"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.