TREATY (CONFIRMATION OF AMENDING AGREEMENT) BILL, 1925—SECOND STAGE (RESUMED DEBATE).

Wednesday, 9 December 1925

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 13 No. 16

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[1547]Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  Being the only Deputy on this side of the House who voted for the Treaty on the 7th January, 1922, it would be very undesirable if I were to give a silent vote on this question. I voted for the Treaty, and I have not had any qualms of conscience since then as to whether I did the right thing or not. I listened to Deputy Redmond yesterday evening speaking about the Irish Party. He talked about the associates of the Ministry. When the Treaty was signed, I happened to be one of their associates. The whole tenor of his speech yesterday evening was: “I told you so,” and he told us that the Irish Party in 1914 could have got a better settlement than was brought about by the Treaty. If that is so I cannot understand why the Irish Party did not get us that settlement. They had a magnificent opportunity in August, 1914, before Mr. Redmond in the House of Commons pledged this country to England for the war. Deputy Redmond told us that when partition was mentioned then it was only agreed to in a temporary way. But could he have given any guarantee that if partition had then been accepted in a temporary way by both sides, that he would not have had the same position confronting this country as that which confronts it now?

I think it is only fair to myself and to my associates of the time I speak of that I should state my position in that connection. I am absolutely opposed to this Agreement, because I consider that the Executive Council have exceeded their functions in the matter. I consider that the Government has gone as far as to break the Constitution; I consider that the Government has gone as far as to break the Treaty which they have been praising for the past three or four years. Deputy Dr. MacNeill, who was appointed by the Government as a member of the Boundary Commission, told us two or three weeks ago, in the greatest confession of failure I have ever heard a man make, that he pledged himself to secrecy with [1548] two men whom he knew very early in the proceedings were absolutely opposed to the aims of the Free State. He told us that early in the proceedings of that Commission it was clear to him that his colleagues were not putting a proper interpretation on the Article in question. I do not care what his conception of honour may be; I believe that he should, there and then, have told them that he considered it his bounden duty to come back and tell this country of that. The honour of Deputy Dr. MacNeill is a very small thing compared with the future of this nation. The honour of Deputy Dr. MacNeill, great as he may think it is, is a very small thing compared with what the Nationalists of Tyrone and Fermanagh have gone through and will go through.

I find it very hard to believe that Deputy Dr. MacNeill kept all this from his colleagues. From every platform upon which members of the Executive Council appeared for the past twelve months we were told: “All goes well with the Boundary Commission.” The Nationalists of Tyrone, Fermanagh. Derry City, Newry, and those other places which would have been affected by the Boundary Commission were told, time and time again, that their destinies were safe in the hands of the Executive Council. Deputy Dr. MacNeill resigned from the Boundary Commission after a debate had been initiated here by Deputy McCullough, who seemed to get a little panicky be cause of certain information that had leaked through from the Boundary Commission to the Morning Post. I suppose we may assume that were it not for the fact that East Donegal was about to be taken Deputy McCullough would still be silent and Deputy MacNeill would still be on the Boundary Commission.

When Deputy MacNeill resigned the President was asked here to make a statement, a perfectly reasonable request, I submit, from a representative of the people. The President, in a very irritable manner, told us that he had no policy, but that the question was engaging the attention of the Executive Council and would continue to do so. We asked on Thursday last what was the policy of the Executive Council, [1549] and we received the same answer. The first medium through which the policy of the Executive Council was made known to us was through the much-hated British Parliament. Mr. Baldwin, Prime Minister of England, was the first to communicate to this country what the policy of the Free State Executive Council was. Surely the representatives of the people are not children. Surely the representatives of the people on both sides of the House know what their responsibilities are, and are prepared to shoulder them when the time comes. The President told us that this agreement was the best that could be got under the circumstances. What are the circumstances? We have not been told yet what they are. We have not yet been told what happened since the time Dr. MacNeill left the Boundary Commission until the President arrived home on Saturday morning. We know nothing. The President said on Monday last: “You asked me for my policy, here it is”—a Bill, a fait accompli, an agreement, that had been arrived at between the three Governments without the Irish people having a voice in the making of it. I ask the President and the Executive Council is that the proper way of treating the people of the Free State and of Tyrone, Fermanagh, Derry City, Newry, and those people who have suffered so much in the Irish cause for generations?

The President talks about the Feetham-Fisher award. We have not been told yet what the award was. And if we believe what Mr. Baldwin said in the House of Commons the President does not know what that award is. Mr. Baldwin stated yesterday in the British House of Commons that neither of the two Premiers saw the award. If they did not see it what is all the panic about? Why did the President agree to the cancellation of Article V.? I think the House is entitled to know who initiated the discussion on Article V., and to know what representations were made in connection with that Article. We have been asked for an alternative. I can quite understand that it is not easy to give an alternative. It is very hard to suggest any alternative when we are not placed [1550] in possession of the facts, and we should have been placed in possession of them prior to an agreement being signed by which the Nationalists of Tyrone and Fermanagh have been sold to Northern Ireland. Deputy Egan said yesterday that it was absolutely necessary that we should find out what our liabilities were under Article V., and that the uncertainty that has prevailed in financial matters was responsible for keeping the country in a stagnant position.

I am prepared to go a long way with him so far as that opinion is concerned, but we can pay too high a price for this also. I think it is too big a price to pay to sacrifice the thousands of Nationalists we are sacrificing in Northern Ireland by this Agreement. I suggest that we do not know what the Feetham-Fisher line is like. The President, as I say, if we take Mr. Baldwin's statement, does not know what it is like, but if we take the forecast of the “Morning Post” as accurate as regards the Boundary line the greater part of Tyrone and Fermanagh were to be transferred to the Free State. If that is the exact position I would like to know what authority we have for refusing to accept the Nationalists of Tyrone and Fermanagh into the Free State? The Minister for Finance is always able to smile at everything, but I daresay if he went back to Monaghan now he would not smile.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Would the Deputy come back to the Morning Post and say definitely that the suggested award gave over a large portion of Tyrone?

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  The Morning Post forecast was responsible for creating a panic in the Executive Council——

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I have asked the Deputy a question, and I would like if he would answer it.

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  I have given my answer.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Then the misrepresentation stands.

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  It is not a question of misrepresentation at all. This House has a right to be told in [1551] a statement by the President before the Bill was introduced what the circumstances were that warranted him in making such an agreement. During the discussions in the last two or three days we were threatened with the Feetham-Fisher line, a line which, according to the British Premier, has not been shown at all to the President or the Executive Council.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Quite right.

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  The Minister for External Affairs said yesterday that the Government were perfectly entitled to do what they did. I do not think anybody with any sense of responsibility should suggest any such thing. It is news to me that members of the Executive Council, or any member of it, can go across to another country and break the Constitution which they represent. That is what has been done in this case. We may say what we like about this Agreement and the Dáil turning it down, but we know that this Bill was approved by the Cumann na nGaedheal, and that there is a majority here to pass it. We have been told that if the Bill is passed we are to have a land of milk and honey, no unemployment, and that everything will run smoothly. Well, we will see how that turns out. Various circumstances have been mentioned in connection with Article V. The President, I think, mentioned £179,000,000 as the amount we are getting off for the payment of a sum of £5,000,000. I notice by to-day's papers that the sum suggested by the Irish representatives which we should pay was £150,000, but the sum we are to pay is shown to be £250,000 for sixty years. The worst part of the Agreement so far as the Article is concerned, the part which I take exception to, and to which I think any right-minded Irishman would take exception, is the part where the Free State takes responsibility for the payment of damages done by the Black and Tans from 1919, the exact date of the establishment of Dáil Eireann. This is tantamount to saying we had no authority for doing what we did between 1919 and 1921.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  No.

[1552]Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  I would like to hear anybody suggest that to the Ministers during those two years, that we were expected to pay for every act of commandeering which some people called robbery, and for every act done by the Volunteers from 1919 to 1921. Taking up that attitude with regard to Article V., and accepting responsibility for the damage done by the Black and Tans in Balbriggan, Cork, and the rest of the country, is tantamount to saying that everything done by the Black and Tans was legal.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Not at all.

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  No; you prefer not to read it that way. There is a suggestion here that the compensation paid to Southern loyalists, whoever they may be, should be increased by 10 per cent.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Where is that?

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  It is somewhere. It is made perfectly clear in the English and Northern papers that the loyalists are to get that increase.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Where is it in the Agreement?

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  There is a 10 per cent. increase at any rate.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  A flat rate.

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  As I said at the beginning, I am going to oppose the Agreement.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  The reasons do not matter.

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  Of course, not to you, but they matter to me. So long as I reconcile my own conscience to what I am doing I am satisfied. If your conscience can adapt itself to the situation I am sorry for you; mine cannot. So far as Article V. is concerned, I remember distinctly having a conversation with the late President Griffith in the lobby at Earlsfort Terrace, and he told me there that Article V. was not worth the paper it was written on, that it was a sort of agreed cancellation of debt between the two countries. I think he knew what he was talking about, and I think that everybody in [1553] the Front Bench had respect for his opinions. Colonel Gretton said distinctly yesterday in the House of Commons that he did not expect Ireland would ever pay a halfpenny under that Article. Mr. Churchill said there could be no doubt when the results are complete that the Government would have to review the whole situation in the light of Ireland's capacity to pay. When that day arrives I think we could put forward our case as to Ireland's capacity to pay, instead of raising the matter now in order to betray the Nationalists of Northern Ireland.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Deputy said we had broken the Constitution. I submit, in fairness to the Executive Council, that that statement should not be allowed to go uncontradicted. Even if the Agreement contemplated a break in the Constitution that Agreement had to be presented here and the opinion of the Oireachtas taken upon it. Therefore we know that the Deputy is historically incorrect.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  And hysterically.

Mr. CORISH: Information on Richard Corish  Zoom on Richard Corish  I am as well aware as the President that the Constitution is not broken until the Bill has passed, but it is tentatively so by the Agreement in London.

Mr. BEAMISH: Information on Richard Henrik Beamish  Zoom on Richard Henrik Beamish  I had no intention of taking part in this debate, but I think that there has not been quite fair play exercised in the discussion. With regard to Dr. MacNeill, I have on occasions totally disagreed with many of his opinions in matters of education in Ireland. Now, we have all heard it said that in connection with the matter under discussion, Dr. MacNeill had made mistakes. Let us allow it. What then? Is there any man in this House who would have done better if placed in the same position? Our worthy friend, Deputy Johnson, kept us one hour and three-quarters to-day dealing with platitudes. Let us have a little fair play in a matter like this, just as we have in a football match. If we see a man in a football match running towards the goal and, while doing his best to score, he gets tripped and then somebody else comes along, picks up the ball and scores, we do not consider [1554] about the man being tripped. All we consider is that our side won.

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  From a penalty.

Mr. BEAMISH: Information on Richard Henrik Beamish  Zoom on Richard Henrik Beamish  No, not from a penalty. Whether we fail or succeed, the great thing is to do our best and try to reach our goal. We have got a mountain to climb, and we are working our way towards the top. The ascent of that mountain means success for the whole of Ireland—not the Free State portion, not the Republican portion, but the whole of Ireland—and we are going to get to the top. Those of us who have climbed mountains have sometimes been tempted to take a short-cut. Some of us have been tempted to take a short-cut in this matter—may I suggest through the Shelbourne Hotel —but we recognise that that short-cut is full of rocks and difficulties. Our friend Deputy Johnson wishes to take that short-cut, but the Free State Government wishes to save him from breaking his ankle. We want to support him, and take him with us on our climb —“Excelsior.” This is a chance of getting the whole of Ireland re-united in one assembly.

One of the arguments used by Deputy Johnson was that by passing this Bill we would have no chance of approaching the North. We have every chance of approaching the North but not across the rocks on the short-cut. Deputy Johnson tries to persuade us to follow him, but I believe when the division comes in the end he will follow us. Deputy Gorey says that we should have been informed about this and be informed about that. We are not, apparently, to take the word of our Government. Why is our Government there? We may differ as regards details with them, but as long as we believe in them we should take the word of the Government where we cannot obtain explanations. We would be very foolish, having trusted them, not to take their word on delicate questions of settlement. What does England do? We are told here that even the humblest attendant should be consulted and his opinion sought as to what should be done, but in England Mr. Baldwin signed the Agreement and was not [1555] afraid of his country revolting against his signature, though the House of Commons had not the question submitted to them until he had signed the Agreement. Are we to betray the people whom we trust to bring us to the mountain top? If they are no good, get rid of them, but so long as we follow them I believe we are adopting the right course in trusting them. We must be loyal to our side and play the game of football. It does not matter whether one man falls during the course of the game, or whether he makes a mistake, as long as he did his best to help us to win. Is there anyone who could have done better during the great difficulty which arose in the course of our negotiations with England? At present they are saying in England, “We have lost by this,” while Deputy Corish thinks that Ireland is ruined by it. Most Deputies, however, do not think that Ireland is ruined. We consider that as we are not yet fully developed we should take two steps instead of one.

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The goose step.

Mr. BEAMISH: Information on Richard Henrik Beamish  Zoom on Richard Henrik Beamish  If the Deputy thinks that that is so, we would then have two legs to mend instead of one. Deputy Johnson is still too young to recognise the truth of this, but, as we get a little bit older in life, we recognise that our strength is not capable of stepping boldly out, and we must take two steps instead of one. Deputy Egan quite rightly said that we should prove ourselves capable in the eyes of those who suspect us. It is for us to show that we are quite capable to deal with financial and other important questions, and that we intend to put Ireland above every other nation. If we are challenged, it is up to us to prove our bona fides. The Kilkenny cats have gone long ago, and we must not call them back. Let us prove ourselves to be men, as good as any men in the world, and we will soon reach the mountain top. Once we prove ourselves men we will have a united Ireland. These are my opinions upon this question, and I believe they will be fully voiced in the South. Let us back up the power that has organised us. [1556] Let us put all myths on one side. I believe, if we do that, the South of Ireland will follow the Government as long as they stand by the Agreement.

Mrs. COLLINS-O'DRISCOLL: Information on Margaret Collins-O'Driscoll  Zoom on Margaret Collins-O'Driscoll  I just want to say that I will vote for this Bill as I see a thousand arguments in favour of it and not one against. Outside this House I met no person who is against this Bill. I want, however, to give expression to a growing apprehension, and that is that those who have levied war against the Treaty during the last four years may now start a new war to prevent the alteration of a comma in that same Treaty. I appeal to my colleagues here if they had intended to say anything for the Bill to leave it unsaid. The commonsense people have justified this Bill in advance and every sane element in the country wants it to be passed. Prolonging a debate of this kind and wasting the time of the Dáil in the way it has been wasted for the past two days is only bringing the Dáil into contempt. For that reason I would appeal to Deputies who intend to speak to make their speeches as brief as possible so that we may vote on this measure.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I will try to do what Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll has asked. I hope I will not be accused of wasting the time of the Dáil if I ask for the privilege of speaking for a few minutes. I do not ask that privilege because I have anything special to add to the arguments already put forward. I do not think that any of the arguments which have been used against this Bill have answered the reasoned statements of the President and Minister for Justice. To my mind the reason is all on one side. We have had, I am sorry to say, recriminations and attempts to place blame, but I do not think we have any use for these. In my opinion it is not a case of blame. The difficulty was inherent in the situation, and there is no advantage to be gained by saying that blame was due to one person or another. I do not think it was. I think that the President and his colleagues have acted through this whole matter with a great degree of wisdom, tact and dignity. The difficulties were, [1557] as I say, inherent in the situation. I believe that the more successful the Boundary Commission was from a Free State point of view, the more hopeless it would have made our outlook for the future. If the Commissioners had been wizards and had been able to put on one side everybody who wished to be a Free Stater and on the other side everybody who did not, I ask Deputies to try and form some picture of what the situation would have been. What hope would there have been for that blending and mutual understanding so really essential for that amity and prosperity which we all desire to attain? I think it would have meant that there would have been, not a Boundary, but a barrier which would probably have become more and more difficult to break down. I think, if I may venture a compliment, that the Dáil, under your wise guidance, sir, has shown itself in the main a really practical assembly. I think if ever there was an occasion to show itself a practical assembly, that occasion is to-day. Our Government was faced with a really difficult position. They did not ask how it came about but they set themselves to find out what was the next best move. We have the same practical question to answer to-day and we have to ask ourselves what is our next best move. To my mind our Ministers and those with whom they conferred showed themselves to be real statesmen and not politicians. They went down to bed-rock fundamentals and they sought to build on that basis, the only basis on which a stable structure can be built, the basis of mutual agreement and goodwill.

The very fact that they and the other signatories put their names to the document that we have here before us to-day, is, to me, the strongest proof of the truth of the statements with which that document commences. I hold that that fact itself proves the goodwill which they claim in support of that Agreement. I could, if I wanted to, build my case on an analysis of the Agreement itself. As Deputy Professor O'Sullivan said, that analysis is very simple, so simple that it is obvious. I cannot see any other way. It consists of three points. On each of these [1558] points I contend that the Free State is making a gain, in the first place, though I am sorry to say very loose words have been used in this connection, such words as “surrender” and “selling,” words that do not fit themselves to the case at all. As it seems to me, there is no case of surrendering and selling. It is simply a case of how many people are there whose aspirations we cannot satisfy. It is a case of choosing between one boundary and another, and the Government have chosen the better of the two.

As regards the second point, the financial point, and a distinct point, I do not think that there are many people, who have not got their heads in the clouds, who did not believe that the upshot of Article V would be that there would be a large financial balance against us. There is no use in going into exact figures. They are not essential to the point at all. When you have a case on which one side claims a large sum and the other side says its contention would balance it, or nearly so, and an arbitrator has to settle, what is the result going to be? I do not think very few people take any other view but that one.

The third point is, we are surrendering the Council of Ireland. We are getting instead a working agreement between two Governments. The Council of Ireland has been represented as an organic link, a bond of unity. There was no organic link about it. It was not to deal with Ireland but with the Six Counties only. It was a bond of unity in the sense in which a handcuff is a bond between a prisoner and his jailer. It could not have any other effect but to act as a constant source of irritation to the Six Counties. Instead of that we have got the promise of cooperation between the two Governments. As I say, I could treat this Agreement as business; it is good business. But I give my approval to it, and I ask approval for it on a higher plane. It is based on essential principles of mutual agreement and goodwill. That, I believe to be the only basis upon which we can hope for the unity that we want.

If history proves anything, it proves to me that the lines upon which we [1559] have been working for four years were not bringing us nearer to it. We have got here a chance of a fresh start, and I hope we are going to take it. If, as Sir James Craig said, we make a fresh start with the determination to wipe out memories of the past, to do as he has promised to do, to work for the good of Ireland, I think we will get what we all want. No doubt it will take time, but with that spirit I venture to hope that the time will not be as long as many of us present think is possible. If all take the chance, North and South alike, determined to wipe out memories of the past—I am afraid that even here all have not yet done that, but let us try—if we make agreement between one another our chief aim, I have faith enough to believe that we shall get it.

I come to the real point. A notable characteristic of our debates here has been the absence from those debates of anything like religious intolerance or bad feeling. We are a religious people; we have deep religious feelings. We differ on many points, but we have a common substratum, and, without egotism, I venture to say here we have learned to respect one another, despite those differences. I absolutely and wholly follow the good words—fine words I believe they were, of Deputy Bryan Cooper and Deputy Sir James Craig, my colleague. I would support them completely. I think we have made friendships here that will last. I speak as a Protestant, if you like, as one of the minority, though I have never felt it. I do not feel it. I have not been treated here as if I was in the minority. I venture to say that I voted more frequently with the majority than with the minority. Nevertheless, I am a Protestant and I am proud of it. I speak as a Protestant and as a representative of a University which has for a long time taken as its maxim and its just and proud boast that it offers equality to members of every denomination. I am sure, in speaking for it, I have its support. I am sure, in this matter, I have the support of many of those who think with me. I take the opportunity—I have taken it before— of reminding the House that very early [1560] in our debates here the President and the Minister for Justice told us that their object would be in the country to secure fair play and equal treatment for members of all creeds, political and religious. I have borne testimony before to the way in which they have carried out that aim, and similar testimony has been borne, I am glad to say, throughout the country by many Protestants, clergymen and others. I bear it again, and I raise the point in this connection, because I want to stress that we have succeeded in maintaining our own principles, and yet in maintaining that goodwill amongst ourselves and that respect for one another. I refer to the matter for that reason and for one other.

One of the great difficulties of this situation seems to me to be the unfortunate fact that religious and political border-lines coincide to such an extent as they do. It is strange that very often, when that is the case, the religious differences rather tend to embitter feeling rather than that any common substratum of belief should tend to allay bitterness. That is the fact, but it is not necessarily so, and that is why I mentioned the point. We have kept from it here, and I have every hope that we shall find it more general in the future.

I am making no charges or insinuations whatever against anybody, but what I do want to insist on, as the main object throughout the country, north and south, should be religious and political toleration. When we get mutual understanding we are likely to secure that. Without mutual understanding and mutual blending we are not likely to secure it. I feel very much that the sad thing about this agreement is that it means bitter disappointment to many people who had hoped that they were going very quickly to enter the Free State. That is not to be realised. I believe it is not to be realised immediately. I want, if I can, to say something which may replace those hopes by higher hopes. The people who are disappointed may, I think, feel that they have got a work to do which is difficult, but which is high and that it rests and will rest with them to a very [1561] large extent to bring about that mutual understanding and that blending to which I have referred. I feel keenly for the disappointment of so many people along the Border-line. I sympathise with them and I regret that they are to have that temporary disappointment. I believe it will be only temporary. At the same time, while they have that disappointment I think they are getting instead of it a big life-work and, after all, it is a big thing to them and a thing that is worth the postponement of the realisation of certain hopes. The respective Governments of North and South have given a lead. I hope strongly that they will make that lead even plainer. It is not for me to suggest how, but I think if they look round and seek for opportunities for removing even, I say, the appearance of any differntial treatment between people of different creeds, political or religious, I say they will find them. I urge that that should be done, and I urge that the Governments should be followed by people in that respect. When we get individuals looking for that, then I think we are well on the road.

As I said, it is not for me to suggest means, but I do say that if across the Border our Protestant brethren can see any way of giving meaning immediately to Sir James Craig's words that any steps that they take would be welcomed by me at least and I believe by those who think with me within the Free State in matters of religion. I want to be quite clear; I make no charges or no insinuations whatever as to the past. As I say, I do not think there is any good now to be gained by looking back. Let us look forward. I say that without knowing what is happening in the North, but I do know that there is deep feeling on this matter and I would ask that every attempt shall be made to remove even an apparent cause of that feeling.

I hope I have said nothing which will appear to cast an imputation on anybody or give any offence. Nothing is further from my mind. I ask that the spirit of my words shall be looked to and not any words that I use which may happen to be unfortunate. Mutual [1562] understanding, conciliation, toleration, co-operation, are fine words, but if they are brought into being, if they are put into practice in our lives, they become something far bigger. They become, I venture to say, the very keystone of our moral and national well-being.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I think it would be a happy day for Ireland if a representative of the minority in the Northern Parliament could stand up there and give expression to the views that Deputy Thrift has given expression to here to-day. It would be a happy day if conditions were such in Northern Ireland that the minority there could, through their spokesmen and leaders in the Parliament of that State, say to the world that their treatment by the majority had been fair and just. If they were able to say that, there would be unity here to-day for the passing of this measure. The Deputy who has spoken has told us truths that we know. He has given us facts that we know exist, and whatever may happen elsewhere in this country, or in any other country, I am sure every Deputy wishes that the spirit that exists in this part of Ireland to-day and the toleration and respect for the views of others that obtain here will continue.

Minorities have rights and majorities have rights. My opposition to this measure—I am going to treat the Bill as something apart altogether from the policy of the Executive Council, which preceded it—is based entirely on the fact that, as far as I can see, it is going to mean for this country permanent partition. By being asked to accept this Bill, we are asked to do what no body of Irishmen in any generation so far has agreed to do—to hand over the minority in the North of Ireland into the hands of the majority there. While some things which I have got to say on this point may not be very acceptable to some people, I hold it my duty, in putting my point of view on this matter to speak the truth, to speak of things as they are and as we know them to be. The position of the Northern Nationalists, if this Bill passes and if they are handed over with their destinies and their rights to the Government of Ulster, will be the most [1563] intolerable position of any white people on God's earth to-day. What is the position in Northern Ireland at the present time? What rights do the majority enjoy there? There are many Deputies who know what the position is. There are many who do not know what the position is. And there are many who would think it impossible that the conditions should be as they are. The Ministers' case for acceptance of this Bill is based on three points—(1) that the Agreement will mean peace; (2) that the question of Article V. and its implications for this country, one way and another, cease to exist, and (3) that this bargain sows the seed of unity. There is talk about the spirit in which this Treaty was signed. In what spirit was it signed? As far as England and the North of Ireland were concerned, it was signed in the spirit of victory. As far as the Free State was concerned, it was signed in the spirit of defeat and, I am afraid, of despair. Sir James Craig's policy was “Not an inch” and his “Not-an-inch” policy has won. Since his return to Ireland, he has repeated his statement of policy. And what does one of his Ministers in Northern Ireland say? Mr. Pollock, Minister for Finance in Northern Ireland, said that

the Agreement gave promise of new hope, of peace and concord.

Where is the unity there? Mark the words—“peace and concord.” They are very significant words—peace and concord between North and South. Mr. Pollock goes on:

It will be observed that the full policy of Ulster has been confirmed to the letter, and that not an inch of territory in Ulster will be taken from under the control of our Government without the consent of the people of Ulster. Apart altogether from the terms of the Agreement, it is infinitely more important that both the Free State and ourselves have come to realise that each is necessary to the other. It is all to the good that friendly relations have been established between the two Governments and that should have far-reaching effects upon the interest of both. [1564] There are many matters of mutual accommodation which can be settled between the North and the South without the sacrifice of the independence of either.

“Without the sacrifice of the independence of either.” That is where this country stands to-day, or rather, it is where we are heading. Ulster has stood on what she claims as her rights. She has yielded nothing. And Ulster has won. We have yielded up our connection with the people in the North, who stood for Irish nationality through all the ages. We have flung them to the wolves. Will that mean peace? I say it cannot and that there will not be peace. Deputy Thrift has stated that the minority here have been able to live and not yield up their principles. That is the fight that is going on in Ulster. It is a fight between a minority who have principles and who will not yield them up and a majority who want to crush them to the earth, because they will not yield their principles. The minority in Northern Ireland are conscious of their nationality. They have stood for it and they have fought for it—aye, harder even than any man in Southern Ireland has to fight for it or has ever fought for it. The difficulties there are greater than any we have experienced. Now we are asked to abandon them. We are asked to leave them to that majority who have been trampling on them for years, because they have the courage to say that they believe in Irish nationality and are prepared to stand for it. Peace! Could not we here in this part of Ireland have had peace long ago, without striking a blow, if we were prepared to yield up our principles of nationality —if we were prepared to kneel to the conqueror and kiss his heel? I say we could. There will not be peace in Ulster, and there can never be peace in Ulster, with the mentality that exists there to-day, so long as the minority in Ulster are not prepared to yield up their nationality and kiss the heel of the conqueror. I know a little, as an Ulsterman, of what the people of the North feel, and I say that although the Nationalists of the South and West may desert them, the Nationalists of the North will not yield up their nationality. [1565] They have fought and they will still hold on. Can we expect peace when such conditions as these exist and will continue to exist?

It may be necessary to examine this problem a little more closely. Some may question the truth of what I say. Now, I would be more pleased even than the President or Vice-President, if I could see hope in the bargain that these Minister have put before us.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  May I ask the Deputy a question? It is not for the purpose of interrupting the trend of his argument but for the better understanding of his argument. He has dealt with the position of the minority in the North-East and he has dealt with the minority as a whole. He has described what their position will be in the event of this Bill passing. I would be glad if he would give a few moments of his speech to an attempt to describe what their position will be in the event of this Bill not passing. In other words, would the Deputy say whether in the event of this Bill being rejected, he would stand for the acceptance of the Feetham line? There are 450,000 Nationalists in the North-Eastern area. Some 20,000 of these are affected by the Feetham line. Perhaps, he would give a few moments of his speech to the condition of the remainder.

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Would the Minister say what is the Feetham line?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  My information from Dr. MacNeill is that the “Morning Post” forecast was substantially accurate. It was inaccurate in details, but, where it was inaccurate, the difference most frequently was against rather than in favour of the hopes of this nation.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Where does the 20,000 come in?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  I was informed that in or about 20,000 people were affected by the proposed line. There are, as the Deputy knows, upwards of 400,000 Nationalists in the North-Eastern area. Deputy Baxter spoke as if the passing of this Bill was going to have unfavourable reactions on all the Nationalists in the North-Eastern area and as if its rejection would be, in some way, a boon [1566] to all the Nationalists of the North-Eastern area. I want to make it clear that, as between this Agreement and the Feetham line, there is a question of about 20,000 people, and we have been told that we have sold something. If we have sold anything we have sold the Feetham award, which nobody wanted, and I submit that we have sold it dear.

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  Does the Minister suggest that nobody in Ulster is affected by this except the 20,000 he speaks of? Is there no repercussion on the relations of the others and the sense of triumph over them?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  There are only favourable repercussions on the others.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  The Vice-President has had his say, and he has had a chance of making a second speech. I will continue my speech and will deal with the point which the Vice-President has raised later. I want to say to the Vice-President that I do not want to be a bit unfair on this question. It is too serious a matter for that. I appreciate the difficulty of the Executive Council; I admit there was a difficulty, and I do not want to be unfair in any way. I am subject to correction in what I say. The matter is too serious, both for present and future generations, for words to be lightly spoken or for matters to be given expression to which we do not thoroughly understand or which we have not grave reason for stating. I was dealing with the point that we could have peace long ago at a price. We could have sold our nationality; we could have yielded to superior force. There could have been peace, and the Irish nation could be dead to-day; we would not be here and there would be no Bill asking us to assent to the partition of the country. Our nationality would be dead and partition one way or the other would not matter. That did not come about. Despite superior forces, subtle means of government, education, and oppression unequalled in any country, nationality lived on. It is the same spirit that is alive in Ulster to-day.

Let us remember that the tyranny that was experienced here is being experienced by the Northern Nationalists to-day, and the worst days of the Black [1567] and Tans was a bright page in Irish history compared to the conditions of the Northern Nationalists at present. If I am asked to quote cases, I can quote half a dozen in reference to clergymen. It is not pleasant to have to introduce matters of religion, but it is difficult to separate it from this question. A clergyman from my constituency went across the Border the other day to a neighbouring town, and in the course of that short journey he was held up twelve times and searched by the Specials. Another clergyman was held up half a dozen times. Once he was told that it was lucky he pulled up or he would have been shot. No young Nationalist in the North can go out to a neighbour's house to a ceilidh at night without being liable to be searched half a dozen times by his next-door neighbour with a revolver. Three or four Nationalists cannot stand at a cross-roads together at night without the B Specials coming along to deny them that right.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I have brothers who do all these things without any of this happening.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  They must be favoured people.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  They are not; they are quite normal.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I am giving the experience of a man whom I have met, and who was in this House yesterday.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I have met my brothers.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Will the Minister deny what I am saying?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am denying it as a statement of the conditions prevailing all over the Six Counties— vehemently.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  There may be some places better than others. I am giving the general experience in the North of Ireland at present.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Is the Deputy not speaking only of the Border areas?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Yes.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  And Belfast?

[1568]Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I am just coming to Belfast. As to the spirit of good-will that we were to experience after the Minister met in London, what has happened? How many arrests were made in Belfast the other day?

CAPTAIN REDMOND:  They would not nominate one Nationalist Senator.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  How many men, as stated in reply to Mr. McMullan in the Northern Parliament yesterday, are interned without any trial or charge being brought against them, and for what reason? The one reason, and the old reason. Were our Ministers conscious of these conditions when they went across to London?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Very much so.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I want to hear from them something about the case they put up and about the guarantees they have got that these conditions will cease to exist.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  On a point of personal explanation. When one has discussions and conversations of that kind lasting over a week, and there emerges a particular result, I think that it is not open to any of the representatives engaging in these discussions to talk of anything but the result. It is not open to the representatives to come back to their Parliament and say: “This was tried, and that was talked about, but finally we secured this.” We are standing over the result. But, it is not open to any of the three or four of us who took part in the discussions to go into an elaborate detailed account as to the course of the discussions. We could not do it. It would not be consistent with the kind of confidence which is necessary and inseparable from discussions of the kind to deal with anything but the result of the discussions. May I suggest to the Deputy that the results will unfold themselves day by day?

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  As Mr. Baldwin disclosed an item of the settlement under Article 5 which was not communicated to the Dáil, are not members of the Dáil entitled to ask if [1569] there are other things to be disclosed in piecemeal fashion in regard to guarantees?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I want to point out the great disadvantage we are at in trying to be fair in this matter and in making a case on the facts before us when the Vice-President comes along and suggests there are other things. We can only go on what is in the Agreement before the Dáil, and on that I am making my case.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  We are not at liberty to discuss more than the Agreement that is before the Deputies.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I want to say that it is difficult to pass judgment in a moment on what the Vice-President has given expression to, but in the absence of any guarantees in this Agreement as to what the conduct of affairs in the North of Ireland is to be in future, and the treatment that our compatriots there are to get, we can only assume from what has happened since the Agreement was signed that conditions are not going to change, that the domineering, tyrannical spirit that has continued there so far is not going to change.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  The Deputy is not helping to change it.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  There was a way to challenge it and make sure that it was changed and that the change would be lived up to, and that was for our representatives to see that there would be guarantees which would be signed by the representatives of the majority Party in the North. When the Treaty was made between the Free State and England, England saw to it that guarantees were given on behalf of her minority here and that those guarantees were carried out. Was not that a lesson for those who left this country to protect the liberties and rights of the people of the Irish nation? I see no signs of that yet.

What we are asked to do here is to commit ourselves to the permanent partition of our country. For what? The phantom gold in Article V.—perhaps our own gold. I say that if we [1570] take the rights or bodies of the Nationalists in the North into the market place for barter, if there is any monetary gain, they should get it. The money is not ours. Their rights are their own. It is not for us to give them away. I want to go further and say that when this question of partition arose first, when the representatives of this country were in the British Parliament, even though they were supposed not to be in touch with the people and not to represent their point of view, they had sufficient common sense and respect for the opinions of people whose interests they were working for to come back to Belfast and ask those people what they wanted, and whether they were prepared to commit themselves for a period of six years to a policy of partition. What are we asked to do to-day? Without giving those people any opportunity of expressing their opinions on this bargain, we are asked to commit them to the position of being an oppressed minority in the North for all time to come, and we are asked to take up the attitude of separating ourselves from them. We will have no right, if we agree to this, to interfere or to suggest to the people of the North that they should treat our fellow-countrymen there decently.

The policy of the Government of Northern Ireland is the policy of England. When the Supplemental Agreement Act was going through the Dáil, I urged that our people should recognise that there would not have been partition in Ireland but for British statesmen and British gold. I repeat it now. In the part of Ireland where English influence is removed there is toleration and goodwill; there is a desire amongst all the people to do their best. It was not so when the foreign influence was with us, and it cannot be so in the North of Ireland because the influence of Britain is strong there. Britain wishes to hold this country through the North of Ireland, and we are now asked to agree to the permanent partition of this country to enable those people to set up in the North, what they will succeed in doing within ten years, another separate State—a Dominion. We cut our people off from [1571] contact with us; we throw them aside. There will be no great desire even on the part of the Nationalists of the North to come to us who have cast them away. We turn their eyes to Belfast and Westminster definitely, and what does that mean? The fight that we waged in this country—that some of the men on the Government benches waged— was to get the eyes of the people of Ireland turned from Westminster to Ireland as the centre of gravity. Now we are asked to go back on that policy definitely and turn those people's eyes back again. I cannot be a party to that. I question whether the people of the country, if they got an opportunity to consider fully what they are being asked to do, would give it their sanction. Article V. was a very serious matter yesterday—much more serious than it is to-day.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Not a bit.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  “Not a bit,” the Minister for Finance says. We have not heard him yet. I wonder if the fear that British Ministers would have spoken before this Dáil would have agreed to this Bill had anything to say to the desire that was displayed on Monday to get this matter rushed through the Dáil? It is a very curious thing that the Chancellor of the British Exchequer yesterday took up the very same attitude on Article V. that our Minister for Finance has taken up and did take up heretofore.

When it is suggested that we have thrown the mill-stone from around our necks—I think Deputy Egan suggested that—I would recommend him carefully to read Mr. Churchill's statement, and there he will see how much Britain expected to get from this country under Article V. What party in this State—I put this to the Ministry— could or would undertake the responsibility of running the country if it had to contribute one penny under Article V.? No party in the State would take on the responsibility.

Mr. HOGAN:  What would they do?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Britain would then have to consider what they would do. No doubt we would be threatened with terrible and immediate war again.

[1572]Mr. HOGAN:  Would that be the only consequence?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I will refer the Minister to the statement of Mr. Churchill. He has pointed out our capacity to pay. We know what our capacity to pay is. We know what the attitude of Britain has been towards every other country with whom she had financial relations.

We are going to pay under Articles III. and IV. We had to get particulars in that respect from British Ministers. They told us what we would have to pay. No definite statement could be made to the Dáil by our own Ministers as to the amount of our liability under those Articles. We understand that six millions would be our contribution. The payment is to be extended over 60 years. If we paid now it would be six millions; at the end of 60 years we will have contributed fifteen millions. Under Articles III. and IV. we are to pay for damage done by the British authorities here when we were trying to drive them out of the country.

I am in agreement with Deputy Corish when he says that by taking over responsibility to pay that money we are taking on ourselves the moral obligation to pay it that England was under. In other words, it puts us in the position of being responsible for the destruction that England's forces did here; it puts us in the position of having no moral or legal right to do what we did, and it tends to indicate that England was right when she burned down our towns throughout the country.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Nonsense.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Anyhow, we have to pay, and I am sure the Ministry are delighted.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  If I am allowed to intervene, I would like to tell the Deputy that my wife's house was burned, and amongst other things destroyed were my own books, papers and other property of mine. I made no application in respect to those articles. I certainly did not give a certificate of exculpation to those who burned the house. I bore the loss myself.

[1573]Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Can the President tell us whether we are not now dealing with cases in which responsibility had been admitted, but in regard to which the Minister now comes along and says: “Wait, wipe it out; we will bear it ourselves”?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  It is quite a different case altogether. If the Deputy puts it that the British Government leave the country and that we call on them to pay the indemnity, I say that we are not strong enough to do it.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Was there not an agreement that they would pay for the destruction committed by their own forces?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  After the Treaty had been signed.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  It was an admission, nevertheless.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  No, sir; there was no admission.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  No; it was in consideration of Article V. being in the Treaty.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Anyhow we are going to pay and I am sure we are quite satisfied.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Quite right.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  That is the important thing. The Irish taxpayer is going to pay. The peculiar point about it is that the Press to-day informs us that our own Ministers offered to pay it.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is right.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  We should be told why they offered to pay and what we are getting in return.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Article V. wiped out.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  It is not wiped out until the Dáil passes this Bill.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is perfectly right.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Hear, hear.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  The President may be pleased and he may think he has dealt [1574] a magnificent blow, but if the people of the country to-day are wise, and if this House is wise, after the statement of British Ministers indicating very clearly what our position is financially and otherwise, they will decide they will not go on.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Let me say, while the Deputy is on that subject, that there is information at my disposal that I will explain when I am winding up.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  You kept it very quiet.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I was blindfolded and handcuffed, one might say. I was making the best of the case, the real material issues of which I did not portray.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It would be much better if Deputy Baxter were allowed to conclude without interruption or explanation of any kind whatever.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  We changed Ireland to the Saorstát when the Treaty was signed. What are you going to change the Saorstát to when you sign away one-fifth of the country to the North of Ireland and leave it to them for all time? There has been great play made of the Council of Ireland by the Vice-President particularly. He has no faith whatever in it. Yesterday we had it from British Ministers that if the provisions came into effect the Free State would have complete control of services such as Railways, Fisheries, and Diseases of Animals Acts within the Border of Northern Ireland.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Is that true?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  That is the English interpretation of the Article in the Treaty.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Do you think it is true?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Well——

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Well?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  The Vice-President understands as well as I do what the acceptance of the Council of Ireland meant to us, and he realises the position [1575] that we were put in by having authority, partial authority, inasmuch as only a certain number of the Council would be from the Saorstát. He realises that the fact that we were in control of services in Northern Ireland established the supremacy of this Parliament, and it showed that we had authority and rights and privileges that we could exercise in Northern Ireland under the Treaty.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Do you think we had control?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Minister should let the Deputy proceed.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  We have given all that authority away, and for what? I cannot see anything in exchange for it. I do suggest it was very unwise and very short-sighted that we should have yielded up anything that indicated the unity of this country and the right of our Parliament to interfere in the affairs of Northern Ireland. The Agreement that we are asked to agree to having dealt, or not dealt, with the Border, and having disposed of Article V., compels us to hand over £6,000,000 out of our Exchequer and compels us to abandon the Nationalists of the North for all time.

The case made so far in regard to Article V. has been blown to the winds, to use the words of the Vice-President, by the statement yesterday of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. I cannot see, nor can any Deputy here see, in the Agreement anything whereby the rights of our people in the North are protected, and whereby any consideration whatever has been given to them. We are asked to consent to the handing over of those people to the Northern Government, and to leave them with the Northern Government.

I would like to touch upon the policy of the Executive Council in dealing with the whole matter of the Boundary Commission. I was never enamoured of the Commission and I never expected much from it. Twelve months ago, when it was going through, I said that what we ought to be engaged on then was considering what the country [1576] would do when the Commission failed to give to it what those who stood up for the Commission said it would give. What did those who stood up for the Commission say it would give when they were urging the setting up of the Commission? If a little more foresight had been exercised then, and if the Commission had not been set up, there would be no permanent Border. What ever the rights of the Nationalists in the North might have been, whatever privileges they would have enjoyed, there would not have been on our part consent and agreement and signatures to a permanent Border between the North and the Saorstát.

What was the opinion of the Vice-President when this matter was before the Dáil twelve months ago? Deputy McCabe at that time suggested to the Assembly that we should leave things as they were, that we should leave the Northern Boundary where it was and that we should not interfere. The Vice-President said:

Do not endorse this agreement; do not have the Commission constituted. What then? People in Tyrone and Fermanagh, South Armagh and other places will want to know what then, will want to know very definitely what the alternative policy is of those who are against the confirmation of this Agreement....

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  They will now also.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  What about them now? They do not matter now. What did the Vice-President say in London the other day when Mr. O'Hagan, Chairman of the Newry Council, Mr. O'Neill, M.P., South Down, and Mr. Collins, M.P., South Armagh, sent the following telegram to President Cosgrave:—

The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of Newry, East Down, South Down and South Armagh protest against any deal settling their destiny behind closed doors. They insist on self-determination. They urge that you demand documents and evidence given by them before Commission and see their expressed rights. Irish nationality is not to be bartered or sold. It is not for the market-place.

[1577] What did the Vice-President say to those people then? Did he say what he said to Deputy McCabe when Deputy McCabe made the suggestion in the Dáil twelve months ago? No, the situation has changed.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Hear, hear.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  The Vice-President says now: “What about South Down or South Armagh, Tyrone or Fermanagh?” Why did he not say that twelve months ago?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  The situation has changed.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Who changed it? Who was responsible during the last twelve months for the change? Deputy Dr. MacNeill was appointed on the Commission and the Vice-President the other day wanted to impress this House with the fact that Deputy Dr. MacNeill's position to the Executive Council was exactly the position of Mr. Fisher to the Northern Government and Mr. Justice Feetham to—I do not know whether it is the Government of South Africa or the Government of Great Britain. What comparison was there between the position of Deputy MacNeill as a member of the Executive Council and either Fisher or Feetham on the Commission? They had no responsibility. They were not members of an Executive Council nor of a Government in either country. Deputy MacNeill was, and the policy that Deputy MacNeill was pursuing was only the policy of the Executive Council. I say, with Deputy Corish, that it is very difficult to believe that when Deputy Dr. MacNeill came back from the Commission the President did not say to him: “Well, how are you getting on? What do you think?”

Professor MacNEILL: Information on Prof. Eoin MacNeill  Zoom on Prof. Eoin MacNeill  Does the Deputy say that he refuses to believe it? We have heard something about fair speaking and plain speaking. Will the Deputy say now that he refuses to believe it?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  The Deputy will say that the position that the Executive Council and Deputy Dr. MacNeill occupied in this matter was the most [1578] impossible position that any Executive Council could occupy in any country.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Answer the question.

Professor MacNEILL: Information on Prof. Eoin MacNeill  Zoom on Prof. Eoin MacNeill  The Deputy is running away from my question.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I am not going to say that Deputy Dr. MacNeill gave information of what was being done in the Commission, but I say that it is astonishing that the President did not ask him what was being done, how it was going on, and what his impressions of the other members of the Commission were. It is an extraordinary position for the Executive Council to place itself in, either from their own point of view or from the point of view of the country. But if they did not do that how was the Minister for Finance, at Clones, on the 5th September, as reported in the Press, able to tell the people in that Border town:

“The Boundary Commission is nearing the end of its labours. I have no doubt about the result, and that its work will be eminently satisfactory, and I think that it is being realised in the North that that will be so—that in the Six Counties it is being realised that it will be satisfactory from our point of view, and not at all satisfactory from their point of view.”

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Is that not rather a proof that he did not know?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I do not know what it is a proof of.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  That he did not know.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  It is not a proof that the Minister did not know what he was talking about. I submit that a statement like that by a member of the Executive Council on a matter of supreme importance to the country was a very serious one to make. It should only be made if the Minister knew that it represented facts that would be justified by events, and the sense of false security that the Nationalists of the Border counties were lulled into by statements like that made by the Minister [1579] for Finance at Clones, and statements made elsewhere by other people, is displaying itself in the disappointment of these Nationalists to-day.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  When were they lulled into a sense of false security? Did the Deputy ever meet any of them?

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  I did.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Lulled into a sense of false security?

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Yes, believing the representations made by Ministers.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Deputy Baxter must be allowed to continue. We cannot have this debated by question and answer across the House. Deputies who do not like what Deputy Baxter is saying can make speeches about it afterwards.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I have been waiting a long time for them to make speeches. Now they go a little further. I do say that when the President was asked to make a statement more than a week ago, he made a statement that was quite satisfactory to every Deputy here and that, I say, was satisfactory to every Nationalist in Ireland, a statement that would have been backed up by every Nationalist in Ireland, and the President changed his policy without in any way asking the opinion of the House. I do suggest, with all respect to the President and the Executive Council, that if necessary they could have a Secret Session of the Dáil to get the opinions of the representatives who could speak on behalf of the people. That was not done, negotiations were entered into, and now we are up against this proposition. Some say it is a question either of the Feetham line or the Bill, and others add the word “war.” I say definitely that that is not the question, that the alternative is not war, that it is not right for anyone, either here or outside, to suggest it. There has been enough of intimidation of Nationalist opinion and of wild threats, and it is time it should be brought to an end. Responsible Ministers should be the last to suggest that we would be going on the road that would lead us to the sword.

[1580]Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  What road will you go?

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  We will be up against an award that nobody seems to know anything about, but that everybody seems to be terribly afraid of. The Vice-President suggests that the award would be a question of the transfer of 20,000 Nationalists. You come to the position that you are facing the publication of that award, of which President Cosgrave said that if it were in accordance with the suggestion of the “Morning Post” it would be very unjust, would be very unfair, and would be a disregarding of all the facts. If you were going to have an award like that imposed would you not have to face it? I say that the country would face it, and that they would stand behind you and help you through, that every Deputy in every party would do so. If the Feetham Award were to be published and were to be pressed who would have the pressing to do? I am not going to question the truth of the statement that legally the British Government would be entitled to carry it through, but I do state this, that there are documents in the possession of the Free State Government that would show unmistakably what the opinions of the signatories to the Treaty, on this side and on the other side, were with regard to the Boundary. I say that if there was to be a new boundary that boundary was to be altered or fixed by two parties. The two parties were the signatories to the Treaty, and both those parties have documents in their possession showing unmistakably that the findings of the Commission were not in accordance with the expressed opinions of the signatories of the Treaty at the time of and after the signing. Will one of the parties come along in face of these documents and put into operation a new Boundary that is unfair and unjust and that both sides could prove unfair and unjust from the point of view of either? Why did you not face that if it had to be faced? Why had you not the courage to face it? No; we are to be asked to surrender, retreat from the Border, pay over our millions, and forget the Nationalists [1581] of the North. That is what comes to us of this bargain.

May I say a word now to the Deputies from Tirconaill? They come from a county where it was felt that the new Border would have an injurious effect, that they would lose certain territory. These Deputies were seized with a panic when that was suggested. I do not say that these Deputies were afraid only because they thought that their representation in this House would be reduced, that they would only have two or three representatives where six or seven are elected now, but I will say what I and what they know to be the truth, that they were not prepared to change from the liberty of the Free State to the tyranny beyond the Border. That is why they did not want to go over, and that is what they feared. But there is no protest from them now when it is proposed that the rest of Ireland is to abandon the Nationalists across the Border and leave them to their fate. I hope that a protest will come from these Deputies, that they will have some word to say urging us to stretch out our hands to save these people from the fate that they themselves wanted to be saved from.

Mr. WHITE: Information on John White  Zoom on John White  Put up a constructive alternative and we will support you.

Mr. BAXTER: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Deputy White suggests a constructive alternative. When the Government were considering what they ought to do in the very difficult situation that confronted them they did not even ask for a Secret Session so that the collective wisdom of the House might be put at their disposal, and one Deputy is supposed now to fling to the winds an alternative suggestion. When the Government knew the difficulties that confronted them they should have put their cards publicly on the table so that other people would know what they were to do. If the Feetham award were to be put into effect, would it be such a terrible tragedy for the Irish nation? I suggest, with all respect, even to the Tirconaill Deputies, that it would not be the tragedy to the Irish nation that this Treaty will be, and I put it to them that they should think of this question not, as Deputy Gorey said, [1582] from a parochial point of view, but from the national point of view, from the point of view of what is best for the whole Irish nation. We are now to think in terms of our own areas, and we are now to forget the Irish nation, one and indivisible. We are now going to do what no body of Irishmen ever did before, to dismember our country. There was handed down to the people of this generation an Irish nation, whole and undivided, and you across there are a party to the policy and are standing for the policy of the men who signed a document between Britain and this country that was a Treaty for the whole of Ireland, and not for a part of it. When you sign this you will never again be in a position to deal with any country and to say: “We stand for the whole Irish nation; we are the representatives of one Ireland.” You cannot. You will have given it away in that document, and when you and the Dáil give it away it cannot be recalled.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  The work we have to do now arises out of a situation which was a disappointment not merely to the Government and the people in the Free State but to a great number of Nationalists along the Border. It has been suggested by Deputy Baxter and others that that situation arose out of a tangle on the part of the Executive Council. I deny that entirely. I believe that once Judge Feetham was appointed the result of the Boundary Commission was as good as decided. Once we had a man who took a certain point of view—we did not know he would take it—and a certain attitude, it did not matter really what our representative on the Boundary Commission did. I believe it has been suggested that if Dr. MacNeill had been replaced by somebody else there would have been a different result, but I do not believe that in the least. A different representative from the Free State on the Boundary Commission might have left it sooner and under different circumstances, but the problem facing the State would have been essentially the same. When Dr. MacNeill left the Commission, and when we understood the two remaining Commissioners were going to proceed [1583] with their work, it was simply a question of alternatives, and it was, as has been said, a question of some such arrangement as this or war.

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  War with whom?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  War with Britain, presumably, in the end.

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  Was that ever stated?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I am stating it.

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  Was it ever stated to you in the negotiations?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  No, but I am interpreting the situation. The Feetham award would have the force of law. Whatever one may think of their moral right there can be no doubt that the two remaining Commissioners were technically and legally competent to issue their award, and once they issued it it had the force of law. Areas were to be transferred from the Northern Government. The Northern police could not arrest a man in the area transferred without making themselves liable for an action for damages. They would be excluded from the areas transferred from them. Does anybody think in these circumstances that they would not have proceeded to enter into possession of the areas that were awarded to them? If we attempted to resist that we would certainly have an immediate condition of war, and I think there is very little doubt that we could not have avoided a flare up on the Boundary, even if we had done our best to effect a peaceful transfer, if the Northern people proceeded to enter into the territories awarded to them. A flare up on the Boundary could have no good results for either the Nationalists of the Six Counties or the Free State. I have no doubt that a serious flare up on the Boundary would have resulted in incidents something like those that occurred at Pettigo and Belleek. We might, perhaps, if there had been very great determination in the Free State to avoid any conflict, if there had been a very firm use of the powers of Government [1584] to give effect to the Feetham award, much as we dislike it, have succeeded in avoiding a blaze, and in avoiding the national loss and humiliation that I believe would have followed any blaze along the frontier. But would the condition of discontent and contention that would have followed everywhere along the Border have been good for the Nationalists who remained in?

Our first concern in this matter has been for the Nationalists of the Six Counties. We recognised all along that there was a certain risk in going ahead with the Boundary Commission, but we believed we had a duty to the people of the Six Counties. As long as we had any belief that the Boundary Commission was going to transfer a substantial number of people to the Free State who wanted to be transferred, it was our duty to go ahead with it. When the Commission failed, when the Article provided in the Treaty for bringing people under the Government they wished to be brought under failed, we had to consider what was the best thing we could do for them. We did not think it was any good producing a state of war which would damage them and damage us, and damage them more than us, because it is quite possible a blaze along the Border would have reactions and results elsewhere in the Six Counties. It would not have been any good for us to keep this Boundary problem over when there was no hope or possibility of getting the results we hoped for originally. Everyone knows that when there are attacks from outside, any State, any unit of Government, strengthens those in control there and makes their policy more extreme and bitter.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  It does not in this country.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Perhaps there are exceptions. It is not by keeping the Boundary there as a threat that we are going to bring about a reasonable attitude of mind in the North. Deputy Baxter spoke about a certain condition of things. He knows, and I have no hesitation in saying it, that things would never have been so bad in those areas if there had been no [1585] question of a change in the Boundary, no question of a transfer from the North. I believe this gerrymandering would not have occurred, or been carried to the extent it was, if there was not a question of transfer in the North. Whatever unsatisfactory conditions there were in the North they were worse in the Boundary areas. Deputy Johnson spoke as if the conditions mentioned by Deputy Baxter were normal in Belfast and neighbourhood. About a year ago I was up there, and I was on the roads day and night and I never was searched. I certainly think there has been exaggeration about these matters and there is nothing to be gained about exaggerating a case. Certain things have been bad in areas, and bad particularly in the Boundary areas. Once these people cannot be got into the Free State, once this provision in the Treaty has failed to have the effect we hoped it would have had, then I say there was nothing better that could have been done for the Nationalists of the Six Counties than to put the whole Boundary problem on one side and to bring to an end the irritation which that Boundary problem had in the North.

I am in agreement with a good deal of what Deputy Johnson said about the attitude of mind by the majority in the North, and I do not look for a great change in that atmosphere very speedily, but I think if we keep the threat of war up, if we keep any sort of threat such as was in the Boundary question hanging over the North continually, then there will be no improvement. We simply consolidate a certain attitude of mind in a certain Party there, and keep the old state of things in existence. I was one of those who had great hopes from this Boundary Commission. I never thought we were going to get Derry City, or some of the extreme things that Northern Nationalists thought, but I thought we would get big things from it, and I was anxious to use the lever the Treaty gave us. That has failed, and I do not believe in hanging on to some broken and useless tool. I am satisfied nothing will serve the people of the North better than to put this Boundary [1586] problem right behind us and face the facts. We must do that, and it is folly to refuse to recognise the changed conditions. Although one particular Party in the constituency I represent would have benefited by the Feetham line as compared with the present line, I regarded allowing the Feetham award to go on as a thing that was nationally too dangerous. Even if by a miracle we got through it peacefully it would leave the state of affairs for the Nationalists of the Six Counties generally worse than under the present Agreement.

I feel that the actual crisis that did arise as a result of the proposed award gave us the only opportunity we had of getting out of Article V. In its financial aspects I believe this Agreement is a very good bargain indeed. I remember when we first got the British claim under Article V. I was struck by its ominous moderation. The figure of the British claim was not arrived at on the basis of population. It was a figure, I may say, that might have been disputed from many aspects. It was simply a preliminary claim, and it was arrived at in this way.

The British took our figures on the yield of direct taxation, and they said that the yield of direct taxation might be taken as a rough guide to the taxable capacity of the country. I think that is a thing which, subject to modification, will be generally admitted. Then they took their own yield from direct taxation, income tax, stamps and death duties, and they made certain adjustments in both figures for abnormal features, and for difference of rates. When that was done it would seem that the yield from direct taxation in this country was one and a half per cent. of the British yield. They took then a figure for the National Debt, and they took a capitalised figure to represent the present value of war pensions. A sum, I think, of £850,000,000 was their estimate of the capital value of the war pensions, and they proposed to ask us to pay one and a half per cent. of that debt—the National Debt and the capitalised value of war pensions. That amounted to the figure which I gave yesterday. The estimate given in [1587] the House of Commons yesterday differed by a couple of millions. I presume the figures have been further looked into and revised since the demand was furnished to us.

Mr. CONNOR HOGAN: Information on Conor Hogan  Zoom on Conor Hogan  Would the Minister say on what year was this percentage of one and a half per cent. based?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  The year 1923. As I say, allowances were made for abnormal features in it that might be disputed. Instead of 1.5 it might be 1.4, 1.3 or 1.6. It was simply a preliminary demand. It would have been easy for us to put up a much bigger counter-claim than £157,000,000, but I believe that before a neutral arbitrator our counter-claim for over-taxation might either have been wiped out completely or would, certainly, have been very drastically reduced, because the argument that would have been put up to a neutral arbitrator would have been that if there was over-taxation in the past it was reflected in the present taxable capacity of the country, in the impoverishment of the country, and that that was allowed for in the moderateness of the demand. He might not have accepted that and, on the other hand, he might have. My feeling is that while we would have contended that we were liable to pay nothing, I would have been prepared, if it had been my responsibility, when we reached that point, to have paid something, some substantial sum, rather than take the risks of arbitration. We seemed to have had a cast-iron case for the Feetham Commission but it was not accepted, and, however good we might have felt our case to be for exemption from any payment under Article V., we could not have been sure that a mutual arbitrator would have accepted our views. I myself feel that he certainly would have awarded something against us. Deputies should remember that if Mr. Churchill or his representatives had to speak before an arbitration court to determine the amount which was to be paid, they would have spoken in a very different voice than [1588] that in which he spoke when the matter was otherwise disposed of.

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  Does that apply on this side of the water also?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Absolutely. Suppose some sum had been levied against us, and if it had been something we could not pay and which would produce conditions here that would react on the economic conditions of Great Britain, I believe we would not have been pushed to pay. If, however, we were in the position that we were negotiating to get let off the amount awarded against us, we would have been in a disadvantageous position in any negotiations we might have to undertake with the British Government and, owing to the close commercial and economic conditions between the two countries, there was bound to be some financial or commercial point to be settled. Therefore this country, asking that it should be released from paying the sum awarded against it, would not be in a favourable position to keep its end up in any such negotiations. We would not, however, reach the point where there would be an award for some years. The mere completion of the best possible counter-claim which we could make would occupy another year or two.

We would have to bring in the most adverse set of factors, we would have to bring in everything we could possibly find to throw into the balance in our favour, when discussing the British claim. Attempts to get them to reduce it in advance would have to be brought into account. Attempts to show that the necessary expenditure was to be taken into account before the counter-claim arose and that their claim should be reduced, not only in regard to taxable capacity but as to necessary expenditure, would also have to be taken into account. I daresay that after the Feetham affair, we might have difficulty in agreeing on an arbitration, but we could not refuse to agree. We would be in a position of defaulters if a series of suitable names were put up and we refused to accept them. Meantime, once the Boundary question was out of the way, we would have an agitation in Great Britain for making the [1589] Free State pay. We have, in fact, had it to some extent in certain newspapers during the past few months. We would have had a much more continuous and vehement campaign for a number of years ahead and that would have injured the credit of this country. National borrowing might, perhaps, have been a half per cent. dearer than it otherwise would have been. That high rate for national borrowing would have its reactions in national life and during the period of negotiations with regard to Article V. we would be losing steadily.

If we came out in the end with nothing to pay under Article V., I believe we would have lost, through the weakening of our national credit and through the result of that weakening in our industrial life, a figure at least as great as that which we are undertaking to pay under this Agreement. There is another aspect of our undertaking to repay this amount which the British have paid for compensation. There was no obligation on the British Government under the Treaty to pay for compensation. They agreed after the Treaty, in which there was provision for our undertaking a part of the debt. They agreed, by way of assistance in a difficult situation, to undertake responsibility for that damage, but they made it clear all along that they were doing that as an act of grace and friendship and that they were paying no indemnity. After a war, it is only an enemy that has been pretty well beaten that pays an indemnity, and nobody can say that the British in the Anglo-Irish war were beaten to the extent that would justify anyone to expect the payment of an indemnity. The wiping out of Article V. would have given that payment, which the British agreed to after the Treaty, an entirely new character. If we did not agree to repay this sum, although they agreed to wipe out Article V., we would have been insisting that they should pay something in the nature of an indemnity. By wiping out Article V. we go back to the position as it was in December, 1921, and we say that it is a case of back to back. The British go out without any claim for money upon us and they go out without undertaking [1590] to pay anything to end the struggle. I think that is a very fair arrangement.

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  What about the ten per cent.?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  This agreement will involve, as has been stated elsewhere, a payment of £250,000 a year for a period of sixty years. As, however, at present the British Government is liable for sums of about £900,000 no cash payment will fall due to be made until the 1st April, 1929.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Are we to understand that the cost to this country will be fifteen million pounds?

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Will the Minister also explain the statement of Mr. Baldwin that there is to be an immediate payment of £150,000?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Not in cash. That will be a book transaction and will be taken off the amount which the British will be due to pay us within the next year or two under the existing compensation arrangements. It would be quite possible to raise the cash and pay it now, but that represents a rate of interest of about four and three-quarter per cent., and we could not borrow on that, so that it is cheaper to do it this way.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  They would prefer to have cash down; so would I.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Now, with regard to the ten per cent., that, I think, will cost nothing like one million. I think it will be two or three hundred thousand pounds less than a million. This is a matter which did not entirely arise from the British side. There have been serious complaints here of the rigidity with which that Damage to Property Act was drawn. It was drawn at a time when we fancied that the civil war damage would amount to a great number of millions. All sorts of figures were suggested. We heard of houses being burned every day and about bridges being blown up, and it was often said that a house was worth £40,000 and that a bridge would cost £10,000 to repair. No exact calculations had been, or could be, made of the total [1591] amount of damage, and the most exaggerated views were held in regard to that amount. We thought that the country was in for a payment of a most crushing amount for compensation and in the Act we took the greatest possible care to restrict the claims which would fall on the Government and the amount which might be awarded. We feel that we were more rigid than was politic. I do not say that awards were unjustly small except in a few cases, but they were so small, for instance, that building operations were very greatly delayed. If the awards had been ten per cent. higher there is no doubt that a great deal more building than has been carried out would have been carried out, and that more employment would have been given. There was a claim by the British Government that certain people in whom they were interested had not been fairly treated. That had been a subject of discussion between them and us for some time. Certain types of representation, which were quite proper in themselves, have been received.

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Will the Minister say if these representations that have been referred to were made by what is called the Northumberland Committee?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  No, by the British Government. We have no connection with the Northumberland Committee. We know nothing about it. It was felt this was a case where we really might now, seeing the position of the country, decide to take a step which, if it had not been actually in contemplation, had been discussed by us before, a step that would lead to the carrying out of reconstruction which was delayed, and which would dispose of the feeling of discontent, and the sense of injustice that existed among our own supporters, as well as amongst people who were supporters of the British. It would also dispose of the claim that the people who were not sympathetic with us had been unjustly and unfairly treated. As a matter of fact, of this estimate of 10 per cent., amounting to about £700,000, only a small fraction really will be given to people who could be called “Southern Loyalists.” I do not [1592] know what view may be taken of those people who are anxious to proclaim themselves Southern Loyalists, and who go under that name, but, broadly speaking, it will be given to our own citizens.

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  I want to know if the Minister for Finance will guarantee that the 6d. in the rates for five years under the Compensation Act will not be prolonged to pay this?

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Is the Minister also aware that Mr. Baldwin, in the British House of Commons last night, made a statement as follows:—

“The Free State Government estimate that this increase will aggregate approximately to £1,000,000”?

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  It would be better if Deputies waited until the Minister finished.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  As I have some responsibility in this connection, may I say that I knew that something like £7,000,000 had been awarded already, and cases had not yet been heard. The difference between £700,000—the sum for which we would be responsible in the case of awards already given—and the other cases has arisen. It is reasonable to say that it might come to £1,000,000.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  How is this to be adjusted? Is it to apply to every individual case and what is to be the effect upon future awards?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Cases will be considered by the courts in the future exactly as they have been since the Act was passed. The Minister for Finance will shortly introduce a Bill entitling him to issue in respect of every award and report made for property, buildings and furniture——

Mr. A. BYRNE: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  On reports?

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  Does that include consequential loss?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  No. Within the corners of that Damage to Property Act there is to be 10 per cent. in Compensation Bonds.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  That is to say, that [1593] the courts will continue to work within the limits of that Act?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Yes.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  And that afterwards the Minister will be directed to add 10 per cent. to every such award?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Yes.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  That will not apply necessarily to reports where there is discretion. The amounts awarded will be increased by 10 per cent. There is this distinction between report cases and awards: A report has been received for, say, £100. There is no appeal in reports, because there is discretion to the Minister for Finance to pay less. There may be a report case in which £100 was awarded, which was reduced in the Department of Finance to £50. What will happen now will be that the Minister for Finance will be given discretion to pay £110, but he will not be compelled to pay more than he has adjudged to be the correct amount. That is as to report cases. As to awards, he had to pay the amount of the awards and he will have to pay 10 per cent. in addition now.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  If this Bill passes, in its present form, would not the Minister be bound to pay 10 per cent. on every award?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Yes, on every award.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  And on every report?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Yes.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Every sum of money which comes within the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act must inevitably be increased if this Bill becomes law?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Not every sum paid. Every award and every report must be increased, but the discretion which exists in the Minister for Finance to reduce the amount payable on report is not affected.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Then he may give it with one hand and take it away with the other.

[1594]The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Say that X is the amount in respect of a house, Y the amount in respect of furniture, and Z the amount in respect of the report. The Minister, in considering Z, has a right to review the circumstances. He can pay three-fourths of Z, or half Z, or he may not pay Z at all. Whatever the amount that would discharge his liability in respect of that, 10 per cent. is added automatically.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  How will that be known? When the Minister has made his payment, according to his discretion under the Act, then he must, according to this, add 10 per cent.?

Mr. HEWAT: Information on William Hewat  Zoom on William Hewat  Is not all this discussion anticipating the new Bill that must be introduced?

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  The Minister has not answered me about the 6d. on the rates. Would the Minister for Finance guarantee that this 6d. will not be prolonged?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I would not guarantee anything about that 6d. In fact, I have heard people already advocating the making of that 6d. permanent. I have not any ideas on that either. But the 6d. is not affected by this. I think that there is very little value in the sort of talk that we have heard about the selling of the Six Counties, and about throwing them to the wolves and all that sort of thing.

Mr. A. BYRNE: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  It was heard in 1918.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  In any case, it really is a question of alternatives and no alternative has been suggested. Deputy Magennis suggested a Coalition Government, but that is not an alternative policy.

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  I did not.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  The Deputy suggested that if a man were blindfolded and put at the foot of the stairs to select a Government, he might find himself President.

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  On a point of order, I did not correct the Minister for External Affairs because I did not [1595] want to interrupt him. I spoke, in my speech on the Second Reading, of what could have occurred, when a situation arose out of the chronic ineptitude of the Government with regard to the Feetham Commission. I did not suggest that it was an alternative after the mess had been made by this signed Agreement in London. Now, facts are facts, and nothing is to be gained by perverting statements which are on record.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I should not think of perverting any statements of the Deputy. I like them in their original beauty. Another Deputy suggested the removal of the particular clause of the Treaty which deals with the Oath. I certainly for one do not think that any benefit would accrue to the country from a policy directed along that line. I think that if that clause were removed there would be no gain, and it is not a clause that would be as easy to remove as clauses that have practical importance.

Deputy Baxter said that nobody could be expected to suggest a policy in public here. I know that nobody could be expected to tell all the details of a policy here, but nobody has given even a hint of a policy. I think, in all the opposition to this particular measure, there has been no thought of what could be done instead of it. Deputy Johnson did criticise the clause of it which relates to the abolition of the Council of Ireland. But, certainly, as far as I remember, he gave no time to the suggestion of alternatives to the Agreement as a whole.

With regard to the Council of Ireland, I would just like to say, that for my part, I always thought that once the Boundary Commission and the Boundary issue were disposed of, that, even if we were to get nothing for it, we ought to abandon the Council of Ireland. My position has been that once the Boundary issue was disposed of, we ought to aim, as a National policy, at the cultivation of good relationship with the Government and people of the North. In pursuance of that, I would have been perfectly willing, at any time, once the Boundary [1596] question was out of the way, and without any consideration in return being given to us, to give them the Council of Ireland if they desired it, because I believe it was a body which would have done no good and might have done harm. My view certainly is that the Chairman would have been appointed in reality by the British Government. He was to have been appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, on the instructions of His Majesty. I believe that, in existing circumstances, he would probably have been appointed by the King direct. If he were not appointed by the King direct, and if he were appointed by the Governor-General, his appointment would certainly be on directions and instructions from the British Government, which would mean that the appointment would have rested in the hands of the British Government. I believe that the position then would have been that you would have a body half of whose members were Northern representatives, with a Chairman appointed by the British Government dealing solely with Northern matters. I believe that the Chairman, as the Council of Ireland would deal solely and entirely with matters concerning Northern Ireland, would have been obliged to vote for Northern Ireland and would have voted for Northern Ireland on every occasion, even though he had no feelings in regard to either side and was perfectly neutral and impartial.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Does the Minister assume that there would be two compact bodies always in opposition?

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Necessarily, because we would have members from a Parliament, in which there were no Northern representatives, going there to interfere in business relating to Northern Ireland. That would have been a thing that anybody in Northern Ireland would resent, and naturally resent. It would be resented in the same way as the interference of Great Britain in the affairs of her Colonies was resented as they grew up. The result would be a Northern phalanx, which would have been kept solid by our members going there. It would have acted, to a small extent, as an [1597] irritant but not as an irritant so great that the people of the North would give anything to get rid of it. As to the idea that they would give it additional powers, I think that is wholly chimerical and wholly ridiculous. I think that what would have happened would be that if we did not want to do harm we would ask our representatives never to go there and we would have agreed to making the quorum smaller than the number of Northern representatives, so that the work of this Council would not be made an occasion of mischief.

I do not think it is by this artificial method of imposing certain political machinery on the country that any unity is going to be got. I believe unity is only going to result in two ways— firstly, by letting the Northern people alone, by letting them go their own way, by letting the responsibilities and difficulties of government do their work in breeding a toleration and a moderation greater than exists at present; and, secondly, by doing our business well here, by advancing industry, by having good government, by having a condition of affairs here that they will feel that there is a definite material gain to them in joining us. Somebody said that, perhaps, before long, new powers would be sought by the Northern Government, and that they would be granted, because we were allowing new powers to go to them under this Agreement. I do not object to that in the least. I think that nothing at all is going to be gained in the future by interference, by restrictions, or by crabbing. We have now reached a point when we must look to a sort of process of evolution to work; we must look for the two parts of Ireland to be brought together again by economic and commercial forces and by the operation of the geographic factor. We know that nations like Germany, which were split up, came together in a particular way.

Mr. C. HOGAN: Information on Conor Hogan  Zoom on Conor Hogan  Like Prussia.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  No. The union of Germany was begun on certain economic lines. We know that the States of South Africa came together in a certain [1598] way. They came together by a certain economic process.

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  And by equality.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  And by equality.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  They had a bond.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  The old idea which seems to be in Deputy Baxter's mind— the idea of carrying on a struggle, when a struggle is impossible, or of carrying on a process of recrimination when recrimination is ineffectual—will do us no good whatever. We must look at the whole thing now. Whether we have been given reason for being generous or not, we must look at the matter in a generous way. We must trust in the future. We must trust in the factors that have done away, in most parts of the world, with the forces of bigotry and intolerance that existed a century or two centuries ago. I do not believe there is any area which can escape the effect of processes which are working throughout the whole world.

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  I beg to move that the Dáil adjourn for an hour to hear a deputation from Northern Ireland.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I will accept a motion from the Deputy that the Dáil adjourn for an hour.

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  To hear a deputation from Northern Ireland.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  If the Deputy had let me put the question, it would have been better. Manifestly the motion is a contradiction in terms.

Question—“That the Dáil adjourn for an hour”—put and agreed to.

The Dáil adjourned at 6.25 and resumed at 7.25, An Ceann Comhairle in the chair.

Mr. VAUGHAN: Information on Daniel Vaughan  Zoom on Daniel Vaughan  The events that have taken place for some time in relation to the Boundary problem are certainly not a source of gratification to any of us. Those events and certain phases of the present Agreement certainly give rise to an ardent desire to find an alternative. The point is: can an alternative be found which would be more advantageous to the country than the present Agreement? Any alternative put forward at this juncture should have in it a total [1599] abolition of the Boundary and the creation of good will, and should, in a concrete way, show some advantage from the point of view of the future prosperity of the country. The present Agreement certainly does make the unity of the country appear far nearer than if the Boundary was determined by the supposed Feetham-Fisher report. We have heard Deputies opposing this Agreement which was signed by our Ministers in London and they have done it because they stand to-day as supposed patriots. I would put the question to Deputy Baxter, Deputy Johnson, Deputy T. O'Connell and Deputy Magennis: what was their record in the fight for independence? They can come here and give their opinions, just like the men in 1922-23 who stood on the mountains and fired an odd shot at the Free State Army. They stand there firing an odd shot at the Executive Council for entering into the Agreement reached in London, but they do not come down to hard facts, face the position and say what is the alternative to the supposed Feetham-Fisher report, if it had been issued. What is their alternative to that? Their alternative is: “Let us have a fight.”

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  Who said that?

Mr. VAUGHAN: Information on Daniel Vaughan  Zoom on Daniel Vaughan  That is the only alternative. Will the Deputy tell me what is the alternative?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Let Deputy Vaughan proceed.

Mr. VAUGHAN: Information on Daniel Vaughan  Zoom on Daniel Vaughan  The alternative is: “Let us have a war; let us have a fight.” I wonder where will Deputy Johnson, Deputy Magennis, Deputy Baxter and Deputy T. O'Connell go when the fight will start.

A DEPUTY:  To Cork.

Mr. VAUGHAN: Information on Daniel Vaughan  Zoom on Daniel Vaughan  They will come to Cork for shelter. They will make sure that they will not stand the brunt of their responsibility—they will not stand the fight. They will try and encourage some of the dupes to carry on a fight, to upset the country and bring it into chaos, just as occurred in [1600] 1922-23. In last Monday's newspapers I read a statement from the so-called Republicans that the Deputies who would vote for this Agreement were traitors to their country. I can tell you that the traitors to the country are those who say now that we will have permanent partition. In 1921, when the original Treaty was signed, Mr. de Valera stood out and took the opportunity of going through the country, instead of sticking to his post, like the late General Collins, and bringing about unity, which could have been brought about at that time, and prosperity to Ireland.

In voting for this Bill, I believe I am voting for a measure that more than any other will eventually secure the unity and prosperity of Ireland by eliminating friction, inviting co-operation, and creating good-will. As it appears in the Press, it would look to the plain people of the country as if those who have spoken against this Agreement were patriots; that they were people who had a record; who stood out for independence. They always stood as they stand to-day, dictating to the people, but the people know their own business very well.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Deputy must address himself to the Agreement and not to the Deputies who have spoken against it. He will get us into very serious trouble if he continues on that line.

Mr. HALL: Information on David Hall  Zoom on David Hall  He will if he goes in that direction. He has already gone a good way.

Mr. VAUGHAN: Information on Daniel Vaughan  Zoom on Daniel Vaughan  I accept your ruling. The Agreement reached by the Minister is, I think, favoured by the people of Cork county. They see no other alternative. The Deputies who have spoken against it have not put up an alternative to that Agreement, and, therefore, I see no other way out of it but to take it in good will and accept the Agreement, because I feel that nothing further can be got through this generation, either by Republicans, Free Staters, or anybody else. They let down the independence of Ireland when they called a truce in 1921. Mr. de Valera ignored the fact of negotiations [1601] going on and he went around the country with the intention of creating disturbance. Whether he was told to do so or not remains to be seen. He went down the country inspecting the flying columns instead of attending to his duties as a leader of the State. Now he turns round and says to the Irish people: “We have permanent partition.” I repudiate his statement, and I say we have not permanent partition by any means. The people who oppose this Agreement have said we have permanent partition. I say we have not, and that if an alternative can be found it should have in it the total abolition of the Boundary and the creation of good-will, and should, in a concrete way, show its advantages to the country as regards future prosperity. I am wholeheartedly in support of the Agreement signed by our Ministers in London.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  Ceist mhór 'seadh í seo agus baineann sí le muinntear na hEireann, ní híad amhain na daoine atá annso fé lathair ach na daoine a bhéas ann 'san aimsír atá le teacht. Ba choír dúinn an cheist seo do scrúdú go cúramach agus go ciúin, mar ceist a bhaineas leis an tír ar fad 'seadh í. Bhí súil ag muinntear na hEireann ó'n chéad uair—na céadta bliadhain ó shoin—a thainig na Sasanaigh isteach go mbeadh Eire saor agus go mbeadh Eire gan roinn. Do throid siad ar son Eireann agus dibrigheadh thar sáile mór-chuid aca. Tá níos mó eoluis ar na nidhthe seo ag an Teachta ó'n Stát seo a bhí ar an gCoimisiún ná mar atá agam-sa, mar bhí sé 'na shár ollamh ar stair agus seanchas na hEireann.

Fuair cuid de chrainn chosanta na h-Eireann bás agus díbrigheadh cuid eile thar sáile. D'imthigheadhar go dtí an Spáinn agus go dtí an Róimh. Nuair a bhí an t-Uachtarán thall 'san Róimh le déidheanaighe chaith sé seal ag uaige-anna Flatha Thírchonnail agus Thír Eoghain. B'iad náimhde d'ár dtír a dhíbir na daoiní seo thar fairrage agus is iad na náimhde cheudna a rinne an roinn so. Rinneadh é in aghaidh toil na ndaoine. B'fhéidir go bhféadfaidís a rádh ná raibh aon léigheas air agus nach bhfuil an [1602] spiorad a bhí ins na daoiní san am atá thart ionnta anois. Ach níl ann ach leith-sgeul. Rinne na Teachtaí a chuaidh anonn go Lonnduin socrú agus is é an rud a dheinfeas an socrú sin ná an tír a roinnt. Rinne siad sin ar a d-toil féin. Is ceart agus is cóir smaininú ar an sgeul so. Deirtear ins an bpáipéir atá os ar gcomhair go bhfuil muinntear. Shasana agus muinntir Uladh cáir-deamhail linn. Ma's fíor an sgeul sin, goidé an fáth nach ndeinnean siad gníomh dá réir? Bhí go leór cainnte 'san tír seo ceithre bliana ó shoin mar gheall ar an gconnradh a rinneadh í lár na h-oidhche an t-sam san. Ach ma bhí locht ar an socrú san i dtaobh ceist na teorann, tá locht seacht n-uaire níos measa ar an socrú so.

Mar adubhradh cheana, de réir an chonnartha so is féidir an dhá Rialtas a thabhairt le chéile. Nílím á rádh nach maith an rud Rialtas Uladh agus Rialtas an t-Saorstáit a thabhairt le chéile. Ach tá fhios ag an domhan mhór anois go raibh lúb ar lár 'san gconnradh a rinneadh ceithre bliana no cúig bliana ó shoin. Goidé an fáth nach ndeárn siad an socrú ceart 'san airtiogal so nuair a bhí an spiorad cho maith in a measg?

Do réir tuarasgbhála Pháirliminte Shasana ar pháipéar an lae indhiu, is dócha go mbéidh ar ar d-Teachtaí dul anonn annsin arís agus módh eile a cheapadh chun muinntear na h-Eireann a thabhairt le chéile.

Deirim fosta go bhfuilim go láidir in aghaidh an rúin seo—airgead a íoc mar gheall ar an sgrios a rinne na Dubh-Chronaigh. Ní raibh aon cheart acu cogadh a dheunamh ar an tír seo agus nuair a chuir siad cogadh orainn ba chóir dóibh íoc as. Bhí an t-airgead san íoctha cheana——

EARNAN DE BLAGHD: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  Cuid de; ní raibh an méid uilig ioctha.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  Bhí cuid mhaith íoctha ag Muinntir Shasana agus anois támuid chun é a ath-íoc leo. Agus tá taobh eile ar an sgeul. Dubhairt Teachta ó Chonnde na h-Iar Mhidhe go raibh dha mhiliún punt ag teacht isteach 'san tír seo mar phinsuin do na daoinibh a throid san Cogadh. Ach, do réir Uachtarain [1603] Phairliminte Shasana, tá tri nó ceithre mhiliún punt le díol ag an tír seo le dhaoiní nach bhfuil in a g-comhnuidhe in Eirinn. Tá cuid mhaith de'n mhéid sin ag dul do na sean-philéirí nó R.I.C. Bhi mé go láidir in agaidh na n-daoine a dhibirt as an tír. Be mo thuairim go mba ceart dearmad a dheunamh ar ar thuit amach nuair a rinneamar an Connradh. Tá a lán de na sean-philéiribh seo in a g-comhnuidhe thall i Sasana agus, do réir mar chluinim, tá cuid acu “ar an run,” mar adearfa ó fhiacha a bhí orra ag siopadóirí annseo. Ní shílim gur ceart na daoiní seo a leigint saor, má tá an ceart agam i dtaobh an sgeil.

I did not intend to address the Dáil at such length in Irish, but I got carried away. We want to approach this question in as cool and dispassionate a manner as we possibly can, far away from personalities. I have listened with great anxiety to the speeches that have been delivered on this question. Apart from any feelings I may have on this question, there are two Deputies in this House to whom I would wish to pay a compliment. I refer to Deputies Cooper and Thrift. They showed by their speeches that they have a real and abiding interest in this country, and that they are true patriots. I may differ from them on this question, but that does not lessen the respect I have for them.

There is, however, one particular in which I have to differ with Deputy Cooper. I was very moved by the sentiment of his speech. He stated that he was here, along with the representatives of Trinity College, representing a minority. That is not the case. Deputy Cooper would be elected on his merits in County Dublin regardless of any opinions or associations he may have had in the past. That is also true of the representatives of Trinity College who, even since this Dáil first came together under the Treaty, have been most helpful members of this Assembly. I would not refer to this matter at all were it not that the feeling has gone forth that we who take a strong line on this question are moved by hate. Such is not the case. We are moved to do here and in the country what we [1604] think is in the best interests of Ireland, and jibes from Deputies, or misrepresentations inside or outside this Assembly, will not divert us from the course which we think is right.

I wish to refer to the position at the time of this Treaty settlement. The Treaty, as you are aware, was approved by Dáil Eireann, the Constituent Assembly of the Irish people. Technically it was necessary for the Treaty to go before a meeting of the representatives elected for Southern Ireland. The members of the Dáil elected for the Southern constituencies were the same identical men, with a few ladies thrown in, and with the addition of four members representing Trinity College. The oath taken in Dáil Eireann— it is taken from the record of Dáil Eireann, page 151—was as follows:—

I, A.B., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I do not and shall not yield a voluntary support to any pretended Government, authority or power within Ireland hostile and inimical thereto, and I do further swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge and ability I will support and defend the Irish Republic and the Government of the Irish Republic, which is Dáil Eireann, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and that I take this obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, so help me, God.

That oath was taken by us, as the representatives of the Irish people at the time. In accepting the Treaty, we did what we considered was the best thing for Ireland. At the first meeting of the Provisional Parliament a member who had not been in Dáil Eireann stated that he would have taken that Republican oath and come into Dáil Eireann for the purpose of approving of the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland because he thought it was the best thing for Ireland. In order to explain my position in this matter, I will quote the following statement that I made in Dáil Eireann on the 22nd December, 1921: “I support the Treaty because I feel in my heart and soul that to support the Treaty is the best thing [1605] for Ireland.” I am still of that opinion, but I did not support a Treaty which was to be whittled away either at the dictates of Sir James Craig or of the English people. I supported it on the principle that it was supported by the late Arthur Griffith, “that this Treaty was not a final settlement any more than this was the final generation of Irishmen,” or in the words of the late General Collins, that “this Treaty gave us freedom to achieve freedom.” When this question arose last week, while the President and the other members of the Executive Council were away in London, I knew, and every Deputy knew, how serious it was. The matter was raised after Questions by Deputy Johnson and was spoken to by different Deputies. Every Deputy who spoke did so in a helpful manner, and Deputies outside the Dáil also spoke in a helpful manner. I, who have no hate in my soul, believe, and I stated it here, that if the Treaty was changed it ought to be made possible for every Deputy elected by the people to be free to come in here and take his place in the Dáil.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Settle the Ulster question first.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  We will settle the Ulster question too. As the President well knows, and as every Deputy knows, the best way to bring about a settlement of the Ulster question, of the oath question, or of any other question is to have the people of Ireland behind you. We talk in this settlement of peace, of amity, of good-will, and I see by this day's papers that a further word is added, “concord.” but if we are to have concord and peace why should we not have peace all round? As I stated, your strength lies in having the people of Ireland behind you and it should be the effort of every Deputy in this assembly to have the people of Ireland behind it. Reference has been made to what is termed the Feetham line. Evidently no one knows what the Feetham line is. Is it fair to the country to hold an imaginary sword over the heads of the people? Should not the Irish people, whom this concerns intimately, be informed as to what the Feetham line is? [1606] It is also beside the question to introduce threats of war.

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  From friends.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  There is no necessity for war. We do not want war, and I do not think the people of England want war, and as it was stated that these people had come together like sucking doves, where is the war to come from?

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  From our friends.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  I am only a plain farmer. I do not know a great deal about high finance, but when I see statements issued from both sides, each claiming this is a good bargain, I think there must be something wrong. If I bought a beast in a fair and said when I got home that I had a good bargain, I would be comfortable enough until the story reached me from the other side: “That man knows nothing about the price of cattle. He gave once and a half times the value of the beast. I had the best of the bargain.” Last Thursday I said here that Ireland's claim under this Article V. was far larger than the claim of the British, and that statement has been taken exception to by the Minister for External Affairs. We discussed this thing during the Treaty debates, and my authority for that statement is the late General Collins. A number of Deputies have referred to this payment of four or five million pounds for the settlement of the claims arising out of the excesses of the Black-and-Tans. I protest against a payment of that kind being made on behalf of the Irish nation, because it is an admission that the war of the Black-and-Tans was a just war, that we were in the wrong, and that we have to pay up for its costs. Deputy Shaw says that something like two millions was coming into the country in pensions for people who had served in the European war.

Mr. SHAW: Information on Patrick Walter Shaw  Zoom on Patrick Walter Shaw  I said three millions— two and a quarter millions, and the administrative costs.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  We have to-day, if the “Irish Independent” reports him correctly, a statement from Mr. Baldwin, the Prime Minister of [1607] England, that between three and four millions were annually paid by Ireland as an external debt. This sum was made up of Irish land purchase annuities and pensions paid to ex-R.I.C. men and civil servants who had gone out under an Article of the Treaty. I have stated frequently in public that I was strongly opposed to the attitude——

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  I would like to know if it is in order for a Deputy to repeat in English a speech in Irish in precisely the same terms?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It is in order.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  I have no text of the speech; I am just speaking from memory. I was strongly opposed to the attitude of the men who drove out the ex-R.I.C. men, because I thought when the Treaty was settled that people ought to forgive others for their past political sins, and I realised that the expenditure of the money granted in pensions to these people would be of considerable use and benefit to this country. But I have been given to understand, whether I am rightly informed or not I do not know, that a number of these ex-R.I.C. men who went out of Ireland on the run are resident in England, and that the pensions do not come directly to them but are paid through the Colonial Office. A large number of these men are on the run for reasons other than fear; they are on the run from debts incurred in this country, and it is altogether unfair to business people here that these men are not traced and made to meet their liabilities. We had under the Treaty settlement the unity of Ireland acknowledged, but under the proposed Articles of Agreement we have permanent and definite partition.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  And so you had under the Treaty.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  No, you had the unity of Ireland acknowledged. It was after the acceptance of the Treaty that the Six Counties opted out. I am opposed also, as were other Deputies, to the increase of 10 per cent. on compensation awards. It was stated by the President that there were pretty [1608] general complaints throughout the country at the smallness of the awards in the case of post-truce claims. If the President were a country Deputy he would have heard a far larger volume of complaints against the awards made by the Compensation (Ireland) Commission, and as I am on that matter, I might mention that the amounts of the awards made by that Commission were largely exaggerated in England. It was stated by Lord Carson in the English House of Lords that I received £4,000 compensation when in reality I was only paid £2,217.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Was there a reinstatement decree?

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  It was all included in that. The granting of this 10 per cent. is an admission by our Government that our judges were biased in giving these awards.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I corrected that before. I do not think it is fair to say that anything in connection with the administration of that Act was wrong. I regret very much having to intervene to correct it again.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  I am sorry if I have said anything discourteous to the President.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It is not a question of discourtesy to the President; it is a question of discourtesy to the judges. The President's explanation, which relieves the judges and relieves the President, is this: that the judges administered the Act as the Act was drawn. The President admits the Act was drawn very tightly. It might be necessary to make that clear so that we would not have criticism of the judges here in the House.

Mr. P. HOGAN (An Clár): Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Are we obliged to refrain from any criticism of the ten per cent. increase in compensation?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Deputy is obliged to refrain from making any comment upon the judges and the judges' awards. Criticism of the President to almost any degree is in order.

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  I frankly accept that position, but the judgments of [1609] the Compensation (Ireland) Commission were also tightly drawn. We are told to be practical men. It is time that we should be practical and not be looking to the green hills far away. In Clause V. of this Agreement it is stated that the Government of Northern Ireland and the Saorstát shall meet, but there is no provision in the wide world by which they are to meet and no arrangement made for their meeting. We heard a lot of denunciation during the last three or four years of the hurried Treaty signed at midnight in London in December, 1921. There was no great hurry about this. You had friendly cooperation. You had amity, goodwill, and concord existing amongst them, and it is strange in the light of the experience of the last Treaty, whereby three or four different interpretations might be placed on different clauses of that Treaty, to send before us a document that is far more vague and more indefinite than any of the clauses in the original Treaty.

This is a matter, whilst we are against most things in the Agreement, that there is no great hurry about. There is peace and goodwill all round. It is important that there should be some definite machinery found for bringing the two Parliaments together, and the place where the Parliaments could meet should be arranged and some definite machinery found. Pious opinion, if it is not put into action, is only simply throwing dust in the eyes of the public. As far as I have seen the settlement, it is no wonder that Sir James Craig should be satisfied. He did not budge an inch and he got everything he wanted. It reminds me a good deal of a rhyme I heard some time ago:

There was a young lady of Niger Who smilingly rode on a tiger;

They returned from the ride With the lady inside

And the smile on the face of the tiger.

You had amity and good-will. I cannot say what about concord. All the gain is on the other side, and the poor lady is done away with. President Cosgrave recently paid a visit to Europe.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I am in it yet.

[1610]PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  He visited the shrines in which lie the remains of the Northern Princes who were banished from their native land at one of the saddest periods in Irish history—The Flight of the Earls. They lie there far away from their native land. I call on you, shades of the Great O'Neills and the Great O'Donnells, to watch what we are asked to do to-day in the name of Ireland. There was some time ago a matter which stirred up the minds of the people of this country. I refer to the fight for compulsory Irish. There was a statement made at that time by a distinguished Irishman. He said: “If we are going to have the Confederation of Kilkenny over again, I shall be found on the side of Owen Roe.” That is my position in the matter. That is where I stand, because I believe and am firmly convinced that if this Agreement is ratified we will be guilty of the biggest act of national degradation that has occurred in history.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Would you agree to Donegal being cut up?

PADRAIC O MAILLE: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  I do not.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Deputy is interested in Tyrone, but he does not care whether Donegal is cut up or not.

Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY: Information on Andrew O'Shaughnessy  Zoom on Andrew O'Shaughnessy  With my limited vocabulary and lack of facility of expression I have no desire to attempt to emulate those of my colleagues endowed with those gifts, but in the grave question that is presented to An Dáil I cannot content myself with a silent vote. I came to Dublin on Monday morning with an open mind, determined to find out on which side the balance of advantage lay for our country.

I have seen and heard a good deal for the past three days, and, having weighed and balanced what I have seen and heard, I have now no difficulty in casting my vote. I did not come to see on which side the cat was jumping, and I did not come out of mere curiosity. I have come, simply and solely, to do my duty to my longsuffering country to the best of my [1611] judgment. Heroics, not uncommon in this country, are generally rather cheap and seldom have much substance in them, and, though not devoid of sentiment, I cannot forget that our people from time immemorial have been hugging shadows and missing the substance, and I should be very sorry to see them continuing this foolish habit. Now for a personal note. I consented, with grave reluctance, to represent the commercial community of Cork city. After stressing the fact that I was not a politician, and that they could easily find a more suitable representative, I failed, unfortunately for myself, to impress my friends, and here I am, and here I have been for the past few years attending as best I could under existing circumstances, but, I regret to say, cutting little ice, to use an expressive phrase. Our Ministry has not yet given serious thought to the vital economic questions that confront them. The first essential to their doing so is to make themselves fully acquainted with the conditions in the country, and this acquaintance cannot be had through minor officials posing as experts in matters with which they have never have had anything to do. On this particular point I will content myself for the present with saying that there are men in this country capable of carrying on successfully the country's business if they only get the support and encouragement which they ought to receive, notwithstanding Ministerial opinion to the contrary. In order to redeem my promise to you, sir, not to occupy the time of the House unduly, I repeat, from what I have seen and heard for the past three days, and especially last evening, from the plain, practical commonsense speech of Deputy Professor O'Sullivan, I could not do violence to my judgment by voting against this Agreement.

Mr. DALY: Information on John Daly  Zoom on John Daly  I do not like to cast a silent vote in respect to this very unpleasant duty which confronts the whole of us. I would like to point out that I was delighted to see President Cosgrave and Sir James Craig sitting in round-table conference threshing out the destinies of their country. I was also delighted this evening beyond [1612] measure, to read in the “Evening Herald” that the first consignment of the fruits of their meeting has arrived. It is stated that the political prisoners in Belfast, or wherever they are, are to have their sentences reviewed by an English Minister. That English Minister has sent them this word as a matter of peace, and, so far as my judgment goes, I think that these prisoners will soon find things going well for them. The report, in addition, mentions that he is very grateful to the B Specials, who rendered great service. Now that he is getting rid of them, that tells us that there is some mutual understanding on some cemented basis between himself and President Cosgrave. There is no natural Boundary in this country. There is only a boundary of misunderstanding, and there has been for years, what I might call, propaganda from one side or the other to keep the people apart. I say that if the people in the twenty-six counties and in the six counties follow the lead of President Cosgrave and Sir James Craig this imaginary Boundary will disappear. Clever men could speak on this subject for three weeks and at the finish it would all fine itself down to a sensible speech of five minutes. Are we going to accept the Feetham line, as pointed out by Deputy O'Maille? Ten or twelve days ago there was a bigger scare in the country over it than there would have been had all the lions in the Zoo got loose. If we do not vote for the arrangement come to last week we will have the Feetham lion at large and we will still have a Boundary. I hold that if we do not vote for the pact entered into between the President and the gentlemen across the pond we will have the Feetham line obtaining and we will have the Six-County area extended into the most fertile parts of Donegal where the best towns and some very important concessions would be taken from us. To avert this danger, I, for one, have made up my mind to support the President's motion. I cannot find anything more to say because during the last three days the whole language has been eaten up.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I will try to follow the example of the last speaker in regard to his brevity, but I cannot [1613] hope to follow him as regards his humour. As a rule, I do not trouble the Dáil with statements on higher politics. I confine myself, as a rule, to economics and business matters and leave the questions of higher policy to those who have more experience and greater practice in the examination of such subjects than I. I do not like to give a vote on this matter which might be construed as a vote of full confidence in the Government without explaining my point of view. I might say at the start that I intend to vote for the Agreement, but I give that vote reluctantly, and with many reservations. I give it not in support of the policy which led up to the settlement, but because of three reasons which I have turned over in my mind, and which decided me that the only course open to me is to vote for this settlement. The first reason is, I believe that, in the circumstances—and when I say circumstances I mean the immediate circumstances and not the circumstances as they were spoken of by Deputy Professor O'Sullivan last night, I refer to the circumstances which have surrounded this matter within the last couple of weeks—they have made the best settlement they were able to obtain. I do not say the best settlement which might be obtained, but the best they were able to obtain. In the second place, I am not prepared to face the alternative—the alternative of accepting the Feetham line and the consequent acceptance of Article V., or the other alternative of repudiation of the Treaty. I am not prepared to accept these alternatives. A further reason is that from the information I have gathered I believe it is the opinion and the wish of the majority of my constituents that I should support this Agreement.

I regard the policy of the Government in the past, the policy which led up to the impasse in which they found themselves a couple of weeks ago, as deserving of the greatest condemnation. I was in love at no time with the Boundary Commission, and I did not believe that any good would result from it, but the Government and the members of the Executive Council did. They seemed to believe that eventual [1614] benefits would result from it, and that large numbers of the minority in the North would have been saved from the present unsatisfactory position in which they find themselves. Statement after statement was made to that effect by members of the Government. Statements were made that the Government's interpretation of the Treaty appointing the Commission was that the wishes of the inhabitants would be the first and governing clause in the deliberations of the Commission. The people of Ireland and the people of the North were led to believe that the findings of the Commission would be satisfactory, and that those minorities would find themselves in a safe position and that they would be brought under the Government of the Saorstát. The Government appointed Deputy Professor MacNeill to act as their representative on the Boundary Commission. I am not prepared to deal here to-night with his capabilities or his capacity to act on that Commission.

I am not well enough acquainted with Deputy Professor MacNeill to form an estimate of the qualities which he possesses in that direction, but I do state that no matter who was appointed by the Government to act on this Commission they should have seen that there was a definite understanding between the Executive Council and their representative as to the interpretation of the Article he was sent to deal with. It would appear from the development of circumstances since that appointment that there was no understanding whatever between the Executive Council and Deputy Professor MacNeill as to the interpretation of the terms of reference which are contained in Article XII., because if Deputy Professor MacNeill had gone into the Commission and said that the first requirement was that a common understanding should be arrived at between the Commissioners as to the terms of reference, if this common understanding could not be arrived at the Commission could not go on. I say that if the humblest member of the Dáil were sent into a Commission to deal with a matter of that kind his first consideration would be that there should be a common understanding as [1615] to the terms of reference. There does not appear to have been an understanding. The Commissioners appear to have been working in different directions. Deputy Professor MacNeill and the others appear to have been working with different ideas as to the powers and rights they had under Article XII.

What would have happened if there had been an attempt to arrive at an understanding? Deputy Professor MacNeill would have said: “My interpretation of Article XII. is that the Boundary is to be fixed according to the wishes of the inhabitants. That is to be the first consideration, and the economic and geographical considerations are to be minor considerations. Secondly, my instructions are that the terms of reference should not be so construed that any portion of the Saorstát can be amalgamated with Northern Ireland.” If Deputy Professor MacNeill had taken that stand the inevitable result would have been that the Commission could not have gone on with its business, because the other members apparently had another outlook and a different interpretation of this Article. The result would be that the Commission would not have deliberated and come to findings. They would be faced with the position that nothing had resulted from the Commission, and we would not have established definitely as we now have a Boundary between the North and South.

Great joy has been expressed lately in every quarter as to the Agreement come to between our Ministers, the Ministers of Northern Ireland, and the representatives of the British Government. The greatest joy of all has been expressed by the people of the Northern counties. My interpretation of that great joy is that they have gained all that they wanted and even more than they ever expected. We hear about thanksgiving services being held and about Sir James Craig being presented with a foot rule cut into thirteen pieces. none of the pieces being an inch in length, to indicate, I suppose, that he had not budged one inch. He finished as he started. He was the only representative who could come back to [1616] his people and tell them: “I have got for you what I said I would get.” I had intended to say a good deal about Article V., but I honestly confess that my ideas with regard to it have been somewhat changed by the explanation given by the Minister for Finance. At the same time, I wish to say that never, in my opinion, was there any great danger that the Saorstát would have to pay anything under that Article. We have the statement of the Minister for Finance to that effect, that in his opinion we would never be called upon to pay anything under Article V. That statement was confirmed yesterday by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. He introduced a factor into the argument which so far has not been introduced in this House, namely, that of taxable capacity. He allowed that this factor would be taken into consideration—that is, the power of the people of Ireland to pay any impost which might be placed upon them. I feel confident, therefore, that at no time would we be called upon to make any payment under Article V. of the Treaty.

Mr. BLYTHE: Information on Ernest Blythe  Zoom on Ernest Blythe  You are an optimist.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I feel that in one aspect our Ministers made a bad bargain, because they did not stand up to their promises. They abandoned people who in the past rendered the greatest assistance to the people of the Saorstát, people who did their part in securing the freedom which we now enjoy. I refer to the Nationalists of the North. When this Agreement was come to in London by our Ministers and the representatives of the other two Governments, we definitely made concessions to the North. We made a concession in regard to the Council of Ireland and the boundary line, and for these concessions we gain nothing but general expressions of goodwill and amity. I suggest it would not have been unreasonable on the part of our Ministers to have asked that the safeguards which we have applied in our case to the minority in the South should have been applied by the Northern Government to the Nationalists of the North. It would not have been unreasonable, [1617] I think, to have asked the Northern Government to introduce a measure applying the principle of proportional representation to their elections in the North.

Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Re-introducing such a measure you mean.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  What Deputy Davin reminds me of is correct. We all know what has happened in the North as a result of the gerrymandering in the case of local constituencies that has taken place. In many cases it now takes four Nationalist votes in the North to equal one Unionist vote. I feel that the expressions of goodwill we have heard so much about will mean nothing unless we get a written guarantee that our friends in the North will be protected and also their interests. It may seem, in view of the final Article to the Agreement, that this would not be necessary; but I say in view of the past history of the North and in view of the past history of intolerance shown towards the Nationalists of the North that they had a right to expect that our representatives would demand that they should be protected in the same way that we protect minorities in the South.

We hear a good deal about what may result from the meetings between our Government and the Government of the North of Ireland. I maintain that these meetings can only take place with regard to the three matters which were to be dealt with by the Council of Ireland, namely, fisheries, the Diseases of Animals Acts, and railways, and that no one is authorised to call these meetings for any purpose other than that of dealing with these three reserved services. That is not an aspect of the Article which has been commented on nor has it been noted to any extent. I believe the general feeling with regard to that Article is that in matters of general concern the Governments of the North and South can be brought together. I think a protest should be made against Articles III. and IV. of the Agreement. It is my belief, and that also of many other Deputies as far as I could gather from their speeches, that Article III. gives [1618] sanction to the statement that we are prepared to accept responsibility for the doings of the Black-and-Tans in pre-Truce days.

I believe that Article IV. gives sanction and support to statements broadcast from England that certain people had not got their just rights under the Property Losses (Compensation) Act. We know that a campaign has been going on for months and months to prove that unfair discrimination took place in regard to certain people generally described as Southern Unionists in regard to compensation: that they did not get their due or full value for their property. I want to say that I do not believe that such a statement is correct. In fact, I believe that it is far from correct, and if anything the boot is on the other foot, and that in most cases these men did get more than the value of their property and were over-compensated. I believe it is a crying shame when you place side by side for consideration the amount of compensation granted for property losses and the compensation which was granted by the Government for personal injuries during the fight in this country.

There is one other aspect of the Agreement which I think should have got the attention of our Ministers in London. In view of a statement which appears in this evening's papers I believe that it did get the consideration of our Ministers in London, but I think they should have told us that when they made their statement. What I am referring to is the case of the prisoners in the North who are in English prisons. There is a fellow Deputy of mine, a representative elected by the people for the constituency of Tipperary, who has been in an English prison since 1921. I refer to Deputy McCurtin. I think it would be nothing short of a disgrace for this Government if they were to sign an Agreement which professed to work for amity and goodwill between the Free State and the Northern Government if they did not make arrangements for the release of Deputy McCurtin and the other political prisoners at present in the custody of the British Government for the Northern Parliament.

[1619]Mr. DAVIN: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Would the Deputy say what portion of the Agreement he is in favour of?

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Information on Michael Richard Heffernan  Zoom on Michael Richard Heffernan  I have stated that I believe the Agreement arrived at was the only alternative available to the Ministers at the time. I am strongly in favour of it. I am not in favour of many details of it. I believe it is open to criticism, and that it is our right as Deputies to criticise, but I am not prepared, as I told the House and told the Deputy, to face the alternative. I think I am a realist, and I am not prepared to take any action which might have the effect of plunging Ireland back into chaos and disorder once more. In giving my vote to this Agreement, I am not prepared to give my sanction to the policy and actions of the Government which led up to the condition of affairs that made it necessary that this Agreement should have been arrived at.

Mr. T. MURPHY: Information on Timothy J Murphy  Zoom on Timothy J Murphy  I am intervening in this debate to express my opinion on two or three matters that have arisen out of the situation we are discussing here. One of the reasons I desire to intervene is because of certain statements made here yesterday in regard to the party or parties who were primarily responsible for the situation that entailed partition. It was said here yesterday, by a Deputy, in this House, that all the responsibility for the partition of this country rested with the Government and that they were the people primarily responsible through the Treaty for partition. I desire to contradict that statement, and while I have no brief for the Government, and while it is, perhaps, not very fitting that a back-bencher like me should intervene in this question of high politics I hold, and many people besides me hold the opinion if they had the courage to express their opinions, that the responsibility for the partition of this country rests with those who handled the destinies of the Nationalists of this country in 1914 and before it.

Mr. A. BYRNE: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  What about 1920?

Mr. MURPHY:  I hold that the people who rigged up a convention in Belfast and cudgelled the Nationalists that are [1620] complaining of partition now into acceptance of it and who refused to listen to anybody in this country, who protested that they were selling the country, are the people who led up to the situation aptly described by the late Archbishop Walsh when he said the country was sold.

Mr. A. BYRNE: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  It is sold now.

Mr. MURPHY:  The people who dubbed everybody who had the courage to express their opinions as factionists and traitors to the country are the people who were responsible for it. I regret that I should be the one to introduce this jarring note here, and to express opinions, and to rip up matters that, perhaps, might have been left in the merciful oblivion they deserved. But while I believe the handling of this question by the Government is wrong, and while I disagree with the Government on this question of partition, and while I disagree with their attitude to the class that I represent and characterise their attitude as harsh towards us, this much I can say for them, that they are not the principal sinners in regard to partition, and I say if there was a reference made here last week to Pontius Pilate, while it might be undeserved last week, I think it is well deserved in regard to sentiments expressed yesterday by Deputy Redmond.

There were protests made against partition before, in this country. There was a very extensive protest made against it in the South of Ireland, and there is one long figure, to-day, in Irish politics that would, I hold, be here with us, in this Parliament of our nation, to help us in our work, were it not for the horror that he has of this question of partition. There was a very powerful agitation carried on by the “Irish Independent” of that time, against partition, and, I regret to find that the “Irish Independent” in the last few days has departed from that attitude. There was also, and there is, another prominent figure in our political life, the Governor-General of this State——

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  Another Corkman.

Mr. MURPHY:  And I have yet to be convinced that if we had the privilege of hearing the Governor-General to-day that he would not re-affirm many [1621] of the brilliant and caustic things he said in his speeches in his career against partition. Now the whole discussion seems to resolve itself into a question of alternatives. It is perhaps too forward for a mere novice in politics like me to suggest an alternative, but I hold that when we are told all we are told about the goodwill that is coming into the life of this country, and when it is pointed out to us that the people who represented the North at these conferences in London were full of goodwill towards us, then our representatives there had a right to test that goodwill and to put up the claim that the people of the Free State had the right to put up— the claim affirmed by the elections that had taken place in the North— to put up a claim that their attitude towards our endeavours to secure freedom for the Nationalists of the North would be a fair test of all the goodwill that Sir James Craig and his friends have suddenly become possessed of towards us. It is very good to hear that the roaring lions of a short time ago have become the cooing doves. Therefore, I suggest to the President, with all respect to him and with every consideration for the difficulties he has had, and is having that he might have stood on the case of the Free State in regard to avoiding partition and he might have put up to the people of Ulster a fair question as to whether their professions of goodwill towards us were mixed with a sense of justice or with any respect for the undoubtedly irresistible case that the people of this State would have been able to make with regard to avoiding partition in this country.

Some time ago the Treaty was registered with the League of Nations. It was registered after very considerable trouble. I understand—but I am open to correction—that at that time the Treaty was registered with the object of safeguarding the rights of the people under Article XII. The League of Nations was to be the final court of appeal, if there was to be any treachery with regard to the interpretation of this Article, and I suggest when we are asked to consider the prospects of immediate [1622] war and other dire consequences for our people that the registering of the Treaty with the League of Nations might provide the alternative that we are asked to suggest here this evening.

There are many things in connection with this Boundary controversy that we might consider, and if there is one thing more than another that must have struck us all it is the absolute failure of the Free State representative on the Boundary Commission. As an absolute novice in politics, I have never listened to a more pathetic confession of failure than the halting explanation made by Deputy Dr. MacNeill when he spoke regarding his action on the Boundary Commission. The Minister for Justice, speaking here last week, asked us to point out where the Executive Council had failed. I suggest that his colleagues on the Executive Council failed lamentably in connection with the Boundary Commission, and that he will have a good deal of trouble to convince the people of this country of the fact that he and his colleagues of the Executive Council did not have some responsibility for that failure. I suggest that you might couple with that some of the amazing speeches made down the country in regard to the course of the Boundary Commission deliberations. I think members of the Executive Council and other Ministers of this Government who made these statements ought to have known what they were talking about before they made them, because I gathered from an interjection of the Minister for Finance this evening that he was quite unaware of what he was talking about when he made the statement that all was going well with the Boundary Commission. It recalled to my mind the public utterances of another gentleman who graces the Northern Parliament with his presence and who, in the old days, when we used to hear of “the no far distant date,” was telling the people that he was the watchman on the tower and that all was going well in the cause of Ireland. Events proved that all was not going well in the cause of Ireland and, when the final crash came, Mr. Devlin was not on watch on the tower.

[1623]Mr. A. BYRNE: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  What about O'Brien's gramophone?

Mr. MURPHY:  The astute Deputy for North Dublin, who seeks to put me off my track, will have some difficulty in acquitting the Party to which he belonged and himself personally of responsibility for the horrible state of affairs——

Mr. A. BYRNE: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  I am very proud to have been a member of John Redmond's Party, more proud now than ever I was.

Mr. MURPHY:  I am not an expert on financial questions, but it appears to me that the part of the Agreement that pledges the people of this State to a payment of a quarter of a million of money for 60 years is an absolutely amazing proposition. To my mind, and I think to the mind of everybody in this country who will face the facts there can be no question whatever that it is unjust to the people of this country to relieve the British Government of their obligation to foot the bill in regard to what has happened in this country for the time covered by this Agreement.

We have heard here, time after time, of the need for tightening up the purse in regard to expenditure. I ask the Minister for Finance, who is a party to this Agreement, to remember that there are thousands of people in this country, at the present time, who are hungry; that their number is growing every day, and that it is wrong to those people to send that money over to the British Government when their own fellow-countrymen are starving and when the number of people who is starving is growing every day.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is an exceedingly warlike person, lately tells us that the Shannon scheme must be based on a wage of 32/- a week. I understand it has grown to 35/- a week in the last day or two. But if we are asked to enslave our brothers of the working classes for 32/- a week in order that this State may go on, people of this country will be asking why we were so generous as to offer a quarter of a million pounds for 60 years to the British Government for the damage their own agents and servants did in this country.

There is another aspect of the question [1624] that I would like to refer to before I finish. That is the action of a certain group of representatives who are outside this House. These people have professed and do profess to love this country, and a great many of them profess to be ready to give up their lives for it. I submit that if as a result of our deliberations here to-day partition becomes an accomplished fact the people who are outside the Dáil, and who are supposed to have a monopoly of all the patriotism that is going in this country, cannot acquit themselves of some of the responsibility for that partition. I say to these people, whose record is a record of absolutely barren failure, who have no alternative now but to suggest that those of us here who are endeavouring to do the best we can for our brothers in the country who are suffering, should leave the Dáil and go out with them into the wilderness, that I, for one, and I am sure I can speak for the members of my Party as well, will not accept that solution of the question. They have never produced one single constructive idea as to how the interests of this country might be served. They are equally responsible with the members and predecessors of this Government in control of the National movement in regard to partition, and I certainly will not be the one who will make easy the way for them to gain Party advantages or to make Party capital out of the difficulties in which the people of this country find themselves.

I am going to vote against partition. It has been said that the people of the country are in favour of this Agreement. I have yet to be convinced of that fact, and out of no desire to bend the knee to the super-patriots who have refused to recognise the Dáil I am going to vote, as I believe I am right in voting, against partition, and I, and those who will vote with me, will be satisfied to be judged by the people who will write and read the history of this period.

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  I want to express my views on this matter as calmly as I can, and to say no word that will [1625] be a jar to the hopes expressed and contained in this Agreement that a new era is going to come into the life of Ireland. If I viewed this Agreement from my position here as Deputy for Tirconnail, recognising the situation which menaced that county recently as a result of the revelations in connection with the Boundary Commission, I would feel compelled to accept it with relief and to give it support. They were menaced with the lopping off of some of the richest parts of their county, to the injury of the whole fabric of their county administration and their whole economic life. They desired to be preserved from that iniquity, and my duty in the Dáil was to use what means I could to save them from that menace and to secure them in the liberties they enjoy. I did what I could——

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  On a point of order, I would like to point out that in spite of the order of the Ceann Comhairle there is a very large number of visitors standing in the gallery.

Mr. WHITE: Information on John White  Zoom on John White  Very important.

Mr. O'DOHERTY: Information on Joseph O'Doherty  Zoom on Joseph O'Doherty  I do not believe the Ceann Comhairle should trouble about that.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN (Prof. Thrift): Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  It is not a point of order at all.

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  When faced with that situation, I carried out, as far as I personally could, my duty as a representative in this House, by my representations to the Executive Council and to our President, and by what influence I could bring to bear on the members of my party to impress these representations on the Executive Council. I took the means that were open to me in introducing the motion that I did introduce in this House and which I take the liberty of believing was probably the means of bringing the Executive Council to an immediate realisation of the trend of events in the Boundary Commission. Further, I believe that the net result of that activity was to bring about a break up of that Commission.

Viewing this Agreement as a Tirconnail Deputy, it secures the people there from the menace with which they were faced. It secures them [1626] in their territorial integrity, and saves them from having their county carved up and some of their citizens taken under another Government. It secures them in the liberties that they enjoy. Viewing it as a business man, I could not but say that it offers to the Saorstát considerable advantages. It removes one of the uncompleted matters arising out of the Treaty which menaced the security of life, at least of ordered progress and economic life in the country and made for a sense of insecurity on all matters pertaining to the legislative and economic life of the Saorstát.

Further, in eliminating Clause V. it removed the economic life of the country from a further menace which was like a millstone round its neck. I do not put much stock in the argument that we are to lose anything in credit or kudos by undertaking to pay for the destruction done in this country by our enemies. It matters little how the measure of money to be paid was got so long as a definite understanding was arrived at, and the country knew definitely and finally where it was placed financially.

In regard to Clause IV. of the Agreement, I am in complete agreement. I do not hold with those who assume that it is an admission of guilt upon any of our judicial bodies that compensation was paid in a meagre measure to those whose property and interests were destroyed, because I hold the view, not exactly as the President would put it, that the Act was drawn tightly, but that it was one of the meanest financial juggles that I have had experience of; that the measure was one which in a large degree made those who suffered damage —and these were only a small portion of what were called Southern loyalists —made all those who stood beside the Treaty position, and whose property was destroyed as a result, pay in their property for the war made upon the liberties of the country. The Act was so tightly drawn that the very minimum amount of compensation was first determined by the Government valuer and subsequently, when every item was fully vouched, was submitted to a judge who made an award in accordance [1627] with his views of the circumstances, in reduced amounts. Consequently I believe it is a simple act of justice to our own people, of whatever kind, that this increased compensation should be paid. These are my views as a Tirconaill Deputy.

Looking upon it as an ordinary citizen and business man of the Saorstát, who had no other consideration or preoccupation in my mind, I would have no difficulty in supporting the Agreement. But from my associations in the past, from my upbringing and my connection with the national movement in the past, I must take another point of view towards this measure. I can only say that it is somewhat in the nature of special pleading to suggest that any contraction of the Boundary now Northwards would not leave the position of the Nationalists in the Six Counties any better. That is a proposition that might be argued with effect, but it is one which we must remember was not in the minds of those who signed the Treaty and who put in that clause as some kind of a charter of liberty for those Nationalists who had worked and fought with them and made sacrifices with them for the liberties enjoyed in the Saorstát.

Those people, rightly or wrongly, and whatever the results are, good or bad for them, put their faith in Article XII., as I say, their charter of liberty, and they depend on us to see it carried out faithfully. After all, the reason for the establishment of the Six-County Government was the plea of self-determination and the plea of no coercion raised in England and repeated in Ireland, first North and then South. Every person was agreed, as I said before in this House, that there should be no coercion for a section of our countrymen in the North-East, and those who signed the Treaty for the Dáil signed it with the view in their minds that if self-determination was conceded in the North-East corner it should be applied to those communities over the Border of the Saorstát who also desired it; that if there was no coercion for the Six-County conclave there should be no coercion for these minorities on their Border.

[1628] Deputy Murphy a few moments ago dealt with a matter which, I think, it was right and just for him to raise in this House in regard to the genesis of Partition in Ireland and its beginnings, and I will not trouble the House upon it now, because his words are mere historic facts and will bear no controversion by any statements made in this House.

It seems to me that we argue here for this Agreement considering the interests of all sections but the section most interested; the section for whom all the trouble and worry is; the section for whose protection Article XII. was inserted in the Treaty; the section whose liberties and lives in the future are being determined by our decision in this House. It seems to me very much like the case of a physician who calls in two surgeons and the three sit round to consider the case of a patient. One wants to operate and carve, the other wants to cure by medicinal means. They argue their various points and they decide eventually that they are in perfect agreement. The matter is quite amicably settled; they do nothing but walk away and leave the patient.

It has been asked here what could be done in the situation created. Deputy Murphy says that it is hardly the function of an ordinary member of this House to suggest an alternative policy, but I venture to believe, and I put the belief for what it is worth, that certainly the repudiation of the Treaty was not the only alternative. I hold that belief firmly, faithfully and truly, because I think that statesmanship in Ireland, in England, and in the North of Ireland, was not so bankrupt as that another alternative solution could not have been found. When I say this, I am not suggesting for one moment that those who went from this Assembly to treat in this matter left any avenue unexplored or were prepared to forget any attempt that could be made to find alternative solutions. I do believe, in fact I know, that they explored every avenue that seemed open to them. But, I believe that there were other alternatives that would have found a solution, that would have brought a real peace, a peace for all Ireland, North and South, and for all time, and [1629] a peace that would have brought us unity which will be the only lasting peace in Ireland. If I were in the position of the President, which thank God I am not, and had access to all the information and all the data that he perhaps has, as to all the facts in regard to the relations of the Executive Council with the Boundary Commission and all its surrounding data, and knew how far they were committed beyond their public utterances to the findings of that Commission, I would be in a better position to suggest alternatives.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The door was open for the Deputy to ask for every tittle of information that was at my disposal or anyone else's.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  The Dáil asked for it and it was refused here.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Here—that is different. I cannot make the affairs of the Executive Council and the affairs of the State public property, and I am not going to do it.

Mr. JOHNSON: Information on Thomas Johnson  Zoom on Thomas Johnson  You did not say that.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN (Professor Thrift): Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Deputy McCullough is in possession.

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  I venture to suggest one alternative. I venture to suggest that when we found ourselves in the very critical position we were in after the withdrawal of Deputy Professor MacNeill from the Boundary Commission, that we could have adopted a stand fast policy.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Will the Deputy say if that was what he recommended me to do when going to London?

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  I will tell the House, if the President desires, all the conversations I had with him.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Do.

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  They were not always easy and sometimes were difficult, because, after all, as I say, I was not in possession of all the data and could not be. I am sure the President is reasonable enough to know that it was not possible for one individual, uninformed as one is here on all these [1630] highly important matters, some times to suggest a full and complete line.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Will the Deputy say if I refused him any information he asked me for?

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  I say I suggest an alternative.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  It is a pity the Deputy did not do it before.

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  I could have done it had greater opportunities been offered. If that position were taken up, I do not think, as some person suggested before to-night, that any of the three parties to this matter desired war. I do not think that we desired war or fighting or trouble on the Border. I do not think that England, on the day following the signing of the Locarno Pact, desired war and fighting in Ireland. I do not think that even Sir James Craig desired war on the Border, with all the repercussions and horrors on all sides that would follow. England would not desire to have war because her position was not any stronger than ours in the matter; because I hold and have held, and said so to the President in this House, that she was guilty of an act of explicit bad faith in her dealings with the Boundary Commission. It is not necessary to re-quote in this House the utterances of some of the signatories to the Treaty in poisoning the atmosphere for the consideration of this important question by the Boundary Commission. I have the evidence in my pocket at the moment that they were guilty of explicit and grievous bad faith in the matter.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I hope the Deputy's good faith will be better, anyway.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  The Deputy is entitled to speak without interruption.

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  Our Executive Council expressed themselves satisfied with this Agreement; the English Government expressed themselves satisfied with this Agreement, and the Northern Government expressed themselves satisfied with this Agreement. The only [1631] parties who did not express their satisfaction are the Nationalist communities on the Border. I have said that real peace could have been obtained. There is no use talking about peace when there is no peace and I, who know them, was born, reared, and worked amongst them and know their feelings as conveyed to me, know and believe that unless something happens to pacify their minds and satisfy their consciences that this will not bring about peace on the Border. I say, rather than resort to war and fighting it would have been possible for those who commanded the situation from the beginning, the British Government who created it, to induce, force or by whatever means they like to get Sir James Craig to call into conference the people representing those minorities on the Border the same as our leaders called into conference those representing minorities in this country. I believe if he could have been induced in a true spirit of peace and amity to make some gesture to those people and point out, as they pointed out in this House, that the contraction of the Boundary was no completion of faith with the Nationalists in the Six Counties, that they could have been satisfied that their position might have been made such that they could live their lives in peace and ordered progress until better conditions would prevail and a true spirit of unity would arise in the land. That is not asking too much or suggesting an alternative that would outrage the feelings of any man in Ireland.

The Vice-President has spoken of the stock-in-trade of hate being drained out in Ireland. God knows no man has seen more of the operations of hate and sectarian bigotry than I have, and I can afford to speak feelingly and say that it is my honest desire from my heart that hate in Ireland should pass away and never be heard of again. How can it pass away when you leave communities, rightly or wrongly—and I will let them speak for themselves— feeling that they have been treated unjustly and unfairly by all parties in this matter? I say that the solution of this problem is that something [1632] should be done to assure to this minority some conditions of life that will guarantee to them the rights of citizenship and the ordinary conditions of living to enable them to bring up their children with equal opportunities in the land to which they belong.

I do not ask for written guarantees. I believe in the spirit of faith and hope. We were asked to put up guarantees. I am not a believer in the written word in those matters. I believe that England has the way and the means, if she has the will, to ensure that such a gesture would be made in the North as would rid us for ever of all this thorny and terrible question.

I take it that eventually unity is the hope of every Party in this House. It is positively accepted by every section of the Dáil and country. I have ventured to believe that this is not leading to the way of unity, because those minorities I have spoken of have gone to great pains to give me expressions of their opinion. They will not be helpful towards unity and will be a body irritant in the life of this country, North and South, for some time to come. For that reason, as I said in the beginning, I desired to say carefully what I had to say in order that no word of mine should give comfort to any person who desired or attempted to say anything that would create further strife or friction in Ireland. I again say that it is in a measure special pleading, perhaps essential to this case, to say that the contraction of the Boundary leaves matters no worse than they were, but that can only be made a belief worth holding when what I have asked for appears and is given. I have accepted the Treaty and worked with a larger vision in the belief, as I said before in the House, of better relations, a growing understanding and mutual progress with England, knowing that her interests largely lay along parallel lines. If I desired it with England it will not be taken that I did not desire it with the North-Eastern Counties of Ireland, with my own countrymen of my own flesh and blood amongst whom I was born and reared. I hoped for it until there would grow a community of interests between us all that would [1633] bring about a true union based on equal rights, responsibilities and equal service to our common Motherland. That spirit can be made to grow only if what I have stated here is done. As it is, we have a section of our countrymen on this Border with nothing but bitterness in their hearts, disappointed hopes, and those things will not bring about those devoutly-to-be-wished-for results. In the meantime they are only pious hopes. I feel that I want something more, and I am not expressing here and now any want of faith or hope in what the future may bring out of Sir James Craig and his Parliament, but I want to see some evidence that some attempt some time will be made to placate and satisfy the natural desires and wishes of those people on the wrong side of this Border to bring about the conditions of life which they desire.

It is not a pleasant matter for me to differ from my colleagues in this matter, but every man has to act in a big crisis of this kind as his judgment directs him, independent of associations. I believe that Tirconaill, which I represent in this House, and which is being saved from the menace of being carved up by the possibility of this Agreement, will not ask me, with, as I say, my past, my traditions, and my associations with those on the other side of the Border, my birth, my upbringing and my responsibilities in the past, to cast a vote that would in a measure approve of what has been done in bringing about a crisis that has resulted in this Agreement.

Mr. O'DOHERTY: Information on Joseph O'Doherty  Zoom on Joseph O'Doherty  We have listened to the life and death speech of one of the members who happens to represent Donegal. Of the six members who represent that county he does not represent the voice of any decent section of the county. I am sorry to say that, because personally I have a great regard for the Deputy. This is not a question of personality; it is a question of the State. If, to-morrow, the suggestion were put to me—and I am a Donegalbred man—that we should lose part of our territory in the interests of the State, I would pledge the county to it, and I would carry it. This gentlemen, who is a stranger within our gates——

[1634]Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  Is an Irishman a stranger in Ireland?

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  On a point of explanation, in saying the latter part of what I did say, I was speaking for myself; but I would venture to say further that Deputy O'Doherty is not stating the full facts. The only representations I received from Tirconaill asked me to vote against this Agreement.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Might I ask the Deputy if those are the representations that were put before me when he called upon me? It is only fair to me in my position, in my very responsible position here as President, that the public should know the truth about this matter. It is not fair.

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  I will explain. That was before the Boundary Commission was broken up. I was entitled to do that.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Ah! I see.

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  This is a new situation.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  You are safe now. Is not that the position?

Mr. McCULLOUGH: Information on Denis McCullough  Zoom on Denis McCullough  No, sir; I believe it will be made safe in any event.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  It is all right now.

Mr. O'DOHERTY: Information on Joseph O'Doherty  Zoom on Joseph O'Doherty  I am sorry that this interruption occurred. As I mentioned before the interruption, this is not a question of the personalities of Deputies; it is not even a question of counties or territories; it is a question of the State. In this matter, if the State demands that we should make sacrifices, we ought to make those sacrifices. We shall not even ask Deputy McCullough to endeavour to save us.

Mr. LYONS: Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  He did it once.

Mr. O'DOHERTY: Information on Joseph O'Doherty  Zoom on Joseph O'Doherty  So did I.

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  In my opinion those constant interruptions of Deputies tend to lower the dignity of the Dáil.

[1635]ACTING-CHAIRMAN (Professor Thrift): Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I would ask Deputy O'Doherty to address himself to me. He shall get the same courtesy as every other Deputy and he will be allowed to speak without interruption.

Mr. O'DOHERTY: Information on Joseph O'Doherty  Zoom on Joseph O'Doherty  I am thankful for the intervention of the leader of the Farmers' Party, a Deputy for whom I have admiration. I will now resume the remarks I was making in regard to this Agreement. I do not care a brass farthing about Deputies or about personalities. The question before us, and let us not forget it——

ACTING-CHAIRMAN: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I find it very difficult to hear the Deputy.

Mr. O'DOHERTY: Information on Joseph O'Doherty  Zoom on Joseph O'Doherty  The question before us is: is this settlement proposed in the interests of the State or against those interests? Deputy Johnson has given very cogent reasons—I pay him this tribute—to show that the settlement is not in the interests of the State. I hold a different view. I will address myself to that aspect of the question. There were quite a number of personal and sectional things discussed in this debate within the last few days. The real point we have to decide is, does this Agreement which the President has put before us violate the Constitution and injure the State? If it does, I will vote against it without any trouble. There is not a Deputy around me who would not do the same. In any of the speeches that have been delivered up to the present there has not been a single suggestion made, and there has not been a single alternative policy put forward to the policy that the Executive Council places before the House for adoption. I do not know what Deputies beside me think, but I know fairly well—I am a Border county man—what all this represents.

Deputy Johnson raised a point here which, I think, is of paramount importance. He touched on the question of the Council of Ireland. I must confess that for a long period after the Treaty I could not quite see the importance of that Council. I was convinced by arguments put forward by Deputy Johnson in this House that it was a big and an [1636] important thing in the combination of the North and South. I hold that opinion still. Anything that has occurred since, even in this Agreement, has not altered that opinion. The point I put to myself is this: will the abrogation of that Council mean more for a pacification between the North and South? In my opinion it will. I have come to that deliberate opinion and I think, in his calmer moments, when Deputy Johnson consults his own conscience, proud and all as he is of this Council and the work it might do, he will agree the Executive Council have put up a better arrangement for friendly relations between the Governments of the North and South. I would like to labour that point a little further. The Council of Ireland would comprise twenty Deputies who would be elected by the Northern Parliament and twenty by our Parliament. The twenty Deputies elected by the Northern Parliament would be elected en bloc; that is to say, they would all be of the one way of thinking. As Deputy McCullough might say, they would be real true Orangemen. The twenty Deputies we would select would be men already chosen for their position by means of Proportional Representation.

I am of opinion that the proposal put forward by the Executive Council is better than the Act of 1920 and is calculated to bring about more harmonious relations. A great deal has been said, and a great deal of capital has been made, in regard to a betrayal of the North. I come from the North and I know something about it. Some Deputies have spoken here with great feeling, almost with passion. They have quoted history. Amongst the Deputies who have spoken with passion on this subject is Deputy McCullough. He has been in the House for about a year. Other Deputies who spoke are here for fully three years. What steps did they take, how did they try to alleviate the situation in the North, when these oppressions were being placed upon the people in the North? No action was taken; no concrete action was taken in this House for saving the Northern Nationalists from [1637] oppression, the oppression we hear so much about time after time and particularly during the last few days. I am sure the Southern men are always sympathetic. Even Deputy O'Shaughnessy, who does not know the North, was exceedingly sympathetic, and, of course, Deputy Beamish is sympathetic in any circumstances.

What have these gentlemen, or what has their sympathy done in the last three years to relieve the situation in the North, as far as our fellow-Nationalists who are oppressed are concerned? Not a single thing. I am only going on what was given expression to here and the arguments that were put forward in opposition to this Agreement. I could give other arguments in support of the arrangement, but I do not desire to delay the Dáil. During the debate, for instance, Deputy Corish, as well as other Deputies, spoke with great feeling and force but with singular ineffectiveness. I put it to the Dáil that it is our duty as sane and sensible men to support the Agreement that has been made by the Executive Council as the best and the only method of getting over the difficulty that was created by that unfortunate Article of the Treaty.

Mr. P. HOGAN (Clare): Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It was in the rather prosaic atmosphere of a railway compartment that I read some of the statements made by responsible Ministers in defence—because that is what it is—of this pact which they brought across from London. I re-read in that compartment the pact and the defence of it, and while doing so there arose in my mind certain parallels in Irish history which it would be well, perhaps, that those responsible for the pact would also recall to mind. They extend over a considerable period and they start probably with Grattan's Parliament and go back to the time of Dermot MacMurrough. There are also incidents in between that probably Ministers will recollect, and they will understand that, when those entrusted with the heritage and the preservation of Irish nationality, and the superstructure upon which Irish nationhood was built, were false and violated their principles, retribution, swift and sure, followed in their track. I prophesy, [1638] and I say deliberately that I will not regret that retribution following in the track of those who made that pact without the consent of, and even without acquainting the Irish people. We have been told that Parliaments cannot negotiate. We have been told that you cannot have two Parliaments coming to an agreement, that you cannot hold public meetings in the Park and try and make an agreement for the Irish nation with the English nation.

What did happen? A crisis arose because of the failure of the representative of the Executive Council to get the provisions of a certain Article of the Treaty between this country and England carried out in the spirit and probably in the letter that was intended. That crisis arose, and when the Executive Council came to the Dáil, from these Benches they were asked for a statement of policy regarding the position. We were told that they would give no statement of policy then. We were told that they would take as much time as they deemed necessary to deal with the matter. What did they do? They made no statement of policy in this country. They went across to England and the first we heard of the policy of the Executive Council was what we read from the English House of Commons. That was the first statement of policy we heard from the Executive Council. They treated this Dáil as if Deputies were a parcel of schoolboys. They did not come to the Dáil and ask what it proposed to do. They did not ask: “What do you intend to do?” No, nor did they say: “We intend to take across your studied and deliberate opinion and put it before the English nation; we will take that across and see what they will say.” No; they went across and we know from this morning's newspapers what they offered to the British Government.

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  If it takes four days to consider it——

Mr. HOGAN:  This is not a matter to be joked about. This is not a matter upon which to base silly puns. It is a matter to be considered deliberately, and, if members of the Executive Council think that nobody is able to give consideration to the matter but themselves, [1639] I think they will find out their mistake before they are very much older. I am aware that partition is not a new thing. It is not an innovation in Irish history. It goes back a little further than the Treaty, and it should be stated that, when negotiations were taking place in a certain Royal residence with a prominent Nationalist leader, they offered to the people carrying on negotiations in that Royal residence the strength of a certain minority party to try and secure unmitigated —that word fits, I suppose—Home Rule, unmitigated control for this country and Dominion status. They offered to secure that without partition and to say to those who were endeavouring to parcel out this country that you had a united nation. That leader of the minority party said afterwards that if that had been done, and if the leader who had carried out the negotiations in that Royal residence had given ear to them, the blood which had to be shed to achieve the amount of freedom we have achieved to-day would have been avoided, and partition which has been brought about would also have been avoided.

That is one portion of the history of partition. We heard it stated from opposite benches that Article XII. was the lame and halting way of dealing with partition and dealing with the Boundary crisis. We were told it could not deal with it adequately and that the people in the North would not be so badly off. We were told those roaring lions, Craig's specials, have become the frisking lambs. What is the history of Article XII. as far as the Dáil is concerned? That Article was accepted with the Treaty. You insisted on its provisions being put into operation. England repudiated and denounced the Treaty by refusing to force a subordinate Parliament in Belfast to appoint a Commissioner on the Boundary Commission. That was a repudiation and denunciation of the Treaty. But when that occurred you forced upon the Dáil an Act of Parliament which gave England power to appoint two representatives on that Commission. You appointed your Commissioner, and when that failed [1640] you go across to England and make an agreement with them. It would be very interesting, I am sure, to be able to read what the President had to say there regarding the Nationalists in what is now known as Northern Ireland. Speaking on the 12th August, 1924, in the Seanad Chamber, where the Dáil met for the occasion, the President used the following words:

But the dissectors were not satisfied with the cutting off of that portion of our country whose population was politically detached from us. With a grand sweep they gathered into their new province populations united to us by every tie of blood and affection and community of interest. Was the new province established for the ostensible purpose of preventing the coercion of the attached population of the North-East to be used as an instrument of coercion over those thousands who wanted to live and work with the majority of their fellow-countrymen? The Treaty of 1921 offered the greatest possible measure of relief against that form of coercion, which British statesmen could not defend, while the echoes hurled back their battle-cries of the preceding seven years—“Self-determination,”“Government by consent of the governed”—and their loud grief for the thraldom and joy for the relief of Alsace. The Treaty gave effect by Article XII. to the principle which had been proclaimed fundamentally in the European War and embodied in the Treaty of Versailles whose very terms are invoked in prescribing that a boundary shall be fixed between Northern Ireland and the rest of the country, according to the wishes of the inhabitants, subject only to the limitations of economic and geographic considerations.

Either the President was mis-stating the condition of affairs then or the condition of affairs has been mis-stated now. Will the Executive Council tell us which is the case? Here is another passage:

The Northern Government had not even the tact to wait for another time, but proceeded with shameless [1641] urgency to disfranchise the very people for whom, fortunately, the Treaty gave this protection. They have been made into the hewers of wood and drawers of water that their temporary governors without concealment consider is the proper sphere of people of their race and faith.

Now, sir, these people in the North who turned the Nationalist minority into hewers of wood and drawers of water are going to fall upon the necks of these Nationalists and embrace them, and call them brothers. The Minister for Justice was equally eloquent as to the rights and the privileges of these people in the North. He was equally eloquent in denunciation of anybody who suggested that England denounced the Treaty then and who said that we should not give England an opportunity of appointing two Commissioners. He said:

What does it involve with regard to the six North-Eastern counties? Are they to “go their own course”? If so, quite a large minority there would find one short and simple descriptive phrase for that. The Treaty secured for them certain rights. Our claim, as the President emphasised, has never been a territorial claim. It has been a claim that people would not, by compulsion, be excluded from the jurisdiction of their choice. It has been a claim that areas consisting homogeneously or predominantly of people who wish to be included in the jurisdiction of the Free State Government should have those wishes given effect to.

Again he said:

We are to surrender the rights which we won for the large minority in the Six Counties, considering the Six Counties collectively, because, in fact, they are in a majority in individual counties. We are to surrender the rights which the Treaty, signed by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins, won for those friends of ours in the North-East area; we are to tear up now the international document which secured those rights for them. We are to put ourselves before [1642] the world in the position of being branded and blackguarded from end to end, as people who have broken faith. And all for what?

And all for what? We have torn up this international Agreement now. We have broken faith, and for what? What have we secured for it? What have we got for Article 12 of the Treaty?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Information on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  Zoom on Kevin Christopher O'Higgins  What had you got from it?

Mr. HOGAN:  Why then did they insist that this provision in Article XII. should be put into operation? If it has secured them nothing now what could it have secured them then? Can you consistently urge that that speech is a correct statement of fact, and can you consistently urge now that they will get nothing out of it? If that was so what is said now is a mis-statement. You cannot have it both ways. The Minister for Justice is possessed of a mind so logical that it cannot be understood. We have been always led to believe by the leaders of the minority movement, even before it became the majority movement, that there was a very good balance on our side of the ledger in the matter of taxation. We have been always led to believe that we could claim that England had not governed this country out of her bounty, that she made very well on it, and we were told that under Article V. of the Treaty there was to be a set-off of one debt against another. Then we have the Minister for Finance—it is just as well to quote all three signatories. One thing I can never understand is why these people travel in threes. You had the three Boundary Commissioners and you had the three men who went across to sign the Pact. I suppose it is in emulation of the three wise men who came from the East——

Mr. WILSON: Information on Richard Wilson  Zoom on Richard Wilson  And now they have gone West.

Mr. HOGAN:  The Minister for Finance said in an interview with the editor of the “Financial Times”:—

The matter cannot be settled until the Boundary between ourselves and Ulster is determined, and then it becomes [1643] merely an adjustment of offsetting claims. You know we have always contended that there are large sums due to us from over-taxation in the past—

I wonder how long they contended that when they went to 10 Downing Street—

and I do not possibly see how an equitable division can leave us in your debt.

The gentleman who could not see, on the 13th November, 1925, how an equitable division of the position could leave us in England's debt could see, on the 3rd December, how an equitable division could leave us in England's debt.

It is wonderful how these Ministers can change their minds and how they can be convinced very quickly of different points of view in regard to any concrete situation. You have without any consideration of these relative amounts decided you are in the debt of England. You have decided that England is not indebted to you and you propose to pay a certain amount of money. You did not come to this Dáil to discuss whether this Dáil believes that before you went over and made this offer, because we have the words of the English Premier that you did make this offer.

On this matter of Article V. and Article IV. let me say that very few people in this country ever believed in or took much notice of these particular articles. Nobody believes in this country that they owe allegiance to a gentleman named George Windsor in England. I do not; I never will. Nobody believes that we had any share in the carnage, slaughter and devastation that was brought about from Sheerness to Shanghai by the capitalists of England. Nobody believed in that, and yet when there was one important consideration before the country, when there was an opportunity for uniting the country, what did you do? You calculated the cubic content of a square of fog which was the financial relation between yourselves and that country. You did not allow them to become concrete, measure them and give them in [1644] definite terms. You calculated in your own subtle fashion, by which you calculate many things, what it was, and you decided against the Irish nation. There was another Article you might have wiped out or considered. You might have said: “There is a large body of Irish opinion which is genuinely honest in its opinions regarding the future Government of this country,” for, whatever may be said to the contrary, the greatest earnest any man can give of his convictions is his preparedness to make sacrifices for those convictions. Many of those men have risked their lives and have risked everything in defence of these principles that they hold. They are estranged from a large section of their countrymen by a certain formula that nobody believes in, that nobody acknowledges, and we are told sometimes that it is of no importance; and if it is of little importance why is it embodied in the greatest instrument we have in this country? You got an opportunity of bargaining with that and of knitting the issues in this country so that you could stand up against any subterfuge that might be put up in the North or in England against you. You had an opportunity of knitting the nation and you allowed the opportunity to pass.

You told us that the Treaty was freedom to achieve freedom. How have you carried that precept into practice —freedom to achieve freedom? Freedom in your own words, in the words of the President, freedom to allow the Nationalist inhabitants of a section of the country to be made by the Government ruling in that section hewers of wood and drawers of water; freedom to allow all these people to be disfranchised within that territory; freedom, according to the Minister for Justice, which was secured after struggles, etc. You have allowed these rights of franchise, equality, and co-citizenship to be taken from them. That is as far as your freedom to achieve freedom has gone. You have allowed, further, this Government to give a certificate of good character to the Black and Tans. You said, in effect, that it was not the Black and Tans that burned Cork and sacked Balbriggan. No, sir, you have said it was the Irish people, because if [1645] the Irish people had no part in it, why should they pay compensation for it? You said that every house blown up, as a reprisal within this country, has been blown up by the Irish people. Otherwise why should we pay compensation?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  If the Deputy said that “they” have, he would make me feel more comfortable.

Mr. HOGAN:  I do not suggest that An Ceann Comhairle has said it.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is the point.

Mr. HOGAN:  I will alter it and say that the Executive Council——

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  On behalf of the Executive Council, I deny it.

Mr. HOGAN:  They have said, in effect, sir, that all the burning, the looting, and the sacking that has taken place in this country has been done by the Irish people.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  No.

Mr. HOGAN:  You have not alone abandoned the Nationalists of the North to their fate——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I have not abandoned them. The Deputy should speak about the Government in the third person.

Mr. HOGAN:  There are three persons involved, too, sir. The Executive Council has abandoned the Nationalists of Northern Ireland to their fate, to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. The Executive Council has repudiated the actions of the men who brought about the condition of affairs that procured the Treaty, has repudiated them and has said they were guilty of crimes which were committed by the English forces in this country.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  No, sir.

Mr. HOGAN:  What provisions have been made by the Executive Council for the Nationalists in Northern Ireland whose homes and whose property have been destroyed? What guarantees have they got that these people will be compensated? Has the Executive Council secured any guarantees for [1646] these people? In one case which has come to my knowledge a certain citizen of the Six Counties, whose property was destroyed by the Specials because of his Nationalist activities during the reign of terror in this country, made application before a Northern Court for compensation and it was not listened to for ten minutes. Has the Executive Council made any provision to see that compensation will be paid to these people? So far as we are aware there is no provision in any agreement for these people. There is a provision made that 10 per cent. be added to the compensation that was given here. In other words, the jurisdiction of the Commissions that sat in the Twenty-six Counties is questioned by those who signed the Pact. It is difficult to say anything that has not been already said on this matter.

The matter is so serious that, even at the risk of repetition, I have endeavoured to put my views before the Executive Council and to add my quota of denunciation to the methods they employed. They have not taken the Dáil seriously as a national assembly. They have rather thought that their spiritual home was at 10 Downing Street, and that the lady in Leinster Lawn was more a symbol of their inspiration than Caitlín Ní Houliháin. If the Minister for Justice will pass out towards Kildare Street he will see a statue of the lady to whom I refer. This pact is a denial of all the principles of Irish nationhood. It is an abrogation of all the sacrifices and all the sufferings and all the efforts made for generations, and this abrogation of all these principles is made for nothing. You have given away everything and have got nothing in return. The three signatories to this Pact will go down in Irish history with those other people, from the coming of MacMurrough to the sale of Grattan's Parliament, as people who are false to the principles which were entrusted to them as the custodians of national honour, and history will deal with them in the light of a proper perspective.

Mr. CONNOR HOGAN: Information on Conor Hogan  Zoom on Conor Hogan  With the leave of the House I move the adjournment of the debate until to-morrow.

[1647] Debate adjourned to to-morrow.

Mr. CONNOR HOGAN: Information on Conor Hogan  Zoom on Conor Hogan  I suggested half an hour ago to the President, in order to expedite the decision on this question, that we should meet to-morrow at eleven o'clock.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I made several applications for accommodation in this matter, which has now occupied the attention of the Dáil for three whole days, and it is only reasonable that we should come to a decision on it. I am in favour of meeting at eleven o'clock in the morning and sitting until the matter is finished to-morrow.

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  On behalf of Deputies who are not free, and whose hours are not at their own disposal, I protest against this further encroachment on the liberties of the Dáil.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  All I can say is that the Deputy Professor made considerable onslaught on time which could have been usefully used.

Professor MAGENNIS: Information on Professor William Magennis  Zoom on Professor William Magennis  We had four months' holidays followed by a week's [1648] holiday, and now things have become so urgent that those who have duties in the Dáil are to be prevented from attending by arbitrary alterations in our hours of meeting.

Mr. ESMONDE: Information on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Zoom on Osmond T. Grattan Esmonde  Some Deputies, including myself, are members of the Public Accounts Committee, which meets to-morrow morning at eleven o'clock, and for them an eleven o'clock meeting of the Dáil would be very inconvenient.

Mr. CONNOR HOGAN: Information on Conor Hogan  Zoom on Conor Hogan  I am also a member of the Public Accounts Committee, but as the matter before the Dáil is a most vital question it might be well if that meeting were deferred. To meet the objection of Deputy Professor Magennis, if we meet at eleven to-morrow morning, it could be arranged that a vote would not be taken earlier than three o'clock.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It being now 10.30 p.m., the House is adjourned, according to Orders, until three o'clock to-morrow.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30.


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