Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - Listowel Urban District Council.
Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - Hospitals Commission.
Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - National Hospital Trustees.
Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - Publication of Statutes.
Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - School Children's Accident Insurance.
Order of Business.
Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) (Amendment) Bill, 1935—First Stage.
Estimates for Public Services and Appropriation Bill.—Allocation of Time.
Estimates for Public Services.
Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 8—Local Loans.
Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 26—Law Charges (Resumed).
 Do chuaidh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. F. Lynch: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health whether he has given notice of an inquiry into the manner in which the Urban District Council of Listowel has conducted the business of the council; whether he will state what are the grounds for the inquiry; and whether the terms of reference will allow inquiry over the period from 1928 to 1934.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Dr. Ward): The inquiry to be held into the manner in which the Urban District Council of Listowel has conducted its business is an inquiry under Section 72 of the Local Government Act, 1925. The inquiry arises mainly from: (1) the present financial embarrassment of the council which appears to have unfavourable effects on local services including housing; (2) the nature of the proceedings at council meetings as reported in the Press. Terms of reference are not admissible, and the matters to be allowed in evidence are for the judgment of the inspector in charge of the inquiry.
Mr. Lynch: Arising out of the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary, I should like to know, is the real reason for holding this inquiry an effort to prevent the Urban Council from getting a judicial decision on matters outstanding between it and certain Departments of State, including the Parliamentary Secretary's own Department?
Dr. Ward: I am not aware of that.
Mr. Lynch: Well, Sir, in view of the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary, I intend to raise this matter on the Adjournment.
Mr. O'Neill: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will give (1) the names of the chairman and members of the Hospitals Commission; if he will state (2) what qualifications were required by the Minister when making such appointments; (3) what remuneration is paid to the chairman and members; (4) how many officers and servants are employed by the Commission; (5) what are the salaries payable to such officers and servants; and (6) what is the total amount paid up to the end of May, 1935, to the Commission, and officers and servants, by way of travelling and subsistence expenses.
Dr. Ward: (1) The names of the members of the Hospitals Commission are:—Michael W. Doran, B.E., M.I.C.E., Chairman. Seán Ó Maidín, M.B., B.Ch., M.D., B.Sc.P.H., D.P.H. Liam O'Doherty, Auditor and Accountant. Denis Allen, Chairman of Wexford County Council. Edward Kelly. (2) The Minister appointed the members as being fit and proper persons to carry out the duties assigned to the Commission; (3) The remuneration of the Chairman is at the rate of £1,000 a year, the medical member receives £800 a year, and the other members £600 a year each; (4) Seven officers and servants are employed by the Commission; (5) The salaries of the officers and servants are at the following rates:—Secretary, £1,000 a year; assistant secretary and accountant, £300; junior architect, £350; three clerical assistants, one at £4 a week, one at £3 a week, and one at £2 5/- a week; caretaker and office cleaner, 15/- a week; (6) The total amount paid to the end of May, 1935, to the Commission and officers and servants by way of travelling and subsistence expenses was £1,193 17/2.
Mr. Moore: Arising out of the Parliamentary Secretary's reply, would he be kind enough to state whether any report on the activities of the Commission is being considered, or whether it is intended to issue such a report?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question, Deputy.
Mr. O'Neill: asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will give (1) the names of the three gentlemen at present acting as National Hospital Trustees; if he will state (2) the remuneration paid to each; (3) the number of officers and servants in the employment of the trustees; and (4) the remuneration paid to each such officer or servant.
Dr. Ward: (1) The names of the National Hospital Trustees are:—Lord Holmpatrick, Mr. Henry J. Monahan, Mr. Edmond McGrath, The Earl of Fingall, Mr. Laurence C. Cuffe. (2) The trustees are paid no remuneration. (3) and (4) The trustees as such have no officers or servants directly in their employment. They have made an arrangement with the Bank of Ireland to carry out all secretarial and other duties which they deem necessary for the proper administration of the Hospitals Trust Fund. The remuneration of the bank is at the rate of £450 per annum, which covers all office expenses.
Mr. P.S. Doyle (for Mr. Costello): asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the reasons for the delays which have taken place in the publication of the bound volumes of the statutes for the year 1933 and the year 1934; and if he is aware of the grave inconvenience which has been occasioned by such delays; and whether he will take steps to have the volumes issued without further delay.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): The delay in publishing the volume for 1933 is mainly attributable to its abnormal  size and the number of statutes enacted in that year. It is expected that the volume will appear in a few days and the 1934 volume about November next. Most of the individual statutes are printed and published shortly after their enactment, and I am not aware that any grave inconvenience has been caused by the delay in the publication of the bound volumes.
Mr. O'Neill: asked the Minister for Education if provision has been made by his Department for the insurance against accident of children attending national schools; and, if so, if such insurance covers the period spent in going to and returning from school as well as the actual period spent at school.
Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig): The answer to the first part of the question is “No.” The second part of the question does not arise.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Ruttledge): It is proposed to take numbers 10, 7, 12, 8, 9, and 11, as on the Order Paper.
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): I move for leave to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to Amend the Agricultural Produce (Fresh Meat) Act, 1930.
Dr. Ryan: It is proposed to take the Second Stage next Tuesday.
Mr. Cosgrave: That seems to be rather early.
Dr. Ryan: It is a very short Bill. It has to do with fresh meat.
Mr. Cosgrave: Is the Bill making provision for tinned meats instead of fresh meat?
Dr. Ryan: No. I intend introducing a Bill to-morrow for that purpose.
 Leave granted. Second Stage of the Bill ordered for Tuesday, 17th July, 1935.
Parliamentary Secretary to the President (Mr. Little): I move:—
That the proceedings on the Estimates for Public Services for the year ending 31st day of March, 1936, in Committee on Finance and on Report, on the Resolution, in Committee on Finance and on Report, for the issue out of the Central Fund of the sum necessary to make good the supply granted for the services of the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, and on the five Stages of the Appropriation Bill, 1935, if not previously brought to a conclusion shall be brought to a conclusion at 12 noon on Friday, July 12th, 1935, by putting from the Chair forthwith and successively the Questions necessary to bring the proceedings to a conclusion: Provided that after the said hour on the said day a Question shall not be put from the Chair on any amendment, nor upon any motion other than a motion necessary to bring the proceedings forthwith to a conclusion and then only when moved by the Government: Provided also that after the said hour on the said day only one Question shall be put from the Chair in Committee on Finance on the Estimates then outstanding and that Question shall be in the form, that the total sum outstanding in respect of the Estimates for Public Services for the year ending 31st day of March, 1936, be granted for the service of that year; and that on the report of the Resolutions of the Committee on Finance, in respect of the several Estimates, only one question shall be put from the Chair, namely: That the Dáil agrees with the Committee on Finance in the said Resolutions: Provided, further, that in Committee on the Appropriation Bill, 1935, only one question shall be put from the Chair, namely, That the several sections stand part of  and that the Schedules and the Title be the Schedules and the Title to the Bill.
The necessity for this motion arises out of the fact that the Bill must be law by the 31st July. When we consider that already we have spent 78 hours and 40 minutes on Estimates, and that the total amount of time spent on financial business amounts to 168 hours, we must realise that adequate time has been given for the discussion of financial business. At a rough estimate, six weeks of the sitting days of Parliamentary time have been already devoted to financial business.
Mr. Cosgrave: We are opposing this motion, which has been so briefly recommended to the House by the Parliamentary Secretary. Whatever mistake they may have made yesterday in reference to the Bill that was then before us, with regard to the date of introduction, we are, at any rate, presented with the proposition at the present moment that a Bill which has not yet been introduced, which we have not yet in our hands, is to be passed by this House to-morrow at 12 o'clock. There is no doubt whatever about that. The Parliamentary Secretary tells us that we have spent 168 hours on finance business. 90 of those had reference to the imposition of taxation, and 78 hours up to the moment—78 hours and 40 minutes—have been devoted to considering the items which fall to be accounted for in the taxation in the coming year. To add ten hours to that would mean about 88 hours, which is a limited length of time to leave for the consideration of the Estimates. It is all the more limited when we take into account the fact that a Minister of State spent a very considerable time last night and a time the night before in dealing with a single Vote for £60,000. I presume it might be agreed that he spent one hour and a half on that £60,000. An hour and a half is a fairly considerable amount of time for a single individual to spend in speaking on a Vote for £60,000, when £28,000,000 besides fall to be dealt with, and a complaint has been made that the House has wasted so much time.  Certainly we cannot exculpate a Minister of State for addressing himself for an hour and a half to a subject concerning only £60,000, during which time I am told he was called to order seven times. If, therefore, there has been a waste of time, that Minister has certainly been extravagant in the use of it.
The sum of money which is involved in this Closure Motion amounts to approximately £11,000,000. Obviously, careful consideration and examination of those sums of money are not going to be afforded in the limited time which is at our disposal. Two Estimates of outstanding importance to the vast majority of the people of the country have still to be dealt with —Agriculture and Compensation Bounties. Occasionally we hear from the front bench opposite, and perhaps as often again from the benches behind, that whatever economies are to be effected in this State can only be effected at the expense of social services. They mention no other item as a matter upon which any economies can be effected. In one of the Estimates which is now down for our consideration, the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture, we find that the sum of money which is proposed to be raised this year is approximately £1,000,000—£998,995— and if we take into account the other expenses which are in the Estimate it amounts to £1,030,000. The sum which appears lower down in each Estimate, bringing in other charges, is the figure which was usually adopted by the gentlemen opposite when they were on those benches. It is to be found in the lower portion of page 200 of the Estimates for Public Services, 1935-6, that the total expenditure given is £1,766,608, and the receipts amount to £736,921. Comparing that with the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture, published in 1932-3, which amounted to £407,408, or, taking the second figure, £415,000, we find a difference in those two Estimates of £615,000. Even if we exclude from the figure the item of £300,000, which is down for the wheat subsidy, we still find a figure of £300,000 over and above what it was  in 1932-3. Examining still further the number of persons who are employed in that Ministry, as compared with 1932-3. We find there is an addition of 476 persons in the Department of Agriculture.
When we examine the sum of money that came into this country for cattle in 1931, which was over £12,000,000, and compare it with the figure for 1934, £4,256,000, we find there is a fall in the receipts from cattle alone of about £8,000,000. One would require to almost multiply what are called the advantages derived from the new agricultural economy to anything like balance that loss. And the loss does not stop there; it goes into other items such as sheep, pigs, etc. Yet this Estimate has got to be forced through this House without consideration either in relation to the number of persons employed or the cost that is going to be entailed in that way, or as to the losses occasioned by reason of our present agricultural policy. It is a strange thing that, when moneys are required and economies are going to be made, it is in respect of old age pensions and unemployment insurance we are going to make those savings, and not in respect of the increases in cost which have been entailed in the administration of the various Departments of State.
I have already referred in this House to the increase that has taken place in three separate Estimates— the Army, the Army Pensions, and the Gárda. These three items are £800,000 up this year as compared with 1932-33. Going down through the list, I see we have got here before us Estimates that, according to Radio 2RN, “have to be passed.” I find that the increases for administration or administrative costs are not confined to the Ministry of Agriculture, but there is a kind of catholic distribution of these large sums of public moneys which have nothing whatever to do with social services. On an examination of the Revenue Commissioners' charges on the same level as I have examined those of the Department of Agriculture, taking in all the charges. I find that the  present year is responsible for £924,800 as compared with £817,000 for the year 1932-33. The charge there is up in this Estimate by over £100,000 a year. Examination of administrative costs has established one fact—that social services such as unemployment assistance, old age pensions, housing, etc., do not exhaust at all the big administrative costs of £11,000,000 out of the total £28,000,000.
I find that the Civil Service Commission is costing this year £19,000 as compared with £13,429 in 1932-33. In that Estimate the charges have gone up by almost 50 per cent. If we take other figures as to the Estimates that are usually handed out in January, we find that in one Estimate there is £14,624 as against £7,593 for the year 1932-33. That is the Industrial and Commercial Registration Office. What is the reason for the enormous increase in the cost of the Civil Service Commission? There is only one answer. We are having a swollen list of officials throughout the country. In a short time, if it is not so already, the biggest employer in the State will be the State itself. The State exists for finding employment for persons in these various stages in agriculture and its ramifications. As to the efforts to give £1 value for £100 spent, the whole thing could be summarised in one sentence—that the Government finds itself in a fix and it makes a noise. The noise resulting from these increases is overshadowed by the claim that there is a larger number of persons in employment. Let us take the Vote we had last night—Law Charges. I need not go into a comparison there beyond stating that the figure this year is £64,439 as against £58,067 in 1932-33. That Estimate is up by over £6,000. In the face of these figures, is it any wonder that we have a motion such as this before the House? Is it any wonder that it is not desired to let the people know to what a height the administrative costs of this State are rising, or that there  should be a reluctance on the part of the Government that the House should be allowed to proceed to examine closely and with attention these figures? The country should have that examination if it were to take 13 weeks. The House is entitled to an examination of every item of expenditure that comes before it.
The estimates for public services this year as published amount to £28,737,710, as compared with the figure of £21,906,962 in the year 1932-33. What are those social services to which so much reference has been made by the Ministers? The first big item is the unemployment insurance, £1,300,000; old age pensions, £600,000, and relief works, £500,000, and we arrive at a figure of £2,400,000. Deputies want to know in what way we can evade cutting down social services if we are to cut down our expenses. I will tell them. The whole of that £2,400,000 was provided for last year. Even the widows' and orphans' pensions were provided for last year. This year there is no additional item in respect of social services that we have been told of. The Minister may add that he has to provide for housing charges. Those housing charges will have to be provided for in the future. They are liabilities in respect of money that has been borrowed and planned with the liability falling upon future years. Future years will have to provide for the advantages derived this year, last year and the year before. The £2,400,000 was provided for last year and there is no necessity for any interference with it this year.
If we want to find economies they can be found in one of the last items in the Estimates. I refer to Export Bounties and Subsidies for which there is a sum of £2,705,000 set out in the Order Paper. The Government can find economies in respect of the increased cost of the Army, in respect of the increased costs of the Gárda, and in respect of the increased cost involved in the Ministry of Agriculture's amending Acts of a sum far in excess of the cost of these social services that I have mentioned. But besides that, these social services had  already been provided for and they were provided for last year. They did not enter into our calculations in respect of the increased taxes imposed this year at all. It is no wonder that we should have a case made on behalf of the Government to force these Estimates through at short notice. Was it in keeping with that particular line of argument or that particular line of considering the case that we had the Minister speaking for one and a half hours last night on an Estimate of £6,000? Where is the waste? Surely, in the case of a large business such as Agriculture, that at any rate ought to have been disposed of before he came along here to closure that motion.
The Minister spoke about the Seanad holding up Bills. Is there any case made by anybody that the Seanad held up Finance Bills during the 12 years during which it was in operation, whether or not there was a majority there one way or another? When Deputies speak of our having a majority in the Seanad I want to say that we had no majority in the Seanad except what we were able to persuade in respect of the case we made. The Seanad is entitled so long as it is part of this Oireachtas to give consideration to this or any measure; but it has never held up a Finance Bill, so that excuse falls to the ground. Finance Bills have been brought to the Seanad with less than 21 days given them. The Minister who has moved this motion has made no case about the urgency; he gave no reason why those moneys should be passed in nine hours. Years ago, when a terrible catastrophe affected the State, and when by reason of that men's minds were turned in other directions, we recollect the denunciations that came from members on the benches opposite who were then outside this House when this course was proposed. But here we have these same Ministers and Deputies to-day when no excuse at all exists for forcing through this motion, except that they do not want to be kept here to answer questions, deal with the items and make a case for the increased estimates that the people are called upon to pay. That is the real reason for this motion before us, and  it reflects neither respect for the House nor is it any credit to the Government as showing consideration for what is due to the country in respect of financial measures.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): The Deputy who has just sat down has one universal tactic in the discussion of any measure which he knows to be justifiable, but which he wishes to oppose upon whatever specious ground he can present for that attitude, and that is to make a number of misstatements, or else to allege that what it is proposed to do is without precedent. He stated that a Minister spoke for an hour and a half either last night or the night preceding on a vote for £6,000.
Mr. Cosgrave: £60,000.
Mr. MacEntee: £6,000 is what the Deputy said.
Mr. Cosgrave: I said £60,000 all along.
Mr. MacEntee: He said £6,000 or £60,000.
General Mulcahy: He said £60,000.
Mr. MacEntee: Sometimes he said £6,000 and sometimes he said £60,000. At any rate, which is it?
Mr. Cosgrave: If the Minister will look up the Estimate for law charges he will find it is for £60,000.
Mr. MacEntee: There was no Minister, no Parliamentary Secretary, and no Deputy on this side of the House who spoke for one and a half hours on that Estimate. I will refer to the records of the House to prove that statement and to disprove Deputy Cosgrave's allegation.
Mr. Cosgrave: Will the Minister say how long he spoke for?
Mr. MacEntee: I am not going to overprove my case. The second point the Deputy made was that this proposal was without precedent, that we were asked to take to-day a Bill which was not yet in the hands of the House, and the First Reading of which had not been moved. The resolution which appears on the Order Paper is in the same form as the resolution which Deputy  Cosgrave, the then President of the Executive Council, moved on the 10th July, 1929, this day six years ago almost exactly. Therefore he did not then think it was any abuse of the procedure of the House, any violation of the rights of Deputies, or that there was any disregard of the public weal in asking the House, after what he considered adequate consideration of the Estimates, to adopt a proposal such as we are asking the House to adopt now in order that the public business may not be held up.
It is quite clear then that, as I have said, the Deputy in debate has only one purpose ever, and that is to obscure the issue so that the public will not appreciate what is at stake. It has been said that we are anxious to get the Estimates through because we wish to burk discussion on them. When the first of these motions was under discussion on Tuesday and the plea was made that the Opposition would be at a disadvantage because they could not propose amendments on the Committee Stage of the Confirmation of Emergency Duties Bill, we offered to withdraw the motion, and to allow them, with the permission of the Chair, to put in any amendments they cared to that Bill. We offered to give them, not merely three hours, which they had previously declared would be ample time to discuss the measure—a statement which they repeated in the debate—but to give them an additional three hours if necessary; and if they did not wish to avail themselves of the additional time, then to allow that time to be devoted to the discussion of the Estimates which we are now compelled, by the obstructive attitude of the Opposition, to ask the House to pass under a motion allocating time. The Opposition rejected that proposal. They preferred instead to proceed under the motion allocating time. They rejected a similar proposal yesterday. The reason for that is clear, that the Opposition who, as well as the Government, have a duty to see that Parliamentary time will not be wasted, have been unable to control their own followers in debate.
The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs  instanced the case which, I think, proves up to the hilt the statement which I am making. It is the custom, in order to ensure that business will be dealt with in an orderly and businesslike way, to have arrangements made by the Whips, as representing the principal Parties in the House, the Parties which are likely to take the foremost part in the discussion of the business of the House, in the form of an informal time-table to allow these matters to be disposed of. In one particular instance the Opposition Whips and the Government Whips made an arrangement in the presence and with the apparent acquiescence of Deputy McGilligan, who is one of the leaders of the Opposition, in order that, as I have said, Parliamentary time might be used to the best advantage. That arrangement had scarcely been concluded when Deputy McGilligan walked in here and in a speech extending, I think, over two hours broke the arrangement to which he, as a person who accepted the Opposition Party Whip, was bound in honour. If we are compelled to put a motion of this sort on the Order Paper, we are compelled to do it because either the people who, like ourselves, have a duty to see that Parliamentary time will not be wasted and will not be squandered, have been unable to discharge that duty, or have been unwilling to accept the responsibilities which their functions here as public representatives impose upon them.
I was saying that it had been alleged by Deputy Cosgrave that one of the reasons why we have this motion on the Order Paper to-day was that we were anxious to burk discussion of the Estimates. There are, I think, approximately 18 Estimates on the Order Paper and they have been on the Order Paper for a considerable period. There are only two of these Estimates which the Opposition Party have selected for serious discussion, because, as you are aware, Sir, when the Opposition wish to discuss an Estimate in detail and at great length, it is the custom to put down a motion to refer the Estimate back. To these  18 Estimates only two motions have been put down.
General Mulcahy: Twenty-three Estimates.
Mr. MacEntee: Twenty-three Estimates then. I am glad I gave the Deputy an opportunity of looking up the list, possibly for the first time, and counting them. To these 23 Estimates only two motions have been put down. One is an amendment proposing to refer back Vote No. 26, the Estimate for Law Charges. The other is an amendment to refer back the Vote for Agriculture. What is the Estimate that Deputy Cosgrave has accused us of wasting time in discussing? It is the first Estimate, which his chief Whip and his representative selected, for detailed and close discussion and consideration. The House has occupied three hours on the Vote for Law Charges, and in the course of these three hours there has been speech for speech. To every charge that was made, to every speech criticising the Estimate, which was made from the Opposition Benches, there was a rebutting speech from Government members. Is it the attitude of the Opposition that we are to sit here, keep silent and not reply to the criticisms that are hurled against us? When, Sir, last week I assumed that that was what the Opposition desired——
Mr. Belton: Why did you not speak last week?
Mr. MacEntee: When I assumed last week that that was what the Opposition desired, that they liked to have it all their own way, when they were wasting the time of the House rising three and four times to say the same thing over and over again, in the hope that the dreary drip of their iteration would wear away the stony silence of the Minister, I was charged with being discourteous to the House.
A Deputy: And to the Chair.
Mr. MacEntee: It was alleged that I was treating the proceedings of the House with contempt but now, Sir, this week when we do rise to reply to the criticisms they make——
Mr. Belton: You are saying as much as you said last week.
Mr. Bennett: And that is nothing.
An Ceann Comhairle: Order
Mr. MacEntee: And because we did rise last night to reply to the criticisms of the Opposition, we are told to-day that we are wating time. When we rise, particularly, to take the part we are entitled to take in debating the Estimate which the Opposition themselves have chosen for close and detailed examination, we are told that we wish to burke discussion on the Estimates. Again, Sir, with regard to the second of these Estimates, the Vote for Agriculture, which the Opposition have asked to refer back, on Tuesday in the course of the debate on the motion to allocate time, the Parliamentary Secretary to the President, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Agriculture, and myself offered, that if the Opposition assisted in getting these motions out of the way earlier, they would have not merely the balance of each day's time, but also the greater part of to-morrow to discuss the Vote on agriculture, and, if that were not sufficient, we could give them a whole day next week. The Opposition refused to accept the offer, rejected it, and said, in a moment of pique possibly, “We do not want a day; we do not want this extra time to discuss the Vote on Agriculture.” Yet in the speech to which we have just listened from Deputy Cosgrave opposing the motion, we are told that here are these two important items which they will not be permitted to discuss.
We have met the Opposition in every way. We have engaged in a serious debate on the Vote for Law Charges. We have offered them ample time to discuss the Vote for Agriculture and yet they are not satisfied. Deputy Cosgrave says that one of the reasons why we are anxious to get these things through is that we wish to deny the people an opportunity of knowing how the cost of administration is mounting in this State. In the Appropriation Bill the total amount which has to be passed for the Supply Services is set out in plain figures, a  total amount of £27,000,000 odd. Is there any doubt but that to-morrow all the morning papers will have those figures emblazoned in large type across the principal news page? Of all the objections the Deputy has urged to this motion that is the flimsiest—that the people will not know what the cost of the public services is—when every newspaper, particularly every Opposition newspaper, will carry that knowledge to the people in large type to-morrow.
Deputy Cosgrave also said—I do not know exactly how relevant it was to this motion—that if we wanted to find economies we could find economies in the Gárda. We tried, when we first took office, to put ourselves in a position in which it would be possible to reduce unnecessary expenses on the police forces. We stopped recruitment for the Guards until what appeared to us a very serious and dangerous position had arisen in the State. Then we had to resume recruitment and to bring the Gárda up to its normal strength. Why has it been necessary to do that? Let Deputy Cosgrave, who has a personal knowledge of this matter, because he sits for one of the southern constituencies and he made a public pronouncement in regard to it some time ago, answer.
General Mulcahy: Let the fellow from Glasgow explain.
Mr. MacEntee: Because of the campaign of destruction and outrage that has been carried on by those who are avowed members of the Deputies' organisation, and not merely members of it but responsible officers in it, because of the campaign of arson and destruction which those who are members of the League of Youth——
General Mulcahy: Because of the fire in Leinster House.
Mr. MacEntee: This activist organisation which operates under the guise of a peaceful constitutional movement——
General Mulcahy: Who started the fire in Leinster House?
Mr. MacEntee: ——with Deputy Mulcahy, Deputy Cosgrave and other apparently law-abiding citizens, as masks and camouflage for it. Then he asks us to reduce expenditure upon the Guards. Let Deputy Cosgrave call off his dogs. Let him stop the slaughter of milch cows. Let him stop——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Leader of the Opposition mentioned three respects in which he thought the expenses of Government might be reduced. That might not have been strictly in order but was in reply to a question put last night. The Minister has stated his reasons for increasing the expenditure on one of those heads but a discussion should not now be originated on contentious matters that have been repeatedly discussed. That would cut across the discussion of the Estimates. Furthermore, it would not be relevant to this motion.
Mr. MacEntee: I shall not occupy the time of the House any longer except to say this, that apparently the Opposition leader is under the illusion that the longer we talk about something, the more closely we discuss it and the more carefully we consider it. I would ask them, in conclusion, in coming to a decision on the terms of the Resolution, to remember the concluding words of the then President of the Executive Council, Deputy Cosgrave as he is now, in a similar debate on the 10th July, 1929. “I think,” he said, “it will be admitted that the consideration of the Estimates does not depend on the amount of time devoted to their discussion. We could have done as much business in a shorter time by a more pithy discussion. I am not drawing any distinction between the Opposition to-day and the Opposition in times when it was smaller in numbers, but I would say for my own part that I had to pay more attention to the Estimates when the discussion depended upon a smaller number of Deputies in Opposition than I have now.” I think, Sir, that that accurately reflects the position at the present day. We had a much closer  discussion of the Estimates when we had a smaller number of Deputies in Opposition.
Professor O'Sullivan: The Minister for Finance delivered himself almost of an epigram, that the House seems to be under a delusion that the more we debate this matter the closer we get to facts. It more or less amounted to that. So far as he and his Parliamentary Secretary are concerned, both to-day and yesterday we had ample proof that is not so. I think the Minister can refresh his memory on that point. He need not go back too far, only to yesterday, when the House unanimously decided that he was completely irrelevant and Deputies did not want to hear him any more. It was a new precedent, a perfectly new precedent in this House. All sides admitted that the Minister was merely wasting time. The Minister who did not interfere in the various phases of the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill, did interfere when there was a chance of curtailing some of the Opposition time and the House unanimously decided that he was obstructing, that he was purely irrelevant.
His Parliamentary Secretary spoke last night for well over an hour. I think it was about 9.20 p.m., when his attention was first called to the fact that he was not on the subject. He was still speaking at 10.30 p.m. Perhaps the Minister disputes these times. The Parliamentary Secretary might not have been speaking one and a half hours, but he certainly was not speaking one and a half hours on the subject, judging from the fact that six or seven times, I will not say he was called to order, but his attention was vainly directed to the fact that he was not on the subject. The Minister pointed out that they did exercise their rights—the Government — and even the Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Corry were let loose, these well-known time wasters. Until the Government had already determined to curtail the time, there was no contribution from the Government benches except from the Minister's colleague, the Minister for Industry  and Commerce. The contribution came in when there was an opportunity just as the Minister had to-day. When there was no curtailment of time the Minister would not speak. He spoke yesterday and to-day, but he was silent when it was his business to speak. That is the interesting fact. He only speaks when he can still further cat into the time that is given to the House to discuss these matters. He referred to the amount of time given in 1929. Why not give all the relevant facts? If he will look up his own speech on that occasion he will find that when the guillotine motion was then proposed, 109 hours had already been given to the Estimates. To-day the Parliamentary Secretary was able to make out that almost 79 hours were given to Estimates this year. That, for a man who wants all the facts revealed, was a relevant fact that the Minister might have drawn attention to. Furthermore, at that time there were only eight Estimates that were to be discussed; there are now 23. What were the eight Estimates at that time? After that there was a full discussion on Fisheries; there was a discussion on the Ministry of Finance. Those that stood over were not the Agricultural Vote, but the Agricultural Grant, Universities and Colleges, Law Charges, Beet, Quit Rent, Civil Service Commission, Management of Government Stocks and Advances to the Compensation Fund.
The Minister, who now proposes the closure on £11,000,000 of expenditure, has the effrontery to make a comparison between the course that he is adopting to-day and the course that was adopted then. It was remarkable that until these motions were put down we had hardly any intervention from the Government Benches. The Minister's Parliamentary Secretary spoke on every other subject apparently under the sun except Law Charges, and his attention was called to the fact seven times that he was not yet on the point after at least one hour and ten minutes' discussion, if not more. That is what they consider making a contribution to the debate.
Mr. Anthony: And he was not suspended.
Professor O'Sullivan: The Minister summed up the situation in this way, that so far as the Department of Finance is represented on those benches by himself and his Parliamentary Secretary, the more we discuss the less we get into touch with the matters under discussion. He speaks about our being unable to control our followers. His Party controlled its followers well during the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill. Not one of them was let loose. Once or twice I saw Deputy Corry bursting to speak, but there were frowns and angry admonitions passed back to him that he was to keep his mouth shut, and the strange thing is that he did keep it shut. Further, there was the question of agreement that the Minister referred to. Is the Minister not aware that it was made quite clear that such is his conduct when in charge of the business of the House that Deputies will be drawn into speech either by his attitude towards the House or towards the Chair? It was pointed out to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that if he wanted his three hours he could get it by amending his guillotine resolution without any agreement. That was suggested to him. There could be then no charge of broken agreements. He had only to amend his guillotine resolution to allow a discussion on the Committee Stage. It would have been accepted, but he did not do it. Why? Because, apparently, he preferred an agreement which his colleague says there was no guarantee would be kept. It is quite obvious he did not stand over anything of the kind. The Minister said certain things that I took note of, but you, Sir, ruled it out of order. I cannot, therefore, discuss the highly provocative action of the Government. It is hard to believe that it is meant for any other purpose except to promote disorder. You ruled that out of order, Sir, and I cannot now go into it.
There are a number of matters that we were anxious to discuss on the  Estimates and they are now closured. We had nothing better put forward to-day than that there could be no serious discussion unless there was a motion to refer back. A motion to refer back an estimate would make no difference, and the followers of the Minister who so frequently hang upon his words would still be here to vote if not to listen. I would like the simple-minded Minister to tell us what is the difference. We can have a full discussion without a motion to refer back.
There were a number of matters which I should like to have an opportunity of presenting in order to get information. I do not say that I would have got it, but as a member of this House I regard it as my duty to at least try to elicit the information. There is, for instance, here an item No. 71—Repayment of Dáil Eireann External Loans. The House will remember the shock that was occasioned when that particular Bill was going through. It was described as scandalous and cynical. We want to know something about the administration of that Act. I would like to know whether the confidence trick upon which it was based—that was the phrase used at the time—has worked out successfully. I would like to get from the Minister information as to where these moneys that were paid back, are now. Have they got to the final quarter which the promoters of the Bill expected they would reach? I would be rather keen on that because the discussion of the Bill was cut very short when it came before the House.
An Ceann Comhairle: That query does not relate to any item of the particular Vote or Estimate which is limited to administration for repayment of the Dáil Eireann Loan.
Professor O'Sullivan: I was anxious to know have the people been repaid.
Mr. MacEntee: That would arise upon the Estimate.
An Ceann Comhairle: There is no Estimate before the House now. The matter before the House is item No. 7. If the Deputy wants to discuss the Estimate he can do so in its proper place.
Professor O'Sullivan: I am not discussing the Estimate.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair has some difficulty in distinguishing between a discussion of the Estimate and an effort to obtain particulars of repayments under the Act.
Professor O'Sullivan: Perhaps I have not made myself clear. The endeavour on my part to find out what is in the Estimate and the fact that I am precluded from that endeavour is now one of my reasons for objecting to this particular motion. I may say that my reason for opposing this motion is that I am precluded by such a motion from procuring that information. If that is not relevant, I cannot see what would be relevant. I think it is most relevant and most germane. I cannot think of any stronger reason at the moment for opposing the motion. It may be my fault that I cannot see how it could be otherwise, but I certainly say I cannot see any stronger reason for opposing the motion than that it precludes me from discussing certain things upon which I am trying to get information and have not been able to get it.
One of the things mentioned here is old age pensions. I am not going to discuss old age pensions, but I would like further information from the Minister in charge in reference to old age pensions. We remember that in his Budget statement the Minister for Finance estimated that he expected by administration to save £100,000. There are a number of things that I would like to have discussed in relation to that particular reference but I am precluded from discussing them by this particular motion. I think it is scandalous that members of the House should be precluded by a motion put down by the Government, from discussing these things. Does anyone believe that the Minister will stop short of this £100,000. What kind of administration is it upon which such a sum of money can be saved so easily. These are matters that I would like to have raised. I am only giving an illustration of the  kind of things that I would like to have raised on this old age pension item.
Then there is the item for Secret Service; there is no chance of discussing that. We were challenged by the Government and by the Minister for Finance and his colleagues to say how we would propose that money should be saved. But we would like to have the opportunity of discussing the expenditure of the couple of millions spent on bounties and subsidies and as to the cause of the continuance of these particular measures which follow from the Government's lamentable policy. The country has been reduced to the condition in which it is as a result of the Government's policy. It is nothing short of cynical to pretend that parliamentary institutions should be debarred from discussing one of the largest items of the expenditure of the whole year, and debarred from discussing the nation-killing policy that has given rise to these particular Estimates and has made these votes necessary. Surely it is the negation of anything in the nature of parliamentary control of finance when this sort of thing can go on. As on the best opportunity we have of discussing this mad policy of the Government, we are deliberately shut out from discussing it by the motion now before the House, we can see the condition to which parliamentary government has been brought.
There are quite a number of other things that we could raise on these items. There is, for example, the Appropriation Bill. We are debarred from discussing that also. These are all matters of wide general interest. Unfortunately we have had too much evidence within the last couple of weeks of the serious inroads that have been made on the parliamentary institutions by the Government and by their conduct of public business in this House. I suggest that a very appropriate matter for discussion would be the Appropriation Bill. Then again there is the question of wide national interest, namely, the attitude of the Government towards the Press. I would like to have an opportunity of  eliciting information on that particular point, because I have heard many complaints of the utilisation of the Press Bureau set up for the alleged purpose of giving information to the public and the utilisation of that bureau for the purpose of terrorising the Press.
Mr. MacEntee: Provision for the Press Bureau is contained in the Vote for the office of the President.
Professor O'Sullivan: I am speaking of a matter of wide general interest.
Mr. MacEntee: It does not arise here.
Professor O'Sullivan: I am trying to answer the point raised by the Minister I said that I was anxious to raise matters of wide general interest on the Appropriation Bill, but he is anxious to have discussion curtailed. I can well understand from everything I have heard, Sir, why the Minister is exceedingly sensitive on this particular matter. I have heard extraordinary stories of the way in which that Press Bureau has been used to muzzle the Press. I would have liked to have heard some justification—if the Minister had such a justification—for the open attempt they made to nobble or to muzzle one particular organ. I will admit that they quickly got away from that, Sir, but I should like to know how far, in secret, they have used it, because my information would certainly justify all these questions being put, and would justify the most searching examination into the conduct of the Government in this particular matter. It might have been possible, I admit, to raise this matter on the President's Vote, but that is so big a Vote that we kept to general matters, and the practice has grown up in the House that, once the main matter is disposed of, it is extremely difficult to discuss matters of detail such as that.
An Ceann Comhairle: The invariable practice is that once an Estimate has been passed by this House, discussion on it may not be reopened.
Professor O'Sullivan: I am not discussing  anything on an Estimate, Sir, but I am raising the matter in reference to the Appropriation Bill. I suggest that it was a matter of wide general interest and that it was perfectly appropriate to raise it on that particular Bill. I was very careful, Sir, as you will remember, to point out that it was in reference to the Appropriation Bill I was discussing it, and not in reference to any Estimate. However, I give these merely as illustrations as to why the Government should be anxious to closure this discussion, and as to why any Opposition, with a sense of duty to the country, should be extremely determined not to allow it to be closured. It refers to the attempt to closure discussion on the expenditure of some £11,000,000. It prevents discussion on vital matters such as those I have mentioned. It is a pity, as I say, that, when our Parliamentary institutions are practically tottering as a result of the Government's action, we have no opportunity of discussing their attitude towards the other great bulwark of democratic institutions, namely, the Press.
Mr. Norton: Sir, the Parliamentary Secretary has moved a motion which seeks to impose a closure on the discussion in respect of the Estimates which, so far, have not been dealt with. I think that he has sought, in the course of his remarks in justification of the Motion, to show that these Estimates are in somewhat the same category as the items discussed on certain stages of the Finance Bill. I should like to call the attention of the Minister, however, to the fact that he is now seeking to prevent discussion on matters which have not been dealt with so far by this House, whereas, in the case of the Finance Bill, I think it could truthfully be said that a considerable amount of time was wasted in repetition of arguments which had been made times out of number during the passage of that Bill through this House. I voted for the closure of the discussion on the Finance Bill because I believed that the speeches which had been made had not an iota of new thought or of new arguments in them: that they had already been made, and that, if  Deputies believed in the validity and strength of their first arguments, it was quite unnecessary to repeat the same speech time after time. I think it can be said, with every truth, that many of the speeches made on the Finance Bill were just unnecessary repetition—talk merely for talk's sake. That was certainly clear from the discussions we had last week.
Mr. Anthony: Is the Deputy going to vote for the closure now?
An Ceann Comhairle: Order!
Mr. Anthony: I do not want to be fired out, but, of course, I know I will be.
Mr. Norton: Last week, we had a discussion on matters of such profound national importance as football covers and golf sticks. The time of the House was clearly wasted in the discussion of that matter. This motion, however, is altogether different. This motion seeks to say that at 12 o'clock to-morrow all these Estimates, not then dealt with, will be automaticaly passed by the House and, consequently, the House is going to surrender the opportunity of discussing in detail the Estimates which are set out on the Order Paper.
Mr. Anthony: Hear, hear!
Mr. Norton: There are many important Estimates contained in this list. If this were only a matter dealing with certain formal grants to institutions, or grants to maintain that important body known as the Administrators of the Quit Rent Office, I think that the House would give the Minister these Estimates; but, in addition, we are asked to curtail the time for discussion on Agriculture. We are asked to curtail the time for discussion on Fisheries. We are to have no opportunity of discussing the Estimate for the Minister's own Department and we are to have no opportunity of discussing the manner in which the £100,000 will be saved on old age pensions this year. In the latter respect, I should like to ascertain what precise machinery the Minister has constituted to make sure that, when the £100,000 is saved, the economy ramp will not be  carried further in order to save £150,000, or £200,000. Can we be sure that the Minister is going to stop at the saving of that £100,000?
Mr. Bennett: We cannot.
Mr. Norton: Or are we going to be presented with the spectacle, at the end of the year, of the Minister indicating that the work of the section of his Department dealing with old age pensions was so efficient that the economies actually yielded £150,000 instead of the £100,000 foreshadowed in his Budget speech? The Minister's own Department is a very important matter. The Minister says that these Estimates have been on the Order Paper for a long time, but his own Estimate has only reappeared on the Order Paper quite recently after having been off the Order Paper for a considerable time, and the House was asked to discuss a number of minor Estimates while we were not given an opportunity of discussing the Estimate for the Minister's own Department. The Minister's Estimate is concerned with the control of the Civil Service. His Estimate is responsible for the conditions of employment in the Civil Service, for the wages in the Civil Service, for the wages paid on minor relief schemes, for the wages of the Wages Advisory Committee which advises the Government and which recently advised the Government to reduce the wages of forestry workers in Offaly from 28/- a week to 22/- a week—and that just before we had this Budget, with its imposition of new taxation, introduced. Are we to be denied the opportunity of discussing that, or are we to be denied the opportunity of discussing on what basis wages were reduced from 28/- a week to 22/- a week for the forestry workers in Offaly? Are we to be denied the opportunity of pointing out to the Minister and to the community generally the low rates of wages paid under the jurisdiction of those in charge of the public services, or the starvation wages that are paid in many Departments of the public service? Are we to be denied the opportunity of bringing home to the Minister and to the House the  fact that cleaners, paid at coolie rates of wages, have been seeking to secure from the Minister an increase of wages which even the most rapacious employer in the City of Dublin or elsewhere would have given them, having regard to their present low rates of wages?
The House is asked to gag itself on these matters. The House is not to ask any questions on these matters. Of course, there is another matter of transcending importance, not merely to the Civil Service, but to the whole community, and that is the question of the implementation of the Government's promise to set up an arbitration board for the Civil Service. It is over three years ago since the President embodied in the famous Fianna Fáil manifesto of February, 1932, a promise to establish an arbitration board. The Minister can clearly recollect the precise terms in which the President indicated that the Civil Service was going to have that arbitration board. It was indicated in the speech delivered by the President at the Rathmines Town Hall. That is three and a half years ago. The Civil Service was then promised arbitration, and up to the present they have not got the arbitration which was then promised. Recently there was circulated what was described by the Minister's Department as the draft heads of a scheme of arbitration, and that was done on the direction of the Minister. I do not know whether the Minister is the author of that scheme. If he is, he ought to claim patent rights for it as a scheme of arbitration, because certainly anybody who could get away with the contention that the scheme as issued by the Department of Finance is an arbitration scheme ought to keep that secret and exploit it for his own benefit.
We are to be denied the opportunity of discussing that spurious scheme which has recently been issued by the Department. We are to be denied the opportunity of discussing this counterfeit form of arbitration for the Civil Service, after the promise by which their votes were obtained in the 1932 election. Are we  not entitled to an opportunity of discussing that, and telling the community that the kind of arbitration which the Minister has in mind is one under which he himself can decide what matters are to go to arbitration; under which he can decide the way in which the reference to arbitration is to be framed; under which he is not only to be free to choose his own advocates, as defendant, but he is also to be allowed to prescribe the kind of persons that the plaintiffs must select for their advocates? Mr. Thomas would be delighted with the scheme of arbitration which the Minister for Finance has now issued. The President was quite indignant when it was sought to put any restriction on his choice of representatives before an international tribunal. Now it is sought by the Minister for Finance in the same Government to do the very same thing that the President objected to Britain doing in respect of arbitration on the disputed financial payments. Those are all matters of considerable importance. Those are all matters which not only affect the well-being of the State and its servants but affect large numbers of the Minister's own constituents, and yet we have been asked to vote for a closure motion to stifle discussion on those matters. If I thought there was merely a desire to drag out an unnecessary discussion on those Estimates my viewpoint would be different, but we are now asked to vote for a motion to guillotine discussion on those Estimates although so far the House has not had an opportunity of wasting one minute on them.
There may be a case for a closure motion; I am not a doctrinaire of opposition to closure motions. If we are going to maintain democratic Government in the country I think we must take the view that democracy does not consist merely in talking, and that any democratic State must ensure that its business is done in a reasonable and expeditious way, after reasonable discussion has been allowed and a fair opportunity has been given to Deputies of all Parties to express their views. But we are  now asked by the Minister for Finance to pass Estimates without discussion. As I said, we could probably pass the Vote for the Quit Rent Office without discussion, and perhaps grants to certain Universities and Colleges could be passed without discussion, but we are now asked to pass over such important items as the Estimate for the Minister's own office and for old age pensions without any discussion and without it having been shown by the Minister that a second of time has been wasted in discussing the matter. Whatever case there might have been —and I personally think there was a strong case—for a closure motion on other matters, where it was believed that time was being wasted in unnecessary repetition, there is no case whatever for moving a closure motion to prevent discussion of Estimates which have not so far been discussed. Whatever case the Minister can make for the closure motion in respect of the Finance Bill there is no case for moving a closure motion to throttle discussion on Estimates which have not yet been reached, and in respect of which not one word has yet been said. I would ask the Minister at all events in the circumstances not to apply the closure motion in respect of those important Estimates. In respect of unimportant Estimates the House will, I think, be guided by its own desires and its own conveniences. I hardly think at this time of the year that there will be much waste of time or much unnecessary discussion on those Estimates. It is obviously unfair to the House—and I personally protest against it—to make any effort to fix an unreasonable time table for discussion of important Estimates, and that is what the Minister is seeking to do by moving this motion.
Mr. MacEntee: Might I make a suggestion to Deputy Norton, or am I precluded from doing so?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister has already spoken.
Mr. Esmonde: Might I ask your advice as to whether, if there is no motion down to refer an Estimate  back, that Estimate is assumed to be agreed to? The Minister mentioned that there are only two Estimates here about which there were motions to refer back. Are we to assume that the others are agreed to?
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not know whether or not the Deputy is putting a question to the Chair.
Mr. Esmonde: Yes.
An Ceann Comhairle: It is not necessary, in order to discuss an Estimate, to have a motion to refer back. A motion to refer back or reduce the Vote is an indication of a desire to discuss the whole policy involved in that Vote. The absence of a motion to refer back does not preclude discussion of the Vote.
Mr. Esmonde: But the Minister has mentioned that, for instance, when you wish a Vote to be abolished, a motion to refer back would be inadequate. At any rate, I think that the motion which we are discussing to-day is the most objectionable of the three. The motion yesterday was more reasonable, but I think there is no excuse whatever for this guillotine motion. The Minister has adopted the guillotine in this House, but we are all well aware that the people are setting up a far bigger guillotine outside in preparation for the Minister. I have listened to the discussion during the last few days, and I have noticed two schools of thought amongst the speakers. Some felt that this situation which we have arrived at is due to incompetence on the part of the Government, and others have urged very strongly that it is the result of deliberate conspiracy on the part of the Government to curtail if not to supersede parliamentary government by a form of Party dictatorship. I, myself, was rather inclined to the more lenient view until I listened to the speeches of Deputy Corry and his spiritual disciple, the Minister for Industry and Commerce. They rather convinced me that there was a deliberate conspiracy, but, on the other hand, I think one's better judgment would be that the conspiracy, if it exists, is the result of  previous incompetence on the part of the Government, and particularly their incompetence in the conducting of public business during last winter. They could easily have prevented the congestion which is taking place to-day if the Ministry had taken the trouble to give the Dáil work to do during the winter months.
There were many Bills of a social nature such as the Widows and Orphans Bill which could have been taken last winter, and there were a great many other social Bills which could well have been introduced last winter with the result that the summer session could have been devoted exclusively to financial matters. The time of the House is now being taken up with Bills of one kind or another; Bills that could have been brought in last winter. Instead of that Deputies were summoned up here for one day in the week and returned home the next day. With them it was like the song of the “Old Bog Road”— Deputies can “go their way and draw their pay and smoke their pipe alone.” There is, however, one bright spot in the whole situation, and that is that it is clear that the Government is getting old and feeble. Like old despots, the tendency is to become more and more tyrannical. When his grasp on things is slipping from the hand of the tyrant he gets more and more tyrannical. This Government claims to be democratic. They climbed into power by means of abusing the Parliamentary system. Now when they have got into power they wish to sweep away the ladder on which they climbed. I think I can safely say that this Party can no longer climb up on the shoulders of democracy. In the case of any future inroads they may make upon the democratic system we are forewarned and will be forearmed. I must say that the Labour Party has ably assisted them in this matter. They usually do.
The Votes which we would have to consider ordinarily include such important Estimates as the fisheries, about which there should be very lengthy discussion. There is very great dissatisfaction in the matter of  fisheries all round at present. I presume we will have an opportunity some time later this year of discussing the Fishery Vote. There is another Estimate—that is the Estimate for the Oireachtas, which will now I presume go through without discussion. That is an Estimate on which I had something to say. Then there is another Estimate for a very considerable sum —that is the Estimate for Secret Services. On that Estimate all discussion will be suppressed. So far as I remember on a previous occasion here when these Estimates were passed en bloc because of the imminence of a General Election they were brought up later for a discussion in the autumn session. I wonder would it be possible in this case to do the same and to allow in the autumn a discussion on Estimates not adequately discussed in the summer session. That, I think, was the case in 1927.
Mr. MacEntee: It was not the case in 1929.
Mr. Esmonde: It was not the case in 1929. However, in view of the importance of some of these Estimates, that is a suggestion that I think the Minister should consider.
Mr. MacEntee: On that point, might I explain to the House that there is a very big legislative programme for the Autumn Session?
Mr. Bennett: There are a good many reasons why we should oppose this motion. In the case made to-day by the Minister the argument was advanced that the time of the House had been wasted by Deputies on this side. We had the curious spectacle of the Minister, a Parliamentary Secretary, and a few Deputies who treated this House with the utmost contempt when we were discussing the Financial Resolution coming here themselves and deliberately wasting time, even in the course of the last 18 hours, and even on the motion which they themselves are proposing in order to save time. The Minister rated Deputy Cosgrave for having suggested that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for  Finance spoke for an hour and a half yesterday. He rated Deputy Cosgrave because the Deputy was not precise to the minute. The fact was that the Parliamentary Secretary spoke for about one and a quarter hours. That was on a Vote for £60,000. If every Deputy in the House had spoken a proportionate length on the Estimates as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance had spoken, I calculated that the time taken in discussing the whole of the Estimates would have been 40 hours. The Minister tells us that we on this side of the House are responsible for the waste of time.
But this motion arose out of the difficulty the Ministry themselves created on last Friday and Saturday when they succeeded in keeping country Deputies here from Friday evening until Saturday evening, knowing full well that if the country Deputies did not get away early on Friday that the week-end was of no good to them. The Ministers themselves could get to their homes no matter what hour they left, and they could take up any work of their own outside their Parliamentary duties. But the country Deputies were compelled to stay here until midnight on Friday. Having been kept here, having been compelled to stay, they took part in the debates. Had they been liberated earlier all they could have done would be to have gone to a picture house on Friday night. The Minister spoke about wasting time. I know myself that Deputy after Deputy had to get up on this side of the House in order to drag information out of the Minister. That was information which the Minister refused to give. Now he accuses us of wasting time. Our efforts to get the information would not have been necessary if the Minister had given reasonable opportunities to Deputies in the course of the debate. I myself made speeches that I would not have made in the course of an ordinary debate if the Minister had been courteous and helped us to elicit the information that we sought. At all events, our speeches had the merit of being relevant. We were not ruled out by the Ceann Comhairle.  The speech of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance last evening was not relevant.
In our speeches there was no attempt to treat the House with contempt. The main reason why my colleagues and I object to this Closure Motion is that we are interested in the chief industry of the country. The Vote for Agriculture is one of the Votes that have been closured. The Old Age Pensions Vote has also been closured. I will not repeat what Deputy Norton has said on that Vote. But there are other Estimates, particularly the Estimate for Agriculture. There was never a time since the institution of this State when the policy of the Government in relation to agriculture needed to be more closely examined than it does to-day, and debate is to be curtailed on that.
The Minister says that he made us an offer to give us a day next week for its discussion. The Minister brought in a motion here to save time. He himself took half an hour of that time, and his Parliamentary Secretary took one and a quarter hours yesterday. What guarantee have we, if they did give us a day next week, that they themselves would not take seven-eighths of that day and again put up the Parliamentary Secretary or Deputy Corry to waste the time they gave us? There are important questions that we should like to put to the Minister on the Vote for Agriculture and which we possibly will not get an opportunity of putting. I should have liked to ask the Minister if he would explain why the value of the stock-in-trade of farmers has diminished by £23,000,000 since 1931. I am not speaking from hearsay, but am taking the figures from the book which the Minister himself recently published giving agricultural statistics. Taking those figures, I find that if we were to take an inventory of farmers' goods to-day they are £23,000,000 short of the value of the goods in 1931. I should like to give the Minister an opportunity of explaining that, and the Minister might find it difficult. The Minister would have to keep the same silence as he deliberately  enforced on the members on his own benches last week.
I should like to ask the Minister why he pursued the policy of cutting down the store cattle stock in this country when he was forewarned last spring that it was probable that we would not be able to keep the arrangement made with Great Britain to send a certain number of cattle to that country; why he deliberately pursued a policy of slaughtering animals, and why it is necessary to-day to withdraw the licences and allow the free entry of store cattle into the British market. The Minister has killed the store cattle trade in this country, and he knows it. This is, perhaps, not the time to go into that fully, and I am just mentioning some things which I would like to ask the Minister for Agriculture.
Mr. MacEntee: You will have time to do it.
Mr. Bennett: The Minister for Agriculture, unfortunately, is not here. The Minister for Agriculture is as responsible as the Minister for Finance for this closure motion. He ought to have known that when we came to discuss this motion some reference would have to be made to the Estimates that are being closured. Some other Ministers might have been here, even if only a passing reference to their Departments had to be made when discussing the closure of 23 Estimates. We know that it is going to be impossible to discuss most of these Estimates and, therefore, Deputies were bound to make some reference to the Estimates that were being closured and on which an opportunity for discussion was not to be given. But we have only the Minister for Finance here.
One should have liked to have asked the Minister for Agriculture also why, when issuing licences, because there are still a number of licences being issued, as only the store cattle ones are withdrawn, he adopted the principle of allowing licences to be issued by purely political bodies; why a discrimination of that kind should be made, as was the case recently in some counties. The Minister for Agriculture challenged us on various occasions last week to  engage in a discussion on the relevant merits of wheat and live stock, and we should have liked to have that discussion. In regard to that, one could again quote from these statistics to show that there were possibilities in live stock rearing for farmers which there are not in wheat growing. One could have put to the Minister, as a definite refutation of his statement that a purely wheat-growing or tillage policy is the best for this country, inasmuch as it employs most labour——
An Ceann Comhairle: I am loath to interrupt the Deputy in the circumstances of the case, but I put it to him that if the motion before the House were disposed of, the Vote on Agriculture might be reached. Without projecting myself into the debate, I suggest that the discussion which the Deputy is now entering upon would be more relevant on the Estimate for Agriculture.
Mr. Brennan: Have we any guarantee that if this motion were disposed of the Estimate for Agriculture would be come to? Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance continue his speech upon the Estimate for Law Charges for another one and a half hours, like he did last night?
An Ceann Comhairle: He will not.
Dr. O'Higgins: There is one portion of this motion which states “That the total sum outstanding in respect of the Estimates for Public Services for the year ending 31st day of March, 1936, be granted for the service of that year.” It would appear that in this motion, racing against the face of the clock, we are asked to vote money for certain public services, and that therefore the discussion of these public services should directly arise on this motion.
Mr. Bennett: If I am out of order I certainly——
An Ceann Comhairle: I did not rule the Deputy out.
Mr. Bennett: My point is that if some of us, on the discussion of this motion, did not take the chance of giving the House some reason for opposing it and make some reference to agriculture, the opportunity might never arise again. If the House were discussing the Estimate for Agriculture ordinarily, I think it would be necessary for me to speak at great length. I do not think I could cover all the ground in less than an hour, or an hour and a half. I do not propose to take that much time now. There are other Deputies who would have just as much to say on that Estimate and there are Government Deputies who, in defence of their own policy, or if they had any argument to put forward against what was said, would have to reply at length and the Estimate in these circumstances would have taken possibly longer than it ever took in this House before. That was the reason why the Minister wilfully postponed this Estimate from day to day. Other Estimates have been taken out of their order, but the Estimate for Agriculture has been deliberately left over so that it could, at the end of the session, he burked and put into a list of closured Estimates.
To my mind, the Government had never any intention that agriculture should be fully discussed in the present session. I do not intend to go into the question of agriculture further than that. As I said, if I were to make the speech that I intended to make on agriculture, and perhaps that I shall make if the Government change their minds and give us sufficient time to discuss it here, it would take more time than I should like to waste on this motion.
There are other Estimates besides agriculture that we should like to have discussed. I mentioned agriculture because I am chiefly concerned with agriculture. There are other Members, however, interested in one or other of the closured Estimates. The fact that the Ministry have found it possible to spare a day next week is, in itself, proof that their time for the coming week was not already fully occupied  and that all the fuss about a Friday night sitting and a sitting until late on Saturday evening was altogether unnecessary. Their argument, that because these Estimates must be passed by the 31st July it was necessary to bring in the closure, is as futile as any of the other arguments the Ministry have used. They know full well that the Seanad would not have refused to pass any measures necessary to get the Appropriation Bill through in time, that there is no precedent for the Seanad refusing to do so, and that if they were a day or two late in sending these matters to the Seanad it would not matter. They know also that silence on the Government Benches when we are discussing an important Estimate or an important measure does not lead to a shortening of debate. If Ministers prefer to remain sullenly silent or refuse to explain certain points which are raised, there are bound to be strong speeches to try to force out of the Ministry an explanation about certain things which they are deliberately trying to conceal and which they are unable to defend.
Mr. Belton: Like the previous speaker, I would not have intervened in this debate—I would like to see the motion discussed and, I presume, passed as quickly as possible, so that we could get down to the business proper—if we were sure that we would not be obstructed in discussing the Estimates in their proper sequence. Those of us who take a special interest in certain Estimates feel disgusted and pained when we find complete ignor-amuses getting up on the Government Benches and occuping the time of the House for an hour or two, telling us something that every child on a farm in the country knows to be untrue. Like the previous speaker, I felt last week that a few words spoken by the Minister for Finance, by way of explanation on many points, would have shortened the discussion considerably because critics of the Bill then before the House in Committee would not have any room, even if they wanted to, for making certain assumptions, as the Minister could, with one word have put us right on these matters.  Even if they wanted to prolong the discussion, he could have shortened it by a word or two. The day before yesterday, after a similar motion to this had been carried and when we were tied down to a definite time, he occupied 40 minutes out of one effective hour which we had for debate, and he made statements that were laughable and which he dare not make if there was an open discussion, because he knew they could be refuted by any Deputy in the House.
We were told a while ago, I think by the Minister for Finance, that ample time would be given for the discussion on the Vote for Agriculture. There are two Estimates here which I am particularly anxious to discuss. I hope I shall get time to discuss them and that I shall not be obstructed by the misrepresentations of the Minister for Finance. I hope that the queries that I put to him yesterday will be answered. If they are not answered, I shall continue to repeat them. I shall stop his mouthings about a Republic when he is not even operating a Dominion in this country. The Minister for Agriculture said a day or two ago: “If you want time to debate agriculture, we shall give it to you.” I do not know if that offer was rejected. Personally, I shall be glad to accept it. If a day or two were allowed to discuss the Estimate for Agriculture I think it would be well worth while. The time of the House could be very usefully employed in debating it. We farmers over here are not afraid of an all-night sitting if necessary.
Mr. O'Leary: No, or two nights.
Mr. Belton: If they want a trial of strength we will give it to them, but I hope it will not come to that. As a farmer I do not want to trip up the Minister for Agriculture. I am prepared to support the Minister on many things. I have done so and will continue to do so. I hope that when we enter on that discussion the Minister will not take up the attitude that he frequently adopts. I do not think it is the intention of the Minister  to conceal any information from the House, but by slightly changing the tone he sometimes adopts, he could be very useful in rounding off points on occasions when Deputies are looking for information. I should be glad to hear repeated the offer to give a whole day or a couple of days if necessary to the vote for Agriculture. I would be glad to take up a reasonable share of these two days——
A Deputy: Hear, hear!
Mr. Belton: ——and I shall take it up intelligently. The Minister for Agriculture went further and said that if that were not sufficient he would be prepared to accept a motion on Agriculture and give time for its discussion. I should like to hear that repeated.
Mr. MacEntee: It was turned down.
A Deputy: Is it withdrawn?
Mr. MacEntee: It was turned down.
Mr. Belton: I remember asking if such a thing could be done six months ago, and I was told that it could not be done. The Minister for Finance said that that offer was turned down, but I do not know anything about that. To come back to the motion itself, I wonder whether under the ruling given yesterday it would be in order to discuss the matters covered by this motion? I, however, do not propose doing that. I look upon the motion simply as a motion to fix a limit for the discussion of these items, and I do not want to go into the items themselves. Within those limits, I should like to see the motion before us disposed of as quickly as possible so that we can get down to the business proper. Then we shall be entirely in the hands of the Chair. I have no doubt that the Chair will give a fair and square deal to all sides of the House, so long as Deputies are not killing time or introducing any arguments which they are not entitled to introduce. I hope the Chair will watch carefully any attempt at obstruction.
An Ceann Comhairle: That matter must be left to the Chair.
Mr. Belton: Personally, I am quite prepared to leave it to the Chair, and I am sure that all sides of the House will get a square deal from the Chair within the manacles that this motion will put on.
Dr. O'Higgins: I really consider that it is nothing short of a grave public scandal that this Parliament should be asked to rush through a Motion affecting millions of public money in a year such as this without ample time for discussion as to why those moneys are required, how they are going to be spent, and without any opportunity of getting the Minister responsible for the various heads of expenditure to give some explanation to the House and to the people outside as to why the money is required, how it is proposed to be spent and, above all, how he proposes to collect it. The meaning of the motion is this, that if it were not to be discussed even for 30 seconds, nine hours of Parliamentary time are to be given for voting millions of pounds for 23 different Government services.
Mr. Belton: A million an hour.
Dr. O'Higgins: A million an hour and no discussion. The moneys are required for such absolutely dissimilar services as are enumerated here: local loans, law charges, miscellaneous expenses, quit rent office, agriculture, fisheries, Oireachtas, office of the Minister for Finance, office of the Revenue Commissioners, old age pensions, Civil Service Commission, property losses compensation, personal injuries compensation, superannuation and retired allowances, secret service, Tariff Commission, supplementary agricultural grants, universities and colleges, electrical battery development, remuneration for management of Government stocks, export bounties and subsidies, repayment of Dáil Eireann external loans and compensation bounties. I want to know from any impartial Deputy in the House whether it is really decent or reasonably fair to the public to come along  and, under a guillotine gag motion, to demand and abstract from the people millions of pounds for these services without any discussion. We are asked to rush through, in a period of five or six hours, the moneys for all those 23 services at a time when the general taxation required for Government services has gone up by many millions. Included in this group of Estimates is a proposal to curtail the expenditure on old age pensions by £100,000 and to increase the expenditure on secret service from £900, as it was three years ago, to £20,000 as it is proposed to-day, and to wedge in between that cut in the old age pensions and that extravagance on secret service money a Vote such as the Department of Agriculture. I wish to protest against this new practice. Closure motions have been received here before on Bills where the debate was over-prolonged, where the situation was such that there was a genuine case of urgency; but I think this is about the first time that Estimates in bulk——
Mr. Lemass: No, it is not the first time.
Dr. O'Higgins: It is the first time that Estimates in bulk——
Mr. Lemass: It is not the first time.
Dr. O'Higgins: If I am to be interrupted, I will be interrupted in a specific manner. I am stating my opinion and my opinion I adhere to, and I repeat that it is the first time to my knowledge that Estimates in bulk were put through in this fashion.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy is wrong.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister will have an opportunity of replying.
Dr. O'Higgins: The Minister is the most inaccurate Deputy or Minister in this House. Every second statement he has made here is proved to be incorrect, and the statement he is making now is on a par with the average statement he makes. We are here asked to put 23 Estimates through in bulk without discussion, without explanation, without the various Ministers responsible for the  expenditure giving any report to the Dáil or the people why the money is required and how it is to be expended. That comes hot-foot on top of a period when we were asked to put through the Finance Bill by guillotine and when various motions taxing the people and interfering with trade were put through the Dáil also by guillotine motion. Under the guise of the guillotine motion, not satisfied with curtailing the time the Dáil has to discuss matters, we have one member of the Government Party after another put up to indulge in deliberate clowning in order to occupy the time of the House and take up even the limited time allowed for discussion. That reached such a degree that for the first time in this House, and I think even the Minister for Industry and Commerce will agree with me in this, there was absolute unanimity in gagging the Minister and agreeing that he was totally irrelevant. Fianna Fáil, Labour, the Independents and Fine Gael all supported the motion by Deputy Mulcahy that the Minister for Finance was foolishly and frivolously occupying the time of the House in order further to curtail discussion on matters of public importance.
I venture to express the opinion that the real reason why this closure motion is put down to curtail discussion on those 23 Estimates is in order to burke and dodge discussion on the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture. The real reason why all these Estimates are bulked together is in order to shirk and avoid discussion or any criticism about the industry that is being slaughtered by the Fianna Fáil Government and the Minister for Agriculture. Even in face of this closure motion we find that the order of Estimates that existed here some days ago has been altered and Agriculture has been put further down on the list, so that if this motion was got through before 12 o'clock to-morrow there would be enough of that clowning spirit on the opposite benches to occupy the time of the House up to noon when, the motion tells us, every  one of these Votes for many millions of pounds would be put one by one successively from the Chair and without any discussion. I want to know if the Minister or Deputies sitting near him, forgetting all about who is in the majority and who is in the minority and remembering only those we represent, the people who are asked to pay the piper, considers this procedure fair. It may be a cheap joke at the expense of the Opposition. It may be a smart Parliamentary trick; it may be the subject of humour for the like of Deputy Smith, but I want to know if it is fair to the people whose taxes are increasing. Is it fair that whatever point of view they want expressed, whether it is a point of view that is agreed to or disagreed with, should not get an opportunity of expression? But above all, is it fair that 23 dissimilar Votes should be rolled through the machine by a common Vote without any ample opportunity for discussing each and every one of them?
We have petty tyrants, and we are getting used to them, and we are beginning to see that they are producing reactions. A big tyrant may succeed, while a little tyrant brings about his own downfall very quickly. We have a group of little tyrants in this country who, by dishonest public words and lying promises, have got on to the benches over there, and think they are going to stay there by their choppings and changings. I believe there is nothing as nauseating to the public mind as the cowardly failure of a Government to stand up to their own expenditure. People, although they do not stand for such expenditure, will respect those who demand money, and are brave enough to stand up and defend its expenditure; but people have nothing but contempt for a crowd of little squanderers who pinch every penny out of the public pocket and shirk their responsibility when called to account for doing so. They shirk giving any explanation as to why this money is required, and as to how it is going to be spent. They give no explanation as to why there is economy at the expense of the poorest  of the people and an increase of expenditure on the civil servants.
There are a number of questions which should be answered on these 23 Votes. By this motion the Government are trying to ensure how they can dodge their responsibility and avoid even being asked to answer questions put to them. They can dodge their responsibilities by quick, unfair, dishonest and bullying tactics. They may shed themselves of their responsibility here, but the people who are paying are watching all the time. When any man pays out money, from a penny to a pound, any time, and in any place, he is entitled to know, at least, what it is for. He is entitled to know what return he is going to get, and why he has to pay that much. Why is there a sort of divine exemption from income tax for those who occupy the front Government Bench? Is there any reason why they alone, in this State, should be entitled to take money and give no account as to why it is taken, what it is for, or how it is proposed it is expended? Is that the new substitute for the Republic? Are we to have that little tyranny in place of a Republic? Is that the latest smoke screen thrown out to stifle public discussion and to take the public mind off the pledges and false promises that were given by the Party opposite to the people? If that is the latest red herring, it will certainly defeat its purpose.
We have grouped in amongst these 23 or two dozen items, covered by this motion, the Estimates for the Department of Agriculture. I take it we are entitled to presume that that particular Vote will not be reached by 12 noon to-morrow. There are enough people on the other side of the House prepared to engage in inanities that will take an hour or two to-morrow out of the public time allowed in order to prevent that particular Vote being discussed. This particular motion includes an invitation to the House to Vote all the money required for the Services enumerated. We are asked to Vote money for particular purposes, quite apart from the motion outlined here, but we are entitled to discuss no  specific Estimate, or heading under which money is asked for, and under which it is proposed to be spent. We are asked, in fact, without discussion and no opportunity of discussion, to approve the expenditure of the moneys here without any explanation from the Minister concerned. We are asked to vote money for Department of Agriculture and thereby to express approval of the agricultural policy which exists in this country at the moment. We are asked to do that without any explanation as to why the trade has shrunk, as to why the industry is crippled, or as to what has become of the promised foreign market.
When the Minister for Agriculture took over responsibility for the agricultural industry of this country, just three short years ago, the exports of the agricultural industry of the country were something like £44,000,000 per year. According to the statistics produced by the Department of Industry and Commerce £44,000,000 was coming into this country, to develop it, to provide for its people, to enable the farmers to pay wages, to enable them to pay their overhead charges and to enable them to provide for their families. In 1933, according to the latest returns I have seen, that £44,000,000 worth of exports had dropped to £17,000,000. The headings given of those exports by the Department of the Minister for Industry and Commerce are as follows:—In 1930 the value of the cattle exports was £14,600,000; in 1933 the value of the exports had dropped to £6,054,000. In 1930 the value of the sheep exported was £1,350,000; in 1933 it had dropped to £319,000. In 1930 the value of pigs exported was £2,500,000; in 1933 it had dropped to £310,000. In 1930 the value of the horses exported was £2,123,342; in 1933 the value had dropped to £784,515. The point I am making I notice has caused the Minister to smile, incredulously. He is, of course, capable of disowning responsibility for these figures and for words that have come out of his own mouth. The particular publication that I am quoting is the Trade and Shipping  Statistics, 1933, compiled by the Department of Industry and Commerce. Whether it is correct or incorrect, the responsibility certainly is not mine; but it will be merely another minor scandal piled on top of several others if we are to be told that the figures are misleading or unreliable.
Mr. Lemass: Oh, they are capable of being understood.
Dr. O'Higgins: The production of a warped mind is capable of being understood only by a warped mind. We have a situation where the imports of this country have dropped from £56,000,000 to £35,000,000 and where we have a drop of £25,000,000 in the money coming into the country from outside. Now, I do not mind whether you argue that, if exports are down, imports are down also, and that we are becoming more self-reliant and buying less from abroad. The difference between the exports and imports three years ago was £11,000,000, and to-day that difference is £16,719,000. There is a drop of £25,000,000 in exports. Let us get at who is affected by that drop. Out of that drop of £25,000,000 in exports, livestock accounts for £14,000,000, food-stuffs of animal origin account for £8,000,000, and other food-stuffs for £2,000,000. In other words out of the £25,000,000 of a drop in our export trade, £24,000,000 is at the expense of the agricultural community. I do not say —deliberately, I do not say—that that drop was at the expense of the farmers. I say that it was at the expense of those living out of agricultural industry, by which I mean farmers and labourers alike. Accordingly, we have a state of affairs where we find, in spite of umpteen thousand tin-pot factories, and 12,000 or 13,000 extra people put into employment in secondary industries, according to the Minister, that we have the huge return of 130,000 unemployed human beings in the country. It is quite possible that, for once, the Minister is correct, and that some 12,000 or 14,000 extra people did find employment in  secondary industries and that, along with that, his own official returns of 130,000 unemployed is, nevertheless, correct. During the first couple of months that the present Government was in office, the Minister's leader, the President of the Executive Council, told us that the real number of unemployed in this State, was in the neighbourhood of 60,000. The Minister for Industry and Commerce—the side drummer, never to be outdone by the big drum when it came to a question of exaggeration—said, in the course of the same debate, that the actual number of unemployed was nearer 70,000. Taking the Minister's own figure of 70,000 as being the number unemployed at that time, the number of registered unemployed at the present time, or last month, was 130,000.
Mr. Lemass: That is not correct. The Deputy, obviously, has not read the figures.
Dr. O'Higgins: The Deputy might be excused if he ceased reading the Minister's figures, but that is one figure that he did read. I will not say that the figure is absolutely accurate, but I will say that it is in the neighbourhood of 130,000. That was the figure in May last.
Mr. Lemass: It is not even an accurate description of the figures.
Dr. O'Higgins: Would the Minister give us the figure for the last week in May?
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy is referring to the number on the register, which is a different thing altogether. He is referring to the people registered at the employment exchanges, which includes 75,000 farmers.
Dr. O'Higgins: The Minister is contradicting a figure without replacing it with another figure. Will he give us the correct figure?
Mr. Lemass: The number of persons receiving unemployment insurance benefit is about 12,000.
Dr. O'Higgins: Will the Minister give us the number of registered unemployed?
Mr. Lemass: There is no such register.
Dr. O'Higgins: Will the Minister give us the number of unemployed people in the last week of May according to the official returns?
Mr. Lemass: The number of persons who have registered themselves as being available for work is, roughly, what the Deputy stated.
Dr. O'Higgins: How many?
Mr. Lemass: About 130,000.
General Mulcahy: Of whom about 100,000 are receiving public assistance.
Dr. O'Higgins: Now we know. According to the Minister, 130,000 people are looking for work and 75,000 of them are farmers, and we are asked to put through the Vote on Agriculture without discussion when agriculture is in such a position that 75,000 farmers are looking for work in order to get work on the land or in any other way. Now the cat is out of the bag. Do not trim your sails again. We have 130,000 registered as looking for work, over 70,000 of whom are farmers, finding their agricultural work so unprofitable that any class of work is preferred to carrying on on the land; and we have had that increase in the course of three years of an industrial revival. We have that increase at a time when the Minister tells us that some 12,000 or 14,000 extra hands have found employment in secondary industries.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy is mistaken. I said 97,000.
Dr. O'Higgins: 97,000? The Minister is quite capable of saying 97,000,000. He is quite capable of it. As I say, we have that happening at such a time, and we must, and we should, get an opportunity of analysing and discussing why we have that appalling figure of 130,000 people looking for work when everybody is paying through the nose for the establishment and continuance of these factories, when every article bought by the people is costing more, and when very much public money is being invested in the starting  of new industries. The reason is obvious. The reason is that, thanks to the slump, thanks to the political foolishness of Fianna Fáil, thanks to their so-called economic war, thanks to their lack of courage in grappling with the situation when it did arise, we have an outside market rapidly disappearing, shrinking away, tariff walls going up between us and that market, and quotas further restricting the amount of our goods admissible to that market. As a result of all that, we have agriculture in such a position that it is unable to pay wages and overhead charges, and we have very many of the agriculturists of this country in such a position that they are unable to pay one or the other, and so we have all the equipment of a small war being directed towards trying to get the annuities from the farmers a second time, leaving them nothing with which to pay wages. If we take it that there are in or about 500,000 farmers in the Irish Free State, and that at least one-tenth of those paid wages in the past, when they had the money to pay wages, we have 50,000 farmers who were wage-givers economising to the tune of at least one man.
Mr. Lemass: The number of persons in agricultural employment has increased.
Dr. O'Higgins: Agricultural employment includes your reafforestation work. Does the Minister say “No”?
Mr. Lemass: I am saying that the number of persons employed by farmers for wages is higher now than it was in 1931.
Dr. O'Higgins: And I am asking the Minister did he say “No” when I stated that agricultural employment included employment under reafforestation schemes?
Mr. Lemass: I say that the Deputy is entirely incorrect.
Dr. O'Higgins: Does it include those employed in reafforestation?
Mr. Lemass: Does what?
Dr. O'Higgins: The number of agricultural workers?
Mr. Lemass: The statement I am making is that the number of persons employed by farmers for wages is higher now than it was in 1931, or in 1929 for that matter.
Dr. O'Higgins: The Minister shook his head and said “No” when I stated that it included those employed in reafforestation work. Well, it is not only from the Minister's neck up that he is shaking. I would leave it to the Labour Deputies to say whether any Deputy representing a rural constituency believes there are more or less agricultural labourers at work to-day than heretofore. Every one of us knows that there are considerably fewer agricultural labourers employed to-day than three years ago.
Mr. Anthony: And at considerably less wages, too.
Dr. O'Higgins: And the Minister knows it better than any of us, no matter what twisting may be done with figures. I will take the Minister's own figures if he will point them out to me.
Mr. Lemass: I gave them in the Dáil last week.
Dr. O'Higgins: When figures are read out from those returns they are disowned—your own figures. The Minister has not the right to own and disown his own figures just according as they suit or do not suit. Time and again we have heard the Labour Deputies, who can claim to be more conversant with the situation in rural Ireland than I am, deploring the increased unemployment in rural areas.
Mr. Anthony: And decreased wages.
Dr. O'Higgins: In the last official return of this kind which we had we saw a big increase in the number of agricultural labourers out of work, or in the number of people deriving employment from and on the land. I invite the Minister to go down to any rural area in Ireland—he can select the area—and in that townland or that parish, demonstrate that there are  more agricultural labourers in employment on the land now than there were three years ago. However, I would suggest to the Minister that if he wants to get away with his inaccuracies and his contradictions, if he wants to cover up the figures already issued, if he wants to sidestep the official publications of Government Departments, even that cannot be done even by him without time. We might have a clearer mind with regard to the alleged profitable state of the agricultural industry, and the alleged absence of unemployment in rural Ireland, if we were given more time to discuss the various Votes which we are asked to put through without discussion. Every one of us— Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Independent—might at least arrive at something like true, clear-cut figures, if each of those Estimates were examined, discussed and criticised by itself, rather than adopting the cowardly policy of rolling together the whole 23 so that there would be no true or detailed information given with regard to any one of the 23.
Mr. Lemass: Whatever differences of opinion may exist concerning the necessity for this motion, I think we would all be unanimous in the enactment of a Bill to prevent any members of the Front Bench Opposition getting within a hundred miles of a book of statistics. Once they get statistics into their hands each one of them becomes a public menace. They are obviously incapable, not merely of understanding the figures that are given, but of profiting by the various lessons which have been given to them here as to how statistics should be read, as to the significance of statistics and as to the impossibility of refusing to accept them just because they do not happen to fit in with their own particular theories. If the Deputies opposite want to discuss agriculture, we have offered them a whole day next week for that purpose. They have not accepted it. They do not want to discuss agriculture.
Mr. Curran: Why do we not?
Mr. Lemass: I do not know.
Mr. Curran: Well I do.
Mr. Lemass: You would not accept it.
Mr. O'Leary: A day is not enough. I objected yesterday and said that a day was not sufficient.
Mr. Lemass: We will sit during the whole month of September, if necessary.
Mr. O'Leary: Then why are you running away from it with your closure motions?
Mr. Lemass: Because the Appropriation Bill must be law by the 1st August.
Mr. O'Leary: Because you have £1,500 a year for “codding” the people of this country.
Mr. Lemass: The Appropriation Bill must be law by the 1st August. Perhaps Deputies opposite will understand that if I repeat it again—the Appropriation Bill must be law by the 1st August. If it is not, every Government service stops. Deputies opposite, I know, want to see them stopped. They have embarked on this policy of obstruction, of delaying business, of talking unnecessarily on Estimates, of adopting all the usual devices to delay the passage of measures, in order to prevent the Appropriation Bill from being law by the 1st August, and therefore ensuring that there will be a complete breakdown of Government services on that date. They want to do that because they think it will be some advantage to their Party. I do not know how they can imagine it is going to be of any advantage to them, but they do not care a snap of their fingers what damage it is going to do to the country, what reactions it is going to have on the finances of the State, on the credit of the State, or upon the fortunes of individual businesses conducted within the State. They are prepared to wreck everything provided they can inconvenience the Government a little. That has been the whole purpose behind their obstructionist programme, and behind the tactics they have been resorting to  during the past fortnight, which are being nullified by this particular Resolution. The Government is not anxious to avoid discussion upon any part of its policy. It has given more opportunity for the discussion of its programme than its predecessors ever did. Dr. O'Higgins said that this was the first time a motion of this kind was introduced in the Dáil. It is not; he is completely wrong. A motion in precisely similar terms was moved by Deputy Cosgrave, then President of the Executive Council, on the 10th July, 1929, and moved for precisely the same reason for which this motion is being moved—because the Appropriation Bill had to be law before the 1st August of that year, just as it has to be law before the 1st August of this year.
Mr. Curran: What Votes were for discussion on that occasion, and how many were there?
Mr. Lemass: There were a number of Votes left undiscussed.
Mr. Curran: What were they? Read them out.
Mr. Lemass: I do not propose to go into it.
Mr. Curran: I have asked for it.
Mr. Lemass: I am merely giving it as a precedent, but even if there were no precedent this motion would be here. This Government rather likes establishing precedents. Most of the precedents it has established are very good ones, and will no doubt be followed by our successors. I want to deal with the extraordinary display given by Deputy O'Higgins. Deputy O'Higgins takes himself too seriously, in the first place. He purported to tell us here what the country thinks of the Government, what the country is thinking of the Government's present tactics, and what it thinks of the various measures which the Government has introduced. But he forgot to produce his credentials. The people did not authorise Deputy O'Higgins to tell us what they think of the Government. The people themselves  have expressed their opinion upon that matter on a number of occasions. They spoke in a different voice to Deputy O'Higgins; they spoke in no uncertain manner, and I am quite sure they will do so again if it is necessary to consult them.
Dr. O'Higgins: That is what you pretend.
Mr. Lemass: They seem to be fairly satisfied, if not with the conditions which exist, at least with the efforts that the Government is making to improve those conditions, and it is particularly noticeable that the most effective and consistent support for the Government is coming from members of the farming community——
Mr. Holohan: You got it once; you will never get it again.
Mr. Lemass: ——whom Deputies opposite pretend to represent, and certainly succeed in misrepresenting. I do not know what Deputy Anthony said but I presume it was a very illuminating remark.
Mr. Anthony: I did not speak at all.
Mr. Jordan: The remark was made by Deputy Holohan.
Mr. Lemass: I apologise to Deputy Anthony. What is the position of agriculture? Deputy O'Higgins made his first mistake when he burst into statistics and assumed that the figures of our export trade had any real significance——
Mr. Curran: Are we discussing the Vote for Agriculture or the motion?
Mr. Lemass: I am trying to educate the Deputy. This is a process of education. I am doing my best to make Deputies opposite understand the situation.
Mr. Curran: Deal with the motion.
Mr. Jordan: Deputy Curran said very little while Deputy O'Higgins was speaking about agriculture.
Mr. Curran: We do not want to discuss agriculture now.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy does not want a discussion on agriculture?
Mr. Curran: We want a discussion now on the motion before the House.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputies opposite were allowed a great deal of latitude in speaking on this motion; they spoke on agriculture and other matters. The Minister is surely entitled to deal with the points they made.
Mr. Lemass: I am not going to take up much time. I will either succeed in convincing the Deputies opposite of their error in a short time or else I will be convinced myself that it is impossible to convince them. The exports are no indication of the agricultural production in the country. Deputy O'Higgins took our exports in 1931 and 1933 and compared them; he showed there were lesser exports in 1933 than in 1931.
Dr. O'Higgins: No; in 1930, not 1931.
Mr. Lemass: It does not matter. In 1932 the importation of foreign bacon and hams was stopped. That was a very considerable importation, a huge importation.
Dr. O'Higgins: The drop in one is £7,000,000 and in the other £25,000,000.
Mr. Curran: Who were importing cattle?
Mr. Lemass: I am dealing with pigs. The fact was that the bacon curers in this country, when faced with the task of replacing the foreign bacon in the home market, not merely succeeded in doing that but they succeeded in maintaining their exports to the foreign markets as well. The export of live pigs decreased undoubtedly, but the export of bacon and hams increased——
Mr. Brennan: They did not.
Mr. Lemass: ——and are still increasing.
Mr. Curran: And the price is increasing?
Mr. Brennan: The Minister's figures are all wrong.
Mr. Lemass: The exports of bacon and hams are greater despite the fact that the home market was supplied from Irish sources. The number of pigs bought by the Irish bacon curers commenced to increase in June, 1932, and it is a fact that they have increased ever since. If Deputy Brennan thinks I am wrong I invite him to quote the figures.
Mr. Brennan: I will, if the Minister permits me.
Mr. Lemass: I want the Deputy to give the number of pigs purchased by the bacon curers, the number sold in the home market, the quantities of cured hams exported, and I want these related to the previous imports.
Mr. Brennan: The Minister can relate the amount of imports of foreign bacon that were stopped. The Minister can get these figures and they absolutely conflict entirely with his own statement now.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy need not assert that. He has got all the sources of information that I have and if he can prove that what I am saying is wrong let him do so.
Mr. Brennan: I will, if the Minister permits me.
Mr. Lemass: It was necessary in the last year to take steps to discourage the consumption of bacon and hams in order to keep up the exports. An excise duty was imposed in order to induce people to eat beef and other foods instead of bacon so that we could fill the quotas allotted to us in the various foreign markets. Deputy O'Higgins spoke of the restriction on our exports by quotas. What quota was the Deputy referring to? Is it to the cattle quota? Let him ask any of the farmer Deputies in his Party whether they think we are going to succeed in filling up our quotas for cattle this year.
Mr. Curran: To where?
Mr. Lemass: To anywhere. Are we going to succeed in filling in other agricultural quotas, much less to meet cattle quotas?
Dr. O'Higgins: The Minister should not forget that we have had two years' destruction of our young cattle.
Mr. Lemass: Again the Deputy is misinformed. The Deputy can get precise figures from the Department of Industry and Commerce and from the Department of Agriculture. What is the position with regard to the production of cattle and the number of cattle exactly in the country? The Deputy can find that out.
Dr. O'Higgins: I am talking about the number of dropped calves destroyed.
Mr. Lemass: But why? What are the forms of agricultural production that matter? The dairy end of agricultural production is the important end of it from the employment point of view, and not merely from the employment point of view but——
Dr. O'Higgins: Ask Deputy Harris that question.
Mr. Lemass: We are increasing considerably the quantity of exports of butter.
Mr. Brennan: Yes, at the public expense; at the home consumer's expense.
Mr. Lemass: The Deputy might remember that the number of dairy cows in the country is 100,000 in excess of what it was a few years ago, and the area under tillage crops has increased for the first time in a century. New markets have been opened up for Irish farmers. I am prepared to agree that the general level of agricultural prices is too low. I said that yesterday, and I make this point over again on it. We brought forward again and again proposals in this House to raise the prices of agricultural produce, and on every occasion these proposals were opposed by the Party opposite.
Mr. Curran: Nonsense! The Minister does not know anything about farming. There are people on these benches making their living out of farming and they know all about it. He knows nothing about it.
Mr. Lemass: There is only one way of making a living for the farmers, and that is by raising the prices of agricultural produce.
Mr. Curran: That is what you have not done.
Mr. Lemass: The only way to raise prices is by increasing the price to the consumer. Now, every time we did that we had the Party opposite standing up to protect the consumer against the raising of prices. We had Deputy Dillon, Deputy McGilligan, Deputy Bennett, Deputy O'Higgins, Deputy Belton and others wasting the time of the House and comparing the prices to the consumer here with the prices in Northern Ireland.
Mr. O'Neill: Is that wasting time?
Mr. Lemass: Everybody knows the facts and they were trying to make propaganda against the Government by showing that the price to the consumer here was higher, but they took very good care that they did not go down the country with that story.
Mr. Curran: Raising prices, and all the time the farmer down the country is getting less.
Mr. Lemass: It is all humbug on their part.
Mr. Curran: There is nowhere more humbug than on the Government Benches over there.
Mr. Lemass: It is all humbug on the part of the Opposition, and they are falling between the two stools of the consumers and the producers. Let us get the position concerning employment and unemployment and explain it once again for the information of the Deputies opposite. There were uneconomic farmers in this country before Fianna Fáil came into office. There have been uneconomic farmers in this country since the time of Cromwell.  Even the British Government had to resort to various exceptional devices in order to relieve the position of these uneconomic farmers. In the census year 1926, when Cumann na nGaedheal was at its height, if the Unemployment Assistance Act had been in operation, the number of farmers and farmers' sons who would have been entitled to receive assistance and would, consequently, have been registered at the exchanges, was not less than 150,000, and that number is to be compared with 75,000 to-day.
Mr. Curran: Farmers.
Mr. Lemass: Farmers and farmers' sons, mainly in the western counties.
Mr. Curran: A credit to the country.
Mr. Lemass: In addition to those 150,000 people on the land who, in 1926, would have been entitled to unemployment assistance, if they could get it, there were, according to the census, 78,000 other people unemployed, a figure which we have to compare with a corresponding figure to-day of about 50,000. There has been a substantial decrease in the number of people unemployed, despite the fact that the population is to-day 56,000 greater than it was in 1931. The efforts which the Government have made in the reorganisation of agriculture and the development of industry have not merely provided employment for a sufficient number to absorb all that increased population but, more than that, there has been a decrease in unemployment. These are facts which can be proved by official statistics and information obtained from official sources. But Deputies opposite do not want facts. They prefer to be able to continue voicing their general ideas, vague theories, and the platitudes which we heard a short time ago from Deputy O'Higgins. This motion is necessary in order that the business of the State may go on. The conduct of the affairs of the people of this State requires that the annual Appropriation Bill should be law by 1st August. Deputies opposite are trying to prevent it becoming law by 1st August in the hope that they will stop  all governmental services and by bringing about general chaos succeed in discrediting, to some extent, the Government Party and improving the position of their own. They will not do it. They are on the wrong track, and I say that from experience.
Mr. Anthony: Were you on the wrong track, too?
Mr. Lemass: We tried those tactics, but we had the good sense to abandon them when we saw they were getting nowhere. Deputies opposite will learn by experience that they cannot get increased political support by such means.
Mr. O'Neill: Some people on the Ministerial Benches never learn anything.
Mr. Lemass: I do not agree with that. I think they have learned a lot during the past few days. We learned from Deputy McGilligan that you do not put a racquet frame on a ping-pong bat. We learned from Deputy Cosgrave that the material used in a tennis bat is catgut. We learned from Deputy Bennett that if you could not get leather footballs you can make a good substitute out of a sheep's bladder. We learned from Deputy Belton that a leather football cover could be made at home by anybody with the necessary implements. We got a lot of useful information from the members opposite on various matters of that kind. During the last few days they succeeded in spending a lot of the time of the House in giving us their personal views upon these matters. They even discussed my golf, as if that were worth talking about.
Mr. O'Neill: And the tax on prayer books.
Mr. Lemass: There is no desire on the part of the Government to avoid discussion. It is necessary that the Estimates and the Appropriation Bill should be disposed of. If the Deputies want time to discuss any matters which would naturally arise upon those Estimates, time can be afforded. Their first criticism was that the passage of  these Estimates in this way would prevent them discussing the administration of the Department of Agriculture. They were offered a whole day next week for that purpose if they wanted it, but they declined it. They would sooner have their grievance. They wanted to be able to pretend that in some way they were being prevented from exercising their functions as an Opposition and thus explain their failure as an Opposition. As I have often said before, they are the world's worst Opposition. There is nothing unfair or dishonest about the tactics which the Government have resorted to. We copied the motion we are now discussing, word for word, from that moved by Deputy Cosgrave, as President of the Executive Council, on 10th July, 1929. If it is unfair and dishonest for us to move that motion now, it was equally unfair and dishonest for him to move it on that occasion.
Mr. O'Neill: You have learned something.
Mr. Lemass: I do not think there is anything else I need mention. Deputies opposite adopted the usual tactics by saying that it is not permissible on this motion to refer to different things and then proceeded to refer to them, as long as they were allowed to do so by the Chair. Other opportunities will arise of correcting their wrong ideas upon these matters and removing any misunderstanding that might have been created in unprejudiced minds by their biassed remarks. The time afforded for Estimates this year was mainly occupied in discussing the economic war. Nothing has been lost to the Opposition by the taking of these Estimates before 12 o'clock to-morrow, because they will get plenty of opportunities of discussing the economic war again. They are trying to lead people to believe that they have discussed on the Estimates already before the House different matters according to the nature of the Estimates. They did not do that. They discussed one matter upon all the Estimates, whether for the Land Commission, the Department of Industry and Commerce, the Revenue Commissioners, or any other  Estimate disposed of. The same debate went on interminably since March last. We have already given up hope of being able to convince some members of the Opposition that their ideas are entirely wrong, that their plans have no basis in commonsense and that their allegations against the Government have no foundation in fact. However, if they do want to discuss this matter again, adequate opportunity will be afforded them on various other measures coming before the Dáil. I do not think they could very well discuss the economic war on the Conditions of Employment Bill or some of the other measures down for discussion next week, but before the Dáil adjourns for the summer recess they will have full time and ample opportunity to say over again all the things they have said on various occasions since March, and so will I. The only point is that I have some hope that by saying what I have to say sufficiently often I will succeed in getting it into the heads of some of the Deputies opposite in due course. The whole art of propaganda is a repetition.
Mr. Anthony: Up the Republic! Up Dev!
Mr. Lemass: The firm which makes a well-known brand of meat extract does not put anything else on its posters except this: “Bovril is all beef,” so that you see every day in the week and every week in the year the one sentence which, in due course, becomes embedded in your consciousness. We are resorting to the same tactics. By repeating facts, by putting facts before Deputies and showing them how to understand facts, by supplying them with reliable information and teaching them how to understand that information, and how to apply it to the facts of the situation, we hope, in due course, to make them a useful Opposition. I hear some members of my own Party say that is not possible, but I am one of those who think it can be done.
Mr. Anthony: The oftener I hear  the Minister for Industry and Commerce speaking the more I am reminded of the meetings in Hyde Park or at the Custom House steps in Belfast on a Sunday morning. The Minister has missed his vocation. He would have made a wonderful propagandist for any of the new religions or new doctrines preached in the places I have mentioned. It is most amusing to listen to him, just as amusing and just as enlightening as to listen to the Minister for Finance. They are the Siamese twins of this rather unfortunate Administration. There may be something to be said for the activities of the Minister for Industry and Commerce with all his faults. But anybody who has had the humiliating experience of listening here to-day to the Minister for Finance, and yesterday to his understudy Deputy Flinn, and their economic adviser Deputy Corry, any decent Irishman having listened to the gentlemen I have just mentioned, must have felt ashamed that he was Irish, absolutely ashamed.
This motion, I feel, is designed to deprive members of this House of an opportunity of examining in any kind of detail the spending of very large sums of money. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has told us that we would get another occasion for discussing agriculture, but there are other items covered by this resolution which we shall not get an opportunity of examining or discussing. I would ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce, what was his view when he was in opposition or what would be his view if the Cosgrave Government had introduced a motion of this character?
Mr. Lemass: They did.
Mr. Anthony: I am coming to that. The Minister has told us frequently that he has got away from these malpractices. He has told us that his Government would not indulge in this kind of practice, that they were more democratic, but the Minister a moment ago gave himself away. He has told us that his political faith is pinned  to the slogan, “Get up and repeat something and people will begin to believe you.” The Minister for Industry and Commerce is coming to believe himself that by continuing to shout “Up the Republic” he will get there. I believe that, in practice, it might be found very useful in this House if some arrangement were come to between the Parties to concentrate on one, two, three, four, five or six Estimates. It might be useful for the sake of curtailing discussion, and giving an opportunity for the allocation of private members' time, if they could agree on eight or nine items perhaps for discussion. That is the suggestion I put to the Minister now, that some arrangement might be found by which the Parties would agree to arrive at some solution of that kind. The Minister and his Government have set themselves out to stifle all kinds of discussion for the very obvious reason that they do not want discussion. They do not want the light to shine into the dark corners of Government administration. “Ha, ha,” says Deputy Tom Kelly, the man who thinks that personation is a highly moral and good thing; honest Alderman Tom Kelly, who believes that personation—in my view the filthiest and most immoral thing——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Kelly did not say that in connection with this motion.
Mr. Anthony: He said it before.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: He did not say it in connection with this motion.
Mr. Anthony: All right. I welcome again the attitude of the Labour Party in relation to this motion. I welcome it as a come-back to commonsense, a come-back to the old tradition which used to obtain before the corrupt influences of Fianna Fáil began to operate. The old attitude in relation to a closure motion in so far as it concerned the Labour Party, was always to oppose the closure. That tradition has been departed from for a considerable time back, but to-day we find a change of front. Is it because they have discovered something  immoral in this attitude or in this motion? Not at all, but because there are some Civil Service Estimates and some civil servants who must be considered. Then the closure motion will not be worked! It is all window dressing and nothing else. To day we had the Minister for Finance charging members of the official Opposition with encouraging or inciting arson and outrage. I took a note of his words. Who are better judges of arson and outrage than the Minister for Industry and Commerce who sits there and the Minister for Finance who is out of the House at the moment? Who are better judges of arson and outrage? By their arson and outrage they have taxed the citizens of this country to the extent of £50,000,000 or £60,000,000. Arson and outrage coming from the Minister——
Mr. T. Kelly: Is this in order?
Mr. Anthony: Absolutely in order.
Mr. Kelly: I am asking the Chair.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I am afraid it is not.
Mr. Anthony: We had the Minister for Finance here comparing two periods. I put it to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who I believe is a little bit honest, is there any comparison whatever between these two periods—the Cosgrave period of 10 or 12 years, when the Minister and his associates were outside this House breaking down the institutions of this State that had only just been erected, when they were indulging in arson and outrage——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Clearly that does not arise. We cannot traverse all the incidents that happened during that period of 10 or 12 years.
Mr. Anthony: The Minister for Finance spoke about arson and outrage. He also stated that the official Opposition were getting away with it. Am I not entitled to refer in the same orderly manner as the Minister for Finance was allowed to get away with it——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I am not preventing any Deputy referring to what the Minister for Finance got away with at all, but clearly anything that took place eleven, ten, eight or nine years ago is not relevant to this motion.
Mr. Anthony: It was relevant when the Minister for Finance was speaking. It was relevant, apparently, when the Ceann Comhairle was in the Chair, for the Minister for Finance to refer to matters of this kind, but for a private member it is not relevant apparently.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is not the ruling of the Chair.
Mr. Anthony: What is the ruling of the Chair?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Did the Minister for Finance go back nine or ten years?
Mr. Anthony: He went back 12 years.
Mr. Lemass: Where was the Deputy in '98?
Mr. Anthony: Where were you in '98? Where was anybody belonging to you 50 years ago?
Mr. Lemass: Answer my question.
Mr. Anthony: We were in this country before you came to it.
Mr. T. Kelly: You were not.
Mr. Anthony: What will you bet?
Mr. T. Kelly: I will bet you anything you like. His family have been in Dublin for over 200 years.
Mr. Anthony: This makes me smile.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: This surely is not relevant to the motion.
Mr. Anthony: To-day the Minister for Finance said that the official Opposition were getting away with it. By “it” he meant propaganda which encouraged arson and outrage. We have that coming from the Minister  of a Government which, when outside this House, was composed mainly of persons who were encouraging not alone arson and outrage, but arson and murder, and not a tooth on it. Of course I am entitled to reply to the Minister for Finance. He asked the Opposition to call off the dogs. I have taken a note of his exact words. I have condemned all outrages—arson, the felling of trees, and the cutting of wires—in public and in private. Therefore, I think I am entitled, as one who condemns all this kind of thing, to say that I find myself in agreement with the Minister for Finance in condemning these things; but it would come a lot better from me, or a person like me, who never indulged in these practices, to condemn this class of outrage.
There are some matters covered by this motion which I should like to examine and have discussed. There is a Vote here relating to Secret Service. I know it is not usual to disclose the payments under such a Vote, but I would like to have some information from the Minister for Finance in relation to how, and the circumstances under which, that money is being distributed. I am aware that in many remote areas of the country there is a very grave suspicion that hangers-on or partisans of the Minister's own Party are in receipt of this money and it is the general belief that the administration of this fund, or the expenditure of money under this head, is breeding a good deal of suspicion in the country. It has been represented to me that in some areas there are persons to-day who are amongst the newly-rich and it is thought at any rate that these people are in receipt of this Secret Service money. I am not asking the Minister for Finance to disclose the names of those persons, but he certainly could give us some idea of the activities of those people who are in receipt of this money.
Mr. T. Kelly: On a point of order. The Deputy is making certain reflections on individuals in this country, men who through their own industry and honesty have become rich. He is  making allegations that that class of person is getting money from the Secret Service. He should not be allowed to make such reflections.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Of course this discussion has rambled a great deal beyond what it should be allowed to cover. Deputies Bennett, O'Higgins and the Minister for Industry and Commerce were allowed to range over a very wide number of subjects. That is not as it should be. Deputies will realise that if they dispose of this motion the Estimates would arise in the ordinary way and discussion could proceed in the ordinary fashion; not in this way, which is entirely irregular.
Mr. Anthony: Both yesterday evening and again in the afternoon we had a number of items referred to. Amongst other things the Public Safety Act was mentioned. I submit that if any of the Government Party are allowed to discuss items of that character, such as the Public Safety Act, and the reason why it was introduced, some members on this side should at least be allowed to advert on the matter.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I did not hear the Public Safety Act discussed by anybody on this motion.
Mr. Anthony: To-day you had even the League of Youth mentioned by the Minister for Finance. It is one of the organisations which he condemned, which aroused his displeasure. I am not a member of the League of Youth; I am, like the Minister for Industry and Commerce, possibly slightly over the age of what would be called a youth. However, it might be no harm to relate the circumstances under which that League was formed.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That surely would not be relevant to this motion.
Mr. Anthony: The Minister must know the circumstances that caused the birth of that organisation. I do not want to cut across the ruling of the Chair. I quite agree it would be  inadvisable to bring up matters of this character, which might cause a good deal of acrimonious discussion.
Mr. Lemass: If the Deputy will tell how it rose, we will tell how it fell.
Mr. Anthony: The Minister himself always invites discussion. He suggested we might even discuss agriculture and he was prepared to give us another day to discuss it. I want to know how many more items in the Estimates will he allow us to discuss. I am anxious to find out something about the Secret Service money and how it is distributed. I want to know how many members of the Fianna Fáil clubs have been appointed Secret Service agents. I want to know what is the amount of money and to how many people it is paid. I am also anxious to know, but it can be elicited by way of ordinary Parliamentary Question, the difference between the Army Vote now and the Army Vote in 1927, 1929 and 1930. Of course, that can easily be got through ordinary channels. There are other matters which I am sure the Minister will agree should be discussed before we pass this motion and I am, therefore, opposed to it.
Mr. O'Neill: I think the Minister for Industry and Commerce is one of the ablest exponents of the new form of government by noise. In his whole discourse he has been altogether irrelevant. We have been accused of wasting time. The fact of the matter is that we have to deal with a very unique circumstance and that is that we are dealing with the worst Budget ever introduced in this country since the Free State was established. By plenty of noise and bellowing they have been trying to conceal from the country the fact that this Budget shows an increase of £10,000,000 as compared with the period before the Fianna Fáil people came into power. In 1932 the total Supply Services, the essential services, amounted to £26,000,000. Now the total cost is over £36,000,000. I need not point out how this increase of £10,000,000 compares with the great promises made by Fianna Fáil before they became the Government. The  people are very anxious that these matters should be inquired into.
The Minister says he has learned a lot from the Opposition Benches. At any rate, he has learned that he has taxed a lot of things that are causing great suffering amongst the people. Through the searching and the intelligent examination exercised by Deputies on these benches in relation to the Budget taxes, the people have begun to realise the extent of their suffering and how they are being ground down by a terrible weight of taxation. We should owe no apology if we utilise the rights we have to discuss these financial proposals. This is the most important element in the administration of affairs in this country. If we have examined the Government's proposals in respect of taxation we have done so in a way that has been appreciated by the people outside who are called upon to meet taxation. Anyone who contributes to the taxation of this country will, I am sure, be grateful for the way in which the iniquities of the Fianna Fáil fiscal system have been shown up here. It was said last week that the House was kept in prolonged session, not because we wanted facilities for discussing these exactions, but because some Fianna Fáil Deputies were afraid to go home on Sunday, afraid to go to Mass in their home churches because they put a tax on the priests' breviaries and on Mass books.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: We are not discussing taxation now. The Budget and the Finance Bill have been passed. We are now discussing the procedure to be adopted in the case of the Estimates for Public Services.
Mr. O'Neill: The Estimates give an idea of the way in which the taxation is going to be spent. We protest in the most emphatic manner against these 23 Estimates being bulked and run through the House without a proper examination or discussion being allowed. It has been said that a sum amounting to over £11,000,000 is being run through the House. The exact figure is £11,235,866—nearly one-third  of the whole of the Supply Services and the Central Fund Services. I do not think that that redounds in any way to the credit of the Dáil or that such a thing should be permitted to happen. It is very necessary that these matters should be examined and very closely examined. Some of the matters that are to be run through are of very great importance to the country. There has been an increase of over £1,000,000 for new services expenditure and the greater part of that increase is included in these estimates. I protest against the passing of this motion, because it is going to stifle discussion on matters of very great importance to the House and to the national well being of the country as to how the Budget money is going to be spent. All this great increase in expenditure is being carried out at a time when the traders of the country were never worse off, and we are putting higher taxation on the people at a time when their trade is dwindling.
Mr. J.M. Burke: It is almost unthinkable to me that a motion such as that which is now being considered by the House should be presented to any popularly elected assembly. I join in the protest against this frantic, hectic and break-neck speed, in voting away over £11,000,000 of the people's money without giving their elected representatives any opportunity of criticising the different items that go to make up this tremendous expenditure, imposing a burden on the people beyond their capacity, and one that is bound, sooner or later to lead to absolute destitution in the Free State. This motion precludes adequate, if any, discussion upon these vital matters, including such important Votes as the Estimate for agriculture, which is, and has been, and long will be, the main key industry in this country. It precludes any discussion on fisheries which I suggest have been sadly neglected not only by this, but by previous Governments. Again, there is the Vote for old age pensions, which concerns a very large number of the poorer classes in this country; and we are asked to rush all these through in a couple of hours.
 Last night, on a relatively small Vote, but a very important one, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance deliberately and designedly, as I suggest, and allege, wasted an hour and 15 minutes of the time of this House in what, in my humble judgement, were irrelevancies that had no bearing at all upon the issue before the House. For that reason I join with the Opposition, with the Independents and with the Labour Party, and with every lover of free institutions and democratic government in this country, against this appalling attempt to gag and stifle discussion upon matters that vitally affect the very life of the nation.
Mr. Brennan: When Eastern tribes want to work themselves up into a war fury they beat their tom-toms; and when the Fianna Fáil Party wants to get up some kind of enthusiasm they bring in the Minister for Industry and Commerce——
Mr. Lemass: To beat the Opposition
Mr. Brennan: That is so. The Minister for Industry and Commerce gets up and makes a loud noise. He endeavoured to give some figures a while ago, and the persistency with which he insisted that his figures were correct was amazing, in view of the publications of his own Department. The amazing thing is that he advised the Opposition to study the figures of his own publications. The question at issue was certain figures read out by Deputy O'Higgins as to the exports of pigs and bacon in the years 1930, 1931 and 1933.
Mr. Lemass: And 1934.
Mr. Brennan: Deputy O'Higgins did not quote figures for 1934; they are not in the book.
Mr. Lemass: They were published.
Mr. Brennan: They are not in the book. There is no use in the Minister trying to convince the House that Deputy O'Higgins was holding back something from it that had been published. He read all the figures that had been published, and that was the point. On page 38 we got the record  of the imports of bacon into this country in 1930. It was said from the Government Benches last night that one of the first things the Government did was to prevent the import of Chinese bacon to the extent of £1,760,000. The figures given on page 23—Trade and Shipping Statistics, 1933—bacon imports, 1930, are £454,000. That is what they were and no more. The Minister a while ago gave us instead the figures he wanted us to take—home as well as export—and suggested that that was the amount of bacon consumed in this country plus the Irish killing, and that that was the only portion that had to be followed. Let us come to the exports. On page 148 of the same publication we get the exports for the year 1930 of bacon and hams.
Mr. Lemass: Take the year 1931.
Mr. Brennan: I would have to go to the trouble of adding up these figures if I did that. I took the first column for bacon, hams, pork, sausages, and other pig meats for the year 1931.
Mr. Lemass: Including pork?
Mr. Brennan: Why not?
Mr. Lemass: Pork is not the product of bacon factories. I specifically mentioned bacon and hams.
Mr. Brennan: You endeavoured to relate the whole discussion to the prosperity or otherwise of the bacon industry.
Mr. Lemass: And to a greater production of bacon and hams and to a lesser production of pork.
Mr. Brennan: Possibly the Minister, not being engaged in farming, does not know that pork is pig. Does he know that?
Mr. Lemass: Of course.
Mr. Brennan: That is so, and it has to be reared and fed as if it was being fed for bacon. That is information for the Minister. In 1931 our exports of all those pig products, of any and every kind, were £3,140,833.
Mr. Lemass: No, that was the value.
Mr. Brennan: Very well. I have also the numbers. The Minister wants the numbers of pigs?
Mr. Lemass: I want the quantity of bacon and hams exported.
Mr. Brennan: The quantity of bacon and hams exported, in 1931, was considerably in excess of what it was in 1933, and the amount of money realised was treble what it was in 1933. The only advantage the Minister could claim with regard to the whole situation was that, when a prohibitive tariff was put on, which kept out foreign bacon, a market was opened here which otherwise was not taken advantage of by Irish producers, to the extent of £400,000 odd, but we lost in production, whether in bacon, pork or hams, over £1,300,000. I am not saying that that was all due to Fianna Fáil policy, but there is no use in the Minister pretending here that the pig industry has gone ahead since Fianna Fáil came into power.
Mr. Lemass: The statement I made was that we reduced the import of bacon and hams, and, at the same time, maintained our export.
Mr. Brennan: You did not maintain your export by any means.
Mr. Cosgrave: Where is that in any of the statistics?
Mr. Lemass: In the trade and shipping statistics.
Mr. Brennan: It is not in these statistics. The Minister ought to read his own publications before he advises others to read them. This is the thing the Minister tried to put across the House a while ago. With regard to the motion before the House, I contend that it is quite reasonable for the Government to endeavour to closure discussion on these matters, in view of the position into which they have landed this country. Agriculture has been mentioned so often that it needs nothing further from me. We have the supplementary agricultural grants reduced, and I do not blame the Government for endeavouring to hide  that reduction, considering what has occurred to the country and considering the position of local authorities in the country to-day. We have a reduction of £100,000 in the supplementary agricultural grants this year, and this is the year in which the Government withheld grants, to the extent of £750,000, from local authorities, and the year in which local authorities have not brought their accounts up to date or estimated for their full expenditure.
The position, so far as local authorities are concerned and so far as the agricultural community are concerned, and they are both concerned in these Estimates, is a position in which nobody can look to the future with any hope, so that it is not any wonder that we find the Government endeavouring to closure discussion of these matters. Take the Secret Service, which, a few years before Fianna Fáil came into power, did not cost £1,000. It cost £25,000 last year, and the Estimate this year is £20,000. What is the Secret Service? It is a political party fund. That is what it is.
Mr. Norton: Was it always that?
Mr. P. Hogan: (Galway): It was not.
Mr. Brennan: Even if it were, when it cost £900 odd, it could not do very much. Now it is costing £20,000 odd.
Mr. Norton: Does the Deputy accept the position that it was always a party fund?
Mr. Brennan: No, I do not.
Mr. Lemass: Never attribute to your political opponents motives meaner than your own.
Mr. Brennan: If Deputy Cosgrave had demanded £25,000 from the nation for the Secret Service, it would have been open to very grave suspicion, and a jump from £900 odd to £25,000 is a very suspicious jump.
Mr. Lemass: It was never £900.
Mr. Norton: How much of it was spent?
Mr. Brennan: Deputy Norton can find that out without asking me.
Mr. Norton: I thought the Deputy knew all about it.
Mr. Brennan: I know enough about it, and I know enough about people getting money in the country, and it is not for the detection of crime.
Mr. Cooney: Did the Deputy give that information to the proper authorities?
Mr. Brennan: Deputy Cooney had better keep quiet about that. It might come too near home. In any case, we have this method of closure, which is merely a cloak for getting these things through, and it certainly does not reflect any credit on the Government. As we cannot go into the detailed items which we want to go into, I do not see any use in pursuing the discussion any further. I am simply disgusted with the whole situation.
Mr. P. Hogan: (Galway): The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated that there would be ample opportunity for discussing all these matters in which we are interested on another occasion. He said that these Estimates had to be through by the end of August.
Mr. Lemass: The beginning of August.
Mr. P. Hogan: That is three weeks away. Why rush them through to-morrow?
Mr. Lemass: The Appropriation Bill must be through the Dáil and the Seanad by 1st August.
Mr. Hogan: The Minister gave an undertaking that if we let them through we could discuss all these matters again. If there is time to discuss these matters, is it not the most suitable and proper way to discuss them on the Estimate? He cannot have it both ways. You cannot make the case that you will apply the closure and rush these Estimates through, saying that you are doing it because you are short of time and, at the same time, put up the case that we will get  plenty of time to discuss these matters. That is what the Minister has done. It is said that this was done in 1929. I do not remember the circumstances of the closure motion of 1929, but I do know the circumstances of the present time. One thing I know is that if such a motion came forward in 1929, the attitude of the Labour Party would not be equivocal on it. I do not know what their attitude is going to be now.
Mr. Norton: Before the Deputy goes off the deep end, would he like to know?
Mr. MacEntee: We might merely point out that the Deputy was not here.
Mr. Hogan: I have no intention in the world of going off the deep end. I do not know whether the Labour Party have learned or unlearned anything——
Mr. Norton: Change it now.
Mr. Hogan: If you want me to abuse you, I will do it very quickly. I do know that if such a motion came forward in 1929, their attitude would not be equivocal on it. As Deputy Brennan said, it is absolutely preposterous to compare the conditions of 1929 with the conditions of to-day, in spite of what has been very properly called the noise of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, because it is nothing else but noise. The country is in a hopeless condition at the present moment. There is hardly a producer in the country at present, who is not in receipt of a subsidy of one kind or another, who is making a profit. I do not think that could be challenged. There is not a single producer in this country at present, who is not in receipt of some kind of dole or another, who is making a profit. If that is the state of affairs, are we not going into bankruptcy? I should like to hear from the Labour Party of one industry, which is not bolstered either by an exorbitant tariff or by a subsidy or dole, that is able to make a decent profit and pay a decent wage. The joke of it is that the main industry of  the country which, in the main, is paying all the doles and all the subsidies, is in receipt itself of a tremendous amount of doles and subsidies from itself and was never in a worse condition.
When coming into the House, I heard the Minister for Industry and Commerce talking about the immense prosperity of agriculture, because that is what it amounted to, under the new system. I challenge the Minister to name a single penny that they are spending on agriculture that will produce a dividend in five years. All this expenditure that we are asked to vote for is simply appalling. There is not one penny of it productive. It is all in order to stop holes here and there. It reminds one of a broken down motor car with four very bad tyres. A hole comes in a tyre and you stick a patch on it. That only increases the pressure somewhere else. You put on another patch and you keep doing that, but you know that the whole thing will explode before very long and break down. All these Estimates are simply a series of patches on the economic system. They are evidence of the position to which the country has been reduced by the present Government.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that he would give another opportunity for discussing the economic war. He was rather jocular in suggesting that. Does the Minister realise that the economic war has brought ruin to the very best, to the most hard-working classes in this country? That is the literal truth. Of course, there are people making money out of the economic war. There are people who want to keep the economic war going for ever. Any war that lasts any length of time gives certain classes of people an opportunity of getting vested interest in it, and you have people all over the country who have a vested interest in the economic war, but they hide the fact by the protestations of patriotism, etc. It is a fact that the best and the most hard-working men in the country, the best citizens and the best Irishmen, the people who have produced  the most wealth in the past, the people who always paid their way and whose pride it was to pay their way, are being steadily ruined by the economic war. So that you could not talk about the economic war often enough. If there was a spark of real patriotism amongst those on the benches opposite they would think and talk a lot more about the economic war, and if they did there would be no economic war before long.
We have been told that we can discuss agriculture on another day. Of course, we can have a general discussion. We can make a series of speeches, but is that a satisfactory way to discuss the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture? The items relating to the Department of Agriculture cover 25 pages in the book of Estimates. There are a lot of questions that anyone who knows anything about the Department of Agriculture and about its administration would like to ask in connection with the present Estimates, even if he only gave them the most cursory glance. Deputy Cosgrave referred to the immense increase in the staff in the Department of Agriculture. There is an immense increase and there will be a bigger increase. The position at the moment is that any enterprising farmer, the sort of farmer who in the past made money for himself and for the State, is prevented by Government action from doing his business—the people who think that they ought to be able to do their business in such a way that they will be able to produce a profit and to pay taxation. There are a hundred and one things in connection with the Department of Agriculture that one would like to discuss on the Estimate that cannot be discussed if you have simply a discussion on agriculture generally. The same thing applies to all the other Estimates that are to be rushed through.
It seems to me that the whole position is unreal. Here you find in the year 1935 a country in extreme poverty. There are very few able to pay taxes, to buy tariffed articles, to pay their rates or their annuities, and yet, when you come into the Dáil, you  find the estimates dealing with an expenditure of £11,000,000 are being rushed through without any real discussion. With that situation it is coolly suggested by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and by the Minister for Finance that the Opposition are adopting wrecking tactics when they object. The Government will see at the end of another year. They are rushing through this expenditure this year. If they continue to carry on in that way they will have to rush through most extraordinary expenditure next year.
The Minister for Finance will have to get out of his head the idea that there is unlimited wealth in this country. It is no wonder that he should have that idea. This country must have been one of the richest countries in the world, comparatively speaking, in 1932 when the present Government took over. The highest tribute that could be paid to the wealth and the stability of this country is that there could have been such a rake's progress during the last three years and that it did not begin to show itself seriously until now. It must have been an immensely wealthy country to stand that. I think that a dispassionate judgement of the situation would be this, that the biggest work that was done by the last Government, not even excepting the establishment of majority rule in this country, was the husbanding of the country's resources in the way that they were husbanded up to the end of 1931. If these resources were not there the Minister for Finance would not have been able to carry on with the outrageously extravagant expenditure that he has indulged in over the last three years. But I warn him that it is coming to an end. All your tariffs will be no good before long because the purchasing power of the people is going. The hard-working productive farmer is nearly finished, and your tariffs, subsidies and doles will all break down.
The Government should not take up the attitude that when we seriously protest against the procedure that is being adopted in connection with the rushing through of these Estimates  that we are simply adopting wrecking tactics or that we wish to upset the administration of the State. I think the best service that we could do would be to prevent the Government getting their supply before the 1st August, because if it was made clear to the Government that they could not get their Supply and if their back benchers could be made show some little spirit of patriotism or any real respect for their constituents—before long they will have to do that because their constituents will see to it— then the Government might come to their senses. The best day's work that we could do for the country would be prevent the Government getting their Supply, and instead agree to a Supply that the country can afford at the present moment.
But, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce has said, propaganda is a wonderful thing. If you keep on repeating a thing you will eventually come to believe it. The members of the Government Party repeated certain slogans and for a long time the people were prepared to believe them, but I can tell the Government now “Your noise will not get across any longer; the time is coming when you have got to deliver the goods and the first step you must take is to reduce taxation to a level which the country can afford and to a figure which the taxpayer can afford to pay.” The Government have got to do that first. I put it to the members of the Labour Party, to the Independents, and to any man on the opposite benches who has the real interests of the country at heart that this year's Budget is an outrage from top to bottom, from beginning to end. It is an outrage and a sin against democracy and against the old principle of no taxation without representation that we should have a procedure such as this: to closure estimates which represents one-third of the total cost of the Supply Services of the country. I put it to the Labour Party, to the Independents and to all others to stop that, to bring the Government to their senses and if they do, they will be doing a good day's work for the country.
Mr. McGovern: I protest against a closure motion to prevent the House discussing 23 Votes. When any Deputy ventured to deal with some of the items connected with these Votes he was told that there would be an opportunity to do so. Where is the opportunity now? There is to be no discussion. We were told that there would be other opportunities to do so. There was plenty of time to discuss all these Votes if the opportunity had been given. The House was given holidays six or seven times last year when all these Bills could have been dealt with. Deputies were at home during periods of the year that they could have attended here. There is no excuse for this closure motion. I believe there was a deliberate design to closure discussion. The Vote for agriculture is a most important one, as is also the Vote dealing with old age pensions. The cut being made in old age pensions might be worth discussion at a time when national taxation has been increased by £6,000,000 compared with last year's figures. If taxation were cut there would be some excuse for bringing down expenditure. We are extending expenditure, and old age pensions are to be cut. Another important Vote is that dealing with bounties and subsidies. About £1,000,000 is being thrown on consumers that normally would be dealt with in the Budget. That amount of taxation is being imposed on the consumers of bread, and affects every person in the community. It falls hardest on the poorest class. Owing to the closure that question is not to be discussed.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce talked about the prosperity of agriculture, and about increased prosperity in the pig business. If our exports have increased, why is our trade balance not coming right? Why is the adverse trade balance gone from £13,000,000 to £20,000,000 in three years? The Minister contradicted his own figures. Apparently he is not prepared to recognise the facts that these figures disclose. While his Department furnished the figures of the adverse trade balance it seems he is not prepared to accept them. The  Minister maintains that the country is more prosperous, that we are producing more, and that whatever we have lost in exports, we have pulled up in another way. The figures prove the contrary. I would be glad to have an opportunity of going into the details of the Vote for Agriculture as well as the other Votes. I protest at this attempt to closure important discussion that it is the right of the House to have. This procedure is bringing the House into contempt, is depriving the country of representation, and is directed against the fundamentals of democracy. I protest against it.
Mr. O'Leary: I desire to protest against this motion. Deputy Norton made a very reasonable proposition when he asked the Government to give more time for consideration of the Votes for agriculture, fisheries, finance and old age pensions. The Government should at least set aside one week for consideration of these Estimates. It is admitted that agriculture is the main industry. I think it is a crime to pass the Vote for agriculture under a closure motion. The Minister responsible for this Vote stated in this House on one occasion, and the President made the statement on another occasion, that the farmers produce 80 per cent. of the wealth of the country. Therefore, they are paying 80 per cent. of the taxation. I say that it is a monstrous thing for the President of the State to stand over a proposal of this kind. It is a shame to have an attempt made to curb discussion of these Estimates. On one occasion we were told by Deputy Donnelly that the President drove a donkey to a creamery. Recently, when the President stated that he saved hay when he was young, he was interrupted by his uncle, who remarked: “And a damned bad hand he was.” I have my doubts about the President ever driving a donkey to a creamery, because, if he did, he would not indulge in the policy he is indulging in to-day, and that is driving unfortunate farmers to desperation.
We see what is happening all over the country—farmers being compelled to pay a debt which admittedly they have paid over and over. If the  Government disagrees with that statement, let them accept the challenge that was issued from these benches on several occasions, to set up a commission to inquire into the question. I guarantee that they will get information that will startle the country. We were told by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that more people are now employed on the land than previously. I admit that there are more people on the land. Why are they there? The sons of small farmers are at home, and they have to be fed by their people, because they cannot get the employment that they were in the habit of getting before this Government came into office. I am not going to accept the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Industry and Commerce as authorities on agriculture. When the Minister for Industry and Commerce came back from Ottawa he told us we were not so badly off, as he could have bought a sheep for 1/- in Ottawa. All I can say is, may the Lord deliver us from the Minister. The sooner the people realise the position they are being driven into the better. Deputy Hogan put it very clearly when he stated that while this country could carry on for a time, every intelligent person should realise that while we must have had great resources to stand the strain imposed for the past three years by this cursed Government, that could not continue.
Mr. Moore: I did not hear the whole of Deputy Hogan's speech, but what I did hear of it struck me as curiously inconsistent for one who is generally so clear. Speaking of the achievements of the last Government, he said that their biggest achievement was the establishment of majority rule. At the same time he invited Deputies at this side of the House to vote against what is obviously the opinion of the majority of the people in the present situation. The strange thing about it was that that came from a Deputy who has just arrived from Galway. He was through the recent election there, and he knows how emphatically the feeling of the electors in Galway was declared.
Mr. Belton: On this motion?
Mr. Moore: On the present political and economic situation.
Mr. Belton: Keep to the motion.
Mr. Moore: I am replying to Deputy Hogan.
Mr. Belton: You should talk to the motion.
Mr. Moore: I am replying to statements made by Deputy Hogan inviting back-benchers from this side to state their views with regard to the existing position in the country. Surely, if one is to have the respect for majority rule that obviously Deputy Hogan has, one cannot always put aside what is apparently the decisive wish of the people in the present circumstances. No message was given at the recent Galway election that the people want any change.
Mr. Belton: On a point of order. There is a motion of closure before the House. Is the Deputy for it or against it, or is he going to speak on general politics?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is not a point of order.
Mr. Moore: Deputy Hogan addressed himself to the Independent Benches as well. I do not think that Deputy Belton was present at the time. But Deputy Hogan asked Deputies on the Independent and Labour Benches and on the back benches of Fianna Fáil to join with him in refusing supply to the Government because of the dangerous position of the country. The people must be very bad judges. They were given the opportunity of saying whether they considered the position dangerous. Surely, the people are not dumb beasts. When they get the chance of voting, their votes, in Deputy Hogan's eyes at all events, must have a very big significance. The people recorded their view with emphasis during the past few weeks in the biggest constituency in the country. I could not, in these circumstances, take the responsibility of joining with  Deputy Hogan in saying that the Government should be refused supply because of the dangerous financial position of the country. Further, I have to remember that, on the occasion of the first Fianna Fáil Budget, I listened to Deputy Hogan in exactly the same position as he occupied to-day warning us that, in six months' time, the country would be bankrupt. He proved a very false prophet. There is nothing to indicate bankruptcy at the moment. If he were so very wrong then, there is no reason why he should not be equally wrong on the present occasion.
Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted and 20 Deputies being present,
Mr. Moore: On the general question of whether or not this motion should pass, I regret very much that such a motion is necessary. I think that, with proper relations between the two big parties, it should be possible to come to an arrangement by which motions of this kind would not be brought forward at the end of every session, as they almost invariably are. They were brought forward under the last Government, and now the present Government has had to resort to them. Surely that is more the fault of the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day and 12 months in the year than the fault of the Government. If the rather desultory method of debate that prevailed here during the last few weeks were to continue, I could see no probability of the House rising until the end of August, at earliest. It is obvious that government is not entirely conducted in this House, that Ministers have other duties to attend to and that they must be given time to attend to these duties. If, merely from a desire to go on debating, we limit the time at the disposal of Ministers for their departmental duties, we may be doing a very bad day's work and, even from Deputy Hogan's point of view, I think we would be doing a very bad day's work. I remember that nobody was so scornful in debates of this kind in previous years as was Deputy Hogan. He was very scornful  of any plea that government consisted of debate in the Dáil. The real business of the Government was done apart from the Dáil, he always asserted, and he claimed that Ministers should have full time to attend to that work. With that I entirely agree. I believe that no Minister can properly discharge the duties of his Department if he has to attend in the Dáil continuously during the greater part of the year. He must have periods during which he can review the work of his Department and look ahead. It is essential, for our own sakes, that we should give the Ministers the time necessary for that type of work. I think that it is not altogether good taste to comment upon the speeches of other Deputies, but it is obvious that there has been a great deal of repetition in the debates, particularly since financial business came to occupy so much of our time. If Deputies opposite were so eager to have every estimate debated, their leaders would have taken steps to see that there was something in the way of reasonable curtailment of debate, so that each estimate would get its proper time. It is a great pity that certain estimates are not going to get the time they would be entitled to under a proper allocation governing the whole body of estimates.
Mr. Belton: You are going to vote that they will not get time.
Mr. Moore: Certainly. Since I know that the Government are not to blame for the existing position, I think they are entitled to claim that there should be a curtailment of debate in view of the lateness of the season and in view of the necessity for getting on with more urgent work. For those reasons, I am supporting the motion.
Mr. Costello: Deputy Moore has given the most ingenuous reason for the passing of this motion that the House has, so far, heard. As I understand, his main reason for voting for this motion is to allow Ministers to have more time in their Departments. That is a very innocent reason. I am sure that the Deputy, in all honesty, believed in what he said, but the  Deputy, whose reputation for innocence and honesty is unsurpassed in this House, will not get many to support them in that reason. One of the outstanding features of the conduct of Parliamentary affairs by the present Ministry is their continuous absence from the House. It is very rarely there is more than one Minister on the Government Benches. We presume that the others are in their Departments doing the work that Deputy Moore wants them to do. But, since they do ignore the House to that extent in the interests of their Departmental work, the reason put forward so ingenuously by Deputy Moore has no substance at all. When the Minister for Finance is present during the debates on these financial matters, he is really doing his Departmental work in the House. During the three or four months occupied with Estimates and financial matters, the Minister for Finance is doing his Departmental business here, and other Ministers have nothing to do but attend to their Departments. Deputy Moore's reason for the passing of this motion is too ingenuous. The real reason, I suggest, is to endeavour to conceal the imposition of these taxes. This motion is really a continuation, if not the culmination, of the policy of concealment which has been adopted by the Government during the past few months.
The whole basis of the taxes which they propose to impose by the Bill that has just passed the House—the Finance Bill—is concealment. Most of the taxation proposed to be imposed by that Bill is concealed taxation. It was the business of the Opposition— and they endeavoured to carry out that duty—to expose to the public the effect of the taxation which was proposed and, in particular, to point out to the public the various concealed taxes which were implicit in the Finance Bill. Many people have, in fact, expressed their surprise to members on this side of the House at the information they had obtained through the discussion that took place on the Committee Stage of the Bill, and through the revelations made by Deputy Mulcahy and other members of  the Opposition Party in the course of the so-called and wearisome discussions in the last fortnight. They have been amazed to find out the number of taxes generally, and the number of concealed taxes proposed to be imposed by that Bill. This proposition that is now before the House is merely a continuation of that policy of concealment. They wish to prevent the Opposition from continuing the policy of exposing to the people the effect of the taxation that is being imposed by the Government openly and secretly, and to prevent us from discussing in detail the various items which would normally fall for discussion if a proper opportunity were given to the Opposition to discuss these various Estimates which are proposed to be closured. They are afraid that if we were allowed to discuss these items in detail, we would be able to expose still further the policy of the Government and to show the effects of their policy of endeavouring to impose taxation by concealed and indirect methods.
The Minister for Finance referred to-day to the closure motion on the Estimates which took place in the year 1929. As Deputy Hogan pointed out, the circumstances were entirely different then. Look at the facts and compare the circumstances prevailing then with the circumstances obtaining now. At that time the total amount of the Estimates which were closured in 1929, on a closure motion introduced by Deputy Cosgrave, who was then President of the Executive Council, was the sum of £613,889. £613,000 odd! The amount that is proposed to be closured by the present motion is £11,000,000—in other words, 20 times the amount that was closured in 1929 by Deputy Cosgrave is proposed to be closured by this motion. At that time, also, the then Opposition had taken 109 hours in discussing the Estimate, whereas, up to the present, we have taken only 79 hours. That is the contrast—£613,000 odd as against £11,000,000 odd, and 109 hours as against 79 hours. From that, the people can judge as to whether or not this motion is brought forward for the purpose of stifling discussion, as we  suggest, or, as Deputy Moore ingenuously suggests, in order to enable the Ministers to get back to their Departments.
We have here an Estimate for agriculture, one of the most important Estimates in the whole book of Estimates that are presented annually to the Dáil. We have 25 pages of the book of Estimates devoted to agriculture, and yet we are not to be allowed to discuss one single item of that. There will not be time, we are told! Of course, we were offered a day for that; but Deputy Hogan has stated that it would be impossible for him to discuss, even in the time allowed by a day's discussion in the Dáil, all the various items contained in that Estimate. Then there is the office of the Minister for Finance. A variety of topics is comprised in the Estimate for that office, all of which should be discussed in the public interest. We are anxious to know what is the reason for the extraordinary increase in the staff of the Civil Service, and we should also like to know whether or not the statement made by the Minister for Finance, in answer to Deputy McGuire the other day, is correct, and, if so, what system of arbitration is proposed in view of the President's promise to give a system of arbitration to the Civil Service. I was anxious to discuss the question of arbitration in the Civil Service. I was all the more anxious to discuss that particular item because I felt that I could do so without being taunted with the fact that we, on this side of the House, were in favour of arbitration merely for the purpose of vote-catching. I felt that we could not be taunted in that way because we have the authority of some of the spokesmen for methods of arbitration in the Civil Service, that, whether or not we were in favour of arbitration, these civil servants will not vote for us. Let us accept that. Let us take it that they will not vote for us. Nevertheless, we are still in favour of arbitration, and therefore I felt that we could discuss this matter impartially and that it would be known that we were not out for vote-catching.
Mr. MacEntee: Why did you not concede arbitration ten years ago?
Mr. Costello: Why did not the Minister carry out the promise that the President gave to the civil servants in Rathmines Town Hall? We never gave a promise to give arbitration, but the President did, and we want to discuss whatever queer sort of arbitration has been offered to the Civil Service. We did not promise it, but the President specifically promised it before the election, and that promise has not been carried out. Nevertheless, we are not going to be allowed an opportunity of discussing that particularly interesting topic. Neither are we going to be allowed sufficient time to discuss the Law Charges Vote. The Minister for Finance, when he moved the Law Charges Vote yesterday, moved it in a few words and airily said: “Let the Opposition go to it; they are anxious for it.” Then his Parliamentary Secretary wasted the time of the House for an hour and a quarter.
Mr. MacEntee: The Law Charges Vote was not moved last night. It was moved on Tuesday last.
Mr. Costello: That is a very sound point! We are overwhelmed with the potency of the Minister's argument.
Mr. MacEntee: It was not last night.
Mr. Costello: All right. It was not moved last night. I concede that point to the Minister. It was moved, let us say, the other night by the Minister, who spoke a couple of words. Then Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney got up and spoke, and then, last night— in order to be strictly accurate and in order now—the Parliamentary Secretary wasted the time of the House for over an hour and a quarter and had to be called to order at least six or seven times by the Chair, but we are not to be allowed to discuss it because, forsooth, we will not have time to discuss the very vital question we were anxious to discuss on this Vote: as to whether or not sheriffs, who are being paid on this Vote, are carrying  out their duties in accordance with the law. I was anxious——
Mr. MacEntee: If the Deputy is so anxious to discuss this matter, I make him the offer that we will put the motion now, and so allow him to start immediately discussing law charges.
Mr. Costello: That is a fine offer!
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy says that he wants to discuss law charges.
Mr. Costello: Will the Minister increase the time from 12 o'clock tomorrow so as to enable us to discuss law charges, agriculture, export bounties and subsidies, and all the other important matters?
Mr. MacEntee: You will get a special day for agriculture.
Mr. Costello: One single day would not be sufficient for agriculture. Even I, who am not an agriculturist or a Deputy who represents much of an agricultural constituency, know enough about agriculture to realise that the present policy of the Government in reference to agriculture could not possibly be discussed in one day. The Minister is very much pressed for arguments if he has to rely on the sort of stuff he has been interjecting in the last few moments. We are not to be allowed to discuss, in connection with law charges, the very vital matters we want to bring forward. I, personally, wanted to speak on the Estimate for law charges. I did not want to speak in a critical or even a Party spirit, but I find it somewhat difficult, listening to the irrelevancies of the Parliamentary Secretary last night, to restrain the remarks which I would make if I had spoken last night on law charges.
We are not to be allowed to discuss the item for sheriffs' salaries which appears in this Law Charges Vote. I wanted to point out and to prove conclusively that not a single one of the sheriffs' sales, which are being carried on at the moment by the sheriffs whose salaries are being provided on the Law Charges Vote, is conducted in accordance with the law. We are not to be allowed to draw attention to that. It would not suit the Government that I  should stand up here, I hope, impartially and without political bias, draw the attention of the Attorney-General to the fact that the law is being flouted at those sheriffs' sales, and ask him in the interests of the country, in the interests of the public, and in the interests of the agricultural community, to see that when those sales are being carried out the law is enforced and is strictly adhered to.
We are not to be allowed to draw attention to those matters. We were prevented by the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary, who spoke about the Constitution (Amendment) Act— which he so unctuously referred to as the Public Danger Act—and spoke about it in such tones that I asked myself several times: “Is the Act in force at the moment or is it not? Is it being operated by that Government whose Parliamentary Secretary speaks about it as the Public Danger Act?” I wondered was the Attorney-General prosecuting before the Military Tribunal at the moment, or was I dreaming it, or were the newspapers dreaming when they reported prosecutions by the Attorney-General against the I.R.A. The Public Danger Act was the general topic of the Parliamentary Secretary's so-called discourse last night. We are not to be allowed to reply to that. We will not have time to reply to it. We will not have time to reply to a number of things which I had wished to discuss, in, I hope, a perfectly friendly fashion, with the Attorney-General. We are not to be allowed to draw attention to certain matters which we have in common. The Minister's Parliamentary Secretary did everything that he could to prevent it, and probably, if this motion is passed to-night in sufficient time to allow the Law Charges Vote to be continued, the Parliamentary Secretary, who is in possession, will continue for another hour and a quarter to prevent us from discussing this Vote. That is the type of thing we are faced with at the present time. As I have said before, it is only the culmination of the policy of concealment which has been adopted by the present Government. It is only the continuation—I  do not think it is the culmination yet —of the policy towards dictatorship and towards the stifling of Parliamentary Government and Parliamentary institutions which has been carried on by the present Government.
General Mulcahy: The Minister for Finance addressed himself to some remarks of Deputy Cosgrave, but his mode of address was to keep away entirely from the remarks made by Deputy Cosgrave as to what had actually been done here. Deputy Cosgrave pointed out that the Minister for Finance is presenting this House and presenting the people to-day with a bill of expenditure which is £6,768,000 more than the bill that was presented in the year 1931-32. One of my objections to this particular class of guillotine, and to preventing the Estimates which still remain to be discussed from getting any kind of reasonable discussion, is that if the House were allowed to discuss those Estimates which remain there would appear from those Estimates that a very considerable burden, outside of that £6,768,000, was being put on the people, and that the people's eyes would be opened to the huge additional amount of money which is being taken out of their pockets.
We are prevented from having any reasonable discussion on the Vote for the Department of Agriculture. One of the reasons why we are prevented from examining the Department of Agriculture Vote in the systematic and detailed way in which it would be examined, if the House had a reasonable time for doing so, is that if we turned to some of the items on that Vote under the head of appropriations-in-aid this House would wake up to the fact that, outside of the money which was being provided on that Estimate, the people were being taxed to the extent of £285,000 by means of a levy on cattle; that it was more than likely that they would be taxed to the extent of an additional £240,000 in respect of bacon fees; that in regard to the expenditure on wheat, if it were systematically examined here, it would be seen that the increased cost in bread  and flour to the people of this country, outside of the taxation that is being put on them, would be about £900,000. By examination of these estimates the bill which is being presented to the country through the Finance Bill would be thrown into further relief with regard to the people's capacity to pay. When we were examining the Vote for the Department of Industry and Commerce—from the criticism of which the Minister for Industry and Commerce ran away; the Minister for Finance will not say that an excessively long time was spent in examination of the Vote for the Department of Industry and Commerce; the Minister ran away from it—we had our attention drawn to the fact that, outside of the moneys provided through the Finance Bill for the carrying on, with all its increased expenditure, of the Department of Industry and Commerce, the people were being additionally taxed in a way which did not appear as taxation, in that they were paying £195,000 in rates from certain towns in this country for the upkeep of the Unemployment Assistance measure; that, in addition to the amount of money which was being extracted from the people under the Finance Bill, £195,000 was being extracted from urban ratepayers, and that in addition £250,000 was being lifted out of the Unemployment Insurance Fund for the purpose of spending on that particular scheme.
Another of the Estimates which we are prevented from examining is the Estimate for the Supplementary Agricultural Grant. We would understand from examination and discussion of that Estimate that, in addition to the moneys which were being taken out of the people's pockets through the Finance Bill, £100,000 was this year being raised in rates on agricultural land, for spending by the Executive Council. Our minds would then travel to the other hidden taxes that were being raised from the people — £600,000 from butter £1,088,000 from sugar—and we would end up our discussion of the Estimates by a realisation that although the Estimates themselves present an increase of £6,768,000 on a bill to be  paid by the people out of taxes imposed on them by the Government, all those other items I have mentioned were raising out of the people's pockets an additional £3,708,000, so that in fact the people were being taxed by more than £10,000,000 over the taxation level of 1931-32.
We are prevented here discussing in detail the Estimates that only serious and detailed discussion of them would bring out these facts. The Minister for Industry and Commerce addressed himself to the position in which the agricultural industry was, and he explained that there was considerably more employment in that industry in 1934 than in 1931. There are 1,600 more permanent agricultural labourers employed according to the statistics. Deputies who do not know the country on this side of the House asked Deputies on the other side of the House whether they think there are more permanent agricultural labourers in the country in 1934 than in 1931. I am prepared to take the Minister for Industry and Commerce with his figures in that respect, for the Minister bases his claim not on 1,600 additional labourers, but on figures which he has already given us, of 16,836. A more detailed examination of the Estimate for the Supplementary Agricultural Grant would throw some light on that. Last year out of the Supplementary Agricultural Grant there was £385,000 odd given as employment allowances to farmers whose valuation was from £20 upwards in respect of the number of persons employed permanently in agricultural employment on their holdings. An examination of the situation would show that what has happened really as a result of the giving of this £385,000 as employment allowances on these farms is that every male member of the farmer's family on a farm of more than £20 valuation has been put on the agricultural Schedule as employed in agriculture. When the Minister for Industry and Commerce is claiming that there are more persons employed in 1934 than in 1931 he is not talking of the 1,600 permanent agricultural labourers. He is talking of the total 16,836 additional persons, more  than 15,000 of which are members of the farmers' families who have been induced by the grant of £385,000 to come on the statistical records as “employed.”
The House has some idea of the amount of money that is being used to subsidise wheat, to subsidise beet and to subsidise tobacco in a certain number of counties of this country. They have been told that these would increase the farmer's income and would increase the wages payable to all the workers on the land. In the earlier stages of the Fianna Fáil régime the present Minister for Defence told the people in Louth that the prices guarantee would ensure farmers a decent wage, and would enable them to pay their work people a decent wage. Deputies have drawn attention to the fact that there has been a considerable fall in wages in the agricultural industry. We have repeated again and again that the Minister's own figures show that there is not a province in the country in which the agricultural wages have not gone down, in which the wage has not decreased; even amongst the cream of the agricultural labourers—if the word “cream” can be mentioned in connection with agricultural labourers in this respect—the wages have gone down. The figures which the Minister for Industry and Commerce can quote as wages are miserable figures. Miserable as were the wages of the agricultural labourers they have, during the Fianna Fáil régime been reduced by 3/- per week in Leinster, 4/- per week in Munster, 2/6 in Connaught and 3/- in Ulster.
Again I have to repeat that in the most subsidised county in this country for three months in the earliest part of this year the committee of agriculture pleaded with the Government that as the average wage in Wexford was only 8/- a week and food, the free beef scheme ought to be extended to the labourers there. Only a week ago we had a report from the responsible commissioner in South Tipperary. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health had issued instructions to dismiss certain cottage rent collectors if they failed to collect the outstanding arrears. What was the reply?  The first collector said the reason was that the agricultural labourers in South Tipperary were getting no more than 8/- a week; the second collector said that some farmers in his part of the county were unable to pay the wages and that in some cases they were as much as six months in arrear——
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not know whether it is the desire of Deputies to go into Estimates, as is being done, because it simply throws the Estimates open for discussion on this motion. At least two Deputies have devoted most of their time to the actual discussion of the Estimates instead of speaking to the motion. That is the position.
General Mulcahy: I only want to refer briefly to that aspect of the agricultural situation and to reply to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The Minister laid stress on the additional employment that was given in agriculture and I simply want to draw attention to the fact that we are prevented from discussing here such additional employment as his figures show has been induced by the additional supplementary grant. I advert to this motion because there are a number of Estimates that would require discussion. I will take the old age pensions. The Minister for Finance told us that certain abuses had arisen in connection with the administration and the grant of old age pensions and that he expected to reduce the amount of the pensions this year by £100,000. This House should have a reasonable opportunity of discussing the Old Age Pensions Estimate. A parliamentary answer was given here the other day and it disclosed facts that I think are worthy of discussing. There should be some means of discussing them in this House on the Estimate and they should not, therefore, be shut down by this guillotine motion. The Minister and his colleagues claim that there has been a considerable increase in the payments for pensions in various counties. The incidence of this increase  is, in my opinion, a matter that ought to be discussed. I would like to have an opportunity of discussing why it is that there has been an increase in old age pensions in Galway, a county of approximately the same population as Donegal. The increase in Galway has amounted to 7/- per head of the population, whereas the increase in Donegal is only 2/- per head of the population. I would like to have an opportunity of discussing why in Monaghan the increase between 1931 and 1934 is equivalent to 6/- per head of the population, whereas in the City and County of Dublin it is only 2/3 per head of the population.
Mr. MacEntee: Did the Deputy ever hear of the means test?
General Mulcahy: I heard of the means test but I should like to discuss why there has been such a great increase in Galway as compared with Donegal.
Mr. MacEntee: Then stop talking on this motion and get down to discuss it on the Estimate.
General Mulcahy: I do not think the Minister for Finance is serious when he suggests that we should shut up now and that we were going to have an opportunity of discussing the Old Age Pensions Estimate. He knows very well we are not going to have that discussion. I would like, too, to have a discussion on the Secret Service Estimate, which has gone up from £1,500 in 1931 to £20,000 now, in spite of the fact, as Deputy Cosgrave pointed out, that the Gárda Síochána Estimate has gone up enormously.
We are not going to be allowed to discuss these things. We are not going to be allowed to discuss particularly the things that would come out here if these Estimates were considered. Not only is there increased hidden taxation of a kind that could be portrayed as a result of an examination of these Estimates, but there is even taxation which would require very minute scrutiny of the Estimate to understand. A trader in Tipperary had consigned to him at the end of  June a 12-lb. box of tomatoes and it cost him 4/-. A quota order was issued by the Minister for Agriculture and the next 12-lb. box cost him 9/6. These are matters that can only be brought out and understood if the Estimates still down for consideration could be discussed. A full appreciation of the burden of taxation that is being put upon the people can only be got when, after a discussion of the budgetary proposals, we can in a reasonable and detailed way complete the discussion of these Estimates, and that is what we are not being allowed to do. I object to that. The burden of taxation remains. The various taxes and the maladministration remain and we will not be allowed to discuss them here. The Minister and his colleagues, by the choking down of discussion here, cannot stop in the end a full appreciation of these things by the people. We belong to a race that has  been throttled for generations. Yet an Irish Parliament sitting here——
Mr. MacEntee: That is the tenth time the Deputy said that.
General Mulcahy: I am going to go on saying and reminding the Ministers that this is an Irish Parliament set up by the Irish people against all the throttling and the beating down that could possibly be brought to bear upon it. If some of the throttling and the beating down is attempted inside the walls of this Parliament, the people who met that throttling and beating down outside when they had no Parliament are not going to be subdued by it even when it operates from the Government Front Bench of an Irish Parliament. It will see its end, as well as other attempts at throttling and beating down saw its end.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 55; Níl, 47.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
De Valera, Eamon.
Dowdall, Thomas P.
Flinn, Hugo V.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Lynch, James B.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Broderick, William Joseph.
Burke, James Michael.
Cosgrave, William T. Everett, James.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
McFadden, Michael Og.
|Costello, John Aloysius.
Davitt, Robert Emmet.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan. Murphy, James Edward.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Redmond, Bridget Mary.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Motion declared carried.
The Dáil, according to order, resumed consideration of Estimates for Public Services in Committee on Finance.
Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee): I move:
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £890,000 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1936, chun Deontais-i-gCabhair do Chiste na nIasachtaí Aitiúla.
That a sum not exceeding £890,000 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, for a Grant-in-Aid of the Local Loans Fund.
I should like to explain to the House, Sir, that I have moved this motion as a matter of form in order to make an explanation on a point of procedure. Deputies will recall that the Local Funds Act, recently passed, authorised the establishment of a Local Loans Fund by repayments on foot of existing loans, by moneys borrowed on behalf of the Fund, either from the Exchequer or other Government funds, or from the public by the issue of securities. The Fund contemplated in the Act was duly established on the 1st May last, and as from that date there came to an end the non-statutory arrangement under which local loans transactions were financed with the aid of moneys voted annually by the Oireachtas. It is not necessary, therefore, to vote an Estimate for local loans for 1935-36. Whatever money is required for the purpose will, as I have said, be made available by the means authorised by the recent Act. I accordingly propose to withdraw the Estimate. This step, I am advised, is not essential from the point of view of financial procedure, but it is regarded as desirable that there should be a record of the withdrawal of the Estimate in order that the Dáil records may be complete. Accordingly, as things stand, the natural course is that which I have adopted, namely, to propose and withdraw the motion, which I accordingly do.
Mr. Belton: Would the Minister inform the House if the Local Loans Fund is in a position to function? Is there money at its disposal?
Mr. MacEntee: I have already indicated that we do not want money for the Local Loans Fund.
Mr. Belton: Was there not a Local Loans Fund set up by the recent Act? Has that any money at its disposal?
An Ceann Comhairle: That does not come within this Estimate.
Mr. Belton: I know the Minister was asked three months ago for a loan, and he did not reply.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. Costello: Having complained of the lack of opportunity of speaking on this Vote, I have now to complain, Sir, that I have not sufficient time to deal with all the matters on which I would like to speak, because of the number of farmers who are behind me on these benches, and who desire to speak on the Vote for Agriculture. I shall not occupy the time of the House very long in dealing with the subject of law charges because of the desire of these farmers to get an opportunity to speak on the Vote for Agriculture, but I hope to deal as shortly as possible with three or four points in which I am specially interested. I propose to pass over Deputy Hugo Flinn.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary.
Mr. Costello: I beg your pardon. I propose to pass over the Parliamentary Secretary and I am sure the House will be glad to know that. Really the performance to which this House was treated last night by the Parliamentary Secretary deserves nothing but absolute contempt. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, in moving that this Estimate be referred back for reconsideration, drew the attention of the Attorney-General to a number of matters of which he complained. I want to address myself so far as I am personally concerned to this Estimate in an impartial spirit. I want to deal with it in a strictly non-Party spirit because I am interested in two or three topics to which I wish to direct the attention of the Attorney-General, and I am more interested in getting from him results than I am in scoring debating points.
Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney drew the attention of the Attorney-General to complaints with reference to the kind of evidence that was being tendered in prosecutions before the Military Tribunal. The Attorney-General occupies in the scheme of administration  of this country a somewhat unique position. He is under the Ministers and Secretaries Act placed, deliberately placed, in a position where he is enabled to exercise his functions judicially and impartially and entirely free from political considerations. He holds his office during the tenure of the President of the Executive Council. In other words, the Attorney-General cannot be got rid of except by the Government's resigning.
That was done in order that the Attorney-General should occupy a position of strict impartiality. It was felt that in the conduct of public prosecutions his office should be as free as possible from political considerations, and while I, in common with my colleagues here, have very grave complaint in reference to the administration of justice in this country, I draw a distinction in this Estimate between the position of the Attorney-General and the position of the Government, because, in reference to the Attorney-General, he is dependent in the exercise of his functions on the co-operation of the Minister for Justice in particular and the other members of the Executive Council, and many of the things of which we have to complain are more directly attributable to the Minister for Justice and the Guards than they are attributable to the Attorney-General.
Deputy Fitzgerald - Kenney spoke about the position of prosecutors before the Military Tribunal. He complained that certain statements were being tendered in evidence by those prosecutors which ought not to be tendered in evidence and that the laws of evidence as he knew them, as practising lawyers know them, were being totally disregarded. The Military Tribunal has on more than one occasion, I think, announced the principle that it is not bound by the laws of evidence. There is a popular fallacy that the laws of evidence are something approaching the cult of the mysterious and are framed in the interests of technical lawyers with a view to impeding the administration  of justice and arriving at the truth. People, and particularly lay people, conceive that they will arrive at what they think is the truth of a case by ignoring the rules of the game and particularly by ignoring the laws of evidence.
An Ceann Comhairle: I should like the Deputy to make it clear that he is not attacking the Military Tribunal as such, the Tribunal being a court regularly set up by the Oireachtas.
Mr. Costello: I was not aware that I was. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney had made the point that the prosecutors were tendering certain evidence and that it was the duty of the Attorney-General to instruct his prosecutors to see that the laws of evidence were obeyed. I am not speaking about the Military Tribunal. I deliberately passed from the discussion of the Military Tribunal which was initiated by the Parliamentary Secretary and I overcame a very strong temptation to reply to the Parliamentary Secretary on the subject of the Military Tribunal and his quotation of a statement that I made at some time in this House about that august body.
Mr. McGilligan: The Parliamentary Secretary was allowed to talk about the Military Tribunal.
Mr. Costello: The point I was making was that the laws of evidence, although popularly believed to be something that obstruct the administration of justice, in fact, are rules which have been arrived at over a long period of years and as the result of experience in the interests of truth and justice. Therefore, I join with Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, not in complaining of the Attorney-General, but in an appeal to the Attorney-General in his public and impartial capacity, as one who is charged with the safeguarding of the rights of the public and particularly the rights of people who are accused, to see that in his conduct of cases before that Tribunal, through the prosecutors who appear for him, he instructs them rigidly to  adhere to the laws of evidence. The members of the Military Tribunal are laymen. They are in the hands of prosecutors. It is the duty of a prosecutor, if he thinks and believes a statement is not in strict accord with the laws of evidence, not to tender such a statement. I press that forward in the interests of justice, in the interests of people who are charged, whatever their political opinions are. I do not care whether they belong to the Party with which I have the honour to be associated or to another Party which frequently in recent days appears before that Tribunal.
I say it is contrary to the public interest that prosecutions should be conducted in any court or tribunal other than in strict accordance with the laws and the rules of evidence. It may result in a temporary win, if I may use the expression, for the prosecution. One famous crown prosecutor, if I may use the expression that rolled so often from the tongue of the Parliamentary Secretary, in the old days used to come out after he had prosecuted in a criminal case and, rubbing his hands, would say: “We won that case.” He was subjected to the derisive comments of his colleagues because prosecutors, even when they were crown prosecutors, had not the notion that it was the duty of a prosecutor to win his case. the duty of the prosecutor was to put the facts before the tribunal before which he was appearing, impartially and fairly, and it is in that spirit that we ask that prosecutions should be conducted before whatsoever tribunal they are conducted by the Attorney-General through his counsel, whether they are conducted before the Military Tribunal or before juries in Green Street and elsewhere.
Arising out of that particular aspect of this case, there is one other topic that I personally feel particularly strongly about. The Attorney-General is only incidentally connected with this particular topic, but he does come in after the matter has taken place, and it then falls into his hands and he obtains control of it, and to that  extent the topic to which I am about to refer is relevant to this Vote. The matter on which I feel is the practice of taking statements from prisoners and accused persons. Under Article 2A of the Constitution there are certain powers of interrogation before arrest and subsequent to arrest. Under that Article it is made a criminal offence to refuse to answer certain questions put by members of the Gárda Síochána. It becomes the duty of the Attorney-General, where a case is presented to him, to prosecute a person for refusing to answer a question. I suggest to the Attorney-General and press upon him that he ought, in the exercise of his public duty and in the interests of the public, and not merely in the interests of securing a win for the present Government in a particular case, to take a wider view of the matter and to see that that Article 2A is strictly adhered to by the police, and, if it is not strictly adhered to and the strict letter of the law is not carried out, that he will not prosecute for failing to answer questions put by the police.
I have been informed, and cases have been brought to my notice, that the police have put questions to suspected persons in cases of ordinary crime. In other words, that the provisions of Article 2A with reference to the interrogation of prisoners is being used in the investigation of ordinary crime, not crime coming within the Schedule of Article 2A of the Constitution. So far as the Attorney-General is concerned, when he has to prosecute for failure to answer those questions, I press upon him that it is his duty to see that no countenance is given to any member of the Civic Guard who uses the provisions of Article 2A in the investigations of crimes that do not come directly within the Schedule to Article 2A.
There is another matter arising out of that upon which I wish to lay further emphasis. A number of specific criminal offences are mentioned in the Schedule, and at the end there is a general comprehensive description of crimes that may be brought before the Military Tribunal on a certificate  having been given by an Executive Minister. I suggest that the Attorney-General should refuse definitely and emphatically to prosecute any person who is interrogated or who purports to have been interrogated in pursuance of the powers conferred on the police by Article 2A in reference to offences which are not of a kind specifically mentioned in the Schedule; in other words, that where certificates have been given by an Executive Minister post hoc or ad hoc that he should refuse to prosecute for refusal to answer queries unless a certificate has been given prior to interrogation.
Of course, if a member of the Gárda is prepared to swear that at the time he made the first and subsequent interrogations he suspected the prisoner of one of the offences mentioned in the schedule it is a different matter. But where it is a case of a person being suspected—a case that might be trifling—before a certificate is given by the Minister; in that case, no use should be made by the Attorney-General of any statement made by any accused person unless where the certificate has been given prior to the interrogation. One of the sub-heads of this particular Vote deals with under-sheriffs. Another of the sub-heads deals with the defence of public officials. I notice the amount of public money to be provided in this Estimate for the defence of public officials is exactly double the amount provided last year. I take it that it is the anticipation of the Government that the Attorney-General will be called upon to conduct the defence of public officials in the current year, more often than in the last one. I think that probably arises from the fact that people are now waking up to the fact that I have already called the attention of the House to earlier to-night. In my opinion, at all events, not one of the sheriffs' sales conducted, at the present moment, throughout the length and breadth of the country is being carried out in strict accordance with the law. In this Vote there is provision for the salaries of under-sheriffs. Presumably the Ministry expects that the people will get alive  quickly to the fact that more goods are being seized under writs or the equivalent of writs, under the Land Acts, than are necessary to pay the debts; that the requirements of the law in reference to sheriffs' sales are not being complied with; that the requirements of the law as to the giving of reasonable notice to intending purchasers are not being complied with; that the requirements of the law as to the duty of the sheriff to get the best possible price for the goods seized under the sheriffs' writs are not being complied with, and that, in general, sales by under-sheriffs at the present moment are being carried out in defiance of the law and the established legal requirements in connection with sheriffs' sales. People are bound to become aware very soon of their rights in reference to these things. I think they have already become aware of these things and that only their poverty prevented them from taking action and that the Ministry anticipates this year more actions being taken against them than last year.
I have but a very little time in which to deal with the matters to which I want to refer. I shall deal with only two more topics which, I think, are of a non-controversial character. I want to impress upon the Attorney-General the desirability of employing, in connection with the defence of persons accused of murder, experienced counsel. Deputies are probably aware of the practice that exists in cases where persons are charged with the crime of murder the judges assign counsel to defend the prisoner. It was the practice to assign junior counsel. Judges have, I think, recently adopted the view, and it is certainly my view, that only experienced junior counsel should be given the task of carrying out that assignment. But I think that is not sufficient. I think that in cases of murder, where a person's means do not allow him to employ competent senior and junior counsel, the State should, at the instance of the Attorney-General, who is conducting the  prosecution, also provide counsel for the defence of the prisoner.
It is the practice, as the Attorney-General knows, to assign junior counsel. At one time it was the practice to assign very young and inexperienced junior counsel. Many a junior counsel won his spurs in defence of a prisoner charged with murder. I have no objection to the practice where many a young man has tried himself out and brought himself to the notice of his professional colleagues and brought himself to the notice of the solicitor's profession by his defence in a murder case. There are many cases in which prisoners could be as well defended as they might be by young and inexperienced counsel; but there are murder cases which require experienced and senior counsel. In these cases the Attorney-General should have discretion, and the State should back him up, to assign experienced or senior counsel to conduct criminal cases of that nature, not merely before the jury but in subsequent stages which may take place before the Court of Appeal.
One other matter arising out of something which Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney raised a few days ago. There is at present a prisoner undergoing three years imprisonment; he was convicted last year by the Military Tribunal. I was originally engaged for the defence of that man. He was one of the persons who gave his name to the proceedings which were subsequently instituted to test the constitutionality of Article 2A of the Constitution. After the Supreme Court decided in favour of the constitutionality of that Article, this man and three others were tried before the Military Tribunal and he received a sentence of three years. I am perfectly satisfied in my own mind of the perfect innocence of that man. People in his own district of Tipperary are completely satisfied of his innocence also. I am making no complaint, and I wish to make that perfectly clear, either of the conduct of the Attorney-General or the Military Tribunal. I think a miscarriage of justice occurred and I am perfectly satisfied of that.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy knows that cannot be remedied here.
Mr. Costello: I am suggesting to the Attorney-General who prosecuted, that having brought these facts to his notice it is his duty as prosecutor to act in favour of the prisoner where justice requires that to be done, and I am assuring him of my own personal belief of the innocence of that man, and I am able to assure him that the majority of the people in the district where he lives are completely convinced of the innocence of this man. And I ask, now that he has served well over a year of his imprisonment, that the Attorney-General should put the matter before the Executive Council and see to his immediate release.
Mr. J.M. Burke: Following the example of Deputy Costello, my remarks upon this Vote will be very brief indeed. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance last evening, in the course of his remarks, told an American story that had no relevancy to the Vote before the House. I am going to tell a real Irish story which, I think, may be pertinent to this particular issue. Some time ago, I happened to be in the country. I met a small farmer who ekes out a wretched existence on a small patch of land and, in the course of a conversation with him, he said “Do you know the Attorney-General?” I said “I do; he is not a bad kind of fellow.”“Begor,” says he, “he must have a mighty big army because he is costing the country a dale of money. He has a lot of undergenerals whose names are John Brown, McGinty, Mr. Cash and so on.” This fellow is a bit of an old seanchaidhe, as they say in the country, and he said “These Maguires were great old chieftains in Fermanagh, but they were wonderful cattle lifters and I think they are at the ould game again. One of them was kilt in Cork over 335 years ago and they have a great spite against Cork ever since.” That story tells its own tale and I make no comment.
I do think that one of the greatest  achievements of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government was the establishment of the Gárda Síochána, an unarmed police force which rendered great service to the State. The reason that I refer to it is that Deputy Corry, speaking on this Vote last night, stated that when that force was taken over by the present Government, it was a murder gang. I ask the Attorney-General here and now how many members of the Gárda Síochána who were taken over by the present Government have been weeded out or dismissed. I think it is only fair to the Gárda——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Attorney-General is not responsible for the administration of the Gárda Síochána.
Mr. Burke: I am aware of that, but it was mentioned here last night and allowed to pass.
Mr. McGilligan: May it not be that the Attorney-General advises prosecutions on the strength of information given by members of the Gárda Síochána?
An Ceann Comhairle: Possibly, but that does not make him responsible for the administration of the Gárda.
Mr. McGilligan: He would be responsible for evidence he takes from such soiled sources.
Mr. J.M. Burke: I think it is only fair to the Gárda Síochána that a denial ought to be given to that outrageous suggestion, because I here and now denounce it as an outrageous suggestion. If there were a few black sheep in the old Gárda Síochána, there are probably a few in the reformed or so-called reformed Gárda Síochána, and I think it was very unfair that Deputy Corry should be permitted, on a Vote of this character, considering, as you have stated, that the Attorney-General had no particular responsibility for the Gárda, to make such a statement in this House. I take the opportunity now of contradicting it.
There is one other matter I should like to refer to which does, I think,  come within the ambit of this Vote. Before the present Government came into office, the most competent barrister in County Cork was prosecuting on behalf of the State, and immediately this Government came into office they deprived him of that position. I should like some explanation of that. They put no man more competent and some far less competent into positions, and I think it is only fair to that young man and to the people that the Attorney-General should give some reason for that action, which, I believe, was dictated by political animosity. There were several other matters I intended to deal with, but, in view of Deputy Costello's statement and in view of the fact that there are so many farmers waiting to speak on the Agricultural Vote, which, after all, is the most important Vote, I will say no more.
Mr. McGilligan: Are we going to hear from anybody on the Government side?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Attorney-General to conclude.
Mr. McGilligan: Not to conclude.
Mr. MacEntee: If nobody else wants to speak, the Attorney-General is entitled to speak, just as much as Deputy McGilligan.
Mr. McGilligan: I want to know if the Attorney-General is going to speak.
Mr. MacEntee: We would prefer to hear you.
Mr. McGilligan: Very good. I consider the Attorney-General, in a sense, the most unfortunate of men, because this method of guillotine was brought in to save certain people from the ordinary exposure which ordinarily follows the accepted method of Parliamentary procedure, and the motion was not moved soon enough for the Attorney-General, because we have him in the unfortunate position, on the two nights on which the two other guillotine motions were moved in the past, in which his was the head that bobbed up for bludgeoning just by the mischance  of the Estimate. Nobody can say but that he deserves what fortune happened to give him. There was a reference here during the course of an interrupted speech to certain people who represent the Attorney-General in the courts of this country adopting a high moral tone towards people who are described as misguided young men—so misguided that they will not attempt to defend themselves or to recognise some of the Attorney-General's courts.
When I attempted to raise this on a previous Estimate, I was told that the Law Charges Vote was the proper base of attack. It is, at any rate, quite clear that in a particular case recently, counsel briefed by the Attorney-General did think fit to lecture certain men, because, he said, they were misguided and refused to recognise the court. Let me stop there. It must be hard for people who are adopting the practice of refusing to recognise the court because of lessons taught to them by some misguided young men who now occupy the Government Front Bench to have counsel, briefed by some of these misguided members of the Government, lecturing them on what they have learned in the previous four or five years. Added to that will be the additional barb that they had a promise from the Attorney-General, when a young and enthusiastic supporter of the same cause, that he, for one, would never serve the Irish Free State. What he is doing now is hard to find out. He certainly did not repeat that promise when taking up office. That would probably be too brazen. But, at any rate, that is on record in his own letter, published in an early edition of a newspaper which he now actively suppresses from time to time. To an issue of that paper, in the early days, he sent a subscription of £5, with the statement that he had long since made up his mind that he could not accept certain things, but that he wanted them to know where he stood. They may be wondering now whether they thoroughly understood where he did stand in those days.
Then, this counsel, briefed by him, in having certain men paraded before  the Military Tribunal on certain charges, criticised them, first of all, for not recognising the court. That attitude is adopted in response to circulars sent out by members of the present Government. He goes on to say that he felt it his duty to put forward what would be the prisoners' defence if they had elected to make one. That was eminently charitable. The only place in which it fails is that if a man decides to state to the court the defence which a prisoner would make, if he elected to defend himself, he ought at any rate to state the real defence. What did he say? — that these misguided young men were the successors of the I.R.A. of 1916 and 1920 and stood for the same ideals, but in the view of the State, they were not the successors of the 1916 men. To my mind, if those men had decided to defend themselves before that court, they would not have put up that defence. They would have said, not that they were the direct successors of the men of 1916, but were in the line of succession of the people who claimed to be the successors of the 1916 men, and, for that, they have the authority of President de Valera himself. He said “that those who continued in the organisation which we have left can claim exactly the same continuity that we could claim up to 1925.” If counsel had been briefed properly in that matter these young men could say, with President de Valera's approval of the statement here in the House, “that the people in the organisation which he left in 1926 had exactly the same continuity as they claimed up to 1925.” I do not know whether the continuity has been broken since. If so they could have produced the President's own words not to show that they were the successors of 1926, because that the President did not claim, but that they had continuity from them, and that there was a legitimacy of succession that he would not deny. I am sure he would find it difficult to deny it at this moment.
Yet the Attorney-General prosecutes men, and his counsel's words were that “these young men will probably claim a particular title in their defence”— not merely claim it, but they have the President on record as giving it to them. Counsel stated further that “of course, these people are not acting in the same way as the I.R.A.” What does he pick out as signifying a difference? First of all, that these misguided young men would not defend themselves, and were not defending themselves; secondly that they were getting in arms and were going to use arms for an unlawful purpose; and, thirdly, that they pretended that as an army they were separate from the people, and, therefore, that there was something in the nature of a military dictatorship.
Again, I do not think these young men would have phrased their defence in these terms, but, even taking that as a defence, they could have said this: that they had learned a good lesson with regard to arms, because there are colleagues of the Attorney-General in the Government who went to America and from America sent home funds; that they wrote to say that the people out there were annoyed that the money sent home seemed to be used only for constitutional purposes, but that the envoy to America had assured them that out of the amount sent home there was allocated a certain proportion for purposes which I need not here specify. Later, of course, it was made quite clear that the so-called election fund moneys were being put to the purchase of arms. Why should counsel briefed by the Attorney-General irritate young men standing in the dock by quoting to them as charges what was really evidence of what they had been ordered to do under army circulars given to them by some of the Attorney-General's colleagues.
An Ceann Comhairle: Any circulars issued by members of the Cabinet years before they became Cabinet Ministers are not relevant to this discussion.
Mr. McGilligan: I will not quote them as such circulars. Would that not be an irritation to these young men if they could defend themselves by saying that they had been brought up by members of the present Government to  get money collected and to spend it on arms?
An Ceann Comhairle: That may be a very subtle attempt to get over the difficulty, but what any Deputy, now a Minister, did or said four or five years ago, is surely not relevant to the Vote on the Attorney-General's Department.
Mr. McGilligan: The Attorney-General briefed counsel, and counsel said that he would make the defence for certain young men that they were the successors of the I.R.A. of 1916 and 1920. I say that if these young men liked to make a defence they had President de Valera's defence. It was a good defence, though perhaps not phrased in that way. If I am not to be allowed to do this under the method of closure——
An Ceann Comhairle: It is not a question of closure. If the Chair rules that a matter is not relevant, then it is not relevant.
Mr. McGilligan: What is not relevant?
An Ceann Comhairle: The line of argument that is being followed by the Deputy as to the actions of certain Ministers before they entered this House.
Mr. McGilligan: May I refer to the procedure that was adopted without mentioning the Ministers? Such a procedure definitely destroys any documentation that might be given of certain things, but the matter can still be discussed in a sort of vague way. May I put it to the Attorney-General whether he thinks it is a proper thing, when men are standing in the dock on charges, that they should be irritated by counsel lecturing them on practices which the Attorney-General's colleagues not merely approved of, but issued orders on to these young men? Is that in order?
An Ceann Comhairle: A discussion on what the colleagues of the Attorney-General did three or four years ago is not in order.
Mr. McGilligan: I am not dating it three or four years ago. The orders  are still in existence and have not been withdrawn. Let me take one matter. This counsel brought in a pamphlet entitled “Constitutional Governmental Programme of the Republic of Ireland: 4th Impression.” I have stated that that particular document was issued by the present Minister for Defence and has not been withdrawn by him.
An Ceann Comhairle: In the current year?
Mr. McGilligan: Not in the current year, but he has not withdrawn it. The speech referred to that document, which was produced in evidence against these people. It was the document of the Minister for Defence that was produced in court in the current year.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy is not proving that?
Mr. McGilligan: If I am allowed to prove it I will have to go back to the year 1925, and, apparently, that is out of order. I challenge contradiction on the matter. If somebody tells me that the Minister for Defence has, in fact, taken any steps towards the withdrawal of that order I will close up on that matter. Has he? Not at all.
Mr. MacEntee: I do not propose following the Deputy into his irrelevancies in this debate.
Mr. McGilligan: This counsel referred, for instance, to the fact that the present I.R.A., the people he was attaching, were divorced from the people. But the present Minister for Defence, in a letter which he wrote, talked about the desirability of the isolation of the Army from the people. Has he withdrawn that?
Mr. MacEntee: When did he write it?
Mr. McGilligan: In an Army Order issued by him as Chief of Staff about the month of October, 1926.
An Ceann Comhairle: Orders issued by the Minister in 1926 are irrelevant.
Mr. McGilligan: In order to bring this up to the present, may I ask has the Minister recanted that? Notwithstanding that these orders still remain, it is considered a fair thing—I do not say that the Attorney-General necessarily instructs his counsel in detail— that counsel appearing on his behalf should be allowed to irritate men in the dock on serious charges by bringing forward against them charges and criticisms of that type when these men, had they chosen—and this is my point—could defend themselves on the matter as to whether they were the successors of the people in 1916 by producing what the President said. On the matter of arms they could produce other documents, and on the constitutionality of the I.R.A. they could produce the signature of the present Minister for Defence, and on the other matter, as to whether the Government and the Army are always together, they could have produced this document.
Mr. MacEntee: The point is that they could not produce the Attorney-General's signature, and it is the Attorney-General's conduct that is under discussion.
Mr. McGilligan: These men were being prosecuted on serious charges, and I put it no higher than this: that it was unfair for counsel prosecuting on behalf of the Attorney-General to lecture them in this high moral way, and particularly when these men could have refuted all that by the production of documents and not by mere statements. The biggest charge was that of trying to set up a sort of dictatorship. Think of that, when the Minister for Defence definitely sent out the order: “Remember the Army only serves the Government as long as it was the Government of the Republic.” The moment they swerved one hair's breadth from allegiance to the Republic, the Army was on its own. Is that the situation now?
I suggest to the Attorney-General, no matter what he may do as regards legal evidence—and he is doing strange things—that he should remember that people are human, that they have  feelings, and that it is a scandalous thing that men against whom there are serious charges should have men, obviously ignorant of what went on behind the scenes, put up and be allowed to say to them: “Remember, you are not behaving in a democratic way; you are trying to divorce the Army from the Government; agreements are agreements.” Why irritate men when they have serious charges to answer by saying that the thing is done under instructions from the Attorney-General? The Attorney-General is sufficiently behind the scenes to know that if one of these men against orders could have produced documents and recognised the court, they could have countered every word counsel said in his grand moral hectoring of them before the Tribunal. Apart from that, there is the added irritation. These men would like to know where the Attorney-General stands. What is the particular State he is trying to defend from their attacks? Why is it now worthy of defence when previously in his mind it was worthy of assault?
A second matter also arises on this. If there was one phrase more frequently in the month of the President of the Executive Council it was that the people of this country must continue to protest against what he described as extra legal or coercive tribunals. He said that it was the English view, that the people here were so vicious that they could not be governed by ordinary methods. He has recently declared that the Military Tribunal, before which the Attorney's people operate so often, must be accepted as a permanent part of the court's machinery. That leads, we hope, to an adjustment of the Attorney-General's view towards that particular body. It induces the thought: Has the President not accepted what he called the English propaganda view, that the people of this country are so inherently vicious that we must have some form of extra legal coercive tribunal? Apparently that is the situation. I do not know whether what used to be the English view has now become the thoroughly  nationalist view, because the President accepts it.
Suppose we accept the Military Tribunal as part of the machinery of the courts, is the Attorney-General going to make any change in the procedure before that body? The Attorney-General must know that the body was elevated to prominence to meet a peculiar emergency. The Attorney-General knows that that was not the only plan prepared against that emergency. Indeed, he knows from inside reading that it was probably regarded as the worst form of reaction to that peculiar emergency. Has the Attorney-General considered all the other schemes that are on the files that were thought of, and has he considered this particular scheme with his method of appearing before a proper reaction to what the Attorney-General and his colleagues are pleased to think now is a similar emergency? If the Tribunal became a permanent part of court machinery, recognised and established by law, and not regarded any longer as a temporary exception, does the Attorney-General regard it as something lasting? Is he going to take any trouble or to say: “I approach this from a different angle to my colleagues. Not merely is the collection of evidence to be done in a legal way, but there should be someone to sift the evidence before it goes to the Tribunal, to see that when collected it is approached with a judicial mind, approached by someone who knows how to weigh evidence, one piece against another, and who would accept or reject various pieces.” As far as I understand there is no such new approach.
The Attorney-General has simply accepted this piece of machinery, and finding it there, apparently does not consider that any new situation has been created by the words of the President. Remember, the President put a reservation in his phrase. If the drafting of the Constitution had been held over he was of opinion that there would be some necessity for inclusion in the Constitution of some form of emergency body, non-judicial and non-legal,  like the Military Tribunal. With that particular machinery regarded as something permanent, as something more than was previously there, surely there ought to be a new approach to it by the Attorney-General. Statements have been referred to. There was a question as to whether statements collected under threat of prosecution before the Tribunal could be regarded as free and voluntary. Does the Attorney-General regard them from another angle? Under the Constitution (Amendment) Act, power was given to interrogate men who were in a certain position, under detention or arrest. These powers of interrogation were not unlimited. They were confined to certain things. Certainly, I do not know how any reading of the powers of interrogation would enable Guards to cross-examine a prisoner as to his beliefs in certain things. Yet, we know that it came out in evidence before the Tribunal that during the process of detention, men have been subjected to lengthy cross-examination and that questions such as: “Do you not know that such an organisation is an illegal body?” have been put, that menaces were uttered to get them to declare that such bodies were illegal; and that members of the police force were allowed to ask: “Do you not know that such a body is illegal?” That was asking men to judge what the judges of the country have refused to determine. This question is limited by time. It is quite clear from the newspaper accounts that one prisoner was questioned, not with regard to his movements on one particular occasion, but as to what his attitude politically to things in this country was in 1915. The charges on which he was questioned ranged from 1915 to the particular date on which he was questioned. It that legal? Is that power given in the Constitution (Amendment) Act? Is that allowable?
The Attorney-General: What case was that?
Mr. McGilligan: It was the case of three men charged with firing at a dance party. They were found not  guilty, of course, of firing at the dance party.
The Attorney-General: Why “of course”?
Mr. McGilligan: Because they were very careful that an expert was produced to prove they were not there. A member of the Civic Guards who was a clerk in the office was put up to give expert testimoney, mainly I think, because he had never seen a gun in his life. He had been handling a pen all the time.
The Attorney-General: When was this case on?
Mr. McGilligan: It was a case of three men, Mahon, Lacey and Dowling, in Offaly.
Mr. MacEntee: What was the date?
Mr. McGilligan: I have not got the date. It was not this year.
The Attorney-General: I only asked for it in order to look into the ques tion.
Mr. McGilligan: One man was asked about his activities since 1914 up to the date he was questioned. He was asked: “Don't you know that such and such an organisation is illegal.” That was at a time that the judges of the country had refused to determine that question. In addition this gun expert was brought in, and he proved that a rifle found in the possession of one of these prisoners had been used to fire three shots on that occasion. Every man who was present in the hall agreed that only one shot had been fired. The gun expert proved conclusively that three cartridges were fired. It was so conclusive, of course, that the Tribunal were astounded, and called another expert, who did not go so far, but he backed up what the great expert said. He did not go just so far. He backed up what the Gárda expert said with regard to the marking of the cartridges. He said that this was an exact science, as exact as fingerprints but he did not appear to credit the deductions that  were made by the Gárda expert from the marking found.
The Attorney-General: Is that the case in which the witness altered a statement as to when he got the rifle?
Mr. McGilligan: There was no such evidence?
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy has already indicated that the case he is now discussing did not occur during the year under review.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is an amendment to refer this Estimate back. That widens the basis of discussion.
Mr. McGilligan: There was no such question as to the date on which he got the rifle. I think the rifle was one which had been found in the possession of one man and had been given to him, the night after the late Dr. O'Higgins was murdered, to defend the house.
The Attorney-General: Am I not right in saying that the witness, when first interrogated, said he got the rifle some short time before the interrogation but, at the trial, changed that and said he got it 15 years earlier? We accepted his altered statement.
Mr. McGilligan: You accepted his altered statement and got a man to prove that, from that rifle, came three cartridges on the night of the hold-up of the dance party, while all five men in the dance party who were held up swore that only one shot was fired.
The Attorney-General: I know all about the case and I think the men got a very fair trial.
Mr. McGilligan: They were found innocent because they were innocent.
The Attorney-General: The prosecution was most fair to them. You are not alleging anything against me?
Mr. McGilligan: I am alleging the method. I think the method is entirely wrong.
Mr. MacEntee: This did not occur this year.
Mr. McGilligan: Suppose the five members of the dance party had not been so clear that only one shot was fired, you had absolutely conclusive foolproof evidence that all three cartridges came from that one rifle. I think it is absurd to put before a lay tribunal evidence of a so-called expert who, I think I am right in saying, had been nine months in an office and some other months at expert gun work. I think it is completely unfair to put before a lay tribunal, not used to dissecting evidence and saying what is the correct and incorrect way of proving a case, a man of that type.
The Attorney-General: My recollection is that the man in this case got away on an alibi.
Mr. McGilligan: Because the rifle could not have been used on that occasion. The Attorney-General replies: It is one thing to charge men with being in a hold-up; it is one type of defence to say that they were not there at all. But it is another thing to say: “You were there, because the rifle we got on one of you fired three cartridges, according to an expert.”
The Attorney-General: I am not responsible for experts.
Mr. McGilligan: I understand that you are responsible for producing them to the court. Does the Attorney-General think that a man can be an expert in trigger marks—the marks made by the striking of the pin upon the cartridge—who has been a few months at the game? I put that in as an example. It is only one item of the evidence that goes before that Tribunal. The Attorney-General will recollect another rather notable case in which a man was arrested between 4 and 6 o'clock in the evening, was kept without food, was allowed to have drink and, somewhere about midnight, was roused in his cell to have a statement taken from him. Apparently, that was not thought to be anything out of the ordinary. That man was at the disposal of the authorities  from about 4 o'clock in the evening and he was going to be there until the next morning. He is taken in under these conditions and the process of examination lasted for, I think, two hours. Surely it is not fair, when men are definitely under control, that these examinations should be conducted in the early hours of the morning, when they are awakened from their sleep, when they are, to a certain extent, bemused with sleep and when, not being well-fed, they are not in their ordinary form.
The Attorney-General: I quite agree, but I am not responsible for interrogation by the Guards.
Mr. McGilligan: You are responsible for bringing before the court interrogations conducted in that way. Does not the Attorney-General know that if he said on one occasion: “I will not have that evidence produced because I do not think it was taken in a way which is fair to the prisoner,” that sort of system would not go on?
The Attorney-General: I shall say so to-night. What case is the Deputy discussing?
Mr. McGilligan: The Hughes case, dealing with the alleged forgery of a letter. The Attorney-General knows the case well. It was given wide publicity. The Chief Superintendent, when questioned, said he thought there was nothing wrong in this procedure. I thought that that phrase would have come to the attention of the Attorney-General when reading the report and that he would have it definitely made known that he did not consider it proper to have evidence taken in such a way—that no evidence obtained in such a way, except in an emergency, would be put forward against a man on his trial before the Military Tribunal. It is late in the day for the Attorney-General to be saying that he will see that that will not happen. It is 12 months after the event but it is something gained. Sixteen or 18 months have elapsed since——
The Attorney-General: How many similar cases are there?
Mr. McGilligan: I understand that there are many. I have not a record of them.
Mr. MacEntee: The only case the Deputy is relying upon is one that did not take place within the financial year under review.
Mr. McGilligan: I wish the Deputy would go back to his Culbertson and consider bridge problems.
Mr. MacEntee: I wish the Deputy would come forward to the year under review.
Mr. McGilligan: I am coming to it. We have other things recited, and they are all in the context. I am asking now, when the Military Tribunal is accepted as an ordinary part of the court machinery, that there should be a readjusted attitude on the part of the Government towards it and towards prisoners brought before it. I ask further for consideration of what I assert as a fact—that there were many schemes thought of to meet the emergency of murder that had arisen in 1931, and that the Military Tribunal was not the best or the first to these. It was accepted definitely as much the second-best. If there is now a need for some permanent addition to the courts, I think that some of these other schemes might be considered. There should be that consideration if we were going to have a Military Tribunal, or some court like it, embedded in the Constitution not as a temporary thing, but as a permanent thing, something of which it may be said, perhaps, that two Governments have approved as a necessity, even if it can be also said that two Governments have accepted what President de Valera described as British propaganda—that this country was so vicious that its people could not be ruled by ordinary methods.
The third matter I want to speak about is what I must describe as the very disgraceful occurrences of a few nights ago in this House. We have got used to the silencing of criticism by guillotine, but that the House would accept readily the silencing of criticism outside this House by blackmail is certainly  a subject for discussion here. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, in the course of his speech the other evening, drew attention to the Marsh's Yard killing, and referred to the fact that Dr. Cohalan, Bishop of Cork, had thought fit—highly placed as he is and with the knowledge that he was doing a very novel thing—to address two allocutions to his flock with regard to that particular occurrence. What is the answer to that? Deputy Corry is put up. I do not say that Deputy Corry can be regarded as typical of this House or that anybody would say that he represented even the lowest common measure of the different degrees of intelligence in this House. But he is backed by the Minister for Finance. He got the edging of the Minister for Finance and the backing of the Front Bench on this matter. Deputy Corry said that they had “that pronouncement now from the Bishop of Cork when his relatives are breaking the law and their cattle are being seized for unpaid annuities.” Then he was broken off. The statement of the Minister for Finance was that the Bishop had to put up with abuse because he had been abusive himself. Some such phrase was used by the Minister for Finance.
Mr. MacEntee: No. I pointed out that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney had dragged the Bishop into the debate. That is all.
Mr. McGilligan: And was that by way of confirmation of Deputy Corry?
Mr. MacEntee: No.
Mr. McGilligan: I think it was. I think that, in its context, it cannot be interpreted in any other way. There we have a situation which is tantamount to blackmail.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy talks about blackmail. Let him wait until he is before the Select Committee.
Mr. McGilligan: I think that for any Deputy in this House, whether with or without the approval of the Minister, to say that a man in such a position as the Bishop of Cork, who decides, with  the knowledge that he is doing an extremely unusual thing, that the circumstances call for a particular warning from him to be addressed to his flock, to speak of such a man in such a way is scandalous. I think that a man, in such a position, should be spared the indignity of having a man like Deputy Corry saying that it is because his relatives are having their lands seized, or their cattle seized, and because they did not pay their annuities, that that pronouncement was made. I call that silencing by blackmail. Is there any other name for it?
Mr. MacEntee: How was Deputy McGilligan silenced in regard to Birr?
A Deputy: Yes, what about Birr?
Mr. McGilligan: I want to keep to one point at a time. If the Minister wants to get after another point, he has had ample opportunity to deal with it already, and he will have ample opportunity again. I say that Deputy Corry did behave in that scandalous fashion in the House and that he was abetted in his scandalous behaviour by the Minister for Finance. I suppose the belief is that, if a man can be subject to indignity and humiliation and abuse here, such a man as the Bishop of Cork, with a sense of duty, will be prevented in the future from speaking on a matter like that because some foul tongue like Deputy Corry's will be able to say, whether with or without any reality behind it, that that man is simply speaking now because his relatives are breaking the law, because their cattle are being seized, and because their annuities are unpaid. A thousand guillotines are preferable to that. It would be far better to have no discussion in the House than that that should happen.
In the circumstances to which I am referring there was this boy killed. It was questioned here. Certain statements were made about that killing. It was then raised here by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, who, with a sense of responsibility, decided that he would refer to the fact that the Bishop  of Cork had written and spoken as he had. One would have thought that that would have merited some attention; that somebody might have said, at least, that the Bishop, perhaps, was misinformed, or that the Bishop appeared to be under a misapprehension about this, that, or the other thing One would have thought that it might even have been passed over in silence. Are we to have it in future that our standard is to be that, when a man speaks in this way, whether he be highly placed or lowly placed, the answer is going to be: “You are only saying that because your relatives are breaking the law, because they are having their cattle seized, because their annuities are unpaid, and therefore we know why you speak in that way?” That is the gist of it. Remember, that that has been said in this House, by implication, of a man whom we take to have reached a particular eminence in the Church because of his character, because of certain virtues associated with that rank, or because of virtues that have always been regarded as being associated with that rank; and we are told that that man did that thing in an unusual fashion from wrong and scandalous motives.
The Attorney-General has the right to re-make Deputy Corry's blunders, but, at any rate, this House ought not to be under the imputation that it thinks that that is criticism, or that, for the future, a man is any position, who thinks fit, in a dignified way, to raise a point or make a protest and ask for further consideration, should be told—leaving every consideration of indignity or humiliation out of it—“We know why you are saying that; you are saying that because your own relatives are in trouble, because they are breaking the law, because their cattle are being seized, and because they have not paid their annuities.”
Mr. Cooney: The Deputy's standard of criticism has always been very high in this House!
Mr. McGilligan: Yes, it has— always! I will tax my standard of  criticism by two standards. First, when I slander a man in the way in which President de Valera slandered Deputy Mulcahy and then ran away——
Mr. T. Kelly: That is not right. The President did not run away.
Mr. McGilligan: When I slander a man in the way President de Valera slandered Deputy Mulcahy, I shall——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That does not arise. What President de Valera did does not arise on this Estimate, nor is the Attorney-General responsible for Deputy Corry's remarks. I think that Deputy McGilligan has dealt with Deputy Corry's remarks sufficiently well by now.
Mr. McGilligan: This matter of Marsh's Yard has been raised on this motion, Sir. I am simply putting it that the matter of Marsh's Yard is a matter that calls for attention and that calls for a reply, and I am pointing out that, up to date, the only reply is Deputy Corry's nonsense.
Mr. Kelly: The President did not run away, as the Deputy has stated. He stood up here and apologised like a man.
Mr. McGilligan: Like a coward! The man who puts forward a slander over which he is unable to stand and then apologised for it is not a man.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That matter does not arise on this Vote.
Mr. McGilligan: I have almost finished, Sir. I shall not harp on Marsh's Yard any longer. I simply say that these three matters require attention: first, if the Attorney-General is going to make use of the Military Tribunal, we want to have a new attitude towards it; secondly, we want to know whether or not the Attorney-General is going to permit counsel to talk in the nonsensical way in which counsel have talked on certain occasions, and that, if counsel  are to be allowed to talk in such a way, they should have some kind of education which would prevent them from making such egregious blunders as have been made; and, thirdly, in regard to this matter of Marsh's Yards whether the proper answer to the Bishop of Cork, when he makes such a statement as he did make, is to revile him and to say that he made that pronouncement merely because his relatives are now squealing because their cattle are being seized and they have not paid their annuities.
Mr. Norton: I want to raise one or two matters in connection with this Estimate. Firstly, I should like to know from the Attorney-General whether any recognised procedure is adopted in the matter of determining what kind of cases are to be brought before the Civil Courts and what kinds of cases are to be brought before the Military Tribunal. Is there any classification on the basis of the kind of persons concerned or on the basis of the kind of offence committed; or what kind of classification operates in determining which body shall actually try particular classes of offences? I seem to recollect a certain familiarity between the kind of cases dealt with in the ordinary courts and cases dealt with by the Military Tribunal.
I should like to know on what grounds such an apparent differentiation is made. I personally would prefer that all offences should be tried by the ordinary courts, and I should like to know in what kind of cases exceptions are made. Why are some people brought before the Military Tribunal while others are brought before the civil courts? If we are confronted with two different classes of offences, and it is possible to have one kind of offence tried by the civil courts, why is it not possible to have all such cases dealt with by the civil courts?
There is another matter to which I should like to refer—it has already been partly dealt with by previous speakers—and that is the extraordinary dissertations by Counsel for the State at the proceedings before the Military  Tribunal. I have read at least on one occasion a long dissertation on a variety of brands of Republicanism by counsel employed by the State, all designed to show the persons charged that they have no right to appear there pretending to be Republicans. I should like to know whether that was just a peculiar idiosyncrasy of the counsel selected by the Attorney-General, or whether as part of his brief before the Military Tribunal he was asked to lecture a lay body such as that on the matters to which he apparently chose to make reference in the course of his remarks? It seems to me that if the State wants to lecture prisoners upon varieties of political thought in the country there is another way in which they could be lectured without having counsel employed to lecture them before the court by which they are being tried. I should like to know from the Attorney-General whether counsel was instructed by him to treat the court to that kind of dissertation? If he was not so instructed, has the Attorney-General taken steps to ensure that we will not be presented with that kind of comedy and that kind of irony in future cases of that kind?
There is another matter to which I should also like to refer, and that is the kind of charges which are formulated against prisoners who are brought before the Military Tribunal. I am opposed to the Constitution (Amendment) Act, and to the Tribunal which has been set up under it. On any opportunity presented in this House of voting for the repeal of that Act I would certainly do so, because I believe it to be foreign to all conceptions of decent law, and foreign to everything that our judicial system has stood for in the matter of assuming the innocence of a prisoner until such time as he is proved guilty. The Attorney-General may make the defence that it is necessary to use this Act because of the fact that he has no other powers to deal with an abnormal situation, but I suggest to the Attorney-General that it is not necessary for him to avail of all the  reactionary powers contained in the Constitution (Amendment) Act; for instance, judging by the Press reports of the proceedings before the Military Tribunal, persons are being charged with refusing to answer questions. I should like to know from the Attorney-General whether he is bound to formulate, in such cases, a charge of refusing to answer questions? Is it part of the deliberate State policy to charge persons with refusing to answer questions? Those persons, in my view, rightly refuse to answer questions, as being contrary to the whole normal conception of law. They are often found guilty of the offence of refusing to answer questions, and are sentenced to a term of imprisonment because they simply assert their right before the Tribunal to be treated in the same way as a person would be treated before the ordinary civil court. I do not think it is necessary for the Attorney-General to formulate a charge of refusing to answer questions. Of course, the Attorney-General may plead that, unless he threatens such persons with the consequences of imprisonment for failure to answer questions, the Act in his hands is of no use. I should like to know where the Attorney-General stands as between this kind of law, which constitutes the Military Tribunal, and the ordinary conception of law, which in normal circumstances the Attorney-General would be relying upon?
I am not concerned with the particular political complexions of the prisoners who are tried before the Military Tribunal. I say it is an abhorent and reprehensible thing that the State, under the authority of the Attorney-General, should be asking persons to defend themselves on a charge that they refused to answer questions prescribed by the Guards. Has the Attorney-General so convinced himself that the Military Tribunal is right, and that the Constitution (Amendment) Act is so sacrosanct, that he now desires to avail of all his powers under that Act and to utilise them with the utmost possible rigour? I suggest to the Attorney-General that there is no obligation whatever on him  to formulate against prisoners a charge of refusing to answer questions, and that the only purpose of formulating that charge is to make it as difficult as possible for a prisoner to extricate himself from the clutches of the State. If a prisoner is found guilty in the ordinary way, most good citizens accept that as the normal consequence which a prisoner should take. But when a prisoner is brought before a lay authority such as the Military Tribunal, and has charges made against him which are not charges known to the ordinary laws—charges which there is no obligation on the Attorney - General to formulate—I think we are entitled to know where the Attorney-General stands in a matter of that kind. To bring a charge against a prisoner for refusing to answer questions is not ordinary law, and the Attorney-General is now implementing a practice which is forcing the prisoner not merely to convict himself by his own answers but to accept the position that he is guilty until such time as he proves himself innocent. I have seen some recent sentences by the Military Tribunal in cases where a charge of refusing to answer questions has been formulated by the Attorney-General, and I say that some of those sentences——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy cannot refer to sentences imposed by the Military Tribunal, any more than he can refer to sentences imposed by other courts.
Mr. Norton: I was not going to make any detailed reference to them, Sir, except to call the attention of the Attorney-General to the fact that, having power not to formulate charges of that kind, he has, nevertheless, formulated the charges, and that by reason of his having formulated such charges he has exposed prisoners to sentences which I think are shameful——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is clearly commenting on the decisions of the Military Tribunal. Decisions of the Military Tribunal cannot be discussed here, any more than decisions of any other court can be discussed in this House.
Mr. Norton: If we are going to have that kind of law resorted to on a large scale, we are going to have charges of that kind formulated against prisoners when there is no need to formulate such charges. If they are guilty of other offences, let the specific offences be charged against them, and the Attorney-General, who as a member of this House voted against the Constitution (Amendment) Act——
The Attorney-General: I was not then a member of the House. If I had been, I probably would have voted against it.
Mr. Norton: In any case, the Deputy's colleagues on the Front Bench did. At all events, in my opinion, having regard to the Government's whole policy towards the Constitution (Amendment) Act in other days, they ought to use the Act as little as possible and they ought not to formulate under the Act the extraordinary charges that it is possible for them to formulate against prisoners. They should proceed against such prisoners for such offences under the procedure that is known to the common law of the country, and this new kind of offence which is typified by the charge of refusing to answer questions by the Gárda, should not be formulated by the Attorney-General.
If we are to have that kind of law we do not need an Attorney-General at all. That kind of law is not law. If we are to resort to the Military Tribunal as an instrument for dealing with a fairly substantial number of offences, then we do not need an Attorney-General at all. All we need is a sheriff in the wild west fashion, somebody who will go out and collar the miscreant by the neck and bring him to the place of detention. We do not need a law officer if we are to use this Act in the manner it is being used. All we want is a swash-buckling sheriff and we can dispense with such things as law officers. I would suggest to the Attorney-General that even in cases where sentences have been imposed purely on charges of refusing to answer questions, that he should ask the Executive Council to reconsider  and remit these sentences, because sentences imposed on people for refusing to answer questions are sentences for offences that are not known to the ordinary law of the country.
If the State, having a helpless prisoner in its hands, wants to use this extraordinary power instead of the ordinary means and prefers charges against that prisoner, charges that cannot be formulated in the ordinary court, then we reach a position where the Executive Council is enabled to tyrannise over the prisoner. That is the principle that this Government ought not allow having regard to the origin of the Constitution (Amendment) Act. They ought not to follow that principle in future cases no matter what the character of the prisoner may be and no matter of what political complexion he may be. The State should not formulate charges of that kind. If the State has any definite charge to make against prisoners these charges should be charges which, as far as possible, are known to the ordinary law of the country. It seems to me that the Attorney-General, by formulating a charge of that kind, is utilising the Act in a way that is rigorous. In future, if charges are going to be brought against prisoners before the Military Tribunal these charges should be in respect of offences which are known to the ordinary law. These extraordinary and, in my view, legally unjustifiable charges should not be brought against prisoners.
The Attorney-General (Mr. Conor Maguire): I confess that in rising to reply to this debate my feelings and the tone in which I intend to deal with the debate and the speeches from the Opposition Benches have been, and probably will be, influenced by the tone which this debate has taken on here this afternoon in comparison with the note on which it was opened by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. I intend to deal with Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney as fully as I can. I consider that his speech—his attack upon me—was a  discredit to him. I consider that he has made charges against me without due consideration, without investigation and without considering the slanders which he has spread all over the country against me or considering the effect upon my personal honour of some of those outrageous charges which he made against me here and which have not been repeated by one single speaker from his benches.
When I listened here to Deputy Costello, my predecessor in office, a man who is capable of judging how I have carried on my duties here, and when I heard the way in which he criticised this Estimate and the method in which he approached it, I realised that I was dealing with a man who appreciates the difficulties under which the Attorney-General labours, who appreciates the difficulties with which he is faced and who is able to judge by what he sees going on in the courts, whether it is reasonable to charge a man with abusing the trust reposed in him by the Government here.
I think I had to answer debates in this House here on three occasions, and on each of these occasions the debate was led off by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. With what motives I fail to understand, on the first occasion he made an attack on me suggesting that certain people had come to me and induced me to adopt a certain course in a certain prosecution. I accepted responsibility for what was done in that prosecution. I considered it perfectly proper and fair. I answered the charge and said that the people did not come to me. I did not say when the Deputy made the charge against me, that at the time when the matter arose, I was out of the country. I so informed Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney afterwards, but he has never offered one word of apology in this House for the charge he made against me on that occasion. He followed that charge up with another attack on me last year, and now he comes along on this Supplementary Estimate on this Vote, and makes further charges.
 I do not mind criticism. I am perfectly prepared to face and answer to the Dáil for anything I have done. I am perfectly prepared to admit mistakes. Nobody, unless he is a superman could hope, with the work that I have to discharge, to get through that work without making a mistake. I am perfectly prepared to listen to reasonable criticism and to take knocks. But I do think it is going beyond the bounds of fair-play to come in here and make wild, impassioned charges and dress out these charges with rhetoric in the hope of influencing Deputies in this House to vote against my Estimate. The whole gist of the Deputy's speech was that I failed to discharge my duties fairly and honestly and that I have failed in my action in bringing prosecutions against certain people; that I failed through unworthy motives and because I was a coward.
In another part of his speech the Deputy referred to my action as attempting to obtain convictions by hook or by crook, and to resort to any method in order to obtain convictions. I could afford to disregard these charges. Nobody who is familiar with Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's training, experience and position in the profession would pay very much attention to his opinion of my activities in my office at Attorney-General. I should be, perhaps, quite content to rest satisfied with the attitude which has been adopted by my predecessor here and not attempt to answer those charges. But those charges have gone broadcast all over the country and were made for that purpose and for that purpose only. They were made as a smoke-screen for the purpose of covering up the performances of his satellites throughout the country during the past year, performances with which I had to deal so severely. I cannot conceive any other motive for the Deputy's charges.
Let me take the topic which he mentioned already on the Supplementary Estimate and again returned to here, this Marsh's Yard incident. On the Supplementary Estimate the Deputy raised this question of Marsh's  Yard and treated the House to what in my opinion was a distortion and suppression of the facts of that case. He treated the House to what was bad law. I answered him and gave my version of the facts. I quoted the facts of the evidence at the inquest held on the body of that unfortunate boy, Lynch. The Deputy comes back here on this Estimate and does not even attempt to deal with my presentation of the true facts of that occurrence. He reads the Bishop's recent allocution. I agree with Deputy McGilligan. I do not know Bishop Cohalan personally, but I do not believe that he made the statement as a result of any seizures made on his relatives. I do think, however, that he has been misinformed. I do think that he had not a full picture of the facts in that case before him. I will not say any more about his statement of the case because he is not here to answer. But I do think in justice to myself and to those men who are being hounded by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, through the medium of this House, and described as murderers, I should ask why the privileges of this House should be abused in this manner. Why should people be described as murderers?
Mr. Desmond: I saw them murder people in Marsh's Yard.
The Attorney-General: The Deputy so far has not taken advantage of the privilege given to Deputies in this House to describe them as murderers, but Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has.
Mr. Desmond: I saw them. I was there and was a witness of it.
The Attorney-General: Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney pretends to pontificate with arrogance and an overweening assumption of a complete knowledge of law, as a man whose judgment is to be accepted always, because I understand that he actually told the judges they were wrong and he disagreed with them. He pontificates about law, as regards the method with which the Guards deal with unlawful assemblies, as regards the principles to be applied to cases of  this kind, as regards the way in which statements are to be handed in at the Tribunal.
Mr. O'Neill: Was it not murder to fire point-blank at defenceless men? Was not that murder?
Mr. Ruttledge: Do you subscribe to that?
Mr. O'Neill: Fire with rifles and revolvers on defenceless men who could not help themselves. Was not that murder? It was cold-blooded murder.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Opposition have had now one and a half hours to make their case. The Attorney-General is on his feet about seven or eight minutes. Surely he ought to be allowed to make his statement without interruption.
Mr. O'Neill: I was present and saw these men fired at like hens in a coop by a pack of blackguards.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Attorney-General has not finished and he should be allowed to make his statement.
Mr. O'Neill: It was the grossest murder ever carried out in this country.
Mr. Derrig: What did you bring bandages for?
Mr. O'Neill: There were no bandages brought—not until afterwards when they came from the South Infirmary in the ambulance. It is a terrible thing for any Attorney-General to defend that cold-blooded murder. He should be ashamed of himself. Some of these men are on duty in this House. These murderers are around this House to intimidate us still.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy O'Neill should at least hear the Chair.
Mr. O'Neill: It is very hard to have patience.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If the Opposition are in earnest in wanting to hear what the Government thinks of the incident they ought to hear the Attorney-General make his statement in full.
The Attorney-General: It is the unfortunate result of the unscrupulous methods adopted by the Deputy in this discussion and when I attempt to answer him Deputy O'Neill finds his feelings aroused.
Mr. O'Neill: There was no heat in the murder. It was cold-blooded murder.
The Attorney-General: I could say something about Deputy O'Neill if I wished.
Mr. Cooney: It might cool his ardour if you did.
Mr. O'Neill: You shut up.
The Attorney-General: Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has abused the privileges of this House, not for the genuine or honest purpose, which is perfectly legitimate, of convincing Deputies of the views which he puts forward, because he must realise that it is calculated to arouse intense feeling around the country particularly in Cork. This type of wild, unguarded language used by the Deputy from the Front Bench is liable to arouse feelings from which one may wonder what may flow. I have respect for this House, I have always had regard to the duty which lies upon Deputies to guard their tongues and tempers. I have never deliberately transgressed the rules of order, because I feel there is a responsibility on Deputies to set an example to the rest of the country. The Deputy the other day actually claimed that because we have privileges here we are entitled to slander whoever we like. That is apparently Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's attitude— that he can slander me, and slander people who are unable to answer; that because his statement is privileged, and can go throughout the length and breadth of the country, he is entitled to get up here and make it without the  consideration which he would apply to it if he were to make it elsewhere. On the previous occasion on which Marsh's Yard was discussed. I gave the facts as presented to me for my consideration, the facts as I saw them. I drew the attention of the Deputy and the House to the evidence given there, to the facts which were omitted by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, that on that particular occasion between two and three thousand people congregated outside Marsh's Yard before a sheriff's sale at which there were in attendance some buyers who had to have protection, buyers who had attended at a previous sale a few days before, and had been subjected to threats by leading citizens in Cork; buyers whose lives were supposed to be so much in danger that they had a special detective group around them. So ominous was the situation in the eyes of the Guards, that 300 uniformed Guards, in addition to the detective force, were in the vicinity of the yard. So tense was the situation in Cork, so alive were the Gárda authorities to the dangers which were in the air, that they provided that number of uniformed Guards.
That the fears were not unjustified was shown in the event. Two or three thousand people congregated outside the sale yard. The gate of the sale yard was closed by order of the Guards. At about the hour that the sale was about to take place, the attention of the superintendent inside was drawn to the fact that there was tremendous cheering and shouting outside the sale yard. One of the small force of uniformed men inside the yard looked out through the wicket and saw a lorry, which was described in later proceedings as a cross between a tank and a battering-ram, being driven at a furious speed, followed by a yelling mob——
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Does the Attorney-General suggest that it was anything but an ordinary lorry?
The Attorney-General: I am referring to, and can quote from, the description that was given and accepted  by the court in Cork when the driver of the lorry was charged with unlawful assembly.
Mr. Desmond: Everybody who saw the lorry knows that it was an ordinary lorry.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: It was a small ordinary lorry. I saw it outside Union Quay Barracks.
The Attorney-General: I will not quarrel with the Deputy as to whether it was an ordinary small lorry or a big lorry. I am not making any point about that. I am merely using the description which was given and accepted in the course of the proceedings.
Mr. O'Neill: That description was not used in court. The words—“a cross between a tank and a battering ram”—were not used. I was in court every day and I never heard them used.
Mr. MacEntee: There is a lot of things the Deputy forgets.
Mr. O'Neill: Shut up, you, or I will make you shut up.
Mr. MacEntee: He went to the Minister for Justice on one occasion and forgot about it.
Mr. O'Neill: There is something coming to you from me and you will get it some day.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Attorney-General on the Vote for his Department.
Mr. O'Neill: Keep the Minister for Finance quiet and stop him from aggravating me.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I have got to keep everybody quiet.
The Attorney-General: The words which I used I read in the account of the proceedings in court.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Used in court by whom?
The Attorney-General: Used by the judge in the course of the proceedings.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Evidence, please.
Mr. O'Neill: They were not used by anybody present.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Everybody who saw the lorry in Union Quay Barracks knows that it was anything but a battering-ram. Everybody saw that lorry, riddled with bullets as it was.
The Attorney-General: If the Deputy thinks there is any importance to be attached to the words I shall give him the quotation later on. The lorry, in whatever way it was prepared, was sufficiently powerful to carry 15 young men through a heavy gate and but for the fact—and this was given in evidence—that the Guard had peeped through the hole in the gate and had seen the lorry coming, the Guards who were inside the gate would have been killed stone dead.
Mr. Cooney: That would not have been murder.
Mr. O'Neill: There was not the slightest danger.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy was there to protect them.
Mr. O'Neill: I was the only person present in the yard, if you want to know.
Mr. Murphy: You should be in the dock with the others, because you were one of the instigators of the whole thing. You went around the country for a fortnight collecting the men who went there.
Mr. O'Neill: I want to raise a point of order. Deputy Murphy stated that I should be in the dock, that I was the instigator——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I think that charge should be withdrawn by Deputy Murphy.
Mr. Murphy: Your people went around, and you know it.
Mr. O'Neill: Who are my people?
Mr. Murphy: They are the real criminals in this case.
Mr. O'Neill: Why do you call them my people?
Mr. Murphy: You should be ashamed of them.
Mr. O'Neill: Ashamed of them?
Mr. Murphy: Ashamed of the men who planned it, you and your colleagues.
Mr. O'Neill: Do you make that charge against me? I want to repudiate it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will Deputy O'Neill resume his seat?
Mr. Murphy: For a fortnight before that, you went round picking up men for the purpose.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Leave it to me.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will the Attorney-General please resume his seat? Deputy Murphy has made a charge against Deputy O'Neill, and said that he should be in the dock with reference to certain incidents that happened in Marsh's Yard. That is a statement that should not be made with reference to any Deputy in this House, and it should be withdrawn.
Mr. Murphy: I decline to withdraw it, because I believe it to be so. I will not withdraw it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy will have to leave the House then.
Mr. Murphy: You will have to take the necessary steps to get me out of the House.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If the Deputy does not withdraw I shall have to send for the Ceann Comhairle and call his attention to the Deputy's conduct and ask for his suspension.
Mr. Murphy: Very well, I will go then, but I adhere to the statement.
Deputy Murphy withdraw from the House.
Mr. O'Neill: I want to state, on my honour that I knew nothing about the incident until it happened in the yard.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The incident is closed. The Deputy will resume his seat.
The Attorney-General: I do not suggest the Deputy had anything to do with it.
Mr. O'Neill: Thank you, very much.
The Attorney-General: Here is the description that was given in the Cork Examiner on the following day:—
“All was still quiet at 12.25.”
There was an ominous silence amongst those gathered outside. It was quite different, as the Cork Examiner points out, from the scenes that were enacted three weeks or a fortnight previously when a howling mob interfered with a sheriff's sale and when they threatened the lives of those men who were there under protection. The description states:—
“All was still quiet at 12.25, but a few minutes later there came a sensational interruption. The Guards in the front cordon were in conversation when shouts were heard from the direction of Anglesea Street. This was followed by the roar of a lorry engine rapidly approaching, and then the crowd scattered in all directions as a lorry was seen making straight for the entrance gates. The Guards in the cordon attempted for a moment to stop the progress of the lorry in which there were some dozen young men. They were forced to scatter to avoid being run over, however, and some Guards who attempted to grasp the sides of the lorry were beaten off by the occupants of the vehicle. Straight at the second cordon went the lorry, and here again the police scattered in all directions to avoid the oncoming vehicle which crashed right through the gates into the yard. Taking advantage of the disorganised state of the police, the crowd behind  rushed the gates and there followed a scene of wild confusion, as Guards with drawn batons fought men who used sticks in their efforts to get into the yard. In the midst of all this, shots rang out—several of them —and after a short interval more explosions were heard at the entrance of the repository. Spectators—amongst them many women —made a wild dash for cover, and doorways in the vicinity were congested by the rash for cover, whilst others of the onlookers made down Anglesea Street and up Infirmary Road. The crowd at the repository gates, however, continued the attempt to drive home an entrance behind the lorry, and it was several minutes before it broke before the charge of the Guards, scattered down and up Anglesea Street. Outside the Model Schools the crowd again stood and beset the Guards. Some of the helmets were knocked off the police and several helmets were seen soaring into the air, some of them landing on the roof of the Farmers' Union abattoir. The Guards eventually yielded before the onslaught and fell back some distance. Here they were joined by reinforcements and the order for another baton charge was given. This time the rush continued down to the new City Hall and down Albert Quay, over the new bridge. Another charge continued over Parnell Bridge and down Parnell Place, and the Guards then took up a position at the city side of Parnell Bridge. Several more charges followed.”
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: All this was long after the man had been shot, and the Attorney-General knows it. He is deliberately misstating the facts to the House.
The Attorney-General: I am not deliberately misstating the facts.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: What the Attorney-General has now read took place after the shooting, and he knows that all that took place after the shooting. The Attorney-General also knows that it was sworn by Superintendent  McNeill that the cordon was reformed and that nobody could get into the yard within half a minute.
Mr. O'Neill: Within 20 seconds.
The Attorney-General: The Deputy stated that I have been misstating the facts. I am merely reading from the Cork Examiner, whatever Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney may say about the standing and authority of the Cork Examiner. The Deputy comes from my own native county, Mayo, and perhaps he may not know what the exact outlook of the owners of the Cork Examiner is. I wonder would any Cork Deputy——
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: The Attorney-General——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy must permit the Attorney-General to speak.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: With great respect——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Attorney-General is entitled to make his statement.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: His misstatement, Sir, with great respect.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: He is entitled to be heard without interruption. That courtesy was extended to Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney and he ought to extend it to the Attorney-General now.
The Attorney-General: If there was any misstatement, it was not made by me. I merely read the Cork Examiner account.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: After the shooting, and you know it.
The Attorney-General: I read the account from the beginning.
Mr. O'Neill: Why do you not give the facts?
The Attorney-General: Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney seems to be getting extraordinarily excited. I started my  quotation where the description was that all was still quiet. Then I read the account of the oncoming lorry making its way through the Guards. I read the incident of the shots, and I read what happened, exactly verbatim from what is in the paper.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: You read nothing about what took place inside. The reporter was not inside. You read what took place outside after this murderous shooting took place inside.
The Attorney-General: I merely read the newspaper account. I read exactly the account given in the Cork Examiner of the following day of the incidents which occurred there. Will the Deputy take the quotation and read it for himself?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I will take it as perfectly correct, so far as it goes, but I am not taking it as being an account of the shooting, because it is not. It is an account of what took place after the shooting, and it was written by a man who was not inside the yard—which is perfectly obvious.
The Attorney-General: I have read all the accounts and that account seems to me to be a correct account.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Why do you not give us an account of what happened inside the yard?
The Attorney-General: I was merely drawing the attention of the House to this fact, that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney on the two occasions when he mentioned this matter in the House deliberately concealed the background of it, deliberately concealed the fact that there were 2,000 or 3,000 people outside.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: What I stated was that there was a large number of people outside, but that inside there were only 20 people or thereabouts.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney is continually going to interrupt, I will have provision made to ensure that he will cease interrupting the Attorney-General.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Let the Attorney-General make accurate statements.
The Attorney-General: I am not making any mis-statements. I do not want the Deputy to think that I am attempting to score in this matter by making mis-statements. I am quite satisfied to make it clear that the account I read was the account of a writer in the Cork Examiner. It was obviously given by a man outside the yard. I do not suggest anything to the contrary. There is not a word in that statement describing the incidents that happened inside the yard, beyond mentioning the fact that shots were heard at a particular moment and then he described the effect of the shots on the crowd. It does bring out, and I want to draw attention to this, what the Deputy has never made clear in the course of his statements on this matter. What I want the House to understand is that you cannot take the incidents inside the yard in isolation. They must be related to what was going on outside, to conditions apparently deliberately organised, to the knowledge in the crowd that something was going to happen. The crowd was silent and then there was a wild cheer, a lorry dashed through the crowd and hurled itself against the gate of the yard, knocked down the police superintendent and was followed into the yard by a howling mob, armed with sticks.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Followed into the yard?
The Attorney-General: As far as they could get into the yard. I understand the man who was shot, unfortunate Lynch, was one of the followers.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: One of four or five, not a howling mob.
The Attorney-General: He was one of those who followed through the cordon formed by the Guards into the yard, one of the 2,000 or 3,000 outside.
Mr. O'Neill: Does the Attorney-General appreciate the fact that 2,000 or 3,000 people were kept in order by a condon of Guards?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy O'Neill will please sit down. As I have already indicated, the Opposition got a comparatively long time in which to make their case. The Attorney-General is not getting any chance to reply.
Mr. O'Neill: Because he is not giving a true statement of the facts.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Pay no further attention to him.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair will insist——
Mr. O'Neill: False statements.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy must not interrupt the Chair. The Chair will make provision that the Attorney-General will be allowed to continue his statement without interruption.
Mr. O'Neill: Why does he not make a statement in accordance with the facts?
The Attorney-General: As I have stated, these are the facts as presented to me. These, I think, are undoubted facts—that there was this large mob armed with sticks outside, that the lorry which went in carried 15 to 20 men and in the lorry were a number of batons loaded with lead and iron; that the sticks which were carried by the crowd outside—some of them— were similarly treated. They were produced in court. If I am to go on making a defence which will take me through the whole of the evidence, I am quite prepared to do it if the House wants it, but I do not think it is necessary. Here is the reference which I mentioned some time back. I have just been referred to the statement upon which I have been challenged: “It was converted, as his Lordship had said, into half a tank and a battering ram.”
Mr. O'Neill: There was no sworn evidence to that effect. That is the statement of the judge.
The Attorney-General: I give it as the statement of the judge.
Mr. O'Neill: The judge was not there any more than you were.
The Attorney-General: In those circumstances, with all their background —the immediate history before that occurrence, the objective at which that crowd were aiming, the whole surrounding circumstances—a body of armed men on duty, protecting the men who were there buying the cattle, opened fire on the people who appeared in this manner in the sale yard and they are here deliberately described by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney as murderers and I am described as standing behind murder. I do not know how anybody who has any sense of justice could say that. Deputy McGilligan, at the end of his speech, referred to indignities and abuse which were almost intolerable. This kind of thing, I think, is almost intolerable to anyone. I charged Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney to produce a precedent where, under circumstances approaching these, an Attorney-General as law officer was called upon to put the soldiers or the police on trial for murder. He came here the other day after he had months in which to look up these precedents and what has he trotted out to the House? Some case away back in the last century, the Borrisokane case which occurred apparently in or about the year 1828, over 100 years ago. I have not been able to trace that case. Over 100 years have elapsed since the time of that case, according to the dates on which I find the Attorney-General mentioned held office here. On numerous occasions in this country and in England riotous and unlawful assemblies have been dealt with by armed forces. I wonder does the Deputy know that?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Can the Attorney-General tell us any such cases in this country? Can he give us one example, with shooting similar to those which took place in Cork, where there was no prosecution? I grant him the exception of Mitchelstown.
The Attorney-General: The ordinary presumption of English law and the  basis of English law and the basis of English justice, is that a person is presumed innocent until he is proved guilty. If Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney had studied the law and did not recklessly give forth bad law he would know that now it is established in England, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the mere fact of killing does not mean that a person is to be presumed guilty of murder.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: That alteration of the law in England only took place in the last two months. It is ridiculous for the Attorney-General to say he had that in his mind in August last.
The Attorney-General: It is not ridiculous. The principle underlying the decision of the House of Lords has been followed in this country since the setting up of the Free State, and the Deputy should know that.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I know the opposite.
The Attorney-General: That is a reckless and untrue statement.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: It is the Attorney-General who is making reckless statements.
The Attorney-General: It is impossible to deal with some people. This case has been made a pet subject by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. He attended the inquest in Cork, and he asked for a verdict of murder from the coroner's jury. I think I could contrast the conduct of previous inquests with the way in which the State, the Minister for Justice, and the Guards acted at that inquiry in Cork. Did they hold back one tittle of evidence? Did they not put forward every tittle of evidence before that Cork jury to enable them to inquire into all the circumstances of the case?
Mr. O'Neill: Yes, the police having selected the jury beforehand.
The Attorney-General: The Deputy is now making a charge against the uniformed police and against the jury.
Mr. O'Neill: I am not charging anybody; I am stating a fact.
The Attorney-General: Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney did not ask for an investigation. He simply asked for a verdict of murder. He did not ask the jury to investigate the facts and come to a conclusion as to whether the circumstances justified the firing. He asked for the verdict of murder and explained to the jury that this was murder.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I explained to the jury that an open verdict was equivalent to a verdict of murder.
The Attorney-General: Though it is not. Again I fear the Deputy is making reckless statements. I am really sorry I seem to have provoked the Deputy so much.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I am not in the least provoked.
The Attorney-General: The Deputy having failed in Cork, comes here and thrusts out of sight the main facts of the case, and presents to this House his own facts. He omits the background to which I have referred, even though I drew attention to it on the last occasion; but he omits all reference to it. He omits the fact that the lorry driver was charged before a Cork jury in Cork and was convicted of unlawful assembly.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Who ever denied that the persons who broke into the yard committed a crime?
The Attorney-General: I think this is the first time it was admitted.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: It was a crime, but not a crime that justified these people being shot down.
The Attorney-General: This is the first time the Deputy admitted that.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I admitted it every time I made a statement in connection with the matter.
The Attorney-General: And the mob who assembled outside were guilty of a crime?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Certainly.
The Attorney-General: And they were a riotous assembly?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Yes.
The Attorney-General: And the Guards are entitled to fire on a riotous assembly if they found it necessary to deal with it in that way.
Mr. O'Neill: They are not entitled to shoot people.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order, order. Will Deputy O'Neill please cease from interrupting. Even the Attorney-General is entitled to speak here. The Opposition ought to have learnt that; they were once in office themselves.
Mr. O'Neill: I am sorry for the Attorney-General. (“Order, order.”) He is making the best of a very bad case; he ought to try to get away from it.
The Attorney-General: On the Vote for my Office in this Assembly, I was told that I was giving the power of life and death to the Guards. The charge was made that I initiated the doctrine that the Guards could fire and kill whom they liked. I never initiated any such doctrine. I said that in that particular case the Guards were entitled to fire.
Mr. Belton: Who gave the order?
The Attorney-General: The statement made by the judge who heard the case against Crowley that day, was that but for the action of the Guards firing when they did, several lives would have been lost that day.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Absolute nonsense.
Mr. O'Neill: The Attorney-General is quite right. The judge gave a most prejudiced summing up of the whole thing. His position was prejudiced altogether. (“Order, order.”)
Mr. Norton: Is that in order?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: It is absolutely out of order.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: The judge was not trying these Guards.
Mr. O'Neill: The statements from the bench were disgraceful on this occasion. (Cries of “Order, order.”)
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Does the Deputy know that it is most disorderly to make statements of that kind?
Mr. O'Neill: I say they were disgraceful and insulting, and I say that Judge O'Connor was a disgrace to his profession and a disgrace to the bench as well. (“Order, order,” and interruptions.)
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is a statement that must be withdrawn.
Mr. O'Neill: I will not withdraw it. I refuse deliberately to withdraw it.
Mr. Norton: He wants to be put out; you may as well do it now.
Mr. O'Neill: I do not want to be put out, but I will not be smothered here.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Does the Deputy propose to withdraw what he said?
Mr. O'Neill: No.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Then the Deputy must leave the House.
Mr. O'Neill: I will not leave the House.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Does the Deputy realise that he is making a charge against the judge and alleging that he deliberately charged the jury incorrectly? Does he withdraw that statement?
Mr. O'Neill: What statement?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy knows perfectly well the statement he made. Will he withdraw it?
Mr. O'Neill: I would like to explain first.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy will explain nothing. He must withdraw.
Mr. O'Neill: If I am not allowed to explain I will not withdraw.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I will send for the Ceann Comhairle and have the Deputy suspended.
Mr. O'Neill: Very well. I will leave the House, for peace sake.
Mr. O'Neill then left the House.
[An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.]
The Attorney-General: I am very sorry to have to deal with matters which arouse—and I can quite understand it—such feeling. I am very sorry that this step of going into the details of this Marsh's Yard incident again should have to be taken by me, but I do it simply and solely, as I already explained, because I feel that a charge has been made against my personal honour by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, in suggesting that I had no justification whatever for not instituting a prosecution against the Guards in this case. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney made it qnite clear in the course of his speech what he is after. He followed up the line which has been adopted here, and which has caused so much exacerbated bitterness throughout the country, by attempting to develop bitterness against what he describes as Colonel Broy's new recruits. He, of course, exonerates the uniformed Guards altogether, but he wants to have a group of Colonel's Broy's new recruits put on trial——
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: No uniformed Guard fired in Marsh's Yard and you know it.
The Attorney-General: —— to make a Blueshirt holiday. I hope we have heard the end of the Cork business.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: You have not.
The Attorney-General: Just as the Deputy and his colleague Deputy McGilligan for two or three years kept trotting out in this House the Gavin case, to which I referred earlier, on  which he charged me with certain responsibilities without inquiry and when he was informed of my personal position. I merely informed him of it because he made an attack on my personal honour. The two Deputies kept trotting that case out here, time after time, and I suppose the same campaign of incitement is going to be followed in connection with this Marsh's Yard affair to cover up all the incidents to which I could refer which have happened during the last few months for which the Deputy and his followers have been responsible.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Does the Attorney-General state that after he mentioned to me——
Deputies: Sit down!
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: On a point of order. The Attorney-General has made a statement about me. Am I not entitled to have that cleared up and to say to the Attorney-General that he did state to me that he was out of the country at the time this matter was investigated? I have never mentioned the matter in the House since. He now insinuates that for three years afterwards I did. The Attorney-General knows that that is false. I accepted his explanation that he was out of the country.
The Attorney-General: I say that the Deputy never tendered a single apology to me for the campaign he carried on in this House against me about that incident.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I said that the work of the Attorney-General was not properly done and I say it still, and I say——
An Ceann Comhairle: Order!
The Attorney-General: We will pass to another item in respect of which the Deputy made a series of charges against me. He charged me with not following the laws of evidence and with producing in evidence against prisoners before the Military Tribunal statements made by them in answer to interrogation under Article 2A. Part  of the statement which he made was that I was attempting to obtain convictions by fair means or foul. He said—and I quote from the Irish Times report of his speech:—
“I charge him with endeavouring to have men convicted against whom he knows there is no legal evidence, with endeavouring to secure convictions by fair means or foul. I charge him with actually succeeding in getting verdicts which he and everybody else knows cannot be sustained in law. I charge him with having men sent to prison in cases in which, if he discharged his duty properly, the State would have entered a nolle prosequi because there was no evidence against these men. The Attorney-General should not allow the Military Tribunal or any other court to convict any persons who in law had committed no crime and against whom in law there was no evidence.”
Then he drops a few tears for the I.R.A. and said that they had been victimised by me. Up to this, the charge was partiality, but now I am impartially unjust to both Blueshirts and I.R.A.
“He had not allowed the I.R.A. to get off scotfree, and heavens knew he had no brief for the members of that organisation....”
except when they come in useful to beat the Government with.
“... Yet there were members of that body in prison at the present time against whom there was no evidence which would justify a conviction.”
I understand the charge to be that statements made by persons under interrogation under Article 2A are not admissible in evidence. The Deputy put that as a point of law, but he dressed it up with the charges I have just referred to which seem to flow from his lips so glibly that either he does not understand the effect they will have on the minds of the people who read them and who do not know me or him, or he is deliberately out to slander me. I could quite appreciate the Deputy raising a point of  that kind although this seems to me not quite the forum in which it should be raised. Deputy Gearóid O'Sullivan raised the point in a much more sensible way the other day, if I may refer to his action in raising this point, at the Tribunal itself. I understand that the same point was made and that he is endeavouring at the moment to see if he can devise a means by which the point can be tested in the High Court. That is perfectly legitimate and perfectly fair, but Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney thinks nothing of coming into this House and launching this charge against me, that I have deliberately and consciously obtained convictions and that I have people languishing in jail at the moment on evidence which is no evidence at all. The Deputy nods his head in assent.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Yes.
The Attorney-General: I wonder what consideration the Deputy gave to that charge before he made it? I wonder why, if that point was to be made, the Deputy should not raise it in the way in which Deputy Gearóid O'Sullivan raised it? If it is a good point——
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: You say it is not.
The Attorney-General: I will deal with the Deputy in one moment, and, when I have done, I do not think the Deputy will be even as merry as he looks at the moment. The Deputy followed up that charge by saying that I had so abused my trust, and so conducted proceedings before the Military Tribunal that I had produced a travesty of justice, so much so that he had folded up his tents and left the Military Tribunal and that several other members of the Bar Library had announced that they would never go there again. The Deputy, I think, was only at the Military Tribunal once before he made this world-shaking decision, and I wonder if he is entitled——
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: As a matter of fact, if the Attorney-General had  read my speech, he would see that I did not state that I would not go before the Military Tribunal myself. In fact, I would not, but I did not state it.
Mr. Jordan: You might yet; you never know your luck.
The Attorney-General: I know this strange fact, that, although I do not want, and am not anxious, to follow on the Deputy's lines of attack, there was a case to which the Deputy has referred and to which I will refer before I close this debate, in which the Deputy appeared in argument in the High Court. That case went back to the Tribunal, but the Deputy did not appear there, and I gathered from that peculiar conduct that the Deputy declined to go there.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I appeared for one purpose, and one purpose only.
The Attorney-General: It is a new tradition to set up in the Irish Bar that if prisoners require counsel to appear for them, counsel should object to the Tribunal before which the prisoners are sent. That is something new, and I wonder if the Deputy really feels proud of it? I understood that there was a tradition at the Irish Bar that if a prisoner wanted the services of counsel, that counsel was bound to go unless he had some overwhelming reason for not going.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: And I had an overwhelming reason for not going.
The Attorney-General: The Deputy has the effrontery to come here and boast of the fact that, because of the manner in which I conduct prosecutions there he will not go before the Tribunal.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Yes, and because of the manner in which the Tribunal decides cases in which you prosecute.
The Attorney-General: I suspect that is what the Deputy would like to have said when he was speaking on this Vote, but instead of doing that he skirted around the rules of order by  charging me with being guilty of creating an atmosphere which produced a travesty of justice. He did that in order to prevent being called to order by the Chair, as he would be, if he made the charge against the Tribunal which he has now made.
An Ceann Comhairle: Charges may not be made against the Tribunal.
The Attorney-General: Another part of the campaign is this. I think the Deputy said that he was going to engender a spirit in the country that will refuse to recognise the sentences of the Tribunal when properly obtained: to discredit the Tribunal. I consider that is a campaign that ought not to be entered upon lightly. Certain adherents of the Party opposite have made those statements, but I wonder if those on the Opposition Front Bench realise the responsibility that they are taking on their shoulders by adopting a course such as that? Does Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney really think that it is proper for him to lend his professional position to a campaign against the members of the Military Tribunal who, as far as I know—I think most people will agree in this: certainly any unprejudiced person will — are doing their job extremely well and fairly, and that has been so stated by Deputies on the benches opposite. But Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney refuses to go before them and refuses to recognise them. However, that is the position in which we find ourselves: that a Deputy with that type of mind solemnly and seriously gets up here and says that the criticism which he has directed against me is really inspired by a desire to see that the law should be administered fairly and properly in this country. I ask the Deputy whether he really considered that charge before he made it.
I do not know whether the Deputy was attending to the affairs of the Department of Justice when he was in charge of that Department. I have here a file before me, but before I deal with it let me first of all say this: that I am informed and believe  that, in every case in which statements were taken when Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was Minister for Justice, they were put in at the Military Tribunal in exactly the same way as they have been put in since I took office. In fact, they were put in far more regularly in his time. I have not put in statements in every case. The Deputy looks up surprised and shocked, but I have a file before me which, if he wishes, I will let him read. Under his signature there is this: “a certificate may issue” in the case of a prisoner from Kerry, and that prisoner was convicted on nothing but statements obtained from him under interrogation.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: What case was that?
The Attorney-General: It was the case of the Attorney-General against Thomas O'Driscoll and Michael Shea on a series of charges, two or three of which required the Minister's certificate. On the file before me there appears to be what I take to be the initials of the Deputy: “I will sign a certificate in this case.” and the Deputy did sign the certificate. I have also before me the file of my predecessor in office.
Mr. G. O'Sullivan: I would like to put this to the Attorney-General, that the aspect of the particular subject that is being debated is at the moment sub judice. I am sure that the Attorney-General would be as anxious as anyone else to see that in any particular case if something happened that should not have happened — if something happened wrongly — it should be reopened. Therefore, I think, it would be undesirable to discuss this, and I am sure that the Attorney-General would be the last person in this House to do anything that would prejudice any decision that the court may give in a case.
Mr. Flinn: The first person to do that was Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.
The Attorney-General: I am not discussing any case that is sub judice. I  would yield to Deputy O'Sullivan if I felt that anything I would say might in any way prejudice a case in any way. I certainly would not even avail myself of the privilege which the House gives me to refer to matters even though they are sub judice. If the Chair says that I am not in order and that I should not refer to it——
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Attorney-General says that the matter he refers to is not sub judice, the Chair has nothing to say.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Would the Attorney-General tell me what was the charge in the case in which I gave the certificate?
The Attorney-General: I think it would have been better if the Deputy had made some inquiries in this case before he lodged a charge against me.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: What was the charge?
The Attorney-General: I will read the whole file.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I am sure that any certificate I gave was perfectly justified.
The Attorney-General: I am not saying that, and I am not making any such charge against the Deputy. What I am charging him with is this: that on the file before me, under his signature, there is a case in respect of which the only evidence was answers to interrogations given by the prisoner: that senior counsel was sent to the Military Tribunal by the then Attorney-General, and that that statement  was put in evidence against the prisoner. And that was the only evidence on the particular charges in respect of some of which the Deputy gave a certificate. Therefore, he must have known that when he gave the certificate, or does he say that he gave certificates in cases without seeing the oral evidence?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Is it not perfectly obvious that a certificate does not rest on the evidence? The certificate is that a crime has been committed. You do not condemn a person even though you do give a certificate. A crime, before a certificate can issue, must be a crime of its own nature, and not a crime against the administration of justice. That is what the Minister for Justice deals with and ought to deal with.
The Attorney-General: The Deputy, apparently, does not know the terms of his own Article 2A of the Constitution. Surely, it is the acts stated that constitute the offence, and does the Deputy say that he gave certificates in cases without knowing what the facts were which constituted the offence?
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I know what the nature of the offence was. Will the Attorney-General read out what the offence was?
The Attorney-General: I will read the whole file for the Deputy to-morrow. I move to report progress.
Progress reported; the Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday, 12th July.