CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - CO. CORK ELECTION FEES.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - BRITISH FORCES (COMPENSATION CLAIMS).
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - CLAIMS FOR PERSONAL INJURIES.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - DAMAGE IN GREAT BRITAIN.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - COLONIAL OFFICE MEMORANDUM.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - PAYMENT OF MONEYS.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - DISTRESS IN BALBRIGGAN.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - HOUSING CONDITIONS IN ATHENRY.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - HOUSING CONDITIONS IN BALLINASLOE.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - CORK AND MACROOM RAILWAY.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - NORTH LOUTH POTATO CROP.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - COMMITTEE ON LAND PURCHASE.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - COMPENSATION AND DEPENDENTS' ALLOWANCE.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - ARMY BREAD CONTRACTS.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - A DUBLIN RAID.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - KERRY PRISONERS' DEATHS.
QUESTIONS TO BE RAISED ON ADJOURNMENT.
CIRCULAR OF INSTRUCTIONS—CEANN COMHAIRLE THANKED.
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE.
THE DÁIL RESUMES.
THE ADJOURNMENT—KERRY PRISONERS' DEATHS.
PRISONERS ON HUNGER STRIKE.
WRITTEN ANSWERS. - DEPENDANTS' ALLOWANCES.
 Cromadh ar obair an lae ar 3.15 a clog. Bhí an Ceann Comhairle, Micheál O h-Aodha, sa Chathaoir.
RIOBARD O DEAGHAIDH: asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware that the expenses of Presiding Officers and Poll Clerks for the Divisions of North, Mid., West, South, and SouthEast Cork, for the June Election, have not yet been paid, and if he will issue instructions for their immediate payment?
The PRESIDENT (Minister for Finance): Instructions for the payment of expenses in the constituency of North, Mid., West, South and SouthEast Cork were sent to the Returning Officer on the 16th instant.
SEOIRSE GHABHAIN UI DHUBHTHAIGH: asked the Minister for Finance whether many of the decrees awarded for personal injuries to members of the British forces killed or injured since 11th July, 1921, are not notoriously excessive and indefensible, and whether he will publish a list of all such decrees?
The PRESIDENT: I am not aware that the decrees awarded in the class of cases mentioned are either excessive or indefensible. These cases are closely investigated by the Ministry of Finance, and where I am satisfied that the injuries were received by a member of the British forces as a result of a breach of the Truce on the Irish side, the onus of meeting the decree falls on the Irish Government.
In regard to the second part of the question, notice of our intention to pay  is published in the “Iris Oifigiuil,” and details of the cases ready for payment are given. One such case was published in the “Iris Oifigiuil” of the 6th March, 1923, and 4 cases in the issue of the 10th instant. All other cases will be published from time to time according as inquiries have been completed in regard to them.
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: May I ask, arising out of that answer, whether the total of these claims has yet been ascertained?
The PRESIDENT: The total of the claims, or of the decrees?
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: The total of the claims, or decrees, in respect of British soldiers?
The PRESIDENT: They are two different questions. The question here is only in regard to the decrees, and the information is published as I have stated.
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: Is the total of these decrees ascertained yet?
The PRESIDENT: I do not think so.
SEOIRSE GHABHAIN UI DHUBHTHAIGH: asked the Minister for Finance whether it is a fact that the Ministry has agreed to pay in full all decrees for personal injuries to members of the British forces killed or injured in Saorstát Eireann since 11th July, 1921; and, if so, whether the Ministry has now determined that all decrees for personal injuries to persons not belonging to the British forces are likewise to be paid in full?
The PRESIDENT: The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, provided always that after close inquiries have been made in each individual case I am satisfied that the injuries were the result of a breach of the Truce on the Irish side.
In regard to the second part of the question, which it is assumed refers also to injuries received after 11th July, 1921, where the injuries were inflicted by members of the British forces in breach of the Truce, the British Government has agreed to pay the full  amount of the decrees. The treatment received after 11th July, 1921, by persons other than members of the British forces, when the injuries were not inflicted by members of the British forces is at present under consideration.
SEOIRSE GHABHAIN UI DHUBHTHAIGH: asked the Minister for Finance whether it is a fact that “the damage done by adherents of Sinn Fein in Great Britain has been valued by agreement at £1,000,000,” and, if so, whether he will circulate the agreement on the subject to the members of the Oireachtas, together with such particulars of the alleged damage as will enable the Oireachtas to examine the figure of compensation agreed upon?
The PRESIDENT: No agreement as to valuation has been concluded in this matter. The British Government are understood to have estimated at £1,000,000 the value of the damage done in Great Britain, but no exact statement in the matter has yet been received from them.
SEOIRSE GHABHAIN UI DHUBHTHAIGH: asked the Minister for Finance whether he is aware that the British Colonial Office has published an official Memorandum as to compensation for injury to person and property in Saorstát Eireann disclosing facts not hitherto made public in Ireland, and whether he will have that Memorandum circulated for the information of members of the Oireachtas before the Damage to Property (Compensation) Bill finally passes both Houses?
The PRESIDENT: I have only just seen a copy of the Memorandum referred to. The main facts contained therein, so far as concerns the Government of Saorstát Eireann, appear previously to have been published, but it contains a certain amount of information which concerns only the British Government and which it would not be proper for me to circulate officially. I am arranging to have some copies of the Memorandum placed in the members' rooms for the information of Deputies.
SEOIRSE GHABHAIN UI DHUBHTHAIGH: asked the Minister for Finance whether it is the view of the Ministry that the Ministry must submit to Dáil Eireann any agreement with the British Government, involving the payment of money by Saorstát Eireann, before such agreement can become operative?
The PRESIDENT: No agreement involving the payment of money to the British Government can become operative unless and until the funds necessary for the purpose have been provided by Dáil Eireann.
SEOIRSE GHABHAIN UI DHUBHTHAIGH: asked the Minister for Finance whether he will give special consideration to the question of the propriety of relieving the distress in Balbriggan where a number of men, some of them married and with families, have now been unemployed since 20th September, 1920, the date of the burnings by the Black and Tans, and where the exhaustion of the Relief Committee's Funds gives grounds for the gravest anxiety to the victims and their families?
The PRESIDENT: I have endeavoured to render all the assistance in my power to Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. The number of cases in which payment for awards has been made in Balbriggan is 71, and the total amount paid is £65,051. Practically every claim which it is possible to pay has been discharged. The exhaustion of the funds of the Relief Committee cannot be ascribed wholly to the extent of unemployment prevailing in the town.
TOMAS O CONAILL: asked the Minister for Local Government whether an Inspector from his Department has yet visited Athenry to inquire into the housing conditions in that town, and, if so, can he state the nature of his report, and whether any action has been recommended with a view to effecting an improvement in the present conditions?
MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Mr. Ernest Blythe): A report has just been received from an Inspector  of the Ministry who visited Athenry and made inquiries as to the need for additional housing accommodation. The report indicates that there are (a) 6 cases of houses entirely unfit for habitation; (b) 16 in which houses are unsanitary by overcrowding; and (c) 13 requiring proper sanitary accommodation.
As soon as State aid is again available for rural housing, the Loughrea Rural District will be urged to provide houses under the Labourers' Acts to meet the requirements of Athenry. I am not yet in a position to add anything to the reply given to a question addressed on the 7th February in regard to the resumption of State aid for rural housing.
TOMAS O CONAILL: asked the Minister for Local Government if his attention has been called to the wretched housing conditions which exist in the town of Ballinasloe; whether many of the houses have been condemned by the local M.O.H. as unfit for human habitation; whether he will send an inspector to make a special report on the conditions in Ballinasloe, as well as on the suggestions which have been made to the effect that temporary accommodation should be made available in the local Workhouse buildings now unoccupied?
Mr. BLYTHE: The Ministry are aware of the defective housing conditions in Ballinasloe. Many dwellings in the town have been certified to be unfit for human habitation. An inspection was recently made by a Medical Inspector and a Housing Inspector, and their reports, which were received only this week, will be considered as soon as possible. Portions of the Workhouse premises were on the 5th inst. still occupied by military.
It is understood that the local representatives who accompanied the inspectors are not in favour of the Workhouse premises being used even temporarily for housing purposes.
Mr. JOHNSON (for Liam O Daimhin): asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that the Cork and Macroom Railway has been completely closed down for the past eight months; whether it is a fact that no attempt has been made to re-open the line for traffic,  although the damage to be repaired is comparatively trivial, and if he will consider the desirability of bringing pressure to bear upon the company to make the necessary arrangements for re-opening the line without further unnecessary delay?
MINISTER for AGRICULTURE (Mr. P. Hogan) for Minister for Industry and Commerce: Proposals have been received from the company for the principal repairs necessary on this railway, and have been approved. The difficulty has not been so much the carrying out of repairs as the provision of adequate protection on the line. Special representations on this point have been made to the Minister for Defence who will do everything possible to facilitate the resumption of traffic.
Mr. JOHNSON: Does the Minister understand that the line is ready to resume operations within 48 hours provided protection can be given over two bridges near Macroom?
Mr. HOGAN: The answer to the question states that special representations are being made to the Minister for Defence who will do everything possible, I am sure, to facilitate giving protection.
Mr. JOHNSON: Have you had any answer from the Minister for Defence?
Mr. HOGAN: I suggest that you can get any further information by putting down a question to the Minister for Defence.
Mr. JOHNSON: That means delay.
CATHAL O SEANAIN: asked the Minister for Agriculture what steps are being taken to safeguard the interests of potato growers in the scheduled area of North Louth, who are prohibited from disposing of their crop of potatoes; whether it is a fact that a quantity of seed was supplied by the Department of Agriculture at £13-£15 per ton, and sold as immune from disease, and whether he is prepared to accept responsibility for the losses incurred by farmers in respect of potatoes grown from this seed?
Mr. HOGAN: Special inquiries have been made into the position in the County Louth scheduled area and as to the possibility of finding an outlet for the potatoes grown therein or of otherwise  relieving the situation. The normal outlet is the Liverpool and Bristol Channel markets, but unfortunately these markets are this year over supplied, owing to the very exceptional yield of the potato crop not only in Ireland but in Great Britain. The only prohibition against the disposal of potatoes grown in the scheduled district is that they cannot be sent to disease-free districts in Ireland where they would be likely to introduce Black Scab, one of the most destructive diseases of the potato crop.
With a view to introducing into scheduled districts costly new varieties immune from Black Scab, the Department have from time to time supplied small quantities of such varieties free of charge to a few growers under contract to sell the produce to their neighbours at a little over the cost of ordinary eating potatoes. This is a similar case to the case we discussed on the adjournment a few nights ago.
DOMHNALL O MUIRGHEASA: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state what are the terms of reference of the Committee on Land Purchase recently appointed, and whether he will ensure that in any new scheme of land purchase provision will be made to enable not only existing tenants, but also landless men, including town workers, to purchase or rent holdings, either individually or jointly through co-operative societies or the local authority?
Mr. HOGAN: The recent Land Conference was an effort to bring about a settlement between landlords and tenants on two of the vital points at present connected with land purchase, namely, the question of price and arrears. The breakdown of the Conference was due to the fact that no basis of agreement could be found between the two parties.
The failure of the Conference will not prevent me from introducing my Land Bill within the next three or four weeks. In view of the proximity of its introduction, there is no necessity to go into the terms of the Bill at the present moment.
SEAN O LAIDHIN: asked the Minister for Defence:—(1) Whether it is the  intention of the Army Authorities to grant compensation to Mrs. Adamson, Athlone Road, Moate, in respect of her son, George Adamson, late O.C. Athlone Brigade—and who was also actively engaged in Anglo-Irish war—who was shot dead in Athlone in April, 1922. (2) Further to ask is the Minister aware that Mrs. Adamson has not received dependents' allowance in respect of her three sons, Commandant Joseph Adamson, Athlone; Sergeant John Adamson. Clara, and Volunteer William Adamson. Athlone, who are serving in the National Army since May, 1922, and as these men, prior to enlisting, were her chief support, will he see the question of allowance is speedily dealt with?
MINISTER for DEFENCE (General Mulcahy): Mrs. Adamson is being paid an allowance of 35s. per week in respect of the death of her son, Brigadier Adamson, pending a consideration of the case subsequent to the passing of an Army Pensions Act.
Regarding her claims for Dependent's Allowance, none is issuable in respect of her son, Commandant Joseph Adamson, as he is in receipt of a flat rate of pay which covers any allowance which might otherwise be paid to his mother, and none is payable in respect of her son Sergeant John Adamson, as he was not in the habit of contributing to her support for a reasonable period prior to his enlistment. An allowance of 7s. per week is being paid in respect of Volunteer William Adamson.
Mr. LYONS: May I ask the Minister can he give me any idea as to when the allowance of 35s. per week was granted in respect of the son George, who was killed in Athlone?
General MULCAHY: I am sorry I cannot, but I will find out, and communicate the information to the Deputy.
PADRAIG Mac ARTAIN: asked the Minister for Defence if he will state (a) how much per lb. the military in Athlone area are paying for bread; (b) why Mr Thos. English, of Tullamore, who was notified by the Government Contracts Committee on February 28th that his tender had been successful has never received any orders; (c) whether or not Mr. English  will be compensated for breach of contract and expense incurred in the preparations necessary to carry out his part of the said contract?
General MULCAHY: Enquiries are being made, but they have not yet been completed.
LIAM O DAIMHIN: asked the Minister for Defence whether his attention has been drawn to a military raid on the premises of the Evicted Tenants and Land Settlement Association, 104 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, on December 11th, 1922, when the Secretary of this nonsectarian, non-political organisation was arrested (released January 2nd, 1923), and all papers, books, typewriters, copying machines, and other office utensils, were taken away; if he can state the reason for the raid and the commandeering and detention of documents which can have no military importance, and if and when it is his intention to return all such books, papers, typewriters, etc., which are essential to the carrying on of the work of this organisation?
General MULCAHY: My attention has been called to the raid in question which was carried out on suspicion of the promotion of illegal action. An examination of the papers has disclosed material upon which charges under the ordinary criminal law will be founded. It is, therefore, under consideration to proceed with criminal prosecutions at an early date. The question of the return of the books, papers, etc., cannot be considered at present.
TOMAS Mac EOIN: asked the Minister for Defence whether he is now in a position to give an answer to the question asked on Tuesday, March 27th, relating to the death of eight prisoners at Ballyseedy Bridge, near Tralee, on March 8th; also, whether any inquest has been held respecting the deaths of four military prisoners at the Countess Bridge, Killarney, on Wednesday, 7th March, and if not, will he arrange for an enquiry to be held into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of these prisoners?
General MULCAHY: A Court of Inquiry  was held at Tralee, on the 7th April, consisting of:—Major-General P. O'Daly, G.O.C., Kerry Command, President; Major-General Eamon Price, G.H.Q., Portobello Barracks; Colonel J. McGuinness, Kerry Command, for the purpose of inquiring into the circumstances of the death of eight prisoners at Ballyseedy Bridge, near Tralee, on the morning of the 8th March.
The Inquiry disclosed that the G.O.C. Kerry Command, having occasion on the night of Wednesday, 6th-7th March, to despatch an Operation Order to Killorglin, an officer with a party of troops proceeded by tender at 2 a.m. from Ballymullen Barracks in the direction of Killorglin. The way was found to be blocked by a stone barricade across the road at Ballyseedy. The road through Ballyseedy was the only road ordinarily open to transport between Tralee and Killorglin at that time. In accordance with a Command instruction, the officer in charge of the party took no steps to have the road cleared by the troops accompanying him, but returned to Tralee with a view to bringing back prisoners to remove the blockage. Six prisoners were taken from the jail and three from the workhouse for this purpose. They returned to Ballyseedy towards 3 a.m. On reaching the barricade again the prisoners were lined up and told the purpose for which they had been brought out, and instructed to remove the barricade, which they proceeded to do. After being engaged on the work of removal for a few minutes there was a loud explosion, which knocked the officer in charge of the party to the ground, wounding him in the arm, and wounding also a second officer (scalp wound) and a sergeant, who was wounded in the left leg and knee, the two latter being subsequently detained in hospital.
On searching the immediate neighbourhood of the explosion immediately afterwards, the dead bodies of eight of the prisoners were found, all badly cut up. The ninth man was missing, and a search of the locality failed to disclose any trace of him in the darkness. Ambulances were sent for to Tralee, the wounded officers and man brought back, and subsequently the bodies of the dead prisoners. In the meantime the clearing of the road was completed by the soldiers, and the officer and party proceeded to Killorglin.
 The following finding has been issued by the Court:—
(1) That the civilians in question lost their lives in explosions while removing obstructions on the road placed there by Irregulars.
(2) That the explosions were caused by land mines and bombs placed there by Irregulars with the object of causing loss of life amongst members of the Army, and preventing reinforcements from reaching an area in which most serious destruction to life and property would ensue if the Irregulars achieved their object.
(3) That it has been found necessary to employ civilian prisoners for the purpose of removing obstructions since September last in this particular command owing to the high percentage of casualties suffered by members of the Army, having themselves been obliged to remove trap mines, which had become the principal weapon of war of the Irregulars.
(4) The Court further find that the allegations contained in the Irregular propaganda submitted to the Court, particularly with reference to the maltreatment of prisoners, are untrue and without foundation, and that no blame is attached to any officer or soldier engaged in the operations in which these prisoners lost their lives.
(5) The Court are further of opinion that, in view of the fact that the Irregular propaganda has hitherto, in most instances, proved false and misleading, undue attention should not be paid to charges against the Army, based on statements contained in such propaganda.
(6) In fine, the Court is of opinion that, in view of the abnormal conditions which have prevailed in this area, and of the inordinate and malignant nature of the fight carried out against the Army in their efforts to restore peace, the discipline maintained by the troops is worthy of the highest consideration, but that in dealing with all matters involving possibility of the loss of human life the strictest discipline must be maintained.
P. Ua Dalaigh, Major-General.
(1) Eamon Price, Major-General.
(2) J. McGuinness, Colonel.
Dated April 10th, 1923.
The same Court sat at Tralee on the 7th April to inquire into the circumstances in which certain prisoners were killed in a mine explosion at the Countess Bridge, Killarney, on the morning of the 7th March. The evidence shows that, as part of a sweeping operation involving the area Killarney, Beaufort, Killorglin, Barraduff, one officer and twenty-five men started from Killarney at 3 a.m. to go in the direction of Kilgarvan. In order to get out of Killarney without attracting attention they left barracks by the East Avenue gate, and on reaching Countess Bridge found a barricade of stones on the road near the bridge. The officer in charge sent back at once to Killarney for prisoners to remove it. Five prisoners were brought back and ordered to remove the obstruction. When they had been working for a few minutes there was a loud explosion, followed by several small ones. The military party had, meantime, been ordered to stand clear while the work of removing the barricade was going on. On approaching the barricade after the explosion they found four of the prisoners dead. The fifth prisoner was missing, and a search of the locality failed to find him. The barricade contained a mine and several hand grenades.
The Court found exactly as in the previous case.
The following is a copy of the Order as a particular result of which the removal of these barricades was not attempted by the troops. Already prisoners have been used regularly for clearing roads for some months past in Kerry, because of the general practice on the part of the Irregulars of mining road barricades erected by them. The Order reads:—
Field General Headquarters,
March 6th, 1923.
To all Officers of the Kerry Command.
All officers and men in the Command are notified that, in the event of their encountering any obstacles, such as stone barricades, and also dugouts  or dumps, they are not to interfere with same. The officer or N.C.O. in charge should immediately proceed to the nearest detention barracks and bring with him a sufficient number of Irregular prisoners to remove same.
The tragedy of Knocknagoshel must not be repeated, and serious disciplinary action will be taken against any officer who endangers the lives of his men in the removal of such barricades, etc.
Since the Four Courts fight, mines have been used indiscriminately by the Irregulars. The taking out of prisoners is not to be regarded as a reprisal, but as the only alternative left us to prevent the wholesale slaughter of our men.
(Signed) P. UA DALAIGH,
G.O.C. Kerry Command.
This Order was issued particularly as a result of the fact that on the morning of the 6th March, at Knocknagoshel, three officers and two men lost their lives as a result of a trigger mine trap set in a “dump” discovered by troops. The other remaining victim is at present lying in St. Bricin's Hospital, having lost both limbs and with both eyes badly damaged.
An Irregular document, headed “H.Q. Kerry, No. 1, 16.3.23,” describes that “a trigger mine was laid in Knocknagoshel for a member of the F.S. Army, Lt. O'Connor, who had made a hobby of torturing Republican prisoners in Castleisland. On Tuesday a party of F.S. troops, including Lt. O'Connor, proceeded to the place, and two Copls., Lt. O'Connor, and two privates were killed.” That is the end of the quotation.
The statement that Lt. O'Connor had made a hobby of torturing Republican prisoners in Castleisland is utterly untrue, and the local Irregular verdict on the occurrence is that “O'Connor had ——hard luck, and the two—— that it was laid for had the devil's own luck.”
I am quite satisfied of the correctness and bona-fides of the findings of the Court in these cases.
The troops in Kerry have had to fight against every ugly form of warfare which the Irregulars could think of. They have lost 69 killed and 157 wounded, and their record there is such that it is inconceivable  that they would be guilty of anything like the charges that are made against them in the Irregular statements which are at the present moment being circulated in profusion in connection with those occurrences. On the other hand, the Irregulars in Kerry have stooped to outrage of every kind. Of the 69 of our men killed in that area, 17 lost their lives guarding food convoys to feed the people in outlying districts. The Knocknagoshel incident is typical of the methods of their warfare, as is the recent urging of the O/C. of this particular area that the creation of unemployment would help their campaign.
A large number of road barricades remain to be removed in Kerry. Where it is feasible to do so the work of clearing those barricades shall be done by prisoners. Instructions, however, are being issued that, except for specially urgent reasons, such obstructions shall not be removed in darkness, and that in all cases of such removals steps shall be taken by the use of some grappling implements or the discharge of newly-placed explosive to disturb the obstruction with a view to detecting any trap mines before removal by the prisoners of the material from the road.
Mr. JOHNSON: I want to give notice that I shall have to raise the question regarding the deaths of prisoners in Kerry on the adjournment motion.
Dr. McCARTAN: I want also to give notice that I want to raise the question of the prisoners on hunger strike.
Mr. GERALD FITZGIBBON: A Chinn Chomhairle, before we proceed to the next business, may I, in a thoroughly disorderly manner, express my own personal thanks, and I am sure the sincere thanks of the other members of the Dáil, for the Circular of Instructions which you, Sir, outside your official duties, took upon yourself to supply to us. We are people without experience where framing our first Budget is concerned, and I think we are profoundly indebted to you for the trouble you have taken in instructing us how to proceed with the matter as rapidly and conveniently as possible. (Applause).
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I think it would be well in Committee on this matter that we do not enforce the ten minutes rule for speeches. At the same time I would appeal to the Deputies not to make three speeches of twenty minutes each.
“That it is expedient to amend the law relating to Customs and Inland Revenue (including Excise), and to make further provision in connection with Finance.—Debate resumed from Friday, 13th inst.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: It is a pleasing duty on an occasion like this— I suppose it is a duty always pleasing whenever it would occur, but particularly so now—to congratulate the Minister for Finance on the honour that has befallen him of introducing the first Budget statement in this new State, and also to congratulate him on the clarity with which he put the essential facts before us. In the course of his speech he made reference to what I think is one of the essential and salient features of the Estimates that we have had put before us. That is the difference in the two classes of Estimates, expenditure not only in the coming year, but in the past year. He touched upon it briefly. He stated that a large amount of expenditure might strictly be stated as non-recurrent expenditure. I think, when the Estimates were reduced to Budget form, he might with advantage have remembered that difference and classified the entire expenditure of the Nation under the two separate categories, strictly recognisable in finance, of recurrent and non-recurrent. That expenditure which is recurrent, which is due to every year as each year succeeds another, is expenditure which each year must liquidate within itself by some manner or another. But as regards that which is not recurrent, which is special to that year, and is more or less in the nature of an establishment charge, it is not proper in finance to expect to liquidate it completely within the financial year in which it is incurred.
I had, therefore, rather hoped that before one got the White Paper that was put into our hands this principle would be observed, and had it been observed it would then be apparent to us that, instead of being faced, as we are now, by an apparent deficit, the deficit would be seen to disappear, to strictly disappear, in a correct estimation of the financial aspect of this Budget. I may mention it in a very simple way by giving a very simple illustration; that is, if a certain person were to have an income of, let us say, a thousand pounds a year, and that in any given year he bought a house for, say, two thousand pounds, there was no necessity for that person to contemplate entering into bankruptcy proceedings in regard to that year, because his large expenditure is an expenditure that would  be placed over a number of years. I, therefore, proceeded to take up several of the items given in these Estimates— Estimates for the year that closed at the end of last month, and Estimates for the year now entered upon—abstracting those which are non-recurrent in order to discover, if one could, what exactly the difference would be, and the difference is fundamental. Take item eleven, for example. I am now dealing in the same progress with which the Minister himself treated these matters by touching upon 1922-3 first and then passing on to 1923-4. Item eleven of 1922-3 for Public Works and Buildings comes to £659,000 odd; £56,000 for Railways; Property Losses Advances came to a quarter of a million; Property Losses Compensation to over £10,000,000, and Personal Injuries Compensation to a quarter of a million—giving a total of eleven and a quarter millions expenditure, that can strictly be regarded as non-recurrent, because it was peculiar to the incidence of this time—war expenditure, which it would be folly for any country or any nation to expect to liquidate in the year in which it occurred. It should be regarded, being non-recurrent, as being strictly fundamental overhead charges for which a number of years should be required to bear. In addition to these there are certain others that are of not quite so clear a character, but which, nevertheless, should be regarded in part at least as non-recurrent.
The army expenditure for 1922-23, the year that closed last March, is set down at £7,500,000. Exactly what our future army will cost is a matter that might be open to very grave question, and will be, no doubt, very earnestly debated in the future. I would like to think that if we would not entirely dispense with the army, we would at least cut it down to a very small figure. I should like to think that we in this country would give a lead in that direction. I am prepared to have historical examples put up to me of what was done under Grattan's Parliament in the same regard, and the tragic events that befell as a consequence of the disbanding of the Volunteers. The parallel leaves me entirely unmoved. The circumstances are entirely different. Warfare has taken an entirely different character. I would like to think that we here would dispense entirely with the question of a standing army except for  our own private needs, which will disappear as time proceeds. In any case, if I were to estimate that a standing army under normal conditions would cost £5,000,000, I think it would be agreed that I had taken a figure that was considerably higher than I might have rightly taken; but that would leave a balance on the last year of £2,500,000 that can strictly be called non-recurrent. There is another non-recurrent charge that was discussed before in the Dáil— the Secret Service. Under those two items there would be an additional £2,700,000 non-recurrent, and that would give an entire total of £13,997,000 odd, or, roughly, £14,000,000. That means to say that of an entire expenditure during the past financial year of £31,500,000—or, rather, under that figure—£14,000,000 are non-recurrent. To that it is necessary that an addition should be made, if one were to contemplate, as I do, the funding of the non-recurrent expenditure and its distribution over a number of years. If one were to take interest and amortization at the high figure of seven per cent., which is liberal, that would give £1,000,000 to be added, and, therefore, we would find that within last year there was a financial indebtedness requiring to be met of £18,000,000 odd. For that year the financial revenue amounted to £28,000,000. Still, reckoning that non-recurrent expenditure as being set aside for a moment for funding purposes after the year was paid, nevertheless, for the interest and amortization on it at a high rate, we get a surplus of over £10,000,000 instead of a declared deficit of £4,000,000. On the new year, for which we now have only estimates on which savings may be effected—estimates that one hopes will not be increased by supplementary estimates being brought before us, as proved necessary some time ago—the same procedure would be necessary in connection with Public Works, Railway Property Losses advances, Property Losses Compensation, and Personal Injuries, which, according to the sums set out in the White Paper before us, amount to over £12,000,000. Still, taking the recurrent charge of the army at £5,000,000, we have another £5,500,000 to be treated with under the head of army charges as non-recurrent. I am perfectly sure that scattered through those estimates, if  they were to be treated in this way, other items would be revealed that were strictly establishment charges, and strictly non-recurrent. But, leaving it at the figures that I have stated, we get a non-recurring charge for the estimates of the year on which we have entered, of £18,000,000. Taking the estimates for the entire expenditure at £46,000,000, and deducting the non-recurring item of £18,000,000, that leaves us with a balance of £28,500,000; putting the interest and amortization on again, it would be £29,500,000. The revenue estimated for the new year, however, is £26,500,000. Consequently one gets a deficit according to this method of regarding it—which I think is a method that would justify itself in any accounts presented before any public company; and, after all, what is the State but the very largest form of business—of £3,000,000, instead of a declared deficit of £20,000,000. That leaves free the non-recurrent charge for the new year of £18,000,000 to be funded, or, in some manner or other, to be distributed over a number of years, because it would be inequitable to require the new year to face the entire liquidation of the non-recurrent charge that befalls it within its own ambit.
The result gives this, briefly summarised and put into a clear form. We have two non-recurrent charges, one for the past year and one for the new year; one of £14,000,000 and the other of £18,000,000, giving a total of £32,000,000 non-recurrent. We have by abstracting these sums which no year should be required to pay for, as they are non-recurrent and establishment, a surplus for the past year of £10,000,000 and a deficit of £4,000,000, giving for the two years a surplus of a little more than £6,000,000. That figure is important. It would be necessary to raise, as the Minister has indicated, money in some form or other. I put before this Committee that it is a right procedure to recognise clearly that what we are going to raise money for is, not the ordinary expenditure of the State, but the extraordinary expenditure of two years of war. If it be regarded in that light and if we regard ourselves only as being called upon to fund or raise a loan for so much of our expenditure for these two years as will not befall other years in the  future, or at least should not befall other years, we then have on the two years a total surplus on recurrent expenditure as against receipts and estimated receipts of £6,000,000. I know it is the custom in certain other places and in certain other countries to use any surplus that may accrue in this way for the liquidation of debt. As a point of fact this surplus, which is a true surplus, a surplus that in fact exists in the financial setting forth of the figures of this Nation, has been used to liquidate debt that has been incurred during the past year and that will be incurred, as estimated, in the new year. That has been done here in the same way as it has been done in other countries. I suggest that it should not be done in this country at the present time. The figures that I have given show that the non-recurrent charges of this country have been allowed for liberally, allowed for on interest and amortization. To do more than that during such strain as we have had during the past year and which we will have, to a certain extent, during the coming year, if only as the aftermath of trouble, would be to do what I do not imagine would justify itself in the conduct of any business house or of any business company and, I think, should not be treated in that way in the business house that we have now entered into control of, this Free State. I urge that we might justly consider the financial surplus, in the strictest, straightest terms of finance, of £6,000,000 that we have after making every allowance, as a surplus which should not be thrown into the liquidation of debt—which might be carried forward with ease into the future, as I will show—but should be regarded as required for the relief of taxation in this new financial year upon which we have entered.
We, therefore, get according to the summary that I have made, a surplus of £6,000,000 and a debt of £32,000,000, non-recurrent charges that should be carried forward. It is that £32,000,000 non-recurrent charges that we should contemplate for the immediate future as being the money in respect to which a debt becomes necessary.
After all, we have no reason whatever to fear a National Debt. We are the only nation at the present moment without such a National Debt, and it makes for business stability, as has been frequently  stated, if a nation should incur a National Debt, it being agreed that that National Debt should be borne by the citizens of that country and should not be levied upon those who are not citizens of that country. We can amply well afford it. We have a very strong national credit at the moment to which we in this country have been in a very large measure blind. We are at the present moment exporting nearly thirty per cent. more than we are importing. I do not know in what national credit exists except in the balance of production over consumption, and a balance of exports over imports is a balance of production over consumption. It means that, though we carry forward this funded debt to the tune of over £30,000,000, this nation is good for that sum on the balance of its trade of last year and of the year before, and there is every reason to suppose that the balance will be the same for the new year, as the balance has remained more or less about the same for a long time. In that connection, as the Minister for Finance has spoken about the creation of a debt, I would like to think that it would be a debt undertaken by him in collaboration with all the Irish banks, that the Irish banks should be called upon for their co-operation in the matter, that they should guarantee the finances, and, after all, it is a little thing to ask them to do, because ultimately all they are being required to do is to use the guarantee of the National credit for the issue of money and the issue of a National Debt.
This method of regarding the finances that have been put before us is, I am very well aware, a little unusual in terms of National Exchequers. It is a very usual one, and a very ordinary one regarded in terms of business, and I think it could with advantage be adopted by us to clear away all our non-recurring expenditure and to fund it; to look forward into the future, remembering that Ireland is not going to perish this year, next year, nor for a very long time. Finance and statesmanship require that one should take long visions, and if we have incurred, owing to causes that one need not enter into now, a very heavy debt—that criminal anarchy has brought upon this country—it is not equitable, and it is not right that we should wish  to clear that debt off within one year or two years. The Minister for Finance stated in the Seanad some weeks ago that the debt that has been put upon our shoulders must be paid by us in our generation. These were wise words as long as they are adhered to, and we are not required to pay this exceptional charge as other than a debt of a generation, and not a debt of one year or two years, meanwhile bearing on our shoulders as we go forward so much of the expenditure as is required of these times. I put it before this Committee, and Deputy O'Brien will be interested to hear that there may appear to be a surplus. I state that if these figures be examined as they would be when put before any public company, separating recurrent expenditure and non-recurrent expenditure, and distributing non-recurrent expenditure over a number of years, it is apparent there is a surplus, and there is a certain sum that we have to bear, whatever the interest be on it for each year, sinking it as we go forward. I feel that this £6,000,000 should be used for the relief of taxation in the coming year, and I put that forward very strongly.
I feel regret that the Minister for Finance did not bravely throw the entire English system that we have taken over into the melting pot. It was drafted for conditions that are not suitable to this country. They are not applicable to this country, as they were never intended for the conditions here. We discussed in the Dáil at an earlier stage the taxation of motor cars. The taxation of motor cars was not primarily intended in England as a tax at all. It was intended as a form of protection, because England manufactured motor cars and wished the people living in England to buy cars that were made in England instead of buying cars that were made abroad. The primary intention was, not taxation, but protection, and the same is true of films. By taking over that tax into this country we have lost its prime intention, and I regret that we have taken over those two taxes at all. There are other taxes by which an incidental benefit of the protective sort has been conferred on Ireland and one of them is the tax on tobacco. But while the Minister for Finance has taken over the entire English system, he has not thought it wise to change the incidence  of one of the taxes. A speech was made here last Friday and since then the Budget has been introduced in England, and because we have drafted our system upon the English system, leaving the incidence of taxes as they were last week, we are now left with a very invidious comparison to which attention has been drawn to-day in some of the papers, and I believe if that invidious comparison is left to stand as it is it will do the State no good. I do not believe that it need continue, in view of the financial surplus that, I contend, these figures actually reveal, and therefore I urge that when we pass to the consideration of the Finance Bill we should frankly consider the relief of some of the taxation that the Minister, in the Financial Resolution that we passed temporarily last Friday, has imposed. At present this country is bearing an enormous weight of taxation. We have grown accustomed to that ever since the European War, but practically in effect as it stands in the Resolutions that have been put before us, Ireland is bearing a scale of taxation first introduced by a foreign Parliament because of its own operations in the European War, and in addition to that, though other countries are getting relief from that high scale, we are still continuing it and I do not believe that the finances of this country, as revealed, justify it, and I am convinced that the economic state of this country will not justify it. I believe if relief were to be given now in bringing forward a National Debt into the future the consequences would be much greater productive power in the near future, whereas it seems clear to me that if the present heavy taxation should remain it will cripple our productive power for the future. I suggest that it is but wisdom to consider a relief at some point of the present taxation in order that we might be able to get a greater ultimate gain.
As I said before, financial statesmanship requires that long views should be taken. We are not considering a country which, if it does not clear up its finances this year or next year will have to go to the bankruptcy court. The generations will continue and they will become the heirs of a State that has been established in these years at much cost, incidentally much financial cost, and they should bear a proportion of  that financial cost, together with those of us who happen to have passed through these events. I would like to think and would urge that in several matters we should relieve the taxation that these Financial Resolutions impose. I had it put to me that it would be right in making the suggestion that there should be relief, that one should also state where that relief might fall, and I would choose at once two items where I believe that relief could be gained with very great advantage to this country. One of them is tea and the other is tobacco, and both of these were imposed by England a long time ago when they were regarded as luxuries. We know that though they may be, in some measure, luxuries still, having passed so largely into normal life any relief given to them would be very substantial relief to the people. But there is another reason why these two items might have their taxes reduced, and it is a reason that we ought very carefully to consider and which we will have very soon to consider. It is this, that in respect both to tea and tobacco the major part of the distribution of those goods occurs from a city that we are proud to think of as an Irish city, but which is not a city yielding revenue to the Free State, and that is Belfast. I suggest that if both tea and tobacco were to bear in Dublin lower duties than they bear in Belfast the consequence would be that this city of Dublin, yielding revenue to the Free State, would capture the distributing trade that is now very largely taken by Belfast. There are, I think, two other taxes where relief should be given, where it has been put up to us, in point of fact, this morning relief should be given One is Income Tax and the other is Corporation Tax. We are at present bearing a higher rate of Income Tax than our neighbours across the water. We are at present bearing a higher rate of Corporation Tax than our neighbours across, the water, and while that continues the result to Irish industrial enterprise cannot fail to be bad.
I urge, therefore, to summarise the matter briefly, that we should clearly distinguish between the recurrent and non-recurrent expenditure of these times as common to the future and to ourselves, each year having to bear its own burden of the non-recurrent which falls  within these years. We have properly not only to charge this year's, but to take the non-recurrent twenty-eight millions of the two years added together, and to fund it, and to call upon the Irish banks to put their imprimatur in association for the matter, in order that the fund should be taken up within Ireland. Having put the non-recurrent sum—for two years during the troublous time—of twenty-eight millions out of the way, then we should regard the remaining balance of expenditure and revenue as showing a surplus of six millions, and that surplus should be applied to certain relief of taxation, if only that to do so would give a greater productive power for the future. The result would be that in a matter of a few years the benefit would be felt, and the country would be enabled to make quicker progress, and, therefore, to advance more rapidly into a healthier state than is contemplated at the present moment, because if we are to permit the taxation to continue as contemplated in the resolutions before us, the result cannot help but be extremely injurious to the industrial enterprise of the Free State.
Mr. R. WILSON: I must confess that I do not quite understand the reasoning of the last speaker, and I am not going to wade through the maze of words and figures he has given. I believe there is no such thing as six million surplus, and that this is only just a bottle of smoke, and that we are not living within our income. I believe he has made a mistake in using the estimate of expenditure for last year instead of looking at the real expenditure of thirty-eight millions, less the non-recurrent. I leave that to the Minister for Finance to answer. My point is of a different character. The actual revenue for this year is really only twenty-three millions, of which twenty and a-half millions is taxable, and two and a-half millions non-taxable. The three millions which is shown here is really not revenue at all; it is a grant from England for pre-Truce damages, and in that connection I would like the Minister for Finance to say where he shows the debit for that three millions amongst the services. Is it included in the ten millions?
The PRESIDENT: Yes.
Mr. WILSON: We are only paying  seven millions. That was the conclusion I came to, that it must be in the ten millions, and is really not revenue at all. The actual revenue is twenty-three millions, and the expenditure twenty-eight or twenty-nine millions, showing the expenditure on a peace establishment apart from the forty-six millions, which is a war establishment. If you take, say, seven millions off the army, and ten millions for this compensation, you will get the real expenditure of working this country on a peace footing as twenty-eight millions. Our income is twenty-three millions, and how can Deputy Figgis or anybody else ask for a remission of taxation in face of these facts? That five millions has to be paid, and the only way it can be paid is by reducing the staff or raising fresh revenue. I can see no other way. Here is an item of £750,000 for miscellaneous revenue. I would ask the Minister how did that arise, and what is it for? In connection with the £300,000 for interest, I think that estimate is too low. There is a floating debt at the present time of four millions from last year, and that at five per cent. would be £200,000. In view of the fact that £20,000,000 has to be raised, and provision is only made for £100,000 to pay the interest on that four millions, I hope he will be able to give some particulars on that, but I do not think he will. Now, with regard to the loan, during my week-end in the country I interviewed several people on the question as to whether the Government would get this money. I approached several people—warm farmers, as they call them—and I asked them would they be inclined to support the Government in connection with the loan. I did not mention it as a loan; I said the Government was in debt. What do you think about the matter? Well, one said: “I have subscribed to the Land League and to the National League, and I will put my hand deep down in my pocket for the Government, for we have got something we never had before, and let us pay the debt. We do not want any loan.” That is the spirit of the country, and they see the benefits we have derived from the Treaty are so great that they wish in that way to show to the Ministers that they appreciate so well the way they helped the Treaty end of the issue and their  work that they are quite willing to foot any Bill or loan it places on the market in two or three days.
(At this stage An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the chair.)
Mr. WILSON: I am generally on the other side. Now I will speak a little on fiscal matters. We have heard that twenty per cent. preference is given by the Postmaster-General on purchases for his Department, and it is a losing Department. I should like to know who gave him permission to spend twenty per cen. over and above what he is allowed? Is the Minister for Finance a party to that? Has he got authority from us, and if we are not here to give him authority what are we here for? I am very pleased, having regard to the facts, that the volume of the income of this country is a question not yet decided, and that the fiscal arrangements of the country are not yet gone into, because it will have to be considered with the general policy affecting the farmers of the State. You notice that in England an agricultural enquiry was made to help the farmers, and a Free Trade country such as that has brought forward a startling recommendation, namely, the imposition of a duty of twenty per cent. on foreign barley and ten per cent. on Dominion barley. By that recommendation our trade would be affected. We export 3 millions' worth of barley. In addition they have recommended that the ratepayers in the country should be helped as regards the burden on local rates to the extent of more than half. We have always advocated that the main roads should be made by the State. In England they said rating should be reduced from a half to a quarter, and in addition to that they recommended that the railway rates should be drastically reduced, and that the Government should pay twenty-five per cent. of them. I hope those matters will be considered when the general arrangements are being considered, and that bounties will not be given by one department to one section of the country, while other sections worse situated have to pay for them out of sugar and tea, and at the same time are not relieved.
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: I need hardly say I do not wholly share the unstinted admiration of the last speaker for our  Ministry, and, though the Budget gives a very useful and very wholesome opportunity of passing under review its performance in various directions, I do not think this is the moment to take for reviewing the work. I think that can be more effectively done when we come to the separate services separately set out here. There is one feature of those figures and of the Minister's statement which is exceedingly satisfactory. That is the statement that he is going to borrow the money required from within the country, but one would like to have a little more information as to his plans. One would like to be sure that he does mean, as he appears to mean, that we are going to stand on our own two legs, instead of the temptation, and I know the temptation to a Finance Minister may be considerable, of borrowing from abroad. The matter is one of extreme importance, because this first borrowing of the Free State will be a very big test of our credit. In this connection I hope that the Minister will give his very serious attention to the question of the effect upon the response likely to be given to such an appeal as he is about to make by the fact of peace having been re-established in this country, not by the Republicans quitting the fight, but by an agreement. I do not wish to develop that matter here and now, but the question of whether the peace is made without agreement or with agreement is one of the very greatest importance, and so far-reaching that it requires a debate in itself. It is one, in particular, of great importance to the question of the credit of the country, to the belief in the stability of the country, and to the conviction in the country itself and outside it that the peace, when it is obtained, is going to last.
I have only risen to-day to draw attention to one or two points upon which I should like the Minister to give his explanation, but I reserve the right on every vote to criticise things from which I profoundly differ. I do not do so now because I do not think this is a suitable opportunity. I would like the Minister for Finance to tell us first whether he has any proposal in respect of the setting up of a Public Accounts Committee. As this Dáil is aware, the matter has been under consideration, and it is one of those things where one may learn from  the good example of England. In England, as the Dáil is probably aware, there is a Public Accounts Committee, consisting of a small number of members, whose duty is to go through the accounts of the preceding financial year, to examine those accounts, to ascertain what votes have been exceeded and why and to enquire into the allocation of savings effected on the several votes.
The PRESIDENT: I am sorry for interrupting, but I cannot allow this statement to go unchallenged: “where votes have been exceeded.” There is no such thing known to Government as a vote being exceeded.
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: I do not think that the President's interruption is altogether relevant. I used the word “vote” when I should have used the word “estimate,” but it does not affect the point. The point is that we should have in this Dáil a Public Accounts Committee, and I venture to suggest that the Minister for Finance himself ought to be the first to welcome that proposal in respect to the accounts of the preceding year. Everybody knows that that year has been one of exceptional difficulty.
Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: On a point of order, may I point out that we have already passed a Standing Order authorising the appointment of a Committee of Public Accounts to examine and report to Dáil Eireann upon the accounts, showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Dáil Eireann to meet public expenditure and to suggest alterations and improvements in the form of the Estimates submitted to Dáil Eireann?
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: The reason I raise the question is to ask the Minister for Finance when this Committee is to be appointed. I understand it has not been appointed. I am anxious to have it set up this year as this is our first year of work. It is obvious that things have not got into working order, and therefore, in order to give more assurance to our constituents that things have been properly done, such Committee should get to work as speedily as possible. In that connection one would like to know what system has been adopted for checking the figures supplied by England in cases where England owes us money— what audit system, what check exists?  Whether this matter comes within the province of our newly appointed Accountant-General, I do not know. Would the Minister satisfy us that the very difficult matter of investigating accounts presented to us from London in respect of matters not occurring in this country is under proper control and whether we have had the full credit to which we are entitled on dutiable articles indirectly imported to this country? In view of the complexity of many of the issues involved there are matters upon the mechanism of which I think the Dáil is entitled to some particulars.
Another matter to which I specially draw the attention of this Committee, and which I would ask the Minister to give us some light upon, is the position of our financial relations with Great Britain under the Treaty. Has an attempt been made to agree upon a figure as provided by the Treaty or is the alternative procedure contemplated of an arbitration? If so, will the Minister be able to tell us that he is setting up the necessary machinery for preparing our case, that the matter is under consideration and under the consideration of specially selected men, and can he tell us when we shall be ready to go ahead with that matter?
The third point upon which I would ask the Minister to enlighten me is the question of Dáil funds, that is, the old Dáil funds. I hope that for the credit of the country, particularly for its credit in America, there is no doubt we intend to pay off the bonds we issued. Last June there was cash in hands in the Dáil accounts of a sum of £160,000. These accounts were presented to this Dáil. I should like to know what proposal is held out for the discharge of that liability of the old Dáil which I am sure the Minister will be the first to agree is our bounden duty to discharge. I do not see anything in these figures dealing with that particular matter.
The Minister has told us that he has been exploring the possibility of effecting economy. I venture to think that the work of the next Dáil will be mainly retrenchment, and I was very glad indeed to hear the Minister for Finance state that he had his eye on that question, but I was sorry to hear that it was only a month ago that the various Departments were circularised to ascertain what each Department could do to effect economy.  What has been the result of that effort? Some statement as to the conclusions which the Minister was able to draw and the answers which he got would be useful —some statement as to the direction in which economies can be effected and where he really hopes to make savings in the coming year. He has merely told us of a general intention to make economies without indicating the direction in which that may be done. I think it is within the recollection of Deputies that in the pre-Free State days very considerable propaganda used to be carried on about the corruption of Dublin Castle, its unnecessary departments, its inefficiency, its waste, and its large salaries, and so forth.
Now we have actual particulars of every single item. Formerly Dublin Castle had charge of the items that we are now paying ourselves. I think it would be useful to know in what direction it has been possible, now that our own people are in the saddle, to cut down what we all believed to be very extravagant payments by Dublin Castle and very unnecessary offices manned by the friends of Dublin Castle. The matter suggests this further inquiry as to what control is now being exercised over Departments, of which there are one or two, which used to bear an especially Dublin Castle character. I understand that a Contracts Committee has been appointed. Will the Minister say under which vote we can have information as to that Contracts Committee? Even if the Committee be not paid for its services, I take it that it is a matter upon which the Minister would be able to inform the Dáil of what is being done. It is certainly a highly important matter; but I do not, in these accounts, see any item upon which we should be entitled to ask for any information on this subject. Perhaps the Minister can enlighten me as to that. Another matter raised in the end of the accounts is the highly generous sum which the eloquence of the Postmaster-General extracted from the Dáil last year, that is, the item of £10,000 for the Táilteann Games that were not held. I am wondering whether it will be possible to get any particulars as to what has happened to that, and what is intended in connection with that matter in the future.
I desire to draw attention to one other matter. I want to ask the Minister what has been done in connection  with the Registration of Foreign Companies: whether he has evolved a policy safeguarding the Irish public against Foreign Companies, in particular against the numerous wild-cat schemes which are sure to be launched on the Irish people as soon as we have peace; and whether the law is being put into force which requires Foreign Companies to be registered here, or whether if it is considered that the existing law in England does not apply without adaptation by the Executive Council to Ireland, the Minister will take the necessary steps to make it compulsory upon Foreign Companies to be registered here? In this connection may I say that we have Railway Companies, Banks, Insurance Companies, and large undertakings—a good many of them with their headquarters in England— operating extensively here. Can the Minister state what principle of adjustment is adopted, or was adopted last year, in respect of ascertaining the profits of such companies for the purpose of taxation; that is to say, what principle of adjustment as between what they may claim to be their expenses attributable to Ireland, and what the Minister might consider ought to be allocated as expenses attributable to Ireland by these large companies? I have noticed that a good many of the numerous Insurance Companies we have here, or very nearly all those who take life insurance, are non-Irish companies. Has the Minister adverted to the fact that we should adopt the precedent set in London—set in the legislation that we have adopted—under which he will be entitled to call upon each of these Life Insurance Companies to deposit in this country, if he adopts the English figure, a sum of £20,000 for the privilege of carrying on their business here as a security of its bona fides? I desire to ask if the Minister has considered this matter, and if he can tell us that some such law as the existing English law will be enforced here in respect of the foreign Life Insurance Companies?
There is one other matter I wish to touch on. These particular ones are items which I raised for the purpose of inviting information; but this other matter is one which, perhaps, may be more fully developed later on. I refer to the Minister's principle of maintaining the existing  schemes and incidence of taxation. Personally, unlike Deputy Johnson, who spoke on the matter the other night, I am glad that the Minister has adopted that policy. I should far have preferred to see a completely Irish fiscal system developed, but I realise that, with a war now proceeding in the country, it has not been possible for the Minister to have the necessary inquiries and examinations made with a view to such a change. I realise that the reactions of such a change may be far-reaching, and that plans are delicate and difficult to frame. But I should like to have an assurance that, whatever may be the case in respect of the past year, whatever the difficulty in making such a change at the present moment, that adequate steps are now being taken with a view to reviewing the whole field of taxation, so that by the time the next Budget comes on the Irish Minister for Finance will be in a position to say: “I have reviewed the whole field, and I am now in a position to put before you a purely Irish Budget independent of the traditions of the past and of our fiscal system being tied up with England. The matter has been fully considered, and we can now go ahead on our own lines.” I should like to know that that is being definitely undertaken at the present moment, and that every question connected with the available sources of our income will be left, not until next year to be examined, but that the examination will be started at a very early date by the best financial ability the Minister can call to his service. I should like the Minister, in this connection, not to overlook the system, which I do not at this moment wish to advocate, but which is worth considering. That is the system of land values, which, if it was not successful in England, has proved eminently successful in Australia, New Zealand, and some of the South American States. It would be, if one may judge by the comments that the system has given rise to in Denmark, exceedingly popular both with the labourers and with the farmers. It would offend only the large graziers, and if it be practicable and can do anything like what its advocates claim for it, would certainly go a long way to remedy many of the difficulties of the Minister.
Mr. WILLIAM O'BRIEN: I would like to draw the attention of the Minister  for Finance to a statement which I have no doubt he has already read. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the course of his remarks yesterday, said that the actual Customs and Excise raised £280,000,000, but that when the necessary adjustments were made with the Irish Free State, the total would be £300,000,000. That seems to indicate that he expects a payment of £20,000,000 from the Irish Free State, and I should be glad if the Minister for Finance could throw any light upon that rather disturbing statement.
The PRESIDENT: We did not get £20,000,000 altogether.
Mr. MacBRIDE: To me it is always a pleasure to listen to the flowing eloquence of the Minister for Finance, but I must say the impression borne in upon my mind by his financial statement was that it was a most regrettable waste of effort, for the whole idea could have been conveyed in half-a-dozen words, that is that the taxes we were subject to last year, we will be subject to them again this year. The loan certainly was a good innovation, but to my mind he should have considerably increased the amount of the loan, so that, in some measure, taxation would be relieved. The people of Ireland are mostly a poor people, and it is the poor that pay the most of the taxes. Drink and food ultimately have to bear all the taxes; therefore, the poor pay the taxes generally. I am not a financier, nor am I a politician, but it occurs to me that there are many trades and many professions in Ireland that could very well pay taxes without affecting the general public, and without affecting the State in any way.
The country really requires some initiative—some man of commercial and financial vision in public matters—and I regret to say that in this financial measure such initiative or such vision has not been displayed by the Cabinet. There is one very objectionable proposal of the Minister for Finance in this measure, and that is the proposal to compel employers to deduct from their employees the arrears of income tax. Now, the workman, as I know him, always spends every penny he earns. Some time ago he was advised, and we were all advised, not to pay income tax. I think it is altogether objectionable at  the present moment to ask employers to compel their employees to pay arrears of income tax. I was foolishly under the impression—indeed, we were all foolishly under the impression in the country—that there were a number of officers employed by the State, and I am sure very generously paid, in order to collect taxes. What are these men going to do? Are they simply to throw the onus of that job on to the employers, and create confusion worse confounded between employers and employed than exists at present? I think all these things should be reconsidered, and if that were done the good sense of the Minister for Finance would compel him to rule out, in any case, this suggestion of putting compulsion on employers to compel their employees to pay income tax.
Mr. PETER HUGHES: I would like to bring before the attention of the Minister a matter that affects not only every area in the Saorstát, but, to my mind, affects the whole country. This is a matter in connection with the distilling industry in Dundalk. According to the new arrangements an export tax of 2d. per gallon will be imposed upon Industrial Spirit, and, as a result of that impost, I am informed, and as a matter of fact it has come about, that the distillery in Dundalk has been closed down. The concern is known as the Distillers' Company, Limited, Edinburgh; they have some other concerns in Ireland, but I believe this is the only one in the Saorstát that had been working, the others having been closed down for a considerable time. Now it is a serious matter for the area I come from. Last week 150 men were disemployed. These men will be compelled to go to the Labour Exchange, and they will have to be paid out of money found by the State. There is perhaps one way—and it appeals to me, at any rate—out of the difficulty, and it is that this industry of yeast-making in this country should be treated as a key industry. I believe that the Distillery in Dundalk was the only concern within the Saorstát making this yeast. Now, if the country has to import all its yeast from abroad, from Holland or from England, I think it is only just that protection should be given to the only concern that was supplying this  country and perhaps exporting to other countries as well. I urge upon the Ministry of Finance to consider whether or not it would be advisable to impose a duty upon foreign-made yeast that would at least pay for the doles these disemployed men will have to get from the State. I do not think it is asking too much, since we have this one industry in the country, that we should foster it, and see that at least the material that can be made at home will be made at home. There are many phases of the question which I do not propose to enter into now—perhaps at a later stage I will call attention to them—but I think this is an opportune time, before the matter goes too far, to ventilate the grievance As a matter of fact representations were made to both the owners of this concern and the Government in the matter, and I have availed of the opportunity of raising the question now so that the Minister may have an opportunity of considering it before he finally brings in his Bill.
The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. J.J. Walsh): Deputy Wilson, quite naturally, I think, draws rather strong attention to the necessity of economy in expenditure. In support of his argument he takes umbrage at a certain departure which the Department which I happen to control decided to embark on some time ago. As a matter of fact, I think, the particular instance to which he refers was the first real case of preferential treatment for home goods. Before this step was taken I took the necessary care to ascertain if there had been any precedent for such preferential treatment in the disposal of Departmental money. I was not surprised to find that the British Government in the past had actually, as a result of pressure from the Irish Parliamentary Party at the time, agreed to give certain preference, not exceeding twenty per cent., to goods of local manufacture. When I say local I mean Dublin or Edinburgh, which were then the centres of stores for distribution for the Post Office. Considering that the British Government thought well to give a certain stimulus to local industry, it would have been very strange for us, spending possibly over a million of the Nation's money in goods which could very largely be secured at home, to send all that money out of the country without  taking the conditions in the country into consideration, notwithstanding the small margin. I felt then that I was justified in giving that preference, and I have no regret for it since. Not only was I justified, but I think that every other Department feels a similar justification for spending the monies of the Nation as far as possible within the Nation's confines. The Army spends at the present time, I suppose, at least three millions on goods which could possibly be bought much more cheaply in England than here at home. The Board of Works secures goods here at home. It is the generally accepted principle. I must confess I endorse it, provided that the expenditure is kept within a conservative estimate. We remember that within the last fortnight or so there was quite an uproar in the Press, and in some of those Councils in the country set up for the propagation of the industrial life of the country, regarding a certain Army contract sent out of the country. That happened to be one of the very few instances where such contracts were sent out of the country which could be fulfilled inside. If that policy had been persevered in I do not think that any Government could possibly stand over it.
England, after all, has set us an example in matters of this kind. In England the War Office and Post Office and other big spending Departments have made a fairly stringent rule that prices are not to be the one determining factor in giving a contract. In other words, that foreign competition must not determine the disposal of their contracts. Indeed, the great bulk of their contracts are placed in England regardless of outside prices. That policy is not confined to England alone. Quite recently the Australian Government, in support of the mother country, decided to give a very large contract to a British producing firm in preference to a German firm, notwithstanding the fact that they lost considerably by so doing. Then, again, you have the preferences which you have been discussing during the last week or two. What are they? I do not see how you can expect Irish firms generally to compete with English ones. The wages here are higher, the cost of living is higher, and, generally speaking, the machinery is not so efficient. People of this country have not the necessary capital  to make it efficient, and the country has gone through a bad time industrially in the past, and it must get a certain subsidy to make it efficient.
As I said before, people in the country will insist that the money of the country must in reason be spent in the country. Deputy Wilson says that if we have money to spare we ought to extend bounties to agriculture. I have been looking through the printed document here showing the receipts and expenditure for the coming year, and I observe the sum of a million pounds devoted to the Department of Agriculture, to the Congested Districts Board, and to other attached Boards. This is money handed over for agriculture. It is a subsidy from the taxpayers of the nation to agriculture, and it is the outstanding one in our Profit and Loss Account for the year. I think the advocates of agriculture have nothing whatever to complain of. They have been fairly handsomely treated and, moreover, they are sufficiently strong in the country to see that they will be well treated in future. There is another point which has been brought on here by Deputy Gavan Duffy a number of times. I suggest that we ought to bury it dead or alive now. It refers to the ten thousand pounds granted by the Provisional Government for the erection of something approaching a stadium at Croke Park for the Tailteann Games. This money did not go to the Tailteann Games, as the Deputy suggested. It went to the improvement of the stadium. Considering that the French Government at the present time has voted something like fifty thousand pounds for a like purpose it was not an over-generous sum.
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: On a point of order, allow me to remind the Deputy that this money was lent to the Tailteann Games Committee.
Mr. WALSH: It was not lent nor anything else to the Committee. It was a grant to the authorities of the Croke Park to enable them to place a stadium at the disposal of the Tailteann Games Committee. An additional sum, £9,000, was voted by the old Dáil for this promotion of the Tailteann Games. The promoters of the games thought that the Provisional Government should be given an opportunity of showing its sympathy with these games and as a  consequence they asked that this money be voted. It is there, and if you want to get it back you can tackle the G.A.A., and they are just an easy nut to crack. It will be a popular thing to do and I am sure you will succeed.
PADRAIG MAC UALGAIRG: Ba mhaith liom beagán a rádh ar an rún seo. Do cheapas nuair a bhíos ag eistheacht leis an diospóireacht seo gur ceart dom roinnt smaointe do chur ós bhur g-comhair. Tá dualgas mór ar muinntir na Dála mar gheall ar an g-ceist seo.
I wish to refer to the incidence of taxation and not to taxation itself. I have heard the Minister complimented on the fact that he has not changed the incidence of taxation from what it has formerly been. I think myself that, although we are only making a commencement here as the management of the Nation, we ought at the very outside make a change in certain features of the incidence of taxation. I do think that there are articles and commodities so taxed at the present time that the taxation is not at all as remunerative as it would be under a lesser amount of taxation.
I will take first the case of spirits. Spirits, to a considerable extent in any case, form an Irish industry; that is, as far as their manufacture is concerned. We manufacture a good deal of spirits here. I think if the consumption of spirits were to be more than what it is, and if there were less illegitimate spirits in circulation, it might be better for the country generally. I remember, in the British Parliament, Mr. Gladstone, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, when bringing forward a Budget in which he changed the duty on liquor from 10s. 6d. per proof gallon to 11s., stated that after a full consideration of all the facts, he had come to the conclusion that any further increase of duty must mean a reduction in revenue. We must have changed very materially since that time, because now we find the duty has become £3 11s. 6d. instead of 11s. It is stated this conduces to increased revenue. That may be, but my impression is that if it were at the normal figure it would bring a bigger increase of revenue. I do not see how the argument, if it was sound in the time of Mr. Gladstone, can now be unsound. I do not think that  anything that has happened in the past has gone to prove that the argument that Mr. Gladstone advanced was unsound. However, that is one phase of the question. The other is the advisability of making whiskey cheap. That may, perhaps, tend to abuse, and that is protected very well by the stiff tax imposed on spirits now. It is very doubtful whether it has that effect or not. I come now to another item which I see they are considering in England. It is a new item of taxation—namely, betting. I cannot see why this could not be made a legitimate form of taxation here. I think you are as well entitled to tax the gambler as the boozer. Both of them are much the same; they have the same little weaknesses of character. If you tax folly, you may as well tax it in that direction as in any other. I think it is a deplorable state of affairs when any nation has to revert to the extreme of taxing folly in order to bring in revenue necessary for its support. It would be much better if taxation could be got in some other way. Unfortunately, this is the system that has been laid down, and this is the line we propose to follow, for some time in any case. If we could find other sources of revenue instead it would be all the better for ourselves. We must, however, adopt a different course compared with the nation on the other side of the channel, because the conditions are widely different in both countries. I really believe we could discover and arrange a system of taxation that will be an easement to the people we want to ease and facilitate, and that will, at the same time, oppress, as they should be oppressed, abuses we wish to keep under control. These are a few points that occur to me, and I think that the Minister, who seems well qualified to deal with this branch of the subject, should give consideration to them before he parts finally with the measure for the regulation of taxation this year.
Mr. WILSON: The Postmaster-General stated that he was merely following an old practice adopted by England when he is giving this bonus to trades people in Dublin. I would like him to specify how much those articles would have cost if they were bought in the open market and how much they are costing us now. We would then  be in a position to ascertain by how much the Central Fund will be depleted in consequence of the bounties he is giving. I would like also if the Minister for Industry and Commerce would give us similar particulars affecting his own Department. Then we will be able to see how much those services are costing and how much the average taxpayer in the county is losing through the giving of those bounties. The man in the country with his 30s. a week is to be taxed to keep the men in the cities who draw £4, £5, and £6 a week—a figure which they, in the greatest realms of their imagination, will never attain to.
Mr. WHELEHAN: I desire to refer to a remark of Deputy Wilson with regard to the Ministry for Industry and Commerce. He mentioned a certain deficit in the case of the Post Office, and in the same sentence referred to the Ministry for Industry and Commerce as if we also were labouring under a deficit. I take it for granted he was referring to a particular contract which I dealt with in speaking here some time ago and on which I said a certain preference had been given. For the information of the Deputy I will repeat that the Irish taxpayer, instead of losing by the preference of 20 per cent. which was given in that one case, gained something like a net 7 per cent.
Professor MAGENNIS: Deputy Figgis has proved himself a wizard of finance this evening. In one speech of less than an hour's duration he has turned a considerable deficit into a net gain of several millions. It is the first time I have been permitted to see another Minister in place of the President in the charge of the finances of the country. Some of his calculations are exceptionally interesting, all the more because some of them seem to me to be sound. The calculation which brings out that something like £14,000,000 represents overhead charges I think is a calculation that can be sustained. I would ask the Minister is it advisable or sound policy to ask the generation that has borne the strain of all this fighting, that has endured the agonies incident to it, to bear also the major part of the financial cost? As regards this side of the question, it seems to me that there is only one view possible as a wholesome view, and that is to take the courageous view, to regard  the security of this country as a high security in the markets of the world; to put our faith in our own protestations of the past that if we were left in control of our own affairs we could make this, though a small nation, into one of the richest and happiest in Europe. I certainly favour the policy of making the newly-won liberty palatable to the people who are inclined to suspect that it is not all we represented it to be. I think that it is a defensible policy, and is good politics to gild with the refined gold of lessened taxation the measure of liberty that we have gained for our people, instead of their being presented with the bald, crude contrast that so many newspapers afford them to-day, that beer is cheaper in the Six Counties than it is in the Free State, that the taxation upon Limited Liability Companies, whose enterprise and extensive operations afford so much employment, is less in the Six Counties than it is here by 50 per cent., and that the Income Tax is lessened. Instead of that being left as the fact unexplained I think we ought to follow suit, all the more because I believe we can afford it. It seems to me not altogether defensible to be so eager as the Minister for Finance is to be absolutely honest; so eager to be absolutely honest that he wants to redeem debts at the earliest possible moment.
There are other considerations. I hold that this concerns the stability of the country; that the stabilisation of the country demands that there should be no shock to public opinion; that people should not appear to wake up from a dream in which they dreamt that they had liberty, and found that they have financial obligations that they cannot meet. If by funding a large part of these financial obligations it becomes possible, as it is, I hold, possible, for the Minister to give relief from the projected taxation, then I think this whole Dáil should support him. I believe the public would support him. There are many respects in which the public would be terribly disappointed. The working man, who thought the moment he was free from the British domination that he was going to have some little share of Paradise, finds that sugar, molasses, and all the things connected with sugar, tea and tobacco are all bearing the old rate. He is aware, too, if he is  an intelligent artisan, that the firm that employs him is limited in its expansion possibilities if it is not able to advertise. If the postal rate is high the circularising of the public, by which the firm extend their ramifications, is impeded. Everything in the present Budget by way of continuing the old impositions is, if intelligently viewed by the citizen, something which he sees clearly is a handicap upon his success. The Corporation Tax is indefensible except as a war measure. Nothing could be said in favour of it except at a time when every resource had to be tapped in order to meet the financial burdens of the Empire during the great war. It will be said in reply to me that we, too, have our great war and that it has left this fearful burden which we must all shoulder. I agree that that is so, that it has left a fearful burden and unnecessarily so. It is because I feel so much sympathy with the Minister for Finance in this matter that I do not like to press criticisms home. But I do think when all adequate, equitable allowance has been made for the necessities of the situation that there is room inside the limits of a sane Budget for reduction. I do not plead so much for a reduction of Income Tax because, after all, I would rather see the Income Tax extended to every income, no matter how small.
Questions of principle and of economic doctrines, have been raised incidentally, and I would like in that connection to mention that one reason why we have not got a healthy public opinion in this country, and never had, and shall have great difficulties in creating it, is because the ordinary man is not made sufficiently to realise that the Government is his Government and that the finance by which it is worked comes from his pocket. He is not able to appreciate the exact measure in which his resources are drawn upon for the purpose. If instead of indirect taxation we had direct taxation, we would promote a direct and acute interest in the financial affairs of the country in the ordinary voter, and at the General Election the voter would be swayed largely by the consideration of whether the Government he was called upon to replace in office was one which had done its best with his money for his interests. I would  suggest that in the course of the time of repentance there is still left to the Minister for Finance that he should reconsider some of these taxes that press harshly on the poorer section, and that is the major section of the community.
The PRESIDENT: I am somewhat puzzled by the figures read out to us by Deputy Figgis. I understand some of the figures for the current financial year, but I do not understand the figures for the previous financial year in so far as he seeks to explain that certain of the expenses of the last financial year were non-recurrent. The only item of any account that I can observe in the figures of the last financial year which would admit of a description of non-recurrent is the figure for compensation for property losses, and the sum we have spent in that particular service amounts to about £1,250,000. I do not know if the Deputy estimated a larger sum than that, but if he did estimate a larger sum I am afraid he is wrong. The other item that he brought into account was the Army, and the expense of £7,500,000 which is down in last year's estimate was approximately the amount that was spent. It must be borne in mind that the whole of the sum was spent here in the country and that it represents a sum exactly that much in excess of what was spent in any other year or which we could legitimately earmark for the service in any other year. Huge sums were spent in payment of dependents' funds, of soldiers' money, and for transit and goods, food, commissariat, and so on. One cannot take advantage of the expenditure of £7,500,000 and say that particular service ought to have been carried out for £5,000,000 and make no contribution towards the circulation of the other £2,500,000, bearing in mind the fact that it was spent and that it cannot be recovered. I am not satisfied that in a case like this where there is a huge expenditure of money in a given year, that you are entitled to borrow money for that purpose. The particular year in which the money was spent is a year which should bear more than its ordinary quota, even if the service or the expense of the service were funded, and that a number of years bore the burden of that particular expenditure. I do not at all agree that in the first one, two, or three years of our existence as a  separate State we should seek to evade the burdens consequent upon our being set up as an Independent State. It is only perfectly natural that the expenses during these initial years should be heavy, and it would be a poor example to show succeeding Parliaments if the method by which we shouldered our burden during that period was to pass it on to someone else. I do not think that would be good business. We have no conception whatever of the unusual liabilities that the Parliament following us or that next year will bring in its train. We do know that if there be any policy of reconstruction considered in the immediate future, it will be one of the complaints of the Parliament of that time, that we of this particular financial year, escaped our burden or our share of the burden of that particular service for this year, and that we had not as complete and efficient a public administration as might have been handed on had we devoted our energies and our attention to such reconstruction directly we started business.
The items, I explained when I made my statement on Friday last, making up the £750,000, were mainly from local loans and other sums, such as these which do not affect the balance sheet in-asmuch as a payment in means a corresponding payment out. As to the £300,000 for surplus on debt, we hope it may be possible to wind up the financial year without any greater burden than that as far as this financial year is concerned, but it is a matter on which there may be different opinions.
As regards fiscal arrangements, I think practically every member of the Dáil understands that the burden of starting business as an independent State was in itself a fairly large operation to undertake for the last six or nine months, and in addition to that there was certainly a considerable amount of legislative work, of adjustments with the British Government, and so on. It would certainly have been impossible to have the fiscal situation reviewed in such a manner as would give satisfaction. It is quite possible that any review or any examination of this great problem, which will be for us, I believe, a great problem for the next ten years, is a matter which can only be approached and solved by instalments, and that there will be considerable criticism of each instalment as  it comes along, and a good deal I suppose of condemnation for not having a complete and comprehensive reorganisation of the whole fiscal system. From the examination we have made of it so far we think it would not be possible to put forward reasonably constructive proposals or alterations in the system as it at present exists. I think, having regard to all the circumstances of the time, it would be unreasonable to take any great risks, as one must bear in mind not alone the advantages one expects to reap, but the disadvantages that any great change must carry in its train. There has not been any direct examination of the question of financial relations. It has not yet been even considered whether it will be possible to come to an arrangement without arbitration. That is another one of those questions which it is safer to consider when circumstances are perfectly normal, and when one can exhaust the resources of the intelligensia as well as of the financial magnets there are in the country, and to produce as far as this country is concerned a brief which would correctly represent our point of view and our claims in that respect. As to attributable revenue, that is a matter that one cannot deal with in a statement. If there are questions in connection with that that any Deputies would like to have answered, if they write to me I will undertake to afford them all the facilities of the Ministry in getting satisfactory replies to any questions they wish to ask. Deputy MacBride stated that we should float a loan to pay for the damage, and immediately went on to say that he resented the means we are proposing now to enable us to collect the arrears of Income Tax. I am not going to say anything more about Income Tax. I think I have spoken enough about it. Never at any time, to my knowledge, did either the Sinn Fein organisation or the Dáil order, direct or recommend non-payment of Income Tax. Never. If we are going to borrow money—and we are going to borrow it—how are we going to pay it? We must collect money, and revenue must come in if we are going to pay. We ought not to be hampered and hindered in the collection of that revenue. Do these people owe that money to the State? Clearly they do. If so, why not adopt the best and cheapest means of collecting it? I will put before the Dáil,  when we come to that particular resolution, a description of the exact state of affairs in the City of Dublin. A sum of something like £300,000 is due and owing to us in the City of Dublin in respect of persons we intend this resolution to cover. If we do not get that £300,000 within the next twelve months it will cost the State £15,000 in interest. Are we entitled to place on the backs of the poorer citizens the cost of the non-collection of this money from people who are able to pay? I think it would be inequitable, and it would be an unfair burden to ask the entire country to meet. As regards the whiskey duty, I think Deputy McGoldrick was not exactly correct when he stated that Mr. Gladstone said that a duty of 10s. 6d. was enough. I think it was Sir Michael Hicks-Beach who made that statement about the year 1901 or 1902. Times change and we with them. If Sir Michael Hicks-Beach thought he would live to see a Budget in England of £1,000,000,000, or something like that, a year he would be agreeably surprised, or if he thought that the modern citizen of to-day would willingly pay the price he has to pay and the enormous duty—which, I am sure, some Deputies will bear me out in saying is willingly paid—he would be also agreeably surprised.
(At this stage An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.)
Now, as regards the public Accounts Committee, the appointment of the Committee will arise on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, but the accounts will not be available for several months and, as a matter of fact, the Committee would have nothing to go on——
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: I was referring to last year's accounts.
The PRESIDENT: It is last year's accounts I mean. I have some experience of the Corporation of Dublin, which is an institution very long established— I think it goes back to the year 1100 —and their accounts are not published for something like six months after the close of the financial year, so that one will readily understand that in our case it would be unfair to ask us to have accounts of a very much larger character, embracing a great many more services,  and say that within a period of several months we should have them ready. But we are not avoiding it; it will be set out at the first opportunity, and we will welcome any and every criticism of it when it is set out. I must say again that I am rather surprised at Deputy Figgis's case; I do not understand it. I do say, as regards the £10,000,000 for compensation, that there is a case there, but even taking the two years together the compensation will only amount to £12,000,000, and I think the Deputy said at least £18,000,000. As regards the Army Estimate, the expenditure is something in the neighbourhood of £10,000,000, and the Deputy may have mixed up what is only the net estimate of the expenditure. The two do not tally. They are both estimates. In the paper that has been issued to him for last year is set down the Estimate for the current year. It includes the whole of the Supplementary Estimate and the Estimate for the current year. The net total, deducting anticipated savings for 1922-23, is £10,500,000. I think the Deputy must have observed that the estimated savings are mainly accounted for by the fact that we only spent £1,250,000 on compensation losses and the sum estimated was £10,070,000.
Mr. WILSON: Might I ask how much actually will we have to pay on these estimates for property losses?
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That is payment for damage to property to be made in this financial year?
Mr. WILSON: Yes.
The PRESIDENT: Property losses is down here at £10,385,000. That means that out of the Exchequer we are providing £10,385,000 and we contemplate the receipt, on the other hand, of £3,000,000.
Mr. WILSON: From England?
The PRESIDENT: From England, yes.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Do I understand the Minister to say that that is the figure set down for 1923-4, the £10,385,000, that will be asked for and voted to be expended?
The PRESIDENT: Yes.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Is that not exactly true of the sum for the previous year, £10,070,000?
The PRESIDENT: We got this and we did not spend it. We only spent £1,250,000.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: It is rather a misleading way to put it, I suggest.
The PRESIDENT: We got authority to spend £10,070,000. We anticipated that the Bill dealing with damage to property would have been passed by the end of the year. I explained the causes of the delay. We did not reach it and consequently the major claims have not come in and will not be presented for payment before the 1st of July, that is, in any considerable bulk.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: So that of that item of £10,070,000 nearly £9,000,000 will be passed back again and re-voted in the £10,385,000. Is that the case?
The PRESIDENT: No; in respect of any sum voted but not spent there is no more about it. It has to be voted again if you are going to insert it in the Estimates. I understood him to mean that we would get the balance of £9,000,000 from last year. That is not the case; the £9,000,000 goes back. There is no further liability for that £9,000,000.
Professor MAGENNIS: May I say that with regard to the point the President mentioned a few moments ago, I think, with all respect, that he misunderstands what Deputies Figgis, MacBride and I have been trying to establish as a case. It is not merely £10,000,000 for compensation for criminal injuries that we consider ought to be funded and made to be a burden on other generations than the present—but we also demand that the cost of establishing the Free State, to wit, the large expenditure upon the Army, should also be included. That was what was in mind when the contrast was made between what might be possibly estimated as normal expenditure on the Army and what is actually being required. That extra is money spent by the present generation in the interest of succeeding generations, and ought to be funded. That is the case that we are trying to make. Now, it was suggested, casually, no doubt——
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Minister has not concluded his speech.
Professor MAGENNIS: I understood that he had concluded when he sat down. I will explain later.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I was allowing the Deputy to explain a misunderstanding which he alleged had arisen.
The PRESIDENT: I should say further that the £10,385,000 means cash. It has nothing to do with any Bonds if we were issuing securities in respect of decrees that would be paid. That £10,000,000 is exclusive of and entirely independent of the bonds, so that securities may be issued for a much larger amount than £10,000,000, but that would not affect that particular item. We are entitled, if that item be passed, to spend up to that much. Now, in dealing with that it is scarcely right to deal specially with it here. It will come up more properly when we are discussing the exact Estimate. But that also deals with claims for compensation before the Shaw Commission, and if the sum total of that particular service be deducted from this £10,000,000 it will be seen that only a small sum will remain. It is expected that the sum total of the awards in that case will be between £7,000,000 and £10,000,000. I think it would be close to that, so that the difference between whatever that costs and this £10,385,000 is all that would be left under this Estimate, and when we would have exhausted this sum we would have to come along for another Vote.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: How would one discover, according to this paper before us, or according to any other paper before us, of that sum of £10,070,000, very nearly £9,000,000 of which was not expended, how much was not expended, and how much was expended?
The PRESIDENT: That is what will come out when the accounts are published.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Would it not be well to show it on this paper?
The PRESIDENT: As I explained, it is not a difficult thing to work out. What happened is that there are issues, and those issues do not represent the exact charges for the current year. They require some adjustment. To deal with the other point that is now made by  Deputy Magennis, I should say that, being now in the prime of life, if I got the idea into my head that I would have a year of living on champagne, I would find out at the end of the year that it would be rather a serious thing. At the end of the year I would find I should have a huge debt to the end of my life. That is, to my mind, somewhat like the proposal that Deputy Figgis has put forward.
We will raise the money in order to meet that, although we know that it is spent in this year and that certain advantages are to be derived from that expenditure. If you derive the maximum advantage and purchase peace at that cost, have not the people of this year got much greater advantage than the people of the future? They will not appreciate peace as you will, because they had not to get it, so that I do not see anything to commend that particular policy at all, either to the Dáil or to the Nation. I have experience of another institution in respect of which, when I had anything to do with it, more than half the revenue was expended in repayment of loans and so on. It was a dead weight, and it could never be shifted; it was there for all time. Everybody knows that if you borrow money to do any particular work, that you do not get the value out of it that you would get out of money that you raised in any particular year or time in revenue; that there is always an extravagance with borrowed money, and there is never a return, because if you calculate the amount of interest on each thousand pounds that you raise you will find that before that money is paid a sum of something like fifteen hundred pounds has been spent on the particular type of work that has given only £1,000 of value. If you start the other way and say: “We won't have this; we won't put on the funds of the State any service that is possible to make a particular year bear,” then you run the chance of getting maximum service, because as each man feels the burden he wants to see the result, and he wants to see efficiency. That is one of the main reasons why we could not consider at all the prospect of funding any debt except what cannot be avoided. Certainly, unless there be some lasting results from any services in respect of which you spend money, a service  which will be extended over a number of years, and which could not be undertaken unless you were to borrow money, then there would be a case for it, but can you say that such a case as that arises in the present time? I do not think so. If you started on that, next year you would have the same case for some other trumpery matter or another, and you would never reach upon all of it till you say “Now, this is too much; we will have to raise money in revenue this year.” I do not think there could be anything more damaging to credit than to evade liabilities which are properly ours, and which are properly chargeable to us this year, the year in which we have started business. I have, as I said before, no particular penchant for a National Debt. If you can show value for it, and that the country benefits by whatever it has purchased, and that it makes the country richer, and gives it greater possibilities, to stir up and develop its potentialities, then there is a case for raising money for that particular purpose. We have nothing to show here that anything like that has occurred, and even with regard to property damage it should certainly be paid off within a few years, and should be paid willingly within that few years, knowing full well that when it is paid you are only starting from scratch.
Professor MAGENNIS: The speech of the Minister contains so much of what is profoundly true that it almost convinces one, but a great deal of it is merely speciously put. To win his victory he must represent us as adopting the old catchword of Louis XV. of France—“after us the deluge.” Now, if what we advocate in favour of the funding policy be represented as a declaration that we wish to shirk responsibilities that are ours and place them upon the shoulders of people yet unborn. undoubtedly it is an indefensible position that we take up. The Minister himself rushes to the opposite extreme and with, as I call it, a virtue that does him infinite credit, he is most anxious to be rid of all burdens at the earliest possible opportunity. He forgets that in his anxiety to spare the future citizens, in view of the possible burdens that what is to come has in store for them, he may place impositions on the present generation  utterly inequitable in view of what they already have been called upon to bear, and to do so he might take a particular agency whose operation may result in putting these unpredictable burdens upon the future. Anyone who knows anything about business is aware that a heavy load of taxation is a handicap on enterprise. Anyone who is in the position of—I do not know how to describe it in English—except by making a deliberate bull and putting it in French—a rentier, who is living on unearned income, will not continue to live in the Free State and continue to invest portion of his surplus income in Free State enterprises, when, by crossing the Border or the Channel, he can find a home where food and the cost of living is lower and where there is an old civilisation stabilised, and where taxation in the immediate present is so much lower. I suggest, and I am serious in the suggestion, that between the “after me the deluge” doctrine and that of the “let us be kind and merciful to the grandchildren of the grandchildren,” there is a middle course, which, if we come down from the high clouds of speculation and look at the actual conditions, we are called upon to face here. Because the Ministry have crushed the Rebellion are they going to crush the taxpayer? Have they as little mercy as the Irregulars for those who owned property? It seems to me that it reduces it to that: “Inasmuch as we have borne all this trouble and heavy, dreadful strain, let us bear more.” We have become so much inured to this effort for the establishment of good government that we can stand a little more. That is the common fallacy by which the camel's back in the proverb is broken, the little more which is unendurable. It frightens capital out of the country, and makes enterprise languish. I would appeal to the Minister, who is a man of affairs and a man of the world, and who knows more about finance, perhaps, than any other man in the Dáil, not to be so much in love with the figures he contemplates in his Budget, as to refuse to realise that there is a limit beyond which he ought not try to tax this year those from whose pockets he will attempt to extract the money. He must consider the yield for next year and the year after, and in view of that adopt a policy. He is too keen, I say once more, in showing  an ardent anxiety now to get rid of the burdens which have been just incurred. If he were in the Corporation, or, say, the Pembroke Urban Council, would he seek to repay by the rates levied in a given year all that had been expended on the creation of new roadways, the setting up of new electric lighting system and re-creation of sewerage? Surely not; he would spread the burden over many years. I suggest that is equity, so that the cost of establishing the Free State, of showing that the Free State Government can function, ought to be borne not merely by us who have had the nervous strain of supporting that Government throughout the trying period, but that it ought to be borne in equitable proportion by those who come after us. I do not propose as a policy that we should shirk the burden by passing it on, but that we should bear what is equitably estimated as our portion of it, and we call upon others to bear their share likewise.
Mr. JOHNSON: I feel somewhat in trouble as between the advocates of borrowing as represented by Deputies Figgis and Magennis and the statement of the Minister for Finance. As I understand these figures, the case that is made on behalf of borrowing is the case put forward in the Resolution. The case made by the Minister for Finance against borrowing is contradicted by the Resolutions he has put forward. The proposal is, as I understand it, to borrow £20,000,000 as against an expenditure of £46,000,000, and the tax revenue, according to these figures, of £20,000,000 is not going to pay for any of this extraordinary expenditure. So that the advocacy by Deputies Figgis and Magennis has been already conceded by the Minister in his statement. The policy of borrowing, the policy he has already denounced, has been followed. I would like some light upon this divergency.
The PRESIDENT: The point is Deputy Figgis says I should borrow more, and I am not disposed to borrow any more. In other words, we should reduce Income Tax 6d. in the £, and we should reduce beer and some other items. We should conform more to what has been criticised at considerable length in this Dáil, and we should borrow whatever sum we should lose by those reductions in taxation. I am advised to pursue  the policy recommended here. It would mean, if I were a member of the Dublin Corporation, that I should propose to borrow in a single year whatever sum it costs for electric light, the laying down of sewers, and so on. That is not the proposal here. I am proposing to borrow something like £20,000,000, and I have nothing to show for it at the end of the year, no service to point out. We are simply repairing damage. I do not think you are justified in borrowing a greater sum than that in reducing taxation at a time when everybody knows that the damage occasioned will require to be paid for, and you cannot pay for these things by borrowing unless you mean to repay at some period, and you cannot borrow for this particular damage or loss without restricting the borrowing for some other purpose. That should be required for the future for the reasonable result, such as the Corporation gets from the sewers or the electric light or any other service in respect of which they have borrowed money.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: The President has unmentionally not done the argument the justice he would wish to do it, and which I should like him to. I did not suggest he should borrow more or less. What I did put before this Committee was that there was a definite sum that can be assessed almost to a nicety in respect of which borrowing was just, and that definite sum was the total of all figures put before us that could be called non-recurrent, and therefore in the nature of establishment charges. Deputy Magennis has pointed out that we have just started what I may call a new business house with the magnitude of a State. Now, this State that we have established should not, within the first twenty-four months of its establishment, be called upon to liquidate, not only its current expenditure, but also its establishment expenditure. No business house would think of such a thing. We should therefore not think of such a thing in a State. The State finance is business-like finance, or is not. In no business house, I suggest, would the establishment charges be placed upon the revenue of that house within the first twenty-four months, and I do urge, and suggest that a large number of those expenses that I have spoken of are non-recurrent,  are peculiar to the necessity of establishing a State, and therefore are establishment charges. I do not say we should borrow a large or a small sum except that I state we should borrow on our taxation the entire amount of whatever current expenditure may be called for. Having done that, we should place on one side what is non-recurrent, and we should borrow definitely inside of that. There is only one case in which the parallel of the business house has fallen short, and that is a very important one. The business house in the start of its career has no credit, or very little. We have a very considerable credit where we are. We have been in the last ascertainable year exporting 27 per cent. more than we are importing. Our production is 27 per cent. more than our consumption. We obviously have the substance of real credit, because that is the only thing in which credit exists.
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: There is a matter to which the Minister, in his reply, did not revert, and it is one affecting our credit, especially in America—the matter of the redemption of the Dáil bonds.
The PRESIDENT: I am advised that it would require a Bill to be introduced here to deal with that. I expect that within the next month or six weeks we will introduce such a Bill.
Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: May I take it that it is the intention of the Minister to redeem the Bonds?
The PRESIDENT: Yes. Of course I have mentioned that on a couple of occasions before.
Motion put and carried.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That ends the Committee discussion of those motions on finance.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: May I ask when the Report stage will be taken?
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: To-morrow, I understand.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: I understand that under the financial procedure which we have adopted, unlike the procedure with regard to ordinary legislation, if amendments are to be proposed they must be proposed on Report.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Not necessarily, but amendments may be made on Report.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Would it not be well to give a little time for such amendments to be handed in?
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That is a matter for the Dáil.
Mr. GERALD FITZGIBBON: As I understand the memorandum with which you have furnished us, there will be two opportunities for amendment. First the Resolutions will be reported to the Dáil, and on that we can accept, reject, or possibly amend the Resolutions already passed. Then those Resolutions will have to be embodied in a Finance Bill, which will pass through the ordinary course of legislation, and it will be open again, when that Bill is before the Dáil, to amend the sections or clauses which are in it.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That is quite correct.
Mr. GERALD FITZGIBBON: It appears to me that if the Report Stage of the Resolutions which we have just passed for the first time should come on very shortly, it will not preclude us from amending the Resolutions when the Dáil receives them in the form of a Bill. These Resolutions do not become finally binding until they have been adopted in the form of a Bill.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The amendments will necessarily have to be of a simple character in so far as they must relate merely to a reduction, except Resolution No. 2, which does not deal with the imposition of taxation at all. The amendments, being of a simple character, could possibly be proposed without notice or upon notice given in the morning. Is it agreed to take the Report Stage to-morrow?
The PRESIDENT: Yes.
The PRESIDENT: I now move: “That the Dáil adjourn until 3 o'clock to-morrow.”
Mr. JOHNSON: In connection with the reply to my question made by the Minister for Defence to-day, I want to draw attention to the conditions in Kerry with which that question and answer had to deal. I do not want to go into detail. I am afraid the details  would be harrowing and horrible, and I think it unwise at this stage to endeavour to incite any feelings that would keep sores open unnecessarily, but the question and the answer will leave, I am afraid, a good deal of dissatisfaction among the people of Kerry, and probably also in the minds of many people who would desire to be the greatest friends of the Government and the Army. Therefore, I want to urge that this inquiry that has been made by a court consisting of three military officers should not be accepted as finally closing these incidents. There was, as is indicated by the answer, a very horrible affair on the morning of the 6th March, when by the explosion of a trap-mine, an infernal machine of the kind that is concocted in infernal regions, three officers and two men were killed. A military order was issued the same day—I am taking the evidence of the answer—instructing soldiers that they must not attempt to move barricades or deal with dumps for fear there might be repetitions of the same kind of trap, and that instead of endeavouring to remove these obstructions themselves the military were to take out of the prisons men who had been captured and detained. Within twenty-four hours three such operations took place. Men were taken from the prison and found the next morning blown up by mines. Now, the rightness of this particular method is open to very grave question. It is confessed that there is danger in the removal of barricades, but untried prisoners are taken by the troops to run the risk that these barricades which have to be removed entail. We have no right to assume, the Dáil have no right to assume, and the military authorities have no right to assume that every prisoner who has been arrested is guilty of an offence. They were not tried, but prisoners were taken out of the prisons to undergo this risk, and, according to the case made by the military authorities, the risk proved so tremendous that somewhere approaching a score of men were killed. But I want to draw attention to the composition of the Court. The allegations, of course, that have been made are that these men were deliberately killed by explosions caused by the military. I am not going to take for granted every word or allegation that is made by what  the answer describes as “Irregular propaganda,” but those statements and allegations are very detailed, and concern more than one incident—three or four incidents, as a matter of fact, though I only dealt with two. Specified names are mentioned, and the public in Kerry believe the charges against the military The information upon which I base my question has come from friends of the Government, friends of the Army, friends of the Free State; not from enemies of the Government or the Army or the Free State, and I am regretfully compelled to say that the answer that the Minister made to the question is not calculated to satisfy the anxiety of those friends of the Government and the Army and the State as to their position. The Court which enquired into the charges consisted in respect of two out of three of the men who are responsible for the conduct of the Army in that area, and I want to contend that that is not likely to inspire confidence in the public who have been constrained to believe some, at least, of the charges that have been made against the military in this connection. The allegation is made and has more foundation than would appear from the answer—very much more foundation —that there has been a great deal of cruelty and a great deal of terrorism applied to prisoners in the charge of the military in that county, and my information is that the effect of these acts of cruelty to prisoners, and the effect of these particular incidents which are dealt with has been to alienate to a very great extent indeed the people of that district and of that county who had been won over to friendship with the Army and the State. I want to urge upon the Minister that there is sufficient basis for the charges that have been made to call for a non-military enquiry into the allegations in the County Kerry. and the allegations respecting the conduct of troops in the County Kerry. One could, if one thought it wise to do so, go into the details in respect of the statements that have been made, not only by those who are at enmity with the State, but by those who, as I have already said, would be friends; for it is necessary to reassure these people that the heads of the Army, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, is going to insist  upon discipline and humanity amongst all the soldiers under his command— officers of various ranks as well as private soldiers—and I am convinced, from information that has reached me, if one may say so, from within and without the Army, from those who value the good name of the Army and value the honour of the State, that these charges should be sifted and should be inquired into by a tribunal which does not consist of those who are responsible for the conduct of the Army in the district affected. I think the charges are sufficiently detailed, certainly serious enough, to require a very close investigation, and I urge that it is necessary that this investigation should be carried cut by a tribunal which has power to call evidence from whomsoever they may, and should not be influenced by those who are directly concerned with the conduct of the Army in the County of Kerry.
MINISTER for DEFENCE (General Mulcahy): The officers who were entrusted with the carrying out of this Inquiry, from my point of view, at any rate, very naturally included the officer on whom devolved the very onerous responsibility of commanding the troops and dealing with the general situation in Kerry. It included that officer, and associated with him in that Inquiry was his second-in-command, and a senior officer from General Headquarters. I, as I stated in my answer, am quite satisfied that the occurrences were thoroughly investigated, and that the findings were correct. As far as the Kerry officers were concerned, very few who know them, and very few, I think, of the civil population in Kerry will question their desire for discipline. Time after time we have complaints from various parts of the population as to the restrictions placed upon our soldiers there. We have seen officers here, we have seen Major-General Daly train— for a few months, perhaps, in Dublin here, before we were called upon to defend this new State in arms—a handful of men whose discipline, quite as much as their daring, made it possible for us to tackle effectively in Dublin the root of what has been such a terrible disturbance. They have my fullest confidence from that point of view. I have the fullest confidence that the honour of the Army is as deeply rooted in them as  it is in any of us here at Headquarters or in any member of the Government.
The occurrences have been investigated as fully as possible by people who, simply because they are members of the Army, but only because they are members of the Army, can be called ex parte investigators.
As far as any outside inquiry—an inquiry by what is stated to be non-military persons—is concerned, anybody who cares to press for that can press for it, and it will be for the Government to say whether they consider the circumstances are such as to require that there should be such an investigation. As far as the point that, just after the issue of this particular Order, three or four cases of this kind occurred, that Order was just emphasising a Regular Order that had been in force for months before that, and in connection with which the Irregulars have made many representations and many complaints previous to the ones that are being made now; and, if there were three cases occurring immediately after that Order was issued, a consideration of the circumstances in which they occurred, and the place in which they occurred, will disclose that at that particular time very determined efforts were being made by rather numerous groups of Irregulars in the Cahirciveen area to take Cahirciveen out of the hands of our troops. The Order that was being despatched from Tralee to the garrison in Killorglin, on the night of the Ballyseedy occurrence, was an Order dealing with that situation, and the sweep that was being made by troops from Killorglin, Beaufort, Killarney, and Barraduff on the same night was also activity that was being arranged there as a diversion and in order to prevent the passage to and fro of Irregulars from the Cahirciveen area. That will explain—it does explain to me, at any rate—why this occurrence happened immediately after that particular Order. On the question of the charges that are being levied in connection with this matter, I am convinced that there is no foundation in fact for them; and on the question of using prisoners for this particular class of work, we cannot avoid using prisoners for this particular class of work if we are going to make the roads in Kerry safe for the people; but we shall take all the precautions that we can to prevent that even in the clearing of those  mine obstructions, many of which are still there, that the lives of prisoners will not be risked unnecessarily.
Mr. JOHNSON: I take it that this enquiry was in lieu of an inquest. Will the Minister lay on the Table the evidence that was adduced in the course of that enquiry, or circulate it amongst the Deputies only?
General MULCAHY: I do not propose to bring forward the evidence that was produced at those enquiries. The statement of the occurrences is a statement verified and certified by three officers whose names have been given. As far as this enquiry being in lieu of an inquest is concerned, there is no reason why an inquest should not have been held, and there is no reason why in any case of the kind in Kerry an inquest should not be held.
Mr. JOHNSON: Is it possible still to hold an inquest? Perhaps the Minister for Home Affairs will tell us.
Mr. KEVIN O'HIGGINS: I do not say that it would be impossible. It would necessitate the exhumation of the bodies so that a jury might view them. But further than that I see no factor that would make it impossible. Whether there were factors that would make it desirable would be a matter for consideration.
Mr. JOHNSON: Will the Minister consider, in view of the circumstances that have been made known and of the facts that have been brought to the attention of the Minister, the desirability of holding an inquest into the circumstances of these deaths?
Mr. KEVIN O'HIGGINS: I certainly will.
Dr. McCARTAN: I would just like to make an ad misericordiam appeal on behalf of a few hunger strikers. Some of them are in a precarious condition at the present time. I do not wish to make any excuse for them. I wish to state clearly that I think they are in the wrong. But the fact is they are in danger of death. The public generally assume, and many of us assume, that this unfortunate struggle is nearing a close, and it would be most unfortunate if anybody should be allowed at this time to die hunger striking. I would like the Government to consider  very seriously the advisability of the immediate release of three women and one man. Now, the Government may make a good case against one or all of them. I do not know anything of the pros or cons, but I have the case of one that is in danger of death—it seems a very trivial case. I just want to ask the Government, as a big, generous act, to release these four people at the present time. I know it will be claimed that thousands of prisoners might go on hunger strike and do the same. I wrote to the President yesterday that I was willing to introduce a resolution here advocating that the Dáil would support the Government in allowing anyone who chooses to hunger strike in the future to take the consequences of his or her act, and I am still willing to do that. We all know that it is not very easy to say let them break the hunger strike. It is not easy without sacrifice of honour on their part once they have taken up their position of hunger striking to break a hunger strike. Personally, if I were on hunger strike I would prefer to die rather than back out. They are in the same way. The Government are now in a position of strength. They are in a secure position. I appeal to them strongly to be generous. I do not wish to defend any man or woman who is on hunger strike. I just wish to make a sort of piteous appeal on their part. I do not wish to labour the question, I still have hope that the Cabinet will do the big, generous thing, and I would rather they would do it without any appeal from me or from anyone else. I feel confident that they will.
Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: I would like to add my voice to what Dr. McCartan has said, and make an appeal to the Government to treat the matter in a generous way. In the circumstances of the moment they can afford to be generous, and it will add more to the status and position of the Government if they hearken to Dr. McCartan's appeal. So far as I can learn, the charges in some cases are not of a very serious character. In one case I have learned the only charge is that the girl had ten or twelve copies of Poblacht na hEireann in her possession. Well, if that is so, I am afraid that many of us could perhaps be hauled up on the same charge. I do not wish to go into the merits of it in any way, but to repeat what I said and to  urge that the appeal which had been made to the Government would be acted on in a generous way by this State, and to urge on the Government to listen to the reasons that have been given by Dr. McCartan.
Professor MAGENNIS: I desire to associate myself with Dr. McCartan, particularly with regard to one of the prisoners in question—Dr. Con Murphy, who was a very distinguished graduate of the Royal University. There are special, and, indeed, peculiar reasons why I, in particular, should advocate a show of mercy to him. I have known him and admired his character for many, many years, and I know what conditions have operated on him to turn his mind from the support of the Free State which, in his saner earlier moments he had advocated.
He has been unfortunate in his family. His sons and one of his daughters have taken a very active, and I might almost say criminal, part, so far as I am aware of any evidence, in opposing the State. He himself, along with Mr. Patrick Little, the Deputies may be aware, went some time ago as a deputation to the Vatican to expound in Rome the case for the Republic, particularly the case as regards the conception that ought to be entertained of the exact force and significance of the late election. It has been represented through handbills pasted indiscriminately over the city that this man was arrested because he had gone to Rome; but I, who am particularly interested in his welfare, know thoroughly that a long interval elapsed and that there is no connection whatsoever between his arrest and his advocacy in Rome of the Republican cause. I know, and I would personally vouch for it, that this man is a man of the highest character, though, in my conception, a zealot who takes very narrow views; but his zeal in the case is proportionate to the narrowness of his vision. I think he has suffered a great deal. If I may be allowed to express the opinion to the Minister, he has expiated, more than justice requires, the folly he has been guilty of in associating himself with circulars that spoke of the murder-gang of the Government. He has lost a high position in the Civil Service. That in itself is a considerable punishment. Now, to have his life endangered and his health permanently  injured, as it will by this wanton freak of his, will be undoubtedly an additional grievous punishment. I do think that the Minister can afford to exercise clemency in his case. Then the case of one of the women prisoners is especially deserving of clemency. She is a girl, a student of high character, who, in a moment of ill-considered haste, piqued by an event that occurred recently, allowed herself to be persuaded to undergo arrest and to follow in the wake of the bad example set by other prisoners of a greater age. I speak particularly for Dr. Con Murphy. I feel that I would despise myself all my life if, on an opportunity like this presenting itself, I did not say what I have said on his behalf.
Mr. O'BRIEN: I would like to join with the other Deputies in the appeal to the Government to release, not as a matter of right, but as an act of clemency, those people who are on hunger strike. Recent events have convinced most of us that this fight is rapidly coming to an end, and a generous gesture on the part of the Government now would, I am sure, be interpreted in the right way. There are many old comrades of the Ministers engaged in the fight, and they probably would be very glad to forget the nightmare of the last twelve months. The Government can accede to this appeal without any sign of weakness, and I strongly urge them to do it.
The PRESIDENT: This matter has been under consideration for some time. It must be admitted that until steps were taken to arrest certain active women, considerable damage and considerable loss of life were occasioned in the city and in other parts of the country. Since they have been arrested these activities have to a very large extent ceased. We know, on the information at our disposal, that if it were not for the active co-operation of women, this particular onslaught on people's rights, liberties, and property would not have continued to anything like the same length of time. That onslaught would not have continued were it not for their co-operation and criminal assistance. That is a very serious consideration for the Dáil and for the Government. We know full well that they have acted on the assumption all through that they would be immune from any disadvantages  which men run when they are apprehended in carrying out hostile acts against citizens of the State. It is well that the Dáil would bear that in mind. We have no desire to see any section of the community suffer. We have no desire to humiliate any of those who have been engaged in active hostility against us; but we owe a duty to the State to see that at a moment like this there are not loosed upon the State persons who have not the interests of the State or the security of life and property at heart. Only in that connection have we acted. I think it will be admitted in connection with the sentences of imprisonment that have been inflicted and the treatment of prisoners whom we have taken and received, that they will compare very favourably with what has happened in other countries. The internment of those particular prisoners and the treatment they are receiving does not leave much to be desired. It is a question of detention, and they have certainly erred very grievously against the State.
We are not satisfied that it is safe at this moment to release those prisoners. All the prisoners are asked to do in order to secure release is to sign a form of undertaking that they will not engage in hostilities against individuals or against property. Is that too much to ask of any citizen of the State? It is quite possible that mistakes have been made, and that persons have been arrested who should not have been arrested. But would even the most strong-minded person in this Dáil who might be apprehended by mistake, supposing things were reversed— would any person with any degree of moral courage refuse to give an undertaking of that sort to the elected Government of the State? I do not see if one has any conception of the rights of citizenship that there is a case for giving more generous consideration at this moment to any proposition of that sort. Quite recently a member of the Dáil took up with me the case of a woman prisoner, and I sent on the letter to the military, and the result was—I suppose I may have passed some remark in the letter—that the lady was released. I subsequently learned that that was a case in which the prisoner should not have been released at all. If we take the risk in this case of releasing those people, and if the result is disastrous to the State, the liability is ours. On the facts of the case  as presented to us here this evening I do not know that a case has been made out in which we should reconsider decisions as to ordering the release. We are particularly anxious that there should not be any bitterness, but, in this case, and in almost every case in which propositions are put up to us, we are asked to give everything, and we get nothing in return. We do not even get good faith in return. In a number of cases prisoners have been released, having signed the form, who subsequently broke the undertaking they gave, and it was not an undertaking that any honest man, no matter what his opinions are, should refuse to give.
Mr. JOHNSON: Will the President tell us just exactly the position in regard to the undertaking? We rather gather from the statement just made that provided prisoners sign this form of undertaking they will secure their release.
The PRESIDENT: No. But there are certain people who will not sign it, who say that their principles would prevent them from signing it.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: I would like to ask the President—not in any critical spirit, because I appreciate the difficulty in which he finds himself in this matter— I am not quite sure of my facts, but I believe it to be true that Dr. Con Murphy  did sign that paper at an earlier stage, and was nevertheless dismissed from his position as a Civil Servant. If that is the case I think that, perhaps, his case is one that special attention might be given to.
The PRESIDENT: Does the Deputy ask did Dr. Con Murphy sign a form of allegiance to the British Government? I understand that he did. I understand he also signed a form that every Civil Servant has been asked to sign since we came into office. There was some hesitancy in the beginning about signing.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: Am I not correct in saying that Dr. Murphy did sign such a pledge of fidelity to the Provisional Government, as it then was, and that at a date subsequent to that he was dismissed from his position as a Civil Servant?
The PRESIDENT: Yes.
Professor MAGENNIS: Might I ask the President does he realise that he is sentencing this man to death?
The PRESIDENT: Certainly not. I realise that he is sentencing himself to death.
Professor MAGENNIS: It comes to the same thing.
The PRESIDENT: It is very different
The Dáil adjourned at 6.50 p.m.
SEAN O LAIDHIN: asked the Minister for Defence if he is aware that dependant's allowance has not been paid to Mr. Michael Finn, Clara Road, Moate, in respect of his son, Volunteer Patrick Finn, who joined the National Army in August, 1922, and is now stationed in Clara; further, if he is aware that this Volunteer, previous to enlisting, contributed £2 0s. 0d. towards the upkeep of the house, and, as his father is in a destitute state, will the Minister see that allowance is granted?
General MULCAHY: No application has been received from Mr. Finn, but on the information conveyed in the question the case is being investigated.
TOMAS O CONAILL: asked the Minister for Defence whether a dependant's allowance has yet been paid to the mother of John Egan (11815), who joined the National Army at Portumna on September 5th, 1922, and who is at present  stationed in Ballinasloe; if not, will he see that the claim will receive immediate attention?
General MULCAHY: An allowance of 7/- per week is being paid to Mrs. Egan.
SEAMUS EABHROID: asked the Minister for Defence whether a claim has been made for dependant's allowance by Mrs. B. Curry, Slash Cottage, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, on account of her son, Volunteer William Curry (No. 9879), Wexford Brigade, who joined the National Army in July, 1922; whether her claim has been disallowed; if so, will he state the grounds on which it was disallowed, as the claim is a deserving one, owing to infirmity of his parents, would he be prepared to give it further consideration?
General MULCAHY: The claim of Mrs. Curry, who was partially dependent on her son, was disallowed on the ground that the extent of dependence, which in the case of an unmarried soldier is taken to be the amount normally contributed by a soldier to his home over and above the cost of his own maintenance therein for a reasonable period prior to enlistment, was less than the minimum specified by the regulations, that is, 12/- per week, before an allowance may be issued.
I should add that the regulations are based on a recognition of an obligation on the part of an unmarried soldier to contribute to the support of his dependants a reasonable portion of his Army Pay, this portion being calculated at 8/- per week in the case of a soldier receiving ordinary rates of pay.
The claim was investigated locally and there appears to be no reason why it should be reconsidered.
SEAMUS EABHROID: asked the Minister for Defence whether a claim has been made for dependants' allowance by Mrs. Ellen Kelly, Colley Street, Wicklow, on account of her son, Volunteer Thomas Kelly (No. 21130), who joined the National Army in March, 1922; whether her claim has been disallowed, if so, will he state the grounds on which it was disallowed, and, as the claim is a deserving one, would he be prepared to give it further consideration?
General MULCAHY: The claim of  Mrs. Kelly, who was partially dependent on her son, was disallowed on the ground that the extent of dependence, which in the case of an unmarried soldier is taken to be the amount normally contributed by a soldier to his home over and above the cost of his own maintenance therein for a reasonable period prior to enlistment, was less than the minimum specified by the regulations, that is, 12s. per week, before an allowance may be issued.
I should add that the regulations are based on a recognition of an obligation on the part of an unmarried soldier to contribute to the support of his dependents a reasonable portion of his Army pay, this portion being calculated at 8s. per week in the case of a soldier receiving ordinary rates of pay. The claim was investigated locally, and there appears to be no reason why it should be reconsidered.
SEAN O LAIDHIN: asked the Minister for Defence if he is aware that dependents' allowance has not been paid to Mrs. Farrell, Main Street, Moate, in respect of her son, Volunteer Michael Farrell, who joined the National Army in July, 1922, and is at present stationed in Athlone; further, as the claimant is a widow, will he see her case gets immediate attention?
General MULCAHY: The claim of Mrs. Farrell, who was partially dependent on her son, was disallowed on the ground that her son, who was not living at home, did not regularly contribute to her support for a reasonable period prior to his enlistment the minimum amount specified by the regulations, that is, 12s. per week. It should be stated that the regulations governing the matter are based on the recognition of an obligation on the part of an unmarried soldier to contribute to the support of his dependents a reasonable portion of his Army pay, this portion being calculated as 8s. per week in the case of a soldier receiving ordinary rate of pay.
SEAN O LAIDHIN: asked the Minister for Defence why dependents' allowance has not been paid to Mrs. Killeen, Athlone Road, Moate, in respect of her two sons, Volunteer James Killeen, who joined the National Army in July, 1922, and is at present stationed in Ballymore, and Volunteer Francis Killeen, who enlisted  in August, 1922, and is now stationed in Moate; further, is he aware that these men, previous to joining the Army, were the whole support of the house? Volunteer James Killeen contributed £1 16s. and Volunteer Francis Killeen gave £2 weekly to their mother and if, in view of this, this claim will be speedily dealt with?
General MULCAHY: Mrs. Killeen's claims were received early in March, and have since been under local investigation. The claim in respect of Volunteer James Killeen has now been assessed at the rate of 7s. per week. The other is still receiving attention.
SEAN O LAIDHIN: asked the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that dependents' allowance has not been paid to Mrs. Ellen Collins, Clara Road, Moate, in respect of her son, Sergeant Thomas Collins, now serving with the National Army in Roscommon; further, if he is aware that this man, previous to enlisting, was the chief support of his mother, who has a family of seven young children and is in delicate health—contributing £2 1s. 8d. towards her upkeep, and if, in view of this, the Minister will have this case attended to without delay?
General MULCAHY: No application has been received for dependents' allowance from Mrs. Collins, but on the information conveyed in the question the case is being investigated.
SEAN O LAIDHIN: asked the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that dependents' allowance has not been paid to Mrs. Hughes, Arch House, Coosan, Athlone, in respect of her son, Volunteer Leo Hughes (No. 22,320 A.M.C.), who joined the National Army in April, 1922, and is at present stationed at Castlebar? Further, if he is aware that Mrs. Hughes' house was burned owing to the activity of her sons in the Anglo-Irish war, and, as this woman is now almost destitute, will the Minister see that allowance is granted?
General MULCAHY: Mrs. Hughes' claim for dependents' allowance was disallowed on the ground that her son, on whom she was not solely depending, did not contribute to her support for at least four months prior to his enlistment.
TOMAS Mac EOIN: asked the Minister for Defence what was the reason for the disallowance of the claim for dependent's allowance by Mrs. Jane Carton, 12 Brookfield Place, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, in respect of her son, Private William Carton, No. 208, C Coy., 55th Battalion, Kehoe Barracks, Dublin, who joined the Army on the 15th July, 1922, and whether, in view of a statement by the mother that her son gave her 50s. weekly when at home, he will have further inquiry made into the case?
General MULCAHY: Mrs. Carton's claim was disallowed on the ground that her son, on whom she was not solely depending, did not contribute regularly to her support for about twelve months prior to his enlistment. The case was investigated locally, and there appears to be no reason for making further inquires.
TOMAS O CONAILL: asked the Minister for Defence whether a dependent's allowance has yet been made to Mrs. E. Kyne, 76 Lower Salt Hill, Galway, on account of her son, Corporal Peter Kyne, who joined the National Army on February 1st, 1922, and is now attached to D Coy., 5th Battalion, Cork Command, stationed at Macroom; if payment has not yet been made will he see that this claim receives immediate attention?
General MULCAHY: No application has been received from Mrs. Kyne for dependent's allowance, but on the information conveyed in the question the case is being investigated.
TOMAS O CONAILL: asked the Minister for Defence whether a dependents' allowance has yet been paid to Mrs. Annie Larkin, of Gortmahon, Cappatagle, Ballinasloe, on account of her son, John Larkin (10,525), who enlisted in the National Army some twelve months ago, and if not, will he see that her claim receives immediate attention?
General MULCAHY: The claim of Mrs. Larkin, who was partially dependent on her son, was disallowed on the ground that the extent of dependence, which in the case of an unmarried soldier is taken to be the amount normally contributed by a soldier to his home over and above the cost of his own maintenance therein for a reasonable period prior to enlistment, was less than the  minimum specified by the regulations, that is, 12s. per week before an allowance may be issued.
I should add that the regulations are based on a recognition of an obligation on the part of an unmarried soldier to contribute to the support of his dependents a reasonable portion of his Army pay, this portion being calculated as 8s per week in the case of a soldier receiving ordinary rates of pay.