Friday, 2 February 1945
Dáil Éireann Debate
An Tánaiste: It is proposed to take business in the following order:— Items:—Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 2 and 7. When business as ordered has been concluded it is proposed to give Private Members' time—Motion No. 6.
Mr. Dillon: On the Order of Business, Sir, I want to ask An Tánaiste whether he will give the House an opportunity of discussing the Government's proposal to assassinate the St. John Ambulance Brigade before that deed is consummated under protection of the censorship. At present the public are prohibited from hearing a word about that transaction. Will we be given an opportunity of discussing it in the Dáil before it is carried to its diabolical conclusion?
An Tánaiste: I cannot give time for discussion of any matter which is not before the House, which is not on the Order Paper and which has not been mentioned. I have not heard anything about the subject the Deputy speaks of.
Mr. Dillon: In the event of its being brought forward as a matter of urgent public importance, is the Tánaiste prepared to provide some time to-day to discuss it and will he give an undertaking that the censorship will be taken off?
An Ceann Comhairle: No, they need not. If the Chair permits the adjournment to be moved to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, the discussion takes place at 7.30 p.m. Notice must, however, be handed in in writing to me at the start of Public Business. It has not been so handed in.
Mr. Dillon: I am now preparing to do so, subject to your approval. All I want to do is to get an opportunity of having the censorship removed so that the people will know what is in preparation and so that this deed will not be done in secrecy. Will the Tánaiste help us to get that publicity?
An Ceann Comhairle: Yesterday, during the discussion of the Tuberculosis Sanatoria Bill, the Deputy made an allegation against the Taoiseach, attaching it to the debate by a slender thread of relevancy.
An Ceann Comhairle: Before the conclusion was reached or the allegation had been towed into port, the tow-line had snapped. The Deputy desires, I presume, to discuss an alleged charge against the Taoiseach, the Taoiseach not being present, and without any notice having been given to the Taoiseach that it would arise. That is the exact position.
Mr. Dillon: I beg leave to correct that, Sir. The Taoiseach is head of the Government. He acts as head of the Government and he is represented  here by the Tánaiste, in his regretted absence due to indisposition. I have no doubt that anything the Taoiseach did he did with the full concurrence of his colleagues and that they accept joint responsibility with him. If the Taoiseach is regrettably unable to attend, the Tánaiste is well able to defend the Government in any action they take, and, I am sure, will be the last man to protest that he cannot defend the Government while the Taoiseach is laid up with a cold.
Mr. Dillon: I know, but I resent the implication that I have dishonourably taken advantage of a discussion in the House to attack the Taoiseach in his absence. I attack the Government of which he is the head.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is making a long speech on a matter which is not before the House. There was no insinuation—there was a plain statement of fact—on a matter of which I did not hear a word before, with the exception of a question put to me in my room by a Deputy. I did not know what the Deputy was talking about.
Mr. Cogan: I understand that the Minister for Agriculture has requested  that the motion in my name and that of Deputy Halliden be postponed. Might I ask whether we will be permitted to move the motion on the next day the Dáil meets?
Minister for Agriculture (Dr. Ryan): I did not want to put the Deputy to any inconvenience, but I was informed that he was not pressing for his motion to be taken to-day, if that arrangement suited all Parties concerned. I am afraid I would not be able to deal with it to-day, as I have to go down the country, but I shall certainly be able to deal with it this day week.
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