CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT No. 10) BILL—REPORT STAGE.

Wednesday, 27 June 1928

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 24 No. 11

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The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I move that this Bill be received for final consideration.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Are we passing away from Amendment Bill No. 13?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Progress was reported in Committee on the Amendment No. 13 Bill. Is it proposed to continue that now?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  It is proposed to take Amendment No. 10 Bill on Report.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  After that, Amendment No. 13 Bill will be resumed in Committee. I have an amendment from Deputy MacEntee.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We think it strange that there should be this running about from Bill to Bill without any special reason for it. Will the President give some reason why he wants Constitution (Amendment No. 10) Bill taken now, and the other put aside?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  This is a Bill of which notice was given yesterday for consideration to-day. It is in order to take the Bill to-day and I propose to take it now.

Mr. AIKEN: Information on Frank Aiken  Zoom on Frank Aiken  I wish to draw attention to the fact that according to the “guillotine” resolution passed here there is only three-quarters of an hour more to go on the Committee Stage of Amendment No. 13 Bill. That would mean that we would be able to finish that Bill at least before 4.30. Then, according also to that resolution, there will be only two hours on the Report Stage so that the President need not [1547] be a bit afraid that he cannot get the two Bills through this evening.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I am never afraid.

Mr. AIKEN: Information on Frank Aiken  Zoom on Frank Aiken  I should like to hear some excuse for this.

Mr. G. BOLAND: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Was the break for luncheon considered an adjournment?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  No.

Mr. G. BOLAND: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  Surely it is irregular to drop a Bill in the middle of a sitting?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I moved that progress be reported on the other Bill, and I announced then that I proposed to take this Bill on the resumption after Questions.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Progress was reported and the President announced that he would take this Bill. That is the reason why I took this Order first. On Constitution (Amendment No. 10) Bill, Deputy MacEntee has an amendment in page 1, line 29, to insert after the word “words” certain other words. I am taking that amendment.

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  There are two amendments in my name. There is one which is in page 1, line 29, Section 4, to insert after the word “words” the following: “within the terms of the scheduled Treaty,” and of the words “but no such amendment, passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, after the expiration of a period of eight years from the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution, shall become law, unless the same shall, after it has been passed or deemed to have been passed by the said two Houses of the Oireachtas, have been submitted to a Referendum of the people, and unless a majority of the voters on the register shall have recorded their votes on such Referendum, and either the votes of a majority of the voters on the register, or two-thirds of the votes recorded, shall have been cast in favour of such amendment,” and the deletion of the words “the said period of eight years” and the substitution for these latter words of the words “a period of thirteen [1548] years.” That is one amendment. I have another one which is shorter. Is the first in order?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Deputy has given notice of two amendments one of which he has read out. That one seeks to delete in Article 50 the words “within the terms of the scheduled Treaty” and to substitute for the period of eight years in Article 50 the period of thirteen years. I think both these matters are outside the scope of the Bill. The Bill has no concern with the period during which the Constitution may be amended by ordinary legislation or with the first two lines of Article 50. I am not prepared to accept that amendment, but I am prepared to accept the other amendment which deals with the application of the Referendum to constitutional amendments on the ground that it is an extension of what is actually in the Bill. The other amendment dealing with the deletion of the words “within the terms of the scheduled Treaty” and the extension of the period could not be taken on this Bill.

Mr. FLINN: Information on Hugh Victor Flinn  Zoom on Hugh Victor Flinn  Will you allow me to submit that had we had the statutory time to deal with our amendments we might have been able, in co-operation and consultation with yourself, to amend this amendment which is now being moved out of order into a form in which it would be a substantive matter which could be dealt with? It seems to me that the ruling out of this matter is simply an intensification and advertisement of the injury which is being done to the House in carrying on the procedure which has prevented private members from putting in amendments after proper consideration. I submit that under the circumstances every opportunity ought to be given to Deputy MacEntee to amend that amendment into any form in which it would be in order.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  No form would bring an amendment into order which purported to do the two things mentioned. namely, to delete in the first two lines of Article 50 the words “within the terms of the Scheduled Treaty” and to extend the period of [1549] eight years to thirteen years. No form of words would bring these matters into order on this Bill. The Deputy's other amendment is in order.

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Do I take it that the proposal to substitute for the period of eight years a period of thirteen years is also out of order?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Yes. The Bill is not concerned with that particular question of the period.

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  May I point out that the President promised to give some consideration to the extension of the period within which the Constitution may be amended by ordinary legislation?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Or a modification of the method. There was a question of the extension of the period or a modification of the method by which after the period the Constitution could be amended. I think the Minister for Finance explained that there was a proposition under consideration for an amendment of the Constitution passing through two Parliaments, that is, to be passed by one Parliament and, subsequent to a general election, by a second Parliament—the Parliament resulting from that general election again passing the same amendment. We suggested two methods of considering it, either extension of the time or passing it through two Parliaments.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The time could not be extended in this Bill after Second Reading.

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Is the President going to bring in the Bill, and when is he going to introduce it?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I cannot say, because the explanation I gave on the last occasion shows that it is a matter upon which one cannot easily make up one's mind. Personally I feel rather disposed to disagree with the proposal to extend it to thirteen years, because I hesitate to think that that is even final. I would like to reach such a stage in which it would be possible to amend the Constitution, but, at the same time, difficult to amend it; that there should be some degree of finality about the Constitution itself; that it should not be subject to easy amendment. It does appear to [1550] me that the method in that Article is rather a difficult one. That is, “that a majority of the voters on the register of voters shall have recorded their votes... or two-thirds of the votes recorded.” That is rather a difficult method; but I do not like simply extending the period for an additional five years. As a matter of fact, while the disposition and decision, almost, of the Executive Council is to alter the present method, they are not yet agreed upon the manner of doing it, but I have no hesitation in saying that it will be altered before the period elapses.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  rose.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  This is quite irregular.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  If it is irregular I do not want to pursue it.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  If it is for the convenience of the House the Deputy can intervene.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It seems to me that the President's difficulty is that he is not able, definitely, to make up his mind about what period he wants the Constitution to be at his disposal, to use it as he likes, and what period other people may have to deal with the matter. If he could only do that it would be easy for him to get a Bill.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  That is not so.

Mr. AIKEN: Information on Frank Aiken  Zoom on Frank Aiken  May I ask the President if the delay is caused by the fact that he has not yet secured Deputy Thrift's assent?

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  No. I never discussed the Constitution with Deputy Thrift or his friends.

Mr. FLINN: Information on Hugh Victor Flinn  Zoom on Hugh Victor Flinn  May I suggest that this contingency variation of the Constitution is to remedy a defect created by the Bill now being introduced? Is it for the purpose of giving that interval and consideration which the Ministry desire in connection with a Bill of that kind? If that is so, would not the best, most patriotic, and statesman like attitude be for the President to withdraw this Bill until he has an opportunity of reconsidering it in the light of the amending Bill he proposes to introduce? [1551] If he would do that it would make for accord and good feeling and unity and co-operation in the House. I am talking now, for the moment, on the assumption that the President is a statesman, and that he is not looking at this from the mere Party point of view which prejudiced people are suggesting that he is. If he was looking at it as a statesman, having regard to the fact that during the process of passing a certain Bill he has found it necessary to produce certain contingent alterations in the Constitution, and, in so far as he has not been able to make up his mind as to the nature of the contingent variation, I suggest he should withdraw this Bill, which has caused the necessity for this contingent variation, until he has made up his mind what contingent variation will fit into the Bill he is now introducing. I submit that on the grounds of statesmanship, on the grounds of accord, and in order to get the House to act together in a serious matter of constitutional change, that he ought very seriously consider withdrawing this Bill until he comes to us with a comprehensive and co-ordinate change in the Constitution, such as he himself has now discovered during the process of introducing this Bill is necessary. I appeal to him to do that.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  There are only two hours available for the Report Stage of this Bill, and I suggest that Deputy MacEntee is being kept out of his right.

Mr. FLINN: Information on Hugh Victor Flinn  Zoom on Hugh Victor Flinn  The President might meet that, or we must assume that he is not a statesman.

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  I move:—

In page 1, line 29, Section 4, to insert after the word “words” the following:—“but no such amendment, passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, after the expiration of a period of eight years from the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become law, unless the same shall, after it has been passed or deemed to have been passed by the said two Houses of the Oireachtas, have been submitted to a Referendum of the people, and unless [1552] a majority of the voters on the register shall have recorded their votes on such Referendum, and either the votes of a majority of the voters on the register, or two-thirds of the votes recorded, shall have been cast in favour of such amendment” and of the word “said” where that word secondly occurs “and of the words.”

This amendment is introduced for two reasons. First of all to draw the attention of the Dáil to the fact that, while ostensibly the provisions for the Referendum are being deleted from the Constitution by the abolition of Article 47, the Referendum will remain in the Constitution, and its use will be obligatory for a certain purpose. After the period laid down in Article 50 of eight years within which the Constitution may be amended by ordinary legislation, it will be necessary, if the Article stands amended only as proposed by Section 5 of the Bill, if amendments to the Constitution have been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas to submit these amendments by Referendum to the people. In the debate upon the Constitution Bill 13, which took place this morning, the Minister for Local Government was definitely asked from these benches whether he would submit the question of the present constitutional amendments to the people by Referendum. The Minister for Lands and Agriculture, yesterday, was asked the same question, and in both cases I think they did not give an express refusal. But we can take it, so far as their attitude is indicated in this House, and by the means in which they are forcing this legislation through this House, the one thing they do not want to do in regard to the present Bills is to submit them by Referendum to the people. Yet at the same time it is their avowed intention—the President practically said it a few moments ago—that so far as future constitutional amendments are concerned—and I speak now in regard to amendments after the period of eight years prescribed by Article 50 has elapsed—that so far as these particular amendments are concerned, first of all their way is going to be made as difficult as possible, and unless the President can make up his own mind as to which is going to be [1553] most advantageous to him from his own party point of view either to maintain that Article as it stands or to secure some other machinery which will make it more difficult and introduce greater obstacles in the way of those proposing to amend the Constitution, that all further constitutional amendments will have to be submitted to the people by Referendum.

Now, if there is any virtue at all in the Referendum in respect of amendments which are taken after the year 1930, surely that virtue remains in the Referendum to-day. It is either going to be effective to-day, and would be useful to-day, and ought to be used to-day, or else it is going to be ineffective and useless after 1930 and should not be used after 1930. There is the dilemma the Government have to solve. How can they reconcile their present attitude with respect to the series of Bills they have now introduced with their future attitude as adumbrated by Article 50 of the Constitution? I ask the Minister for Local Government, who has taken some part in defending these measures. I ask the Minister for Defence. I ask the Minister for Justice how can they now justify the retention of the Referendum in respect to Constitutional amendments which may be proposed after the year 1930 with the attitude they have taken up with regard to that instrument to-day. It is either useful to-day and advantageous to the people and to the State that the people should get an opportunity of using it in respect of these Constitutional amendments, or it is useless and disadvantageous and should be cast aside altogether. They have to reconcile these two propositions. They stand on one leg with regard to amendments after 1930, and on another leg with regard to amendments proposed in 1928. What greater virtue will the people of this State have in 1930 that, according to the Minister for Defence, they do not possess to-day? What great virtue will this Constitution instrument have in 1930 that it does not possess in 1928? That is the first question we should like to have an answer for. The other thing is this—if the Referendum cannot be used in respect of Constitutional amendments which [1554] are being proposed by the Executive Council, why should it be in force in regard to the Constitutional amendments which will be made by their successors? I do not think that the present Executive Council are going to remain perpetually in office in this State. Every General Election that has elapsed since 1923 has shaken their position, has made their tenure less secure than its predecessor, and accordingly this Government which, at the present moment has only a bare majority in this House, this Government which depends for that majority, not on the people, not upon the representatives who are directly elected by the people, if I may say so, but upon those who are elected by a privileged franchise—the Government gets a majority in this House, a large part of it, at any rate, from representatives who are elected by the two Universities.

Yet a Government situated in that position whose tenure of office in an ordinary normal state would be very insecure, claims this astonishing privilege for itself, that the legislation which it introduces will be absolved from the operation of the Referendum, that there must be some presiding genius at its birth which makes it unnecessary to consult the people with regard to the wisdom of it. That is avowedly the claim which the President puts forth on behalf of the Executive in that motion which he has introduced, to declare that the Bill which we are now considering is essential for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety. Necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety! A strange mentality, a queer mentality, indicated in the resolution which is being put down in respect of this particular Bill. No person, I think, is aware, at any rate the ordinary common citizen of this country is not aware of any danger threatening the public peace, health or safety of the citizens of this State. But the Executive Council seem to be able to foresee things or to see things which are not clear to the ordinary common citizens. They must have greater judgment, greater sagacity, greater wisdom, and I suppose it is in virtue of that greater wisdom, that greater sagacity which [1555] they believe themselves to be possessed of, or that at any rate they claim, that they have taken up the attitude that the present constitutional amendments which they have introduced must, on no account, be submitted to the people.

If that is their attitude, what right have they to introduce a Bill to delete Articles 47 and 48? What right have they to preserve Article 50 virtually in its entirety in its present form? But we do not want to deny to any Executive Council of this House the right to amend the Constitution. We have already indicated that we would like the Oireachtas to have power to amend that Constitution without any reservation whatever, without any reference to the Treaty, to amend it in any way in which it would seem best in the interests of the people to do it. We do not suggest either that the power of the Oireachtas to amend this Constitution instrument should be fettered or circumscribed in any way whatsoever, and therefore we put down the amendment which the Ceann Comhairle has ruled out of order, to delete from Article 50 of the Constitution the words “within the terms of the Scheduled Treaty.” But apart altogether from that, even on this particular Bill we would not be entitled to introduce such an amendment. We have introduced an amendment here which, in effect, states this, that if the present Oireachtas has power within six years after the enactment of the Constitution by ordinary legislation to amend the Constitution, then that every succeeding Oireachtas should have the same power.

Or to put it in another way: If it is not essential, if it is not desirable, if it would not be for the good of the community as a whole, that the present Constitution Bills be submitted to the people by referendum, then that no future constitutional amendments should be submitted to the people either. That is the position that we state in this amendment, and I submit that since the Executive Council will not be able to reconcile the contradictions now indicated in their attitude towards these and the future Constitution amendments, the proper thing for them to do would be to withdraw the Bills altogether, [1556] allow Articles 47, 48 and 50 to remain in the Constitution as at present, and to leave the Constitution to operate as was originally intended between the State and the citizens when it was originally enacted.

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  It is now pretty clear that the President is not willing to consider or to enter into any agreement on the question of this amendment, and perhaps on the whole it is just as well, because if some agreement were arrived at between the two sides of this House on the matter of the amendment of the Constitution, then we would feel bound by it afterwards. We would undoubtedly be bound by it afterwards. But, no matter what amendment they would bring in, in the teeth of the general contempt of the people for the present methods of government, in the teeth of opposition from those on this side, whatever amendments they would bring in are of such a nature that they are in the nature of ordinary legislation. There is nothing can give that stamp and seal of national consent which is essential to the Constitution in any country. If there is anything to be said for the Constitution in any country it is that it is a set of rules by which every Party acts and works. It is an agreed set of rules or nothing. This Constitution is brought in as a schedule to the Constitution Act. That Constitution Act can be changed any time, and it is not merely a matter of abstract theory. We can also, when the time comes, get good precedents or bad precedents anyhow, or any number of precedents can be quoted for changing the Constitution in any direction that the next Government may wish to change it, and nothing that is done here now is going to tie the hands of those who come after us.

The worst element in the deletion of Article 48 of the Constitution is that it is actually about to be put into operation when it is sought to remove it. Now, if it were removed after it had been tried and found impossible of operation, there might be some reason for it. If it were removed, even at the time when, as it were, it was being carefully considered in cold blood, and when it was not actually brought into operation, that would be another matter. [1557] But it is absolutely vicious to remove it now, to change the rules of the game, or, rather, one particular rule of the game, when that rule is being relied on by one Party.

As I pointed out before, it was an unconstitutional act even to have delayed the operation of Article 48 in connection with the petition signed by 96,000 electors.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Would it not be better to keep to Deputy MacEntee's amendment and then take the general question afterwards? The Deputy is speaking to the main question: “That the Bill be received for final consideration,” which brings in Articles 47 and 48. Deputy MacEntee's amendment deals with a specific point.

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  Then I will be entitled to speak later on the general question?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Yes.

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  I did not think I would have that opportunity, and that was the reason I mentioned those matters now. We have been extraordinarily generous to the Government in this matter. We have gone much further than we ever went before in proposing this motion. It simply shows our bona fides in trying, to use the famous word of the President, to implement the Referendum principle which is in the Bill. If you do not accept that amendment you will have either to delete reference to the Referendum in Articles 14 and 50, if you want to have a consistent Constitution, and not stultify yourselves further, or, on the other hand, you will have to change the Title of the Bill. The Title of the Bill is “An Act to amend the Constitution by deleting Articles 47 and 48 thereof and making the necessary consequential amendments in other Articles.” If you do not accept this amendment, obviously you are rejecting the principle of the Referendum, and if you reject the principle of the Referendum you will then have to make the consequential amendments necessary, and if you are not going to make the consequential amendments necessary, then you will have to delete those words from the Title of the Bill.

[1558] It is interesting to find that the Government, which, up to a point, we thought, wanted to use the Referendum as a method of delay in changes of the Constitution, have now even run away from the will of the people in that matter, and do not want to use the Referendum at all. I suppose it is a case that once they get on, to use another famous phrase, the slippery slope—running away from the people— according as they go down it their speed increases. I would have imagined that the President would have been very glad to consider at least a mixture of our suggestion and amendment, and possibly have some further proviso of his own. I had hoped that he might extend the time for amending the Constitution and at the same time accept the principle of the Referendum. I suppose that as he has put on the top-boots of Oliver Cromwell he cannot stop now, and they are carrying him away.

General MULCAHY: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  As Deputies on the far side have said, the Government do not propose to accept this amendment moved by Deputy MacEntee. The effect of the amendment would be to leave Article 50 of the Constitution as follows: “Amendments to this Constitution within the terms of the Scheduled Treaty may be made by the Oireachtas. Any such amendments may be made within a period of eight years by way of ordinary legislation.” The result of the acceptance of the amendment would be to leave Article 50 of the Constitution reading like that; that is, that the Oireachtas could change the Constitution, and that within eight years they could change it by ordinary legislation. We are left to imagine or devise by some other legislation later on how the Constitution is to be amended by the Oireachtas afterwards. As I say, the Article would be left like that.

It is not the intention of the Government to accept this particular amendment. It has been stated very clearly by the President that the matter of the extension of this period of eight years, or any further provisions arising out of that, or the general making of provisions as to how the Constitution should be amended in future years, is a [1559] matter that already has been given very careful consideration by the Executive Council. We are not at the present moment in a position either to make proposals or to deal with this particular matter at all. The actual position is that we are well inside the eight years, and that within that period of eight years there is power in the Constitution to amend the Constitution by legislation. Beyond the fact that [1560] we are prepared to make such changes in the Constitution as the Oireachtas considers desirable within the eight years, and that we do propose to extend that period to such further period as will seem proper to us to recommend, we are not prepared at the moment to give consent to the amendment proposed by Deputy MacEntee, and it is not, therefore, acceptable.

Amendment put.

Frank Aiken.
Denis Allen.
Richard Anthony.
Gerald Boland.
Seán Brady.
Robert Briscoe.
Daniel Buckley.
Frank Carney.
Michael Clery.
James Colbert.
Eamon Cooney.
William Davin.
Eamon de Valera.
Frank Fahy.
Hugo Flinn.
Andrew Fogarty.
Patrick J. Gorry.
John Goulding.
Patrick Hogan (Clare).
Patrick Houlihan.
Mark Killilea.
Michael Kilroy.
Seán F. Lemass.
Patrick John Little.
Thomas McEllistrim.
Seán MacEntee.
Séamus Moore.
Daniel Morrissey.
Thomas J. O'Connell.
William O'Leary.
Matthew O'Reilly.
Thomas O'Reilly.
James Ryan.
Martin Sexton.
Patrick Smith.
John Tubridy.
Francis C. Ward.

Ernest Henry Alton.
James Walter Beckett.
George Cecil Bennett.
Séamus A. Bourke.
Seán Brodrick.
Alfred Byrne.
John Joseph Byrne.
John James Cole.
Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
Martin Conlon.
Michael P. Connolly.
Bryan Ricco Cooper.
William T. Cosgrave.
Sir James Craig.
James Crowley.
Eugene Doherty.
James N. Dolan.
Edmund John Duggan.
Barry M. Egan.
Osmond Thos. Grattan Esmonde.
Desmond Fitzgerald.
James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
Denis J. Gorey.
Alexander Haslett.
Michael R. Heffernan.
Michael Joseph Hennessy.
Thomas Hennessy.
Mark Henry.
Patrick Hogan (Galway).
Richard Holohan.
Hugh Alexander Law.
Finian Lynch.
Arthur Patrick Mathews.
Patrick McGilligan.
Joseph W. Mongan.
Richard Mulcahy.
James E. Murphy.
John Thomas Nolan.
Timothy Joseph O'Donovan.
John F. O'Hanlon.
Daniel O'Leary.
Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
John J. O'Reilly.
Gearoid O'Sullivan.
John Marcus O'Sullivan.
William Archer Redmond.
Patrick Reynolds.
Vincent Rice.
Martin Roddy.
William Edward Thrift.
Michael Tierney.
Daniel Vaughan.
Vincent Joseph White.
George Wolfe.

Question proposed:—“That the Bill be received for final consideration.”

[1561]Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  One of the main arguments which the Government have put forward for the adoption of this Bill is that there is no necessity for this provision in the Constitution in this democratic country; they have pointed out to us here over and over again that the people by electing the majority opposite have expressed their will. They have pointed out again and again that anything that that majority does is the will of the people and that the people are sovereign in this country. It just struck me, when listening yesterday to a speech by the Minister for Agriculture, when he was talking of this very democratic and very sovereign arrangement which the Irish people enjoyed, that I could draw a picture of a democratic and sovereign community which would fit just as well as and which would be more apparently ludicrous than his. For instance, I remember an internment camp where men had the right directly to vote in their own leaders. Those leaders had power when they came together to elect an executive and that executive had full power within that camp over local government, always subject to a certain overriding authority. They had full power over local government, in fact more power than the people in this country have, because the men themselves conducted local government by direct vote. They had full power over internal defence just like this country. That is, we had a defence force there to punish those who were recalcitrant amongst us, but it was not in a position to deal with external people. They had full power over justice; they could punish a man for doing wrong, and so on. It could be held equally and just as democratically that the men in that internment camp were a sovereign people, just as the people of this country are a sovereign people, because they elected an executive in that camp to govern the camp, always subject to a certain overriding authority from outside. The very same position is here. Of course, by a large majority in that internment camp, they elected an executive which carried out their wishes, but that executive always came to decisions which did not in any way get up against the authority outside—up to a certain stage at any rate. If [1562] I were to have said to those men at that time: “You are a sovereign people; you have this place here run on democratic lines,” they would tell me I was not telling the truth because they could see through it. We admitted the fact that we were not sovereign in that camp. We had the decency to admit it; we had the decency to admit that we had internal control to a certain extent, always subject to an outside overriding authority, and the same may be said of our very democratic and sovereign system of rule in this country. This country has become so very democratic in the eyes of the Minister and so very sovereign that we are asked to take certain powers from the people, the powers of the Initiative and Referendum, and we are told that adult suffrage at a general election is quite a sufficient guarantee for the people that they will get their wishes.

I know a few people—I daresay there are several—who voted for me at the last election and who did not agree with me in certain votes that I gave here and which were unforeseen at the time of the general election. Take, for instance, the Vaccination Bill. There are one or two doctors in County Wexford who voted for me, and they may not agree with my vote on the Vaccination Bill. Suppose it was a very important Bill and it had gone through this House, would it be democratic and fair to those people who voted for me, possibly because I had given certain promises that I would try to improve the Constitution instead of wiping out whatever good was in it, that they should be tied by my decision? There are people, I am certain, who voted for the Government on certain issues and who are not satisfied with every single thing the Government does. It would be very hard to imagine no such person. If we take the legislation we had here for the last three or four days, leaving out these Constitution Amendment Bills. I think we are all agreed that the people would not be unanimous about supporting them. For instance, a person might vote for the Minister for Agriculture because he had a certain programme in regard to buying out creameries. It does not follow, necessarily, that the same person would [1563] be in favour of the Forestry Bill. A person might vote for the Minister for Justice, for some reason which does not occur to me at present, and it does not necessarily follow that that person would naturally be in favour of the Courts of Justice Bill which I see down here. If one of those Bills were a really important and vital one, would it not be democratic that the people should get an opportunity of deciding themselves whether their representatives in Parliament had done right or wrong?

I listened as attentively as I could to the arguments that were put up in favour of this No. 10 Bill. Another argument that was produced was that the provision in the Constitution is unworkable. One of the Ministers said that not only is it not democratic, but that it really is undemocratic. But a majority might be returned at a general election with a certain programme, and the very first Bill they might bring in might be thrown back to the people, and the people might decide against that majority within a few months of their being elected. If such a thing should occur I think that it is only right that the people, at any rate, should have that power. If they have not got that power, I think we should be honest enough to admit that once elected the majority are in supreme control, and that they have nothing whatsoever to answer for to the people until they go before them at the next general election. As far as I have studied systems in other countries, I have learned that one of the results of this system of the Referendum is to do away with Party Government altogether, especially when we have the Initiative as well.

The people begin to realise that it does not matter very much to them about supporting a Party. An individual begins to realise that he could not possibly get a Party that would represent him on every single issue. You have members in every Party who differ on certain issues. The result is that Party Government, where the Referendum and Initiative are in force, gradually disappears, and what happens is that people begin to select the best type of person, the most intelligent and straightest type, to represent [1564] them, because they say: “This man will have to do what we tell him, and if he does not, we can reverse his decision. Therefore, why should we follow any Party programme? Let us put in the most intelligent man, and we can reverse any decision that we do not like.”

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Why should such a person under such circumstances need to be intelligent?

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I think it is I who should ask that question.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Why should he need to be intelligent if you could always reverse him?

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I am afraid I will have to take the Deputy seriously. The reason why they put in intelligent people is that these simple people in other countries realise that it is possible to have Deputies in Parliament who would do more intelligent things than they would ever think of doing— Deputies who would give them a lead, act more straightly and more intelligently than the people. There is, as I have said, no necessity to get a Party. At first sight it hardly appears reasonable to think that there could possibly be a Bill which it was not possible to get some group in Parliament to introduce; yet such a situation is possible. There might be a Bill which the people want, but which a group of Deputies could not be got to introduce, for instance, a Bill to reduce salaries. If people wanted the salaries of Ministers and Deputies reduced, they might not possibly find a group in Parliament to initiate such a Bill; the people themselves would have to initiate it, and, if it were not passed by Parliament, would have to put it to a Referendum. Again, there might be a big volume of opinion in favour of having the liquor taxes reduced, yet those in favour of it might not get any responsible section, or any people whom they think would be a credit to them, to introduce such a Bill in this or any other House, and so they might have to introduce a Bill themselves. There are other Bills which you could think of if you wanted to go into that question.

It appears that the Initiative is [1565] necessary as the corollary of the Referendum if you want to make the system of government democratic and the people sovereign in their own country. The point has been stressed—I do not want to go into it now except that it is an additional argument—that if certain Articles were to be changed at present under the present Constitution of this House, and if a Bill were brought in to change them, it would have very little chance of getting through. The classical example is Article 17. I do not think there is any doubt from the action of the Government that they believe, just as we do, that if that question were put to the people by way of the Initiative, they would vote to have that Article removed. If the Government did not believe that, they would not have brought in this Bill at all. I think, if we really believe in democracy and in the sovereignty of the Irish people, we ought to reject this Bill dealing with the Initiative, and we ought to see that the people are not denied the rights which they have under these Articles. If any of us vote for the Fourth Reading of this Bill, we should, at any rate, not base our arguments on the ground of democracy and sovereignty, but we should admit straight out to the people that if we are voting for this Bill we are voting to take powers from them which they have at present, and we are voting to take such powers on ourselves.

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  We, on these benches, approach this question from a somewhat different angle to that of the Fianna Fáil Party, but our opposition to this measure is none the less as strong as theirs. We accepted the Constitution. We recognised that it had certain flaws, that it did not give us everything we desired, but we were prepared to accept it, to work it, and to trust to time and the evolution of circumstances to change it for the better. We were rather proud of some of the clauses in that Constitution. We felt that there was something to point to as an advance along the lines of democracy, and among these clauses were the two with which we are dealing now. I listened carefully to the debates on this measure and I am perfectly satisfied that no genuine arguments were [1566] put up from the Government benches to justify the removal of these clauses from the Constitution. When Ministers were confronted with quotations from their own speeches during the sitting of the Provisional Parliament, in favour of these measures, when they were reminded of the manner in which they pointed to this particular measure, in a special way, as showing that all power was to be in the hands of the people and, further, when they were asked why it was that they had since changed their minds, they, at least the President and the Minister for Defence, said, “Oh, we were then inexperienced. We had no experience. We did these things as a result of our inexperience.”

These were the excuses put forward. Might I ask the President and the Minister for Defence what experience they have gained since in the matter of the Referendum and Initiative? They told us that they were unworkable. They have never been put into operation. How do they form the conclusion that these Articles are unworkable? Where have they learned their experience? Ministers have definitely given the impression in this House, and outside that other countries have found that these, as they are called, frills and fringes of the Constitution, are undesirable and that other countries are anxious to get rid of them and are, in fact, taking steps to do so. The Minister for Justice gave some cases in regard to what he calls the unworkability of the Referendum in Germany. All he proved was that the Referendum was tried in regard to a particular question and the question was not carried. They did not get a majority in favour of it.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  They got a majority all right.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  It appeared that they did not get the necessary majority. Surely that is not failure. If a Bill is referred to the people and the people do not vote, does the Minister or the President hold that that is a failure of the Referendum? That seems to be the argument of the Minister for Justice. The impression was given that this method was found to be unworkable, that other Governments and Parliaments [1567] are anxious to get rid of it, but I am going to show that is a wrong impression.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Give cases.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  I will. The President knows an institution called the Inter-Parliamentary Union. There is a branch of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in the Free State. Members of this House and of the Seanad are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the Parliaments of quite a large number of countries—I do not know how many—are members of that Union. A conference is to be held in Berlin in the near future, next August. I have before me the Inter-Parliamentary Bulletin for March and April of this year. I have there the draft resolutions which are to be submitted to the conference by the Permanent Committee for Political and Organisation Questions. In that Bulletin reference is made to the number of failures in what is called the growing crisis in representative government in Europe, the apparent failure of representative government as it has been known up to the present, as to the desirability of preserving representative government, and as to the schemes that ought to be adopted to preserve it. Certain recommendations are put forward in this draft resolution. This is page 53 of the Inter-Parliamentary Bulletin for March and April, 1928. It states:—“In this connection the Conference called the special attention of the groups to the following points.” There are points 1, 2, 3 and 4. This is point 4:—

“The necessity of winning the cooperation of a conscious and enlightened public opinion for the work of Parliament, for instance (as examples), by creating a medium of information guaranteeing an impartial documentation and public discussion; by the official recognition of the Parliamentary Opposition through the remuneration of its leader (Canadian system).”

This is the point I want to draw the Minister's attention to:—

“By the institution of the legislative Referendum and of the popular Initiative (Swiss and German systems); [1568] by the institution `of public hearings' before Parliamentary Committees.”

Instead of the Parliaments of Europe and the world getting away from the Initiative and the Referendum, here we have them recommended by a Conference of the Parliamentary Union in the draft resolutions, and members are asked to recommend them to their Parliaments. Representatives of the Free State will attend that Conference in Berlin and when this motion comes forward they will have to get up and tell what the Free State Parliament has done as a result of this measure before us to-day. I am sure the Free State Parliament will not cut a very great shine before the democratic peoples of Europe at this Conference when they have to tell them that the Referendum we had introduced in our Constitution has now been deleted from the Constitution, without ever getting a trial.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The representative institution is going strong.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  What is the representative institution? It is surely going strong. It is doing what this Conference is trying to prevent.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Does the Deputy mean that at the Conference the Free State will be slapped and put in the corner?

Mr. O'CONNELL:  I might like to suggest that Deputy Tierney should be subjected to that punishment occasionally. The very thing, as I say, that this Inter-Parliamentary Union in the course of its discussions is trying to prevent is the thing that is growing in this country as a result of the action of the Executive taking complete power into their hands. We hear from the Minister for Agriculture that there was no necessity for referring Bills to the people, because we had in this country proportional representation, we had adult suffrage, and we had an election every five years. What guarantee have we that we are going to continue to have these things? I put it to the Minister for Defence yesterday to point out anything that could prevent the Executive introducing a Bill inside a year or two saying that the life of this Parliament shall be extended to seven [1569] or eight or even ten years. There is no check whatever—nothing to prevent that. The same thing applies to proportional representation. Certainly before the last election the Ministry had some ideas that proportional representation was not a thing that suited their particular book and that it was one of the things that might be changed to their particular advantage. The same thing might apply to adult suffrage. If it would suit the Party in power at the moment to say that the vote should not be given until a person was 40 years of age, where is the check to prevent them doing that if this is removed? When I spoke of an unscrupulous Executive yesterday the President appeared to be rather annoyed about it. Let us suppose that this Executive is not unscrupulous, but that it may be succeeded by an unscrupulous Executive. We cannot look into the future.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  The Deputy's colleague, Deputy Hogan, does not agree with that.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  I do not care whether he agrees with it or not; I make my statement irrespective of who agrees with it. We cannot look into the future, and we do not know what will happen when the safeguards have been taken away from the people. I do not often appear in the role of a prophet, but I venture to say that a day may come when the President and his Party may be very sorry that they have taken that power away, when that power is not available to be used.

It is just possible that that may come about. The President scoffs at the idea that any attempt might be made to take away adult suffrage, to lengthen the life of Parliament, or to take away proportional representation. I am not so sure about it. I have a certain admiration for the work the Government have done in certain directions for the last two or three years, but whenever they touched constitutional questions they seemed to be always wrong. They seemed to be always inclined to recede from the position which was taken up in 1922, and always to go back rather than forward, as we expected from them. As I say, I am not so sure, judging from their actions and the whole history of [1570] the amendment of the Constitution, that they would not be prepared to do away with proportional representation if it suited them, or to lengthen the life of the present Parliament.

Let us look at the history of this thing. For four or five years the Article was there and there was nothing about it. It was not deemed to be unworkable—it was not even considered. Then a very unfortunate and lamentable incident occurred in our history, and this Bill was heard of for the first time. The Minister for Agriculture stated definitely that this measure was introduced last August as one of a series of Bills to ensure the public safety. Let us admit there was a semblance of justification for the action of the Government on that occasion. Is the President of opinion that no change has come about in this country since last August, that nothing has occurred since in the political life of the country? We have had a general election in the meantime. People who were then said to be anxious to destroy the Constitution, and who were keeping out of this Parliament and not recognising it, have come into the Parliament and have been working under the Constitution. The people have elected them to come here, whether the President agrees with it or whether I agree with it. They have come in here, and no matter what argument may be put forward by the President and his Party with regard to these measures, it will be impossible for them to get away from this: that the main object, in fact the sole object, of their introduction of this measure and of their forcing it through the House has been to dish in some way their political opponents. That is the sole purpose of it—because their political opponents were using these Articles in a way with which the President and his Party did not agree. That surely is not a sufficient reason to take out of a democratic Constitution Articles of which any democratic country might be proud. That is the only reason that is given—because one particular Party were using that in a way of which the Government did not approve.

With regard to this question of Article 17, for which this was to be [1571] used, we on these benches accepted the Oath. We were not in love with it, but we do not say that it is the one and only question that is of supreme interest to this country. I have no hesitation in saying that if the majority of the people do not want the Oath, they have a right to take it out. If they do not want the Treaty, they have a right to renounce it.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  took the Chair.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Hear, hear.

Mr. SMITH: Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  Why not let them?

Mr. O'CONNELL:  Certainly they have no right to be specially hindered in making use of all powers to express their will if they want to do it, and they are entitled to do that.

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

Mr. O'CONNELL:  Then why not give them the chance of doing it? Why not give them the opportunity, if they want to be foolish enough, in the opinion of the President, to do it? Are they not entitled to do it?

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Does the Deputy mean that Deputy de Valera's proposal was giving them the oppornity?

Mr. O'CONNELL:  I mean exactly what I say.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  What the Deputy is doing is asking a rhetorical question Does he agree with the means that Deputy de Valera took for finding out the people's will?

Mr. O'CONNELL:  It is open to the Deputy to listen to what I am saying and take any meaning he likes out of it.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Deputy Tierney was always a constitutionalist.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  My main objection to this amending Bill is, as has already been stated, that it puts into the hands of the Executive without any check power that experience has [1572] taught, not only in this Parliament, but in all Parliaments, it is undesirable that an Executive should hold.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  Give one example in this Parliament.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  The resolution that is down for to-morrow.

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

Mr. O'CONNELL:  That is one example of that power. This perhaps is not the time to talk about it, but I give it as an example of an Executive improperly using the power to force into law a Bill that would otherwise be submitted to the people before it became law. That is the objection I have to the Bill, and that is the reason I shall vote against it and protest against it at every possible opportunity.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  We have had again on this Bill the sort of vague attempts at objection in the name of democracy that we had on this whole series of Bills. Again I want to protest against this wild misuse of the name of democracy that is being made both by the Opposition Party and the Labour Party in this case. There are various kinds of democracy and there are some kinds of democracy which are mutually incompatible. One reason I am in favour of the Bill is because I believe that direct democracy of the kind contemplated in the Initiative and Referendum is incompatible with, and ultimately destructive of, Party or Parliamentary Government. Deputy Ryan said a thing which is very pertinent except that he did not seem to realise its bearing on the question at issue, that all over the world the system of the Initiative and the Referendum was destructive of Party Government. I wonder whether Deputies seriously mean to maintain that we should contemplate in this country at present, and under present circumstances, the deliberate destruction of the system of Party Government which we have. If we do and if we are to be coherent we should define the system of direct democracy that is to be substituted for the Parliamentary Government which we propose to do away [1573] with. After having pointed out that experience proved that this system of the Initiative and Referendum was destructive of Party Government, Deputy Ryan went on to say that under a system of what he was pleased to call direct democracy the people could send representatives to a Parliament in the consciousness that they could always undo by direct action what their representatives had done. He said they could by this system choose both honest and intelligent people to sit in Parliament. It seems to me that if you have that sort of system you will not want any honesty or intelligence. What you want is a Parliament of “Robots” which has not the quality either of intelligence or honesty.

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  We have a Party of that description in the House—of political “Robots.”

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  We have a Party of gramophones on the opposite Benches to make up for it, and they have very large records.

A DEPUTY:  Put the records on.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Deputy O'Connell glossed over the point made by Deputy Ryan, which seems to me to be the capital point in this argument, and he tried to set up against it a suggestion that we should be led by some pious resolution passed by some Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in this matter.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  No.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  He suggested that we were doing wrong, because some Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union passed a resolution, or put something on some agenda, that the Initiative and the Referendum were a desirable means of saving representative government. I prefer to take action in this matter, and in all matters, not with a view to what the Inter-Parliamentary Union will think of me, or of this Dáil, but with a view to what the people of the country desire and require. I think that is an example again of the Labour Party's tendency to be blown in any direction by any wind of doctrine that comes from any quarter.

[1574]Mr. O'CONNELL:  I may intervene to say I used that argument against the argument introduced by the Minister for Justice, who introduced it and brought us to Germany to show how the Initiative there had failed.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  It is a fact of common experience that all over Europe it has been found that the Initiative was destructive in its operation of Parliamentary Government or Party Government.

Mr. MacENTEE: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  Party Government is different.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I think the Deputy ought not to repeat that. I did not say it was destructive of Parliamentary Government. I said Party Government.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Will the Deputy give me any instance in history of a Parliamentary Government that was carried on without Parties anywhere? Will he tell me any case in the history of the world where Parliamentary Government was carried on that was not Party Government? People talk all kinds of vague theories on these matters without thinking what they are saying. Deputy O'Connell talks vague theories which are not even his own. He would prefer to have the country ruled—he is so far from believing in the sovereignty of the people—by some dictate laid down by some doctrinaire in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the members of which we know nothing about and with whom we have not anything to do. When I suggested that his attitude was that if we do not accept this ukase from the Inter-Parliamentary Union we should be slapped and put into a corner, I meant really a serious comment upon his whole position. Why should we be led by the doctrines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union? Why not form our own conclusions upon this matter and be said by the opinion and the wishes of our own people?

Mr. FAHY: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Refer it to them.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  I, for one, do not believe that the people of this country, or any considerable proportion [1575] of them, want the Initiative or the Referendum.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Try them.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  It can be tried at the next general election. It was tried at the last election when it was well known to the people that the present Government intended, if it was returned to power, to do away with Articles 47 and 48 of the Constitution.

Mr. O'CONNELL:  It was not known to Professor Tierney's own constituents in the University.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  I do not understand what the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party is. It seems to be that the people on the one hand were thirsting to have the Referendum and the Initiative kept, but on the other hand that the people refrained from voting for the Fianna Fáil Party, which believes in the Initiative and the Referendum, because of some other doctrine of Fianna Fáil that the people did not believe in. I do not know what that doctrine is. I should like to know what prevented the people from voting in the majority for the Fianna Fáil Party.

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

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  The threat of terrible and immediate war.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  The only people who talked about immediate and terrible war in this country for the last five years were the members of the Fianna Fáil Party. I do not believe if you had a general election to-morrow on this issue that you would get a mandate for keeping the Initiative and the Referendum alive, and, furthermore, I believe if you went the length of having a Referendum on this question you would not get 25 per cent. of the voters to vote one way or another. That is my main reason for being opposed to the whole proposal of the Initiative and Referendum together.

I have not been led in my attitude upon this matter by any consideration of this action of Fianna Fáil in coming into the Dáil or by any part of the Fianna Fáil policy. I have always [1576] thought it completely illogical that we should try to combine in our Parliamentary system two completely incompatible things. If we want to talk about democracy and if we want to suggest that every kind of fantastic faddist theory must be taken into our democratic system, I suggest we should go further, take up a system of election by lot and insist that this system should govern the appointment of all public officers and the selection of the two Houses of the Oireachtas. That is just as democratic and more so than either the Initiative or Referendum or representative government. The lot was the one thing which was the fundamental part of the definition of democracy in ancient times, when democracy was founded. If we want to talk about pure democracy let us go the whole hog and have pure democracy. You must make your choice in this matter. If you have the lot you cannot have the electoral system alongside of it. If you want people chosen by taking a bean out of a box you cannot have people chosen by putting a ballot paper into a box. If you want the Initiative and the Referendum you cannot expect to have representative government side by side with it which will be responsible for its actions and capable of controlling its own action, because that is exactly the thing the Initiative and the Referendum do— they deprive any Government of control of its own action. They force the Government, perhaps against its own will, to take some action the consequence of which it fears and disapproves of. If you get a system like that your best plan is not to try to mix up these two incompatible things, but to throw over Parliamentary Government altogether, govern by direct democracy and have the people vote on everything. If Fianna Fáil stand for that, well and good. Let us have a debate, let them explain their system of direct democracy and give us an idea of how they would work it. But do not let us have the Government and the Government Party accused of being undemocratic because they prefer one form of democracy to another and because they prefer a form that has been tried for five or six hundred years in all the civilised countries [1577] to a form of democracy which has not been put into operation successfully in any country since the Christian era.

I said I was not influenced in my vote on this question by any action of Deputy de Valera or his Party. I go further and say that the action of Deputy de Valera in trying to use Article 48 in order to confuse the people is a sound and sufficient reason for deleting Article 48. I asked Deputy O'Connell if he approved of that action. Deputy O'Connell uttered a few vague and rhetorical sentences about the rights of the people, but he was very careful not to give any answer. I hold Deputy de Valera has a right and proper way of dealing with the question of the Oath if he wants to. The people have a perfect right, and no one on this side of the House ever denied that right, to delete that Oath from the Constitution and take the consequences of its deletion, but there is one way, and only one way, for doing that, and that way apparently has not yet penetrated the head of Deputy de Valera. I am not going to assist its passage. But there is one perfectly constitutional way, to use a sacrosanct phrase in Deputy de Valera's language, of deleting Article 17 from the Constitution, and the mere fact that Deputy de Valera has tried by a side wind to use Article 48 in order to have Article 17 deleted is sufficient justification, added to the undesirability of Article 48 itself, for the action of the Government in deleting Article 48 at the present time. I think it is about time that we were finished with all this wild talk.

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  Let us have a dictatorship, pure and simple.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Every day here for the last month we have had people getting up and denouncing the Government for being undemocratic because they did not accept the ukase of the Inter-Parliamentary Union or because they did not do what Deputy de Valera wants them to do. If the Fianna Fáil Party want to talk about democracy, let them define what they mean by democracy; let us have a straight argument on the question and not have this constant throwing about of names which the people who make [1578] use of them either do not understand or do not believe in.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  One is in a difficulty in dealing with this question at this particular stage, because, from hearing all the nonsense and all the twistings and turnings of arguments that we have listened to for the last week or so——

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Hear, hear!

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  ——one does not know whether one should talk seriously or not. For me, however, this is a serious matter. It is a matter, from the way in which it has been handled by the Government and the way in which their mind has been revealed on it, that makes me feel very clearly that the blood guiltiness which is on the members opposite is being proved more definitely day by day. I have here some of the statements that were made when it was very useful to have the cry “The will of the people.”

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Have you the will come on to the Stone Age plebiscite there?

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Very good, we will come on to the Stone Age plebiscite at its proper time. What was the Stone Age plebiscite? It was that in a matter of this particular kind the people should meet at the Chapel gates and indicate what their will was. That was the Stone Age plebiscite, which was worthy of the Stone Age or the Age of Lot, which Deputy Tierney has been talking about just now. Of course I was against that type of Stone Age plebiscite. Why should I not? There were men who felt deeply on that question, men who gave up their lives for it afterwards. Were they going to abide by a plebiscite of that kind?

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Were they?

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  No, certainly not, but they were put to death by men on the cry of the will of the people, men who said on the eve of the day on which they put them to death that they had put them there because they wanted to make effective the will of the people. When they put to death men like Liam Mellowes, men in whose hearts, aye, in [1579] whose little fingers, there was more love for the Irish people than in the whole Front Bench opposite——

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  You had queer methods of showing it.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It would be well if the Deputy confined himself to the Bill under discussion.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It is very difficult, for this is a serious matter, a matter which the gentlemen opposite, only that they have drugged the country and driven out of it the men who had spirit, would not dare to come along with at this stage after four or five years of deception.

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  We never feared coming in.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  They have used their unfortunate dupes against us, and their unfortunate dupes can only now cry out like Macbeth at the witches: “Accursed be these juggling fiends.”

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Would the Deputy like to send for Deputy Seán T. O Ceallaigh to shout “Murder, murder”?

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  They can only heap their curses on the juggling fiends. “They keep the word of promise to our ear and break it to our hope.” That is what is left here, and were it not for that the gentlemen on the opposite benches would not come along like this and talk about removing the plebiscite and removing the fundamental Articles of the Constitution on which they got support. They are now going to remove them as if they were matters of sport and play, something to quibble about and bring up arguments here about as if they were in a debating society.

General MULCAHY: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  We have never been impressed very much by people who quote Shakespeare at us.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  If you got yourselves quoted back at yourselves perhaps you would not be impressed either.

[1580]Mr. AIKEN: Information on Frank Aiken  Zoom on Frank Aiken  The Minister the other day ran out when I was quoting him against himself.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I will give him other quotations. I see another gentleman opposite who said that this Treaty was never imposed on us from outside by force.

Mr. DUGGAN: Information on Edmund John Duggan  Zoom on Edmund John Duggan  I never said it was.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I will give you the words you used.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  We are not now discussing the Treaty, and the Deputy must confine himself to what is before the House.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We are discussing the whole question of the Constitution.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  No.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We are, in so far as it deals with these particular Articles. The fundamental question of the Constitution is contained in these very Articles by which it is set out that the will of the people is going to be made supreme. That is in Article 48 particularly.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  We are discussing a motion for the deletion of Article 47 and 48, and consequential amendments in other Articles. We are certainly not discussing the whole Constitution and we are certainly not discussing the Treaty.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I hold that we cannot deal with vital Articles of the Constitution without in some way referring to the Constitution as a whole. I think anybody with any ordinary reason will admit that is so.

Mr. J.J. BYRNE: Information on John Joseph Byrne  Zoom on John Joseph Byrne  I submitted to the ruling of the Chair on exactly the same matter.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  At this stage the question is whether, after having put Irishmen to death, men who were, at least, if there is anything in this particular State that you have now, as valuable in bringing it into existence as any Deputy on the opposite benches. [1581] You parted with them, you broke with them, and sacrificed them, and you wanted to pretend that you were doing it in a sacrificial spirit in order to maintain the will of the people. Now, of course, as on every other occasion when we try to refresh the memory of these men who have done these things and when we try to make them act at least consistently, we are told we are out of order and that these things must not be discussed.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I want to make the position clear to the Deputy. There is no exception being made in the case of the Deputy any more than any other member of the House. No other member of the House, no matter from what Party, will be allowed to go back and discuss things which are not in order.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  If we are going to tear up this document, this Constitution, we ought at least to get an opportunity to ask the Deputies who are going to vote for it whether they are going to take upon themselves the responsibility of saying that when they put these men to death, and when they said it was for the sake of the Constitution, they knew they were lying. Are we not entitled to remind them of the things that they said then?

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  On a point of order——

Mr. G. BOLAND: Information on Gerald Boland  Zoom on Gerald Boland  There is one of them; let him have his say.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  He knows all about it.

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  On a point of order, if a Deputy insists on discussing the executions, will I or other members be in order in asking explanations for the murder of members of this House?

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  No.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We have several times, since we came in here, been been taunted from the opposite benches with an untruth, that we were acting unconstitutionally. There was a Constitution that we stood for, as we would have stood for this if we were responsible for it. If some of us had had a Constitution that we had taken [1582] an oath to maintain, we would have maintained it, and we did maintain it when other people tore it up. They tore that Constitution up, as they are endeavouring now to tear this Constitution. They suppressed the Parliament to which they should have been responsible, and they broke the truce and the pact they made, and that was law.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  What has that to do with the subject under discussion?

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It has this to do with it, that we are at present dealing with the tearing up of another Constition.

Mrs. COLLINS-O'DRISCOLL: Information on Margaret Collins-O'Driscoll  Zoom on Margaret Collins-O'Driscoll  Chair!

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  And those people on the other benches who are going to do this thing are dictated to by those who occupy the Front Bench, but they ought at least to realise——

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  It was you who broke up the other Constitution.

Mr. FITZGERALD: Information on Desmond FitzGerald  Zoom on Desmond FitzGerald  What about the President of the Republic?

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I am very loth to interrupt Deputy de Valera, but I want to make it clear that we have to discuss this Bill and what is in it, and nothing else. If Deputy de Valera claims the right to go outside this particular matter, other Deputies will also claim the same right, and they are not going to get it, and in the circumstances the Deputy must confine himself to what is in the Bill.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  What is in the Bill is the deletion of two Articles, and I am concerned particularly with one Article. The two Articles together were held out as giving to the people the very last word as regards their laws and their Constitution. It was under cover of these Articles primarily that those people were able to go to the people of the country and to say to them, “All power is vested in you.” Those who are opposing this are opposing the very Constitution. I was pointing out that they used these particular Articles of the Constitution while they wanted them. They used [1583] them in order to deceive the people, and now, when the deception has become effective, they want to remove them. They have driven out of the country a quarter of a million of young people, and they have drugged the rest of the country and put them in a position in which they feel helpless. Then they taunt them and say: “Very well, you have a way open to you. You can, at a general election, denounce the Treaty.” They have preached from one end of the country to the other the slave doctrine that an outside country, because it threatens force, must be given perpetual rule over this country.

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

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It is not untrue.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  It is untrue.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It is not untrue. The statements made by those Ministers on the opposite benches are here.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  What the Deputy has just now said is untrue.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  And I have amongst the speeches here several speeches which afford ample evidence as to the professions with which they went before the country. It has been suggested here that improper use was about to be made of Article 48. What is the improper use? Strictly in accordance with its terms a petition was prepared asking the Oireachtas to make provision for the Initiative. That was presented when it was signed.

Mr. FITZGERALD: Information on Desmond FitzGerald  Zoom on Desmond FitzGerald  And in particular?

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  The particular gentleman over there does not merit particular attention from me or he would have been down in some of these statements that are here, but because he is a cypher, and has always been a cypher, I will not bother about him. I said that it was suggested that improper use was going to be made of Article 48. Article 48 provides that if the people want the Initiative they can compel the Oireachtas to set up the machinery by the simple process of signing a petition which should contain [1584] the names of over 75,000 voters, not more than 15,000 being from any one constituency, so that it might be quite clear that it was not a purely local matter.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Signed at the chapel gates.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Deputy de Valera must be allowed to make his speech without further interruption.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We, in the most constitutional way, got not alone 75,000 but 96,000 signatures to that petition. It was brought here, and it was open to the Dáil to set up any examining commission that it wished.

Mr. J.J. BYRNE: Information on John Joseph Byrne  Zoom on John Joseph Byrne  On a point of order: I was refused permission to refer to that petition. You refused definitely to allow me to refer to the petition while on this Bill.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  And he was quite right, too.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Deputy de Valera will continue.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That petition was brought here, and the moment it was brought here the gentlemen opposite, who never thought they would be hoist with their own petard, immediately took steps to remove this Article. They are about to remove it in a way which does not get them out of their legal obligations if they have any respect for them. They are bound, when that petition was signed in accordance with Article 48, to observe it if they have any regard whatever for the Constitution. I think they have not, and I feel, therefore, that when I say if they have any regard for their obligations, I am trying to say something which I know very well it is beyond the bounds of possibility to expect.

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  That is the way you smashed down the walls of the Republic.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  We got that petition signed by 96,000 and not 75,000 electors.

Professor TIERNEY: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  At the chapel gates.

[1585]Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That petition was brought here, and it was open to the Dáil to set up an examining commission to find whether that petition was not in strict accordance with the Article. Instead of fulfilling their obligations the Executive immediately set about gaining time in order to remove this particular Article. As I have said, the removal of it does not get them out of their obligations if they have any sense of what obligations are. I know they have not, and, therefore, unfortunately this is an argument that cannot be addressed to them at all. They say that there was an attempt by means of the ill-use or the wrong use of Article 48 to get something else done by a side-wind. Any intelligent person knows that that is not true. They know perfectly well that that petition could have been used only for one thing, and it was intended to be used only for one thing—namely, to set up the machinery for the Initiative. When that machinery would be set up it was indicated on the part of those who signed the petition that it was intended to take the next step—namely, to proceed by way of the Initiative for the removal of Article 17.

Mr. NOLAN: Information on John Thomas Nolan  Zoom on John Thomas Nolan  That is different.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That is quite clear, and it was quite within the people's right to do it.

Mr. J.J. BYRNE: Information on John Joseph Byrne  Zoom on John Joseph Byrne  It was not.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  The people will only be allowed to do what Deputy Byrne and the other Deputies over there want them to do, apparently. That is the sort of will of the people that you stand for all the time. They must not do anything except what you want.

Mr. LYNCH: Information on Fionán Lynch  Zoom on Fionán Lynch  The people have no right to do wrong.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It was proposed that by means of the Initiative the people would proceed in a perfectly regular, constitutional way to remove Article 17. Some people will tell you that Article 17 could not be removed. You can never be certain of these things until you try, and we, in any case, were going to try our best to induce [1586] the people to give expression to their true feelings.

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Three general elections.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  When you have the sort of stuff that I have here given to the people and drunk in by them, stuff given by people who pretended they were sacrificing in a sacrificial spirit their comrades in order to make the will of the people supreme——

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Including Article 17.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Deputy de Valera will have to be allowed to continue his speech.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I know that Deputy O'Sullivan has very good reason not to like being reminded of some of these things.

Mr. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  The Deputy flatters me.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  When we wanted to get rid of Article 17 it was quite clearly impossible to do anything of the kind. It had to be brought by the people as a special issue under the Initiative. It had to be brought forward in that way, and the gentlemen who were so busy in the past deceiving the people had to use all the organs of deception in the past in order to frighten the people.

As I have said, the whole policy of the members opposite has been this: you may give up as much of your freedom as you like, you may go as deeply into the trap as you like, but there must be no question at any time of your getting out. That has been the policy from the beginning to the end, and that policy is practised by people who, at the beginning, got young people to work for them, to fight for them, and to kill their comrades for them, with the cry that it was going to be used as a steppingstone for freedom. As I say, some of us who have seen the people from the start deceived so effectively—I can say it for myself—occasionally began to wonder whether these men really believed the things they were talking about. Knowing them as I did, I had a certain amount of difficulty even in [1587] coming to think that, but I did think occasionally when these statements were made that perhaps they meant all this thing. Whatever doubts——

Mr. F. LYNCH: Information on Fionán Lynch  Zoom on Fionán Lynch  Ex cathedra.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  ——whatever wonderings I may have had in the past have been effectively dispelled in the last month or so. I am not likely ever again to give even one second's consideration to the question that perhaps when they were saying these things they did really mean them, that perhaps they had a big regard for constitutional government and the will of the people. But not merely am I saved from any such thoughts ever again, but I think any people who will come after us and who may be sizing up the pros and cons of the last five or six years and asking themselves on which side was right, and whether the gentlemen opposite were acting in that sacrificial spirit, with that stern morality we hear of from the other side, will have very little difficulty in convincing themselves by the results of the action of the Executive in the last four or five days that that was not so. We are told that there are all sorts of democracies, that the most perfect form was the old one, when they went by lot, and so on. There was no talk of democracies from the gentlemen opposite except the big broad words, “the will of the people.” They are standing for the will of the people, and are afraid apparently to let this question go to the people as to whether the people wish to surrender that particular right or not. The people have the right, according to this Constitution, to have certain powers of check in one direction and powers of defence in the other. Both of these are going to be swept away from the people, and the gentlemen who have such regard for the will of the people will not come and consult them as to whether they will give up these powers or not. If there is so much in what Deputy Tierney speaks of, would he not have an opportunity, if that matter were going before the people, to come out on the hustings and tell them it would be much better to trust this assembly? If he did that there would be something [1588] to be said for it, but he has been most careful not to do anything of that kind. He wants to say, “We speak for the people, and because we want this thing, therefore the people want it.” There is no question at all of asking the people a simple question: do they want this Initiative or do they not. They say this Initiative has broken down all over Europe. The Deputy would find that more difficult to prove, I think, if he took it out on a campaign where his assertions would not be taken simply as if they were proofs. It has not broken down; the fact that it has been worked out most successfully, and so wisely used in Switzerland, was one of the reasons why it was adopted in other Constitutions. It was its success in that country that made it be adopted in the Constitutions of States in America and elsewhere, in order to have control during the period of office over an Executive that may be unscrupulous.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  May I remind the Deputy that this debate started at 3.35 p.m., and that by order of the House it has to conclude within two hours of that time.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It did not really begin until between a quarter and ten to four o'clock. Another matter arose. I watched the clock.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I was informed by the Ceann Comhairle that the matter began at 3.35 p.m.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Of course, you have to be guided by the Ceann Comhairle. It is rather a pity he is not here. If he were I would point out to him that another matter occupied the time of the House up to between a quarter and ten to four o'clock.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I will allow the Deputy to conclude his speech.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I will probably have an opportunity of saying some of the things I would have said on this particular Bill if I had been allowed to continue at a later stage. The President is bringing on a motion in a couple of days, which is just as much [1589] untruth and falsehood as the other matter to which I was referring. It will give me just as much reason to talk as this would. But I ask: Why is it the people are not to be consulted? Why is it necessary to consult the people when there is a chance of making them afraid? Why is it that when there is a chance of cowing the people they must be consulted, but when there is a question of the people getting back some of the old spirit of marching on, then they must not be consulted? Why? The reason is because it would not suit the Executive that there should be a march on. They have now said we are much better off in the British Commonwealth of Nations than we were before. The British Commonwealth of Nations has changed wonderfully in the last five or six years. From 1919 to 1921 the British Commonwealth of Nations was something that was so detestable that nobody should have anything to do with it. It has suddenly changed. They have taken it to their heart, or they have allowed themselves to be taken to the heart of the British Empire. It has changed completely. That which was abominable before has now become [1590] a wonderful institution, full of freedom; there is more freedom under it than under the Republic. When we hear that, we are always reminded of the old story of the fox without his tail. The moment his tail was cut off he began to find out that he was much better off with the tail gone. But the fox is not going to convince people that that is so. You may be sure, whether you tear these Articles out of the Constitution or not, there are still people who believe that the freedom of this country is worth working for. Thanks be to God there are. There will be a reaction against the apathy which allows you, with your majority, to get through with this sort of thing, and the gentlemen opposite are doing their best to make provision for that. As I have said already, they are proving themselves very wise in their generation. What they are going to do is to cause more violent methods to be used by which these things will be remedied.

Mr. G. O'SULLIVAN: Information on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Zoom on Gearóid O'Sullivan  Better name us now when you have gone so far.

Question put: “That the Bill be received for final consideration.”

Ernest Henry Alton.
James Walter Beckett.
George Cecil Bennett.
Ernest Blythe.
Séamus A. Bourke.
Seán Brodrick.
Alfred Byrne.
John Joseph Byrne.
John James Cole.
Mrs. Margaret Collins-O'Driscoll.
Martin Conlon.
Michael P. Connolly.
Bryan Ricco Cooper.
William T. Cosgrave.
Sir James Craig.
James Crowley.
Eugene Doherty.
James N. Dolan.
Edmund John Duggan.
Barry M. Egan.
Osmond Thomas Grattan Esmonde.
Desmond Fitzgerald.
James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
Denis J. Gorey.
Alexander Haslett.
Michael R. Heffernan.
Michael Joseph Hennessy.
Thomas Hennessy.
Mark Henry.
Patrick Hogan (Galway).
Richard Holohan.
Michael Jordan.
Patrick Michael Kelly.
Myles Keogh.
Hugh Alexander Law.
Patrick Leonard.
Finian Lynch.
Arthur Patrick Mathews.
Joseph W. Mongan.
Richard Mulcahy.
James E. Murphy.
John Thomas Nolan.
Bartholomew O'Connor.
Timothy Joseph O'Donovan.
Daniel O'Leary.
Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
John J. O'Reilly.
Gearoid O'Sullivan.
John Marcus O'Sullivan.
William Archer Redmond.
Patrick Reynolds.
Vincent Rice.
Martin Roddy.
William Edward Thrift.
Michael Tierney.
Daniel Vaughan.
Vincent Joseph White.
George Wolfe.

[1591]Frank Aiken.
Denis Allen.
Richard Anthony.
Gerald Boland.
Seán Brady.
Robert Briscoe.
Daniel Buckley.
Frank Carney.
Michael Clery.
James Colbert.
Hugh Colohan.
Eamon Cooney.
William Davin.
Thomas Derrig.
Eamon de Valera.
Frank Fahy.
Hugo Flinn.
Andrew Fogarty.
Patrick J. Gorry.
John Goulding.
[1592]Patrick Hogan (Clare).
Patrick Houlihan.
Mark Killilea.
Michael Kilroy.
Seán F. Lemass.
Patrick John Little.
Thomas McEllistrim.
Seán MacEntee.
Séamus Moore.
Daniel Morrissey.
Thomas J. O'Connell.
William O'Leary.
Matthew O'Reilly.
Thomas O'Reilly.
James Ryan.
Martin Sexton.
Patrick Smith.
John Tubridy.
Francis C. Ward.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and M. Conlon. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.

Fifth Stage ordered for Thursday, 28th June.


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