Thursday, 21 June 1934
Dáil Éireann Debate
General Mulcahy: When the Minister for Finance got up last night, a question was raised as to whether or not he was concluding. It was explicitly stated that he was not concluding. The Minister moved to report progress last night and was about to speak now. He rose in his place.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister was asked to explain the reason for this Estimate. He used some of his time last night in making an offensive observation in respect of an ex-Minister of State. He said in respect of Deputy O'Sullivan that he had dipped his hand in the Secret Service pot, referring to the period from 1922 onwards. It so happens that Deputy O'Sullivan did not become a Minister of State, having collective responsibility with the members of the Executive Council, until 28th January, 1926. If the observation were meant to be offensive  it is regrettable. That it was baseless is evidenced by the historical fact that the Deputy did not take office as a member of the Executive Council until the 28th January, 1926.
The Minister was asked last night to give an explanation of the increase in this Vote from £10,000 to £25,000. He gave no such explanation. Bearing in mind that the previous Government spent only £951 in the last year for which returns have been issued, the House is certainly entitled to know what is the reason for the increase. The Minister was asked whether or not any of this money was devoted, or was intended to be devoted, to political purposes. He gave no answer. He contents himself with a criticism of the previous Administration, going back as far as 1922—a long period. I have had on many occasions to complain of the obsession which appears to press so heavily on practically every member of the Ministry—the inferior idea they have got about themselves and their Administration which induces them always to go back and criticise what has happened before, and evade, in so far as it is possible for them to evade, any explanation or justification of their own policy. Twelve years ago, we happened to have just as little experience as they had during the last couple of years. It is interesting to note the explanation given to the House in respect of the Secret Service Vote on behalf of an Administration which had much more to do than this Ministry has had to do during the last 12 months or two years. There were then no police outside the city of Dublin. There was, properly speaking, no army. The Civil Service had to be taken over and reorganised. New services had to be inaugurated. Notwithstanding all that, explanations were given to the House in connection with the various Votes. Deputies can peruse, at their convenience, on columns 2210-2211 of the Dáil Debates of the 16th November, 1932, a statement made by the then Minister for Finance in introducing this Vote. He said:
“Not a penny of this money has  been or is being spent on espionage or in connection with the present police force or military operations. This money was required for a particular Service which has now been brought to an end.”
Further, to the Chairmen of the different Parties in the House at that time there had been a full and complete statement made regarding the expenditure of that money. There were three or four Parties in the House then. There were the Independents, the Labour Party, and the Farmers' Party, in addition to the Government Party. The Chairmen of these Parties were assembled in one of the rooms in this building, and told the purposes for which that money was spent. In that first year, a sum of £220,000 is inserted in the Estimates for Secret Service. In the following year, the sum put down was £50,000. This was the statement made by the Minister for Finance to the House at that time:
A member of the Labour Party (Deputy O'Connell) asked: “Would it not be advisable to consider postponing this Vote so that Deputies who might apply for such information would have it before them.” The answer was: “I am perfectly willing to do so.” The Vote was postponed from the 25th June, 1923, until the 19th July, 1923. The main question for discussion at that time was the amount involved. A statement was made to the House as to the amount that had been spent since the 1st April. The amount was £6,050. Can we get from the Minister how much of this £25,000 has been spent since the 1st April?
More than once the statement was made that the money was not used for political purposes. To come down along the years, while considerable sums were asked from the House, only fractions of the money so voted were spent. The information in connection with this expenditure was put before the House by the ex-Minister for Finance, Senator Blythe. Of the £50,000 voted in the year 1923-24, £39,000 was spent. In the following year, 1924-25, £19,000 was spent, and in 1925-26, of £20,000 asked for, £5 3s. 6d. short of £9,000 was spent. The real reason for the drop there was that some of this money went on Army service, and the Ministry then came to the conclusion that that was a service which could be dispensed with. I ask Deputies to mark the period—1925-26—not very long after the Civil War, and not yet at the time when the Deputies opposite who are now in ministerial positions had given up their nonsense and posturing in this country about a rival and usurping government, calling themselves republicans, and calling their institutions a republic.
I ask Deputies to mark how that sum came down after that nonsense had been disposed of. In the following year, although the Dáil voted a sum of £14,000, the expenditure was short of £3,000. A still more remarkable circumstance in connection with it is this: that although the Dáil voted practically £10,000 annually—on one occasion giving a Supplementary Estimate of £10,000 after the murder of the then Minister for Justice—not £20,000 had been spent in the last six years of the late Administration. Now, is it unreasonable to ask, in connection with this Vote, that some explanation should be given to the House with regard to this increase from £10,000 to £25,000? It was stated here in the House more than once during all that period that this is a Vote which does not lend itself to that sort of detailed criticism which other Votes do, but there are certain items in connection with it which the Dáil  is entitled to have. It is certainly entitled to an answer to these questions: Is any of this money being utilised for political espionage? Is it being devoted towards the detection of crime? Is it being devoted towards the prevention of activities on the part of those who seek to upset the State by military force or otherwise?
In the course of the discussion on this Vote last night, the Minister for Finance devoted practically the whole of his time to a criticism of his predecessors in office. I have dealt with that. If the Deputies opposite had been in the House 12 years ago, if they had not been going on with their political nonsense, they could have been invited to share that confidence which was extended to other Parties in the House.
Mr. Cosgrave: No, you did not want to know about it. You had no desire to know about it. Your efforts and your activities were devoted towards an entirely different objective. The information was there for members of this House. It was given to them in the formative stage of this State: in the first decade, in the first year. Could anything have been more candid? Why it was even urged on the Labour Party at one time, but the then leader of it said that they did not want this information because he would then be in the position of having to share responsibility, but, fortunately, he was not an Irishman. I say “fortunately,” because I would be ashamed of an Irishman if he put forward that particular explanation of his conduct.
Mr. Cosgrave: This is 12 years ago. I have had to refresh my memory by reading the Dáil Debates. I do not even remember who was present at the meeting to which I invited them, but the Deputy can deny what I say if he pleases.
Mr. Davin: I was a member of this House at this particular period. The information which the Deputy is now purporting to give the House is information to me and, therefore, I want him to state the name of the person.
Mr. Cosgrave: Positively certain of it. As soon as I get the Dáil Debates, and have an opportunity of consulting them, I will correct the statement as to the objection to getting the information and having to share responsibility. What we are dealing with now is the reason for increasing the Vote from £10,000 to £25,000. Do not shelve your responsibility now.
Mr. Davin: I never asked for and I have no recollection that at any meeting of the Labour Party since I came into this House 12 years ago, the members of it asked for detailed particulars—the purposes for which this money was being spent. I want the Deputy to name the person to whom he alleges he gave the information. He ought to get his secret service on the job.
Mr. Cosgrave: I adhere to the statement I made that I summoned the Leaders of the various Parties in the Dáil at that time and informed them about this matter, and I refer again to what I have read out.
“I will undertake to give in confidence to the Deputy or to any member of the Dáil all reasonable information in connection with this Vote if they apply to me personally.” Deputy O'Connell then said: “Would it not be advisable to consider the postponing of this Vote so that Deputies who might apply for such information should have it before them.” And the answer was: “I am perfectly willing to do so.” That was in June, and the Vote was then taken in July.
Mr. Davin: I do not want to be unfair to the Deputy or to interrupt him, but I think it is unfair to a person who is not a member of the House to allege, without naming him, that you gave information to the then Leader of the Labour Party, particularly when only just a few minutes ago you were pouring out personal abuse on a person who was unworthy of getting such information.
“I have admitted that it is possibly too much to expect that a modern State can do its work wholly with its heart, if it has a heart, on its sleeve; but I am not prepared to admit that a sum of £50,000 is required by this State for Secret Service. I have not asked for all the details to be published. I have asked the Dáil to disagree with a sum of £50,000 being voted for this purpose. The Minister has said that he would give as much information as it was reasonably possible to give to the Deputies if they would make enquiries from him, and more than  other Ministers may be willing to give. That is not satisfactory either. Deputies obtaining information of that kind are thereby precluded from raising the question of any matter which may be divulged.”
Mr. Cosgrave: I am not relying on my recollection for these things except in respect of that. I am prepared to make this statement and to adhere to it: I did give that information to the nominee or Chairman or some member of each Party, known to that Party as getting the information.
Mr. Cosgrave: And I believe that, in the case of the Labour Party, it was that person. It was made here in the House, and not alone was it given in respect of some member of this Party, but one member of the Party asked that the Vote be postponed until they got it. Here is the result.
Mr. Cosgrave: I must say that I am not going to take the Deputy's decision on anything, having regard to the form he has shown during these ten years. He is trying to wriggle out of voting for this Vote now. Let him; he is perfectly welcome to do so. He wriggled for these 10 or 12 years. He objected to the money being spent, and now I have given how the money was spent— £20,000 in six years. He now wants an excuse to vote for this. Let him have it.
Mr. Cosgrave: I have asked for some information as to what this money is to be used for. I have stated how the practice started in the earlier years. When you come down to the question of the expenditure of £1,500, £2,500, or £2,400, it is not necessary to give information to the members of the Dáil in the same way as it was when large sums were being disbursed. When those large sums were being disbursed, the Dáil was informed that they could have all reasonable information. We do not even go so far as to request that, but the Ministry spends £1,000 in 1932-33—£1,000 or less; they asked last year for £10,000, and they are asking this year for £25,000, and we want to know, having regard to what we have read in the newspapers about cases that have been in the courts, what are the purposes for which this money is required. On the President's Vote, I asked whether or not there had been a departure from precedent in that a member of the Gárda Síochána, in giving evidence, said that he was not bound by the codes of honour which would bind a grocer. I wanted to know whether that Guard was speaking from the book or whether he was merely speaking for himself. I would venture to express the hope that he was only speaking for himself and that the Ministry still hold that Guards, in the exercise of their duty, should be honourable persons and that they should not try to countenance the commission of crime. I think, in all the circumstances, we are entitled to the  information about this Vote which has not been given to the House.
“I beg to move this Estimate, amounting to £220,000. Before moving it I should like to make a short statement, as questions have been asked and allegations have been made as to the purpose of this Vote. I wish to make it perfectly clear that not a penny of this money has been or is being spent on espionage, or in connection with the present police force or military operations. This money was required for a particular service which has now been brought to an end.”
Mark that statement on the 16th November, 1922—This money was required for a particular service which has now been brought to an end. If it was not being spent on espionage or in connection with the present police force or military operations, the question will naturally arise as to what was the particular service for which it was necessary to ask the Dáil to provide £220,000.
Mr. MacEntee: The general purpose of Secret Service Votes is espionage. It is to secure information which is necessary for the safety of the State, but which cannot be secured through any channel other than secret service channels. The question which Deputy Cosgrave will have to answer is, if it was not for any one of these purposes, why did he want the £220,000? The detailed expenditure of moneys out of this Vote does not come under the purview of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. Instead of that, the Comptroller and Auditor-General has to accept a certificate signed by the Minister who has requisitioned any  sum from the Secret Service Vote in the following terms:—
“I hereby certify that the amount actually expended by me or under my directions for Secret Service in the year ended 31st March, was £... and that the balance in my hands on the said 31st March, was £.....; and I further solemnly declare that the interests of the public service required that payments should be made out of the Secret Service Vote and that they were properly so made.”
The purpose of the Secret Service Vote is, as I have said, the obtaining of information which is requisite for the security of the country, and which cannot be obtained openly. Deputy Cosgrave, in putting the Vote before the Dáil, expressly disclaimed that the purpose for which they wanted that sum of £220,000 was to secure information. What other purpose did he want it for? He said that the service for which this money was required had been brought to an end in November, 1922. Was it brought to an end? He had spent, out of the Secret Service Vote for the year ending 31st March, 1923, the sum of £118,000. When the matter again arose——
Mr. Cosgrave: On a point of order. The question here is a Vote for £25,000 for this year. I have no objection whatever to going into those matters that the Minister is raising, none whatever, but there is a time and a place for everything. We have not yet got an explanation for this increase from £10,000 to £25,000, the Vote now before the Dáil. That explanation has not been given to the Dáil.
Mr. MacEntee: I only propose to put the House in full possession of the facts regarding this matter and to show the actual procedure adopted in 1922 and 1923. We are following the precedent then laid down.
“I beg to move: That a sum not exceeding £25,000 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the charges which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1924, for Secret Service.”
“Deputy Johnson: I would ask the Minister whether the same remark that he made last year on this Vote applies to-day. There is a decrease of £170,000. Is this Estimate to be a normal Secret Service Vote?
“The President: I should say not, but I will undertake to give, in confidence, to the Deputy, or to any member of the Dáil all reasonable information in connection with this Vote, if they apply to me personally. It is a matter that could not well be discussed in public, but I think I will be able to satisfy them that it is a sound policy to adopt, and as long as the information is taken in confidence I would be prepared to go  into any particulars of details and to give members any information which would be accepted in confidence.”
That is Deputy Cosgrave speaking on the 25th June, 1923. Let us see how this undertaking was fulfilled. That is what the Deputy has failed to tell the Dáil. On 19th July, 1923, when this debate was resumed, the then President said:
“Cathal O Shannon: I do not know that the Dáil ought to be satisfied about this matter. Deputies who inquired did get a certain amount of information, but I do not think it went very far. When the Vote came, on a previous occasion, an explanation was given which everybody, I believe, was quite satisfied with, but I do not think that is the position now, not by a long way. Certainly no such explanation was forthcoming this time as the last time, and it is necessary I think in justice to the Dáil and to the citizens that we should have some further explanation, and I would urge the Minister to give that explanation.”
Mr. MacEntee: What is the purpose of the Vote? The purpose of the Vote is “to obtain information which is requisite for the security of this country and which cannot be obtained openly.” I am reading from a permanent brief relating to this matter, a brief that was prepared for my predecessor. It is an agreed statement to be made to the Dáil in relation to the Secret Service Vote. The purpose of the Secret Service Vote is “to obtain information which was requisite for the security of the country.” How has the Vote been used in the past? I have here a letter asking that a certain amount of money be sent to a certain other country in order to pay a certain individual there, an individual in the employment of another Department.
Mr. MacEntee: No Minister and no Government is entitled to use any part of the Secret Service Funds to defray expenditure on other matters, expenditure that should be met out of another Vote, expenditure upon the normal public services. I say that on at least one occasion money was used by the Cosgrave Administration to defray a  Charge which the Dáil should have been asked to provide money for on the Vote for another Department.
Mr. Cosgrave: I put a point of order to the Chair—whether that is in order. If this is to be discussed by the Minister then we get on to a finish. In the particular case that the Minister has brought up now there were three Governments, practically speaking. There were the old Dáil, the Provisional Government and the Government elected by the Dáil in December, 1922. I am not answering for these three but I put it to you, Sir, and I give you that information that if the Minister is to go into this matter we are perfectly prepared to go into it.
Mr. Davin: May I put this to the Chair in fairness to my colleagues whose names were used: it was alleged by Deputy Cosgrave that Deputy O'Connell asked for certain details. Deputy Cosgrave knows very well that the money paid out on that Vote was paid out to people in whom Deputy O'Connell was particularly interested. Does Deputy Cosgrave deny that? Therefore Deputy O'Connell was entitled to ask for certain information to satisfy himself as to the genuineness of certain payments. I am quite sure Deputy O'Connell would be anxious to oblige Deputy Cosgrave if he wanted to reopen it but I would say that for the personal advantage of Deputy Cosgrave he should not do so.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy gave the figures for 1922-23, 1923-24, 1924-25 and 1925-26. He did not give the figures for 1926-27. The expenditure upon Secret Service in 1927-28 was increased by almost 200 per cent.
Mr. MacEntee: He did not, because if he had it might be necessary to refer to the political espionage which has been carried on out of the Secret Service Vote. It might be necessary to explain why a man was put into the office of the Fianna Fáil organisation when it was being established—a man who, it was subsequently admitted before a court of inquiry set up by this House, had been in the employment of the police as a police agent, and who was paid out of the Secret Service funds. And the Deputy asks us to believe his statement that during the period his Party were in office they did not utilise this money for the purpose of political espionage. There is the Harding case. There was the case of that unfortunate boy, Carroll. These two instances alone are fresh in the public mind, and they show how the Vote was utilised in years gone by, and that the Dáil, when voting the money, knew the purpose for which it was utilised. We are not saying there has been any departure.
I should like to make it quite clear that if people came to us and stated that, as members of the League of Youth movement, they had been asked to join a reprisals gang in this country, we should first of all persuade them it was their duty to go and disclose the facts which they alleged they had in their possession in relation to a movement of that sort to the police, to the people responsible for the administration of justice. Nobody wants to see a reprisal gang in this country on one side or the other. We have had enough of political murder and political assassination in this country. But we are not fools. When we see, occasionally, within the precincts of Merrion Street, a man who, until the present Government came into office, was a fugitive from justice, coming out of the Cumann na nGaedheal rooms, do you think we are fools?
Mr. MacEntee: But when we see this sort of thing happening, when we see members of the murder gang walking around, as I said, we are not going to be fools; and when we feel it is necessary for the security of this State and for the preservation of public peace we will use the Secret Service money. We would rather we had not got to do it. We would rather it was not necessary. We would rather that every citizen who had information of the subversive activities of any individual or organisation in the country would convey that information to the authorities, who are entitled to receive it as a matter of civic duty and civic responsibility from every honest man and woman in the country. If, as I said, a person came to me and stated that he had been a member of the League of Youth, that he had left it because he had been asked to join a reprisal gang which was going to be armed with batons or revolvers——
General Mulcahy: It arises in this way: that the Minister is endeavouring to find people of a particular kind and pay them out of the Secret Service Vote; and when we want to discuss this matter here we are ruled out of order on technical points raised by the Minister. The Minister knows what he is talking about.
Mr. MacEntee: If they do come we will tell them what their duty is—that their duty is to report to the Chief Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána or to the nearest policeman any information they have in their possession. As I say, when people make statements of that sort, when we see the organisation that is springing up around us, and when we read in the official journal of that organisation that one of its aims is to build up an intelligence system in the country to which they will recruit members of the public service, it is our duty as members of the Government, charged with the preservation of public peace, with the maintenance of order, and with the obligation of protecting the citizens, to see that if we cannot get information given to us voluntarily we will get it some way or another; that we, at any rate, will be as well informed about the things which are going on in this country as the Leader of the Opposition Party, General O'Duffy, who claimed to be well informed about what was going on inside the public service and what was going on inside other organisations in this country. That is the purpose of the Vote.
I guarantee to the House that when the Dáil votes us this money, as it has voted successive Governments moneys for this service within the past 12 years, the money will be spent strictly for the purpose for which the Dáil provides the money; that is, for obtaining the information which is requisite for the security of the country, and which cannot be obtained openly. The expenditure must be sanctioned and no sanction for that expenditure can be given without the approval of at least two members of the Executive Council, one of whom is the Minister for Finance. When the Minister who is charged with the disbursement of these moneys gives the certificate he gives it in the form in which I have already recited to the Dáil, and which I will again repeat:—
“I hereby certify that the amount actually expended by me or under my directions for Secret Service in the year ending 31st March was £... and that the balance in my hands on the said 31st March was £...;  and I further solemnly declare that the interests of the public service required that payments should be made out of the Secret Service Vote and that they were properly so made.”
When that certificate is given it will be given without reservation and without qualification and, certainly, the moneys out of the Secret Service Fund will not be used by our Administration to defray expenditure that should have been brought publicly before the Dáil and paid out of another Vote.
Mr. MacDermot: The Minister has just made a number of insinuations. I want to ask him a plain question. Is this increase in the secret service expenditure due to fears of the Government with regard to supposed sinister activities on the part of any branch of the Opposition? Is that the reason for the increase? Will he answer “Yes” or “No”? If so, I should like him to do it before I go any further.
Mr. MacEntee: I do not propose to give any further information. The Government, having considered the whole position, are satisfied that it is necessary to ask for a Secret Service Vote of this amount.
Mr. MacDermot: The Government, having considered the whole position, has come to the conclusion that it would not be in its own political interest to disclose any part of that position to the House. I do not think it is much use wrangling about words. I am not interested in the question as to whether secret service can or cannot be carried on without something called espionage. Personally, I do not think it can; I think secret service implies espionage; but the question is whether that espionage is directed against political opponents because they are political opponents, or whether it is directed against people who threaten the peace and security of the State. That is the thing that really matters. The Minister has insinuated that certain citizens have been coming to him or some of his friends and informing him that they were invited to join a reprisals gang within the League of Youth and that they advised them to go and give that  information to the police. I do not want to run counter to the rulings of the Chair by referring to matters already ruled out of order, but perhaps I can say this much, that if the Minister is referring to the author of the document that was attempted to be read out here last night, he might consider that, even putting the best face on the matter from his own point of view, the conclusion he should reach would be this, that the person who comes to him with that type of information is not a person to be trusted, when he sees that such a person goes out afterwards and makes a statement that is in flat contradiction of the statement the Minister alleges he made to somebody on his own side.
Mr. MacDermot: I am not in a position to form any opinion on that subject, never having seen the man and never having read either version. But I do say this, that the members of the present Government have shown over and over again their eagerness, their childish and at the same time malicious eagerness, to grasp at any straw, to take hold of any discreditable piece of information that they hope will do damage to the Opposition, and they show very little disposition to examine the question of the authenticity of such information. I shall not delay the House by quoting examples of that, but I am quite sure examples are present to the minds of all of us. When people come to members of the Government with stories of that kind I suggest that if members of the Government do wish to preserve the peace of the country or to preserve even the decencies of public life, they would do well to take at their face value the declarations of the Leader of our Party, General O'Duffy, and they would do well, however sceptical they might be in their hearts, or however sceptical they might have professed themselves to be, to test the truth and value of those stories by giving him information of that kind and letting him examine into the question of  whether there is anything going on that ought to be stopped.
My own belief is that the Government are not really convinced by these stories that reach them; that they are willing to wound but half afraid to strike; that they half believe the stories but that they do not want to follow any course that would really put the accuracy of the stories to the test. If they believe what they profess to believe, that a large portion of this Party is corrupt and is following all sorts of sinister and subversive activities, and at the same time that there is a portion of this Party which consists of poor, innocent fools, then it would appear to be even to their own Party advantage to cause a first-rate split in the Opposition by enlightening the poor fools as to what is going on by putting the matter to the test, as it could be very effectively put to the test, by reporting such allegations to General O'Duffy or indeed to any member of this Party and having them investigated.
I have tried to look at this matter impartially, but I have the impression that the secret service money is being thoroughly badly spent. I know suspicions are entertained, which are groundless, about the activities of our Youth organisation; that suspicions are entertained by members of the Party opposite, and I believe those suspicions are being bolstered up by secret service agents who report to them the kind of things that they think the Government want to believe. I think the Government ought to accept this point of view, that we are, all of us here, equally interested in maintaining the peace and security of our population; that we are, all of us, interested in maintaining the authority and dignity of the State, and that we are all willing to co-operate against any sinister or underground activities that might be going on. If the Government would confine its secret service operations to keeping within bounds, or bringing to an end organisations that are definitely and explicitly directed against the order of things in this country, then it is possible that the people of this country  would be getting some value from this money. As it is, I feel honestly that there is no alternative for anyone who is unprejudiced in this House but to oppose the granting of the money for which the Minister is now asking.
Mr. Davin: I did not intend to intervene in this debate, and I would not have done so were it not for the insinuations contained in Deputy Cosgrave's speech. Deputy Cosgrave quoted, and I admit correctly quoted, a question asked and a brief statement made in this House in 1923 by Deputy O'Connell, in which he suggested that for certain good reasons, then and now known to Deputy Cosgrave, the Vote should be postponed. Deputy Cosgrave did, I understand, on a certain occasion shortly prior or subsequent to the time I mention, invite either the leaders or representatives of different Parties to a meeting, but he took very good care that he did not tell the House the purpose for which he required the representatives of the Parties then in the House to meet him. Is the Deputy prepared to tell the House the reason why he invited the representatives to go to a meeting? He summoned them to hear certain statements from him. Is he prepared to tell the House and the country the nature of the statement that he made to the parties who attended that meeting?
Deputy O'Connell did not attend that meeting. If there is still anything good left in the mind of Deputy Cosgrave in connection with this matter I would ask him to refresh his memory and say whether or not my statement is correct. A Deputy who was then a member of this Party, but not Leader of the Party, was present at the meeting. A Deputy of the House, who is now dead, was present at the meeting, and the object of the meeting was to explain to the representatives present the special reasons why payment of a particular character, not normally paid out of the Secret Service Vote, had to be made. I am sure the Minister for Finance has sufficient records in his Department to verify my statement. Deputy Cosgrave is generally very fair in his criticism of the activities of this Party, and he  very seldom, except in the case of one member of the Party, resorts to personal abuse. He engaged in a little of that to-day, but I am sure the individual he had in mind, and practically mentioned, would not make the insinuations that Deputy Cosgrave made against members of this Party, namely, that they asked for the postponement of a Vote in order that they might get information as to the purpose for which secret service money was being spent. I knew then and I now know the purpose for which that money was allocated, and it is not a purpose for which, either before or since, money has been allocated. I understand that the Deputy, who was then President, had a meeting with another distinguished politician, as a result of which he gave an undertaking that no further moneys would be paid out for the particular purpose for which they were paid out on that occasion. Does he deny that, or is he prepared to tell the House, and to tell the country, that there was a little more in it than these insinuations of his?
Mr. Davin: I am sure that we will hear from the Field Marshal before this debate has concluded. I, however, happen to know more than Deputy O'Higgins knows about the circumstances under which that money was paid out, and I think it was absolutely uncalled for, for Deputy Cosgrave to go back over the history of a particular payment which he is not prepared to explain to this House, and to insinuate that members of this Party attended a meeting for the purpose of finding out to whom, and for what purpose, money was paid for espionage on that occasion.
Mr. Davin: I merely rose to challenge or to contradict the statement made by Deputy Cosgrave that Deputy O'Connell asked for information for the purpose of finding out to what individuals and for what purpose ordinary secret service money was paid. None of that money was paid out for purely secret service purposes, and nobody knows that better than Deputy Cosgrave, and I challenge him to tell the House or to go down to the country and explain to the representatives of the people and to the country what he said to the representatives of the Party on that particular occasion.
Mr. Cosgrave: I will say just one thing in reply. I can answer every one of those statements and can brand the Deputy and his Party as disturbers of the peace, but I am not going to drag other people into a responsibility in connection with which my position was made plain to the parties at the time. I absolutely decline to defend myself and to make other persons responsible. I am taking the whole thing on my own shoulders—and it is not my responsibility—but I am prepared to bear it.
Mr. Fitzgerald: I was not here when this matter was referred to first, but I heard Deputy Cosgrave mention this matter of 1923, and I heard what Deputy Davin said. I gathered that Deputy Davin knows all about what happened on that occasion.
Mr. Fitzgerald: Certainly, I do, and I am also in a position to know that  when Deputy Davin asks for a specific statement to be made here in that connection, he knows that if it were made it would bring serious injury on a great number of people. He does not mind that, however, so long as it would injure Deputy Cosgrave. He knows that his proposal that that information should be given is a dastardly proposal, and one calculated to injure a great number of people about whom, of course, the Deputy does not care. We heard the Minister's insinuations and all the rest of it, in which he was trying to imply something which he knows is not true, just as in the same way I heard the Minister speak about a man named Murray—I do not know who he is—as a fugitive from justice as long as we were responsible for government in this country but who, apparently, felt it safe to come back here when the present Government came in.
Yesterday, my colleague, Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan, asked a rhetorical question, and asked was this money going to be used for the putting down of crime and outrage? Justice and order immediately became articulate, through the mouth of Deputy Jordan, and said “No.” Of course, as soon as the Deputy said it, he realised that he had stated the truth in spite of himself, and immediately, as a loyal henchman of President de Valera, he became indignant and wanted to say that he had not said it.
Mr. Jordan: Before Deputy Fitzgerald makes himself any more ridiculous, I will explain to the House, as also to Deputy Professor O'Sullivan, that I was discussing a matter with  Deputy Harris and not paying the slightest attention to what the Professor was saying. My “No” was to Deputy Harris and not to Deputy O'Sullivan. Deputy Fitzgerald should not try to make himself any more ridiculous than he has done already.
Mr. Fitzgerald: I understand that, Sir, but when a rhetorical question was put yesterday, the word “No” sounded here in the House, just in the same way as Balaam's as who spoke incontrovertible truth unwittingly, and just in the same way as Caiphas, on a memorable occasion, spoke the truth, which became a matter of supreme reality for all eternity, although he was unaware of it. In the same way the truth was spoken here yesterday when the question was put: Is this money to be used for the suppression of crime and outrage? And the Balaam's ass, or the Caiphas, echoed the word “No.”
Mr. Fitzgerald: The point is that £25,000 is being voted for secret service, and I can quite understand that that might be a justifiable Vote. If it could be used usefully it should be voted, but one must consider whether it will be used for a purpose that will be for the common good and whether it is adequate or too much. Yesterday a number of people tried to judge what use will be made of this money by referring to things that happened last year. They were ruled out of order or, at least, the Minister for Finance, with his Jack-in-the-Box habit, was up and down all the time wanting to know whether a thing that happened last year should be referred to, inasmuch as this refers to money voted for this year, but this afternoon I found him back to 1932 and referring to the murder of a man named Carroll. Somehow or other he correlated that with the present case of having members of the police force going about trying to induce people to commit a crime. The Minister knows perfectly well that, as regards the expenditure of this money, members of the Government do not necessarily know how it is spent. As far as I remember, when I was a member of the Government, nobody was commissioned by the Government or by the Government's agents to try to get other people to break the law. What I said at the time was that a man who was a member of an organisation whose method is murder, and whose end is criminal, gave information to the police. I believe also that he was actually warned by the police that he was in a dangerous position, because the police knew that the members of that organisation used the method of murder. Now we are asked to vote £25,000 to the Government for secret service methods. As I said, I think we might all get up and say “Certainly,” if we were satisfied that it was going to be used for the common good. We know that in this country, now more than before, there are secret  organisations who believe in the method of murder, who believe in corrupting justice by perjury, and endeavouring by threats to get other people to commit perjury. We know that the Minister for Justice assures them that he understands them and has great sympathy with them. It is the sympathy of co-naturality. Now we are going to vote money. Every right-minded person in this country knows that you have here organisations whose tradition during the last ten years has been the corruption of justice in this country through perjury, and whose method of attaining their ends has been diabolical crime. Certain people, whom I will not mention, were partners by sympathy with them over a great number of those years. The man who we must presume is going to be responsible for the expenditure of this money is the man who assures the gangs standing for the overthrow of this State and who have been responsible for murder, the so-called Minister for Justice——
Mr. Fitzgerald: I am very sorry. He holds the office of Minister for Justice. I am interested not in the office but in justice itself. That Minister got up within the last fortnight and assured the gangs responsible for the very outrageous crimes which the Minister for Finance referred to that he understands them and has more sympathy than most people with them. I hope that statement is true, because I should be very sorry to think that there was a majority of people in this country whose instincts were so diabolically criminal that they also had some sympathy and understanding with them. The man who sympathises with organisations whose object is the overthrow of the State, whose methods are perjury and murder——
Mr. Fitzgerald: But, as far as I remember the workings of the Secret Service Fund, it is expended by spending Departments. The Department of the Minister for Finance is not a spending Department. All he can do is to certify through the Minister of a spending Department, and make that money available to that spending Department.
Mr. MacEntee: Might I point out that I am the Minister responsible for the Vote. No money is expended out of this Vote until I am personally satisfied that it is going to be devoted to proper purposes.
Mr. Fitzgerald: It is a fact that the major portion of the money is expended through the Department of Justice, and it is also a fact that there is collective responsibility in the Executive Council. Consequently, we know that it is going to be spent through the agency and machinery——
Dr. O'Higgins: On a point of order. we are discussing the Vote for the secret service, collected by the Minister for Finance and expended through various Departments. Can we not discuss the various Departments in so far as they may expend that money, or are we to be confined to the collection of the money?
An Ceann Comhairle: Two questions have arisen for decision; one, put or suggested by Deputy Fitzgerald, that  the collective responsibility of the Executive Council entitles Deputies to criticise all or any Minister on this Vote. That is an absolute fallacy. The second point is that the Minister for Justice is responsible for this money. None of this Vote can be expended without the authority of the Minister for Finance; and the primary responsibility is his.
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy will allow me. Surely the administration of the Department of Justice, for which Department the Vote was passed by this House quite recently, should not be subject to review on this Vote for the Secret Service.
Dr. O'Higgins: The expenditure of this particular money under discussion takes place through various Departments. In discussing this particular Vote are we restricted from making any reference to the Departments through which the money is expended?
An Ceann Comhairle: Not in so far as they are directly concerned in this Vote, but the general administration of those Departments does not arise. Some reference to the Ministry of Justice in connection with this matter would be relevant, but not a general discussion.
Mr. Fitzgerald: I do not propose discussing the administration of the Department of Justice. We are voting money to the Executive Council. They have collective responsibility. A Minister of that Executive Council, who is the mouthpiece of the views and ideas of that Executive Council, got up a fortnight ago and stated that he had sympathy and understanding, and more so than most people, with certain people in this country. I take it that, as there is collective responsibility, that is a statement of the point of view of the Executive Council. This money is being voted for the purpose of getting information for the good of this State, and for the putting down of forces which would be inimical to the wellbeing of this State. My point is this: we are now going to vote money and to put it into the hands of agents for certain purposes for the promotion of  the common good. We are justified in considering whether that money is likely to be used for purposes for which we would be justified in voting it. When we have the people who are going to be responsible for the administration of this money, either directly or collectively, getting up and announcing, with regard to organisations responsible for murder, for attempting to overthrow all order in this country, for attempting to prostitute justice through the promotion of perjury, that they have sympathy with and understanding of them; when we have the people to whom we are voting this money explaining that those are their principles, and calling upon the criminals of this country to support them because they use their power to protect crime from outraged justice, then we should consider whether we will not actually do injury to this country and its people by putting money, which gives power, into the hands of such people as that.
We have here organisations whose declared policy is the overthrow of the State, who deny the right of the Government created by this Dáil to exist as a Government, who state that there is some other hidden body outside which has legitimate authority and the power of life and death in this country, and we have the people who now come to ask us to vote money, asserting that they have understanding and sympathy with those organisations.
The Government has a great deal of power, and while it has power for getting information from illegal organisations, you have one known as Sinn Féin which asserts that somewhere in its own organisation are the powers of government; that the Government here is merely a usurpation; that loyalty to the State requires that the Government in this House should be disregarded, and that these unnamed people outside should be accepted as the Government. You have another illegal organisation which says it is the Army, that it, somehow or other, has power or authority, and refuses to recognise this State. These organisations, by their very nature, by the end they  seek to attain, and by the methods they propose to employ, are essentially unlawful organisations. Some time ago I referred to one of these organisations as an illegal organisation, and the Minister for Education got up and questioned or challenged my calling unlawful an organisation that questioned that the legitimate Government of this country existed somewhere outside this Dáil, that this Dáil was a usurpation, that allegiance to this Dáil was treason, and that to support the hidden criminal body outside was true loyalty.
When I suggested that these organisations were unlawful associations, the Minister for Education got up and challenged that statement. By the laws operative in this country the Government has power to arrest any member of an unlawful association, and charge them with that membership. It has power to do that. Every member of the I.R.A. and every member of Sinn Féin are members of organisations seeking to overthrow this State. With regard to one organisation they have sought to procure perjury, and have been responsible for murder. They are clearly by definition an unlawful association, and the Government and police have power to arrest any members of the organisation, and to demand of them to make available to the Government or its agents any information they have. The Minister for Justice said that not a thing happened in the I.R.A. but is reported to him within twenty-four hours. That is a desirable and a normal circumstance in an ordinary, civilised country. That would be a desirable situation where the Government would be aware of the machinations of these organisations, in order that justice be put into operation, and that society should be protected. What have we here? The G.H.Q. of the I.R.A. are known, they go around and they hold public meetings and public brawls at Wolfe Tone's grave. They announce what their policy is. They assert the rank they hold, but the Government refuses to make charges against these, and the Minister tells them that they should support the Fianna Fáil organisation  because if a Government prepared to establish a reign of justice and order was to enter into possession of authority these criminal organisations would be mopped up within twenty-four hours.
Mr. Fitzgerald: The Vote is being increased from £10,000 to £25,000. I think that normally that would be eminently justifiable because the growth of criminal organisations in this country and the spread of subversive organisations is such as to make it more necessary than before. The Government should be in a position to get after these operations. This money should certainly be voted normally to enable the Government to put down these organisations, and to save society, and incidentally to save the unfortunate poor, ignorant members of these organisations from being brought into paths of crime by the criminals who lead them. The Government, which is bound by law to rule and punish, has refused to punish. On the other hand, we have the Minister for Finance, who gets up and waxes gelatinously rhetorical about the Blueshirt organisation. If the Government has any information with regard to the Blueshirt organisation as an organisation or with regard to individual members of it they have ample power to bring these people to justice. As far as I am concerned, if I had information which justified my believing that the Blueshirt organisation was an organisation out for the overthrow of the State, or for the overthrow of society and the protection of crime, I as a citizen should feel bound to give information to the Government.
The Minister for Finance talks about people who came to him with information. If he is not certain that they gave it to the police he should certainly put the police on the track of these people. Presuming  that they would have information that it is necessary and desirable the Government should have, I think the Minister would be failing in his duty if he did not take every possible step to see that the proper authority would be possessors of that information. We have increased the amount of this Vote from £10,000 to £25,000. I can see that a very good case could be made for that increase, but we are going to put this money into the hands of men into whose past we need not go, beyond pointing out that they were parties to crimes that happened. We know how the Minister for Justice asserted, with regard to diabolical criminal organisations, that if his Government went out of power justice would operate, and they would be mopped up in twenty-four hours. He appeals to them by submitting that he has refrained from acting against them. He assures them of his sympathy. Would the House be justified in voting money for putting down crime that threatens the nation, and handing that money over to people who, by public announcement, stand for crime and for all the subversive operations going on? It would be like trying to put out a fire by turning on a petrol hose. The Minister for Finance made all sorts of insinuations, as to how money had been paid previously, for getting information about political opponents. He knows perfectly well that Ministers did not necessarily know how the money was used. The police have agents, and they certify for the payments. I know personally that as far as the Executive Council is concerned, it was unaware of any money being paid for getting information against any constitutional political party.
In yesterday's debate, I think, the Minister for Finance got up and talked about injustice and expropriation by taking possessions from people, or taking jobs from people opposed politically to the Government. No one was dealt with except for a breach of the law. We are politically opposed to the Government, and we venture, in spite of the thunder of President de Valera—who assures us that a word against him is high treason—to indicate  that we disagree with the Government's policy. The Minister for Finance considers that identical with the case of people who went out with guns and shot and murdered people for the purpose of overthrowing the State. He says they were political opponents. It is political if you deal with men going around destroying the country, taking the lives of people if the people who do it are politically opposed. The Government assumes that it has the right to use all its power and to make use of the money voted by the Dáil to treat constitutional opponents as we necessarily treated the campaign of murder and outrage that occurred in this country. It seems to me to be clear that we are asked to vote money into the hands of a Government who are not going to use it for its legitimate purpose. The Minister for Finance may get up and say it is for the purpose of getting information. The question is: what information? They know perfectly well—and everyone in the Dáil knows, whether they pretend to or not— that it is necessary to have information about certain organisations. Presumably the Government had information beforehand about a meeting that was to take place in Parnell Square. It is clear that they had from the fact that the police came and occupied the building belonging to us.
Mr. Fitzgerald: I have no desire whatever to transgress your ruling, but I assume the Government at that time, either through the secret service or by other means, got information that a meeting was to take place at Parnell Square that was of such a nature that it was desirable that the police should watch to see the persons who would attend. We know that the police watched, and we know that as a result nobody was arrested. We know that the Government which prides itself and boasts to the criminals of this country that they are using the power they have to protect crime will use the power to support those seeking  to overthrow the State. That Government, whether it took the oath or not, is oath bound to protect the State, and we are told we must increase the amount of money required by 250 per cent.
The Minister gets up and talks about the money voted in 1922 and 1923. I can quite understand that the Government might want to have more than £25,000. As far as the Vote in 1923, was concerned the Government of that time in making use of that money felt called upon to let other Parties in the House know what it was being used for. To the best of my memory—I admit it is rather vague on that point at the moment—the other Parties agreed with the Government that the money could be rightly spent in the way the Government proposed to spend it. Though it was such a payment as commended itself to every Party in the House, at the same time the Government felt it its duty to make it known to the other Parties in the House. I do not expect the present Government to make known to us in any way why they propose increasing this sum of money because we know from their own statements that they are not going to use it against those people who are essentially the enemies of the people of the country. We have very good reason to believe, both from our own knowledge and from the statement made by the Minister for Finance, that this money is to be used against those who are law-abiding citizens in this country. The real crime of these people, first of all, is that they dared to disagree with the Government's policy, that they have dared to refuse to be terrorised, and that they have dared to stand up against the criminals who support this Government which protects them from justice. The Government clearly wants this money not to spend it in the interests of the people, but to use it in the interests of those who are not only enemies of the country, but are the enemies of what every right-minded man and woman must necessarily stand for.
Dr. O'Higgins: I read in to-day's paper the speech which the Minister  for Finance made last evening. I read at greater length his interruptions. He worked himself into a white-heat in his usual artificial way at the idea of the name of any man who was not a Deputy being mentioned in this House. I wonder would the Minister begin, even at this stage, to practise what he preaches from the Front Bench. How often has he indicated from that Front Bench over there individuals who were not members of this House?
Dr. O'Higgins: He is the Minister who most frequently refers to the name of a man who is not a member of this House. If there is going to be a rule in this House let it be a two-way rule. I do not mind which way. Either we shall play battledore and shuttlecock with the names of individuals who are not members of this House, or we shall refrain from doing it. If a rule is to be made for one debate, let us adhere to that rule for all debates. I listened to Deputy Davin here to-day in his charges against the Leader of this Party.
Dr. O'Higgins: The man who walks a slender wire never puts a foot one side of the other. He is a gymnast. He is accustomed to slender tactics. He is too cute, too clever, either to make a true or a false statement.
Dr. O'Higgins: I believe it is being spent mainly on insinuation and to a very great extent on lies. There are various Departments expending this particular Vote and we have had pathetic evidence of the expenditure of the Vote. We have had it by way of evidence. We have had it by way of manuscripts. We have the evidence rejected and spurned. We had the manuscripts rejected by not only experts but by laymen, and we have this Vote increased——
The Attorney-General: On a point of order. The Deputy has made certain remarks which I think must refer to a certain case. There have been two or three references in the course of the debate to the same matter. The Deputy well knows that that case should not be discussed here at the present moment, that the whole case is before the courts. If the Deputy wishes, I am quite prepared to go into that case and discuss all this business that is being raised by innuendo and insinuation here.
Dr. O'Higgins: I am not referring to any case that is sub judice. I am referring to a case in which judgement has been given. I am challenged to get away from insinuation. That is a challenge I accept every time it is thrown out. I am referring to the Hughes case.
The Attorney-General: If the Deputy suggests that a case in respect of which High Court proceedings are actually pending at the moment is not sub judice, or if it is proper or wise to have the case discussed by the Opposition in the way in which it is now sought to discuss it, I am quite prepared to discuss it. I want, however, to make it clear that I think it is not fair to anybody, to this Party, the Party opposite,  or to the person particularly concerned, that it should be open to discussion here.
The Attorney-General: I must protest against this. There have been all sorts of insinuations directed against me, insinuations such as have just come from the Deputy. If the case is to be mentioned, I suggest that we should have a complete show-down on it and have it discussed generally, but I do suggest that it is very improper. The decision has been challenged by the accused person, and proceedings have been brought to revise and review it in the High Courts. I think it is most improper that it should be discussed here, and that it is not fair to the man concerned.
An Ceann Comhairle: The practice in this House has been that any case pending, whether on appeal or at first hearing, should not be referred to in this House. I understand that this particular case is being appealed.
Dr. O'Higgins: Never has the Secret Service Fund been increased since the Oireachtas came into being. The whole tendency has been a decrease in secret  service money. Now, for the first time in twelve years, without any explanation, we are presented with an increase of not less than 150 per cent. in this Vote. I want, not to insinuate, but to state in a plain manner that this money, this increase in the Vote, is due to the suborning out of court of witnesses in a case like the Hughes case.
The Attorney-General: I say it is most unfair to me to throw out hints and suggestions about the Hughes case. I feel, in protesting against that, I am doing so as much in the interests of the man himself as anything else.
Dr. O'Higgins: If the Minister means about the waist I say yes, but if he means about the head I leave that to him. I am talking in this way because I would like to see the office of the Attorney-General held in respect, irrespective of who may fill the position or sit on the Government Bench.
Dr. O'Higgins: It may be peculiar to be honest now-a-days, but I am proud to enjoy that peculiarity. It is a characteristic of the Party to which I belong. I was at a case to-day in connection with which one of your own agents agreed that a penalty was imposed upon a man because he was honest, and told the truth. I want to know, and to get some answer from the Government Benches on the matter, what is the particular danger confronting the State to-day that makes it necessary that the Secret Service Vote should be increased by 150 per cent. and that the expenditure on Secret Service should be increased fifteen hundred times? Is there any particular emergency? We had an insinuation from the Minister for Finance with regard to the Blueshirt organisation. Surely to goodness that organisation has given enough pledges, and hostages of their desire to live within the law to be at least saved from the attention of agents provocateurs and to have their movement safe from espionage. They have lived for two years as an open political organisation, yet we have the unmanly hint from the Government Benches that there is something sinister and menacing to the State in the existence of this open Blueshirt movement. The world knows and the Government knows that that particular organisation is a straightforward political organisation whether its members are in shirts or out of shirts. Is that any reason for mulcting the taxpayers and bleeding the people for another £15,000?
Greenhorns, wearing green shirts, met President de Valera in Letterkenny the other day but that is no crime. Greenhorns in green shirts met the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in Roscommon but that was no menace to the State. It is a crime against the State to wear a blue shirt and it is an excuse for blistering the taxpayers in the expenditure of public money, to find out who wears a blue shirt and who does not. Is that the condition we have come to? Have we reached that stage that the taxpayers must be bled, and money spent to find out who is in the Blueshirt organisation and who is not? If anyone walks up to  No. 3 Merrion Square, any day of the week, they can find out who is in, even if they do not find out who is not in. There is nothing secret about the matter. One can see any agent, any officer or any representative of the Blueshirt organisation here in Dublin, or through the country and you can get the full roll of all the Blueshirts, and of every section, and company and district. Yet we find little touts going round drawing their £2 10s. per week inquiring who is a Blueshirt and who is not.
The members of this organisation have no reason to feel ashamed. There is no one of them whether beaten or not who is either ashamed or afraid to proclaim membership not only to the Government but to the whole world, and yet mixed up with this reference to the Blueshirt organisation we have an increase in this particular Vote of 150 per cent. and an increase in expenditure from a sum of £900 per annum to £25,000 per annum. Is this country going to allow all these touts to exist and is it going to allow the expenditure of all this money, which has to be paid by the community, on these people? The Government has spent an extra £9,000,000 a year by their majority in spite of the protest of the minority. Is that not enough to buy political support for them without this subterranean expenditure, increased by over £24,000? Must we always be blistered by providing for touts at the top, touts in the middle and touts at the bottom? Can nothing be done now to open matters up and let in daylight on what is going on? Are we always to curry favour with this peculiar organisation which is opposed to the law, and have we always to victimise those whose only desire is to live within the law.
We have organisations, unfortunately, in this country, whose proclaimed aim and object is to overthrow this State by force of arms. I do not care who rules this State, any organisation that says its object is to overthrow the State by force should be met by all the force of the State. It was so met in the past. What have we got now? We have one of the men who are expending this money saying:
Those were the most truthful words he ever spoke. That is a political argument that makes Deputy Donnelly laugh—if there were an alternative Government, they would deal with organised crime and mop it up in 24 hours. How much of this money is being expended on the mopping up of an organisation which proclaims to the world that its immediate object is to upset this State by force of arms? A man with all the responsibility of a Minister, with the peculiar responsibility of a Minister for Justice, charged with the safety of this State, goes on to tell his audience that he was appealing to them to realise their position. Appealing to them! There was not a thing that happened at an I.R.A. meeting that he was not informed of within 24 hours.
On what is the money to be spent? For what purpose is this extra £15,000 being called for from the taxpayers? Is it to procure information upon which the Government will not act? Is it to supply information to a Minister for Justice and to a Government who have the streak of the poltroom running from top to bottom and who will not act on the information they get? They are faced with an organisation pledged to upset the State by force of arms. They are spending the money and they are getting the information. The Minister for Justice says that when they get that information they will not act on it.
There is an election next Tuesday. Of course, the boys know the reason. There will be an election after that, and the boys will know the reason again. But the men want to know the reason why they are paying the money; why the taxes are being sucked out of them. The boys know the reason. You know the reason.
You cannot lie down with dogs, Deputy  Donnelly, and escape fleas. The fleas are hopping all along that Front Bench. You cannot touch pitch and escape black. You cannot fraternise with the foe and carry on a war. Yet, the Secret Service Vote in every country is for the purpose of safeguarding the State—to get information for the purpose of acting on it. I want the Dáil to realise that, from an expenditure of £951 12s. 10d. in the year 1932-33, this Vote has gone up to an estimated expenditure of £25,000 for the year 1934-35. At the time that you are asked for that increase of £24,000 you have a pledge from the Minister for Justice, made in public, that any information with regard to organised crime and organised criminals will not be acted upon. Let the Dáil vote in the light of that.
Mr. Donnelly: We have had one more characteristic speech from Deputy O'Higgins. There was quite a little variety in this speech, in that it differed from the others. There was a nice little note about myself—that you cannot lie down with dogs and get up without fleas.
Mr. Donnelly: There may be a kind of subtle humour in that remark but I do not appreciate it. As I was coming into the House yesterday evening, my ear caught the voice of Deputy McMenamin, who was holding forth on this Vote. “There is £25,000,” he said, “being voted and that money is being voted for the encouragement of spies.” We all know that spies have always been hated in Ireland. Personally, I detest the word “spy” and I detest anybody who is a spy. That hatred of spies of any sort comes, I think, instinctively to any Irishman. We do not want spies. We do not like them. Spying is repugnant and revolting to any decent Irishman. We have had enough examples of it and enough object lessons. Knowing all that—I presume the Leader of the Opposition knows it better than I do; I speak now of people going into political movements for the sake of  espionage—I was surprised to hear from the lips of Deputy Cosgrave himself that from November, 1922, political espionage had practically come to an end. There was no political espionage after that date, according to the Deputy. One unfortunate date which he gave was the 19th July, 1923. That was just prior to the dissolution of the Dáil. He seemed to get quite excited about it. If I know anything about the history of that time, when Deputy Cosgrave and his Government were in office, every street and townland in the country was teeming with political spies. Deputy Mulcahy ought to know about that. I should like to put one pertinent question about political espionage. A fortnight after that date the present President of the Executive Council went to Ennis. How much of the Secret Service Fund was spent in trailing the President when he went to address a political meeting in his own constituency? We know what occurred. I am sure that Deputy Mulcahy has a very vivid remembrance of that incident. A week or ten days afterwards Deputy Cosgrave went to that very same town and gloated and gloried over what took place there and boasted of how the population were dispersed by rifle fire, paid for, I presume, out of the same fund. If it was not paid for out of the Secret Service Fund, then it was paid for illegally out of some other fund to disperse illegally an election meeting to be addressed by President de Valera. Deputy Cosgrave had the audacity, nevertheless, to come into this House this evening and make the statement he did. Possibly he was in the dark as to what was taking place. He may not have known what his lieutenants of the type of Deputy Mulcahy were doing at the time. He may have been kept in ignorance of some of these facts and of the expenditure of Secret Service money at that time. He made that boast in Ennis after the arrest of President de Valera. What amount of Secret Service money was spent in that town? I was astounded when I heard the statement that was made here to-day by the Leader on the Front Opposition Bench. When I was director of organisation in the  offices of Sinn Fein I was handed a note from one of their Secret Service agents: “Put on your hat and coat and come quietly or else,” and then there was a dash. We all know what occurred when I arrived in custody at the headquaters of the then Government to be “put through it,” as they said in those days. It was easy to tell the amount of money that was being spent on political espionage in those days, and yet Deputy Cosgrave says that he invited the Leaders of the other political Parties to meet him at that time. He said that we knew nothing about it because we were not in the Dáil then, but I can tell him that individually we were made to “go through it.” Large sums of Secret Service money were expended at that time to persecute members of this Party, who are now members of this House, to hunt them and physically to disable them, yet Deputy Cosgrave says that the money was not used for political purposes at that time. I am surprised, if Deputy Cosgrave knew, that he should have said that. The idea has come into my head since I heard him speak that it is quite possible that he did not know. Deputy Mulcahy may smile.
Mr. Donnelly: I do not know, but I certainly know this: that the statement is false. It is an unfounded statement. If ever there was a lie stated in this Assembly, that was one: that no money was ever used for political espionage from November, 1922. So far as I am concerned, that statement will not go uncontradicted on the records of this House. There is another matter that I want to refer to. I have not the documents with me at the moment, and on this I speak subject to correction. Did the previous Government—the Cumann na nGaedheal Government led by Deputy Cosgrave—ever refuse the Comptroller and Auditor-General access to these accounts? When some of the Deputies on the opposite side are speaking I would like them to give an answer to this question: In 1927 was the Comptroller and Auditor-General refused permission to examine these accounts so that he could see how  Secret Service money was being spent? I can fully understand the attitude of Deputy McMenamin and Deputy MacDermot. They do not know. I can quite well understand, too, the attitude of Deputy Cosgrave the leader of the Opposition, in not wanting us to go back to 1922 or 1923, and in characterising our action as nonsense. Some day Deputies of the type of Deputy McMenamin and Deputy MacDermot will read, possibly, in some historical records that will be vouched for as to their accuracy how Secret Service money was spent by the Government that preceded this Government. When they have read those records they will have a better knowledge than they have at present of the character of some of their colleagues in the Party they belong to to-day.
Deputy O'Higgins, as usual, suggested that the increase in this Vote was for the purpose of waging war on or to get after an open, constitutional political organisation called the Blueshirts. I am not so sure that this organisation is just so open and so constitutional as Deputy Dr. O'Higgins alleges. In my opinion that organisation is less anti-Fianna Fáil than it is anti-President de Valera. That is the way in which, from some of its angles, that organisation appeals to me. I was in a certain area yesterday, and from what I saw at a public meeting I feel that the Government are perfectly entitled and would be wanting in their duty if they did not keep a close eye on an organisation, judging by some of the elements that compose it. To anyone professing Irish Ireland ideas it must be clear that no good purpose is going to be served by bringing together such elements. I saw there ex-captains and ex-colonels of the British Army, the Hancocks and the Warrens——
Mr. Donnelly: The Government would be wanting in their duty if they did not keep a close eye on this organisation. I cannot understand why there should be any objection on the part of the Opposition to that. I give my reasons honestly. As Deputy MacDermot is now in the House I repeat that in my opinion a careful eye ought to be kept on the Blueshirt organisation. In my opinion it is more anti-President de Valera than anti-Government. That is my opinion for what it is worth. The Deputy may laugh.
Mr. Donnelly: No, not at all—not as a politician, not as the Leader or Head of the Government, and not as critics of his public actions, but the Deputy will some day learn that there are other things and other motives that actuate mentalities different from his. It has been so for quite a long time and, possibly, will be so in the future. If Deputy MacDermot wants any advice on that type of question he can have no better instructor than the Deputy who is now sitting beside him.
Mr. Donnelly: I was referring to the fact that Deputy Cosgrave made a statement that political espionage had stopped in November, 1922. I simply want to refute that statement and to have it on the records of the House that that is not the case. I introduced my remarks on this Vote by saying that instinctively every Irishman hates and detests this thing of espionage. In this House one hears in speech after speech disrespectful remarks made about the President of the Executive Council. They are made in provincial newspapers by people who never saw him. They are made a mouthpiece for hurling personal abuse at him. Only yesterday I heard that kind of thing myself, and Deputy Keating heard it. These are the circumstances under which the President has to carry on. In my opinion the Government are quite justified in increasing the Secret  Service Vote, and in keeping a careful eye on quite a lot of these gentlemen. This is a matter on which Deputy Mulcahy is not too innocent. There was something, perhaps, in what Deputy MacDermot said that there are two lines of division on the Opposition Benches.
Mr. Donnelly: I certainly could not reconcile all the elements that are in it, and I am not going to try. The money asked for in this Estimate does not represent such a huge sum. It does not follow that, because a certain sum is voted, every penny of it is going to be spent. We had not one constructive word of criticism from the Deputies on the opposite benches. They did not make one suggestion as to how the task of the Government could be made easier, or where possible savings could take place. Deputy MacDermot smiles. Surely the Deputy could tell us where savings might take place. The Deputy could easily say: “Our Party is prepared to co-operate with the Government in the tasks that they have on hand; we are ready to advise our people to be quiet and to obey the law.” Instead of that we have parades and marching and countermarching and all the rest of it. There is such a thing in this country as giving provocation by going to a place where you know your presence is not welcome. There is such a thing as that to which Deputy McGuire referred in the debate on, I think, the Estimate for the Department of the Minister for Justice, of going to an area where quarrels may arise. The Opposition should co-operate with the Government in this respect and keep away from such places. When they will not co-operate, certain things undoubtedly have got to be done in advance, and undoubtedly the Government have to make preparations in advance. Deputy  Mulcahy knows that. The Government are only doing what you did when you were in office.
Mr. Donnelly: Well, not exactly in that respect but in taking steps to see that no disorder takes place. Much has been made by Deputy Dr. O'Higgins of the fact that the Minister for Justice delivered a warning to a certain organisation in the country. If he had not given that warning and if he had gone down and made a speech on something else, that would not do either. He has often been taunted in this House with being lax in the performance of his duty with regard to that organisation, but he warned that organisation and it is much better to do that sort of thing, even if he is taunted with it here, and see what results will accrue from the warning. Do co-operate in some way and make these things unnecessary. We have, however, your Leader reported in the papers the other day as saying, in some place or other, that his patience is nearly exhausted. I wonder what that means? I wonder what you intend to do with this peaceful, lamb-like organisation—the League of Youth or whatever it is? What does he mean by saying that his patience is coming to an end? What does it foretell? What is going to happen in the future? We are not going to wait very long. This Government does not know the law—the courts are getting plenty of practice in it—but the Government does not know it and they will be made to keep the law by your Leader, whose patience is nearly exhausted.
Mr. Donnelly: I was making the point that the Government has, by various methods, to make itself aware of the actual carrying out of threats made, in some cases, perhaps, by the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Donnelly: This was very fully discussed before you came in, but I bow to your ruling, Sir. That is my contribution to the debate and I sincerely hope that we will get something constructive and fewer personalities from the Opposition.
Mr. MacDermot: I think Deputy Donnelly's contribution to the debate was well worth making because it is really a remarkable revelation of the state of mind of Deputies opposite. It shows that they regard the Secret Service money as a Party fund.
Mr. MacDermot: As a Party fund. The ground on which Deputy Donnelly defended this expenditure and this great increase in Secret Service expenditure was that there was so much personal antipathy to President de Valera through the country.
Mr. MacDermot: That was the outstanding point of his speech. How the Secret Service money is going to get rid of personal antipathy is a question I shall not attempt to answer, but whether it could have that effect or not, it does not, at any rate, seem to be the proper motive for increasing Secret Service expenditure.
Mr. Donnelly: I should like to intervene for a moment. Let the Deputy look at the mottoes on the public roads of this country. It would be well-spent money if money was expended on getting some of these personal and vulgar inscriptions blotted out.
Mr. MacDermot: I thoroughly agree. There are a lot of personal and vulgar remakrs posted up in connection with political propaganda and they are very far from being confined to one side. I saw personal and vulgar remarks posted up about colleagues of mine, and, indeed, about myself, long before I ever saw any about the President of the Executive Council. These facts, so far as they are facts, are totally irrelevant to whether this money ought to be provided by the Dáil or not. The  fact that Party controversy descends to personalities is neither here nor there.
Mr. MacDermot: Deputy Donnelly says that the necessity for secret service money would disappear if the Opposition would co-operate with the Government in everything they do. That is a lovely solution of our difficulties ! There is only one matter in which Deputy Donnelly has any right to call upon the Opposition to co-operate with the Government in relation to the expenditure of secret service money and that is in the maintenance of law and order, and, in that, we are co-operating. It is easy to talk of provocation arising from marching and counter-marching. There was that sort of provocation going on, rampant all over the country, before the League of Youth came into existence.
Mr. MacDermot: The complaints of the Deputy can have no relevance at all unless he is able to prove that our Youth organisation in any part of the country is breaking up public meetings or exercising intimidation over individuals or over classes, and he cannot prove that because it is not true.
Mr. Donnelly: I would ask the Deputy to give way to me for a moment. Yesterday, I listened to a Captain Parker parading men and telling a public meeting how they had been beaten. What is the object behind all that sort of thing?
Mr. MacDermot: In any case, it is  surely farcical for anyone to say that because people complain that they have been beaten, they are inciting to violence. That is a most extraordinary notion of what incitement consists of.
Mr. MacDermot: Let us get back to the main point. All that has proceeded from the mouths of Deputies opposite in relation to this particular Vote shows that they regard the money as money well spent—for what purpose? For the purpose of injuring, if they can, their political opponents, and for the purpose of furthering their own political interests, if they can. Not a single word has been uttered by anybody over there as to the dangers that surround this State in connection with the existence of people who proclaim their desire to overthrow it. No defence has been made of Secret Service expenditure on that ground—at least, if it has, it was not made in my presence. This House is being asked to add £15,000 to last year's £10,000, and no excuse has been given for it except the suspicions and insinuations in which the Deputies opposite so much love to indulge in connection with the supposed sinister intentions of this Party.
Mr. MacDermot: Take the matter about which the Minister for Finance was talking to-day—the allegation that somebody had been asked to join a reprisals gang. I will grant this much: that has not been invented as a sort of counterblast to the document produced last night, because I heard that at the time. That statement was reported to me at the time, in a voice of horror, by Erskine Childers, who, I am glad to say, is a personal friend of mine, and in whose honour I place implicit reliance. I told him then, as I would tell him now, that it was tommy rot, and the whole trouble with Deputies opposite is that they will swallow any sort of tommy rot and accept any evidence, however tainted, as long as it reflects on their political  opponents. That is why they are spending more and more Secret Service money and getting rottener and rottener information all the time.
General Mulcahy: The Minister, by way of innuendo and suggestion, told us to-day what the Vote that is now being voted is intended for. It is to carry out an espionage plan on his political opponents. The Minister has said that persons have come to him and stated that they have been asked, as members of the League of Youth, to join reprisals gangs, that he has sent them to the police, and has asked them to tell the police what they told either him or the people who were associated with him.
General Mulcahy: Well now that “if” was born after the Minister had gone on for a number of paragraphs. I would suggest to the Minister that he would do what I propose to do in similar circumstances in the interests of getting at the facts—and what I have done in previous cases—get them to make a sworn statement to the Minister, and however narrowly they may be within or without the rules of order in this House, I will undertake to the Minister not to raise the slightest objection on a point of order to any affidavit on any matter like that which he proposes to bring into this House as a testimony of the statements he has made.
The Minister has attempted to make a statement here to-day similar to that which I was proposing to make last night by way of sworn affidavit. The Minister thinks that he can get away with the suggestions that he made in this particular way on his part where he can stop on a point of order the putting of an absolute sworn testimoney before this House. I am quite satisfied from what the Minister has told the House that the information that is already available to us is true —that is that the members of the Government have no information that  the League of Youth is an armed organisation; that they are anxious to get that information; and that for the purpose of getting that information by hook or by crook, by manufacture or otherwise, they are increasing their Secret Service Vote to £25,000. That is the position clearly with regard to the Minister.
Deputy Davin dragged a lot of extraneous stuff into the remarks that he had to make here. The Deputy said he would not have spoken but he expected that there was a lot of extraneous stuff to be dealt with. But Deputy Davin has made it a habit to speak on the Secret Service Vote. I would draw the attention of the House to his remarks as reported in column 84 of the Official Debates of the 2nd June, 1925:—
“...that no case can be made out to warrant a Vote of this kind, and that no case can be made out by the Minister responsible for the spending of this money to show that any good work, or useful work, or any information of a useful nature, has ever been conveyed to the Government that would warrant this particular Vote.”
That is certainly the position to-day as far as the spending of this £25,000 by the Minister is concerned. It is a handover to some of his followers. It is a bribe to some people that he wishes to turn into spies. He is not going to get anything from them, except that he may get this as part of the general publicity campaign carried out with the greatest and most modern assistance in ideals in a publicity campaign, to get the League of Youth stigmatised as an armed organisation. The performances of the League of Youth can be relied upon to answer that charge in any county in this State.
Mr. MacEntee: It is rather regrettable that this matter was not debated in the spirit in which Deputy MacDermot approached it. Quite obviously it is the sort of Vote that can breed a great deal of misunderstanding in the public mind and a great deal of unpleasantness between Parties in this House. it is a distasteful thing to any man of normal sensibility who is called  upon to accept responsibility as a member of the Executive Council, to have to make himself responsible for the disbursement of moneys for a service of this kind. But it is an unpleasant duty that has to be undertaken. Secret Service is common to every State. Probably the manner in which the Secret Service money is used in this country is less objectionable than in most countries. As I have already indicated, while the details of the expenditure are not surveyed by the Comptroller and Auditor - General, nevertheless, a very specific certificate has to be given by the Minister directly responsible for the expenditure of the Secret Service money, and as to the manner in which it has been expended. I am sure that no Minister would lightly give a certificate of that kind affecting his own personal honour. The expenditure of this money is a distasteful duty. We and our predecessors— and in this matter I make no distinction between them and ourselves— recognise that it is a distasteful duty. In the course of years they reduced the Vote from a very considerable sum in 1922-1923 to an insignificant figure in 1931-1932. When we came into office we were even more averse than they were to spending money on a service of this kind. In 1931-32 the expenditure had been reduced to £1,512, and in the year 1932-33 we actually brought it down to the sum of £952. We should possibly have reduced it even further in 1933-34 if it were not for the fact that we saw growing up before us in the country a movement of a militaristic type. I think the word “militaristic” was used in relation to that movement by one of the people now holding a responsible position in it. That is a movement in which people band themselves together as an army. Such a movement is one admittedly in relation to which all information possible ought to be secured, because it is obvious from the pronouncements made by some of the people responsible for that movement that ultimately they were going to rely, not upon the suffrages of the people, but upon combined and organised force to give them  power in this country. The people who were originally responsible for that movement incited their followers to fit themselves for operations as soldiers——
Mr. MacEntee: I am explaining why it is necessary to ask for money for the Secret Service. Military titles were adopted in connection with this organisation. I am not speaking of the existing organisation at the moment. I may possibly have to come to that later. Military titles were adopted by members of this organisation and by the Party opposite before Deputy MacDermot was associated with it. In the course of their earlier proceedings, at any rate, they set themselves out to organise an intelligence service in this country—an intelligence service which would cover every field of life in the country and extend itself even into the ranks of the public service. Documents came into the possession of the Minister for Justice and are on the records of this House establishing that fact. The official organ of the movement did not hesitate openly to encourage the members of the movement to form an intelligence and espionage service.
Mr. MacEntee: As I say, this was going on. It is quite obvious that we had growing up in this country a new private army. I object to private armies in any form—I do not care what ostensible reason those who are  associated with them may give for their maintenance. At any rate, if it be difficult to deal with one in existence, it becomes much more difficult when there are two. After a time, the people who were originally associated with this movement found it convenient to put on over their militaristic appearance the cloak of constitutionalism, and they proclaimed, as Deputy O'Higgins stated in this House, that they were an open organisation. But, once again, documentary evidence came into the possession of the Government, and is on the records of this House, showing that, within the open organisation, members who belonged to a certain section were being incited by the original founders of the new movement to constitute within that movement inner circles. In fact, we are having an open organisation being used as the cover for a secret society.
Just as they had proclaimed that they were an open organisation, the original leaders of the militaristic element in it stated that they were an unarmed organisation. But cases which have been brought before the courts and the convictions which have been secured in the courts show clearly that, while Deputy O'Higgins may profess that this is an unarmed organisation, at any rate it is an organisation of men, a great number of whom are in the possession of arms. I am not going to retail to the House the specific instances which prove that fact. But, at any rate, the fact that there are within the organisation a great number of people who have arms is well known to the gentleman who is the head of that organisation—I refer to the late Commissioner of Police, General O'Duffy—because in a report, part of which is again on the records of this House, he stated that Colonel Jeremiah Ryan and a number of other active members of the League of Youth belonged formerly to that section of the National Army which mutinied and which, in 1924, took a considerable quantity of arms from Templemore Barracks.
Mr. MacEntee: At any rate, it is quite clear that here we have a movement which was militaristic in its origin, which has since assumed the cloak of constitutionalism, and which has within its ranks a considerable number of men who have arms and who make no secret as to the purpose for which they are going to utilise those arms. I could refer the House to a disgraceful statement which was made by a Deputy of this House from a platform in Enniscorthy when he referred to the President of the present Executive Council as “Public Enemy No. 1.” I could refer to the statement which appeared in the organ of the Opposition Party—United Ireland—referring to this Government collectively as a gangster Government. I could refer to the statement made by Commandant Cronin in which he pledged himself to Blueshirt supporters around that if they ever returned to power in this country there would be a wholesale proscription of the present leaders of the majority of the Irish people.
Deputy MacDermot, I am certain, is quite sincere in the statement which he has made that he would not stand for this sort of thing. Deputy MacDermot, however, has not lived as long with his present colleagues as we have. He has not seen, as we have  seen, a Minister for Defence, in breach of his constitutional duty, actuated by the grossest disloyalty to his colleagues in the Executive Council, attempt to form within the Army of this State a camarilla which was going to make him the Napoleon of the 20th century. We have seen that. We have realised how a secret organisation was utilised before in this country in 1921-22 to bring about a coup d'état and overthrow the existing Government.
We are here as members of a Constitutional Government bound to fulfil our mandate to the people, but, at the same time, bound to preserve representative government in this country so long as we operate under the Constitution. We know that there is in existence an organisation whose leaders have attempted to bring democracy into discredit; who talk about representative government as kangaroo democracy; who talked about something that they refer to as a Corporative State, which is only a euphemistic way of referring to the movement of Fascism. We feel that the one thing that the common people of this country do not want is Fascism. They have indicated twice already—they have indicated I might say in 1923, at any rate, that the one thing they want to ensure in this country is that the Government elected by the majority of the people will rule and will not be overthrown by force of arms. As a Republican I accept the verdict of 1923.
Mr. MacEntee: If I am to go back to 1922 I can point out this fact, that there was a coup d'état, that the people elected on a Republican Constitution overthrew the Republican institutions of this country——
Mr. MacEntee: ——and that they who are now resorting to habeas corpus executed men in defiance of a writ of habeas corpus granted, not merely by their own courts, but by the British courts established here in this country.
Mr. MacEntee: It does not really, and I regret having made a digression, but I had to say that because of the interruption which the Deputy had the hardihood to make. At any rate, as a Republican I have accepted the verdict of 1923, and that is that henceforth, whatever political issues arise in this country, they are to be determined by the votes of the people, and not by the arms of any minority or any faction in this country. It is clear to me, at any rate, that there is a faction in this country of which prominent Deputies in the Opposition are members, of which prominent Deputies and Senators are members. There is in existence a faction which, if it had the opportunity offering, would suppress representative institutions in this country and enthrone a junta, a hand-picked junta, as a dictatorial Government. We are entrusted with the preservation of order and the duty of preserving representative government. It is our duty and our responsibility to get, by whatever means are available, the fullest information about any subversive movement in this country, whether it be Blueshirt, Communist, I.R.A. or otherwise.
We had hoped that the circumstances which existed in 1932 would have continued in 1933. That when, we had reduced the expenditure on secret service to the insignificant sum of £952, we would have been able still further to reduce that amount last year, and we also hoped we could look for a further reduction this year. But owing to the circumstances which I have detailed to the House, it would be folly for us to expect, in view of the attitude which has been taken up by certain organisations in this country—more than one of them— that our wishes, our hopes, in that regard would be fulfilled. We can only anticipate with distaste and with abhorrence that it will be necessary for us to provide a larger sum of money this year in order, in the words of the brief which was read by Senator Blythe in this House in 1927, to obtain information which is requisite for the  security of the country and the people which cannot be obtained openly. That is our justification for putting this Vote before the House.
De Valera, Eamon.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Burke, James Michael.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Reilly, John Joseph.
Rowlette, Robert James.
|Last Updated: 17/05/2011 14:38:33||Page of 24|