Thursday, 27 March 1947
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Dillon: There are three matters in connection with this Estimate to which I wish to direct the attention of the Minister for Justice, the first being the position of the widows of Guards. As things stand at the present time, if a Guard dies while he is an active member of the force, his widow, I believe, is entitled to a pension of £30 per annum and £10 in respect of each child under the age of 16, with the result, of course, that most women finding themselves in these distressing circumstances are constrained to part with their children to their relatives, if they can persuade their relatives to take them, and go out and work in order to try to maintain themselves and their families.
I do not propose to harrow the feelings of the House by a description of what this has meant to some women of my acquaintance who found themselves so circumstanced but I do put it to the Minister for Justice that the hardship which is manifestly involved by this arrangement would be greatly mitigated by a very simple expedient. At the present time Gardaí, though doing work which prima facie suggests that they ought to stamp national health insurance cards, are by regulation made by him, doubtless in consultation with the Minister for Finance, exempted from the obligation to stamp national health insurance cards and are thereby deprived of the right to leave to their widows the assurance of a contributory widow's pension in the event of the Guard's premature death. It is natural that the Gardaí should not ordinarily contribute to the national health insurance scheme in order to qualify for national health benefits because there is a full health service provided free of charge as part of their amenities. But if the Minister would require the National Health Insurance Society to make an actuarial calculation of what annual sum payable by the Minister to the National Health Insurance Society would be sufficient to indemnify the society for providing contributory widows' and orphans' pensions to members of the Garda I think he would find that the sum would be a small  one and we would then have the situation that the widow of a Guard would receive her £30 plus £10 for each child and, in addition, a contributory pension under the national health insurance scheme which would leave her, not in conditions of affluence, but at least with a reasonable modicum of security against absolute destitution and becoming a burden on her relatives unless she happened to be able to qualify as a maternity nurse or for some other walk of life in which she could earn her living and provide for such children as have come to bless her marriage.
I want to refer to the Borstal. I am glad to observe from the Minister's opening statement that he now shares my view that Clonmel Jail is no fit place in which to have a Borstal and that he hopes some day to erect a new building on the land which he has acquired outside the City of Dublin as a site. I remember last year Monsignor Flanagan turned up in this country and went galumphing around and read a book and got his photograph taken a great many times and made a variety of speeches to tell us what a wonderful man he was, what marvels he had achieved in the United States of America, and he then went back to America and published a series of falsehoods and slanders.
Mr. Dillon: It is carefully excogitated and deliberately uttered. In my respectful judgment they were flagrantly in conflict with the elementary obligations not only of charity but of justice. There is no more vigilant critic than I am of the Minister's activities in regard to prison, Borstal and industrial school administration, but when a Catholic monsignor uses language which appears to give the colour of justification for the cartoons in the American papers where muscular warders are seen flogging half-naked 14 year old boys with cat-o'-nine tails, then I think it is right to say in public of that monsignor that he should examine his conscience and ask himself, (1), if he has spoken the truth, and (2)  if he has considered the obligations of justice and charity. If his conscience tells him that he has failed in one of these regards, I suggest to him that example is very much better than precept, and that it might be a useful thing, if he finds on closer investigation that the substance of what he is alleged to have said is grossly untrue, that he should have the moral courage to come out in public and say so, and correct in so far as he can the grave injustice he has done not only to the legislature of this country but to the decent, respectable men who are members of the Irish Christian Brothers, to the warders in our prisons and to the warders in the Borstal, and to the other individuals who are looking after young persons in the various places of detention provided by the State.
Now, I am not to be taken as suggesting that the conditions obtaining here are ideal, or anything like it. I have repeatedly stated in this House that I think them very far from ideal. I do not want to make any invidious comparisons between the care and solicitude shown for delinquents in this country—juveniles or adults—with that shown in the United States of America. They have their own problems, but having, as emphatically as I can, rebutted the farrago of ill-informed nonsense for which Monsignor Flanagan was responsible, I want to urge on the Minister that the natural indignation caused by the monsignor's follies, and worse than follies, should not force me into the position of defending, without qualification, many things that exist in our prison, Borstal and reformatory school system which call for early attention and remedy.
The position with regard to Borstal here is that that was a system evolved in Great Britain in the not very remote past. Great Britain has a peculiar problem. She has a peculiar kind of population. Hers is a great industrial population; ours is mainly a rural agricultural population, and institutions readily adaptable in Great Britain would require very considerable adaptation before they could be fitted into our particular mode of life. In Great Britain, for many years, the Borstal was a kind of modified prison, a juvenile  prison, but under the administration of, I think, Sir Samuel Hoare, sweeping reforms were carried into effect, so that the old-fashioned system of Borstal treatment has completely vanished there. Its place has been taken by a system of approved schools, the atmosphere of which closely approximates to that of the boarding-school to which any of us might have gone.
There are various categories into which these adolescent delinquents are divided. One school will accommodate the very intractable; another school will accommodate the problem boy; and the third type of school will be designed for the fellow who stands in need of very little else but normal discipline. There are no keys or railings or school uniforms. The boys are treated, in so far as it is possible to treat them, as senior school boys. They repeatedly escape. It is one of the hallmarks of the excellence of the system that it is perfectly easy to escape, but 90 per cent. of them never try to escape. On occasion, shocking things happen. Recently, in one of these approved schools in England, six boys were misled by two really bad lads into planning a murderous attack upon the headmaster, in the course of which one of the assistant masters was actually murdered.
Many weak-minded people, in the presence of a tragedy of that kind, are frightened, and, in recoiling from the experiment, will cry out for padlocks and chains and bars. Of course, nothing could be more foolish in the effort to reform boys whose lives have been hopelessly misused and warped. There are bound to be dangers and difficulties, and it is an edifying and splendid thing that you will find a body of teachers, such as there are in Great Britain, who are ready to face these dangers and do face them. In the interests of the boys they are looking after they avoid all appearance of being jailers, or of having about their persons weapons to meet violence in case it should arise. They do that even though experience has taught them that violence may occasionally arise.
From that picture I want to turn to the grim spectacle in this country. Clonmel Jail was probably built in the  18th century or the early part of the 19th century. It is all that a jail might be expected to be. The men looking after the inmates of that institution are dressed in warders' uniforms. Now, you may explain until the cows come home to an adolescent youth that he is not going to jail: that he is going to a Borstal school, but if you bring him in through a 14-foot wooden door, studded all over with large iron nails, and he is there received by a body of men who are dressed in the same uniform that prison warders are dressed in, if he is then put into an apartment which is manifestly a prison cell albeit the door is left open and he is not strictly confined like the penal servitude prisoner —while it may appear to experienced men of our age that he is not in jail— the average youth of 16 or 17 going in there will feel that, if he is not in jail, he is in something very like a jail. He is not interested in philosophical distinctions. When we get one of these fellows who is manifestly on the high road to damning his soul and wrecking his life, our concern ought to be when he comes into the custody of the State—because it is no longer possible to leave him at large—to provide him with an environment and treatment which is best calculated to eradicate from his nature the flaws that brought him to where he now is, and to equip him to go out into the world at the end of his three years' detention with a fair chance of getting his feet under him and turning himself into a decent citizen. The results in England, I think, were that as high as 70 per cent. never come into the hands of the police again.
Of course, that is an immense achievement because the courts do not send a fellow to Borstal unless they regard him as virtually hopeless. I heard Deputy Commons, in the very measured speech he made here last night, plead with the Minister not to put first offenders in alongside hardened criminals. No court in this country ever put a first offender into prison or Borstal. They are always, and rightly so, given chances: put on probation. Every conceivable resource is exhausted before they are ultimately locked up and, therefore, it is a great  mistake to over-sentimentalise about the fellows in Borstal. They are tough eggs; they would never have got into Borstal if they were not. Every one of them has had several chances. It is often a moving story to hear some middle-aged superintendent of the Gardaí in Dublin saying: “I know that fellow well. He had me persecuted trying to get him straightened out, talking to his mother and father, warning the boy, keeping an eye on him until, for his own good, we had to take him to Borstal”. Nothing is more fantastic—that the courts go out after children or young men—youths—and ram them into jail. My experience is that the courts are very patient and that very often a penalty is not inflicted but ultimately some of them find their way into Borstal.
I want to see here in this country such a school as is at present available for these boys in Great Britain and, mark this well, in Belfast. It has not been beyond the resources of the Northern Government to provide a Borstal with suitable equipment, suitable surroundings, and a truly admirable spirit where—to their eternal credit—not only their social conduct but their spiritual welfare is solicitously looked after and no trouble is thought too much to build these boys up and restore them to the world as decent citizens. I want to say this. It is something I am ashamed of, but if the Right Reverend Monsignor to whom I have already referred had employed prudent language and stated the truth instead of the farrago of nonsense he did, we might have had reason to blush, because he could have said a great deal that we might have felt constrained to apologise for and most especially about the Borstal. I am told that building priorities make it impossible for the Minister to erect a Borstal as early as he would like.
We are dealing not only in the physical health of adolescent youths— to-morrow to be men—we are dealing in immortal souls, and I put it to the Minister for Justice that there is no priority which can conceivably take precedence over the opportunity to save the immortal soul of one of our fellowcitizens  from damnation, and surely some of these boys are certainly as fated, if it is possible to say that of another human creature, to damn their souls if they do not get the kind of support and assistance they now stand in need of as it is possible to be. On these grounds alone, I ask the Minister for Justice to approach the Government and to ask for a first priority both on revenue and supply to get an institution built where real justice can be done to these wayward and pseudo-criminal youths and a genuine effort made to reclaim them to the nation.
Having said that, I will say no more about the Borstal this year but, with the help of God, if I am still a member of this House I will have plenty to say this time 12 months if more vigorous measures are not taken to provide the amenities which are manifestly urgently necessary, and which I believe the Minister for Justice in his heart knows are urgently necessary if individuals are not to be denied at the hands of the State in whose custody they are the minimum protection they are entitled to expect.
The question of juvenile delinquency has been raised. The Borstal cook caters for a different calibre. There is a lot of speculation about the causes of juvenile delinquency. Many people fall into the error of imagining that juvenile delinquency is a characteristic symptom of poverty. Statistics prove that that is not true. Juvenile delinquency is to be found in the families of the comparatively well-to-do just as frequently as it is in the families of the very poor.
Probably if the statistics were complete, it would emerge that juvenile delinquency occurs more frequently in the families of the well-to-do, because remember if the son of any member of this House played ball in the street or broke a window, is it likely that he would be brought before a police court? Would the neighbours go to the police about him? They would not. They would come around and knock on our door and say: “Tommy broke the window, what are you going to do about it?” and we would go out with  a nice speech and say: “We will send the glazier and fix it up”; and there would be a lot of tarara-boom-de-ay and there would be no more about it. But take a young kid from Gloucester Street who takes it into his head to break a window. Very quickly the Guards pick him up and admonish him, but if he keeps it up, as unfortunately he often does, he is brought before the magistrate.
I beg Deputies to mark this clearly —no juvenile delinquent was ever sent, except by one magistrate who shall be nameless and who was a bit “daft”, to an industrial school on his first, second or third offence. Every conceivable resource is exhausted. The probation officer looks after him and it is only when it is manifest that there is nothing else to do, he is taken from his family. That is as it should be. But bear in mind that a great many of the children of the middle class and well-to-do do not come within that experience because, long before it becomes necessary for the court to deal with them, their own parents take them to a doctor and say: “This young fellow is terrible; he has been repeatedly punished for smashing up the furniture and yet, if you take your eye off him, he goes on purposelessly with the smashing.” Almost invariably, the physician or psychologist, after a period, discovers that there is something wrong, pschologically or physically with the youngster. That defect being rectified, the whole problem is resolved and the child becomes normal again.
That brings me to the fundamental point I want to discuss. When a juvenile who is guilty of incorrigibly bad conduct is brought before the juvenile court up in the Castle and accused of having repeatedly and deliberately gone out and smashed the public lamps, the justice is told that he has been warned, and the Gardaí have brought him home to his people, that they have chastised him and that, still, out he pops at the first opportunity and commences to throw stones at the lamps. The only course open to the district justice is to send him to an industrial school where there happens to  be a vacancy for a committed child. If that child were taken to a competent doctor, he might very easily find that there was some physical or psychological defect in his make-up. The very fact of making it impossible for him to break lamps, without correcting the defect out of which that desire grew, will, in his adolescence, turn him into that very kind of pervert which is the most difficult prolem the Garda and educational authorities have to deal with. The comparatively harmless safety valve of smashing lamps has heretofore sublimated his particular complex. Cut him off from that completely, thrust it underground and it breaks out in some entirely different direction at a later stage of his life in a form desperately difficult to control and well calculated to bring misery and wretchedness not only to himself but to all related to him and responsible for him. All this because we will not provide what almost every civilised country provides—a clinic to which a child habitually brought before the children's court can be referred on remand so that, when he is brought back before the district justice to be disposed of finally, the district justice will have before him the report of competent observers as to the true cause of the child's delinquency.
I want to say with the utmost deliberation that I am as certain as I am standing on this carpet that seven out of every ten children convicted in the children's court and committed to approved schools are no more guilty of malfeasance than the angels in heaven. They are children with some internal conflict which precipitates them into a course of action they are not able to control. They may be as transparently honest as glass but it may test the ingenuity of a highly-skilled doctor to discover the cause of the trouble. Very often, the fault is not in themselves but in their parents. You find a child acting in a most extraordinary way and, when you proceed to ascertain the cause of that conduct, it is a complete mystery. But go home and meet his mother. You may then find that she is living with some man who is not her husband and the child, being conscious of the nature of that  situation, has an instinctively deep revulsion and his whole problem is a constant protest against a situation which, subconsciously, he regards as disgusting and shocking but which he is quite unable to connect with his conduct when categorically asked: “Why do you do these astonishing things?”
Conceive that kind of situation and consider the remedy provided—shipping that child off, lonely, perplexed, shocked to the very foundation of his being, to an approved school which knows nothing of his problem and cares less and which merely tries to fit him into the ordinary activities of the normal world. Eighty per cent. of the occupants of an industrial school were never before a court at all. They were committed because they were orphans or because their parents were too poor to maintain them or because something happened to break up the family and made it necessary to put the children into the care of nuns or brothers. All I am asking is that, when a district justice makes up his mind that, for the sake of the child as well as for the sake of society, it is necessary to take him from the home of the parents whom God placed over him—and that will be a very rare case—the justice should be furnished with the minimum of information which he must have if he is to make proper provision for that child.
The expense of this will not be £10,000 a year. It will keep out of prison dozens of children who, for the want of this care, must find their way there in the long run. It will spare society the solution of some of the most painful problems it is possible for society to have to deal with. Let us not put a tooth in it. It will rescue many a child from drifting into the horrors of sexual perversion and thus clouding and darkening its whole life. If the truth were told, this perversion had its roots in the cruel misusage the child received from society when it first manifested the symptoms of the fundamental illness from which it suffered. These are matters around which one always like to skirt. I have been fighting for this reform for ten years. Nobody ever says it is wrong. Nobody  ever disagrees with me but nothing ever gets done.
Can I reasonably hope now, after thousands of millions of pounds have been spent all over the world in blasting the world to pieces, that we should stipulate for £10,000 or £15,000 a year, in order to give those children who can be saved a chance that it is well within our power to give them? Or are we to go on for ever, watching them being shovelled down the broad, high road to hell?
I, therefore, ask that a clinic be established in this city, over which there should preside a motherly, highly-trained, qualified nurse, so that the first person a frightened, troublesome child will encounter, when brought from the courts, immensely distressed at being brought before the magistrate and taken away from its parents, would be a motherly woman, whose first concern is to smooth down his sorrows and restore his confidence, to assure him that no one is going to eat him, that everybody is anxious and solicitous to get him fixed up and that, maybe, after a week, he will be able to go home. I ask that there be attached to that clinic a competent Catholic psychologist and, if necessary, a competent non-Catholic psychologist, who, in collaboration with the minister of religion to which the delinquent child may belong, will proceed skilfully and competently to investigate not only the state of the child's mind but the family background from which it came.
During its period in that remand home, which ordinarily would not exceed a week, it will receive such medical treatment and such other treatment as should be necessary to restore it, as far as possible, to a normal state. I ask that such investigations may be made as may be necessary to unravel the true nature of the causes of the child's misconduct and that all this information be laid before the district justice, so that he may dispose of the child in the child's best interests.
Surely that is not an extravagant demand, either in its nature or in the expense it would involve? The dividends  which it must pay are infinite and I doubt if there is a Deputy in this House who would not agree with me 100 per cent. Granted what I say about these matters is true—and I think the Minister will confirm most of it—the proposal ought to be put in hand forthwith and this financial year should not pass without its being put into effect.
I want to question the prudence of the regulation which prohibits prison officers from issuing writs for slander or libel when allegations are made about them that, in the course of their duty, they have transgressed the regulations which they are bound to observe. A disreputable person recently published a book in this country called I Did Penal Servitude. By the Lord Harry, by the time you had finished that book, you would think the only qualification for heroism or respectability in this country was that of serving a term of penal servitude. You would begin to feel, by the time you reached the end of the book, that one who had not served a term of penal servitude was rather a disreputable character and ought to apologise for not having done his bit. That is the author's own business, but it is different when it comes, in order to lend a veneer of versimilitude to his story, to describing a prison officer who can easily be identified and attributing to him, in the presence of the prisoner in his care, the foulest of foul language and conduct generally disreputable to himself and to the service to which he belongs. The facts are that the man has been 30 years in the service and never had any complaint made against him, except that he sometimes allowed his solicitude and sympathy for a prisoner to deflect him from that degree of rigidity which a prison officer must necessarily maintain.
This man was a regular weekly communicant, who had almost a fetish about bad language and who, as I say, has only one complaint against him— that from time to time his chief warder was obliged to say to him: “Don't forget that those fellows are tough eggs and that you cannot be coddling them.”
 That man goes at once to his superior officer and says: “I want permission to instruct a solicitor to issue a writ for libel against this blackguard—not that I can get anything out of him, as he has spent the proceeds of his thefts and apparently has no intention of trying to earn his living again, but in order to vindicate my good name.” That officer is told the regulations will not permit him. He and his family have to leave that record uncontradicted and uncorrected, because the regulations say it is not in the general interest that matters of this kind should be raised by an individual officer. I have no desire to challenge or call into question a man who happens to have fallen into temptation which, because of its nature, involved his trial and sentence to penal servitude. That just happened to be his kind of condition. If the truth were known, the temptations into which I have fallen may be far worse and far more numerous, only their character was of a different sort, which did not involve me in penal servitude. Far be it from me to adopt a superior attitude to the man who did penal servitude. My complaint against him and my condemnation of him is that those who held out a hand to him, those who were kind, those who did not want to strike him in the hour of his affliction, are casually used for the purpose of setting his pot boiling and their modest reputation, which is as precious to them as that of the Taoiseach is to himself, is blackened and bespattered with dirt, in order to win the half-crowns of the sensation lovers in this country and of a visiting Monsignor from abroad.
I am bound to say that I think one of the principal reasons for juvenile delinquency in this country is that parents seem to be abjuring their duty to their children. One of the reasons is that, if a national school teacher gives a child a slap, he may find himself involved in something like the Nuremberg trial. By the time Papa and Mamma have finished describing the massacre that took place, Belsen fades into insignificance beside the scenes that took place in the national school, and a fat stump of a child is sitting beside them, ready to get up and tell his story like a man.
 The gravamen of the complaint is that he was nearly beaten unconscious, by “this ferocious villain who beat their darling child”. And yet we find people like Deputy Connolly—I was going to say “God be good to him”, but I believe he is still going strong, although he is not a member of the House now—getting up here and describing, while rolling his tongue, how they were beaten on their bottoms and what an awful thing it was that that should happen. I think if Deputy Connolly had got a good few wallops on that particular portion of his anatomy, he would not have made such a silly speech. But the national teacher who beats the child and is then brought into court on that account, is singled out and, even when she is going to Mass, people can say: “That is the teacher who was up for beating the child. She got out of it, you know, but there were strings pulled, of course.”
Mr. Dillon: Mind you, if there was a canvass taken here to-morrow of Deputies and they were asked: “Do you believe in giving a child a good beating when nothing else would make it behave itself?”, I bet you there are not 20 Deputies who would say: “I do.” They would wobble and make reservations and say that in certain circumstances it might be justifiable, but it could not be the case with any of their neighbours' children, although there might be parts of the country where it would be a good thing to do. At the same time, every one of them knows, in respect of their own children and themselves, that if they did not get an odd touch in their youth, they would be a great deal worse than they are— and that is saying a great deal.
Do you blame the children for running riot? If children get it into their heads that in the last analysis they can defy their parents and teachers and there is no ultimate sanction to be invoked against them, who would blame them for plunging from one extreme to the other? If mature people found themselves in a society where, if they indulged their baser natural instincts,  they could defy society and say, “Well, even if you do not like it, we are going to do it”, and if there was nobody there to take them by the collar of the coat and sling them into Mountjoy, no man or woman could walk with immunity in O'Connell Street.
There is no society, mature or immature, in which, in the last analysis, there must not be an ultimate sanction, before which the stoutest heart would quail and, without resorting to the cato'-nine tails, so dear to the heart of Monsignor Flanagan, a ha'penny cane is quite enough, if it is hanging on the end of the dresser and all the household know that no one wants to see it come down but, if it has to come down, down it will come and the clearer that is made ab initio, the less frequently it will become necessary for the threat to materialise.
The same is true of every national school in the country and, if the district justices had any sense, the minute they saw the indignant mamma coming in with the afflicted offspring, they would fine her £2 for neglecting her domestic duties and tell her the next time they would give her seven days.
A great many District Court clerks undertook their duties when it was very difficult to get trained men to do what they were called upon to do. Under the old dispensation the petty sessions clerks, although they were only part-time public servants, had pension rights. The part-time nature of their duties created a situation in which the occupants of these offices were ordinarily men who could not regularly adapt themselves to the full Civil Service requirement of becoming removable, and that is an essential part of being an established officer under our Civil Service as at present organised. With the passage of the past 25 years, most of the men who came forward at the time and took up positions as District Court clerks, having been petty sessions clerks, are now about to retire and they are confronted with the situation that they have no pension rights.
I have sympathy with the Minister in that, while he might be anxious to  make an exception in their case, his difficulty is that if he alters the rule in regard to these particular clerks, he will open the door so widely that there will be a regular deluge of applications for pension rights from unestablished officers and there will be a complete revolution in the existing principles.
Without going into the merits of the whole question as to whether they should have pension rights or not, I am mainly concerned to get substantial justice for this limited class of persons, so that they will not go into retirement with a deep sense of grievance, in many cases to face real poverty. I suggest, with respect to these persons in any case, that if the Minister is unable to secure pension rights for them, an ad hoc scheme should be evolved whereunder they will get a substantial grant on retiring, with a complete liquidation of any claims that they may have against the State.
I do not suppose there can be more than two dozen of them, and the matter will be disposed of for all time in the course of the next five years. It would be a grave injustice if such persons were left among their neighbours in a state of grave financial embarrassment. On the presumption that they did their duties conscientiously and well, they had no opportunity of growing rich in the capacity of court clerks, unless they approached those who had recourse to the courts and extracted from them gratuities or subsidies to which they had no real claim. Happily, we have not had a single case in which a District Court clerk acted in that manner, and it would be a poor reward for them if we now leave them in a state of poverty in the evening of their days.
The question of court costs is a very wide one and one that could not be adequately or satisfactorily dealt with in a general Estimate of this kind. There are Deputies from rural Ireland who will agree with me that however court costs are arrived at, the net result is that the last thing any sane man wants to do is to have recourse to the courts of the country in pursuit of justice, because the general belief is— and it is a well-founded belief—that if  you bring your dispute before a judge in this country it is absolute ruin for the unsuccessful litigant and very heavy financial embarrassment for the one who wins. However that problem is to be resolved, it ought to be resolved. The proper way of settling disputes between neighbours is conciliation by their neighbour or the parish priest, as the case may be. In default of that, and only as a last remedy, but it is a ready remedy, they have recourse to an impartial judge who will do justice between them.
More and more that last recourse is being withdrawn from people with moderate means. I am a member of the Bar and, to anyone who belongs to that happy company, it is treason to suggest that its identity should be merged in that of any other profession, but I cannot help thinking that in this country we are moving slowly to the position in which there is not scope for the division of the legal profession into solicitors and barristers. While it is true that the cause of law itself in Dublin may, in some measure, suffer if the two professions were merged, I believe that the cause of justice—and it is the prime function of the judiciary to give the people justice—would be much more effectively served than it is at present if we had the American system in which there are attorneys-at-law who, in fact, discharge the functions of a solicitor or a barrister.
It is true that in large urban centres where there is a great deal of specialised litigation, we do find in America a situation developing in which you will have six partners in an office, three of whom are, in effect, barristers and three, in effect, solicitors. While the solicitor members of the partnership will prepare the briefs and do the solicitorial part of the work, the advocate will ordinarily appear in court. But all over rural America millions of Americans describe themselves as “Judge This” and “Judge That” not because they have ever sat on a bench but because their neighbours like them. If your neighbours like you in America, they call you “General” or “Judge”. In fact many of these judges practise before courts of all classes in which their neighbours are ordinarily engaged.  There is no question of paying a barrister £2 2s. 0d. for getting up in the Circuit Court to ask the judge if the guardian of Johnny Brown who is a ward of court, having the mighty fortune of £270 left him by a maiden aunt, should be allowed to spend 3/9 on a pair of shoes. That, of course, is a poetic development of a system which obtains in the Chancery side but it is not in the strictest accord with economy. I think the biggest number of my profession will agree that the effect of dividing the profession in rural Ireland is to add costs to the general procedure.
In addition to that remedy, I feel that something should be done to reduce the cost of stamping documents and the costs of various functions of the court which become automatically payable by those who have recourse to the courts. There should be cheap law, rapid law and certain law available to every citizen of the State, rich and poor. The present system does not provide that. The measures requisite to do so can only satisfactorily be ascertained by an inquiry conducted by competent persons who will report to the Legislature as to the most effective measures to be taken. I suggest to the Minister that it would be well to set such an inquiry on foot in order that we may be able to determine what requires to be done and how best to do it.
General Mulcahy: I should like to take advantage of the fact that the Minister is present on this Estimate to raise one question as part of a general quest which I have been carrying out. I am looking for some Department in the State, or the Department of State, which can give us any information with regard to the position of the language in the Irish-speaking districts. In November last I addressed a question to each Minister to ask in what particular way the country was divided from the point of view of his Department into Irish-speaking districts, for what purpose they were regarded as such and what exactly was being done in relation to that. The Minister for Justice, in reply to my question, said as reported in column 1123 of the Debates of the 20th November last:
“The only purpose for which a formal definition of Irish-speaking districts has been made in this Department is in connection with the sole use of Irish by members of the Garda Síochána in districts which are regarded as Irish-speaking districts and in which a special Gaeltacht allowance is paid to the members of the Garda Síochána. The districts are as follows:—Galway, Clifden and Oughterard, in the Division of Galway West Riding; Milford, Killybegs and Clogher in the Division of Donegal, and Waterford and Dingle in the Division of Kerry.”
I want to ascertain to what extent, in any part of the various branches of administration under the Minister, cognisance is taken of the fact that Irish is the natural language of the people in that district, and to what extent cognisance is taken of the fact that the use of the language is either strengthening or weakening there. That is the first question I should like to ask him with regard to the Ministry of Justice and, indeed, with regard to various other Ministers.
Recently, I addressed a question to the Ministers in charge of every Department asking them if they had a report from the Minister for Education that, in the case of three school areas in Kerry, two in Donegal and one in Mayo, he had decided that the language was not sufficiently spoken in those areas to regard them as purely Irish-speaking districts. We know that it was decided in the last two or three years by the Minister for Education that in these districts the Irish language was fading. I think we know that that decision was taken by the Minister for Education without any examination, good, bad or indifferent, into the conditions of the language in the school districts and was based entirely on an examination carried out in the schools. So that as far as the Ministry of Education is concerned, it was brought home rather forcibly to me that although it would be suggested that the Minister for Education was the Minister mainly responsible for keeping the situation in the Irish-speaking districts under review, that was not being done, and that even  vital decisions affecting the use of the language in the schools were being taken by the Minister for Education without any examination at all as to what the position was outside the walls of the school.
In reply to my question, I find from the Minister for Justice, as well as from other Ministers, that no report at all had been received by them from the Minister for Education to the effect that, as far as facts were concerned and knowledge went, however imperfectly it was collected, the Irish language was fading in these districts. I would ask the Minister if he would let us know is there any part of his work, or any part of the administrative work carried out under him, that takes cognisance of, and reports as to, whether the Irish language is fading out of the various districts, because I am looking for the Department which accepts any responsibility for doing anything like that, and I think it is important that we should get this information.
I have been prevented from putting down a general question to the Taoiseach on the matter but I feel that at the end of my quest, I am going to find whether there is any Department in the State that is viewing that aspect of the position at all, in spite of the fact that Article 8 of the Constitution regards the Irish language as the national language and as the first official language.
Again, I ask the Minister why, from the point of view of his Department, and, so far as that is concerned, from the point of view of the Garda Síochána only, he regards as Irish-speaking districts, Galway, Clifden and Oughterard, Milford, Killybegs and Clogher, Waterville and Dingle, while part of County Waterford, part of Mayo and part of Clare are left out. If the Minister will examine the information contained in columns 1119 to 1126 of the Official Reports for 20th November last, he will find that there is a difference in the way in which the various Departments define, for the purposes of their work, the Irish-speaking districts. The fact is that there are Irish-speaking districts in Mayo, in  Waterford, in West Cork, and, to a much smaller extent, in Clare, and I ask in what respect, in relation to the work of the Garda, the courts or any other section of his Department, cognisance is taken of the fact that Irish is still the living language in small districts there.
I ask these questions because we have placed the Irish language constitutionally and from an administrative point of view in the position in which it is supposed to be, because it is the national language which, from the time our people began to read, has not only been the vernacular of our people but has been the literary medium of our people. It is still there with us, but it is fading, and, in so far as we have any positive implications at all, they are the implications contained in the actions of the Minister for Education, that is, that it is fading out of the hills and out of the glens in which, for a couple of thousand years, it has been the home language of our people, and, as I say, was the language of their literature when they were writing literature.
In my opinion, if that position is allowed to continue, we are simply beating the air and being childish in thinking that we can revive and spread throughout the rest of the country a language which is fading out of the places where it is natural, traditional, and still strongly rooted.
Therefore, I should like the Minister to understand that I want to know whether the Minister has any responsibility for letting anybody know whether the Irish language in the Irish-speaking districts is fading or not, and, in so far as his administration helps to strengthen the situation there, why he leaves out of consideration in relation to the work of the Guards, the fact that there are Irish-speaking districts in Mayo, Waterford, West Cork, and, to a very small extent, in Clare.
Mr. Flanagan: If any Department of State gets the criticism it deserves, on the occasion of the Estimates, it is the Department of Justice. Deputy Commons made a speech here last night in which he referred to political prisoners, and I am very sorry to state  that, having heard Deputy Dillon's speech, Deputy Commons was very much misrepresented. Neither the Deputy nor I would stand up here and advocate that a citizen guilty of the deliberate shooting of a policeman should be treated in any different way from a citizen guilty of murder. A political prisoner, in my opinion, is a citizen who has been punished, and perhaps victimised and hounded down by the officers of the state, because of the political views he holds. Never at any time during my five years of membership of this House have I spoken in defence of either armed robbery or cold-blooded murder, and I think that Deputies on all sides of the House would be very slow at this stage to stand over, encourage or defend in any way such actions. Political prisoners are men who have been, and are being, punished severely for the political views they hold.
I watched the Minister for Justice smile at Deputy Commons last night when he made a reference to the fact that the Garda Síochána in his area have taken certain constituents of his to the barracks and questioned them as to their political affiliations. I think that, under his breath, the Minister said that that was not the case. Deputy Commons has been so informed by his constituents, and I have every reason to believe, from other information I have at my disposal from the same area, that Deputy Commons was right. If any Civic Guard in my district took into custody any of my constituents and questioned them as to whom they had voted for or against, I would deal with them properly, if the Minister did not do so.
It is none of a Guard's business whom a citizen votes for, and I ask the Minister to have an inquiry into the complaint made here by Deputy Commons. If the position is as stated by the Deputy, if Civic Guards in that area are terrorising people who are not supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party, it is about time that some serious steps were taken to put an end to it. So far as my constituency is concerned, the Civic Guards have not probed into  the political affiliations of any of my constituents, so far as I am aware, but if I represented South Mayo, as do Deputies Cafferky and Commons, who have had the honour of having a month's holiday, if I may so term it, as guests of the State in Sligo prison, I certainly would not take such conduct as Deputy Commons and Deputy Cafferky are taking in their areas.
It is only right, when such a charge against the Civic Guards has been made, that there should be a thorough investigation to ascertain if the facts are as stated by these Deputies. If they are, immediate action should be taken to ensure that people are not brought to the barracks and questioned as to whether they are supporters of the Government, or whether they voted for Government candidates or for candidates opposed to Government policy.
Repeated requests have been made by me to the Minister for Justice for permission to visit Portlaoighise Prison. Back in 1943, I wrote to the Minister asking for permission to visit that prison, which is situated only four and a half miles from my home. I said I wanted to walk around the prison and to have a look at the sanitary conditions and at the cells. I asked if I might go in while meals were being served to the prisoners and see the type of food given to them, the manner in which it was cooked and the conditions under which it was presented to the prisoners. The Minister refused point-blank to permit me to go into the prison, which is situated, as I say, in the county town of my constituency, four and a half miles from my home. The Minister had very good reason for not permitting me to visit the prison. I am informed that at the time the Labour Party representatives visited the prison, representations were made to the Minister that I should be one of the party admitted to the prison. The Minister for Justice replied: No, that I would not visit Portlaoighise Prison while he was Minister for Justice. I submit most respectfully that the Minister for Justice has a very good reason for preventing me from visiting Portlaoighise Prison.
Mr. Flanagan: I am convinced that the Minister for Justice knows the reasons why he will not admit me to Portlaoighise Prison. I know very well that if the Minister for Justice had nothing to hide or if the Minister for Justice was not afraid that I would come out of that prison and disclose what I had seen within its walls, the Minister for Justice would allow me in. Perhaps, if I was foolish enough to take a bribe from either him or his Department, I would be allowed to go into Portlaoighise Prison and keep my mouth shut when I came out. But the Minister for Justice knows that if I got into Portlaoighise, I would disclose to the general public exactly what I had seen in the prison.
I challenge the Minister here and now, if he has nothing to be afraid of within the walls of Portlaoighise Prison, why should he not authorise the governor of the prison to accompany me on an investigation of that institution at a convenient time to the governor of the prison and myself? If everything is all right within the prison, if the Minister has nothing to worry about, he can safely grant, as far as I am concerned, the repeated requests I have made to visit that institution. If I have anything to talk about I will talk about it when my visit is over but the Minister has not seen fit to grant that request to me as an elected representative of the people in the constituency where the prison is situated. I believe that the Minister has very good reasons for refusing my request to visit the prison. He is afraid that some of the dirty work and some of the ill-treatment of the people who are in that prison would be exposed when I would come outside the walls. I challenge the Minister now. When he was asked for an explanation as to why I would not be permitted to visit the prison, two years ago, he replied that I was too young, but I was not too young to leave the two Fianna Fáil candidates in my constituency at the bottom of the poll and I will not be too young the next time to leave the two of them out completely  because, while I have a tongue in my mouth and while I have the energy and the courage that I have to stand before my constituents, I am going to let the Minister for Justice and his Party satellites, back-benchers and yes-men, know where they stand as far as the Midlands are concerned. I challenge the Minister and I defy him here and now to grant me permission to visit that prison. If he does I will go and if everything is all right within the walls of that prison, I will be man enough to come out and say: “I have seen things within the walls of Portlaoighise Prison and they are as the Minister for Justice has indicated and the prisoners, as the Minister has indicated, are being treated fairly, properly and rightly”. But, if they are not, and if conditions are not up to the standard in that prison, I shall certainly have no hesitation in letting my constituents, the House and the country know what the conditions are.
Mr. Flanagan: Political prisoners, as I have always pointed out, are men who are interned because of their political views or political affiliations. Some time ago I thought the time for having political prisoners was over. The Minister for Justice made statements time and again that the continuous hunting down of these men was only an encouragement to them to carry on. They are the Minister's own words and the Minister's own statement. I can safely say that you will have no peace or ease from that point of view while you have political prisoners. Many of them are decent, harmless men. Many of them are good, responsible citizens, whose only fault is that they do not accept the teachings laid down by the Fianna Fáil Party. It is only right that the Minister should see that these men are immediately released. If there was courage or guts in some of the Fianna Fáil Party, who are always talking and blowing about unity and about the republic, they would not stand behind the Minister for Justice in keeping these men behind locked gates and iron bars. Some members of the Fianna  Fáil Party might qualify for honours under the Reward for Bravery Bill if they would have the courage and pluck to say “No” when the Minister says “Yes”. That goes for the vast majority of Fianna Fáil back-benchers.
I would ask the Minister to indicate the prison rules now effective in relation to the ordinary prisons and convict prisons and, if there is any special code of rules governing prisons, to say where public representatives could find them. I would be very interested in having a copy. I have endeavoured on more than one occasion to lay my hand on some of these rules but have been unable to secure them. If rules exist governing convict prisons and other prisons, they should be available in the Dáil Library and it should be possible for Deputies to secure them on application to the Department of Justice.
A good deal has been said about the Garda Síochána during this debate. I would again ask the Minister to have a housing scheme formulated for the Garda Síochána. I understand that the office of the Commissioner is inundated with applications from Civic Guards seeking transfers and accommodation in various parts of the country. It is a disgraceful state of affairs to have Civic Guards applying to local authorities for houses. In every district the State should provide the sergeant of the Garda with accommodation in barracks and should provide married Guards in the stations with proper housing accommodation. In every town the State should have at least six houses for these men so that Civic Guards will not have to apply for labourers' cottages as they become vacant or to urban district councils. There are too many of the workingclass people and too many agricultural workers and ordinary labouring men deprived of housing accommodation because of the present shortage in housing and it is most unfair that Civic Guards should compete against them. It is time the Minister for Justice realised the seriousness of the situation as far as these men are concerned and he should have a scheme formulated with the least possible delay so that houses may be provided for members of the Garda force.
Mr. Flanagan: As one who has a good knowledge of rural life, I may say that bars and drinking at all-night dances should not be permitted. The Minister's Department has responsibility in connection with the licences that are issued for the supply of drink in dance halls. I think he should take steps to see that these licences are not granted. Legislation along that line would be very welcome. I am sorry to have to say that a great many of our young men, and I regret to say, too, a great many of our young women are stooping to the lowest degree of indecency. Drink is responsible for that. The bars in dance halls are an absolute encouragement to them. I have condemned this in my own constituency and I will have the courage of my convictions to do so on every possible occasion. These bars in dance halls are the ruination of the lives of our young boys and girls, and I am afraid they will go a long way towards the ruination of their immortal souls which, of course, is more serious still. There is no doubt that drunkenness is spreading through the country. The Department should do everything possible to put an end to the practice of having bars in dance halls. There is so much drink consumed in them that you have nothing but rows. As a result of excessive drinking I have seen some of those dance halls wrecked, with all the furniture completely smashed. The sober, decent people who go to these dances are denied the opportunity of enjoying themselves. They are completely disturbed by the tactics of those who go to those halls for the one purpose of getting drink.
The Minister should also bring to the notice of district justices that all-night dancing should not be encouraged. Dances should not be allowed to continue beyond 1 o'clock or 1.30 a.m. At present they go on until 4.30 or 5 a.m. The result of that is that you  have young boys and girls setting out for home in the early hours of the morning under the horrid influence of drink. They have sick heads for the remainder of the week, with the result that their work, their duties to their homes and their religion are neglected. The Minister should take a serious view of this matter and do his best to encourage good citizenship.
I was amazed when legislation was passed here giving Bord na Móna the right to have licensed canteens on the bogs so that the workers could be supplied with intoxicating liquor. In that way, the board will capture the few shillings that these unfortunate bog workers have to spend on drink. I think the workers will curse the day that these licensed canteens were set up. They have the paltry wages of from £2 to £2 5s. 0d. a week, and I think it was a mean thing for a Government Department to grant this liquor licence because it means that, during the few hours the workers are off duty, the canteen will be able to squeeze the last halfpenny out of them for beer. I am afraid these canteens will have a demoralising effect on our people. The Government, instead of doing that, should be helping on temperance, thereby making our young people good honest citizens. The bog workers should not be encouraged to consume intoxicating liquor.
That is a bad policy. I agree, of course, that a workman should be able to have one drink or two drinks if he wants it. The danger, of course, is that when these men go to the canteens there will be abuses because they will drink too much. If, say, ten men go into the canteen that means that each man will stand a round. I think that when men take ten drinks they are bound to become fairly rowdy. There can be no peace or happiness where you have that sort of thing. I would not be surprised if you saw those places burned to the ground.
I put it seriously to the Minister that something should be done to restrict the sale of liquor in them. In the towns near those turf camps we hear of scenes being created when men take too much drink. The Government, I  think, are playing a very bad part so far as making the nation sober is concerned. I have referred to the abuses that take place in the dance halls where there are bars. I might say that a lot of the abuses are caused by some of the “quality” who attend. They encourage a lot of that sort of thing. The Minister should consider sympathetically the suggestion I make to him of seeing that licences are not granted for the sale of liquor in dance halls.
The Minister's Department also has responsibility in connection with the activities of aliens in this country. I think that, as far as these people are concerned, the Minister is neglecting his duty very much. I am sorry to say that half the industries in the country are controlled by aliens. Very little is being done to give protection to our Irish industries. We have foreigners and Jews in positions of command and control.
I am aware that, in order to get a licence from the Department of Industry and Commerce to import wadding, an importer had first to get a letter from a firm that is controlled by a Jew. That is a disgraceful state of affairs. Deputy Childers, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government, who is here, is well aware that I brought some of these matters to his notice on more than one occasion. The Minister for Justice should take serious notice of this. Another person, in order to obtain a licence from the Department of Industry and Commerce to import zip fasteners, had to get a letter from another firm under the control of a Jew.
Mr. Flanagan: It has all to do with it. The Minister for Justice is responsible for the conduct of aliens here. If something is not done about them, you will soon have no Irish nationals in control of industry here. All the cinemas in the country are controlled by aliens.
Mr. Flanagan: Another person who wanted to get a licence to import ribbon had to get a letter from a firm under the control of a Jew. Deputy Childers, the Parliamentary Secretary who held a very high position with our Irish manufacturers for some time, must know that that is a very serious state of affairs—if Jews and other aliens are to be permitted to write letters in connection with the obtaining of licences through the Department of Industry and Commerce for commodities such as I have mentioned.
Mr. Flanagan: I am well aware of that. What I am dealing with is the question of Jewish control here. The Minister for Justice has some responsibility for the activities of aliens who were blown over here to get fatter and richer, while our Irish nationals are getting thinner and poorer. I believe that this is something the Minister for Justice ought to wake up to and see that the Irish nationals are protected against the Jews and other aliens who have come over here to make a good thing out of ourselves and Irish industries. We have them paying rock-bottom wages to young boys and young girls, working here, day after day, in this very city, and I believe that the Minister for Justice ought to investigate the activities of such aliens. We have known cases.
One of the most important of those men was a Mr. Sigal, whose activities certainly were to the credit of no citizen in this country, and he was an alien and the Minister for Justice saw fit, not too long ago, to see that the necessary steps were taken to have this man removed from here. He should have been removed years ago—before he gave a lot of those letters to his friends and colleagues to have those licences issued. Deputy Childers is very well aware of that. No steps were  taken to remove Mr. Sigal from this country until it was getting hot for someone else and to hide Government policy—probably some of the Ministers —Mr. Sigal was immediately deported so that no dirty work would come out. It is not too long ago that I asked a question whether he paid his debts— property tax and income tax—and the Minister replied that it was a question for the Revenue Commissioners. But certainly he gave them a right stick before he left. The situation, as far as the control of Jews in this city and throughout the whole country is concerned, is very serious. Aliens are buying up land, houses, property, and something will have to be done or the country will be overrun by foreigners here while we will be looking on and we will be turned into the slaves of the foreigner again. Something will have to be done to see that the Irish race and the general public of this country are protected from the influence and destruction of aliens and Jews whose influence is growing stronger and stronger in this country every day.
The Minister for Justice is also responsible, I understand, for the conduct and appointment of district justices and for the manner in which they carry out their duties. District justices are men appointed by the Department to carry out and exercise the law. I may say that the attention of the Minister for Justice has been drawn, on more than one occasion, to the manner in which certain district justices abuse their privileged positions. In the town of Edenderry—it is not too long ago——
Mr. Flanagan: Surely the Minister is responsible for the appointment of a district justice, and, if he is, I submit, a Leas-Chinn Comhairle, that I have your protection in advising the Minister as to the proper type of citizen to appoint. I believe that a citizen with the necessary qualifications should be appointed to fill the post, a man with the honour and dignity that the office carries. I am sorry to say that the  Minister's attention was drawn to a certain district justice——
Mr. Flanagan: I believe that in cases where district justices are appointed, Sir, they ought to be men in general who can uphold the dignity of their office and that they ought to be men who will not use their privileged positions for the purpose of casting a reflection on any group or section of the people. If a district justice is appointed to a position he is supposed to administer the law in one district as in another. The personal attention of the Minister for Justice has been drawn to the fact that where an application was made in a certain District Court by the L.D.F.——
Mr. McGilligan: When I was a member of the Department of Justice we did call in for direct criticism certain district justices who had erred in their approach to the public with statements that reflected on certain sections of the public. I suggest that that should still be done.
Mr. McGilligan: If it is the system— and it was in my time—that a district justice can be called in to be criticised by the Department, then surely a Deputy would be entitled to refer to such conduct as would, in his opinion, deserve criticism?
Mr. Flanagan: I am not referring to any particular case but to cases in general where my attention has been  drawn to the standard of conduct of those men, and I believe that where the Minister's attention has been drawn to certain conduct and complaints he should take action, and I am including complaints that have been made from my own constituency; and I am one man who would not allow any man to insult the L.D.F. Neither would the Minister, and where a gross insult has come from the bench to the L.D.F.——
Mr. Flanagan: I believe that the Minister should see that no abusive language should come from the lips of these men who are on the benches. I have known unfortunate people who have had to suffer abuse from these men in their privileged positions and these unfortunate people had no protection from the abuse and impertinence from the men who are supposed to hold a high and honourable and dignified position in this State.
Questions have arisen in this House from time to time about Communism, and I believe the Minister for Justice informed the House that as far as Communism was concerned he had his eye very carefully on the activities of promoters of Communism. It is not so long since the Minister for Justice took steps to see that the strongest possible police force would be present in Croke Park to watch the activities of a few national teachers out to look for the best standard of living they could get. That was on the 6th October last. The teachers were out to inform public opinion as to the genuineness of their grievance against the Department. On the 27th October, Croke Park was again invaded by hordes of police officers and detectives to watch the activities of the few national teachers who were likely to be amongst the spectators. Steps were taken by the Garda Síochána to deal very cruelly and harshly with these teachers. The teachers were prevented from holding a meeting in Dublin by members of the Garda Síochána who received their instructions from the Department of  Justice. The Minister for Justice stated at the time that it would not be in the public interest to allow the meeting to be held and he took steps to prevent it. The majority of the national teachers are good, honest, Irish Catholics who are a credit to their profession and to the dignified position they hold. When these men were agitating for their rights, to save his colleague, the Minister for Education, from embarrassment, the Minister for Justice used the full force of the Garda Síochána to create uneasiness and to bring to an end, if possible, the campaign of the teachers.
Then we saw the Dean of Canterbury, Dean Johnston, come to the Mansion House on the 25th November last to engage in his Communistic work. There were no hordes of Gardaí there to see that Communistic doctrines would not be taught. Notices were published in the papers, under the auspices of the Irish Friends of Soviet Russia, and circulars were distributed to the citizens of Dublin regarding the holding of that meeting in the Mansion House. The meeting was held with the full protection of the State and the Dean of Canterbury came over to plant the seeds of Communism here and to help to foster the seeds already planted by his colleagues in the Communistic movement prior to that. Why had not the Minister the whole force of the Gardaí to prevent such a meeting? He did not attempt to prevent the Communist meeting but he prevented the national teachers from having a meeting. That is a thing of which the Minister can be proud. I ask the Minister to make an Order prohibiting this lecturer from lecturing in this country in future. The Dean of Canterbury should never have been permitted to enter this country to give a lecture on Communism. Now that the Minister knows what took place at the meeting and how certain citizens were treated, I hope he will take the necessary steps in connection with the Irish Friends of Soviet Russia. Of course, the Minister has a great deal of sympathy with Soviet Russia. In the Dáil, I think he advocated friendship between Soviet Russia and this country. Now that he knows the danger likely to result from lectures by such  persons as Dean Johnston, under the auspices of the Irish Friends of Soviet Russia, I hope he will see that an Order is made preventing this lecturer from landing in the country. If the people had any spunk or guts they would kick him out and save the Minister the trouble of making the Order.
The Dáil should protest in the strongest manner against any attempt to spread the seeds, or extend the roots, of Communism. We have seen the curse brought upon other countries in Europe by Communistic activities. We saw how Communism was responsible for the imprisonment of one of the princes of the Church, Archbishop Stepinac. It has brought distress, wreckage and ruin to many countries. The sooner the Minister wakens up, realises the seriousness of the position and puts his foot down on Communistic activities, which are spreading rapidly in the country, the better for the people. We are all proud, as Christians, of the blessed year 432, when St. Patrick came to this island to spread the true faith. Are we going to see the faith which was defended and cherished by the Irish people through generations wrecked and ruined by those who are out to spread Communism? It is the bounden duty of the Minister to see that such activities will be curtailed and prevented so far as possible. It is only right that a statement should come from the Minister as to why he allowed that meeting to take place in the Mansion House and why he prevented the national teachers from holding one. If the Garda assembled at Croke Park to prevent these teachers from having a demonstration, the same steps should have been taken to prevent the trouble that arose out of the Mansion House meeting. I hope these steps will be taken in respect of future meetings and that this lecturer will be prevented, by Order, from delivering lectures so harmful to the nation.
Representations have been repeatedly made to the Minister in connection with the provision of new Garda stations. Whether the Minister's Department or the Board of Works are to blame, they have been very slow in  undertaking the work. In many areas in the Midlands, there has been unreasonable delay in dealing with applications for new Garda stations and in having the stations erected. The station at Shannonbridge, Ballinasloe, is very old and dilapidated. The Board of Works have an excellent site for a new station right beside the existing barracks at Shannonbridge. I would be very glad if the Minister would have the new Garda station erected at Shannonbridge as soon as possible, as the existing one is very old and is an eyesore in the district.
I would like to take this opportunity of joining the other Deputies who have made an appeal to the Minister to see that the necessary legislation is implemented as soon as possible in regard to pensions for the District Court clerks. They are certainly a section of the community—especially those who were appointed in the early days—who had a very important part to play and I think they are entitled to some pension after their years of service.
Mr. Flanagan: Surely I am entitled to ask, in order to bring about greater efficiency in his Department, if he might consider seeing that a scheme would be introduced and placed before this House, so that legislation——
Mr. Flanagan: The Minister for Justice on many occasions has made awards for bravery. On more than one occasion he made those awards and it was only right and necessary that recognition should be given. There was one striking case brought to his notice, of a young man who was a member of the Defence Forces and who figured very prominently in a very serious rail crash which took place at Straboe in my constituency a short time ago. This young man saved the lives of  several officers of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.
Mr. Flanagan: The Minister has a lot to do with recognition for bravery. I submit that the least the Minister could have done was to consider the very brave and gallant attempt of this young man, who successfully saved the lives of two very important officers of this State. I would be very glad, even at this late stage, if the Minister would give sympathetic consideration to the fact that this young man, who was travelling on the train down to his home in Portlaoighise, held up singlehanded an iron roof of a railway carriage.
Mr. Flanagan: Well, it should arise; that is a plain way of saying it. I think the Minister let a lot of those cases pass unnoticed and they certainly deserve some consideration. As far as the Department in general is  concerned, a statement should be made by the Minister in connection with the meeting held in the Mansion House. I ask him to see that the necessary Order is made to prevent the lecturer I referred to a few moments ago from delivering further lectures in this country.
Major de Valera: I wish, first of all, to add a few words in support of those speakers who have asked the Minister to consider the case of the District Court and Circuit Court clerks. It has been amply covered by a number of other speakers and I merely wish to add my voice to what has been said by them.
Deputy Dillon raised the matter of legal costs. Regarding his main contention, I should prefer not to attempt to deal with it at the moment, as it is something rather deeper and more fundamental than the mere question of expense. Immediately relative to this Vote, however, there is another point. There has been a tendency during the past few years for costs connected with the administration of justice to increase, that is, costs that litigants have to pay directly in regard to the services which the courts have afforded. An example of that is to be found in the legal administration in a Department which may not be, strictly speaking, the Minister's responsibility but still is essentially tied up with the Department of Justice. I refer to land registry fees. I know they are probably not immediately the Minister's responsibility, but they are a very clear instance of costs being inflated, owing to increased administration costs which have nothing to do with the legal professions at all.
The administration of justice as between man and man for which our ordinary civil courts cater is of such importance to the community that an undue share of the expense involved should not be borne by the actual litigants. At the moment, practically all the costs of a particular case are borne by the actual litigants, who very often are responsible for having matters decided which are of interest to the community as a whole. For that reason, if there are of  necessity increased costs involved in the administration of the court machine, they should be borne by the community at large rather than be charged specifically to the litigants of the moment in the form of court fees.
Furthermore, in order to keep the administration of justice as between man and man an active and live thing, something that the citizen can avail of, any incidental increases in court fees whether from current economic circumstances or from a desire to raise money for the Exchequer, should be borne by the community at large and not by the individual litigants, as happens at the moment.
Deputy Dillon has raised a point that no one could ignore. It is a point that many people have considered from time to time. He prefaced his remarks by saying he was a member of the Bar and he addressed himself to the matter of costs. His solution was to change radically the organisation of the legal profession in this country. Many representatives of the two professions involved would sympathise with Deputy Dillon on this question of costs and would sympathise with constructive proposals to afford cheaper law for the community as a whole. But I am afraid that Deputy Dillon, who prides himself so often on basing his arguments on principles and on the fundamentals of his subject, omitted in this case to examine the fundamentals. However, this is probably not just the best time to raise it. For my own part, as I am speaking impromptu on the matter now, I feel that I have not marshalled the facts and the inferences and implications in this whole subject sufficiently to deal with it now.
I do say this, that whatever the disadvantages of the present system, it has one advantage, that, in its structure and its framework, it is a guarantee against corruption in a way that nobody who has not studied it, or been intimately connected with it, can appreciate, and any proposal to modify or alter that position should be considered only if it affords the same guarantee of integrity as is afforded by the present system. For the moment I confine my remarks strictly to that. It is not a subject upon which, without  due preparation, I could give a considered and reasoned argument one way or the other. I would not go so far on a matter of such fundamental importance to the individual, a matter which goes so fundamentally to the whole concept of personal freedom as we know it, without very careful consideration. Though I, like Deputy Dillon, happen to be a member of a certain profession, I would not deal with it without considering it primarily from the point of view of the ordinary citizen and then from the point of view of a Deputy, putting away as effectively as Deputy Dillon ever protested, all considerations of local professional associations or anything of that sort.
I say again, approaching this matter as a citizen of the State with an interest in that concept of personal liberty as we know it, and then as a Deputy in this House with responsibility to a constituency and a portion of the community at large, that I could not address myself to this subject without very careful consideration, particularly in regard to the guarantees of integrity and the safeguards from corruption which the system which we have gives, and without adverting carefully to the abuses that are known to have been associated with the system to which Deputy Dillon refers, although that particular system might have advantages from a purely monetary point of view. I am careful at this stage, for the very reason that I am approaching it as a citizen and as a Deputy and putting aside all fear, favour or prejudice with regard to any other association. It is for that very reason that, having mentioned one problem involved, I here explicitly refrain from voicing my decision, so to speak, one way or the other, at this stage, because, if the matter is to be considered, it is a separate matter to be considered later.
But it does lead on to this—and here I may run the risk of running foul of the limits imposed in a debate on the Estimate for the Department of Justice —that there is a tendency and there has been a tendency, not only in this country but in England—and it is a lamentable tendency—to restrict the legitimate civil jurisdiction of our  superior courts. I think the Chair has ruled that it would not be proper to discuss impending legislation or legislation which we shall have an opportunity of discussing in other ways, but I take this opportunity to ask the Minister to guard against the tendency of the day to restrict, through the operation of the administrative machine, the jurisdiction and discretion of our superior courts, which are so necessary if democracy is to function as we should like it to function. Unfortunately, one of the forms which the restriction of the superior courts takes is the increasing of the jurisdiction of inferior tribunals which have not got a sufficiently universal jurisdiction, while at the same time you restrict the right of appeal to a superior court.
This is, perhaps, not the time for me to go into details. I merely take the opportunity to express a view to the Minister and press upon him that there is a need at the present time to react against a certain tendency—that is, if we are to keep the system which is enshrined in the Constitution, and which we all really wish should be an actively working system. But there is, resulting from economics and the recent war and other things, a tendency to make certain aspects of that system almost unworkable. I ask the Minister, both in his legislation and in the question of appointments to judicial positions, to bear that in mind and, particularly, if the point that Deputy Dillon has made is to be considered at all, that it must be realised that here you have something that leads to a matter that is almost as fundamental to our whole structure as if Deputy Dillon had proposed that the judiciary should hold office during the pleasure of the Executive.
When I put it that way, people see the danger of it. I say that the proposal put forward by Deputy Dillon has implications as deep and as dangerous and whereas, as I have said, I have refrained completely from an expression of opinion one way or the other in regard to the present system, the reason is that such matters can only be considered as a fundamental question in our whole philosophy of  government and is not likely to be disposed of in the case of an Estimate such as this.
I have taken it upon myself to make these remarks. I am sorry, in a way, that it was not a Deputy who had no association with the legal profession who made these remarks. I want it made perfectly plain that it is from the point of view of the ordinary man in the street and as a Deputy that I make them and that it has nothing whatever to do with mere, narrow, professional associations. I say this as a word of warning, that if and when such a debate would arise, people should be very loath to suggest that if lawyers speak on such a matter or deal with it, that they are dealing with it from a local, professional point of view. Some may—it is a human matter—but in the main there are certain principles that have been established by the lawyers merely because the lawyers were the experts who had studied the matters in question. Remember in the growth of law, the legal system which we have has been very closely associated with the growth of society and the growth of government and limited by the economic situation of the particular day when the decisions were made. The people who laid down these principles were not doing it merely as academic lawyers. They were crystallising the experience, not only of the courts but of the whole of society. The principles in regard to the freedom and the rights of the individual, which are so important today, were deducted on general grounds, not merely on formal grounds, and they are essential and fundamental in our whole concept of government. These remarks in a sense may be vague but the debate on this Estimate is not the time to go into the matter raised by Deputy Dillon. I shall conclude with a word of warning that to approach such a subject merely on the occasion of the Estimate, might involve the community in very serious and radical results which nobody would welcome.
Mr. McGilligan: The last speaker is very adept at giving a pin-prick where he should give a dagger thrust at the  administration that sits in front of him. He has spoken rather with bated breath about costs. Will he inquire from the Minister what proportion finally of costs is represented by what are known as court fees and will he use whatever influence he has in the background to try to prevent the long-drawn-out struggle on the part of the Department of Finance to use the courts to pay their own way? That is the standard the Department sets. If the Deputy will inquire as to the particular part of court costs in which there might be a diminution, he will find that a great diminution could be made if the Department of Finance was not so anxious to get what it thinks is its rightful share out of the different court fees and court documents.
Before passing to the main points I desire to make, there are two special points to which I should like to direct attention. The first has to do with future legislation and I suggest that this is a matter to which I might properly refer on this Estimate, notwithstanding the ruling which the Chair has already given.
An Ceann Comhairle: I allowed two Deputies yesterday to refer to two matters which might involve legislation. Another Deputy referred to a broken promise. Rules were made long ago that on the Estimate a Minister might not be arraigned for not introducing legislation but having allowed the two matters to be discussed yesterday, I cannot now prohibit Deputy McGilligan from following the same line.
Mr. McGilligan: I shall be very brief in my references to them. The Minister knows that a measure was introduced by Deputy Costello and myself dealing with the question of joint tort feasors and on that occasion he promised that he would take the matter up and get it dealt with in his Department. One day subsequently, a colleague of mine waved a piece of  paper and said: “There is the draft.” That was not the present Attorney-General and if the measure was in draft such a long time ago, I wonder why it has not been introduced since? I do not see why that should be tied up with a whole lot of law rules. There is one other matter that has been referred to and again I shall deal with it in one sentence. We all know that attached to the pleadings is the old fiction that the king can do no wrong. That has been abolished in England but here we are in a State which does not recognise the king——
Mr. McGilligan: The measure has gone through one House. It has got to the stage at least of being introduced before one House on the other side but still we have that old-time law here. If the small matter of joint tort feasors is not to be held up for a general revision of the law, I do not see why we should have to wait such a long time for it. I would suggest to the Minister that he should take the matter in hand and let us know when we are likely to have a measure dealing with it.
The second matter is also one to which I suggest I am perfectly in order in referring. I want to ask the Minister to set his face sternly against a practice which has been spoken of here. I believe there is some substance in the rumour that his Department from time to time send memoranda to district justices as to how they are to carry out their functions in certain respects. If that is being done it is a scandal. If it has to be done—and there may be occasions that call for it —it should be done openly and the public should know what sort of lecture is being given to a district justice. We have had the experience here of listening to a colleague of the Minister speaking in hostile terms of district justices because they had not sent enough people to jail for certain offences. He criticised them and I am sure his criticism was brought to their notice. On the matter as to whether the conduct of district justices can be brought under any sort of notice in this House, I suggest that it can and  that this is the only Estimate on which it can.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister in a recent piece of legislation abolished the old system of dealing with district justices and he took the power to himself that he would be the person who would report anything which seemed to him to call for inquiry in the conduct of a district justice, to a judge of the High Court, to conduct that inquiry. The Minister is the man who reports to the judge of the High Court. That is the situation in a section of the Act of 1946. The Minister is the person who must take cognisance of something that the district justice is doing and he must report——
Mr. McGilligan: He asks a judge of the High Court to conduct an inquiry and when the judge has finished that inquiry he reports direct to the Minister and there, so far as the law is concerned, the matter ends. It is the Minister we have to attack in order to find out whether he has reported something which we think should not be reported or to find out what the nature of the report is. I suggest in these circumstances, it is proper to ask the Minister in connection with an attack on individual district justices, whether his attention has been directed to what is alleged against the district justice, whether he has taken any action, if he has got a report and what is the effect of the report. I am not proposing to do that now but I suggest that the matter which Deputy Flanagan was attempting to raise was in order on this Estimate. I do not know what the facts are but I do say this that if I had any facts arising out of an attack on a district justice in court, I am entitled to raise that matter on this Estimate and I do not know how else I could do it.
Mr. McGilligan: How else could the matter be raised? The Minister presumably would have information about it. If the Minister has power to report on the conduct of a district justice, he is then responsible to this House as to whether he did in certain circumstances make such a report. How can Deputies in this House inquire, except by raising a matter like this on the Estimate or by putting down a Parliamentary Question? I think the Minister is not denying that what I have stated is the procedure.
Mr. McGilligan: I am merely trying to put the thing in order. The Minister has grown up to have the type of tenderness which makes him regard any attempt to get public opinion focussed on his Department as creating mischief.
Mr. McGilligan: What position will the Chair be in in regard to this? The Government have control of not merely the appointment but the dismissal of all judges, even High Court and Supreme Court judges, to this limited extent.
Mr. McGilligan: They come before the House with a resolution. Would I not be entitled to suggest to the Government,  by motion, by question or on an Estimate, that such-and-such a judge's conduct was of such a type that they should come in with a resolution? I certainly think I would. It might put the Chair and the judge in an embarrassing position, but it would be a very exceptional circumstance, and that, I am afraid, is none of my business. The Chair would have to resolve that difficulty for itself. I am merely suggesting that I am not out of order in speaking on this and that Deputy Flanagan was not out of order when you ruled him out of order.
Mr. McGilligan: It is clearly the case that the Minister is the person responsible for initiating the inquiry by a High Court judge into the conduct of a district justice. If that be so, the Minister is open to our criticism for failing to move, if particular circumstances seemed to a Deputy to call for movement on his part and I suggest it arises. I wanted not to let the matter you ruled upon pass without making that protest against it and formulating the protest in that reasoned way.
With regard to the Estimate generally, we are getting accustomed to this procedure on the part of the Minister of coming in here and giving a long recital of statistics of crime. I remember that, a couple of years ago, he said we had reached a point at which crime had become stabilised, and, when I laughed at him, he added hurriedly that it was stabilised at 100 per cent. above 1939, but, still, it was stabilised. He commends himself this year for the fact that it is not even as high as it was last year. He gives us an amount of statistics as to the number of criminals we have, together with a certain segregation of these criminals' offences under the headings  of “indictable” and “non-indictable” and gives us also statistics relating to crime by juveniles. He refers us in particular to the report prepared by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána. The only one I have been able to obtain relates to 1945 and I gather from his reference to the report for 1946 that it has not yet been put in final form.
Mr. McGilligan: The latest pabulum we have in connection with crime in the country, even in statistical form, is the Commissioner's report covering 1945. Why this document of 22 pages could not be produced earlier than March of this year dealing with the year 1946, I do not know. It is not that the difficulty is in relation to printing, to which another Minister referred, because it is in neo-styled form. It is not much good to give us these statistics, although it may be some comfort to people to know that there is not any big jump in the matter of crime and it may please others to know that we are falling back a little from the allhigh levels we reached last year and the levels we reached in 1942 and 1943. That is not a great deal of good to people if they are trying to investigate the crime position. What people are anxious to know is whether there has been any examination made as to the cause of crime, whether anybody in the Minister's entourage has attempted to discover what has led to the doubling of indictable crime in the country since 1939. If we had some examination of that, we could ask the Minister whether or not any steps are being taken to eradicate these causes or whether the Minister merely says: “That is my colleagues' doing, and, although I have collective responsibility with them for such things as the higher cost of living and degraded standards of living, it is not my particular responsibility on this Vote.”
Looking at the statistics for what they are worth, one or two things strike me and I speak all the time about the 1945 figures. It seems to be accepted as the proper average that proceedings are taken in roughly 50 per cent. of the crimes reported to  the police. I take that as the general average. Only in 50 per cent. of the cases reported to the police are proceedings eventually instituted and, of course, a lesser percentage of the proceedings result successfully, but on the whole it looks as if 50 per cent. is taken as the average, and apparently the Department is happy enough in that circumstance. If the Guards take proceedings in roughly half the cases in which offences are notified, the matter is all right. I wonder is the Minister satisfied that that is a good situation, or is there any explanation of why the other 50 per cent. are allowed to go without any proceedings being taken?
That percentage is specially referred to in page 7 of this report under a particular heading. Taking this matter of offences against property without violence, the average seems to be held all the way through. The percentage of offences in which proceedings were taken in 1938 was 56. It goes down as low as 44 per cent. in 1939 and reached the 50 per cent. mark only twice. At the moment we are in the region of 48 or 49 per cent. That, as I say, is a special heading, but, generally speaking, it looks as if the crimes, so far as advancing towards proceedings is concerned, are half mysteries. The other half are brought before the judges and a determination follows.
I was amazed on looking through this report by one figure. I had thought that the great burden imposed on the courts, the lower regions of the courts, recently was in connection with the stealing of pedal cycles and I was amazed to find that, in 1938, there were 1,160 cases of thefts of pedal cycles. I do not know whether that figure represents the cases reported or the cases tried, but the figures are roughly the same. Thefts of that type rose to 1,400 in the first year of the war and that cannot have been the effect of war conditions or of putting people on bicycles, because the figure is for 1939 and the increase in bicycle riding had not started to a great extent at that time. We swing then from 1,400 in 1939 to 1,530. One of the shocks I got was to find that, in spite of the very  big increase in the use of pedal cycles, the numbers of thefts have only risen from 1,400 to 1,530. It was higher in 1942 and 1943 when it went up to 3,362 and to 2,252, but to me the fact that we are only at that figure now is rather surprising.
That is not so very big as I have shown—“property in unattended vehicles, clothing left on clothes-lines at nights”—that is almost put forward as a default on the part of the public. Apparently, society has come to the point that one is regarded as giving trouble to the police if one leaves clothes on a clothes-line at night—“ladies' handbags in dance halls and churches, overcoats”—I do not mind overcoats “in hotels or restaurants”— but overcoats “in halls of houses.” Have we come to the point that the Commissioner thinks fit to complain that the public are leaving the washing on the clothes-line at night, that women are leaving handbags in churches and that overcoats are being hung up in the halls of private houses? When I was a boy I used to be amused by the old melody about “Rich and rare were the gems she wore”, and the lady who could walk through all Ireland, and the comment: “Were Erin's sons so good or so cold as not to be tempted by women or gold?”
Mr. McGilligan: Does the Minister think it is proper to throw that comment on the public without some explanation, that the Commissioner sees fit to complain that an extremely difficult task is left upon the police if people leave their overcoats in the hall at night, if women leave handbags in churches, and if the ordinary housewife leaves the washing on the line at night? Apparently, that is the situation that we have reached.
I wonder has the Minister with his associates made any attempt to discover anything about the incidence of crime and the peculiar nature of it and what has led to this special outbreak in the last five or six years. There have been many books written investigating this matter of recent years and they all appear to agree upon one or two points. One is, first of all, that crime is not so common in a rural area as it is in a city. Those statistics do not enable us to say whether that is so in this country or not but surely a very easy distribution of the statistical matter at the Minister's disposal would enable us to see whether that is so or not.
In regard to the next point—the special matter of juvenile delinquency —I find myself up against the comment of the Commissioner's at page 15. He says that “the circumstances contributing to delinquency are thought to be”—I do not know why it is put in that rather detached way—“lack of parental control, desire to get money for amusement, mischief, youthful gang influence, criminal associations and necessity.” The peculiar thing is that, in 1939, there is a 50 mark in regard to necessity and it only rises to 54 in 1945. That is not stated to be a  percentage. I take it to be actual cases. If that is so, then it means that, on the Commissioner's view, necessity is having less absolute value as a source of crime than it used to have. If that is supposed to be the inference to be drawn from that, I do not agree with it and I do not know anybody who is interested in these criminological matters who would agree with that view. In any event, that referred only to juvenile delinquency and I do not know what the Commissioner's views are with regard to crime on the whole because, on the whole, the view that I understand has been taken in regard to crime is that, first of all, it is less notorious in rural areas and, secondly— and here I do not want to be subjected to any distortion; I do not want anything I say here misrepresented—it is clearly recognised that the lower the element of society, judged entirely by the income group, definitely the more crime there is. I do not say that with a view to criticising poor people in any community, particularly in this community, but it is stated to be a fact objectively found in other communities. I wonder is it the case here.
There are many explanations. The explanations run along very ordinary lines: that, in the first instance, the home circumstances are not very attractive and people are thrown, of necessity, out on the street more than when the home is in some way attractive; secondly, the type of control that is exercised in the poor household beset by all sorts of amazing difficulties arising out of the mere struggle to live, of course must be less effective than the control that is exercised when the parents of the family have some leisure to think about something else than how to get the next day's bread and butter. There is a third point: that the community life that is lived in a city, and particularly when one gets to the lower quarters of a city, is on a much lower level and that the standards that are achieved there are naturally of a lower type than they would be in other quarters.
That is put in different ways. One refers to what is called the sway of public opinion and it has been asserted definitely with regard to other commutive  nities than our own that in what I call the mean streets of any community, the swing of public opinion, the standard of public opinion and the standard of public morality is apt to be lower than in other places. When one says that, one has to recognise the amazing examples to the contrary and there are amazing examples to the contrary. I know that sociologists going around bad quarters in different cities are often struck at the amazing control that good parents achieve over their children and that good parents achieve even over the more or less adult members of their families, notwithstanding the desperate difficulties to which they are subjected.
I would like to know from the Minister whether he could not assist us by dividing this statistical material for us a bit better in the future, so that we could learn is it true that the rural community is less inclined to crime and, secondly, is it true that, so to speak, the middle-class group has a less high incidence of crime amongst its members than the people who are forced to live in tenement houses and under all sorts of peculiar disorder and disagreeable conditions, because that has been suggested. If figures prove these two facts then, of course, there are two tendencies in life here that it would be proper to attempt to correct from the angle of the prevention of crime or from the angle of diagnosing causes of crime and trying to prevent them having their usual effect. One would be to try to prevent the amazing drift that there is to the cities and towns of this country from the countryside. The second thing is to attempt to prevent the degradation of life in the country which has been taking place here in the last five years through the terrible increase in the cost of living and the consequent decrease in the purchasing power of what people have got to live upon. One cannot, in the absence of the statistical material, make any attempt to discover what are the reasons for this prevalence of crime and these amazingly large numbers of crime.
People always refer casually to the war and say that war means disordered mentality and a loosening up of the  moral viewpoints of the community and, therefore, that you have, so to speak, to expect, even though you may deplore, an increase in crime during any war period. We had not war. We had not the war circumstances that have led to the loosening up of public morals and the giving of lesser standards amongst those who make public opinion. We had not them, in any event, in full force. But when that loosening of morals ascribed to war is further analysed, one of the points I find always adverted to is that homes are broken up and that where a home is broken up, and particularly where the male parent is forced away either to service of an army type or some sort of munition works then, of course, there is not the same standard in the house and, therefore, the children get more or less out of hand and, therefore, there is a disposition towards crime.
Again, if that be the case, it must be remembered that, although we had not the impact of war here, we had the impact of very heavy emigration, which undoubtedly did help to break up homes in this country and undoubtedly did remove in very many cases the people to whom the children would ordinarily have looked for help, the people who were bringing in the money, the individual of the house, the father or possibly the mother or elder brother or sister, who was helping to support the home and who was getting some little bit of moral authority through the fact that he or she was a bread-earner for the little community. In the absence of the statistical material, it is not possible to go into this very much.
Before I leave the matter of crime, its incidence and what causes it, the Minister and his Commissioner make a segregation into what are called indictable offences and non-indictable offences. I gathered from my reading of the newspapers this morning that the non-indictable offences, about which we need not bother very much, are classified under four headings: (1) licences for dogs and all sorts of offences in connection with dogs; (2) offences under the Road Traffic Act and Acts; (3) offences under the Intoxicating  Liquor Acts; and (4) school attendance. With regard to these, I have always felt that the Guards have impressed on them to too great a degree the necessity for seeing that publicans meticulously observe the intoxicating liquor laws.
I would be prepared to go a good length of the way with Deputy Flanagan in saying that if there was more attention paid to the giving of licences in connection with all-night functions, if there was a greater tightening up in that respect, it would probably have a better effect on the whole community than these meticulous inquiries as to whether a publican has kept his licensed premises open for five or six minutes beyond the legal time. From reports that I have seen myself, it would appear as if nine-tenths of a Guard's life is spent in looking for offences under the intoxicating liquor code. Why we should bother about that so much, I do not know. At the moment it is not one of the great crimes against society. I would not say that drunkenness is on the increase so far as the adult population is concerned, and in any event whatever degree of drunkenness there may be we are not likely to have any great addition to it if people do keep their premises open for five or seven minutes after the recognised time. It seems to me a great waste of time, particularly in the rural areas, to have Guards setting out on patrol duty to see if the public houses in the area are closed at the proper time.
Again, with regard to these non-indictable offences, I wish the Commissioner in his report to the Minister would make a further segregation. There is a fair amount of matter that comes before the District Courts which can be properly described as a sort of social bad manners. While it may be described as that, it has not anything with a great moral fault in it. I think it would be well if the Minister could get that further segregation so that we might have clearly before us incidents or offences which really might be called social bad manners as opposed to something that had about it incipient depravity. In the courts, I have seen a number of Guards sworn to give evidence against unfortunate children found playing football around deserted  quarters in this city, quarters where there is no traffic and where there are no plate glass windows to be broken or property to be destroyed. The country boy has the great advantage that there is no interference with him when he turns out to play football. If he feels the inclination to throw stones, he can do so because it is not apt to get him into trouble. Country boys can engage in all the activities that boys will engage in, activities which are quite harmless and some of which are quite healthy. If the city boy attempts the same thing, he is brought into court because there is the fear that if he gets beyond a certain point he is going to meet with an injury caused by vehicular traffic or that property will be broken or trespass done. Quite an amount of that sort of thing might, I think, be described as bad manners from the aspect of society. If we had this further segregation that I speak about, we might be able to get from it some indication of what can be regarded as even budding crime, something that is going to cause the community harm, and what in the old days would not merit more for a youngster than a cuff in the ear. At the moment we have the solemn farce of people being paraded in court and fined for these so-called offences.
The matter of prisons has been very much debated. I wish that at some time we could have a debate on prisons and on nothing else so that we might be able to find out if there is any common ground between us on the matter. I wonder if the Minister or his officials has any real idea of what is happening in prisons, and whether he deliberately intends that some of the things that go on in them should take place. Is there a mind and a purpose behind what goes on in them, or is the position what I am led to believe it is, namely, that there is a certain amount of tiredness, something in the nature of a recognition that this was the system which people found when they came to office, and that nothing is done because it would require a tremendous amount of energy to make a change? If the objective of a prison is to degrade a person, then we should know whether the instrument is  properly fashioned to that end. If the object be to punish a person for something that he has done, by depriving him of his liberty for a certain time, then we ought to know how much further we want to go in the way of punishment, or whether we really feel that when we deprive a person of his liberty that is the penalty he pays to society for whatever offence he has committed, but that beyond that we are not going to inflict any type of degradation upon him.
I suggest that what happens is a tremendous degradation. I do not think it is done deliberately, but definitely it is a degradation. One cannot object to confinement. People break the law and, apparently, the only punishment that the mind of man has thought over the centuries is that such people should, for a period, be deprived of the sweets of liberty, so that during that period they will be subjected to discipline. They will have to rise at a certain time in the morning, go to bed at a certan time, retire to their cells at a certain hour, and will be more closely governed even than boys are in a boarding school and that is severe enough at times.
I do not know whether the situation is the same in prisons nowadays as it was many years ago, when I received a report on the subject. I do not think there has been much change in the interval. Of course, there is the other side to it, that nobody wants to make prisons a home from home for people. I think some Deputies said that if that were done you would have people queueing up to get into them, especially during the hard weather. No one wants to go that length. The point, however, is that unnecessary hardship cannot do anything but hurt a man's personality, and that should be avoided.
Jails are notoriously cold. Hardly anybody can go into a gaol, even on a hot day, without feeling the cold. It may be that part of the prison system is that gaols should be kept cold. I am not thinking now of the present fuel difficulties.
Mr. McGilligan: Is that part of the system, or would we like, if we could, to have the accommodation for prisoners somewhat better than it is from the angle of cold? Even visitors to prisons, during warm weather, are oppressed by the cold. As we know, a great many people in this country suffer from rheumatism. A person in the incipient stages of that disease would be found to be suffering acutely from it after a short period in gaol because the conditions there, from the point of view of the cold, would be so different from what he was accustomed to in his own home. Is the position this, that those in authority are too tired and too lazy to do anything about the matter?
Similarly, with regard to light. I do not know anything about Portlaoighise Prison. I do not know why the Minister will not allow Deputy Flanagan to visit it, except that he might avail of the opportunity to barrack the Minister. All that one can say is that the lighting conditions in most of these places is, generally speaking, deplorable. The buildings may be old fashioned. Let us take this test. If a person were left in a cell the whole day long, on a winter's day, it would not be possible for him, with ordinary eyesight, to read the daily newspaper for a longer period than four hours. If that is so and it has been put to me that it is so——
Mr. McGilligan: By natural light. I will speak of artificial light later. It is not possible for a person to read on a winter's day for a period longer than four hours. I believe that to be the situation. I am questioned about artificial light. I do not know what the circumstances generally are with regard to artificial light but complaints are that it is badly placed. I do know that there are certain places where the situation is still this: that there is a flickering gas jet outside certain cells—it may have been replaced in recent periods by an electric bulb. It is outside the cell and a person has to stand holding up a newspaper to the little circle of light which comes from outside. If that is  so, it means that the person cannot read except four hours during the day—if he has anything of reading type to occupy himself and he is under difficulties when the artificial light is turned on.
With regard to the question of food, Deputies here have complained about it and it is a common complaint. I find here two opposition points of view. When I had something to do with government we often got reports as to the type of food that was supplied to the prison authorities and on that report a Minister could come into the Dáil and say that he had a good case and that nobody could have a better one. “We are buying as good food as the ordinary community,” in whatever area the prison is. But if you take the attitude of mind of the people who are getting the food, it undergoes an amazing change. They say that the food is not good; alternatively, that it is good food supplied in a shockingly bad way. There is no doubt about it the food is flung to prisoners. It is not served. There is no attempt at serving. Again the attitude is why would you coddle people who have committed crimes. Let them have their food flung to them as if they were animals. That is part of the treatment. We want to make it hard for them. If we know that it is part of the punishment we can accommodate ourselves, but I strongly object to it.
In spite of the fact that, from the point of view of price and everything else, good food is apparently going to certain jails, if you ask any of the prisoners—and they are not fastidious; they are not inclined to be finicky— undoubtedly a criticism comes that either the food is bad or very badly put up. Deputy Cafferky and his colleague told us about the utensils that are used. That is all part of what I call the service. I suppose no one can expect snow-white napery. But when one thinks of the warnings that are given outside of having a teacup with a cut on it and thinks of the level of life that is lived in a jail and thinks of the almost entirely broken crockery in which people are given their food, it all adds up to an avoidable amount of misery and suffering that is put on these people.
 Take the matter of dirt. It has been associated with jails from time immemorial. I am not speaking of that grave and active form of dirt known as vermin, but dirt generally as an accompaniment of jail treatment. The difficulty of washing is sometimes pretty big. A man who wants to keep himself clean even where he finds himself in the position where he is not going to be prevented from using a safety razor, is going to find it hard to keep himself clean. A certain change comes over the man who is in the dock one day and who, a few days later, is required to give evidence in connection with some conspiracy. Even after a few days there is a change in the man; where he may have passed himself off as an ordinary citizen before, he now has the stamp of a criminal and it is partly the result of the difficulties of keeping his person clean. I do not know the present position in jails but I want to inquire into this matter. There was a system of having in cells what is known as a slop pail. I do not know if that exists as an ordinary matter in a jail at the moment but if it does it is a scandal. It means that a man may have to spend a great part of the night in a foggy atmosphere caused no doubt by himself, but caused naturally by himself. It is often a situation where a man has to eat his food under such atmosphere conditions.
Mr. McGilligan: There is a place known as “the chapel of ease” at the Bridewell where more than one person can be put into the cell and where there is one lavatory-convenience put into the cell which all the occupants can use but the method of flushing the lavatory is outside. So until a goodnatured Guard comes along and discharges that particular duty for them, the persons may have to pass part of their time and to eat their food in the odour of their own and other people's excrement. That is a situation that I do not think should be tolerated and it would not require a great deal to make some improvement in that. I have asked here whether these conditions prevail. I understand they do in certain  circumstances. Add all these together—cold, bad light, dirt and food which, even though it is properly procured, is certainly served in such a manner as not to be very attractive and appetising to a person. Add to all that the fact that a man has to perform natural functions in the cramped area in which he has to live, and you get a system of prison treatment that is deplorable. We may pride ourselves that we have advanced since the days when Dickens wrote about jails, but we have not gone very far in comparison to the advances that have been made outside jails. At the end of all that, I want to ask the Minister if these are the prevailing conditions. I suppose I have over-painted the matter but suppose that there is some substance in what I have said, is there no way of avoiding all that? You do not hit the criminal hard enough! Is it a deliberate purpose or is it that we have still institutions and that the people who are connected with institutions tolerate conditions that they would not tolerate in their own homes? Is there no way of getting some improvement in these conditions?
There are some further points. First and most important point I want to ask about is as to whether some inquiry should not be made into the causes of crime. We could put our finger on certain things and attempt to stop the growth of crime amongst us. A certain part of this report by the Commissioner deals with juvenile crime. Again, I wish the Minister to give us a little more information on this whole matter. I am especially anxious to learn, in connection with juveniles, whether what is alleged against them as “crime” is really crime or pranks or mischief which the Gardaí think ought to be stopped because, if not stopped, it may cause some kind of public nuisance. It is very disturbing to find that, amongst the juvenile offences, are house-breaking, burglary—I am leaving out the larceny of pedal cycles because that relates, as a general rule, to other classes—and larceny from unattended vehicles. House-breaking is very big. Burglary is not so big. Larcenies from shops and stalls amongst juveniles who,  I take it, are persons under 18, are very big indeed. Larcenies not exceeding £5 in value are very big. They are larcenies of something other than pedal cycles, which are segregated under a special heading. It is amazing that there are a very big number of cases of malicious damage to property. In that respect, I should like to know if “malicious damage to property” represents simply a boy pitching a stone in the air, not knowing where it will alight, the stone doing some damage. Is “malicious damage to property” of that character in the main, or is it a thing which has more malice about it than throwing a stone in the air and being indifferent as to where it alights.
I want to query matter on page 18. We have a statement as to the causes of the circumstances contributing to the delinquency under the headings of: lack of parental control, desire to get money for amusement, mischief, youthful gang influence, criminal association, and necessity. Of these, the smallest group is “necessity.” The next smallest group is “criminal association.”“Lack of parental control” is described as being the contributory circumstance in the great majority of cases. I wonder what this is based upon and I should like to see it expanded in a future report. I wonder what analysis is made in this connection. I have often heard the police giving evidence in court and talking about boys, with good parents, forming bad associations and going wrong from that point on. But I cannot comprehend the statement in the year 1945 that “necessity,” as a contributory factor, amounts only to 54, while, in 1939, it amounted only to 50. As I have said, these are not percentages; they are absolute figures. That amazes me. It is contrary to all that has been discovered and written up in other countries where the matter has been under investigation. There, it is stated that “necessity” is the greatest contributory factor to crime, particularly amongst juveniles.
Again, these figures are not of much value to us unless we can get some assistance. How many per 1,000 of the juvenile population come into court  for, say, indictable offences and for non-indictable offences? I am not bothering so much about the non-indictable offences. Is the number per 1,000 of the juveniles of Dublin coming before the courts increasing? That is the only way to test this question of juvenile delinquency and find whether it is increasing or not. An estimate should be made in succeeding years as to the number of juveniles who make their appearance more than once before the courts in the period in which they are described as juveniles. Is this record one of persons appearing once, and once only, before the courts? I understand not. Many of them appear at the age of 14 or 15 years and appear again—sometimes more than once— before they pass the age of 18.
In that connection, I want to go back to another table where we get the age groups in connection with crime. On page 12 of this 1945 report, we get under age groups the number of persons convicted. The statistics are somewhat enlightening but they do not go far enough. The groupings are: under 14, 14-16 and 16-18. Then we get the big groups, 18-21 and 21-30. Those two groups combined give you, on the average, 50 per cent. of all the crimes committed in the country. It is, of course, a big age group, comprising 12 years between the two. The groups specially noted cover from 14 to 40-26 years. The others are: under 14 and over 40. I ask the Minister to enable us to split up that group, 18-21 and, particularly, the group 21-30, because I understand that it is somewhere on that age group investigators are mainly working. They believe that it is from that age group people may have entered upon crime but not gone so far as to be without possibility of reform. In this group, between 21-30, the figures are just flung at us. I think that it should be split into three-year periods.
Coming back to the juveniles, I find it hard to accept this statement as to the circumstances contributing to crime. It is put in a detached way. It is stated that the “circumstances contributing” were “thought to be”, which would suggest that the statement was not based upon special reports  from Gardaí in individual cases with a generalisation made from those reports. But there must be some background to the statement. It attracts my attention because “necessity” is certainly regarded as one of the great contributing factors in other countries. We shall be an exception if we find that that does not obtain here. “Lack of parental control” is then given as the great cause of crime. That is a matter that should be further inquired into. It is easy to paste that label—“lack of parental control”—on a case and say: “That is what we found in that case”. Can the Minister not go more deeply into the matter than that and tell us the types of home this statistic refers to?
Mr. McGilligan: No, the money going into the house. I want to find out if we are in the same position as other countries, where they have come to the conclusion that crime, and the incidence of crime, undoubtedly attaches itself to poverty and bad conditions. I say that without attempting to be superior or attempting to pass criticism on people who, because they are poor, are subjected to greater temptation than others in respect of crime. It has been found in other countries, too—this has, apparently, surprised a great many people—that what is called talent, or alertness of mind, is found, on the whole, to be better evidenced in better-class families than in the poorer-class families. For the poverty has affected not merely the surroundings of the unfortunate child but its disposition and its chances of erring on the criminal side and also has had the effect of not prompting him to achieve the standard of intellectual development that people who are better placed are able to reach.
It has been said that the herd instinct and the standard of morality are of a lower level the lower you go in the income groups and that, when you get, in an urban community, a group of people herded together with  the standard of morality at a low point because of the circumstances of the house, you are in for trouble. It has been said that the more you multiply these circumstances, of an urban community and a degraded standard of living, the more you are certain to have outbreaks of trouble and the prevalence of crime. If we got this statistical information, we could tackle this as a social problem and no longer think of it as something recorded in statistics. We have the Minister giving us year after year the number of offences committed and the number of people who have been sent to jail. I suggest that this should be an occasion afforded to us for probing into these matters, instead of wringing our hands over increased numbers or cheering when they go down. I do not see that we will get any further until there is an investigation into the social conditions of our people. I still believe, and I have often said it here, that the more you allow your homes to be broken up by emigration, the more you tolerate bad housing conditions, the more you allow your cost of living to increase and to press on the moneys which people have got, the more you are heading for disease and crime. The statistics over the last five years have shown that abundantly.
Someone has mentioned the influence of cinemas. I wonder if anyone advising the Minister has passed any comment on that. It is the easiest thing to say that children are led astray because of the exciting pictures they see. People are beginning to criticise the use of what we used to call the “shocker” for the purposes of the radio and they are complaining that these are having a bad influence on the children. I wonder if they are. I hope the Minister may have some investigation into the point, so that, no matter how speculative the conclusions may be, we would have some conclusions. I cannot believe that the films I have seen really lead to any great increase in crime amongst children. I do not believe that the wireless items pointed to as being dangerous have any effect whatever upon children's minds. I remember  someone making a comment that those who were interested in hearing about the exploits of Dick Barton might do worse than that if they were to read the Life of the Taoiseach, because in Dick Barton's case virtue was triumphant while it may not be so in the other case.
In turning now to the Civic Guards, I wish to think of them, not as guardians of law and order but as human beings. The Minister told me yesterday that the old time salary for them was £2,400,000 and he is now going to give them an increase of £350,000. Surely he must recognise the force of what we have been arguing about in other Departments? His colleagues must have told him about it. Will he appreciate that the purchasing power of the £ is now 10/-. His colleague, the Minister for Finance, has exhibited an index of wholesale prices. I am not giving the cost-of-living figure, because that might only impact on small families or some families on a low standard. The whole range of wholesale commodities in 1943 showed an increase over 1938 of 100 per cent., and it has gone up since then. Retail prices, of course, show a much greater increase than that. There is no figure to which anybody can look the consideration of which will not lead to the conclusion that the £ is worth only 10/-. The mass of the people under the heading of Civic Guards who used to draw from the Minister £2,400,000 in purchasing capacity, will appreciate that in the last couple of years it has been worth only £1,200,000. He proposes to give them £350,000. He has raised them from something short of £2,500,000 to something less than £1,500,000—and I have no doubt that the addition of this £350,000 will have a certain inflationary effect and will reduce the value of the £ still further.
How does a Minister justify that, since no one ever regarded their wage as being too extravagant a wage long ago? Then, by a process of increasing costs and reducing values, these people are getting half of the old sum. We are giving them £350,000 and telling them to continue to be good boys and to do more work. That is what is happening to the low-income groups. I  want to plead for those people. The Civic Guard we see in the courts and out on the streets, patrolling or directing the traffic, appears in uniform and is regarded as the protector of law and order for the community. These men have homes. Quite a number of them are married and they have responsibilities to their wives and children. Most of them are people who did make some little provision for their families. I found them amongst the most ambitious of the community in connection with trying to get schooling for children. Some of them made efforts to add to their earnings by work in leisure time. A considerable number of them, especially around the city, have made extra money out of turf in the last three or four years, but that was by working hard over very protracted periods.
Would the Minister stop to analyse the result of the reduction of wages that has taken place in their case? It would take someone with greater imagination than we have here and with a better appreciation of the individual circumstances of those people, to draw a picture of the effect of that reduction. One could break it up into all sorts of unhappiness— children not allowed to get the schooling which was intended for them, homes being run on a much more economical and grudging scale and in a more sordid way, the life that the man and his wife and children have to live being deprived of the little amenities that men who have risen to the point of being Civic Guards ought to be entitled to expect. If they had anything of the nature of insurance or any bit of property, they found themselves in the position in which they had to liquidate most of the property and are living in half-empty houses, deprived of little comforts in the way of carpets they used to have in the old days. It is not possible to arrive at any exact conclusion on that matter, but that there has been a vast amount of unhappiness caused to these people and their families is undoubtedly clear.
The Minister now gives this little addition of £350,000. I know he will reply that, if he gave way to all the demands, we would have a vast bill for the public services. So we would —and I agree with the viewpoint put forward by the Minister for Industry and Commerce recently, that you must think of this no longer in terms of pounds but in terms of half-sovereigns. The trouble is that, when you look at the incidence of these charges, you see that we could all bear double the cost of Government as easily as we bore the other cost in 1938, if we were all getting double the income. But we are not getting that. If you put it in that fictitious way, you are saying to a person: “There is a £52,000,000 Budget, but it is really only £26,000,000.” But the group in the Civic Guards who used to get £2,500,000 between them suddenly realise they are getting only £1,200,000 and the Minister says: “Take another £300,000 and that will make £1,500,000 between you”, and with that sum they are expected to bear the burdens that they used to bear when they had between them £2,500,000. That is a wholly unreal attitude for the Minister to adopt and it will not result in satisfaction among the members of the community concerned. Anyhow, that is the result of what has happened here.
This is an extraordinary country Only four countries in the world have behaved as we have behaved. We were singled out for exposition before the public by the Montreal Labour Office as one of the four countries in the world which let the wages paid during the war drop below pre-war level. Of the other countries with us in that connection three are devastated countries, three countries that felt the impact of the war to the utmost— France, Czecho-Slovakia and Japan. Leaving out the devastated countries, we are singular in that we decided to depress the standard of living of the community here by the activities the Government engaged in.
It is a painful past to look back upon, and it is particularly painful for this group with whom we are dealing. I have no objection to giving these people £300,000. I am sorry it is not double or quadruple that amount. If it were quadrupled it would be merely putting those people back into the position they occupied in 1938. It would not be too much to think about putting them there.
Mr. Coburn: I regret the Minister has, by his figures, shown that juvenile delinquency is on the increase. I suppose the Minister is not in a position to give the causes of that increase. Sometimes people think that, possibly, in this country we are too sentimental so far as our attitude towards lawbreakers is concerned. It is extraordinary that the first thing our sensitive people do is to find an excuse for the man who commits a crime. It is an extraordinary mentality and if any check is to be put on this wave of juvenile delinquency it is up to the adult population to show a greater appreciation of their duties and a greater sense of their civic responsibilities. By co-operating with the Guards, they can help to put an end to a form of crime which, if allowed to develop, will react very unfavourably on the country as a whole in the future.
I should like to express my astonishment at the report submitted by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána and his reasons why certain crimes have been committed in this country. I have in mind that part of the report in which the Commissioner seemed to attach a certain amount of blame to the people because of their carelessness in leaving things lying about. It used to be the proud boast of our people, especially in the rural parts, that they never locked their doors at night and never locked the gate; they were able to leave most of their agricultural implements outside and never was there anything stolen. I was surprised at the reference to people leaving things in motor cars. If a man is honest he will not lift a thing in the street, unless to give it to a Guard or to some other responsible person.
If people lived in the way we pretend we are living, there would not be any need for Civic Guards at all. I am afraid that in this country there is not sufficient appreciation of the value of the words “truth” and “honesty”. I advise the Minister to have a consultation with the Minister for Education and point out to him that, in addition to educating our young people to get leaving certificates, they  should pay a little attention also to the meaning of those two words and then, perhaps, we would not have so much juvenile crime.
As regards recruiting for the Civic Guards, I should like to know whether it is a fact that one of the conditions before a young fellow can join the Guards is that he must have a competent knowledge of Irish. I can quite appreciate the importance of the language, but one of our proud boasts in the past was the physique of our police force. People from all over the world used to stop in the street and admire the physique of the old force known as the Dublin Metropolitan Police. I met numbers of fine young men recently in my county and they told me that they were unable to pass the entrance examination for the Guards because of the language condition.
I suggest the Department are not paying sufficient attention to a most necessary qualification—physique. I know members of the Garda Síochána who joined the force some years ago. So far as their education is concerned, I know for a fact that they did not pass the fourth standard in the national school, but I read with great satisfaction recently that tributes were paid to the manner in which they discharged their duties in the detection of crime. If applicants for the Garda Síochána must have a competent knowledge of Irish, how is it that that condition is not insisted upon in the appointment of Supreme Court judges, High Court judges, Circuit Court judges, district justices and county registrars? The old saying says that what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. In the case of appointments made recently, especially higher appointments in the courts, by no stretch of the imagination could it be argued that the people appointed have what is known as a competent knowledge of Irish.
I know it is very unpopular to say anything about the Irish language. I am not saying anything against it as a language, but I suggest it is hypocritical and inconsistent to make appointments in one section without insisting on this qualification but when you make  appointments for ordinary men who wish to join the Civic Guards, they are told they must have a competent knowledge of the language. That is one thing I should like the Minister to clear up, because it has been put to me times out of number that some of these young men failed simply because of the language. It may be argued that men who qualify in other subjects are equally competent in the Irish language. Let me point out, however, that some boys have an aptitude for learning languages more quickly than others.
I think there should be some marks given for physique. Looking around now, one cannot say that many of those who joined the force recently are Joe Louises, or fulfil the physical conditions that used to be requisite years ago. I think the Minister might relax the regulations to the extent that he could reserve some positions for those whose general education was of such a nature that it would fit them to become members of the Garda Síochána, but who possibly might fail to have the language qualification—a competent knowledge of Irish to enable them to carry out their duties in that language. There is a certain inconsistency, apparently, in view of the question Deputy Mulcahy put about the use of the language by members of the force, even in the Gaeltacht areas. Even though a man may have a competent knowledge of Irish when he is appointed, it might be only once in a blue moon, to use a local expression, that he is called upon to give a public exhibition of his knowledge of it.
Mr. Boland: Lest I might overlook that point, as so many points have been raised in the course of the debate, I had better deal with it now. It is a fact that a person, in order to become a member of the Garda Síochána, must pass a qualifying examination which is set by the Civil Service Commission and a knowledge of Irish is necessary.
Mr. Boland: I do not know what the standard is but it is set out in the programme. It is such a standard that out of 168 of the latest recruits, 69  were from national schools and were able to pass it. That will give some idea of the standard. Deputy McGilligan made a very interesting speech, but I am afraid he did not go fully into the report of the Commissioner. I do not blame him for that because it is a very voluminous document. He asked some questions about the family circumstances of juvenile delinquents. If he had studied some of the tables in that report—I have not done it myself, I must say, because I had not the time—he would find that some of these tables give as full an account of the circumstances of these delinquents as could be expected.
For instance, one table in Appendix E, Section B, gives, amongst other particulars, the nature of the offence, the number detained in industrial schools and reformatory schools, the number who were previously convicted, the premises or place where the crime was committed, the occupations of the persons charged, the school attendance record, etc. Another table, in Appendix C, Section E, gives particulars as to circumstances of parents, lack of parental control, desire to get money, the number of cases in which the offenders reside with parents, the usual occupation of parents or guardians, particulars as to whether they are industrial workers, casual labourers, or have no occupation, whether the parents or guardians have been recently unemployed, the criminal record, if any, of the parents or guardians, etc. I think these returns are very full.
The Deputy wanted to know the income, as far as I could ascertain it, of the families concerned. I do not think I have got that information. There is another table giving the number of rooms in tenement houses occupied by delinquents. I think it is a very full return but at the same time I shall ask the Commissioner to consider the desirability of segregating the offences in the manner suggested by Deputy McGilligan—for instance, petty crimes, such as playing ball on the streets, destruction of property, etc., from the more serious crimes. I think we are all deeply concerned at the  widespread malicious destruction of public property, even in the streets. It is a pity that there is not a better public spirit in that regard. I think if more people informed the police when they saw things being maliciously broken, it would have a very good effect. For instance, one often sees the corporation making some very nice plantations and a few days later it is found that the trees have been pulled down and destroyed.
On the whole question of juvenile delinquency and its causes, naturally the only thing the Commissioner has to go on is the information which he derives from consultation with his officers, but I think he has good authority for everything he does. Deputy McGilligan may have his views, as I have mine, as to how these matters should be dealt with, but I think he will find very full information under most of these headings. Deputy Dillon made the suggestion that instead of a remand home, there should be a clinic at which juvenile delinquents could be examined by doctors. The position at present is that there is no such clinic but if the district justice thinks that a delinquent is mentally deficient, there are ample facilities for having the delinquent examined by a doctor. I shall see if anything more can be done in that direction. The whole question is a very big one indeed and I do not think anybody can definitely point out what are the causes. All I can do is to express an opinion in the same way as Deputy McGilligan. I have got to assume that the Commissioner is in a better position than most people to express an opinion on these matters. He has police officers who are dealing with all sorts of offenders and who make private inquiries as to what the circumstances are. They are able to give him advice as to what the causes are likely to be. Further than that I do not think he can go.
Mr. Boland: As I say, I have not gone fully into these tables and I  would ask those Deputies who take a special interest in them to study them for their own benefit. I will admit that I am not in a position now to go into the details of the report but if any special aspect is brought to my attention I shall try to do what I can about it. I did give some preliminary figures for last year as compared with 1945 but I have not got the complete report for last year. I would ask Deputies to make suggestions, such as Deputy McGilligan did, as to what the Commissioner might do. I think that some of the reforms which Deputy McGilligan suggested are already in operation. He wanted to know how crimes are distributed over the country. There is a table giving that but it gives the information for each division. It gives a separate table for the Dublin metropolitan area but the rest of the country is dealt with by divisions. Perhaps for the cities of Cork, Waterford, Galway and such places, it might be possible to segregate the information, but I think Appendix B giving the details for the different divisions, affords an idea of how crime is spread over the whole country fairly well.
Mr. Boland: Deputy McGilligan wanted more details but I think the Commissioner has told us in a very clear way how it is spread. That brings me to another point raised by Deputy Coogan as to giving too many duties to members of the Garda. Some Deputies here complain that Guards in the country do not get enough to do, but if Deputies look at Appendix D they will find that there is a very high percentage of detections in the case of petty crime—88 per cent, 89 per cent. and 92 per cent. in Donegal for instance. It is the big City of Dublin which brings the all-over average down. Nevertheless, the record of detection there compares favourably with cities of comparable size elsewhere.
Everyone will realise how easy it is for people who want to commit crime to do so in a big city. On the point of the Commissioner's warning, I think he is perfectly justified in expecting  people to keep some watch on their property. Deputy McGilligan quoted the words of the old song: “Rich and rare were the gems she wore”. I always believed that that was a myth, that it never happened, but I may be wrong. This is true, however, that, in times of scarcity such as the present, people who ordinarily would not dream of stealing anything will steal. That, unfortunately, is the fact and people have appeared in court, who, if there had been no scarcity, would never have appeared there. Deputy McGilligan referred to the Commissioner's statement about clothes on clotheslines. The position is that certain clothing is very scarce and people will steal it if they get the opportunity. With regard to the Commissioner's reference to overcoats hanging in halls, I remember as a very small boy my mother always telling us to make sure to shut the door, because, if it were left open, the person who knocked at the door might run away with a coat, and that was many years ago. All the Commissioner is doing there is stating that, in his opinion and in the opinion of his advisers, if people in Dublin took more care of their property and did not leave it hanging around unattended, 40 per cent. of these larcenies would have been avoided.
Mr. Boland: We must take people as they are. I think it was the present Judge Fionan Lynch who said it was not the Government's job to make saints of people. It is not our job. There is something in human nature which breaks out at times, no matter what we do. It is not the way we would wish things to be that things are, and the police must act in accordance with conditions as they find them. The fact is, as everybody knows and especially since the war, that if people are short of some article which  they have no hope of getting, a great number of them will take it. Certain things have been stolen which people would not have bothered looking at before the war, such as paper. I announced some time ago that large quantities of paper had been stolen, because paper was dear at the time, and people were prepared to buy it. Whatever people may say about the effects of the war and the aftermath of the war, I maintain that it is largely responsible for quite a big amount of the dishonesty which exists leading to prosecutions and the crimes that have taken place, and most fair-minded people will admit that.
In considering this matter of crime, we must bear in mind that, although big numbers of crimes are reported, it would not be correct to say that that number of individuals were concerned in them. There are cases in which one or two people may have committed ten or 12 different crimes, but, on the other hand, it is true that several people might have committed one crime. On the whole, however, it is true to say that a great number of crimes are committed by the same people. I have not had the figures analysed, but I will try to get them analysed in order to get the actual numbers, although we are never sure until a crime has been brought home to somebody.
Mr. Boland: I have not, but I will try to get it done, so as to find out how many crimes were committed by the same people. This matter of crime is a very difficult problem and the cause and prevention of crime is scarcely the job of the police. Their job is to deal with people when a crime has been committed. It is scarcely their job to get people into the frame of mind in which they will not commit crime— they have to deal merely with the commission of crime, as is well recognised, and there is no use in trying to place on this Department responsibility for developing such a mentality in people that they will not steal. That is something for somebody else—for parents, the schools, and the churches. Everyone  is doing his best, but it is a difficult problem.
With regard to the Borstal institute, Deputy Dillon said he was glad that I had come round to his view about Clonmel not being a suitable place. I did not change my attitude in that regard at all. All I said on the occasion on which the Deputy raised the matter of the transfer from Cork to Clonmel was that it was a better place than Cork in which to house boys. I have no doubt whatever about that. I never said, and do not say now, that it is the type of place in which I should like to see any type of prisoner kept for very long. We are improving the Clonmel building. I heard that the Deputy was in Clonmel recently, and he will have seen the changes which have been made there. We are doing all we can to brighten the lives of these young fellows and to reform them. The Deputy said the cells had flagged floors. That is not correct—they are wooden. We have enlarged the windows and have taken all the iron off the doors of the cells and made the cells sleeping quarters, because they are out of them for the entire day. There is only a light lock on the door and there are four or five large rooms available. There is a recreation room and a workroom and, generally speaking, the way the boys are being treated there is about as good as I should like to see them treated. We have to be careful that there will be some element of punishment. There must be that element of punishment; otherwise, we might have a queue of boys seeking to get in.
Deputy McGilligan went very fully into the question of general prison treatment and many of the things he said are true. The old slop vessel is there still and it is very difficult to make a change in that respect. I should like to see a change, if it were possible, but we must remember that we do not get buildings overnight. I am satisfied that these jails are out of date. They are old and were constructed at a time when facilities for the provision of sanitary arrangements were not what they are now. If there is any means of getting away from this  business of having to keep that vessel in the cell all night, I will see if it can be done, but it is difficult. It is not as easy to remedy that situation as people may think. Deputies can understand that if the cells are to be opened any time at night that any prisoner wishes, the warders will be kept going at night by fellows who might want merely to annoy them. It is a very difficult thing to arrange—the problem is due to the construction of the prisons —but I will look into it.
With regard to food, I think it is a fact that almost anywhere where food is cooked for a great number, it is very difficult to do it well, but I am satisfied that there could be an improvement in the cooking facilities. I am not sure if we have got an improvement in Portlaoighise. The food there was quite good, but there was a great sameness about it because it was all being steamed or boiled. I asked the Department to try to get some other way of cooking the food, such as roasting, and, if they have not got the necessary equipment installed, they are about to get it. With regard to quantity and the calories we hear so much about, I do not know if they are sufficient for people in prison, but I am told they are adequate, if there was more variety.
Some Deputy spoke about the prison clothing. I always regarded the clothing provided for prisoners as very depressing, and for long-term prisoners, such as those in Portlaoighise, I am trying to get a better type of uniform or suit. Deputies can understand the difficulty about short-term prisoners. If a man is imprisoned for a month, it cannot be expected that he will be provided with a new suit. There would be difficulties about sizes for casual prisoners. In the case of casual prisoners, if their own clothes are clean, they are allowed to wear them, if they want to do it.
A certain amount of time is allowed for recreation now, and it takes different forms. I agree that the old ring is a very depressing thing and in Mountjoy it has been removed. I was there a long time myself and I know this old iron railing. I often walked around it. It did not depress me very much but it might depress people who would  be there for a long time. That is gone now and we are making provision for handball alleys to give them a chance to get some exercise. I suppose it is only the young people who would play handball. We are doing the same in Portlaoighise and Clonmel. Sligo Prison, which was referred to, is one of the oldest prisons in this country. There are very few prisoners in it and there are not the facilities there that are in the other prisons. I am trying to do something in that matter. We are going to build a hall or some place where concerts could be held or where prisoners could go for recreation. I intend to be careful. It would be the wish of the House that we should not rival the Gresham Hotel, for instance, because there would be a danger in that. I do not want to have it that way. The thing is to draw the line. I would like to do anything that is humanly possible to try to uplift these people who go into prisons. Deputy McGilligan asked me was it the deliberate policy to degrade these people and, if it was, that we should tell them that. It surely is not that. The fact of their being in prison may create the impression on these people that that is the intention. I say that it is not the intention but it is not easy to change these things. A certain amount has been done in the way of providing wireless sets for most of the prisons, and games, and an odd concert, and lectures. In that way we are trying to prevent the prisoners feeling that they are being sent there for the purpose of degrading them in addition to their other punishment.
Warders have been referred to. If a warder who lives in wishes to stay out after 11 o'clock he has to ask permission but I do not think that it is ever refused. I admit that I never heard very much about it. I do not think it can be a very great hardship. If it were, I probably would have heard more about it. This is the first time it has been mentioned here. I will see what the position is. If there had been a grievance, I would have heard about it. If they want to stay out for a dance, they must ask the governor.
Mr. Boland: I do not think there is. In regard to their quarters, I think they could be better, if it were not for the fact that they are in old-fashioned jails. The question of uniform, that was raised by two Deputies, I will have looked into to see what can be done about it, that is, their having to go in uniform with prisoners. There may be some very good reason for that. I will have it examined. That is all that arose in regard to prisons.
Mr. Boland: I have been dealing with prisons. I could deal with that question now. I cannot say why certain areas were left out. If the Deputy had let me know he was going to ask the question, I would have found out.
Mr. Boland: Not the question as to why certain areas were left out, in Mayo and other places. I answered the question that he asked about the places that were regarded as Fíor-Ghaeltacht but to-day he asked me why were certain parts of certain counties, like Ring in County Waterford, and some parts of Mayo, left out. I have not been able to find that out since he asked me the question. If he had let me know, I could have found out. I am not complaining of that. I am merely saying that that is why I cannot answer it. The position is that every member of the Garda has to have a knowledge of Irish.
Mr. Boland: I know. He asked also do they have to report on the use of Irish or whether Irish was declining in the particular area. Is not that the question he asked? That is not part of their duty. They do not do that. Every Guard in the Gaeltacht area must have a competent knowledge of Irish and must speak Irish always to the native speakers and must give his evidence in Irish and make all his reports in the Irish language but it is not part of his  business or his duty, and he is not required and has never been asked, to give any report, as far as I know, officially, as to what the position of the Irish language is in any of these areas.
Mr. Boland: That is only when he is taking the census but he is not asked to perform a special duty as far as that is concerned. He would be asked to do it for the census. As far as I could understand Deputy Mulcahy, that is what he wanted to know.
Mr. Boland: No. Deputy Mulcahy says he is looking for the Department that is responsible for reporting on the exact position of the Irish language in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht area. That is what I understood him to say. I am saying that there is no report sent by the Garda Síochána, as such, on that particular aspect but they are all in a position to transact all their business, and do transact all their business, in the Irish language. He knows that, of course.
Deputy Coogan asked me to explain the need for the new appointments in the Minister's office. I did not deliberately omit that, although it is an important matter. The fact is that it is a reversion to a state of affairs that existed about ten years ago, when there were two assistant secretaries. It was found that certain very important branches of work were not being dealt with, which a Department of Justice ought to perform, such as law reform and the consolidation of law, and things of that kind. It was felt necessary to go back to the system in which there were two assistant secretaries.
I have dealt with the matter of police on non-police duties. If the Deputy wishes to look at the report and the tables, he will see that the fact of the matter is that almost all over the country detection of crime by the Gardaí is very high outside Dublin City and that it is not the position  that they are not able to do their police duties. I said, when he was not here, that many people believe that the actual police duties, as such, outside the big cities, would not take up their full time.
He dealt with the Taca Síochána. The position about the Taca was that they came in at a higher rate than the ordinary recruits and they were not in the regular Garda force until after about 18 months or two years. In that way they were getting a bigger initial pay for a period when new entrants would not be getting it. They are not getting quite as much as the others are getting but, taking it on the whole, they got better conditions from the beginning and there is that to be put against the statement that was made that they were not being treated as well as the others.
In regard to the widows and orphans of Gardaí, Deputy Dillon suggested the possibility of having them included in the widows' and orphans' pensions scheme under national health insurance in addition to whatever else they may get. All that I can say is that that question was not touched on when the recent increases were given. I cannot say anything more than that.
A number of Deputies referred to the salaries of District Court clerks and Circuit Court clerks. I think there is a chance of something being done pretty soon for the Circuit Court clerks. There is a difficulty with regard to the District Court clerks because the majority of them are part-time. That brings in the question of unestablished people in the Civil Service. That is a big obstacle to any settlement. I am pressing the Minister for Finance to get something done in the matter. All that I can say is that I will see him again about the court clerks, and particularly the group referred to by Deputies.
Deputy Cafferky wants me to give an instruction to district justices not to grant licences for dances. Deputy Flanagan also referred to that. Of course, that is not my job. If abuses are taking place, I am sure district justices would be prepared to hear what public representatives had to  say on the matter. I think any person of any standing can make a case before the courts. It is not for me to tell the district justice what he is to do. He is the judge as to whether a licence shall or shall not be given, and not the Minister. If there is anything to be done about these dance-hall licences, it will have to be done by the courts. The Deputy also raised a question about increased accommodation for the Gardaí. It is a good many years ago since I raised that matter myself. We have not been able to do very much about it. I am doing all in my power to get an early allocation on the priority list. Of course, there are others competing for a place on that list too, and as Deputies can understand it is not easy for me to force my claim against the claims of others, but I am doing what I can. I realise that it is necessary something should be done. The position is becoming very bad.
I am afraid what the Deputy said as to what goes on in the streets of Dublin at night is correct. Things are becoming a bit of a scandal, but it is not easy to deal with it. I have got some complaints about the way things are going in Dublin and as I say, they are pretty bad. The Commissioner is seeing what he can do in the matter. Deputies will realise that a Guard has to be very careful before he interferes in these matters. I do think there is something in what the Deputy said that needs careful watching.
Deputy M. O'Sullivan asked if anything had been done arising out of the findings of the members of the Labour Party following their visit to Portlaoighise Prison. A handball alley has been provided and the matter of the cooking arrangements is being attended to. I think I told the members what my views were about some of the things they reported on. I will do all I can to have a better type of uniform clothing. Deputy Costello spoke about instructions to justices. They are never issued to them.
Deputy McGilligan suggested that we sent some circulars to district justices recently telling them what to do in certain circumstances. I have no knowledge of that. We did not do any  such thing. The Deputy made his usual complaints about our refusal to give Garda reports in running down accidents. The position is that where private people are concerned it is not desirable that the reports of the Gardaí should be made available to either party. Those concerned should get the facts for themselves. If a State car is involved it is a different matter. The reports are then given, and I think that is fair enough.
Deputy Byrne wants horse guards to regulate the traffic in Dublin. We have no mounted force, and in any event I do not think it would work. I suppose what he said is true that we want more uniformed Guards in Dublin. Deputy Giles spoke about the frequent transfer of Guards. All that I can say is that it is not such an easy matter to transfer a Guard who is married.
Mr. Boland: I think there is need for some more. The Commissioner feels that, too, and we will get them as soon as we can. I do not know what the Deputy meant by his reference to the force going slack. I took a note of what he said and I will look into the matter. He also mentioned the need for new barracks and new houses. We will get them as soon as we can. Deputy McGilligan would not object to give the Guards four times as much pay as they are getting. He said he was quite prepared to accept the statement of the Minister for Finance that the Budget is really only £26,000,000 and not £52,000,000. I do not know whether the Minister for Finance agrees that the £ has only a purchasing value of 10/-. The fact is that we are finding it hard to get the £52,000,000. If we were to do what Deputy McGilligan has suggested, I do not know that we would be able to come to the House at all and ask for the sum that would be involved. The position, of course, is that the cost of living has gone up for everybody, and that it will not come down until goods are in greater supply. People cannot be fully compensated for the increased cost of living. They have been compensated  to a certain extent, but it is elementary that until goods are in greater supply things will not be right. It is not my province to go into that. Deputy Moran and others spoke of the cost of the registration of title. The position is that there was an increase in cost some years ago. Following an action taken in the courts, it was decided by the Supreme Court that in the case of a transfer following death there was to be no fee charged.
Mr. Boland: I am not. The reason I will not agree to let him in is because I believe he would cause trouble and he would not give a fair or a true report of what he saw. That may be insulting but it is my belief.
Dr. O'Higgins: Your only acquaintance with him is something like two soldiers looking at each other over the sights of their rifles. The Deputy has been in this House for a number of years and I would accept his opinion on an important thing like that as an honest man. My views may not coincide with his——
Mr. Boland: I do not want to do an injustice to Deputy Flanagan. I realise that he is a Deputy returned by his constituency with a big majority but I also realise my responsibility. I have got to see that the Governor is helped and not hindered in the carrying out of his duties there.
Mr. Boland: If we are going to make a practice of having Deputies going to these prisons and looking for complaints from some of these prisoners we will have nothing but trouble. That was the result of the Labour Party visit. We have a visiting committee there. I am prepared to take any reasonable suggestion from any Party  as to who should be on that. There is nothing to hide. All I want to do in the prisons is to see that the proper conditions are there and not to interfere with the management of the prisons. I am afraid there is too much interference by Deputies. We would create a position where convicts would be threatening warders and the Governor and it would be very undesirable.
Dr. O'Higgins: It is only with the Chair's and the Minister's permission that I make this suggestion. I would be with the Minister if he adopted the attitude that no visits are allowed. Deputies have their own sources of information and they have the right to criticise any orders that will not allow any deputation or public representatives to visit prisons. If he took up that attitude whether it was supported all round or not we could sympathise with it, but when the Minister gets off his pedestal and comes down the slippery slope and says: “I let a certain group of Deputies inside a certain prison but I will not allow one of the elected representatives from that particular constituency”, I think there is no firm ground for that particular attitude.
Mr. Davin: If he allows Deputy Flanagan whenever it is necessary or desirable to go into Portlaoighise Prison with myself and three other colleagues, Dr. O'Higgins, Mr. Boland and Mr. Corry, Deputy Flanagan cannot hear or see any more than we can.
Mr. Boland: When I raised the matter here I tried to avoid giving my reason. The people of his constituency do not think that, I admit, but I have some say in the matter. I may be wrong and if I am wrong I will say that I am wrong——
Mr. Boland: As regards all this rumpus about Mayo and about my having tried to interfere in some case, I was asked a question as to why certain Guards were watching certain Deputies and going to their meetings. I answered that question and I have nothing to take from or add to that question. I did not instruct the Guards to go there. I did not give instructions to the Commissioner. That is his responsibility. He understands that if a certain amount of intimidatory language was likely to be used in certain areas that I am not going to say it is not to be allowed—I leave that to him. That is his job. He gets advice from his local area. If I get a specific case of Guards having done what a Deputy said—actually having the impertinence to ask a man how he voted—I do not believe it, but if I get the evidence I will have the case examined.
Mr. Boland: With regard to district justices, the position is that if there is a complaint about district justices which would warrant action being taken in the House—this is for Deputy McGilligan's information—let him send the evidence in that would justify my bringing the case before this House and I certainly will do it. He raised that point when the Ceann Comhairle was here. A judge or a district justice is in the same position. They cannot be dismissed except by motion of both Houses. He says it is incumbent upon me to take action. It is, but I have got to get a form of complaint which can be supported before I can take action.
Mr. Flanagan: Surely to goodness the Minister got a complaint from Edenderry L.D.F. about a particular district justice who referred to the  people of Edenderry as scroungers and savages and what action did the Minister take in that case. He wrote to Justice O'Donoghue who refused to apologise to the people.
Mr. Boland: Under the Act the present position of a district justice is that he has the same tenure of office as a judge. Before that the practice was that there was a committee consisting of the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court and the Attorney-General and if any complaints were made of misconduct, it had to be misconduct, about a district justice he was reported by the Minister for Justice. I did it on a few occasions. I reported a district justice to that committee and if they recommended that a district justice ought to be dismissed that was reported to the Government and the Government could dismiss him. The position now is that they are in the same position as judges and it is only by resolution of both Houses that they can be dismissed. That has enhanced their position but the committee is not there any longer.
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