Friday, 14 March 1930
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Aiken: We pointed out objections to the administration of the Army by the Minister for Defence last year, and we are still not satisfied with it. The Minister took on himself powers to start a volunteer reserve, and failed miserably in having that Reserve established. We see by the Estimates for the coming year that the Army expenditure has gone up. We believe the country cannot afford to spend the amount of money asked for last year, not to speak of having that sum increased. As far as we can see, there is no increase in efficiency, and the Minister made no attempt during the past year so to organise his munitions supply that this country would be capable of fighting when it wishes and not when England wishes.
The volunteer reserve that the Minister has started would have been a good thing if it had been organised on proper national lines. But the Minister has made it, or intends to make it, as far as we can see, a weapon to uphold British supremacy in this country. Numbers of people who are against our national ideals are making use of the volunteer reserve and the officers training corps simply to fit themselves to fight for the British. The Minister contradicted that statement on the last day when I made it, but my argument was borne out by the quotations given by Deputy Kerlin. We do not see the use of keeping an army and spending £1,600,000 of the taxpayers' money upon it when it can only be used when England wants it. We do not see any use in building up a volunteer reserve for the same purpose. There might be something to be said for the volunteer reserve if the Minister cut down the expenses of the Army. One of two evils would be partially abolished if the expenses of the Army were cut down. Not alone has the Minister not organised the Army upon proper lines but it is going to cost more, and we object to it for both these reasons.
Mr. Lemass: On the Second Reading debate of this Bill, a serious attempt was made by a number of Deputies to discuss the cost of the  failure of the attempt to form a volunteer reserve. Instead of answering the case made from this side of the House on that occasion the Minister for Defence in replying contented himself with indulging in a series of insulting remarks about Fianna Fáil Deputies and Party. We are of course accustomed to that form of argument from the Minister, but we thought that as the introduction of this Bill was the first opportunity which the House had to discuss the methods adopted to form the volunteer reserve, we would have had a more serious contribution from the responsible Minister. The Minister in our opinion should have been glad of the opportunity which the Bill gave him to justify the particular procedure which he adopted, in view of the fact that that procedure had failed to achieve the object aimed at. As I have said, the Minister did not think fit to take that course. He exercised his powers of vituperation at our expense, but he left us no wiser as to the prospects in the near future that the steps adopted will produce results any different from what they produced in the past.
We argued and we are still of opinion that the failure of the efforts to form a volunteer reserve force was due to the fact that the wrong methods were adopted. I think that on this Bill the Dáil should express its opinion that it is not prepared to continue spending public money in attempting to turn a failure into a success, unless it can be shown that there is a reasonable prospect of doing so. The Minister at the moment is frantically engaged throwing good money after bad, trying to save something from the wreck. As Deputy Aiken has pointed out, however, the Estimate for the Army this year has been increased; the taxpayers are being asked to pay more; and before willingly assenting to that situation, the Dáil should have from the Minister a more serious and a more considered explanation of the circumstances surrounding the volunteer reserve than has been given up to this.
We have argued and we are still  of opinion that the failure of the volunteer force is due to the fact that there was created, rightly or wrongly, in the public minds an impression that it was to be a partisan body. The Minister has stated that there was no justification for that impression. That may be so; we are prepared to accept the Minister's word that he did not deliberately intend the force to be a partisan body. But, what we do say is that there is an impression in the public mind that it is such, and until that impression is eradicated the efforts of the Minister and his Department will fail in the future as they have failed up to this. The impression of partisanship was created by the series of circumstances that preceded the attempt to form the force. In the first place the Minister decided definitely to associate the volunteer force with the regular army. The procedure adopted, as Deputies know, is that men are enlisted into the regular army in the ordinary way, and are immediately transferred to the reserve without doing any period of service with the regular forces.
We have often been assured in the past that the regular Army is not a partisan force, and we are very glad to know that it is the ambition of the Executive Council to prevent it becoming such. We are dealing, however, not so much with actualities as with general impressions, and there is, in the public mind, an impression that the army is definitely associated with the policy for which the present Executive stands. We cannot afford to ignore realities. It is only eight years since that Army was engaged in a civil war, and the traditions and feelings created in a civil war period are not easily removed. If the Minister was anxious to create a volunteer force that would not carry into 1930 the civil war tradition, he should have been very careful to have disassociated that force from the regular Army. We are not animated by any animosity towards the regular Army. We have always been glad to get assurances of Ministers that the regular Army will serve one Government as loyally as another. We do  feel, however, that in the public mind that Army is associated with a particular political policy in this country and it will take a long time before that impression is eradicated.
The volunteer reserve force was started without any effort being made by the Executive Council, or those responsible for its formation, to secure, in advance, the prospect of co-operation from persons politically opposed to the Government. In the special circumstances existing in this country, which are not reproduced in any other country in the world, the Government, in our opinion, should have taken special precautions to see that the volunteer force would have, in advance, the cooperation of the members of all Parties. That would have given the members of other Parties an opportunity, which is denied to them here in the Dáil, of expressing their opinions as to the constitution and functions of the body when established. The force was started without taking the Dáil into consultation. If the particular procedure which the Minister thought fit to follow had not been adopted, but, instead, a Bill was introduced here to provide for the formation of this force, it would have given us an opportunity of clearing away a whole lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions beforehand. Members of all Parties could have expressed their views as to the actual form the volunteer force should take. The Bill would not, I think, have been seriously opposed in this House, because all Parties are committed to the establishment of a volunteer reserve in this country. It is a long time since the policy of Fianna Fáil, in that connection, was first pronounced. If the Minister had taken advantage of that fact and had come here with a Bill to insure that the views of all Parties would be properly considered, before the constitution of the force was finally determined on, he would have gone a long way towards securing the success of his attempt.
Following, however, the creation of these initial suspicions by the adoption  of wrong methods, the failure of the attempt to recruit a force was due also to the particular constitution determined on by the Executive Council. Members who enlist in this force are informed that they engage to serve the Executive Council of Saorstát Eireann and that they are liable to be called out—these are the actual words used, I think—“at any time to aid in the preservation of public order, should an Executive Minister call out the Reserve, or any portion of it, or should the Officer Commanding the Forces, if requested in writing by a District Justice in a town or district in which the reservist resides, call out for purpose aforesaid the men belonging to the Reserve who are resident in such town or district.” In the propaganda campaign that has been in operation to secure recruits for this force and in all the speeches made by the Minister in connection with it and by others engaged in its formation, the idea of defending the country against external aggression is the only idea that has been stressed. If the object of the force is to deal with cases of imminent national danger or grave emergency, as stated in one paragraph of the rules concerning it, and that only, then that fact should be made quite clear.
I do not think, however, that in the special circumstances existing in this country, eight years after the people were divided by civil war, you will get the young men of the country willing to put themselves into a position of being called out to give active service on the request of a member of the Executive Council or a District Justice for the purpose of preserving public order. There is the Civic Guard, there is the Regular Army, and there is the Reserve Army available to deal with all matters in which public order may be involved. The reserve force should, in our opinion, be distinct and separate from these bodies. If it was kept distinct and separate, I do not think that it would be subject to the same disabilities in the public mind which those other bodies are subject to in the special circumstances  existing here. At this stage, the Government should recognise the fact that their effort to form a volunteer reserve force has not succeeded. They should learn by the mistake and have courage to go back and start again. According to the Minister when speaking on the Second Reading of this Bill, only 500 members had been recruited into the force. Obviously there are amongst the supporters of the Government Party a much larger number of young men of military age than that, but even those have not come forward to enlist. It might be reasonably expected that members of the Civil Service or members of the Cumann na nGaedheal would have been recruited. I wonder how many Cumann na Gaedheal Deputies are members of the reserve force?
Mr. Lemass: Not all of them. The Deputy is not as old as he looks. The fact is, however, that the attempt to form the force has not succeeded, and there is no prospect of any greater success attending those efforts in the future. The Government should recognise that, go back to the beginning and start again. I am convinced that the failure of this attempt does not mean that the country does not want a volunteer force. I think it does want a volunteer force, and that it would be prepared to provide for the establishment of such a force to give the young men of the country military training and to provide them with weapons that could be utilised in case of external aggression. We have had a peculiar history here, and for a long time it was made illegal for Irishmen to get trained in the use of arms or to become accustomed to carry arms except as members of the forces of the British Government. These penal laws, which were designed to smash the spirit of manhood amongst our people, have created a sense of servility amongst  our people which, I am sure, all parties are anxious to abolish. One of the best methods of abolishing that sense of servility is the establishment of a volunteer force and the giving of a military training to all young men of military age in the country who can accept it.
Apart from the obvious advantages of having a trained force in existence, the Fianna Fáil Party always advocated that this step should be taken. Some Deputies on Second Reading expressed suspicions that the particular steps adopted by the Executive Council were predestined to failure in order to discredit the idea of a volunteer force. I do not know whether there is any reasonable ground for that suspicion, but we think that such ground for suspicion might be increased if the Government persist in following the course that they have followed heretofore and if they do not go back and wipe the slate clean and make another start possible. The young men of the country will not join that volunteer force if there is any possibility whatever that by doing so they may be jockeyed into the position of acting as Fascist Militia for the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. The idea is there that that is a conceivable possibility.
Mr. Lemass: It may be, but I know the feeling is there amongst a large number of people, people who would be the first to join the volunteer force if it were open to them. They have a feeling, however, that if they become members they might be put into that position and, whilst there is the least danger of it, they will not come forward.
Professor Tierney: The Deputy says that there is an impression in the public mind that the Army is likely to be used as an instrument of the Executive Council, and that there is a danger that the volunteer force is likely to be used in the same way. My feeling is that there is an  impression in the public mind that the Fianna Fáil policy involves the setting up of an army and volunteer force which will not be under the jurisdiction of the Executive Council for the time being, and that it will be independent of such Executive.
Professor Tierney: The question is, is that the Fianna Fáil policy? I think that that is a pertinent question. Deputy Lemass talks about the Army being the instrument of the Executive Council, whoever they may be. I say that the country is much more afraid that it will not be the instrument of the Executive Council, and that the Fianna Fáil policy is to set up an army and volunteer force which will not be subject to the Executive Council.
Mr. Lemass: The answer is in the negative. It may be thought that our opposition to the volunteer reserve force arises out of the fact that it is not under our control. I know that there are possibly a number of people in the country who give support to the idea of a volunteer reserve subject to the fact that they will have the direction of it. That is not our view in this matter at all. As I have said, the fact that young Irishmen would get military training would in our view, help to create that feeling amongst them which is most likely to make them supporters of our Party. If for no other reason than that the giving of military training will encourage a manly outlook and tend to give support to a manly policy, we would like to see the volunteer force in existence with a substantial membership. If the Government will proceed along lines which will bring that force successfully into existence they can, I think, be confident that nothing will be done by Fianna Fáil to sabotage their efforts. If they persist, however, in following the present lines we can only conclude  that they do not want a volunteer force in existence, and that they are deliberately adopting methods designed to create a failure.
Mr. Wolfe: As I understand this Bill, it is merely a renewal for another year of the existing Army Act. There are, of course, different opinions as regards the strength and efficiency of our present Army. There are those who think that the Army should be increased in numbers having regard to the public safety, and the real economy of this country. There are those who think that for similar reasons the strength of the existing Army should be reduced and there are those who think, with the Minister for Defence, that the existing Army cannot further be reduced or increased in existing circumstances. I agree with the latter section of opinion, but I do hope that a time will come when the Minister for Defence may be free to take up a different position. The only difference between the position a year ago and now that I can see, is that in the meantime the Minister has organised with singular and unexpected success, a volunteer reserve force. I heard from Deputy Lemass opinions for and against that movement. He accused us in the first instance of being partisans and he then told us that he had no fear whatever of what the National Army would do if there was ever a change in Government, that they would follow the new Executive Council. He attacked the volunteer reserve but he took good care to heel-tap what he said by saying that if the House were ever asked their permission they would give it without question. They would not have opposed it to use his own words. That reminds me of the statement made the other day by the humble little postman who referred to what Deputy Lemass had said or what he was alleged to have said and when he was told that he had not used that remark he said “Oh, one day he says one thing and the next day he says something else.” If I might respectfully say so without causing Deputy Lemass any offence,  in this debate he has said one thing at one time and another thing at another time. We are rather in a difficulty to know whether he is really for or against the National Army, whether he still adheres to the opinions he expressed repeatedly that they are partisan or whether he has changed his mind and hangs on to the last expression of opinion and is satisfied that, in the event of a change of government, they would serve another Government well and faithfully. I wonder has the Deputy changed his opinion in regard to the volunteer movement?
Personally, my opinion is that the Minister deserves congratulations from every side of the House on the success of this movement and on the methods by which he has brought it about. Take the O.T.C. He has got into that corps the best of young Free State university life. He has got people there to join who, having torn aside, as they had to tear aside, the barriers of tradition, prejudice and doubt, have taken upon themselves a solemn obligation to their native land. That obligation they do not regard as any mere empty formula. They regard it for what it is, an obligation and an undertaking to the lawfully constituted Government of the country, not to any particular Executive Council nor to any particular Minister for Defence. They regard it as an obligation to the lawfully constituted existing Government to carry out their duty as citizens towards the National Army and the volunteer force of which they seek to become officers. I think the result of that has been very beneficial and that it has been a real step towards the unity of this country, a unity to which we all profess to be looking forward, a unity that we must all hope and pray for if we are to have any hope for the future of the country.
Mr. Wolfe: We hope that this movement towards unity will receive  some encouragement from members of the Fianna Fáil Party. Time and time again we have heard them say that they would be so glad to work for every section in the country, they would be so glad to have every section working for the common weal. Here is a movement in which they can come forward and take a step towards that unity, as large a step as I have seen taken in this country since I became a member of the Dáil over two and a half years ago. How are they treated by the Party who told us time and time again that they are ready to hold out to all those who are prepared to take their place and exercise their rights as citizens, the hand of friendship? Now at the first chance, what happens? They treat the force with suspicion and with hostility. It is somewhat difficult to find out what alternative Deputy Lemass has. He has not answered, except in the negative, the question put by Deputy Tierney. The one thing we did gather from him, because it is the only thing that he has not contradicted during the course of his speech, is that the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, according to Deputy Lemass, is to abolish all laws against carrying arms and to let everybody be free to carry arms, because while these laws are in existence they are penal laws and must be regarded as such. It is well to clear the air. There is one point upon which we are satisfied and on which the Fianna Fáil Party are agreed. That is, that all laws against the carrying of arms ought to be repealed. As long as that is their policy I do not think that anybody who cares for the safety or security of the country in existing circumstances will agree with Fianna Fáil.
Mr. MacEntee: Before Deputy Wolfe sits down, may I ask him a question? He said a moment ago, speaking of the O.T.C., that they had undertaken an obligation to the lawfully  constituted Government. May I ask him what he would consider essential in order to have a lawfully constituted Government in this country—he and those young men for whom he speaks?
Professor Tierney: The Fianna Fáil Party have a great habit of talking about impressions created on the public mind. I would like to refer to two impressions which, I think, have been created on the mind of the majority of the people of this country. I hold that members sitting on these benches have a better right to speak as to the mind of the majority of the people than the Fianna Fáil Party have. One impression which has been created in the mind of the majority of the people is that there is a certain amount of insincerity and dishonesty about all our activities in this Dáil. That impression, I believe, is largely created by the speeches like the speech which Deputy Aiken made here this morning. Deputy Aiken talked about the necessity for economy and stated that the Minister is spending more on the Army this year than he spent last year. The Deputy appeared to be very anxious for economy in the Army. The majority of the people in the country know very well that Deputy Aiken is not very anxious for anything of the kind. They know very well that Deputy Aiken's thoughts and ideals very seldom turn in the direction of economy, especially in military matters, and when he talks about economy he is simply inventing what he thinks to be a popular catch-cry with which to hit the Minister for Defence. If there is any Party in Ireland which has the right to talk about economy, especially in military matters, it is  not the Fianna Fáil Party. I believe that our whole political activity in this country will continue to suffer from a deep-seated disease, if I may put it that way; that the people will have no confidence in our political utterances, in the genuineness of the ideals which we profess to put forward, as long as we have arguments of that kind being made the stock-in-trade of politicians in this country.
If the Fianna Fáil Party have a policy with regard to the Army, let them put it forward. If they have ideals with regard to the Army, let them put them forward; but let them not try to gloss the oblique truth of their policy by mixing it up with demands for economy, which the vast majority of the people know very well they do not believe and never did believe in. Let them not try to coat the pill with a sugar coating of what they consider to be proper dope for the popular mind. Another impression strongly held by the majority of the people is the impression that I referred to when I interrupted Deputy Lemass. The majority of the people believe that if the Fianna Fáil Party came into power under its present leader the first action of that Party would be to assist in the creation of an army which would not be amenable to the orders of the majority Government in the country. A very large number, I believe the majority, of the people are afraid that under a Fianna Fáil Government they would be subject to a repetition of the same state of affairs as we had here in 1922. Deputy Lemass's speech here to-day bears out that fear which I believe is operative in the minds of the majority of the people. Deputy Lemass said that the Fianna Fáil Party objected to the Army because it was likely to be made the instrument of the Executive Government.
Professor Tierney: I do not know what sort of subtle distinction the Deputy wanted to make, but he said  that in the minds of the people the Army was associated with the policy of the Executive Council.
Professor Tierney: What is the alternative? I do not care whether you have in power in this country a Fianna Fáil Government, a Labour Government or an Independent Government—it does not matter which. Whatever army, volunteer or reserve forces, exist here, they must be associated with the policy of that Government, and if they are not associated with the policy of that Government, then the Army will be above that Government, it will dictate to that Government, and the government of the country will no longer be exercised from or through this Dáil but will be exercised from the rooms where the junta that is in control of the unofficial army meets. The thing the people are most afraid of, and the thing that has kept unrest alive in politics for the last seven or eight years, is specifically the fear that if the Fianna Fáil Party get into power one of the principal effects of their coming into power will be once again the setting up in this country of some armed force which will not be amenable to the authority of the people and the government of the country will not be exercised through the majority of the people's representatives in the Dáil. When I asked him whether that was the Fianna Fáil policy, Deputy Lemass said that the reply was in the negative. I think the country will expect a much more detailed reply than that, and if that is not the Fianna Fáil policy the country will expect to be told exactly what is the Fianna Fáil policy. Deputy Lemass talked  about our young men. We have many times heard the phrase from Deputy Lemass and his leader about the young men in this country who wish to bear arms but who do not want to be amenable to the rule of the majority of the people.
Professor Tierney: Deputy Aiken reminds me very much of a certain type of unfortunate person who spends his time lamenting to everybody that he has a hole on the top of his head when really there is not one there.
Professor Tierney: The Deputy has still the British subject in his mind. He has an obsession that he is a British subject, and he hates British subjects so much that he has almost reached the stage of hating himself in his capacity as the sole British subject in this country. If we kept on arguing from this until Doomsday we could not persuade Deputy Aiken that he is doing anything but living under the British flag.
Professor Tierney: The point I want to make is that there are still in this country armed forces which are not under the control of the  Executive Council or of this Parliament. These forces are there, and they are being kept alive, and when Deputy Lemass talks about the possibility of people having objections to the volunteer forces because they are not under control; that is not the danger. The danger is that nobody suspects that these volunteer forces would be under the control of the Fianna Fáil Party. The real danger is that it would not be under the control of whatever Party had been put in the majority. The real danger is that if the Fianna Fáil Party becomes the Government in this country, this force will be set up and that, so far from being under the control of the Fianna Fáil Government, it will in a very short time not be under the control of the Fianna Fáil Party or Government, and we will have again a repetition of what we had before, a group of politicians led at the tail of a group of gunmen. The majority of the people are afraid of that and that is why they refuse to give any countenance to the claims of the Fianna Fáil Party to represent national ideals in this country.
Professor Tierney: I am confident that as long as that fear remains in the minds of the people, as long as the people think—and they have good reason to think—that the Fianna Fáil Party will set up here an unofficial army not under the control of the majority of the people in this country, so long will the Fianna Fáil Party, whether it be large or small, remain an Opposition Party in this country.
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: I would not intervene in this debate except that I felt it a duty that some voice should be raised in this House against the general principles which seem to be voiced by Deputy Lemass in the course of his speech and which are altogether too common in this country. That was the idea that  military training is necessary for manliness. I will not say that I am surprised at hearing this statement made here by Deputy Lemass but it is disturbing to hear a Deputy who is a prospective Minister making the statement that Deputy Lemass made just now in the closing portion of his speech in which he gave the idea clearly that it was necessary to give the young men of this country a military training in order to make them manly. That seems to me to be an unnecessary glorification of war and the cultivation and the inculcation amongst our young people of a warlike attitude. What is the object and need of military training —this military training that Deputy Lemass talks about? What is the object of that and what is behind the idea? The idea is not at all confined to Deputy Lemass's Party. I think that we should have other ideals and that there are higher ideals than the ideals which are advocated in speeches of this kind. I suggest that this country has had a little too much of the militaristic spirit that Deputy Lemass seemed to glorify here to-day. I think the time has come in this as well as in every other country when the leaders of public opinion such as Deputy Lemass and other ought to direct their attention and the attention of the young people of their country to other and higher ideals. If I am to understand that the manly policy about which Deputy Lemass talked can only be carried out at the instance of people trained to war, then I am almost inclined to despair. Surely there are other objects and other ideals for the service of humanity and the service of the people generally to which the attention of young people might be directed and which would not necessitate a military training. I believe that we have too much of that idea in this country. We have too much of the idea that young men and even young women must be trained to militarism, that they must be trained and regimented and brought up in corps and battalions. The whole spirit of militarism seems altogether to a great extent to permeate our young people. It ought  to be our object, I believe, to direct the attention of our young people to other ideals and to other ways and methods through which they might serve the community as a whole and their fellow men in general.
My ideal in regard to an army is that it ought to be at the very minimum which would be required to assert the national status of the country. Perhaps one of the best reasons that could be urged for the maintenance of an army in this country at all is that in view of the position in the world generally, it is a sign of independence that we here in this country are in a position to organise and maintain a National Army here. It is what one might call the outward and visible sign of our independence as a State. I think that our ideals as a whole ought be to keep that Army down to the minimum which would be necessary for national purposes. I have a strong exception to this whole idea of taking our young people and organising them to the extent that they are being organised under this measure into a volunteer force. It may be a personal objection. But I do not think it will serve any useful purpose; I do not think it is necessary. I think it is wrong that the idea of military service should be glorified to the extent that it is being glorified. I am willing to go a certain distance with the idea of maintaining a National Army at the standard I wish to have it at, but the idea of any very extensive and broad general training for our young men in militarism is an ideal to which I am opposed. I am opposed to it because I believe it will have the object of developing the militaristic spirit amongst our people, and our young people will be trained to believe that there is only one ideal to be aimed at, and that nobody can be a manly man unless he is a soldier.
Mr. Derrig: I think the answer to Deputy O'Connell is that there is no reason why we in the Free State should begin to disarm and leave ourselves absolutely defenceless until we see the bigger nations—who  have gone to so much trouble and have been filling up the newspapers all along since 1918, protesting their anxiety for disarmament—give us a good example first. Deputy O'Connell talks about the Army being the sign and the symbol of the independence of the Free State. Well, we on this side of the House cannot forget that the Free State is only portion of the country; that the Six Counties are held by a foreign power, and until that condition comes to an end in some way or other, I fail to see how any good can come from such statements as Deputy O'Connell's—that we are free and that we are independent. If the country were united, I think there would be a good deal in these anti-militaristic protestations that we can all go quietly home and forget all our national aspirations, but so long as that barrier is there——
Mr. Derrig: You can. But you have a very large number of organisations in this country. You have even Trinity College people, as Deputy J. Wolfe has pointed out, coming into the army now because they think it is a fit and suitable time. They see that there is no way out of it. The natural thing for them is to try and get as much power and control as they can in that army in the future. I think it is preposterous and unfair to the country for any Deputy to suggest that the types of men, whether they are the men whom Deputy Tierney is so much afraid of, or whether they are the men who were put out of the Free State Army or who mutinied in that Army some years ago—that they and their descendants are no longer fit and proper persons to be considered in that direction at all and that we should go outside the ordinary rank and file who kept the national movement going in this country, and that we should now try and have a new orientation here and a new system which will be, in the words of the  Trinity College organ, nothing more or less than a liaison with the British Army and a training ground and reconciliation ground for speeding up a connection with the British Army in Britain and Northern Ireland. If we are to square these aspirations, which are very good and which no doubt are very close to the hearts and minds of those who hold them, with the situation in this country and in that part of this country which is not under the jurisdiction of this Assembly, we might view them with more sympathy. But as things stand at present we can only regard this Trinity College declaration and the statements which accompanied it as simply an effort to get the National Army back definitely to what I might call loyalist control in this country. There is no use in Deputy Tierney pretending to us that the Fianna Fáil Party can say to-day or to-morrow: “The past is completely wiped out; we will start from to-morrow. We will be all good boys. We will all give guarantees to one another. We will forget that we are politicians.”
The Fianna Fáil Party have done a certain amount in trying to wipe out the memories of events which, perhaps, it is better should be forgotten, but the Fianna Fáil Party also want some gesture from the other side. I must say, quite candidly and honestly, that I would have very little hope for the future of the country if I thought that the mentality expressed here on occasions by Deputy Tierney held sway to any large extent on the Government Benches. I think Deputy Tierney has an obsession about the militarist mentality of Fianna Fáil which really is not held even by his own colleagues, and certainly not by the people of the country. The Deputy takes opportunity to lecture us frequently as to what the vast majority of the people think about the Fianna Fáil Party. We are there for the people to question us. If the people are not satisfied with us, either now or at any future time, let them get rid of us. When we came into this  House we stated our position. We can leave the House to-morrow. If we were to do so, our only anxiety would be to leave it as we found it when we came here.
Deputy Tierney raised the question, which is a very useful political question for the Government, that the Fianna Fáil Party are burking this issue. They are not, and I am prepared to meet Deputy Tierney or any other Deputy anywhere in this country to discuss the question of our attitude to the Free State Army. The men in the Free State Army are not men with whom we were associated. If we have not got up more frequently in this House to speak on this it was in order to avoid misrepresentation. It might be said that we had a personal animus towards these people which we have not. Let them go their way and let us go ours.
Professor Tierney: I suggest that the Deputy's attitude and that of the Party to which he belongs, towards the Army is made pretty clear to our Party, at any rate, by his frequent use of the phrase “Free State Army.”
Mr. Derrig: In any case, some of the leading journals in the capital regularly call it the Free State Army: I was going on to say that Deputy Tierney bases his whole case on the fact that the Fianna Fáil Party, when it comes into power, if it ever does, are going to organise a force to mutiny against themselves: the people of this country are going to put the Fianna Fáil Party in position, the members of that Party are going to be so inept as a Government and so utterly careless of the welfare of the country, of their own position and of their own future that they are going to set up a body and allow it to mutiny against themselves. It has happened in the past, under the present Government, that  a body in their own Army has mutinied. Not only did they mutiny, but they have justified themselves to the extent that Deputy Tierney's Party are paying them pensions to-day, although at the time the action of that body in the Army was characterised as absolute treachery to the country.
While it may have been superficially called treachery, it was recognised by some people that it was not, that there was solid reason for it, that the men in that mutiny had the idea that the Army was not travelling along the path that it was intended to travel. They had just as much right to say that as the Trinity College scribe has to say: “We are going to see that the Army take the other path as far as we are concerned.” Why not? I think it is perfectly inconsistent for Deputy Tierney to talk about honesty, sincerity, and so on. Let him not forget that there was a mutiny in his own army and under his own Government.
Mr. Derrig: As a matter of fact, not alone are they being paid pensions, but it is a matter of common knowledge that those who were associated with the mutiny at the time have since received the full benefit of Government patronage. The Cumann na nGaedheal Party is out to secure position and place for them. If Deputy Tierney wants to take the line that that is going to be covered up, that he is going to be allowed to go out full force against us and to make out that we are such petty numbskulls that the people who sent us here did a silly and ridiculous thing, and that we ought  to go home—if we are to go home then let the people send us home. We are not going to allow Deputy Tierney to get up and make a speech, not with any idea of sincerity, I admit, not with any idea that this question would ultimately be settled or with any idea that out of a discussion like this any good would come, or with any realisation of the fact that there is a difference. If speeches on this matter have to be given, they should be given with the idea, not of opening the breach still wider, but, if possible, of closing it. We never get a speech on those lines from Deputy Tierney. Deputy Tierney is so absolutely convinced that the vast majority of the Irish people want to keep the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in office for ever that he wonders how we ever got into this House at all. If the Deputy accepts the Constitution of this State he must realise that this Party will come into office some time.
I submit to him, for his own information, that it would be far better for him to couch his language in a slightly more dignified way, and, if I might put it in a way more suited to his own dignity, than by statements that somebody like Deputy Aiken is inventing things and is insincere and dishonest. I do not care whether or not the Ceann Comhairle says that no personal attacks have been made, so long as a prominent member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party gets up here and charges in one sentence a man like Deputy Aiken with being dishonest and inventing things, I think it is absolutely impossible to expect cooperation. Deputy Aiken has his own views. He has not run away from them on any occasion. I think that if Deputy Tierney cannot possibly see eye to eye with Deputy Aiken, who has a record of service and who has not been afraid to risk his life when it was demanded, the best thing the Deputy can do is to give Deputy Aiken the charity of his silence.
We have been told that the majority  in the country believes that the Fianna Fáil Party can never be put in office for if so they are going to organise an army to mutiny against themselves. We have had frequent discussions here on the attitude of the Government Party towards that section which Deputy Tierney and Deputy Jasper Wolfe tells us is so large, so dangerous and so well organised, so well regimented with its junta of headquarters, etc., that it is absolutely necessary to spend one and a half million pounds on the Army in order to repress it. Surely the C.I.D. forces ought to be quite sufficient for that purpose. They seem to have good knowledge of that organisation. There is not the slightest thing that the organisation does that the C.I.D. force does not know. If Deputy Tierney has any doubts about that, I may tell him that the C.I.D. forces have a very good ally in Queenstown harbour in the ships that are taking away these people out of the country. As well as that, considerable numbers of the men who have been arrested and prosecuted in Dublin have had to leave the country, so that if the process goes on it will be quite unnecessary, not alone to have an army but even a C.I.D. force, because none of these people practically will be left.
There may be some women left, but I hope that Deputy Tierney or the Minister for Defence, who expressed some fears of the danger of an Amazon uprising, do not feel that the security of the country would be imperilled by an insurrection of Cumann na mBan.
The point I want to make is, seeing that no information has been given to us by Deputy Tierney, Deputy Wolfe or anybody else, as to the extent of the dangers of this organisation, it is not necessary to spend £1,500,000 on an Army the strength of which is only about 6,000. I think it is absurd to say, when viewed from that angle, that its strength is only 6,000—and in the long run its efficiency and its power to defend the country against  external enemies must be regarded from its size—that the Army can possibly be worth £1,500,000 to the country. We will be told when the Old Age Pensions Bill comes up after this discussion that there is no money, but here we can afford to spend three times as much money as would be necessary to satisfy the Deputies in this House that the old age pensioners were going to be treated in exactly the same way as under the British régime. The Fianna Fáil Party's desire to talk about economy is a deep-seated disease, Deputy Tierney says. He has frequently made that statement. He made it in 1927, in 1928, in 1929 and in 1930, and in 1935, or even 1940, if the graduates of the National University still persist in sending him here to lecture us, I can see him standing up and telling the Fianna Fáil Party that they are only learning from Deputy Tierney and others that this subterranean organisation outside still necessitates the expenditure of £1,500,000 on the Army.
It is argued that the Army is really necessary. I have just seen in the Official Reports that Deputy O'Connor, of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, said, speaking here on the 20th February: “We have no need for an Army at all, except to keep peace in the country.” Let the Ministry itself justify the Army, since it is quite clear that the Army is kept, not to defend the State from external aggression, but to maintain peace and keep down this so-called illegal organisation. Then let us hear exactly what the scope of these organisations is, and that makes it necessary this large sum of money should be spent on them. Even members of the Army themselves, I think, realise that changes have to be made, and that a far better security and guarantee for peace and security in the country, is that everybody should have confidence in the Army, and in the men at the head of it, and what they are out for, than that we should rely on this petty persecution which is going on from the police headquarters. Even  those in the Army themselves realise that there is another attitude and another point of view in this country besides that of Deputy Tierney or Deputy Jasper Wolfe. I do not agree with Deputy Tierney that his point of view is held by the vast majority of the Irish people. The people certainly want to get away from the talk of war and the talk of armies, and the only thing that will make them really feel that they are away from that is when they see all parties in this House prepared to take one another fairly seriously, and not getting up here and impugning the honesty, integrity and sincerity of members when they have the audacity to speak on matters like this.
As a matter of fact, this question came up here last year. The Ministry did not attempt to defend the Army from the point of view that as a force it was worthy of the expenditure upon it. I notice they sidetracked the whole issue and discussed the value of the Army riders and Army hunters in creating a certain prestige for this country in America, and in helping the tourist traffic and in helping to build up a horse-breeding industry, and so on. No serious effort was made to justify the expenditure as such. It was said there were incidental and auxiliary advantages arising from the Army. That may be, but if one of the chief purposes of the Army is to have men and horses ready for hunting competitions and military shows in other countries, no matter what the expenditure on that particular item may be, and I do not say it might not be a well-advised expenditure which would repay the country, it is absurd to say that £1,500,000 should be spent for that purpose. Let the Minister, if he can, justify to the House this expenditure which is going to go on year after year unless the Opposition take advantage of their position here to explain to the country that they are strongly against that expenditure, that in the urgent need for money and in the financial stringency the Government feels and admits, a serious effort should be made to bring down the  amount of that expenditure. We are in the position that the Minister comes before us with this Bill every year. It is not like an annual Army Act. The whole question since we came into this House is left hanging in the air. We do not know exactly what are the intentions of the Government with regard to the Reserve and the Army itself. We do not know what the future policy is. I would urge on the Minister to take the House into his confidence and explain whether we are now absolutely committed to the future.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Fitzgerald): As it is now ten minutes to twelve, and we are within a few minutes of Private Members' time, if Deputy Derrig continues speaking my opportunity for replying will be very limited, except the debate is allowed to go on into Private Members' time.
Mr. Blythe: The existing legislation expires on the 31st March. The Bill has to go to the Seanad, and if the Bill is carried over here until next week, it would mean the Seanad would have to do all the stages of the Bill in one week.
Mr. Derrig: I have nothing further to say except to ask the Minister owing to the present economic conditions to assure the House that a more rigorous policy in the cutting down of expenditure will be applied to the Army. When I say that I do not want to be held up as one who wants to demobilise men and throw them on an already excessively large unemployed list, but what I do mean is that the expenditure on the Army is, in my opinion, clearly out of relation to the expenditure on social services and services more important to the country generally. Further, for the past two years we have not been clear as to what exactly the Minister is going to do with the volunteer reserve. Would it be possible for him now to state whether, within the next twelve months, he hopes to put the reserve on a firm basis and so enable a very large and a very definite reduction to be made in the strength of the Army?
Professor Tierney: Yes. I want to prevent a misinterpretation of what I said. I want to deny that I ever said that in my opinion the expenditure on the army was rendered necessary by the existence of an uncontrolled armed force in the country. I said nothing of the kind. I did not intend to say it and I do not believe it.
Mr. Anthony: We have become accustomed to declarations of war and to other disturbing things from certain members of the Fianna Fáil Party, but in my view a more disturbing thing than all the fee-faw-fum and bellicose speeches of certain Fianna Fáil Deputies has been the speech of Deputy Tierney. I do not think that any useful purpose is served by recriminations of the kind we have just listened to between members of the Fianna Fáil Party and the spokesman for the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. I think that we are forgetting one very important factor in the life of the country, the fact that the ordinary people do not stand for the bellicose utterances of some of these people who are nearly always talking in terms of war and very rarely in terms of peace. I think I speak for many thousands of people when I say that there is not in this country that I know of any sane man or woman who wants to see the conditions of 1922 and 1923 repeated. Will those Deputies to whom I refer please remember that the ordinary people do not stand for war at all? They want no more war; they want peace, and they want to be allowed to go about their business in the ordinary way. I do not want to go back to the time when we had irregular forces operating all round the country and when no man was safe with a shilling in his pocket.
Mr. Anthony: I welcomed, as every other sane and sensible man in the country welcomed, the establishment of the National Army. That Army was established by the will of the people, expressed through the ballot boxes. I want to know here and now if any Deputy, whether he be a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party or Fianna Fáil Party will deny that? Will he deny the right of the people, the right of the country, to have an Army? It has been said that the Army is a public manifestation of the fact that this country is, if you like, an independent  entity. I accept it as such. I do not care whether Fianna Fáil, Cumann na nGaedheal or Labour holds the reins of government, and I object very strongly to the coupling up of the National Army with any political party. The National Army has been established, and I am one of those who thank God for that. The National Army brought about peace and ordered conditions, and I am sorry to think that there are persons who, at this stage, knowing what the people have gone through, do not know that they do not want to go back to the ruffianism that was experienced during 1922 and 1923. I am prepared to say that on any public platform as well as in this House. I have said it, and I will continue to say it. We have had constant reiteration of this kind of thing by certain members of the Fianna Fáil Party. I know that there are responsible members in that Party and I recognise Deputy Derrig as one of the most responsible, but this constant reiteration of the threat of war, of armed resistance, is the very reason why we must have an army and a strong army. I object to a huge expenditure on an armed force, but I have commonsense enough to know and to admit that when you talk about the efficiency of an army, the efficiency of that army must bear some relation to the forces that are mobilised against it, and it is admitted in this House that there is a force organised against the Army, against the State if you like, because I recognise the Army as the servant of the State, whether that State be controlled by a Fianna Fáil Government, a Labour Government, or a Cumann na nGaedheal Government.
It is time for every Deputy to examine his conscience in relation to the people who sent him here and to ask himself what the ordinary people stand for. Will any Deputy have the audacity or effrontery to tell me that his constituents want another war? I speak in this matter for many thousands of the citizens of Cork who do not want war, and who are sorry that there ever was a civil  war. I would much prefer that we should not have to vote half a million or a quarter of a million pounds for the maintenance of an army, but I know that there is a reason. If we want to find the reason we have it manifested in this House frequently, but outside the House more frequently in the irresponsible utterances of certain members of the Fianna Fáil Party. I have said “certain members” advisedly, because I recognise that that Party, in the main, perhaps, are men of sound common-sense, but I do know also that they cannot exercise a proper control over the fee-faw-fum attitude of some of their members. I do hope that we will recognise that all power vested in this House comes from the people, and recognising that, remember, too, that the people want to see good order maintained; that good order can only be maintained, so long as you have a threat to constitutional government, by an army, and that the strength of that army must bear some relation to the projected resistance against the State.
Mr. O'Kelly: It is regrettable that there occurs so frequently here debates that would give the impression that some people in this House represent one of the most warlike races on the face of the globe. I think we are not such a warlike people as some Deputies would have us imagine. Speaking for colleagues of mine on these benches I can agree with Deputy Anthony thoroughly that we are not bellicose or warlike in ourselves, or in the people we represent. We do not want war; we are not anxious for a repetition of the civil war. The Deputy said that the people in Cork are sorry that there was ever a civil war. Nobody regrets more the fact that there was a civil war or the reason for it than we do. We regret very much that there was a necessity for any division  of that kind, and not alone for the division but for the awful consequences of that division. I hope sincerely, and I think every Deputy on these benches, whether he ever served in an Irish army or not, sincerely hopes that in our time no necessity will arise again for anything like a civil war. There are some of us to whom the anxiety for peace appeals in a particular way. I would suggest that Deputy Aiken is one of them.
I will say of Deputy Aiken that no man in this House suffered more than he did as a result of civil war; no solitary individual made more sacrifices than he did as a result of that division, and it comes ill, particularly ill from a person like Deputy Tierney, to speak of Deputy Aiken as he has done. At any rate, those who made no sacrifices that we know of, good, bad or indifferent, and who ran no risks at any time, such as Deputy Aiken did, within the last ten, twelve or fifteen years, ought not to speak of Deputy Aiken in the tone and in the manner that Deputy Tierney did. At least as Deputy Derrig said they should give Deputy Aiken and others like him, who took their lives in their hands many times, the charity of their silence. If there are others opposite who have good records of sacrifices made—I am not talking now of records as gunmen or anything like that, but of people who made sacrifices and ran risks—if they have differences of opinion and on policy with Deputy Aiken they are entitled to talk to him. I suggest that Deputy Tierney is one of the last who should talk on these matters. He talked of representing the country and of giving the views of thousands of the people. On that matter he ought to be silent too. He speaks for the National University. The Deputy once represented a constituency in the West out of which he was kicked. He ought not to talk in that strain.
Mr. Davis: Perhaps I might be allowed to intervene. The Deputy  suggested that Deputy Tierney was kicked out of North Mayo, which is not the case. Deputy Tierney was elected for North Mayo by a triumphal majority.
Mr. O'Kelly: When the chance came to renew the mandate the people knew what to do. He does not represent Mayo any more. I am sorry to have to introduce that note, but it is not my fault. I think Deputy Tierney would be better advised to be more careful in future of the way in which he speaks of people like Deputy Aiken. We are not anxious that the people's money should be spent to such a large extent on arms, or that there should be any necessity for them. Like Deputy O'Connell and Deputy Anthony and others, we would rather, if it were possible, spend most of that money on social services. If we could spend it on old age pensions it would be much better for the people, or if it could be spent on pensions for widows and orphans it would be much better. But as things are, our aspirations and desires in that direction cannot be realised.
It is not alone the fault of the people of Ireland. If the people had their own way I think an army would not be necessary. If the aspirations of the vast body of the people could be given effect to, probably an army would not be necessary any more than a fleet. It is not our fault entirely at any rate that expenditure on an army is necessary. Some expenditure under present conditions is certainly necessary. It is regrettable that it is necessary but I repeat that is not entirely due to the people of Ireland. There are outside influences that control us in this matter. Although I have been to a very humble extent associated, not with militarism, but with the national  movement, the rising in arms if you like, that brought this institution into existence, I say, not withstanding any association I may have had with what is called militarism—with the national movement, we are not a bellicose people, not out for war unnecessarily, and not out to preach eternally to the young people that they must turn their eyes always in the direction of war, militarism, and armaments. But we do still stand for the completion of the ideals of those who were connected with the national movement. We still stand for those ideals and we have not changed or modified them. While these aspirations and ideals remain unfulfilled we say that it will be necessary to keep the minds of the young trained in the direction of the fulfillment of these national aspirations. We certainly say that, and in carrying that into effect we have to tell the young that there is a force, direct and deliberate, a conscious force, used to keep us in the position we are in as a divided and subject nation. If we can—and I hope to God we can —realise our aspirations without ever again using a gun—speaking from my own experience, having gone through two revolutions and knowing what they mean—I sincerely trust that progress in the direction of the full realisation of our national aspirations will be made and victory achieved without ever raising a gun against any man, foreign or Irish. That is my sincere and earnest hope, and it is what I would like to preach. But we have got to face facts as they are, and we have got to realise that our efforts and our aspirations were not realised because force was used against the nation; I am not talking now of civil war. I am talking of the force that was used, and that made us accept something that was not and cannot be regarded as fulfilling the final aspirations of the Irish nation.
In passing I may say that a number of us object to the title “National Army” and use the expression “Free State Army.” Deputy Tierney objected to the use  of the title “Free State Army.”“National Army” is certainly a misnomer. I wish we were capable of having a truly representative National Army in this country. We do not speak for the nation. If you call it a National Army what nation does it stand for? The Army is the Army of the Irish Free State. I wish to goodness it could be the Army of the Irish nation. It is not. To my mind therefore it is a misnomer to call it the National Army. I think the more correct title, as we are questioned on the use of the title, is the Free State Army. If Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party or the Independents controlled it to-morrow it would not alter the fact that they control it only as an army representative of part of Ireland. Some day or other—I hope soon—that army will be in fact as well as in name a national army, an army that will be supported by the Irish people, and that can be called truly the Irish National Army. It cannot be called that at present. I hope soon, in our own time, it will be.
Even if the present Government succeeds in securing that that army would have the right to speak in the name of the nation and not of part I would be very happy. Another factor we have to bear in mind in these debates, and one which the Fianna Fáil Deputies are certainly not alone responsible for, is this question of the desirability of the young being armed and preaching necessity for armaments. That is not our gospel only. Certainly we are not alone the people responsible for preaching these ideas to the young of to-day. We cannot be held solely responsible. The gospel that has been preached for the last 20 years is to-day laid on our shoulders and we are held responsible for the fact that there is in the minds of many young and some older people a desire that all the young people of the country should be armed and taught to use arms. I know in my early days that was the gospel that was preached in and out of season in the old Sinn Fein newspapers. Griffith himself,  who was not a great militarist, published articles very frequently in the old journals he edited saying that it was a degradation of the people of this country that we are not allowed to carry arms. That type of article was repeated in many other journals. The Vice-President here I think wrote, as far as I can remember, more than any other man I know of, certainly of those in public life to-day, on that subject and wrote violently on those lines in the columns of “Irish Freedom.” We are reaping the benefit of those articles and statements and principles that were preached. The Minister for Defence of to-day, the Minister for Justice, the Vice-President and all the members of the Executive Council cannot expect that the gospel that was preached and the words which were used, the strong language that was used by some of them—I do not include the Minister for Justice but the Minister for Defence, the Vice-President and others—are forgotten. They certainly have responsibility and they should bear in mind, when they are raiding houses and when they are imprisoning or causing to be imprisoned and causing to be sentenced young men, their own teachings. Here is a quotation from “Irish Freedom,” April, 1914.
“Rather let the rivers of Ireland run red with blood, and the harvests remain ungathered and her homesteads be burned and desolate. Yea, O Lord! give us war and famine and pestilence and the scourging rod of adversity— anything rather than this disgraceful peace.”
“If this nation is to go down let it go down gallantly as became its history; let it go down fighting, but let it not sink into the abjectness of carving a slice out of itself and handing it over to England.”—(Ernest Blythe, April, 1914).
That is the kind of gospel that has been preached for many years and that some of the gentlemen on the opposite side would like to forget. They would like that young men would never have heard of these things but all of us who are in public life have to remember that these things come up again. I have had things quoted against me from time to time that I rather I had not said, too. It is no uncommon experience, but it is not merely for the sake of quoting them against the Vice-President that I remind him of this. All I want to say is that we have not preached on Fianna Fáil platforms or, before Fianna Fáil was founded in recent years, Sinn Fein has not been responsible for preaching anything like the violent gospel that was preached by some of the gentlemen opposite.
Mr. O'Kelly: We have not by long chalks, and I doubt if any one of us uttered such violent language or put pen to paper and used such violent language as the Vice-President in that sample. Here is another sentence:—
Mr. O'Kelly: I do not want to fall foul of the Ceann Comhairle. I know he is very reasonable. I must say he has been reasonable with me to-day in this debate because it is going a little far back, but I do want to bring the minds of Deputies to this point. We are charged with being eternally preaching war and making threats of war and I do deny that is so. I do say definitely and repeat that we stand for the old national position. We stand for the full realisation of Ireland's aspirations nationally, as an independent and united country and anything that is necessary to do in any generation, ours or succeeding generations, to realise to the full these aspirations, should be done by Irishmen.
Mr. O'Kelly: If that means war in days to come—and I hope to God it will not—I do earnestly and sincerely hope that that will not occur again in my time. I do not want to see repeated the things that I have gone through. Nobody here wants to see that. That was one of the reasons why Fianna Fáil was founded, to do anything that is in our power, in a constitutional way, to reap to the full the benefits that may be reaped out of the present  position, and to do that without the use of arms. That is Fianna Fáil's policy. It is not true to say that we go out definitely preaching resort to arms. We do not. We have not done it. Some of us did it in the past. I certainly stand for anything I did say in that direction in the past. But Fianna Fáil was founded definitely to use to the full the machinery which is now in existence and use it in a constitutional and peaceful way, to work towards the realisation of Irish national aspirations. Anything that we can do or help to do along that road we are going to do. We are not a warlike people that are always looking for a chance to fight or spoiling for a fight. That is not our attitude. We fight as much as we like in here, within the rules as far as we are permitted, but we are not out to preach to the young men that they must, as the Vice-President said on one occasion, sell their shirts and buy a gun. That was formerly Mr. Blythe's gospel, “to sell your shirt and buy a gun.” Since Fianna Fáil was founded we have not said anything of that kind to the young men.
Mr. O'Kelly: Some of them were got for a good deal less, but we are not prepared to preach to the young men that they should forget the national aspirations, and that they should forget that it is the right of the Irish nation to be free and united, to be one country, owning and controlling, if necessary, a National Army. We have not preached that gospel, and I personally must say I have not reached the position Deputy O'Connell has reached, when he thinks it necessary that the soft pedal should be eternally put on the question of preaching to the young men to stand up for national aspirations, even if it is necessary to make a fight so that these aspirations should be realised.
Mr. Corry: I can understand Deputy Wolfe's anxiety. He alleges that we have an army, and that Cumann na nGaedheal have another army. I can quite understand his anxiety that his party should have an army of their own in Trinity College. No doubt that anxiety is caused by the action of the Trinity College forces in 1916. Deputy Anthony and others are constantly insinuating that Fianna Fáil are threatening war.
Mr. Corry: Deputy Davin and others have nothing else to do but to read speeches. I have something else to do. If there is any reason why I regret the civil war it is because as a result I see Deputy Anthony, Deputy Wolfe and others here. That is the principal reason why I regret the civil war. Allusion has been made to the Minister for Finance's famous speech in April, 1914. I am sorry that we had not a few more quotations from some other calls to arms, for instance, the famous call to arms that brought a man of peace like Deputy Anthony out with a wooden gun on Parnell Bridge in Cork.
Mr. Corry: I will say no more about that, but Deputy Anthony should remember that at one time he  was a warrior too and defended Parnell Bridge for four months with a wooden gun. Apparently the Deputy in the soft life that he is now enjoying forgets the days when he was soldiering. I am exceedingly regretful that Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly had not the famous call to arms that brought Deputy Anthony out. I am not going to say any more about your armies.
Mr. Corry: All I say about the Bill is that the money that is being spent by the Minister for Defence would be far better spent if it were given to the old age pensioners or to some body of men who would start an industry in the country and keep starvation from the people. As far as the national aspirations of this country are concerned if the Minister for Justice would take his bloodhounds off the track of these young men this country would settle down a lot more quickly. I know the game that has been carried on. I have had experience of it myself. I tried to get men into Ford's factory in Cork and they were blocked by the bloodhounds of the Minister for Justice.
Mr. Corry: What? They are not in your Army. The Trinity College forces will get jobs there all right, I am full sure. If the Minister for Justice withdrew his bloodhounds and let these people get employment the country would settle down a lot more quickly and there would be no need for the Army. I make that as an honest suggestion. I have seen a checker on the Great Southern Railway searched seventeen times in two months until he was driven out of his employment. He was dragged on to railway platforms and searched. We have seen too much of that in this country and it is time it was stopped. I hope that Deputy Anthony, in view of the happy days  when he was a soldier, will keep a warm corner in his heart for the gunmen and the old wooden guns.
Mr. Kent: After listening to the fiery speeches made in this House as regards the Army, I came to the conclusion that there was a war going on in this country. I fail to see the necessity for an army. Owing to the economic state of the country, the farmers are practically down and out and crushed with taxation. They are looking for relief by the derating of their holdings. I have a strong objection to having an army here, as I consider it is simply useless and worthless. If I could get an assurance from the Minister that he would use the Army for a useful purpose I would vote for the Bill. I suggest that the Army could be usefully employed if the Minister would declare war on the greatest tyrants ever known—the persecutors of religion in Russia. It is time for some Government to declare war on these persecutors and crucifiers of people belonging to different religious persuasions. If I get such an assurance from him, I shall not only vote for the Bill, but he shall have a recruit in the morning to take up a rifle to fight for religious freedom.
Professor Alton: I did not desire to intervene in this debate, but I know Deputy Aiken's sincerity and I think his judgement is a little bit perverted as regards Trinity College. I can assure him that if there are any cadets in the officers' training corps who have a wrong-headed idea, or, perhaps, to call a spade a spade, a treacherous motive in taking this training from the State—a  motive of using the arms and training they get against this State—that such men would be regarded in college as dishonouring the college and their country and not merely themselves. I wish imputations of that sort would not be made even for dialectical purposes. They are very painful. We do not all in Trinity see eye to eye with other groups of men, but we know one thing: we know the difference between honour and dishonour. I think the first to condemn such a posture would be the college itself.
Mr. Aiken: On a point of personal explanation. I did not say that the cadets who were coming forward in Trinity were behaving in a treacherous way. I simply alluded to the fact that some officials had published an article in the Trinity magazine outlining their view and what they were doing when they joined the O.T.C. This is a quotation from the article:—“In the first place, Trinity is and will continue to be loyal to the British connection.” The chief thing I object to in anybody is hypocrisy. I do not mind men joining the O.T.C. when they say definitely and openly what they are joining for.
Mr. Fahy: Judging by some of the speeches made from the opposite benches I know that some Deputies there regard some of us here as lunatics—not so declared. But, at least, we do not live in the moon and we should consider circumstances as they are in this State at present. It is quite evident that on both sides of the House there are bitter memories of the civil war—not so bitter as they were, thank God. We can judge by listening to what retired army officers who sit on the benches opposite have to say on politics how bitter they can be. That is possibly inevitable,  but it shows that you cannot regard a volunteer army set up at present as being absolutely impartial. There will be a political tinge there. The note I am sounding is purely a personal one; I have consulted nobody on it. If a volunteer army is set up to-day, it will not represent this State, considering all the parties there are; it will, almost certainly ninety per cent., represent one political party.
There are many things we would like to forget in the civil war on both sides I am sure, and they would be better forgotten, but there is one thing I do not want to forget, and that is the spirit out of which the Volunteers arose back in 1914. I should like to see that spirit in the country again. In all seriousness, I suggest that the time is not ripe for setting up such a volunteer force; I think the ground is not ready for the seed, and that it would be better to postpone such a proposal until there is a chance of getting a volunteer force which would be and should be subject to the Government of the day, whatever Government is there.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Fitzgerald): As this is the Fifth Stage of the Bill, and as I understood the theory was that the purpose of the Fifth Stage was to see if there were any verbal alterations to be made as a result of amendments, I do not see anything that I can say which would really be apposite to the Fifth Stage. I cannot see that anything that has been said has been apposite. Deputy Aiken, and I think other Deputies, too, talked about the volunteers as a failure. The volunteer movement has certainly exceeded my expectations. The Army is not prepared at present to take over a very large volunteer force. We want its growth to be steady; we do not want its growth to exceed our capacity for dealing with it. To my mind, it is one of the most hopeful signs in the country. Deputy Aiken said that I took to myself power. The Government does not take to itself power; it only uses the power it possesses.  The Deputy also said that, as far as he could see, there has been no increase in efficiency in the Army. I see the Army rather more closely than he does, and I see a very considerable increase. He and a number of other Deputies have spoken in this way: “If organised on proper national lines.” What are the lines upon which the volunteers are organised? They are young men invited without any regard to their political opinion, or any other opinion, to recognise that as citizens of the State they owe a duty to the State. These young men are invited to accept that duty in its highest form, and to give voluntary service, recognising that a State exists for the well-being of the people in it; that a State is a necessity, and that a State, from time to time, requires defence. Those are the lines upon which the volunteers are organised. If there are any better lines I should like to hear them.
Deputy Aiken also said that it was to be made a weapon to uphold British supremacy, and that certain people joining the volunteers joined for the purpose of fitting themselves to serve the British. At a later stage somebody said that one branch of the service joined in order to get control of the Army, to use the Army against the national ideals of this country. If anybody joins the Army for the purpose of using it against the wishes of the people they are very misguided, because the Army is directed and controlled by the Government that exists here, and the Government that exercises its power here, and not by the individuals in the Army.
The policy of the Army is not controlled or affected by the point of view of the members of it. It is the Government that does that, and it is the Government's duty to do that because although Deputy Aiken does not seem to realise certain things they remain true all the same. Deputy Lemass spoke about the cause of the failure of the volunteers. As I say, the success of the volunteers' service has exceeded our expectations, and our capacity at the  moment is limited. He said that there was an impression created that it was a partisan body. I would invite anyone to produce any statement of mine, since I became Minister for Defence, that would justify any intelligent person in thinking that the Army was intended by me to be a partisan body. I have, since I became Minister for Defence, made a number of statements to the Army, and about the Army, and in practically every one of these I have indicated, quite clearly, that the Army exists as the servant of the Irish Government, and through the Irish Government as the servants of the Irish people and for no other purpose.
If any impression is created that the Army is a partisan body it is created by the opponents of the Government, that is to say, by persons not in control of the Army and not responsible for Army policy. Deputy Aiken proceeded to use words that would have the effect that he deplored. He said the volunteers were regarded as a partisan body because they were associated with the regular Army. Of course, they are associated with the regular Army. They exist for the same purpose, but one degree removed, because if the existence of this State were threatened in any way the first force that would be called upon to protect it, would be the standing Army; secondly, the reserves would be called upon and only when these forces proved inadequate or were likely to prove inadequate would the volunteers be called upon. The impression that the Army is associated with the Government Party has only been created by opponents of the Government. When people call the Government the Free State Party, and the Army the Free State Army—the Government is very proud of being called the Free State Party—it is those people themselves who tend to create the impression that they deplore. Nobody is less anxious than I am in Army matters to carry into 1930, the traditions of what is euphemistically  called the Civil War of 1922. I think anybody anxious to eliminate the effectiveness of that memory from this country should welcome, as I do, the creation of the volunteer force which is, as I say, one of the most hopeful signs of the return to normality.
Deputy Lemass asked why I had not taken steps to secure in advance the co-operation of hostile political parties. My idea of government is that being endowed with power, and consequently with responsibility, it is for the Government to take over that responsibility to the full. It is the Government's business to do that work, and not to try to put it on other people's shoulders, or to off-load any blame on to other people. Deputy Lemass said I did not take the Dáil into consultation, and that if I had brought in a Bill I would have had the views of all parties. Deputy Fahy said that the time had not come for starting a volunteer force. I have been asked, time and again, from the benches opposite, why I was delaying in starting a volunteer force. The Dáil indicated quite clearly, if words used here mean anything, that they desired that the power put into my hands for the formation of this body should be used without further delay. I felt guilty, if anything, of the delay that had taken place in forming that body. That delay was caused by a lack of preparedness and the time required for making this move. Deputy Lemass read from certain regulations about the volunteers being engaged to serve the Executive Council of Saorstat Eireann and possibly being used when public order was threatened. As I have already said, the volunteers will only be used when the other forces are inadequate, but, of course, any armed force must engage to serve the Executive Council. Anything else would be directly contrary to the whole principles of Government, and would lead to anarchy. The differences in the point of view between us and the Party opposite— I do not wish to say anything offensive when it comes to dealing with  the Army, and I can assure the Party opposite I am never moved by party feeling when dealing with the Army—the differences between us are radical and fundamental. Last week Deputy Aiken, apropos of nothing, said—and expected laughter from the House, as if it were something ridiculous—that the President said he received his authority from Providence. I do not know what theological point of view Deputy Aiken may have, but, to my mind, that is an ordinary article of doctrine. As I noticed members of the Fianna Fáil Party seemed to be ignorant on that point I took occasion, a couple of weeks ago, to make a speech in Dun Laoghaire, and I quoted from certain Encyclicals that I commend to Deputy Aiken, Mirari Vos and Immortelli Dei. As long as people have the point of view that the Government here is merely representing and exercising authority by virtue of the Party behind them, there is something fundamentally wrong, and it is because of that point of view that all through the Fianna Fáil speeches you see a certain resentment and annoyance that any armed force in this country should be governed, directed and controlled by the Executive Council. I do not see any way to escape from that. Deputy Lemass, I think it was, said that the Penal Laws created servility. I am most anxious that the mentality of our people should turn from servility to service, and the volunteers are not only the embodiment of the idea, but I think they will tend to create that attitude of mind that desires to give service as distinct from the attitude of mind that is merely servile.
Deputy Lemass has repeated his statement that people are afraid that the volunteers are intended to be a Fascist force for Cumann na nGaedheal. I do not know what he means by a Fascist force. If he thinks that the whole people of the country belong to Cumann na nGaedheal, I think he is very slightly inaccurate, but in so far as they do not all belong to it, it cannot be said that the volunteers are a force at the service of Cumann na  nGaedheal. Deputy O'Connell is very nervous about the militaristic spirit. So far as the Army is concerned, the whole end for which it exists is not described by the term “militaristic spirit.” I do not think that anybody can accuse us of militarism or of being inspired by a militaristic point of view when we retain a defence force, a small standing Army, whose sole purpose is the purpose of defence. That also applies to the reserve and the volunteers. It has also been stated that Fianna Fáil did a certain amount to wipe out the past, and that they must have some gesture. I am afraid that people will have to be satisfied without a gesture. Deputy O'Kelly would insist on speaking as if 1914 were analagous with 1930, whereas a totally different situation exists here now.
It was said that there was an idea abroad that the Army was not travelling along certain lines, that certain mutineers felt that the Army was not travelling along the path which it was intended to travel. I think it was Deputy Derrig who said that. I think that what may have been wrong was that people had a wrong idea of the path which it was intended the Army should travel. The path intended for the Army was that members of it should be governed by a rigid discipline, directed solely to make them servants of the country and of the people of the country. Their purpose was the defence of this State. Anybody who attempted to misdirect them had no place in the Army. So far as I understood Deputy Tierney, I think he was not suggesting that if Fianna Fáil came into power—God between us in all harm—there would be an army that would mutiny against them. I think what he felt was that the different statements and different policies declared from time to time by Fianna Fáil were such that it would lead to the existence in this country of a body of armed men who would not be subject to Fianna Fáil who would form the Government. I am very glad, in so far as it has taken place, to hear anything that indicates  that Fianna Fáil, if it comes into power, intends to use its power and the Army to see to it that no illegal body attempts to usurp authority in this country.
I shall again say what I have said ad nauseam, that the Army is not the tool of a political party. It is controlled by the Government, which exercises that authority which it receives from above in this country and it is to be used solely in defence of the country for this country's good. If anybody feels that that is against Irish national tradition, then they had better put up something better than that, but I do not understand it. If it is accepted that that is the Irish tradition, I would defy anybody to show anything which would justify anybody in believing that the volunteer force has been founded otherwise than in the best traditions of this country. I believe it has a great future before it in this country. It is only in the beginning and we are moving slowly, and so far I have not, as far as the volunteer force is concerned, made any move to extend it beyond the Dublin area. That will come I hope during the course of the coming year, but I do feel that since 1922 there has been no movement which should be more calculated to call for the support of not only every Party in this House but every decent citizen throughout the country. Everything I have done has been most carefully directed to seeing that nobody could have any misapprehension in the matter, that everybody would be given a fair opportunity to understand what the  object of the body was, what its constitution was, and that they should realise that it deserved very wholehearted support, quite independent of political points of view. I would have expected from the many pronouncements of the Fianna Fáil Party that it should commend itself to them not less than it commends itself to me. Apparently some peoples' minds move very slowly and it may be another year or two before Fianna Fáil sees its way to bring its good words into operation. It may please them to know that I have great hopes of their steady progress. I have great hopes of seeing them in their capacity as ordinary citizens doing their best to support this movement, which must commend itself to all the better aspects of their minds.
Mr. Fitzgerald: In this case I do not suggest that the power should be limited to a democratic system. I am not bound up with admiration for democracy, but in the present case the power came from the people.
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Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
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Byrne, John Joseph.
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Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
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Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
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Law, Hugh Alexander.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
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Mongan, Joseph W.
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Cosgrave, William T.
De Loughrey, Peter.
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Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan. Nally, Martin Michael.
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O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
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Thrift, William Edward.
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Little, Patrick John.
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O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán T.
O'Reilly, Thomas P.
Powell, Thomas P.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
Ward, Francis C.
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