My melancholy duty is to move a motion which I feel certain will meet with the approval of all the Seanad. It is a motion with which I am glad to say all Ireland is in absolute sympathy and it has reference to a sad occurrence which took place at Cobh. The motion is:—

"That Seanad Eireann at this its first meeting held since the occurrence, endorses the statement and action of the President regarding the brutal and cowardly crime committed at Cobh on last Friday, resulting in the death of one and the serious wounding and maiming of several other British soldiers and some civilians.

"That Seanad Eireann tenders its sincere sympathy to the relatives and comrades of Private Aspinal, the wounded and their relatives and comrades, and sincerely trusts the murderers will soon be brought to justice."

I do not think, Sir, I am required to say very much more on the matter. I do not suppose that in the annals of crime there has ever been a more cowardly or a more repulsive crime committed in any country, and it is sad to think that we, as Irishmen, have had to admit that it occurred in our own land. I sincerely trust that the assassins will be brought to justice. It may appear strange that they have not already been caught, but one must remember that there are practically no military posts between Cork and Co. Waterford on the coast line now, except a small one at Youghal, and these men had a motor car with a machine gun on it, and it will possibly take some time to hunt them down.

I second Senator Love's motion. I hope that in what may be the long experience of this Seanad it will never again have such an evil crime to speak about, or ever again have to pass a vote of condolence with the relatives of murdered soldiers, such as we are dealing with now. I do not suppose that with the exception of the few scoundrels who did it, there is a single soul in the Free State of Ireland but has felt how bitter and horrid it is to think that such a thing could be done in our country. A few friends who were together at the week-end felt it so deeply that they thought it better not to talk about it. I endorse every word in the motion.

I wish formally to associate myself with the motion. This has been a very bloody, cowardly deed, which tends to bring dishonour and discredit upon all sections of the community. But one consoling feature of the tragic incident is the fact that it has utterly failed to accomplish the foul purpose for which the crime was committed. The deed has been condemned by all Parties in the State, and from that point of view alone, it has done one good thing in demonstrating to the world that all Parties in the country, no matter what their differences on other points may be, are, at all events, united in condemning cowardly and atrocious acts of this kind.

I wish to associate myself with the motion referring to an appalling tragedy. It is a sort of crime that is entirely foreign to our nature and our race, because it has the very worst elements of criminality. It was a premeditated, callous, inhuman act. Defenceless men, women and children were fired upon, without any opportunity of making any resistance. In the whole of our history there has never been such a cold-blooded, inhuman act as that, and under the circumstances in which we are it was particularly unfortunate, because the nation, as it were, was pledged under the Treaty to a truce in these matters. So far as the crime has any political significance or intention, which I suppose it had, it is, as I say, particularly unfortunate in that respect. It takes on itself the aspect of a national crime, and causes national shame, national humiliation, and national sorrow. We only hope the miscreants will be brought to justice quickly. They put themselves, I should say, entirely outside the pale of civilisation and Christianity, and almost of humanity, because their act was utterly and absolutely inhuman. It has been suggested by Senator O'Farrell what their purpose was, but it will not be served. They will not succeed by that act, or a succession of such acts, in creating a rupture between the two countries. We are bound together by an honourable Treaty, entered into by the majority of the people of this country with their will and approval, and it is not in our history or our record that we have ever broken a Treaty, although we have been the victims of deception in matters of that sort. But inasmuch as we have put our hands to this thing, and have so far honourably carried out all its conditions, I am glad to say that the English nation, if we may judge by the Press comments and reports, appreciates that, and will not be aroused to act in any vindictive way as a result of this appalling tragedy.

May I suggest that the feelings of the Seanad would be best expressed by passing the motion in silence?


Senator the Earl of Mayo asked me to mention that he was compelled to leave, and that he was anxious to have his name associated with this resolution.

Motion passed in silence, the members standing.

The House adjourned at 7.50 p.m. until 12 o'clock, Friday, March 28th.