Motion to Sit Late.

Friday, 19 February 1937

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 65 No. 5

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The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I should like to move, at this stage, with your permission, Sir, that the Dáil sit later than 2.30 and that the order for the adjournment be taken not later than 10.30 p.m.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Will the President explain for what purpose we will sit later than 2 p.m.?

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  In order to give an opportunity to any member of the House who wants to speak on this measure, and to take a vote on the Second Reading to-night.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  I want to know from the President if the object of this motion is to see that the Second Reading will be concluded to-day?

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Yes.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  And not proceed with the other stages?

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  No; next Wednesday.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Information on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  Zoom on James Fitzgerald-Kenney  What is the need for hurry in this Bill? It is a matter of very great importance, a matter which concerns, not only the opinion at home, but the opinion abroad, of the attitude which this country is taking up, and why should not the measure be leisurely and in the ordinary way debated? Why not let the House rise in the ordinary way at 2 o'clock and carry on the Second Reading till Wednesday, and in that way let the country have full opportunity [657] of considering the matter, and not have this matter rushed in the way it is being rushed? Let the country have full opportunity of knowing what is happening in this House.

Mr. MacDermot: Information on Frank McDermot  Zoom on Frank McDermot  The President is aware that every country in Europe has seen the need for prompt action in this matter?

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Does Deputy MacDermot suggest that the President should move the guillotine and push this Bill through, and does he want to join with the President in rushing this Bill through and making it law before the people of the country get an opportunity of expressing an opinion on it? Is the Deputy afraid to go back to his constituents and get their opinion on it before he gives his vote?

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I am sure he is. He would not cross the Shannon after this.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The President would have less difficulty in getting the House to accept his point of view as to the urgency of this matter if he had thought fit to make his views on the matter clear. Deputy Belton said a moment ago that the President had not camouflaged his opinion, but I disagree with the Deputy. The President has not done anything like that.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I am afraid I was premature when I said that.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  Yes, I think the Deputy was. The President gets up, as usual, blandly reads out a few sentences from a paper, and formally proposes this motion on the Second Reading. He wants to have the final word on the main principle of the Bill when he cannot be replied to. He comes to the House and asks it to pass this Bill in a hurry. This is no ordinary Bill. It is no matter of mere administrative machinery. The issue in it is quite clear. The issue is knit in the amendments to the Second Reading of the Bill, and the President knows that, and he wants to get the two amendments decided to-night before the members of his Party can go back to the country for the week-end and get the opinion of their constituents on it. What is the issue? [658] It is put straight, and, remember, the question is not the Second Reading of the Bill. The question this House is going to be asked to vote on to-night is whether we are going to withdraw our representative from the Communist Government at Valentia. That is the net point, and Deputy Belton's amendment takes it a step further when, having done that, we appoint a representative to Franco's Government. The real reason for the urgency—and there is no other reason, as I say—is that the President does not want the members of his Party to go back to their constituencies and get the opinion of the people of this country. The President and his colleagues on the Front Bench, when it suits them, talk very often about having a mandate for this and a mandate for that. Will the President pretend that he has a mandate for having a representative of this country to the Communist Government in Spain? Does the President assert, or will he dare assert, that the people of this country are in favour of that? Of course, they are not, and it is because he knows that, and because he wants to get his Party committed before that can be brought forcibly home to them by their constituents over the week-end, that he wants a decision taken on the main principle to-night.

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I do not think, Sir, it is necessary for me to go over again the arguments in favour of having this Bill disposed of as early as possible. I do not propose to do so.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  The President is not concluding, is he?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Is the Deputy not aware of the fact that there is a motion before the House to sit late?

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Therefore, I want to be quite sure that, as it is a motion, it is not a motion to conclude.

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That is what I understood.

Mr. Morrissey: Information on Daniel Morrissey  Zoom on Daniel Morrissey  The President said he understood he was concluding.

[659]Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Let us be quite clear where we are.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Any other Deputy to rise?

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  If the President wanted to drive home the truth of what Deputy Morrissey was saying, the President's conduct proves it. He gets up as soon as Deputy Morrissey concluded. That was his purpose. What is the urgency? Why is it essential to have this Bill passed on Wednesday rather than on Thursday or Friday next? Because, according to the President, it is necessary to have it passed by to-morrow, and therefore, in order to fulfil that obligation that he has undertaken, he must pass it next Wednesday, rather than next Thursday. I cannot understand why—I did not catch the prompt on the other side—but perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will explain.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  Beyond understanding.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I quite agree. It is beyond understanding, except for the reasons Deputy Morrissey has put forward. The President is going to insist on having this next Wednesday. Why next Wednesday, I ask once more, rather than next Thursday? Is there urgent business, again, that the President must dispatch next week so that it will be impossible for him to take this Bill on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week if necessary? We heard yesterday—and, coming from the President, it was rather a revelation—that he did not want to use his majority. What else does he do in this house? What else has he ever done? What excuse has he ever, for any conduct or any course he wants to pursue, except that he has a majority and that he is going to use it?

From that excellent parliamentary sentiment that he propounded yesterday, it has not taken him long to recover. Sleeping on it over the night was quite sufficient to persuade him that he would use his majority in this as in all other matters; in a matter which he confesses—I wonder did he confess it; I am in doubt about it and [660] I am not to blame for that—but I thought there was a kind of halfhearted confession that he was running against the sympathy of the Irish people in this matter. He knows that, apparently. Is he afraid his followers, during the week-end, will have it explained to them by even some of their own supporters in the country, that they object strongly to the appointment, or to the keeping there at St. Jean de Luz of a representative of the Caballero Government in Spain? Is he afraid that during the week-end they cannot explain to their constituents what that man is doing there, why he is there, or why he was sent back there? He is not in active touch with anybody. Nothing more ridiculous could well be imagined than to suggest that because he is in St. Jean de Luz, that because he is near geographically to that portion between the end of the Pyrenees, Burgos and various other districts, he is in a position to get information for the Government about what is happening in the different areas in Spain. Other diplomats are there, I admit, but the only explanation the President's followers will have to give to their people in the country this week-end is that he is there as a mark of the President's sympathy with that particular Government. They cannot offer any explanation as to what useful work he can do.

I remember that a member of the Irish Bar, now unfortunately dead, was asked where he was in Easter Week, and he said: “In Blackrock, swapping lies with some neighbours.” You remember all the rumours that were rife on that particular occasion. What is our representative doing in St. Jean de Luz? Swapping lies or rumours with the other diplomats? Is he in a position to report to the Government as to what is occurring in Spain? Does the President think that his supporters here can explain to his followers in the country why he is doing this particular thing? It is quite obvious they cannot. I could understand, though I certainly could not condone, the action of the President if he said that we would have to put this Bill through by Friday night at 12 o'clock because of a certain [661] agreement we entered into, but what is the difference between to-day and Wednesday next or Thursday next?

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I suggest that is not the question here at all.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The question is whether we should sit late to-night.

Professor O'Sullivan: Information on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  Zoom on Prof. John Marcus O'Sullivan  I am giving you a reason why we should not sit late, because there is no necessity for doing so. It is most inconvenient to every Deputy to sit late to-night when we can do this business equally well next week. Why is the President so taken with this Bill that he has to rush it through the House in this fashion? Why must he use his Parliamentary majority to rush this Bill through on Second Reading to-day before the vital issues that were raised yesterday— vital as far as this country, I believe, is concerned—can be discussed over the week-end between his supporters in the House and their followers in the country? I cannot see any reason for it, and I hope the House will not grant any facilities for that purpose.

Mr. MacDermot: Information on Frank McDermot  Zoom on Frank McDermot  Deputy Morrissey asked me just now whether, if I had my way, this Bill would be rushed through all its stages to-day. My answer is most emphatically “Yes.” And why? Because I believe that this Bill is a contribution to European peace, because I believe that it is of the utmost importance, in the interests of European peace, and, incidentally, in the interests of General Franco's Government, that intervention in Spain should stop.

Mr. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  How do you know?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Order!

Mr. MacDermot: Information on Frank McDermot  Zoom on Frank McDermot  We have heard a great deal about a different question in the course of the debate, about the question of diplomatic representation. If I held a thousand times over that there should be no diplomatic representative accredited to the Valencia Government, I should still be in favour of getting this Bill through to-day. There is no logical connection between the two things. The urgency is in [662] respect to this Bill and not in respect to diplomatic representation. If it is desired to discuss at more leisure the question of diplomatic representation, I am sure special arrangements can be made to do so.

Professor Thrift: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I should like to throw, whatever weight I may possess, in support of the views of Deputy MacDermot. I think there is a great confusion of thought in regard to the question at issue here. There is no real question now as to whether we should have a representative accredited to either the Government or to the insurgents in Spain. There is, however, a vital necessity that, as quickly as possible, an attempt should be made to cope with the conflagration which has occurred in Spain. You might as well argue that you should leave longer than you possibly can a naked flame in the midst of a powder magazine as to postpone discussion of this Bill. Nobody can say at what moment the state of affairs in Spain may lead to a European war. If the President were asking us to conclude all Stages of the Bill to-day I would give him my wholehearted support.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I should like to ask Deputy Thrift and Deputy MacDermot if they understand that there are 30,000 persons unemployed on the land in this country, that there are farmers and businessmen on these benches who come here prepared only for a Wednesday and Thursday sitting, and who have to attend during the remainder of the week to the business that other farmers and businessmen perform all the week? Will they say why, in a matter that was not urgent enough to be put on the Order Paper for Wednesday, Deputies are going to be asked to attend here to-night and to-morrow in order to have a full and free discussion of the principle and the facts that are involved in this matter? Will Deputy MacDermot or Deputy Thrift say what can happen as between to-day and next week bearing on intervention in Spain that will make such a vital difference? Is this House not to be given an opportunity of discussing thoroughly and effectively this problem as it affects [663] this country in particular and Europe in general?

Professor Thrift: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  If there is a European war there will be very little chance of Deputies meeting here to discuss these matters. It was understood that this agreement would be ratified by the 20-21st of February and the fact that any nation withholds its assent may lead to a break up of the International Convention.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I suggest to Deputies that it is highly undesirable, in view of the issues we are discussing, to start jibing across the House. This may be a matter for jest to Fianna Fáil Deputies, but it is not a matter for jest on this side of the House. I can very well understand the depth of feeling in this matter which Deputy Professor Thrift shows; but whether we agree with him or not, it is a kind of insolence that I resent that any of my colleagues, on either side of this House, should meet representations of that kind with jeers. I differ profoundly from Deputy Professor [664] Thrift. I believe there is a definite philosophical difference between us. I have no doubt that he appreciates my attitude of mind just as I equally appreciate his. I am sincerely anxious to rebut his views. In order to do that, I would like this measure to be discussed with reasonable patience. I would have much more respect for the President if he moved the closure. He knows the course he is pursuing to-day is a tactical closure, but he has not the moral courage to move the closure.

The President: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I beg to move: “That the Question be now put.”

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I am accepting the motion “That the Question be now put.”

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  The usual running away.

Mr. MacDermot rose.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Once the closure has been accepted, there can be no more discussion.

Question put.

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Brady, Seán.
Concannon, Helena.
Corbett, Edmond.
Corkery, Daniel.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Donnelly, Eamonn.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Gibbons, Seán.
Good, John.
Goulding, John.
Harris, Thomas.
Hayes, Seán.
Jordan, Stephen.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kehoe, Patrick.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Keyes, Michael.
Killilea, Mark.
Kissane, Eamonn.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
MacDermot, Frank.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Maguire, Ben.
Moane, Edward.
Moore, Séamus.
Neilan, Martin.
Norton, William.
O'Brian, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
O'Dowd, Patrick.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pattison, James P.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Thrift, William Edward.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.

[665]Anthony, Richard.
Belton, Patrick.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Burke, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Curran, Richard.
Davis, Michael.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Dolan, James Nicholas.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Fagan, Charles.
Finlay, John.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
[666]Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Holohan, Richard.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGovern, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel.
Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Neill, Eamonn.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reidy, James.
Roddy, Martin.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Wall, Nicholas.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.

Question declared carried.

Question put: “That the Dáil sit later than 2.30 p.m. to-day and that the order for the adjournment be taken not later than 10.30 p.m.”

Aiken, Frank.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Brian.
Brady, Seán.
Concannon, Helena.
Corbett, Edmond.
Corkery, Daniel.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Doherty, Hugh.
Donnelly, Eamon.
Everett, James.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Gibbons, Seán.
Good, John.
Goulding, John.
Harris, Thomas.
Hayes, Seán.
Jordan, Stephen.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kehoe, Patrick.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Keyes, Michael.
Killilea, Mark.
Kissane, Eamonn.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
MacDermot, Frank.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Maguire, Ben.
Moane, Edward.
Moore, Séamus.
Neilan, Martin.
Norton, William.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
O'Dowd, Patrick.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Pattison, James P.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rice, Edward.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Thrift, William Edward.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.
Ward, Francis C.

Anthony, Richard.
Belton, Patrick.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Burke, Patrick.
Coburn, James.
Curran, Richard.
Davis, Michael.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan. [667]Morrisroe, James.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, The.
O'Neill, Eamonn.
Dolan, James Nicholas.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Fagan, Charles.
Finlay, John.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Holohan, Richard.
MacEoin, Seán.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGovern, Patrick.
McMenamin, Daniel. [668]O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reidy, James.
Roddy, Martin.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Wall, Nicholas.

Question declared carried.


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