Dáil Éireann

19/Apr/1939

Prelude

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Clonakilty County Home and Maternity Home.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Protection Work at Ballinskellings.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Irish and English Motor Car Prices.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Restrictions on Users of Sea Sand.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Imported and Home Produced Commodities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Income-tax Return.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Arrears of Income-tax.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment Grants in Laoighis and Offaly.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fish (Regulation of Import) Order.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Provision of Alternative Holdings.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Acquisition of County Cork Estates.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Acquisition and Division of Lands.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Gaeltacht Central Marketing Depôt.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Island Telephonic Facilities.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sub-Postmasters' Salaries.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Superannuation or Gratuity for P.O. Employee.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sorting Assistants and Writing Assistant Class.

Private Deputies' Business.

Standing Orders Relative to Private Business.

Oireachtas Library Joint Committee—Message From Seanad.

Oireachtas Restaurant Joint Committee—Message from Seanad.

Air Raid Precautions Bill, 1939—First Stage.

Committee on Finance. - Money Resolution—Offences Against the State Bill.

Committee on Finance. - Offences Against the State Bill, 1939—Committee Stage.

Committee on Finance. - Estimates for Public Services.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 4—Comptroller and Auditor-General.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 9—Commissions and Special Inquiries.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 12—State Laboratory.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 14—Property Losses Compensation.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 15—Personal Injuries Compensation.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 16—Superannuation and Retired Allowances.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 17—Rates on Government Property.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 20—Expenses under the Electoral Act and the Juries Act.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 21—Miscellaneous Expenses.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 22—Stationery and Printing.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 23—Valuation and Boundary Survey.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 26—Ordance Survey.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 27—Haulbowline Dockyard.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 30—Quite Rent Office.

Committee on Finance. - Offences Against the State Bill, 1939—Committee Stage (resumed).

Committee on Finance. - Estimates for Public Services.

Committee on Finance. - Committee on Finance.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 10—Office of Public Works.

Committee on Finance. - Vote 11—Public Works and Buildings.

Written Answers. - New County and District Hospitals.

Written Answers. - Employment of Agricultural Workers.

[589] Do chuaidh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.

Tadhg O Murchadha:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he has now received the report of the assistant county medical officer of health in connection with the proposed withdrawal of recognition of the county home, Clonakilty, County Cork, as a maternity home; and whether in view of the conditions existing in the home, it is proposed to assist the board of health out of Hospital Sweepstake Funds towards a suitable reconstruction of the building.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Dr. Ward):  The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part of the question I would refer the Deputy to my reply of the 9th February last.

Mr. Murphy:  Will the Parliamentary Secretary give any indication, in view of the serious nature of this report and the consequences likely to arise from it, that any further consideration will be given to this matter?

Dr. Ward:  I think it is unlikely that money can be made available out of the Hospitals Trust Fund for the purposes indicated in the question. The commitments for payment out of the fund in respect of Cork City and County are very heavy to date, amounting on a provisional estimate to £1,224,000 odd. [590] It is considered that hospitals have the first claim on the fund, and in many counties no grant whatever has been made out of the Trust Fund. In practically every county in Éire there is an urgent hospital problem yet to be dealt with. I think that Cork has got very well away with it, notwithstanding the admitted urgency of the question concerned to-day.

Mr. Murphy:  Would the Parliamentary Secretary undertake to discuss this matter with the county medical officer of health, with a view to making some temporary arrangements to obviate the position outlined in the question?

Dr. Ward:  Of course it is up to the board of health to make temporary arrangements if they are prepared to advance any reconstruction scheme out of their own resources. If the Deputy will satisfy me that any useful purpose can be served by such a discussion, then by all means I will discuss it, but there is very little about it of which we are not already aware. The solution is the problem.

Mr. O'Neill:  Arising out of the Parliamentary Secretary's reply, is he aware that, while there has been a good deal of money allocated to Cork, the amount allocated to West Cork has been very small in relation to the amounts allocated to the other parts of the country? He might take that into account.

Dr. Ward:  We will take everything into account, including the fact that in many counties no allocation whatever has yet taken place.

Mr. O'Neill:  Probably they do not deserve it.

Dr. Ward:  That may be the Deputy's view, but it is not mine.

Mr. J. Flynn:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state what is the present position in regard to the building of [591] protection works by way of a sea wall to protect the abbey and graveyard at Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry; whether plans have been drawn up for this work; and, if so, if he will have the matter expedited, and what is the earliest date at which it is hoped that the work will be commenced.

Dr. Ward:  On the 20th September last a communication was issued by my Department to the Kerry Board of Health, suggesting certain revisions of the outline proposals submitted by them for the improvement and protection of the Abbey Burial Ground, Ballinskelligs. The observations of the board's engineer on the Department's suggestions were received on the 24th ultimo. More detailed documents relating to the scheme will be necessary before the work can be finally approved. The board of health will be sent a further communication at an early date.

Mr. Dillon:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether his attention has been drawn to price discrepancies varying from 19 per cent. to 46 per cent. between Irish and English assembled motor cars of the Rover, Morris, Wolseley, Standard, Hillman and Austin type; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made into the reason for the excessive difference between the Irish and English price of these cars.

Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan) (for Minister for Industry and Commerce):  The difference in prices between Irish and English assembled motor cars is a matter to which the Prices Commission has given and is giving attention. As the Deputy was informed in reply to his question on this subject on the 7th December last, the prices of certain makes of cars had already been reduced following the inquiries which had been made by the Prices Commission. Prices of certain other cars have been reduced in the meantime and the commission has not [592] yet completed its investigations in the matter.

The Deputy should understand, however, that parts of motor cars imported for assembly are subject to a revenue duty which must have the effect of keeping prices here higher than in Great Britain where no such duty is payable, and that in addition there are also certain other factors operating which make the cost of assembling cars higher in this country.

Mr. Dillon:  Arising out of the Minister's reply, may I take it that he accepts as correct the figures supplied to him by me, and that in fact the cars mentioned in my question are from 19 per cent. to 46 per cent. dearer in Éire than they are in Great Britain?

Dr. Ryan:  I would not like to say that the statement is not correct. I cannot say really.

Mr. Dillon:  May I inquire from the Minister if he intentionally advances a step—in saying he would not care to contradict me—from the old formula that I was misinformed?

Mr. O'Neill (for Mr. O'Donovan):  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that sea sand has been carted for manurial purposes by farmers all over South and West Cork for generations; that dressings of such sand are in many cases indispensable for the production of cereals and root crops; that recently farmers have been prevented from carting sand except under licence for which a fee has to be paid, and which limits them to a certain quantity; that each tide brings in sand in such bulk that there are always thousands of tons available daily, and that there is no danger of erosion as a result of the removal of sand; and, if so, if he will take immediate steps to ensure that farmers will have freedom at all times to secure their requirements of this necessary ingredient for the profitable production of their crops.

[593]Dr. Ryan:  I am aware that it has been the practice for farmers in County Cork to remove sand from the foreshore for manurial purposes and that such material is greatly valued for that purpose.

I have the responsibility for the control and management of State-owned foreshore and am empowered by Section 3 of the Foreshore Act, 1933, to regulate in the public interest the removal of beach material by the grant of licences. Where a fee is charged for a licence the sum is merely a nominal acknowledgment of the rights and interests of the State, but in fact no fee is charged where the annual quantity involved does not exceed 25 tons. There is no intention to restrict removals unnecessarily and, generally speaking, quantities are not curtailed save in areas where there is danger of coast erosion.

I cannot accept without reservation the statement that there are always thousands of tons available daily and that the removal of sand involves no danger of erosion.

Mr. McGovern:  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he can state approximately in relation to the total quantity of commodities which, if imported, would be subject to duty what percentage of the total was actually imported for consumption and what percentage was home produced in the financial year ended 31st March, 1939.

Dr. Ryan:  Census of Production figures for the financial year ended 31st March, 1939, are not available and, accordingly, it is not possible to furnish the information asked for.

Mr. Nally:  asked the Minister for Finance whether he is aware of letters sent to Mr. William P. Judge, The Ritz, 800 Argyle Row, Brooklyn, New York, from the office of the inspector of taxes, The Mall, Castlebar, County Mayo, containing demands for returns [594] of income for income-tax purposes for the years 1935-36 and 1936-37; whether he is aware that Mr. Judge is an American citizen of Irish birth who came as a visitor to Ireland during the years mentioned, but did not take up or maintain a permanent residence here; whether he can state why the demands referred to were made and sent, and, further, whether it is the practice of his Department to make such demands for tax from visitors such as Mr. Judge, who make stays in this country, but do not take up permanent residence here; and, if so, whether he is prepared to consider initiating the administrative or legislative changes necessary to secure the cessation of such practice with a view to encouraging visitors from other States to come to this country, particularly where such visitors are persons of Irish birth or extraction.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  In July, 1934, Mr. Judge, who was then staying at Westport, County Mayo, wrote to me inquiring “how long an American citizen should be here before he became liable to taxation.” In reply, the Revenue Commissioners sent to him from their head office a printed memorandum (copies of which I am placing in the Library) explaining the position of visitors to this country with regard to income-tax. At the same time the commissioners wrote to Mr. Judge stating that they would be pleased to assist him if he would be good enough to furnish them with the facts of his case. Mr. Judge ignored the commissioners' communication. Subsequently information came into the possession of the Department from which it appeared that Mr. Judge had been in this country for more than six months during each of the years 1935-36 and 1936-37. The inspector of taxes accordingly sent him forms of return for both years. The forms contained a clear intimation to the effect that if the recipient was not domiciled in this country he should simply return the forms with a declaration to that effect in the appropriate space and that a different form would then he sent to him. Instead of completing [595] the forms or furnishing such information as would enable the question of his income-tax liability to be gone into, Mr. Judge has written to the Taoiseach, to the Minister for External Affairs, to the Minister for Justice, to the Minister for Finance, to an American periodical and apparently to the Deputy complaining because he has been asked to furnish information. No “demands for tax” have been made on Mr. Judge.

The income-tax position with regard to persons visiting this country as set out in the printed memorandum is substantially the same as it has been for the past 80 years. No alteration which could be made in it would be likely to satisfy persons whose attitude is, in effect, that they should not be expected to furnish any information whatever.

Mr. McGovern:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will state what amount of the income-tax collected in the financial year ending 31st March, 1939, was arrears due in respect of financial years previous to that year; and if he will give corresponding figures for each of the five previous financial years.

Mr. MacEntee:  So far as the years 1933-34, 1934-35, 1935-36 and 1936-37 are concerned, I would refer the Deputy to the reply which I gave to a similar question on the 12th May, 1937 (Official Report—cols. 172-4) As for the years 1937-38 and 1938-39, the comparable figures are:—

Amount of arrears of income-tax recovered during the financial year
Financial Year. (approx.)
1937-38 £1,295,000
1938-39 £1,040,000

Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Finance if he will furnish detailed particulars of the amounts allocated [596] for the relief of unemployment in the counties of (1) Laoighis and (2) Offaly for year ended 31st March, 1939.

Mr. MacEntee:  As the answer is in the form of a tabular statement it will be published in the Official Debates. Following is the statement:

Particulars of the amounts allocated for the relief of unemployment in the Counties of (1) Laoighis and (2) Offaly for the year ended 31st March, 1939, are as follows:—

(1) COUNTY LAOIGHIS.

Sub-head State Local Total
£ £ £
Public Health Works 550 1,000 1,550
Roads (Rural) 5,120 1,830 6,950
Minor Employment Schemes 1,805 1,805
Scenic Views 100 100
TOTALS 7,575 2,830 10,405

(2) COUNTY OFFALY.

Sub-head State Local Total
£ £ £
Public Health Works 6,200 9,300 15,500
Roads (Urban) 2,540 435 2,975
Roads (Rural) 3,870 1,430 5,300
Minor Employment Schemes 1,835 1,835
Peat Development Schemes 342 342
TOTALS 14,787 11,165 25,952

Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he has received a resolution from the Portlaoighise Mental Hospital Committee protesting against the coming into operation of the Fish (Regulation of Import) (No. 2) Order, 1938, and stating that the price of fish required by them had been increased by 100 per cent.; and if he will state whether he proposes to cancel the order referred to or take the necessary steps to ensure that merchants deriving the benefit of the order will provide the fish required at a reasonable price.

Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan):  I received the resolution mentioned by the Deputy. I do not propose to [597] cancel the Order referred to which was made for the purpose of restricting the imports of fresh or frozen fish and thus preserving a market for supplies of home landed fish.

I am satisfied that supplies of suitable fish are available for the needs of institutions, such as Portlaoighise Mental Hospital, at prices which compare favourably with the prices paid by these institutions prior to the coming into operation of the Order and accordingly the necessity for the action suggested by the Deputy does not arise.

Mr. Davin:  Will the Minister say if a 100 per cent. increase is a reasonable increase?

Dr. Ryan:  It would be most unreasonable if it was for the same class of fish.

Mr. Dillon:  asked the Minister for Lands whether any arrangements have been made with the Land Commission to provide alternative holdings for the farmers whose holdings have been compulsorily acquired in connection with the Liffey hydro-electric scheme; and, if not, whether he will consider the necessity for migrating these people to suitable holdings outside the area of the hydro-electric works.

Minister for Lands (Mr. Boland):  The system of compensation to occupiers of land compulsorily acquired by the Electricity Supply Board for purposes of the Liffey hydro-electric scheme has been on a cash basis, not by the provision of alternative holdings. Dispossessed occupiers, if they so desire, may purchase alternative holdings for themselves in the open market out of the cash compensation paid to them by the Electricity Supply Board.

The Department of Industry and Commerce and the Electricity Supply Board have, in fact, been in touch with the Land Commission on this matter for a considerable time past and it was arranged between the Departments that in cases where occupiers find themselves unable to purchase suitable holdings, the Land Commission, in [598] order to avoid hardship, will be prepared, if the land should be available on estates acquired by them, to allot a limited number of parcels of untenanted land to dispossessed occupiers who apply therefor, on a purchase basis not involving any loss to the State.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Was any precaution taken to see that the individuals do not lose?

Mr. Boland:  That is a matter between the people and the Electricity Supply Board.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Surely not?

Mr. Boland:  Surely the Deputy is not suggesting that the Land Commission are responsible?

Mr. Cosgrave:  We divide this up between three different Departments, the Land Commission, the Electricity Supply Board and the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I am putting it to the Minister, is it fair that precautions are taken in time to ensure that the State do not lose, if it be at the cost of the individual?

Mr. Boland:  I suggest that is a matter for another Department.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Precisely.

Mr. Boland:  It is not a matter for the Land Commission. If a question is addressed to that other Department, they may answer it, but it is not a matter for the Land Commission.

Mr. Dillon:  asked the Minister for Lands whether the Land Commission has acquired the estate of the representatives of J. P. Hegarty, evicted lands, Coolclogher, County Cork Record No. S.3492; and, if so, whether it is proposed to reinstate the evicted tenants who were driven off this land during the Land War and who are now applicants for reinstatement.

Mr. Boland:  The Land Commission have not acquired the lands of Coolclogher, on the estate of the Reps. of J.P. Hegarty. Proceedings for acquisition were instituted, but an objection has been lodged by the owner.

[599]Mr. Dillon:  In the event of the objection being overruled by the Appeal Tribunal, does the Minister intend to give the evicted tenants on this estate preferential treatment in its allocation?

Mr. Boland:  As the Deputy is no doubt aware, that is not a matter for the Minister; but it is the practice to give favourable consideration to suitable representations on the part of evicted tenants.

Mr. Dillon:  Will the Minister undertake to have brought under the notice of the commissioners the special claims of the evicted tenants in regard to this particular estate?

Mr. Boland:  I will draw their attention to that matter.

Tadhg O Murchadha:  asked the Minister for Lands if it is proposed to acquire the lands of Warrenscourt, County Cork, for reafforestation, and what progress has been made in connection with the matter.

Mr. Boland:  An offer has been made by the owner to sell about 600 acres of the Warrenscourt estate to the forestry division, but as it appeared that a good deal of the land was arable and as there was apparently a desire on the part of the local smallholders to acquire portions thereof, the matter was referred to the Land Commission for consideration as regards the [600] acquisition of the estate for division and the allotment of the woodland and other suitable areas to the forestry division. The matter is still under consideration.

Mr. Murphy:  Will the Minister do anything to expedite a decision?

Mr. Boland:  I will try to have it expedited.

Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state the acreage of land divided in the counties of (1) Laoighis and (2) Offaly during the three years ended March 31st, 1939, and particulars of the number of undermentioned classes of applicants who received holdings or additional land during the same period: (1) workers who lost employment on lands acquired and divided; (2) uneconomic holders; (3) tenants of labourers' cottages; (4) landless men; (5) representatives of evicted tenants; (6) migrants.

Mr. Boland:  The detailed particulars which the Deputy desires are not yet available in respect of the year ended 31st March, 1939. The particulars for the two years ended, respectively, 31st March, 1937, and 31st March, 1938, are set out in a tabular statement, which will be circulated in the Official Report.

The statement is as follows:—

ALLOTMENT OF UNTENANTED LAND UNDER LAND ACTS, 1923-36.

LAOIGHIS OFFALY
Classification year ended 31/3/37 year ended 31/3/38 year ended 31/3/37 year ended 31/3/38
No. of Allottees Area acres No. of Allottees Area acres No. of Allottees Area acres No. of Allottees Area acres
(1) Former Employees 12 265 11 266 26 522 4 114
(2) Uneconomic Holders 101 1,298 73 915 150 1,180 60 450
(3) Tenants of Labourers' Cottages 6 38 25 213 16 122 10 101
(4) Landless Men 26 544 12 329 74 1,579 4 114
(5) Reps. of Evicted Tenants 1 8
(6) Migrants 1 29 7 140 33 820 23 480
Other Miscellaneous Allotments 153 2,152 14 536 74 315 49 79
Total alloted 300 4,334 142 2,399 373 4,538 150 1,338

[601]Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state what steps, if any, have been taken for the purpose of acquiring and dividing the lands of Roe (Rushall) and Bennett (Knockbrack), Castletown, County Laoighis; and if and when division schemes are likely to be put into operation.

Mr. Boland:  Notices have been published by the Land Commission of their intention to apply to the Appeal Tribunal for leave to resume the holding of Robert F. Bennett containing 156a. Or. 28p. in the townland of Knockbrack on the Coote Estate, Record No. S5593, and portion containing 86a. Or. 20p. of the holding of Misses Clara and Gertrude Roe in the townland of Rush Hall on the same estate. Petitions against resumption have been lodged by the respective tenants and it is not possible at present to anticipate a decision.

Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state the number of tenants of labourers' cottages who made application for portions of land on the Minchin estate, Busherstown, Moneygall, Offaly, and the number of such applicants who received portions of land when the estate was divided.

Mr. Boland:  Applications for land on the Minchin estate of 122 acres were received from 19 tenants of board of health labourers' cottages. Two of these applicants were provided with parcels, one of 26 acres and one of 15 acres 1 rood.

Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether he has received repeated applications during the past five years from and on behalf of the large number of tenants of labourers' cottages and uneconomic holders living in and around Shinrone, County Offaly, in favour of acquiring and dividing the large acreage of untenanted lands in the locality; and if he will state what steps, if any, he has taken to meet the wishes of the local people in this congested area.

Mr. Boland:  Representations regarding the acquisition of lands in the Shrinrone district have been received [602] and enquiries are being made regarding a number of estates in the locality.

Mr. Davin:  Is it a fact that these inquiries have been going on for a period of over five years, and will the Minister undertake to see that the people responsible for making representations will get a reply within a reasonable time, especially in view of the fact that there are thousands of acres of untenanted land available for division in this area? Is there any hope that the inquiries will be completed within a reasonable time?

Mr. Boland:  As I often stated before, the Land Commission are making investigations all over the country, and I am not able to say how soon they will be in a position to deal with this property, but I will draw their attention to the desirability of expediting matters.

Mr. Davin:  asked the Minister for Lands if he will state what steps, if any, have been taken for the purpose of acquiring and dividing the lands (including bogs) on the estate of R.K. Carter, Cuddagh, Castletown, County Laoighis; and if and when a division scheme is likely to be put into operation.

Mr. Boland:  The Land Commission have instituted proceedings for the acquisition of an area of bog containing 55 acres 1 rood on the lands of Cuddagh and a scheme for its division is in course of preparation. It is not possible at present to state when the scheme will be put into operation.

Mr. McMenamin:  asked the Minister for Lands if he is now in a position to state the amount of the stock held by the Gaeltacht Central Marketing Depôt on the 31st March, 1939; and if such amount includes the stock of toys manufactured by the Department's toy factory.

Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for Lands (Mr. O'Grady):  I would refer the Deputy to the answer given [603] on the 28th March, 1939, to a similar question by Deputy Dockrell. The stock figures when available will include any toys in hand.

Tadhg O Murchadha:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether it is proposed to include Cape Clear and Sherkin Islands in the promised telephonic facilities to the various islands off the south and west coast; and if he can state when such facilities will be available.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Traynor):  The scheme for the establishment of wireless telephone service with islands off the western and south-western coasts, including Cape Clear and Sherkin Islands, has now reached an advanced stage, and it is hoped that a decision will be reached shortly.

Mr. Dillon:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will state how long the question of salaries for newly-appointed sub-postmasters has been under consideration by his Department, and when it is proposed to arrive at a decision in this matter.

Mr. Traynor:  The question of a modification in the existing basis of remuneration for sub-postmasters generally has been under examination for a considerable time. The matter is of a complex character and the investigation has of necessity been prolonged. The inquiries have, however, now reached an advanced stage, but it is not possible at the moment to say when a decision will be reached.

Mr. Dillon:  Could the Minister say will a decision be reached in the coming financial year?

Mr. Traynor:  I hope so, but I cannot give any guarantee.

Mr. Dillon:  The Minister is aware that inquiries have been going on for nearly ten years.

[604]Mr. Traynor:  I have just said that it has been going on for a considerable time.

Mr. Dillon:  Is there in this country any individual whose mind can continue to function on any matter relating to sub-postmasters for ten years without coming to a conclusion? If there is, he should be moved to a museum.

Mr. Traynor:  I do not know anything about the ten-year period, but I know it is being examined.

Mr. Dillon:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether he has received an application from Denis O'Keeffe, of Castleblayney, for superannuation or other compensation in respect of his life-time service with the Department of Posts and Telegraphs; and, if so, whether any superannuation or grant ex gratia can be made available for this man, who is now destitute.

Mr. Traynor:  Mr. O'Keeffe, who was formerly employed as an engineering skilled workman in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, voluntarily resigned his position in August, 1935, and applied for superannuation. As, at the time of his resignation, Mr. O'Keeffe had not reached the age of 60 and as he was not incapacitated by mental or physical infirmity from discharging the duties of his situation, I regret that he is not eligible for the award of a pension or gratuity.

Mr. Dillon:  Is the Minister aware that, on the occasion of Mr. O'Keeffe's resignation, he informed the Post Office authorities that he was not physically able to do his work? He was then examined by the chief medical officer of the Department who took the view that he was able; that Mr. O'Keeffe maintained that he would be three-fourths of his time on sick leave and he did not want to be taking money on that basis, and that rather than spend three-fourths of his [605] time on sick leave he resigned; that he did so resign, being, as he declares, and as his own medical officer declares, physically unfit for work. In the light of this conflict of medical opinion, will the Minister consider Mr. O'Keeffe's case for an ex gratia grant?

Mr. Traynor:  I can only consider the chief medical officer's report.

Mr. Dillon:  Has the Minister no discretion in this matter of an ex gratia payment in the light of the fact that this man is now destitute?

Mr. Traynor:  No, that is not possible because of the fact that he was an established officer.

Mr. Dillon:  Will the Minister look into his case and see if any means could be taken to meet it?

Mr. Traynor:  The case has been examined from time to time. Various representations have been made, and it has not been found possible to alter the original decision.

Mr. Dillon:  Does the Minister realise that this man is now destitute and must go into the county home after spending his life in the service of the Department? Is he not prepared to do anything to rescue him from that?

Mr. Traynor:  It would require a change in the Act of Parliament.

Mr. Dillon:  It is a hard thing that a man and his wife must go into the county home after he has spent his whole life in the public service.

Mr. Hurley (for Mr. Norton):  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will state what is the cause of the delay in announcing a decision on the representations which have been made to his Department regarding the assimilation of sorting assistants to the writing assistant class; and if he will state when a definite decision will be arrived at.

[606]Mr. Traynor:  The question of the assimilation of the sorting assistant class—a Departmental class—to the writing assistant class—a general service class—involves considerations of a general character affecting grades other than those immediately concerned, both in the Post Office and in other Departments. The inquiries in the matter are not complete, and I am not at present in a position to state when a decision can be arrived at.

Ordered: “That Public Business be not interrupted at 9 o'clock for the taking of Private Deputies' Business.”

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I move:—

That the Draft Standing Orders set out in the Schedule to the Report of the Joint Committee ordered to lie upon the Table of the Dáil on the 2nd March, 1939, and upon the Table of the Seanad on the 8th March, 1939, be adopted as the Standing Orders relative to Private Business.

That the Standing Orders relative to Private Business adopted by the Dáil on the 4th November, 1936, be repealed.

Agreed.

Ordered: “That the report do lie upon the Table.”

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I move:—

That the Standing Orders be printed.

Agreed.

Ordered accordingly.

[608] Seanad Eireann has passed the following resolution:—

That the Seanad agrees that it is expedient that a joint committee consisting of five members of the Dáil and five members of the Seanad be set up to assist and advise the Ceann Comhairle and the Cathaoirleach in the direction and control of the Oireachtas Library.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Mr. Little):  I move:—

That a Select Committee consisting of five members be appointed to be joined with a Select Committee to be appointed by the Seanad to assist and advise the Ceann Comhairle and the Cathaoirleach in the direction and control of the Oireachtas Library;

That the quorum be two;

That the Committee be nominated by the Committee of Selection.

Agreed.

Ordered accordingly.

Seanad Eireann has passed the following resolution:—

That the Seanad agrees that it is expedient that a Joint Committee consisting of seven members of the Dáil and seven members of the Seanad be set up to assist and advise the Ceann Comhairle in the direction and control of the Oireachtas Restaurant.

Mr. Little:  I move:

That a Select Committee consisting of seven members be appointed to be joined with a Select Committee to be appointed by the Seanad to [609] assist and advise the Ceann Comhairle in the direction and control of the Oireachtas Restaurant;

That the quorum be three;

That the Committee be nominated by the Committee of Selection.

Agreed.

Ordered accordingly.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Aiken):  I move that leave be given to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to make provision for the taking of precautions with the object of protecting persons and property in the event of attack from the air, and to provide for certain other matters connected with the matters aforesaid.

Leave granted.

Bill read the First Time.

An Ceann Comhairle:  When will the Second Stage be taken?

Mr. Aiken:  Thursday, 27th April.

An Ceann Comhairle:  When will the Bill be circulated?

Mr. Aiken:  I hope by Monday.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Is it a short or a long Bill?

Mr. Aiken:  It is a medium Bill. There are only a couple of principles in it. I think it is more a Committee Stage Bill than a Second Reading Stage Bill. Deputies will have no difficulty in grasping the principles involved in the Bill after half an hour's perusal.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Is it putting a liability on local authorities?

Mr. Aiken:  It is.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Surely the Minister will have to give more time than that?

Mr. Aiken:  I want to get the Dublin Corporation going.

[610]General Mulcahy:  What does the Minister mean by getting the Dublin Corporation going?

Professor O'Sullivan:  Could the Minister let us have it on Saturday?

Mr. Aiken:  We will do the best we can.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Has it reached the draftsman yet?

Mr. Aiken:  It has.

Ordered: That the Committee Stage be taken on Thursday, April 27th.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Aiken):  I move:

That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of any expenses incurred by any Minister of State in the administration of any Act of the present ‘Session to make provision in relation to actions and conduct calculated to undermine public order and the authority of the State, and for that purpose to provide for the punishment of persons guilty of offences against the State, to regulate and control in the public interest the formation of associations, to establish special criminal courts in accordance with Article 38 of the Constitution and provide for the constitution, powers, jurisdiction, and procedure of such courts, and to make provision generally in relation to matters connected with the matters aforesaid.

Mr. Cosgrave:  How much money is involved?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I could not give any idea. I do not think it will be very much. If special courts have to be set up, provision will have to be made for the remuneration of the members of such courts. Also, if there are any persons interned, provision will have to be made for a commission to [611] examine the cases of those interned. If there is an emergency there may have to be an extension of the Gárda Síochána. I cannot give the approximate sum.

Mr. Cosgrave:  When the Minister mentioned internment, has he in mind something within the four corners of the Bill, or has he in mind a war situation?

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is the only situation I have in mind.

Mr. Cosgrave:  A war situation?

Mr. Ruttledge:  A situation here in which the State will be threatened in such a way that it is obvious that there is a state of emergency.

Mr. Cosgrave:  That is not what I mean.

Professor O'Sullivan:  It is only as regards this Bill?

Mr. Cosgrave:  It does not refer to aliens at all?

Mr. Ruttledge:  No.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Unless they commit an offence under this Bill?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Yes.

Professor O'Sullivan:  When a man is appointed a member of the special tribunal he may be paid his remuneration. Then suppose Section 5 goes out of operation, what is his position in connection with the expenses which arise? Does the remuneration continue?

Mr. Ruttledge:  No, only while the Special Court is there.

Professor O'Sullivan:  He goes back to civil life?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Yes.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Without remuneration and without protection?

[612]Mr. Ruttledge:  We will try to get some arrangement with Finance on that.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Perhaps this would not be in the Minister's office—if war emergency arises some duties would fall upon the Gardaí Síochána. It is not intended to make any provision for a situation of that kind at all through this Bill?

Mr. Ruttledge:  No.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Are there any precautions?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Precautions are under consideration with regard to the position of aliens under this Bill in certain circumstances.

Mr. Davin:  Will the Minister say, as a result of the large number of alleged criminals in the country, which is supposed to be the cause of the introduction of this Bill, whether it is intended to recruit an additional number of Gárdaí or what is the expenditure which would have to be incurred bearing upon the coming into operation of this measure?

Mr. Ruttledge:  The provision is that at the moment it is intended to recruit something like 200 members of the Gárda Síochána, but the circumstances and conditions that may arise at a particular time may necessitate the increasing of that number. At the moment, however, I am not in a position to state what that may be.

Mr. Davin:  Is not the recruitment of the famous 222 additional Gárdaí for the purpose of dealing with the normal vacancies caused by deaths or resignation in the Gárda Síochána?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Yes.

Mr. Davin:  If we had in the country the number of criminals which justified the introduction of this measure, surely the Minister ought to make provision for additional expenditure—or is this Bill going to mean [613] additional expenditure to deal with the number of alleged criminals?

Mr. Ruttledge:  In introducing this Bill I did not talk of the number of criminals in the country. I did not use the word “criminals.”

Mr. Davin:  What is the necessity then for the introduction of the Bill?

Mr. Ruttledge:  To enable the country to take any precautions that may be needed.

Resolution put and agreed to.

Resolution reported and agreed to.

Section 1 put and agreed to.

SECTION 2.

In this Act—

the word “organisation” includes associations, societies, and other organisations or combinations of persons of whatsoever nature or kind, whether known or not known by a distinctive name;

the word “document” includes a book and also a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, and also a pamphlet, leaflet, circular, or advertisement;

the expression “incriminating document” means a document of whatsoever date, or bearing no date, issued by or emanating from an unlawful organisation or appearing to be so issued or so to emanate or purporting or appearing to aid or abet any such organisation or purporting or appearing otherwise to relate to or be connected with any such organisation or calculated to promote the formation of an unlawful organisation;

the expression “treasonable document” includes a document which relates directly or indirectly to the commission of treason;

[614] the expression “seditious document” includes—

(a) a document consisting of or containing matter calculated or tending to undermine the public order or the authority of the State, and

(b) a document which alleges, implies, or suggests or is calculated to suggest that the Government functioning under the Constitution is not the rightful Government of the State or that there is in existence in the State any body or organisation not functioning under the Constitution which is entitled to be recognised as being the Government of the country, and

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 1:—

Before Section 2 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Parts II, III, IV, V and VI of this Act shall not come into or be in force save as and when or for so long as is provided by the subsequent sub-sections of this section.

(2) If and whenever and so often as the Government is satisfied that the ordinary law and the ordinary methods of criminal prosecution and procedure are not sufficient to prevent or punish offences against the State of the kind set out in Part II of this Act or to suppress and control organisations of the kind contemplated in Part III of this Act or to ensure the peace, order and good government of the State it shall be lawful for the Government to make and publish a proclamation declaring that the Government is satisfied as aforesaid and ordering that Parts II, III and IV of this Act or any one or more of such Parts shall come into force.

(3) Whenever the Government makes and publishes under the next preceding sub-section of this section such proclamation as is mentioned in that sub-section the Part or Parts of this Act mentioned in such proclamation shall come into force forthwith.

[615] (4) If at any time, while the Part or Parts of this Act mentioned in the proclamation made and published under sub-section (2) of this section is or are in force, the Government is satisfied that the ordinary courts and the ordinary law are sufficient to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order, the Government shall make and publish a proclamation declaring that such Part or Parts of this Act shall cease to be in force, and thereupon such Part or Parts of this Act shall forthwith cease to be in force.

(5) It shall be lawful for Dáil Eireann, at any time while the Part or Parts of this Act mentioned in a proclamation made and published under sub-section (2) of this section is or are in force, to pass a resolution annulling the proclamation by virtue of which the said Part or Parts of this Act is or are in force, and thereupon such proclamation shall be annulled and the said Part or Parts of this Act shall cease to be in force, but without prejudice to the validity of anything done under the said Part or Parts of this Act after the making of such proclamation and before the passing of such resolution.

(6) A proclamation made by the Government under this section shall be published by publishing a copy thereof in the Iris Oifigiúil and may also be published in any other manner which the Government shall think proper.

(7) Parts V and VI of this Act shall come into or be in force only when as and for so long as is provided for in the said Parts of this Act.

The Minister will remember that one of the difficulties that we had was not about the principles of the Bill but about the details of the Bill. The fact is that we are here legislating for two entirely different situations: (1) what I might call the normal situation in which you may have a certain amount of political activity, or even a subterranean type of illegalities, and (2) another situation in which that becomes [616] so menacing that special powers are required. I think that on the Second Reading of this Bill we expressed regret that the Government, to deal with what from the form of this Bill they confess to be two really different situations, found it necessary to put in a number of the provisions contained in Parts II, III and IV of this Bill, what I might call the ordinary legislation of the country. We pointed out that it would be much better if the principle of this provision only came into operation when special powers were acquired as are provided for under Parts V and VI. I was hoping, and I gathered from the Minister's statement on the Second Reading, that he was willing to transfer a number of the provisions of Parts II, III and IV to Part V. The only transference that has taken place is some clause from Part V to Parts III and IV. I am not denying the necessity for that particular transference. But we are legislating here in normal times in Parts II, III and IV and it seems to me that we are taking unnecessary powers and that it would be much better to let the ordinary criminal law operate as long as it can operate. If it cannot operate, the Government then has to take the responsibility of telling the House and the country that it cannot operate; and that that sense of responsibility on the part of the Government would be shown by issuing a proclamation bringing Part V into operation.

It can be seen from the amendments that stand in our name that we have no desire in any way to hamper the Government in coping with any dangerous situation that may arise in the country. Practically the only amendment we have down to Part V is one allowing for a reasonable appeal in the determination of the law. Any of the other amendments that stand in the names of Deputy Costello and myself are not aimed in any way at hampering the Government in dealing with a dangerous situation. If the Government which is elected to govern the country is of opinion that certain powers are necessary because certain dangerous situations have arisen, then I could not take the responsibility of denying these [617] powers to the Government, but the Government ought to be chary in going beyond what is necessary and not make certain provisions, which stand in Parts III and IV, operations of the ordinary law. I would ask the Minister to look at it in this way—if these associations are really dangerous then the ordinary law will not operate and the ordinary courts will not operate and that is, therefore, a case when Part V would be brought into operation by the Government. On the other hand, if such a dangerous situation does not arise, it is a mistake to have in the ordinary law of the country measures that are applicable only to extraordinary circumstances. The Minister will remember that in the Second Reading debate—I doubt if he were helped by his fellow Minister's—the Minister for Finance's—interjections—I was dealing with Parts II, III and IV at the time and it was quite obvious that in the mind of at least one member of the Government there was no difference between Part V and Parts II, III and IV. Article 2A of the Constitution was brought in to deal with an amendment of the Constitution that is envisaged in Part V of this Bill. The ordinary criminal law could be allowed to run until a dangerous situation arises and then bring in Part V, by all means, and let the Government face the responsibility of bringing it in. Do not try the ordinary courts, if the ordinary courts cannot deal with the situation that may arise. That is what I suggest to the Minister. That is the purpose of this particular amendment that stands in our names.

The second paragraph shows that we are anxious to give the Government all reasonable powers to deal with any dangerous situation that may arise and that we do not intend in any way to tie their hands. Paragraph 2 provides power to cope with a situation when the ordinary administration of the law breaks down owing to certain activities and owing to the inability of the ordinary law to control that situation. The rest practically deals with ordinary machinery. We are anxious that it should not be portion of the ordinary law. At this stage in the legislative history of this country it should not be [618] necessary to make many of the provisions in Parts II, III and IV portion of the ordinary law of this country. It would be much better to face a dangerous situation when it arose and to face it in the drastic way provided for in Part V.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I am anxious in this Bill to try to meet, as far as I can, any real objections that have been raised on the Second Reading, but I am afraid I cannot accept the amendments that the Deputies propose to Parts II, III and IV of this Bill. The offences with which those parts are concerned, whether they are offences under the statute law or otherwise, are offences peculiar to the protection of the State itself and they are offences that, I believe at any rate, whether the emergency arose or not, should be available to the State. I do not know that under the present law you could deal with a body of people who usurped the functions of Government. You might have the position here where a member of the Government was taken away forcibly or perhaps a body of people came in and occupied this House. That might come under offences of assault and trespass, but in any circumstances I do not think that is sufficient for the State. The protection which is provided in those parts is protection that has been availed of by other Governments in other countries, not only to protect themselves against external enemies, but also against internal enemies.

It is not right to say that this is analogous to Article 2A. It is, I think, rather more analogous to the Treason Act of 1925, which was a permanent measure. But what I was going to suggest to the Deputies who have put in this amendment is that perhaps they might consider withdrawing the amendment, and if they are not satisfied put it in on the Report Stage. I am prepared to make, and am making, a substantial concession, as far as I possibly can go—an almost dangerous concession. So far as the particular sections go, about which Deputies were most concerned, that is, Sections 8, 24 and 27, I am more or [619] less accepting the principle of amendments that have been put in by the Deputies. When those things have been met I think the danger the Deputy seems to fear will have largely disappeared. But I regard Parts II, III and IV, with certain amendments that will be accepted, as necessary, not only in emergency times, but in ordinary times, for the protection of the State.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Did I understand the Minister to say that he was prepared to consider favourably some of the amendments we have put down to Section 27?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Yes, I am. If the Deputies are not satisfied they can put them in on the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Davin:  On behalf of Deputy Norton, I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 3, line 29, after the word “name” to insert the words, “but does not include a trade union.”

The Minister, no doubt, understands quite fully the meaning of the proposed amendment, and it is up to him to state quite definitely whether he intends that trades unions should be brought within the scope of this measure.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Trade unions cannot be affected unless they engage in unlawful activities. If the House were to accept this amendment, the position would be that, according to Section 15, trades unions would be quite free to engage in any unlawful activities. The amendment could not be accepted for a moment. I think it is absurd.

Mr. Davin:  There is, of course, a suggestion behind what the Minister has now stated that trades unions have engaged in unlawful activities.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I made no such suggestion whatever. I said that, if the amendment was put in, the position would be that trades unions would be quite free to engage in any unlawful [620] activities. The Deputy knows that, under the Act of 1930, it is very easy for a body to get together and call themselves a trade union. If they did that, under the amendment which it is proposed to put in, they would be free to engage in unlawful activities if they liked.

Mr. Davin:  What about the registration of a trade union which was taking a line of action of that kind?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Even if they were registered, the State could not allow anybody to engage in unlawful activities.

Mr. Davin:  I have listened to a good many people criticising this Bill and I have read some of the criticism put up against this Bill and the Treason Bill. It is regrettable to notice that some of the people, pretty able people, who talked about these two measures together, do not seem to understand that the contents of this particular measure, called the Offences Against the State Bill, are much more serious and dangerous to the liberty of the individual, to the right of combination, to the right of free speech, than anything that is contained in what is commonly referred to as the Treason Bill. I admit that every established State, governed under the system of Parliamentary Government, has some form of treason law, and even though there has been serious difference of opinion in this House as to the definition of treason in the discussions which went on here on the Treason Bill, at any rate, those who may come within the scope of that measure when it becomes an Act and who may be charged in the courts of this country will know at least what they are being charged with and what kind of sentence they are likely to get. This particular Bill, called the Offences Against the State Bill, is a Bill that could be understood in Germany or under any system of dictatorship prevailing to-day. The Minister, in declining to accept the very moderate amendment put forward by Deputy Professor O'Sullivan, wanted to convey by the language he used that [621] there is in this country an organisation which has for its purpose at the moment or has decided to overthrow the established Government.

An Ceann Comhairle:  That amendment has been withdrawn by consent of the House.

Mr. Davin:  No. 2 deals with trade unions. Behind the refusal of the Minister to accept this amendment in the name of Deputy Norton is the insinuation that it is possible for a large body of people to come together under the auspices of trade unionism, get registered and then engage in unlawful activities. I have been in fairly close contact with my constituency over the long period of years that I have represented that constituency in this House, and I never knew of a time in that history when there was less lawlessness and less trouble than there is to-day. I do not presume to speak for what is going on outside my constituency.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The general state of the country does not now arise.

Mr. Davin:  In the opinion of the [622] members of this Party, the Minister proposes to take powers to declare the trade unions unlawful associations and the amendment was put forward for the purpose of excluding trade unions from the scope of this Bill. If the Minister refuses to accept that amendment, I will have to ask for a division.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The Minister has got to set up such a situation here that a trade union cannot go about advocating treason any more than anybody else. That is what it proposes to do. The effect of this amendment would be that the trade unions would be quite free to advocate treason, or to advocate unlawful activities. That is the effect of the amendment and no one would accept it.

Mr. Cogan:  Is not the Minister aware that trade unions must be registered and if they fail to comply with the legal regulations, their registration can be withdrawn? Therefore, I do not see that it is possible for trade unions to engage in unlawful activities, and for that reason I think they should be excluded from this Bill.

Amendment put.

The Committee divided: Tá, 5; Níl, 60.

Cogan, Patrick.
Corish, Richard.
Davin, William.
Everett, James.
Hickey, James.

Níl

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Dan.
Brady, Brian.
Brady, Seán.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breen, Daniel.
Breslin, Cormac.
Carty, Frank.
Childers, Erskine H.
Cosgrave, William T.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
De Valera, Eamon.
Flinn, Hugo V.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Friel, John.
Fuller, Stephen.
Gorey, Denis J. [623]Rice, Brigid M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Harris, Thomas.
Humphreys, Francis.
Kelly, James P.
Kelly, Thomas.
Killilea, Mark.
Little, Patrick J.
Loughman, Francis.
Lynch, James B.
McDevitt, Henry A.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Maguire, Ben.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Morrissey, Michael.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Mullen, Thomas.
Munnelly, John.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Loghlen, Peter J.
O'Neill, Eamonn.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Rourke, Daniel.
O'Sullivan, John M.
O'Sullivan, Ted. [624]Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.
Walsh, Laurence J.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Conn.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Everett and Corish; Níl: Deputies Little and Smith.

Amendment declared lost.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I see that amendment No. 16 attacks the same words in much the same context as amendment No. 3. I suppose we may take the decision as covering both?

Professor O'Sullivan:  Well, we will deal with that when we come to it.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Very good.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No.3:—

In lines 37 and 38, page 3, to delete the words “or purporting or appearing otherwise to relate to or be connected with any such organisation.

The Minister will remember a point which I have often stressed—not to make an offence unless it is necessary to make an offence. Shall I give an illustration to show what I mean? Let us suppose there is an illegal association, which issues a proclamation. It is thought advisable for certain authorities in this country, say, ecclesiastical authorities, to condemn that proclamation. It publishes a protest. We will be told that legislation of this kind will not be enforced; that is the reply we generally get. But, in my reading of this definition, that would be an incriminating document. I know that is not the purpose of the Minister. I think there should be an evil intent in the publication. In the case I have mentioned, the intent is the very opposite, and still as I read the section that condemnation of an illegal document itself becomes an incriminating document, unless apparently it is done by the Government. There are other authorities in the country which might wish to condemn proclamations of that kind, even apart from the Government and apart from ecclesiastical authorities. It is highly undesirable that the document which they issue should be described as an incriminating document, although undoubtedly it is “purporting or appearing otherwise to relate to or be connected with any such organisation.” As the definition stands that would seem to me inevitable.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I will accept the principle of the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 4:—

In line 4, page 4, to delete the word “rightful” and to insert in lieu thereof the word “lawful.”

Mr. Ruttledge:  I accept the principle of this amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 2 put and agreed to.

SECTION 3.

Any power conferred by this Act on an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent may be exercised by any superintendent of the Gárda Síochána who is authorised (either generally or in respect of any particular power or any particular case) in that behalf in writing by the Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 5:—

In line 28, to delete the words “either generally or.”

Mr. Ruttledge:  I will accept the principle of that amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 3 and 4 put and agreed to.

[625] SECTION 5.

(1) Every person who usurps or unlawfully exercises any function of government, whether by setting up, maintaining, or taking part in any way in a body of persons purporting to be a government or a legislature but not authorised in that behalf by or under the Constitution, or by setting up, maintaining, or taking part in any way in a purported court or other tribunal not authorised as aforesaid, or by forming, maintaining, or being a member of an armed force or a purported police force not so authorised, or by any other action or conduct whatsoever, shall be guilty of felony and shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer penal servitude for a term not exceeding ten years or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

(2) Every person who shall attempt to do any thing the doing of which is a felony under the foregoing sub-section of this section or who aids or abets or conspires with another person to do or attempt to do any such thing or advocates or encourages the doing of any such thing shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 6:

Before Section 5, page 4, but in Part I, to insert a new section as follows:—

The Treasonable Offences Act, 1925 (No. 18 of 1925), and the Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Act, 1926 (No. 42 of 1926), are hereby repealed.

I consider this is a more appropriate place to insert that new section. It is merely a re-arrangement.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Is it within the scope of the Bill? I merely put that as a point of procedure.

An Ceann Comhairle:  It is in Section 30 already.

[626]Professor O'Sullivan:  It may be, but I suggest that it is outside the scope of the Bill as explained in the Long Title.

An Ceann Comhairle:  It was in the Bill as read a Second Time.

Professor O'Sullivan:  It is only a question of procedure. Apparently the Long Title is being amended.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Which the Deputy should take into account.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I do not think you could change the general scope of the Bill merely by changing the Long Title. It is a question of precedent really.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The House got ample notice when the other Bill was before the House.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Of course, I am not objecting. I merely draw attention to the matter.

Amendment agreed to.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 7:—

In sub-section (1), line 42, to insert after the word “tribunal” the words “other than an ecclesiastical court or tribunal.”

I gather the Minister may not accept this, he was so eager to state that he was not accepting parts of another amendment. I hope he will not argue that the amendment is unnecessary. Governments have held, in the history of many countries, that holding a court is usurping a function of government, and, therefore, the first line of this particular section, “who usurps or unlawfully exercises any function of government,” does not, I hope, render my amendment unnecessary. Holding an ecclesiastical court has more than once, it has been contended by a Government, usurped a function of government, and in order to obviate any possibility of that kind of thing occurring here, that is the reason I put down the amendment.

[627]Mr. Ruttledge:  The only objection I have, if it is an objection, is that by expressly excluding one you may raise a presumption that others, not specified, are not exempt. It is considered that those are protected under the Constitution. I would have no objection to the amendment except that by specifically excluding one particular court there are several others, tribunals, and it is very hard to cite now the number of innocuous lawful bodies and other bodies that carry on arbitrations.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I put down this particular one because it is the one that came first to my mind. Ecclesiastical courts are regularly called courts and are conducted as courts. There are other bodies that may hold what is practically a court, to know whether a member shall be any longer a member of the organisation. Various arbitration courts can be described as courts. That is all the more reason for getting a wider definition, if the Minister could get one. I do not like even nominally to have a court called an ecclesiastical court, being described as illegal, actually against the law, though the law may be so administered that it will never be called in question. I wonder could the Minister embrace these other courts, get a general phrase covering them all? I quite admit my amendment is a bit too narrow and it has the objection to which the Minister has given expression; but I suggest that between now and the Report Stage he might be able to get some phrase which would cover, in general, any kind of court that is held by any of those bodies that are quite innocuous from the point of view of the State.

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is the only objection I have, the difficulty of specifying one.

Mr. Costello:  Surely the Minister will realise that the purpose of the amendment, although it is confined to one particular kind of court or tribunal, is to indicate that underlying this section and its ordinary construction there is a danger that certain courts that the Minister does not want [628] brought within the scope of this section may be brought in by some other persons without the Minister's desire or approval. I think it would be possible for the Minister's, or the Parliamentary draftsman's, ingenuity to get a phrase which will cover all types of courts or tribunals which are not strictly within the Constitution but which are courts and which, in the ordinary language of the people, are regarded as courts. It should not be difficult for the Parliamentary draftsman to get a phrase to cover the type of court that this amendment proposes to embrace.

Mr. Ruttledge:  If courts are recognised by the ordinary law, surely they are protected under the Constitution?

Mr. Costello:  That is very doubtful, because the Constitution provides for the administration of public justice in the courts established under the Constitution and then it proceeds to enact a variety of courts, the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Circuit Courts, the ordinary machinery of justice as we know it. In Article 37 it provides that nothing in the Constitution shall operate to invalidate the exercise of limited functions and powers of a judicial nature other than criminal matters by certain types of tribunal. I think it is very arguable that nothing that is not comprised within Articles 34 and 37 of the Constitution would be caught under this particular section as it stands. Article 37 is very limited in its scope and the section as it is drafted deals with courts established by or under the Constitution. The only courts allowed under the Constitution are the courts of justice as we know them, courts exercising limited functions of a judicial nature. Ecclesiastical courts do not exercise limited functions; they have very wide functions.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I will have the matter further examined between this and the Report Stage.

Professor O'Sullivan:  For instance, matrimonial cases come before the courts and they also come before the [629] Ecclesiastical Court and it is a court in every sense of the word. There is no disguising the fact that it is a court and the claim is made that it is a court. The whole procedure is strictly the procedure of a court at every stage of the proceedings. I am anxious that we should legislate to make such an exercise of ecclesiastical functions not even nominally illegal, but if the Minister promises to try to get a definition, I will be satisfied.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I shall try.

Amendment No. 7, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Hurley:  On behalf of Deputy Keyes, I move amendment No. 8:

In page 4, at the end of the section, to insert the following new sub-section:—

(3) Nothing contained in either of the two preceding sub-sections of this section shall be so construed as to make unlawful the setting up, maintaining or taking part in a court or tribunal to inquire into any dispute or any matter likely to lead to a dispute which is connected with the employment or non-employment, or the terms of the employment, or with the conditions of labour of any person and this Act shall be construed and have effect accordingly.

Section 5 deals with the usurpation of the functions of government and it is not quite clear that even courts set up as arbitration courts in connection with industrial disputes are immune from the provisions of this section. The purpose of the amendment is to add this new sub-section. I think the need is all the greater considering that the Minister has refused to include the amendment with reference to trade unions. In those industrial courts the work done with regard to the prevention of disputes is of such a character that they are absolutely necessary for the life of the trade union movement. I am sure the Minister will have no hesitation in accepting the amendment.

Mr. Ruttledge:  There can be no confusion [630] as to what I have rejected with regard to the trade unions. I said, and I repeat it, that this was to deprive trade unions of the right, like any other citizen, to engage in unlawful activities or to prevent them advocating treason. They are not above the law any more than anybody else. The only objection I have to this is that I think it is unnecessary. It is somewhat analogous to the amendment that I promised to reconsider which was moved by Deputy O'Sullivan. It is not the intention by this Bill in any way to interfere with these courts or any other courts or committees that are not only doing very useful but praise worthy work. All I can say is that I will have the matter re-examined, and if I can get some sort of analogous clause which would cover this, just as it would cover the ecclesiastical court referred to by Deputy O'Sullivan, I will reconsider it between this and the Report Stage.

Mr. Hurley:  I see that. But I want to point out that it is not the intention of the Minister but what is in the Bill as passed by the Dáil that will be interpreted by the courts. Therefore, we want to put in this new sub-section to safeguard them.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I am not prepared to accept the amendment now.

Mr. Hurley:  The Minister will look into it?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I will reconsider it between now and the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 5 put and agreed to.

SECTION 6.

(1) Every person who prevents or obstructs, or attempts or is concerned in an attempt to prevent or obstruct, by force of arms or other violent means or by any other form of intimidation the carrying on of the government of the State or any branch (whether legislative, judicial or executive) of the government of [631] the State or the exercise or performance by any member of the Legislature, the judiciary, or the executive or by any officer employee (whether civil (including police) or military) of the State of any of his functions, powers, or duties shall be guilty of felony and shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer penal servitude for a term not exceeding seven years or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 9:—

In sub-section (1), line 3, to delete the words “or by any other form of intimidation.”

An Ceann Comhairle:  Amendments Nos. 9 and 10 should be considered together.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Yes, they are practically the same. I do not know exactly what the Minister has in mind. Severe criticism might be looked upon by many as a form of intimidation. The Minister has already excluded by the preceding words ordinary intimidation; that is, violence and so on. Then we come to the words, “or by any other form of intimidation.” Reading the section over, it struck me that quite a large number of people regard mass criticism or strong criticism really as intimidation. I do not know what else the words would cover except something of that kind. The use of force or violence is already provided for, and something else, I take it, is meant by the words “any other form of intimidation.” The only thing that came into my mind when reading the section was very severe criticism or criticism by a very large number of people being brought to bear upon the people in question. Perhaps the Minister will indicate what he has in mind.

Mr. Ruttledge:  As the Deputy knows, the commonest form of intimidation is by words or writing, threatening letters, etc., and that is [632] one of the things we have in mind in connection with these words “or by any other form of intimidation”. That is what it is supposed to cover.

Mr. Costello:  Is the Minister fully satisfied that it does cover that particular type of pressure, shall we say? The purpose that appeared to me in putting down the amendment was to ascertain what precisely the Minister had in view when he used the word “intimidation”. The word “intimidation” has no technical meaning. I think the Minister fully realises that. It is a popularly used expression in the country, dating I think from the coercion days. Intimidation was an offence really created by the coercion Acts, but has no legal significance. So that when you put down in a new section, creating an entirely new offence, a word which has really no technical meaning, I do not know where that is going to lead. Personally, I think it will lead anybody who is prosecuting under this section nowhere. But that is a matter for the Minister. What I want to find out is whether the Minister adverted to the fact that intimidation is not a legal phrase and really means nothing very much at all. In any event, it would be construed ejustem generis with the two phrases immediately preceding it.

Professor O'Sullivan:  When we are speaking of threatening letters and written criticism, is it desirable to bring that in and make it an offence? Letters threatening violence can be provided for. Surely if the section as is stands covers written criticism, it is not desirable that that should be made a criminal offence. If a person has a grievance, let him bring a civil action. Why should it be a criminal offence?

Mr. Ruttledge:  It is intended to cover threatening letters or uttering words. Criticism could not be construed as intimidation. But, if by words or writing, violent means are advocated, that is the purpose we have in mind in this particular section.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I have no [633] objection to that if what is meant is merely writing to threaten violence.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Or incite it.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I am afraid, and I think the Minister's first reply will bear me out that it covers more than that. It covers strong criticism where there is no suggestion of violence. However, it may be that my contention is ruled out by the previous words. But as it stands, to the ordinary layman it does look like that, especially, as Deputy Costello stated, as the word “intimidation” has no technical meaning so far as the law is concerned.

Mr. Ruttledge:  If the Deputy wishes, I shall have it further examined. That is not the intention.

Professor O'Sullivan:  All right.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 6 put and agreed to.

SECTION 7.

Amendment No. 10 not moved.

Section 7 agreed to.

SECTION 8.

(1) Every person who shall commit any act of violence against or of interference with a member of a lawfully established military or police force (whether such member is or is not on duty) or shall take away, injure, or otherwise interfere with the arms or equipment, or any part of the arms of equipment, of any such member shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

(2) Every person who shall incite or encourage any person employed in any capacity by the State to refuse, neglect, or omit to perform his duty or shall incite or encourage any person so employed to be negligent or insubordinate in the performance of his duty shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to [634] imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

(3) Every person who attempts to do any thing the doing of which is a misdemeanour under either of the foregoing sub-sections of this section or who aids or abets or conspires with another person to do or attempt to do any such thing or advocates or encourages the doing of any such thing shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I have down amendment No. 11 which reads:

In sub-section (1), after the word “who”, line 33, to insert the words “with a view to undermining public order or the authority of the State”.

I notice the Minister has amendment No. 13 which is dealing with the next sub-section. The section says:

“every person who shall commit any act of violence... against or of interference with a member of a lawfully-established military or police force”,

and so on. Take, for instance, a member of the police force not on duty. He goes into a public-house and has a row with a man. Is that man guilty of an offence under the sub-section? I admit that in the case of an ordinary Gárda it would not happen because he would not be found in a public-house, but if he did happen to be in a public-house or say a member of a military body happened to be there?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I am prepared to accept the principle of amendment No. 11.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 may be discussed together as they are alternatives.

Mr. Corish:  I move amendment No. 12:—

In page 5, to delete sub-section (2).

We are of opinion that this would [635] have the effect of preventing a trade union official having a conversation with people, say, in the forestry department or in a drainage scheme under the Board of Works. He might be prevented from giving these people advice or having any conversation with such people. That may be the position of a trade union official. What is the Minister's attitude on that matter? Perhaps he might be prepared to accept amendment No. 14. I think he is safeguarded there by the references to the provisions of the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1935.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The position is as stated by the Minister for Finance on a former occasion and the same views are accepted by the present Minister for Finance. There is no desire to interfere with the people mentioned by the Labour Deputies, that is, casual workers employed on relief schemes. What cannot be admitted by any man at the head of the Civil Service is that you cannot allow an essential service in the Civil Service to engage in any activity that would undermine or dislocate an essential service. That is the principle that is accepted. With regard to the amendment put down by Deputy Corish, I would like to say that I regard the section as it stands as too wide. After consultation with the Department of Finance, I will move in amendment No. 13 to limit the scope of the section. That is as far as I can go to meet Deputy Corish. There is no intention whatever to interfere with people engaged on relief work and those other schemes in cases where members of a trade union party have got employment on these schemes. They may want to operate under better pay or better conditions. After consultation with the Department of Finance, the farthest I can go is to move amendment No. 13 that I have here.

Mr. Corish:  “In a manner calculated to dislocate the public service...”

Who is to determine that? The Minister in the course of his statement spoke of his intention and the intention of the Minister for Finance. But there [636] may be different people interpreting this Bill when it becomes an Act. I suggest to the Minister that the words used in the amendment submitted by Deputy Norton, if he does not care to accept amendment No. 12, would safeguard everybody. It would ease the situation so far as perturbation is felt in the trade union world at the moment so far as this Bill is concerned. I do not think the Minister would be giving away too much at all in accepting that amendment.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I want to make clear what is the Minister's line of thought. The Minister or the Minister for Finance is to operate the interpretation of this section as to the attitude civil servants may or may not take in such activities—activities that would be quite lawful if indulged in by ordinary trade unions——

Mr. Ruttledge:  Oh, no.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Certain activities may be indulged in by trade unionists as regards the ordinary employment that might not be an offence. Would the Minister hold that a similar action taken by civil servants might under this section be an offence?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I am not the Minister who is responsible for interpreting that or for the action that might be taken and I could not give an interpretation. What I am aiming at here is to try to limit the scope of the dislocation of an essential public service.

Mr. Corish:  That is a peculiar attitude. We are asked to pass certain legislation. The Minister says his intentions are so-and-so, and when pressed by Deputy O'Sullivan he tells us that it is another Minister's intentions that will count. I would urge the necessity of accepting this amendment which would clarify the situation. After all, trade union law is the law of the land for a number of years and I submit that inside that law there would be no offence committed.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Undoubtedly under trade union law it is possible to do a certain number of things that may dislocate business. Therefore, the Minister's amendment does not quite meet my point. If a Civil Service [637] body engaged in similar activities quite analogous to what a trade union may do is there not a danger that it would be made an offence under this particular Bill? What does the section mean in the precise case I put before the Minister?

Mr. Corish:  Supposing for the sake of argument there was a strike to-morrow in the Forestry Department where there might be only temporary employees. Would it be open to one particular person out of 30 or 40 to take action against a trade union official who was responsible for the withdrawal of labour in accordance with the majority vote of the people concerned? I submit that, as it stands, is leaving a trade union official open to an action by one particular person out of 40. That is why we are asking the Minister to accept the amendment put down by Deputies Norton and Davin; that amendment should get more consideration.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I do not want to go into the example that is given; I do not know how far that would go, but surely dislocation of the public service would be limiting the scope of this section very much?

Mr. Corish:  It would be according to what interpretation would be put on [638] that. We have no desire to dislocate the public service, I can assure you.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I quite understand that. The section has been limited by the amendment put in.

Mr. Corish:  It is rather ambiguous, if I may say so.

Amendment No. 12 withdrawn.

Amendment No. 13:—

In sub-section (2), page 5, line 42, after the word “omit” to insert in brackets the words “(in a manner or to an extent calculated to dislocate the public service or a branch thereof),” and, in line 55, after the word “insubordinate” to insert in brackets the words “(in such manner or to such extent as aforesaid).”—(Mr. Ruttledge.)

Agreed to.

Mr. Corish:  I move amendment No. 14:—

At the end of sub-section (2), in page 5, to insert the following proviso:

Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall operate or have effect so as to make unlawful the doing of any act which by virtue of the provisions of the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1935 was not unlawful at the passing of this Act.”

Amendment put.

The Committee divided: Tár 8; Níl, 53.

Cogan, Patrick.
Corish, Richard.
Davin, William.
Everett, James.
Hickey, James.
Hurley, Jeremiah.
Murphy, Timothy J.
Pattison, James P.

Níl

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Dan.
Brady, Brian.
Brady, Seán.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breen, Daniel.
Breslin, Cormac.
Carty, Frank.
Childers, Erskine H.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Friel, John.
Fuller, Stephen. [639]O'Sullivan, Ted.
Rice, Brigid M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Harris, Thomas.
Humphreys, Francis.
Kelly, James P.
Kelly, Thomas.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Killilea, Mark.
Little, Patrick J.
Loughman, Francis.
Lynch, James B.
McDevitt, Henry A.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Maguire, Ben.
Morrissey, Michael.
Mullen, Thomas.
Munnelly, John.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Loghlen, Peter J.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Rourke, Daniel. [640]Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.
Walsh, Laurence J.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Conn.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Everett and Corish; Níl: Deputies Little and Smith.

Amendment declared lost.

Section 8, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 9.

(1) It shall not be lawful to set up in type, print, publish, send through the post, distribute, sell, or offer for sale any document—

(a) which is issued or published or purports or appears to be issued or published by or on behalf of or for the purpose of supporting, aiding, abetting, or encouraging an unlawful association or purports or appears otherwise to relate to or be connected with an unlawful organisation or to promote the formation of an unlawful organisation, or

(b) which is or contains or includes a treasonable document, or

(c) which is or contains or includes a seditious document.

(4) Every person who has in his possession a document which was printed or published in contravention of this section or a newspaper or other periodical publication containing a letter, article, or other communication published therein in contravention of this section shall, when so requested by a member of the Gárda Síochána, deliver up to such member every copy in his possession of such document or of such newspaper or publication (as the case may be), and if he fails or refuses so to do he shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.

(5) On the conviction of a person found guilty of an offence under any sub-section of this section, every copy of the document in respect of which such offence was committed shall be forfeited and, where the act constituting the offence is the setting up in type or the printing of a document in contravention of this section, all printing machinery in the possession of such person shall also be forfeited.

(6) Nothing in this section shall render unlawful the setting up in type, printing, publishing, sending through the post, distributing, selling, offering for sale, or having possession of a document or a copy of a document which is published at the request or by permission of the Government or is published in the course or as part of a fair report of the proceedings in either House of the Oireachtas or in a court of justice or before any other court or tribunal lawfully exercising criminal jurisdiction.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 15:—

In sub-section (1), line 55, after the word “lawful,” to insert the word “knowingly.”

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputies might also consider amendments No. 23 and 25 in connection with this.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I cannot accept amendment No. 15. If I did it would be impossible to prove.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Is that so? Technically it would be out of the question if the onus is not thrown on the defendant.

Amendment No. 15, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 16:—

In sub-section (1) (a), lines 2/4, [641] page 6, to delete all words from and including the words “or purports” line 2, to and including the word “organisation,” line 4.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I accept the principle.

Amendment No. 16, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendments Nos. 17 and 18:—

In sub-section (1) (b), line 6, to delete the words “or contains or includes.”

In sub-section (1) (c), line 8, to delete the words “or contains or includes.”

An Ceann Comhairle:  One decision will cover both.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I cannot accept either.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I mentioned a while ago as an illustration here that certain people may want to condemn a treasonable document. The condemnation may contain the treasonable document and, therefore, itself come under this prohibition. That is the reason I put the amendment in. I think if you exclude the words “or contains or includes”—if they are excised from the sub-section “that which is a treasonable document” would cover the purpose the Minister has in view; but as the section stands undoubtedly it would, for instance, prohibit the publication of a pastoral which condemned a certain document.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I am afraid it is not practicable to meet this. We had this examined and cannot allow newspapers to contain treasonable documents. We are satisfied that it is absolutely necessary.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Under the law as it stands undoubtedly a printer who prints a pastoral that condemns a seditious document commits an offence and is acting illegally. I see the Minister's difficulty and may mention the case of a well-known philosophical work—Spinoza's Ethics—that [642] was supposed not to be printed. What the danger was I need not now say, for very, very few would read it. But one publisher got over the difficulty by printing the book and then publishing at the end a page of confutations of the errors that it contained. I know this is what the Minister has in mind and I see his difficulty, but I do not want people doing their ordinary duty to have to make the choice of dropping their ordinary duty or else committing an offence. I have given one case as being most striking, but other people might want to condemn documents of that kind, and so to circulate them for the purpose of condemnation, and unless they cannot do that they cannot get it set up in print. A Bishop's pastoral of the kind I have mentioned cannot be set up in print if the law is allowed to stand as it is in this section at the present moment.

Mr. Ruttledge:  We will have another try at it, but I do not think we will be able to do anything.

Professor O'Sullivan:  We will have an opportunity of putting it in again. I would like to have the Minister's amendments in such time as would allow us to consider them with a view to putting in amendments if necessary.

Amendments Nos. 17 and 18, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 19:—

In sub-section (4), line 25, after the word “has” to insert the word “unlawfully.”

Mr. Ruttledge:  I accept the principle.

Amendment No. 19, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 20:—

In sub-section (5) to delete all words after the word “forfeited,” line 38, to the end of the sub-section and to insert in lieu thereof the words “if the court so orders.”

[643] Is not the provision for the confiscation of the whole printing plant unduly drastic? We did not confine ourselves merely to deleting the words to which we objected. We want particularly to meet the Minister and to allow some initiative or discretion to the court. In the sub-section as it now stands there is no discretion whatever left to the court, and the whole newspaper plant may be confiscated and the newspaper put out of publication. If it happens to print a seditious document, and if it cannot prove its innocence in printing it, then it is out of business. It is a very dangerous power to have with the Minister, so far as the Press is concerned, and I would ask him to accept the amendment we have down. My own feeling is that possibly our amendment goes too far, so far as the powers given to the Minister are concerned, because in the ordinary way it is undoubtedly a drastic penalty to have. Perhaps the Minister might prefer to delete it altogether.

Mr. Ruttledge:  My Department has met the Newspaper Managers' Association too, and this matter has been discussed with them. We have an amendment which we could not get in on this stage, but we will have it for the Report Stage, which will leave it to the discretion of the courts to confiscate the whole or any part of the machinery. I accept the principle of what the Deputy moves, but the Deputy's amendment goes too far.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Is it really worth while having such a drastic power in this case? Remember now, this is under the ordinary law in ordinary times. Seeing that there is a very big principle involved—or may be involved—namely, the freedom of the Press, would it not be better to delete the lines altogether, and to put some other penalty in? To put a newspaper out of business is a terribly drastic thing. If I may put it this way, I think you are interfering with the spirit of the Constitution in claiming power of that kind. I think the Minister might be better advised if he struck out the lines altogether, and put in some other penalty.

[644]Mr. Ruttledge:  There might be a particular Press that you had to deal with.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Yes, but I think you are running a bigger danger —I am expressing my own private opinion now—if, in order to get at one little newspaper, you put in a provision of this kind. I think there is a bigger danger to public policy involved in that than there would be if you simply put in a fine. After all, if it is a little newspaper that is causing trouble, a fine will be a pretty strong deterrent. I think it would be much better if the Minister would think over that. Leaving aside both his own amendment and my amendment, from the point of view of the general policy of freedom of the Press I think it would be much better to put in a penalty than to have this right of confiscation here. Then the court will have the option of grading that particular penalty.

Mr. Ruttledge:  This is giving discretion to the court.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I do not like interfering with the machinery. It would be better to have a fair penalty, and let the court have discretion.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I will consider the matter between this and the Report Stage, and if that is not thought desirable I will put in the amendment I have drafted.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 21:—

In sub-section (6), line 48, after the word “report” to insert the words “of a public meeting or”.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I am not accepting this.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Again, it is really a question of balancing evils. I presume that is the attitude of the Minister. Again I want to point out to the Minister that I am dealing with ordinary times. That is the principal aspect of the case I am dealing with— not with troubled times where Part V [645] of the Bill is to come in. There may be other legislation necessary or an amendment of Part V so far as that is concerned; it may be well possibly to transfer a certain portion of this business to Part V. In the case of the ordinary public meeting, would it not be better to run the risk of publishing it, even from the point of view of the Government? It might be well to know what certain persons are saying or thinking. If they say it out openly, very often it is safer from the Government point of view than if they are whispering it amongst themselves. It is a question of the balancing of evils, and my own feeling always runs in favour of not interfering unduly with expression of opinion unless it is absolutely necessary. As I say, we are dealing with normal times, not with the abnormal situation contemplated in Part V. That is the reason I would ask the Minister to consider this amendment about public meetings. Again, you are throwing a very grave responsibility on the newspapers—to know what they will report from a public meeting. They will have to watch their step the whole time, and they will possibly find it much safer not to report certain types of public meetings at all. That in itself will probably lead to the creation of an illegal Press, circulating in an illegal way, which the Minister may not find it so easy to control as he would find it to deal with ordinary publications in the newspapers.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I do not want to interfere in any way, if we can avoid it, with the freedom of the Press, but again writing and speaking are two of the most dangerous methods of inciting to violence and things of that sort. If we do not take some precautions, such as we are taking in this Bill, I am afraid there is no other way in which we can deal with it. I have considered the matter from the point of view of two evils, and I think that retaining the provision here is the better of the two.

Mr. Costello:  There are just one or two observations which I should like to make on this amendment. I did not quite catch the Minister's phrase [646] as to whether or not he is going to consider this amendment.

Mr. Ruttledge:  No.

Mr. Costello:  He said one of the most dangerous ways of inciting feeling is by spoken words. This sub-section allows the report of utterances in this Assembly. I can conceive that in this Assembly on matters relating to unlawful organisations there will be statements made of a violently inflammatory nature which will be published in the newspapers from time to time, and which if issuing from the mouths of people outside would certainly bring them within the scope even of the ordinary law before this Bill becomes law, so that if the Minister is thinking of not allowing a report of a public meeting in a newspaper I should like to direct his attention to the fact that under this Bill power is being taken to prohibit the holding of public meetings of the particular type that is envisaged in the Bill. Now, if a public meeting is held, and allowed to be held by the Government in pursuance of the powers which they will obtain presumably under this Bill, surely it would be right and lawful that a newspaper should report those proceedings, and should not have to be set up as adjudicators of what is right and what is wrong at a lawful public meeting. If the public meeting is allowed, and is lawful, then I think the newspapers ought to be allowed to publish it within reasonably fair limits. Mostly I think we can say that even under the law as it stands at the moment the newspapers are exercising considerable discretion in what they will and what they will not report of inflammatory speeches. That matter has worked fairly well up to date, and I think it could be allowed to the newspapers to exercise that same discretion in reference to a report of a public meeting which has been allowed to be held notwithstanding the drastic powers which the Government will have after this Bill becomes law.

Amendment No. 21, by leave, withdrawn.

[647]Mr. Ruttledge:  I am accepting amendment No. 22:—

In sub-section (6), line 50, to delete the word “criminal.”

I think amendment No. 23 is consequential on an amendment that has been accepted already.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I do not think any amendment has been formally accepted, although the spirit of the different amendments has been accepted.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The last amendment, No. 22, has been accepted.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Subject to the approval of the draftsman. I think, however, the last amendment could be accepted without any alteration.

SECTION 10.

(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to have any treasonable document, seditious document, or incriminating document in his possession or on any lands or premises owned or occupied by him or under his control.

(2) Every person who has a treasonable document, seditious document, or incriminating document in his possession or on any lands or premises owned or occupied by him or under his control shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding £50 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(3) Where a person is charged with an offence under this section, it shall be a good defence to such charge for such person to prove—

(a) that he is an officer of the State and had possession or custody of the document in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed in the course of his duties as such officer, or

(b) that he did not know that the said document was in his possession [648] or on any lands or premises owned or occupied by him or under his control, or

(c) that he did not know the nature or contents of the said document.

(4) Every person who has in his possession a treasonable document, seditious document, or incriminating document shall, when so requested by a member of the Gárda Síochána, deliver up to such member the said document and every copy thereof in his possession, and if he fails or refuses so to do he shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.

Amendment No. 23 not moved.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I am not accepting amendment No. 24.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Amendment No. 24 reads:—

In sub-section (1), lines 53 and 54, to delete all words from and including the words “or on”, line 53, to and including the word “him” in line 54.

Mr. Ruttledge:  If that amendment were accepted, nobody would keep documents in his possession. It would be very difficult to prove, if documents were found on a person's premises, that they were in his control.

Professor O'Sullivan:  It is really a question of the onus of proof, whether he had knowledge that the documents were there or not. For instance, if a person has a farm of 100 acres, and if a document was found on that farm, it is rather hard that he has to prove that he did not know it was there. It is practically impossible. On another amendment, which we did not press, the Minister pointed out the difficulty of proving that the person knew it. I suggest it is more difficult to prove that you did not know it. If a document is found on a farm a quarter of a mile away from the house, you are held responsible unless you can prove the [649] opposite, and I suggest that it is practically impossible for you to do that.

Mr. Ruttledge:  They may get the document very much closer to his premises.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Unless a man can prove that he did not know it was there, he is regarded as guilty. It is almost impossible for him to prove that.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I imagine that it is a good defence.

Professor O'Sullivan:  He has to prove he had not guilty knowledge.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The onus is on him, but surely it is a good defence?

Mr. Costello:  The Minister refused to accept an amendment to the effect that the offence shall consist of knowingly doing the matters in the section, on the ground that it would be impossible for the State to prove that a person knowingly had these documents. The Minister declined our amendment because he found himself unable to prove a positive. He is now imposing on the ordinary citizen the duty of proving a negative and that is notoriously more difficult than the duty of proving a positive. The Minister said that it would be a good defence if a person did not know this incriminating matter was on his property. Theoretically that is so, but I remember in the pre-Treaty days I was given the job of defending a farmer in the country before a British courtmartial. The charge against him was that some of the I.R.A. authorities of that time had brought a certain person to what was then euphemistically known as an unknown destination. The I.R.A. authorities had selected as the unknown destination an outhouse on my client's farm and they had dumped the prisoner in this outhouse entirely, as we alleged —and it was quite true—without the farmer's knowledge.

The fact was that the gentleman in the custody of the I.R.A. was put in the outhouse, was incareerated there, [650] and the British authorities arrested the farmer and tried him in Wellington Barracks. Notwithstanding my very able defence, the court convicted my client, although we had not the remotest idea that the gentleman was in the outhouse during the course of his incarceration. We gave the most convincing evidence that the farmer did not know the prisoner was there, yet the farmer was convicted. I suggest that is what is going to happen here. If incriminating documents are found in my premises nothing that I can say will convince the court that I did not know they were there. It is going to put a tremendous onus on people of disproving this particular offence, which is a serious offence.

If our amendment were accepted it would meet the situation very fully. If you have documents in your possession in certain circumstances, it is easy for a court to assume that you knew they were there; but it would be difficult for you to prove that you did not know they were there even if you were really not aware of it. It is quite possible that they could be dumped without your knowledge by persons who wished to put you, as the Americans say, on the spot.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Sub-section (3) sets out that where a person is charged under this section it shall be a good defence to prove that he is an officer of the State, that he did not know that the document was in his possession, that he did not know it was on any lands or premises owned or occupied by him, or that he did not know its nature or contents. The onus must be put on the individual.

Mr. Costello:  The onus is put on him of proving a negative, that he did not know, whereas the State cannot prove a positive. It is notorious that whereas it may be easy to prove a positive, it is almost impossible to prove a negative. In this sub-section the Minister proposes to give a defence to a person which is almost useless to him in 99¾ cases out of 100. If a person dumps incriminating documents in my house and I am caught, nobody will [651] believe me that I did not know they were there and yet I would be as innocent as my client in Wellington Barracks years ago.

Mr. Ruttledge:  There are numbers of cases in certain parts of the country, illicit distillation cases, and if the things used in the making of illicit spirits are found on your land, you [652] have to prove that you did not know they were there.

Mr. Costello:  I suggest that it is very difficult to prove that you did not know the documents were on your premises or on your land. It is difficult to make people believe that.

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted, stand.”

The Committee divided: Tá, 54; Níl, 29.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Brady, Brian.
Brady, Seán.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breslin, Cormac.
Carty, Frank.
Childers, Erskine H.
Crowley, Fred Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Friel, John.
Fuller, Stephen.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Harris, Thomas.
Hogan, Daniel.
Humphreys, Francis.
Kelly, James P.
Kelly, Thomas.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Killilea, Mark.
Little, Patrick J.
Loughman, Francis.
Lynch, James B.
McDevitt, Henry A.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Maguire, Ben.
Moore, Séamus.
Morrissey, Michael.
Mullen, Thomas.
Munnelly, John.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Loghlen, Peter J.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Rourke, Daniel.
O'Sullivan, Ted.
Rice, Brigid M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.
Walsh, Laurence J.
Ward, Conn.

Níl

Bennett, George C.
Benson, Ernest E.
Brennan, Michael.
Cogan, Patrick.
Corish, Richard.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John A.
Curran, Richard.
Davin, William.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry M.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, John L.
Giles, Patrick.
Gorey, Denis J.
Hickey, James.
Hughes, James.
Hurley, Jeremiah.
Keating, John.
McGovern, Patrick.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, Timothy J.
Nally, Martin.
O'Sullivan, John M.
Pattison, James P.
Reynolds, Mary.
Ryan, Jeremiah.

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

Question declared carried.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Amendment No. 25 is governed by a previous decision. It reads:—

In sub-section (2), line 25, after the word “who” to insert the word “knowingly.”

Amendment not moved.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Amendment No. 26 is governed by amendment [653] No. 24. Amendment No. 27, of course, is not moved because that was consequential on our other amendments being accepted and they were not.

Amendments 26 and 27 not moved.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Amendment No. 28 is governed by a previous decision.

Amendment not moved.

SECTION 11.

(1) The Government may, whenever it so thinks proper, make by order regulations for all or any of the following purposes, that is to say:—

(a) requiring printers and publishers to keep registers or other records of the documents printed or published by them and providing for the inspection by members of the Gárda Síochána of such registers and records;

(b) requiring the exhibition on all printed matter of the place at which such matter was printed, the name and address of the printer by whom it was printed, and the name and address of the person for whom or on whose instructions it was printed;

(c) providing for matters incidental or ancillary to all or any of the matters aforesaid.

(2) Every person who contravenes (whether by act or omission) a regulation made under this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding £50 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment or to such lesser punishment as may be prescribed by such regulation.

(3) Every regulation made under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if either such House shall, within the next 20 days on which it has sat after such regulation is laid before it, pass a resolution annulling such regulation, such regulation shall be annulled [654] accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Mr. Costello:  I will not move amendment No. 29. There is possibly some conflict between it and the provisions of the Constitution, though I would be prepared to argue that there is not.

Amendment No. 29 not moved.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Amendment No. 30 reads:

In sub-section (1), (a), line 23, to insert after the word “requiring” the word “all.”

Is there any objection to have your regulation to apply to everybody?

Mr. Ruttledge:  There is an objection to it. When the Deputy will be dealing with the next amendment I will point out that what the newspapers want is discrimination. They want newspapers to be excluded. I had not an opportunity of fully considering whether I would bring in something on the Report Stage.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Amendments Nos. 30 and 31 should have been taken together.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Yes. The Minister was referring to newspapers. Amendment No. 31 reads:

Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows.—

Any regulation made under the preceding sub-section of this section shall if applied to newspapers be applied to all newspapers without exception.

Mr. Ruttledge:  There was a governing practice that would have to exclude it.

Professor O'Sullivan:  It is an inconvenience to everybody, but in order to secure absolutely even-handed administration of a section of this kind, a slight inconvenience or a grave inconvenience, whichever it may be, should be borne by Government people as [655] well as others. If this is useful, and if we should say that everybody is to get a fair deal, then the inconvenience caused to a couple of Government institutions is nothing compared to the advantage of having everything above board. I do not like the policy of discrimination—I do not think that the Government should take up a certain number of printers, put them to heavy expenses and leave others off. I do not know if the Minister had the good fortune to be here when his colleague, the Minister for Finance, was performing on one occasion and if he heard his references to certain newspapers. The language used would make people uneasy as to how certain laws might be administered. Why should not the Government printers go to the trouble of keeping records the same as everybody else? They are much better able to do it than others.

Mr. Costello:  It might comfort the Minister to know that in the section as it stands the only power given to the Minister is to make regulations to apply to all printers. He has not the power to discriminate. That is why we should pass the amendment. We are satisfied that the Minister cannot discriminate between printers, so his excuse is of no validity whatever.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I do not feel very strongly about this amendment one way or another. If I were to take the amendments Nos. 30 and 31 the point is that the newspapers themselves do want discrimination. I have undertaken to consider that matter before the Report Stage.

Mr. Costello:  Is the Minister dealing with amendment No. 31 now? Surely we do not know what the newspapers want.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The Deputy wants to be confined to amendment No. 30?

Mr. Costello:  I do not mind taking amendments Nos. 30 and 31 together. They are distinct amendments. No section of the Press ever came near us [656] and we do not know what any section of the Press wants.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I gathered from Deputy O'Sullivan that what he was afraid of was that the Government was going to discriminate between one printer and another. I think, and I am not meaning to be offensive, that that is really a contemptible argument in this way. I hope the Deputy will not take me wrongly.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Certainly not.

Mr. Ruttledge:  If the Government is going to act in a corrupt way then that Government should not be given any powers by this House. To make the suggestion that unless you tie up the Government in a particular way, so as not to be able to use their powers in a corrupt way is to me a strange suggestion. Such a Government should not be given any powers. If a Government are going to be tied up in such a way that unless you tie them up in that particular way, they are to operate the powers in a corrupt way, then they should not be given any such powers. In connection with this amendment and the succeeding one I may say that I am prepared to consider this matter again and see is there any necessity. I know the views of the people concerned. I undertake to look again at the section and I will consider the point raised also.

Professor O'Sullivan:  As regards the points raised by the Minister it is not a question of accusing the Government of administering their powers corruptly. It is only the belief that the Government are human beings with prejudices—people can quite honestly do the most wrong things. Ordinary men are quite capable of doing that. That is precisely why you have to have a law and why you have to have an impartial person because the ordinary man cannot act objectively fairly, however much he may like to do so, where his own prejudices are concerned. It is not a question of his being corrupt. It is a question of his not being omniscient and not being above the ordinary frailties of human nature. If the Minister takes up the [657] line that because men occupy the Front Bench they are, therefore, rid of all human weaknesses, high as may be the respect we all have for Ministers, I cannot accept that.

As regards not trusting Governments in power, it is the business of the House to see that the Government does not get any more power than is necessary and, if the Minister's argument is valid, namely, that because a Government is elected, then all the House need to do is to say, “Take any powers you like and we will pass an Act giving you general powers; do what you like because you have been elected and will not do anything wrong,” that would be reducing legislature to a farce. I hope the Minister will not misunderstand any of the words I have used in answer to his particular arguments, but they are completely unsound in regard to the point I am making. That, of course, is only as regards amendment No. 30.

Amendment No. 30, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  In regard to amendment No. 31, I do not quite know from the Minister what precisely is wanted. I do not know from what the Minister has said up to the present what the Press wants and why they want this discrimination. I do not know what body precisely it was that made the representations to the Minister. I am really anxious that the Press should be treated absolutely fairly so far as the law is concerned. That is all I was arguing about, but I do not know what the arguments put forward to the Minister were or who put them forward and what precisely they want and why they want them.

Mr. Ruttledge:  What that body wanted was that the reputable newspapers should be excluded from the operations and the effects of this section.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Excluded?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Yes; that reputable newspapers should be excluded. Some representations were made to me, but [658] I had not an opportunity until the other day of going into what the effect of that would be. The newspapers feel that these sections are directed against a particular section of the Press that may be in existence at any time being used for the particular purpose of inciting to violence and developing along lines that would lead to “trouble,” as it is called in this country. They desired that reputable newspapers should be excluded from this provision. I do not know whether that is practicable or not at the moment, but I have undertaken to consider it, and if I do not bring in an amendment on the Report Stage I will deal with that matter showing why I cannot do it.

Professor O'Sullivan:  The Minister's statement has made the position somewhat clearer. If the Minister could put in an amendment making this applicable to all newspapers that make a habit of inciting to violence, that would meet the case right enough, because it would apply to all that particular type of paper and the other type of paper, who conducted their business in the ordinary way, without inciting to violence, would be automatically excluded. That would meet my particular case, I admit.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I will bring it up on the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 32:—

In sub-section (3), to delete all words after the word “and,” line 43, to the end of the sub-section and in lieu thereof to insert the following:—

“shall have no force or effect unless each such House shall, within the next 20 days on which it has sat after such regulation is laid before it, pass a resolution approving of such regulation.”

Amendment No. 32 is put down merely as the result of prolonged experience in this House. If the House really has to have anything to say on the matter at all, it would be better to do it positively rather than [659] negatively. If the sanction of the Oireachtas has to be got, let it be got by the Minister responsible for bringing a motion before the House within a certain period (the actual period is not a matter of great import ance) rather than that, for instance a Private Member has to put down a motion and may or may not get an opportunity of discussing it. It all depends on the particular humour that the Minister having responsibility for conducting the business of the House happens to be in at the particular moment whether he will ever get an opportunity of discussing it. I want to point out to the Minister that he has no right to discuss it. When an Order is issued by the Government the proviso is that if within a certain time it is not vetoed by the House it stands, but there is no provision whatsoever that the House may get an opportunity of discussing it. There is no right, I mean, on the part of any Deputy or any Party in the House. It is only the Government can decide whether they will have a right of discussing it or not. If the intention is serious, why not make it a matter that there should be positive approval by the House? The other thing was done, I admit, by both this Government and the last Government very frequently, but I always considered it, to a large extent, a farce.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Of course, the Deputy proposes to reverse the scheme in the Bill. Instead of laying the regulations on the Table and then having them annulled by the Dáil if it so decided, the Deputy wants to have them laid on the Table and that they shall have no force or effect unless each House shall, within the next 20 days on which it has sat after such regulation is laid before it, pass a resolution approving of such regulation. The practice proposed in the existing section is not an unusual practice.

Professor O'Sullivan:  That is my objection to it.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The House has a reasonable method of safeguarding. [660] They can annul these regulations if they so desired.

Professor O'Sullivan:  They cannot. May I point out to the Minister that they cannot unless the Government gives them the opportunity but the Government need not give them the opportunity.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I know that, but that has not been the practice of any Government here.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Section agreed to.

SECTION 12.

(3) If any person is present at or takes part in or gives instruction to or trains or drills an assembly of persons who without or otherwise than in accordance with an authorisation granted by a Minister of State under this section practise, or train or drill themselves in, or are trained or drilled in the use of arms or the performance of any military exercise, evolution, or manoeuvre or who without or otherwise than in accordance with such authorisation have assembled or met together for the purpose of so practising, or training or drilling or being trained or drilled, such person shall be guilty of felony and on conviction thereof shall be liable to a fine not exceeding £500 or, at the discretion of the court, to suffer penal servitude for any term not exceeding seven years or imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such penal servitude or imprisonment.

(4) This section shall not apply to any assembly of members of any military or police force lawfully maintained by the Government.

(5) In any prosecution under this section the burden of proof that any act was authorised under this section shall lie on the person prosecuted.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 33:—

In sub-section (3), page 8, line 16, to delete all from the word “felony”[661] to the end of the sub-section and substitute the words “a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.”

The object of the amendment is to reduce the offence to a misdemeanour punishable by two years' imprisonment. This section was copied from the Treasonable Offences Act, 1925, and there does not seem to be sufficient justification for making it a felony. Also, putting the alternative penalty of a fine is not in harmony with that particular offence.

Amendment No. 33 agreed to.

Mr. Hurley:  I move amendment No. 34:—

In page 8, to delete sub-section (5).

Sub-section (5) reads:—

In any prosecution under this section the burden of proof that any act was authorised under this section shall lie on the person prosecuted.

The principle involved in that sub-section is a very dangerous one. That principle has been referred to already by, I think, Deputy Costello, where the onus of proving that the act was not committed by the person prosecuted lies on the person who is prosecuted. I think that is a negation of the basic principle that is followed usually in the trial of a person who is charged with an offence, namely, that the burden of proof should be on the prosecutor, on the State, and I think that the State has sufficient machinery at its control to carry out that duty of proving the case against the accused, rather than that the accused should disprove the case. Therefore I move that this sub-section be deleted.

Mr. Ruttledge:  It cannot be [662] accepted. This section is copied from the Treasonable Offences Act, Section 7, of 1925. You cannot put the burden of proof on the Minister to prove any of these things. The burden of proof must be put on the accused person. There is no other way.

Mr. Costello:  I am glad to hear the Minister giving such testimonial to the Treasonable Offences Act of 1925.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I am glad to hear that the Minister is not accepting the principle. It would be impossible for the Minister to prove a negative, namely, that he did not give an authorisation. A short while ago he eloquently argued the other way.

Mr. Murphy:  May I make a plea in support of this amendment? I am surprised that the Minister, who has already had experience in the courts, should come here to sponsor an amendment of this kind. I do not mind where it originated, where it is copied from, or what precedents there are in similar legislation. I think the principle is a vicious one—that a person who is charged will have completely to disprove the case. The meanest criminal in the land in the eyes of the law is held to be innocent until he is proved guilty. I am surprised at the action of the Minister.

Mr. Davin:  He has copied that from Craigavon.

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is for the Labour Congress.

Mr. Davin:  It is true.

Mr. Ruttledge:  It is not true.

Question put: “That the sub-section proposed to be deleted stand.”

The Committee divided: Tá, 55; Níl, 20.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Dan. [663]Crowley, Fred Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Derrig, Thomas.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Friel, John.
Fuller, Stephen.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Harris, Thomas.
Hogan, Daniel.
Humphreys, Francis.
Kelly, James P.
Kelly, Thomas.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Killilea, Mark.
Little, Patrick J.
Loughman, Francis.
Lynch, James B.
McDevitt, Henry A.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Maguire, Ben.
Brady, Brian.
Brady, Seán.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breslin, Cormac.
Carty, Frank.
Childers, Erskine H. [664]Moore, Séamus.
Morrissey, Michael.
Mullen, Thomas.
Munnelly, John.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Loghlen, Peter J.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Rourke, Daniel.
O'Sullivan, Ted.
Rice, Brigid M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar.
Victory, James.
Walsh, Laurence J.
Ward, Conn.

Níl

Benson, Ernest E.
Cogan, Patrick.
Corish, Richard.
Costello, John A.
Davin, William.
Dockrell, Henry M.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, John L.
Everett, James.
Giles, Patrick.
Hickey, James.
Hughes, James.
Hurley, Jeremiah.
McGovern, Patrick.
Murphy, Timothy J.
Nally, Martin.
O'Sullivan, John M.
Pattison, James P.
Reynolds, Mary.
Ryan, Jeremiah.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Corish and Everett.

Question declared lost.

Section 12 put and agreed to.

SECTION 13.

(2) In this section the expression “secret society” means an association, society, or other body the members of which are required by the regulations thereof to take or enter into, or do in fact take or enter into, an oath, affirmation or declaration not to disclose the proceedings or some part of the proceedings of the association, society, or body.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 35:

In sub-section (2), line 47, after the word “an” to insert the word “agreement.”

Mr. Ruttledge:  I accept the principle of that amendment.

Professor O'Sullivan:  There is really an idea sometimes that a man is a member of an association. If he is asked is he a member of an association he ceases to be a member of the association, but his membership is resumed after the questioning is over.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 13 put and agreed to.

SECTION 14.

(b) that within four days after the taking of such oath, declaration, or engagement, if not prevented by actual force or sickness, or where so prevented then within four days after the cessor of the hindrance caused by such force or sickness, he declared to an officer of the Gárda Síochána the fact of his having taken such oath, declaration, or engagement, and all the circumstances connected therewith and the names and descriptions of all persons concerned in the administering [665] thereof so far as such circumstances, names, and descriptions were known to him.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 36:—

In sub-section (2) (b), line 33, after the word “sickness,” to insert the words “or other reasonable cause.”

Mr. Ruttledge:  I accept the principle of that amendment. There may be a change in the form of words. What was suggested was “or other sufficient cause.”

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 14 and 15 put and agreed to.

SECTION 16.

(4) A suppression order shall be conclusive evidence for all purposes that the organisation to which it relates is an unlawful organisation within the meaning of this Act.

Mr. Costello:  I move amendment No. 37:—

To delete sub-section (4).

Mr. Ruttledge:  I cannot accept that.

Mr. Costello:  Again, in considering whether this amendment is reasonable or not, I suggest to the Minister that he should remember that this Part of the Act—the Bill presumably will become an Act—is to be the ordinary law. It seems to me to be going a very long way to say that a Government Order is to be conclusive evidence of anything, and that if the Government made an Order about the matters mentioned in the section, then no power on earth or presumably in Heaven is to say anything about it. It is to be conclusive evidence, irrebuttable by the defendant or the accused person even though it may possibly turn out that he would be in a position to disprove the matters mentioned in the Order. I do think it is going very far indeed to say that it shall be conclusive evidence.

[666]Professor O'Sullivan:  I wonder would it partly meet Deputy Costello's point—and I wonder would the Minister be able to do it—to transfer Section 16 to Part V. This is the kind of thing that ought to be used only—I think the Minister will admit—in circumstances where Part V would come into operation, and when Part V is in operation those powers ought not to be used in the ordinary way. Let the court decide those things, instead of giving power to the Minister to do it. I think if the Minister would transfer Section 16 to Part V it might partly meet the situation.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The whole purpose of this section is to break up conspiracies by trying to force them into the open. The police would be very much hampered in dealing with those matters. If you take away sub-section (4), which it is now proposed to delete, I think the whole section would be nothing more than a pious declaration and would have no effect. As Deputy O'Sullivan says, transferring this to the other Part of the Bill would be ideal if one could see such a situation, but I feel that a continued abnormality will exist, and it is to deal with that continued abnormality which may be there—it may be in a minor form or a weak form—that you want some power like that. Perhaps abnormality is too strong a word to use, but it is a situation in any case that you find difficulties in dealing with without creating the impression that you have to bring down the very extraordinary powers that we take under the other Parts of the Bill—that is, the emergency powers. You would be in a position with such a section as this to deal with certain almost abnormal situations which may be continued in some way or another, situations that you might be able to deal with without creating the position that people would realise that there is an emergency there. I would like very much to have this section and I do not want to put it into the emergency provisions of the Bill.

Mr. Costello:  How do Sections 16 [667] and 17 dovetail into each other? A suppression order is to be conclusive evidence that the organisation is an unlawful organisation, and then Section 17 provides that you can go to the High Court for a declaration that it is not an unlawful organisation. You go to the High Court and the order is put down. You are told it is conclusive evidence and then you are asked to get out. I think whoever drafted this must have been suffering from a legal nightmare. Can the Minister reconcile these sections?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Is there not power to go to the court?

Mr. Costello:  You can go to the court and then have the pleasure of paying costs. You can always bring an action. There used to be a question in the law examination: “Can an action be brought for such-and-such a thing?”, and the answer is that an action can always be brought, but you can be stuck for the costs. You can bring your action here all right, but you can be met by the suppression order, which is conclusive evidence. I would like to hear the Minister explaining how he reconciles these two sections. I want to say a few words in reference to Section 16. I regard Section 16 in this Bill as being so drastic, as part of the ordinary law, that I could not vote for any Bill with that section in it. I do not want to go into past history, but we have had our own experience of an organisation, which we thought was perfectly lawful and proper, being banned. We took an action in the courts about it.

I think the putting of a section of this kind into the ordinary permanent law of the country should be considered, not in the light of what this Government would do, or what a Government formed from this or that Party would do; we have to look into the future and see what some Government in the future may do about this matter, and leave ourselves out of it. It is a terribly drastic power in Section 16, a power that enables a Government to declare any organisation, even the St. Vincent de Paul organisation, to be an unlawful [668] organisation. That is not a power that should be given to any Government, no matter from what Party it is composed, as part of the ordinary law. A case could be made for the taking of such power in an emergency, but to take this power as part of the ordinary normal law is something we cannot subscribe to.

I think the Minister ought to consider Deputy O'Sullivan's suggestion of putting it into the emergency part of the Bill, or else provide that it shall only be prima facie evidence, that is to say, that the order of the Government shall be prima facie and not conclusive evidence. Even if the Minister persists in his attitude, I think the provisions in Section 17 make a farce of the whole business. You first provide that the Government order shall be conclusive evidence, and then in Section 17 you say that you may go to the court to decide whether it is or not. You are put out before you can make your case.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I might be able to meet the Deputy as far as the point about prima facie evidence is concerned.

Mr. Costello:  That is something.

Mr. Ruttledge:  We might get some distance on that.

Mr. Costello:  Can the Minister reconcile the two sections?

Professor O'Sullivan:  How can Section 17 operate in practice if Section 16 is in force?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I will look into the matter. I do not want to give the Deputy an answer now. At the same time, I do not think I can agree to put it into the emergency provisions.

Amendment No. 37, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 16 agreed to.

SECTION 17.

(1) Any person (in this section referred to as the applicant) who [669] claims to be a member of an organisation in respect of which a suppression order has been made may, at any time within thirty days after the publication of such order in the Irish Oifigiúil, apply to the High Court in a summary manner on notice to the Attorney-General for a declaration (in this Act referred to as a declaration of legality) that such organisation is not an unlawful organisation.

(2) Where, on an application under the foregoing sub-section of this section, the applicant gives evidence in support of the application and submits himself to cross-examination by counsel for the Attorney-General, and the High Court, after hearing the said evidence and cross-examination and such other (if any) evidence as may be adduced by the applicant or by the Attorney-General, is satisfied that the organisation to which such application relates is not an unlawful organisation, it shall be lawful for the High Court to make a declaration of legality in respect of such organisation.

(3) Whenever, on an application under this section, the High Court, or the Supreme Court on appeal from the High Court, makes a declaration of legality in respect of an organisation, the suppression order relating to such organisation shall forthwith become null and void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

(4) Where the High Court makes a declaration of legality, it shall be lawful for that court, on the application of the Attorney-General, to suspend the operation of the next preceding sub-section of this section in respect of such declaration until the final determination of an appeal by the Attorney-General to the Supreme Court against such declaration, and if the High Court so suspends the said sub-section, the said sub-section shall only come into operation in respect of such declaration if and when the Supreme Court affirms the order of the High Court making such declaration.

[670] (5) Whenever an application for a declaration of legality is made under this section and is refused by the High Court, or by the Supreme Court on appeal from the High Court, it shall not be lawful, in any prosecution of the applicant for the offence of being a member of the organisation to which such application relates, to give in evidence against the applicant any of the following matters, that is to say:—

(a) the fact that he made the said application, or

(b) any admission made by him for the purposes of or during the hearing of the said application, or

(c) any statement made by him in the oral evidence given by him (whether on examination in chief, cross-examination, or re-examination) at the hearing of the said application, or

(d) any affidavit made by him for the purposes of the said application.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 38:

In sub-section (2), line 38, to delete the words “the applicant gives” and after the word “evidence” to insert the words “is given by or on behalf of the applicant.”

This is to safeguard a person called as a witness to give evidence on behalf of the applicant who goes before the High Court. The man is a member of an unlawful association. He goes before the court and he is safeguarded. The evidence he gives in the court cannot be used against him. I understand that is the purpose of the Minister. If he brings witness, I want them to be safeguarded too.

Mr. Ruttledge:  We want to avoid that he is going to get away from being submitted to cross-examination. We are prepared to accept amendment No.39.

Mr. Costello:  The purpose of the amendment is not to allow a man to get away with not submitting himself to cross-examination, but if he cannot [671] give evidence on his own behalf and gives a reasonable excuse as to why he cannot himself give evidence—that is the position we have to consider. Supposing a person cannot give evidence himself; supposing he goes mad in the meantime before the trial and some other person gives evidence on his behalf, then I think the sub-section ought to operate. If the Minister is accepting amendment No. 39, I submit amendment No. 38 must follow.

Mr. Ruttledge:  We want to get in something like sufficient cause. We may be able to meet the Deputy. All we have in mind is people not going there themselves and sending somebody else. They might get a doctor's certificate and there might be no way of examining the doctor as to the illness. I would be satisfied if it can be tightened in such a way that the man is not evading submitting himself to cross-examination without having sufficient excuse. If Deputies wish, I shall examine this matter again. I am concerned with whether a person would be available to submit himself and would be avoiding it by some means or other not genuine.

Amendment No. 38, by leave, withdrawn. Amendment No. 39 not moved.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Amendment No. 40 might involve a contingent liability, but, considering the context, and that similar amendments were allowed under similar circumstances, I am allowing this amendment.

Amendment No. 40:—

In sub-section (3), line 51, after the word “void” to insert the words “and the costs of and incidental to application shall be granted to the applicant by the court.”—Deputy Costello.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I am not accepting this amendment. On the question of costs, it would take away from the court the discretion that the court has.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Can they give costs?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Yes. The court has discret.

[672]Mr. Costello:  If a man wins his action, he ought to get his costs.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Will the court not do that?

Mr. Costello:  The court may not. There is the somewhat vital question as to whether the present Government stands in the position of the Crown in the olden days. There used to be a rule that the Crown never got nor gave costs. Some judges are still inclined to adhere to that. They are getting away from it. I am glad to see that, but at the same time I want to see that that rule gets legal validity, and if you win your case there should not be any question of depriving you of your costs.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I could not agree to the discretion being taken from the courts.

Mr. Costello:  The Minister has agreed to it in reference to jury actions, for instance.

There is nothing so terribly shocking about taking the question of jurisdiction in reference to costs away from the courts. The jurisdiction of the courts in these actions tried by a jury is completely taken away and costs must follow. If you find that the Government has taken the very vital step of declaring an organisation unlawful, and the High Court and Supreme Court decide that they are wrong, I think that it ought to be obligatory that the person who is put to that very considerable expense and trouble should be assured of his costs, and that we should not rely upon a particular judge's views of a certain situation, or certain matters of that kind, as to whether he gets costs or not. If he has won the action against the Government, against all the forces of the State, against all the money that the State has behind its counsel and solicitor, then he ought to get his costs as a matter of right and not as a matter of judicial discretion.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The Deputy knows that there are cases which will arise where there are degrees of culpability, [673] if I might put it that way, and where the court might be very reluctant to give costs.

Mr. Costello:  There cannot be degrees of culpability as to whether an organisation is lawful or unlawful. There is only the one issue—either it is lawful or unlawful. There cannot be any degrees about the issue which the court has to try as to whether a particular organisation is lawful or unlawful. The court might think it is nearly unlawful. I think that is what the Minister is getting at.

Mr. Ruttledge:  There might be surrounding circumstances.

Mr. Costello:  What surrounding circumstances are there? Lawful or unlawful is the only issue. What I am afraid of is that the court might think, if they gave costs against the Government, that they were casting a slur upon the Government in taking the action that had been impugned and that, therefore, an ordinary private citizen, who has been put to the trouble and considerable expense of appealing to the court should be assured of getting his costs as a matter of right. I think there is a principle involved in the matter.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Mr. Costello:  I move amendment No. 41:—

In sub-section (3), lines 51 and 52, to delete all words from and including the word “but” in line 51 to the end of the sub-section.

I presume the Minister is going to accept this amendment?

Mr. Ruttledge:  No.

Mr. Costello:  It is a most shocking provision in the section. Has the Minister adverted to the drastic character of the last two sentences in the sub-section? This is the most vital principle in this Bill and that is one of the reasons why I objected to these parts of the Bill declaring the ordinary law. We are solemnly asked [674] to pass into law a provision which I might paraphrase as follows: The Government declares by order that a certain organisation is an unlawful organisation and proceeds to act accordingly.

Some member or members of the organisation itself proceed to adopt the procedure permitted by Section 17 and go to the High Court and the Supreme Court and win in both courts. It is declared by the High Court that it is and always was a lawful organisation, and that decision of the High Court is affirmed by the Supreme Court on appeal. Both courts have declared that the organisation was a lawful organisation; but anything done by the Government in the meantime, any imprisonment that was obtained, any forfeiture put into effect, any fine imposed and extracted, are all to remain as lawful. Surely the Minister cannot ask the House to put that into operation as part of the ordinary law of the State? Really, I think we are going a very long way indeed if we allow ourselves to say that the conditions of this country require such a provision as part of the ordinary law.

I did take the view that the law as it stands, perhaps with some little tightening up, was adequate to meet most of the conditions that might arise, but that in case of an emergency extra powers have to be taken. But we are asked here in this section to say that, although the courts have declared an organisation always to have been lawful, any person who has been imprisoned before the courts have had time to give their decision is to suffer his imprisonment without redress. I think it is going beyond the beyonds altogether and it certainly is a section for which there is no justification.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I cannot accept the amendment. If I did, we would have the police in the position that they would always have to act at their peril and would not have the protection which the sub-section gives at present. The police have to have adequate powers to deal with the organisations contemplated in this Bill. They will have to be in a position that once a body or organisation is declared to be unlawful, they will be able to go ahead [675] and take all the necessary steps to deal with that organisation as an unlawful organisation. Other wise the police will be in a very confined and crabbed position. If they always have to be thinking of the ultimate result, they cannot perform their duties effectively.

Mr. Costello:  The Minister's tears over the police are very touching. Putting the poor, unfortunate police in a difficult position is really something that we ought not to contemplate, according to the Minister. What about the poor, unfortunate citizen who is languishing in jail wrongfully, as will be subsequently discovered by the courts? We have no tears to shed for him. We have tears to shed for the police who must be unloosened and whose actions cannot be hampered, not in reference to illegal organisations, but as regards organisations which our courts have declared to be lawful and always to have been lawful. Nothing is to be done to hamper the police in their activities in reference to these organisations. I think a provision of that kind, coming from this House as part of the ordinary law, if the Minister really is serious about it, shows that we have reached a very curious situation in the history of our jurisprudence.

Mr. Ruttledge:  It is not a question of tears for the police or anybody else, but that when the police have a duty to perform they must be able to go about the performance of that duty in such a way that they are not going to foresee a hampering and holding up that would render their activities absolutely nugatory. If they are going to deal with organisations which they believe are out to upset the State and to assume functions and carry on unlawful and illegal activities, it would be impossible if they can foresee at every turn that everything they are going to do is afterwards to be upset as a result of some decision of the courts.

Mr. Costello:  The Minister does not realise what he is doing. He has no conception of the seriousness of the action proposed. He has made remarks on the amendment as if the amendment [676] had reference to hampering their activities against illegal organisations. The amendment has reference only to organisations which are legal, but which were wrongly declared to be illegal. I certainly will have no hand, act or part in seeking to cloak the legality of police or Government action in reference to a matter which the courts subsequently declare to have been wrongly taken by the Government.

The Minister has made his few remarks in a sort of indingnant tone, as if the police were going to be hampered in their activities against illegal organisations. They are not. They are going to be hampered in their action against an organisation which the courts subsequently declare to have been wrongly declared unlawful by Government action. I think it is proper that the police should have to face that situation. They have the Government to stand over them and the Dáil to pass an indemnity Act if the matter is serious enough. I think the ordinary citizen, who is damnified by Government action and subsequently has his rights adjusted by our own courts, is entitled to the protection of this House.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The persons who are in custody will be released.

Mr. Costello:  Perhaps after six months. It is very comforting to them to know that. Supposing they are shot in the meantime as might very easily happen? What are they going to be released from? It is possible they will be shot in the meantime. I hope the Minister will accept the amendment.

I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance to consider Estimates for Public Services for the financial year ending 31st March, 1940.

[677]Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £13,241 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, 1940, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Ard-Scrúdóra (Uimh. 1 de 1923), maraon le hOifig Iniúchóireachta an Arachais Náisiúnta.

That a sum not exceeding £13,241 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, 1940, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (No. 1 of 1923), including the National Insurance Audit Office.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £8,110 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, 1940, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí eile Coimisiún, Coistí agus Fiosrúchán Speisialta.

That a sum not exceeding £8,110 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, 1940, for the Salaries and other Expenses of Commissions, Committees, and Special Inquiries.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Perhaps the Minister might give us some idea as to when we may expect the report from the Transport Tribunal and from the Drainage Commission?

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Flinn):  It is [678] not possible to state when the report of the Transport Tribunal will be issued, but it will be at the very earliest possible date. The House may take it that every possible effort is being made to see that at the earliest possible date the report will be available.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Was there not an idea that an interim report was to be issued last February?

Mr. Hughes:  Not an interim report. We were told the final report would be issued in February.

Mr. Flinn:  I think the Deputy is referring to the tribunal that is dealing with the question of railways at the present moment.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Yes.

Mr. Flinn:  There was an intention, if possible, to give an interim report in February, but that was an optimistic estimate. I may inform the Deputy that every effort is being made to expedite the report, but as a matter of fact, this is a huge job. I expect that it is only when you actually get down to the amount of material concerned in the matter that you can realise what a huge job it is.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Everybody knew that it was a huge job, and nobody in his senses could think otherwise. What the Minister had in his mind when he promised an official report by the middle of February I do not know. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would explain. This is one of the most difficult jobs the Government has had to face. The consideration of problems to be faced is complex and exceedingly difficult. How a Minister with any sense of responsibility would expect a report, or what kind of a report he expected—if he did expect a report of any judicial type— is a question that I cannot understand. I also asked about this Drainage Commission report.

Mr. Flinn:  Again it is not possible in that matter to issue a report. There has been already an interim report [679] recommending certain machinery in the matter of the provision of gauges and machinery for checking them so as to enable the effective rainfall and discharge of the significant rivers to be obtained. The commission itself is being pressed very hard. As the Deputy knows if I were to give him an estimate now it might turn out to be optimistic. All I can say is that every effort is being made to see that these reports will not be any longer delayed than the commission and the tribunal can possibly help.

Professor O'Sullivan:  As regards the type of evidence given at this tribunal and commission, I do not know exactly what it is. I wonder if it is the business of the Drainage Commission to consider in its evidence details of ordinary schemes? I rather think that its business would be to consider the urgency of the problems to which the schemes will give rise. Apart from the details there are a number of big problems. These would have to be met and faced independent of the details of any scheme from the engineering point of view. I do not think the engineering details of any scheme should be a matter of question as to how they may be financed or as to whether they can be economic. All that will have to be faced. I doubt if the commission should take detailed evidence.

Mr. Flinn:  I may be able to help the Deputy in that matter. The Deputy is right in the lines he suggests. Every individual scheme, in so far as it represents the general problem, would be a matter for investigation. Also some detailed difficulties have arisen in individual cases—that is as to whether they did or did not come within a particular list. Individual schemes with their engineering and financial conditions are being examined in relation to the whole, but the purpose of the commission is to proceed on a general broad scheme.

Mr. Hurley:  Would the Parliamentary Secretary say with regard to the Transport Tribunal, if the taking of evidence has yet been completed by that tribunal? I have not seen any [680] report yet. Has the taking of evidence yet been completed?

Mr. Flinn:  Not yet.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:

Go ndeontar suim ná rághaidh thar £5,723 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, 1940, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí na Saotharlainne Stáit.

That a sum not exceeding £5,723 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, 1940, for the Salaries and Expenses of the State Laboratory.

Mr. Flinn:  There is an increase on this Vote this year of £673, which is covered entirely by salaries and wages.

Mr. Benson:  Would the Parliamentary Secretary say whether it is to this Department that articles under the Combined Purchasing Act are referred for testing purposes. I understand there is very considerable delay in that particular service. I note, however, that the staff has been increased by the doubling of a number of cleaners so, possibly, there will be acceleration in future.

Mr. Flinn:  Any testing for any Government Department that would come under the head of laboratory would go to this laboratory, but if it was a question of simply testing the quality or structure of a brush or something of that kind it would not go to the laboratory.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar [681] £2,450 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, 1940, chun íocaíocht i dtaobh Mille no Díobháil do Mhaoin (Uimh. 15 de 1923; Uimh. 19de 1926; Uimh. 35 de 1933; Uimh. 18 de 1937, alt 17; agus ar shlite eile).

That a sum not exceeding £2,450 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, 1940, for payments in respect of Destruction of or Injuries to Property (No. 15 of 1923; No. 19 of 1926; No. 35 of 1933; No. 18 of 1937, sec. 17; and otherwise).

Mr. Flinn:  There is a decrease on this Vote of £28,060 this year which means that this work is practically completed.

Mr. Benson:  Could the Parliamentary Secretary say whether it will be completed this year?

Mr. Flinn:  In essence, yes. There might be some odd claim hanging over.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £290 chun slánuithe na suime is ga chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dár críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1940, chun íocaíocht áirithe Cúitimh i dtaobh Leonta Pearsanta no Báis.

That a sum not exceeding £290 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, 1940, for certain payments of Compensation in respect of Personal Injuries or Death.

Mr. Flinn:  There is a decrease of £170 in this Vote. I do not think any special question arises on it.

[682] Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £311,605 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, 1940, chun Pinsean, Aois-Liúntais, Cúitimh, agus Liúntaisí agus Aiscí, breise agus eile, fé Reachtanna Iolardha (4 agus 5 Will. 4, c. 24; 22 Vict., c. 26; 50 agus 51 Vict., c. 67; 55 agus 56 Vict., c. 40; 6 Edw. 7, c. 58; 9 Edw. 7, c. 10; 4 agus 5 Geo. 5, c. 86; 9 agus 10 Geo. 5, c. 67 agus c. 68; 10 agus 11 Geo. 5, c. 36; Uimh. 1 de 1922; Uimh. 34 de 1923; Uimh. 7 de 1925; Uimh. 27 de 1926; Uimh. 11 agus Uimh. 36 de 1929; Uimh. 9 de 1934; Uimh. 39 de 1936; Uimh. 29 de 1938; etc.); agus chun Pinsean, Liúntaisí agus Aiscí nach cinn Reachtúla agus a dheon an tAire Airgeadais; Tuarastal an Dochtúra Réitigh agus corr-tháillí do Dhochtúlrí, etc.

That a sum not exceeding £311,605 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, 1940, for Pensions, Superannuation, Compensation, and additional and other Allowances and Gratuities under Sundry Statutes (4 and 5 Will. 4, c. 24; 22 Vict., c. 26; 50 and 51 Vict., c. 67; 55 and 56 Vict., c. 40; 6 Edw. 7, c. 58; 9 Edw. 7, c. 10; 4 and 5 Geo. 5, c. 86; 9 and 10 Geo. 5, c. 67 and c. 68; 10 and 11 Geo. 5, c. 36; No. 1 of 1922; No. 34 of 1923; No. 7 of 1925; No. 27 of 1926; No. 11 and No. 36 of 1929; No. 9 of 1934; No. 39 of 1936; No. 29 of 1938; etc.); Extra-Statutory Pensions. Allowances and Gratuities awarded by the Minister for Finance; the Salary of the Medical Referee and occasional fees to Doctors, etc.

Mr. Flinn:  The Vote shows a net increase of £12,265 on the figure for last year. The principal increases are £7,000 on sub-head A, superannuation [683] allowances and compensation, and £3,700 on sub-head K, pensions and gratuities to members of the Gárda Síochána. There is a small decrease of £500 on sub-head J, pensions for resigned and dismissed Royal Irish Constabulary.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £83,000 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir an thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1940, chun Rátaí agus Síntiúisí in ionad Rátaí, etc., i dtaobh Maoine Riaghaltais, agus chun Síntiúisí mar chabhair chun íoctha Rátaí ar Aitreabhacha i seilbh Ionadaithe do Riaghaltaisí Coigríche.

That a sum not exceeding £83,000 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charges which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1940, for Rates and Contributions in lieu of Rates, etc., in respect of Government Property, and for Contributions towards Rates on Premises occupied by Representatives of External Governments.

Mr. Flinn:  There is an increase of £9,000 on this Vote, which is an allowance for the estimated increase in that contribution to the rates which the Government makes over the country.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £17,000 chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1940, chun Costaisí [684] fén Acht Timpeal Toghachán, 1923, agus fé Acht na nGiúirithe, 1927 (Uimh. 12 de 1923 agus Uimh. 23 de 1927).

That a sum not exceeding £17,000 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1940, for Expenses under the Electoral Act, 1923, and the Juries Act, 1927 (No. 12 of 1923 and No. 23 of 1927).

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £7,050 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, 1940, chun Costaisí Ilghnéitheacha áirithe, maraon le Deontaisí áirithe i gCabhair.

That a sum not exceeding £7,050 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, 1940, for certain Miscellaneous Expenses, including certain Grants-in-Aid.

Mr. Flinn:  There is a decrease on this Vote of £280. There is nothing that calls for comment on it.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £91,511 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, 1940, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an tSoláthair; chun Páipéarachais, Clódóireachta, Páipéir, Greamuíochta agus Leabhra Clóbhuailte i gcóir na Seirbhíse Puiblí; agus chun Ilsheirbhísí Ilghnéitheacha maraon le Tuairiscí Díospóireachtaí an Oireachtais.

[685] That a sum not exceeding £91,511 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, 1940, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Stationery Office; for Stationery, Printing, Paper, Binding, and Printed Books for the Public Service; and for Sundry Miscellaneous Services, including Reports of Oireachtas Debates.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £22,082 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, 1940, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí na Luachála Generálta agus na Suirbhéireachta Teorann (15 agus 16 Vict., c. 63; 17 Vict., c. 8 agus c. 17; 20 agus 21 Vict., c. 45; 22 agus 23 Vict., c. 8; 23 Vict., c. 4; 27 agus 28 Vict., c. 52; 37 agus 38 Vict., c. 70; 61 agus 62 Vict., c. 37; Uimh. 19 de 1923; Uimh. 3 de 1927; Uimh. 27 de 1930; Uimh. 27, Uimh. 47 agus Uimh. 55 de 1931; agus Uimh. 19 de 1932; agus Uimh. 28 de 1937; Ordú Rialtais Aitiúla (Achtacháin d'Oiriúnú agus do chur i mBaint), 1925); Maraon le Luacháil Diúité Estáit (10 Edw. 7, c. 8), etc.

That a sum not exceeding £22,082 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, 1940, for the Salaries and Expenses of the General Valuation and Boundary Survey (15 and 16 Vict., C. 63; 17 Vict., c. 8 and c. 17; 20 and 21 Vict., c. 45; 22 and 23 Vict., c. 8; 23 Vict., c. 4; 27 and 28 Vict., c. 52; 37 and 38 Vict., c. 70; 61 and 62 Vict., c. 37; No. 19 of 1923; No. 3 of 1927; No. 27 of 1930; Nos. 27, 47 and 55 of 1931; No. 19 of 1932; and No. 28 of 1937; Local Government (Application [686] and Adaptation of Enactments) Order, 1925); including Estate Duty Valuation (10 Edw. 7, c. 8), etc.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £22,789 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun beith iníoctha i rigth na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1940, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí na Suirbhéireachta Ordonáis agus Mion-tSeirbhísí, ar a n-áirmhítear Macsamhla de Láimhscríbhinní Seanda do dhéanamh.

That a sum not exceeding £22,789 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, 1940, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ordnance Survey and of Minor Services, including the Facsimile Reproduction of Ancient Manuscripts.

Mr. Flinn:  There is an increase on this service this year of £3,512, which is made up of salaries which will be represented largely by increased activity in this branch.

Mr. Benson:  Last year on this matter I raised the question of the serious lag in the case of many maps of the Ordnance Survey. Some of them, I understand, were as much as 20 years behind time. I appreciate that there must be a certain lag, because it is impossible for any map to be produced and be accurate because there is development all the time, particularly in the urban areas; but it does seem necessary that some serious steps should be taken to reduce the very serious lag, amounting in some cases to 20 years. I would be glad to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary that the matter is being dealt with and that in the course of a reasonable time the lag will be reduced.

Mr. Flinn:  The Deputy can take it that that matter has been and is [687] receiving full consideration, and the desire will be to prevent any undue delay.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. Derrig:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £5,285 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, 1940, chun Costaisí i dtaobh Longlainne Inis Sionnach.

That a sum not exceeding £5,285 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, 1940, for Expenses in connection with Haulbowline Dockyard.

Mr. Flinn:  This amounts to £2,027, which is largely due to the fact that we have now practically completed that new cross-river main which was one of the principal sources of the expenditure.

Mr. Morrissey:  Can the Parliamentary Secretary give the House any indication when this will cease to be a liability rather than an asset to the State? When may we hope to get rid of this particular subject? The Parliamentary Secretary, I notice, is remarkably brief on the subject of Haulbowline this year, having regard to what has happened in regard to Haulbowline in previous years. Even if Deputy Corry is not here, we would like to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary what particular uses are to be made of this dockyard for the coming year; whether the Government have any plans with regard to it, and, if so, what they are; whether there is any likelihood of any profitable use being made of it.

Mr. Dillon:  Haulbowline is a very interesting place. We had tenants in Haulbowline — a very enterprising tenant—and the tenant, as part of the wares which he had to offer in the course of his business, was prepared to [688] undertake the repair of such damage as he himself had done in the course of his tenancy.

An Ceann Comhairle:  During the last 12 months.

Mr. Dillon:  I think he was disposed to do so in the last 12 months.

An Ceann Comhairle:  If he was not in occupation in the last 12 months, it is not relevant.

Mr. Dillon:  I can assure the House that the track was left in Haulbowline during the last 12 months, and will remain for a very considerable time. I think the Parliamentary Secretary will agree.

Mr. Flinn:  The whole of that thing was liquidated.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Outside this year?

Mr. Dillon:  Well, Sir, the matter was referred to in the report of the Public Accounts Committee this year.

An Ceann Comhairle:  This year?

Mr. Dillon:  Yes. I take it that that brings it within the scope of the debate.

An Ceann Comhairle:  In so far as it is relevant.

Mr. Dillon:  It is to the evidence of Deputy Corry in connection with this matter that we must refer. As not infrequently happens, Deputy Corry was extremely eloquent, but missed the point. But now the point will be revealed. The tenant retired from Haulbowline and left havoc behind him. The Board of Works proceeded to repair the havoc, and they scheduled the havoc and invited tenders for its repair. The tenant—being an enterprising individual—put in a tender for, I think, £6,000 odd. That is his own estimate of the damage he himself had done, and after he had made the estimate himself of the damage the Board of Works accepted from him, I think, the sum of £2,000 in liquidation.

[689]Mr. Flinn:  Something of that kind.

Mr. Dillon:  These are round figures. Well, now, when the average citizen, the poor mere Irish, have dealings with a Government Department, their liability is brought down to the last farthing, and they are squeezed by every machinery available to the State to get that last farthing. But the enterprising tenant who is spreading his sails for the purpose of disappearing back to his native health in Great Britain informs the Board of Works that, after making examination of the damage and holding himself out to the Board of Works as an expert peculiarly fitted to make that estimate, that he is prepared to repair the damage and sets out the cost at £6,500, the poor innocent, soft-hearted Department of Finance accepts from him about £2,000 in discharge of all claim. I never yet was able to discover why that settlement was arrived at, and I think it is only fair to give the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance this opportunity of telling Dáil Eireann the reasons why it was arrived at. I do not know whether we have a new tenant now, but if we have I trust it will not be a tenant who will do depredations in the place; but if he is, I hope some proper measures will be taken to ensure that when he leaves the premises he will be at least prepared to pay what he himself declares to be the measure of the damages done in the course of his tenancy, and not a sum approximately one-third of what he himself thinks would be a fair estimate of the repairs for which he was responsible.

Mr. Hurley:  What was the rent the Irish Steel Company, Limited, paid for their portion of the island? I do not see it appearing in the Estimates.

Mr. Flinn:  I do not think I have that figure here, but I will give it to you. It is over a considerable period of years. I have a good deal of sympathy with the position of Deputy Dillon in relation to the matter of depreciation, and my recollection is that it was dealt with on the previous occasion, and it is for that reason that I did not look it up and cannot claim to be immediately au fait with it. There was, unfortunately, [690] an indefinite agreement, difficult in the matter of its interpretation, and there was a bad tenant. We had no desire whatever to allow any consideration, nor do I think that any consideration was deserved in the matter. We went in very carefully to find out what was the full amount which we could get, and we think that on the whole the amount of it was as much as we could recover. I am quite satisfied that we would have been on a speculative ground if we had used legal measures; the defence of inadequate assets might have been very usefully added to the weakness of our position in the law.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £2,707 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, 1940, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an tSaor-Chíosa.

That a sum not exceeding £2,707 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, 1940, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Quit Rent Office.

Mr. Dillon:  This is a most interesting Vote, Sir.

Mr. Flinn:  Do not ask me again what quite rents are.

Mr. Dillon:  No. I was about to pay the Parliamentary Secretary a tribute. He very kindly — and finally, I have no doubt whatever — dealt with what are the functions of the quite rent office in a very interesting memorandum which he was good enough to read for us on a previous occasion, but oddly enough he stopped there, and did not give us the further interesting information as to what becomes of the quite rents. I venture to say there is not a single Deputy in this House, with the exception of a few of my colleagues on the Public Accounts Committee, who knows [691] what becomes of the quite rents or where they go. I wonder does the Parliamentary Secretary know?

Mr. Flinn:  The whole quite rents office is one of those highly subtle and technical mysteries which I think the layman is probably a little disrespectful in even considering.

Mr. Dillon:  I will not press the Parliamentary Secretary, because I recognise that the question I raised was not anticipated. However, I am in a position to inform him that quite rents go to the Woods and Forests Fund, and I would be grateful if the Parliamentary Secretary would tell us now what is the position of the Woods and Forests Fund. Is it being used for any purpose, or is it a dormant fund, simply with an intake and no outlet? I think it is a dormant fund, and I think it is now reaching a pretty considerable figure. I hesitate to reveal this nest-egg to the present Government, for I have very little doubt it will be promptly raided for some wholly unworthy purpose, but if a useful purpose were at hand I think it might be very properly employed. I take it, Sir, that the Parliamentary Secretary is responsible for the Quit Rent Funds, and the disposal of those funds I understand is purely a matter of administration. I, therefore, suggest that this fund, which now amounts to the substantial sum of about £300,000 should be used not for the purpose of dissipating but as a fund to finance a semi-autonomous committee to guide and direct Gaeltacht industries. In the old days, forestry was pretty well identified in the Government mind with the congested areas and Gaeltacht problems. I imagine the old Woods and Forests Fund had some connection with forestry originally. Now that there is a Department of State for that purpose, this fund has ceased to be employed for that purpose.

I put it to the Parliamentary Secretary — in fact I put it to the House rather than to the Parliamentary Secretary, because I do not believe the Parliamentary Secretary is particularly interested in this matter — that [692] what is wrong with the Gaeltacht Services at present is that we have not got any guidance for the producers as to fashion trends and suitable markets for the products of the Gaeltacht Industries. I do not believe that you can ever get any group of civil servants satisfactorily to do that job, because it is not a Civil Service kind of problem. You want people with an artistic sense; you want the very type of person to whom Civil Service employment would be perfectly intolerable; you want the very type of person whom you will never induce to go into the Civil Service. You want the very type of person whose genius for this work would be sterilised and destroyed by the necessary regulations under which all civil servants must live. I put up a memorandum to the Department of Lands and Fisheries suggesting the establishment of an autonomous body which would be charged with the responsibility of directing the development of Gaeltacht Industries in fashionable and luxury goods.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Would not that be more appropriate to the Gaeltacht Services Vote?

Mr. Flinn:  Any other money could be used for this purpose.

Mr. Dillon:  The quit rents are paid into a fund called the Woods and Forests Fund.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Is this not stretching it a bit? I think the Deputy should keep that for the Gaeltacht Services Vote.

Mr. Dillon:  The point I am making is that the Woods and Forests Fund should no longer be allowed to lie dormant. It is a fund into which money has been pouring for the last 50 years, and nothing has been coming out, because its functions are discharged by another Department.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  If I may say so, that may open an argument from any part of the House that those funds should be used for various other purposes.

Mr. Dillon:  I agree.

[693]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Well, then, I think the Deputy should confine himself to the Quit Rent Office, and raise on the Gaeltacht Services Vote the point he is now making.

Mr. Dillon:  Very well. I am prepared to accept that view.

General Mulcahy:  Might the Deputy have an assurance that he will not be ruled out of order when he raises the matter on the Gaeltacht Services Vote?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I do not think he could be ruled out of order.

Mr. Dillon:  I fully appreciate the difficulty. I see that if I pursue this line it would be open to anybody else to advocate expenditure of those moneys under any other Vote in the Estimates, which would widen the scope of this debate illimitably. There is this difficulty, however, that the fund into which the quit rent payments are going is now a dormant fund. A dormant fund is a dangerous fund, because it accumulates until it represents a substantial sum. When its existence is brought to the knowledge of the Dáil or the Oireachtas the tendency is for pressure to be brought upon the Minister to spend it rapidly for some ostentatious end, which would create a great splash and do no enduring good. I therefore suggest that this fund should be made to function for some purpose at the earliest possible moment, or else that it be wound up, and let the quit rents pass into whatever is the appropriate department of revenue to which they ought to go. I do not know — unless the Parliamentary Secretary can tell us — whether the quit rents represent repayments on capital sums disbursed. I do not think they do. I think they are old rent charges, which it is the policy of the Government to sell, to dispose of, to get rid of.

Mr. Flinn:  That is what happens.

Mr. Dillon:  If they are simply rent charges, then I think they might properly pass into revenue.

[694]Mr. Flinn:  The income from quit rents passes to revenue of the fund. If they are sold, the capital values of them go into that fund.

Mr. Dillon:  Well, then, the quit rents are in fact being sold as quickly as the Government can conveniently get rid of them?

Mr. Flinn:  That is so.

Mr. Dillon:  That fund is there accumulating, and if it is not expedient to determine for what purpose it should be used, I want to urge strongly on the Government that it is a bad practice to keep it sitting there simply to fill up a revenue deficit in some inconvenient year. That is what is going to happen if it is not earmarked for some useful public purpose. The kind of useful public purpose that it could be earmarked for is some purpose of an experimental nature which this sum would be adequate to do, if it were possible to complete it economically at all. I think it could be usefully used for that purpose, and I shall take the opportunity on another Estimate to indicate the line I suggest. I particularly urge on the Minister that it is not desirable to leave that there, because the inevitable result would be that it will be used in a year of embarrassment to make up a Budget deficit, or else it will be used for some sensational and useless purpose which the Minister will find himself unable to resist.

Mr. Flinn:  I am not concerned with the sort of speculative matter which the Deputy has introduced into this debate as to the possibility of a particular form of corrupt use which somebody might make of this fund.

Mr. Dillon:  That is scarcely the appropriate word.

Mr. Flinn:  It has precisely the same meaning as that which the Deputy has been trying to suggest, but he would not use the word.

Mr. Dillon:  I do not want to exchange any bouquets or compliments with the Parliamentary Secretary. I did not allege corruption; I did not [695] intend to allege corruption. When I do intend to allege corruption, I shall have no hesitation in doing so. I allege the danger of Treasury malpractice, which is not corruption. It is imprudent finance, an entirely different thing, the making up of a Budget deficit out of what ought to be capital funds. I do not allege corruption; when I want to do so I will do it without the slightest hesitation.

Mr. Flinn:  The Deputy is perfectly welcome to the difference between the words corruption and Treasury malpractice, the practice in a particular year, for political purposes, in order to balance the Budget.

Mr. Dillon:  Quite.

Mr. Flinn:  The Deputy is entirely at liberty to take to himself any difference which he can find between the words. What I am concerned with is the fund itself. This is under close consideration as to what can be done with it, having regard to its history and its legal surroundings. The fullest possible examination is being made of that, with the intention of solving that problem.

Mr. Dillon:  Am I to take it the question of using it for a Budget deficit has been considered and definitely rejected as being, in the Parliamentary Secretary's opinion, corrupt procedure?

Mr. Flinn:  I would be very glad if the Deputy would put that down as a Parliamentary question.

Mr. Dillon:  I shall remember it, however, if the fund comes to be used for a Budget deficit.

Mr. Flinn:  The Deputy should put it down as a Parliamentary question. It is now purely an insinuation.

Vote put and agreed to.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 41.

[696]Professor O'Sullivan:  Has the Minister given any further consideration to amendment No. 41, dealing with Section 17?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I have given the matter consideration, and I might point out that in Orders laid before the House the provision is invariably contained in them without prejudice to anything that may have been done thereunder. Deputy Costello referred to people who might lose their lives, who might be shot. I cannot see in the provisions how that could arise except in this way, that, while an organisation was declared to be unlawful, it might endeavour to hold some public meeting, and the police, in breaking up that meeting, might shoot and somebody might get killed. That is, perhaps, an extreme possibility, but it is the only one that I can see could arise. I will look into the matter further.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I wish the Minister would. It is a question of balancing up the rival conveniences and inconveniences, and the tendency always will be — I speak now without reference to any particular Government — for a Department always to have things smoothly running and to see its particular side of the business is guaranteed.

On the other hand, there is the point of view of the ordinary citizen. After all, his rights are fundamentally what the State is there to protect. The main purpose of the Bill is to protect those rights. The Government are claiming certain powers, not to interfere with the rights, but really to protect the rights of the ordinary citizen. That is the primary purpose of Bills of this kind. That being so, the Minister ought to go as far as he possibly can in trying to see that if a person is actually in prison because he has been condemned as a member of an association claimed by the Government as being unlawful, but which is found on appeal to the courts to be lawful and that the citizen, therefore, acted within his legal rights, he should not be left without some form of indemnity. I do not want the burden of that indemnity [697] to fall on the Guards. I can appreciate the Minister's point that the Guards should not have that fear. I take it for granted that the Government will always stand behind them, that where they are concerned, at all events, they will not be at a loss merely because they are acting on an order of the Government which, so far as they are concerned, must be regarded as being law, but unfortunately they were wrong. That case arises, as the Minister knows, in various other instances. In one of those queer moments when I studied law, far back in the past, the case used to be put before us of a soldier being wrongfully given an order to shoot and killing people. We were taught that he was guilty of murder. On the other hand, if he did not shoot, he was guilty of indiscipline and possibly might be shot himself for that. It was pointed out in that case that the soldier was bound to obey the order and would be indemnified. Therefore, from the police point of view, I think the case could be met quite well.

This is the ordinary law. I regret that the provisions in this section were not taken out and put under the other. The Minister says that he does want power of this kind as portion of the ordinary law to prevent things growing, to prevent a stage being reached, in fact, where it would be necessary to invoke Part V. I think that is the Minister's purpose. This being the ordinary law, I think the assumption ought to be that the main purpose is not to interfere with the rights of the individual. If an individual is being wronged in this way, as undoubtedly he is, that wrong should have a remedy. That used to be another legal tag. All that we ask is that that remedy be there. I ask the Minister to consider not merely the case of protecting the police, but also of protecting the ordinary citizen who has done nothing illegal, who has merely exercised the rights that the courts say are his rights to exercise. Do I understand the Minister will consider this?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I will. So far as this Bill is concerned, there is no desire to interfere with the ordinary citizen at all. But what one has to be careful about in a matter of this kind is that [698] in giving way one does not render the Bill more or less useless in certain matters that will arise. I do not want to do anything that will interfere with the ordinary citizen.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I am taking it for granted that what the Minister is really out for in this Bill is to protect the rights of the ordinary individual against a certain number of people who interfere with him. That being so, I ask him to bear in mind what has been said as to the manner in which we are undoubtedly laying down here that a man who has his rights interfered with has no remedy.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 42:—

To delete sub-section (4).

Again, speaking absolutely as a layman, it seems a strange provision that a court, having decided that a certain association is legal, it is to continue illegal merely because the Attorney-General says he is going to appeal, with the opportunities increased. Cannot the decision stand on both sides, both sides being treated equally? Is there an appeal on the part of the plaintiff?

Mr. Ruttledge:  There is always that appeal.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I assumed that was the ordinary law always, that there was always that appeal. Why not let the decision stand until it is reversed? There may be a certain amount of inconvenience as far as the Government is concerned. But there is no reason why the ordinary citizen should be interfered with if he has found a competent judge to say that the association is legal. The assumption in that case is that the judge is right rather than that the Government are right. All I am asking is that that be acted upon.

Mr. Ruttledge:  If the Deputy is of the opinion that this sub-section as it stands is making it mandatory, I shall certainly meet him on that. But the Attorney-General may make an application pending a final result that a [699] certain person in custody should be detained. It is not interfering with the discretion of the court. It is not intended to be mandatory.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Surely the assumption in that case would be that the association is lawful. You have had a legal decision on that. On the other side, you have an administrative body, namely, the Government, who are not a legal body, declaring that it is illegal. Until the decision of the court has been upset I submit that it should stand.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The Attorney-General may have certain information and he may think it absolutely dangerous to allow people in custody out. He may have to make representations to the court on these lines, so that they may decide that pending the appeal people might be detained in custody. That would be a matter for the court to decide if they were satisfied that there was something in the point made. There might be a question of a technicality.

Mr. Costello:  Has the Minister ever heard of any system of jurisprudence under which a person being declared not guilty the court can say “Although we hold you are not guilty you are to be deemed guilty until we see if some other court will deem you guilty”? Surely the thing is a nightmare. Is it not a complete innovation in our law? Is there any precedent for this section anywhere, either in civil or criminal law? The only analogous proceeding I can think of is a stay of execution, which is an entirely different matter. The object intended to be got at by this section is that the Government declare an organisation unlawful; the court reverse that decision and declare it to be lawful. But it is to be within the power of the Attorney-General to ask the court which makes that decision to stultify their own decision by saying, “Although we have held this always to be lawful, yet we will allow it to be deemed to be unlawful until the Attorney-General sees if we can get some other court to reverse that decision”. [700] That is neither dignified nor proper not in accordance with any decent principles of justice.

Professor O'Sullivan:  The case that will come up before the court is the legality or lawfulness of the association. Therefore the offence that the man would be charged with would be membership of that association. All that the court could take into account would be membership of the association. The court finds the association lawful in its view. The man could not be guilty of an offence, then. The Minister says that perhaps there may be information in the hands of the Attorney-General why this person should be kept in custody because he is dangerous. But that is not the offence he is charged with. The offence he is charged with is mere membership. That would be the only way where an individual would come in. In fact, he might not be charged with anything. The actual man that makes the application might not be charged with anything, but a person may have been convicted on the assumption that he was a member of an unlawful organisation. Then, suppose the court has found out that he is guilty of no offence. It is no answer to say that the Attorney-General may have at his disposal a great deal of information which would induce the court to keep the man in custody because he is a member of an unlawful association. It would be unfair to keep him in custody because the Attorney-General has information that might justify other charges against him. I think the Minister ought to consider that.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I agree with Deputy Costello that it is certainly an innovation to bring in clauses like that, but the circumstances that we have to deal with would be unusual.

Mr. Costello:  It is ordinary law.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The difficulty is that if the Attorney-General feels there is the position that he must go to the Supreme Court and that he may get another decision — he may feel that he should put before the court that pending final determination there were certain [701] people in custody — and there was considerable difficulty in getting them into custody, that he should keep them in custody until a final determination. I am not at all anxious to go outside the ordinary law. I will consult the Attorney-General again on this particular matter to see if he may not be able to go on the lines of ordinary law.

Amendment No. 42, by leave, withdrawn.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 43:—

In sub-section (5) (b), line 14, after the words “by him” to insert the words “or on his behalf.”

Mr. Ruttledge:  I accept that.

Amendment agreed to.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 44:—

In sub-section (5) (c), line 16, after the words “by him” to insert the words “or on his behalf.”

Mr. Ruttledge:  I accept that.

Amendment agreed to.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Amendment No. 45 reads:—

In sub-section (5) (d), line 20, after the words “by him” to insert the words “or on his behalf.”

This goes with the previous amendment.

Amendment No. 45 agreed to.

Section 17, as amended, put and agreed to.

SECTION 18.

(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to be a member of an unlawful organisation.

(2) Every person who is a member of an unlawful organisation in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall—

(a) on summary conviction thereof, be liable to a fine not [702] exceeding fifty pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment, or

(b) on conviction thereof on indictment, to a fine not exceeding two hundred pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(3) Where an application has been made to the High Court for a declaration of legality in respect of an organisation no person who is, before the final determination of such application, charged with an offence under this section in relation to that organisation shall be brought to trial on such charge before such final determination, but a postponement of the said trial in pursuance of this sub-section shall not prevent the detention of such person in custody during the period of such postponement.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 46:—

In sub-section (2) (b), page 11, line 31, before the word “to” to insert the words “be liable”.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 47:—

In sub-section (2) (b), page 11, in lines 31, 32 and 33, to delete the words “to a fine not exceeding two hundred pounds or at the discretion of the court”, and, in line 34, to delete the words “or to both such fine and such imprisonment”.

This amendment provides the only instance in the Bill where a person convicted of an indictable offence may be fined instead of being imprisoned.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Costello:  I move amendment No. 48:—

In sub-section (3), line 39, after the word “trial” to insert the words “or detained in custody”.

[703] That is to prevent detention in custody.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  This works in with another amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The same applies to amendment No. 49.

Amendment No. 49, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 18, as amended, put and agreed to.

SECTION 19.

Amendments Nos. 50 and 51:—

To delete paragraph (a). — John A. Costello, John M. O'Sullivan.

In paragraph (a), line 49, after the word “Justice” to insert the words “after the expiration of thirty days or after the termination of the proceedings in the High Court or Supreme Court with reference to an application for a declaration of legality under Section 17 of this Act whichever shall be the later.”— John A. Costello, John M. O'Sullivan.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Amendments Nos. 50 and 51 should be taken together.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Yes.

Mr. Costello:  The Ceann Comhairle sent me a note that No. 51 could not be moved.

Professor O'Sullivan:  It is only portion of Section 19 that we are dealing with.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  This amendment is tantamount to leaving out the section.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Amendment No. 51 only makes provision if amendment No. 50 is not passed. The amendments read:—

To delete paragraph (a).

In paragraph (a), line 49, after the word “Justice” to insert the words “after the expiration of thirty days or after the termination of the proceedings in the High Court or Supreme Court with reference to [704] an application for a declaration of legality under Section 17 of this Act whichever shall be the later.”

Mr. Costello:  Amendment No. 51 is for the purpose of enabling an intervening period to elapse after the suppression to see whether proceedings will be taken in court, and to stave off forfeiture of the organisation's property, whose goods will be forfeited until the courts have made their decision.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I object to that particular amendment. It would make it too easy for an organisation to get rid of the cash and documents in their possession. If there were any proceedings pending the authorities would not do anything with the property seized until the result of the proceedings were known.

Mr. Costello:  I can see the point of the Minister's reply to this amendment. But Sections 19 and 20 adequately provide for the case of the property of an organisation which is forfeited in consequence of a suppression order if made subsequently an Order of the High Court or Supreme Court declaring that organisation illegal. Are the provisions in Sections 19 and 20 adequate to ensure that the property of that organisation will be handed back intact to the organisation when the High Court or the Supreme Court has declared the organisation legal? It would appear impossible under the words of the section to argue that the property could be converted by either a police officer or an officer of State, using the word “converted” in its technical meaning. Then the property would have vanished, and the Minister, if he were the Minister responsible for the conversion of the property, would plead the decision of the courts that a Minister of State was not to be liable for any wrong, and the organisation could not get back its property. I do not know if that is the intention of the Minister, but I am not satisfied that Sections 19 and 20 cover the point I am making.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The cases the Minister has in mind will certainly be very [705] exceptional ones where the organisation will be suppressed and subject to all these consequences. As far as anybody could visualise it, it would be a very exceptional case where such a thing could happen. The only things that I could visualise being taken by the police would be perhaps money or property of that sort which would not be perishable. I do not think any goods that would be taken could deteriorate. They would be in the hands or under the control of the Minister until the matter was decided in court.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Suppose it was house property. That did happen, as a matter of fact. Supposing house property were taken over and converted, it would possibly go for a song if it were put up for sale under these circumstances. What could the association get back—the house or the song?

Mr. Ruttledge:  The Deputy does not think that if those people took legal proceedings that pending the result of those proceedings the premises would be sold? They might be shut up for the time being. I cannot see how any responsible Minister would proceed to sell the place while there were legal proceedings pending. If there were any way that the Deputy suggests of tightening it up I would be glad to hear it. I only want to get a position where they could act at once.

Professor O'Sullivan:  What I had in mind was this: there is an organisation which wants, as an organisation, to test its legality. It has no funds to test it because they have been taken possession of. That was really what I had in mind in amendment No. 50. I wanted some method by which a certain amount of the funds would be at their disposal for that particular purpose and only for that particular purpose. That was the main thing I, personally, had in mind so far as amendment No. 50 was concerned. There is an organisation; the Government declares them illegal; they are prepared to test that, but they have no money because the Government stepped in and took all the money. Would it not be possible that provision could be made allowing them to draw on those funds [706] for the purpose of the legal action? I do not see why not. If they lose the action they lose the costs.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The Deputy is thinking of a very extreme case.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Is it extreme? I thought it was the normal case. All the money is taken by the Minister for Finance. They have no other funds. They are a political organisation, and it may not be easy for them to get funds. They cannot get funds to finance the hearing of the case if all their property is seized by the Minister. Surely that is not an extreme case. Surely that is a normal case. Will it not happen in every case? Is there any case in which it cannot happen?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I imagine that any sound organisation, certainly if it turned out to be a lawful organisation, would be able to get the funds for that purpose.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Will it not have to have funds before it starts the action?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I know it must, but they will be able to get funds. The Deputy can see my difficulty. When you try to meet something like that, you find you are really hampering yourself when you want to deal with some case.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I quite see the Minister's difficulty, but could he not put in a section making the fund available for that purpose and that purpose alone?

Mr. Ruttledge:  On application to the court?

Professor O'Sullivan:  Yes, anything at all like that. I really only want to see that the organisation gets a chance of having its legal rights decided.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I would consider it on application to the court.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.

Section agreed to.

SECTION 20.

(2) Where the High Court makes [707] a declaration of legality, it shall be lawful for that court, on the application of the Attorney-General, to suspend the operation of the foregoing sub-section of this section in respect of such declaration until the final determination of an appeal by the Attorney-General to the Supreme Court against such declaration, and if the High Court so suspends the said sub-section, the said sub-section shall only come into operation in respect of such declaration if and when the Supreme Court affirms the order of the High Court making such declaration.

Mr. Costello:  I move amendment No. 52:—

To delete sub-section (2).

This is analogous to the point raised under Section 17, sub-section (4). If the Minister will consider that with the other we will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section agreed to.

Section 21 agreed to.

SECTION 22.

(3) Whenever a closing order has been made or has been extended, any person having an estate or interest in the building to which such closing order relates may apply to the High Court, in a summary manner on notice to the Attorney-General, for such order as is hereinafter mentioned, and on such application the High Court, if it is satisfied that, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the making or the extension (as the case may be) of such closing order was not reasonable, may make an order quashing such closing order or the said extension thereof, as the case may be.

Mr. Costello:  I move amendment No. 53:—

At the end of sub-section (3) to add the words “and in such case the [708] costs of and incidental to such application shall be granted to the applicant by the court.”

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is subject to the same objection as a previous amendment. There is no ground for interfering with the discretion of the court.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section agreed to.

SECTION 23.

Where in any criminal proceedings the question whether a particular treasonable document, seditious document, or incriminating document was or was not published by the accused (whether by himself or in concert with other persons or by arrangement between himself and other persons) is in issue and an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent states on oath that he believes that such document was published (as the case may be) by the accused or by the accused in concert with other persons or by arrangement between the accused and other persons, such statement shall be evidence (until the accused denies on oath that he published such document either himself or in concert or by arrangement as aforesaid) that the accused published such document as alleged in the said statement on oath of such officer.

Mr. Costello:  I move amendment No. 54:—

In line 1, page 14, after the word “believes” to insert the words “and gives grounds which are accepted by the court as justifying such belief”.

I assume the Minister will not accept this amendment.

Mr. Ruttledge:  No, I do not think so.

Mr. Costello:  I am getting quite hardened about these sections. The only amusement I get out of them is visualising what would be said by the Minister if a Government on this side of the House had introduced anything [709] half as drastic as the provisions that we are passing by with practically an empty House and no discussion. This section is, in effect, saying that the word of any Civil Guard is to be accepted as evidence of the fact that a document was published by the accused person in concert with other persons without giving any basis for the belief or without giving any ground whatever. He merely goes in like a man, and takes the oath, and gives no ground whatever for it. I think he ought to be bound to give some sort of ground, just the same as an ordinary Guard has to go in, when applying for a warrant, and give some ground to satisfy a district justice that the warrant should issue.

I do not want complete proof but I think he should give sufficient prima facie grounds to enable a district justice to act on those grounds as legal evidence and not merely a statement on oath that he believes. Anybody can believe and state on oath that he believes a thing. That is like an expert giving evidence on oath because it is only an opinion and not deposing to matters on oath. Consequently, it would put no great strain on the conscience of police officers or police officials to go in and state on oath that they believe the matter stated and then the consequences follow automatically.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The whole object of this section is to force people who are engaged in treasonable activities into the open. It is very well to give grounds but it is very difficult to get grounds on which you could prove technically to a court. Take for example a document that I read here on the Second Reading. Certain names were printed in that document. The police have information that those people probably signed an original document somewhere. The police have not the original document in their possession but it is posted outside church doors and in other public places. They are aware of the persons whose names are appended to that document: they are aware that these people have been engaged in certain activities, and it is more than likely that they have been responsible for the [710] draft of that document; but for legal proof, the proof that a court would require, it would be practically impossible for the police to satisfy a court technically and legally on that point. All that is asked is, the police say that the State have reasonable grounds for being satisfied that these persons were the same persons who signed this document. It is a shifting of the onus on to this other party. It shifts the onus on to the accused to prove that he did not sign this document, that it was not his signature. You have these documents being published from time to time and there is no denial from any of these people that they did not sign these documents or that it was not their names that were appended to them. It is very hard to get over the matter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 23 agreed to.

SECTION 24.

(1) It shall not be lawful to hold a public meeting which disturbs public order or causes or leads to a breach of the peace.

(2) It shall not be lawful to hold a public meeting which is held or purports to be held by or on behalf of or by arrangement or in concert with an unlawful organisation or which is held or purports to be held for the purpose of supporting, aiding, abetting, or encouraging an unlawful organisation or of advocating the support of an unlawful organisation.

(3) Whenever an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent is of opinion that the holding of a particular public meeting about to be or proposed to be held would disturb public order or cause or lead to a breach of the peace or would be a contravention of the next preceding sub-section of this section, it shall be lawful for such officer by notice given to a person concerned in the holding or organisation of such meeting or published in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the knowledge of the persons so concerned, to prohibit the holding of such meeting, and thereupon the holding of such meeting shall become and be unlawful.

[711] (4) Whenever an officer of the Gárda Síochána gives any such notice as is mentioned in the next preceding sub-section of this section, any person claiming to be aggrieved by such notice may apply to the High Court in a summary manner on notice to the Attorney-General for such order as is hereinafter mentioned and, upon the hearing of such application, the High Court if it so thinks proper, may make an order annulling such notice.

(5) Every person who organises or holds or attempts to organise or hold a public meeting the holding of which is a contravention of this section or who takes part or is concerned in the organising or the holding of any such meeting shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(6) In this section, the expression “public meeting” includes a procession and also includes (in addition to a meeting held in a public place or on unenclosed land) a meeting held in a building or on enclosed land to which the public are admitted, whether with or without payment.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 55:—

To delete sub-section (1), and in sub-section (3), page 14, lines 20 and 21, to delete the words “would disturb public order or cause or lead to a breach of the peace or”.

The object of this amendment is to limit the scope of the section to unlawful organisations, and I think it goes a long way to meet objections.

Professor O'Sullivan:  It does.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 56 and 57 not moved.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Regarding amendment [712] No. 58, I think the amendment that I moved meets that.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I will not move amendments Nos. 58 and 59 at this stage. I will have time to consider how far the main objections have been met.

Amendments Nos. 58 and 59 not moved.

Section 24 agreed to.

SECTION 25.

(1) It shall not be lawful for any public meeting to be held in, or any procession to pass along or through, any public street or unenclosed place which or any part of which is situate within one-half of a mile from any building in which both Houses or either House of the Oireachtas are or is sitting or about to sit if either—

(a) an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent has, by notice given to a person concerned in the holding or organisation of such meeting or procession or published in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the knowledge of the persons so concerned, prohibited the holding of such meeting in or the passing of such procession along or through any such public street or unenclosed place as aforesaid, or

(b) a member of the Gárda Síochána calls on the persons taking part in such meeting or procession to disperse.

(2) Every person who—

(a) shall organise, hold, or take part in or attempt to organise, hold or take part in a public meeting or a procession in any such public street or unenclosed place as is mentioned in the foregoing sub-section of this section after such meeting or procession has been prohibited by a notice under paragraph (a) of the said sub-section,

(b) shall hold or take part in or attempt to hold or take part in a public meeting or a procession in any such public street or unenclosed place as aforesaid after a member of the Gárda Síochána [713] has, under paragraph (b) of the said sub-section, called upon the persons taking part in such meeting or procession to disperse, or

(c) shall remain in or enter into any such public street or unenclosed space after being called upon to disperse as aforesaid.

shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds, or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 60:—

In sub-section (2), page 15, line 25, to delete the word “ten” and substitute the word “fifty”, and, in line 27, to delete the words “one month” and substitute the words “three months.”

The penalty shall not be less than under Section 24.

Amendment No. 60 agreed to.

Section 25, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 26.

(1) Where an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent is satisfied that there is reasonable ground for believing that documentary evidence of or relating to the commission or intended commission of an offence under any section or sub-section of this Act or any document relating directly or indirectly to the commission or intended commission of treason is to be found in any particular building or other place, the said officer may issue to a member of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of inspector a search warrant in accordance with this section.

(2) A search warrant issued under this section shall be expressed and shall operate to authorise a member of the Gárda Síochána (not below the rank of inspector) named in such warrant together with such other persons (if any) as are named therein and any member of the Gárda [714] Síochána to enter, within one week from the date of such warrant, and if necessary by the use of force, any building or other place named in such warrant and to search the said building or other place, and any person found therein, and to seize any document or thing found in such building or other place or on such person which such member reasonably believes to be evidence of or to relate directly or indirectly to the commission or intended commission of an offence under any section or sub-section of this Act or to the commission or intended commission of treason.

(3) A member of the Gárda Síochána acting under the authority of a search warrant issued under this section may—

(a) demand the name and address of any person found in the building or other place named in such warrant, and

(b) arrest without warrant any such person who refuses to give his name and address, or gives a false name or a false address.

(4) Any document seized under this section may be removed and retained for so long as the Minister for Justice thinks proper, and any other thing so seized may be removed and retained for a period of one month from the date of its seizure, or, if proceedings are commenced within such period for an offence under any section or sub-section of this Act or for treason, until the conclusion of such proceedings, and thereafter the provisions of the Police (Property) Act, 1897, shall, subject to the provisions of this Act in relation to the forfeiture of certain property, apply to the thing so seized in the same manner as that Act applies to property which has come into the possession of the Gárda Síochána in the circumstances mentioned in that Act.

(5) Every person who obstructs or attempts to obstruct any member of the Gárda Síochána or any other person acting under the authority of a search warrant issued under this [715] section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 61:—

In sub-section (1). line 29, after the word “Where” to insert the words “a District Justice on the application of”.

This simply provides that the officer of the Gárda Síochána should go to the district justice and put the case before him, and if he agrees that it is a case to act on, he can issue his authority in the ordinary way.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I cannot accept that.

Professor O'Sullivan:  What is the difficulty that the Minister has? It is not a case of a country gone into a state of turmoil. It is not a case of emergency legislation; it is not Part V; it is ordinary legislation. What is the difficulty in requiring that the Gárda should go before a district justice?

Mr. Ruttledge:  We have to act quickly in some of these cases.

Mr. Costello:  Equally quickly in cases of stolen property or murder, and then you can get a search warrant, and it is necessary to go before a district justice or a police commissioner.

Mr. Ruttledge:  There is the case of the Official Secrets Act.

Mr. Costello:  I wonder what case was that?

Professor O'Sullivan:  We remember only one.

Mr. Costello:  It was something of a fiasco.

Mr. Ruttledge:  The objection is that you have to act so quickly if you are satisfied there is certain material on the premises. You cannot be running [716] round trying to find a district justice. There may be a meeting going on.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 26 agreed to.

SECTION 27.

(1) A member of the Gárda Síochána may without warrant stop, search, interrogate, and arrest any person, or do any one or more of those things in respect of any person, whom he suspects of having committed or being about to commit or being or having been concerned in the commission of an offence under any section or sub-section of this Act or an offence which is for the time being a scheduled offence for the purposes of Part V of this Act or whom he suspects of carrying a document relating to the commission or intended commission of any such offence as aforesaid or whom he suspects of being in possession of information relating to the commission or intended commission of any such offence as aforesaid.

(2) Any member of the Gárda Síochána may, for the purpose of the exercise of any of the powers conferred by the next preceding sub-section of this section, stop and search (if necessary by force) any vehicle or any ship, boat, or other vessel which he suspects to contain a person whom he is empowered by the said sub-section to arrest without warrant.

(3) Whenever a person is arrested under this section, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—

(a) such person shall be removed to a convenient station of the Gárda Síochána;

(b) such person may be detained for a period of forty-eight hours in the Gárda Síochána station to which he is so removed;

(c) If, within said period of forty-eight hours, an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent directs in writing such person to [717] be detained under this section, such person may be detained in the said Gárda Síochána station or removed to and detained in custody in such other station of the Gárda Síochána, prison, or other convenient place as is specified in that behalf in such direction until whichever of the following events first happens, that is to say:—

(i) such person is charged before the District Court or a Special Criminal Court with an offence, or

(ii) such person is released from such detention by direction of an officer of the Gárda Síochána, or

(iii) the expiration of eight days from (but not including) the day on which he was arrested under this section;

(d) if no such direction for the detention of such person under this section is given within the said period of forty-eight hours, such person shall, at the expiration of the said period of forty-eight hours, either be charged with an offence or be released;

(e) a person who is detained (after the expiration of the said period of forty-eight hours) under this section in pursuance of such direction as aforesaid of an officer of the Gárda Síochána may, at any time while he is so detained, be removed under the warrant of a Minister of State from the place in which he is for the time being detained to any station of the Gárda Síochána, prison, or other convenient place specified in such warrant and there detained, or may, if such warrant so directs, be transferred to and detained in military custody;

(f) where a person is detained (after the expiration of the said period of forty-eight hours) under this section otherwise than in military custody, he shall be so detained in accordance with the regulations (if any) made by the Minister for Justice under this section;

[718] (g) where a person is transferred to and detained in military custody under this section, he shall be so detained in accordance with the regulations made by the Minister for Defence under this section;

(h) while a person is detained under this section (whether during the said period of forty-eight hours or subsequently) otherwise than in military custody a member of the Gárda Síochána may do all or any of the following things, that is to say:—

(i) demand of such person his name and address, and

(ii) search such person or cause him to be searched, and

(iii) photograph such person or cause him to be photographed, and

(iv) take, or cause to be taken, the fingerprints of such person, and

(i) every person who shall obstruct or impede the exercise in respect of him by a member of the Gárda Síochána of any of the powers conferred by the next preceding paragraph of this sub-section or shall fail or refuse to give his name and address or shall give, in response to any such demand, a name or an address which is false or misleading shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

(4) The Minister for Justice may make regulations in relation to the places in which persons detained (otherwise than in military custody) under this section may be so detained and may by such regulations make all such provisions in relation to such detention as appear to him to be necessary or expedient.

(5) The Minister for Defence shall make regulations in relation to the places in which persons transferred to and detained in military custody under this section may be detained and may by such regulations make all such provisions in relation to such [719] detention as appear to him to be necessary or expedient.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 62:—

In sub-section (1), to delete line 21, and to insert in lieu thereof the words “On the application of an officer of the Gárda Síochána not below the rank of superintendent and on proof being given that there is a reasonable necessity and urgency therefor, a district justice may issue to such member a warrant authorising him to”.

Is the urgency very great?

Mr. Ruttledge:  It is. I may say it is most urgent. A person going along with a suitcase, for instance. There are certain powers already that, where a person is suspected of committing a felony, he can be arrested without a warrant.

Amendment No. 62, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Corish:  Amendment No. 63, in the names of Deputies Murphy and Everett, reads:—

In pages 16/17 to delete sub-section (3).

As far as one can see, this sub-section visualises some sort of criminal, and we certainly object to the terms of it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I should say, about this amendment, in my view it is tantamount to a direct negative to the section, and might be more properly dealt with on the section itself.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Would not sub-section (1) still affect it?

Mr. Costello:  There are different machineries in each of the sub-sections.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Very good. We will take it on the amendment. Does the Deputy understand there has been an objection to my having it dealt with on the section as a whole? If he wants to raise it, he should raise it now.

[720]Professor O'Sullivan:  We have a number of amendments down.

Mr. Ruttledge:  We are prepared to accept the amendment where it is to reduce the 48 hours, but that would entail the re-drafting of the section, which will be brought up on Report Stage.

Professor O'Sullivan:  There is another portion, namely the 48 hours. I think at present it is 24 hours under the ordinary law.

Mr. Ruttledge:  It is 24 hours, and under the certificate of a superintendent you can hold him for another 24 hours.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Is that the ordinary law at present? There are two sections: there is the eight days, and the Minister is prepared to reduce that to 48 hours and to modify the rest of the section accordingly. Then there are the other amendments, Nos. 64 and 65, which propose to reduce the 48 hours to 24. Is not 24 hours the ordinary time at present?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  We had better see where we stand. We are dealing now with amendment No. 63, in the name of Deputy Tadhg Murphy. I think I may consider that withdrawn.

Mr. Ruttledge:  What we are really prepared to do is that, instead of this eight days, you can detain a person for 24 hours. After that you can detain him on the certificate of a police officer for another 24 hours, if he has reasonable grounds — that he has not completed his inquiries. The total time you can hold that person in custody is 48 hours.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Then the eight days will be reduced to 48 hours, and the section will be re-drafted?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Yes.

Professor O'Sullivan:  And the other amendments will be considered? Sub-section 3 is what we are re-drafting.

[721]Mr. Corish:  What about amendment No. 63?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  We have been dealing with No. 63.

Mr. Costello:  We assumed you withdrew it.

Mr. Corish:  I did not withdraw it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I am afraid you will have to raise it on the section itself.

Mr. Corish:  We will vote against the section.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  All the amendments down to No. 72 go on that?

Professor O'Sullivan:  The Minister will take account of them all, so far as he can, within the framework of the concessions he has made. I took that for granted.

[722]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Including No. 72?

Professor O'Sullivan:  Including No. 72.

Amendments Nos. 63 to 72, inclusive, not moved.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 73:—

In sub-section (5), page 17, line 55, to delete the word “shall” and substitute the word “may”.

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 27, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy will now have an opportunity of raising the matter.

Mr. Corish:  I will vote against the section.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Tá, 60; Níl, 13.

Allen, Denis.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Boland, Gerald.
Bourke, Dan.
Brady, Brian.
Brady, Seán.
Breathnach, Cormac.
Breen, Daniel.
Breslin, Cormac.
Childers, Erskine H.
Crowley, Fred' Hugh.
Derrig, Thomas.
Dockrell, Henry M.
Flinn, Hugo V.
Flynn, John.
Flynn, Stephen.
Fogarty, Patrick J.
Friel, John.
Fuller, Stephen.
Gorey, Denis J.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Harris, Thomas.
Hogan, Daniel.
Hughes, James.
Humphreys, Francis.
Kelly, James P.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Killilea, Mark.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick J.
Loughman, Francis.
Lynch, James B.
McDevitt, Henry A.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Moore, Séamus.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Morrissey, Michael.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Mullen, Thomas.
Munnelly, John.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Loghlen, Peter J.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Rourke, Daniel.
O'Sullivan, John M.
O'Sullivan, Ted.
Rice, Brigid M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Martin.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Tubridy, Seán.
Victory, James.
Walsh, Laurence J.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Conn.

[723][724]Níl

Cogan, Patrick.
Corish, Richard.
Davin, William.
Esmonde, John L.
Everett, James.
Hickey, James.
Hurley, Jeremiah.
Keyes, Michael.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Murphy, Timothy J.
Pattison, James P.
Reidy, James.
Ryan, Jeremiah.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Everett and Corish.

Question declared carried.

Sections 28 and 29 agreed to.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 74:—

Before Section 30, page 18, but in Part IV, to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Except in capital cases, the Government may, at their absolute discretion, at any time remit in whole or in part or modify (by way of mitigation only) or defer any punishment imposed by a Special Criminal Court.

(2) Whenever the Government remits in whole or in part or defers a punishment imposed by a Special Criminal Court, the Government may attach to such remittal or deferment such conditions (if any) as they may think proper.

(3) Whenever the Government defers under the next preceding sub-section of this section the whole or any part of a sentence of imprisonment, the person on whom such sentence was imposed shall be bound to serve such deferred sentence, or part of a sentence, of imprisonment when the same comes into operation and may for that purpose be arrested without warrant.

This is merely to secure uniformity in drafting.

Professor O'Sullivan:  It is merely a transfer?

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is all.

Professor O'Sullivan:  What is the purpose of the transfer? Does it mean that if the transfer did not take place the powers conferred would not operate? Take one of the sections it deals with — remissions. If the transfer did not take place, and if Section 5 went out, would that mean that the remissions could not be given?

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is so; we would not have the power of remission.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 75:—

Before Section 30, page 18, but in Part IV, to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Whenever a person who is convicted by a Special Criminal Court of an offence which is, at the time of such conviction, a scheduled offence for the purposes of Part V of this Act, holds at the time of such conviction an office or employment remunerated out of the Central Fund or moneys provided by the Oireachtas or moneys raised by local taxation, or in or under or as a paid member of a board or body established by or under statutory authority, such person shall immediately on such conviction forfeit such office, employment, place, or emolument, and the same shall forthwith become and be vacant.

(2) Whenever a person who is convicted by a Special Criminal Court of an offence which is, at the time of such conviction, a scheduled offence for the purposes of Part V of this Act, is at the time of such conviction in receipt of a pension or superannuation allowance payable out of the Central Fund or moneys provided by the Oireachtas or moneys raised by local taxation, or the funds of a board or body established by or under statutory authority, such person shall immediately upon such conviction forfeit such pension or superannuation allowance, and such pension [725] or superannuation allowance shall forthwith cease to be payable.

(3) Every person who is convicted by a Special Criminal Court of an offence which is, at the time of such conviction, a scheduled offence for the purposes of Part V of this Act, shall be disqualified—

(a) for holding, within seven years after the date of such conviction, any office or employment remunerated out of the Central Fund or moneys provided by the Oireachtas or moneys raised by local taxation or in or under or as a paid member of a board or body established by or under statutory authority, and

(b) for being granted out of the Central Fund or any such moneys or the funds of any such board or body, at any time after the date of such conviction, any pension, superannuation allowance, or gratuity in respect wholly or partly of any service rendered or thing done by him before the date of such conviction, and

(c) for receiving at any time after such conviction any such pension, superannuation allowance, or gratuity as is mentioned in the next preceding paragraph of this section which was granted but not paid on or before the date of such conviction.

(4) Whenever a conviction which occasions by virtue of this section any forfeiture or disqualification is quashed or annulled or the convicted person is granted a free pardon, such forfeiture or disqualification shall be annulled, in the case of a quashing or annulment, as from the date of the conviction and, in the case of a free pardon, as from the date of such pardon.

(5) The Government may, at their absolute discretion, remit, in whole or in part, any forfeiture or disqualification incurred under this section and restore or revive, in whole or in part, the subject of such forfeiture as from the date of such remission.

It is the same purpose.

[726]Professor O'Sullivan:  The last one was remitting; this is penalising.

Mr. Ruttledge:  And remitting.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Four sub-sections of it are penalising. It is all right.

Amendment agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Section 30 goes out, having been transferred by amendment No. 6.

Sections 31 to 34, inclusive, agreed to.

SECTION 35.

(5) The Government may appoint such registrars for the purposes of any Special Criminal Court as they think proper, and there shall be paid to every such registrar such remuneration and allowances as the Minister for Finance may determine.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 76:—

In sub-section (5), page 20, line 8, to delete all from the word “there” to the end of the sub-section and substitute the words “every such registrar shall hold his office on such terms and conditions and shall receive such (if any) remuneration as the Minister for Finance shall from time to time direct.”

This has the same purpose as the last amendment.

Professor O'Sullivan:  This has reference to the payment of the registrar?

Amendment agreed to.

Question proposed: “That Section 35, as amended, stand.”

Professor O'Sullivan:  What about the payment of the members of the court — where is that provided for?

Mr. Ruttledge:  You mean the remuneration?

Professor O'Sullivan:  Yes.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I do not know. It will depend on whom you can get. It has not been decided.

[727]Professor O'Sullivan:  Is there any power given in the Bill to pay them?

Mr. Ruttledge:  The Money Resolution. I think we have got power also somewhere in the Bill.

Professor O'Sullivan:  That would apply to the registrar as well.

Mr. Ruttledge:  Section 35 (4).

Question put and agreed to.

Section 36 put and agreed to.

SECTION 37.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 77:

Before sub-section (3), page 20, to insert a new sub-section as follows:

(3) Subject and without prejudice to the provisions of the next preceding sub-section of this section, a Special Criminal Court may exercise any power, jurisdiction, or function notwithstanding one or more vacancies in the membership of such court.

That means that if a vacancy occurs in the court, the court can still function. It is a provision of the draftsman.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Is a quorum still necessary for the court?

Mr. Ruttledge:  Yes.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 37, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 38 and 39 agreed to.

SECTION 40.

(3) Where a person is sent forward under the next preceding sub-section of this section in custody, it shall be lawful for the High Court, on the application of such person, to allow him to be at liberty on such bail (with or without sureties) as the High Court shall fix for his due attendance before the proper Special Criminal Court for trial on the charge on which he was so sent forward.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I move amendment No. 78:—

Before Section 40 to insert a new section as follows:—

[728] An appeal shall lie to the Court of Criminal Appeal from every sentence, verdict, decision, order, or act of the Special Criminal Courts established under this Part of this Act in the same manner and under the same conditions as an appeal lies under the Courts of Justice Acts, 1924 to 1936, to the said Court of Criminal Appeal from the Central Criminal Court, and the Court of Criminal Appeal shall have in relation to any such appeal all the powers conferred on or exercised by it by or in virtue of the Courts of Justice Acts aforesaid.

Will the Minister accept this?

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is the appeal to the Central Criminal Court. I could not accept that. When the Special Criminal Courts would be in operation it would be in a time of emergency, such a time as was visualised under Article 2A. To deal with a situation like that you must act quickly and not be held up by appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Mr. Costello:  The Minister does not realise the functions of the Court of Criminal Appeal if he says he will be held up in a state of emergency. You have your man; he is in the trap. The only question is, will the Court of Criminal Appeal let him out by reason of the fact that some illegality has occurred? That is really the only amendment that is put down here, and we regard it as vital, having regard not mainly to the provisions of this Bill but to the experiences in connection with the working of Article 2A. If, God forbid, I had anything to do with anything like Article 2A again, I would certainly wish to have, from the point of view of any person prosecuting or defending before a special tribunal of this kind, a provision such as this for appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal. I think it would we well for the administration of this Bill that there should be such an appeal.

It will give the public confidence in these special tribunals, and it will not in any way hamper the sort of activities that the Government wish to put an end to, if it becomes necessary, [729] by the operation of this part of the Bill. Above all, what I regard as most essential, the public will feel that these special tribunals are not mere creatures of the Government, that everybody that comes before them will get a fair trial and a legal trial. If the Court of Criminal Appeal is there acting as a watch-dog for the benefit of the citizens in general, there will be greater confidence in these tribunals, and they will be more effective in my view for achieving the purpose for which they are being established.

I think that the absence of the appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal will inevitably lead to efforts being made to get round the decisions of the special tribunals. It is well known in the history of the development of legal systems that according as you have a tribunal from which there is no appeal, and which exercises drastic powers, legal ingenuity has found a way out. We found a way out to meet the injustices meted out to some of our supporters during the operation of Article 2A by the present Government. We found a way out for a considerable number of these injustices. We found gaps through which people could creep. Ingenuity will be exercised in the same way to get over the provisions of this Bill. It will not be beyond the powers of the members of my profession to give considerable scope for the exercise of ways of escape from the drastic provisions of this part of the Bill. I think that the fact that there is an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal will in no way operate to the detriment of the Government. I believe it will strengthen their hands in an emergency.

The Minister, I am sure, knows that the Court of Criminal Appeal, as it has been operating in connection with appeals from ordinary criminal tribunals, has operated in a fair and just way, and that no real criminal has escaped in recent years by the action of the Court of Criminal Appeal. There is power to give a new trial. There is power to quash a trial. There is power, particularly, to see that the law is observed.

There is a special power that, even though the law has not been strictly [730] observed, if no miscarriage of justice has occurred the sentence need not be quashed. There is a provision in this part of the Bill that these special tribunals have to act in accordance with the laws of evidence. I do not think that the Military Tribunal under Article 2A bothered their heads about the laws of evidence. I do not think they even pretended to bother about them. Here in this Bill there is a special provision that the laws of evidence are to be observed by these special tribunals. That law will be flouted by these special tribunals unless there is, over and above them, a tribunal of the type of the Court of Criminal Appeal, independent and experienced in these matters, to see that the law which we propose to lay down, namely, that the laws of evidence are to be observed, will be observed. It will become merely a farce.

I warn the Minister that there may be a special advantage in an emergency in having powers such as are contained in this. I give the Minister the present of my views on Article 2A, that every person that went to prison under that Article was a monument to the failure of that Article. Its operation was effective merely because it was in terrorem. That is how it was working. When this Government put it in operation, they started operating it by putting people into concentration camps and military prisons. They became martyrs and really the provisions of the Article ceased to be really effective. The Minister can be assured that if the powers contained in this part of the Bill are not going to get public confidence and support generally throughout the country, then even in an emergency these powers are going to fall out of the hands of the Minister and he will be left without any powers, although he has them on paper. If there is power in the Court of Criminal Appeal to exercise a proper jurisdiction over these tribunals — and the Minister may be assured that it will be exercised in the public interest—then there will be a greater respect for these tribunals and, from the point of view of the Government being in the position of having to operate these special powers, [731] this particular part of the Bill will be a very much more effective instrument in their hands.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I ask the Minister to accept this amendment. I think I have made our views on the matter perfectly clear — that we feel it our duty not to refuse the Government certain powers which they think necessary for the government of the country and the protection of the rights of the ordinary citizen. For that reason, if the Minister will notice, we have not moved a single amendment on this section except the one that is now under discussion. So far as that is concerned we are, I confess, guided by the experience precisely of the working of Article 2A of the Constitution. I think it would be a more effective system if you have an appeal on the question of law. That is what it would come to. If there is a feeling that there is no hasty, incompetent, biased decisions on the part of the Tribunal and if there is a possibility of that being challenged before the ordinary court I think that will strengthen the hands of the Minister in operating the Act. Otherwise the idea would go abroad that the people appointed under this part of the Bill would be so many instruments in the hands of the Government and that they are acting as Government instruments. I think you would be in a much stronger position if you say that this law is to be administered as it should be administered. The actual point raised was raised with full consideration because it is quite obvious that the man has been convicted. The man is in gaol; what is the haste for? The haste was in having a body that would not be afraid to deal with him in the first instance, a body that would take this responsibility off the jurors. The man is in gaol. He is sentenced. The appeal is by him to the Court of Criminal Appeal. That court would not take long to act. It would act quickly. It is not one of the courts that could be accused of undue delay. The Government loses nothing so far as I can see in accepting this amendment. We deliberately refrained from embarrassing the Government so far as [732] this amendment is concerned. I think the Minister ought to consider accepting it.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I agree with most of what has been said by Deputies Costello and O'Sullivan. I would desire if at all possible to have an appeal to the Central Criminal Court in such cases. What I had in mind was this: You are faced here with a very serious emergency, and while you are faced with a position like that, Deputies know that the more speedily you can act and the less hampered you are, the more quickly the emergency can be dealt with. The only difficulty I have about accepting the amendment is what I have in mind after the consideration I have given to this section already as to the particular situation that might arise and the very serious emergency that might arise — that there might be at that time technicalities and delays hampering the authorities in dealing with the situation. However, I will have the matter reconsidered with a view to seeing whether I can meet the point put forward. I would desire, if I possibly could, to see an appeal to the Central Criminal Court.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Or the Court of Criminal Appeal.

General Mulcahy:  There is another point in this connection that ought to be mentioned. The Minister mentioned that these courts are likely to sentence in exceptional circumstances. The whole object of this amendment is to protect the rights of the people as a whole. If crimes are committed in circumstances of emergency, and these crimes are really very often more serious than crimes committed where there is no such emergency; if we are dealing with the setting up of courts for the infliction of punishment for offences, the question that must arise is — is it intended that these sentences will be effective, or are these courts to operate with a feeling that the judgments of the courts are to be set aside when the emergency is passed? Is that to be the feeling that when very serious crimes are committed against the people, these crimes are going to be punished by sentences that will pass [733] away when the emergency passes? If that is so it would be simply inviting the continuance of certain crimes— that is if there was a feeling that as soon as the political atmosphere had changed, the sentences imposed by these courts would not be served. I submit that the courts, their position and prestige intended for the protection of the people would be greatly strengthened by having an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal. If the Minister would consider that matter he would realise that for the prevention of crime, the step he is now proposing would be greatly strengthened if he would see his way to allow an appeal from the sentences of these courts.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 79:—

In sub-section (3), page 21, lines 51 and 52, to delete the words “a person is sent forward under the next preceding sub-section of this section in custody” and substitute the words “under this section a person is sent or sent forward in custody for trial by a Special Criminal Court.”

This is to correct something that was overlooked. It is a drafting amendment.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Does not “sent forward” include “sent forward in custody”?

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is a technical thing. It is the same point that arises where a justice does not receive information and sends forward as where he receives information.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 40, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 41.

(3) Where a person is sent forward under the next preceding sub-section of this section in custody, it shall be lawful for the High Court, on the application of such person, to allow him to be at liberty on such bail (with or without sureties) as the High Court shall fix for his due attendance before the proper Special [734] Criminal Court for trial on the charge on which he was so sent forward.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 80:—

In sub-section (3), page 22, lines 18 and 19, to delete the words “a person is sent forward under the next preceding sub-section of this section in custody” and substitute the words “under this section a person is sent or sent forward in custody for trial by a Special Criminal Court.”

This is the same thing.

Professor O'Sullivan:  The amendment, as it stands, would be necessary because that was providing for his sending forward in custody. The question I asked was whether sending forward does not embrace sending forward in custody? Is the converse true?

Mr. Ruttledge:  It is a question of drafting.

Amendment No. 80 agreed to.

Section 41, as amended, agreed to.

Section 42 to 47, inclusive, agreed to.

Section 48 and 49 deleted.

Sections 50 to 56, inclusive, agreed to.

LONG TITLE.

An Act to make provision in relation to actions and conduct calculated to undermine public order and the authority of the State, and for that purpose to provide for the punishment of persons guilty of offences against the State, to regulate and control in the public interest the formation of associations, to establish special Criminal courts in accordance with Article 38 of the Constitution and provide for the Constitution, powers, jurisdiction, and procedure of such courts, and to make provision generally in relation to matters connected with the matters aforesaid.

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move amendment No. 81:—

In page 3, line 18, to insert after [735] the word “Courts” the words “to repeal certain enactments.”

Amendment put, and agreed to.

Long Title, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported, with amendments.

An Ceann Comhairle:  When is it proposed to take the Report Stage?

Mr. Ruttledge:  This day week, provisionally.

Professor O'Sullivan:  The Minister has undertaken to consider quite a number of things, a large number of which may involve some drafting. There is quite a number of amendments which he has accepted from this side of the House, and I doubt if he will have them ready. Anyhow, after the circulation of the Minister's amendments, we should require time to submit amendments of our own in case we were not satisfied.

Mr. Ruttledge:  There will be time given for that.

Mr. Cosgrave:  Why not fix it for this day fortnight?

Mr. Ruttledge:  I would prefer this day week.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Somebody was suggesting that the Taoiseach's Estimates were to be taken this day week.

Mr. Ruttledge:  That is probable.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I do not think the Minister will be able to have the amendments ready earlier than this day fortnight. When his amendments are circulated we may want time.

Mr. Ruttledge:  There will be no difficulty about that. We will meet you in that respect.

Report Stage fixed for Wednesday, 26th April.

The Dáil, according to Order, went into Committee on Finance and resumed consideration of the Estimates for Public Services.

[736]Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Flinn):  The custom has been to take Votes 10, 11 and 69 together.

An Ceann Comhairle:  It is for the Committee to decide.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Take 10 and 11 together.

Mr. Flinn:  The point is that the whole of the administration of the schemes will come under No. 10, while the money would come under 69. At any rate, it is quite impossible to keep the two separate.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Would it be possible for the Parliamentary Secretary to make an all-embracing statement, but to let the Board of Works Estimate be debated separately?

Mr. Flinn:  There will be separate votes taken on each of the Estimates.

Professor O'Sullivan:  It is a question of separate debates as much as separate votes. To meet the Parliamentary Secretary's point of view, I was suggesting that he may wish to make a comprehensive statement which would include No. 69. I would prefer that the debate would start afresh on No. 69. That would be the view of a number of people on this side of the House. I do not know if I am interfering myself on No. 69 at all.

Mr. Flinn:  The idea, of course, is to meet the convenience of the House in the matter, as the Deputy knows. If it is desired to discuss Nos. 10 and 11, that is, salaries, and staff of the Board of Works and the works which the Board of Works do, apart from relief works, they could be discussed, but then we would have to keep relief works altogether out of those Votes. Otherwise, we would have the same thing all over again. Or, we could take the three Votes and then we could discuss any portion of the activities of the Office of Public Works. That has been the custom, and up to the present it has worked well.

[737]Mr. Morrissey:  Employment Schemes is practically a new Estimate. It has been the custom always to discuss Nos. 10 and 11 together, but No. 69 is a new Estimate.

Mr. Flinn:  My difficulty is that the whole of the administration is done through officers who deal with Vote No. 10.

Professor O'Sullivan:  May I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that I think, both from his own point of view as well as that of the House, it would be much better and we would have a much more satisfactory discussion if we could take the discussion on No. 69 separately. I do not think there will be much difficulty whatever in keeping off relief schemes on Nos. 10 and 11. Let us deal with the ordinary functions of the Board of Works on Nos. 10 and 11, as we have done hitherto, and let us leave over any question of relief schemes until No. 69.

Mr. Flinn:  I am perfectly satisfied to do that.

Mr. Morrissey:  It seems to me that you are going to have a very unsatisfactory discussion from every point of view, both from the Parliamentary Secretary's as well as that of members of the House, if you are going to have relief schemes and rotational schemes mixed up with the ordinary work of the Board of Works. I suggest that it would be easier to discuss No. 10 and 11. We could agree that the Chair would rule out of the discussion in Nos. 10 and 11 any reference to relief works and to confine that to No. 69.

Mr. Flinn:  If the understanding were that on Nos. 10 and 11 we would keep off employment schemes that would be perfectly satisfactory.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Reference might be made, but there would be no discussion on it.

Mr. Flinn:  We could have a gentlemen's agreement, if I may use the term, that, as far as possible, we would keep the employment schemes out of Nos. 10 and 11, and then you could [738] discuss on No. 69 even those portions of the Board of Works estimates which would be concerned with administration.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Ruttledge):  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £88,730 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, 1940, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblidhe. (1 agus 2 Will. 4, c. 33, a. 5 agus 6; 5 agus 6 Vict., c. 89, a. 1 agus 2; 9 agus 10 Vict., c. 86, a. 2, 7 agus 9, etc.)

That a sum not exceeding £88,730 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, 1940, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Public Works. (1 and 2 Will. 4, c. 33, s.s. 5 and 6; 5 and 6 Vict., c. 89, s.s. 1 and 2; 9 and 10 Vict., c. 86, s.s. 2, 7 and 9, etc.)

Mr. Ruttledge:  I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £913,628 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha na Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1940, chun caiteachais i dtaobh Foirgintí Puiblí; chun coinneáil-suas Páirceanna agus Oibreacha Puiblí áirithe; agus chun déanamh agus coinneáil-suas Oibreacha Dréineála.

That a sum not exceeding £913,628 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, 1940, for expenditure in respect of Public Buildings; for the maintenance of certain Parks and Public Works; and for the execution and maintenance of Drainage Works.

[739]Mr. Flinn:  Vote 10 is for salaries and expenses of the staff of the Office of Public Works. The net total estimated for the year 1939-40 is £133,030 which compares with the Estimate of £131, 846 for 1938-39 and shows an increase of £1,184. This increase is represented by an increase in the gross expenditure of £2,804, almost entirely accounted for under the provision for salaries, etc., of the staff, offset by an estimated increase in appropriations-in-aid of £1,560. The Estimate under the head of salaries, wages and allowances shows the numbers and cost of the staff in each branch of the office. Compared with the figures for 1938-39 the net result is an increase of £2,679 in the money provision and six in the personnel; but it should be noted that the precise number and grading of the engineering staff for the arterial drainage section had not been determined at the time the Estimate was framed and for that reason a lump sum provision of £3,600 was inserted in the Estimate.

Actually, therefore, the figures appearing in the Estimate as regards numbers of staff do not reflect the true position, because it is a position of flux at the moment. Since the Estimate was prepared the numbers and grades of engineers for the drainage section have been fixed, namely, 1 grade I, 2 grade II and 6 grade III — a total of nine engineers; so that the total staff represented by the money provision in the Estimate is really 44 instead of 35 as shown in the printed column. The numbers of the engineering staff shown in the Estimates of previous years included posts which had been authorised but were never filled.

The Estimate for travelling expenses is the same as for last year. There is no change in the provision in Land Improvement Loans under sub-head E (1). The technical duties in connection with loans for land improvement are performed by a temporary surveyor who receives an allowance of £86 per annum.

The provision of £1,370,328 under the Vote for Public Works and Buildings [740] for 1939-40 is greater than the provision for 1938-39 by £181,479. This increase of £181,479 is mainly attributable to larger provisions, under sub-head A—£10,560, and under sub-head B — £168,415. The increase of £168,415 under sub-head B is attributable principally to the following two factors: an additional £50,000 for national school grants, making a provision of £250,000 for 1939-40 as against £200,000 for 1938-39 and an additional £191,760 for military new works making a total of £444,475 for military new works for 1939-40 as against £252,715 for 1938-39.

Mr. Morrissey:  I must confess I had expected a rather fuller statement from the Parliamentary Secretary dealing with these two Votes. The Office of Public Works is responsible for the expenditure of a very large sum of money, covering very wide fields and various forms of work, and there is a very substantial increase, as the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out, of £181,000. I think nearly every Department of State is covered under Vote 11 to some extent, and we have set out under Drainage 13 separate drainage districts for which a considerable amount of money was voted last year. Substantially the same, or, in most of the cases, larger sums are apparently being voted this year, and we have not got any explanation as to why the moneys voted last year were not spent, why the works were not carried out, why it was necessary to increase the amounts voted last year for this year, and what progress, if any, the Department hopes to make on these particular works during the present financial year. It seems to me that that is one of the particular sub-heads on which the Parliamentary Secretary might have given the House some information.

Generally speaking, what puzzles me in regard to this particular Vote year after year is that you find for a particular work or building a large sum of money asked for under a particular head, say, this year, and then the total amount is set out which is estimated for the work, say £1,500, and then you get in the next column “Estimated to be expended this year, £250.” It seems to me that this House ought not [741] to be asked to vote money until the Department is ready to spend that money, until, in other words, the Office of Public Works have their plans completed in connection with the proposed work; and if their plans have been completed, when they come to the House for the money one finds it hard to understand why only a comparatively small portion of that money is to be spent in the coming year, having regard particularly to the necessity there is for providing all the work it is possible to provide. I realise, of course, that the activities of this particular Department are many and varied, that they are responsible for practically everything in the country, from the bog-road to the Viceregal Lodge. We have set out here, year after year, estimates for the construction of barracks for the Gárda Síochána. We find that from year to year an estimate is carried on, and apparently there is no work carried out. We find very often that the Dáil this year is asked to vote, say £10,000, for a particular work, and you come on to the following year and you find no work done—not even started—and the original estimate increased to £30,000; and even that year, that no work may be started. There may be a very good reason for all this, but, if there is, it ought to be explained to the House. Now there is one large work which has been figured on this Estimate for a number of years, that is, for a very large building which is to be erected in Kildare Street. There is a very big sum of money — something like £218,000 — for that particular work.

We find that out of the £218,000 required, the amount expected to be spent in the present financial year is £50,000. The estimated expenditure for last year was only £16,000. As I say, the Parliamentary Secretary may have a very good explanation for the apparent slowness of this particular work, but, if he has, I think he ought to give it to the House. I am afraid, Sir, I have to confess that I find myself rather confined, in view of the agreement to which we have already come, and perhaps that is all the better, because, confining myself as I must to the few points I have raised, [742] there is perhaps a better chance that they may be answered by the Parliamentary Secretary.

Mr. Benson:  First of all, I should like to congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on the improved lighting both in this Chamber and in the Library. Apparently, he has occupied his Easter holidays usefully, and I think we can all say that it is a decided improvement. The chief point which I wish to make on this Vote is one which I raised last year also, and of which it was my intention to give the Parliamentary Secretary notice—I regret that I did not do so — and that is a question which concerns this city from the planning point of view. As the House is well aware, a joint plan for this City of Dublin is at present being prepared, and it must also be realised that Government offices form a very considerable section of that plan. So far as the Dublin Corporation is aware, the Government has no scheme or no plan as to what they propose to do with regard to any Government buildings, or whether they propose to erect any to bring them more together than they are at the present moment. There is, of course, a scheme going on at the moment behind my back, but apart from that we know of nothing. At the present moment it is not necessary for the Government to have plans passed by the Corporation. Possibly the first information that the corporation receives is some mention in the Press that work is started, or actually seeing the work started, and I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to have serious consideration given to this matter, and that as soon as possible such information should be supplied to the planning authority in order that it may be incorporated in the plan. If it is the decision of the Government that the Legislature should remain in this building, then it is to be presumed that the general tendency will be to bring the Government offices into this vicinity. But if for any reason they should decide that this building is not suitable, and that some other building would be more suitable, then I think the corporation should be so informed at the earliest possible moment in order that it may help on the very good [743] cause of bringing in a proper plan for this city.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I think the point made by Deputy Morrissey does require a certain amount of attention. It is undoubtedly the practice that very often an Estimate is put down and even the amount estimated for the year is not spent. I am not putting all the blame for that on the Board of Works.

Mr. Flinn:  Providence has something to do with it.

Professor O'Sullivan:  Not necessarily, but other Departments have something to do with it. There have been cases I know in which other Departments have come along and asked the Board of Works to draw up, most urgently, certain plans for certain buildings. A short time afterwards either they do not want that building at all, or they want considerable modification of the building. But even if the fault is not with the Board of Works it is with the Departments of Government. Undoubtedly, on this particular Estimate there is often conveyed the impression — I do not say it started with the present occupant of the office — that a great deal more money is going to be spent on works than actually will be spent during the year. To some extent that may be unavoidable. I realise from a certain amount of experience I once had that responsibility certainly does not altogether lie with the Board of Works, but—and I speak especially from the point of view of those who are looking towards employment — it is a factor that does require some consideration. Now, I do not like bringing up my hardy annuals to the Parliamentary Secretary, and yet I cannot refrain from doing so. Possibly, as the year goes by, they will become hardier still, because I doubt if in the tenure of office of the present Parliamentary Secretary they are likely to reach any solution. I am referring to three very urgent drainage schemes, not because they are the only drainage schemes in the country that require consideration, but because, in addition to being so [744] very urgent, I regard them as in many respects typical of the whole problem. That is one of the reasons why I do refer to them particularly. They are typical in their extreme urgency, typical also in some of the difficulties which they represent, and typical because they present a problem which I think must be faced. I am convinced of two things; first of all, that some time or other the drainage of the particular districts which I have in mind will have to be faced — that at some time some Government will undertake it. I am equally convinced that if we do apply the rule that the scheme must be “economical,” the schemes most likely will be held to be “uneconomical.” But i am convinced that they will be undertaken. I am convinced that the pressure will ultimately be so great, and the scandal of having those things there so strong that they will have to be undertaken by some Government.

Mr. Flinn:  However uneconomcial it is?

Professor O'Sullivan:  That is my point. I think they will be undertaken. The extent of their uneconomic quality will vary; apart altogether from the considerable material damage, there is the bad effect on the public mind, as well as considerations of public health, which I am told by doctors do come in in some of those districts, and which, of course, are not taken into account when the “economic” value of the schemes is being reckoned. If you take the schemes from the mere alleged improvement of the land, and add to that the maintenance charge, I can quite understand that the Parliamentary Secretary could make out a case — I do not say whether it is a valid case or not; I want to be quite fair — that the schemes which I mention are uneconomic. Yet I am sure that ultimately they will be started, and that the longer you postpone them the less economical they will become. I mention the three names, because I think they will be undertaken some time or other. I had better give the names. There is the Brick and Cashin, the Akeragh Lough, and the Lower Maine. They present [745] certain problems of their own that raise another question. The Board of Works and their engineers are faced with a difficulty, however able the engineers may be, and I should be the very last to question their ability, in this matter particularly, because I think the only authorities that we have in this country, or perhaps in the next country, on drainage, you have them in the Board of Works. Therefore, I am not questioning their competency.

I do not think, in the case of some of these schemes, that it is possible, beforehand, to frame anything like a steady estimate. You may estimate that the scheme will cost £50,000. It may cost £40,000 or it may cost £70,000. In any circumstance, I think the amount that has to be paid by the people whose lands are benefited by the scheme should not exceed the amount of the benefit. The amount that has to be paid by way of repayment of loan and maintenance charge by the beneficiaries should not exceed the amount of the estimated benefit that they will get. Unfortunately, as the law stands at present, it may happen that they may have to pay more. I have a case in point in which that is so. Take the Akeragh Lough district. It was drained a few years ago. A certain estimate was made. I am not questioning the competence of the people who made the estimate, but it is apparent from what occurred, from the very history of the scheme, that it was not the success that was hoped for. Otherwise, there would not have been, a year or two after the scheme coming into operation or being handed over to the county council, the necessity for a considerable expenditure.

The people of the district complain that the scheme has gone bad altogether. Probably what happened is that the higher land may have benefited somewhat, but the low-lying lands have almost reverted to their previous condition, with the result that, a year or two after the scheme had been handed over to the county council, the actual amount of money spent in keeping the scheme in condition, plus the wages paid to a caretaker to look after the sluices, plus the yearly [746] charge on the beneficiaries to repay their portion of the loan that was necessary to finance the scheme, amounted to considerably more than the estimated benefit for that year. I think the estimated benefit was something like £332. The annuity for the tenants' portion was, roughly, £100 less. There was £50 or £70 — I cannot remember the exact amount — for the caretaker, and there was an expenditure of something like £250, a special expenditure for that year. That the scheme should have required any great expenditure in the first couple of years is quite abnormal. I should have expected a scheme of that kind —apart from the wages of the caretaker — if it had been successful, not to require much in the way of maintenance in the first couple of years. Here you had a very considerable sum about two years after it was handed over.

That did create an intolerable situation for the people. What is the result? In the last couple of years there was no expenditure at all on the scheme. The county council are spending nothing, because the people have not paid the rate. Why are they not paying the rate? Because they were told their benefit was £332 and they held they were getting no benefit. In one year they were called upon to pay a couple of hundred in excess of the alleged benefit. As a result, no work has been done on that scheme for a couple of years. A scheme that was completed about five or six years ago has now reverted, in some portions at least, to the condition in which things were before the scheme was conditioned. I think it was an old scheme that was reconditioned.

Take one of the other schemes that has been put, perhaps not very fully as yet in all details, but certainly strongly before the Board of Works. It is one of the urgent schemes of the year and it illustrates the danger of delay. I am speaking now of the Lower Maine. Some years ago the Upper Maine was drained, but the Lower Maine was not drained. I am not going now into the engineering value of that particular procedure. I am merely stating the facts. The result, as the Parliamentary Secretary [747] and the House know, was that the waters came down much more quickly by reason of the better drainage in the upper reaches of the Maine. Flooding, therefore, occurred more extensively than previously. This was a scheme that was quite new. The upper portion of the Maine was an entirely new scheme. The lower portion that I am discussing has never yet been taken up. The lower portion is tidal and a large portion of the land has to be protected by banks. What is the result? I have heard it argued — I do not accept the argument — that on the occasion of a flood, even a quick one coming down, it does not do any permanent harm. I am not accepting that explanation, though I have heard it. What is the serious thing is this, that as a result of the quicker flowing off of the waters from the upper reaches — and that was particularly evident in the exceptional year that we have had, and that is what I always warned against, that a year of that kind is bound to come— you have had the breaking of the banks and, therefore, considerable damage.

There again you have the urgency of the problem illustrated. Every year that passes by means more damage, accelerating damage very often as a result of broken banks, because, being tidal, a large portion of the land depends on the steadfastness of the banks for their protection. The result is that you have an accelerating process of deterioration and every year that passes will not merely increase the damage that is done, but will make the ultimate scheme more costly. That is the reason I urged that something be done, even outside the framework of any particular Act, to build up the banks in this particular place. Something of the same kind might have been done in the years that have passed in the other schemes, the Brick and Cashin scheme, and on the Akeragh Lough. All these three schemes present difficulties from the engineering point of view. I admit that. They are tidal. I am aware of the difficulty that a tidal river presents so far as any full and fast estimater is concerned. Therefore, I think that in connection [748] with any scheme in the future the full charge on the beneficiaries should be fixed from the start; that work undertaken should be kept in good condition and that any extra expense will have to be met out of public funds. I see no other way out of it. It is trying human nature too highly to assume that people will pay for schemes of that kind more even than the Government has estimated that they are benefiting.

A very serious case has happened in the instance of the Akeragh Lough. Actually a great deal more than the annual benefit (estimated) was paid in one particular year, and the whole scheme has collapsed. I do not mean collapsed physically — that had happened already. The actual money spent is a proof of that. But the scheme financially has collapsed in the sense that there is no collection and no more expenditure by the county council on that particular scheme. Take the Lower Maine as another instance. There are a number of estates there. The Land Commission has certain obligations. It may not have sufficient money to deal with that situation.

The Parliamentary Secretary has other sums of money to spend in the way of relief works. Would it not be well, while we are awaiting the report of the commission, to consider whether the Land Commission and the Parliamentary Secretary in his capacity as head of the Board of Works, and as being responsible for employment schemes, should see that something at least should be done in the way of repairing of banks; that the two Departments should come together and, not merely because there are two different Departments, be completely innocent of each other's activities. The commission did take a considerable time to come into being. Even when its setting up was first adumbrated by the Parliamentary Secretary, it was a considerable time before the commission was set up, and an amount of valuable time was lost, and urgent works were not dealt with. I think it is bound to be some time before they can report. That is the reason I was glad to hear that they are examining schemes, but rather in order to deal with the different problems facing [749] them. In that way we may expect a report more quickly than if they went in detail into every scheme. After all that is not their work, as they are not engineers. It will be some time before they can deal with them. I take these three schemes as being typical of other schemes in the country. In the meantime there will be accruing damage. The position will get worse year by year, and it has got worse year by year. I may say that I spent two hours in the middle of one of these districts quite by mistake, owing to the fact that the car in which I was travelling got into the middle of one of the roads and we could not get out of it between 10 and 12 o'clock one night. You have the roads flooded, communications interfered with, health damaged, as I am told by the medical officers, and considerable damage done to property. For that reason I urge strongly on the Parliamentary Secretary to consider whether some temporary relief could not be given outside the operation of the Drainage Act at present in operation. I can understand how he is bound up and tied by the present drainage code. It might have been possible to have introduced a certain interim amendment in that code — but by the rules of order we cannot discuss that here. What I am asking him to do now is different, namely, to see whether at least some temporary relief could not be given. Ultimately it would mean a saving in money, because I am convinced that in the cases indicated more damage and more cost will ultimately be involved if the schemes are not quickly dealt with.

There are a couple of other matters which do not make the same appeal to my mind. One is that I would like to know what is the life of the airports, assuming peace conditions. Am I justified in assuming that in war conditions they will be used only for peace purposes? I admit that it is not the Department's duty to answer that. But I should like to know what is the life of these airports? Is it ten, or 20, or 30 years? I hope it is not like a national school — 80 years. There is a considerable amount of money being spent on the Dublin airport and on the Shannon airport. When is it thought they will be finished? I have [750] no idea myself about the life of these ports, whether it is ten, 20 or 30 years, and what modifications will be necessary as the result of improving conditions in connection with air travel, etc. What I presume is, as there is considerable expense, that there is some estimate as to the life of these ports. I see that maintenance is very slight at the moment. I was wondering what there would be in the way of expense when they would have to be reconditioned?

Mr. Flinn:  It is possible that maintenance might be very small compared with the obsolescence element. I see your point.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I was noticing that the maintenance estimate was small. There is the question as to how quickly they might get out of date. The sum is considerable. Has the Parliamentary Secretary any idea as to the ultimate destiny of places like Dublin Castle and the Viceregal Lodge? Is it the idea that the President will continue to live in the Viceregal Lodge? At one time there was a suggestion that he might get some other building?

Mr. Flinn:  The intention was to build a new one. There has been no change in that intention.

Professor O'Sullivan:  The intention is there still to have a new building, but there is no intention of going on at present?

Mr. Flinn:  I would not say that.

Professor O'Sullivan:  In that case what is to happen to the Viceregal Lodge which will be maintained at considerable expense?

Mr. Flinn:  It will have to be maintained until some other building is provided.

Professor O'Sullivan:  I admit that.

Mr. Flinn:  As the Deputy is suggesting it is going to be a very long time before the other building will be erected, he can wait for a little bit for an answer to that question.

[751]Professor O'Sullivan:  I will take it for granted that you are merely considering it. If it is anything like some of the drainage problems, the answer to my question is not urgent. I am anxious to see whether something could be done in the way of temporary relief in connection with these schemes I was referring to. I know that the drainage code presents difficulties, but I think that all over the country some temporary work might be available if something of the kind I was referring to was done. I gathered from what the Parliamentary Secretary stated some time ago in a circular he sent out that there were places where a scheme of that kind might not fill the bill so far as providing work is concerned. I should like him to give careful and sympathetic consideration to that suggestion.

Mr. Dockrell:  I notice on page 42 of the Estimates, under the heading of Travelling Expenses, that for B (4) — Special Works Division — there is a sum of £4,800 provided for 1939-40, as against £3,700 for 1938-39. In the item before that —“National Monuments Advisory Council — there is a sum for a special survey in connection with national monuments. Although £1,100 is not a very big increase in the Estimates, it is a big increase in travelling allowances.

The next thing I want to touch on is a matter that has been more or less mentioned by Deputy Benson. I see on page 45, Vote 11, “Dublin Castle, additional accommodation (Revote)”. There is an item of £10,000 for that building. As far as my recollection of Dublin Castle goes, the Upper Castle and the Lower Castle Yard are more or less fixed. You could not do very much there. Then there are other places where there are minor buildings. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether he can tell us the precise location of that particular site on which £10,000 is to be expended. I do not know whether this £10,000 will finish it or whether there will be further funds needed in the coming years. But the real point in connection with that is this, that there has been some effort to make a [752] town planning scheme for Dublin. In connection with that there was a road projected through certain parts of the Castle.

Has that been considered in connection with the £10,000 building? I ask that because if a building has been put along the projected edge of the new thoroughfare, I suppose it would not be a help for it, it would block for all time that improvement. The Dublin Castle area is the very site on which probably some traffic and arteries may have to be opened. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary how far that matter has been considered, especially in the light of Deputy Benson's remark that the Board of Works has put up a building without any reference to the Corporation and without asking for their permission. I think it would be a great matter if things in the centre of the city were more fully considered. The Board of Works are probably one of the biggest and most considerable customers for new buildings in Dublin. I have no objection to that. It is very desirable to try to improve the amenities of our city. At the same time I think that greater efforts should be made to plan those buildings in connection with town planning schemes for the improvement of the lay-out of the city.

The next item I wish to ask the Minister about is this. I see there was a considerable expenditure on the Shannon air port last year. This year there is a large expenditure, too, and further expenditure is required to finish it. That means that it would be 1941 before the air port is finished. I and other people thought there was a very considerable need for pushing on that scheme in view of the development in connection with the air line from America. Presumably if we do not push on those schemes some other available site may be found, and the very favourable geographical position which this country enjoys in connection with that line of traffic may be menaced. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary, in reply, will endeavour to deal with these points.

Mr. John Flynn:  I wish to refer to a matter mentioned by Deputy Professor O'Sullivan. I support the [753] Deputy entirely in the plea that he made to the Parliamentary Secretary and I hope he will have the matter that was put up to him by the Deputy examined at the earliest possible date. I suggest, pending the decision of the Drainage Commission, that the Parliamentary Secretary would work in co-operation with the Minister for Lands. In other words, that any moneys held in trust by the Land Commission for the upkeep of the embankments mentioned by Deputy O'Sullivan and for the improvement of the adjoining properties be utilised in connection with some of the rivers. Some of the grants given by the Board of Works to repair these embankments pending the final scheme being put through should be utilised. Otherwise, as Deputy O'Sullivan pointed out, the danger will be that by the time the scheme is adopted — as it will have to be at some time, at some period — considerable damage will have been done and it will be very difficult to recoup to the people concerned what they have lost. My contention is that £1,000 now or even £100 spent on a scheme of that kind will be of greater benefit than considerably more money spent afterwards if the Board of Works delay their decision. In regard to the Drainage Commission, it is possible that that report will not be put through for another year or two. The money which might be expended during the next few months or certainly before the end of the year will enable those people to carry on and to develop the lands adjoining those tidal rivers. Either the Departments concerned must come to the assistance of the people and to their rescue in some way or the whole place will become derelict.

The suggestions put forward by Deputy O'Sullivan are the only practical suggestions that could be put forward under the circumstances. I, who live in that area, and who would be very interested in that scheme, concur completely with Deputy O'Sullivan's remarks. I make an earnest plea to the Parliamentary Secretary for his co-operation with the Land Commission. Over a period of the last 20 or 30 years the Land Commission have expended thousands of pounds in that district. Still, you have the same unsatisfactory [754] results. The only hope, so far as I can see, is an extensive drainage scheme. Otherwise it will for all time, I submit, be a question of repairs to embankments. Pending that arrangement I make this plea.

I take it that the Land Commission will be very well pleased, and it will be to their benefit to co-operate with the Parliamentary Secretary. It will be a saving to all concerned if the Land Commission will contribute their own portion and co-operate with the Parliamentary Secretary for once and for all in dealing with this question which has been an eyesore for the past 20 or 30 years. This tidal district is being destroyed by the incoming tide and a large area of the countryside is, as a result, made almost derelict.

Mr. Hughes:  I want to refer to just one particular item on this Estimate— item J 3 under the heading of Barrow drainage. The Barrow drainage scheme cost something over £500,000. The figure was £522,000.

That was paid as follows:—Free grant by the State, £261,000, and a loan by the Commissioners of Public Works, £261,000. The interest and repayments on that loan, paid by the three counties of Kildare, Laoighis, Ua bhFailghe, amount to £19,714 for 35 years. There is a maintenance charge of £3,250 on each county, making a total for 35 years of £22,964, to be levied as follows:—Annual sum charged through direct levy on the beneficiaries along the river, £8,981, and a charge on the county-at-large of £13,982. The approximate charge is about £5,000 on each county.

There is a real problem down there. I do not know how it is going to be solved, but I would call the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to it. The county councils are striking a general rate this year of 1/2 in the £, but the real problem is that the levy on certain lands that are supposed to have benefited along the river is as much as 4/-, 5/- and 6/- an acre. A good deal of the land is scarcely worth the levy that is charged on it at the present time. There is one particular [755] farmer in County Kildare faced with an annual charge for Barrow drainage of over £160. He could not possibly meet that charge.

There is another farmer who has an out-farm of 40 acres on the banks of the river. It is very poor, washed-out bogland. You can realise how poor the land is when it is let at £8 a year. The levy on that 40 acres is £6 18s. 6d., plus rent and taxes. Meetings have been held protesting against these levies. They have been trying to find some solution for it. I do not know whether representations have yet been made to the Parliamentary Secretary on the matter or not.

Mr. Flinn:  They have been made to the Drainage Commission.

Mr. Hughes:  Can the Drainage Commission examine?

Mr. Flinn:  They can examine, yes.

Mr. Hughes:  I think they are not prepared to examine this question, but it is one that ought to be examined by the Parliamentary Secretary or by the Drainage Commission. If it is possible, under the new national scheme of drainage that we are promised, and which the Drainage Commission is examining at present, to absorb this land into the new scheme, it might be a solution. I want to emphasise that the present levy is not economically possible for a number of the beneficiaries. The levy is beyond their capacity to pay, as Deputy O'Sullivan pointed out to the Parliamentary Secretary in the case of Kerry. He warned the Parliamentary Secretary against the danger of a levy being beyond the capacity of the people to pay. In this particular case on the Barrow, I am satisfied that the levy is beyond the economic levy. The land is not worth any more than the levy. There will have to be some solution.

I have given you two instances, one, the man with 40 acres, the letting value of which was £8, bearing a levy of £6 18s. 6d.; the other, the farmer having to face an annual levy of over £160 a year. It is not possible for that man to meet the demand and there is [756] no benefit to that extent accruing to the land. He admitted that the benefit would probably be in or around £20 a year but he is asked to pay over £160 a year. While, admittedly, on the Barrow some advantages have accrued, there are also definitely some disadvantages. Floods come down much more rapidly and the farmers have lost hay as the result of rapid flooding. In the past they got due warning of flooding. When there was danger of flooding the farmers got time to remove their hay. Now they complain that the flood comes down too rapidly. I do not know if the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to find a solution to that problem. The problem I want him to solve is the financial problem. The farmers are unable to meet the present demand made on them and it is not being paid. County councils are not able to collect the charges at the present time. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to look into the matter and see what can be done about it.

There is another river, the Lirr, in County Kildare. That was drained in 1924 or 1926. The maintenance charge on that has been paid by the beneficiaries along the river but none of the original cost of it has been paid by the occupiers. They say that at the time the river was drained it was against the wishes of the occupiers along the river, and against the county councillors for County Kildare. The occupiers there contend that they were not interested in the river being done at all. There was an inquiry held into that Lirr drainage in 1922 or 1923 and I do not think the report of that inquiry has ever been published. Is it possible to get the report of that inquiry? There was a new charge order made on the river, but we have never seen the report of the inquiry and if the Parliamentary Secretary would furnish that report I would be very pleased.

Mr. Hurley:  I have a few matters to raise on this Vote, a Leas-Chinn Comhairle, especially with regard to the provision of new school buildings. In the statement of the Minister for Education, he gave us the number as 605 new schools needed in the country. Last year, according to the Estimate, [757] there was £200,000 voted for grounds for building, repairing, and erection of new school buildings; and I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary how many school buildings were erected in the rural parts of the country. There is still a great outcry against the delay which is caused in the erection of school buildings. There are two Departments involved in this — the Department of Education and the Public Works Department — and between the two there is often a good deal of time lost in getting the work started. I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to try to expedite a solution of this very pressing problem. There is no mistake about it— many of the schools in rural parts of the country are a disgrace to civilisation, they are badly lighted, badly ventilated, and I venture to say that the seeds of disease which often remain permanently in after life are sown in these schools. It is a very urgent and pressing problem, whatever is the cause of it. There is a rather undue delay between the preliminaries in starting the erection of the school building and its completion. I would like to know how many of these schools were erected in rural areas during the past 12 months. There is another matter I wish to refer to, and that is the Civic Guards barracks at Kilnap, in my area, which, from information I have received and from my own inspection of the place, I think must be one of the worst in Ireland. The Board of Works officials inspected it from time to time, but nothing has been done. The barracks is not even sufficiently large to accommodate the strength that should be in that barracks, and as a result we have the Guards in that area understaffed. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to take that in hands and see if something could be done to put up a new building, because it is impossible to make the present place habitable. I understand that the Board of Works is paying a decent rental for the house.

As well as that, this particular barracks is on a by-road off the main road, and strangers to the district have difficulty in locating the place. I have been informed that when an accident takes place on the main [758] Mallow road people looking for help are not able to locate the barracks. I believe that it is absolutely necessary to erect a new barracks for that area, and I would suggest that it be put up in a more central place — probably nearer to the city.

Another matter I would like to refer to is the condition of the coastguard houses at Crosshaven. These houses were formerly inhabited by coastguards, and whatever was the reason for it, there were no front doors put to the houses. There are back entrances through a common back yard — that is the only egress from the houses. I put up a suggestion to the Board of Works that it would be very profitable to put front doors to these houses with an entrance from the main road; because these houses can be rented for 10/- a week. There are a number of Civic Guards who live in these houses, because they can get no other accommodation in the district. People who could get accommodation in the district have left them and, out of the 11 or 12 houses there, I think five or six are unoccupied. I would like to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to these matters: they are matters that are urgent and pressing, and I hope they will be taken in hands during the coming 12 months.

Mr. O'Neill:  In addition to having charge of the public buildings the Board of Works is also in charge of the ruins of the country; and these ruins fall into two classes — ruins which ought to be kept up and those which ought to be pulled down. In connection with the first class, I would like to commend the Department of Public Works for the good work that has been done in regard to the preservation of these national monuments and the very excellent way some of these old buildings have been preserved. Some of these buildings have valuable historic association, and convey an important lesson to the youth. I think very good work has been done in preserving these monuments and I hope the Minister will see that in the future more of that work will be carried on. Now, the works that ought [759] to be pulled down and the ruins that deface our country need attention. There are ruins which leave a nasty taste in our mouths, traces of civil conflicts, burnt-out military barracks, coast-guard stations and police buildings — and also some old work-houses. The work-houses would in most cases, I think, fall under the control of the county councils, but, at any rate, proper demolition should be undertaken, and I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary will agree with me that they are defacing the country in a very hideous way. Now that we are going to spend such a lot of money on our tourist development, I think it should be put up to the Department to make greater efforts in getting rid of some of these buildings and give employment in their pulling-down. I was often going to suggest that it would be a good idea for relief schemes— but we are not discussing relief schemes at the moment. Some of them are pretty large buildings, and could possibly be pulled down for the value of the materials in them. I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to keep that problem before him and get these hideous buildings taken down. He has done something towards letting the old coast-guard stations, and some of them are being rebuilt and used as seaside houses; perhaps greater facilities could be given to prospective lessees of these buildings. I believe the Parliamentary Secretary can give a lease for 90 years, and I am sorry it is not availed of to a greater extent, but sometimes a problem arises, particularly in regard to some of these coast-guard stations — I think the Department of Lands comes in and there has been trouble with the Land Commission. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to keep these hideous ruins in mind, because in some way they tend not only to have a bad effect on people who come to see them as visitors, but a bad effect also on people living in their neighbourhood.

Mr. Hickey:  Would the Parliamentary Secretary tell us in his reply the actual amount of money expended on [760] the Shannon Airport and the Collinstown Airport up to date?

Dr. Tubridy:  Before the Minister replies, I should like to make a few remarks on the question of drainage. I understood that all questions of drainage were to be referred to the Drainage Commission, and I was very interested to hear the Deputy from Carlow discussing the Barrow drainage. He made some very interesting comments on the rate that was to be paid by the people who benefited by the Barrow drainage. The Kerry Deputies — both the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael members — in discussing drainage, seemed to be unanimous both in praising the Parliamentary Secretary for whatever he did in regard to drainage in Kerry, and in having the audacity to try to coax the Parliamentary Secretary to expend more money on drainage, although we were given to understand that very little money would be expended on drainage until the Drainage Commission sat. It was very interesting to hear what Deputy Hughes had to say about the Barrow drainage, and about the extent of the payments that had to be made. He told us about one unfortunate farmer who had to pay something like £160 a year. That whole Barrow drainage was done at a period when I was in this House, but when Fianna Fáil were not the Government, and I take it that it was done with at least the consent of the Deputy, or of the Deputy who was here before him—Deputy Minch. Now there is this grievance, that if the Barrow drainage has been a failure — I do not know whether it has or not — the people around the Barrow who get the benefit of it want us to take it over as a national failure. In other words, we who had a much more severe amount of flooding in the West, and who got nothing at all from the late Government or from the present Government, are now to bear the same burden as the people from the Barrow area. Do I take it that the Deputy opposite, in spite of the fact that an immense amount of money was spent on that drainage, expects us in the West of Ireland to accede to his wishes now and take the whole thing over as [761] a national cost? You cannot have jam on both sides of the bread, and apparently that is what the Deputy wants.

My intention in speaking on this Vote was to point out that a big amount of money was spent on the Barrow drainage, and why should the Deputy now come along to this House and ask us in the West to share the responsibility of the payment for that drainage? I would object entirely to that. Why should I not do so?

What I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary now is not to wait for this drainage commission to make their report. I cannot conscientiously ask the people in the area of Clare-Galway and Castlegar, which is flooded, to wait for two or three years until the commission reports, all for the sake of a few hundred pounds which would be more valuable now than a couple of thousand pounds later on. I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to consider that in regard to the drainage of those rivers a few hundred pounds now would be more valuable than a few thousands in we will say two or three years' time when the harm is done. Another matter to which I should like to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary is the fact that drainage up to this was done by local influence, political thought, politics all the time. The money was spent according to where there was going to be a by-election. We all know that. That was definite. I am quite correct in that. The Barrow was drained. There was a by-election there at the time. We all know that, and apparently some people now wish to forget that all those drainage schemes were done for political purposes. I can see Deputy O'Neill registering disgust, but the fact is there. We all know that there was an election in Carlow-Kilkenny at the time this money was spent.

Mr. Hughes:  The Deputy does not know what he is talking about.

Dr. Tubridy:  Perhaps if Deputy Minch were here he would know it.

Mr. Hughes:  The Barrow was on [762] the point of being drained in the British days here. Is the Deputy aware of that?

Dr. Tubridy:  It is a wonder they did not drain it.

Mr. Hughes:  You do not know the history of the thing at all.

Dr. Tubridy:  The Deputy may know more about the Barrow drainage than I do.

Mr. Hughes:  I certainly do.

Dr. Tubridy:  I admit that he is the Deputy for that area, but I think he will admit that it is just a little bit high-handed for him to come here and ask us to take it over as a national scheme now, when they already agreed to take it on the conditions under which they took it. Is not that so? But the drainage of the Corrib is what I want to refer to.

Mr. Hughes:  That is right.

Dr. Tubridy:  Certainly. I have often wondered how Kerry people have so much “coaxiorum”. When I hear Deputies on that side and on this side coaxing our Parliamentary Secretary, I am astounded at the cleverness of the Kerry mentality when they are looking for grants. The Cork people are not too bad either. We had a little example of that from the other benches. I want to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the fact that in our area there is a complete neglect of drainage, due to the fact that people are waiting for the drainage commission to decide what is to be done as regards drainage in our area. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to allocate at least a small amount for the clearing of the minor rivers into the Corrib, because if that is not done there is going to be constant flooding of the Corrib drainage area, which includes the Mask, and down into Clare-Galway. The last few years have been very bad, and there has been a lot of flooding in that area. The people there are in a desperate condition. The expenditure [763] of a few hundred pounds now would improve conditions, and we could then afford to wait for the drainage board to decide what should be done with regard to drainage in a general way. I think that at least those people who got very extensive grants for the drainage of the rivers in their areas, both in Cork and Carlow, should not grudge us the few hundred pounds necessary to keep the rivers in condition until such time as the general scheme is ready.

In our constituency in Galway the same thing happened as in the case of the Barrow. Money was spent, a considerable amount of money, in draining the upper reaches of the river and letting the floods go into the lower portions, on to the mouths of the lakes and into the sea. Of course, it was a political stunt, too; we all know it was. Having agreed on that, we will ask the Parliamentary Secretary to consider the advisability of spending some money on the maintenance of the rivers that flow into the Corrib.

Mr. Flinn:  There has been a distinct advantage in the segregation of the Vote to-night, in the sense that we have had a more concentrated, a more ad rem discussion, as far as the Board of Works Vote is concerned, and certainly the whole of the discussion has been aimed at being helpful. I need hardly tell the House that neither I nor anyone else can keep in mind the thousand and one things which the Board of Works are expected to do. Therefore, if Deputies have particular points to which they want an answer in the course of the debate, they would be considering their own interests if they would give advance notice to me of those particular cases. I have a general knowledge of what has gone on in Crosshaven, but I have not that particular knowledge, and I do not think there is any reason why I should have, which would enable me, without notice, to set out the various considerations why a pre-existing condition relating to back doors or front doors should now be changed into having all front doors.

My desire in a discussion of this kind is to be helpful to Deputies and [764] give them the information they want; but if they want information on specific points, they ought to give notice of them in advance. I will look into the question of Crosshaven, but my recollection is that there is no case, from the point of view of the State, for doing it, unless the State is to be considered as somebody whose business it is merely to provide amenities, whatever may be the cost of those amenities. I am speaking from recollection. I will look into the matter and I will tell the Deputy the position. He asked how many new schools had been erected. I do not know the number, but I will get that information and I will give it to the Deputy.

The Dáil gave the Board of Works £200,000 to spend on schools, and they have spent the whole of it. This year they are getting £250,000, and we hope to spend considerably more than £250,000. We are keenly anxious to do everything that in us lies in relation to dealing with the school shortage and school improvements, and for that purpose, as I told the Dáil last year, we were then setting up a special department to deal with new schools. That department has been set up. It is functioning very satisfactorily, and it leads me to hope that whatever money the Dáil may decide to put at our disposal, we will be able to spend it. At any rate, that is our intention.

Deputy O'Neill raised the question of two types of buildings, ruins that ought to be maintained and ruins that ought to be destroyed. He agrees that we have done all we can in relation to ruins that ought to be maintained. Our attitude towards that is not merely an ordinary Departmental one, but one of very great sympathy with that purpose and very great appreciation of the purpose served by maintaining them and keeping them in condition. As far as the hideous ruins which obtrude themselves so seriously on the vision of Deputy O'Neill are concerned, I can only say that my own opinion is exactly the same; but here again you are up against very considerable difficulty. There is the legal ownership, the conditions [765] upon which you can enter upon premises of that kind; there is the tracing of the title and what you are to do with the space when you get it. All I can tell you is that the recovery value of the materials bears a very low proportion to the total cost of doing the work, and in a great many cases it is not work upon which ordinary unskilled labour can safely be let loose. The matter has been under consideration, with all its legal and other implications, for some time, and a Bill will probably be offered to the Dáil for the purposee of trying to deal with those difficulties. The matter has had the fullest possible consideration and will be dealt with.

A good many Deputies have raised the question of drainage. Deputy O'Sullivan did it in a very sympathetic and, I think, a very useful manner. Deputy Hughes also raised it. Deputy Flynn raised it much on the lines of Deputy O'Sullivan and others. Deputy O'Sullivan raised three separate cases as illustrations, which is about the best purpose for which any individual item can be raised upon a Vote of this kind. I do not think this is by any means the best place to raise individual cases in relation to a police barracks or something of that kind which, it is suggested, has been delayed. Very much better work can be done for Deputies' constituents in getting rid of a delay by using the ordinary method of approach through the Department, where the matter comes up for consideration to see what can be done.

Why I am raising that point is because it is valuable to raise cases which contain some principle which will cover a larger number of other cases. Now, Deputy O'Sullivan, in raising the question of the Brick and Cashin River, the Lower Maine and the Akeragh Lough, raised difficulties which are inherent in schemes of that character. The Brick and Cashin is a scheme which, if it is done at all, is going to cost a couple of hundred thousand pounds. It has the engineering difficulty connected with a tidal outfall. It goes out through a tidal estuary which is subject to disturbance [766] by storm and tide and matters of that kind. Unless and until we are in a position to design some outfall through that shifting estuary which we can be satisfied will maintain itself, the whole position is that we might spend £200,000 and find ourselves with no solution whatever. The Lower Maine also presents a very difficult engineering problem and immediately you come on to a problem of difficult engineering in relation to drainage, you come across a financial and a cost problem.

I know of no way at present in which expenditure on the Brick and Cashin could be justified. We cannot see, even if we carried it out, that it would maintain itself. There are cases in which you can make an opening through a harbour at any cost you like and it may be closed up in a night. You have the cases in Wicklow and Wexford where a harbour is closed up regularly by its tide. One of the problems which the Drainage Commission will have to solve, and in my opinion the most important problem it will have to solve, will be: under what financial conditions will drainage be done in future; who is going to pay for it; in what proportion is it going to be paid for; and how are you going to guarantee that these proportions, when ascertained, will in fact be paid? That is the main problem. There are very few engineering problems left in relation to most of the rivers. It is simply a question of spending money, and mostly a case of spending money on cutting deeply into rocky outfalls of rivers which, as far as it is concentrated on the outfalls, will produce nothing in the way of immediate drainage benefit.

Deputy O'Sullivan's contribution to-night would be very good evidence before the Drainage Commission. It is simply putting up to them a series of difficult financial problems for which at the moment there is no obvious solution. If the Dáil is prepared to accept the proposition that any drainage which is demanded, at whatever cost, has got to be done because it is demanded, and that the whole cost of it is to be borne by the community, [767] then that is a very simple sort of direction to give to the Drainage Commission. It is a very simple thing for the Dáil to do when the report of the commission comes before it. Deputies have to realise that that is going to involve a lot of money, and not necessarily money distributed in a way in which the benefit would accrue in a direction in which this Dáil, as a responsible body, would desire.

Take the question of the Barrow. There was a special Act passed for the Barrow drainage. The Barrow also has a special history. The British Government contemplated draining it for generations before it was done and nothing came out of that. What did happen was that this Dáil passed an Act under which the drainage scheme was to cost about £510,000. Eventually it cost £547,000. But, as far as the benefited owner was concerned, his position was safeguarded as well as it was humanly possible to safeguard it. It was laid down that the occupier should pay only the actual improved value, and that was to be ascertained by an assessor. When it was ascertained by an assessor, it was sent to appeal and reassessed. Unless the Dáil has some more infallible method of assessing it, then it stands. The Dáil has to have some assessor. No matter what your scheme is in the future, unless you are going to say that the benefited occupier shall pay nothing, there has to be an assessor, and that assessor will have to be accepted. That is exactly the position in which the people on the Barrow are. They asked for this scheme, they demanded it, they pressed for it, and they got it under the conditions accepted by the Dáil. I do not think that anyone is going to ask for a better standard than that the occupier shall not pay more than the actual improved value as assessed by the accredited assessor.

Mr. Hughes:  I should like to point out that the beneficiaries along the Barrow got no information beforehand as to the probable cost.

Mr. Flinn:  There was a draft award inquiry and the estimate of the scheme was given here in this House.

[768]Mr. Hughes:  Prior to the work being done?

Mr. Flinn:  Whatever it was, the estimated value was ascertained by an assessor.

Mr. Hughes:  I agree that they asked for the scheme, but they were not aware of what it was going to cost.

Mr. Flinn:  My experience is that before we start any drainage scheme we are told that it will be of inestimable value. That is invariably the case. When it is finished, no matter how well it is done, we are told it is of no value. We have that continually. We are told that there is an unlimited amount of economic value, but immediately it is done an occupier says: “Why did you take the water off my land? It is now too dry.” That sort of thing does, in fact, happen. What I am trying to get at, as one interested in getting drainage done, is that unless we can come to some understanding by which, when the scheme is done, those who have agreed to pay for it under certain prescribed conditions will be prepared to do so, then drainage is going to be a very difficult matter to carry through. At present no one can possibly accuse the State of being ungenerous. We are passing schemes which are 70, 80 and 90 per cent. uneconomic. That means that for every £1 which the farmers, who benefit by the drainage of their land, pay the State is paying in some cases £9 and in some cases £3, £4 and £5. Unless the benefited owner of the land is prepared to fulfil the engagement into which he enters to the community that is making that generous contribution towards his necessities it is not going to be easy to get through that drainage.

Mr. Keyes:  Would it not be advisable to make sure that the work would be competently carried out by the Board of Works for the assessed figure, which they have failed to do in many cases?

Mr. Flinn:  The best drainage engineers [769] in the country, engineers who know most about this type of drainage, practically the only engineers who are competent in relation to this particular form of drainage, which is sui generis, are our own engineers. If the Deputy is going to sit in judgment as an engineer and tell us that our engineers do not know their job, if the benefited owner, as soon as he gets his land drained, is going to be in a position to sit in judgment, then where do we stand? We are satisfied that our engineers are thoroughly competent in this matter.

Mr. Keyes:  When banks fall into the middle of the river you do not want to be an engineer to see that the scheme is a failure.

Mr. Flinn:  It is possible that the falling in of a bank at the beginning of the maintenance period of a drainage scheme may not be altogether a proof of the failure of the scheme. Take the ordinary bank of a river. It has eroded itself into a stable condition over a period of years. There are all sorts of banks on all sorts of rivers, [770] on the inside of a bend and on the outside of a bend; banks beside a fast-running river and banks beside a slow-running river; entirely different banks which are stable. Very often part of the problem of maintenance, after the scheme has been put in a particular condition, is to allow the river to re-create a stable bank for the new conditions which it has to face. It was said to-day, for instance, that it was ridiculous that maintenance on a particular scheme should be high in the early years. Quite possibly, in the first couple of years, after the drainage scheme had been completed, there would be a period in which there would be that erosion. It might be a question of doing a good deal of maintenance during the very early stage rather than leaving it over and taking up the consequences after.

I move to report progress.

Progress reported: Committee to sit again to-morrow.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. to-morrow.

Mr. Dillon:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he is in a position to make a return showing (a) the number of county and district hospitals constructed with grants from the Hospitals Trust which have been fully open for a year or more; (b) the number of beds in each hospital; (c) the average bed occupancy; (d) the number of operating theatres; (e) the number of major operations performed; (f) the average duration of stay per patient; (g) the number of deaths in relation to admissions; (h) the number of (i) sisters; (ii) fully-trained nurses and (iii) probationers.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  The particulars required are being collected and will be sent to the Deputy when available.

Mr. S. Brodrick:  asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state the total number of rated occupiers of land in County Galway, and the total number of male agricultural workers employed by them in respect of whom cognisance was taken by the county council for the purpose of determining payments for the remission of rates under the Agricultural Grant for the years 1935 and 1938.

Mr. O Ceallaigh:  The total number of rated occupiers of land in County Galway where claims to abatement of rates by way of employment allowances in the years 1935/36 and 1938/39 [607] were admitted in respect of men at work on their holdings in the calendar years 1934 and 1937, respectively, and the number of men at work on their holdings during these years were as follow:—

1935-36 1938-39
Number of rated occupiers of agricultural land in Co. Galway who received Employment Allowances 2,615 3,938
Number of men returned as at work on holdings of such occupiers:
Relatives of Occupiers 2,124 1,828
Employees 1,724 1,062
TOTAL AT WORK 3,848 2,800