate as to ensure pin-point accuracy on large centres of population, so that it is by no means certain that a bomb intended, say, for the centre of Dublin City, would strike where intended—it could fall considerably wide of the mark. Another factor, which would tend to reduce the number of casualties would be the dispersal of as much as possible of the population before the actual outbreak of hostilities. However, even in the worst circumstances of one or more direct hits on our country, the bulk of the evidence available indicates that there will be many survivors who can be saved if people are trained in civil defence. In the event of such a catastrophe, civil defence does not claim to be a method of preventing the direct effects of the bomb. It means the organisation and training of a force to rescue survivors in the fringe areas and help them to live on.

Similarly, with regard to the awful threat of radio-active fall-out—a peril which could affect any part of the country—we believe that organised civil defence and the measures which people themselves can, through civil defence, learn to take in the face of such a threat, will ensure the survival of people who would otherwise die. In short, the justification for civil defence is that it will enable our people as a nation to survive a war.

None of us likes to contemplate the prospect of nuclear warfare. Our national consience is, however, quite clear in this matter. We do not possess such weapons nor are we likely ever to have them, let alone use them. The efforts of our representatives in the councils of the world and the role of our soldiers in the Congo are very tangible evidence of our dedication to peace. We cannot, however, blind ourselves to the possibility that war may come, and in such event, effective civil defence measures may well be the main bulwark between the nation and complete annihilation.

We, in this country, are in the very fortunate position of being able to hold whatever views we wish and, within the law, to express those views. We recognise that views on civil defence other than ours are prevalent in some circles—very often amongst those who set themselves up to be the champions of world peace. It is doubtful, however, if the individuals concerned have taken the trouble to study this whole question, in all its complications, in the same detailed and prolonged way as An Roinn Cosanta has been doing over the years.

Our studies have led us to the unshakable belief that civil defence is well worth while. That we are not alone in this belief is evidenced by the fact that the principles of civil defence have been accepted by the governments of many countries including Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, West and East Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, U.S.A., U.S.S.R. This is an impressive list which should convince any reasonable person that civil defence is not worthless. In my opinion, it also includes sufficient "uncommitted countries" to dispel any idea that civil defence is merely a device to "condition" people in certain countries to accept the fact that they themselves may have to resort to the use of nuclear weapons.

Turning to the civil defence organisation itself, the returns furnished by the local authorities show an overall net increase in the numbers at present in the civil defence organisation. After allowing for wastage, which is inevitable in a voluntary organisation of this nature, the net increase amounts to 1,200, with a current strength of 6,000 approximately. I think these figures justify the belief I expressed last year that the organisation has taken root. In regard to the question of wastage, I feel that a certain reserve is being built up in the sense that anyone who has already completed a course of civil defence training, but who has discontinued attendance at the weekly training would, nevertheless, come forward in an emergency and be a very useful member when required. While the figures generally reveal a serious lack of appreciation as to the responsibility of citizens in regard to civil defence, it is at present more important to have quality rather than quantity.

I referred last year to the territorial sub-divisions of county boroughs and counties for the purpose of civil defence control by each local authority. The draft proposals have been under consideration by the local authorities during the year and I am glad to say that, apart from a few places where real difficulties have been encountered, the territorial sub-divisions have been agreed upon and the necessary maps have been prepared. As, however, plans would be of little value if there were not the essential key personnel to develop them, proposals were made to city and county managers with the object of securing that there would be, within the local authority organisation, officers actually designated to undertake the overall peacetime supervision of particular Civil Defence services being organised by the local authorities, and, should an emergency arise, to participate in operational control of these services locally. I would like here to express my appreciation of the co-operation received from all concerned in connection with these proposals, which have been accepted by the counties. Special consideration is, however, necessary in connection with the position in county boroughts.

I should mention too that local authorities are being asked to approach persons who would be considered suitable as leaders, particularly as Chief and Sub County Wardens, with a view to securing their services on a voluntary basis. I would emphasise again in this regard that the development of a worthwhile organisation throughout the country will greatly depend on the extent to which responsible persons will offer their services to the local authorities as local leaders at the various levels of control. For this reason, I would appeal to anyone to whom a personal approach is made to accept a post as local leader, at whatever level, to give the request the most serious consideration.

I would invite the attention of Deputies to the new heading in Subhead P.1., viz., Regional Headquarters. Up to now the emphasis has been on building the organisation at local authority level. It will be recognised that for purposes of overall control it is necessary to establish a superstructure linking local controls with the central Government. Obviously, this can only be achieved by dividing the country into regions. Eight of these regions (comprising from 3 to 4 counties) are being established and in this regard the military Command boundaries have been re-drawn in order to ensure that each region will be within the confines of a particular Command.

The creation of regions likewise involves specific planning in peacetime, particularly in regard to the study and planning of the regional control. This necessitates the appointment forthwith of a Regional Civil Defence Officer who would work out the regional control system, establish mutual support arrangements between the counties within his region, and co-ordinate the organisation and recruiting for Civil Defence in his region. The question of the most suitable persons to be nominated as Regional Civil Defence Officers has been given careful consideration. Having regard to the nature of the duties and the inadvisability of making permanent appointments at this juncture, I have come to the conclusion that the best manner in which full time officers could be made available would be to assign eight army officers of senior rank to undertake these duties. These officers will be paid by my Department—the regional organisation is not a local authority responsibility— but, as I have already stated, their duties will include assistance to local authorities in regard to recruiting and organising Civil Defence in the counties.

I think I can say that this step is clear evidence of the earnestness of An Rialtas in regard to Civil Defence and I personally am hopeful that it will help to create a sense of unity between the counties in the regions and at the same time establish a closer link between my department and the local authorities.

It can be accepted that in the event of a major war Óglaigh na hÉireann, if not engaged in military operations in defence of the State, would render all possible assistance to Civil Defence. It will be apparent that the Army, by reason of its organisation and training, can render valuable assistance, particularly in the field of rescue, first-aid and communications. Training in certain aspects of Civil Defence has been initiated within Na Buan-Óglaigh and will be progressively developed. It is hoped to introduce such training at an early date into An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil.

I would invite the attention of Deputies to the fact that, in the Estimates, certain provisions are being made for the establishment of a new class of the Reserve to be called An Cór Breathnadóirí—the Observer Corps. The main function of this Corps will be the monitoring of radioactive fall-out on a nation-wide basis so as to provide, as far as possible, advance information of the possible arrival of fall-out over any part of the State and enable the necessary warning to be issued. The monitoring of fall-out by the local Civil Defence Warden Service will, however, still be essential in order to give a more detailed picture of the actual fall-out in each locality. The Corps will also undertake the other functions of a ground observer system in relation to the reporting of low-flying aircraft, general air and ground intelligence and coastwatching.

While the new Corps will, therefore, be organised as a part of the Reserve, it will have a special significance in relation to Civil Defence. Its organisation and training will, it is expected, follow broadly on the pattern of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, but it will be unarmed.

The corps will operate from observer posts which will be set up at a number of locations throughout the country. In the main, accommodation for the posts will be found in existing State premises, including military posts and Gárda stations. A system of telephonic communication will be provided to link the posts with the local, regional and central controls of the corps. The personnel will be recruited locally for service in the posts situated in their own areas. A small number of personnel of the permanent Defence Force will be attached to the corps to organise and train it.

The task of setting up An Cór Breathnadóirí will be commenced during 1961/62 and will probably occupy two or three years. The initial cost, covering the provision of radiac instruments, telephone facilities, accommodation where necessary, miscellaneous equipment, uniforms and protective clothing, together with the cost of repairing existing premises where necessary and providing protection against radioactive fall-out, is estimated at some £400,000. An instalment is provided for in this Estimate and provision for the balance will be made in future Estimates.

Having thus dealt broadly with the past year and with contemplated developments during the present year, I shall now speak about the details of the Estimate. I am sure it will suffice if I comment on the more substantial increases and decreases in the individual subheads—increases or decreases of £10,000 or more. I have already referred to the increases in subheads A, B, E, P.2 and Y.1; these are, as I have said, mainly or substantially due to the recently sanctioned increases in pay and allowances.

I shall take together Subheads C—Pay of Civilians attached to Units, and S—Barrack Maintenance and New Works. Subhead S shows an increase of £28,844 over the same subhead for last year. This is due principally to a provision of £15,000 for materials for one stage of the erection of a new girls' school at Campa an Churraigh, provisions amounting to £7,500 for materials for the erection and conversion of premises for An Cór Breathnadóirí and an increase of £5,107 in the provision for materials for the repair of barrack roads and squares which have deteriorated. The Estimate also contains provision— £6,500 for materials—for the completion of a new Gymnasium in Dún Uí Choileáin, Baile Átha Cliath. The increase in Subhead C—£12,880—is due to the necessity for a larger staff of civilian employees in connection with the new works mentioned.

I may add that 24 new houses for married soldiers have just been completed in Cork, bringing the total number of new houses erected for soldiers in recent years to 162, including 88 in McKee Park, Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin, 30 in Campa an Churraigh and 20 in Áth Luain. In continuation of the programme of erecting houses for soldiers, provision has been made in this year's Estimate for the erection of 8 soldiers' married quarters in Dún Uí Dubhuidhe, Nás na Ríogh, where the need is at the moment most pressing.

Subhead J—Mechanical Transport, shows an over-all increase of £42,020 as compared with 1960/61. The provision of £73,380 for capital expenditure on vehicles in £34,670 higher than the corresponding provision last year. This is accounted for by an increase of £17,000 on advances, which will be repaid, to officers for the purchase of motor cars for use on duty with An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, An Slua Muirí and the proposed new Cór Breathna-dóirí and an increase of £17,670 in the provision for the purchase of new vehicles for the Army. Many of the vehicles on charge to the Army, particularly those used by An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, are now nearing the end of their economical life, necessitating a stepping up in the replacement programme. There is a net increase of £7,350 in the maintenance provisions, due mainly to the wider use of transport by An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil since it was integrated with Na Buan-Óglaigh and the increasing age of many of the vehicles.

There is a decrease of £47,476 in Subhead K—Provisions and Allowances in Lieu. For the purposes of this subhead, it has been assumed that a contingent of battalion strength will be on overseas duty throughout the entire financial year, although we cannot say with certainty, of course, that that will be so and it is our hope that the need for the continued presence of a contingent in the Congo may not prove to be necessary. The provisioning of the troops in the Congo is a United Nations responsibility and the cost does not fall on the Vote for Defence; and that is the cause of the reduction.

The decrease of £69,078 in Subhead M—Clothing and Equipment—is due principally to the reduced number of soldiers (8,000) being provided for and to savings in uniform last year through the full authorised strength not having been reached and through the absence of many troops on service abroad where lighter type uniforms were worn. On the question of a standard uniform of new design for Na Buan-Óglaigh and An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, I am afraid that no decision has yet been reached. The matter is still the subject of examination in my Department. As I mentioned last year, increased costs and the utilisation of existing stocks are important considerations which must be borne in mind in a matter of this sort. A committee has been working on new designs of uniform, but those that have been produced so far have not been regarded as suitable.

Subhead O—General Stores, is lower by £123,255 than last year. This year provision is made for Airfield Radar equipment, estimated to cost £20,000, which is considered essential at Baldonnel Aerodrome as an additional flying safety measure. The subhead also includes a provision of £18,000 for a first instalment of radiac equipment for An Cór Breathnadóirí.

In Subhead P—Defensive Equipment, there is a decrease of £20,134 as compared with 1960-61. A lesser sum is being provided on this occasion to meet carry-over, i.e., stores ordered, but not delivered and paid for, in the previous financial year.

Subhead P.1—Civil Defence, shows an increase of £43,869 as compared with the amount provided in 1960-61. The greater part of this increase occurs in the provision for equipment and stores and amounts of £37,121, and the balance is in respect of a new regional headquarters and a small increase in the provision of grants. Part of the increase—£21,500—is due to the necessity to repeat a sum which was included in the vote for 1960-61 for fire appliances for training, the delivery of which could not be secured during that financial year. The subhead also provides for further purchases of fire appliances, ambulances, radiac instruments, emergency meals equipment, sets of special manpack rescue equipment as well as a mobile control unit. All the foregoing equipment is intended primarily for training volunteers and is being purchased by instalments to build up to a predetermined requirement. It is being distributed to local authorities throughout the country and will, of course, be suitable for actual operational purposes should the need arise.

Subhead U—Compensation, shows an increase of £10,000. This subhead, which includes provision for compensation payable in traffic accident cases, is a rather unpredictable one. Awards by the Courts, as Deputies are aware, show a tendency to get larger and, in the light of current experience, the increase is considered necessary.

There is an increase of £19,465 in Subhead V—Barrack Services. The reason for this is that the purchase of barrack service items such as bedding, sheets, pillow cases, etc., for some years past has not proved sufficient to meet necessary replacements. Moreover, a beginning is being made this year to improve further the living conditions of soldiers by providing floor covering and furniture in their billets.

The increase in Subhead W—Insurance—is entirely attributable to the recently increased Social Welfare contributions which have to be paid in respect of insurable members of Óglaigh na hÉireann, the departmental civilian staff and civilian employees generally.

While the increase in Subhead X.2 —Grant-in-Aid of the Irish Red Cross Society—is only £5,000, Deputies will no doubt be interested to know how the Society is progressing. The increase is attributable to the inclusion of a sum of £6,000 in respect of emergency relief. This provision, with £10,000 in respect of normal activities, £4,000 in respect of the maintenance of the White Russian Refugees from North China and £450 in respect of State contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross, brings the total grant-in-aid for 1961/62 to £20,450. The Society continues its commendable activities in the field of humanitarian relief, and the provision of £6,000 referred to has been rendered necessary because of heavy demands in recent years on the Society's Emergency Relief Fund, arising out of flooding and earthquake disasters throughout the world. The Society has been closely connected with the Committee which has been doing such valuable work in the matter of comforts for the Irish troops serving in the Congo. I should like to congratulate the Society on the excellent results it achieved in organising the appeal in this country on behalf of World Refugees during the World Refugee year. The appeal met with a magnificent response from the people of this country and the Society was able to make a very worthwhile contribution amounting to £71,000 approximately towards this worthy cause.

I should also like to thank the Society for having agreed to undertake a National Collection next year for the Food and Agriculture Organisation's freedom from hunger campaign.

Should Deputies require information on any of the Subheads which I have not specifically mentioned, or information of any other nature, I shall do my best to supply it when concluding.

At the outset, I should like to say I deliberately refrained from the usual practice of tabling a motion to refer back the Vote for reconsideration. I did so on the grounds that the Government are now almost four years in office and have done nothing about the proposals suggested to them. I felt that, as they were coming to the end of their life, it would not be of any use to make these proposals now since they have decided on their plans for the year.

Might I avail of the opportunity of joining with the Minister in congratulating our troops upon their conduct in the service of the United Nations in defence of world peace and on the manner in which they have discharged a very difficult and dangerous task. The assignment is not an easy one and it is, apparently, not becoming easier. All we can do is hope that success will attend their efforts.

I am glad the Officer Commanding has the name he bears, although it is a source of embarrassment to me at times. On various occasions I have been congratulated on taking up the sword again. The people who congratulated me forget that the years are weighing heavily upon me. They think I am still young, but I regret I have not that facility. However, we wish him well because much depends upon him. It is essential that both he and the troops serving under his command would have all the equipment necessary, both military equipment and what might be termed equipment to assist in making life easier for them and to enable them discharge their duties in a more satisfactory manner. Comfortable troops are better than hungry or irritable ones. It was a surprise to me to learn that some necessary equipment, such as air conditioning for certain vehicles, was not provided. I hope that is now rectified and that all these facilities will be made available.

No doubt the Minister has given us a very extensive survey of the activities of his Department over the years. I am glad to learn that success has attended his efforts and those of his Department in the establishment of the Civil Defence Organisation. I subscribe to the view that even in the most extensive nuclear war that could take place, which God forbid, if we had an effective Civil Defence force here, well-trained and organised with everyone knowing what they were to do in certain circumstances, hardship would be avoided by a large number of our people and many of them would be saved from the effects of nuclear war.

It is a wise idea to establish the regional areas and to put officers in charge. That will show to the people that the Government and the nation are in earnest in this matter. When Civil Defence was the responsibility of local authorities with county engineers volunteering to take charge in the different areas, it was not regarded as a serious effort. But the establishment of the regional headquarters and the appointment of officers in charge is a step in the right direction.

I trust people will volunteer for the service. The Minister tells us that wastage has taken place. I regret to say that is true, and the wastage is often due to emigration and other causes. I do not think the Minister is right in thinking that, when these people are trained, they will be still available in this country. I know a great number of cases in which they are not. Let us hope they will be available, wherever they are, to exercise the training they have got in the interests of suffering humanity, should the need ever arise.

I do not think it is wise for me to travel over the whole ground covered by the Minister except to comment briefly on what he said and to add my own view. Everybody regrets the death of Colonel MacCarthy. It was a pity the Almightly called him at such a time. With his experience, he would have been a valuable asset to the United Nations Forces at present. May he rest in peace.

The fact that we have sent officers out to the Lebanon and other places shows we have officers capable of taking their place in any part of the world to fulfil any duties the United Nations might call upon them to perform. Let us hope they will discharge those duties in the manner in which everyone would like them to discharge them, remembering they have a very grave responsibility.

The Minister tells us that 60 per cent. of the increased expenditure in the Vote is due to pay and allowances. I can understand that, but yet it is to be recognised that there is still grave dissatisfaction with the whole pay and allowance system. The Minister did not tell us that he was satisfied or that he knew the Army were satisfied with the recent increases. From what we can learn, it is quite clear they are not. I do not want to make the Army the plaything of politics, and I do not want to play politics with it. But I want to suggest to the Minister that he should take every step possible to make sure that the officers, N.C.Os. and men serving in the Army are free from financial embarrassment and that their pay and emoluments should leave them in a position that they are not mendicants at anyone's door.

We have reached the stage now in which it is recognised by everybody that the Army is the Army of the nation, that it is the people's Army, pledged to protect and defend their rights and liberties against all comers. I am proud that the fact is now recognised by every section of the community. It was a pleasure indeed to see the Head of the State recognise that fact by inviting to luncheon the officers returned from the Congo to show his appreciation of their services. The fact that that gathering represented the Army of Ireland from 1916 to the present day was, in my opinion, a valuable recognition of the fact that the Army is the Army of the people and has ever been that. To make sure that the Army is not placed in any difficult circumstances, pay and allowances should be on as generous a scale as this country can afford and it is imperative that every section of the Army—I include nurses and all the other units attached to it by way of special services—should be properly recompensed.

It is true that the health of the troops is a very important matter, and I am anxious that the Army Medical Corps would be kept to a high standard and that every opportunity is given to them to train and equip themselves in the most modern methods. I know they are anxious to do that, but it is important that the Minister and the Government should facilitate them as far as possible in these activities. I heard there was dissatisfaction over the pay and allowances, but I have properly refrained from discussing the matter with any officer, N.C.O. or man and I want the Minister here, in the discharge of his duties, to take care, now the House is prepared to go to the limit to assist him, that they are treated correctly.

I notice that the strength of the Army is put at 8,000, and I presume that includes the force that is in the Congo—that the figure is an inclusive one. That means the effective force at home now is small and the cost of the food supplies for such a small unit shows how expensive it is to feed such a small group of men. I am a bit worried about the alleged failure of the recent recruiting campaigns. It is maintained this failure was due to the conditions under which soldiers are being asked to serve here and to the pay and allowances they receive. Therefore, I again suggest to the Minister that these matters be examined very quickly.

I am glad the people will have an opportunity of seeing the troops who have returned from the Congo on the Easter parade. There is one point in the Minister's statement to which I should refer. He said the reason we did not have a parade when they returned was that they were looking after their health. I am sure that was for a check up to see that it was alright.

Their return was spread over four days, in cold weather, and it was felt it was best to get them home first.

From the way the Minister phrased it, it would look as if there was danger of infection of some sort. I just want to emphasise that it was just normal fatigue and that everything is well with the troops who returned from the Congo. I am glad the people will have an opportunity of seeing them in the parade at Easter. I agree with the Minister that the thanks of the Dáil and the country are due to the firms and others who contributed towards sending certain comforts and amenities to the troops in the Congo. It is appreciated and I hope it is a feature of our nation which will continue.

The Minister referred to the fact that we have military courses abroad. I think he should tell us the number of officers who participate in these courses abroad, where they go—whether is it to Britain or America or elsewhere— because these are in my opinion, very useful courses since it is so important for our Army to keep in touch with modern developments. It is clear that educational courses abroad, from the time they were initiated, have been a very great help to the Army and the country in general.

I am glad to learn that the Equitation School is improving and that they did well last year for a young team. It is my earnest desire that they will do equally well in the future if not better. The fact that they have won so many prizes shows progress. I do not know whether there is any special instructor now with the Equitation School or what the set-up in the school is. Have we still an instructor specially appointed for the task? We are sometimes very critical, and I think we are unfair to the equitation team when they go abroad. We think they should win everything at all times. That is unreasonable. Even football teams have their good days and their bad days. We ran into a bad patch but that is now over and all we can do is wish our team well and hope that whenever they are in competition they will always be sportsmen of the highest order—good winners and good losers. In my opinion, that is very important.

I think the Minister should tell us how the horses are purchased. Are they purchased by a committee of the Army or has the Minister set up some section of the Equitation School for the acquisition and purchase of horses? I feel that the people who are going to ride the horses should have a very big say in their acquisition, because, when they have purchased or acquired horses, then they are interested in making sure that they get the best out of them and put the best into them. That may seem to be a little far-fetched in the opinion of some people, but my experience is that if the rider has confidence in his horse and the horse has confidence in the rider, you get the best out of them.

I feel that greater care should be taken in the use of transport. I suggest that the Army authorities should warn the drivers of lorries who are out with the F.C.A. that parking along the road is very dangerous; that if an Army lorry gets involved in an accident with a car because the lorry has been parked along the road, it can have a bad effect. When I say "bad effect", I do not mean the bad effect upon the occupants of the car. It will have that anyway, but I mean a bad effect on the morale of the people. I would suggest that an instruction should be issued to them to keep the lorries in off the road as far as possible and, if that is not possible, that they should park in some safe place. I know that is not easy but they should make sure to avoid incidents like that.

I should like to advert again to the question of civil defence. I agree with what the Minister said that a well-organised civil defence can do much to protect our people. I cannot over-emphasise that and I join with the Minister in appealing for volunteers to give their services because, by so doing, they can do very valuable work.

I want to congratulate the Army on its success over the year. I trust that, when the Minister starts recruiting again, he will have greater success and that the new observation corps will be able to fulfil its task and mission. If it does that, it will be a step in the right direction for the protection of the people of the country.

I join with the Minister in congratulating and thanking the Red Cross for their very great work. I should like the Minister to say whether there is any hope of resettling our refugees who have been with us for a considerable time. Is there any hope that they will be resettled or rehoused in different conditions?

The Army deserves well of the nation and the nation looks to the Army to render valuable service. It has always done so and will always do so, if it gets a fair crack of the whip. I appeal to the Minister and the Government to see to it that as far as possible they get that fair play.

On previous occasions I also paid tribute to those members of the Army who volunteered for service in the Congo. I think it would be appropriate on the occasion of the Estimate for Defence to say again how much we admire the courage and the general behaviour of those who volunteered for service with the United Nations Force in the Congo area. It is also a matter of congratulation that the expedition was so well organised by the General Staff of the Army, by the Minister and by the Department of Defence.

While saying that, I should like to have a greater assurance from the Minister to the effect that our soldiers in the Congo are adequately equipped and adequately looked after while in that area. Questions have been asked in the House and reports have appeared in the newspapers to the effect that our soldiers have not been properly equipped as far as arms are concerned. While I do not say that these allegations or reports are true, I think it would be a good thing for the Minister to say just a little more than he said on previous occasions and what he said on this Estimate with regard to the adequacy of the equipment of our soldiers in the Congo and their general care there.

I do not know what the Minister can do in this respect. While we may honour those who serve in the Congo and applaud them when they come back, we should be prepared to do a little more for them. I know of a soldier who served in the Congo during the critical period when some of our soldiers, unfortunately, were killed. He is back in this country unemployed. Nobody seems to want to employ him—least of all, a State Department. It is not sufficient merely to applaud what these soldiers have done in the Congo and pay lip service to them in the Dáil, whether that lip service comes from the Government or the Opposition. If they did make the sacrifice, which we all recognise, and if they did expose themselves to the dangers that are undoubtedly in the Congo, we should be prepared to show our gratitude in a much better way than having them dependent on unemployment assistance or unemployment benefit from the Department of Social Welfare.

I should also like, with Deputy MacEoin, to pay a tribute to his namesake and say how much we appreciate —at least I do appreciate—the difficulty of his position. Not alone has he tried to perform there, so to speak, as a military man, but, by reason of the circumstances in which he finds himself, he must be a diplomat, a negotiator and an arbitrator. I wish him well in the task. It seems that his efforts—the efforts of an Irish General in the Congo—have been somewhat successful in the past two or three weeks, if we are to judge by the lull which seems to obtain in the Congo at the present time.

There seems to be a cause of concern, however. The late Mr. Lumumba about a month ago was calling for the withdrawal of all forces from the Congo area. There is now a clamour from another direction, from a person who is reputed to be his rival, President Kasavubu, who is calling for the withdrawal of all the forces from the Congo. We in this House ought to be brought up to date on the political situation in the Congo. We should be assured that our soldiers are not to be subjected to any greater dangers than any of the other forces there. The Irish force in the Congo has remained steadfast and true. There have been murmurs and dissensions as far as the forces from other nations are concerned, but Ireland stands out as one example of a force prepared to act strictly in accordance with the letter of the United Nations Charter and strictly in accordance with the request made by the United Nations to this country.

Perhaps the Minister—maybe it is the Taoiseach or the Minister for External Affairs who is responsible— will give us a little more information, not so much on the military situation as on the political situation to indicate what, if any, danger our troops are in at present.

I wish to point out to the Deputy that the political situation is not germane to this Vote.

I shall not pursue that further. It is difficult to know who is responsible, because the Congo has been handled on various occasions by the Minister for Defence, the Minister for External Affairs and the Taoiseach. I do not want to charge the Minister for Defence with responsibility for External Affairs but I thought if he had any information, he might communicate it to the House.

Acting Chairman

I am merely pointing out that the Deputy would be out of order in referring to the political situation in the Congo.

It is difficult to know which Minister is responsible for the Congo.

I should like the Minister to tell us if there is any improvement in our fisheries protection. I appreciate the difficulties of the situation. I know our sea fleet is not as big as it might, or could, be, but there is still grave dissatisfaction amongst the fishermen around the coast with regard to the inadequacy of fishery protection, and Irish fishermen and the Irish nation are suffering as a result. Because of the raids by foreign trawlers in certain parts of the country, valuable fishing beds are being damaged and depleted. The Minister, with the co-operation of other Departments, particularly the Department of Lands which is responsible for fisheries, should try to ensure that our fishermen's livelihood is better protected and, more important still, that the traditional fishery beds around our sea coasts are protected. On another occasion, not last year but the year before, I drew attention to the damage being done in areas within the three-mile limit of the coasts of South Wexford and Waterford. The Minister should tell us what improvements, if any, have been made in this regard in the past 12 months.

I think it would be right to say that the bulk of the Minister's speech was devoted to civil defence. We on this side of the House share his concern in this matter and the concern expressed by Deputy MacEoin. The Minister said there are approximately 6,000 engaged in training for civil defence. I should like more details of these 6,000, because I do not believe there are 6,000 active voluntary workers in civil defence. I have not the evidence of statistics but I have the evidence of my eyes, and it does seem to me that civil defence activity in most parts of the country is practically nil.

Everyone appreciates how important civil defence may be in a world war or a big conflict, but if it is so important, why should civil defence be left to voluntary effort? The Minister has not alone on this occasion but on other occasions told us of the tremendous danger that would arise in the event of a world conflict and, on the other hand, he has described what can be done in order to alleviate suffering as a result of a nuclear war touching this country. If the danger is so great, why should we confine our efforts to an appeal to the local authorities to organise civil defence corps? How is it being done? I have not seen any splash advertisements in any of the local newspapers, although there have been Irish advertisements in the daily newspapers. I have not seen any serious effort to enrol people for training in civil defence. It is usually confined to those who are in the employment of local authorities and to some extent— let us whisper it—it is a type of blackmail. I do not say it is deliberate blackmail but the official in the local authority feels that since the appeal came from the local authority, it would be a good thing if he joined some group or corps.

Apart from the necessity for a greater effort, an allowance should be paid to those taking part. There are certain allowances given to the members of the F.C.A. in respect of training when they go to their summer camp. There is no inducement to the person engaged in this most important activity of civil defence. It is not because we are unpatriotic that we do not join these civil defence corps. It is not that we could not care less, but that there is no incentive. The situation as we see it at the present time does not call for action in civil defence, but I agree with the Minister we must prepare for a situation which may arise in six months, six years, or 12 years' time.

From the way we are going on, it does not seem as if our civil defence organisation will be effective in the event of a nuclear war. It should be organised by the Department of Defence and not left to the local authorities The local authorities, the county managers, the town clerks and other officials in the local authorities have enough to do when one has regard to all the legislative proposals and all the schemes which have emanated from the Department of Local Government, the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare in recent years by comparison with the situation in 1938-39.

The Minister should devise some other method of organising a civil defence corps which will be effective and create enthusiasm about the idea of protecting the people in the event of a nuclear war. The Minister says the Army are being trained in civil defence. I gather from the phrase in his speech that they are not being fully trained—I may be wrong in that —but are just being given some sort of superficial training in civil defence. However, in the very same paragraph, he said that in the event of a nuclear war in which we would be neutral, there would be 8,000 or 10,000 troops who might not be on active service. Surely therefore it would be a good thing to have these troops in civil defence, if they are not to be engaged in fighting. Therefore, the Minister should try to ensure that in the Army every member receives a full course in civil defence. There was no mention at all of the members of the F.C.A. Are they being trained in civil defence or does the Minister——

They were mentioned.

I beg the Minister's pardon. Of course, the F.CA. and the Army are regarded as the complete Army. Again, in respect of the F.C.A., they should be trained not merely in a superficial way but fully trained in civil defence and they should have the same training as members of the ordinary civil defence corps.

There is only one other matter I want to mention and it has nothing to do with defence, civil defence or otherwise. I do not know what the Minister can do about it but other Ministers have done something about it. I refer to the encouragement of sport in the Army. There does not seem to be anything spectacular about sports in the Army or Army achievements, apart from the Minister's reference to the Army jumping team. I remember that many years ago the Army were renowned in boxing, football, hurling and other sports. Now the Army is hardly mentioned in sport. The Minister could give a lead in this. He has given a lead—whether it is for good or evil, I do not know—in regard to the Irish language. It seems he has been successful in regard to the Irish language in the Army and if he can push the language in the Department of Defence, I think he would be equally well employed if he pushed sports because the Army and country can get a tremendous amount of prestige from the feats of the Army in athletics and sports generally. Therefore, the Minister might devote some of his time to the encouragement of sport in the Army.

Seán Mac Eochagáin

Molaim an tAire mar gheall ar atá á dhéanamh aige ar son teanga na tíre seo agus molaim é freisin mar gheall ar an obair atá á dhéanamh ag an Airm thall sa Chongo.

'Sé mo thuairm go mba cheart seomra codlata a bheith ag gach saighdiúr san Airm. Tá seomraí codlata ann le h-aghaidh deichnuibhar nó scór. Dá bhféadfaí seomra codlata bheith ag chuile saighdiúr, bheadh an rud níos fearr.

Feicim go bhfuiltear ag imtheacht as mo chontae síos go Sligeach le h-aghaidh cúrsaí tréinéala an Forsa Cosanta Áitiúil. Ní ceart daoine a thógáil as a gceanntair fhein nó as a gcontae fhéin síos go dtí contae eile. Tá áiteanna i gConamara a bheadh anoiriunach chun na cúrsaí sin, an Spidéal, An Ceatheamhrú Rúadh, Cearna, taobh amuigh de Clifdeán. Tá gach uile rud sna h-áiteanna sin a theastóchaidh ó na saighdiúirí seo.

Ba cheart don Rialtas tithe a chur ar fáil do shaighdiúirí pósta. Tá áiteanna do shaighdiúirí pósta ag dul le gach bearraic ach ní leor iad ach do 10 nó 20 saighdiúiri agus tá i bhfad níos mó saighdiúirí atá pósta. Tá sé an-deacair tithe a fháil in aice le bailte móra, pé 'r bith áit a bhfuil siad. Bíonn ar an bhean fanacht leis a máthair nó a athair. Is ceart daoine atá pósta bheith le chéile agus dá mbeadh tithe cónuithe ar fáil do shaighdiúirí pósta, bhéidís níos sásta fanacht san Airm. Ba cheart don Rialtas agus don Aire feachaint isteach sa scéal sin.

Molaim arís an obair atá déanta ag an Aire. O ceapadh é mar Aire Cosanta, tá an teanga ag teacht isteach san Airm níos fearr ná mar bhí. Tá súil agam go leanfaidh sé leis an obair atá á dhéanamh aige.

This is one Estimate on which I like to speak perhaps because I take a great interest in military history. I will not try to answer the Minister because a Deputy is at a disadvantage when he has not got a copy of the Minister's speech. However, I shall deal with a few generalisations. Both last year and the previous year, I held the view that the best type of defence for this country was a sort of guerilla defence. I made that case because I wanted to show that any expense on heavy equipment was money down the sink. I do not know what the Department's attitude is in regard to equipment for the purpose of defence, but if we are satisfied that, apart from putting up a show, we can never put up any sort of frontal defence, then there is no sense in having any form of heavy equipment. When I say heavy equipment, I mean any type of heavy guns, heavy tanks, which would not manoeuvre on our narrow roads—we have not got much open country—military planes and weapons of that sort.

While I do not claim to be a military expert, I do claim to have a keen interest in military history and from that I have some knowledge of events, as the saying is. Napoleon told his son: "If you want to know anything about warfare, study history. It will inspire you and history is forever repeating itself." The principles of war never change, although they may appear to change. People may still ask you what sort of defence there can possibly be against nuclear warfare. All that talk is nonsense because we will probably have to defend ourselves in the same way as we might have had to do it 40 years ago. We have no targets here for that kind of attack but it could be said that there is a target in the North and we would be affected by a nuclear attack on any such target in the North.

We should concentrate on some sort of light but well-armed force, auxiliary to the Garda. We only need a light armed auxiliary force to help the civil power. Up to the present, we have had no trouble in this country except for some isolated attacks that could be dealt with by a detective force. There was never any need at any time for military action and I do not think that there is, in internal matters, any desire on the part of any number of people to upset the Government here. They may come into conflict with the Government because the Government are preventing them from doing something they want to do but there is no desire to interfere with the Government itself. They have said that they have no such desire and I do not believe they have.

Therefore, I cannot see any point in having a heavily armed force for internal security and I cannot visualise how a heavily armed force can be of any assistance to the Government. Such a force is a waste of money. If Britain or Russia cared to come in here, it would be madness to attempt to stop them. We all know what happened to the Poles when the Germans invaded their country. All their efforts were money thrown down the sink. Their planes were destroyed in the first big attack and their great cavalry forces were no use at all. We should aim at a light force that could be quickly turned into a guerilla force, with portable weapons of strong fire power and penetrating effect. Other than that, we should not waste money on guns or war planes because no advantage can be taken of them.

Let us take war planes. They cannot hide behind a hedge as could a guerilla force. What chance have a few war planes against a vastly superior force? It would mean immediate destruction. If anybody is going to bother about attacking us, our few planes will be eliminated almost immediately. We should not throw money away on more planes. We should organise a light well-armed force with portable weapons that could quickly become a guerilla force. I do not want to see money wasted for show purposes.

It might be said that in view of the new departure of helping the United Nations, the situation has changed. It has not. Our purpose in the Congo and elsewhere is police action and that needs no more weapons than would be needed for our own defence. I am delighted that we have had the opportunity to go to the Congo. An armed force needs experience and this is experience. It is the form of experience that would suit our own form of defence. It is a wild country and any attacks would be of a guerilla nature. It is excellent experience for our troops and I would not object if we expanded our contribution to the U.N. forces in the Congo to 10,000 men. As well as contributing to the solution of the problem there, we would get back an excellent body of men who would be of great help in the defence of this country.

There is a certain risk but soldiers are professionals who take risks. It is lamentable that there were some casualties but the lesson of those casualties will be a good lesson. We are told that they were not expecting any attack but they will always remember what happened. Instead of "Remember Limerick" it will now be "Remember Niemba". It will be a good lesson.

I read recently that armour piercing rifles are being purchased from Belgium. It is good to be up to date but I hope the Minister is not buying arms that will be obsolete in a few years' time. Success goes to those who anticipate the future. A weapon might be effective now, but, just as offensive weapons improve, so does defensive material. If those weapons are armour piercing now, will they be armour piercing in ten years' time? We should not become too much involved in weapons that may become obsolete.

We have equipped our Army with automatic weapons and I would like to know if the Minister is satisfied that we have ammunition to supply those weapons. Is the Minister satisfied that in the event of an emergency in the countries from which those weapons were bought, an emergency which would mean the occupation of those countries, we have sufficient ammunition for our weapons? Is the Minister satisfied that the ammunition is not in some dump where it could be destroyed quickly? If that happens, we would not be in a position to keep our weapons in use for any considerable period. Has he thought of some sort of plant to manufacture ammunition to keep those weapons in action? It has happened too often that people buy weapons and find themselves with no ammunition for them. It is a serious matter if we are depending entirely on annual imports of ammunition from Sweden or Belgium. The international situation is such that it is obvious to any of us that if there were any trouble, there is every likelihood of the whole Continent being occupied in a short space of time.

We should not be depending on other people for ideas. We should have some of our own. We should consider using some form of armoured breastplates. Whether we like it or not, we are going back to the past. In the past, armoured breastplates were used and they have now gone back to armoured vehicles. Everything in the future will be armoured. We could improve our changes of survival and the chances of our troops and, incidentally, give them greater courage in attack, if they were protected by some kind of armoured breastplate. We often hear it said that if a person had only had a slight piece of armour in front or at the back his life would have been saved. If the troops in the Congo had had some such armour half of them might not have gone down as a result of the arrow attack.

I should like the Minister to give us some information about recruiting. Has it been a failure or a success? If it has been a failure, as it appears to be, what is the reason? Is it that the allowances are not good enough?

The whole Continent is going underground. Has the Minister done anything to ensure that our valuable military stores are adequately protected against sudden attack? It would be a bad thing for us if our stores were blown sky-high overnight and we had nothing to fight with. The best way to guard oneself is to anticipate the future.

The voluntary worker is the best worker. The danger about people who are paid is that some of them may "rat" on you later. The people who volunteer are the best people to depend on. There may not be any targets for nuclear attack here but there is certainly a target in Northern Ireland. It stands to reason that if there is trouble on the Continent England will be involved and, therefore, Northern Ireland. It would be up to us to have an organisation as strong as possible not only to help our own people but to help the people up there. I do not know how that problem will ever be solved. It would be a good gesture if they knew that if there were trouble we would be sure to help them out. I am glad the Minister is doing something about the civil defence programme.

I have studied this matter and I use my imagination. If you do not use your imagination you will not fully understand what you are doing. You must know the purpose of what you are doing. That is my approach.

I think we all agree that the Minister was wise to make an extensive statement on our defence problems. Over the past few years there has been a considerable change in the functions of Defence Ministers and the Army as a whole. In the past, armies were trained to fight. Indeed they are still trained to fight but their function has changed considerably. The Irish Army finds itself in the rôle of peacemaker. It is likely to be sought as such in the future not necessarily only where we are stationed at the moment but in many parts of the world. Therefore, while I welcome the Minister's extensive statement there are some notable omissions to which I shall refer later.

Civil defence is probably one of the most important matters that face every country. A total of 6,000 volunteers is not very sizable from a national point of view. I could not quite gather whether it is a continuous network throughout the country. I am also rather dubious as to whether the local authorities will be able to organise on the vast interwoven scale that will be necessary in the event of our facing an emergency.

It is desirable that civil defence should be the responsibility of the local authority in the first instance. They are most likely to be able to deal with it at local level and to contact those who can be of service to them However, overall organisation is essentially a military purpose.

The Minister referred to the proposal to allocate senior military officers to deal with this facet of our defence. There is quite a considerable drain on our Defence Forces. We are limited in the number of personnel we have, both officers and men. To allocate senior officers for this purpose is to subtract from the efficiency of the fighting force itself. There is not much use in detailing senior military officers to deal with this as a part-time job. It is of paramount importance that this aspect of defence be dealt with on a full-time basis.

Many of our retired officers have vast experience as organisers and administrators and have complete military experience. Would it not be a good idea to allocate a number of senior retired officers to take over and organise this particular matter? Most of these officers draw a pension. It would be possible to augment that sum to bring it up to the amount of the salary they had been drawing and to appoint them as regional and local organisers of civil defence.

Meetings called at local level could always have a senior military expert in attendance who could help to deal with matters and to organise and encourage the people. It will not cost the State anything and it could bring about the greatest degree of efficiency. I do not think anybody has the ability to organise anything so vast as civil defence and all it involves except a person who has been in military control and has the fullest undertanding of such matters.

It might be argued that after a few years the officer would be too old, out of date, and so on. In that event, he can be replaced by other officers who are more up-to-date and who also are retired. I think the Minister will find a far greater incentive at local level to people to take part in civil defence if it is so organised.

Nuclear fall-out is one of the most important problems we have to face. It is most hazardous. It is responsible for more loss of life than anything else —not even at the time of the explosion of the bomb itself but at a later date. The effects of radioactivity manifest themselves over a great number of years. The Minister did not deal extensively with that matter in his statement. This Government have always been rather shy about giving information on nuclear fall-out, perhaps quite reasonably so, if they have not got the information.

I should like to hear from the Minister are we co-operating with other countries in trying to get to the root of that terribly dangerous problem, and if we are, what are the countries with which we are co-operating? I feel that we would be more likely to get this vital information on nuclear fall-out from officers who have served in the Far East where the disastrous bomb was dropped at the end of the war, the bomb which was responsible for so much trouble, and so much subsequent human suffering and disease on the part of the people who were victims of it, the Japanese. American officers and American military schools might have more information to place at our disposal than anyone else. It may be that I am pushing an open door and that the Department have already sought that information.

Like everyone else in this House, I am proud of the service given by the Irish Army and by the present Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Forces in the Congo. The fact that our Army is serving in the Congo has made many people more nationally conscious. They have come to realise the vital role small nations such as Ireland, with a fundamental Christian background, can play in places like the Congo.

I do not know much about military defence. It is not in my line at all, but I imagine that cognisance has been taken of the fact that the type of warfare our soliders may have to engage in, in the Congo, is different from that elsewhere. I hope their equipment is fully up-to-date and that they will not find themselves in difficulties by reason of being isolated and unable to get into immediate contact with their headquarters.

When an Army such as ours is sent abroad, not to fight, but in the rôle of peacemaker, partically every member of that force is an ambassador in the cause of peace. The standard of education and knowledge of our young Irish soldiers should fully equip them to deal with any situation they meet when they go abroad. I should like to know from the Minister if courses of instruction were given to the forces now serving abroad. Did they receive regular courses of instruction on what they would have to face abroad, on world issues today, on the general situation in a country such as Africa and the mentality of the African people?

In spite of the fact that we are a small nation which never endeavoured to build itself into an empire, or impose its will on anyone else, because our religious orders and professional men have served throughout the length and breadth of the globe, there are many people in this country who are fully conversant with the African mind and the African mentality. We must bear in mind that the African mentality is quite different from the European mentality. I wonder can the Minister tell us if our troops, when going abroad, are briefed not only for military purposes but also on ethnical grounds? Do they know the conditions they will have to meet, and the people they will have to deal with and the best way to deal with them?

There is no use in blinding ourselves to the fact that the major trouble in the world today comes from the ideology of Communism versus free thought or democracy. I wonder do our troops get lectures and full instructions on such matters. I know that fighting forces in other countries have such knowledge. The Minister should not hesitate, if necessary, to call in experts from other countries because it would pay us well to instruct our troops in what they will have to face. If that were done, they would do a far better job and they would know exactly where they stand and the type of individual they would have to deal with.

Deputy Sherwin mentioned the question of steel protection for our troops. I have been in Africa myself and I think the troops would not thank Deputy Sherwin if he were responsible for introducing steel protection to be worn in a humid and hot climate. From my experience and recollection of Africa, one never felt particularly lively in that country because it has a rather evervating climate. A coat of mail might have the advantage of stopping an odd arrow but I would prefer to suggest for the Minister's consideration the question of safety belts in lorries. I do not know if safety belts are worn in heavy mechanised equipment but they are reasonably cheap and easy to obtain nowadays, and many lives could be saved on ordinary police manoeuvres if such belts were worn. It is very seldom that a function connected with military organisation takes place without some serious accident occurring.

I mentioned at the outset that there were some omissions in the Minister's address. We have been given no information about the Air Corps. It seems to me that the Air Corps is a very important asset to our fighting forces. We would all be interested to know the up-to-date purchases of aircraft, so far as that information would conform to the necessity to maintain national security. Is the Air Corps being used for the purpose of training men to fly in warfare as a first-line defence? We must keep it as up-to-date and mechanised as possible because it is an inescapable fact, unfortunately, that when hostilities take place in future, a great part of them will take place in the air.

There is another notable omission, but we are getting accustomed to it annually. There is no mention of the naval service in the Minister's statement. I take it the Irish Navy is still doomed to three corvettes, one being refitted continuously in rotation, and the other two able to enter the harbours of Cork, Dún Laoghaire and Dublin and very few others. They are designed to protect our fisheries but they are visible miles away. They do not conform to modern conditions and up-to-date fishing vessels can laugh at them and get out of sight almost immediately on seeing them 11 or 12 miles away.

I have stressed this point for some years past on this Estimate. I think it is time somebody did some fresh thinking on this subject. These are obsolete craft although we are told they are very good, up-to-date ships and that they conform to the naval requirements of the State. If we are ever to approach the status of a maritime people—and we cannot avoid that as we are entirely surrounded by water—we must have adequate vessels to protect our fisheries and we must acquire modern craft. Is anybody in the Department thinking on these lines or are we to be condemned to putting up with what we have for ever? There is not a line in the Minister's speech referring to the Naval Service which is recognised as being the Cinderella of Irish defence.

Quite a lot of money could be saved by replacing the corvettes with something more efficient and cheaper to run. We would still have the same facilities for training in radar and all such things that modern seamen have to learn. If war did break out the corvettes are not able to lay a smoke-screen, or to manoeuvre and are not even good for harbour defence. If we did get modern ships they would fulfil all these functions and do the job better. They would enable personnel to be better trained and they would be cheaper to run.

We have an organisation called An Slua Muirí which I think is the Naval Reserve Force which has been in existence for some years and they constitute, as in every country, even in Britain and America which between them have the largest navies in the world, the trained personnel who can come forward at short notice in an emergency to serve the country. I think they are quite an enthusiastic body and they include men who served in the war. They have stayed on and are anxious and happy to stay although they have not very good benefits as they can only get to a certain rank and no further. For the last 10 or 15 years they have been seeking a training craft of some sort. I have no personal knowledge but from what I have been told of this, there is a vessel available at the moment, an ex-British Admiralty craft used here by the Irish Lights. It is no longer required for that purpose. Would it be too much for the Department to see if they can buy this ship? They must have an interest in conserving whatever small service we have afloat and in replacements for that service if an emergency comes. Therefore, I ask the Minister to consider this matter and, if possible, make the money available—it is not a big sum —to give this very deserving voluntary reserve organisation the means, which they badly need, of training.

I am interested in two points raised by Deputy Esmonde and on which I am in full agreement with him. He referred to the Naval Reserve, the successor of the Maritime Inscription. There is urgent need for this branch of our Defence Forces to be supplied with a training ship. I am also aware that there is a very reasonably-priced vessel available suitable for this purpose owned by the Irish Lights and now on offer. If the Minister could see his way to move quickly, this opportunity may not be lost and the ship could be bought for this service.

Intensive and practical sea training has two aspects. It has the aspect to which Deputy Esmonde has referred, that in the event of an emergency these personnel can be quickly called together and if properly trained and experienced can immediately become an important adjunct to our defence generally. There is also the peacetime side. We benefit during the time of training for defence purposes generally, but these personnel who have proper, practical sea-training can also be absorbed with their knowledge and efficiency into the economic side.

I have here the last, lamentable report of An Bord Iascaigh Mhara making all kinds of explanations and excuses as to why Sea Fisheries have had so many disastrous experiences. On page 10, in the first column, they say: "It is clearly impossible to permit that state of affairs to continue. Lack of skill and of diligence on the part of hire-purchasers in some areas are important factors in making the position unsatisfactory." In other words, if they could find trained personnel to take charge of the boats which they have, or can make available, this would contribute to the welfare of the nation on the fishing side.

I wrote to the Minister about this early in December, 1960, and he replied on February 11th, possibly after having had his officials examine the situation, indicating that the purchase of the vessel would not be justified. I ask him now to direct his officials to have another look into this matter. I agree entirely with Deputy Esmonde. If this small voluntary service have not got the real tools to meet their requirements and with which to work how can we attract the best people? How can we keep them and how will they be available in the future to help to train others and how can they be absorbed into one of the more important economic developments we have in mind? This Naval Reserve, according to the Estimates, costs an infinitesimal sum in relation to the whole and I would strongly urge the Minister to have the matter reconsidered. Perhaps he could tell us when replying that in view of what he has heard he is inclined to direct that this boat should be made available.

The second thing on which I agree with Deputy Esmonde is his reference to our Air Force. I do not understand the mentality attaching to some of the decisions arrived at. Some years ago a sergeant pilot training scheme was introduced. Hundreds applied and twenty of the best of our young people were selected for a course of training after severe physical and mental examination. Of that 20, the majority passed the necessary tests and examinations. Some of them subsequently went into civilian air flying. Some are at the moment serving with Aer Lingus. Some unfortunately had to go abroad when our first transatlantic venture ended and took up positions with foreign air transport companies. I am happy to say that these young men who went abroad and got positions in foreign air companies are to-day practically the chief pilots in these concerns. They reflect the greatest credit on the intelligence, courage, ability and capacity of our young people in relation to this highly technical profession. That scheme was abandoned.

What do we find to-day? With the large and rapid growth of our own air services we are now seeking pilots all over the world. We were informed recently that pilots are being brought in from Canada. Why deny the possibility of future assured employment to our own people and, at the same time, recruit foreign pilots, reliable and efficient admittedly? Why deny an opportunity for employment to our own nationals, nationals who will be prepared to serve this country in any future emergency? Foreign pilots in the event of emergency will have to drop their employment here and return to their own countries. I cannot understand why we do not take into account the very valuable asset our Irish Corps could be to the nation as a whole. We have plenty of young men from whom selections could be made.

I appeal to the Minister to reconsider this matter. I admit our Air Corps is so small that we could not have hundreds of officers for a few planes. I am in entire agreement with Deputy Esmonde that we could have a training school of almost university level into which specially selected young people could be brought and qualified as pilots for the service of the nation in its civil aviation development and in the event of emergency. I plead strongly with the Minister to consider these two aspects. I shall not deal with aspects of defence policy, but these are two simple matters which I think the Minister and the Government should without delay consider and take steps to give effect to the suggestions I have made.

I agree fully with the sentiments expressed by Deputy Briscoe in relation to our Naval Service. It is very rarely I find myself in agreement with Deputy Briscoe. The provision of a naval training ship should be considered. Our Service is seldom heard of except in connection with work done for the Fisheries Branch. Having regard to our geographical position it would be well worth while extending our Naval Service. The provision of well trained crews would naturally cause concern to the Department of Defence. But a commencement must be made somewhere. Let us have a Naval Service worthy of the name. Everyone connected with the Service at the moment deserves great credit. Duties are carried out capably and efficiently. The Service is, however, handicapped because of lack of trained personnel, lack of a suitable training vessel to provide such personnel.

The Department would be well advised to reconsider the policy in relation to our Naval Service. The foundation is there and, irrespective of cost, the superstructure necessary should be built upon it. An island like ours should have a proper Naval Service, with trained personnel and up-to-date equipment. Such a Service will naturally not be cheap to maintain. We have an Army and an Air Force. Surely it is not too much to ask that we should have a proper Naval Service? Not only is the Service ignored at the moment but it is forgotten.

There is, as we are aware, grave discontent in the Army because of the rates of pay. Certainly the rates cannot be described as generous. The recent increases were very niggardly and will do nothing to encourage recruitment or to assuage the discontent of existing personnel. The recent increases given can properly be described as the meanest increases ever given to any section of our community.

This niggardly increase was given at a time when the whole world, including the spokesmen of the present Government, was praising the bravery, skill and efficiency of our soldiers. There is one way in which the Government can show their appreciation of our soldiers, and that is by paying them. We have reached the stage when every man seems to recognise his own value by the way his pocket appears to jingle. If the Government are serious in their appreciation of the services rendered by our soldiers, either at home or abroad, their first consideration should be to have a contented force by paying them, by seeing that their conditions compare with the best of any army and by seeing that their dependants are properly catered for.

The rates of pay for our Defence Forces to-day fall far short of the amount that should be given for good and loyal service. Between October, 1958, and March, 1959, over 1,400 recruits were obtained for the Defence Forces. The reason those people were anxious to join the Army was because they were led to believe there was a profitable career in it and that not alone would they have a good, healthy, clean life but that they would profit financially. The recruiting campaign in 1960-61 has not been a success. The reason so few recruits have been obtained is that there was keen disappointment, resentment and unrest at the rates of pay.

It is only right to direct the attention of the Minister to the fact that in Sweden the ordinary private, immediately after joining, is in receipt of some £40 to £47 per month. In Holland, the recruit, immediately after joining, has £6 per week, all found. In Britain, the recruit receives £4/7/6 per week, if he signs on for less than six years, and £5/5/0 per week, if he signs on for six years and less than nine years. The rates of pay in our Army do not compare favourably with those rates, particularly the rates of three-star privates, who were in receipt of £4/10/0 per week and who now receive only £4/18/0 per week.

Surely the Minister must bear in mind that the cost of living here has steadily increased in recent years, due to the mismanagement of the present Government? Although every section of the community are being told by the Government that the cost of living has not increased and that the Government are taking steps to see that the existing prices are maintained, it is common knowledge that the cost of living has risen and that soldiers' wives, children and dependants, because of the niggardly increase given, are not in a position to meet it. I want to express my very grave concern about the manner in which the Government have insulted the members of the Defence Forces by offering them such an increase. It is all very fine to express on one day appreciation of the Army's services, what brave, gallant and courageous fellows they are, but the Government come along the next day and offer them a serious insult by giving them a nominal increase in pay, the existence of which cannot be denied legally but which in practice means practically no increase whatever. If we want to express our appreciation of our soldiers, we should do it in a practical manner and not by placing in their hands a circular giving details of increased rates of pay which will probably make no difference whatever to them.

A married sergeant in the British Army receives £14/15/6 per week as against £6/9/0 per week for a married sergeant in the Irish Army. If we are anxious to get our young people to join the Army or take up the Army as a career, we must be prepared at least to give them a reasonable amount on which to live and look to the future. If the British Government can pay a sergeant in the British Army £14/15/6 per week, I think, taking into account living costs here, we ought to be able to pay a sergeant in our Army substantially more than the £6/9/0 per week he is receiving at present.

A first-class private in the British Army, committed for nine years, receives £8 1. 0. per week if he is a single man. A private in a similar position in our Army receives £4. 18. 0. per week. I feel a very large gap remains to be filled. If the first-class private in the British Army is a married man, he receives £10. 5. 0. per week. Although we know that the capacity to pay in Britain is far greater than ours, nevertheless, whatever else we may say about the British Army, they pay their men well, and they do not treat them niggardly. Here we have treated our men with great disrespect.

It is very important that members of the Defence Forces should be in a completely independent position. It is only right that their wives and children should not be in the embarrassing position of having to go into debt. It is common knowledge that most of the families of higher Army officers are finding it very hard at present— despite the fact that most of these officers are men who do not drink and are moderate smokers—because the present rates of pay do not allow them pay the additional fees necessary to educate their children.

That is why I feel we are very much behind by comparison with other countries in not providing proper rates of pay. I protest against the position. I am disappointed that in this year when world attention has been focussed on our Army the Minister could not be more generous to them in the matter of pay and allowances. I think it is right that comment should be made here in relation to the amounts of pension paid to widows of Army personnel. The widow of a first lieutenant gets only £88 a year; the widow of a captain receives £108; the widow of a commandant gets £127. 10., of a major or lieutenant-colonel, £145, and the highest pension paid is £191 per year. In the event of there being a family there is an annual allowance of £29. 8s. each in respect of a boy up to the age of 18 and of a girl up to the age of 21.

This is not the Vote for Army Pensions. The Deputy has been speaking for some time on pensions.

Pensions have reference to the general conditions in the Army.

The Deputy is entitled to speak on the rates of pay of the Army but the question of pensions does not arise on this Estimate.

What I said about the rates of pay is that they reflect no credit on the Minister for Defence. If we are asking our young men to join the Army we must provide not only a decent wage and allowance but also assure them that their dependants will be properly compensated if they die in the service of their country. However I shall reserve my comments on Army pensions for the next Estimate. I want now to give my opinion on the manner in which the Minister is ploughing around the various barracks in the country, uttering a few Irish syllables here and there.

This is the way in which the Minister has been trying unsuccessfully to ram Irish down the throats of our Irish soldiers. Thanks be to God he has failed in that. There is a method by which the Irish language can be encouraged by voluntary effort, by example, but to try and ram Irish down the throats of the soldiers is something to which no Deputy can subscribe. There is no doubt about it, the Minister has for the past four years tried very hard to do this but he did nothing at all about trying to put a few extra shillings in the men's pockets. There are many young men in the Defence Forces to-day who come from all parts of rural Ireland, who left the national schools some time before they joined the Army and who find great difficult in getting a proper grasp of Irish. I say that more time is now occupied in trying to ram Irish down their throats than in giving them lectures on modern warfare and on the use of arms which would be much more beneficial to them.

We all know the Irish language is the national language but we know also that English is the spoken language of the people. I say the Minister has gone too far in his anxiety, that he has overpowered the Army by Irish expressions. It would be far better if he forgot some of his Irish expressions and if, instead of trying to bulldoze the soldiers with Irish, he did something about increasing their pay. That is what the Minister for Defence would be expected to do. Instead of flying around the country like a cheap-jack——

No Minister or no member of this House should be referred to as "a cheapjack."

I said "like a cheapjack". Whatever talents the Minister may have, limited and all as they may be, he should not try to push them down the throats of the Defence Forces. Whether the Minister for Defence or the members of his Party like it or not, the greatest soldier who has emerged from the pages of Irish history was Michael Collins.

That is not a subject for debate on this Estimate.

It has great relevance to this debate. I feel it is about time the founder of the Irish Army got his rightful place, but he is not given proper recognition because of sheer bitterness and spite. That is why I want to draw attention to the fact that the Fianna Fáil Party saw fit to prevent the Army from honouring its founder at the annual commemoration at Béal na Bláth. There was never any explanation given as to why the Army were withdrawn and our soldiers prevented from honouring their founder in a proper manner. We see the Army paying a tribute each year at the grave of Wolfe Tone. Who gave the greater service to the country—Wolfe Tone or Michael Collins? I know the people of the country have no doubt about that. I want to place on record that the Irish people have a special spot in their hearts for Michael Collins. They realise the kind of man the founder of the Irish Army was and they have taken very grave exception to the manner in which, because of cheap politics and spite, the Army were not allowed to honour their founder as they should have liked. I would ask the Minister in this last year of his office——

The Deputy is hoping for a lot.

Deputy Moloney might not laugh as much when the Electoral Bill comes out this weekend. I was about to say that the Minister should forget the bitterness and the spite and permit the Army to pay its tribute at the annual commemoration at Béal na Bléth to honour Michael Collins.

I trust that when the next Estimate comes in this time twelve months and when we have our new Government sitting on the far side, the Minister for Defence will be in the happy position of saying that the commemoration at Béal na Bláth will be honoured by the association of the Irish Army with the ceremonies there. I trust that will take place and that the honour and respect which the founder of the Irish Army is entitled to will be given to him.

I want to refer briefly to civil defence, to which the Minister made reference in the course of his speech. I want to express the opinion that money spent on civil defence is money very well spent and that the organising carried out throughout the country in relation to it has not, in my opinion, met with the spirit of co-operation from the general public that it should meet.

I know that the Director of Civil Defence has availed himself of the opportunity of addressing meetings on civil defence in a number of counties. I am very sorry to say that the attendance at these important lectures was far from encouraging and some effort should be made to rouse the ordinary rank and file to a sense of the urgency and importance of this service.

If money is required for civil defence, local authorities usually contribute their share. It is the duty of members of this House associated with local authorities and who realise its urgency and importance to see that local authorities will contribute their share manfully and generously. I am glad to see that some step has been taken to organise the service into regions. I understood the Minister to say that it was likely there would be eight regions, with an Army officer in charge of each region. When these regions are established and the Army officers have a plan of campaign ready, the progress made should be kept under constant review in the Department.

I understand that in the Department at the moment there are quite a number of interesting films on civil defence. I do not know where these films are—they never seem to reach the country. There may be occasions on which these films are shown in the cinemas attached to the military barracks. Quite a number of these films should be screened throughout the country and the owners of cinemas and those in charge of the film industry should be encouraged to screen these films. It is of the greatest possible importance. I hope the response to the civil defence campaign will be greater and that the plan of campaign which the Minister outlined in connection with the establishment of regions will meet with success.

I can assure the Minister that if the general public only realised the importance and the urgency of civil defence and all it stands for, and particularly its importance having regard to the present state of world affairs, the campaign would meet with a greater measure of success. Again, the services of the I.N.T.O. could be availed of to a great extent. When these regions are established, the Army officer in charge, who will, no doubt, be an expert on civil defence, should avail himself of the opportunity of soliciting the co-operation of the teachers. In so far as it is possible, lectures on civil defence should be given in the large schools and in our provincial towns. In the past, it was very noticeable that where lectures such as these were delivered to grown up, intelligent pupils in the schools, the information was passed on to the older members of the family. Having regard to the urgency of civil defence and the manner in which the British Government have planned in this regard and our close proximity to Britain, it behoves us to treat the civil defence problem as a problem of equal urgency and with as great anxiety as is the case in Britain. For that reason, every effort should be made to educate our people and solicit their co-operation in having the programme well organised and understood.

I want to take this opportunity of placing on record my appreciation of the services of the members of the Defence Forces in the Congo. They have certainly conducted themselves in a manner worthy of the name of this country. I wish to pay a very special tribute to the chaplains who accompanied the men. It was very gratifying to read the comments made concerning the men on their return by Rev. Father Brophy, one of the chaplains who accompanied the men. His remarks are indicative of the very great credit due to the moral example which those men have shown in the Congo. They showed great devotion to their religious duties and it is something which should be placed on record. While we pay our tribute to the men who have done so much, a word of praise to Rev. Father Brophy and the other chaplains who accompanied the men to the Congo is not out of place on this occasion.

The Minister for Defence presented an Estimate which is probably no different in character from previous Estimates. The only disappointment we have to express is in regard to the manner in which increases in Army pay have been dealt with. I think every Deputy who spoke referred to it. The members of the Defence Forces have no really bright future to look forward to and the speech of the Minister to-day does not give any hope for the future. We can only hope that the defence programme will be radically changed as a result of the change of Government which will certainly take place in the coming year when the position of our soldiers, their dependants and relatives will be the foremost care of the new Government. The generous manner in which these people should be treated will certainly be considered and most generously.

The last speaker went to some pains to criticise the Minister's approach with regard to the speaking of the Irish language in connection with the administration of the Army. In contrast to what the Deputy said, I want to praise the Minister, as I did last year, for the very sensible approach which I think he made to this question of the language in the Army. There has been no question of compulsion as such. A previous speaker indicated that there were two general lines of principle that should be adopted, if the language is to be fostered in the Army. First, it was to be done by voluntary effort and, secondly, by example Everybody who is reasonably conversant with Army affairs knows that the Minister has adopted those two methods. However, as far as I know, there is no disciplinary action taken against any member of the Defence Forces who does not co-operate entirely in speaking the language.

Furthermore, as regards the question of using the language for administrative purposes, there is no question of reprimanding the higher personnel if they fail to use it. Army personnel are exhorted by the Minister and by the senior officers to use the language wherever possible. As regards example, that is given at the head by the Minister himself who is a fluent speaker of Irish and who can discuss with the private as well as with the senior officer problems in connection with the Army, and these problems are discussed in the native language.

The majority, not all, of the senior officers of the Army are men who have come through the cadet colleges and who, therefore, are all competent in the use of the Irish language. If the Minister has to use a certain amount of compulsion, which Deputy Flanagan alleges he is using, I would not make any apology for that. State organisations, whether it be the Civil Service, the Garda or the Army, must give a lead in relation to the Irish language. If they are not prepared to respond to a reasonable approach there should be no apology if a little compulsion has to be used. However, I am sure people who make it their business to keep in touch with this aspect of Army policy are satisfied that the Minister has made a very realistic approach to this question and I am glad to note it has met with such success.

The question of Army training has been referred to here and in the course of his address this morning the Minister gave quite a number of reasons why Army training has not been as intensive during the past year as it had been during previous years. I think it would be bad for Army morale, and for defence in general, if action in that connection were delayed unduly. There is a problem because of the depletion of personnel due to the Congo situation; nevertheless the full training programme should be resumed at the earliest possible moment. There is nothing that can break up the morale of any section of a defence force more than inactivity in the matter of training and I feel sure the Minister has that in mind.

With regard to allowances to the members of the Defence Forces I have quite a lot of sympathy with the people who say they are not paid the reasonable rate which would enable the Army organisation to be maintained at a proper level. Another Deputy referred to the rates of pay which are in operation for the members of the Defence Forces in other countries. There is a substantial difference between those rates and the rates paid here. I am in entire sympathy with any move to increase the general scale of allowances for members of our Defence Forces and more particularly for the ordinary rank and file. Let me say in passing that the differentiation in the rates of pay of the officer and the private is far too marked. The private is a very important link in the chain of defence. Without privates you cannot have officers and the pay of privates has to be related to the remuneration they would receive if they were to pursue an ordinary commercial or industrial occupation.

I can well appreciate why the Army authorities find it difficult to maintain strength at top level because of the pay anomaly. It is a great drawback that pay increases to the Army often are not for several months or even years after they are given to commercial and industrial workers and civil servants. I understand there is no conciliation or arbitration machinery set up to deal with Army rates of pay or grievances. It is reasonable to suggest to the Minister that such machinery should be set up before it is too late. All ranks in the Army are as entitled to arbitration and conciliation machinery in the matter of pay and allowances as any other interest or force, whether it be State or private. That position must be reached sooner or later.

The organisations for which such machinery exists can attract support now that they could not attract years ago. It is accepted that the correct and most efficient way to get justice in the sale of your labour in the commercial or industrial life is, when necessity justifies it, to refer the matter of pay adjustment to an arbitration board or a similar type of board. I again appeal to the Minister to endeavour to get such a board operating to deal with Army claims and to try to bring about that situation as quickly as possible because there is a good deal of dissatisfaction in the Army because of the lack or such machinery.

I can well understand why the recruiting campaign for the Army does not appear to be meeting with the success experienced in former years. There are better openings in industrial employment and that, naturally, has some effect on a recruiting campaigns The question of recruiting campaigns should be reviewed. Very often they are timed without regard to local circumstances. There is a great deal to be said for having a recruiting mission from the Army in towns or villages but a suitable time and place should be selected. Very often missions have come and gone before anybody knew about them. They may be advertised in the Press or announced in local churches the previous Sunday but I do not think the Army personnel are putting the necessary drive into the recruiting campaigns. I do not suggest that they should go out and play bands, as was done before World War I, but there has been very little change in the general pattern of recruitment for many years. It should not be beyond the capability of the recruiting authorities to devise a more effective approach to the question.

The newspaper publicity employed by the Army could be more effective. The incentives which the Army has to offer should be emphasised. There are very good possibilities in the Army for boys of 16 or 17 years of age for a period of five or ten years. In the matter of trades the Army gives the finest return that can be got from any organisation. There is an advantage in the fact that the boy is paid, fed and clothed while learning a worthwhile trade.

I am impressed by the fact that it appears to be rather easy for a soldier who has a trade to get employment on discharge. At one time a trade acquired in the Army was not considered a first-class accomplishment. That day is gone. The technical men the Army provides to train recruits in trades are first-class and any boy who undergoes a full period of training leaves the Army in the ordinary way after five or ten years, when his contract expires, exceptionally well-equipped.

The Army are inclined to limit their activities to trades. Naturally, there are many boys in the Army who would never adapt themselves to the technique of a trade. They might be able to adapt themselves to commercial work. They might be good typists, good shorthand writers, or something like that. I suggest that the Minister should consider having a wider range of technical and commercial training. In that case, more recruits would be attracted and a better type of recruit would be attracted.

I dealt with Army bands last year. I am sorry to find that there has been very little progress in the matter of visits to bigger towns and provincial centres. The job is not done as well as it might be. Many people do not know an Army band exists. Those who go to hear the band when it comes to visit a town are few in number. The majority of the people are not aware that we have a number of first-class bands under Army auspices. Proposed visits by bands to towns and their participation in local events should be more fully advertised.

Last year I suggested to the Minister that the Department of Defence was far too conservative—I would go so far as to say negative—in the matter of requests for the attendance of Army bands at sporting and other fixtures. The conditions laid down for the attendance of the bands on such occasions make their engagement quite impossible for a local organisation. It would be a good thing if the bands could be made available at a nominal charge for social and sporting events. It would keep the members of the bands in training and bring them into the public eye. It would be good for the morale of the bands and good for the people.

A Deputy has said that there was a good deal of dissatisfaction in the Army because of the system of promotion and the inadequacy of the existing rates of pay. I have dealt with the question of pay and will deal with the question of promotion very briefly. By and large, the system of promotion in the Army at the present time is as fair a system as can be operated under the conditions applying to Army service. However, I want to bring to the notice of the Minister that there is grave dissatisfaction, not alone on the part of the personnel concerned but also on the part of other branches of the Army that might have occasion to co-operate with that personnel, in the matter of promotion of officers who were brought into the Army from the Volunteer Force from 1939, at the outbreak of the emergency. I am not entirely conversant with all the facts of the case but I have a general knowledge of the full picture.

It strikes me that the system which obtains in the Army at the moment in regard to the promotion of these officers is not fair and should be changed. Even though they did not come through the cadet colleges, many of these men made excellent officers and that was proved by the fact that they got rather important assignments during the emergency. When the emergency was over they were demoted to pre-arranged rank, as was the case with regular officers also. That was fair enough. Everybody had to go back in the queue.

In the matter of promotion I am told on very good authority that these particular officers are almost debarred. I am satisfied from what I know that that is a grave injustice. There are only a small number involved. I could understand the introduction of such a regulation if those men were going to upset the line of promotion in any general way but that is not the case. When those men were wanted during the Emergency they came forward. Some of them reached very high rank. Some reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel and I think that one became a colonel. If they were good enough to occupy those ranks during the Emergency, they ought to be good enough to occupy similar ranks when there is no emergency. The proof of any man's worth is what he can do in an emergency. The average man can carry on from day to day but in an emergency he must know his book.

It is unfair to those men, having given them those ranks when they were needed during a period of emergency, to revert them now to lower rank. The fact that they did not come into the Army in what is known as the regular way is no reason why they should be debarred from promotion. I could understand it if the Volunteer Force had continued because there might be some objection to the piecemeal method by which those men obtained their training. I hope that the Minister will be able to look into that point during the year. It has given rise to dissatisfaction among many splendid officers who have been placed at a complete disadvantage through being debarred from promotion.

I am glad to note that the Minister is able to show an increase of approximately 1,000 men in the F.C.A. I have often wondered if the Department of Defence are as serious as they would lead us to believe in maintaining the F.C.A. at a high strength. If they are, there are many things which they could do and which they are not doing to increase the strength substantially. A membership of 22,000, spread out over the whole country, is something that we cannot boast about. It is fewer than 1,000 men in each county. I know that the force is now organised on very efficient lines. There are military officers attached to the various battalions as training officers but I think the approach to recruitment is not as effective as it might be.

I know many secondary schools in my part of the country where there is no unit of the F.C.A. The organising and maintenance of a junior company of the F.C.A. in secondary and technical schools would be an excellent way to start general recruitment. I know that in the residential colleges we have units of the F.C.A. and that young boys of 16 and 17 years join there and are trained to become excellent candidates for adult recruitment when the time for that arrives. In the non-residential colleges there should be some form of junior units so that the pupils could become interested in military training. With the officers now available, I would suggest that an effort should be made to improve the rate of recruitment by starting in those schools.

In the rural areas, owing to the shortage of labour and the fact that men drawn from the farming class find it difficult to attend parades and lectures, there is difficulty in maintaining membership. That is understandable in the rural areas but, nevertheless, I think the strength of this force should be three times what it is. It is a force that has given good service to this country in a manner which we have not yet realised. Those of us who lived through the last emergency period realised the wonderful work done by the force at that particular time and those associated with it are to be congratulated on having it maintained after the Emergency.

In the matter of civil defence I would like to raise a few points. I have been getting very impatient with the progress made in that regard, but I was pleased to hear the Minister announce that he had decided to appoint regional officers from senior Army personnel. I think myself that the main responsibility for the training and administration of civil defence units rests on the local authorities. I am not sure that that is a good arrangement although, if a man could be seconded from the engineering personnel of the local authority, it possibly would. The difficulty would be to get the county manager to agree to make a man available wholetime for the organisation, training and administration of a civil defence unit.

I think that what is badly needed is more direct publicity through lectures, films and radio talks to get over to the people how important civil defence training is. We should start at the primary schools and, through the teaching organisation in those schools, bring home to the children of tender years that there is a need for such a thing as civil defence. It is unfortunate to have to tell young children that there are dangers ahead of them long before they reach manhood. However, that is the way of the world and the sooner we face it the better. The gravity of these problems will have to be brought home to the people in a proper way. We know from what we are told and read that the possibilities are something dreadful. That is all the more reason why we should try to equip ourselves to deal with any problems that may arise as a result of the various forms of radio-active fall-out.

I am glad the Minister dealt with the service in a rather optimistic way: the pessimistic side has been overstressed in this country. I am particularly glad that he went into it in such detail because many people—even those who should know better—are inclined to think that we would be completely exterminated in any nuclear war that might affect the country. It is very difficult, even for those best qualified, to give opinions in this matter and to gauge with complete accuracy the amount of damage to territory, population and buildings that might result from nuclear war until it actually happens. During the last war, we were told some dreadful things would happen. In fact, they did not always happen but some things we did not expect happened. The most essential thing is that we should prepare our population for any destructive type of impact that might result from nuclear warfare. We have an intelligent population which is reasonably co-operative in regard to organisation.

I am glad the Minister has assigned senior Army officers to the training part of this programme and also to its organisation. They are the proper people to organise it. The local authorities must make their contribution also by continuing to provide necessary personnel to operate the scheme at top level and also in the rank and file. I hope that co-operation will exist and that members of the local authorities will ensure so far as they can that the staffs at their disposal and who are in a position to co-operate will do so.

I should like to say a few words on I.R.A. 1916-21 Medals. Some years ago, the Minister made an arrangement to keep the period open for the reception of applications for medals——

That would arise on the next Estimate.

I am happy to note, while regretting the occasion for it, that according to the Estimates, the sum of £34,490 approximately was paid by way of compensation to the dependants of the brave men who lost their lives in the Congo during the past few months. Only a very nominal sum—£10, I think—is provided for such an eventuality this year——

You may let the Deputy deal with the two Votes now.

Acting Chairman

We are not dealing with compensation for Congo victims' relatives at present.

The Minister dealt with it in his speech.

Then I shall avail of the next occasion.

At first sight, the Estimate of £7,690,000 might seem a very substantial sum for a small country such as ours but it is something less than six per cent. of the total Estimates for the Public Services for 1961-62. I do not think we can cavil at the expense, particularly when we see that some other countries have to spend as much as 40 per cent. of the national budget on maintaining very heavy defence and in some cases offence forces.

I should like to join with Deputies who have criticised the recent meagre increases given to the officers, N.C.O.s and men of the Army. I do not wish to create dissatisfaction in the ranks of the soldiers, but I feel this is the proper forum to ventilate the grievances of any section of the community, including the Army. The Minister, in this instance, might have been much more generous.

The Minister knows perfectly well that the rates of pay in the Irish Army compare unfavourably with rates in countries very close to our shores and which from time to time have enticed away our active young men into the ranks of their armies. If we are to have even a small Army here, it is essential that it should be well paid and equipped, that there should be a high standard and a high morale. We have the high standard and morale and the credit which our soldiers brought the country by their service in the Congo is evidence that we have the right type of young man entering the national Army. Therefore, I think the Minister has been seriously remiss in not giving increases more in accordance with what was expected. I hope he will avail of the earliest opportunity to remedy that situation. He will certainly get support from everyone here if he comes before the House with a demand for increased pay for the Army.

Under the subhead A.2, Expenses of Equitation Teams at Horse Shows, I should like to comment that it is a sad fact that in recent years the standard of jumping of the Irish teams has been very low compared with that of a few years ago. I do not know what the cause is but I would ask the Minister to inquire carefully, as quickly as possible, into the reasons for the failure of our jumping teams to maintain the undoubtedly high reputation they had a few years ago. We did carry a tremendous reputation in all the countries of the world that competed in various international jumping competitions and everyone would like to see the Irish Army jumping team recovering its position in that respect.

I notice that three items that seem to have a bearing on the general wellbeing of the Army have been substantially reduced this year. These are Clothing, which is down by £69,000; General Stores, by £123,000 and Defence Equipment, by £20,000. There may be a very good explanation for the reduction in these three items and I hope the Minister will give it when he replies, but, on the face of it, when we are appealing for Army personnel and hoping to get young men to join our Army I should have thought that greater and not lesser provision for items like clothing and stores would have been included in this Estimate.

I should like now to refer to the question of barrack maintenance and the provision of houses for soldiers. I am conversant with the position in Limerick city in which public representatives over the years have been appealing to successive Ministers to make some contribution towards housing Army personnel in Limerick. I am aware of at least a dozen grave cases of overcrowding in the limited accommodation available in Sarsfield Barracks for soldiers. The resources of the local authority are sufficiently strained at the moment in trying to provide housing accommodation for some 1,100 families. The Minister promised in the past that something would be done but, like other matters of import, to date nothing more has been done so far as I am aware. I should like a definite assurance from the Minister that the Army will take reasonable steps towards making a contribution for the housing of its personnel in Sarsfield Barracks.

Some speakers referred to the desirability of increasing the strength of the F.C.A. above the present 22,000 level. As I have stated on previous occasions, I believe there should be some form of compulsory national service. In other small European countries young men between the ages of 17 and 20 are required to undergo a year or 18 months national service. I do not see any valid reason why a similar system could not be introduced here. We all know that in peacetime it is very hard to get volunteers in the F.C.A. It was difficult in the old days to get volunteers to join the L.D.F. They did not join in any great numbers until the threat of danger was present. That is, of course, a normal reaction. Nevertheless, I think more could be done to increase the strength of the F.C.A. above the 22,000 level. The cost to the country at the moment is a mere £23,000. A debt of gratitude is due to the young men who enlist and give up their time to train our soldiers at practically no cost whatever to the State.

I should like to refer now to the treatment meted out to old members of the L.D.F. I refer in particular to those who were injured in the course of service during the years 1939 to 1946. They are paid miserable allowances, allowances which have not been increased for many years. There are some 32 or 33 involved. The total annual compenstion paid is somewhere in the region of £1,400, or less than £1 per man per week. I am aware of one case in which an ex-member of the L.D.F. has married and has now a family of five or six children. He is paid the hopeless allowance of 18/9 per week. He is partially incapacitated. If the Minister wants young men to join the F.C.A. it would be just as well to keep in mind what their chances are likely to be if they are injured during their voluntary service.

We are not members of N.A.T.O. and it is inevitable that the policy pursued here is to a large extent dissociated from the general scheme of Western defence. It would be very unwise to cut ourselves off completely from the co-operative planning in the countries around us. If hostilities break out, we undoubtedly will become part of a scheme of the general defence of Western Europe. For that reason the Minister would be well advised to keep in mind the possible eventualities in which this country might become involved. Naturally we would play a comparatively small part as our Army has the use of only conventional arms, but we could play an important part, and a valuable part. We should keep in mind the fact that we may be required to play that part and, in order to do so, we should fit into the general scheme of Western defence.

Reference was made to the recruiting campaign. I endorse the criticisms levelled at the poor advertising. Some of the posters and advertisements have been of a very low standard indeed. They certainly carried no appeal. Being a young man of imagination, the Minister might give that aspect of the campaign his early attention. The newspaper advertisements are more inclined to repel rather than attract.

Reference was made to displays by the Army and the Army Band. I cannot remember when last we had an Army parade in Limerick. I understand the Army is not now available for parades. I should like to appeal to the Minister to make a battalion, or a couple of battalions, available for parades accompanied by bands. People like to see their Army now and again. Nothing encourages recruitment so much as young people seeing the Army on parade accompanied by a band.

I do not know if it is too late to consider replacing the motor cycle cavalcade with horses. I suggested that should be done some years ago. I do not now recollect what reply was given. It is a great pity that, in a country renowned for its horses and its riders, we have to fall back on a motor cycle cavalcade on State occasions. I do not know whether it is a question of the cost of keeping horses but surely in a country like Ireland it should be possible to maintain a sufficient number of horses for State occasions.

I agree with what Deputy Moloney has said about training. If more technical training were associated with the normal training, that would be another inducement to young men to join the ranks. I agree with him, too, in the criticism he and some other speakers made in regard to civil defence. There is no doubt that the present civil defence campaign is not taken seriously.

Indeed, I am personally aware that members of some local authorities have strongly opposed the granting of sums of money in their areas to facilitate the civil defence forces. It does need an imaginative campaign, well illustrated by lectures, cinema shows and other methods of that kind. If the Minister wants to make this campaign effective he will have to show more imagination than has been shown up to now.

I should like to conclude, as other Deputies did, by paying a tribute to our troops in the Congo. They have brought tremendous credit to the country at some sacrifice. Every Deputy would wish to say our troops in the Congo have exemplified the bravery, the courtesy, the discipline and the honour we would expect of soldiers from this little country of ours.

There are a couple of matters to which I should like to refer on this Estimate. The question of Army pay has been the subject of discussion in the public Press, the subject of keen agitation among members of the Defence Forces and the subject of Parliamentary Questions in recent weeks and months. I think it must be obvious to the Minister and the Government that there is considerable disquiet among the n.c.o.s. and men in the Defence Forces by reason of the present standard of pay applicable to those two grades. We have only to examine the pay of our Defence Forces and the pay received by those in white armies throughout the world in order to realise how inadequately paid our troops are.

If you compare the pay of our troops with that of the defence forces of Canada, Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere, you will find we are well down at the end of the queue, and if you compare the pay of our soldiers with that of the troops in the democracies of Europe, you will find an equally unsatisfactory picture from the standpoint of the paucity of the remuneration of our soldiers. If we hope to keep an Army and to attract the right type of person to it, we will not do it by continuing to pay those appallingly low rates. The simple explanation as to why nobody is enthusiastic about joining our Defence Forces is that, for the ordinary soldier or the ordinary soldier's wife and family, membership of the Army is now synonymous with having a tough job to make ends meet.

I have considerable experience of meeting soldiers. I have three military establishments in my constituency and one has only to talk to the soldier to find out how his pay lasts only a couple of days or to talk to his wife to realise the desperate struggle she has to keep the family going. All that arises from the fact that pay in our Army is at a decidedly low standard that cannot be justified by reference to any reasonable yardstick.

It is true to say that the N.C.Os and the privates in our Army are the worst paid sections of the whole community and unless we remedy that state of affairs, we will never get the right type of person to join the Army, without whom we cannot hope to build the kind of army that our reasources permit us to maintain. If we are to have a small Army, highly developed in all kinds of fighting techniques, that requires as a corollary the type of soldier suitable for that type of training. With the pay we give, we are unlikely to find that type of soldier because every potential soldier we have can find a much better job elsewhere and in other armies, with perhaps more excitement thrown in.

During the war, we had adequate experience of this. Several persons trained in our own Army deserted and joined the British Army, notwithstanding all the dangers and all the risks attached to service in that army at that time. When the whole supply of new material for our Army dries up or becomes reduced to the merest dribble, some Government will, some day, wake up to the necessity of lifting the Army out of its present classification of being the worst paid in the community. But it will be done then too late and very great disservice will have been rendered to our concept of an intelligent and exceptionally well-trained force.

As Deputy Russell rightly said, our total expenditure on the Army is microscopic by European standards. I had occasion in recent years to look at the Defence Estimates of certain other countries in relation to their expenditure and some of them were spending up to 60 per cent. of their tax revenue on the maintenance of their defence forces, largely, I admit, due to the fact that they were situated in extremely dangerous parts of the world and that they had accordingly greater regard for their liberty. The fact remains that while we are expending about six per cent. of our total tax revenue on our Army, we all hope we can reach an arcadian condition where the need for armies will have ceased. However, so long as we have an Army, we ought not to maintain it on subsistence standards of pay.

Seeing that only six per cent. of our revenue is spent on the Army, I think the Government should take their courage in their hands and tell the country that if we are to maintain an Army at its present level, then the men in that Army must be paid a decent allowance. The plain fact of the matter is that we cannot go on expecting people to join the Army, so long as we continue to pay them as inadequately as we do today. I think the Minister can find an effective remedy, once the country is alerted to the necessity of keeping the Army small but of training them well and, above all, paying them well. In that way, we can get an effective Army.

Another matter to which I want to refer is the question of pensions of N.C.Os and privates.

This Estimate does not deal with pensions. The following Estimate does.

I am not dealing with the question of pensions as pensions. I am dealing with the question of Army administration and of Government policy on the Army. The Minister's salary is borne on this Estimate and it is with the Minister I want to deal. The Minister's salary is not borne on the next Estimate but on this Estimate.

There is a special Estimate dealing with pensions and surely that is the appropriate one on which to raise it.

I am dealing with policy in respect of pensions and not with pensions as such.

It would be more appropriate on the next Estimate.

I think it has been raised on this previously.

It was ruled out of order already.

Acting Chairman

It was, when Deputy Moloney was speaking. It is more appropriate to the next Estimate.

Does that mean I cannot devote five minutes to it on this and save time on the next?

Acting Chairman

I presume a passing reference would not be inappropriate.

In this matter the Minister should be with me.

It has nothing whatever to do with this Estimate. There is a separate Estimate dealing with pensions and that is the obvious place in which it is in order.

I have just received permission from the acting Chairman to make a passing reference to it.

Acting Chairman

I think the intention of the Deputy is to try to link it up with general policy.

The intention is to talk about something that is not relevant.

It is relevant.

It is not.

It is relevant to the Minister's inaction.

It has nothing to do with the Estimate under discussion.

It would have if I proposed a motion to reduce the Minister's salary by £5 in order that I might deal with his attitude in respect of pensions. I am entitled to do that on this Estimate but I do not want to go to that extent. It is the Minister's policy I want to deal with, not the pure mathematics of pensions or how they are calculated. I raised this matter in the House fourteen months ago in regard to the pensions of N.C.Os and men. At that time I called attention to the fact that while officers get gratuities when they retire in addition to a pension, N.C.Os and men get no retirement gratuities. I pointed out then it was unfair that N.C.Os and men, because of their low rate of pay and allowances, could never save money for the day when they would be discharged from the Army. It was unreasonable to deny them a gratuity which was paid in the case of officers. I urged the Minister at that stage to introduce legislation in the House with a view to ensuring that the soldier and the N.C.O. would be given a gratuity on retirement such as is paid to officers when they come to retire. The Minister at that time said——

At what time did I say it?

Acting Chairman

The Deputy is going into too much detail.

If you are anyway worried about the permission you have already given me, I shall eschew the permission you so kindly granted and deal with the matter perhaps at greater length when we reach it. I want to refer to the experiment of recent years in the establishment of the apprentice schools in the Devoy Barracks at Naas. That has been a very successful experiment. A goodly number of youths have been recruited to the Army for training through this medium. I have had occasion to meet many of them from time to time and I must say that the idea of recruiting them with a view to apprenticeship to trades has attracted an excellent type of young man into the Army.

I am glad to note that as a result of the enlightened administration governing the apprenticeship school at Naas these boys are being turned out with a substantial knowledge of trades which probably they would never have acquired if it were not for this apprenticeship school. I hope, therefore, this experiment will be continued. This is one side of the Army where we could probably attract people because what we offer there is something which is not offered to the ordinary soldier. It would pay substantial dividends in giving our people a technical training and putting at the disposal of the Army technicians who would otherwise not be secured unless they are recruited in the special manner associated with the apprenticeship school at Naas. I would like to hear from the Minister whether the Department intends to continue the apprenticeship school arrangement which has functioned so satisfactorily, and whether it is proposed to extend the number of courses there with a view to attracting more apprentices and perhaps giving them a longer period of training.

On behalf of the Labour Party I want to pay tribute to the Army for the excellent manner in which they have upheld not only their own magnificent traditions as an Army but the dignity and sense of justice which is characteristic of the Irish nation. The conduct of our troops in the Congo has been exemplary. Tributes have been paid to them not only by newspapers but by high military personnel in other armies and I think the whole nation will congratulate them on their bearing and on the excellent impression which they made in that part of the world not only as guardians of the peace but as ambassadors of goodwill from this country. I hope, as I said at the outset, that our expressions of thanks to the Army for their services in the Congo will not be confined to mere words and that instead we shall recognise that good soldiers, a good Army with traditions to maintain, ought to be paid much better than the Army is being paid to-day.

I should like to deal, at the outset, with a few matters of detail which occurred to me on the Estimate. Under subhead A, Pay of Officers, there is a footnote relating to the pay of legal officers which refers to the payment of £650, the salary of the Judge-Advocate General, a nonmilitary officer. I have served myself for part of my period of army service in the Army Legal Branch and the significance of this appointment is still a mystery to me. This office has been taken over from the British precedent and it is one which I believe is entirely unnecessary. I understand that the original basis was that there should be someone outside the ranks of the Army who would keep a watchful eye on the administration of justice within the forces. In my short experience I never saw the Judge-Advocate General of that time making any helpful suggestions at all. He did look through the proceedings of courts martial and the only comment I ever saw from the Judge-Advocate General in relation to such proceedings was that the sentence appeared to be rather heavy or rather light but, in view of the fact that he was a civilian and was probably not fully aware of the significance of the charge and the circumstances, such comment was not of any great value.

I feel that the whole basis of the Army legal service should receive considerable attention because it is quite unjust that there should be no court of appeal from a court martial. There is a form of appeal from the summary jurisdiction of a junior officer or even a commanding officer but when it comes to serious offences which come before a court martial there is no appeal whatever. The theoretical appeal to the Judge-Advocate General is something that appears to me to have no value at all.

I would hope, therefore, that the Minister with his advisers would look into the question of a general revision of the Army legal service so that there could be set up some proper appeals procedure. This would also lead to the abolition of the office of Judge-Advocate General, an office which I believe to be quite unnecessary. We do not have a civilian medical practitioner over the Army medical service and I see no reason for having a civilian lawyer occupying the highest rank in the Army legal service. I do not wish this to be taken in any sense as a criticism of the present holder of the office or of any of his predecessors, as I am sure they have all done their very best, but I feel that this office has failed to prove its usefulness and now largely involves a waste of time and money.

Under the same subhead I notice there is a considerable reduction in respect of Air Corps flying pay from £9,355 last year to £6,813 this year. I do not know whether this means that it is anticipated that there will not be as much flying duty during the coming year or whether there is some difference in calculation of flying pay for officers but on principle I feel that unless members of the Air Corps are encouraged to stay in the air as much as possible it is very false economy because we have a fairly heavy capital commitment in the purchase and maintenance of aircraft and if these are not being used to the full extent we are not getting a reasonable return for our money.

This leads me to further consideration of the Air Corps generally. I agree with the previous speaker who expressed his disappointment that the Minister had not made any specific reference to this corps in his speech. The Air Corps is a branch of the Army which is most often misunderstood. Deputy Sherwin this morning was criticising the Minister for having war planes at all. In actual fact, as I understand it, we have no war planes in the Air Corps but simply some initial training planes, piston engine training planes and some advanced jet training aircraft. We also have a few small reconnaissance planes for general duties but we have no fighter planes in the full sense of the word nor have we any bombers. So that the Air Corps must not be regarded as a fully operational force equipped for battle. It does, however, provide very useful training experience for young men who wish to learn flying techniques prior to joining Aer Lingus.

In view of the fact that Aer Lingus is continuing to expand very rapidly and that its intake of pilots will be much heavier during the next succeeding few years, I hope the Air Corps will be given every possible assistance in its efforts to provide Aer Lingus with trained pilots.

Quite apart from the value of the Air Corps as a training place for new pilots, it is essential from the Army point of view that ground troops should be accustomed to aircraft overhead, even to aircraft simulating attacks against them.

So far as the pay of officers generally is concerned, I notice that the allowance in respect of resignations and deaths of officers is £5,000 higher than last year. I cannot imagine that the Departmental officials are anticipating a higher rate of deaths than usual and consequently I am forced to the conclusion that they are anticipating a higher rate of resignations than last year. That appears to me to be a very serious matter indeed. Not only is there an allowance of £70,000 in the Estimate in respect of numbers being below strength but there is an allowance of £17,000 in respect of resignations and deaths.

The total figures under this heading, Pay of Officers, is just under £1,000,000 but from that figure is deducted £87,000 in respect of numbers being below strength, resignations, deaths etc. The allowance in respect of numbers being below strength is much higher than it was last year. It shows an increase from £59,225 to £70,332. A sum of over £10,000 more is allowed in this year's Estimate in respect of numbers being below strength. That appears to me to be an admission that the Army authorities do not expect the number of officers to be anything like as high as was originally anticipated and that they expect a higher number of resignations than last year.

That would lead me to further discussion on the question of rates of pay generally. The reduction in the numbers of officers, in my opinion, is directly related not only to the basic rates of pay but also to the general attitude of this Government and its predecessors in relation to allowances such as children's allowances. I have stated before and I am prepared to state again that the Army is the greatest cut-price institution in the whole organisation of the State. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.