Wednesday, 5 February 1941
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): It is true that some searches of houses were recently carried out which were not expressly covered by an Emergency Powers Order. The Deputy will appreciate, however, that there is an obligation under international law and in the vital interests of the State to take all steps to recapture members of belligerent forces who escape from internment. I am satisfied that in the cases which the Deputy probably has in mind it was necessary that searches of houses should be carried out.
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister is condoning the breach of the law in this case. After all, the Minister operates under law. He insists upon other people carrying it out. He should have some explanation for breaking the law himself.
Mr. Traynor: A possible explanation might be that the military have powers under the Emergency Powers Order, 1939, to search premises. It is quite possible that the houses entered were entered in the belief—erroneous I admit—that they were covered by these powers. However, we are taking powers now to cover that type of case in future.
Mr. Cosgrave: Officials or persons acting under his authority or under his control have broken the law. The House will not refuse any necessary powers but it objects, and it must object, to the abuse of authority and to the use of powers that the House has not given. I am asking in this case if it is the Minister's intention to tender apologies to persons whose premises have been searched without legal authority.
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