CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - DELAY IN PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION (CO. MEATH).
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - REVENUE FROM INCOME TAX ON LANDS.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - PROTECTION FOR WRAPPING AND PACKING PAPER.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - REFUSED GUN PERMIT (COUNTY WATERFORD).
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - THE CASTLECOMER COLLIERIES.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - CAVAN MILITARY SERVICE PENSION CLAIM.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - SLIGO MILITARY BARRACKS.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - STOCKTAKER'S REMUNERATION.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - ANTHRAX IN IMPORTED SHAVING BRUSHES.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - DIVISION OF MAYO FARMS.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - TULIRA ESTATE (CO. GALWAY).
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - KILMARTIN ESTATE (CO. MAYO).
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - COUNTY MAYO LANDS.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - KILDARE TENANT'S COMPLAINT.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - CO. KILKENNY LAND.
SHOP HOURS (DRAPERY TRADES, DUBLIN AND DISTRICTS) (AMENDMENT) BILL, 1925—REPORT.
APPROPRIATION OF TIME FOR PUBLIC BUSINESS.
DAMAGE TO PROPERTY (COMPENSATION) (AMENDMENT) BILL, 1926—FIFTH STAGE.
ESTIMATES—VOTE NO. 32 (GÁRDA SÍOCHÁNA).
RAILWAYS (EXISTING OFFICERS AND SERVANTS) BILL, 1926. - APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
WRITTEN ANSWER. - DUNGARVAN COMPENSATION CLAIM.
 Do chuaidh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar a 12 a clog.
Mr. MULVANY: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state why compensation has not yet been paid to John Kiernan, Tullaghanstown, Navan, Co. Meath,, whose house, furniture, out-offices, farming implements and machinery were burned by Irregulars on the 29th April, 1923; if he is aware that on an appeal the Judge made an award of £1,600 in January, 1926, and whether he will make the necessary inquiries into the case and if possible have this claim paid immediately.
MINISTER for FINANCE (Mr. Blythe): Payment cannot be made until the original decree and order on appeal have been received by the Department.
Mr. MULVANY: Is the Minister aware that this claim is only one of two cases in County Meath where an appeal has been made, and that Kiernan has started to rebuild, but that through want of funds he has had to stop?
Mr. BLYTHE: The position, as I know it, is that in the first instance a decree for £1,800 was given by the Circuit Judge. We appealed and this was reduced to £1,605, but the applicant's solicitor has not yet lodged the decree and order with us, and until he does so we can do nothing.
Mr. MULVANY: Will the Minister take steps to see that this claim will be settled as soon as possible?
Mr. BLYTHE: As I have already told the Deputy, until the applicant's solicitor does his part of the work we can do nothing.
Mr. COLE: asked the Minister for Finance if he can state the net amount of revenue estimated to be produced by income tax on lands, Schedule B, in the year 1926/27.
Mr. BLYTHE: The estimated yield of income tax under Schedule B in 1926/7 is £140,000.
Mr. J. COSGRAVE (for Mr. A. Byrne): asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware (a) that on and after the 1st May an ad valorem duty of 16? per cent. will be imposed on wrapping and packing paper imported into Great Britain and Northern Ireland; (b) that prior to the introduction of his Budgets of 1925 and 1926 the Dublin paper manufacturers submitted a case to the Minister requesting protection for this industry, and pointing out in that which they submitted before this year's Budget was introduced that such a tariff would, as promised by the British Prime Minister, be imposed on imports of wrapping paper into Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and if he will state what steps, if any, it is proposed to take to protect the wrapping paper industry of the Saorstát from the disastrous effects which will accrue to this industry if such paper is allowed to continue to be imported free of duty, and whether the Minister, in refraining from according to this industry the protection which it deems necessary, consulted the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
Mr. BLYTHE: The reply to the first and second parts of the question is in the affirmative. The Saorstát paper manufacturers applied last year for the imposition of a 25 per cent. ad valorem tariff on all imported manufactured paper, and the application was renewed this year in respect of wrapping and packing paper. These applications were closely examined by the Department of Industry and Commerce, and several meetings of the Advisory Committees  in this and other industries affected were held. They were then considered by the Inter-Departmental Committee appointed in connection with the 1926-27 Finance Bill, but it was felt that the proposal could not be accepted for the reason that in the present circumstances a tariff on imported wrapping paper would increase the cost to the user and would affect adversely all business people.
Nothing can be done in the way of protecting the industry unless and until the question has been considered by the Tariff Commission to be established in accordance with the undertaking given in my Budget statement.
Mr. WALL: asked the Minister for Justice whether he is aware that Mr. William Coleman, Ballinaroone, Ballyduff, Co. Waterford, has been refused a permit to keep a gun which he requires for the protection of his crops, and if he is in a position to state the grounds on which the refusal is based.
MINISTER for JUSTICE (Mr. O'Higgins): A permit to keep a gun was refused to Mr. William Coleman. Ballinaroone, Ballyduff, Co. Waterford, because he was convicted at Lismore court on the 14th February last on a charge of being in illegal possession of arms, and because, generally, he does not appear to be a person to whom it would be desirable to issue a firearms certificate.
Mr. BOLGER: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state what steps, if any, the Department is taking to have the Firoda-Castlecomer colliery put in working condition, and whether the Department was approached by interested people in the district to give some assistance to the opening up of the collieries in that district, and with what result; also whether the Department was approached as to the sanction of a loan for the development of the Castlecomer-Doonane  colliery, and whether any steps have been taken to have this matter settled up so as to give relief to unemployment in the district in the immediate future.
MINISTER for INDUSTRY and COMMERCE (Mr. McGilligan): Representations have been received from the locality on the subject of the development of coal deposits in the Firoda-Castlecomer district. A preliminary inspection was made and it was then explained that I have no powers to put collieries into working conditions nor any funds for that purpose or for borings.
An application under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts has been recently received in regard to the Doonane Colliery and is at present under consideration. It will be necessary before a decision is reached to have an investigation made by an expert from my Department. This inspection will take place, it is hoped, next week on a date which will be communicated to the parties concerned.
Mr. COLE: asked the Minister for Defence if he can state the cause of the delay in awarding Peter J. Byrne, Toboy, Bawnboy, Co. Cavan, a military service pension.
MINISTER for DEFENCE (Mr. Hughes): Mr. Byrne's application for a certificate of military service in accordance with the terms of the Military Service Pensions Act, 1924, has been referred to the board of assessors constituted under the Act. The board has not yet reported to me in his case.
MAIRTIN O RODAIGH: asked the Minister for Defence if, and when, he proposes to have the burned military barracks in Sligo reconstructed.
Mr. HUGHES: I cannot state at present whether the military barracks at Sligo will be reconstructed but will communicate with the Deputy on the matter as soon as possible.
Mr. MULVANY: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state why the claim of William McNally, of Flower-hill, Navan, who was appointed to take stock at the Meath County Hospital for the period ending 30th September, 1924, for the sum of ten pounds, has not been paid.
MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT and PUBLIC HEALTH (Mr. Burke): The Meath County Board of Health declined to make this payment as the stocktaker did not carry out his duties satisfactorily or in accordance with the County Boards of Health Accounts Order, 1924.
Mr. MULVANY: Has this man done a certain amount of work—the major portion—and is he not entitled to payment for what he has done?
Mr. BURKE: I believe his work has been unsatisfactory, and therefore there is no reason why he should be paid for the work.
Mr. MULVANY: Has the man not done a certain amount of the work to the best of his ability? I believe, from what I have been told, that McNally carried out his duties, but that through some reason he has not been paid for the work he has done. Was the man incapable?
Mr. A. BYRNE: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if his attention has been called to the statement of the Medical Officer of Health for Dublin City in reference to the importation of shaving brushes from Czecho-Slovakia affected with anthrax germs; whether anything has been done to trace such brushes, and, if so, with what result; and, further, whether there are powers existing under the Public Health Acts to deal with the situation created by the importation of said brushes, and, if so, what steps his Department has taken in the matter.
Mr. BURKE: Portions of a consignment of foreign shaving brushes, among which the infection of anthrax was detected in Glasgow, were purchased in December and January last by two firms in Dublin. The Medical Officer for Dublin succeeded in securing the surrender of the suspected brushes from one of these firms. The other firm had given up business, and is believed to have removed to England. Incidents of this nature are of rare occurrence, and the existing sanitary organisation, with the co-operation of traders concerned, has proved adequate for the protection of the public. Should it be found that the interests of public health are endangered, the Public Health Acts contain authority for applying specific safeguards.
Mr. NALLY: asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if he will state the cause of the delay in dividing the farms known as Mount Pleasant and Parks, near Ballyglass, Co. Mayo, which was promised to the small farmers in that neighbourhood last November by inspectors of the Land Commission.
MINISTER for LANDS and AGRICULTURE (Mr. Hogan): The Land Commission have instituted proceedings for the acquisition of the lands referred to under Section 24 (3) of the Land Act, 1923. The owners have exercised their rights, under Section 24 (4) (b) of the Act, and have required the Land Commission to provide them with alternative holdings. The matter is at present the subject of negotiations between the owners and the Land Commission.
SEAMUS MAC COSGAIR: asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture whether he is aware that only three hundred acres of the Tulira Estate, Co. Galway, have been vested in the Land Commission, and that the remaining eight hundred and ten acres are now being offered in lots for sale by public  auction, that there are seventy small holders with valuations ranging from £5 to £15 adjoining the estate and many landless men in the district, and whether, in view of these facts, it is proposed to acquire the remainder of the estate, which, it is stated, was originally offered to the Land Commission.
Mr. HOGAN: The Land Commission have taken proceedings for the acquisition of 325 acres of the lands of Tulira on the estate of Representatives of Edward Martyn, but these lands have not yet been vested in them.
Mr. COSGRAVE: Is it the intention of the Commission to take over the other portion of the property?
Mr. HOGAN: Proceedings are being taken to acquire the balance.
Mr. NALLY: asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if he is aware that acute congestion exists on the Kilmain Estate, Manulla, Co. Mayo, and if he will state the cause of the delay in dividing the farm of five hundred and fifty acres taken by the Land Commission from Mrs. Cannon, Knockmore, Manulla, Castlebar, over two years ago for the relief of congestion.
Mr. HOGAN: The Land Commission anticipate that the lands of Knockmore Eighter and Knockmore Oughter, acquired by them on the estate of Mrs. Bridget Cannon, comprising 555 acres or thereabouts, will be divided at an early date.
I may say that the lands were only acquired by the Land Commission within, I think, the last year, and I also think that they are divided at present.
Mr. NALLY: asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if he is aware that acute congestion exists in the townlands of Meelickmore, Meelickbeg, Carntulla, and Ballykinave, on the Bowen Estate, Claremorris, Co. Mayo; that there are over fifty tenants in  those townlands whose valuations are under £5, and if he will state what steps, if any, are being taken by the Land Commission to acquire the large untenanted grazing ranch containing about four hundred acres held by Mr. Martin Curran in the townland of Ballykinave, for the purpose of providing economic holdings to relieve the acute congestion existing in those townlands.
Mr. HOGAN: The Land Commission have had the lands of Ballykinave inspected and the question of their acquisition under the provisions of the Land Act, 1923, is under consideration. These lands are subject to a land purchase annuity.
Mr. CONLAN: asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if he will make inquiry as to the reasons why Mr. James Doyle, the tenant of a holding on the Archibald Estate at St. John's, Castledermot, Co. Kildare, has been excluded from the benefit of the Land Act, 1923, whilst five other tenants of adjoining parcels of land held under similar conditions have been admitted thereto.
Mr. HOGAN: In the schedule of particulars lodged by the owner under the Land Act, 1923, James Doyle has not been returned as a tenant of a holding to which the Act applies. The estate has not yet been reached in its turn to be dealt with and the Land Commission have at present no information as to the reason for the non-inclusion of the lands by the owner.
Mr. CONLAN: If I give the Minister some further information on the point as to Mr. Doyle being a tenant, will he look into it?
Mr. HOGAN: The usual procedure for the Land Commission in cases of this kind is to communicate with the solicitor for the owner and point out to him that it has been stated that a tenant's name has been omitted. If the owner then continues to omit the tenant and the lands are scheduled and published without the name appearing,  it is open to the tenant to apply to the Land Judge to have him declared a tenant.
Mr. THOMAS BOLGER: asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture whether the Land Commission is yet in a position to issue separate Receivable Orders for the allottees of the lands of Mr. W. Copley, Croghtenclogh, Co. Kilkenny, applied for in June, 1925, and whether the Land Commission is now satisfied that the society which initiated the purchase of said lands is defunct for over three years.
Mr. HOGAN: The lands held by the Coolbawn Co-operative Farming Society, Limited, have been vested in the Land Commission under Part III of the Land Act, 1923, and, from the date of vesting, the Society is deemed under the provisions of the Act, to have entered into a subsequent purchase agreement for the purchase of the lands from the Land Commission. Section 54 provides that the annual sum fixed is payable by the Society as a whole and the Land Commission has no authority to issue receivable orders to the individual members of the Society pending division. The Land Commission is not aware that the Society has ceased to function.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Under Private Deputies Business there is the Shop Hours (Drapery Trades, Dublin and Districts) (Amendment) Bill, 1925, without amendments. That could be dealt with now.
Dr. HENNESSY: I move that the Order be discharged.
Order discharged. Bill ordered to be withdrawn.
The PRESIDENT: I give notice that I will move on Tuesday that until further ordered the Order Paper on Wednesday be confined to questions and Ministerial business throughout the entire sittings, and that on Fridays no questions, other than Private Notice Questions, be taken. That is in accordance with the practice we adopted last year, and which, I think, was generally regarded as satisfactory.
Mr. JOHNSON: Is it not early in the Session to make such a proposition? The President has assured us that there is no very long list of legislative proposals to put before us, and that the session will mainly be financial. If it is now intended to take Wednesdays for the whole of the session, I think it is asking rather too much. I think it is unnecessary. I would certainly ask the President not to press that until he finds later in the year that the public business requires it.
The PRESIDENT: I will agree to postpone it for a week, but I think there was no hardship last year on account of it, and it was simply a question of accommodation.
Mr. JOHNSON: It still may be a question of accommodation. If there  is no Private Members' business, inevitably and naturally Ministerial business will be taken, but by passing such a resolution now, we would in effect be barring any Private Members' business.
The PRESIDENT: Private Members' business takes up an hour and a half. When we have sittings to half-past ten at most it means that private members' business would be taken from 9 to 10.30. With the ordinary adjournment for tea, the actual amount of time for public business is very much curtailed, and simply to take the Estimates for one hour I thought was regarded as unsatisfactory, and I thought that it would be better to continue the period that was fixed for the consideration of that business. However, I am prepared, if Deputy Johnson wishes, to see the Committee on Procedure and Privileges in connection with the matter.
Mr. JOHNSON: I think it would be better to have some understanding of what is intended. I think that would be the better procedure.
The PRESIDENT: Very good.
The PRESIDENT: I move that the Bill do now pass.
Question put and declared carried.
The Dáil went into Committee on Finance.
MINISTER for FINANCE (Mr. Blythe): I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £1,008,974 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íochta an mhuirrir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1927, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí an Ghárda Síochána (Acht Có-nasctha na bhFórsaí Póilíneachta, (1925).
 That a sum not exceeding £1,008,974 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1927; for the Salaries and Expenses of the Gárda Síochána (Police Forces Amalgamation Act, 1925.)
MINISTER for JUSTICE (Mr. O'Higgins): The Estimate for this Vote shows a net increase of £53,098 on that of last year. The increases will be found under the following sub-heads:
|A.—Salaries, Wages and Pay||£45,541|
|E.—Clothing and Equipment||4,333|
|N.—Telegrams and Telephones||4,290|
The decreases will be found under the following sub-heads:
|F.—Barrack Bedding and Bedsteads||122|
|I.—Fuel, Light and Water||1,900|
|M.—Escort and conveyance of children to industrial schools and places of detention||419|
The reduction in the Dublin police rate from 8d to 7d. causes a loss of £6,818 in receipts appropriated in aid of the Vote. Deducting that £6,818 from the net increase, £53,098, which I have given, the real increase in expenditure is shown at £46,280. That increase is almost entirely due to automatic increments. The total strength, authorised by the Executive Council, of the Gárda Síochána is 7,222. Included in that figure there is a detective branch, the authorised strength of which is 241 members. 1,155 members of the uniformed branch are allocated for duty in the Dublin Metropolitan Division and 5,516 are provided for allocation to 850 stations outside the Dublin Metropolitan Division. The  distribution would be, therefore, as follows:—In the metropolitan division, exclusive of the detective branch, you have one chief superintendent, 6 superintendents, 20 inspectors, 44 station sergeants, 129 sergeants, and 955 guards, a total of 1,155. Functioning in the metropolitan division you have the following for the detective branch: one chief superintendent, 3 superintendents, 6 inspectors, 39 sergeants, and 192 guards, a total of 241. Moving outside the metropolitan division you have in 850 stations outside Dublin, exclusive of the detective branch, 20 chief superintendents, 106 superintendents, 27 inspectors, 1,099 sergeants, 4,264 guards, a total of 5,516. In headquarters depôt and reserve you have 4 chief superintendents, 18 superintendents, 2 inspectors, 40 sergeants and 240 guards, a total of 304. Adding to that 6 senior headquarters officers, Deputies will find the total comes to the authorised strength of 7,222.
The scheme of distribution of the Gárdaí provides for the establishment of 850 stations outside Dublin as well as 20 permanent and 4 or 5 temporary stations for units of the detective branch. Of those stations 861 are now occupied and the actual strength of the force on the 1st of the current month was: One commissioner, 2 deputy commissioners, 2 assistant commissioners, a surgeon, 24 chief superintendents, 133 superintendents, 52 inspectors, 42 station sergeants, 1,198 sergeants, and 5,715 guards, making a total of 7,170. This month 52 vacancies are being filled and that will bring the total up to the figure authorised by the Executive Council.
The number of men allocated to the metropolitan division is 30 or 40 less than the average strength of the Dublin Metropolitan Police for several years prior to the European War. The extent to which it has been found possible to reduce the police strength of Dublin and other large towns has been limited of necessity by the fact that considerably increased demands are made on men for traffic duty. In Dublin alone more than 70 men are wholly occupied on traffic duty as compared with about 20 in  pre-war days. The present authorised strength of stations outside the cities of Dublin, Cork and Limerick is 5,250 as compared with the corresponding R.I.C. strength of about 7,000.
The number of stations authorised outside the cities of Dublin, Cork and Limerick is 836 as compared with 1,110 R.I.C. stations on the 1st January, 1914. Below those figures it does not seem possible to go so long as the Gárdaí are required to perform the many duties now allotted to them. The normal strength of a country station is one sergeant and 4 men.
In addition to ordinary police duties members of the Gárda are required to perform numerous duties for various Government Departments. I will mention some. Their duties include the laying down and collection of census forms, the collection of agricultural statistics, acting as ex-officio inspectors of weights and measures, acting as inspectors under the Food and Drugs Act, acting as enumerators of emigrants, Customs duties in regard to the prevention of smuggling—of which I will have a word to say presently— Excise duties in regard to the prevention and detection of illicit distillation, and, generally, making inquiries of various kinds for Departments. I might add that under the School Attendance Bill, which is at present before the Seanad, further duties will devolve on the Gárda acting for the Department of Education.
It is important to note that of the Gárdaí allocated to the stations situated along the border, 100 are required solely for the prevention and detection of smuggling. They have been allocated to that duty at the request of the Revenue Commissioners, who form portion of the Department of Finance.
The answer to the criticism of the strength of some of the Northern Gárdaí stations as compared with the former R.I.C. strength in the same places lies in the fact that 100 men are performing Customs duty, and Customs duty only. The cost of these 100 men might very well be placed on the Revenue Vote. In connection with the Shannon scheme, and the work that is proceeding at Ardnacrusha, fifty extra men are required in stations adjoining  Limerick for the policing and protection of that area. That gives a total of 150 men acting on very special duty as apart from the ordinary work of a police force.
I have some comparisons here, and Deputies who are interested in the question of police strength and who propose to raise points arising under that sub-head may, perhaps, wish to take a note of them. I am giving comparisons of strength with the R.I.C. exclusive of the six North-eastern counties, on the 1st January, 1914. I will go down through the ranks and give the figures. Our chief superintendent corresponds fairly closely with the county inspector of the R.I.C., and the figures are 25 chief superintendents as against 30 county inspectors. Our superintendent corresponds broadly with the district inspector of the past. We have 126 superintendents as against 163 district inspectors. Our inspector seems to correspond with the head-constable, and the figures there are 31 inspectors against 179 head-constables.
Major COOPER: Has the Minister not left out another figure—24 inspectors?
Mr. BAXTER: He gave us 62 inspectors first.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I am comparing the Gárdaí outside the metropolitan division with the R.I.C. on the 1st January, 1914.
Major COOPER: There are more inspectors mentioned in the Estimates than the Minister has mentioned. Are there 24 inspectors in the metropolitan division?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Yes, 24 inspectors. Our Sergeants outside the metropolitan division number 1,167. The sergeants and acting-sergeants of the R.I.C. on 1st January, 1914, numbered 1,587. Finally, coming to the rank of Gárda, we have a figure of 4,656, and the corresponding figure for constables in the R.I.C. was 5,893. The total, therefore, exclusive of senior headquarters officers, was 6,005, and the total in the R.I.C., exclusive of senior headquarters officers, was 7,852.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: The figures given by the Minister as to Gárdaí outside the metropolitan area were 5,516. These figures do not coincide with 6,005.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I mentioned 5,715 as the total strength of the Gárda, taking it as a whole.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: You have given the figures outside the metropolitan area at 5,516. That would represent the Gárdaí outside the metropolitan area.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: We will clear that matter up; it is important.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Perhaps the Minister omitted the detective branch,. which were included in the last figure.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: 5,516 members were provided for allocation outside the metropolitan division, and here I have given him this table—it is not a question of the detective branch—I have given the figure 5,516 which I gave previously as officers and men. The figures that I have given now in this comparative table applies to Guards only, that is 4,656. Has the Deputy got that?
Mr. HEFFERNAN: The figures I have were the totals given in the earlier statement of Guards outside the metropolitan area, making 5,516, and made up as follows in the various ranks, 20 106, 27, 1,099, and 4,264. I think these figures ought to coincide with the figures now given, but the total and the several figures are quite different.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Twenty chief superintendents, 106 superintendents, 27 inspectors, no station sergeants 1,089 sergeants, 4,264 guards, making a total figure of 5,516 officers and men.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: The later figures are officers and men also.
Mr. BAXTER: The figures of 6,005 are also officers and men.
Mr. WILSON: There were 25 chief superintendents, as against 20 in the original table.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: In the previous table I read to Deputies I gave the detective branch as separate.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: That is the point.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The detective branch are included in this comparative table I am giving now. I had got to the total exclusive of the senior headquarters officers of 6,005 on the one hand, and 7,852 on the other, and I am moving on now to the consideration of the senior headquarter officers. I have one commissioner, two deputy commissioners, two assistant commissioners, and one surgeon, that is six. In the R.I.C. there was an inspector-general, a deputy inspector-general, two assistant inspector-generals, one commandant at Dêpot, one barrack master, and one surgeon; that is 7. That is 6,011 as against 7,859. If you concede the point I made just now as to the Border, and the Shannon, you may deduct from that 6,011 150 men, and the real comparable figure would be 5,861 as against 7,859.
Mr. HEWAT: Are things of that sort ever comparable?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Now I come to give certain comparisons with other police forces per head of the population. I find that the authorised strength of the amalgamated force of the entire Gárda Síochána of 7,222, you have 23 per ten-thousand of population and the R.U.C., excluding the Specials, have an authorised strength of 2,989.
Mr. BAXTER: There is no comparison there, surely?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: That also comes to 23 per ten thousand of the population.
Mr. WILSON: Is that by agreement?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Excluding the Dublin Metropolitan Division, the strength of the Gárda—that is outside the metropolitan division—the relation to population is approximately 22 per ten thousand of the population. The R.I.C. strength was about 28 per ten thousand of the population. The strength of the Gárda in Dublin is about 26 per ten thousand of the population. The London Metropolitan Police is 26 per ten thousand of the population; Manchester, 21; Liverpool, 28. Now as to the cost. The cost of  the Gárda Síochána works out at about 10/- per unit of population.
Mr. JOHNSON: Is the Minister able to give us comparative figures of rural or village areas in England with the rural areas in the Free State?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: They are smaller in England.
Mr. JOHNSON: I should think so.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The English boroughs total to about 15 per ten thousand of the population, and the cost works out at about 10/- per unit.
Mr. JOHNSON: Could the Minister give the figures for the villages and small towns as distinct from boroughs?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: No, I have not any examples of the village areas. In the districts I have mentioned it works out at about 10/- per unit of the population. The cost of the R.U.C. seems to be about 12/6 per unit of the population, and the Specials would add a further 2/6.
Mr. DAVIN: But they are to be compared with the Army here.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: There is a very substantial British garrison in the North area. The Deputy should think twice and speak once.
Mr. DAVIN: I thought you were ignoring the police work done by the Army.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: May I ask the Minister——
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: If the Minister is to give a very elaborate set of figures the argument on these figures will have to be postponed. Questions with regard to the figures themselves may be asked, but the argument on the figures would have to be postponed.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I do not want to argue the figures. I ask the Minister can he give any figures—I think Deputy Johnson asked the same question—as to the total police force as compared with Scotland and England.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: No, I could not. Now sub-head B shows an increase of  £3,908, mainly as a result of the gradual increase in the number of married members of the force entitled to rent allowances when not provided with official quarters. The rate of rent allowances paid to sergeants and Gárdaí vary from £13 in rural areas to £30 in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Transporting allowance at the rate of 30/- per month is provided for 55 men this year, as against 38 last year. The increase is due to the fact that this allowance is now payable to each of the drivers of the Ford cars allotted to the detective units in the country.
Each unit of the detective branch has a Ford car. Sub-head C shows an increase of £1,425. The allowance is payable to men who are necessarily absent on duty from their stations for more than eight hours. It is not payable to officers unless their absence exceeds ten hours. Sub-head D shows a decrease of £2,704. This sub-head includes £1,500 to cover allowances to officers and inspectors for use of their private motors on official duty. Until the 1st March last a flat rate allowance was paid to superintendents and chief superintendents to cover all expenses of locomotion within their respective districts and divisions. The allowances were at the rate of £120 for district officers, and £160 for divisional officers. A divisional officer is, of course, the chief superintendent and he has charge of the entire area. This method of payment of locomotion expenses proved very unsatisfactory and many officers complained that they lost money heavily. Mileage rates of locomotion allowance have been substituted for the flat rate. These rates are varied from time to time. At present they are, for motor cars under seven, or under ten horse-power, 5d. per mile; and for motor cars, ten horse-power and over, 6d. per mile. Passing to sub-head E, it shows an increase of £4,333, attributable to the fact that the triennial issue of tunics falls to be made this year in the Dublin Metropolitan Division. The initial clothing issue made to recruits posted to the Dublin division is somewhat heavier than in the case of other recruits. That is, in fact, compensated  for by longer periods between the issues in that division. I was struck first by the difference between the initial cost of equipment in the metropolitan division and in the initial cost of equipment of the Gárdaí who go on duty elsewhere. On analysis, we found that the difference, while considerable, is compensated for by longer periods between the issue in the metropolitan division than in the remainder of the force. I have a table which shows the initial and subsequent annual issues of tunics, frocks, and great coats. It is set out in three columns. Column A shows the position with regard to the recruits to the Gárdaí outside Dublin. B deals with recruits for the Gárdaí in the Dublin Metropolitan Division. C deals with the position as it was for recruits for the R.I.C. If Deputies will note that, I can go through the table which, perhaps, will be instructive for those who want to raise points bearing on this question of equipment.
Major COOPER: Can the Minister say the year he has taken for the R.I.C.?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The year 1914. When I am dealing with the R.I.C., unless I state to the contrary, I am dealing with the year 1914. Taking A, the Gárdaí outside the Dublin metropolitan area, he receives in 1926, two frocks; one in 1927, one in 1928, one in 1929, and so on over a period of nine years, during which he will receive ten. He will receive in 1926, two trousers; two in 1927, two in 1928, one in 1929, two in 1930, two in 1931, two in 1932, two in 1933, and two in 1934, or 16 over a nine-year period. He will receive one breeches in 1926, one in 1929, one in 1932; three over a nine-year period. He will receive one great coat in 1926, one in 1930, one in 1934; three in a nine-year period.
Mr. HEWAT: What would happen if a dog took a piece out of one of them?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The dog would be shot. The recruit for the metropolitan division would receive two tunics in 1926, one in 1929, one in 1932. He receives two frocks in 1926, one in 1929,  and one in 1932. Taking the two together, they get eight over nine years' period. The Guard recruit inside Dublin gets two cloth trousers in 1926 and one serge trousers. He gets one cloth trousers every year over the period and six serge trousers. That is, he gets sixteen trousers over a nine-year period.
Mr. HEWAT: I hope the Minister is not exaggerating our thirst for information.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: It is better that Deputies would have this information rather than simply be talking at random or in a vague way about things being excessive. If we are to discuss whether or not they are excessive, we had better know what they are. The Gárdaí recruit outside the metropolitan division, gets two great-coats in 1926, one in 1929, one in 1932, or four great-coats over the period. The figures show that he gets eight tunics, sixteen trousers, four great-coats over a nine-year period. Over a nine-year period the R.I.C. recruit received sixteen frocks. twenty trousers, and four great-coats. Summarising the total, you have in Column A ten frocks, sixteen trousers, three breeches, three great-coats for the Gárdaí outside Dublin. The Gárdaí inside Dublin get eight tunics, sixteen trousers, four great-coats.
Mr. WILSON: What about the boots?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I will deal with that presently. At the present contract rates the average annual cost for each sergeant and gárda works out at less than £3 10s. for the outfit of frocks, trousers, breeches, great-coats, waterproof coats, caps, and in the Dublin Metropolitan Division, tunics, helmets and leather belts. As we have seen, these are not yearly issues. For the year 1913-14, the cost of equipping the R.I.C. stationed in the twenty-six counties, together with the cost of equipping the Dublin Metropolitan Police, amounted to more than £33,000. Our estimate this year for the amalgamated force is £26,870, as against the 1914 figure for the R.I.C. and D.M.P. together of £33,000.
Mr. GOOD: How much was that per head in the R.I.C., as against the £3 10s. here?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I have not the figure at the moment, but I shall probably have it by the time I am speaking again. These are the total figures. Our estimate for 1926 is £26,870. The estimate for the R.I.C. was £33,000 in 1914. We are, therefore, about 18 per cent. below the corresponding pre-war figure, and, when allowance is made for the change in the purchasing power of money, it will be seen that our equipment of the police is much more economical than the expenditure on police equipment in 1924.
Mr. BAXTER: Did the Minister say 18 per cent. lower than 1914?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Lower than the corresponding pre-war figure.
Mr. BAXTER: It is 18 per cent. on the total. The figures are not comparable unless you give the average per Gárda.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I explained to Deputy Good that I have not that figure. I have only the totals. The totals are £26,000 and £33,000. If the Deputy is determined to growl, I recognise that he will growl.
Mr. BAXTER: No. I want to be clear.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: On sub-head F there is a decrease of £123. That sum is intended to cover cost of renewal of stock and replacing worn-out blankets and pillow-slips. Sub-head H, “Transport,” shows a decrease of £4,936. The reduction shows £1,276 in the cost of maintenance and running expenses of motor transport at the Depot, and in the Dublin metropolitan area. Provision is added for £1,340, being the estimated cost of maintenance and running expenses of 25 Ford cars for the units in the detective branch outside Dublin. That figure is based on current expenditure, but the provision for cost of repairs will be getting heavier when the cars are longer in use. The sub-head includes £1,500 to enable advances to be made to district and divisional officers for the  purchase of cars for use on duty. The usual amount advanced is £130 to a superintendent, and £200 to a chief superintendent. Interest is not charged if the amount is repaid within twelve months. The particulars of Gárdaí transport are as follows: there are five touring cars, seven Ford cars, one Ford truck, one Leyland lorry, three Crossley tenders at headquarters and the depot. In the Dublin Metropolitan Division, including the detective branch, there are two Crossley tenders, one Ford truck, three Ford cars, one Morris-Cowley, a prison van, and, outside Dublin, twenty-five Ford cars used by the detective branch. A unit of the detective branch, let it be understood, functions throughout the division. There is one detective unit in each division, and there are some twenty divisions. Sub-head I shows a decrease of £1,900. Fuel and light allowances are paid to stations outside Dublin at fixed monthly rates, the rates for summer and winter being different. The summer months are from May to October. For small stations the allowance in summer is 11/-, and in a large station 12/-. That is for the day-room. In the winter months the allowance to small stations is 28/- and to large stations 30/-. Sub-head N shows an increase of £4,290. The Post Office is proceeding steadily with the installation of telephones to stations wherever the service is available. Consequently that sub-head is growing, and will, I hope, continue to grow. Its increase means that the Postmaster-General is linking us up more by means of the telephone service. It is really a very important matter that a particular Gárda station should have ready access to the chief superintendent over the telephone. At present telephones are installed in 334 Gárdaí stations outside Dublin. The other sub-heads, I think, in the absence of comment by Deputies, call for no special observation from me. In sub-head Q, appropriation-in-aid, I have already mentioned there is a reduction in the Dublin police rate from 8d. to 7d., and that it amounts approximately to £6,618, and a corresponding increase in the net total estimate. That process will go on because we have agreed here under an Act of  the Oireachtas that the Dublin police rate is to disappear over a period of eight years, diminishing by 1d. per annum.
Deputy Wilson asked me to say something on the subject of the boot allowance. A boot allowance has always been paid to members of the various police forces in this country and in Great Britain. In 1914, the boot allowance paid to the members of the R.I.C. was at the rate of 6d. per week. It was increased on the recommendation of the Desborough Commission to 1/6 in 1919. It has since been reduced to 1/- per week in England and Scotland. No reduction has been made in Northern Ireland or in the Free State. The new allowance order for the Gárda retains 1/6 per week as the rate of the boot allowance. That is simply the position. The rate stands at that recommended by the Desborough Commission in 1919.
I think I am able to answer now regarding the cost per head under the heading of “equipment.” I pointed out that our total figure was £26,870, and that the total figure for the R.I.C. and D.M.P., in 1914, was £33,000. Looking at the Estimate for the R.I.C. for 1914-1915, which was prepared in the spring of 1914, I find that provision was made for the entire country for 10,536 men, other than officers. The provision for clothing was £40,260—an average of £3 17s. 0d. per head. Our figure works out at something less than £3 10s. 0d. per head. That is as near as I can go to giving the Deputies a per-head comparison. They will remember that there has been a considerable change in the purchasing power of money between 1914 and 1926.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Could the Minister give us comparative figures with regard to the individual or total wages paid to the R.I.C. in 1914 and the wages paid to the Gárda now?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The Deputy, I take it, does not want the figures just now?
Major COOPER: While Deputy Heffernan is digesting the information he has received and before he moves his amendment, I want to put a couple of general questions on the Vote, mainly with regard to the City and  County of Dublin. The Minister has gone in great detail into the question of cost, but I think the Dáil would have liked to hear a little more on questions of policy. I think this is an opportune time for him to deal with the policy of his Department in connection with certain matters.
The first point I want to bring to his notice is in connection with the taxicabs which ply for hire in the city of Dublin, and which are controlled and licensed, I think, by the Gárda. I only refer to the taxicabs that ply for hire in the streets. I do not refer to the taxicabs that are sent out from private garages. I want to know how these are licensed, how often they are inspected for efficiency and what tests the driver is required to pass? There are, I think, a certain number of taxicabs which are not conspicuously efficient. I took a taxicab once for a short journey and I found that I could have gone more quickly if I had walked, because the driver took such a long time to crank up his car. In certain places—London, for instance—taxicabs are inspected once every three months. I should like to know how often they are inspected here? Next, I come to deal with the drivers' knowledge of the city. Some of the drivers seem to have very little knowledge of any except the most obvious places, such as College Green and the Shelbourne Hotel. I told a driver once to drive me to Leinster House and he brought me to the College of Physicians. I met another driver who did not know where Government Buildings was.
Mr. WILSON: He must not have been a Cork man.
Major COOPER: Deputy Wilson anticipated my comment. I think that state of affairs is rather discreditable. In the eyes of a stranger it would appear discreditable that people plying for hire in the city did not know the principal Government offices. That is a matter which should be looked into by the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner.
From taxicabs I turn naturally to the question of traffic. We have no traffic problem as compared with other great cities. We have nothing to compare  with Paris or London. But we are gradually beginning to have a traffic problem. I think that is due to two things. The first is that on the south side of the city there is a bottleneck formed between Nassau Street, Grafton Street and College Green, and practically three-fourths of the traffic goes through that bottleneck. It is not very wide and the trams take up a good deal of the space. A good deal of unnecessary traffic passes through that bottleneck that could go through other routes like Westland Row and D'Olier Street. I think something should be done by the police to impress on drivers the desirability of avoiding that congested area as much as possible. They might make representations, too, to the Tramway Company to take a certain number of their trams off that line and send them round by Westland Row instead.
Another problem of the Dublin streets is begging. I remember the time when there were an enormous number of beggars on the streets, ostensibly selling flowers or something like that but in reality begging. A few years ago the numbers shrank to very small proportions because, perhaps, the streets were not a healthy place at that time. But whether it is due to the aftermath of the comparative prosperity due to the European war, or some other cause, begging is becoming rather virulent again. I should like to know from the Minister if any police steps are taken to control beggars. There are a number of men now shaking boxes on the streets on behalf of the unemployed. If they really do represent the unemployed, I think they are perfectly justified in doing that, but I would like to know whether they have any permit from the Commissioner of Police or anybody else who is satisfied that the money goes to responsible sources and is not simply put in their own pockets. The public are sometimes generous and a man may be able to make more rattling a box than he would be by doing a day's work. I do not want to say anything that would seem unsympathetic with the unemployed. I merely take that as an instance. I think Deputies on the Labour Benches will agree with me  that money subscribed to the unemployed should go through a Trade Union or some other channel like that, but that it should not be permissible for anybody to label a box and go out and collect money. I should like to know what checks are imposed in that connection.
Now I come to the more pretentious form of begging. Is there any control in respect to flag days? Do collectors on flag days have to have a permit from the Commissioner, or the Deputy Commissioner, or is there any limitation imposed as regards the ages of the collectors? In London no child under 16 years of age is allowed to collect on the streets. In Dublin, I have seen children of not more than 10 years of age out with flags collecting. I put it to the Minister that that is very bad for the children. It is not a good thing for their health and it is a bad thing morally that they should be standing about the streets asking people for money. That is not a good habit to get children into. In many cases they do not look like the children of wealthy people. They collect largely for the fun of the thing and very largely on account of the object of the collection, but it is not a good habit to get children into to go out on the streets asking people for money. It may be all right for a young person over 17 or 18 but for young children it has a bad effect. I do not know if legislation is required to regulate this matter or what powers the Minister has, but if he has it in his power to prevent children engaging in this work I hope he will do so.
Mr. DAVIN: I want to raise two small points more or less in the hope that the Minister may take some action. The first is in regard to the speed and regulation of motor lorry and motor car traffic in the country as distinct from the action that is being taken by the metropolitan division of the Guards in and around the city of Dublin. I am not sure whether the Minister motors very much around the country, but I think it is quite fair to say that those who have any experience of motoring in country districts must  have noticed the lack of supervision of motor traffic and, generally speaking, the failure on the part of the authorities in the various districts to limit the speed of motor lorries and cars. There is certainly very close supervision in regard to these matters in and around the city of Dublin and I merely draw the attention of the Minister to this question in the hope that greater supervision may be exercised in future in the various districts throughout the country than is being exercised at present. I would like to know, as a matter of information, if any instructions have been issued to the Guards in the country, either through the Minister or by the Commissioner, in regard to this particular matter, and if there is any understanding between the Department of Justice and the Department of Local Government in respect to the supervision of motor traffic in country districts.
The other matter I wish to refer to is the question of attendance at political meetings of members of the Gárda Síochána in plain clothes. I know the Minister has taken steps in a Bill that has been passed through this House to prevent members of the Gárda from becoming members of political organisations. I think Deputies in every part of the House will agree that that is a very desirable thing, but quite recently I happened to be at a meeting which the Minister addressed in his own constituency. I am an elector in that area, and as I had the evening off I thought it would be a pleasure to listen to the Minister expounding his views to the people in the hall at Dún Laoghaire. I went to the meeting in company with some friends. I noticed—I know what I am talking about in this particular matter—that a considerable section of the audience, especially those standing around the side of the meeting hall, were C.I.D. men and local members of the Gárda Síochána. I think it is quite right and proper that at any political meeting in the city police in uniform should be present in order to keep order if they should be called upon, but I think it is a very undesirable thing that an audience at a political meeting should be composed of members of the  Gárda Síochána in plain clothes, and that these people during the progress of the meeting should interfere with the rights of any member of the audience who is an elector in the area and who wishes to put questions in a proper way to a Minister who may be seeking their votes in that particular area.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I suggest the Deputy was seeing double?
Mr. DAVIN: I do not know what the Minister means. I hope the Minister does not mean that in a personal way.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: When the Deputy says that a considerable proportion of the audience was composed of members of the police force, I am almost driven to conclude he was seeing double.
Mr. DAVIN: I know what I am talking about. I know all the local policemen in Dún Laoghaire.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: You are well known to the police.
Mr. DAVIN: Perhaps the Minister might be as well known to the police— the old police if you like—as I am. I do not know whether the Minister makes these insinuations in a personal way, but I can afford to ignore them. I think the Minister will agree that the question I am raising is a proper one, and if he is anxious and desires that the police should keep free from political associations, I think a political party meeting is not the place for policemen, especially in plain clothes. I would go further now that I am at it and say that when one member of the audience who stood about three seats away from where I was proceeded to ask questions—perhaps he did not go the right way about it— he was put out of the meeting by a captain of the Army who as far as I know is still on the active service list. He was there in plain clothes. On another occasion I happened to be chairman of a meeting in the same area, and I questioned some of the policemen about attending this meeting. I hope the Minister will not say that I was not within my right in  doing so. I was chairman and I noticed three policemen from that district who were known to me. I am six or seven years living in the area, and I know most of the people, including the police. These men were known to me to be policemen, and some days afterwards I questioned one man as to what he was present at the meeting for. I understood, not so directly from himself as from another policeman, that it was his duty to attend that meeting in plain clothes to take a note of the number present and to make a report direct to the Minister for Justice of the general feeling of the people who attended that meeting. I resent that.
I raise the matter in order to give the Minister an opportunity of stating whether these men attended this meeting in accordance with instructions from the Commissioner or from the local Superintendent or with the authority and sanction of the Minister himself. I am not raising any question with regard to the Guards in any disparaging way, because I believe—and I stated it here before—in an extension of the number of Guards in the country and a reduction in the number of the Army which has been doing police work which is very undesirable. I am one of those Deputies who have a great admiration, generally speaking, for the good conduct of the Guards and for the work that they have done so very well all over the country in the very trying circumstances in which they had to start and without any training practically speaking. I am not raising this matter to throw cold water on that work. I am raising it from my own personal experience and to give the Minister an opportunity of expressing his views. If he disapproves of actions of that kind—the attendance of policemen in plain clothes at political meetings—let him say so now so that it will not occur again.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: I listened with very much interest to the detailed and interesting statement made by the Minister. I think the statement he made was, on the whole, extremely satisfactory. I am rising to pay a  compliment to the Dublin Metropolitan Police. I can do it safely, because I have not to think of my constituents. I do say, so far as the D.M.P. are concerned, from my own personal experience of them, that they are an extremely civil and obliging force. As a person who has been driving a motor car through the streets of Dublin for the last fourteen years I can say that one of the greatest changes that has taken place—a change that is almost amazing—is the control of traffic. Up to two or three years ago there was, perhaps, a considerable amount of waving of hands that one did not understand, and that I do not think the constables, perhaps, themselves understood, but that has stopped now. It is amazing—I see it every day when I am driving through the centre of the city—to see how control is exercised by these men. They do it in the most efficient manner and in the nicest way. I am glad to have an opportunity of congratulating the Minister on their efficiency.
Mr. DAVIN: In case of any misunderstanding I might explain that I have to leave in a few minutes, and I hope the Minister, when he is replying, will not charge me with running away.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I would like if we could keep to the particular question raised—traffic and public meetings—and let them be dealt with together.
Mr. SEARS: I wish to raise the question of the right of public meeting in the city. Anyone reading the Press lately must have seen that the right of public meeting is at present seriously threatened in Dublin. I remember attending a meeting in the Mansion House twelve months ago called by a party advocating a certain cause. That meeting was deliberately shouted down by people who, apparently, had no great opinions of their own on the subject about which the meeting was called. The speakers were wantonly shouted down.
About a month ago a meeting was held in the Rotunda to which the public were invited by a Party who contend that they are starting a new  movement. A very disgraceful scene took place at that meeting. Speaker after speaker was shouted down without any reason. It did not appear that the interrupters represented any well-known organisation. The only Party against which I have seen charges brought in respect of that interruption was the Communist Party. I do not know how far that is true. At all events, I understand that that Party is allowed to hold meetings without interruption, but will not allow other people to hold meetings. The right of a Party to hold a public meeting and state its policy without interruption is a precious right which should not be trampled upon, as attempts have been made to do. I should like to ask the Minister if protection cannot be afforded to people who engage a hall, invite the public to attend a meeting, and who find it absolutely impossible to carry on the meeting owing to the wanton interruption of other people who could hold their own meeting elsewhere, or in that particular hall on another night. A man can invite friends to his house without fear of interruption. In the same way, a man should be able to engage a hall and invite his friends to come there without being liable to interruption. It may be said that meetings could be held for which tickets of admission could be issued, but people should be able to hold public meetings without having to issue tickets. The door should not be closed on those who are opposed to a new movement, but if opponents attend the meeting they should allow the exponents of the new policy to make their speeches. The right of persons to ask questions at a public meeting is much abused. A person should be entitled to ask a question in order to elicit further information regarding a speaker's policy, but if his object is purely interruption he should not be allowed to persist in his interruption. At the present time no Party can hold a meeting in a hall in the city and be sure that its policy can be explained without disgraceful interruptions.
Mr. MORRISSEY: I desire to raise one or two small points, not by way of complaint against the Gárda Síochána,  but in order to point out that I do not think it is desirable they should be called upon to do this particular kind of work. I refer to an eviction which was recently carried out by members of the Gárda Síochána.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I should like to have the public meeting question dealt with first, because it is really a question of general policy. Deputy Morrissey's point can be taken afterwards. The public meeting question, both from Deputy Davin's and Deputy Sears' angle, is important.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Would it not be better that the Minister should reply to the minor questions of policy before I come to deal with the major question of policy in moving my amendment for a big reduction in the Vote?
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That was my suggestion, that the Minister should reply now.
Mr. EVERETT: On the question of public meetings, my grievance is that a man in the uniform of the Gárda Síochána accused a Deputy of making a speech which was made by another person. Unlike some of the members on the Government benches, I am not blaming the reporters for any mistake that was made. What I complain of happened in connection with myself. After I had received an intimation from a certain employer to meet him, the Superintendent in question deliberately told that employer that I had made certain statements against him, although the statements in question were not made by me but by another speaker. I asked the Minister for Justice to have a public inquiry into the matter, and if he could get one witness from amongst at least a hundred people who attended the meeting to prove that I made the statement, as alleged by the Superintendent, I was prepared to withdraw. But the Minister failed to give me that inquiry, and as a result of the Superintendent's statement a strike was prolonged unnecessarily for a month. Up to the present the Minister has not granted that inquiry, and I challenge the Minister to get one person, outside the Gárda Síochána to prove that the statement made about  that employer was made by me. I admit the statement was made by another speaker, but not by a member of the Transport Union.
Mr. BAXTER: On the question of public meetings and suggested interference generally on political matters, we hear complaints now and again that members of the Gárda Síochána sometimes display their feelings at public meetings in the manner indicated by Deputy Davin and that if those holding the meetings do not exactly represent the Government's point of view there is a certain air, at least, of hostility that is sometimes translated into action. Complaints like these have been made to me, and I know they have some foundation. I know, further, that following the declaration of the result of a recent election, members of the Gárda Síochána let off rockets or other kinds of explosives, whether by way of jubilation or to convey a message as to the result, is not clear. Perhaps it might be as well to let these things pass, and say that the Gárda Síochána as a force are becoming more efficient. But I am in agreement with Deputy Davin that there is a necessity for tightening up in this matter.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The public meeting question is one, of course, that can be viewed from different angles. You have, for instance, the statement of Deputy Sears on the one hand and Deputy Davin's sensitiveness on the other to the presence of police at meetings of that kind.
Mr. DAVIN: I said in plain clothes on duty.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I admit that certain wholesale interruptions at meetings which have taken place in and around the city were scandalous and reflect very little credit on those who actively participated in the interruptions. Perhaps it might be said also that if there was a healthy and vigorous opinion against such interruptions they could scarcely take place or would probably not take place. It is a problem that is extremely difficult for police to deal with. A meeting is held in a hall and a wedge of people get into  it together at a considerable distance from the door. The police on duty at that meeting are faced with this: that always there is the question as to whether their ejection would not constitute even a greater disturbance at the meeting than the disturbance that is taking place. Police attend public meetings on duty—
Mr. DAVIN: In plain clothes.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Sometimes in plain clothes. I have not any apology to make for that whatever. The Deputy knows that the man in plain clothes is a fairly necessary adjunct to the police force. As to the particular meeting he speaks of, I think it is a gross exaggeration to say that any considerable proportion of the audience consisted of members of the police force on duty. Then there is the reference, which I do not quite understand, to some Army officer. There is no possibility of Army officers attending meetings. If it was an Army officer who led out the one interrupter, who was led out, he was certainly not in uniform.
Mr. DAVIN: That is right.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: He was there, presumably, as a member of the audience. He has a vote and, having a vote, I suppose he is entitled to seek a certain amount of illumination as to the best manner—
Mr. DAVIN: If he had a vote at all he would have it in the South City. I happen to know the individual.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I do not see that that is a very wise remark, because he has a vote at any rate and had a right to be at the meeting. When people are persistently unruly at a meeting, a member of the audience has a right to remonstrate and the audience at a meeting has the right to take steps in vindication of its own right to hear the speakers. The Deputy knows that at political meetings very often stewards are appointed by the chairman or by those responsible for the initiation of the meeting, and those stewards exercise the right of removing people who are unduly demonstrative.
Mr. DAVIN: My point is that the stewards should not be policemen in plain clothes.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Who did the stewarding? Who put out the only man who was put out?
Mr. DAVIN: Several men were put out.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: There was one man put out. Personally, I think he gave quite a considerable degree of provocation before that took place. By whom was he put out? Certainly not by the police. He was put out by a member of the audience on Deputy Davin's admission.
As to those scenes that have taken place at public meetings in the city, I have some experience of them myself. The one at Blackrock was very mild compared with another I attended shortly before that. They are very regrettable, and it simply means that if that kind of thing is to go on, the right of people to hear and decide political issues is gravely impaired. I cannot see that it will redound to the ultimate benefit of any Party to indulge in an organised campaign of that kind to prevent free speech and free hearing. The police can scarcely deal with that. When the thing gets to the point of a tumult, no doubt there is cause for police intervention, but the police can scarcely deal with that sustained organised interruption which takes place at meetings. But there would appear to be a necessity that those who organise and are responsible for public meetings here in the city should make very complete and adequate stewarding arrangements to vindicate their right to speak and be heard. The thing is a disgrace. It is a disgrace to those who participate in it and it is a disgrace—it is a strange thing perhaps that I should say it— to those who lie down too easily before it. I think people are entitled to take very drastic and very vigorous steps to put an end to that kind of thing.
On the question of the traffic in Dublin, I should say it is a growing problem and it is receiving a good deal of attention from the police. Suggestions come in from a great many  people, from motor drivers and others. Some of them are good and some less good. Deputy Cooper's suggestions can be considered in that connection.
Major COOPER: Amongst the less good?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: No, I did not pronounce on them. I am not an expert and I would not care to pronounce on them. But I should say that they can be considered. Suggestions and little hints that might improve the traffic arrangements come pouring in. All these can be considered by those who are competent to do it. With regard to the taxis, before a licence is issued to a taxi-driver he must produce a certificate as to good conduct and character, etc., from two reputable citizens who are also required to testify that in their opinion he is competent to drive. He must also produce a certificate of his knowledge of the mechanism and his capacity to drive a car from some qualified person; for instance, from the manager of a motor garage. Before the car is licensed an engineer's certificate as to the mechanism is required. Cars are inspected regularly as to their cleanliness and general condition by the regular carriage staff of the police. When I say regularly I mean they are inspected as they are found in the hazards from day to day—not a special formal inspection at the garage or anything like that. The brakes of the taxis are tested every two months. On the question of taxi-drivers' knowledge of the city, they are examined in fact as to their knowledge of the city. That being so, it is surprising that a Deputy could come on a taxi-driver who did not know where Leinster House or the Government Buildings were. But there is a suggestion that those examining them did not know either. I do not think that is the case. I do not think I have anything to add on the question of public meetings or on this question of traffic.
Mr. DAVIN: Would the Minister say whether he proposes to issue any instructions to the Gárdaí with regard to the speed of motor cars in the country?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: There is very close contact in that matter between my Department and the Department of Local Government, and I am sorry to hear if it is the case that there is any laxity with regard to the speed of motor cars in the country. Of course the whole thing is subject to this, that the Gárdaí cannot be everywhere. If there is speeding in and around a town in which there is a station with Gárdaí I will have the matter considered. I would be prepared to draw the Commissioner's special attention to any towns where it is felt that that exists, but you will have speeding on country roads where drivers do not expect to meet members of the Guard. It is just the kind of problem that is not easily dealt with.
Mr. DAVIN: The suggestion that I am making to the Minister is that wherever possible—I do not mean generally, because I know that would be impossible—traps should be laid to catch these people in the same way as we know they are laid in and around Dublin.
Mr. BAXTER: These people are never caught in the country at all. They seem to think that they can go at any speed they like. Some of those lorry drivers would put you across the ditch almost.
Mr. DAVIN: I think if the Minister will make inquiries he will find that this question of speeding on country roads is a matter of general complaint.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I am afraid I will have to consider getting an additional estimate for a few score stop-watches at that rate. We have not enough at present to carry on through the country the kind of police trapping that obtains here around Dublin.
Mr. GOOD: Before we incur any further expenditure we ought, I think, to see that the money is going to be wisely used. I do not think anyone will contend that if a motor speeds up on an open country road that injury is being done to anybody, except possibly to an occasional local dog. I agree that in the vicinity of towns and villages speeding up is most undesirable and should be stopped. On this question,  I desire to call attention again, as I did some time ago, to the size of the bodies on some of those lorries. Some days ago I was motoring on a road about 20 miles from Dublin when a lorry, with a very large body on it, came along. On the top of that body a whole structure of a small cottage of some kind was carried, portions of the cottage extending in parts to a distance of five and six feet outside the side of the lorry. When one considers the width of some of our small country roads it is obvious, I think, that some limitation ought to be placed on the size of the bodies of these lorries. If one were to meet a lorry of this kind on a number of our country roads it would be quite impossible to pass it. I do not know whether this is a matter for the Local Government Department or for the local authority, but at any rate it is right, I think, that the attention of the Department concerned should be called to it. If this is a matter that comes under the control of the Local Government Department, then I shall raise this question when the Estimates for that Department come up.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I have no specific power to deal with that matter. I noticed in the Press some time ago where a prosecution was taken by a man obstructed in that way. He succeeded with his prosecution, and, I think, got damages.
Mr. BAXTER: Is there not a regulation in existence requiring the owners of motor lorries to have a reflecting glass on the lorry to permit the driver to see traffic coming behind? The experience of most people in the country is that you have got to pull into the ditch to allow these lorries to pass, and if you happen to come behind one of them they keep you there for miles at a time and will not allow you to pass out. That is quite a common experience on the roads in our rural districts. I have no doubt whatever that if a few prosecutions were brought by the Gárdaí against people who offend in that way, good results would be achieved. The Gárdaí themselves have plenty of experience in this respect.
Mr. MULVANY: As an instance of what occurs on country roads I might mention that on 2nd March I travelled in a motor from my own home to the residence of a friend. On the way we overtook a lorry from Deputy Baxter's constituency. My son was driving the car. When we came up behind the lorry he sounded the horn. The driver of the lorry, a six-ton heavily-loaded vehicle, pulled over to allow us to pass. Just as our car got alongside the lorry, the driver of it pulled out on the road evidently with the desire to put us in the bushes. Fortunately my son had the presence of mind to stop the car and allow the lorry driver to proceed. The driver of the lorry kept us in a position behind, and would not allow us to pass. When I got into Dunshaughlin village I reported the matter to the Guards. The sergeant got the man's name and address, and the excuse that the driver of the lorry gave for his conduct on the occasion was that the lorry skidded. The evening was a perfectly dry one, and I fail to understand how a lorry could skid on a dry road. When I made the report, the sergeant asked me if I would prosecute or give evidence against the driver of the lorry. I unhesitatingly said that I would because I considered the driver's conduct blackguardly. The driver of the lorry, however, made the excuse that his car skidded, and I heard nothing more about it. As a result of that I made up my mind that no matter what happened in the future I would never bother reporting anything of the kind again.
Mr. GOREY: The manner in which the drivers of these motor lorries act cannot be over-stated. Not alone will they not allow you to pass out on the road, but it is positively dangerous to try and pass them. Blowing the horn of your motor car will not succeed in getting them to give you a clear road. You might keep blowing the horn until it was worn out and still they will not let you pass out. If you keep behind them until you reach a wide portion of the road, and then attempt to pass out you have to take a considerable risk by driving up on the bank of the road or on the footpath in order to get out. As they say in the country, you may  keep blowing your horn until further orders, but the result is the same. These people will not pull aside to let you out. The position is also extremely dangerous as regards children driving along the roads in traps. In order to avoid these lorries and to escape meeting with serious accidents, the children are obliged to drive along by the side of the fences. Otherwise these lorry drivers would bash into them. The position is really serious on narrow roads in the rural districts. There you find these lorry drivers acting in a manner that is a positive scandal. When they are remonstrated with, the usual excuse with them is that the roads are greasy, but even on the wide open roads they will not give you an opportunity to pass out. I have never reported them, though I have often been held up in the manner described by Deputy Mulvany. My feeling at times was to deal with them in some other way than by reporting them to the Guards.
Mr. SHAW: I can bear out the complaints that have been made about these lorries not getting out of the way, but I must say that it is the fault of the persons driving the other cars in not taking the remedy into their own hands and summoning the drivers of those lorries against whom they have complaints. In Mullingar the owner of a car summoned a person driving a lorry against whom he had a complaint. That driver was rather heavily fined, and it has had a very considerable effect. If any driver of a car has any serious complaint to make he should come along and summon the person against whom he has a grievance. It may be possible to enforce the use of mirrors so as to remove from lorry drivers the excuse that they do not see the other car coming. I would like to take this opportunity of mentioning an incident that occurred on a recent occasion in Mullingar. Forty-four members of the Railway Club in Mullingar were arrested about a fortnight ago on the alleged charge of playing an illegal game called House. I do not find any fault whatever with the Civic Guard authorities, because they are bound to carry out the existing law. These 44 persons arrested  were very respectable railway men, engine drivers and others, from various parts of the country. They were marched out of the club and down the town at about 10.30 at night, and were detained for at least an hour and a half in the police barracks. I suggest to the Minister that the law ought to be altered so that these people could be summoned instead of being arrested and treated like criminals.
Mr. LYONS: This question of motor lorries has been brought before the Minister for Local Government on several occasions by the county councils. On the question of speed the Minister on each occasion replied that the county councils have sufficient power to prosecute any person for driving a lorry at a speed over 12 miles. I quite agree that it is impossible for the Civic Guards to try and regulate the speed of motor lorries. You would want to have a Guard at every half mile of the road to do that. It is up to the people themselves. Members of a county council are spread over the county, and if they report the matter to the secretary of the county council prosecutions can take place. I had the experience, not in my own motor car, like other Deputies, but in a hired car, of following a lorry four miles of the road before I could get past.
Mr. MULVANY: Before you would be allowed to pass.
Mr. LYONS: Yes, but I certainly would try to compel the owners of lorries to have mirrors so that they could see the car behind them.
Mr. MULVANY: In the particular case I mentioned the driver of the lorry had a mirror.
Mr. LYONS: I do not know whether I would be in order in referring to the Guards or not?
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I think we decided to have two questions, one regarding traffic and one dealing with public meetings, and then take Deputy Heffernan's amendment, and on his amendment other questions could arise.
Mr. LYONS: I agree with Deputy  Shaw that it is disgraceful that 44 respectable workers should be marched down the streets of Mullingar and kept in the barracks for an hour and a half until the P.C., Miss Corcoran, was brought to the barracks. They were then allowed out on bail to come up for trial in the usual course. Surely it would have been sufficient for the Guards to take the names of these people, if the game was illegal, and not have such an exhibition made of them, and placing them in such an awkward position like a band of criminals. That is not the fault of the Guards but of the law they have to carry out. I agree with Deputy Shaw that the law should be amended so as to prevent a thing like that happening. In my opinion the Minister for Justice should introduce legislation dealing with this.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Yesterday evening we had this made absolutely clear—I do not know that Deputy Shaw and Deputy Lyons were here—that on the Estimates reforms which would necessitate legislation cannot be discussed, that is to say the Minister can be criticised for doing something or not doing something under the law, but an amendment of the law cannot be discussed, or a suggested alteration of the law. Deputy Lyons has suggested the introduction of legislation, and that is clearly out of order.
Mr. LYONS: I am not criticising the Minister.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Strange to say, my objection to Deputy Lyons is that he is not criticising the Minister and that is precisely where he is out of order.
Mr. LYONS: Is it the procedure of this House that when you speak you must criticise the Minister? On this occasion I only want the Civic Guards to get authority so that they can prosecute without going to the Co. Council.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I am afraid I cannot make a very elaborate reply. The matter does not seem to be one that lies entirely in my province. I do not think that it is wholly a police problem. It  struck me in the case that Deputy Mulvany quoted that it was preferably open to him to proceed by way of summons against the driver of the lorry for obstruction. I mentioned in an intervention just now that I have seen cases reported in the Press in which people in England successfully took such proceedings. One man, who claimed that he had been delayed for some important business appointment, got heavy damages because he had to drive for miles behind a heavy lorry of the kind which either did not hear or see him or else did not wish to let him pass. People would have to consider what their private rights in the matter are, and possibly take advice on the point. If I want to pass down a street, pathway, or public place of any kind and I am obstructed, my legal right to pass that way freely is infringed——
Mr. GOREY: What about O'Connell Street on a Sunday?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: —and I have a legal remedy against the person who obstructs me. The Guards, I think, would not initiate proceedings in a case such as Deputy Mulvany quoted unless they were entirely satisfied that a criminal act, as distinct from something that could be met by civil proceedings, had taken place. Apparently they were not entirely satisfied on that point, and, consequently, in the discretion of the local officer they would not initiate proceedings. Deputy Mulvany should have summoned his man before the district court for obstruction and have the issue thrashed out there. But the police will not, in all cases, simply go ahead and prosecute on behalf of a private individual. They will leave it a matter between party and party. I know that there is a great deal of substance in this charge that people have to drive for long distances behind large lorries. Sometimes that is so, whether the driver sees them or not; sometimes it is simply that the lorry is large and the road narrow, and that both parties have to wait until a wide part of the road is reached. But I know also that even on roads where two cars can pass, and pass conveniently, people are often delayed behind one of these heavy  lorries that may be going rather slow, perhaps at five, six or seven miles an hour. It is an extremely aggravating thing. Instructions have been issued to the Guards to see that the reflecting mirror, which shows what is going on behind, is carried by all these lorries.
The question as to the need for legislation to prevent the heavy and the large load which spreads out and obstructs more of the road than the lorry itself, is one that should certainly be considered. I think it will have to be realised, either by my Department or by some other, that this lorry development has created a number of small problems which, either individually or cumulatively, constitute a problem calling for legislation, simply from the point of view of the amenities of life: that steps will have to be taken to see that the rapid development of this lorry traffic does not impair the rights of those who have not equally heavy lorries with which to meet the enemy. But we will take to mind what has been said on this matter to-day. In so far as we can, within the law as it stands, we will endeavour to see that the public gets fair play, and the need for further legislation will have to be considered.
Mr. LYONS: Had the Minister nothing to say concerning the arrest of those 44 men in Mullingar?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: That is a different matter. I was confining myself to the lorries. I have no apologies to make for the arrest of those 44 men in Mullingar. The game of “House” is illegal, and seriously illegal. From all I have been able to hear about it it is not merely an illegal but a degrading game, and there is no reason whatever why it should be other than illegal. These people were caught at it and were brought in a body to the Guards' Station for the purpose of adequate identification so that a prosecution could take place. Men who were so terribly ashamed at being marched down the street will have to remember that they will be marched down the street by the Guards any and every time they are detected in a serious illegality of that nature.
Mr. LYONS: The Minister says that  these 44 men were ashamed to be marched down the street. Some of them were not ashamed to be marched down the street on other occasions in the interests of the country.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: A little of that goes a long way.
Mr. LYONS: I think it would be quite sufficient to take the names of such men, without making a public exhibition of them by marching them down the street in a body. The Guards in Mullingar know every one of these men; they have been associated with them, and they are all particular friends. The Guards in Mullingar are highly respected by every citizen there, and they knew these men as well as the men knew the Guards, so that it was not at all necessary to take this action; it would have been quite sufficient to take their names. I would ask the Minister not to have the same thing occur again in any part of the Saorstát, because it is degrading even to his own Department.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I move:—
“That the Vote be reduced by £400,000.”
In moving this amendment I wish, in the first place, to express a word of appreciation of the clear exposition of the Estimate which has been made by the Minister. His explanation made the Vote very clear in most respects, but there are one or two items of comparison which the Minister neglected and which would have given us a better perspective of the Gárda Síochána in comparison with other police forces. The Minister gave us figures with regard to the number of police per 10,000 of the population in different towns in England, and he gave us a comparison with Northern Ireland. But he did not give us comparisons with complete countries—for instance, Scotland. If he had done so he would have shown that the number of police in the Saorstát is considerably in excess of the number in England or Scotland, compared with the population in the different countries. I understand that there is one policeman for every 754 of the population in Scotland and one for every 831 in  England, and that that works out at about 13 per 10,000 people in Scotland and at about 12 per 10,000 in England. So that in comparison with Scotland and England we are really over-policed.
Another item which I would like to have had from the Minister is the average cost per Gárda at present compared with the average cost per man of the R.I.C. in 1914. But even a comparison of that kind would be liable to be misleading because of the fact that the Gárda is a completely new force in which all the men began at the bottom of the scale, whereas the R.I.C. was in existence for a great number of years, with men on different stages of the scale, and consequently with higher rates of pay, which they had attained only by long years of service. It must also be recognised that the cost of the Gárdaí at present is at its minimum, and that it must inevitably increase from year to year on account of the increments which will become due.
The amount of the reduction which I move is very much in the nature of an approximation. I do not maintain that the figures are in any way exact in regard to the number of men by which the Gárdaí might be reduced. I say that the figures are sufficiently close to allow of a full expression of opinion by the House in regard to the policy of maintaining the Guards under the present system rather than under some other system which might be evolved. I have taken the cost of each Guard at about £219, which, I think, differs very slightly from the figure given by the Minister. I made a deduction of 2,200 from the strength of the force, and that would mean a reduction of £481,800. But taking into account that in all probability a reduction of that amount would not mean a corresponding reduction in the total Vote, taken at a per capita rate, I have simply moved a reduction of £400,000.
I am moving this reduction as a test of policy, not in any way as a reflection on the performance of their duties by the Guards, and to give the Minister and myself an opportunity of  expressing our opinion on the general policy of the policing of this country. I am not moving this reduction because of the demands made recently for a considerable reduction in the general expenditure. That may be one of the motives in my mind, but I have felt for a considerable time that the maintenance of the Gárdaí is a question that ought to be considered. The danger which I see in the present policy is this, that we are imitating, almost slavishly, the system of policing which existed before the country was taken over by the present Government, that is, we are crystallising and perpetuating a system which differs very little in general policy from that which existed in the times of the old R.I.C. I think the House should consider, before we become permanently committed to our present system, if some new system could not be devised which would have the effect of maintaining law and order in this country, and, at the same time, cost less.
In taking into account the cost of the police force, the fact must not be overlooked that we have also to bear a very extravagant charge in regard to pensions for the old R.I.C., and if we are to take the cost of pensions and policing the country we have to add to the present cost very nearly two millions, taking into account also other charges, such as office accommodation and matters of that kind, £1,255,000, the amount of pensions paid to the old R.I.C., has to be added. That is not taking into account the superannuated men who retired owing to their political activities, or it does not take into account the pensions of the D.M.P, so you have something close to three millions and a quarter as a total cost for the maintenance of the police force and of police pensions. In view of that immense cost, the economic condition and the financial possibilities of the country, we ought to consider seriously how we may effect a considerable reduction in the police force.
I was not going to deal altogether with the question of policy, but it is the intention of some members of the party to deal with the question of reduction in detail at a later stage. I think the time has come for us to review  the whole policing system of this country, to face up to the situation and decide whether we are going to perpetuate a system which is really no different from the old one or whether we should try to devise some system more in keeping with the conditions of the country. I have in mind, in this, statements made by members of the old Sinn Fein Party before we achieved our present freedom in regard to the wonderful reductions which would be obtained in the departmental services, and, in particular, in the police service, owing to the fact that the police would be dealing with a population the members of which would have a different outlook on the reasons for the existence of the police, and also the people would co-operate with the police. We all know in the old times a great many people looked on the R.I.C. as an alien force which was the semi-military arm of the alien government of this country, and also they had been encouraged by their political leaders, up to the latest date, to regard the police as an alien body with whom they should not co-operate, who should be treated as outsiders, and who should not be regarded, in any way, as a force which should have the confidence of the people. I am afraid that in continuing the present system of maintenance of the Gárdaí we are inclined to follow the same lines. We are leading the people to believe that the police force which they have now is no different and that they are to treat it in a no different way from the way they treated the police force in the past.
My conception of a police force is altogether different. I believe the police ought to be in close touch with the people, and it is our duty to instil a feeling in the people that they should co-operate with and assist the police by every means. From my observation I cannot say that such is the case. I believe the people look on the Gárda still as an outside body. The onus of the maintenance of law and order is thrown on the police force. Probably the Minister will confirm my statement when I say that the present police force find it very difficult to get information or assistance from the civil population.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: That is not so.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I am glad to hear that. We have reached the stage when we must put it to the people that they will have to take some responsibility and risk. They are not prepared to bear the expense of maintaining a police force of the present size, and that being so, they will have to help in the maintenance of law and order. The people will have to recognise that each individual is an integral part of the State and it is his or her duty to assist by every means in the maintenance of law and order.
I believe the system of stationing small bodies of Gárdaí in small towns and villages is not the best evolution of our police system. We should look to other countries to see if there is something in their police systems that could be imitated in this country. In a small village in England there is usually only one policeman. There is a building there with the police force badge over the door, but there is only one policeman on duty. That policeman is able to do all the work necessary for the maintenance of law and order. A village of a much smaller size in this country has a sergeant and four or five Gárdaí.
I am inclined to think a system based on that in existence in England would be suitable. The placing of a Gárda in one of the smaller villages, making him responsible for maintaining law and order, is a matter which might be considered seriously. In Western America and Canada you will find in the small towns and villages only one policeman, and very often he is without uniform. He wears a badge on his coat; that is how he is identified. In other centres there is a mobile force which can be sent here and there when crimes of a serious nature occur. A system something after that style would be worth while imitating in this country. At present we are merely carrying on the system that existed in the past.
It should be put to the people that if they agree to co-operate with the police we could carry on with a much smaller police force in future. One is inclined to think, reading the local papers from time to time, that the attention of the  Gárdaí is concentrated to too great an extent on the detection of comparatively minor crimes. This concentration upon trivial offences has a tendency to breed a certain kind of criminals. People engaged in crimes of a smaller kind are constantly being attended to by the Gárdaí, and I think that if those trivialities were overlooked we would really have a better condition in the country in regard to crime.
In spite of the fact that we have such a large body of Gárdaí crimes of a serious nature are not being detected. We read of serious crimes taking place in the country, and the originators of these crimes have not been detected. This failure of detection is largely due to the fact that the Gárdaí have not the confidence of the people; the people will not give the Gárdaí the information at their disposal.
In view of the total cost of the Gárda Síochána, combined with the cost of pensioning members of the police force, I would suggest that it is time to consider our system of policing the country. I believe we could have a much more efficient system at a lesser cost. I propose a reduction in the Estimate of £400,000. If that reduction is made I believe there will be sufficient for the maintenance of law and order, provided we can get the people to give the police their co-operation.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Deputy Heffernan talked at times as if this were a token Vote, as if this reduction of something approximating to half a million had no significance and that, as far as he is concerned, it might be £100,000 or £700,000. The figure was put down, apparently, in a vague, haphazard way just because the Deputy wants to suggest that we ought to have a police system similar to that of Canada or Australia.
The Deputy who put down an amendment to reduce the estimate for the Gárda Síochána during the coming year by the sum of £400,000 did not make a single specific criticism of the Estimate. He did not say the pay was too high; he did not say—as I understand other members of his party will  presently say—that the boot allowance should be reduced. He said he felt, and had felt for some time, that we should consider our police system, as if it was something that had not been considered at all in the past—something that had been overlooked, crowded out by more interesting matter. I think it is an extreme course to take to move to reduce the Estimate by £400,000 and then proceed to explain that it is only a token vote, that it might as well be £10 or £1,000,000, and that we are not attaching any significance to the figure.
Mr. BAXTER: The figure of £400,000 would mean, approximately, a reduction of 2,000 men.
Mr. JOHNSON: That is in the year 1926.
Mr. BAXTER: Yes, a reduction of 2,000 officers and men.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: No doubt, but I certainly did not hear the Deputy say that. Am I to take it that the Deputy made the point that we have 2,000 too many Gárdaí? Is that the point? Because if that is the point the Deputy's speech was so overcrowded that it was very hard for anyone to see it.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: I did say that my figures were based on a reduction of 2,200 Gárdaí, and I did also try to explain that this reduction was not arrived at by finding whether we could not do without that 2,000 Gárdaí by any system or examination of the estimates, but I pointed out that a system of policing might be evolved by which we could do with a Gárdaí less by 30 per cent. than its present strength.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The Deputy is of opinion that some other system of policing might be evolved, and on the off chance, he thinks that the Vote should be reduced by half a million or £400,000. It does not seem sufficient reason for the Dáil to take a step to bring about a very considerable reduction of that amount, simply that Deputy Heffernan has a kind of idea that some other system might be evolved; that there might be, for instance, a remarkable and sudden change in the general attitude of the people of the country towards the police, and the administration of the law, and that, in  one way or the other—we need not be too precise—we could do with 2,000 less Guards. I ask the Deputy to believe that the question of the strength —the question whether stations are needed in particular places or not—is a matter that receives a great deal more consideration than he seems to have given to it; that there is no station established, or men allocated to a station without the closest scrutiny; that proposals to open every new station have been challenged and held up until a case, good and sufficient, has been made for it.
I have shown the Deputy that, taking identical areas, there are 2,000 less Gárdaí operating than there were R.I.C. in 1914. I pointed out that there are one hundred men engaged on Customs duty, and Customs duty only, along the border; that there are 50 men engaged on special duty at Ardnacrusha; that here, in and around Leinster House and the National Museum, we have a toll on strength of another 18 or 20 men. Every single one of these stations has had to be scrutinised before being opened. The call, so far as we feel it and see it, is not for less stations, but for more. I could show the Deputy shoals of letters coming from influential people in the country—the kind of people who, one may take it in a general way, mould public opinion—protesting against decisions not to open Gárda stations in such and such places. And whenever there is the slightest hint or whisper of closing down, the barrage starts, at once, and is steadily maintained. Now the Deputy should not say, without being prepared to go into the matter very closely: “I believe we have 2,000 police too many.” It would be like saying: “I believe the expenditure on equipment is excessive,” without being prepared to go into facts and figures, and comparisons, and to show just where economy could be effected.
The Deputy has a vague kind of idea that a village constable and a team of black trackers in Dublin would do the whole thing. I do not think so. Let us take, for instance, the returns for the quarter ending March 31st, and simply deal with them in a cold way. I have here various  columns of different offences committed —the number of offences in connection with which proceedings were taken whether by arrest or summons, the number of persons proceeded against whether by arrest or summons and then the number convicted or dismissed, and the number pending. I find that for the quarter ended 31st March 18,733 offences were committed. Of course the range of those offences would be very great.
Mr. WILSON: Including not having lights on vehicles and riding bicycles on footpaths.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The number of cases in which proceedings were taken, whether by arrest or summons, was 17,822; the number of persons proceeded against was 18,339. There were 17,700 convictions, 1,075 dismissals, 4,073 cases pending, and cases otherwise disposed of 491.
Mr. HEWAT: That does not much exceed a total of two per head of the individual Gárda.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Deputy Heffernan said in so many words the Guards are officious.
Mr. BAXTER: Could the Minister classify the convictions—that is, the number of persons imprisoned and the numbers fined.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The offences are set out under 45 descriptions down along in columns, and then you have simply the totals at the bottom. But the suggestion that the guards are too officious concentrating on small matters, and so on, is one that ought not really to be made lightly. Everyone knows we ought not to have the idea that the law is not to be taken seriously, or that the police are not to enforce it. If it is wrong, and if there is not a case for a particular law, Deputies should raise that matter here, and suggest that the Government might take some occasion to repeal it. But if there is a case, and a real need for the existence of that law, then it is bad to inculcate the idea that it is not fair, decent or proper for the police to enforce it.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Might I give an  instance of the type of case I had in mind? Take the case of the prosecution of a man for shooting game on Sunday. That is a law that still exists, but it has been in abeyance for a number of years. I saw where a prosecution took place locally for that crime. I could mention other cases of a similar nature.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: No doubt the Deputy did see that, and he probably saw where there were prosecutions for card playing. He might as well go the right way about it and suggest the Government should repeal that law. That is a better line of approach than to say the Gárdaí should not enforce the law —the ordinary law through the country. That is what the Deputy's point amounts to.
General statements of that kind do not get one much further, any more, for instance, than the general statement that we are not remarkably successful in the detection of major offences. We are, in fact, remarkably successful in the detection of major offiences, and the statistics of crime detection here, not merely in the city of Dublin but throughout the country, car bear comparison with corresponding statistics in any other State. The Deputy must say something. He put down his amendment and he had to support it. He supported it by saying that we could do with a village constable and black trackers, that a mounted mobile force could be sent down the country whenever a major crime occurs, then, that the police are to be efficient and to concentrate on small matters, and, in fact, determine their prospects by getting good results in connection with more serious crime. The percentage and proportion of detection and conviction in respect to serious crime are as high, or higher, here than the proportion in respect of minor offences.
Take one figure for instance, burglarly and housebreaking. You have 308 cases. In 105 proceedings were taken. 176 persons were proceeded against, and there were 104 convictions. As that kind of statistics goes that is quite a good return, and  it will bear comparison with the return under that head in any other State. I suppose the Deputy will consider murder a serious offence. In the last quarter there were four cases of the kind, and in two cases proceedings have been brought. There were 12 cases of attempt to murder, in seven of these proceedings have been brought, and 13 persons were proceeded against. If Deputies did not remember that the figures apply only up to the present that return might be misleading. It does not mean that next month, or the month after, people will not be made amenable in respect of crimes committed within the last quarter. Whether you take the return by the quarter or take the big general return at the end of the year you find two things (1) that there is plenty for the police to do in this country, and (2) that they are doing it, and doing it well.
I know that it is an easy thing to take some little village, some fairly normal, peaceful kind of village. There is a station there, and in the station you cannot have much less than a sergeant and 4 men. You will say that they have not a lot to do there. Little hamlets could be pointed out in which you could say the police were not overworked. You have really to take two aspects. The deterrent aspect must not be lost sight of. It might be that there would be plenty for the police to do if the police were not there to do it. I would like Deputy Heffernan to ponder on that. I do not believe you will get, consistent with the maintenance of that kind of public order and public decency which the taxpayers are entitled to get, economy along the lines of reductions in the present authorised police strength. Certainly you will not get very much. I am quite prepared to admit that if there were no Border and no Shannon scheme I could do with 150 men less. I am quite prepared to admit that if the Department of State responsible for the National Museum were prepared to take the risk, whatever it would amount to, big or small, to leave that place without police protection, I could do with 150 men plus about 15; that would be 165 men less.
Going into the thing most closely  with the Commissioner, and looking over every county, every division and every district, you could not say that this country could be adequately policed with a smaller number of men than those at present engaged. I think that economy will lie along the lines of getting most value out of the police. I think it is probable that while the demands on the police by the various Departments are fairly heavy, that things like the Census work, school attendance, the collection of agricultural statistics, and all these duties can be done by them, and that probably after they have done them, they are a degree or two more efficient police than they were before.
I think the preparation of the register is work that might in time devolve on the police, and I hold the opinion that you will never get a clean register until you have that register prepared by someone who is going to be held responsible, in a disciplinary way, for gross inaccuracies. To simply say that the system is wrong is not getting us anywhere. At any rate do not smash it up until you are in a position to come here to the Dáil and say in a definite, clear-cut way what the better one is by which it should be substituted. Deputy Heffernan used language that I would like to correct. He said, before we commit the country for all time to this system, let us pause, so to speak, on the brink and consider whether there is not a better one. We are not doing anything of the kind. We are voting money that will maintain the Gárdaí Síochána for the financial year 1926-27.
The Deputy has all this financial year to perfect his new system, to bring it here to the Dáil this time next year, and plead for it as against that which exists. He has, however, brought forward no alternative system. He has simply said in a vague kind of way that there might be a better one and, because there might be a better one, we are to reduce by £400,000 the Vote for the existing one. The attitude of the people generally to the Gárdaí Síochána is not what Deputy Heffernan said. I want to take this opportunity of making it quite clear that I dissent from that point of view. There is a degree, a very considerable  degree, of co-operation forthcoming from the general public, but the general public cannot spend all their time co-operating with the police. It would be very bad for the economic condition of the country if they did, but there is reasonable co-operation forthcoming from the public in the matter of crime detection. Sometimes there are individual instances of outstanding civic spirit. There is not an attitude of aloofness and hostility. There is friendly contact and co-operation in most areas, but here and there you have exceptions. There is a patch in North Clare, for instance, that is just about as bad as bad could be, and the conditions there are very, very bad from the point of view of crime. There is a very settled determination in crime and a very settled attitude of hostility to all laws and to all idea of the administration of the law. That, however, is not specific. It is not typical but exceptional. It is an outstanding exception and you would not find the equal of it in any other county in Ireland.
Mr. GOREY: On behalf of the other counties, I should like to mention that a good many people hold that Clare is an eruption out of the South Sea and is really not a part of this island.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: There is certainly a special situation there. Those people who are not themselves hostile to the police are cowed and terrorised, and there is little, if any, co-operation forthcoming there. The police there stand apart from the people, or, to put it more precisely, the people stand apart from the police; some are in definite and settled hostility, in a kind of anti-social and anti-civilised way, and others stand apart because they are afraid of the criminally-minded people.
Mr. NOLAN: Would the Minister consider putting a charge on the local rates on that account?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I do not think we ought to revert to that. There is an undue demand on the police strength coming from that area, but I think the idea of special charges on areas for police is scarcely consistent with the idea of the single national police force  that we have adopted. The men must go where they are most needed, and I do not think that it is proper that a special charge should be levied on an area in respect of that. I ask Deputies to consider really whether Deputy Heffernan has made a case for his £400,000 reduction, and whether it would be wise to walk the lobbies in favour of that Vote, having regard to such arguments, if one may call them such, as were advanced in favour of the amendment. They were not arguments. They were vague, misty generalisations and speculations—that there might be a better way. He went on in a characteristically inaccurate way to say that now, before we commit the country for all time to the present system, we should consider whether there is not a better one. Both statements are wrong. If the Deputy had got his teeth into some item and said: “To my mind this is excessive and I am prepared to show that I have a good case for that view, and that it can be reduced by £X, and that something else is wrong and can be reduced by £Y”—if he had been precise and gone into details, it would have been more satisfactory. It is, however, not fair to challenge a strength of 7,222 for the jurisdiction of this State as being excessive and say that because it is excessive there might be a better system. Instead, he puts down in an arbitrary fashion an amendment to reduce the Vote by £400,000.
Mr. JOHNSON: I do not know whether the Minister seriously resents any Deputy making general statements, and even suggestions of a general kind as to the policy that his Department might pursue on a Vote of this kind.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: No, surely not. It would be perfectly open to the Deputy, without putting down an amendment, when I introduce my Estimate, to get up and ask whether sufficient consideration had been given by the Government as to whether this is the right police system for the country. That would be perfectly in order and would be natural, but to slap down an amendment to reduce the Vote by £400,000  and say that there may be a better police system is wrong.
Mr. JOHNSON: I agree. I think the Deputy has made a sad mistake in asking the Dáil to reduce the Estimates for police purposes by £400,000 on the ground that a new police system should be considered. I think that the two propositions do not hang well together. I also think that the Deputy made a sad mistake in tactics in adopting the course he has done. Nevertheless, I think he is to be congratulated on submitting certain views regarding the future police force of the country. I happened to be thinking on the same lines myself, so I can congratulate him. It is not altogether satisfactory, I think, to point to a reduction of about 1,250 men to-day in country areas in the 26 Counties as compared with the year 1914. It is a considerable reduction, but in view of the very considerable advance that has been made in recent years in respect to mobility, I think it is quite a feasible proposition that, in considering the policing of a country, this new material factor should be taken into account, and that consideration ought to be given to the question as to whether the coming of this new mobility would warrant a very drastic change in the system of policing. I think it does. I think that part of the police functions which is the detection of crime, the arrest of criminals and the like might well be done by a mobile force of very much smaller numbers than the numbers that are at present devoting their attention to that particular problem. I do not mean those who have specialised in it but that proportion of the work of the ordinary police force which is concerned with crime as distinct from what one might call the preservation of order. I think the portion of the services of the police which is devoted to the preservation of order—the regulation and the ordinary conduct of affairs in the small towns—could be done more economically and just as efficiently by a much smaller force on a very different system from that which we have inherited and adapted.
I think the points made by Deputy Heffernan regarding what the Minister  called the village constables is worthy of more consideration than appears to have been given to it, or, perhaps, than was possible to give to it up to the present time. I am inclined to support the view that Deputy Heffernan expressed in regard to an inquiry into those suggestions as possibilities for direction which our police system should take. For instance, the statement of the Minister regarding the amount of time and attention devoted by the Gárda to the carrying out of what might be called the ordinary civil duties—Census enumeration and matters of that kind—shows at once that there is an immense amount of time in the ordinary period of the year capable of being used for this purpose—that is to say, that the men are not occupied in doing other work. I think it is rather an indication of the amount of time and energy there is to spare in respect of the police. I think that the patrol system in the villages, small towns and country districts is not warranted, and simply means that you have to have a very large number of men on tap, waiting for the possibility that something may happen. I think it is worth inquiry whether that could not be supplanted by the adoption of a system which would allow a kind of semi-police service to be done by reputable men living in a district and commissioned as peace officers to do certain work— auxiliary—although the word, when speaking of police, is not quite happy —to police work, a man being set apart in a village, carrying on his normal occupation, but having some kind of special authority to assist, say, the Mayor.
Mr. WILSON: A Pooh Bah.
Mr. JOHNSON: The village constable idea is the idea I would like to see embodied in our police system, but it is not necessary that that village constable should be devoting all his time and thought to policing and to the keeping of order. I think it is quite a feasible proposition that two or three men should be commissioned to assist the ordinary police, say, on a fair day, when you have to draft in a lot of men to walk about town in  case something might happen. I am not sure whether it would not be quite possible for half a dozen local men, wearing badges, to assist the ordinary police force to keep the traffic moving, to keep order, and to prevent stoppages here and there.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Would they be paid?
Mr. JOHNSON: Certainly. You have the example of the old Naval Reserve and Militia Reserve, with a commission and a certain fee which would recompense them for special responsibilities. I am not suggesting that these men should be concerned with crime as crime, but three-fourths of the duties of the police of the present time are of a regulatory kind rather than concerned with the detection of crime. Whether this plan would stand examination from an expert point of view, I do not know. But I think it is a line of thought that is worth following up with a view to the modification of our present police system.
I think on those lines Deputy Heffernan was quite justified in bringing forward the proposals he has made, but not at all justified in suggesting that this change can be made this year, 1926-27, and that £400,000 can be saved under this head. That is quite impossible. But I do support the view that there ought to be inquiry made with a view to modifying or changing radically the police system of the rural areas. I think the modification might well take the shape of the ideas embodied in Deputy Heffernan's statement. We ought to take advantage of the changes which have been brought about in the capacity of a police force by virtue of the rapid means of communication and of travelling from one district to another. I add one voice to that which calls for inquiry in this direction, while I cannot at all accept the view of Deputy Heffernan that this change can take place at once, and that a sum of £400,000 should be deducted from this Vote on account of this possibility.
Mr. BAXTER: I wish to say a few words in support of the amendment. It is good that this problem should be discussed in a calm, candid manner,  and that everyone who has anything to say on it should have an opportunity of doing so. Some Ministers may smile; some Ministers may not be able to keep cool always. On this amendment of Deputy Heffernan's we are given an opportunity to express views about things as we find them at the moment with regard to the policing of the country. Although the Minister may say that Deputy Heffernan's argument is vague, that he has dealt with generalities, that he has not come down to concrete figures, Deputy Heffernan gives you a specific number, approximately a reduction of two thousand Guards, or an average reduction of two Guards per station.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Why does he not make it 2,500?
Mr. BAXTER: He gives you an average reduction of between 2 or 3 per station.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: When he was at it, why not give more?
Mr. BAXTER: He does not want to give the Minister an opportunity for stating that it is impossible, that the argument is foolish, that there is no basis of common-sense in it. The Minister would be delighted if he said 3,000 or 4,000. He is disappointed he did not.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: No less or no more than if he said 1,500.
Mr. WILSON: 871.
Mr. BAXTER: Deputy Wilson suggests 871, one man for each station. I am not attempting to suggest that this is a problem which has not been given very careful consideration by the Minister. I accept it both from the statement he made on this Vote and on the Vote for his Departments yesterday evening, that he has given the matter careful consideration and has been able to give us an exposition of everything connected with the running of the Department; but those of us who come up from the country have an opportunity of studying these problems too, perhaps a better opportunity  than the Minister has. The Minister in his inquiries, wherever he may go, still remains the Minister. He is not an ordinary citizen of the State from the point of view of Tom, Dick or Harry throughout the country. He cannot hide his identity wherever he may go, and the inquiries that he will make will be made as the Head of his Department. I say with Deputy Heffernan that the policy at the beginning with regard to the police force was a pursuance of the policy that existed heretofore. We are faced, in discussing these Estimates, with the question whether the services that exist at the moment are too elaborate or not, whether there are possibilities for retrenchment or not, whether we are prepared to curtail them even at some sacrifice so that a saving may be effected. In this Vote, when we see a total of £1,900,000 between pensions and charges for the Gárda Síochána we have to ask ourselves can we adopt any changes in our police system that will, while preserving the peace, enable us to have that peace preserved at a smaller cost to the State than at present. No one need suggest that the farmers of the country are not as interested in peace as any other citizen, and to a greater extent perhaps will be affected by the disturbance of the peace or by interference with life or property than any section.
We are often twitted here from various parts of the House, and from the Ministerial benches as well, that we make demands upon the State for certain services, that we expect the State to do practically all things for us, and the Minister for Lands and Agriculture particularly has often advised what it is possible for the farmers to do for themselves, and suggested that they should go and do it and not expect State interference. The whole matter of preserving the peace and the maintenance of law and order in the country, you have to consider from the point of view of the citizens at present and the citizens of the future, and whether we can to a greater extent than is being done to-day, throw upon the citizens of the State the onus for the maintenance of law and peace.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: 1922.
Mr. BAXTER: Until 1921 the man who broke the law and who did it most effectively was the greatest patriot. People in high responsible positions counselled men to carry on such a policy. That was not alone in our days but down through generations. To stand against the law was the brave thing.
Mr. LYONS: We were dealing with the foreigner then.
Mr. BAXTER: The law was made by people foreign to this State, and a semi-military force of police was maintained here largely because of the attitude of the citizens of this country to the then existing law. Under the changed conditions, when the law is being made by the representatives of the majority of the people we find the State to-day with a police force very little reduced, reduced by a small number comparatively. I feel that this attitude and this policy is to a certain extent at least going to have the effect on our people that they will feel that it is the responsibility of the policeman and his responsibility alone, to maintain the law, that as citizens the majority of them have very little responsibility. They will not consider what the loss or gain will be to them because of a disturbance of the peace. If the people of this country have to play the part of good citizens the people of the State must adopt the same attitude towards the State, the law and the maintenance of peace, that good citizens do in other countries. I suggest that the establishment of a central police force at first was the conception of a number of individuals who themselves recognised that the maintenance of law could be better carried out by the contribution of a certain sum for the payment of a number of individuals who would be responsible for discharging this duty. Our people are to a great extent to-day doing that, but I suggest to the Minister that they are inactive as far as standing up for the law goes and that that spirit will continue with them, when we find, separated by a very short distance in the rural districts, three or four men on whom falls the duty for the maintenance of the peace in those  districts. I had an experience myself when there was no police force in existence in certain districts, of seeing the young men in those districts taking upon themselves the responsibility for the maintenance of peace.
Recognising that their homes, their rights and their properties might require a little looking after, they did that and did it very effectively, and did it in a very sensible manner. I suggest that it would be rather difficult to get very many of these people to-day to interfere or to raise their voice against what is wrong. Why? Because others have come into the district and are, apparently, doing this work, and active participation of the people now in the maintenance of law is not what I hold it would be if they were thrown back largely on their own resources, feeling that their own interests would be in danger if they had not courage enough to stand up and say that they were prepared to stand up for the law.
The very point that the Minister made a few minutes ago in discussing the attitude and mentality of people who go to public meetings and are prepared to walk away without having said their say, and who are prepared to accept, without a word of protest, the conduct of those who try to prevent them from speaking—that very mentality is everywhere. If you want to get a better type of citizen in the State than you have got at the present time, I feel you must do something better than has been done to make that citizen understand that he must actively participate in the maintenance of peace. How is that to be done?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: By supporting the amendment!
Mr. BAXTER: The Minister says by supporting the amendment. I suggest that the Minister does not want to see any amendment. We have rights here. We have duties here. When we come to this House to point out candidly what we feel should be done, it is resented to some extent. Beyond doubt the peace of the country in rural areas, at least, could be maintained with a smaller force than that comprised in the  Gárda Síochána at present. Beyond doubt a smaller number of men showing a certain spirit and trying to point out to the citizens of the State what their own duty as citizens is in the matter of co-operation in the maintenance of the law, will do more to earn respect for the law and maintain peace and give us a better type of citizen than anything that can be done under the present system. I am absolutely convinced of that. I will, at a later stage, go into the specific amount in the Estimates, and point out where they can be reduced all round. But the acceptance of the Estimates for a certain number of men and the maintenance of a certain force of Gárdaí means the acceptance of the conditions as they are at the moment.
I recognise, as Deputy Johnson says, that we cannot change all this by a wave of the hand. But does the Minister suggest that a reduction on an average by two Gárdaí in every one of the 871 stations is going to make such a tremendous difference in the maintenance of peace? I am not prepared to agree. The Minister has all his facts, and he, I presume, has formed his judgment on that. But I move through the country. I see the position. I see generally a disposition on the part of the citizens to maintain the law and to act in a law-abiding spirit. I think that is the spirit that we have to cultivate. What we want to do is not alone to get the citizens to recognise that they themselves must be law-abiding, but that they must, when occasion demands, come boldly out and actively participate in the maintenance of the law. Our maintenance of a large police force as we are doing at the present time does, to a great extent, prevent the people from appreciating the position they would be in if they were thrown back on themselves. While we are maintaining that attitude we are just perpetuating the spirit of mentality in our people that made some of them, at least, feel that it was the right thing to do to break the law, and others of them feel that if it was not the right thing to break the law that it was the right thing to keep one's mouth shut about those who broke it. The reduction  of £400,000 moved by Deputy Heffernan, as he pointed out, is approximately the cost of the maintenance of 2,000 Gárdaí that he suggests the force should be reduced by.
Mr. LYONS: Will he find work for them?
Mr. BAXTER: I conceive that it is not by a wave of the hand that that can be done. But you have eliminations through one cause or another. I do not know at what rate or how many per month or per annum. I feel very strongly that this aspect of the question of the policing of the State should be seriously considered by the Minister. It is not good enough to say, when a Deputy moves an amendment here to this resolution, what the Minister has said. I feel that Deputy Heffernan gave very good reasons why the present policy pursued by the Minister in this matter should be changed to one that would give us as effective a police force, and while doing that would give us a much better type of citizen. The Minister argues that the Deputy is talking in generalities, that he is talking about things that are impossible. The Minister has himself set up a mobile column in the police force, and he is already acting on the principle that Deputy Heffernan suggests should be extended. If, by doing that, we can as effectively maintain the peace as is being maintained now, and maintain it at a reduced cost to the State, then, I think, that some consideration should be given to this matter by the Dáil.
Major COOPER: I feel that I would like to say a word or two on the motion of my disciple, Deputy Heffernan. When I, after careful consideration, adopted a policy of putting down reasoned amendments to the Estimates, I hoped that it would serve as a headline to the other Deputies. I am glad to see that the Farmers' Party, at any rate, have been willing to accept the precedent I suggested. They are not bound by my amendments and I am not bound by theirs. I cannot, however, conceal my disappointment that Deputies in other parts of the House who have criticised public expenditure have not done the same thing. I had hoped  that Deputy Duffy, who thinks in savings of three millions, would be here not only to support this amendment which gives him a fairly substantial instalment, but also to propose his own. I had hoped rather faintly that Deputy O'Mara, who went to the length of tabling a motion that public expenditure had increased, was increasing, and should be diminished—perhaps it would be too much to ask him to come here, but he might, at least, have put something on the Orders of the Day to show us how he would do it.
Mr. T. O'CONNELL: He put it on his trade circular.
Major COOPER: I do not deal in bacon and I am afraid I rather missed the point of that remark. I suggest the Minister was a little unfair to Deputy Heffernan in two ways. First of all, he rather replied as if Deputy Heffernan had been criticising the efficiency of the Gárda Síochána. As far as I heard the Deputy's speech, I do not think he criticised the Gárda. I think there is very general appreciation through the whole Dáil that the Gárda is an extremely efficient force which, in a short time, has established itself in the respect and affection of the people of the country as a whole. I did not gather from Deputy Heffernan's speech that he criticised the Gárda. I do not think his amendment is based on anything of that kind whatever. The Minister said to Deputy Heffernan that he should not make suggestions unless he was prepared to go into details. It is unfortunate that the majority of the Ministers have always been Ministers. They have sprung like Minerva from the head of Jove. They do not realise the difficulties that a private Deputy has. It is much harder for a private Deputy to go into details than it is for a Minister who has his Department that will supply him not only with details but up-to-date details. I do not know where the Minister got his figures as to prosecutions and convictions. I do not know if they are in any public documents, but I am sure that any report to which we have access is at least two years old—that the report published in 1926 deals with the year 1924. That makes it almost impossible  for a Deputy to debate with the Minister on questions of detail. The Minister will always have fuller and later facts. That is why we have from time to time asked for a Geddes Committee. If we cannot get it—well, we cannot. We must do the best we can with such details—vague, misty, generalities, though they may be—as we are able to obtain.
I think Ministers should realise their own immensely stronger position in these matters and not reproach Deputies. The Minister did it with moderation, but he did reproach Deputy Heffernan with lack of concrete proposals. Some details are available, and on these points I will try and meet the Minister later, on my own amendments. But I put it to the Minister: Is it not far better that Deputy Heffernan should come and put down an amendment, justify it as far as he could, and give the Minister an opportunity of answering, than that he should go outside and make speeches on platforms through the country about the intolerable extravagance of the Government and run away when there is a practical opportunity of reducing it. At any rate, Deputy Heffernan has the courage of his convictions. I only wish I had a little more belief in his convictions.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: More courage than convictions.
Major COOPER: No, I would not say that.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: More convictions than courage.
Major COOPER: On that point I have never been in jail, so I cannot argue with the Minister. I am not impressed very much by Deputy Heffernan's and Deputy Johnson's village constable. Deputy Heffernan spoke of going to an English village and finding a house with a police badge over the door and a constable in it. My experience is that you never find the constable in it. You find the constable's wife, and she has one of two explanations: either her husband is out on his rounds or else he is in bed having been on duty the night before. Many of the rural districts in England police  themselves. The policeman is only there as the person who formally makes the arrest. Can we do that in this country? I do not like differing with Deputy Baxter, because in that matter he has more knowledge than I have. I do differ from him when he says that during the interval between the disbandment of the R.I.C. and the effective functioning of the Gárdaí the country policed itself successfully— that young men policed the country effectively. It may have been so in Cavan; it certainly was not so in the West of Ireland. The petty criminal had the time of his life. The sneak thief, the man who goes into his neighbour's plantation and cuts a sapling by night and takes it away—every man of that kind went unchecked. You could not assert your legal rights, and many people asserted illegal rights. As an ideal, I accept the idea of Deputy Johnson and Deputy Baxter, but I am afraid the country is not yet ripe for it—not yet ripe even for a reduction on the scale of two policemen to each barrack. I do not think anybody has put up a case for a reduction in the number of barracks. I certainly had not the hardihood to do so, having besieged the Minister for some time to get a barrack established in a village which I knew contained a large and somewhat lawless population.
There is no case for a reduction of barracks. I do not think there is a strong case at present for a reduction of strength. I do not see signs of the change of heart that Deputy Baxter has talked about, and I do strongly object to the suggestion made by Deputy Johnson of having a paid reserve. His example was taken, I think, from the United States. I am not going to take any lessons in the suppression or prevention of crimes from the United States. It is, I think, admittedly the most criminal country in the world and the one where crime is most unchecked. I object very much to the principle of the part-time policeman. You have a man—call him whatever you like—he is a policeman sometimes and at the same time is carrying on ordinary business and ordinary affairs. You may get a wrongly chosen man— one who is a bully, who is a tyrant— and he can use his power as a temporary policemen to injure his competitors in business or his neighbours with whom he has quarrelled I do not like the principle— it is essential, of course, in the village constable—of having a policeman in his own locality at all. This is a country with long memories, with many old family feuds. You have the three-year-olds and the four-year-olds and all these relics of these enmities still living. I believe in Leitrim your politics are decided by whether you are a Dolan or a Brady.
We cannot have a policeman in his own village or in a village even in his own county, except perhaps in a very big county, without there being local influences, old traditional quarrels, coming into that man's mind, and without a considerable proportion of the population mistrusting his impartiality. Therfore, although I welcome Deputy Heffernan's action in putting down this amendment, I do not think it is one that could be carried into effect at the present time. I should be glad, however, if the Minister could meet Deputy Heffernan in some way, possibly by setting up a committee to consider the possibility of reducing the establishment of the Gárda Síochána. So far it has been settled by the Executive Council. He might not unreasonably, I think, ask the Dáil, or possibly the Oireachtas, to co-operate with him in considering whether there were any counties where the strength of the Gárda Síochána was excessive and could be reduced. It might be done county by county. I do not want anything that would weaken discipline—that would be a conclusive argument against it. I think we should not consider the strength of the Gárda Síochána as stereotyped for all time. At the same time, a reduction of well over 2,000 in the present year does seem to be an impossible ideal to achieve. Therefore, I do not think I can vote for the amendment.
Mr. ESMONDE: The Minister gave various estimates as to possible reductions in the cost of the police force if there were no boundary and no Shannon  scheme. Could he give us an estimate as to the reduction that could be made in the police force if we had no Irregular organisation in the country, and what is the exact cost to the taxpayer under this Vote of Miss McSwiney's organisation? I do not know if the Minister can give us any estimate, but possibly it might amount to the total of £400,000 which Deputy Heffernan has put down in his amendment. I understand that in the County Wexford the Guards are occupied for a large portion of their time in carrying out the provisions of the Treason Act, and they are occupied so doing to the detriment, possibly, of more useful work on which they could be engaged. That is the only matter as to which I should like the Minister, if he could, to give us some estimate: as to what the upkeep costs the country of this luxury organisation which has apparently done nothing either for the independence or the prosperity of the country, but which spends its time in petty transgressions of minor regulations and minor laws passed by the Oireachtas. I do not know if the Minister can give us any estimate on that.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I am afraid it would not be possible so to break up the Estimate as to be able to debit the particulars due to Miss McSwiney in the way the Deputy would desire, nor could one say what it costs in connection with the police force to look after murder, armed robbery or any of the forty-five descriptions of offences set out on this form. It is much the same about the other. The Deputy, I think, should realise that it would be utterly impossible to give any kind of satisfactory reply to this question at all. He might ask the Minister for Defence, on the Army Estimate, whether he considers that the presence of a rival subterranean military organisation in this country is a factor in his estimates, as I have no doubt it is, but not on this Vote. I really do not think, supposing all that disappeared tomorrow, that one could say there was a great possibility along the line of a reduction of the police force. My own view about the present police strength in the country is that possible reductions will have to be considered in  scores, or at the outside in hundreds, but certainly not in thousands. I believe that any such reduction as has been spoken of to-day in connection with Deputy Heffernan's amendment would lead to an immediate impairment of the degree of order and security that there is in the country at present.
Mr. GOREY: Knowing, as we all know, that it is only under two heads this question of the reduction of the Estimate can be considered, one a reduction in the number of the forces, and the other on the question of remuneration, I wish to know if I would be in order on this Vote in making any suggestions on the question of remuneration?
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Yes.
Mr. GOREY: An amendment has been moved to the main resolution giving an indication that a certain sum could be saved. I think now is the time to give details of how and when it could be done. I do not intend to say more now. I move to report progress.
Ordered—That progress be reported.
The Dáil went out of Committee. Progress reported, the Committee to sit again on Wednesday, May 5th.
Mr. SEARS: The Selection Committee met on Friday, 30th April, 1926. The following Deputies were nominated on the Special Committee to consider the Railways (Existing Officers and Servants) Bill, 1926:—P. McGilligan (Minister for Industry and Commerce), J. Dolan, M. Roddy, P. McGoldrick, Dr. T. Hennessy, P. S. Doyle, W. Davin, T. Johnson, W. Norton, J. J. Cole, W. A. Redmond, D. Gorey, M. R. Heffernan, R. Wilson, and W. Magennis. These names are accordingly recommended to the Dáil. It is suggested that the first meeting should be held on Thursday next at 11 a.m.
Ordered—That the Report lie on the Table.
The Dáil adjourned at 3.55 p.m. until Tuesday, May 4th.
SEAN BUITLEIR: asked the Minister for Finance if he has received a claim for compensation from Walter Wall, Buttery Street, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, for the destruction or commandeering of fish by British forces during the Anglo-Irish war, and, if so, whether he will expedite a settlement of the claim.
Mr. BLYTHE: Two small awards in favour of the person named by the Deputy have been notified to my Department by the Compensation (Ireland) Commission. Paying orders in discharge of both awards have been drawn and will be issued immediately on the  return of the receipt forms which were sent to the solicitor for signature by the claimant on the 19th instant.