Friday, 22 July 1932
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Cosgrave: I presume, sir, having regard to the Bill which is before us, and the steps that were taken in this House on the occasion when it was last before us, that on the question of the amendments that have been made by the Seanad, the debate which is to take place on these amendments will be on somewhat more than what is contained in the particular amendment in question. For example, the Bill as it stands is one which has arisen out of a new situation, the new situation being that which was occasioned by the British Bill giving the British Cabinet power to make an order to impose up to 100 per cent. duty upon various articles coming into Great Britain from this State.
An Ceann Comhairle: Before the debate proceeds further it might not be amiss to remind the House that the practice has been that when the House is summoned for a specific purpose, only the business set out in the Order Paper summoning the Dáil shall be transacted unless the House agrees that the debate should be of a wider nature.
Mr. Morrissey: I take it, sir, that Deputy Cosgrave is submitting that in the circumstances we should not be governed by the ordinary rule of procedure regarding ordinary amendments or recommendations sent from the Seanad, but that there should be liberty given for a wider debate than would be given in the case of an ordinary measure.
Mr. McGilligan: Never before when a recommendation has come back from the Seanad has it been suggested that we should discuss nothing else but the specific and particular recommendations made by that House. I do not see, in view of the debate which has taken place on this Bill both here and in the Seanad, that there is any necessity for having the discussion strictly limited to the matters on the Order Paper and to the recommendations made by the other House.
Mr. Cosgrave: The proposals that have been made by the other House and the proposals dealing with the measure which was introduced in this House on Thursday last, one might say almost without notice, and which was guillotined on Friday, on which day, no opportunity was afforded, by reason of the guillotine motion, to amend or even to submit for the consideration of the House amendments to this measure. This measure arises out of another measure introduced in the British House of Commons, and it is the answer to that measure. I submit that we are entitled, on the consideration of these two amendments from the Seanad, to advert to the circumstances which have given rise to the business before us now. The deletion of the paragraph—
impose, whether with or without qualifications, limitations, allowances, exemptions, or preferential rates, a stamp duty on any particular description of document or  transaction as from any specified day and, for the purpose of such duty, require a document or a particular form of document to be used in or in connection with any particular description of transaction.
in itself, apart altogether from the wider question, opens up a very big avenue of discussion. The very first question that one is disposed to ask in connection with the clauses in question, is “For what purpose?” The normal purpose which would occur to anybody's mind is that it is to raise money. That, I venture to think, was not the very first thing that was in the minds of the Ministry when they introduced the measure, although we got no information to the contrary. Taking it to be the counterpart of the other measure I have referred to, it would not, in the normal course of events, mean that more money was going to be raised here than was being raised by the other people, but that there was some equation about it. All this question, which was debated on the last day, arises from the circumstances, as I have said, in which we find ourselves; circumstances which, on the last day, were rather ably put by Deputy McGilligan in the course of his speech reported in columns 1168 and 1169 in the debates of 15th July, 1932.
Mr. MacEntee: Might I interrupt the Deputy on a point of order? Is the Deputy in order in reciting what Deputy McGilligan said when this Bill was last before the House? We are considering, I take it, Recommendation No. 1—
An Ceann Comhairle: Until the Deputy quotes the paragraphs, the Chair is not in a position to say whether they are relevant or not. The particular quotations may refer to stamp duties and, if they do, they are in order, but, according to Standing Order 119, the business of this House  is confined to the consideration of the recommendations sent down by the Seanad, unless there is agreement to enlarge the scope of the debate.
Mr. Cosgrave: As I said when I began the discussion, this Bill is a Money Bill and the object of this Bill is to raise money. That, as I said, did not, to my mind, represent correctly what was in the mind of the Executive Council when they introduced the measure. I think the idea behind this measure was to make it the counterpart of the Bill which was introduced into the British House of Commons, giving power to the Cabinet there to impose certain duties on goods from this country into Great Britain. Arising out of that, stamp duties are one of the means by which it is proposed in this measure to give power to the Executive to collect certain moneys. The question arises at once, with great respect, as to whether, in all the circumstances, this is an advisable procedure and whether this is or is not a proposal which the Dáil ought to be asked to accept and whether it is not advisable for them to say whether there might not be a better way of dealing with this matter. Nobody in this country, or in Great Britain will assert that a Bill in one House to impose a tax on goods coming from another country and, the corollary to that in the other country, imposing taxes on goods or securities or anything of the sort, is the best method in all the circumstances for resolving a difficulty or a dispute which has arisen between the two countries. In that connection, I proposed to quote for the House a statement made by Deputy McGilligan on the last day.
Mr. MacEntee: I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy again, but, as I understand it, the ordinary procedure of dealing with a recommendation from the Seanad is to treat it as an amendment to the Bill, and, on the Committee Stage of a Bill, it is not permissible to discuss the principle of a Bill. The whole tenor of the Deputy's speech up to this has been as to whether the Bill in principle is justified or not, and I suggest that, for that  reason, his remarks are out of order, and that he can only discuss the narrow issue here as to whether or not a stamp duty should be imposed and not the major issue, the principle on which the Bill is based, as to whether such a Bill should be introduced or not and such legislation passed or not. The House has already, on the Second Reading of the Bill, accepted the principle of the measure and I do not think that the debate can be enlarged now to cover ground already covered in the House.
Mr. M. Hayes: Might I put it for your consideration, sir, and for the consideration of the Minister, that the Minister follows precedents when precedents suit, him and departs from precedents, as widely as he possibly can, when they do not suit him. To-day, we are discussing, at a specially summoned meeting, recommendations made in the Seanad to a Money Bill. There is no precedent at all for that. Secondly, we are discussing recommendations made by the Seanad to a Bill which was guillotined here on Friday last, under a motion which has no precedent in the annals of this House, and which made no provision for adequate discussion or any opportunity of dealing with it on Committee. That being the case, as we departed from precedent in the motion by which the Bill was guillotined, and in summoning a meeting specially to consider recommendations to a Money Bill made by the Seanad, we might, even at the expense of departing from precedent, have this particular kind of debate. I want to suggest also that, when the Minister says it is not permissible to discuss the principle of a Bill in Committee, he is stating a principle with which, I take it, sir, you do not agree.
Mr. Cosgrave: Even on the question of the point of order put by the Minister, those two clauses, which the Seanad has recommended should be deleted from this measure, certainly do propose to collect some money. They certainly are intended to gather in some money and they are part and parcel of, if you like to put it so, the larger policy, but it could reasonably  happen that those two clauses, which the Seanad recommends should be deleted, might be the major portion of this measure, might be by far the greater part of this measure, the much more potential instrument in the hands of the Executive either in collecting money or as their answer to the other Bill to which I have already referred. On the last day, I dealt, at some length, with those two clauses myself and I did not do so lightly and I do not do so now lightly. Any discussion in respect of the deletion or approval of these two clauses must inevitably be connected with the principle of this measure and is inseparable from it. These two clauses which as I said I referred to in this House on the last occasion, are the most revolutionary financial proposals ever put to any House. No administration in the world has ever put forward in a Bill proposals taking to themselves such authority and such financial potentialities as are involved in these two clauses. I presume I am entitled to continue on that basis.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy is again repeating the speech which he made on the Second Reading. I suggest, in reply to what has been said by Deputy Hayes, that even if new precedents were created on Friday they were precedents which were governed strictly by the Standing Orders.
An Ceann Comhairle: Normally the principle of a Bill cannot be considered in a discussion of such recommendations, except in so far as the recommendations relate to that principle. Deputy Michael Hayes spoke of the hurried manner in which this measure was carried through the Dáil. This Bill was discussed in the Dáil and in the Seanad. It was discussed in the Dáil on a procedure sanctioned by a majority of the House. Deputy Cosgrave said the two clauses proposed to  be deleted are vital clauses—that they contain revolutionary proposals. If so, surely they should afford sufficient subject matter for discussion without bringing in the question of tariffs and other extraneous matters?
Mr. M. Hayes: Might I say, as a matter of personal explanation, that I did not use the word “hurried” as to the way in which the Bill was passed through the Dáil, but simply said that the guillotine motion, under which this Bill was put through the Dáil, had and has no precedent. That is all I want to say.
Mr. Dillon: I want to suggest this: I think you have ruled that the discussion of principle on this stage can only be conducted by consent of the House. Bowing to that ruling, I suggest to the Government, as the President was not here when this Bill was being passed through the House in its earlier stages, that quite apart from all Party advantage, it is of vital urgency to this State that an opportunity should be given to discuss the principle of the Bill while the President is here, and that the President should be afforded an opportunity of stating fully to this House his views on the principle and the necessity of the principle of the Bill that he and his Government are sponsoring before us to-day. I ask the Government to consent to a wide discussion.
General Mulcahy: I entirely subscribe to Deputy Dillon's suggestion. I want to ask, bearing on the question of order here, because while it bears on the general question it also bears on the way in which we are transacting our business this evening, are we not in a difficulty, arising out of the fact that the matters we are asked to decide upon now are matters upon which neither the Minister for Finance nor the President has made any explanation good, bad or indifferent to this House? We have not been told in what way the power to impose stamp duties is going to be  used. If the President for any reason does not find himself in a position to reply along Deputy Dillon's lines, can we have, either from the President or from the Minister for Finance, some explanation as to the lines upon which it is proposed, and the purpose for which it is proposed, to use these stamp duties?
Mr. Wolfe: Might I remind the House that this present discussion comes about solely as a result of the policy of the present Government in regard to the retention of the land annuities? It is now more than a month since we had from the President an undertaking solemnly given——
Mr. Wolfe: I am drawing attention to the fact that the President over a month ago assured this House that they would get an opportunity of discussing the policy of the Government as regards the land annuities, to the fact that they never got that opportunity, and that now they are discussing a matter that arises out of the policy of the Government which they never got an opportunity of discussing.
“vary, in any manner or respect whatsoever and as from any specified day, any stamp duty in force at the passing of this Act or imposed by any Act passed or order made after the passing of this Act, or any qualification, limitation, allowance, exemption, or preferential rate in force at the date of such order in relation to any such duty.”
Mr. Morrissey: Before Deputy Cosgrave proceeds to deal with the recommendations of the Seanad, may we have a ruling on the point we have been discussing for the last twenty minutes, as to whether the discussion is going to be strictly confined to the  recommendations from the Seanad, or whether we shall be allowed, on this special occasion, to deal with the principle of the Bill which, I agree with your ruling, is contained in the two recommendations?
Mr. MacEntee: Before you answer that, sir, may I direct your attention, and the attention of the House, to Standing Orders 119 and 120? Whatever was done on the last day was not in conflict with the Standing Orders. For ten years the procedure in this House has been governed by the Standing Orders. I submit that no good cause has been shown why the ordinary rules of procedure dealing with recommendations, not amendments, from the Seanad on a Money Bill, should be departed from now.
Mr. Cosgrave: May I refresh your memory as to what exactly occurred on the last day we met here? If my recollection is correct, we disposed of all the Standing Orders in order to get through with a certain Bill in a particular time. We put them out of commission.
Mr. Cosgrave: We practically said that we did everything in accordance with the Standing Orders while, at the same time, we went on in blinkers. There is no doubt that we put them out of commission and then went on with the work. That is the position that we are in now.
Mr. Davin: Before Deputy Cosgrave proceeds, do you, sir, rule that the principle of the Bill is a proper subject for discussion at this specially summoned meeting of the Dáil? I hope you will also make it clear that other matters which were introduced during the Second Reading Stage of this Bill, and which had nothing to do with the Bill, will be ruled out. I submit that during the Second Reading of the Bill a leading member, perhaps the leading member of the Opposition, discussed the policy of Fianna Fáil and Labour, the Oath Bill——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair has not ruled that it is in order to discuss the principle of the Bill in considering these recommendations. The Chair has agreed to such a discussion if the House agrees, but not otherwise. There does not appear to be agreement, as there was on a certain motion a week or so ago, and the House——
An Ceann Comhairle: The House has power to suspend Standing Orders. The motion referred to was agreed to by the House. Failing agreement now, the discussion must be confined to the matters on the Order Paper.
Mr. Cosgrave: As a sort of an aside, may I suggest to Deputy Davin, through the Chair, that there are hats which are not of the silk variety but which are also tall and which certain people get in schools now and then? I hope Deputy Davin is not referring to these.
Mr. Cosgrave: On the question which is before us, and which I have consistently kept to since I stood up, two points arise, one as to the necessity for getting the money in question and, two, as to whether this is the most advisable method in which to do it. I submit that in the absence of any explanation by the Ministry as to the purpose to which it is proposed to devote the money raised by reason of these two sections, the House ought to be very slow indeed to agree to the proposal of the Ministry that they should be kept in the measure. I understand some reference was made in the Seanad as to what was the purpose behind these two clauses. Surely these two clauses go far beyond anything which would be necessary to give the Ministry power to deal with  what they have stated in the Seanad? While these two clauses remain there and while there is a feeling of apprehension, as there must be, in the country concerning this measure and concerning the circumstances which have given rise to it, they will be a very serious impediment to the transaction of business. A very serious dislocation inevitably is bound to occur as long as these two clauses remain part of an Act passed by the Oireachtas.
The portion of the recommendations from the Seanad which gives power to summon the Dáil on certain occasions at the desire of a majority of the members of the Dáil is practically valueless in comparison with the power that is placed in the hands of the Ministry by those two sections. As I have already said, we are entitled to consider whether or not we have yet examined in all its implications the possibility of getting a settlement of this question, of relieving the Ministry of the obligation of administering this Act and of relieving our neighbours across the water of the necessity of interrupting the business of this country by reason of their particular legislation. It is in that connection I propose to read for the House, for those members who were not here on the last occasion, what was said by Deputy McGilligan on 15th July last:—
There is a case for going to the Prime Minister of England, who has come back from Lausanne with a particular settlement and saying that in the new circumstances the 1925 settlement requires revision. But you can never get anything from these people if you are going to stand on legal rights—which are without substance or to equate these payments with war debts and reparations, which is untenable, and would not be put by any one with a grain of sense in his head. The circumstances of that time can be turned to account—circumstances in which there was the prospect of very heavy debts for war being saddled on the British, and of our having to share these and we got them all wiped out by saying:—“Remember we are paying these other very big  sums.” There is a case now for revision in the light of that, because of the phrase then used, a phrase which justified our case then and gave a secure hold to the Government of the moment. There is a case now to be made that that settlement requires revision, and a revision that ought to be in our favour. That, however, must be based on the equities of the situation and can only be made by people who are going to announce themselves as being honestly prepared to deal equitably with the other parties to the bargain, the British. A Government now could get some remission but it has to be a Government of a particular type. The time is ripe, the golden opportunity has arrived, but it requires a sacrifice which I doubt this Government is going to make. You have got to deal with the British in this case not on any nonsensical legal grounds but on the grounds of equity. Over and over again, as I said, they showed themselves prepared to deal in a generous way on an equitable case being put to them.
I venture to say that the number of people in this country and the number of people in Great Britain who want an economic war between the two countries is negligible. Nobody is concerned with them; they are altogether out of account. The vast majority of the people of the two countries want peace between the two countries. There is an opportunity now for exhausting every possible effort towards settlement that can be found, to see what negotiations can do and to see how possible it is for one side or the other to bring commonsense to bear on the problem that is only there to be solved. It must be solved if there is any good-will or statesmanship or Christianity amongst those who are charged with the responsibility of affairs in both countries.
Even at this moment I would suggest, with all the force at my command, and, I believe, backed by everybody in the country except that negligible element to which I have referred, that there is a case now for negotiation and that there ought to be  some real attempt on the part of those interested in the vital needs of both countries to do something towards bringing about a settlement through negotiation. The conditions of 1925 or 1926 are different to the present time, economically very different to what they are now. Even last March circumstances were different to what they are now. It may be that in the peculiar circumstances of this period the British Government and the Government here have committed themselves to statements or actions which may render the possibility of negotiation difficult but not impossible. If real statesmanship exists in either country the force of public opinion, upon which Governments must depend either to fall or stay in power, must compel them to see the necessity that exists for finding accommodation on this question.
This is not a period in which the British Government can afford to ignore the value of the trade of this country. This is not a period in which we can afford to ignore the market which takes from 90 to 95 per cent. of our produce. It is idle for some people to say that we are all prepared to tighten our belts. That is the last thing anybody in any country wants to do. It would appear to me that they are tight enough already and serious damage might be done by endeavouring to make them any tighter. There should be a serious attempt made to bring about these negotiations and have this matter settled. I say in all sincerity, and with all the force at my command, that these negotiations ought to be resumed and that they ought to have the support of all parties in the State who are anxious and eager for the welfare of the State.
Mr. Cosgrave: I believe I said that on the last occasion when this matter was discussed here. I have never uttered a single word at any time with any other object in view than that problems and difficulties between States had got to be settled.
Mr. Cosgrave: I would be much more inclined to stand over it than to controvert it—very much more. I do say that in these matters the most defenceless people we have in the State are the people who are going to suffer most. There will be no reduction in Ministers' salaries or in the payments made to members of the Dáil—none whatever. The business of the country will go on but the farming community will suffer great loss. Some farmers will suffer loss that in their life time they will be scarcely able to restore. Large numbers of people will be thrown out of employment. The railroads are already in a bad position but they will have a lesser amount of livestock to carry, they will have less traffic to deal with and the prospect for them is by no means bright. All the people of the country will feel this except, perhaps, those who are paid by the State.
Mr. MacEntee: As long as the Deputy's speech showed some indication that he was anxious to be helpful, I was not prepared to urge that the debate should be confined within narrow limits, but I do suggest that his last remarks are entirely out of order and go far beyond the consideration of the recommendations on the Order Paper.
Mr. Cosgrave: I must differ entirely on that. If I am to consider who is to be hit by reason of the abolition of the two paragraphs in question, I am entitled to consider who is not going to be hit and to point the moral.
Mr. Cosgrave: As a matter of fact, neither you nor I nor anybody else, with the possible exception of the Executive Council—perhaps not even they—knows how much of this measure depends on these two paragraphs. They may represent nine-tenths or nineteen-twentieths or they may represent only three-tenths. If no other opportunity is afforded, there is, at least, this opportunity afforded for saying that this is not the best way to solve this difficulty. Sooner or later, this Bill being passed and the other Bill being in operation, negotiations will have to take place. That has always happened. Countries cannot be perpetually at war. A settlement will be arrived at when it will be impossible to compensate a number of the people who suffered most during the conflict. Before the real damage is done, I put up that proposal again—that there should be negotiation and a settlement, that it is not the time for getting war measures ready, that it is not the time for interrupting business, as it is bound to be interrupted if these two clauses remain. Taking the whole measure as it stands, it has a life beyond that of anybody here. It is limited only by whatever changes may occur in Parliamentary representation. We are told that the measure is for a particular purpose but no such indication appears on its face or in these two clauses or any of the other clauses. I do not believe that even the British Government would have got from its Parliament powers so far-reaching as are proposed to be taken here without having those powers subject to Parliamentary control. The only Parliamentary control here lies in the possibility that the Government may be unable to get a vote of confidence at a particular time. Even if it were necessary to furnish the administration  with weapons to combat the measure passed on the other side, I believe there is quite enough in this measure without these two clauses and that the elimination of them will not interfere with or mar in any way any negotiations that will have to take place in order to find a settlement of the problem with which we are faced at present.
Mr. Morrissey: I should like to approach this matter from a non-party point of view. Deputy Cosgrave has said that negotiations ought to be re-opened and that every man and every element in the State should be behind the Government in those negotiations. With that, I agree. The President and many of his Ministers and many public bodies throughout the country have called upon the representatives of the people in this House and in the Seanad and have called upon Irishmen both here and throughout the world to stand behind the Government. We have been told by the President that this is not a party matter, that it is a national matter. I agree. It is a matter that will affect not only those who voted Fianna Fáil but those who voted Cumann na nGaedheal, those who voted Labour and those who voted for the Independents. It is going to affect every man, woman and child in the Saorstát and, so far as I am concerned—I think I could say so far as every man in the House is concerned—we want to stand behind the Government. I put it to the President that if this is a national matter, as it is a national matter, if this is a great crisis, as it is a great crisis, we ought to have, not a party Government, but a national Government to handle it. I do not mind the smiles or the sneers on one side of the House or the other. I do not mind the sneers of Irishmen, but I am not going to stand for the sneers of men who are not Irish.
Mr. Morrissey: I suggest in all sincerity that if the President wants to rally the country and this House behind him he ought to let us know where he stands. He ought to act as if this were a national matter and not a party matter. I do not want, if I may say so without incurring your displeasure, a Chinn Comhairle, to enter into the merits or demerits of the Bill itself——
Mr. MacEntee: Might I again suggest that the only matter which it is proper for the House to discuss is whether the paragraphs which it is proposed to delete are necessary for the purposes of the Bill or not.
Mr. Morrissey: There is not a national Government. The Minister for Finance has repudiated any suggestion that we should have a national Government and that the nation should be rallied 100 per cent. I expected nothing else from the Minister for Finance. I certainly expected better from the President.
Mr. Morrissey: No explanation has been given in this House or in the Seanad as to these stamp duties. Many of us can see that there are reasons for giving the Government power to meet the Act passed by the British Government and now being acted upon. What we are concerned about is how this Bill may be used against  our own people and not against the British. That is the main point. In my opinion, there is more power given in this Bill to injure the Irish people than there is to injure the people of Great Britain. That is my main reason for objecting to it. My sole reason in standing up and, indeed, my sole reason for travelling to Dublin to-day, was to ask the President to give the lead so that we might have a united Oireachtas and a united Government to meet any onslaught upon us that was not justified.
Mr. McGilligan: With your permission, sir, I propose to speak on these recommendations in respect of this section on matters that have been reported as happening at Ottawa yesterday. I propose to relate what I propose to say to the question before the House in this way: This House, under a guillotine motion, passed a measure called the “Emergency Imposition of Duties Bill, 1932,” and which in clause (f) gives them power to impose “whether with or without qualifications, limitations, allowances, exemptions or preferential rates, a stamp duty on any particular description of document or transaction as from any specified day and for the purpose of such duty, require a document or a particular form of document to be used in or in connection with any particular description of transaction.”
The Seanad has asked and recommended that that clause should be deleted. The Minister refused to accept the Seanad's recommendation. The only phrase bearing upon this particular paragraph used in the Seanad, for none was used here, was that the paragraph was designed to give the Government all the control they wanted over insurance corporations. I want to test how far the Government are in line with what their delegates are doing at Ottawa, as shown in the report of the proceedings in this morning's newspapers, by asking whether or not they are prepared to drop that power with regard to insurance. Top hats have appeared at Ottawa. Some of these top hats will have to be insured on the way home. If there is to be an avoidance of civil  strife and commotion, it will be necessary to go to an outside company to insure these top hats. A certain type of clothing has also appeared at Ottawa, clothing which will be regarded, presumably, as likely to cause civil strife and commotion here. At a recent ceremonial here, an almost sacred occasion in the history of the country, this clothing could not be used. Yet it was used yesterday in Ottawa. Is there to be any indication given by the Ministry as to how far they are in agreement with the attitude adopted in Ottawa? Are they going to stick to their demand for power to impose stamp duties on transactions of insurance companies which may be asked to insure the top hats and the type of clothing worn in Ottawa when it is being brought into this country? I think all these aspects of the situation in Ottawa come up for discussion on this Bill. We have seen a new policy adopted over there. Our delegates as they become irreproachable in dress appear to have become more approachable in manner. That they may continue to be so will be the fervent prayer of everybody here. If they continue in that manner there may be no necessity for an emergency measure of this sort.
Mr. MacEntee: I submit that while it may be in order to discuss a customs duty on top hats one is not entitled to discuss the attire or the policy of any party at Ottawa. What we have to decide here is the advisability of accepting or rejecting the recommendations.
Mr. McGilligan: On a point of order, I am discussing the necessity for giving the Government power to impose a stamp duty in regard to insurance transactions of a certain type on top hats. That is in order surely.
Mr. McGilligan: Except in so far as it can be brought within the scope of the top hat. The top hat at Ottawa may be very unhealthy as far as policy is concerned. I am taking it for instance that there has been a departure with regard to that. I am sure that if the selection of Ministers for Ottawa  were made on the basis of those who could wear the top hat with dignity——
Mr. McGilligan: Surely this is in order, to call attention to the stamp duties which may be imposed on certain insurance transactions—insurance for instance on the top hats worn at Ottawa. We may find that such top hats cannot be insured at home. The discussion of such a stamp duty and the new policy observable at Ottawa——
Mr. McGilligan: We are told the State must have control of insurance. Why are they so anxious about the insurance? One immediately turns one's eyes on reading the papers to the likelihood that they are afraid of a hostile demonstration against the wearers of the tall hats and the new departure at Ottawa when they come back. I submit it is permissible to argue that the policy at Ottawa appears to be inconsistent with the retention of this section. I think we should have some explanation from the Ministry as to why they want to hold on to the section. The only thing we are told about this is that they wanted to get control of insurance. I am approaching that question apropos of what happened at Ottawa, what I call the new departure and how far that new departure is going to affect the retention of these powers in regard to the stamp duty on insurance transactions and I am entitled to get an answer. It has been referred to as a small matter although it was made a big matter here. There has been another orientation of policy which is very welcome but which again might lead to the imposition——
Mr. Morrissey: That is the point I make. The Minister has said persiscently that the Deputy has been out of order although he has not been ruled out of order. I suggest that it is the Minister who is out of order.
Mr. McGilligan: The Ministry desires certain powers in certain circumstances, in the circumstances in which this economic war seems to be not merely inevitable but to be immediately  upon us. There has been a change, I insist, and I want to show merely for the purpose of pointing out why this clause should be dropped that this is one of the ways in which they can show that they are affected by what has happened beyond the seas. I suggest that the powers which were given to them some days ago no longer appear to be necessary because of what has happened. For that purpose, I must refer to what has happened. The Conference opened as all Conferences open with a declaration. Although we have not got the text of that declaration we notice that it has been called by the descriptive writers a loyal address. We notice that what purports to be a quotation is given in one of the papers, that a message of goodwill and devotion has been sent by the representatives of the Governments of the British Commonwealth——
Mr. McGilligan: I do not intend to go into the matter of attending the ceremonies. I only refer to the fact that certain things happened and to note that a certain resolution was passed and a certain message was received, and that it was a very good thing that that resolution was passed and that that message was received. It shows that people out there representing this Government have turned their backs on their own pledges——
Mr. McGilligan: I had finished when the interruption of the Minister for Finance called me back again and all I wanted to say was that we have representatives there who assisted at certain things that were done yesterday and which when done on another occasion they described as hogwash. That is the last point. If the Minister has any other points to make I wish he would make them now, or make them all at once and let us get on.
Mr. McGilligan: There is a new situation and in that new situation the plea made by many people in this House last week is reinforced and has greater weight when made now. There was an appeal made many times by Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Morrissey that we should cast out the lawyers as far as this business is concerned, and get down to some sort of definite conference recalling the whole situation of 1925, relating that to the new circumstances and seeing what can be done. That plea has been made. Instead of answering that, what are Ministers doing? They are going to have this Bill as it stood, as if nothing had happened and as if there had been no change yesterday at Ottawa. They are going ahead with the demand that they must be allowed to attack foreign insurance companies. One of the biggest insurance companies doing business here is a company with its headquarters in Canada. Is that to be attacked? If it is attacked will it be attacked before our delegates can go further on their new path or until there is another long distance telephone message in Irish to say that there has been a new spirit here, and that the spirit is shown by those attacks on foreign insurance companies being dropped? Is there to be any sign that the Ministry has come to the conclusion that  legally, and because of fraud, and because of what Deputy Morrissey said——
Mr. MacEntee: Once more on a point of order. Is the Deputy entitled, in discussing this amendment, to state that the Government's legal case is a fraud? The point is this: The Seanad has accepted the principle of the Bill. As the principle of the Bill has been accepted, the only thing the Deputy is entitled to discuss is whether the stamp duties are, or are not, necessary to carry out the policy of the Government?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Here is a sub-section that gives limitless power of taxation to the present Executive Council, and we are entitled to discuss every single bit of the policy of that Executive Council who are to decide. Those particular individuals who sit on the Executive Council at present are the persons into whose hands you are going to give limitless power of taxation, free from the control of the Oireachtas for eight months.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is mistaken in maintaining that he is free to discuss every aspect of the policy of the Government in a debate on the particular recommendations sent down by the Seanad. I have given a certain amount of liberty to previous speakers. I am disposed to be equally liberal with other speakers, but we must get away from the question of our policy at Ottawa.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I may not have made myself clear. Here the Government are declaring that any transaction between any two individuals, in this State, must be carried out in a written document and that that is to be subject to a tax imposed by them to any amount they like. That is a power no Government ever asked for before. It is a limitless power of drawing upon the resources of the people of this State. Are we not entitled, when the Executive Council are asking for these unprecedented powers, to discuss what use the Executive Council is likely to make of these powers if they have them? How are you to know what use they are likely  to make of these powers unless you consider their position?
Mr. McGilligan: I think the matter is now quite clear. I may have to repeat a little bit of what I said. The Government because they adopted a certain earlier line of policy decided that they must have a certain measure. I feel there has been a certain orientation of policy, in the last couple of days, and I want them to mark their appreciation of that by dropping one of the powers, which they thought necessary to have, when this Bill was being discussed previously. I ask them to drop the most drastic of these powers—the one that can be used in the most unfair way, the one that can lead to gross unfairness and partiality even as between individuals if it operates at all. So far as the other powers are concerned, that of customs duties and excise duties, these are likely to be applied to classes, to a particular main type that comes within named categories, but in regard to this, they may impose stamp duties on any particular document or transaction as therein specified. It gives unlimited control to the Ministry and a control which I think they ought not to possess.
I do not pretend to be able to interpret the meaning of this section. I should like if the Minister for Justice were here to give us his interpretation but he is always absent when legal documents are under consideration. I should like to have got his opinion as to whether or not we have the power to impose stamp duties on any particular transaction or licensing, and in fact powers to differentiate between individuals. There is no good in the Ministry telling us that they will not use that power. We are talking of the power the House is asked to give and the Minister for Justice should be here to interpret and determine this matter. He has been notorious throughout the session for his absence and his silence. He has become as close as an oyster. He has even the oyster's complexes. The oyster does not like months without the letter “R” in them. The Minister does not like associations without an R in them.
Mr. McGilligan: They have neither discussed nor explained this in the House. It is time we heard from them, before this power is granted, what use is going to be made of it, and whether they are going to persist in the use of this clause. I said that the only expression of opinion given us by the Ministry was that it was for the purpose of controlling foreign insurance companies in the way of stamp duties, and certain insurance transactions. How is it going to be possible after it is passed and the damage is done to the insurance companies to withdraw from that position? That is the plea Deputy Morrissey has joined Deputy Cosgrave in making.
Before any foolish action is taken on these very wide powers, there should be another pause, in order that the Ministry would consider if it would not be well to get a real national issue on this, such as they have not at the moment; to drop these foolish Party lawyers. It is useless appealing to the Minister for Finance because he is a man who must argue for going forward with this bit of folly. Drop all the nonsense of equating war debts and reparations with commercial debts. Here you have a situation in which a commercial debt was accepted. If you point to changed circumstances and adopt ordinary methods of conciliation and consent the matter can be settled. A national cause can be made in this. It is not the one that has been made. There is a national approach. It is not the one being made. There is a national way of arguing it. It is not the one being adopted by the Ministry. There is even a national sign that might be made at the moment,  by dropping some of the powers asked for, in appreciation of the fact that there has been some attempt to approach the situation at Ottawa. If these hopes are disappointed at this the last stage—and I do not suppose Ministers are asking for powers unless they intend to operate them—and if they get these powers in the mood that they have shown there is every fear that they will be operated. If they tackle a big thing like insurance, which was a problem that faced the people who were the Government for ten years, as the right way and the method for reprisal and retaliation, there is going to be enormous damage done to the people of this country, and the people who are going to be harmed are those who should least be harmed. Possibly they have unselfishly put aside the money, not for themselves but for their dependants. The Government may find by their hasty action that the securities of a very generous and unselfish type of people are imperilled, or ruined, if there is an attack on foreign insurance companies which have been allowed to practise in this country without any criticism. That is why there should be some response from the Ministry to the appeal made to-day, before we proceed to take the first step, from which there can be no withdrawal until this is fought to the bitter end.
Mr. Corry: It is all very well for Deputies opposite to laugh and to run away as they vanished the last day when we produced some letters. We had the usual statement from the Opposition to-day. Deputy Cosgrave said, “Kiss and be friends.” That was the cry of Deputy Cosgrave to-day but, while the delay goes on, and while every effort is being made to delay proceedings both here and in the other Chamber our people are being crushed by Britain. I wonder the appeal was not made to Mr. Thomas, to take the 20 per cent. tariff off our cattle. It was made here where they are doing England's work by delaying and preventing any reprisal against Britain. That is their job— the legion of the rearguard. That is evidently portion of the job Deputies opposite have got from Mr. Thomas.
Mr. Corry: The Deputy withdrew a lot in his time. We were told about the problem before us and the losses that farmers have suffered. Farmers have far more patriotism than Deputies opposite. Farmers through their public representatives are supporting the Government in the fight they are making. I was present at a county council meeting yesterday, where my Party is in a small minority, and that council unanimously supported the action the Government are taking in this——
Mr. Corry: Where are the thousands of writs that were held up during the election period, to be let loose on the farmers immediately after the General Election? Where would the farmers be now with that sheaf of writs?
Mr. Gorey: On a point of order. The Deputy has made a statement in connection with the Department of Lands and Fisheries that writs were held up during the election period and launched immediately afterwards. As the Minister for Lands and Fisheries is the head of the Department, what has he to say to that?
Mr. Corry: Up to the present I have only dealt with the statements that are being made. I consider that the Ministry are entitled to the fullest powers necessary to deal with the situation before us. The Government should be given whatever powers they think necessary and I do not believe that these powers should be hampered in any way or held up in any way. Deputy McGilligan stated——
Mr. Corry: I can assure the Deputy that it is long since a smoke screen was seen here. Deputy McGilligan said that these new duties would enable the Government to differentiate between individuals. That was for long the policy of the previous Executive Council here and I do not see why they should growl if the Government and the Deputies supporting the Government agree that there was to be differentiation between individuals. I do not believe there would be any differentiation but if there was I see no reason why Deputies opposite should growl about it. Under a previous Bill passed here if the ex-Minister for Justice did not like the colour of my tie he could deport me out of the country. The Executive Council  who got those powers come up here now and complain because we are looking for the fullest powers we can get in order to deal with this crisis. That is their whole complaint. The whole cry here seems to be a cry for time and for delay. Delay for what? To delay the powers of the Irish Government to defend the Irish people. That is what Deputies opposite are actually doing—delaying the powers of the Government to defend the people. The Irish people are not behind the Deputies opposite in that action.
Mr. Corry: We know very well. There is a seat vacant, a seat that will soon be filled whenever the Deputies opposite have pluck enough to look for it. There is a seat vacant in my constituency for the past four months. The Opposition had a majority of 4,000 in that constituency at the general election and yet they have not the pluck to look for that seat. Still we have the cry of a general election. Deputy Gorey wanted an appeal to the people, while down in my constituency there is a vacant seat since the general election and the Deputies opposite have not the courage to fight it. When they sent down their organiser he came back with his tail behind his legs and he told them that the Irish people were not going to stand behind any renegades.
Mr. Corry: Very well, I will deal with the stamp duties now. I maintain that any powers that the Executive Council require should be given to them at once. There has been already far too much delay in this. It is close on a fortnight now since England took action and our farmers have been facing up to it since then. Thank God, the farmers have stood up to it and, as I stated here previously, the farmers will not be the first to squeal in this fight.
Mr. Corry: No fear. Deputy Bennett is squealing but Deputy Bennett is no farmer. The decentest thing for the Deputies opposite to do is to support this Bill, but I am afraid it is too late now to make an appeal to them. They have done the damage. The supporters of the Party opposite down the country have shown far more patriotism in this fight than they have. They have in open batches thrown their whole weight in this fight on the side of the Government. Deputy Cosgrave looked for negotiations. We have heard any amount of appeals for negotiations. We have offered arbitration in this matter. We are as much entitled to say whether we would get arbitration as the British Government are.
Mr. Corry: As far as stamp duties are concerned, there is undoubtedly a large amount of money leaving the country and going over to Britain yearly and it is about time that people here who are so unpatriotic as to send their money to Britain should have some action taken against them by the Government so as to compel them to leave that money at home.
Mr. Corry: I maintain it is our right to say that we are to keep enough money here to pay the farmers and that the farmers should get back at least whatever they lose under the new duties imposed by the British Government. We want this money to reimburse the farmers for what they may lose over the duties. That I take it is the principal object of the stamp  duties. If it is, then more power to the stamp duties. I believe that is one of the principal ways in which we can get money.
Mr. O'Neill: Do I understand from the Deputy that when he says the stamp duties are for the purpose of recouping the farmers for whatever losses they incur under the duties imposed by Great Britain he is speaking for the Government—is that the Government policy?
Mr. Corry: Unfortunately I am like Deputy O'Neill; I cannot speak for anybody. As far as Deputy O'Neill is concerned, I do not believe that he can speak for the Opposition any more than Deputy Blythe did the other day. I am giving as my opinion that this is one of the reasons why the stamp duty should be imposed and it is one of the reasons why I am supporting it. It is necessary for us to take the money that is leaving this country every year. That money should be taxed and kept here. We are sick of the delaying actions of the Opposition as revealed here in the last fortnight. Undoubtedly the delaying action of the Deputies opposite is injuring our farmers. I am sure the Deputies on the opposite benches realise that. I am sure there is intelligence enough there, not in the Front Bench—but there is enough intelligence on the Back Benches opposite. There is intelligence enough there to realise that even at this late hour it is their duty to do what their comrades down the country have done and that is to throw in their support behind Ireland in this fight. I ask them to stop this stabbing in the back attitude. That attitude is nothing else but stabbing in the back. Any one of them who reads the Press weekly——
Mr. Corry: I know it is practically useless. I know I could not change  the minds of men like Deputy Bennett because, unfortunately, he has no mind to change. There may be others there who have some glimmering of intelligence.
Mr. Corry: I am giving my reasons as to why these stamp duties should remain portion of the Bill. I have put these reasons before the House and I am sure if the Deputies opposite consider them they will not continue fighting the delaying action here for the benefit of Britain.
Mr. Davin: The spirit behind the speech just delivered by Deputy Corry is in my opinion and may I say in the opinion of members of this small group, the kind of speech that is not likely to pave the way for national unity or for a peaceful settlement of the issues in dispute. I sincerely hope that that speech or the spirit behind it does not represent the general viewpoint of the Fianna Fáil Government or the Fianna Fáil Party on this matter. The members of this small group who have a very serious responsibility to shoulder in this matter have left nothing undone either privately or publicly to use their influence in order to try and bring about a friendly settlement of the issues in dispute. In doing that, we are not going to advise the Government to surrender on this issue. Deputy Cosgrave, in a speech seriously and sincerely delivered, pointed out the necessity for accommodation, and said that it was necessary to explore every possible channel for the purpose of endeavouring to arrive at a national viewpoint on the issues now in dispute. I accept that speech, as having been delivered in a friendly spirit, in the same spirit in which I, and the members of this Party, accept the greater portion of the speech delivered by Deputy McGilligan on Friday last. There is no necessity to call for a national Government in order to have a fair settlement in the interests of this nation. We are not asking for that, at any rate, and, personally, I see no necessity for it.
 What would likely happen in any civilised country in the world to-day, if such a country, say, France or Germany, or any other European country, were faced with the position, with which this country is faced at present, is that the principal leaders of all the parties would come together, either behind the scenes, or publicly, for the purpose of endeavouring to put their best brains together in order to have the best possible settlement secured in the interests of the whole people of the country. Is the speech delivered by Deputy Cosgrave to-day and by Deputy McGilligan last Friday, any indication of the willingness of the Opposition to help in that direction? If it is, I and the members of this Party accept it and I am sure the nation as a whole will accept it.
Mr. Davin: Perhaps Deputy Minch would reserve his sarcastic remarks concerning prominent members of the Labour Party until the time when he comes to deliver his speech, if he is capable of delivering one. Deputy Cosgrave, in that serious minded and very sincere speech, rightly pointed out the possible consequences of the passage of this measure, if the measure were used, as, I believe, it will not be used, for the purpose of inflicting punishment on our own people. I have sufficient knowledge of what is in the mind of President de Valera, and, perhaps, other members of his Ministry, to believe that it will not be used for that purpose. It is a defensive measure. I would like to have heard from Deputy Cosgrave or Deputy McGilligan, and I hope I will hear from Deputy Mulcahy when he comes to speak, what is the viewpoint of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party as to the action of the British Government in launching this economic war. Are they right or justified in the action they have taken in precipitating this economic war?
Mr. Davin: And might I ask Deputy Mulcahy, if he can speak on behalf of the whole of his Front Bench, to say whether they would agree, that, as a preliminary to the resumption of friendly negotiations, the British should be called on to withdraw that Act which they have put into operation and which is still in operation?
Mr. Davin: I will make my own speech and the Deputy can speak after me, if he likes. I realise that in an economic war—and every Labour man who has any kind of national or Labour outlook realises—the plain people are bound to suffer for the sins of the politicians, and I believe that it is not beyond the bounds of statesmanship, even at this stage, to have some kind of approach on behalf of the parties interested to prevent the terrible consequences of the carrying on of such an economic war, with the support of the different parties behind it. The only knowledge or experience that any of us, or our forefathers, could have of an economic war is the effect of the boycott carried on in the Land League days and this was not supported by Parliamentary action. Let us have at this stage of our career, at this special meeting of the Dáil, in this Eucharistic Congress year, some of the real Eucharistic Congress spirit. That is the viewpoint that those of us who sit on these benches are asking the two big Parties to take. Surely the bitterness of the past should be forgotten in a national issue of this kind, in an issue which may mean a great deal and which may mean millions of pounds, and, I believe, will mean millions of pounds, to the people of this country, if national unity can be secured and if we can have national unity in facing the whole issue as we now know it?
Mr. Davin: The members of this Party refrained from speaking during the previous stages of this Bill, because we were—and you know it well— endeavouring to use our influence to bring about a fair and friendly settlement——
Mr. Davin: Some of the minor matters referred to by Deputy McGilligan in his speech to-day should, in my opinion, be left for the decision of the people in the pending by-elections, but I sincerely appeal at this moment to the leading members of the Opposition to forget the history of the past ten years and to realise that we are here to-day as representatives of the people, and that, if we can unite, even now, on the issues in dispute, for the purpose of using the power of the nation on behalf of the people, this country will be saved millions of pounds which will, in the long run, go to the advantage of all the people represented by all parties in this House.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I heard a very vigorous and vehement speech  from Deputy Davin, and, certainly, if the Minister for Finance had been in this Chamber, and if he had acted consistently, he would have played the Jack-in-the-box antics he was playing earlier in the day with a great deal more justification than he had on previous occasions, because, in his wildly enthusiastic praise of this Bill, the Deputy never at all approached the question of whether sub-section (f) of Section 1 should or should not be retained in this Bill.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I do not know if the Deputy was or was not enthusiastic, but of this I am perfectly certain, that no man from Borneo could have been much wilder. I should like now, very quietly, and avoiding all the heat and passion of Deputy Davin, to analyse this sub-section and to point out to the House that here an Executive Council is asking for powers that no Executive that I know of in any country that professes to have a democratic Government, has ever asked for before, and that if this sub-section is passed, this Executive Council will have got from this House the complete control of the purse, the one check which, in any country in which there is or ever has been parliamentary government, the representative chambers kept on the Executive.
If you go through the history of parliamentary government anywhere you will find that one thing that the representatives of the people every-where had as a check upon the Executive that might be in control of the government of the country was a check upon their power to raise money. After all, we know that a war was fought in England because of the claim of King Charles I. to raise ship money without the consent of the House of Commons. Here we, Dáil Eireann, we, the representatives of the people, we, the persons who should have sole control of the purse, are asked to give to the Executive unlimited powers of raising money at  their whim and caprice if they wish. Deputy Davin says that he trusts the Executive Council, trusts them with his whole heart, and knows they are impeccable persons and that they cannot do wrong. That is what his speech amounts to. But no matter how impeccable they may be, even in Deputy Davin's view, none the less I say, and say very deliberately, that, in my opinion, it is a wrong thing for any Executive to come to this House and ask for these powers and it is a wrong thing for the House to give these powers. If the House gives the unlimited powers of taxation here to the Executive Council, it is a betrayal by this House of the trust which has been reposed in this House by the electorate of the country.
Let me for a moment consider the meaning of sub-section (f). A stamp duty can be imposed on any description of document or transaction and it may be made compulsory to use any particular form of document to carry out any particular transaction. I should like to consider what can be done under that. We had an interesting discussion here the other day about omnibuses as to whether small omnibus companies or large omnibus companies should or should not get preferential treatment as far as taxation is concerned. The House decided that. This would enable the Executive Council by a single stroke of the pen to upset the ruling of the House in that particular matter. The Executive Council can say that any document dealing with any transaction, and any ticket used by any single bus company shall bear a stamp, let me say, of 100 per cent. of its value. They can make that as a general rule for all bus companies, and then come along and say, “Such-and-such companies as we like shall be exempt from that taxation.” They have, in other words, in this Bill complete and entire power to put any bus company that they like out of action. Is that a power which should be given to any Executive Council?
Let me come to what Deputy Davin is interested in. He is interested in railway companies. Here there is  power to put the railway companies completely out of action, if the Executive Council wish. The Council can say that every transaction entered into between a person who wishes to train cattle from one place to another shall be on a particular form of ticket and that that particular form of ticket shall bear a stamp duty, if they like, equal to the whole amount of the freight. They can do exactly the same for passenger traffic or any kind of goods traffic. Is that power which should be given to an Executive Council? They can go right down to any transaction between man and man in this State and they can make stamp duty payable upon that transaction. They can say to every shop-keeper and merchant that for every single transaction in his business there must be a stamp duty and that stamp duty may be, if they like, 100 per cent. And that is the Bill, a Bill giving that limitless power to the Executive Council, a Bill which is the end if the Executive Council wish so to use it, of individual liberty in this State, which is going to be voted for, and which is actively supported by a Party which, at one time at any rate, when it went before the electorate, professed to be a democratic Party! That is the Labour Party. There is the other Party—the Fianna Fáil Party. I ask the level-headed persons, farmers and businessmen and others in the Fianna Fáil Party, do they think that any Executive Council should be given these absolutely unlimited powers? After all, here without any single word of explanation from the Minister introducing the measure, we are asked to give these powers. The Minister for Finance introduced the Bill in a speech in which he never for one moment dealt with the merits of the Bill or touched upon these excise duties or told us why these excise duties are required.
The Bill seems to have been conducted with very much more ability in the Seanad than it was conducted here. In the Seanad, according to the reports, certain indications of the way in which these clauses would be used were given by the Minister for Posts  and Telegraphs, but even if these represent the views of the Minister for Finance, we did not get in this House yet an authoritative spokesman from the Government Benches to stand up and tell us why they need these drastic powers. If they want powers suited to the present situation, why did they not come with a Bill embodying powers suited to the present situation? Why do they come with a Bill containing a clause like this, giving them unlimited powers? What is the justification for it? They are silent; they are dumb. They can put up Deputy Corry to speak, but they cannot speak themselves.
The Minister will not give us his reason for standing over this clause. The Executive Council ought to be anxious to jump upon their feet and vindicate their demand, which is a demand that they shall have it in their power to end democratic rule in this country. They should tell us the reason which actuated them in their desire to obtain powers to enable them to terminate democratic rule. They do not. Because you seem to have a tame majority, a tame Labour Party, behind you, this House is seemingly going to be asked to pass this clause, and pass it without discussion from the Ministers, and without explanation by the Ministers of why they want it and why, instead of asking for limited powers, instead of asking for powers which would be adequate to the present situation, or any situation which is likely to arise, they come along and ask for unlimited powers of taxation; why they ask this House to give up the power of raising money, why they ask this House to delegate to the Ministry unlimited powers of raising finance. They come here and ask for powers, not merely unlimited powers to raise finance, but to raise finance from any particular members of the community that they wish. It used to be a great principle that there ought to be equality in taxation.
In these sections you are not dealing with outside people; you are not dealing with England at all. These are excise sections, and you are not touching England. They are sections which give the Executive Council power over  the citizens of this State and companies registered in this State. They ask for powers of this unlimited nature, powers which strike at the root of all just taxation; that is to say, equality in taxation. They seek power to impose a stamp duty upon any transaction that they chose to designate between man and man. They ask, at the same time, for power so that they may discriminate between man and man. One individual in the State may be asked to pay taxation on a certain basis, another may be asked to pay taxation on another basis, and a third may be exempt altogether. They are asking powers which are not only the very negation of democracy, but which are, of their own nature, against the most elementary principles of justice. They are asking unlimited powers of discrimination between taxpayer and taxpayer as to the amount which an individual may be asked to pay. These powers are infinitely in excess of any powers that they might require in any possible circumstances that might arise out of the dispute between this country and Great Britain.
I think that the Seanad did wisely when they refused to entrust unlimited powers to any Executive. I do not care whether the Executive Council are going to use those powers wisely or unwisely, but I do care very much as to the principle. I would like to emphasise that this House should not give unlimited powers to any body of men. Deputy Davin as well as other Deputies wandered off the strict path, wandered away from this sub-section. I am not going to wander after them. I sincerely hope that the economic war which is now going on between these two countries will be ended speedily by judicial negotiations.
The President: I do not mind replying to that question. If I am to keep in order and if I am to confine myself to the exact terms of the motion before the House, I could not go over the field that Deputy Dillon would like me to travel.
Mr. Dillon: Might I hope that the  Chair would reassure the President that there is something higher even than Standing Orders, and that is the public good? Perhaps in the circumstances the Chair will turn a deaf ear to any departure from the strict rules as governed by the Standing Orders in order to provide the President with a full opportunity of telling the people of the country, through the Dáil, where they stand in this situation?
An Ceann Comhairle: At an earlier stage I asked would there be agreement that this should be a wide debate and I did not get that agreement. I have not strictly confined the discussion to the subject-matter before the House. I think every Deputy will admit that I have allowed considerable latitude.
Mr. Dillon: Undoubtedly the Chair has not confined the discussion strictly to the proposal before it. I submit, with great respect, that it is of vital necessity that the President should make some statement on this matter. If the Chair has not been strict in one case there is no necessity to be strict in another. When we come to degrees of strictness, I am sure the President will take a risk.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Aiken): If Deputy Dillon is trying to make the case that the Government's intentions in this connection have not been fully explained to the whole country, I would like to point out to him that the Government's position has already been fully explained both by Ministers and by the President.
General Mulcahy: Perhaps the Minister will explain at what particular time any word of explanation was uttered from the Government Front Bench with regard to these stamp duties or the intention behind the imposition?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: The Minister has made a definite statement. In reply, let me say that I did not hear, and I do not think anybody on this side ever heard, any explanation with reference to the excise duties.
General Mulcahy: I would like to ask the President if he is aware that what I say is a fact—that no single word of explanation has been given with regard to these duties? If he is not able for any reason to reply to the request made by Deputy Dillon, will he intervene now and tell us something, even within the narrow limits of this discussion, regarding these stamp duties—what they are likely to be, how they are going to be imposed, and why?
General MacEoin: I desire to make an appeal to the Ministry to accept the recommendations made by the Seanad. I am not going to attempt to explain to the House the benefits that would result from accepting them. It would be, at any rate, an intimation to the Government to whom we are opposed, that is the British Government, that we were prepared to meet them again. I do not say, with Deputy Morrissey, that it is absolutely essential to have a national Government. I do say to the Government that when they ask us to help them they should ask us in a very definite way. They should not ask us to fall in behind, but rather to fall in alongside them, shoulder to shoulder, and so have an united front in this economic battle in which our country is engaged. Falling in behind simply means that we are to get into the fog and follow wherever the bell-wether leads. That is not a situation that recommends itself to me.
I suggest to the President that, as he invited a member of another Party, not his own, to assist him in the negotiations, he should equally invite the leaders of the other Parties and try to get a settlement. No matter how Ministers or Fianna Fáil Deputies may tell us that this is the best thing that ever happened the country, that it is something to be very proud of,  that we are going to have full and plenty in the country, it can mean only one thing and that is the complete ruination of the country. It is time to call a halt and I suggest that the President should accept these recommendations from the Seanad because it will be a proof of goodwill to other people. Then, let him extend the invitation to others so that instead of following behind we would go forward shoulder to shoulder. I do not think that some of the speeches we have listened to have been helpful. The British Government, in taking the action they did, have shown that they are just as mad as ever they were. I regret to say that we have followed very closely in showing that we are just as mad as they are. I do condemn in the strongest possible manner the action of the British in attacking us in this fashion but there are two sides to the question. There is no doubt about that. For the sake of the country and for the sake of the people, I ask the President to send that invitation and to send it quickly and, as proof of goodwill and good intentions, to accept these two recommendations of the Seanad.
Mr. Dockrell: In rising to support the amendments suggested by the Seanad, I should like to join some of the previous speakers in appealing to the Government to give us an explanation of what these stamp duties mean and what in fact the whole Bill exactly means. We have been appealed to by Deputies opposite to fall in with, or behind, the present Government— it does not matter which. I should like the Government to step out in front and tell us what the duties mean. We regard some of the provisions of this Bill as making a very grave alteration in the economic structure of the State and we would feel a great deal more confidence if we got some assurance from the Government that they are prepared to carry on the present economic structure in some other fashion.
I should like to put a few questions to the President. I do not know how far he will be prepared to answer them. I shall not refer at all to the  political aspect of this Bill or to any of its political ramifications. I shall confine my attention to the economic structure and to the economic clauses. I should like to ask the President, when replying, to state, if at all possible, whether there are going to be any exceptions or exemptions to the clauses in this Bill. Will the Government give the commercial community any advice as to how they are to carry on in present circumstances and how they are to carry on in the future in the circumstances which will be brought about by the passing of this measure? At present, everybody is interpreting the position according to his own lights. Some people believe that there is only going to be a very short struggle. They are prepared to shut down rather than manufacture goods the cost of which would be too high when prohibitive duties would be lumped on to the cost of manufacture. Other people, who believe that this may be a very long struggle, are preparing to carry on at all costs. Will the Government tell us which course they recommend and are they prepared to help the people who desire to carry on? Do they want the maximum amount of employment possible to be continued or are we to take the line given by some of the Deputies opposite, that the present duties do not really matter and that, perhaps, they are a blessing in disguise?
Some people have ceased to import essential goods fearing that a duty will be placed upon them by this Bill. Others are still bringing in these goods. What is the position of traders who have goods in transit? They may, in the morning, find themselves burdened with a crushing duty. Are these people acting in the interests of the country in carrying on or are they to be treated as malefactors and left to bear these heavy duties? I should like to get an answer to these questions. We understand that the Government are inquiring about foreign markets. I suggest that it will be difficult to find a foreign market that will not only supply us with what we want but which will take what we have in return. Another question also arises: are the import duties on foreign goods to be  continued? These questions are exercising the minds of the mercantile community and, so far as I know, we have had no information from the Government. It is essential that the commercial community should be told plainly what is the position to which they are to change over. For instance, I have mentioned the question of duties on goods imported from foreign countries. If those goods come in in British vessels, will they be subject to crushing import duties under this Bill? The commercial community cannot adjust themselves to changes in a moment. The Government ought to give them some warning unless the most profound dislocation and a very considerable measure of unemployment is to be caused.
Mr. Blythe: It appears that the President is not going to give any explanation over either the wider field or the narrower field. The Bill is to be passed without any indication of the intentions of the Government. We have heard nothing here from members of the Government except remarks in the most general terms. I agree with the Seanad that this section should be amended, because it appears to me to be a particularly unnecessary and dangerous section in what is an unnecessary and dangerous Bill. The proposal to impose stamp duties, if it be part of the economic war with Great Britain, is definitely widening the field and is likely to intensify the conflict. The intensification of the conflict is certain to impose very great hardships and very great loss on the people.
If the stamp duties are required, not as part of the economic war with Great Britain, but as part of the machinery for bringing about profound social and economic changes here, they should not be put in this Bill and they should not be accepted. I do not know what is the intention of the Government in connection with the stamp duties. I have heard nothing about it. We do not know for what purpose they are required. Not the slightest indication, except a couple of words spoken by a Senator in the Seanad, has been given to us. There are a great many  people who think that the purpose of this Bill is not primarily part of any struggle with Great Britain, but that it is primarily intended to bring about great changes here. If that is the purpose, then no section of the Bill that the Dáil is now in a position to reject, should be allowed to pass, because if the Government wishes to work some social and economic changes in the structure here they should put their policy before the Dáil and they ought to get specific powers to take steps to carry out that policy. I think it would be much preferable from the point of view of everybody if the Government want to put up something here that is like the structure in Russia or in Italy, that they would say so, and take the powers rather than without any intimation of what their plan is, they should rush from one Government intervention to another, dislocating industry, dislocating commerce, causing hardship and eventuating probably in bankruptcy and chaos.
So far as we have had any professions, the professions have been that the Bill is wanted for use against Great Britain in the struggle which has been precipitated by the Ministry. I think that struggle should not be widened. I think that primarily negotiations should be undertaken and could be undertaken by the Ministry that would render the Bill unnecessary. I regard the whole Bill as unnecessary and undesirable and as taking us off the right path by which anything can be gained for the country. I think this section is particularly bad because it is taking us into new fields of conflict. The British Bill to which this Bill is a successor or a sequel is confined merely to the imposition of customs duties. It is limited in other ways. It is limited as to the rate at which customs duties may be imposed. I am not sure whether that is in the Bill but certainly pledges have been given by British Ministers as to the amount that will be sought to be raised by the customs duties to be levied. Here we have a Bill with no such limitations. We do not know whether the special duties are going to be confined to British goods or levied on other goods.  Apart altogether from that fact that it gives greater powers than the British Bill in regard to customs duties we have these powers in regard to excise and stamp duties.
I oppose these duties as I would oppose other duties because I believe that whatever hardship they may inflict on the people in Great Britain they are going to inflict at any rate equal hardships here. They are going to inflict hardships on a community which is much poorer than the community on the other side. They are going to inflict hardships on a community which owing to the recent trend of agricultural prices and on account of the state to which the fall in agricultural prices has brought the agricultural community, this country cannot bear and should not be asked to bear. I would not have any objection to giving the Government these powers if they attempted to make any case that these powers were necessary or if the Government were able to indicate to us that there was no alternative in the matter but to use every power that could be given to them, and every power that they could take. If the Government were able to tell us that there was complete unreason on the other side, or that some great principle was at stake, or that the negotiations had reached an impasse, then all the country could do would be simply to continue the economic struggle, just as in other times the military struggle was carried on in the hope that in some way or another an end would be brought to it that would be advantageous to us. But for the Government to take these powers which have not been taken on the other side, for the Government to propose to extend the area of conflict as they are proposing by the section which the Seanad wishes to delete, is something which certainly requires justification.
I do not know why the Government is unwilling to indicate its policy. It may be that the Bill is only introduced as eyewash. If I had an assurance that that were so, I would be glad enough to pass it. It may be that the Government has some plan, that they have been conducting some secret negotiations, that everything is  ready to spring some new surprise in the way of a settlement, that these measures are only wanted in order that the Government may be able to say that nothing could be done until they cracked the whip. It may be because there is some position like that in existence, and that they find it difficult to talk about it. We, apparently at any rate, are not going to hear anything, and we have only to view these measures with the utmost suspicion. We have no idea, as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has pointed out, of how they will be used. We certainly know that they are capable of being easily abused. It would be possible, under this section, to discriminate against an individual, or any group of individuals. The discrimination, for instance, which the Government put into the Finance Bill in regard to particular tobacco firms, could be used against anybody in relation to stamp duties, but there is nothing in the Bill to prevent the Government saying that certain individuals shall use certain documents for doing business, that they shall pay stamp duties on them and that they shall be the only individuals to do it. It would be possible for them to inflict tremendous hardship on particular individuals, or particular groups in that way. Even assuming that they did not do anything like that they are going, undoubtedly, to inflict hardships and loss on the people of this country if they use these stamp duty powers. They are going to inflict hardship and loss which will be far greater than any that will be inflicted on people outside.
I do not know whether it is intended, for instance, to put some sort of stamp duty on in connection with the payment of insurance premiums. If the Ministry has that intention it ought certainly to be clear to them that, for a long time, the loss to the people here will be much greater than the loss to the people outside. Under existing circumstances it is a great benefit to the people of this country to have the big, prosperous and well-managed insurance companies in Great Britain and Canada available to them. If a man wants to  make provision for his family by a life insurance, if steps are taken to impose stamp duties to prevent him taking out that policy with that outside company, the hardship is upon him and not upon the outside company. Broadly speaking he has no alternative. There is nothing here that can supply the place. It might be if stamp duties are imposed that ill-managed, and not very solvent concerns, may become stronger and lead to a position of safety and solvency that they have not yet reached, or new companies might be established with adequate capital and the best management this country could supply and in which the insurer might have some reasonable measure of safety for the investment represented by the payment of his insurance premiums. But he certainly will not for a long time be able to get a return for his money that will enable him to make provision that he can now make at the same outlay. The loss to numbers of the insurers will be much more severe, for a long time, than the loss of business to the insurance offices.
With regard to other investments, if the Government proposes by a mere scheme of stamp duties to make it difficult or impossible for persons here to purchase foreign investments, they are going to inflict much greater hardship upon the people of this country than will be inflicted on anybody outside the country; the difficulty of industrial extension here not having, to any appreciable extent in the past, been due to the fact that capital was not available. They were due to other factors that have certainly been as much overcome as they could be overcome by the imposition of tariffs.
People here, in the past, were reluctant to invest in Irish industries because they feared that these industries could not continue to yield a profit. It was not that there was any question or desire to invest abroad in the abstract. It was the fact that there was lack of confidence in regard to home industries. Now, so far as confidence can be given to home industries, surely it has been given by the enormously high tariffs that have been imposed.  So far as gilt-edged securities —national loan and the like—we never had any difficulty in getting any money here that was asked for. Big corporation loans have also been well responded to by the people. The investment problem was not a problem that related to what might be called gilt-edged securities. It was a problem in regard to industry. As I said enormous tariffs were imposed in getting over difficulties that could be got over, but in the case of many industries at the expense of the consumer, and it made it easy for anybody to make a profit and to get good dividends at the expense of the consumer. But there is capital that these industries cannot immediately absorb, or cannot absorb for a considerable time, and if the Government imposes a series of stamp duties it may make it difficult to invest that money abroad, or to change the investment in which that money is. They are going to impose a hardship upon a class of capital here, and they are going to do something which will have an irreparable effect in that it will drive out numbers of owners of capital out of the country. Any use of the powers of the imposition of stamp duties, under this Bill, can have no effect other than to impose a heavy burden upon the people here, and to drive capital out of the country by driving out the owners.
I know myself people who have already taken steps to cease to reside here because of the things that they fear may be done under this Bill. If it is shown later on that they had grounds to fear, that fact will not improve what they believe is likely to happen under these particular powers, and a great many other people will get out. Whatever one may think of their attitude in getting out the fact remains that their withdrawal, taking with them the ownership of their capital, is a loss to the country. If somebody who is resident here goes out of this country it means that some substantial sum that was coming in every year goes, and is a distinct loss to the community.
I do not know in what direction, as I said, the Government propose to use  these powers in relation to stamp duties, but if they are going to use them in the matter of insurance policies, then, from a national point of view, it will be a case of cutting off our noses to spite our faces, because the Government will be doing much more harm to people here than to anybody outside, and causing far greater loss and hardship here than they could cause to anyone outside. If it is a case of dealing with ordinary investments by stamp duties, I think they are going to cause permanent capital loss to the country. All this is supposed to be in connection with land annuities.
It will be very easy for the Government to do more damage to the country by the measures they may take under this Bill than is represented by the total capital value in respect of which the land annuities are paid. Deputies have suggested that the Government should drop this particular power and that they should negotiate. If the Government were treating the House fairly, I think they would give some reply to these suggestions, because the Government must be fully aware that events have occurred outside this country which are only the first of a series of events, that certain debts have been remitted—if you call them debts—which must be followed by the application for the remission of other debts. Because of that the Government has now an opportunity of negotiating for the revision of agreements which have been in force up to this, and they should, instead of embarking on an intensive economic war, avail of the opportunity for these negotiations. They should regard economic war, even from their own point of view, as the last resort. They should realise that in that economic war damage will be done which will not be repaired until a number of years has passed. An economic structure has something organic about it; it cannot be put up like a steel framed building in a week or two, or in a month or two; it cannot be hurried up overnight; in some sense it has to grow, and, if it is pulled down it cannot be simply stuck up again; a certain quality of life in it will be  destroyed, and the new structure, no matter how it may be bolstered up by tariffs and Government subsidies, will not have the vitality, the power of resistance, or the power of expansion that the old economic structure had.
What the Government are doing is, they are entering upon a campaign of destruction of Saorstát commercial and industrial interests. They are throwing away a market which probably cannot be replaced, and which will not be there in its entirety to be recovered when this quarrel is over. Even if this were settled within a fortnight or a month, something will have been definitely lost which cannot be restored, and it is unlikely that anything that can be acquired or built up in the interval will be of equal value to the nation to that which is being need-lessly destroyed. There are very many alternatives. At least there are several alternatives before the Government and, in choosing not only economic war, but in choosing economic war apparently over the widest area, they are choosing the very worst alternative available to them.
I would like for the benefit of the Minister for Defence, who is not present, to say that if successful negotiations are not carried through it will be the fault of the Government. There is a possibility, as we see the situation as it exists, and as we know from experience, of making a satisfactory settlement. If the Government does not do that, and does not make that settlement, they are ignoring the genuine economic interests of the nation for some other cause that I need not go back on; for something that has nothing to do with the present situation. It would be well, even at this stage, if the Government is going on with the economic war, that it would confine it to the tariff field; that it would not extend it in the particular way proposed by this section. They can do that. They can carry on an economic war without disturbing all the additional interests that are going to be disturbed by this section. I do not know whether they want to force it as rapidly as it can be forced. I do not know whether they wish to bring about a general break-up, but in every  war there is some limit to what is done. The general tendency is to limit the area of the war. This Government, if it wants to make war, might be content to limit the area of the war as much as it can be agreed to limit it.
The President: We have certainly listened to a very extraordinary speech, one of the most extraordinary speeches I ever heard delivered here. I suggest to the Deputy that when he gets the Official Report of that speech he should count how many “and ifs”, and “perhaps”, and “may be's”, and all the rest there are in it. I think the Deputy has hardly uttered a single sentence in which he did not say “and if”, “perhaps”, “may be”, etc., etc. It is all very well to try to make our flesh creep in that particular way. I do not think there is any occasion here for attempts of that kind. With regard to the Bill, the Executive Council is taking the fullest powers in order that, should occasion arise, it may be able to avail of these powers for a single purpose, namely, defence of the interests of the country. It has been suggested that we are going to abuse these powers. Of course we know that they could be abused, but the guarantee that they will not be abused is in the fact that the Dáil is master of the situation ultimately. As evidence of our good faith in the matter we have accepted the recommendation of the Seanad which makes it possible for the Dáil to be assembled at any time on a requisition of the majority of the members.
There is the ultimate guarantee that these powers will not be used in a dictatorial fashion by the Executive Council. When we are taking powers it would be stupid not to take powers which would cover every kind of action which might conceivably be necessary. But simply because you take powers which might conceivably be necessary, it does not follow that you are to use those powers on all occasions. I should like to assure the House in this regard that we are not anxious to extend the area of conflict. Very far from it. This conflict was in fact not begun by us. We have been told that this is a favourable time for negotiations and the rest  of it. What have we done which makes it unfavourable? Were we to continue as the preceding Government did, continue to pay these moneys? If we did was there likely to be any negotiations on the head of it?
The President: Supposing there is a new situation, who brought it about? By what steps was it brought about? Assume that the Deputies on the opposite benches are right in saying that a favourable situation has arisen now, by what steps was that favourable situation brought about? Was it by continuing to pay all these moneys?
The President: The burden of these payments was bearing heavily on our people, as heavily as payments were bearing on any people in Europe. There were revisions of various kinds during the past few years. It is an extraordinary thing that the Deputies on the opposite benches when they were an Executive Council did not avail themselves of this situation to bring about a revision in our case. Now they tell us a favourable situation exists.
The President: We are told now to negotiate on the basis of this favourable situation. What have we done on the basis of that situation but try to negotiate on it? But it requires two sides to negotiate. No matter how anxious we might be to negotiate, no matter how ready we might be to arbitrate with a fair tribunal, no anxiety on our part will bring that about unless the other party are willing. What have we done to indicate our readiness and willingness in the matter?  Everything that could be done by an Executive Council and a Government anxious to have a settlement in this matter has been done by us. We have done everything that could be done. Let us go back to the matter under debate. I am afraid I am going outside the terms of the Motion.
The President: I would prefer not to go outside the terms of the Motion simply because I do not want to have this go over a Second Reading debate again. I dare say the members on the opposite benches will want again to widen it and we have got away from our original intention. Let us go into the history of these payments. They amount to five and one-third million pounds. Direct payments have been made by previous Governments since the Treaty was signed with Britain of, on an average, five and one-third millions every year. Actually there have been payments made amounting to close on five and three-quarter million pounds as a result of the commitments of various kinds that have been entered into. Our attitude in regard to this has been explained not merely here in the House but right throughout the General Election. We believe that these payments are neither legally nor morally due. We question them. We told the people that if we were elected we would not continue to make these payments until Britain had proved here right to them before an impartial court. And following up our convictions in that regard and the mandate we got from the people in that regard we withheld payment of the current instalment. We withheld payment in the same way that any private individual who believed he was making payment not due would have done. We withheld these payments and we said to Britain: “We will not make these payments until you prove your right to them.” We are prepared to examine the details of these payments in negotiations with Britain. I personally told the representatives of the British Government  that that was our position. I said we were prepared to go and deal with these points and if possible to convince them that these payments are not due. It is obvious that if the British Government took up the attitude that they were due, and we were equally convinced that they were not due, that negotiation was not going to lead us anywhere.
Negotiations suggest agreement at some stage. Agreement might possibly be reached by such an examination. I do not say it would not but we have to face the possibility that it might not. Therefore you must have behind the negotiations, if they are to be fruitful at all, some court or other which has to decide in case agreement is not reached. That is obvious. Therefore behind the negotiations you must have some ultimate tribunal to settle the matter definitely and finally.
Negotiation does not, in certain circumstances anyhow, completely end the necessity for considering the question of arbitration. In the case of arbitration we said: “We are prepared to submit these payments to arbitration and all we ask is that in this arbitration we are not to be restricted in the choice of our nominees in the arbitral tribunal.” The British Government takes up the attitude “No, you cannot have your choice— we regard it as a matter of principle that you choose from within the British Commonwealth of Nations.” We are not prepared to accept that as a principle. The previous Executive Council did not accept it as a principle. They were quite right in not accepting it as a principle. That is not the only question that may have to be settled by arbitration between ourselves and Britain. But is it accepted and accepted generally as being the only alternative to a settlement by force? I am assuming that if there will not be a settlement by agreement, then the only alternative is a settlement by force or by arbitration. Why make the settlement by arbitration more difficult by their bringing in a restriction of choice of the nominees, and making that a matter of principle? We objected to that. The matter is too  important for us in which to take any risks. I do not think we should take any risks in it.
I have tried to get the members of the House to realise the importance of what is at stake by pointing out that these payments to Britain are equivalent to a payment of £330,000,000 a year by the British which is roughly ten times what Britain was paying annually to the United States of America. If we are to realise how careful we must be in this matter, perhaps, we can best do so when I say that what is involved is equivalent to ten times what Britain was paying to the U.S.A. Therefore from the point of view of arbitration we should not adopt as a principle something which ought not to be elevated into a principle and something which in conceivable cases where we might have arbitration in future, would be detrimental directly to the interests of the people. That is why we could not accept that principle.
Britain is imposing unnecessary restriction. Let her remove this restriction that she is seeking to impose and arbitration can be resorted to to-morrow. The position as regards arbitration is that arbitration must lie in the background while there are negotiations. As far as negotiations are concerned, I have indicated our willingness to negotiate. But negotiations cannot take place in a war atmosphere. It is not when these duties are pressing upon our people and when the defensive measures that we take may, perhaps, be pressing upon the people across the water, that negotiations are most profitable. Negotiations are most profitable in a peace atmosphere. I fully realise that. When I was over in London on the last occasion I suggested that if negotiations were to be conducted and if there were to be any negotiations with any chance of their fruitful continuance, we should have a peace atmosphere, not one in which there are measures to be taken by Britain and counter measures by us. Remember that I was in London on the very eve of the day on which these duties were first imposed, and, if there  was a desire on the part of the British Government, a real desire, to settle this matter in a friendly way, either by negotiation or arbitration, advantage could have been taken by the British to do so, because they have the same powers of suspending as we have. The only answer that could be made to my suggestion was: “Well, you continue payment. Let the status quo continue.”
We went before our people and we told our people definitely what our conviction was, and we got the support of our people to withhold these payments until Britain proved her case, and that is definitely the line of action that we are taking. To show our good faith, however, we are putting these disputed payments into a fund where they are in the public eye, and where everybody can see that they are there, ready to be paid over if a judgment were obtained against us. Our credit as a nation is good. All the moneys have not to be collected. The moneys are actually being preserved there in the Suspense Account, and I do not think any Government that was sincerely anxious for a peaceful settlement could say that we were keeping the moneys, and that they were not available for arbitration. That is our side of the case, and when it is suggested that we should take further steps for negotiation, I should like to be informed what the steps are. There is no step that, in fairness to our own people, we, as a Government, could take, that we have not taken. The suggestion that I should go to London, the last time, was conveyed in the middle of the night, and, lest I should have the feeling that I had omitted doing anything, even without consulting my colleagues in the Executive Council, I took the responsibility of going over in order to see what could be done in this situation. I again say that everything we could do has been done, and, that being so, the only thing that is left to every one of us to defend our rights is to take such measures as will prevent our people being hurt, and will keep this money effectively here in our own country. That is what this Bill is designed for. It is designed to give us the means to take effective steps  so that that money will effectively be maintained here in our own country.
It has been said that no indication has been given of the Government's policy with regard to the crisis. We have been asked for an indication to the people of the line of policy they should adopt to meet the crisis. The first thing to do is not to exaggerate the crisis, and not to get ideas that it means things at the moment that it does not, and cannot mean. The first advice that has to be given to the people is to “carry on and keep as close to normality as possible.” Of course, it does mean a change. It does mean that certain changes are going to come about, and let us try to make these changes as slight as possible. Our attitude, in general, towards the position is this: We have put before the people a certain economic policy, the policy that we considered best for our people in the long run. Let us, in the present crisis, hasten towards the final objective as fast as we can do it, without inflicting any undue hardship. That is the aim we have in the present conditions.
The President: The final objective is making this country as self-supporting as we can, and to give to our people in it as high a standard of living as we can secure for them, and what we have to do is to see whether, in the present circumstances, we might not be able to hasten to that end more quickly than we could under what I would call normal conditions. That is the way to make a virtue of the present necessity, and that is the fundamental purpose the Government has in mind. The first thing we have got to do, of course, is to try to dispose of our surplus of agricultural produce in the best way we can, and obviously the best way to dispose of it is to make as much of it as possible utilisable here, and to try to make it possible for our own people to consume as much of it as they can. Of course, they are not able to consume it all, and there will be an exportable surplus. We know that, and, therefore, what we have got to do is to get the best outside market we can for the  portion over and above the amount which they cannot themselves consume. That is the answer. “The best we can”—what that “best” is remains to be seen, but the answer, at any rate, is that the only thing we can do with it is to dispose of it as best we can abroad, and at the best possible price. As to the extent to which it may be possible to use that at home, the first thing, obviously, to do is to substitute for foreign live animal products the home products. That is obviously the first step—to reduce to the greatest possible extent that amount that we have to dispose of abroad at the best price we can get. That means, therefore, that we have to take measures to see that as little as possible of outside produce comes into this country if it can be substituted by home produce. That is obviously the first step, and it does two things. There is no doubt whatever that there are certain of our products which the British will continue to buy, if they are not going to suffer, themselves, a hardship far greater than any hardship they are likely to inflict on us, and the more we diminish that quantity, the more imperative it will be for them to buy. Therefore, the obvious way of dealing with it is to see that the exportable surplus, and, particularly, the surplus that is placed on the British market, will be of the smallest possible size, so that there may be the greatest possible demand for it. Any attempt, at the present time, by farmers to dispose of their produce wildly and at sacrifice prices would be a mistake.
The present duties cover, as the House is aware, live cattle, butter, milk, eggs, bacon and so on, and we have to take each one of these items and see, in regard to each one, what are the best steps we can take. These have been under consideration since the duties have been imposed and the moment that the Executive Council is given the power for dealing with it, it is going to take measures along the general lines I have indicated. These are defensive measures. In so far as they are offensive, or affect England, it is simply in the nature of things that it should be so, but the fundamental purpose is not offence, but defence,  and defence in the sense of retaining effectively in this country, which is the fundamental purpose, the money that we think belongs to our own people. When we consider the possibility of getting outside markets for our surplus products we may have to bargain. We may have to indicate to these other countries which may absorb a certain amount of our agricultural produce, that we are prepared to give them a certain preference here for the goods which we may want, and which they may be prepared to give us in return.
There is no use in going into it very deeply, because each of these particular measures will require very full elaboration and extreme care in working out. I assure Deputies on the opposite benches that if there are mistakes made it will not be for want of care and it will not be by wildly doing things. I am more inclined to think myself that it will be by being too slow in action rather than by being precipitate that any damage that is likely to result will accrue. That is indicating in general our policy. I do not personally apprehend any mistakes being made by precipitate action, as I say. I am more anxious about action being taken rather too slowly. The one thing, of course, that does seem absurd in the whole thing is to see, in one case, a conference being held for the supposed purpose of trying to build up inter-trade, the profitable exchange of commodities, preferences between the two countries, or between a set of countries, and here schemes being designed to the contrary purpose. Of course, the whole thing is absurd. But who began it? Who imposed these duties? We did not. We were giving substantial preferences.
The President: Let those who wish to make the appeal make it. I assure you that if we get these moneys and the right to them is recognised, I will not make a quarrel on what considerations the British Government will hand them over. That is my attitude now. Therefore, if there are gentlemen on the opposite benches who think that by appeals of that kind to the British Government they would get the British Government to forego these duties by which they are trying to get these moneys, I would be very glad. I am doing nothing to put any obstacles in the way of Great Britain giving us our rights in this matter, but when it comes to a claim, seeing that we have a good legal and moral claim, I am basing our claim on that and not simply on the inability to pay. It is true that it is very difficult for us to pay. It is true that this burden is heavier upon us relatively than even the war reparations were on the German people. But, as long as we have a good legal and moral ground for the retention of these moneys we are not going, as far as we are a Government, to put our claim to these moneys wholly on the question of our inability to pay.
I do not see what advantage there can be in my developing this point any further. We have given evidence by our actions of our desire for a peaceful settlement of this dispute. The powers taken in this Bill are not taken in an aggressive spirit. There is no desire on our part to widen the area of conflict, none whatever. But the powers are taken because, as Deputy Blythe himself admitted, the reactions of various kinds are very wide and the field we may have to operate upon is a wide one. We want to have these full powers so that, if there are  reactions in any direction, and if we want to combat these reactions and nullify them, we can do so. That is the object of the Bill, to give the Executive Council the widest powers if this conflict is continued, and there is every likelihood of it being continued. You cannot by any action on your part stop it. The Government cannot by any action on its part stop it unless you pay over. That is your alternative and do not forget it. The alternative to doing what the Government is doing is to hand over these moneys, even though the majority of the representatives here are convinced that these moneys are not due; even though the majority of the representatives have proved, by their willingness to arbitrate, that they believe in the justice of their case, and that they are prepared to have it decided by an outside arbitral body. Are you going, under these conditions, to hand them over?
Mr. MacDermot: May I ask, would not another alternative be to sit down and consider the personnel of the Tribunal and, if a fair Tribunal cannot be found from within the Commonwealth, then to demand one from outside?
The President: I have already indicated our attitude towards that. We have not attempted to impose any restriction whatever. It is the British Government that is insisting upon that as a principle, and there is the pretence that that principle was accepted in the 1930 Conference. That was suggested again in the Seanad the other day. Of course, it was not. These were suggestions. The desir-ability, as a sort of general thing, was accepted. I am not going to say whether it is or it is not desirable in general. But, in this case, certainly in the opinion of our Government it is not desirable. As a principle it is not desirable, and there is no member of the former Executive Council who can say that he thinks it is desirable. They have shown on a previous occasion, when a matter of this kind was being considered, that they were not going to accept it. I agree that they were right in not accepting it. Therefore, the position  is, and the sooner you face it the better, and the sooner the country faces it the better, that the only alternative to handing over the money is to defend the right to keep it, and to defend the right to keep it by effectively meeting the attempt that the British Government are making to collect it, whether they will or no. That is the position. There is no getting behind it. There is no use trying to fool ourselves with the idea that there is any other course open. There is not. So make up your minds definitely— you have to do it in this House— whether you are going to surrender that money or keep it, to assert your right to it. You have to make up your mind to do it. If you want to have the sort of peace that you want, then pay over the money. If you do not, then you have to stand up to this threat, to this means of trying to extort the money from you, and I believe, if the nation does stand up to it, that in the long run the very effort to do it will bring about a situation which on the whole cannot be without its advantages. I do not say that we would willingly, if peace were available, if there was another way, face it in that spirit. If there was a way out, I would not myself, at any rate, voluntarily bring about the amount of loss that there may be—there will be some loss—the amount of hardship there may be, the difficulties that there may be. They are forced upon us as the only alternative to paying over the money. What we have to do is to say, “Very well, that is the situation; there is no other way out for us but to make the best of it.” Let us in God's name together make the best of it.
I cannot understand what the manoeuvring has been, the suggestions of various kinds of a national Government and all the rest that I have been hearing recently. I should like to know what is at the bottom of them. Let us have it out. Our position is that the Government here, being elected by the majority of the people and supported by that majority, is, for the time being, a national Government and it is the duty of every  citizen to support that Government in any steps which it may take in order to defend the national interests. That is my view and it is the view that the gentlemen on the opposite benches would take in similar circumstances. I know it is. It will not be difficult to turn up the pages of the Official Reports in order to prove it is true. I am finding no fault with them, and I did not find fault with them in that. We have the responsibility now in a difficult situation. It used to be suggested that we were not prepared to shoulder responsibility. We are prepared to shoulder it as the elected Government and all we ask of the people and of the Deputies on the opposite benches is to face the position squarely and ask themselves whether, in these circumstances, their efforts should be directed towards securing the national rights or whether their efforts should possibly be those that would help to injure the national position and to injure our rights in this matter. I believe we will get the support of the people on the opposite benches and the support of the people in the country as a whole the moment they realise that we have been doing and actually have done everything it is possible for us to do, consistent with our convictions that these moneys rightly belong to the Irish people and that our people are entitled to retain them unless a fair court gives a judgment against us.
Mr. Hogan: (Galway): When the history of this period comes to be written, the people who will come worst out of this struggle will be the six lawyers. When the country has time to think over it, when all the politics are finished and when all the propaganda is finished, I can imagine what the people of the country will say of the six men who put their names to that document. I am not giving away anything to the British when I emphasise that there is no question whatever about the law. With great respect to everybody on the opposite side, I suggest that they know perfectly well that that is the position. What is the use of arguing? The President will say one thing and I will say another and  there we are. If there was any legal doubt about it, the Irish courts are there. The President has put up reason after reason for not going to the Irish courts. Here we are sunk in a lawyers' quarrel by reason of that opinion. History will put the six lawyers in their place. They have done more to bedevil, confuse and ruin this issue than any other people in the country.
I have to start now on a basis that I know is absolutely incorrect and that I believe the President suspects is incorrect—on the basis that we are not paying this money legally. I do not want to say anything that will help the British. Remember that there is plenty of ability in England amongst politicians and amongst the civil servants. The civil servants over there could teach us a lot. England has a longer tradition of government than has this country and the English people have a magnificent Civil Service. There is not a single point in connection with this dispute that has not been subjected to research, investigated and worked up by the most efficient Civil Service in the world. Deputies can take it from me that nothing is overlooked. Do not blame me and do not say that I am giving anything away to them. Let us start with the point that we have no legal right to pay them. Who is to blame? We are. The last Government is to blame.
There is no doubt about it that in 1923 we agreed with the British to pay the annuities. Equally there is no doubt about it that that agreement was not secret. If I am to base the strength of the President's case on a statement made no later than a few days ago in the Seanad to the effect that the agreement was secret, what am I to think? That agreement was marked secret. I want to clear away all the foolishness. There is no doubt that in 1923 we told the Dáil that we had agreed to pay the land annuities to the British. So far as that agreement dealt with land purchase annuities, we told the Dáil specifically that we had made such an agreement. That agreement contains many clauses. I am not going into the reason why it was marked secret. That can be  explained at a later stage. I do not want to confuse the issue by dealing with it now. I want to keep to a point that has been used to confuse the country for the last six years. The statement was made that these annuities were paid under an agreement that was never revealed to the country or to the Dáil. We told the Dáil about it in 1923 and afterwards we inserted a clause in an Act of Parliament giving legal validity to that agreement, a clause that expressly authorised us to pay these annuities. I refer now to Section 12 of the Land Act of 1923. On that occasion the leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Johnson, and members of the Farmers' Party, Deputy Wilson and others, asked us exactly what this was about and we explained the position. Yet the President two or three days ago in the Seanad, in order to bolster up a case in which we are supposed to have all the rights and equities—Erin and innocence, Saxon and guilt—came cut again with the stale old fable.
Mr. Hogan: I have not said that we put this agreement to our lawyers. This agreement had no effect in law. It is not fair for the President to make a point that he knows is an insincere point. Any business man, not to speak of a solicitor, knows that when he wants a legal opinion it is necessary to put the case to counsel, setting out all relevant facts, facts that have a bearing on the law. We went to counsel when we were challenged and we asked for the law. We did not think it necessary to tell our Attorney-General that we made this agreement because he knew it and, in any event, it was nothing to him; it was none of his business; he was merely a lawyer. Our Attorney-General, just as well as your Attorney-General and your six lawyers, must be presumed to have known of Section 12 of the Land Act of 1923. That is all that concerns them. Let us forget the lawyers. I am not concerned with them at the moment. I am concerned with the equities of  this case. I am concerned with the question whether this agreement was a secret agreement or not. I am not concerned with whether it was the opinion in the Four Courts. You can be sure it was, so far as it had any legal validity. If it was not, they were not looking after their business. It was not our business to advertise it in the Four Courts. We advertised it to the only people we had a right to advertise it to, to the only people who had a right to know it—the representatives of the people in the Dáil, the representatives of the farmers and of Labour and the other representatives here. We went further and inserted a section in the Act of 1923 giving legal validity to that agreement.
Yet, this great quarrel between two great peoples is being fought at the present moment and to bolster up our side here is the statement that the last Government was guilty of a trick by keeping the vital agreement from the people. If that is the sort of case that was made in England, is it any wonder the negotiations broke down? If that is the strength of the ground on which this case rests, what are we to think? We are going into this fight now. That seems to be inevitable. That being so, I ask the President and I ask the leaders of the opposite Party to drop this sort of thing, to drop statements of that sort, which can be disproved at once not only on this side but on the other side, and to tell the people— the people who will have to suffer— the real issue. If the people, knowing the real issue and the real facts, want to fight, well the people who followed us fought before and will bear suffering as well as any others. This is what Kevin O'Higgins used always say: this country is entitled to do as it likes, but it should get fair play from its leaders; it should be told where its actions are leading. It should not be tricked; it should be taken into confidence. It should have a clear issue stated, with the causes and with the effects, one way or another, set out. Having got those particulars, let the country calmly and dispassionately make up its own mind. Having said that the agreement was not secret—of which there can be no doubt——
Mr. Hogan: I am talking of the same agreement as the President spoke of. I do not want to confuse it with the question of whether this was part of the national debt or not. At that time we were the Government of the country, elected by the majority of the people. You may not agree with that, but it happened. I reverence majority rule for no other reason than that I think there is no other rule of order. We were the Government and we made that agreement. What we made we stand by. If, in fact, by any mistake of ours that agreement was not made law, we were to blame. We should have made it law. If we made an agreement to pay these moneys, we should have made it legal. I go further now and I put this to the President, that he is on rather weak ground, if one takes the standard of first-class countries—when I speak of first-class countries, I do not mean big countries —if he takes the line with the British, “well, our predecessors made an agreement with you all right but, through their inefficiency or ineptitude or incompetence, they did not make it law and we are going to take advantage of that.” That is the strength of your case if you go on the legal grounds, accepting your own arguments.
I do not believe that there is validity of any kind in the legal case and I believe, as I said, that history will deal properly with the lawyers who are responsible for that case. I have addressed meetings down the country of farmers and other people —fairly honest and fairly sensible men endeavouring to pay their annuities—and when I think that their position, their prospects and, what is more, their honour was bedevilled by that sort of legal opinion, it makes me sick. From my point of view, there is no legal case whatever. But start on this: from the President's own point of view, if there is a legal case, it is our fault. The best case he can make to the British, from his own point of view, if he is going on the  law, is: “It is true our predecessors made an agreement to pay these annuities but they were foolish or incompetent enough not to give that legal effect and, for that reason, we will not honour it.” That is weak ground. I said before and I say now, that a big nation like Germany or England can afford to do that sort of thing but we cannot. Remember that Germany and England and other first-class powers were small once. But they had wisdom, and commonsense enough to know that because they were small and weak they had to be particularly careful and had to have even more austere standards than the standards of the big powers, who, because they had navies and armies, could trick with impunity. We will not progress as a nation or get anywhere if we say “If England does this, we will do that.” Unless we have wisdom, worldliness and the sense to realise that great truth—that small nations cannot afford to make fools of themselves or to take up a position fundamentally unsound—we will get nowhere. That is what I have to say on the legal side. Remember the English know this far better than I do. They have the best Bar and the best legal advisers in the world. They know all that I have said. They have it all in writing and they will make the fullest use of it.
The President, I think, quoted the words of Deputy McGilligan, that a favourable situation for negotiation had been brought about. By whom, he asked? Lausanne. Mark what the circumstances were in 1923 when we made this agreement. Remember that we got an agreement in which all war debts were cancelled. That was a very big achievement in 1923. There can be no doubt whatever about that. Very few people in this country realised that we could do it. We put ourselves in a position that practically no other country in Europe was in in 1925 or 1926 by that agreement and it was as a consideration for that that we confirmed the agreement to pay the annuities. You may agree or disagree with that but the country is entitled to know that the British agreed to cancel the payment of war  debts by us in consideration of our confirming that agreement to pay the annuities. That has got to be remembered.
The President again places himself in an absurd and weak position when he attempts to equate war debts with land purchase annuities. He speaks of the amount of these payments—five million pounds or five million and a quarter or five million and three-quarters. Deputy MacDermot pointed out the other day what I am sure is well known on the other side, that one and a quarter million pounds worth of annuities is paid to Irish citizens—a commercial debt due to Irish investors. Three-quarters of a million is paid to R.I.C. pensioners. That takes two million from your total. The British pay two million pounds in war pensions in this country. All that sort of consideration could be gone into and, if you did come down finally to bargaining, would be gone into. I mention that now to show that these simple statements of the President implying that there is a payment of £5,000,000 per annum to Britain, with no compensation whatever, are not full statements of the position and that if the sum had to be made up and a balance struck, the result would be very different. Whether that be so or not, whether the sum be big or small, one thing is certain—that you cannot equate a commercial debt like that with a war debt. The President spoke of payments by Britain to America. There are very big payments of other kinds by Britain to America as a result of investments by American citizens in England of exactly the same kind as these Land Commission annuities. But these do not enter into the calculations and I do not want to pursue that further except to point out that it ought to be obvious to any thinking man that he is deceiving the people of this country, which has to go into this quarrel and suffer all the consequences, when he leads them into it in the belief that they are really fighting for debts which are comparable in any way to the debts incurred by other Governments during the Great War. They are not.
 Secondly, a favourable situation for negotiation has been brought about. By whom and by what, the President asks. Not only by what happened in Lausanne but by this, and let the President and the members of his Party face up to it—by the fact that you have won the election. What do I mean? I mean that you now represent the majority in this country, you and the Labour Party taken together. You represent a big section in the country which for the last ten years was hostile to the British, and the British do not want that hostility. They would like to get over that hostility. That puts you in a tremendously strong strategic position to make a good settlement on any financial question of this sort, if you like to use it. That is due, first of all, to the fact that we carried out our pledges with the British. We made good agreements undoubtedly, good financial agreements for this country beyond yea or nay. Beyond yea or nay it was a great performance to save this country from war debts. We did that, and as a concession we gave the goodwill of our followers to the British, but they never got the goodwill of your followers. The British being a sensible people, and essentially a people who want compromise, would be ready, if you like to use the word, to buy that goodwill. There is the elements of a bargain if it is approached in that way. It is not to your credit, it is just as much to ours, by reason of the fact that we carried on honestly. We did not attempt any trickery. There is no question of any connivance to trick the British. We kept faith with them, but you have now got a majority, and you are entitled to approach the British from another point of view, and this is a question upon which you could make a very good settlement with them.
Very good. What is stopping you? I think it is this playing in and out about secession. You have the Oath Bill going through. The President said it is essential and that he got a mandate from the country for it. Very well. You have that Oath Bill. Personally I cannot understand it. You have either to be inside or outside. However, there is the Oath Bill, and you have all this hugger-mugger with  the Governor-General, all this talk of twisting the lion's tail. I do not say that you are not entitled to do that if you wish, but if you are going to negotiate with them I do not think you should be annoying them at every hand's turn, to be going out of your way wantonly to antagonise them. Above all, you have raised this question in regard to arbitration, nominees who may be from outside the British Commonwealth. What is the President's position on that? He said that the British have stated that the arbitrators must be from within the British Commonwealth, and that we cannot agree to that. What is involved in that principle if you are fighting it? To my mind, secession. If I were willing to remain in the Empire I would not mind having arbitrators from the British Empire. Even the President does not say, no one could say, that we cannot get two good men in Ireland, good nominees. I suppose no one would take up that position, that we cannot get two good men in Ireland, nor will anybody take up the position that these men would be incapable of seeing that the chairman would be a fair chairman. All they would have to do would be to stand pat until the chairman was agreed upon.
The President insists that some of the arbitrators may be from outside the Commonwealth. Personally, I have no sympathy with it, but I can understand what the British are driving at. They regard that position as essential because they have to judge President de Valera on his past. Taking that into account they regard his demand as secession, or another attempt to make it easier. There is the whole trouble. I have not the slightest doubt that for the reasons I have given a good settlement on the annuities question could be come to. I do want to put this point, and the country should know it, that it is not the financial difficulties that are in the way of a settlement at the moment. It is the political difficulty. It is all this direct and indirect aiming at secession. The President may say: “I stand for secession.” But he is not standing for that in so many words. He may say: “That is what I am  after.” All I am concerned with is that the country should know what is the reason for the break down in the negotiations, that it is not really the question of the Tribunal as such, that it is the question of secession. It is on that issue they are going into the fight. It is a graver issue than this question of the annuities, because there are much acute differences on it.
Will the President take my advice? Drop arbitration. I think the thing is so bedevilled now that you cannot get any kind of arbitration. I doubt if you could get any kind of arbitration after everything that has occurred. Drop it and make up your mind definitely—the Government and the President himself that they have no mandate for secession—whether he cannot accept the status we have got. If he makes up his mind on that, and it is the patriotic and the courageous thing to do, we could get a good agreement. We could all go across to England, make no agreements and have the people at the North Wall to applaud us when we came back. If you accept the present position, and it is the patriotic and the courageous thing to do, I have no doubt in my mind that it would be possible to make a good financial settlement with the British. If there is a breakdown at the present moment it is not on the small details of arbitration, but on the big matter of secession. If that could be got out of the way you do not want a tribunal. You would be in a much stronger position than ever we were in making a financial settlement for this country.
We made a good financial settlement but you are in a stronger position. You are put there first by reason of what we have done for you, and secondly, by the fact that your own electorate voted for you. That should be perfectly obvious. We have taken the whole position a certain distance. We have taken it a long distance. It was a big agreement which Kevin O'Higgins and President Cosgrave made; it was a big agreement to wipe out all war debts for this country. We put the country in that position, that practically no country in Europe occupied. As a result of the circumstances now existing you are in a position to  make a further demand. What do we hear? What has patriotism come to in this country? “No settlement, going over to England and saying nothing doing.” That is not patriotism. Now personally I am hopeful from the attitude at Ottawa which is quite different from the attitude here. The attitude of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Agriculture in Ottawa is plainly different from their attitude here. Is that fair to this country? Is it fair that this country should be always reserved for theatrical displays, and that people who masquerade in tall hats and tail coats when abroad should act quite differently, in their conduct with regard, say, to the Governor-General in this country? They are to act quite differently in some other country where they are getting down to brass tacks? It is not fair to the country. I put this from a genuine point of view. I think the action of these men in Ottawa is sensible and patriotic and I believe that if the Government here would only take their courage in both hands, and face the responsibilities that they owe to the country, if they would try to forget the past and not be dazed by the cheers of women and little girls that meet them, sometimes at Dun Laoghaire, and that even fill the galleries of this House, they could make a good settlement with the British and put an end to this economic war.
This economic war is going to be bad. I am not one bit influenced by the President's speech. Let us imagine what it all means. Will the President try and get this fixed in his head: At the present moment we are exporting half of our total agricultural production and would be, even if all the agricultural imports of the same kind were stopped. Is it not futile at the moment in these circumstances to speak of finding the home market or alternative markets? Surely the President realises that we have been inquiring into this for the last ten years? He remembers that Deputies on the Economic Committee raised the question of finding alternative markets for our cattle, bacon, butter and eggs.
 There is no such alternative market, but Ireland. I think there never will be an alternative market except the home market for some small quantities. If the home market were developed there would be a new state of affairs, but it is the present position we are dealing with and we must accept it. If you entered into this economic war with no better plan than an endeavour to consume half your total production which is at present exportable surplus would it not lead to failure? It is going to lead to surrender. I have no wish for failure and defeat. I regard failure and defeat as degrading and not as patriotism. This country is cursed with a cult of defeatism. We were told we were running away. I would rather run away than stand and put my hands up and that is in danger of happening. There is no occasion to run away here. This fight need not go on. I firmly believe that if it does go on it is being persevered in not for economic or financial considerations but for political considerations. The country should know that. They should know that the fight they are being forced into is being waged for political considerations.
Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig): Last week we had Deputy McGilligan, in that famous speech of his, telling us how in some way the present dispute was connected with matters that are at present being discussed in places like Lausanne. At the same time we have Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Hogan telling us that there is something wrong, fundamentally, in the way in which the Irish case is being argued at present. I do not think any statement could be more significant in showing the differences of opinion and the contradiction which individual Deputies on the other side of the House make, than the statement Deputy Hogan has just made that, in the first place they agreed, with no power to ratify the agreement, to pay the land annuities on consideration of the wiping out of the war debt. At the same time he tells the President that this particular matter could not possibly be equated with war debts. I do not care whether  you call them war debts or inter-Governmental debts. In any case this is a definite payment of a sum of money to another country which represents, as we point out, something like 20 or 25 per cent. of our total tax revenue. It is, therefore, an economic factor of great moment. Even as Deputy Hogan has tried to argue, if a certain amount of this money is paid to the Irish Free State nationals I cannot see how that alters the question.
The whole implication of the British Conversion Loan, at the present time, will, no doubt, be ultimately affected by whatever financial agreements are come to between the different powers carrying out negotiations at the present time. As far as we are concerned the sum and substance of our whole case is that, at any rate, a very substantial amount running into £5,000,000 is being paid by reason of agreements, that, in our opinion, were not fully and properly considered at the time. The Deputy has taken up a position like some of his colleagues, that history in this country began in 1922. It did not. It was well known that this matter of the financial arrangements between Great Britain and Ireland, had been gone into closely for the past thirty or forty years. When I hear Deputies, on the opposite benches, getting up and telling us that if we had our Government many years before this, this matter could not possibly have arisen. It does not appear to have struck them that, at various times, bodies of competent experts, including English officials, reported that this country was heavily overtaxed. It has been stated that the financial provisions of the 1920 Act were based largely on the consideration of that fact. These financial provisions which meant the holding of the annuities in the Six Counties of Ireland were not carried out here. That is clear proof that in some way or another the historic position of the Irish people for the reopening and examination of the whole question of the financial relations between Great Britain and themselves, was, in some way, debarred on the grounds that there was an excuse for  it. Those in power, at the time, had many matters of State to attend to. They were confronted with a piece of land legislation which it was very important for them from a political point of view should be carried into effect. If they had not succeeded in carrying that land legislation and getting the backing of the British the land might have been taken without paying for it at all. And in order to avoid that dreadful eventuality this legislation was carried with agreement with the British Government. I submit an endeavour is being made to lead the Irish people astray in regard to this agreement, and it is suggested that the people who are now the Opposition were quite frank about it.
They have not admitted that the agreement was entirely provisional, that it had to be made in order to get this British guarantee, and that it was only introduced in this House as a kind of side issue in connection with Section 12 of the Land Act, upon which Deputies have concentrated so much attention. What does that section say? It simply says that money will be paid into the appropriate fund. There was nothing in that simple verbal phraseology that the Irish people were to pay out £3,000,000. The very fact that that clause was brought into the law shows that an endeavour was made to seal, to end finally, and to make a complete bargain in regard to the matter. There was no possibility —so far as we have seen from their attitude—of the last Government raising the matter. It is a great matter for the country that they agree now that a settlement can be made. How is it that during all the years that the question was being argued by our Party, and when we were conducting a campaign in the country, the only argument they had was that it was “embezzlement,”“robbery,”“the Seventh Commandment,” and so on? Now, we find we have a good case. Apparently, if Germany, France, England and others do not consider the Seventh Commandment to be the supreme issue, then we ought to change our morality slightly, and congratulate the Opposition on having got a slightly different ethical point of view since  they left these benches. Apparently they are now beginning to find out that the Irish farmer is hard pressed. Of course, we did not see that at all. We were only bound completely to the opinion of these lawyers. It never seems to have struck Deputies opposite that if the Irish case had ever to be argued before an arbitration, and if the terms of reference had to be decided, there was nothing to prevent the Irish lawyers, if they had it in them, doing it. I have no lack of confidence whatever in the men who gave these legal opinions, that they could not argue the full, Irish historical case further back than 1922 if they wished, once the matter was opened up as an inter-Governmental matter and as an international matter. That is what we are fighting for and not going to Great Britain as beggars asking for God's sake, “Give us a bowl of soup and we will remain in the Empire.”
We took the stand that the people opposite said they took, that this is a sovereign independent nation, equal in status and prestige and with all the rights of Great Britain herself. It is extraordinary that we should hear arguments being made that Britain on this question is standing on principle in regard to Imperial arbitration, though the gentlemen opposite, as was pointed out, do not agree to that. They do not agree to that principle, or if they do it was more or less in a nebulous way. They could have got it, and I think they did on particular occasions. Why do the British, who are so fond of compromise, and who never stand on punctilio if they can get a good business arrangement, if it can be arranged by negotiation and arbitration, stand on principle with regard to this matter? Why attempt to introduce something that, in our opinion, impairs the constitutional status and the sovereign rights that we are told we have?
We have not forgotten the position of the Irish farmer. The Opposition are beginning to find out the position. Apparently, when they went down the country they found that the opinions expressed in certain Dublin newspapers did not represent the opinion of  the Irish farmer. The fact is the Irish farmer has been reduced to such a position that he does not care if he has to suffer more—perhaps a great deal more—if he thinks by standing firm for a little time he is going to get rid of what he considers to be an intolerable burden. How is it that it never struck gentlemen who now talk about the equities of the case, when they were in a position, and in the various measures they took for the improvement of our agricultural produce for this great single market, that £3,000,000 dragged out of the farmers, in many cases under the threat of eviction, was an enormous proportion of the total resources of the farmers; and that while it was being dragged out the industry was being deprived of capital and was losing whatever little reserves it had? We were told that if we attempted to argue that case we would be doing something desperately dishonourable. No statesman except Mr. Thomas—if he can be called such—has said that there is anything dishonourable about such a proceeding. If there is something dishonourable in looking for peace, but, at the same time, maintaining our rights, and defending our interests, then all the other countries looking for absolution for inter-Governmental debts are equally dishonest. They cannot have it both ways.
As the President reminded the House and the country, there is no place will better appreciate the stand we are making for our essential rights and for essential justice than the place where the British will soon be making their own case. In the United States of America the answer that nations should continue to make peace with one another, but that that should not hold at all in the relations between Great Britain and this country, that you are simply to say to an opponent: “Hand over the money first; agree to the arbitration I want or else you are going to get the big stick” will not do. The Irish people have nothing to lose by standing firm. They are being told that the Government should have taken the people fully into their confidence. The people have been made fully aware of every step we have taken. The country  will be aware of every action we propose to take. No one knows that better than the Opposition. Nothing is being kept secret or kept back. The country will know exactly where it stands with regard to this Government. I think the country realises that the alternative is either to run away now or to stand in order that a case may be put up later. The country has first to make up its mind that it has a strong case. If the country feels that the case is a strong one, that it is a sound one, if it has confidence in it, and if the people are determined, there can be no doubt whatever about the result. It is a tribute to the Irish people that the Opposition are no longer being deluded by those organs I have referred to in Dublin, arguing the English case and telling the Irish people the dreadful things that are going to happen if they hold this £5,000,000 until England proves to their satisfaction that she owns it. It is a tribute to the Opposition that they now begin to realise that that argument will not go down in the country.
The Irish farmer is in too serious a position. In any case, he is national at heart; he has a sound national spirit, and no matter how depressed his condition may be, he realises that in order to be successful you have to stand firm for a while. He knows that all the suggestions about how easy bargains can be brought about are not, in fact, true, because the Government has already advanced, I think, to the utmost limit. If those on the other side of the water are really anxious to avoid creating a situation which will largely injure us, but may ultimately divert a considerable amount of trade from themselves, if they are only as earnest about this as they were with bigger nations—and the big nation is the one that should do the generous thing—they could do it now, because the whole thing is only a bagatelle to them compared with the other enormous problems with which they are at present dealing.
But it is extraordinary with all their speeches and all their talking about co-operation, goodwill and good fellowship  within the Empire, that they are not prepared to take the little step that was necessary to enable us to bring about a peaceful settlement. The country should not be left under the misapprehension which the Opposition are trying to create that the Government are in some way lacking. In what respect have they been lacking? In what way have the Government failed to stand to their pledges given to the electorate? In what way have they been lacking in looking after the interests of the Irish people? I submit there is not a shadow of justification for these suggestions made by the Opposition.
An endeavour has been made to get the Irish people to look at this matter from a panicky point of view, not from a calm and reasoned point of view. Experience will tell us that the English can wait a while in the hope that there may be a change of Government. We must wait but while waiting we must take whatever steps we can to protect our people and to help, chiefly, those who are to suffer. We have to endeavour to take steps to counter our opponents, to counter them in the best way possible and we are going to do these things only after the most careful consideration. If when the time comes the Deputies opposite can persuade the House—and I do not think for a moment that they can persuade them because the House and the country knows that if we are to fight the battle of the Irish farmers we cannot do it by looking for this misericordiam remission about which they now talk— and argue that they would have done better, then let them, and if the country wishes a change of Government it can have it. But while we are in power we will take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard the interests of the people and the interests of the State and I am confident from the experience we have had up to the present that the Irish people will stand solidly behind them.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I want again to point out that Deputies are responsible for the conduct of their visitors in the House. Visitors are  not allowed to indicate their approval or disapproval of anything said in this House. I call attention again to that.
Mr. Fitzgerald: The last speaker stated that the Government has been perfectly frank with the people. His own speech was an example of an utter lack of this frankness. He talked about England owing vast sums of money to America. The true analogy of that has been pointed out again and again. His attempt to make an analogy between the land annuities and the war debts is completely void. I wonder what the Minister thinks America would do if the British Government merely announced to America that they were ceasing to pay what they owed and asked America to prove her right to these payments? Would the world consider that America had been bellicose towards England if the American Government said, “so long as we have another way of raising that money from the British we will raise it in that way”? And if they proceeded to raise it what would the world say?
The Minister said that the people in the country had been taken completely into the confidence of the Government and that everything done by the Government had been made plain to the people. I have heard on very good authority that Deputy Norton was advised by Sir Stafford Cripps that if this case were taken before a tribunal the British Government would not be asked to state their case before the tribunal. I have also heard that President de Valera rather agrees with that statement. I think it would be a good thing if the people of this country were told by this extraordinarily frank Government that that is a fact.
I think also that the President would be very well-advised to avoid taking the legal side of this question before any legal tribunal, for a legal tribunal having power to decide the matter will decide against him. I think that President de Valera is just as convinced now as we are that on the legal side he has no case whatever. What we  have been putting up here all through this business is that having no legal case, and that being the opinion of Deputy Norton and President de Valera as well, the people of this country might just as well know that that is so now, even though it might appear that Fianna Fáil misled the people a bit during the election campaign.
But once that is dropped it does not follow that there is no other argument. It has been pointed out here time and again that when we made a settlement with the British that that settlement was made in face of enormous war debts. That situation has since been changed by the Lausanne agreement and there is now a case, not a legal case, but a case of equities. It has been noticeable here that the President uses the word “legal” much less often now than the word “moral.” We have a moral case but no legal case. But if we have no legal case and if President de Valera is convinced that we have no legal case it would be becoming for this frank Government, believing in open covenants openly arrived at, to let the people know that we have no legal case. If this Government is concealing nothing we should have a full account of what transpired between Deputy Norton and Sir Stafford Cripps. We should have a full account of the report on that matter given by Deputy Norton to President de Valera. We should have a full account of whether the Labour Party feel we have a case on the land annuities. Once we know that, it would be for the people to consider whether it would be a good thing to drop this legal business and to get the country to realise that these six or seven legal people who gave the advice to the Government they were asked to give and merely because it was the advice that the Government wanted them to give——
Mr. Dillon: We have Standing Orders in this House providing that an attack will not be made on persons who are not here to defend themselves. I think Deputy Fitzgerald has made a most insidious attack upon a body of honourable men who are not here to defend themselves.
Mr. Fitzgerald: As far as it is an  attack I withdraw it, but the Deputy will grant that the advice of these lawyers, whether well-intentioned or otherwise, has been unfortunately the cause of the most appalling condition in which the country finds itself now.
Mr. Fitzgerald: Yes, and the documents with which you and President de Valera now agree. I think the Labour Party here in this House are not inclined now to take the advice of these six or seven lawyers. I think they are much more convinced now after they had heard the opinions of English lawyers on this matter. The English lawyers, as some of the Labour members now know, did not confirm the views of President de Valera's lawyers and the Labour Party are much more inclined now to agree with the views of the lawyers that we as an Executive Council consulted.
I think this is a time for being frank with the country. I think President de Valera would not do himself any harm if he were to give the country an account of what is taking place. Last week we had the Attorney-General saying that the present Government were not to have any secret agreement. Most people are satisfied that there is a secret agreement which this Government has made and that this secret agreement has not been revealed to the people. That is the agreement made with certain armed revolutionary forces. I should like to know whether or not there was an agreement made during the election time between the present Government Party and the armed bodies who were seeking to subvert society in this country. As we know it seems there was such an agreement, and this country is entitled to know the full details of it and how far the present policy of this Government is dictated by the existence of that agreement. This Government since they came into office seems to me to be particularly unfrank. The picture given by the official organ is so unfrank that it destroys its own effects. President de Valera sent an errand boy over to  London to try and get into touch with Mr. Ramsay MacDonaid and Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, as one reads from the Official Report, said that if President de Valera wanted to discuss matters with him President de Valera would have to come over and that he would have to hurry up about it because he (Mr. MacDonald) wanted to go for a holiday. Then the unfortunate people of this country are told that Mr. MacDonald was so anxious to try to get himself out of this difficulty that he invited President de Valera over. That sort of humbug does no good whatever. It is undignified and it puts this country in a ridiculous position. The Minister for Education talked about “a sovereign independent country equal in prestige and in every way with Great Britain.” I quite agree with him there and, that being so, it is most undignified and unworthy of this country to seek this back door method of sending Deputy Norton to see somebody who knows somebody else to try to get an excuse for President de Valera to go over. I think that the situation at the moment is that President de Valera is quite wise in avoiding having the legal case with regard to the land annuities considered and decided on by a judicial tribunal.
At the same time, I think there is absolutely no case whatever for the Bill we are at present considering, because, first of all, it has not been demonstrated in any way as to how the powers given in this Bill are going to be used by the Government for getting back for the unfortunate Irish farmers the money they are at present losing. They are losing, not merely the sum which is being deducted by the British in the way of tariffs, but they are losing in the loss of business with England and they are losing also because the reduced price paid here by English buyers is going to reduce the price paid by buyers for consumption in this country.
It is impossible, if this present position goes on, for any powers under this Bill to enable the Government to make good the injury they are at present doing to this country. Why are they  doing it? Is there any point of principle at issue? The whole position arose over the argument that we had a legal case for the retention of the land annuities. Is that still maintained by the Government? They talk now about a moral case. We quite agree that a moral case can be argued. We in 1925 and 1926, in the light of existing circumstances, argued a moral case with the British and we were extra-ordinarily successful in the light of circumstances then. The condition of international debts at that time was quite different from what it is now. The agreements we made at that time were made having in mind certain international conditions which no longer prevail. There is a position now for going to any tribunal you like and arguing, not a legal case, because there is no legal case, but arguing that between two countries with good feeling between them, belonging to the same Commonwealth of Nations and membership of that Commonwealth of Nations carrying with it a mutual recognition that the well-being of one is the interest of the other, which is the very essence of that Commonwealth of Nations, and the very essence of the whole idea of meeting at the present moment in Ottawa, the position now having changed, in equity and in moral fairness, the British could agree, without considering the legal case, in any way, whatever, that the circumstances of 1932 are quite different from what they were in 1926.
In 1926, the world slump had not fully developed, and was not being felt in this country. The income of the Irish people at that time was considerably more than it is now. Our capacity to pay debts was greater than it is now, and at that time international indebtedness was on a much greater scale than it is now, and those things were certainly in the minds of the negotiators in 1926 when that agreement was come to. Therefore, there is a case now for putting to any tribunal you like that, inasmuch as that was the agreement come to under the then circumstances, an agreement more favourable to the Irish people should be come to now in the light of the new circumstances. That seems to me to be the case that  should be put in our relations with the British. Inherent in that case is the presumption that the British, far from being out to punish or injure us, recognise that, as members of that one Commonwealth of Nations, there must be not merely consideration of legalities between us, but there must be more than fairness— there must be an interflow of generosity between the people.
Personally, I do not see how the present Government pursuing their present policy can base any argument on that at the present moment. They have gone out of their way to injure people, and to injure, even, the people of this country, to serve no matter of high principle on their side at all, but merely possibly to play up to their more ignorant followers in the country or possibly to play up to their own vanity. I give an instance. Some years ago, I got together a body of public spirited people, who were prepared to work harder than a person would ever work for pay, in order to assist those members of the National Army who had left the National Army and who were facing want. For three consecutive years those people worked, and worked, as I say, as no person would work merely for pay for themselves, and, by three functions in those three years, they were able to make available, for those suffering exsoldiers of our Army, a sum of about £1,400. These people were not only ready but anxious to go ahead and to continue that good work this year. What was the result? The Minister for Defence notifies them that the Governor-General, who was a generous patron of that fund during these years, must now be excluded.
Mr. Fitzgerald: My argument is this, that the present Government have acted as accessory irritants to the present situation by doing things that have nothing to do with Government policy or with national policy, but which they are going out of their way to do. If there is going to be any negotiation, if this country is to get  any alleviation of its present indebtedness, in the matter of land annuities, and so on, it can only be done as between two peoples interested in each other's well-being, and not as between two peoples who are standing for rigid legal rights, because, if it comes to rigid legal rights, we are likely to lose. But the British, as members of this Commonwealth of Nations and ourselves as members of this Commonwealth of Nations, have a closer union than exists between ordinary States. Ordinary international charity and courtesy demand that one country will have some concern for the troubles of another, but when they belong to that special closely knit group of peoples known as the British Commonwealth of Nations, that charity and that generosity should operate to a greater extent than as between other States.
It is on that basis of mutual interest in each other's well-being, of closeness of interest between the two peoples, that this case should be argued, and not on the legal case, because I believe that Deputy Norton, who, of course, would not take the distinguished lawyers that the late Government consulted, and who is possibly rather more impressed when he goes to England and meets English lawyers, and President de Valera, are both satisfied in their minds, at this moment, that the legal case is not worth arguing because there is nothing to argue on. But we have a case. The Minister for Education asked how it was that when we go out of office we say that something can be done, while nothing was done while we were in office. While we were in office, a great deal was done, and more was done than anybody had any right to expect in the circumstances. We were extraordinarily successful, not by fighting on rigid legalities with the British but by being perfectly frank with them and accepting the community of interest between them and us, which made them, not as interested as we were, but which made it necessary for them to accept an interest in the well-being of our position here, as we accepted, to some extent, an interest  in the well-being of their country over there. We pushed things on as far as we could.
In the last month or so world circumstances have changed. During the last year or year and a half the world slump has been felt in an increasingly acute way by all people, and we are now getting the full brunt of it. Our national wealth is decreasing, and it has decreased as a result of the world slump. The present Government by its policy, one might say, is doing its very best to reduce our national wealth in a way that even the world slump has not done. This is a time for friendly negotiations with the British, and for friendly consideration of the whole situation between these two peoples. That being so, if we are going to have a friendly consideration, there must be the attributes and the general tone of friendliness which are, at the present moment, not being promoted by the present Government, as I was giving an instance when the present Government was prepared to let ex-national army men starve and be in misery by trying to hinder the people who were ready to work to produce money for the relief of these men. I give that as one instance. I ask, and I think the country has a right to ask, for a full, complete and frank statement of the whole negotiations and the various things which have been considered between the Labour Party and the Government, between the Government, the Labour Party and certain members of the Opposition in England, and the whole lot of them and the British Government. This country has not had that frank statement so far. We are told they are so frank that nothing is concealed from the people. I should like to know was there an agreement with the I.R.A.? Is this present policy, which is reducing the country to ruin, in any way directed and influenced by that agreement with the I.R.A.? If there was an agreement with the I.R.A., what was that agreement? The people have a right to know.
Mr. Fitzgerald: I know there is not much good in arguing this. The Government are going to use their majority and pass this, and take these extreme powers. Could anybody explain to us how these powers are going to be used to increase the national wealth of this country? Because the whole trouble is a lack of national wealth at the moment, that national wealth being further reduced by the present action of the British Government, for which the Government in this country are undoubtedly responsible. The first act came from this Government. They talk about England's debt to America. If the British Government to-morrow notified America that they were putting that money into a suspense account nobody would say that the Americans were the aggressors. Everybody would say, and rightly say, that the British were the aggressors. When they talk about a suspense account, of what interest is that in England? If the Fianna Fáil Party, during the next week-end, go around and at every street corner and cross-roads say to the Irish farmers, “You can rejoice; you need not worry; although the British are putting this tariff on, all the money they collect they are going to put in a suspense account,” would any Irish farmer say “thank you” for it? Of course he would not.
It is time that we got down to clear facts in the matter and cut out all this business of Ramsay MacDonald inviting over President de Valera, when every man knows well what happened. Then, as to the legal point, instead of being just dodged by the President using the word “moral” instead of “legal,” let us come out and be frank about it. The British Government know the situation. The Irish people have a right to know the situation. The Irish people's whole destiny is in the scales at present. Are they going to be asked to rally to the Government, to stand behind the Government, to close their eyes and open their mouths and see what the Government will send them? If they do, I am afraid they will go hungry to bed. I think the  Government will do themselves good, and the country good, by being abso lutely frank and concealing nothing whatever. They are in no way bound to the British to conceal any item of their negotiations. They are not bound to Lord Parmoor or to Sir Stafford Cripps in any way to conceal negotiations. As between the Labour Party and the Government Party, they certainly are in no way bound to conceal them from the Irish people. If they are bound to conceal from the Irish people any agreement they may have with the I.R.A., they have no right to be bound, and their moral duty to the Irish people will overcome and is more operative than any promise they might have made to the I.R.A.
Mr. Flinn: They always go. There is not one of them who is prepared to stand up in debate at the present moment. When they get up they use every personality and scurrility which they have, everything they can find in a man's personal life or record to attack him, but, when it is their own time, they clear out. There is a perfectly empty Opposition Front Bench on a question which they regard as of appalling seriousness. I am going to try and take seriously, and it is a bit of an effort, the speech to which we have just listened. The Deputy said that we had no legal case and we must not go into court because we have no legal case. When he said that, he said it again. When he said it a second time, he said it a third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh time, and that proved it. That was the only proof. He said: “I say you have no legal case. I say it again. Therefore, you have no legal case.” Frankly, that is not convincing. On what ground have we no legal case, according to the British? Not on any ground that a Free State lawyer has as yet put forward. The British Government say we have no case in law because we are estopped by an agreement. That was not put in in any portion  of the Free State lawyers' case that was put up against the annuities. Why was it not? Why did they keep that one thing, upon which the British regarded themselves as entitled to rely, behind and ignore it completely? I cannot understand that.
Let us take that particular agreement that is supposed to estop us as principals from pleading in a court. The position is the position of an agent who, without the knowledge of his principal, enters into a contract in the name of his principal. That is No. 1. Who then asks the other principal, with whom he has entered into that engagement, to keep secret from his own principal the engagement which has been entered into in his name? I, as the agent of, say, the Fianna Fáil Party, supposed to be, enter into an agreement with a firm called the Cumann na nGaedheal. Having done that, I ask the Cumann na nGaedheal to conceal from the Fianna Fáil Party the agreement which I have made in their name. And it is suggested that that agreement can be pleaded in a court of law! True, the people who entered into the conspiracy with those who made that secret agreement on behalf of Cumann na nGaedheal did try to disclose the agreement. They were not let, however, and they allowed themselves to be stopped from disclosing that agreement to the other principal in the case, and that is the only ground upon which the British claim that we have no legal case.
Now, as to the keeping secret of that particular agreement, there is complete evidence that whatever was said in the Dáil, whatever cryptic, carefully-disguised utterances were used to cover it, the intention was not to disclose to the people the meaning of that agreement. When the British wanted to disclose that agreement in a legal case, the Free State objected to it being disclosed as a legal document. When the pace was further pressed by the British they went so far as to say that if Part 2 were produced for public examination, and that was the part the British wanted to disclose, then Part 1, which referred to  the land annuities, must be passed over.
That is the agreement which our agent is supposed to have entered into on our behalf and which our opponent can plead against us. Not merely is that agreement bad in itself, but those concerned in it are liable to prosecution for conspiracy. There is no other meaning to it. If that sort of thing happened in any ordinary commercial business the agent would be a person unemployable afterwards by anybody in a responsible position; the firms engaged in it would be blackballed out of commercial life and the agreement would be kicked out of any court of law. Yet it is on that ground alone that the Deputy contends we have no legal case. I do not want to be unfair. If there is some other legal case I would like to hear it. So far as I know these are the actual, simple facts of the matter. There is a secret agreement entered into, through agents, between two parties. That agreement was never disclosed to the principals until it had been actually in operation for a considerable period. One of the parties did definitely attempt to prevent the publication of that agreement to its own principal and the other party did, for a considerable and significant period, under the contract, consent to have that contract concealed from either of the principals in the matter. If that sort of thing is allowed I cannot see how anyone can be bound by agreements entered into in that way.
I have never, in the House, minimised the amount of technical advance made under the Treaty by the Party opposite. In fact, I have done quite the contrary. If anything, I have exaggerated it. I have said in the House what I said outside, and what I always believed, that if anyone regarded a sovereign Twenty-Six County government as an ideal, as a thing worth having, that Twenty-Six County sovereign government could be attained under the Treaty by the mere process of evolution and by putting behind it the centrifugal forces of the Empire as a whole in the particular form which our status within that Empire would permit.
 So far as the Free State position as a Twenty-Six County nationality could be taken into account, they did improve the position. They improved it up to the point that the British signatories, in face of the position which was made manifest in the Statute of Westminster, said that all the things, and more than all the things, that we have a mandate from the people to do could be done. The Oath could go; all sorts of things could go. We have reached the stage, as far as the Twenty-Six County nationality is concerned, that they have claimed. But they have turned their backs upon that. I am not blaming them for that. Men may take up a burden and may get tired in the process of carrying that burden a certain distance. Every credit is due to them for carrying it the distance they have carried it, even if they fail to carry it further. But they should not blame other people because they recognise the position which their opponents have attained. Deputies may be familiar with the lines:—
That is practically their position. I am prepared to give every possible testimony to what they have done in the past. I am asking them not to turn their backs upon their achievements but to go on with them and use them and try to get something in the nature of complete liberty out of them. The idea that we as a people are bound to accept the position that any money that is claimed against us by anyone must be paid because we have no legal case to hold it, a contention based on the fact that some agent in deliberate secrecy has entered into an agreement behind our backs and has kept that agreement undisclosed, is absurd. The idea that we are bound by that is an absurd idea and it cannot and will not be accepted.
Mr. Wolfe: I think it will be agreed that every native-born citizen of the Free State even still has hopes that this unfortunate line of action that is proposed will not be decided upon until every avenue of peace has been explored. Speaking as a native-born citizen of the Free State I had some glimmer of hope a week or two ago, when I found that Deputy Norton had been selected as the messenger of the Fianna Fáil Party.
Mr. Wolfe: —to carry a message to the British Government. We recognise the fact that Deputy Norton is the leader of that section of the Labour Party which the Parliamentary Secretary has so facetiously described as the brass-hat section. We hoped that something would come of his visit. We knew that the matter of a settlement ought then to be very simple, very easy of accomplishment. There was an obvious avenue to a settlement—the agreement to arbitration on the one hand, the withdrawal of the tariffs on our agricultural produce on the other. An offer should have been made to continue the payment of the land annuities subject to the findings of the proposed arbitration. A settlement was simple; there would not have been much trouble about it. The vast majority of the people in this country, everybody who has any glimmering of intelligence, would have welcomed a settlement on those lines, but nothing like that was done.
The President came before us to-day and he spoke of the negotiations. I do not want to say anything unpleasant of the President—quite the contrary. There is one thing, however, that he might have kept clear of, and that is discussing the negotiations. President de Valera has very peculiar ideas on the question of negotiation. He is willing to negotiate. He has told us that not once but half-a-dozen times to-day. His terms, however, are: “Give me what I want first and then I will negotiate.” It reminds me, and I hope  the President will not be offended at the comparison, of a naughty child crying for a sugar-stick. The child says to its mother: “Mother, I will stop crying if you give me the sugar-stick.” The President says to-day: “I will stop all this trouble once you give me the present I ask for.” If he gets the sugar-stick first, he will negotiate afterwards. Why not, in the name of all that is reasonable, when Deputy Norton was sent across to London, give him power to do what nobody could do better than a Labour representative—power to settle and negotiate? He is a man accustomed to settling labour disputes and had this been left to Deputy Norton—I hope Deputy Everett will not interrupt me when saying this—he would have known enough about his job to come back with the goods in his basket. We are told by the President that, owing to the Feetham Commission, we cannot trust an arbitration court. I have a good deal of sympathy with the President when he talks about that Commission because, with my limited intelligence, I could never make out why the State entered into that arbitration, since they were entering into an arbitration which, to the knowledge of everybody who knew anything about law, could not possibly have succeeded. I never concealed my views on the question of the Boundary and the Arbitration Tribunal. Even before the arbitrator's award, I did not disguise my views. I do not think that that arbitration should ever have been entered into, because there could be only one conclusion. I am in the same position as regards the land annuities. I do not want to say anything to the prejudice of this country, but there the land annuities are and we know, everyone of us—I do not believe there is a man on the Government Benches who does not know it as well as I do—that we owe them and that sooner or later they will have to be paid.
I wonder what the President means when he suggests that within the British Commonwealth of Nations you cannot find an honest man—you cannot find a man of sufficient honesty to act as umpire on this question? I  will not accept that submission from him. I will never believe that the British Commonwealth of Nations, let alone our own country, is so devoid of honesty that we cannot find, through the length and breadth of it, one man who would honestly act as umpire and who would decide this question fairly and squarely as between country and country. I am afraid that the action of the Government is open to this suggestion—that the members of the Government Party know well that they can never succeed in this arbitration until they find a dishonest umpire. I am afraid that is the only conclusion I can come to and I solemnly believe it is true. “An agreement has been entered into,” says the Parliamentary Secretary, “which has not been disclosed to the principals; hence it is not binding legally or morally.” Not only has it been disclosed to the principals but it was ratified by an Act of this House as far back as April, 1927, when the Parliamentary Secretary had political views somewhat different from those which he holds to-day. At that time, when I was Parliamentary candidate for the constituency which I have since represented, I criticised various sections of that agreement—I did not do it in any secret manner—as I was entitled to do. I am bound to say that there are some sections of what is called the “secret agreement” which I do not believe in and which I did not believe in then. I criticised those sections. But only within the last few months did I hear that this was a secret agreement. It was not secret in my constituency. We all knew about it and I criticised sections of it as I am prepared to do again. I did not criticise the provision as to the land annuities. It was a good bargain, carried out for honest and good consideration. The question is —are we to-day to go back on that agreement and repudiate it? Says the Parliamentary Secretary: “The people who entered into that agreement ought to be prosecuted for conspiracy.” The Parliamentary Secretary, like myself a good deal of experience in the capacity of prosecutor.  He was prosecutor for his own country as I was, perhaps, prosecutor for my country. It is only fair to say of the Parliamentary Secretary that he would not for one moment prosecute in the cases he was then concerned with on the slender grounds disclosed here. I am sure that he would have sufficient spirit of fair play to say that there was no case and that he would enter what is called a nolle prosequi.
I wonder if the President ever realises the position which he has brought about in this country? I wonder whether he ever fully realises what his action in 1922 and 1923 cost this country? I heard the ex-Minister for Finance state that his action during that period cost this country something like £30,000,000. I beg most respectfully to disagree with the ex-Minister for Finance. It cost the country a great deal more than that. I think his figures are wrong. If his action in 1922 and 1923 cost us a sum amounting to £40,000,000, at least, as I believe it did, what is his action going to cost us to-day? He has brought the agricultural community—the mainstay of this country—not merely into poverty, because they are no strangers to poverty, but to the verge of destitution. In the name of Heaven, I ask him will he not even now stay his hand? Will he not leave this country and contemplate, having left it, what the country is going to gain by his absence for a few years? That is a fair appeal to make. I ask him in a friendly way to contemplate what his advent to this country has cost and what his departure from it will mean to it. The man in the street, such as I am, is crying out for peace. We want peace. We do not want our people brought down not to poverty, because they have been there long enough, but to the brink of destitution. Has he no pity? Will he not leave us alone? We were getting on very well, and why should he not have some pity for us?
I have told you my views as regards the message we received that Deputy Norton was going to visit the British Prime Minister and . We received that message with every  hope. When I got a telegraphic message the night before last saying that we were wanted here to-day I again expressed the hope—the pious hope— that at long last there were glimmers of returning sanity and that we were coming back to proclaim the end of this economic warfare.
I know that the charge will be made against us that is being made every day against us. If anybody says a word against the proposed economic warfare, you are up and told at once, “Oh, you are playing England's game.” That will not work. We are not playing England's game. We are playing the game of our own country. We are not playing the game of Manxland, the game of Mexico, or any other country. We are playing the game of our own country, and we are playing it as Irishmen and Irishmen only. Well might we turn round and say to the Government Benches: “You are playing the game of Denmark.” And they are playing the game of Denmark and playing it in no uncertain way. The last general election was looked forward to with more interest in Denmark than it was in the Free State. The position to-day is being appreciated in Denmark, more keenly and intellectually appreciated, than it is being appreciated in Saorstát Eireann. We are playing the game of England! What game are they playing in Ottawa to-day, the three whistlers playing “God Save the King” dressed in immaculate morning dress? No, we are, but they are not! The trio in Ottawa have left behind them a quintet, quite capable of insulting the representative of the King in this country.
Mr. Wolfe: We are told over and over again that the Government has got a mandate from the country in this battle. Is there a word of truth in that? There is not. Let us take the hard facts. There were 152 Deputies returned to this House at the last general election. Seventy-four of them at least were returned with a solemn mandate to vote for the Treaty and to vote against anything in the nature of a breach of the Treaty. Two of them  have since passed to their eternal reward. There are 72 Deputies in the House who were returned, and who have voted for the maintenance of the Treaty. There were 71 people who were not. Seventy-four people were returned to vote for the Treaty and 71 to vote against it. Then there were the seven Parliamentary brass hats. Would anybody suggest to me that these seven were returned to vote against the Treaty? Would anybody suggest to me these seven did not go round the country declaring that they were in favour of the Treaty and that they would never vote against it? My own constituency is a conspicuous example of that.
Mr. Wolfe: I suggest that there has been no mandate given to any majority to vote for this measure. I suggest to the House that it is by reason of the fact that certain Deputies have forgotten the pledges that they gave to the electors that a majority was turned into a minority. It was only one of the last days I was here that I asked the President to go easy in the collection of land annuities until this matter was settled. He was good enough to tell the House that it was rank heresy and that it could not be done. That happened on Friday, but on the following Wednesday the Government did what I asked them to do on the previous Friday. What was heresy on Friday was piety on the following Wednesday. That is the position as regards the Government's view of collecting the land annuities. I would ask him to find out since if that order has been honoured or not, and to let me know how much of the land annuities, which fell due on the 1st June, were collected on 1st July.
Dr. O'Higgins: Since the beginning of this debate things have taken a peculiar turn, though I regard it as rather a healthy turn. In the early stages of the debate, when Deputy Cosgrave endeavoured to speak with regard to the principles of the Bill with which the Seanad recommendations  are concerned, the Minister for Finance jumped up five times every minute to points of order asking what about the stamp duties. Since that we had his own principal lieutenant, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Finance, making a rather lengthy speech in this House. From beginning to end of that speech he never referred to the Bill or to the recommendations. He went deeply into the question of the land annuities and questions regarding the agreements made between the two Governments.
An Ceann Comhairle: I want to make the position quite clear. The President was asked in the House to make a statement of his policy in the present situation. The President did so. I was not in the House, but I understand the speech did not relate to stamp duties, and none of the speeches that followed related to stamp duties. The debate has taken quite a different turn. That is the exact position.
Dr. O'Higgins: Naturally, I respect that. I was absent on that particular occasion and I was merely throwing up my own defences at the beginning. I intend to a very slight extent to refer to the Bill. I think we are here considering recommendations to a Bill which is quite important enough, and serious enough in its consequences, to have at least got portion of the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. We are discussing a Bill which is much more tyrannical and more despotic than any powers that ever existed in the Russia of the Tsars. This Bill was put through this democratic Assembly with the assistance of seven Labour representatives, men who if they stood for one thing more than another in public life, stood for the rights of democratic assemblies and democratic institutions. We are here, with their assistance presumably, putting through a Bill that is nothing but a direct insult to this particular institution, that is snatching all powers from this democratic institution and vesting them in the hands of three or four individuals. We are here to put through a Bill which gives the most far-reaching powers that ever  was claimed by any Government in the history of the world. We are to put through this Bill as the second shot in an economic war. This Bill is being used by every nonentity in the Government Party to sound the cry of war down the country, and to endeavour to spread a war spirit throughout the country.
We are to embark on this suicidal war. The door to negotiations is apparently slammed, barred and bolted by the President's statement here to-day. He brushed aside negotiations. He says you cannot negotiate except on the condition that if negotiations fail you must have some court of appeal to deal with the situation afterwards. I frankly disbelieve that. I think that negotiations between parties are undertaken, every day, without any preliminary agreement as to how the issue will be decided if the negotiations fail. With great respect, I suggest to the President it is time enough to think of an alternative court of appeal if and when negotiations have been tried and failed.
There is a terrible responsibility upon everyone in this Assembly at an hour like this. There is far greater responsibility on the members of the Government and those who support that Government. The members of the Government are not, in this national crisis, facing up, in a manly open way, to their responsibility. They should explore every and any avenue open to them before attempting to fire the second shot in this war. Any slim dodging of that kind, by the Government, will be judged by the people of this country subsequently and the people will call for speedy satisfaction. The Government are throwing overboard negotiations because there is no immediate alternative in the event of negotiations failing. Did anybody ever hear such fudge from a man in a responsible position? This State would never have got to where it has got if statesmen or men occupying the boots of statesmen took up such a senseless attitude, and that at a time when we are faced with the possibility of the complete annihilation of our export trade.
 Even though the President has admitted that our export trade, as far as it exists, is going to be wiped off the face of the earth in the next few months yet he, as President of the Executive Council and leader of this House, will not even embark on negotiations in order to attempt to avert that disaster by effecting a settlement. Let us face up to the fact that, for one cause or another, obstinacy on the one side or the other, or pig-headedness on one side or the other, all possibility of settlement by arbitration has been spiked. If we cannot have arbitration, because we cannot agree on the court, then, on the next step, which is negotiation, we see nothing done but preliminary fencing. In these negotiations which I believe must take place let both sides quit all quibbling. Let both sides agree to leave out the question of legal opinions and legal rights, to leave them aside without prejudice, and to conduct negotiations strictly along the lines of the capacity of this country to pay. I think the Prime Minister or any other members of the British Government would admit straight away that conditions have changed very much for the worse all over the world, in recent years, and that, in this country, living as it is by agriculture that bad situation is going to hit the people far more severely than in many other countries. When they agree to that it is tantamount to agreeing that things in this country have changed very drastically since the agreement referred to was made. Leaving legal acts, be they sound or bogus, on one side without prejudice what is the objection to putting that case to the British Government? You can stand absolutely, with truth and facts behind you simply on the case of the incapacity of this country to make these payments any longer. If such a case is put up I, for one, firmly believe you will be met by a big, generous gesture on the other side. I am suggesting that on the assumption that the one difficulty that exists between the two countries is the particular one of agreeing to a tribunal. I am assuming that many other provocative acts that have been committed in this  country by the present Government, in the last three months, have no bearing upon the economic tussle at present.
If we are to discuss the land annuities alone and if that issue is not complicated by other issues such as the Oath Bill, etc. I believe that it would be very easy to settle it. It will be settled if men of big position act as statesmen rather than politicians. Any fool or any fanatic can make a war but it takes a big man to make peace. Any little politician can create controversy and disturbance but it takes a statesman to make a settlement. What this country is anxious to know, at the moment, and what it is waiting anxiously to know, is whether there is or is not a big man in the present Government, whether there is or is not a statesman in the present alliance big enough to throw this issue of the lawyers on one side, and say: “Let us leave that on one side without prejudice, and let us approach this question purely from the point of view of the capacity of our people to pay, and we will be able to demonstrate to you, in a few short hours, that our people are incapable of continuing that payment.” If, as suggested by the President, the next obstacle is the paying over the land annuities pending a settlement I know enough about public life to understand that the faces of the politicians are important, and that political faces have got to be saved in a situation such as this whether they be the faces of English or Irish politicians.
Why not try and find a half-way house with regard to the custody of the annuities pending negotiations or pending agreement? At the present time the Irish position is: “We have the annuities and we are going to hold them.” England says: “You must deliver up the annuities before we go a step further.” These moneys are in an account we are told and are not being used on behalf of the Irish people. They are useless, dead money, idle money, no good to England, and no good to Ireland. In fact, as far as these moneys go, they might as well be in the custody of any other country. Why not endeavour to find some  agreed custodian; joint trustees representing Great Britain and representing Ireland, who would hold these moneys pending negotiation and pending a settlement? I think the gravity of the situation is not being properly realised. The real gravity of the situation is not being realised by the President when he brushes negotiations aside with a wave of his hand, and when he destroys all hope of arbitration by a quibble about where arbitrators are to come from. He cannot get suitable men inside the Commonwealth. Does he not know that this country is inside the Commonwealth at the moment? Is there anything to prevent an Irishman being chairman? Does he mean to suggest that he cannot get an honest man in Ireland? Did he in his statement to-day show any appreciation of the real gravity of the situation? It is easy enough unfortunately to get people to cheer and flag wave going into battle, but, when the battle is over, no matter who wins there is nothing to wave flags about; there is nothing to cheer about; there is never a happy man whether on the winning side or on the losing side; there is nothing in the aftermath of battle to cheer and to wave flags about.
Everyone here, no matter to what Party we belong, and no matter what constituency we represent, knows that sooner or later this question has got to be settled by negotiation, and knowing that, why not negotiate before all the misery, before all the bad blood, before all the bitterness is stirred up between two countries? Even if at the end of this economic war, at the end of months of misery and bitterness, you win, do you not know very well that you have lost by that victory? You have lost your best market—the biggest and the only market you have. Even if you win out on the annuities, after three months of economic war that market is gone; it has been poached upon by European countries, and the people of this country will never get it back. The casualties, the men and the families who are broken in the course of that war have lost their all, and a victory at the end is only a loss for them. In the end it is  the people who constitute the nation, is given to the plain, ordinary people, country we should think of at the moment. If ten minutes' consideration is given to the plain, ordinary people, the whole country, and every one in this House, will get sick and nauseated with the talk about legal quibbles and the geographical addresses of members of the court. If you can bring your mind to think of the danger that is threatening the plain people, everyone in the Dáil will stand up and with a unanimous voice will insist and demand that the Government shall face up to their responsibilities as a Government, that they prove themselves statesmen as well as politicians and that some man amongst them be big enough to stand up and negotiate for the people of this country.
Mr. Norton: I approach this debate and make my contribution to it in no warlike spirit. I do not think the best interests of this nation will be served by sounding the bugle, or by calling people together by beating the big drum. I approach the consideration of this whole question from the point of view of a Deputy representing a Party that wants peace, and that has, in its own way, made every possible effort to secure a peace which is honourable and satisfactory to the nation. A good deal of advertence has been made in the discussions to the powers conferred under this Bill. We have been told that it is the most drastic Bill that has ever come before the House; that it arms the Executive Council with powers which it is unreasonable for an Executive Council to seek; and we have been told that no Executive Council ought to be trusted with these powers. I quite concede at the outset that the powers in this Bill are of a very extensive and drastic character. When we come to consider these powers we must ask ourselves, are they necessary? In this situation, where the nation has been forced to defend itself against an economic war which has been launched upon it, I say very definitely on behalf of the Labour Party that an Executive Council, watching and fighting to defend the interests of the nation must  be given full and complete powers to do so to the best of its ability. If the powers in this Bill are extreme, if they are beyond the kind of powers that a Labour Party would give any normal Government, then, the explanation is to be found in the fact that the nation must be protected in the economic fight which has been forced upon it.
We are asked, why does the Executive Council want the powers in this Bill? We have been asked by the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, why should the Executive Council get these powers. But not a single member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party asked themselves the question: Why did the British Government precipitate the imposition of duties on our exports before they had a reply to their last Note to this Government? They sent a despatch to this Government to which they obviously desired a reply. Before they could receive a reply, before there could be even further discussion, and perhaps negotiation, they clapped an all-round tariff on certain of our exportable commodities. In my view they did that for no other reason than to put the screw on this Government in the hope that this Government would capitulate to its terms. What was the meaning of the imposition of the tariffs? What was the meaning of imposing tariffs in that sudden and dramatic way? In my view the action of the British Government in imposing tariffs, with the suddenness resorted to by that Government, was nothing more or less than part of the policy of trying to use the big stick on the smaller and the weaker nation. It is because I believe this nation has rights which never can be batoned by the big stick, or be steam-rolled, that I stand up in this House to advocate that in the peculiar circumstances of the moment, the Government must be given power to defend the interests of the nation with all the resources at its command.
The negotiations in connection with this question of the land annuities and other disputed payments took what I think everyone believed was a satisfactory turn, when the British Government agreed to submit the matter to  arbitration, and when the Government here accepted the principle of arbitration. The Government here naturally desired that there should be no restriction on the personnel of the court, but the British Government insisted that in a dispute of this character the court should be drawn from the countries of the Commonwealth, and restricted the Free State to a court drawn from the Commonwealth.
We are told that this is the only kind of court that is competent to settle problems of this kind, that the British are not prepared to agree to a court of which even one member might be drawn from a country outside the Commonwealth. But within the last ten days the British and German Governments, after a period of prolonged negotiations as to whether Germany was right in imposing certain restrictive conditions on the importation of British coal, decided between them that they would refer the matter to arbitration. What kind of a court did they select? They decided that the court should consist of one member appointed by Great Britain, one member appointed by Germany and a neutral chairman. Britain was quite prepared to concede a neutral chairman in a dispute with her late enemy, but she was not prepared to concede a neutral non-Commonwealth chairman in a dispute with the Free State.
Perhaps some Deputies will argue that the position of Germany in relation to Great Britain is a different position from the relationship of this country with Great Britain. Frankly, I can see no difference. This is a country with sovereign rights and with as inalienable sovereign status as Germany. We stand in relation to Britain in no lesser light than Germany stands, and if there is a choice to Germany in resolving the difficulties between Britain and herself I want the Opposition to tell us on what grounds is that same right refused to this State.
Mr. Norton: Both parties were to agree on a chairman, but there was no  restriction in the matter of the chairman to any particular quarter of the world. The whole world was there and Germany was quite entitled to make a selection from any country in the world, but we are compelled to make a choice from an area prescribed and delimited by Britain's own desire. When the Government here accepted the principle of arbitration most people who desire a peaceful settlement to this matter felt that a solution of the difficulties had been found; and if a solution were not found on the basis of arbitration then that solution was frustrated by the insistence by Britain on the chairman being drawn from the Commonwealth, a procedure entirely unacceptable to the Free State Government for very good reasons indeed.
When it was seen that efforts to find a settlement by means of an arbitration board were not likely to be successful because of the difficulty in connection with the chairmanship of the tribunal, new efforts were made, I may say, on the initiative of the Labour Party, to secure a new formula by which agreement might be reached. It was suggested to Britain that the matters in dispute might be referred to a Commission to report upon the facts of the situation surrounding the land annuities and the other disputed payments, and that the report of that Commission should be the basis of negotiation for a settlement between the two Governments. In my view that proposal was a reasonable one; that proposal was an acceptable one to this Government. The Government here by its acceptance of that proposal definitely decided that it was prepared to accept the course of negotiations which had been recommended to it to-day by the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. But certain difficulties arose in connection with the utility of a Commission of inquiry of that kind, and there were some people who thought that perhaps direct negotiations were best.
It was quite possible to have got direct negotiations between Great Britain and if there are no direct negotiations taking place to-day I want to ask the Opposition on whom does the responsibility rest? On whom does  the responsibility rest to-day for the frustration of the direct negotiations between the two Governments? It is a known fact that the present Free State Government was quite willing to accept a scheme of direct negotiation between the two Governments with a view to a settlement of the dispute at issue. If there is not direct negotiation to-day it is because of the fact that Britain again insisted upon putting up impossible and wrecking conditions which this Government dare not accept as conditions of negotiation.
We are asked to continue to pay the land annuities while the negotiations were under way. The Government were asked to hand over the land annuities and then negotiations could continue—a procedure quite without precedent in the ordinary affairs of life, a procedure which is quite without justification in the affairs of nations. The attitude again on the part of the British Government was an attitude of saying that “unless we were prepared to get our way, whether by confining the arbitration to a Commonwealth chairman or whether it is by the insistence on the payment of the annuities as a preliminary to negotiations—it is only on such conditions as these—provided our will runs the full length of the way, that direct negotiations can take place.” I feel that I can say as one who knows something of the position that the responsibility for the breakdown of direct negotiations does not rest with the Free State Government. Rather does it rest with the British Government which insisted on putting up wrecking and impossible conditions.
Not one single member of the Opposition Party to-day ever adverted to the reasonableness or otherwise of the imposition of the tariffs put by Britain before she had a reply to our last Note. Not one of them adverted to the condition that the annuities must be paid over to the British Government before direct negotiations could be entered into.
Mr. Norton: I do not think I would serve any particularly good purpose by repeating in detail certain things which it would be possible to repeat, but which will not help anybody. But I can tell Deputy MacDermot that the direct cause of the failure to get direct negotiations was the insistence by Britain on the payment of the land annuities. If Deputy MacDermot will read the statement issued by the British Government, I think last Saturday, he will see clearly that that is the only meaning which can be attached to the circumstances surrounding the visit of President de Valera to London.
Mr. MacDermot: My information is derived from the reading of that statement. That statement says that that proposal was put forward, but it does not say that it was insisted upon. It may have been insisted upon. I am trying to find out.
Mr. Norton: I think the Deputy will find the direct information he wants in that document, and at any rate it is a well-known fact, and I do not think that the British Government will deny it, that the insistence on the payment of the land annuities is to-day as it was last week, the direct cause of the breakdown of the negotiations. If this dispute has been characterised by any new or extraordinary feature, we surely get that in the attitude of the British Government when it declared that it did not know that the land annuities were being paid into a Suspense Account. Here in this House in connection with the Budget statement the Minister for Finance made it perfectly clear that the land annuities were not being brought into account as current revenue. It must have been obvious to the British Government, the British people and the British Press that the land annuities were not being used for purposes of current revenue, but, on the erroneous assumption that they were being so used, this nation was being labelled in the British Press a nation of repudiationists, a nation of embezzlers and a nation of people who were not prepared to honour their bond. The very definite declaration by the High Commissioner in London, on behalf of the Government, that  these annuities were being paid into a Suspense Account, at once tore the bottom out of the case that we were seeking either to embezzle money or to default in any payments which were legally and morally due by us.
On a recent occasion, we got an extraordinary feature introduced into the negotiations. We had an insistence, for the first time, that the land annuities must be paid over as a condition of negotiation. Never, in any of the British Notes to the Government here, was it insisted that the land annuities must be paid as a preliminary to arbitration. Why, if they did not insist on the payment of the land annuities as a preliminary to arbitration, did they insist on the payment of the land annuities as a preliminary to direct negotiation? There was no question of paying the land annuities while the matter was the subject of arbitration. What is the case, morally or equitably or in any other way one likes to take it, for the payment of the land annuities during a period of direct negotiation? The condition was bad, the condition was unjustifiable, but the mentality behind it was worst of all, because, if it indicated any one thing more than another, it indicated a distrust that the Free State Government would faithfully honour such obligations as it was definitely ascertained by an impartial court were proper to be borne by that Government.
I said at the outset that every reasonable person desires this matter to be settled in a peaceful way. I still hope that it is not outside the bounds of possibility to settle it in a peaceful way. So far as the Labour Party is concerned, it desires to see the matter settled in a peaceful way, but we are not prepared to purchase peace at any price. We are prepared to stand for a peaceful settlement, but it must be a fair settlement, it must be an honourable settlement, and it must be a settlement free from threats, free from duress and free from any intimidation by the bigger nation of the smaller nation.
I believe that this Government has done everything that could reasonably  be expected of it to enter into direct negotiations for a settlement. I am convinced that the Government desires a settlement and I am convinced that a settlement can be got, if Britain will not insist on putting up impossible conditions, and I say to this House definitely and to the Government, that it is quite impossible to imagine that negotiations can be started on the basis of Britain having her own way all the time. I am not prepared to stand for that kind of policy. I am not prepared to stand for that kind of negotiation but, as I said before, we, in the Labour Party, will strive, if it is yet possible to strive, for a peaceful settlement of this problem but it must be a fair peace and it must be a peace which will be an honourable peace, so far as this nation is concerned.
I am sorry to have to import into my speech on this matter a reference to certain remarks which have been made in this House in connection with the relationship of the Irish Labour Party to the British Labour Party. In the debate in this House, Deputy Minch, who, by his interjection, obviously demonstrated that he knew nothing about the relationship of the Irish Labour Party to the British Labour Party, gave the impression to the House that the Irish Labour Party was under the control of the British Labour Party. There is no connection whatever between the Irish and the British Labour Parties except that we happen to represent the Labour movement in this country as they represent the Labour movement in another country. A certain effort, I am sorry to say, has been made by Deputy Minch to besmirch the tireless efforts, made by the British Labour Party, to secure a settlement of this problem, and, in the course of his cheap jeers at the British Labour Party, the name of one man was mentioned in a rather slighting way. I only want to say this to this House and to Deputy Minch, that the name of the person, which was so slightingly referred to by Deputy Minch, is a name which is treasured by the working class of this very City. In 1913 and 1914, when the workers of this City had their  backs to the wall, the weapon of hunger being used by the employers of this City to compel them to accept impossible conditions, inhuman, un-Christian conditions, Mr. George Lansbury, whose name was so slightingly referred to by Deputy Minch, played a part in that fight on behalf of the workers of this City which will make his name revered when the name of Deputy Minch is probably forgotten.
Mr. Gorey: I do not intend to go back on the speech which I had intended to make last Friday. I do not think it would serve any useful purpose because so many of the things that I wanted to say have already been said by other speakers. I will only say that it seems to me that Deputy Norton and the Labour Party—and it is not the first time that Labour Party leaders have adopted the same attitude—suffer from taking themselves a little too seriously. We must remember that this Bill we are discussing gives the Labour Party, as I heard one of their members say here on Friday last, in twenty-four hours what they did not think they would get in twenty-four hundred years. It carries into effect, for a time, at any rate, the oft-repeated dictum of Senator Johnson in this House that it was the duty of the Government to mobilise and organise the resources of the State for the common good. It would be very hard indeed to expect the present Labour Party to do anything that would abandon that position. Besides taking themselves too seriously, this is the exact ideal at which they have always aimed and, having said that, I will go back to the real problem that confronts us—the people who are going to make the sacrifices.
It is said that the people in the country who have surplus products to sell are the people who are going to make the sacrifices, and, as one who is going to make his share of the sacrifices, I want to talk about the position. I do so principally because of the fact that the President said to-day that we ought to put the smallest possible quantity of our products on the markets so that we will get the best price. I think I am quoting the  President accurately when I say that. I agree with the President that there is a time of the year when we could gamble with production. There is a short season of the year in which we can do so. There are four months out the twelve in which we could gamble with our production—between mid-June and mid-October. That is the only season of the year in which we could gamble with our stock—with our cattle, anyhow, and our sheep. I have been looking over our annual ship-ments and I make this statement, that half a million cattle must leave this country between the present mid-July and mid-October, or they certainly must be cleared out by mid-November. If we want the remainder of the cattle of the country to live, half a million cattle must go out between now and the 1st November, and, if we want to keep up our supplies of beef all round, and have a position in which everybody can wear a hairshirt and show that they have been gorged with beef —and the Minister for Defence is not going to gorge them on bones and hides —half a million cattle must have gone out of the country by the 1st November and certainly by mid-November.
The President said to-day that we should market in small quantities. It might not do much harm for, say, two weeks, but if we stop the normal flow now what will be the position? You will have a much greater flow in August, September and October. The more you keep back now, and the longer you keep them back, the greater will be the flow at the season of the year when you are coming up to the point at which you cannot dispose of them. You can get now as good, if not a better price, than even if the normal flow were allowed to continue, but if the flow is stopped now you will be killing the market for yourself for the winter when you will be throwing them all on the market. You will have to take the English price. The only other alternative is to put them into bottles and cans, into Bovril or Oxo or canned beef.
The President also said to-day that there is an outside market and that we may have to make bargains in order to have our produce taken. Does the  President seriously suggest that there is a market for even ten per cent. of our cattle outside the British market? I think that there is no such market. There is no possibility of sending our cattle to any other market except the one. I think as sensible people we had better discount all that and be honest about it. We are not fooling anybody except ourselves. We are long enough doing that. We should be honest with ourselves and discount the idea of there being any market outside the British market. The only alternative we have is to kill our cattle in this country, while they are in prime condition, and put them into cans and bottles. Otherwise we must take the English price. If we agree about that, I think it would not be advisable to take the President's view, because if we restrict the flow now we will kill our own market later. Anybody who has farmed, or who ever sold a beast, will agree that the price is not likely to be better in September or October.
I should like to know what compensation, as was hinted at by Deputy Corry and others, is going to be given to the agricultural producer for his produce. Is there any? If there is, we had better be told what it is. There is no use in back benchers saying things for which there is no foundation. If there is anything to be said about it, it ought to be said by the Front Bench, who have the responsibility and who can deal with the matter. The position up to this has been that we had a certain preference for certain articles of our produce. It did not apply to many articles, but it applied to butter and one or two others. That is gone now. If we had adopted a different attitude that preference might have been extended and applied to much more of our produce. Anyhow, it is gone now. This 20 per cent. tariff is going to be borne by the agricultural community. We have no alternative but to give our cattle at the English price. The people beyond know that a damned sight better than we do. It is not the first time these people have been up against a crisis. They have gone through a war. They got up an organisation to supply their country  and that organisation is there still. The people who perfected it and the people who did the work are there still. Even Deputy Flinn is alive still, I am glad to say. I say we have no alternative. In addition to that we have lost goodwill. Anybody engaged in the cattle trade will tell you that for the last three months the experience has been that when you meet a man in the market and tell him that you have 20 nice cattle for sale he will say, “I do not want your stuff; I am not buying any to-day.” Then you will see him going to somebody else further down and buying supplies.
I want to say this, and I know it will be borne out by those in the trade in the House and outside, that if the British people were selecting a time when they would be best prepared for this emergency they could not select a better time. The Department of Agriculture have figures which can prove that for the last two years British exporters were concentrating on very young cattle. For the last two seasons an abnormal quantity of young cattle, calves and one-year-olds, have gone to England because they have been concentrating on that class of stock, with the result that they have an abnormal amount of stores to go on the market and they are actually cutting out our stores in the different markets. If they had known two years ago what was going to happen, they could not be better prepared than they are at present. I want to know where we are going to end up in this matter, if any preparation is going to be made and what lead, if any, we are going to get. The sooner the public are advised publicly the better, because you have entered into this fight. It is a fight for all of us now, as we all have to make sacrifices, and it is time we all knew where we were. I want to know what preparation the Minister for Defence, who is now acting-Minister for Agriculture, is making to have beef here next Christmas and all through the Spring.
Mr. Gorey: This is a question of wise procedure, because I believe the  fight is on and there is no drawing back. It is only a question of what is the best method of conducting the fight. I see no indication on the Government Benches that there is going to be any settlement. I do not know the other people's minds so well, except what I see in the Press, but I believe they are going on with the attitude they have taken up. As the President and Deputy Norton told us, anything except the attitude they have taken up is impossible. That was the phrase used a few minutes ago. Then, of course, it is a fight and a fight to a finish. If the other people take up the attitude that I believe they are taking up, it is also impossible from their standpoint, and then we are going to have a fight. It is a question of building up the best machinery to meet the situation and for the Executive Council to tell us what they have done in the matter and how it is going to be met. It is a question for the Executive Council to take expert advice so that they may know where they are going with a view to making the best preparation to market our produce, as the President said, and get the best price, and market it in the best way. I see no indication of that expert advice being at the disposal of the Government. I do not believe they have done anything. The time is short. Although you can gamble for four months, a month of that is gone, and you have to get rid of half a million cattle in three months. They must be cleared out by 1st November. It is time to set up the machinery to deal with that. If you have no machinery to deal with it, and do not intend to set it up, then people ought to be told to sell their cattle when fit. The position is that cattle which are fit now can be kept until mid-September, but after that feeding will be getting scarce, and if you go into October it is impossible to keep cattle in condition. Cattle at the end of the first week in October will either have to be housed and fed on concentrates and roots and a liberal supply of hay, or it cannot be done at all. We have not the houses in this country, even if we had all the foods, which we have not, and all the concentrates, which we  have not. We are not in a position to deal with this problem other than in a normal way.
This is a bigger problem than some people seem to imagine. They have not gone into the details. It is up to the Government to have all the details at their fingers' end. If they cannot cope with the problem they should let the people do it in their own way and let the people bear the loss. I see no way out except to let us put our cattle on the market when they are fit and let us bear the 20 per cent. loss. We might as well do that cheerfully. If there is to be compensation afterwards, well and good. You are doing a wrong thing by stopping the normal flow of trade now. If you stop it for a month or six weeks and throw your livestock on the market in September you will have two supplies going on the market and you will kill the market by that over-supply. I will not discuss other matters. They have been, I think, sufficiently dealt with by other Deputies. I want the President to face the position and realise his responsibilities. There is a definite necessity for the setting up of suitable machinery. If the Government deem it necessary, it is up to them to give advice now. Otherwise they should allow the people to work out their own salvation in their own way and make sacrifices as best they can.
Mr. Dillon: I venture to express the opinion that there were two valuable speeches made in this debate. The President's speech was one and the other was delivered by Deputy Hogan of Galway. The case against the recommendations of the Seanad has been based on the ground that they are an infringement of constitutional rights which it is unbearable to think of. I think the same case could be made against every section of this Bill. If we were faced with a normal situation I would be in entire accord with the Opposition. We are not faced with a normal situation; we are faced with a very abnormal situation. The history of these negotiations has been recited by the President and Deputy Norton. I will ask the House to remember that when the Irish Government claimed the  right to a tribunal of an extra Imperial character, they were claiming something that Deputy McGilligan, when he was Minister for Foreign Affairs, insisted on in the teeth of vigorous opposition from the Labour Government. He recently described, speaking, I think, at a meeting in Nass, how Mr. Arthur Henderson, then a member of the Labour Government, vigorously remonstrated with him when he refused to insert a certain reservation in his acceptance of League of Nations' arbitration in international disputes. He refused to insert the reservation that that acceptance did not apply to inter-Dominion differences.
So far as I am aware, the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, while admitting that in certain cases an inter-Dominion court might be eminently suitable, were not prepared to accept the principle that any and every dispute arising between this country and England, or any other Dominion, was to be referred to a Dominion court. We have the position of our Government advancing a claim that both parties in the State have always maintained; that is, that certain disputes which might arise between us and Great Britain, if they were to be submitted to arbitration, should be submitted to arbitration of the freest and most liberal kind. I have said on a previous occasion that I believed when the Fianna Fáil Government paid these moneys into a suspense account and offered to refer the whole matter to arbitration without restriction on the choice of personnel that they did everything that honour and equity demanded. Deputy Norton said something to-day that I think ought to be made quite clear. He said, I think, that England made it a condition that the annuities should be paid over before direct negotiations were entered upon. But she did not make it a condition that the annuities should be paid over before arbitration would be opened if the Board could be decided upon. I think that should be made perfectly clear.
Mr. Dillon: It is very desirable that it should be. The point is that arbitration did not require the preliminary of transferring those funds. England took up the position that if we wanted negotiation there must be a transfer of those funds. Let us be perfectly clear on this. It seems to me to be unarguable that so far as England's position goes in refusing to admit the principle of independent arbitration, extra Imperial arbitration, on certain disputes, every party in this country joined in repudiating their right to do that and they have officially and publicly repudiated that right before the eyes of the whole world.
Mr. Dillon: At the League of Nations, and in face of the remonstrances of the British Government, we stood out as the one Dominion that would not accept that principle without reservation. I will go further. In addition to the consideration that every party in this country has accepted the principle that certain disputes may arise which ought to be referred to extra Imperial arbitration, I go further and I say that commonsense demands it because there is not the least use arbitrating if both sides do not accept its constitution. Suppose to-morrow we yielded and went into an Imperial court unwillingly and suppose the verdict went against us, our second condition would be far worse than our first. No matter what happens now, the impression is largely abroad, and you cannot convince the people otherwise, that unless there is perfectly free arbitration there will not be a true and valid finding. The present situation is that an Imperial Court of Arbitration will do no good; it will not advance us from where we are.
What are the alternatives to arbitration? To my mind, there are two alternatives to arbitration. One is economic war, such as we are at present threatened with, and the other is negotiation. I do not hesitate to say now that if we are forced into an economic war I will vote against the  recommendations of the Seanad but I believe, contrary to what some of my friends on my left hand will say, that the President is one of the few men on those benches who do appreciate the gravity of what we are facing. I was horrified, during the course of the debates on an earlier stage, at the levity and apparent irresponsibility of some of the most distinguished members of the Government Party in their contemplation of what we were about to embark upon and in their general handling of the whole matter. I think we must all agree that the President has shown us that he looks upon this matter in no light way; that he realises to the full the appalling gravity of what we are about to embark upon. An economic war can have only one of two endings—the defeat of one party by the other or peace by negotiation. God knows in this world during the last decade or the last twenty years there have been enough wars. We have seen the issue of wars and we can ask ourselves “Did the victor or the vanquished get anything out of it?”
We have seen a war which ended by negotiation and we can ask ourselves did the war which preceded the negotiations contribute anything to their success except the exhaustion of both parties? Between our country and England there has been traditional suspicion and hatred and war has gone on for many centuries. During the last fifty years, a better understanding was beginning to grow up between our peoples and during the last ten years some of the old suspicions and hatreds were beginning to die. If we embark now upon economic war, we may ask ourselves what effect this war will have on the relations between the Irish and English people, quite apart from what the economic issue of it will be. No matter what the issue, no matter how the war ends, the bitterness, hatred and suspicion it will revive will take generations to allay.
The President made a remark to-day that I could not follow and with which I could not sympathise. “If,” he said, “England holds that these payments are due and Ireland holds that they are not due, what good can negotiation  do?” That is the very purpose of negotiation. If England holds that they are legally due and we hold that they are not legally due, may we not both agree, whatever our views on the legal rights may be, that those legal rights are not equitable? This debate has followed lines sometimes of the greatest heat and violence on the question of whether the annuities are legally due or are not legally due. I listened with attention to the arguments and studied them as well as I could. I am not a skilled lawyer but I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that the annuities are legally due. I am equally certain that the annuities are not equitably due. These agreements may have been imprudent or foolish. I do not offer any opinion on that. I do not think that matters at all on the legal side but, comparing the conditions that existed in 1923 and the conditions that exist in 1932 I think that, in all human probability, if we went into negotiation and pointed out that this agreement was not fair to us in the changed conditions and that the capacity of the people to pay now was entirely different from what it was in 1923, a very strong case would be made. It might be found in negotiation that there was practically nothing between us—if we left the legal case aside.
So long as the Irish Government, acting on the advice of their law officers, takes the view that there is a legal case for retention of the land annuities, the British Government is entitled to ask for arbitration. That is perfectly clear to my mind. The result of that arbitration will depend entirely on the view the Tribunal will take on the legal rights in England and in Ireland and not on the equities. It will not be within the sphere of the arbitration tribunal to discuss the equities. If the Tribunal is asked to decide our legal rights, it will decide them. But I say that, quite apart from the legal case, there is a case on quite another footing. There is a case based on equity and justice as between nations in the light of present-day affairs. The President asks, if England holds the payments are due and Ireland holds they are not due, what  good can negotiation do? I may have misunderstood the President but I took a note as he was speaking.
The President: Perhaps I might make that matter clear as it has been referred to a few times. What I said was that if, having tried to negotiate and both parties having come in contact, one party holds one thing and another holds another thing, is it not evident that negotiations have broken down and failed?
Mr. Dillon: Did the President ever hear the wise old adage, “Never bid the devil good morrow until you meet him”? There is a good deal in that. Suppose the President went into negotiations and discussed the equities and such other aspects as could be discussed, a great deal of valuable work might be done and common ground might be found.
Mr. Dillon: What I suggest is that this debate has centred around the question whether these payments are legally due or not. All sides of the House are agreed on one thing, that in existing circumstances they are not equitably due. Some say they can be extracted from us by enforcing the letter of the law. Others say they cannot. But all are agreed on this proposition, that if equity is done on both sides, the full payment of this amount will not be made. The President said—and I agree with him—that the paramount consideration at the present time is national unity. Here is ground on which we are all united. Here is ground on which, I gather, Cumann na nGaedheal is prepared to lend a hand and Fianna Fáil is prepared to lend a hand, on which Labour is prepared to lend a hand and on which we are prepared to lend a hand. Is not that very valuable ground for us all? Is there not possibility in the suggestion that we should come together on the proposition that these payments are not equitably due by the Saorstát to England, and that the Irish people ask, not by way of ad misericordiam appeal, but in the  name of equity and justice, for a revision of the question? Without regard to the merits of the bargain of 1923, it could be re-opened—let us not say re-opened lest that would be giving away anything, but re-considered in the light of present-day conditions and that any situation which either Party might regard as arising out of it should be reviewed without prejudice to the legal obligations involved. That is ground on which the President could secure unity and I would sooner go into any kind of conference with Britain—arbitration, negotiation, or anything else—unitedly than go in with an apparent division amongst ourselves.
I do not agree with the contention that there is no analogy between these land annuities and other inter-Governmental payments. I think there is a close analogy between all payments made between one Government and another. I think the whole world is coming rapidly to the conclusion that the less of that type of transaction we have the better for the peace of the world. These are inter-Governmental payments. That cannot be disputed. That is the hall-mark upon them. They are measured to the amount of the land annuities, but they are inter-Governmental payments and bear a close relationship to other inter-Governmental payments which have been the subject of review by international tribunals. Deputy Doctor O'Higgins suggested that if there was any difficulty about the preliminary disposal of the funds during negotiations they ought to be transferred to some body which, for want of a better word, he described as “joint trustees.” After all, there is a joint trustee at present in existence—a body whose very name designates its character. I refer to the Bank of International Settlements. Let us give it its first chance to play a part in an international settlement. Let the British Government be told that we are prepared to put the money in the Bank of International Settlements and that, speaking as a united people, we ask the British people to realise that, as they have forgiven the debts of their neighbours and as they are asking their neighbours to forgive them their  debts, we ask them in the interests not only of Ireland but of the human race all over the world to show an example, and that where a bargain has manifestly become inoperative and inequitable by the passage of time to sit down with the other parties to the bargain and to examine it in a spirit of friendship for the benefit of both peoples and in the confidence that if goodwill is shown an equitable settlement can be arrived at and all the horrors of war averted.
I have said before and I say again that England is taking the first step in this matter. England, while there was still a chance of agreement or arbitration or negotiation put tariffs on our exports. That can be described as simply a method of recovering the annual amount of the annuities due, but to my mind it is the greatest insult to our people. If the English people think that in entering into negotiations with this country a suitable preliminary is to strike us across the face then they will find out differently. I am prepared to support the Government in taking such steps as may be necessary. At the same time, whatever powers the Government receive from this Dáil do not acquit them of the solemn and the sacred obligation to protect our people from war if they can. Their last and most desperate expedient must be to lead our people into war and they must resort to it only when every other possible expedient has been resorted to. I say to the President that all this debate, largely I believe through his intervention, has assumed a different shape from the debate that went before it on Thursday and Friday last. This debate has revealed common grounds, and has revealed one ground in which every elected representative of the people is prepared to join hands and that is that whatever be legal justice in this question, the equities demand a revision. We are in a position unitedly to demand that revision from the British people. Unless the President does his best to proceed on those lines I am of opinion that he will be gravely remiss in his duty. I have every confidence that he will not press  this economic war a step further or exercise any of the powers he seeks to-day until he has turned to his colleagues in public life and asked them to join him in asking a revision of the contract on the grounds of equity and in the confidence that, if the British people try to score off him or misinterpret the gesture he would make under those circumstances, the Irish people will take good care that what may be a score for Britain to-day will prove very costly for her to-morrow.
Mr. Kennedy: I did not intend to intervene in this debate, but I have heard so much cringing and weepingwillow speeches from the Opposition Benches about the position of the farmers and those engaged in stock rearing, that I thought I should say a few words about the matter, as one coming from a constituency which perhaps after County Meath is more dependent on stock rearing than any other constituency in the Thirty-Two Counties. I can assure the President and the Executive Council to-night that the farming community are behind him in the stand he is making. They have been faced with a situation for the last ten years in which they could not meet their overhead charges. From 1921-22 onwards there has been a steady decline in the price of livestock, so much so that each year they were finding much greater difficulty in meeting their annuities in spite of partial derating which went a good way towards meeting the rates demand. If, in this situation, a new economy develops whereby the agricultural labourer can get a good wage in the Midlands and the farmer can get a living, then this situation is what it has been termed before, a blessing in disguise.
There are people crying out against this certainly in my constituency, but the loudest voices I hear are those of the cattle traders and the exporters. What is the outlook of the cattle-trader and the exporter? I speak with some knowledge in this matter. If they can get a fat beast in the fair at a price at which they are able to make a profit of £1 on that beast, they do not care a “thraneen” if the beast is  sold at £10 below the cost of production to the farmer. If they are able to turn a profit on what they buy, they do not care about the state of the farmer. They are loudest to-day in their protestations. Whatever the Dáil does in this matter it should not be guided by their alarms. Deputy Wolfe spoke of how well-off the farmers were until this started. The particular part of Cork from which he comes must be an exception to the rest of the Twenty-Six Counties, but I am sure even the Cumann na nGeadheal Deputies from his constituency would repudiate that statement. Another point which struck me in the debate was that Deputy Hogan said that they got a very good bargain in 1926 when all war debts were wiped out. If we take the proportionate liability of the Free State for British war debts and admit for the moment that we were ever liable for it, we find an annual charge on us of two and three-quarter millions. With the recent conversion we find that written down by £450,000. Certainly that is much less than the five one-third millions that have been paid annually out of this country. Certainly the bargain they got for the sale of Tyrone, Fermanagh, South Armagh, South Down and Derry City was not a bargain at all in that sense of the term.
Mr. Kennedy: I got it from the Finance account for the United Kingdom, ending March, 1931, page 32, taking into account the 4½ per cent. loan, the 5 per cent. war loan, the 4 per cent. war loan and the Victory Bonds.
Mr. Kennedy: Internal and external. There is also the item of annuity payments to United Kingdom Government of £27,000,000 odd. We are told that this payment of the land annuities is a commercial debt. I suggest on that basis therefore that the peasants of Alsace Lorraine should pay  their rents to France through Germany. That would be a commercial debt as the payment for the confiscated lands of Ireland is a commercial debt. We are told that we will not get away with the statement that the Opposition are playing England's game. It reminds me of the Parnell split. The people who downed Parnell, in my constituency and every other constituency, proclaimed their faith from the housetops in their nationality and declared they were as Irish as anyone else. That was a crisis in which England wanted to kill the national unity that prevailed here and when it was indicated to the anti-Parnellites that they were playing England's game they protested their nationality and love of Ireland. In the tactics of the Opposition, in every debate—and these debates are unfortunate and this meeting of this House is unfortunate in that sense—they advance every argument they can lest victory might be achieved for this nation. Deputy Fitzgerald referred to the bad case made by the lawyers who examined this case of the payment of the land annuities to Britain. He said they were paid lawyers. He made no reference to the lawyers on his side who were paid out of the revenue of the State to make a case for Britain and to put the case for Britain. They were paid out of the public purse to put up arguments which are the arguments now being used by the British Prime Minister. We are told they are not playing England's game but they have done everything that men could do to help the other side. There is one thing they forget. They have given every argument they could give to England and they have even said to-day to Mr. MacDonald, “you forget about the Oath Bill.” Deputy Hogan says: “Even if you are going to settle with President de Valera, there is the Oath Bill to be sure, and you can tackle him about that. Lest there might be a settlement you can drag that red herring across the track.” We are told about the people who will suffer from this. I am very conversant with the ordinary people concerned in this matter, and I can assure the House that the ordinary poor man,  who has suffered because of the incompetence of the Opposition and the neglect of the Opposition while they were a Government, says to President de Valera to-day “Stand fast.” No matter what the grazier says and the cattle exporter says the poor man says, “Stand fast,” to President de Valera, “we the ordinary people are behind you and we are going to win out in this.”
Professor O'Sullivan: I wonder whether I would be quite in order in discussing, once again, the amendments sent down from the Seanad. Before doing that, may I point out, despite what the Deputy who has just sat down has said, that we cannot look upon this, however roseate he might regard it, as pleasant for any class of the community. They look upon an economic war very lightheartedly. They enter into it, if we are to judge from the speeches of Deputies on the benches opposite—and these represent the views of their Party—almost joyfully. We look upon it from a different point of view. Even though Deputy Dillon was able to get a little comfort out of the statement of the President I confess I was not. In the statement of the President there was a certain hesitation; he was not anxious to commit himself as he has done on more than one occasion on public platforms; but it looked as if he sees the results of this economic war from a different point from what Deputy Dillon sees or many of us see them. He thought this economic war might have good results in the long run. I fear before that “long run” comes the country will be bled white. We feel that this particular clause in this Bill, of which no explanation was given or for which no reasonable excuse was given, will bleed the country white. In the effort to hit England on account of her taxes of 20 per cent. on some of our principal exports, we are in fact doing much bigger damage to ourselves.
Reference was made here to the big stick in the negotiations. Who are the people that gave the example of the big stick? Incidentally I gather that the President is anxious that this  country should lead the world in the new and better way of looking at things. But who are the people who used the big stick in negotiations trying by force to carry their views? Who are the people who made it practically impossible, or exceedingly difficult, for the British to approach them in anything but the most suspicious state of mind, and made it almost inevitable that his proposal for an outsider on this tribunal should be looked on as simply another step in the way to secession. This man has given an example of force right through, and I presume this Bill will help him to break the present system and to remodel it entirely along a new principle. He has again given an example in refusing to negotiate on the matter in dispute between the two countries. He has carried it through with a high hand, and I suggest, from the speeches that we heard from his followers, from the statements made by himself, and even from a close analysis of the speech he made to-day, that he did not want a peaceful settlement of this crisis.
His contention always has been that he wants this country to be self-supporting. His particular remedy for the present situation is that the exportable surplus must be as small as possible. That is the way to prevent England getting the money by the 20 per cent. duty that has been imposed on our produce. But is not that the policy that he has been preaching in this House; that he has preached out of this House all along? The policy that the export trade does not count; that it can be sacrificed if only this country can be made self-supporting. He has now an opportunity in this economic war of bringing that about. When I see that his followers hail this economic war with joy, I cannot refrain from the belief that the President is convinced that, at last, the people, whether they like it or no, are in for that particular policy for which he stands. I would like to know how he is going to use this clause that has come to us from the Seanad. The Seanad has given this House an opportunity for which it ought to be thankful, of at least to  a certain extent mending its hand, of diminishing the damage that this egregious Bill will cause to our country. Its effect on England is not the reason of our opposition. If that war is begun I do not think this Bill is the method by which England will be most hit. The people who will be most hit will be the people of this country. Is there anything in the general policy initiated by the President, is there anything in the policy carried here and put before the House in various measures, during the last three months, that would for a moment lead us to suppose that this provision will be used in a wise fashion, that it will not be used to the further damage of the Irish people?
When Deputy Gorey made the charge that naturally the Labour Party was supporting this measure, because it gave them at one stroke of the pen what they professed to want all along, State control, and complete State control, the mobilisation of the resources of the country in the hands of the Government, this was applauded by the Labour Party, and was also applauded by the Fianna Fáil Party. Yet I have not the slightest doubt the President will say “Oh, this is not socialistic.” Not at all. He always denies that every step he takes is more and more in that direction. How is he going to use these powers? There was no explanation in the speech he made. He said that measures will be taken and taken immediately after the Bill is through. I understood that was the decision. I hope I am not misrepresenting him. Why were these measures not told to the House? If the Government, in the course of the next couple of days, or within the next week, are prepared to put through certain measures under this Bill, why is that information not given? Why was there no indication to the House of the particular measures that are going to be put through? Why are the people kept in the dark? Why is the House kept in the dark until the full powers are in the hands of the Government? We have a crisis. This country is facing a great crisis. Members  of the Fianna Fáil Party, as far as we can judge from their speeches may look with a great deal of levity upon that crisis. Many people in the country may light-heartedly agree with war. As a rule countries that enter on a war often start war with that particular spirit.
Let us see what the consequences are likely to be before we give these powers into the hands of a Government that, judged by its methods of dealing with the various problems with which it had to deal up to the present, has shown itself not to be a Government that can be trusted to use these powers in a proper fashion. We had a splendid example of that in previous measures that were brought before the House, even after “mature consideration” on the part of the Government, in the case of the impositions that were put on the country. We know the way these measures have affected the country and now the House is asked in this Bill, and especially in this clause, to give far more power, complete power, unchallenged power—so far as control of the wealth of the country is concerned, it is uncontrolled, untrammelled power—to do what they wish. Has their attitude in the past, in the various steps that they have taken since they came into power on the 9th March, in embittering their relations between the two countries, in their financial policy, in their political policy and in their relations with England, been such as to give those who have the welfare of the country at heart any confidence in the way in which this Bill is likely to be used? There is only one thing to be gathered from the way the President, backed up by his Party, backed up by the Labour Party, which cries “Peace,” but which, like everybody else, will wave the flag of a fight to a finish—there is only one conclusion to be gathered from their methods on the Oath Bill and on the various other negotiations, or lack of negotiations, as far as England is concerned, that they wanted this economic war. The people had better realise that, because this economic war is precisely the method that can be used, and will be used, to bring about the cutting off of trade  with Great Britain that they have always put forward as one of the principal planks in their programme. Naturally, it will be the one by which this country will be driven, if not to the growing of wheat, certainly away from the present agricultural system——
Professor O'Sullivan: —which we gather has been one of the things that was always present in the mind of the Fianna Fáil Party. So that while they pretend they do not, in reality, they welcomed the whole business. It is much easier to destroy. I can say to the Deputy who said “Hear, hear,” and to others, it is easier to destroy our present agricultural system than to put a good one in its place. The work of destruction is perfectly easy. On this clause we are asked to disagree with the Seanad in giving absolute power. How is it going to be used? In this House not a word of explanation but a hint in the Seanad that it may be used in reference to insurance policies. Judging from the attitude in the past, we may expect from the Government that they will act first and then think. They may be able to do certain damage, as far as the future is concerned, and to injure English companies, foreign companies and Dominion companies who have business in this country. They may be able to cut off their business. But I would like to have a great deal more confidence in the capacity and goodwill of the Government and in their care for the ordinary person and for investors—in this instance, persons who put by savings in order to try to provide for their families in the future—I would have to have great confidence in the business ability of the Government before I could come to the conclusion that they would not first destroy the investments of the people. I hope that measures will not be taken which may have the effect of releasing these companies, who for years have been getting dividends out of the Irish people from paying the sums due as a result of these payments. We have seen the action of the Government in the past on various matters, such as  tariffs and how they faced up to them: acted first and then thought. It is only when the damage is done they begin to examine. We may expect an approach from them in much the same way in this particular Bill. Again and again we have pointed out the danger of a revolution. We thought we had reached the limit so far at least as one twelve months was concerned of the revolution policy in this country by the measures passed by this House, the Oath Bill, and the various financial measures. Apparently we have not. The revolution is to go on further. The revolution is now going on further. The policy is one of completely mobilising the resources of the State and the resources of the ordinary people of the country in the hands of the Government. Is that going to be used? Have we any guarantee that it will not be used for that purpose? Are there not members of the Government in favour of a policy of that kind? Have we any guarantee that these particular clauses will not be used in that way? It is useless for Deputies who give such powers into the hands of the Government to come along later and to protest “we thought the Government would never use them along these particular lines.” The great crisis which has arisen is a crisis that need never have come about had the question been properly handled, had it been handled with good will on the part of the two negotiating parties. But it is our business to see that there should be good-will on our side. If there had been any good-will, this particular crisis would have been avoided.
But the crisis is being used as an excuse—and this clause is an exemplification of it—for giving complete control to the Government which has as one of the main planks of its programme the destruction of the present system. It is nothing short of a complete lack of responsibility on the part of members of this House to put power of that kind into the hands of the Government. There is a crisis and if the President and the members of the Executive Council are anxious to deal with that particular crisis they have other powers in the Bill as it stands, in the Bill even as it is left after the recommendations  from the Seanad. They have plenty of power in the Bill to carry on their economic war. But the economic war is to be carried on in such a fashion that the economic system of this country can undoubtedly under the Bill, be completely remodelled by the Government, or an attempt made in that direction.
It is the easiest thing possible for the President to deny that he has any such intention. We know his general policy. We have heard statements from members of his Government and it is useless for him to say that he does not want to use power of this kind. He has said that this measure is going to hit England more than us, but he has not made that clear to us. He has a vague idea that there is a crisis and that the Government should get power to meet all possible contingencies. I submit that no Government should get power to meet all possible contingencies even though there may be a crisis from the economic point of view.
The time the President has chosen for hitting the people here is the time when a Government should be bending all its energies towards helping the export industry and trying to get better prices for our products. That is the very time when they turn their backs deliberately on that sane policy and give to the people and the industries of the country as at present organised a knock-out blow. The President said this is in order to keep our money here. He did not explain how this Bill is to do anything of the kind. And then we have from the head of a Government that has done these various acts of precipitation, from the head of a Government that did not hesitate to introduce what the Minister for Industry and Commerce himself regarded as a revolutionary measure—we have the statement from him that there is no cause for fear at all or that if there is any fear it is that he will be too moderate.
From that I gather that there are members of the Cabinet who are anxious to be more precipitate than the President. Is that the situation? Which side is to win out? Is it a fact  that he is afraid he is going to be too moderate in this Bill? Has he given the slightest evidence of that up to the present? Every action he has taken since he came into office is precipitate action. But apparently he has a fear that he will be too moderate! There must be others of his advisers, members of his Cabinet, who would be anxious to go more quickly and who would be anxious to bring about a complete Governmental control of the resources of the Nation and the resources of the individuals.
The President, speaking here before, said that this was a position that was bound to arise and that could be foreseen. If that were so, and if there was a question of markets I think the Government should have investigated that particular position and tell us what were the markets. He said he could foresee that a situation of this kind would arise. Now is not the time to make preparations and to look around for markets. That should have been done before. Where are the markets? Have the Government made any headway in finding alternative markets, or is it the case that the Government do not care, because, as Deputy Kennedy said, it was only a couple of graziers who would have to suffer.
Professor O'Sullivan: I have no doubt that his colleague from Cork has the same kind of outlook. With an outlook of that kind on the Government benches, what can we expect in the way of commonsense in the administration of this or any other clause in the Bill? Deputy Dillon referred to the charge made that the Seanad acted unconstitutionally because they used their powers under the Bill for making these recommendations. But then this Bill is more unconstitutional. Of course, it is. There is no control as far as the Dáil is concerned. There was an effort made to alter their first draft and to introduce what looked on paper like certain safeguards, but an examination of the text would show that these were not worth the paper on which they were printed.
 We have a similar thing to-day in connection with the Bills. That is practically equally worthless, because you have got to get around to the different Deputies of the Dáil when the Dáil is not in Session and get a majority of them to sign a requisition. The difficulty of that is tremendous. There should be some form giving real control to the Dáil.
As far as private property is concerned, and as far as I can gather from the statement of the Government, this Bill will be used to make very serious inroads not merely on our agricultural economy but on our whole economic system, which the President states it is his business to destroy. Why are we not told in some detail what the Government intends to do under any of these clauses? They have plans ready. We will probably see an order in the course of the next day or two. Why is that kept from the House? Let us know where we are. Why should the House be kept in complete ignorance? Not a bit of information has been given to the House or the country except a passing reference in the Seanad to one of the purposes to which this particular sub-section is going to be put. It is the duty, the President states, of every citizen to stand by the Government. It is the duty of every citizen to see that this country comes out of this particular crisis as undamaged as possible. I question very much whether it is the duty of this House to give powers to the Government which a large number of people in this House and in this country are convinced will be used not primarily to hit England—that would be possibly given as an excuse—but that will be used to bring about far-reaching changes in this country.
There are these changes already upon us, and it is absurd for the President to take up the easy attitude that “of course, that is mere talk.” His whole outlook is in that direction and speeches of many of his Ministers are in that direction. This Bill gives him complete power to carry it through. Whether he will use it or not, or whether he can afford to wait until he gets the House to pass a measure, as this House has subserviently passed  one measure after another, to give him power to undermine the whole economic system of the country is a matter about which he will possibly hesitate. But the Seanad, as I said, has given us the opportunity of undoing, at least, some of the damage hastily done in this House last week, and I would ask Deputies to agree with the Seanad in the particular recommendation they have made.
Attorney-General (Mr. Conor Maguire): I intervene in this debate primarily to refer to some criticisms which have been passed on men who have been referred to by Deputy Hogan and others as “the seven lawyers.” The seven lawyers have been accused of being responsible for the whole situation that has arisen here. As Deputy Hogan put it, they have bedevilled the whole situation, and there was an under-current of a suggestion in the speeches, that the legal men, who advised on this question of the land annuities, have changed their opinions as to the legal liability of this country to transmit these annuities to England. First of all, Deputy Hogan, in his forceful and vigorous style, has condemned the legal opinions as nonsense, and they were referred to by another Deputy as frauds. As I am one of the seven lawyers involved, it may possibly be that I should leave it to somebody else to defend the legal men involved in this attack upon them, but an attack has been made on their integrity as lawyers and on their position in their profession. I recall a certain occasion when I stood in one of the Courts in the Castle and I saw Deputy Hogan pass into the Court to go into the witness-box to give evidence in a case in which he was the defendant, and I heard Deputy Hogan, in the witness-box, tell the judge and jury that he was practically completely ignorant of law and that apart from a little land law, his opinion on a legal question was not worth twopence. Showing how his ignorance of law had misled him in the particular matter with which he was concerned in that case, the jury brought in a verdict of £500 against him for his ignorance of the  law of libel. When I have heard the Deputy, with that certificate as to his own knowledge of the law, get up and condemn these men as men whose opinions were bought, bought in the way they suggested, and as men responsible for this whole situation, I do feel that, although I am one of the persons involved, it is time to utter a protest.
Deputy McGilligan has repeated on two or three occasions the same cheap criticism of men who are not here to answer for themselves. Both Deputy Hogan and Deputy McGilligan were pupils of, and sat under, one of the men who advised on this question, and I do not think it should lie in the mouth of anybody who knows him to charge him with giving an opinion save an opinion which he has convinced himself is correct and honest and straightforward. That man is Professor Arthur Clery, Professor of Law in University College. You have other men. You have Mr. Martin Maguire, who is not associated with our Party, and who has no affiliations with it but who, I can assert here, has a standing at the Bar which it would take either of the Deputies some time to attain. You have Mr. Hubert Hamilton, who has no association whatever with this Party, and who, if his affiliations were to be considered, would be inclined to take the other view. He has given his opinion. Is it charged here that his opinion is a bought opinion, that it is no use and not worth the paper it is written on? You have Mr. Gavan Duffy. At the time he put his name to this opinion he had no association with the Fianna Fáil Party at all. Deputy McGilligan has begun to go to the Law Library and I challenge him to deny that Mr. Gavan Duffy has attained, in the Library, a standing just as high as any one of the lawyers who advised the Cumann na nGaedheal Party when they were in office.
I suppose I cannot say that I hold no brief for them but I feel that, although I do hold a brief for them, and was associated with them, the cheap criticism of the type levelled  against them should not be allowed by me to pass. I do not want to drag this question of the legal side of this business into the limelight here but it has been so harped upon that apparently Deputies on the other side are anxious to get the legal side out of the way. “Let us get it out of the way; it is the cause of all the trouble here. Let us approach it on a new basis.” They have devised a new way of approaching this subject, a way which they say could not have been considered months ago. They have thrown over their charges of embezzlement and all the rest of it.
Mr. Maguire: They have certainly adopted the attitude that, in view of the present circumstances, it is quite a fair and proper thing for this country to go and ask England to forgive her some of the debt.
Mr. Maguire: They have criticised this legal opinion given by these men and I point out this to the House, that, in 1923, when this agreement, which was not revealed at the time despite all the insistence and repeated insistence on it that it was revealed at the time, was made, only a few weeks had elapsed from the time the Free State came into being, and, when Deputies look at the agreement, they will see that it deals with annuities, compensation and a number of other heads. Nearly eleven heads of a Financial Settlement were dealt with. I just commend this to the House that, if there is nothing in the legal arguments advanced for the retention of the land annuities, how comes this about that six weeks were sufficient for the Government of the day to decide to pay over these annuities to England and that it took six months for the late Attorney-General to examine the arguments in favour of the retention of the land annuities, and it takes a publication 65 pages in size to answer the arguments which are so glibly described by Deputy Hogan and others in the House as sheer nonsense?
Mr. MacDermot: Might I put one question to the Attorney-General? Deputy Hogan made a very striking statement in his speech. He said that if there was a legal case for retaining these annuities, which he denied, it could only arise out of the neglect of the late Government to implement an international agreement by making it legally watertight. Does the Attorney-General accept that statement?
Mr. Maguire: On the last occasion when this question of the agreement was mentioned some Deputies seemed to treat the suggestion that England, when asked to make her legal case for the retention of the annuities, relied upon these two agreements of 1923  and 1926. It was suggested that it was not a legal question as to whether these agreements were binding or not. I do not know whether that is seriously argued or not, or whether it can be suggested that agreements which deal with the payment of money are binding whether there is Parliamentary ratification or not. On that matter, I shall just quote one passage from Halsbury's “Laws of England:”
Where a grant of the public funds is rendered necessary it is apprehended that the previous or subsequent consent of Parliament is in all cases required to render the treaty binding upon the subject and enforceable by the officers of the Crown.
For Deputy McGilligan's information I may say that that is from Vol. 6, page 441, of Halsbury's “Laws of England.” So that the question as to whether this particular agreement is binding or not is a legal question and has been put up as one of the legal questions involved and put up by the British. It is rather striking that they put up, as obliging us to transmit these annuities to England, not alone the 1923 agreement but the 1926 agreement, although the previous Attorney-General and the others who advised stated that was an agreement which did not oblige us to make any payment at all, while Mr. Thomas is advised that it is an agreement which obliged us to pay.
I do not wish to deal any further with the legal side of the matter. There is only one other matter. It was suggested that some explanation was necessary of this section of the Bill. I do not know whether anybody takes seriously the attempt to criticise the wording of the Bill as conferring very wide powers. I had occasion recently to read the history of another Bill in which Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, when Minister for Justice, sought wide powers, not for matters of money or material matters, but wide powers over the liberty of the citizen in the Constitution (Amendment) Act (No. 17), which was guillotined through the House, and the Committee Stage of which went through without any discussion whatever—absolutely no discussion.  The Opposition are so perturbed about what material injury may be done by the wide powers being conferred in this Bill on the Executive that they have raised their hands in horror at the unconstitutional things which are being done. The title of the Bill states that it is an Emergency Bill. It is an Emergency Bill introduced under what are admitted by all parties to be more or less war circumstances; circumstances in which drastic and wide powers are considered necessary by the Executive. I am quite sure that anybody who is genuinely anxious to enable us to deal with the situation which may arise cannot hesitate to give us the powers asked for in the Bill.
Browne, William Frazer.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred Hugh.
Curran, Patrick Joseph.
De Valera, Eamon.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flinn, Hugo. V.
|Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Keyes, Raphael Patrick.
Lynch, James B.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
O'Reilly, Thomas J.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).
|Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter. Bourke, Séamus A.
Broderick, William Jos.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Gorey, Denis John.
Hassett, John J.
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
|Barnett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest. Keogh, Myles.
Minch, Sydney B.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Myles, James Sproule.
O'Brien, Eugene P.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Mrs. Mary.
Shaw, Patrick Walter.
Thrift, William Edward.
Question put: “That Recommendations 1 and 2 be rejected.”
The Committee divided, Tá 71, Níl 60.
Browne, William Frazer.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred Hugh.
Curran, Patrick Joseph.
De Valera, Eamon.
Dillon, James M.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flinn, Hugo. V.
Fogarty, Andrew. Sheehy, Timothy.
Gorrey, Patrick Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kelly, James Patrick.
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Keyes, Raphael Patrick.
Lynch, James B.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
O'Reilly, Thomas J.
Powell, Thomas P.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Sexton, Martin. Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).
|Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Broderick, William Jos.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Cosgrave, William T.
Craig, Sir James.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Gorey, Denis John.
Hassett, John J.
|Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
Minch, Sydney B.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Myles, James Sproule.
O'Brien, Eugene P.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Mrs. Mary.
Shaw, Patrick Walter.
Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Duggan and Conlon.
Question declared carried.
The President: I move: That we accept the following recommendations from the Seanad:
3. Section 1, sub-section (3). After the word “sub-section” in lines 28-29 to insert the words “or which is revoked by an order made under this section.”
4. Section 1, sub-section (3). After the word “cesser” in line 30, and within the bracket, to insert the words “or revocation.”
Question put and agreed to.
The President: I move: That recommendation 5 be accepted:
Section 1. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—
(4) If when an order under this section is made or at any time thereafter and before such order is confirmed by Act of the Oireachtas or is revoked under this section or ceases to have statutory effect Dáil Eireann stands adjourned for a period of more than ten days and if during such adjournment a majority of the members of Dáil Eireann by notice in writing given to the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Eireann require Dáil Eireann to be summoned, the said Ceann Comhairle shall summon Dáil Eireann to meet on a day named by him not being more than twenty-one days after the receipt by the said Ceann Comhairle of such notice nor less than ten days after the issue of such summons.
General Mulcahy: The proposal in this recommendation suggests that the Dáil is going to be given power over the course of events in the immediate future.
Mr. MacEntee: Is the Deputy opening a debate on recommendation 5?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is entitled to speak.
Mr. MacEntee: I just wanted to know that.
General Mulcahy: It is suggested here that the Dáil is to have power to take action in connection with circumstances that may arise in the near future. If the spirit of the majority of the House is to be the spirit of the President and of the members of the Fianna Fáil Party who have spoken these powers will be no use. The Labour Party have emphasised on more than one occasion that they are an independent body, tied to the tail of no party. Some of the speakers on the Labour Benches to-day emphasised the fact that they stand for peace and that they want the powers that are enshrined in this measure to be used only for the benefit of the people and that as far as their powers go they are determined to see that the interests of the people will be protected in every possible way. It is only because of this advance from the Labour Benches that I think there is any usefulness in this particular section, because the House has had put before it a measure containing certain powers. I think no powers like them have been sought even in this country for hundreds of years. I think it was in 1721— whatever kind of Government there was here at the time—that the Parliament in Dublin had put before it a proposal that supplies should be voted for twenty-one years. That proposal was defeated by one vote. From the attitude of the Labour Party here for some time past if there had been a similar party in that Parliament supplies would have been voted by a majority of six for the twenty-one years. The powers in this Bill are such that the President's acceptance of this recommendation is very cynical. Both from the Labour Benches and the Fianna Fáil Benches it has been made clear that there are some people who realise the very critical nature of the present situation and the terrible dangers that may arise from a prolongation of it. Deputy Dillon thinks that the President realises it. The  President always acts too late. He always sees common ground when the opportunity of taking part in a discussion on common ground has passed. On the other hand, Deputy Davin seems hopeful although he spoke perhaps with two voices.
Mr. Davin: No.
General Mulcahy: At any rate hopefully because I would not be referring to the matter at all if it had not been for some sign of hope from the Labour Benches to-day. The Deputy has declared that the proper Government in this or in any other country especially, under the proportional representation system of election, is to have it always dependent on the existence of a strong and efficient Opposition Party. That is inscribed in the hearts of the people of Edenderry as one of his first political maxims.
Mr. Davin: What is the Deputy quoting from? Is it the “Irish Independent”?
General Mulcahy: I can give the Deputy the quotation. The Deputy has subscribed to that. He and his colleagues, for whatever particular reason, in the discussion of the details of this Bill have silenced all the strength and the effectiveness of the Opposition Party. This recommendation here indicates what the Labour Deputy admitted here to-day—that they have a very heavy responsibility. That is they have the responsibility of asking to have the Dáil called together should the circumstances from their point of view dictate that course is advisable between this and the normal date of assembly, the 19th October. I think we are really entitled to some indication from the Labour Party as to the particular circumstances that they think would warrant the calling together of the Dáil. At the present moment there are in Dublin 14,600 registered unemployed as against 7,200 this time last year. I know it is argued from the Government Benches that instructions are in existence at the present moment which tend to increase the number of registered unemployed beyond what it was when they came into office. That is they  have invited people to register on the understanding that the distribution of relief grants and the institution of public works will be regulated according to the number of people registered as unemployed in each locality. As a matter of fact we have the extraordinary position——
The President: On a point of order I do not know how this could arise out of the recommendation.
General Mulcahy: I suggest I am in order in asking on this particular amendment how much unemployment in Dublin must increase before, from the point of view of the Labour Party here, circumstances will have arisen that will warrant their having the Dáil called together.
Mr. Flinn: That is a hypothetical question.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is in order in putting the question as to when they consider the powers given under this recommendation should be exercised but he is not in order in going into the details of unemployment. If he were, any other problem might be taken up in a similar way.
General Mulcahy: To-day on the eve of plunging into an economic war, the volume of unemployment is twice what it was this time last year. The tendency from the time the Fianna Fáil Party came into office has been this—that between the 14th March this year and 14th July there was an increase of 3,000 in the number of unemployed whereas there was a decrease of 1,000 in the same period last year. There is an increase of unemployment here in Dublin. As I say, that is on the eve of this economic war. The tendency is in the direction of increasing unemployment particularly in the City of Dublin. I want to ask the Labour Deputies again have they considered what further increase in unemployment in the City of Dublin under the conditions that may obtain after to-day will warrant their calling for the assembly of the Dáil? The Labour Party take a certain amount of pride,  and they are entitled to it, in the fact that they have set down in black and white their political programme. They have pointed out in their political programme that they regard agriculture as the real foundation of wealth.
Mr. MacEntee: May I ask the Deputy a question?
An Ceann Comhairle: With the Deputy's permission.
Mr. MacEntee: Is the Deputy opposing the motion to accept the recommendation of the Seanad?
General Mulcahy: I am not opposing the motion.
Mr. MacEntee: If the Deputy is not opposing the motion he is wasting the time of the House. Accordingly I move that the question be now put.
An Ceann Comhairle: I shall hear the Deputy further.
General Mulcahy: One of the particular industries that will be injured will be our agricultural industry. And so important have the Labour Party, sitting down in full examination of the situation, considered the position of our exports of agricultural produce, that in dealing with the question of agriculture in about nine paragraphs of their booklet, “The Nation Organised,” they say in one of the very first paragraphs as regards our produce, paragraph 45:—
We firmly support the policy of improving the quality of livestock and animal products generally so as to obtain the highest possible price in the markets of Great Britain. We also support every well considered attempt to improve marketing methods and strongly favour the proposals for organising the export trade, on cooperative lines, so as to eliminate unnecessary expenses between the farmer here and the consumer in Great Britain. We believe that a failure to improve the position of Free State produce in the British markets relative to that of competing countries, would mean rapid  retrogression involving enormous loss and all possible efforts should be made to place our goods at the head of the market.
The President: I submit the Deputy is altogether out of order.
General Mulcahy: I want to ask for the information of Deputies here, who realise, as Deputy Dillon suggested, the terrible distress that lies before us as the outcome of the policy the Government is pursuing at the present moment, and I want to ask the members of the Labour Party who are in a peculiar position a question——
Mr. Curran: On a point of explanation I think I made it very clear this day week what the position of the Labour Party is. I might inform Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy Morrissey that on that occasion I put the position of the Labour Party very clearly.
General Mulcahy: The Labour Party are credited with being the friends of the rural areas. I accepted Deputy Davin's statement here in the Dáil that they are acting as the representatives of the people. With regard to Deputy Curran I ask him as far as the County Dublin is concerned, and I ask Deputy Corish, as far as the County Wexford is concerned, how many months of economic war, stopping the export of our agricultural produce to Great Britain, is going to be tolerated by the labourers before they have to be called together and asked to discuss this matter. Are we likely to have them called together, or are we likely to have the Dáil called together; which by the way can only be done with the consent of the Labour Party, while this boycott and, perhaps, complete stoppage of our agricultural export produce, is going on without any opportunity being given to the Dáil to discuss the matter?
Mr. Cooney: You are the man who prevented the Dáil meeting in 1922.
General Mulcahy: Yes, certainly. It has been pointed out that the farmers are very badly hit. The information to hand, in the recent statistical volumes published, shows that the  volume of trade up to date, has been practically consistent. So that so far as distribution is concerned the number of people employed has been constant in the whole of the community.
An Ceann Comhairle: The question of distribution, production or employment does not arise on this motion.
Mr. Davin: Nor the Labour Party either.
General Mulcahy: What does arise is how long with the authority of the Labour Pearty——
Mr. Smith: Is Deputy Mulcahy lecturing the Labour Party as to their responsibility or is he lecturing the House?
General Mulcahy: We have been told that the Labour Party recognise their responsibilities.
Mr. Smith: Are you lecturing them upon that?
General Mulcahy: I am trying to get information for this House and, therefore, for the people as to certain things. It was Deputy Norton who told us to-day that they were not going to accept peace at any price. We are entitled to know from Deputy Norton what price we are going to pay for the satisfaction of being engaged in an economic war and at what price we are going to stop rather than continue it. We here can deal with our own affairs quite effectively, but we ought to know something of the prospects before us.
Mr. Smith: You will know that when it happens.
General Mulcahy: We will know that when it happens, and then we will have the Fianna Fáil Party in the position they are in to-day looking back at the “might have been” for the last ten years.
Mr. Corry: We might have you in Arbour Hill.
General Mulcahy: And trying to find out what ground would be available to discuss national affairs.
Mr. Davin: Where are you on that?
General Mulcahy: I want to know where Deputy Davin is as to the extent to which he is going to pay the price for war that he would not be prepared to pay for peace. I would again suggest to the Labour Party that these are matters that require the very fullest concentration. Again we are told we are entering upon an economic war and the President sees no way out of it. If that is so there is then one very serious danger and that is that the Jingoism that we have here to-day will increase in volume. I ask the Labour Party again to look back over their programme and especially to page 46. There we find the statement:—
The Labour Party would insist upon securing for the Free State every advantage accruing from any international agreement to which the country is a party. But declarations of policy on issues between nations, particularly on questions relating to finance and debts ought not to be made in the language of challenge and defiance.
Mr. MacEntee: I submit, on a point of order, this is an entirely obstructional speech.
Professor Sullivan: Obstructing what?
Mr. Carney: May I ask the Deputy a question?
Deputies: No, no.
General Mulcahy: The Deputy can make a speech when I am done. Their programme continues:—
The Jingo politicians of small nations, as of great, are notorious for the disastrous consequences of their leadership, financial and political. The chances of a favourable revision of the financial agreements with Britain have been seriously injured by statements made in the course of party controversy.
Mr. Davin: By you and others.
General Mulcahy: I take it that Deputy Davin will be entitled to speak after me if he wishes. Are we to-day, seeing powers such as are given to the  Executive Council, doing anything favourable to effect a favourable revision of the financial agreements with Britain?
An Ceann Comhairle: Order. To-day we have spent most of the seven hours which were supposed to be devoted to the question of agreement or disagreement with the recommendations, to the discussion of that very matter. On this particular question neither the financial arrangement, nor the land annuities are in order.
General Mulcahy: My reason for not intervening before was that I appreciated your difficulty, a Chinn Comhairle, in regard to questions of order and I felt that my remarks would be more appropriate on this particular question. I am simply pleading in this with the Labour Party, who are the only party in this House who can make this amendment, accepted by the President so cynically, effective to give the Dáil control over the circumstances that are going to follow the putting into operation of the matters now before us, if this measure is going to be put into operation for the protection of the people. But the protection of the people demand that they be guarded against an additional and excessive increase in unemployment that is promised here; that they be guarded against the destruction of our agricultural export industry in the circumstances that all farming Deputies are aware of here, and that have been pointed out by Deputy Gorey. If the whole position with regard to unemployment in certain sections of our transport and distributive trade is to be brought to any particularly great figure, that is going to bring about a position that cannot be remedied.
Mr. Aiken: I am delighted to see, as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney said down in Mayo last Sunday, that the ex-Ministers are beginning to feel the depression.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I said what?
Mr. Aiken: That the ex-Ministers are beginning to feel the depression. That is what the Deputy said last Sunday.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I beg your pardon, that is not what I stated.
Mr. Aiken: The Deputy said last Sunday that the ex-Ministers are beginning to see it.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I did not state that. I said that the people are beginning to see that the loss of the British markets was not a blessing in disguise.
General Mulcahy: Speaking for myself now I must say that I feel very much that the condition of affairs that has been brought about is going to be very bad for the industries of the country.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Mulcahy feels very much the depression now. Has he felt that depression for the last ten years?
General Mulcahy: Yes.
Mr. Aiken: Has he felt it when 250,000 Irish people were driven out of the country because of unemployment here?
General Mulcahy: Yes.
Mr. Aiken: Has he felt it when 75,000 people were doomed to live in single roomed tenements in Dublin?
General Mulcahy: Yes.
Mr. Aiken: If he felt it why did he not do something about it?
Mr. McGilligan: Will the Minister tell us what is going to be the result of unemployment?
Mr. Aiken: I am not giving way. If Deputy Mulcahy felt the depression in the last ten years why did he not do something about it?
General Mulcahy: We stopped the fall in population here.
Mr. Aiken: The population after Cumann na nGaedheal came into office, fell below what is was. Since Cumann na nGaedheal came into office at least 250,000 of the finest of the young people were driven out of the country; more of them were driven into the slums and they were driven almost into revolution by the Government's neglect. The ex-Ministers did not then feel this depression. They did not feel it until it hit them in their own pockets. That was the first time they felt the depression. They now talk about an economic war. An economic war against this country is not any new thing. It has been going on for 750 years since the British first came into this country. It has been going on for seven centuries.
An Ceann Comhairle: We have had seven hours on economics and on land annuities and we cannot have a repetition of all that now. Emigration to countries outside has nothing whatever to do with the question for which the Dáil has been summoned to-day.
Mr. Aiken: Deputy Mulcahy asks the Labour Party whether if unemployment went up they were going to use their powers under this Bill? Would they aid somebody else to summon the Dáil? The Deputy spoke very lightly about unemployment for the last ten years while the Dáil was sitting here. During that time the ex-Ministers denied the existence of unemployment. We want to know the extent of unemployment here in this country and we have asked in public advertisements that all the unemployed come forward and register so that we might know the extent of the problem. We did not want to shut our eyes to the fact. We wanted to know the facts.
Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll: Unemployment unfortunately is increasing every day since the Minister's Party came into office.
Mr. Aiken: Unemployment was increasing under Cumann na nGaedheal rule. There was then no Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Bill taken by the Dáil to deal with it. We asked last year when the Housing Bill was before the Dáil that something decent should be done, but Deputy Mulcahy then refused to accept our amendments to deal adequately with the slum problem. If the Fianna Fáil policy had been in operation for the last ten years; if we were producing here the things that we required within the country—the necessities of life and all the other things that we should produce—we could snap our fingers at any country that said it would not take our goods. The only reason why we are forced to sell abroad such a large proportion of our produce is because we are importing so many of the things that we should produce at home and which the Cumann na nGaedheal Government refused here in this House to make provision to grow in this country.
We had been asking the Cumann na nGaedheal Government for a number of years to make provision for producing here the necessities of life. If this thing does nothing else but to bring the people of this country to realise that every measure that is at the command of the Government should be utilised in order to produce here the necessities of life for the people, then it will have done good. The present position might have come in a much more aggravated form at some other time when we would be less well prepared for it. We have a chance now to set our house in order. The Fianna Fáil Government will give the order to do it and the people are going to do it. The Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies who are preaching here to-night about unemployment should have the decency to keep their mouths shut and give the Fianna Fáil Government an opportunity of going on with the work.
Mr. Davin: The Labour Party have strongly recommended the acceptance of this amendment and will if a vote  is challenged by Deputy Mulcahy vote for its acceptance. They recommend its acceptance in order to give this Parliament proper control over the Executive Council. They would do the same if Deputy Mulcahy and the Ministers of the late Government were in office. The Labour Party had recommended its acceptance in order that if necessary they should be able to give effect to it. I would point out to Deputy Mulcahy that the Labour Party alone is not in a position with its present numerical strength to summon the Dáil. I hope it will be possible, as it has not been possible in the past, for Deputy Mulcahy and his collegues if the situation justifies or warrants it to come together, and, if they find it necessary, to summon the Dáil for a particular purpose under the terms of this particular amendment. The Labour Party believe in the right of Parliament to control the Executive and that is why we strongly recommend the acceptance of this amendment.
Mr. McGilligan: I want to ask a few questions—first of all about this amendment. It is, as it stands, without any great sense and without any close application to the circumstances likely to arise. We are told that if certain things happen and if a majority of the members of the Dáil, by notice in writing given to the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Eireann, requires Dáil Eireann to be summoned, then the said Ceann Comhairle shall do certain things and certain things must happen. I want to ask first what does “a majority of the members of Dáil Eireann” mean? I want to ask if the numerical strength of the House is laid down by electoral law: is it a majority of the members who are found at any time to be in existence? I want to ask this: suppose that that question has arisen and that a majority of the members sign a requisition, what does the rest of the amendment mean? “If when an order under this section is made or at any time thereafter and before such order is confirmed by acts of the Oireachtas or  is revoked under this section or ceases to have statutory effect Dáil Eireann stands adjourned for a period of more than ten days and if, during such adjournment the majority of the members of Dáil Eireann by notice in writing given to the Ceann Comhairle ... the Ceann Comhairle shall summon Dáil Eireann to meet on a day named by him not being more than twenty-one days after the receipt by the said Ceann Comhairle ...” That requisition need not be based upon the order. The only action I take it that the amendment has is that the order just comes to a point of time. It is not to discuss the order. It is to discuss nothing. I welcome very much the statement that has been heard from Deputy Davin who has been trying to go a little far but not too far in the last couple of days.
Mr. Davin: I will not take directions from Deputy McGilligan.
Mr. McGilligan: Deputy Davin as yet does not know how far he is to go.
Mr. Davin: I know it just as well as Deputy McGilligan.
Mr. McGilligan: I want to get a couple of barometers for this. Deputy Flinn was in the House and I am sorry he has left. Deputy Flinn queried, when a division was challenged here, the powers that were being given, and said that great powers were wanted. So far as he is concerned, such powers are wanted to make him worth consideration but one can only blame the Almighty for not having given them to him, and, that being so, we cannot criticise it but we certainly can correct matters. Deputy Flinn came to this country because of a threat of war——
Mr. MacEntee: Is the Deputy in order?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is not in order in discussing Deputy Flinn or any other Deputy on this matter.
Mr. McGilligan: May I leave  Deputy Flinn out of the argument, and say, that if one finds that there was a Deputy who came to this country under a threat of war, and, if he again leaves under a threat of economic war, is that going to be the time when the Labour Party will say that the moment has come for their seven members to throw their weight into the scale with the others who are standing by and will they call the House together to discuss the emergency? We have heard about depressed people. I look along that Front Bench and I see there one man, who is now here, but who has not been here for a long time, and who might stand as a representative of the depressed class in any community since he became a Minister. If his depression goes to the point that he gets more silent than he has been for months past, would that be an emergency which would cause the Labour Party to join with those others who want to get the Dáil summoned to discuss an emergency? The Labour Party, for the period until 19th October, hold this country in the hollow of their hands. Seven political lawyers have brought us where we are and seven Labour men can repair their mistakes.
Mr. Briscoe: And 77 executions— two sevens after each other.
Mr. McGilligan: Seven lawyers and Deputy Briscoe's native Irish heart beats for the 77 executions.
Mr. Briscoe: There were many other non-native Irishmen who died for Ireland. There were many Careys and Pigots.
Mr. McGilligan: There are going to be deputations from this country sent to all parts of the world to get our kith and kin to rally to us in that direction. Will we get Deputy Briscoe sent to where his kith and kin belong to rally them to our cause?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is not in order in indulging in personalities on this or any other question.
Mr. McGilligan: If I could be saved from interruption, there would be no necessity for these personalities.
Mr. Brady: You are fighting England's battle well.
Mr. Briscoe: Did you ever hear of Pádraig Pearse?
Mr. McGilligan: I am not going to be deterred by any nonsensical jeers about fighting England's battles. I fight no English battle.
A Deputy: Nor Irish.
Mr. Cooney: You are well briefed.
Mr. McGilligan: We are saying to the Labour Party in this House, through you, sir, that, until October next, seven men hold this country in the hollow of their hands.
Mr. Davin: Not at all.
Mr. McGilligan: And there are people here and on the Independent Benches who will join with them at any time they want to call this Dáil together. The seven men do control, and what Deputy Mulcahy said here was quite correct, that we would like to have some indication of when they are going to be moved and when will that sufficient emergency have come which will make them call this House together? Suppose the railway staffs go out of existence, as some of them have gone, and supposing there is short time that will lead to no time——
Mr. Davin: You have put a few thousand of them out already.
Mr. McGilligan: Very good. There is a bad situation, then, but, supposing it gets worse, by reason of this Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Bill, and railwaymen find themselves deprived of their emoluments and pay,  they ought to know that, if they get a little bit of stranglehold on Deputy Davin, and, possibly, get him to sway his colleagues, they can get this House called together to discuss that emergency. If racing goes bad in County Kildare, and bloodstock sales round about the Horse Show period go bad, and the people of that area are deprived of the particular moneys that should be flowing through the county and irrigating it, the people, at any rate, should know that, if they can get a stranglehold on Deputy Norton, and he can persuade his followers, the seven men, joining with us, can get this Dáil together to discuss an emergency. Wherever there are men put out of employment—and everybody knows that thousands will be put out—by reason of this nonsensical business, every single one of them should know that there are seven so-called Labour representatives, with the interests of the working classes mainly in their hearts, and that, if they get any pressure put on these people, they can get this House called together, at any moment between now and the middle of October, to discuss the emergency that has arisen. There are certain seaport towns that are represented here by Labour Deputies, and Deputy Davin himself has some touch with a seaport town. If carryings go, and, if men who are employed about the docks find that life has not for them even the little it used to give them, then, again, these people should know, one and all, that they have seven people on whom they can direct their censure and on whom they can direct their efforts to try to get this Dáil brought together to discuss the emergency that has then arisen.
Mr. Aiken: And to do what you want for England.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister for Defence has spoken in this House on a number of occasions, and all one can say about him, after his speeches, is that he was a proper instrument to choose to send to anybody's house to insult that person. This is a very serious moment and there should be  none of this play back and forward across the House. Nothing is over at the moment, bar the shouting, and, mind you, a lot of people are thinking that the shouting is not over yet. It is only beginning. Nobody has sensed yet what are the depths of misery to which this country is going to be driven through this nonsensical business.
Mr. Briscoe: Such hypocrisy! The country has been in misery for the past ten years.
Mr. McGilligan: Nobody has yet sensed the extra misery through which this country is to go——
An Ceann Comhairle: If Deputies cannot restrain themselves they need not sit it out.
Mr. McGilligan: Might I finish your sentence, sir? They should betake themselves to their native heaths.”
Mr. Corry: You will go to a hot spot if you go to your native heath.
Mr. McGilligan: Nobody has yet sensed the misery coming to this country through this nonsensical business, but, as the days go on, it is going to be realised more and more, and, as it is realised more and more, I believe there is going to be more and more of a definite attack on the seven members here who are supposed to represent Labour interests in the country, and who are supposed to represent the employees. It has been agreed by everybody that the people who are mainly going to suffer, when this thing comes to a head, are those who work for wages. That situation must develop because the Minister for Defence is surly and cannot bow his head. There have been appeals made in this House to drop this nonsense and to throw aside the foolish case that the lawyers have put up—and it is essentially foolish——
Mr. Aiken: So say the British.
Mr. McGilligan: ——to drop this nonsense the Minister for Finance is so fluent about—the equation of war debts and reparations with this purely commercial debt.
Mr. MacEntee: I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy, but, again, is he in order in talking about the equation of certain moneys to our debts?
Mr. Corry: We will give them an “all-night” now.
An Ceann Comhairle: That discussion is not relevant to the question of summoning the House.
Mr. McGilligan: It can be summoned under this amendment to discuss anything.
An Ceann Comhairle: But not everything may be discussed on the question of summoning the House.
Mr. McGilligan: No, but those things which might be discussed under the Order, can be brought in as examples of things which the House might be called together to discuss, and these are without limit. There has been an appeal made here, for two or three days, that this Bill should be treated as a national question. Then there would be no necessity for this rather foolish provision, because, unless the Labour Party act, it is completely and entirely foolish and cynical. If that appeal had been made in any decent way, we might have what has been pleaded for, and pleaded for insincerely, a national situation. The national situation has been thrown aside and the national chance has been lost. There are seven people here who could have put their feet down and prevented that situation being brought about and they must bear the burden of criticism with the seven lawyers.
Mr. MacEntee: Again, is the Deputy  in order in stating that certain people must bear the burden of criticism with seven lawyers because a national chance has been lost?
Mr. McGilligan: The chance has been lost and these people have only one alternative now. They may act under this which was no doubt accepted because the President believed that they were definitely under his thumb and their past conduct entitled him to hold that opinion about them. The only hope we have is the few words from Deputy Davin that he wanted to go a little bit but he did not want to go too far.
Mr. Corry: He will not go far with you.
Mr. McGilligan: The only hope the country has is that when people are thinking of the butter in cold storage and of the cattle being kept on the farms, of the eggs that cannot be sold and of the general unemployment that will creep and spread over the country, these seven men will have got to think at night over that and try and make up their minds as to when the emergency will occur that will make them call this House together to end unemployment.
Mr. Cooney: Tell us a ghost story.
Mr. Davin: Seven ghosts.
Mr. McGilligan: Seven ghosts eventually. I said at one time that the position of a Labour leader in this House was not a happy one. The Labour Party voted for the guillotine motion this evening. The same instrument politically may fall on them very soon.
Mr. Davin: And you will be sorry.
Mr. McGilligan: And I will not be sorry. I will not be sorry if they have failed to do their duty.
Mr. Cooney: The position of an ex-Minister is not a happy one.
Mr. McGilligan: Possibly not because there is a feeling of responsibility attached to it, but we have no power in this unless the seven people join with us.
Mr. G. Boland: May I ask the Deputy a question? Is he annoyed now because the balance of power has gone to a body of Irishmen?
Mr. McGilligan: What is the object of this question?
Mr. Carney: Will the Deputy say something about the economic boycott of Belfast when Deputy Mulcahy had charge of it?
Mr. Boland: The people with a national outlook have the balance of power.
Mr. McGilligan: These interruptions show that the Deputy is not happy although there was applause when he brought in his last vote.
Mr. Boland: I will bring in many more.
Mr. McGilligan: There is not an easy feeling in the Party. The depression of the Minister for Justice is spreading. It is no good having it spread to that Party. That is not the Party that matters.
Mr. Boland: It is a better Party than the Party that kept you in power.
Mr. Cleary: The thirteen reactionaries.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy left a particular university to join another.
Mr. Cleary: I may come back again.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy may come back again.
Mr. Cleary: You are trying to get back to one for some time.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy had to deny that he had been there and he had to admit it afterwards. The Deputy may find, although he is not a Labour member, that his educational course may be interrupted.
The President: Can we keep the discussion to the amendment instead of having these personalities?
Professor O'Sullivan: Control your Party.
Mr. Gorey: On a point of order. When the President has made an appeal I think it is up to him to control the picnic, holiday spirit of his followers.
The President: If my wishes were going to rule the House we would discuss this recommendation on its merits.
Mr. McGilligan: Has the President discussed it on its merits? Has he argued about it? We did not hear an explanation from him as to what it amounted to.
The President: Because it was not necessary to explain. It was self-explanatory.
Mr. McGilligan: That might even have been said. There was no discussion on this Bill when it was in this House. What has happened is that the crisis is now on and the reason for it as I said last Friday is that we have got to try to justify a certain person's past. That is what has to be weighed in the balance against all the misery that is bound to come. The Labour Party have got to bear that in mind because the  Labour Party have not merely a great control but a great responsibility.
Mr. Dillon: This amendment which the Government has accepted secures a very valuable control over the enormous powers that they have secured in the Bill. It gives the majority of this House the power to summon the Dáil. I had hoped at an earlier stage in this debate that something might come from these parties who seemed to spend their time decrying one another and recalling one another's record at a moment when they should be thinking of the country and of coming together and doing something for it. I do not despair of that yet. It is my belief that if we cannot do that that terrible suffering must follow not only for this country but for the people in England too. It is a great opportunity for President de Valera and the responsibility rests on him of making some attempt to unite the forces of this country on a common ground and forget for the moment the prejudices that his own followers failed to forget for the moment and the prejudices that members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party feel and to remember that the country was never in greater danger than it is in to-day. He has got his chance and it is a difficult task, but he will get plenty of help from those who care for the country if he makes an effort at meeting his erstwhile political antagonists and invites all parties to attempt an amicable settlement of this business with the English people, he will lose nothing and he will gain everything. There are extremists on both sides. There are cheerful men who go careering with their flags flying and their bugles blowing and who usually are the first to run away, and there are people trying to forget the past which they may feel as bitterly but they do not romp in with recrimination and with joy, sometimes brilliant and witty but wholly unsuitable, when the whole existence of the country is at stake. It is great fun to score off one's opponents. Goodness knows, if  I wanted to score points, I could score plenty of them, but to-night is no time to do it. We are ready to forget. There are men on these benches who have as much to forget as any Deputy on either side of the House, whether Cumann na nGaedheal or Fianna Fáil. We are ready to forget and to do anything that the President may ask provided it is morally justifiable to help him along to make a friendly and final settlement of the differences that are outstanding between our people and Britain. Let the leaders on that side say as much. Let the President take a chance and make an effort and this country may yet be saved from a terrible catastrophe and our people may be saved from an ordeal, the most terrifying that any leader could lead them into.
Mr. Briscoe: I want to ask Deputy McGilligan just one question. Deputy McGilligan on several occasions has alluded to the faith I profess. I do not know whether he wants me to apologise for the faith I possess.
Mr. McGilligan: I have never done it.
Mr. Briscoe: You did. Stand your ground.
Mr. McGilligan: I did not.
Mr. Briscoe: Deputy McGilligan knows that I have a certain heritage. Does he want me to apologise for it or get up here and boast of the fact and say that I am proud of it, or what does he want? Does he want to make out that a man born in this country with the faith I hold has no right to participate in a national struggle which concerns the majority of the people?
Mr. Dillon: Deputy McGilligan has specifically stated that he never referred to Deputy Briscoe's faith. Neither did he. Deputy McGilligan  has never referred to Deputy Briscoe's faith, and is it in order for Deputy Briscoe to answer a statement which was never made?
Mr. Briscoe: Would Deputy McGilligan explain these references? They have been made on several occasions.
An Ceann Comhairle: When Deputy McGilligan states that he never made any such statement his word must be accepted.
Mr. Briscoe: I shall take it in a different way, then. Will he deny that he has stated definitely that my ancestry did not emanate from this soil? He will not deny that. I want further to ask this: Does he want to deny to any person born in this country the right to participate in a national struggle on the side of the people as against foreign invaders, or does he expect them to take the side which he is now taking as against their own people? I want an answer to that now. If Deputy McGilligan were to face an ordinary democratic election, were he to go before the ordinary population in any part of the Twenty-Six Counties to get elected to the Dáil and were he to put his record side by side with anybody else, I wonder would he secure election?
Deputy Mulcahy talked about unemployment. Two Deputies less entitled to speak on that subject I do not know in the House, because I noticed in all the debates on this particular legislation Deputy Mulcahy never once referred to his own constituency. He spoke of other constituencies, rural constituencies, but never once did he refer to the North side. I challenge Deputy Mulcahy to go into the North side and talk to the people there.
General Mulcahy: What have you done about Gallaher's?
Mr. Briscoe: It is still open.
General Mulcahy: Who kept it open?
Mr. Briscoe: Much to the regret of Deputy Mulcahy, Gallaher's is still there. I want to say that Deputy Mulcahy has no right to indulge in the remarks in which he indulged for the simple reason that he never raised a finger, whether for the old age pensioners or the people on outdoor relief. Even when this Government brought in legislation to supply milk to the children of destitute people, Deputy Mulcahy never got up. He now talks about the number of unemployed and tries to curtail the powers given here, but he did not give a single thought to them before. Deputy McGilligan tried to side-track the discussion to-night. He has no right to speak on that line. “People may have to die of starvation,” was his outlook once.
Mr. McGilligan: It was not, that was denied.
Mr. Briscoe: The Deputy may quibble.
An Ceann Comhairle: This matter has been twice discussed by the House. Perhaps the Deputy will now come to Recommendation No. 5 on the Order Paper.
Mr. Briscoe: As regards Recommendation No. 5, the Recommendation is that if a majority of this House feel that it is essential in the interests of the nation to bring this House together this part of the Emergency legislation provides means for doing so. I do not want to delay the House any longer in discussing this but I would say to Deputy McGilligan that he had better keep his remarks as regards myself until he comes outside in my constituency to make them in front of the people who sent me here. I challenge him to do that instead of going to the University for his election. He speaks for nobody in the sense of the population who may suffer as he says. I challenge Deputy McGilligan to come, between now and the time the Dáil meets again, into any part of my constituency.
An Ceann Comhairle: On Recommendation No. 5?
Mr. Briscoe: Yes, on Recommendation No. 5 and advocate that the Dáil should be called together or try to get the people who elected me to ask me to join with him in bringing the Dáil together. I ask him to attack me in my constituency in the way he tries to attack me in this House. I further want to remind him that unfortunately for this country the history of the country is full of instances of Irishmen of 100 per cent. Irish blood who let this country down. There were Careys and there were Pigots. Then there were men who were not 100 per cent. of Irish blood such as Pearse and Liam Mellowes. I want Deputy McGilligan to think of these things before he casts a slur on one who, even although he lives in this country and may be as good an Irishman as anyone here, has not got 100 per cent. Irish blood flowing through his veins. I want to make these remarks because it seems that during the last five or six months this particular abuse was indulged in inside and outside. Deputy Mulcahy tried his hand at it during the last Election. I happen to be here again and I now challenge. Deputy Mulcahy to come into my constituency or to go into his own and I will face him on his own platform or on opposite platforms. I challenge him to be a man instead of being a hypocrite in this House.
General Mulcahy: I should like to say that when we introduce the question of unemployment in this debate, we are not wholly dependent on anything we may have said ourselves to support our statements. I shall quote a statement from one who had been a political opponent of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party on the question of what has been done by Cumann na nGaedheal in regard to unemployment for some years past. I shall quote a statement made by Senator Johnson in Belfast as reported in the “Irish Times” of 7th April, 1931. Senator Johnson said that conditions  in the Free State from the point of view of unemployment were better than they were a year ago, or two or three years ago.
Question—“That Recommendation No. 5 be accepted”—put and agreed to.
 The Dáil went out of Committee.
Question—“That the Dáil agree with the Committee in its acceptance of the recommendation”—put and agreed to.
The Dáil adjourned at 11.30 p.m. until Wednesday, 19th October, at 3 p.m.
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