Thursday, 24 June 1948
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Justice (General MacEoin): Before Deputy Flanagan resumes, I should like to say that he made a remark last night which I think should not have been made. He made a remark about something that the previous Government did. I want to draw the attention of the Chair to the matter before the Deputy is heard. I think the Deputy should withdraw the remark.
An Ceann Comhairle: I did not hear the remark, which referred to “the murder by a previous Government of two prisoners.” Of course, if the Chair had heard the remark the Deputy would have been compelled either to withdraw the remark or himself. Not only was the remark most disorderly, but it might be very dangerous, as will be seen by a moment's reflection, to make such a charge against a Minister or a Government. It is not usual, unless attention is drawn immediately to such a remark, to ask for a withdrawal. I shall leave it to the Deputy now.
Mr. Flanagan: I am very deeply obliged to the Minister for directing my attention and your attention, Sir, to the statement that I made in the House last night, if I did make the statement. To the best of my recollection, I did make a reference to the fact, referring to the graves which I have seen in Portlaoighise prison, that these were the graves of two men who were murdered by the last Government.
Mr. Flanagan: I was referring last night to the question of houses for the Garda Síochána. Many Deputies who are associated with local authorities know that considerable inconvenience is caused to members of the Garda Síochána owing to the shortage of housing throughout the country. I recommend to the Minister and to the responsible Government Department that a scheme should be prepared with the least possible delay for the provision by the Government of at least six or eight houses in each district for  the housing of members of the Garda Síochána. I know of cases in my constituency where members of the Garda Síochána are living in condemned hovels. A Garda has to live up to a certain standard and must uphold his dignity. When members of the force are housed in small whitewashed, thatched hovels, it certainly is no credit to the Government or to the responsible Departments. I recommend with all earnestness that the Minister should undertake the preparation of a scheme of housing accommodation in every district where there is a Garda station for the members of the force.
I believe that the Government are very much alive to the housing needs of the public in general. Where we have the general public making such appeals for housing accommodation it is the duty of the responsible Government Department to ensure that the Gardaí will not have to cut in on the ordinary citizen and deprive the ordinary citizen of a house when it is the duty of this State to provide houses for their own officers. I recommend very strongly that a scheme be undertaken in that respect. I understand that the Garda authorities at the moment have the responsibility, probably a displeasing responsibility, of granting travel permits to citizens who desire to spend a holiday outside this country. I understand that the knowledge or the recommendation of the Garda authorities is necessary before a person is granted a travel permit to go outside the shores of this country. However, in some cases I believe that the Garda authorities would be very likely to abuse the power they have in that respect. I have known of cases in my own constituency, and I have directed the attention of the chief superintendent in my constituency to the matter, where genuine applications from persons who desire to spend holidays in Great Britain have been deliberately turned down by the sergeants in their respective areas because the local sergeant is of opinion—mind you, it is not based on fact—that the applicant would be going for the purpose of taking up employment in Great Britain and not for the purpose of taking a holiday there.
 In a case where a citizen is in the very awkward position that he cannot secure his travel permit without the confirmation of the local sergeant of the Gardaí he should have some right of appeal either to the chief superintendent or to the Minister for Justice. It should not be left to the sergeant of the Gardaí to make whatever decision he desires to make in any particular case. I have heard in my constituency that certain friends and colleagues of the Gardaí were granted the facilities while other people were denied them despite the fact that no provision is made whereby a citizen, if he feels aggrieved as a result of the decision of the local sergeant, has nobody to whom he can appeal. The decision of the local sergeant is final and the decision of the local sergeant ends his application. The older system under which the Department of External Affairs dealt with the matter was much better. I suppose it is very difficult to have the scheme carried out by a Government Department when so many are applying for permits.
I am very sorry to say that, from my experience, I am quite satisfied that most deserving applicants have been denied the right to spend a holiday outside the shores of this country because of the fact that the local Garda sergeant was not prepared to issue a permit. I would appeal to the Minister for Justice to direct the attention of the Commissioner of the Gardaí or whoever else may be directly responsible to deserving cases which are brought to his notice so as to have them reviewed. I think more cases were deliberately turned down in the town of Birr than in any other district in my constituency. I know the people in question quite well. I am more intimate with the affairs of the applicants who applied for those travel facilities than the local sergeant of the Gardaí and I am quite satisfied as to the sincerity and the genuineness of the applications. These people who merely wanted to spend a holiday abroad and then to return to this country, despite the genuineness of their applications, were refused the travel facilities by the local Garda  sergeant for a reason unknown to me and unknown to the applicants themselves. I am raising this matter in order to direct the Minister's attention to the uneasiness that exists amongst those who have been denied the facilities to which I believe they were rightly and duly entitled.
I referred to the erection of Garda barracks. In regard to some of the Garda barracks throughout the country, I hope I am not being uncharitable when I refer to them as doghouses. Some Garda barracks are a disgrace. A complete survey should be undertaken, if that has not already been done, with a view to the preparation of a scheme for the erection of suitable Garda barracks in every Garda district. I have made repeated applications to the Department of Justice, and I should be glad if the Minister would use his good offices with a view to ensuring that the Board of Works will carry out the erection of Garda barracks in Shannonbridge, which is in my constituency. I am surprised that the Garda Síochána were able to live in the existing barracks in Shannonbridge. I visited the Garda barracks in Clonbullogue last week. The county medical officer of health has condemned better places than it in that constituency. I recommend that some steps be taken to provide a Garda barracks in every area, with a sergeant's quarters attached.
After all, I think that when people have recourse to a Garda barracks they like to see an office set aside for the sergeant so that they can transact whatever private business they may have to transact without having the other Gardaí in the station popping their heads in to hear the subject of the conversation. I have known that to happen. An application has been made on several occasions for a Garda barracks in Mountmellick. The position at the moment there is that we have the day room and the sergeant's office, and the general public when they want to have an interview with either the Gardaí or the sergeant have to do so all in the one room. The sergeant's private quarters are in the same barracks, too. Such a state of affairs should be remedied. A proper  office should be provided in each new Garda barracks, where any private business the general public may have with the sergeant of the Gardaí, the weights and measures inspector, the food and drugs officer, the school attendance officer, or whatever other officer they may wish to interview, can be transacted. The sergeant's private quarters should be separated from the Garda barracks. I directed the attention of Deputy Gerald Boland to the fact that in one Garda barracks in my constituency, to the knowledge of Deputy Davin and myself, the private correspondence of the Garda authorities is opened in the Garda sergeant's kitchen.
We have information from a very reliable source to the effect that private documents relating to the Garda activities in the district were opened in the kitchen of the sergeant and that the contents of these documents were the subjects of conversation in the local district by the general public. Probably the sergeant's wife got a glimpse of the edge of the correspondence. If a state of affairs prevailed whereby the correspondence and the Garda business in general were transacted in quite a different building —although it could be under the same roof—away altogether from the private affairs and the private work of the local sergeant, there would not be such abuses. I made very strong representations to the Department of Justice when that matter first came to my notice but whether action was taken or not I do not know. I believe that the circumstances which prevailed in that particular Garda station in my constituency still prevail. If this practice of opening official correspondence or State correspondence in the kitchen of a Garda sergeant is to be entertained, I think it is a bad business. In the same area, constituents have directed the attention of their Deputies, and my attention, to the fact that the immediate relatives of the local sergeant were able to warn the local citizens who were likely to be the recipients of summonses in the immediate future. The relatives of the Garda sergeant knew who was going to be summoned. I think that is a strange state of affairs.
 I think the Department of Justice should examine carefully into that situation and should take steps to ensure that the work of Garda stations is not carried out as if they were being run as private establishments. A slip of the tongue on the part of a relative of a Garda sergeant or of an ordinary member of the Garda might cause a good deal of uneasiness outside. In this particular station I am satisfied that there has been laxity. I shall not name the station in the House. I shall give it privately to the Minister afterwards in the hope that something will be done to remedy the present situation. I raise this matter in good faith and in sincerity in order to ensure that there will be nothing improper in the conduct of our Garda stations and in the hope that the position will improve. My attention was drawn to a somewhat similar set of circumstances in another Garda barracks in my constituency. There, I understand, the sergeant's wife is looked upon as the sergeant of the Guards. In the latter case I do not intend to disclose either the name of the station or any of the members thereof. I am merely giving the Minister the benefit of the information at my disposal in the hope that these matters will be investigated in the interests of clean and sound efficiency in our Garda stations.
I have been a member of the Laoighis County Council for a number of years. The members of that council have made repeated requests for permission to fly the national flag on specific occasions. The council think for instance that it is only right and proper that the national flag should be displayed on our public buildings when a Minister for State visits the locality. The county council asked the county registrar to make arrangements for the flying of the flag on the days when the council meets. The council was informel by the county registrar that it was a matter for the Minister for Justice and one in which he could not give a decision. I understand that the council have forwarded a resolution to the Minister for Justice asking for favourable consideration of their case. The only occasion on which we can fly the  flag is when the High Court is on circuit in the local courthouse. The county council regard themselves as being the local parliament and they think that on those days when they meet the flag should fly from the county council offices. I am not expressing my own opinion in this matter as to whether it should or should not be displayed. The council as a body are of the opinion that is should and for that reason I support the council's claim and I ask the Minister to give favourable consideration to our request. I am sure that other county councils in the country would wish to do likewise.
I want to direct the Minister's attention to late dances and the giving of licences at such dances. The giving of the licences is left completely in the hands of the local district justice. I am aware that the Minister cannot interfere with the decision the justice may give or try to influence that decision in any way. If I had my way I would allow no licence at any dance. In my own constituency there have been some shocking scenes following on dances where licences have been given. The rowdyism and rough conduct of the drunken youth going home from these dances causes annoyance and inconvenience to other residents. I am not a kill-joy. I like to see people enjoy themselves. But the impression is gradually gaining ground here among our young people, unfortunately, that they cannot enjoy themselves without intoxicating liquor. Whilst I am not a kill-joy, I am a bigoted teetotaller. I cannot speak sufficiently strongly against the consumption of intoxicating drink. Some of the young people attending these dances go for no other reason except to drink. I think I am only doing my duty as a public representative in bringing this to the Minister's attention. It provides a very bad example and something should be done to stop its present rate of growth as quickly as possible. I have no objection to minerals being supplied at dances. I have no objection to tea, or coffee, or milk, but I do object to intoxicating liquor. I know that drink at dances in my constituency has brought young people to the lowest depths of profligacy  and to the most scurrilous behaviour when coming home from these dances in the early hours of the morning. The Minister for Justice has some power in this matter and I appeal to him to use that power to remedy the intolerable position that exists at the moment. I make that appeal in all sincerity.
I have an intimate knowledge of the country, and I am sure the Minister has a fairly good idea of it, too. I have made it a practice to attend as many dances in my constituency as I could, and whilst a large section of our people enjoy dancing there are others who will not enjoy it without indulging in the use of intoxicating liquor. I believe those who indulge in the use of drink are tending to make dancing impossible and uncomfortable for everybody else. The proprietors of dance halls should not be granted licences for bars, and they should prevent persons under the influence of drink from attending their functions. I hope the Minister will take the necessary action in that respect.
I spoke for the greater part of two hours last night. It is not my intention to speak for any length this evening. I have to attend with a number of deputations who will be received by Ministers this evening. Any other remarks I would have liked to make now I shall deal with by way of direct correspondence with the Minister.
I desire to draw the Minister's attention to the reformatory in Daingean, in my constituency. I have asked already that an investigation should be made into the hours and working conditions of certain attendants there.
Mr. Flanagan: I thought the Minister was responsible for that reformatory. I shall take the matter up with the appropriate Minister later. As regards dances and the use of drink there, I recommend that the Department of Justice should take action to see that dances are not allowed to be carried on into the early hours of the morning. If a dance commences at 8 o'clock, 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock, and ends at 2 o'clock in the morning, that  gives ample time for sport and entertainment. I have known cases where dances were held on a Saturday night and the people attending them missed Mass on Sunday morning. Probably they were not in a fit, sound or healthy condition to attend Mass. Some of them were not able to stir out for two or three days after these dances.
Mr. Flanagan: I quite agree. I realise that I must not advocate amending legislation, but it might be wise for the Minister to recommend to the district justices to cut down dancing hours as much as possible. I hope I will not be misrepresented in my constituency as endeavouring to cut out dances altogether—far from it. My idea is that dances should be conducted in an orderly manner without intoxicating liquor and they should conclude at a decent hour. I have known cases where dances were over at 3 o'clock or 4 o'clock in the morning and some of the people attending them walked straight into work afterwards. In the interests of their health and their own good, these people should not do that. That state of affairs should not be allowed to prevail.
I want now to deal with aliens. Since I became a member of this House some years ago I have been deeply interested in this subject, because I observed that aliens are getting too much of a grip in this country. Quite recently I saw it published in the Standard that “the Irish Government deserves praise for planting foreigners and ousting natives; of course, in a more polite way than was done by James the First or Cromwell.” It is most extraordinary that in recent years almost 250,000 able-bodied Irishmen sought employment outside this country and were deprived of the right to a decent standard of living at home, while we have foreigners in our midst making a happy hunting ground out of the country. Our own people have  been forced to flee to the four corners of the earth.
Many of our industries are controlled by aliens. I believe we have in this country men of honour, men of industrial skill, men of determination and men with a complete knowledge of the control of industries and the supervision of workers. I am sorry to see that we have so many of our industries controlled by aliens. I have no objection to a foreigner coming here, but I strongly object to a foreigner taking control.
Within the past 12 months I asked the Minister for Justice for details about certain aliens who came to this country for the purpose of making their homes here. On the 20th October last year the Minister for Justice furnished me with details concerning certain aliens who had taken out their nationalisation papers. In the long list—there were several pages—of aliens who have become nationalised, there are no labouring men and no agricultural workers. The list includes engineers, company directors, bakers and confectioners, works managers, ships officers, café proprietors— I do not know how many such are on the list, but every café in this city seems to be owned by an alien in so far as this list goes—technical experts —and again, every technical expert in the country seems to be an alien according to this list—manageresses of hotels, restaurant proprietors, shopkeepers, brush manufacturers, woollen merchants, medical doctors—there are several medical doctors—estate and house agents, auctioneers and valuers, fitters, commercial agents and importers— there are several importers on the list —nursery men, grocers, and hardware merchants.
This is the list handed to me by the ex-Minister for Justice, Deputy Boland, and from the reading of this list which is available I am sure to anybody who wishes to consult the Official Debates of the 26th or 27th of October last, it is apparent that the best part of our hotels or restaurants, the best part of our business concerns in this city, are controlled by foreigners. Certainly we in this  country should live up to our tradition of extending a welcome to, and treating with generosity, foreigners and outsiders, but when we do so it does not mean that we are going to give them control. Whoever is responsible, I am sorry that the majority of our industries, factories and principal workshops are carried on completely by foreigners. This list is available for the inspection of any Deputy, and he will be astonished to see the number of company directors and general managers of companies included in it. I do not know in what language I should be an expert to pronounce their names; hence I shall not endeavour to read the list, but the list is here and, believe me, those men are in good responsible positions in this city. They have under them Irish boys and girls, Irishmen and Irishwomen, working with skill and industry, in many cases at the least possible wage. The foreigners grow fatter and richer whilst the employee grows thinner and poorer.
We have sweated labour carried on by groups of aliens who have found good positions in industries and in important business concerns in the city and throughout the country. I believe that if we are an Irish Government, we should be a Government to cater for Irishmen and Irishwomen. If we are going to do so and if we are to endeavour to Gaelicise our country, we shall be a long time doing so if we permit, for example, a Charles Peczeniok to come in here and take over a business over the name of Cathal O'Peczeniok, Baile Atha Cliath. I am sorry to say from my own experience that I see names over certain concerns in this city and the real proprietor is probably a gentleman in this list with about 20 letters of the alphabet going to spell his name. I protest in the strongest possible terms against the continued control of factories and industries by aliens, because, as I pointed out on other occasions, Irishmen and Irishwomen are working here for mean low paltry wages. They have no dividends to get. They have hard work, poor working conditions and low wages while the foreigner reaps the harvest. For that reason, I hope that the present Minister for Justice will  consider the matter very carefully when he is permitting aliens to remain in this country.
The late Minister, Deputy Boland, specialised in extending a hearty Céad Míle Fáilte to foreigners from the four corners of the world. They arrived here with the heartiest welcome from the Department of Justice and were presented with nationalisation papers, giving them every facility which Irishmen without capital could not avail of. I hope that this list will not continue to grow longer and longer. I believe that for the majority of the occupations and professions indicated in this list as being held by aliens in the city and throughout the country, drawing huge salaries, we have Irishmen and Irishwomen quite capable of filling these positions. Is it any wonder that Irishmen and Irishwomen are flying to the four corners of the world while we have aliens controlling industry and making conditions impossible for our own people? I recommend that every caution be taken by the Department of Justice in dealing with aliens. Certainly the long list with which I have been presented by Deputy Gerald Boland indicates that the highest degree of hospitality was extended by Fianna Fáil to foreigners, a degree of hospitality from a Government which carried on under the pretence of being Gaelic and Irish. They have given more consideration to providing jobs and making foreigners feel at home than to making conditions easier for their own people in industry.
Mr. Flanagan: In dealing with the question of aliens, I thought it only right that I should make some brief reference to the control of aliens on the Vote for this Department. I see that  Deputy Killilea had to break his many years' silence to make some interjection and I hope and trust that Deputy Killilea will rise in this House and direct the attention of the Minister for Justice to the fact that in his own native County of Galway, we have an alien in control and in possession of a tract of land for which Deputy Killilea's constituents are hungry. We hope and trust that, as one Deputy said, the age of miracles has not ceased and that Deputy Killilea may make a real speech some time in attempting——
Mr. Flanagan: While I am on my feet, I think I would be right in making reference to the fact that we have had in this country and are having at the present time too much control from foreigners and outsiders. I know that a foreigner or outsider has a quite legal right to purchase what he likes in this country provided he pays for it and pays the necessary tax imposed on whatever land or property he may be purchasing. Surely the Minister must realise, however, when we see foreigners taking complete, full and final control, that it is necessary that some steps should be taken. We have seen many of our hotels throughout the country purchased by aliens. The Lakeside Hotel in Killaloe was purchased for £15,000; Conway's Hotel in Claremorris was sold for £15,750 to a Mr. Payne, of England; the Grand Hotel in Crosshaven was sold for £28,500 to Mr. Harris, of England, and the Devonshire Arms, Lismore, for £5,600 to Mr. Hart, of England.
Mr. Flanagan: I do not want to make a statement concerning Deputy Boland's administration within the last 12 months as I would prefer if he were present. Every Deputy in this House knows that it is not my form to make an attack on a Deputy in his absence. I would prefer he were here if I am to utter any word of criticism of his Department during his term. I rose in this House to ask Deputy Boland a question some few weeks before he was deprived of the office of Minister for Justice. At that time I asked the Minister for Justice at the time if a permit to reside in Ireland was granted to a Mr. Charles Peczeniok of London to buy land for the purpose of erecting flats and, if so, if he would state the nationality of the gentleman and whether it is the policy of the Government to permit aliens to acquire land for that purpose. Deputy Gerry Boland replied——
Mr. Flanagan: The Minister at the time replied: “Permission to reside in this country has not been granted to any person of the name referred to by the Deputy.” I can tell Deputy Gerry Boland, who was then Minister, and I can tell the present Minister for Justice, that that gentleman is still here in  Dublin. What is more, he is buying land to build flats on here in Dublin. I raised the question in this House as to whether the aliens' section of the Minister's Department has checked up on this man's activities. I do not doubt but that some aliens are decent men, but as far as I personally am concerned I would trust none of them. It is a matter of opinion, but I think that the very closest inquiry should be made as to this man's conduct. If a man is going to buy land to build flats and to charge the young married couples of the city huge, fabulous rents, then he certainly made no mistake in endeavouring to settle in Dublin. My question of October last was put down in the hope that the aliens' section of the Department of Justice will make inquiries concerning the activities of this gentleman in the city. I will probably be able to give the Minister some little private information as to his conduct. I would be only too pleased to co-operate with the aliens' branch in giving all the information I have regarding his activities and the activities of other aliens who should not be permitted to remain 24 hours in this country. A very important set-up arrived here in this country not too long ago. During the past 12 months a certain group of people came over posing as business people. They did not come without the knowledge of the ex-Minister for Justice. One of those was a gentleman called Eindiguer.
Mr. Flanagan: If Deputy Killilea wants any information, as far as that  particular affair is concerned, I am sure that the Chair and this House will have ample scope for dealing with it on the Vote for the Department of the Taoiseach.
Mr. Flanagan: I do not propose to make reference to the tribunal in the least, because I believe that as far as it is concerned, my constituents have judged my honourable conduct, and my constituents are certainly the best people to judge whether I have conducted myself rightly or wrongly. Deputy Killilea may shrug his shoulders and sneer and jeer, but certainly as far as Deputy Killilea is concerned, he probably was one of those who supported the idea of endeavouring either to slander me or blacken my character.
Mr. Flanagan: I was referring to a certain set-up which arrived in this country within the last 12 months giving the impression that they were a group of distinguished, popular and renowned businessmen. I am quite satisfied that there was serious slackness on the part of the Minister for Justice in not dealing sufficiently and properly with the conduct of those people. What guarantee has the present Minister for Justice that a ragbag similar to that which arrived last October will not arrive in the morning again? I warned the Department of Justice against the arrival into this country of such people under false pretences. This House is aware that those people arrived with the intention of making a certain purchase in this country.
Mr. Flanagan: I am warning the Minister that similar instances can occur if the necessary precautions are not taken by the aliens' section of his Department. I believe that the closest possible inquiries should be made concerning the arrival of such people into this country. I hope and trust that the Minister for Justice will depart completely from the procedure adopted by his predecessor. It was clearly admitted that a certain alien was removed from this country at the request of an individual member of the Oireachtas. If a member of the Oireachtas found himself in any entanglement with an alien, the Garda authorities should be given an opportunity of investigating every iota of a transaction of a shady character or nature. In this case, within the last 12 months, the Garda authorities and  the authorities in this State were prevented from investigating thoroughly and properly a grievance, simply because, through the mighty power of influence, this person was deported at the request of a member of the Oireachtas lest a statement might be made to the Garda authorities. That was disgraceful conduct on the part of the responsible Minister and on the part of a member of the Oireachtas concerned.
Mr. Flanagan: I should be long sorry for it. I am certainly making no charge against a Deputy. I am referring to the fact that a certain alien arrived in this country and carried on conduct which, in my opinion and in the opinion of others, was not proper conduct. He was removed from this country without an investigation into his conduct at the request of a member of the Oireachtas. I believe that this occurred within the past 12 months and that I am absolutely and quite in order in raising that, despite the fact that you, Sir, are the best judge of order in this House. I am endeavouring to make myself as clear as possible without mentioning any names. If, however, the Chair or the House or the Minister desires to secure the names, I shall have no hesitation in obliging them.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair has no desire to get the names, but individuals should not be mentioned in such a way that they can be recognised. There should be no indication given by which a person could be recognised. The Deputy is making a charge in a certain fashion.
Mr. Flanagan: As I pointed out earlier, I should have much preferred if Deputy Boland were here. I only hope and trust that the many mistakes that were made by the Minister's predecessor will not be made by the present Minister. My advice to the Minister is similar to that which I gave to the Minister for Lands on his  Estimate. If the present Minister does everything in the management of his Department in the opposite way to that in which it was done by Deputy Boland, he will be right, because if there is one Department of State which is important it is the Department of Justice. We have in this country such things as law, order and justice. It is the duty of the Government and Parliament to hold in the very highest esteem and respect the judiciary and the law. It is not my intention to cast any serious reflections on the manner in which the law was administered in the past under the Fianna Fáil Government. If there is one man in this House who has reason to feel pained as a result of the administration of justice, it is myself. Certainly no other Deputy and no member of the general public has been dealt with by the laws of this country as I personally was. With all the respect and all the honour that is due to members of the judiciary, I can say that, so far as I was personally concerned, I was warned in this House by a certain Deputy in October that a certain incident was going to happen in December, which did happen in December. Through the medium of the laws which should be administered freely and impartially——
Mr. Flanagan: On the eve of an election, when I held equally as good a character in this State as any other Deputy or citizen, it was an extraordinary coincidence that the prophecy of a Deputy made in this House in October was fulfilled without doubt in December. I refer to a statement made in this House last October by Deputy Seán Lemass. Deputy Lemass spoke  from these benches and, pointing his finger across this House, made a prophecy that I was going to be the subject of a certain decision——
Mr. Flanagan: I would be long sorry to do it. I was only endeavouring to point out to the Chair and to the House that Deputy Lemass prophesied in October what was decided on in December. He definitely stated in this House that I was going to be accused in a certain direction. It made me very suspicious. It made the general public and the House suspicious when the prophecy of Deputy Lemass made in October came true in December. I am saying that it was a coincidence. It was a rather peculiar and strange coincidence that the prophecy of Deputy Lemass should have come true two months later, and that I should have been the victim of Deputy Lemass's prophecy.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair does not understand the Deputy's vague illusions. The Chair is suspicious that the Deputy is making reference to a judicial decision. I am warning the Deputy again that, if he makes these vague references and tries by implication to say that judicial decisions were influenced by any Deputy, he will have to desist.
Mr. Flanagan: When you ask me to give more details, I certainly should be long sorry for saying that Deputy Lemass interfered in any judicial decision. In order to make it clear for the Chair, I am saying that Deputy Lemass rose in this House in October last and, pointing across the House,  he told me and the House that I was going to be found guilty of perjury. These are the words Deputy Lemass used. The Official Reports are there to prove it. By a strange coincidence, my character was slightly blemished in December.
Mr. Flanagan: Very well. Since I cannot refer to Deputy Lemass's prophecy, I do not propose to deal further with the matter, at your request. May I take this opportunity on this Vote, which deals with law and order and with the courts, to say that every Deputy knows that the law as laid down by this House is carried out independently of any Deputy or any Minister. But may I say in all fairness to everybody concerned and to myself that there is such a thing as an oath. When any person takes it upon himself to come forward in any case as a plaintiff, defendant, or witness, whether in the District Court, the Circuit Court, the High Court, or any court of justice, he takes the Bible and swears before the Almighty to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He thereby  enters into a contract between himself and his God to tell the whole truth to any Court of Justice. Every person who takes an oath realises the full seriousness of the contract between himself and his God. In every court, and before every judge, that is done.
Mr. Flanagan: I am pointing out that it has every relevancy in the world to the administration of justice—the taking of an oath properly. The Minister is well aware of that. I hope that any Deputy or Minister who takes the Bible into his hand and swears that the evidence to be presented to a court of justice administering the laws realises that he enters into a contract to tell the truth. Every witness realises the importance of the oath which is necessary in every court. He realises the importance of the formula laid down by the courts for statements and evidence on oath. May I say that I realise my duty to my God and, if I take an oath, I keep it?
Mr. Flanagan: May I point out that we have in this country the offence of perjury? If a person goes into court in this country and gives evidence of a false or misleading nature, the Minister for Justice and the Government have power to institute legal proceedings against him for the offence of perjury. The law is there. A citizen of this State who goes into a court of justice and gives false or misleading testimony is guilty of perjury and can  be imprisoned for the offence of perjury in accordance with the law of this country. On an occasion when I was a voluntary State witness in a particular case it was charged against me that the evidence which I tendered was untrue. Far from it. Like every other citizen I realise the importance of a binding contract between myself and my God. I hope and trust that the men who tried to blemish my reputation will find themselves for many a long day where they well deserve to be, in the wilderness.
Mr. Dunne: Initially, I want to refer to a statement which was made in this House last evening by a Deputy on these benches. I want to dissociate myself from the statement and, in so dissociating myself, I am sure I speak also for my colleagues in the Labour Party. It was a statement that the spoils system was a justifiable one. As far as I and my Party are concerned, we will not associate ourselves with any sentiment like that. I am not qualified to debate the righteousness or lack of righteousness of the system of local appointments in this country, but I do say——
Mr. Dunne: I am referring to a statement made by a Deputy on this side of the House and I am making the position of the Labour Party clear in relation to that statement. I know what the spoils system is just as well as the Deputies on the Opposition Benches do. As far as we are concerned, we do not subscribe to that system. We believe that appointments, local or otherwise, should be made on one basis only and that is the basis of merit.
Mr. Dunne: Yes. I would like to refer now to the prison system in this country. I do not think much reference has been made to it during the course of this debate. I think the prison system in Eire is in very drastic need of reform. I do not believe that in any other country in the world such a unique system exists. A certain lack of humanity characterises the treatment of our prisoners. Youthful offenders very often embark upon what are no more than foolish escapades. They are promptly imprisoned and in many cases they are compelled to mix with more or less hardened offenders. I think that is a very undesirable system. I have noticed, too, that no effort is made at rehabilitation when these offenders have paid their debt to society. There is in existence a well-intentioned society which does something towards helping to rehabilitate certain prisoners. But I do not think the problem is approached in the proper way. In many cases when prisoners are released after having served their sentences, it is not very long before they find their way back again to either Mountjoy or Maryboro'. One of the great drawbacks of the present system is the fact that no provision of any kind is made for training potential tradesmen and little opportunity is provided for giving prisoners a chance of developing their mental capacity or improving upon their knowledge. I think the Minister would be well advised to review the whole prison  system in this country and to make some effort to bring about a more advanced system. Some effort should be made to provide prisoners with a chance of going back to a respectable living in society rather than finding themselves compelled, as they now do, by virtue of their long period behind prison bars, to continue a life of crime and end up a complete failure from the point of view of society. If a proper system of rehabilitation were introduced it would be a big step forward in prison reform.
Many Deputies have referred to the treatment of the Gardaí. It is rather remarkable that despite their grievances in relation to pay, conditions and so on, this force renders such loyal service. It is remarkable how efficiently and how loyally they discharge their duties. I add my voice to the pleas of other Deputies who have asked the Minister to review the wage scales and remuneration of the Gardaí in order to bring them into a closer relationship with the cost of living.
There is one aspect of Garda discipline that has always appeared to me to be rather irrational, and one which causes undue suffering upon certain Gardaí who may break regulations of a minor or even of a major character. That is the system that has existed of transferring men who may be a long number of years in an area from that area, in which they have probably built their homes and raised their families, to a distant district in the country. I think there is hardly a greater punishment that can be imposed upon a man than to uproot him lock, stock and barrel, and shift him to a district with which he is totally unfamiliar. I know of one sergeant in County Dublin who was treated in this way for a very minor infringement of the regulations. I will give the details to the Minister on another occasion, but I now ask that the general question should come under review. The system of treating offenders who are guilty of slight misdemeanours in this very drastic way should be reviewed.
Road accidents are very much in the public mind nowadays, and much has been said here about them. Traffic in Dublin City and County now forms a  major problem. On all the main roads around the capital, particularly at week-ends, it is quite a dangerous matter for pedestrians or cyclists to venture forth. I think it can be said that the light punishment that is given in cases of accidents where drivers of cars have been obviously culpable, forms a contributing factor. The fact that the punishment is light is not, of course, the fault of the district justice. The fault is traceable to the fact that the legislation is not sufficiently strong.
I do not think there is any greater crime than that of a person driving a motor-car while under the influence of drink. We have had numerous cases within the past few years of innocent people coming from work, of children playing in the streets, meeting their deaths because some person who was driving a car had one over the eight. There should be no such thing as the option of a fine where people have been found guilty of driving cars while under the influence of drink. They should be given the heaviest possible jail sentences.
I realise that that is a matter in which legislation would be required, but it is just that it should be mentioned here. I hope that in the near future the Minister will introduce a Bill which will impose adequate punishment for this type of crime, a crime which seems to me to be far more serious than many other crimes for which far heavier punishments are meted out.
I would like to refer to the housing of the Gardaí. In County Dublin there are Gardaí living under very bad housing conditions. That is a reflection of the general housing situation, but I think the State owes it to these men to give them special consideration. I think houses should be provided for all Gardaí, if necessary by means of a special grant from the Department of Justice. I recommend that to the Minister for his consideration.
We are now entering upon a period of political peace in this country, which will last for some considerable time to come. In these circumstances it strikes me as incongruous that we should have in existence a branch of the police force which has as its purpose the detection of political crime or  political offences. I think that this force should no longer be maintained. I suggest the Minister should consider disbanding it in view of the situation that exists.
I want to take this opportunity of requesting the Minister to investigate certain cases which occurred during recent years where young men who became involved in the political struggle in one way or another met their deaths as a result of police action. In a number of these cases inquests were opened but were not proceeded with and were not concluded in the proper way. The parents or dependents of these young men are deserving of some consideration from the State. It was not decided by any tribunal that, in the cases I know of at any rate, the men were guilty of any crime. In one case the young man never had any conviction against him and he was killed by military police while an unconvicted internee in the Curragh internment camp. An inquest was opened and no evidence was tendered other than the medical evidence of death. In cases where there was not a full, just and thorough investigation into the killing, compensation should be made available to the dependents. I do not think it can be justified under any rule of law, no matter what emergency exists, that the lives of people can be taken without some trial and there should be a complete inquest.
I appeal again to the Minister seriously to consider my remarks about the prison system particularly, and he should give the House an opportunity of knowing whether or not he intends to review that system and introduce into it what I have emphasised has been missing heretofore, something which is very much needed—a note of common humanity.
Mr. Lynch: At the outset of this debate compliments were paid to the Minister for his opening statement. While I do not wish to detract from these compliments, I seriously suggest that any congratulations that are due as a result of the administration of justice in this country are really due to the Minister's predecessor.
Mr. Lynch: I am not unmindful of that. I hope that when the time comes we will be equally in a position to compliment the present Minister on the high level of administration of the Department of Justice and on the conduct of the forces of justice. Most of the Deputies who have spoken referred to the Garda Síochána, and I should like to address a few remarks to the Minister on the same subject. There always have been many complaints about the inadequacy of the strength of the Garda Síochána, and it is a cause of some concern to me and to many people that recruiting has been stopped. The Minister mentioned that something like 18 men per month is the normal wastage of the force. I suggest, in view of the present inadequacy of the strength of the Garda, that is a very serious wastage and that recruiting should be recommended as soon as possible. Even with its present complement, the duties of the Garda are very onerous. In my submission there were never sufficient Gardaí to perform the tasks that their ever-increasing duties imposed on them. If the Minister will examine the situation he will find that here in Dublin, in other cities, and all over the country, there is a growing demand for more Gardaí. I would, therefore, suggest seriously that he should consider the matter of recruitment as early as possible.
In the Minister's opening statement, he told us that the system of recruitment was being examined with a view to its overhaul. I hope that the implication is not that the present system has been found wanting. A further implication might be that the type of young men going into the force at present is not the best possible. I prefer not to believe that because I and everbody else know only too well, that the young men that have been recruited into the Garda for a number of years past have been young men of outstanding ability and integrity and of splendid physical appearance in every possible manner. I hope if the Minister is to revise the method of recruitment, that the young men who will be recruited as a result of the  new methods, will measure up to the standards of the men coming into the force at present.
I should like to direct the Minister's attention to the long hours of duty with which some of the Gardaí have to contend at present in the smaller stations throughout the country. I had one experience quite recently of calling at a Garda barracks on the outskirts of Cork to receive a message that was left there for me and I found that the barrack orderly was in no way anxious to let me go. He wanted to keep me there as long as it was possible for me to remain to keep him company. I found that he had been on duty at that stage for 24 hours continuously and that his period of duty would not be completed for another 8 or 9 hours. I think it is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs in any civilised country that men should be expected to remain continuously on duty—and vigilant duty at that—for nearly a day and a half without any hours off. I do not know how any man could be expected to discharge his duties efficiently under these conditions, duties especially of the type which the Garda are expected to perform.
I should like to make a passing reference to the wages of the Gardaí. In the Estimate, the Minister provides for a sum of £1,831,000 for the pay of the ordinary Guards. That pay is spread over 5,927 Guards and averages out at almost £6 per week. In my submission, that average is far too low for men of the character and the calibre that we expect Gardaí to be. In many cases, the average is probably £2 per week in excess of the wages a lot of the men receive. I would say that the average wages of men of a similar type in other walks of life would be much higher. When we find that builders' labourers can earn much in excess of £6 per week, not to speak of what an artisan can earn, I would suggest that the average is far too low for the Garda Síochána, particularly in view of the long hours and the onerous duties which some of them have to undertake. Some of them are on duty all through the night, subject to the hazards of the weather and in  many cases subject to the hazard that they may be at any time attacked and be subjected to bodily harm. I know that as a result of recent legislation ample provision has been made for compensating Gardaí who have suffered injury, but nevertheless the fact is that they live to some extent under the possibility of being subject to bodily harm in the course of their duties. I submit that they are entitled to some monetary compensation for undergoing that risk, even though the risk may never materialise.
I wish to mention, as a corollary to that, the system under which payments are made to the widows of Gardaí. The widows and orphans of Gardaí have, to some extent, also to bear the risks and hazards to which Gardaí are subject in the course of their duties. Again I want to say that I appreciate that the widows and orphans are provided for by way of compensation, but, as a rule, Gardaí have to be out in all kinds of weather and, in consequence, their lives must be shortened to some extent. I think that a payment of £30 to a widow plus £10 for each child, up to a maximum of three children, is far too little to be paid to the widows and orphans of deceased Gardaí for their maintenance, the maximum sum being £60 per year. In the case of widows of officers, it is slightly higher, £50 a year for the widow and £20 for each child, up to a maximum of three children. I would suggest seriously to the Minister that is far too low as a pension for these people.
There is a special rank in Dublin, I understand, called “station sergeants”. I also believe that the only method of promotion in Dublin from sergeant to the officer rank is through the first step of station sergeant. I am open to correction if I am wrong. I believe that that position of station sergeant is not a very popular one for two reasons. First, the duties are rather onerous inasmuch as the station sergeant is subject to shift work. The shift is, I think, something about one-third of the day, and that, of course, means that at some stage, for some weeks he will have to be on night work and will have to sit in his station overnight. Another reason it is unpopular  is that he has to be a strict disciplinarian and has to bring to book the ordinary members of the force in his particular station. The main point I am referring to is that as a result of that particular course, that method of promotion, we find that the men who reach the officer rank are far too old. I am not suggesting that the men who have reached promotion to this rank are incompetent to any degree, but I would submit that young active capable sergeants should have the means of promotion to the officer rank at an earlier age without having to go through the position of station sergeant. It would make for younger and more active officers in the Dublin metropolitan area.
While I am on the subject of Gardaí, I think I would be in order in referring to Deputy Flanagan's allegations regarding a Garda officer when he said that as a result of a Fianna Fáil T.D.'s influence with the ex-Minister for Justice this particular Garda officer was transferred from where his wife and children were living, for no other reason than that he was doing his duty and interfering with the personal liberty of this Fianna Fáil T.D. Deputy Flanagan stated, with an apparent sense of responsibility, that these were the true facts of the case. I suggest that Deputy Flanagan here showed a flagrant indifference to what are the true facts of the case. I happen to be in a position to know what the facts were, and the facts were——
An Ceann Comhairle: Is it desirable that this case should be tried here? Is the Deputy doing a good service to the individual concerned by discussing the matter here? I know that when the case for was made by a Deputy, another Deputy is entitled to make a case against, but I am asking Deputy Lynch is it desirable to make the case.
General MacEoin: He says that he has the facts. I do not want to interrupt  the Deputy, but I would like to draw his attention to the fact that if he cites them he should make sure that he has them.
Mr. Lynch: In deference to the chair, I will not say what I intended, but I would wish to say that as far as the ex-Minister for Justice is concerned, and I am sure that the present Minister will agree, it was the practice of the ex-Minister for Justice to receive complaints about members of the Garda force and to pass them on to the Commissioner. He never interfered with the internal administration of the Garda force. The facts which I was about to disclose would have shown that particular situation. I hope the Minister for Justice will examine the allegations made here by Deputy Flanagan, and which got due publicity in the Press. I am not going to set myself up as arbiter of this particular situation, but the facts are there and available to the Minister. If necessary, as it is a specific instance of a charge of corruption, the machinery is there for him also to have an inquiry. I would welcome an inquiry and I would welcome a statement from the Minister on that particular subject.
With that, I will pass on to the question of prisons. I would like to refer also to the eulogy which we heard here of the prison system from Deputy Flanagan. I am sure that he did not intend to pay any compliment to the ex-Minister for Justice when he mentioned the state in which he found Portlaoighise prison, but the high standard of efficiency and of maintenance generally which he found there is due to a great extent to the administration of Deputy Boland.
The Minister made a reference to the establishment of the post of prison inspector, and some Deputies misconstrued the Minister's remarks in thinking that the post was recently established. That post has been established in the Department of Justice for something upwards of 12 months now, and before that there was a definite method of prison inspection and a definite department set up to deal with the administration of prisons. Constant reports have been made available from the superintending officers on the conditions in prisons. I do not want anybody to get away with the idea that prison life was a matter of such indifference to the late Minister for Justice as not to have any inspection staff. Certainly there was an inspection staff.
Mr. Lynch: I think I am entitled to speak on any subject in the debate, and if Deputy Boland wishes to repeat what I have said I am sure that he is at liberty to do so. As far as prisons— the structure of prison life—are concerned, the criminal code is designed for the punishment of crime and to act as a deterrent. I submit that prison life should not be made too attractive if it is to be a deterrent to the commission of crime. As well as punitive it is also designed to be reformative and for that reason prisoners should be treated in prison as ordinary human beings and with the possible hope that  at some time they will take their place as well-meaning, well-balanced citizens of the community. A prison sentence in itself fulfils its purpose in many cases of minor crime and sometimes in cases of major crime. I would submit that long sentences are in most cases very harmful and they make for bad prisoners. Prisoners locked up for a very long period, 20 years possibly, must realise that their chances of ever becoming ordinary citizens of the State again are very limited. They therefore become demoralised and do not conform with the ordinary prison regulations. They say: “What is the use? My life will practically be over before I get out of here.”
For that reason I would suggest that prison sentences in general should not be so long. I would suggest that the Minister should hold out some hope to a man who has been sentenced say for 20 years, if his conduct is good, if he conforms to the prison regulations and if he gives promise of being a well-ordered citizen. The Minister should from time to time review his case and grant him his release when he is satisfied that the man can again take his place amongst the community. I believe that the average number of years which people sentenced to life terms serve amounts to about ten or 11 years. Therefore, even a person who has committed a major criminal offence knows in his own mind that after that period he may possibly get his release. When a man is sentenced to a term double that—20 to 25 years—I feel that if he behaves himself and promises to become a good citizen, he should have some hope of being released after a short term.
Another type of criminal to which I would like to refer is the habitual criminal. I have two cases in mind where men have been in and out of jail. I do not refer to the ordinary drunk and disorderly cases, but to men who have been in and out for serious crimes. I know that one of these men has been receiving terms of penal servitude for a period of 30 years. In that particular case I would suggest that prison sentences alone will not meet the defects in that individual's set-up. It is clear that there is some mental defect in that individual and therefore  there should be in the power of the Minister some discretion to commit him —having received a report from a properly qualified man—to some institution with a possible hope of having him cured of whatever penchant he has, in whatever direction it may be.
I should like to refer to the matter of the proper segregation of prisoners. As a general rule we have prisoners who are sent to a particular jail because they were sentenced for a particular term. I would suggest that the Minister should utilise his existing prisons in order to send men of a particular criminal type to one prison and men of a different type to another. I consider that it is bad for persons who have been weak enough to fall into crime to be mingling with men who have fallen into different types of crime. It might be possible to devise some system of segregation. I know the difficulty. In the case of remands, as far as the local prison is concerned, I understand that Sligo or Cork prison is the normal place to which to send a man when he has to spend a few nights covering a period of remand by a court in those particular areas. Even there, where there is a particular type of long-term criminal incarcerated, a special wing could be provided for short-term prisoners such as those to whom I have referred. In this connection, I am glad that the Minister has decided to change the name of the Borstal Institute and that it is now to be called St. Patrick's. I think that the less and less the Borstal Institute—or whatever it may be called—is made to look like a prison the more and more adequate and beneficial it will be as a Borstal institution.
During the debate some Deputies have referred to the desirability of long sentences for people who are convicted of driving cars while drunk. As many of the Deputies who have recourse to the law will know the section of the Road Traffic Act under which this particular offence is constituted is a very wide one. When a man goes into court charged with this particular offence he has very big difficulties to overcome. First of all, he has the bias of the community and the section which is  designed to empower the justice to take full advantage of the legal code to punish an offender.
I would appeal to Gardaí to use their powers in this particular matter with discretion. When they are charging people with driving while drunk the Gardaí should give them every opportunity of producing medical evidence as soon as possible so that it will be procurable for the defendant when he appears in court. I have known cases where men have been charged and brought to the Garda barracks. They have then been told they may get any particular doctor they like. In many cases these men are out of their own area, as it were, far from home and they do not know any doctor. If it is possible, I would suggest that on such occasions the Gardaí should bring in as many doctors as possible—not just one or two—to examine them in order to give them every possible chance. The first thing we hear in such prosecutions is that the man smelt of intoxicating liquor. Anybody knows it is very easy to smell intoxicating liquor. I am not advocating by any means, a case of leniency for men convicted or charged with drunken driving but I would ask that all concerned in the administration of this particular form of justice should act with discretion in regard to this question. With regard to the staff of the Department of Justice generally I may say that this is one debate in which the staff of the Department is given a fairly good hearing—more so than in the debates on other Estimates. There is nothing but the highest of praise due to the headquarters staff. It is about the most cheaply administered Department in the Civil Service and, as a necessary conclusion, it is run by the fewest number of men and it deserves the highest compliments and thanks of the people. The Government should, however, be cognisant of that fact and meet the reasonable demands of the Department for staff. There are times when replacements are necessary through illness or vacation. I am given to understand that the Department of Justice finds it very hard to fill any of these replacements.
The Circuit Court staff have been crying out for a long time past for a  proper method of establishment. These men are doing skilled work all over the country. They are Jacks of all trades. After a very short number of years they become skilled in the administration of the law of the Circuit Court. They have to know everything about conveyancing, civil bills, equity civil bills, ejectments and even registration and probate work. Under the present system the county registrar has so many different departments under his administration that he, as well as his staff, has to be expert in practically every branch of law. No man should be expected to be an expert in every branch of law. If he is an expert in one branch it is as much as most people can expect. The Minister should take up the case of these men— clerical officers and officers of lower grades—who are serving in circuit court offices all over the country. There should be a proper basis of establishment for them and proper renumeration commensurate with the work they are giving to the State. In some cases lowly paid officers such as clerical officers go into court and take over the duties of the county registrar. That is sometimes unavoidable because of the fact that the county registrar has so many different departments under his administration. He is a probate officer, a local registrar of titles, in some cases local registrar in bankruptcy, local registrar in probate as well as being taxing master. The county registrar himself cannot be expected to go into court and give his time there as well as giving his time to the various departments. He has therefore to call on his officers of the lesser grades who are serving under him. They take responsibility for the decisions of the judges as they interpret them and enter them in the court minutes. They have a responsible position. I suggest they are not at present being paid in a manner commensurate with the value they are giving to the State. When these officers have to travel around the country they are paid at a very low rate by way of travelling expenses. They go to circuit towns where there is only one hotel and strangely enough they are paid the travelling expenses only according to  their particular grade. If, for instance, an officer with about £200 a year travels down the country he gets an allowance of about 17/6 per day. An officer doing the same work and earning £1,000 a year goes to the country to a circuit town as registrar to the Circuit Court and gets £1 1s. 6d. per day. Despite the fact that the clerical officer has to mix with the same people, eat and sleep in the same hotel, and do exactly the same things the senior officer would have to do in similar circumstances there is that disparity in their allowances. Therefore there is a special case for officers who travel as officers to the Circuit Court to be paid expenses on the highest possible grade.
Another court officer with whom many people are unfortunately familiar is the court messenger. He has a thankless job in carrying out execution orders. He is paid at present what I would term a disgraceful wage. He has to make seizures and ejectments. In many cases he is paid according to the number of seizures he makes and I think that in other cases he has a small rate of wages. His post is an essential and thankless one. That is another case where the Minister might seriously consider giving an increase in the remuneration these men are getting. While on that subject I would suggest that the fees which are levied on execution of decrees are at present far too high. Take the case of the man who is sued for £5. He may perhaps let it go by default through fear of incurring expenses or through ignorance. By the time that particular decree for £5, with the costs of the District Court, gets into the sheriff's hands and he sends his messenger to execute, the debt will be practically doubled and in many cases even more so. The Minister should examine the fees payable by people who are subjected to execution of decrees by the District Court or by the Circuit Court.
Another branch which comes under the administration of the Department of Justice is the Land Registry. For years we have been listening to complaints that the arrears there are becoming practically insurmountable. I would direct my remarks now to the Clann na Poblachta Deputies—not as a  jibe but in all seriousness. I would say to the Minister that this is a case where their policy of decentralisation might well be carried out from every point of view. In the local Land Registry offices all over the country there are small staffs where the men are expected to know every detail of Land Registry law. People come and are advised by them, but, nevertheless, these offices are never more than clearing offices. Once all the documents are in order they are sent to the central office in Dublin and are held there for several months. Many of these dealings could be more properly, expeditiously and effectively put through in the local offices if there is a proper decentralisation of the work of the Land Registry. However, it would help to the extent that all the records would not be concentrated in one office. They would be spread out all over the country. If by any chance misfortune were to befall the central office the local records, at least, would be intact in the local offices. My remarks in regard to the Circuit Court staffs would apply also to the District Court staffs. Some District Court clerks are getting very small remuneration, considering the very important work they are doing. Some cases of non-established District Court clerks, I notice, are getting salaries as low as, I think, £75 a year. I would suggest that the District Court officer is a man of some outstanding ability. He has to be so. Therefore the Minister might seriously consider a substantial rise in the remuneration of such men.
Before I leave the matter of courts I should like to refer to a question that has often occurred to me. It concerns legal aid for poor people. I know that this question has been examined from time to time. While I do not advocate that legal aid should be given in all cases—civil cases, for instance— I would suggest that in most indictable criminal offences legal aid should be forthcoming for poor people who are unable to defend themselves. I know of many places where for want of the necessary fees poor people have gone into court on very serious offences without being legally represented.  While I do not suggest that as a result of that they were treated to any rough justice, at least one would be fortified in the thought that they had legal aid available to them when they appeared before a court on a very serious charge. While an indictable offence may constitute only one single incident, it may be the subject of several different charges of varying degrees of criminality and, consequently, carrying varying degrees of punishment. If a man in the dock, without legal representation, is listening to a series of charges being read over to him, in the majority of cases he cannot possibly appreciate what the actual charge is that is being read out to him and he will plead like a parrot, “guilty”, “guilty”, “guilty” to each charge as it is read. Even though he may not be guilty in fact, it is the duty of the law to charge him on all counts on which they think he may be guilty. The possibility is that there may be cases where men have pleaded guilty to crimes they never committed or, at least, to degrees of crimes of which they were not guilty. The reason for that is because the indictment is framed in such a way that the prisoner cannot possibly understand it. I suggest that is one case where legal aid should be made available by the State. I do not think the provision of legal aid in such a case would cost the State very much. It would certainly make for a better administration of justice and it would supply a long-felt want in the criminal courts.
Some of the Deputies have referred to jurors' expenses. That is another matter to which the Minister will have to give serious consideration. Jurors' expenses are not a very important item in Dublin or in some other counties. As the Minister for Local Government, who is now deputising for the Minister for Justice, knows, the expenses of jurors in Cork are a very, very big item. In Cork jurors have to travel in most cases anything up to 120 miles. I am sure that it would never be advocated that juries should be abolished and I am sure the people who complain most bitterly now because they do not get sufficient expenses would be loudest  in their condemnation if any effort were made to abolish the jury system. I suggest to the Minister that he should give this question of adequate remuneration to jurors his serious consideration.
The Minister will find in his Department a reference to law reform. Law reform is a task of tremendous magnitude, but I would suggest that it should be tackled as soon as possible. We are administering laws in this country which were passed prior to the establishment of our own Government. Those laws were passed by English Parliaments to suit English administration. I suggest that the law reform committee should commence its activities immediately in order to bring our law into line with the demands of the present time.
Mr. C. Lehane: It is my intention to intervene in this debate only in the briefest possible manner. Many facets of the activities of the Department of Justice have been dealt with by Deputies on both sides of the House. I want to put before the Minister some considerations and, perhaps, a point of view not very frequently expressed in this House in the past. I want to do that, in so far as I am able, without bitterness and without recrimination. I want to do that merely with a view to assisting the Minister in discharging the functions which I conceive to be peculiarly his as Minister for Justice.
In my submission the function of the Minister for Justice and of the Department of Justice is the creation and preservation of a state of society in which Christian peace, justice and order shall prevail. Due to the circumstances of our history for the past 27 or 28 years it has not been fully realised either by the Department of Justice or by the citizens as a whole what the functions of that particular Department should really be. I would ask the Minister for Justice to profit by the mistakes of his predecessors. I say predecessors advisedly. I would ask the Minister to realise that, due to the history of this country for the past 27 years, it has not been possible for that co-operation that should exist to exist between those engaged in  the administration of justice and the general body of the citizens. Too often in the past the Department of Justice has been utilised as an instrument for the repression of that republican opinion which could not fully accept this Legislature as the legitimate successor of the Government of the Republic.
I am not asking the Minister for Justice to adopt the republican views which we of the Clann na Poblachta Party hold. I am asking the Minister, in his administration, not to blind himself to the facts of history. I am asking him to profit by the lessons to be learned from the mistakes of his predecessors. I am asking him to realise that there is in this country a substantial body of opinion which will not accept as correct that those who organise and struggle for the achievement of a 32-County Independent Republic should be branded as criminals. I ask him to recollect that some 17 years ago, when there was in office a Government of another Party which sought by repressive measures to stifle republican opinion, republican opinion put that Government out. I ask him to realise also that when the Fianna Fáil Administration for a period of ten years engaged, mainly through the Department of Justice, in a similar repressive policy towards those who stood for the complete freedom and independence of this country, the people in turn put the Fianna Fáil Government out and put Fianna Fáil Deputies sitting on the benches opposite.
I do not make any plea to the Minister that any section should be above the law, should receive preferential treatment, or should be given any licence to do anything denied to the general body of citizens. But we from these benches do claim the right of republicans to organise and work for the achievement of the national ideal of a 32-County Independent Republic. I realise perfectly well that the views which animate us on these benches may evoke as little sympathy on this side of the House as they do on the benches opposite. I urge on the Minister that he should realise that the attainment of that state of affairs in which  Christian order, peace and justice will prevail, cannot be achieved by the utilisation of repressive methods or repressive measures against people who adhere to a point of view which they have held, many of them, for more than a quarter of a century.
I ask the Minister to accept from me that in anything I say I am speaking with all the sincerity and conviction that I can bring to this speech. The Estimate for the Department of Justice is not, for some of us sitting here, a very easy Estimate to discuss. There are Deputies sitting opposite who know perfectly well the temptation that there is for some of us to refer to the bitter and tragic things that happened during the past ten years.
Mr. C. Lehane: I am merely referring to the Minister's policy for the future; it was to that end my remarks were directed. I am urging on the Minister that he should continue as he has started. In the main, I think it can be said that the Minister's action in releasing from Portlaoighise the five republicans who had been jailed by his predecessor met with general approval. I think that there is general agreement throughout the country that that was a necessary, a wise and a nationally sound step for the Minister to take. I think that we are fortunate that of the occupants for the Government Front Bench the present Minister was chosen by the Taoiseach for the Department of Justice. I submit he will bring to the administration of that Department a humanity and an understanding which are very necessary to the occupant of that office.
I ask the Minister to ensure that the policy which he will pursue will not be one of creating friction amongst different sections of political opinion. During the régime of his predecessor there was attached to the Department of Justice a section of the Garda Síochána whose function it was to exaggerate the differences of opinion that existed amongst certain sections  of the community. I think that it is a pity that the present Minister has not taken the step already advocated here by Deputy Dunne, namely, the disbandment of that special branch. I want to warn the Minister of a danger that I foresee, namely, that persons nominally charged with the detection of political crime will, in order to justify their own existence, act as agents provocateur, in a manner calculated to exaggerate and exacerbate existing differences.
Mr. C. Lehane: I beg the Minister's pardon. I appreciate that, of course, the appointment is made by the Commissioner and I think that it is a pity that the Commissioner, who is, after all, under the Minister's control, appointed——
Mr. C. Lehane: As I say, I think it is a pity that there was appointed as titular head of the Special Branch of the Gardaí an official whose activities, as known to quite a number of Deputies in this House—Deputies other than members of the Clann na Poblachta Party—were calculated to provoke disorder rather than to preserve the peace. I say it is a pity that this appointment was made.
Mr. C. Lehane: That is not the Deputy's form or the form of the members of his Party. Perhaps the matters to which I am referring, though I thought with considerable moderation, are unpalatable, so unpalatable to the Deputies opposite that they think that by judicious interruptions they may lead me to follow the red herring laid out for me, but I propose to pursue the line on which I was speaking. I was referring to the fact that in my estimation it was a pity that a certain appointment had been made and that the political Party police force, maintained by the predecessors of the present Government, was not disbanded by the Minister. I would suggest to the Minister that, when the duties of office permit him, he should set up a small and impartial tribunal, judicial or otherwise,  to consider and examine the activities of that political Party police force during the past 15 years.
I should like to appeal to the Minister in reference to one or two minor matters which are perhaps not unconnected with the facts to which I have referred. I should like to ask the Minister that if possible—and I do not see that there can be the slightest difficulty about it—the letters written by republican patriots executed during the Fianna Fáil régime should be handed over to their relatives. I should like to ask the Minister that the letter which Charlie Kearns wrote before he met his death at the hands of the English hangman employed by Fianna Fáil should be allowed to be sent to his relatives. I should like to ask the Minister to allow the last letters written by Paddy McGrath which I understand are held——
Mr. C. Lehane: I am very glad to receive that assurance from the Minister. I should like, furthermore, to point out to the Minister a matter that has been mentioned to me by a member of this House, not Deputy Flanagan, but another member who visited Portlaoighise jail recently, and who informed me that the graves in which two republicans, George Plant and Dick Goss are buried, are situated on a piece of waste ground, covered with tin cans, rubble and waste matter. I understand that when a member of this House asked to have these graves pointed out to him, he was brought out to this piece of waste ground and underneath a piece of corrugated iron which the official lifted with his foot, he was told, “That's Plant,” and underneath another piece of corrugated iron a few yards away, “That's Goss.” I would like to appeal to the Minister that the relatives of these men should have the opportunity of giving their bodies a decent Christian burial and that the malice which drove them to a tragic end in life should not pursue their bodies in death.
To pass from that subject, I would like also to ask the Minister to ensure that the policy pursued by the Special Branch of preventing known republicans from earning their living in this country should be ended. I appreciate, and I am quite well aware, that if it is being carried on at the moment it is without the Minister's knowledge. I think already I referred the Minister to an instance of one man who had been interned under a Fianna Fáil lettre de cachet during the emergency years and who was refused by the police, or rather by the court on the application of the police, a licence to drive a taximeter vehicle. I believe that if the Minister pursues the policy of humanity on which he started, the policy of understanding, the policy of realising the historic background of the past 27 years, the policy of healing rather than of accentuating the acrimony, he will make a success of the administration of his Department. If he does that, I believe that we will never in the future see the spectacle we have seen in the past ten years of Easter Week veterans like Paddy McGrath, soldiers of the calibre of George Plant or young Six-County men like Seán McCaughey condemned to death on the altar——
Mr. C. Lehane: I am referring my remarks to the policy which I am suggesting the Minister should pursue. I am urging on the Minister that he should look for that co-operation among all sections of the people, that unity of purpose which this nation had in the past and which we in these benches believe it could again achieve in the future. I am appealing to the Minister because in my view the degree of internal unity we can achieve does depend on a reasonable and sympathetic administration of his Department. I believe that the Minister can give us that reasonable and sympathetic administration, and I believe that by the pursuance of that policy internal dissensions can be ended, internal unity achieved, and this nation united to advance towards the only state of affairs which will bring permanent and lasting peace, a 32-county independent republic.
Mr. Moylan: It was not my intention to intervene in this debate. That has become a cliché here, but at the moment it does describe my intrusion. I contribute very little to the debates in this House because I find that if I keep my mouth shut long enough somebody else is prepared to put the points I intended to put with much more force and capacity than I can put them. I was glad, however, to listen to Deputy Flanagan saying that there should be respect for the judiciary. At least we are all on common ground there, but it struck me, Sir, in listening to Deputy Flanagan's eulogy of the judiciary, that he sailed so close to the wind of disorder that if he had been a yachtsman, the America Cup would have come across the ocean years ago. He was not so good with the whitewash brush and he failed entirely to clothe himself in a garment of complete purity and whiteness. At any rate, the Minister now knows, if he did not know before, what the nature of an oath is. Deputy Flanagan has told him.
I principally rose here to try to clarify the mind of my old friend, Captain Cowan, and, if possible, Deputy Dunne, because if there is anything a Deputy of Dáil Éireann should do, a public representative, he should try to  be explicit in his terms and he should be unmistakable in his meaning. Deputy Dunne spoke about the spoils system and he did not seem to know what the spoils system was. When in 1922 a Minister and his comrades created a new State here in this country and took over the machinery of Government, they took over with that machinery employees of a former State. Many of these employees of the previous Government worked hard against the establishment of the new State. They were bitterly opposed to the efforts of the Minister and his comrades. By arrangement between the two Governments adequate compensation was provided for even the bitterest enemy of the new State if he did not choose to serve it. Any servant of the previous Government that intimated his desire to serve the new State was accepted as a servant of the new State. That is my impression and, if it is a wrong impression, the Minister can correct it.
Mr. Moylan: The spoils system was thrust upon Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, about the year 1830, and the system was the removal from office of every man appointed by the previous Government and their replacement by the favourites of the incoming Government. That was not done in 1922. It was not done in 1932. It has not been done in 1948, and I hope it will never be done. Appointments ought to be on merit. Everyone agrees with that. There can be no effective Government, no development of a State, except the men placed in office are capable of doing the work they are appointed to do.
 I am a politician and am very proud of my profession, if you call it a profession. I should like to see the people of the country interested in politics, whatever their political views are. I know that it would be a bad thing for the country if we were all agreed on one particular matter. The friction that makes for progress would be absent. It is a good thing to see differences of opinion. Therefore, we must tolerate differences of political opinion, and even solicitors and barristers, as well as others, have political opinions. Some of them may support the point of view that I hold, and some may support the point of view the Minister holds. I am not that kind of a fool who expects the Minister, or the Government with which he is associated, to appoint as a judge a lawyer who is a supporter of Fianna Fáil when they can get an efficient man capable of doing his work, honourable in his outlook, to fill the position who is a supporter of their own. If that is the spoils system, then continue it. So long as the Minister or his Government cannot fill a position by way of competitive examination, which is impossible in some cases, or through the medium of the Civil Service Commission, then so long as they appoint to the office a man of honour and capacity, no man has any grounds for complaint.
I accept Deputy Lehane's assurance that he raised the matter which he raises with no idea of creating friction. He suggested that the Minister should run his Department with understanding and humanity and with a knowledge of the history of the country, and that is how it will be run. But we would like an assurance from the Minister that, no matter what political opinions a man has, no matter how high his ideals are, there will be no special privilege for him that will not be given to others before the law. Equal justice for all parties, no matter what politics they have, is what the people demand of the Minister for Justice. I sincerely trust that if a man breaks the law the Minister will give the police of this country the fullest support in his capacity as Minister.
My principal reason for intervening in the debate was spiked by Deputy  Dunne. I feel, however, that it may be of some help in securing the conditions that Deputy Dunne wants by repeating his demands. The Minister for Health is engaged in a great drive for the elimination of tuberculosis, and I wish him every success. I should like, however, if the Minister for Justice would compare the number of deaths and permanent injuries on the road with the number of deaths from tuberculosis. However difficult, and it will be difficult, the work the Minister for Health has to do, there is surely a method whereby we can cut down the slaughter of the innocents on the roads. Deputy Dunne spoke about the evils of drink and of drunken drivers. Undoubtedly, drunken drivers are a menace, but there is more danger on the roads from discourtesy than from drink. The ignorant man in charge of a car without consideration for his fellows, the absolutely discourteous man, is more dangerous than the drunk.
The Minister for Local Government is engaged in making the roads safe, cutting off the corners and making the surface smooth. He is certainly making the roads safer for the motorist, but he is not making them safer for the pedestrian or the school-going child. I have seen roads being improved, straightened, and cement surfaced so that nothing is going to stop the average motorist from being a speed hog. I was amazed a number of years ago to see a notice in the papers that the speed limit was removed by police order. I think it is a scandal that we have not a speed limit, particularly in the built-up areas. In Dublin City one might as well cross the ocean with Lindbergh as cross O'Connell Street at certain times. I have the greatest admiration for those officers who control the traffic in this city. I have seen traffic officers in many cities and countries, and I have seen none more efficient or more courteous than those who control the traffic here. I suggest to the Minister, however, that it is high time that more care was taken of the pedestrian and that we should have pedestrian crossings everywhere in the streets. I feel very strongly on this matter because I have a premonition  that I shall be killed by some damn fool with a car.
Sir John Esmonde: I suppose it is only natural that a Deputy like myself who has been associated for over a quarter of a century actively and incidentally with the administration of justice in this country should intervene in a debate of this character. My difficulty is that, with the experience I have had since the inception of this State with regard to administration and justice here I should have very strong and very firm views on the subject. Unfortunately most of the suggestions which I would have to make would require an amendment in the laws as they exist at the present time, and from suggesting such amendments I am precluded by the rules of debate of this House. I only want to say, in passing, that in order to meet the needs and requirements of this country the whole system of administration and justice requires to be thoroughly re-organised and renovated to meet our own particular problems. I should like to offer to the Minister who is now in charge of this very important Department of our State my warmest wishes for the success of his mission. I should like to assure him that his appointment has given universal satisfaction to the persons with whom I am associated.
There are, however, one or two matters to which I can refer without suggesting an amendment in legislation. One arises out of a certain matter which has been discussed here from various angles by members on both sides of this House. I would make this plea to the Deputies, with all respect. A matter has been referred to under one heading as “the spoils system” and under another heading the appointment of the judges and other judicial officers is referred to. The administration of justice in our country, through the courts, is one of the most important features of our social and political life. Whatever the views of any Deputy may be with regard to past appointments I would ask them, from the knowledge I have, to refrain from all forms of criticism in that direction. If a judicial officer has been appointed he has been  appointed according to law. He has been appointed by the Government in existence at the time—as laid down, I think, in one of the Articles of the Constitution. Whatever view any citizen may have as to his merits or demerits for the fulfilment of his office I ask the Deputies here, because of the responsibility they have themselves as legislators and as representing the people and as standing here for law and order, not to cast aspersions either directly or indirectly on persons who have been appointed to that office in the ordinary way. I believe that, possibly, the suggestions that were made were made in good faith and for good reasons. The reactions on the public mind, however, if such statements are considered by the public, will have the effect of undermining one of the great features of this democratic State, that is, the belief in the public in those who are appointed by this State to administer justice on their behalf.
I touched upon the question of a speed limit when I spoke in connection with the Local Government Estimate, but I think it is somewhat connected with this Estimate also. It has been referred to by a number of speakers, and particularly by the last speaker. It is a matter which I consider of extreme importance. I thoroughly agree with Deputy Moylan when he says that there are as many accidents, and serious accidents, due to bad and inconsiderate driving as there are to drink alone. Owing to the condition of mind of the general public and of all persons connected with the investigation of offences of that kind, they are inclined to say that the driver was drunk or that he had drink taken. They do not properly appreciate that accidents are not always attributable to drink. For the past 12 months I have been in a position to observe the driving on one of the main arteries into Dublin. From my own observation I am perfectly satisfied that until you, in some way, curb the irresponsible driving of these youthful people, and perhaps people who are not so youthful, you will continue to have serious accidents on these roads. These people think that because they can sit at the helm of an expensive car with a loud  horn they can blow everybody else off the road. As I say, until you have some method of dealing with that, you will continue to have serious accidents on the roads. I made a similar plea a few nights ago in this House, on the Local Government Estimate. On my way home that night, on that particular road, I saw three cars driving abreast all in the same direction with not a single inch of room left for other motor cars coming in the opposite direction. On the inside was a small car driving along on its own correct side of the road at a moderate speed. In the middle was a car of the same calibre overtaking the small car, its companion in size, on the same side of the road. Outside was the £1,500 or £1,800 car driver who was not prepared to wait and who was prepared to sweep everything else off the road. That is the gentleman you want to get after. I believe that in 75 per cent. of those cases there is no question whatsoever of drink in connection with the driver. I admit that drink arises in a number of cases, but you have got to approach this problem from the point of view of the speed limit. I respectfully submit to the Minister that a speed limit of from 25 to 30 m.p.h. is quite sufficient for the needs of any person proceeding from the outskirts of this town to a distance of about five miles further out. I believe that if a speed limit is not contemplated we are going to have some more very serious accidents.
I want to raise now with the Minister an old point of mine which I raised on numerous occasions when I was in opposition some years ago. It concerns the question of country jurors, with special reference to my own constituency. When I raised it before, the war was on and there were great transport difficulties in this country. The point I raised was met by the then Minister for Justice by certain regulations. I do not think those regulations should be reintroduced again now, but I think that some consideration should be given to the particular problem I am going to mention. The problem is that the county town of Wexford—and I am sure that the position is much the same in other counties in Ireland where justice is administered and where persons are tried—is situated at the  extreme corner of the county. The jurors summoned to attend the court come from all over the county. I believe it is right and proper that they should so that a proper consensus of opinion may be obtained on a man's guilt or otherwise, and so that that opinion may reflect the opinion of his fellow-citizens in that particular district. That can only be so if the jurors are drawn from different districts. Now, the particular case on which they are engaged may finish at 6, 7 or 8 o'clock at night, according to the length of their deliberations. Jurors who have come cross country are left high and dry in the particular country town in which their services are required with no method of transport to take them back to their homes. I do not ask that jurors should be paid. I do not ask that jurors should get special allowances, but I do suggest to the Minister that on those occasions when transport is not available to take these men home the Department of Justice should make itself responsible for providing them with food and accommodation for the night. I think in that particular respect jurors have a genuine grievance. They are there almost as officers of the State, discharging almost as important a function as any other court officer. Jurors have actually come to me and complained bitterly of their treatment. I know the position too from my own personal observation and of my own personal knowledge. I know that the answer of the Minister and of the Department is that jurors should not receive any remuneration. I have an open mind on that, but I do think it is a disgrace to leave them stranded in these country towns when provision could be made either for their accommodation for the night or for their transport home.
There is one other matter to which I wish to refer. I mention this in an entirely uncontroversial way. I believe that we have at last reached a stage in this country when we can conduct our political campaigns and our political affairs in a sensible manner. I believe that we are trying to work to the limit the real principles of democracy.  I do not think that some of the incidents which occurred during the recent general election are conducive to the working of a real democracy. I do not know where the principle grew or where the precedent was established but, as a democrat, I think that once a general election is sounded all the members of this House who seek the suffrages of the electors should be treated in the character of candidates for an election and in no other character. It is, of course, correct that pending the result of the election one must have a Government to carry on. That naturally means the Government that was in existence at the time of the dissolution. I do not think it is right, however, that a guard of honour of the Civic Guard should attend the meeting officially of the outgoing Minister who is conducting his election campaign or who has come to assist some other candidate in the election.
Sir John Esmonde: They would. But the point is that a distinction should be made between a meeting to which a Minister goes in his capacity as a Minister, and a meeting to which he goes as a political candidate or to assist some other political candidate. I do not know whether that was the situation under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. It certainly was the situation at the last general election. I think it is contrary to all the principles of democracy.
We on this side of the House are composed of a number of groups or parties of people. We have here in the Dáil a very good cross section of public opinion in this country and we can all respect each other's opinion. I listened with deep interest to the speech made by Deputy Con Lehane. As an impartial listener, I would like to say that I respected the views he put forward in explaining in this House the change that has taken place in the approach to national problems here. As one who has been off and on in public life since the year 1915, when I had the honour to represent an Irish constituency, I have never believed— and I am proud of the fact—in physical  force; but I have always believed in freedom for the 32 Counties, and I am glad that the accomplishment of that main object of all the people of this country, namely a united country for the whole of the 32 Counties, can now progress via speeches in this House and via constitutional activity. I think the speech made by Deputy Con Lehane was a very valuable contribution to the solution of that particular problem and I believe that it was in no way intended to arouse controversy or bitterness.
Mr. P.J. Burke: There are a few items to which I would like to refer. I listened for a short time last night to Deputy Oliver Flanagan. He made a statement that he had made his first visit to Portlaoighise Prison recently. Although it was his first visit he subsequently told us that he saw marvellous improvements inside of three months. But, on his own statement, he had never been in the prison before.
Mr. P.J. Burke: I know that the previous Minister for Justice was very anxious to improve the lot of our prisoners. He had impartial visiting committees and during his administration conditions in the prisons improved considerably. I have heard some fine contributions from both sides of the House to the debate in so far as it deals with prisons.
I should like to see a good deal done for prisoners. A number of prisoners who commit crimes, often are not responsible for what they do. Often young men will make a slip and they are put into jail. They come out and they think society is against them. The previous Minister for Justice set up a committee that tried to rehabilitate prisoners after they were discharged from prison. It is a big social problem. There is one thing that we have to consider, and that is that directly you succeed in disheartening any man or woman, as the case may be, that person will have the feeling: “We were prisoners and we shall have no opportunity of raising our heads again in society or getting any work.” When  that feeling is created you are taking the soul and the ambition away from those people and it will be very hard to put them on the right road. If they are properly dealt with by these committees and handled in a proper, psychological manner, one could look forward to, as it were, the conversion or the reform of those people.
Another matter with which I should like to deal is that of child delinquency. That is a problem for every one of us who have any responsibility in the country. In many cases it is really a disease. The stamp of prison life puts a child in the way that he is just afraid to apply for a job. If he gets into bad company when he is young it will be very difficult to reform him. I must pay this compliment to the district justices and to the judges. They have been most sympathetic and helpful and they adopt a human attitude when dealing with these cases.
Mr. P.J. Burke: Deputy Collins, you are just like a political corncrake; you will not allow anybody here to speak at all. Please let me develop my point. Children are often branded in court. They are often fined for offences. Often if a child is in court and if his father or mother is fined, that is really a court decision against that child, if he never went to jail.
Mr. P.J. Burke: Possibly the child may do the same thing again and eventually he is sent to a Borstal institution. I know the last Minister for Justice and the Minister for Health had under consideration an intermediate stage when a doctor would examine cases of that kind. I should like the present Minister to give some consideration to that aspect.
Twice this evening I heard references to the spoils. The only comment I will make on that is to quote what a great statesman said in the United States after the American Civil War, when the South were defeated and General Lee had surrendered in Maryland. The generals of the Union army came back  flushed with victory. They said: “We have defeated the South and we will keep them down.” Members of Congress subscribed to the same view. The great Abraham Lincoln listened to all their statements. Some of them suggested putting the leaders of the Southern army into jail and others decided that they would first be put on trial and after their trial they would be put in jail and by that means they never again would have a civil war in the United States. Abraham Lincoln answered them: “Generals, if I were to adopt your views, we would have this country fighting another civil war in the near future. I would be sowing the seeds of discontent and I will not adopt that attitude.”
Abraham Lincoln asked his generals to be as big in peace as they were in war. I would ask Deputies who are dealing with matters affecting our own country to be big now, to move forward and not backwards. There were points raised this evening that almost gave rise to acrimonious discussion. If we conduct ourselves in that manner, especially when we are dealing with a trait in our national character, then I do not think our country will move forward as fast as we would all like it to move. There are always two sides to every story and when certain statements are made they must be viewed from different angles. One Deputy will make one statement and another Deputy will make another statement, and where do they all lead to? They do not lead to that unity of purpose for which we all strove in days gone by and for which we will strive in the future.
I will make special reference to a speech made by Deputy Con Lehane. His statements are good in their own way, looked at from his point of view. I am a democrat and I accept his point of view. I will refer again to the great statesman whom I have mentioned. Abraham Lincoln said: “The war is over; forget it; move forward.” Let us all join together, and in the very near future let us move forward to the complete freedom of our country—the Thirty-two Counties.
Mr. P.J. Burke: I have heard points raised about jurors. The jurors in County Dublin do not live very far away from the courts. I agree definitely with the last speaker's references to jurors. I would respectfully suggest that the Minister might at least consider the points that have been made in regard to jurors' expenses, especially in cases where jurors cannot return to their homes at night.
Another matter in which I am interested is the possibility of providing houses for members of the Garda Síochána. Their housing conditions in some areas are far from being satisfactory. The previous Minister had given some attention to that matter and in certain areas he tried to improve the position. Then other things intervened but his desire was to see that they were properly housed. While I am on that point, I may say there are several suburban areas in which the Gardaí have to pay rents just as high as those which are charged in the city. I would suggest to the Minister that he might consider that matter sympathetically because many of the Gardaí are at a great disadvantage in having to pay high rents, especially when they are living in the suburbs. So far as I understand, the rent allowance outside the city is rather low, but the Gardaí have to pay as high rents, especially in County Dublin, as are charged in the city.
I have heard many references to the question of speed limits. Last year superintendents of the Garda and the county commissioner were in consultation in regard to the question of fixing speed limits at seaside resorts where there are usually a large number of children passing to and fro from the beach. I would suggest to the Minister that he should give the local authorities any help possible in having speed limits fixed at populous seaside resorts.
I support also the suggestion that legal aid should be provided for people whose circumstances are such that they are not able to pay for such aid themselves. I do not know what State expenditure this would involve, but I would suggest that there might be some court officer or other official made  responsible for ascertaining the circumstances and recommending whether or not certain people should get free legal aid. Deputy Lynch made the point that a man might be lodged in jail overnight, a man visiting the city perhaps from some remote part of the country, and he might not understand the charge preferred against him. In cases like that it is only right that the person should have somebody to plead his case. I know that many solicitors from a humanitarian point of view give their services freely in such cases.
The problem of how to approach cases involving a charge of drunkenness in charge of a car is another very vexed question. On the one hand you have the public up against the defendant, and, if I may say so, justly so. But there is often a legal doubt as to whether the man was drunk or as to whether a particular accident might have happened whether he was drunk or not. The point is that a number of people have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment as a result of being charged with drunkenness while driving cars. One such case that I have in mind was responsible for breaking up a home, the man's wife took the thing so badly. He was a respectable man and she also was a member of a very respectable family. He happened to be at a club one night, and after leaving was charged with being drunk in charge of a car. No accident occurred in that case. I do not wish, of course, to make any reflection on the court. They carried out the law as they found it, but the position is that I am not satisfied with that particular section. I am not saying that the public should not be protected from people of that type but the fact remains that there are cases in which there is a doubt, and grave hardship is sometimes inflicted on the people involved.
Seán Ó Tiomanuidhe: Ceann de na gearáin atá agam leis an Roinn, ná staid na Gaeilge—nó ba cheart dom a rá, droch-staid na Gaeilge sa Roinn. Sé mo thuairim láidir nach bhfuil aon mheas ag an Roinn ar an nGaeilge agus sílim go bhfuil sé sin soilear má chuimhnimid ar na postanna mhora a líontar sa Roinn gan aon áirid ar an nGaelige. An é beartas na Roinne na  postanna móra sin a líonadh le daoine a bhfuil an Ghaeilge acu is atá dílis don teanga? Ní dóigh liom gurb é sin beartas na Roinne. Sin a bhfuil le rá agam i dtaobh an abhair sin ach ba mhaith liom freagra d'fháil ón Aire ar an gceist sin.
In the course of the debate, I was interested in the references made by Deputy de Valera and Deputy Collins to what they considered the undesirable practice of asking the Guards to do a lot of things which they consider to be outside purely police duties. Their objection to that practice is that it minimises the efficiency of the Garda force and puts upon its members a great deal of work which they should not be called upon to do. I do not agree with the opinions expressed by these two Deputies, and I think it is a desirable thing that the members of the Guards in each station should be regarded by the people in the particular sub-district or locality as people who will help them in their difficulties. Our history here has been one of antagonism in the minds of the people towards those people who administer the law and it is a good thing that the Guard should be regarded as something other than a policeman who is out to punish the people in the locality for every little wrong-doing committed by them. There is no citizen who has not broken the law time and again and consequently, with every one of us, if we have not come under the thumb of the Guards, we have deserved to come under their thumb not once, but several times in the course of each year. If the Guards were regarded merely as policemen there would be, I believe, antagonism in the minds of the people, but when citizens can go to the Guards to get help in filling up forms and meet them on other than purely police matters, there is, I believe, a better feeling created between the Guards and the citizens and that is a very desirable thing. The Guards may not like this point of view, or the expression of it, but I would be in favour of compensating the Guards for the extra work put upon them by these duties by increasing their pay, if it is necessary, and I am of opinion that it is.
Deputy Burke mentioned this question of free legal aid. I believe that there are very few cases where the poverty of a citizen deprives him of legal assistance. I recently read a judgment of one of the judges of the High Court here in which he gave the very same opinion, that there are very few deserving cases in which a citizen is deprived of legal aid through poverty. That is a tradition of the legal profession in Ireland, a tradition of which we are proud and a tradition which I would like to see carried on. There is, of course, a very great wrong in the administration of criminal law, particularly in capital cases, and that is the position of the man who is charged with murder, who faces a trial for his life and who is found not guilty. There have been cases to my knowledge where people accused of murder were smashed financially and their families put into poverty by reason of the expenses of the trial. I know that there is provision of free legal aid for a person charged with murder, but I would like it to be known to the Minister—and I have personal experience of it—that this free legal aid is altogether inadequate.
I know of a case in which a very eminent doctor was called in for the defence in a murder trial and the cheeseparing of the Chief State Solicitor's Office, the officials of which apparently scrutinised his account, was disgusting. This was a man who was in a position to earn extremely big fees and he came in and gave his services over a long period in this trial. I think I could say that a murder trial is very different from an ordinary one inasmuch as it is necessary for a doctor to prepare more evidence and spend more time in court than in an ordinary running-down case, for instance, or a workmen's compensation case. He put in a great deal of work and was, in my opinion, very inadequately recompensed. He protested against it but without any much avail.  I suppose that the Minister for Finance has a great deal to say about the payment of fees to doctors and others, but I would recommend to the Minister for Justice to urge on the Minister for Finance the necessity for adequate remuneration in cases of this kind particularly where the life of a man is at stake.
I was interested also in Deputy Moran's desire to increase the jurisdiction of the District Court. I think this should have been done long ago. I was disappointed when the 1948 District Court Rules came out when I saw that the jurisdiction was just the same, as under the old rules. The Bar, of course, may have something to say to this because the less the jurisdiction of the District Court, the greater the number of cases in the Circuit Court.
Mr. Timoney: There is room for an increase in the District Court. That is generally agreed among lawyers. Certainly from the point of view of the litigants it would be a wonderful thing because they would get cheaper law.
I do not know if there would be any use in making a protest against the increase in the Land Registry fees some years ago. There were increases in some cases of 1,300 per cent. I do not think that there was justification for that, but while saying that, I would like to say that the service rendered by the Land Registry office to petitioners is extraordinarily good. I find of all Departments of State with which I have to deal that the help and courtesy which is always given in the Land Registry is the best.
There is one last matter with which I want to deal and it has not so far been referred to except in a very passing way in this debate. That is, the conditions under which people on remand are kept in prison or in the court. I think, perhaps, I could best make my point in giving an example of conditions which were very bad indeed in my own experience.
I was engaged in a case in Limerick Circuit Court some years ago. After the trial, the prisoner whom I was defending sent for me. I had to go  down underground to see him. He was brought out and, while talking to counsel and myself, he got some sort of a fit. I must say we were frightened and we asked for water for him. A wardress who came out of another underground cave said: “Water! There isn't air here”. That is exactly what the position was. There was in one of these underground caves a large number of untried prisoners who, in the eye of the law, were innocent. There was one young girl who was charged with some offence or other. She was kept a number of days waiting in this place. I inquired into her case subsequently as I was interested in it, and I found she was quite a respectable girl. She was found not guilty. Yet she had to wait there with a lot of undesirable people, judging by their appearance.
Apart from that, the conditions there were thoroughly bad. There seemed to be no ventilation, there was a shocking stench and, as the wardress fittingly put it, there was not air there. Yet, these people had to wait there hour after hour, people who were theoretically innocent, as this girl was, and was later proved to be innocent. If there is any sense whatever in the theory of the innocence of a citizen until he is found guilty, surely people who are awaiting trial should not be subjected to conditions of that kind. It was a matter which affected me very much. I felt that there is none of us who could not find himself pulled in for some alleged wrongdoing or other or on suspicion and be kept there in conditions of that kind—free citizens, innocent people until found guilty, and treated as if we were convicted criminals.
That is a matter to which the Minister ought to direct the attention of his officials. I am not asking for hotel conditions so far as prisons or prisoners are concerned. I think it is wrong, however, to keep people who are awaiting trial in such very bad conditions. It may be said that that will happen only to an odd individual, that there are very few to whom it happens. But it should not happen at all. It leaves a mark on the minds of people who have undergone an ordeal of that  kind. It would certainly terrify an ordinary individual.
So far as prison conditions are concerned, I have very little knowledge of them. Listening to Deputy Flanagan last night speaking about the conditions in Portlaoighise Prison, one would feel like going there for a holiday. I think he said they have pictures there twice a week. I do not know how far the attention of the prison authorities is directed towards the question of reform, which, of course, should be the aspect most present to the minds of the authorities. But, on the whole, from the small experience I have of calling to see prisoners, it seems to me that they are not badly treated. There seems to be a great amount of humanity in the warders and the officials, from the Governor down. I should like to commend that humanity which I have observed and which prisoners tell me is present in the administration. As I said, I do not know how far the authorities have directed their minds towards the question of reform, but I feel that the Minister will not be wanting in that respect.
Mr. Cogan: I should like to join in the general satisfaction which has been expressed that Deputy MacEoin is now Minister for Justice. I think it is only right to say that his immediate predecessor was an honourable man who discharged the duties of his office not only efficiently but fairly. As a layman, I should like to express my personal satisfaction that the Department of Justice is in the hands of a layman and not of a member of the legal profession. The Minister will agree with me that the members of the legal profession are all very legal men but, notwithstanding that, I think they require a considerable amount of watching.
Mr. Cogan: There is no question about it. The Minister has put into operation, I think a little reluctantly, the Summer Time Act. He has not, however, been very successful so far in bringing us summer weather. The summer weather will come some time in the near future and then we may be forced to read in the Press daily lists  of deaths from drowning accidents. Nothing is more tragic in the fine summer weather than to see numbers of people, mostly young people, drowned as a result of accidents whilst swimming or boating. I think that one of the functions of the Garda Síochána should be to pay some attention to that problem, to see if it is possible to provide some kind of definite warning to people against the dangerous spots along our sea coast and on our rivers, which, in many cases, are even more dangerous. That is a problem to which the Guards should direct their immediate attention. In addition to that, we have those accidents which occur on our piers through cars going into the water. Steps will have to be taken to prevent that type of accident, which is becoming all too frequent. Although it is not a very popular thing to advocate, nevertheless I think it is the duty of Deputies who have a sense of responsibility to urge upon the Minister the necessity for some check on the speed of cars on our public roads, particularly on our main arteries of traffic. I am not prepared to shed very many tears over people who are found guilty of driving while under the influence of drink. I know, again, that there will be many cases of heartbreak—many cases in which a wife may shed tears over a husband who is in prison. However, it would be even worse if some wife or mother had to shed tears over a person killed in a motor accident. While I do not want to impress upon the Minister the desirability of increasing the penalties for motoring offences, there is one thing which I would like to impress upon him, and it is that there ought to be a more frequent check on drivers of cars on the road. We know that from time to time there is a general hold-up of motor traffic with a view to ensuring that cars are licensed and taxed. These checks generally occur in the early part of the day. If, now and then, there was a general hold-up of motor traffic on some of the roads where people are likely to be returning from places where liquor refreshment is provided it would, I think, yield good results. Even if very many people were not caught out, such a hold-up would at  least be a general warning to motorists to be careful. A check of that kind is urgently desirable, particularly during the summer months and during a holiday period. It will not be very popular with all motorists. They may be inclined to blame the Gardaí, but we have had altogether too many serious accidents on the public roads. Generally, the whole question of strict enforcement of the law arises. The Gardaí as a body have been broad-minded and fair. They have always been inclined, perhaps, to err on the side of generosity towards the public.
In that respect I think they contrast very strongly with the police force which had the task of enforcing the law in this country under an external Government. It was, in my opinion, desirable that there should not have been too much stringency or too strict an attitude of officiousness on the part of the Gardaí during the early stages of this State's existence. We had to break away from the system under which the people and the police were at loggerheads with each other. We had to establish a sort of deep friendship between the people and the police force. During the past 25 years the Gardaí have established the close contact and the close friendship that should exist between the people and their police force. I think that we are now moving towards the introduction into the Garda force of large numbers of young men. The older members of the force who have served faithfully during the past 25 years, are all nearing their retiring age. In recruiting, we should seek the very best material that can be obtained. I think we have now reached the stage where we should ask for, and expect, the strict enforcement of our country's laws. It may mean that our police force in the future will be, perhaps, a little more strict than they have been in the past but, generally speaking, I think the people desire it. Let our laws be absolutely fair and just and then nobody can grumble if they are strictly enforced.
The Minister will have one difficult problem to face during the next few years. He will have to face the problem of ensuring that our police  force will be adequate to meet the needs of this country and that the members of the force will be adequately paid while at the same time he must endeavour to keep the cost within the limits which this small country can afford. To combine these three objectives is the problem which the Minister has got to face.
Mr. Cogan: I am just trying to think of that problem. For example, we have demands from various sections of this House for a strengthening of the police force in Dublin city. I have often wondered if we utilised the manpower we have in the police force as effectively as we should. I do not think it is absolutely necessary that Gardaí in uniform should be called upon to parade their beat day and night as frequently as is the case at present. We all know that the Garda in full uniform had a psychological effect on the delinquent or on the would-be delinquent and that it tends to deter such people from committing offences which they might otherwise commit. However, an economy could be effected in another way. Just as we have, by our system of street-lighting, eliminated a good deal of the utilisation of Garda personnel in the regulation of traffic, so also could we overcome this problem if on the main thoroughfares we had what I would describe as a “look-out post” high above the traffic from which a Garda could command a view of two, three or four streets, or over a very considerable distance. I believe that that man would be able to supervise a much larger area than he would be by the system of parading his beat. If you had a number of those in each Garda's area it would not be necessary that there should be at all times a Garda in each look-out post because the general public and the wrong-doing public would have no means of knowing whether the look-out post was occupied or not. A Garda might have nine or ten of them on his beat and he would spend a certain amount of time in each of them. In that way he would be able to supervise the entire area under his control much more effectively  than if he were sheltering, perhaps in doorways or walking on his beat. I am making that suggestion in good faith. It is, I think, one of the ways in which an economy could be effected.
There has been, in this discussion, a definite reference to what is described as “the spoils system”. I am glad to be able to agree entirely with Deputy Dunne when he denounces that system as being entirely wrong. I hope we have seen the last of it in this country and that appointments to the Bench, and all legal appointments, will be made on merit and on merit alone, without the introduction of political influence into the matter. There is one point upon which I do not agree with Deputy Dunne. He suggested that there was no need for a Special Branch of the Garda to look after what he described as political offenders. I agree that that type of political offence to which we have been accustomed during the past 25 years has disappeared. But we must remember that the world is in a very precarious position at the present time. There is the danger of an international war and we all know that modern war is accompanied by Fifth Column activities. If there is another world war it is possible that some European or Asiatic power, or a combination of both, may try to establish a Fifth Column here. For that reason, we need a section of our Garda force to counteract activities of that nature. I do not agree for one moment that there is any specific danger of anything like that happening.
We are recruiting new blood into our Civic Guards and we expect to get the best possible men we can into that force. It is desirable that those men should be adequately paid and be provided with decent living accommodation and proper conditions of working. It is essential in that respect that the delays which have occurred in providing houses should be overcome. Some references have been made to the hardship inflicted on Guards in this respect when they are transferred from one district to another. Transfers may be necessary, but one of the greatest worries of the Guards at the present time is the danger that they may be  unable to find suitable housing accommodation in their new location.
I am in agreement with those Deputies who said that the duties of the Garda should not be exclusively confined to police duties. It is both necessary and desirable that the members of the force should come into contact with the ordinary people as frequently as possible and under conditions other than the unpleasant condition of meeting a citizen as a wrongdoer and endeavouring to bring him to justice. I think the functions which the police perform in the collection of statistics and such other duties bring them into a friendly contact with the people which is of assistance to them in the discharge of their duties ultimately as police officers.
Reference has also been made to the desirability of providing free legal aid for the poorer sections of our people. I would like to point out to the Minister one aspect which calls for his consideration. It is extremely difficult for a citizen of this country to get justice if he comes in conflict with a member of the legal profession. I would like the Minister to look into that aspect of our legal administration.
Mr. Childers: In connection with this Estimate I would like, first of all, to pay a tribute to the traffic division of the Garda Síochána, with whom I had very close personal relations because of the fact that the Minister for Local Government is the enabling Minister for traffic legislation. Although the Minister for Justice in the ordinary way must examine all the administration of the Guards in connection with traffic control, the Minister for Local Government, in order to maintain coordination with local authorities and in order to relate the work of the Guards to local authorities and local conditions, has the rather peculiar function of being enabling Minister in connection with legislation governing a very large part of the traffic code. I should like to pay tribute to the traffic division because I found that when the emergency was over and the number of cars on the roads increased the members of this division showed great initiative and an entire absence of that  conservatism so frequently associated with civil servants and their like, and showed themselves very willing to undertake new measures for the reduction of road deaths and road injuries, and very willing to adopt new ideas. So far as I am concerned, they acted splendidly in every way in the period from 1946 onwards when the number of cars on the roads increased very rapidly.
In that connection, I should like to ask the Minister whether he has considered the possibility of increasing the number of Guards available for traffic duties and, in particular, in the Dublin area. When I acted as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and when I was in intimate touch with the Traffic Division, who came to constant meetings of the consultative committee dealing with road traffic, I had the impression that, with the best will in the world, under the new post-war conditions, many more Guards should be available for traffic work. I do not know if the Minister has had sufficient time to examine that position. I should like to point out some of the reasons which lead me to believe that the number of Guards in that division is inadequate. First of all, they are in very great difficulty in maintaining parking regulations in Dublin, not only in advising those who come to park as to what the regulations are but also in actually maintaining the regulations. Difficulties, for example, arise in connection with streets like Tara Street, where two cars parked along the road where parking is totally forbidden, materially affect the congestion of cars moving towards Butt Bridge. Difficulties also arise in connection with breaches of parking regulations.
So far as I understand, prior to the formation of the present Government, the Garda Síochána had not secured the necessary finances with which to purchase towing cars, by means of which instead of waiting for hours and hours to summon the persons grossly guilty of parking regulations, they would be enabled to tow the cars away to a parking area. So far as I can gather from the Garda Síochána authorities, there will be no way of  dealing with the parking problem in central Dublin unless the Guards are provided with these cars. I do not believe there is any finance available for that purpose at the moment. If the Guards are going to be provided with towing cars, equally I think there should be more publicity given in regard to what parking regulations are, not only publicity in the newspapers but publicity on the road itself. The present parking signs are entirely inadequate to inform strangers as to what the parking regulations are, particularly where parking is forbidden. If adequate publicity is given there is no reason why towing cars should not be provided.
In connection with the central districts of Dublin, where there is a record number of T junctions, apart from the existence of Trinity College, with its effect upon traffic, I hope that the Minister will inquire as to whether there are enough Guards at the present time to carry out the amount of duty essential in order to keep traffic moving in that area. Further, I hope the Minister will co-operate with the Minister for Local Government in requesting the Dublin Corporation to deal promptly with the congestion problem in Dublin in general. The position, as the Minister well knows, is first of all related to an engineering problem, the problem of constructing more bridges across the Liffey above O'Connell Bridge and below Butt Bridge.
The Guards have a splendid record in that regard. I think the statement should be made available to the public of Dublin that the Guards, irrespective of any plan presented by the planning authority of the Dublin Corporation have, for the last 20 years, warned the Dublin Corporation that there would be congestion. They required no city sketch planning of the kind prepared in 1930 and finally presented to the Minister for Local Government for examination last year; they required no sketch plan prepared by city planning experts. They used their ordinary common sense, and, as the correspondence between them and the Dublin Corporation will show, for years they have warned the Dublin Corporation of the  impending traffic congestion. It is to their credit that they have done so. It is to their credit that this body of men, without any architectural information available to them, without any skilled knowledge of city planning, should have warned the corporation of the difficulties that would arise when the traffic density increased. I would express the hope that the Minister will give all his moral and administrative assistance to the Guards when discussing with the Dublin Corporation and the Department of Local Government how to deal with the congestion problem in the centre of Dublin.
At the moment, as the Minister probably knows, a peculiar situation has arisen. There are a given number of parking places which have been provided in squares and in streets close to the central city area. So far as I know from statistics presented by the Guards, only half of those places are in use during the time when the number of cars parked achieves its maximum. If I remember rightly, out of the 1,500 to 2,000 parking places recognised as official parking places, some 800 were found not to be used between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
I would express the hope, at the same time, that the arrangements for providing temporary parking spaces on disused sites will be put into force as quickly as possible. In this connection, it might be noted that the present temporary site in Golden Lane is not used to the extent of more than 25 per cent., and the reason for that is that the parking regulations, to ensure that that site will be used, have not yet, so far as I know, been authorised. I would ask the Minister to give every encouragement to the Garda Síochána to ensure that parking regulations, by means of which the disused sites will be fully utilised, will be published and the necessary statutory work carried out so that the sites will be fully used at the earliest possible opportunity.
Another reason for stressing the necessity of an adequate number of Gardaí for traffic purposes arises out of providing patrol cars. I believe there are a few patrol cars in use at the present time in order to give advice to  road users with a lack of knowledge of the road safety code, but the number is inadequate. From my experience of the Bray road, there could be in use there at least three patrol cars which would follow the traffic and stop cars, the drivers of which are indulging in crazy behaviour and give them advice, without necessarily prosecuting them. I trust the Minister will enable patrol cars to be used to a greater extent, not alone on the Bray road, but on the occasion of racing days. It would be far more useful if, instead of prosecuting, the Guards, by means of loud speakers, stop cars and give advice to the drivers and tell them how to behave themselves on the roads.
The question also arises of a speed limit in Dublin. As I said on the Local Government Estimate, the number of deaths and injuries in Dublin occur very largely on the long, slightly curving, wide, straight roads in the Dublin metropolitan area. They do not occur in the crowded, central, congested districts. The greatest number of deaths have occurred on Merrion Road and on Clontarf Road, where there are intersections only on the one side, the sea bounding the other; on the North Circular Road, and on roads of that description. The only conclusion one can come to is that the deaths occur where pedestrians have a considerable distance to cross and where cars are enabled to get up speed. If one wishes to reduce the deaths and injuries in Dublin there is no other course than either to provide blocks or obstructions along these wide roads, which will automatically reduce the speed of traffic, but which in themselves provide an additional danger because the fast cars will slow down very quickly, or else to consider the imposition, by way of an experiment, of a maximum speed limit in the Dublin metropolitan area.
The Minister may be interested to hear the experience of an association in Great Britain, one of whose duties was to check upon legislation governing users of roads. The car travelled some 20,000 miles in Great Britain in order to check how far the speed limit in the built-up areas was being observed by road users. The results show that  in a very large number of cases the speed was exceeded, whether deliberately or unconsciously by the drivers concerned. The results also showed that even though this was the case, the effect of the speed limit was to reduce utterly reckless driving. So far as I am aware, with the close touch maintained between the United Kingdom and the Irish Garda authorities in regard to traffic conditions, the Garda authorities are in half a mind to recommend to the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Local Government an experimental speed limit of 30 miles an hour in the Dublin metropolitan area in order to show whether the number of deaths and injuries can be reduced in that area.
Mr. Childers: I do not think the Minister need feel any great regrets about what I have said. If he will investigate the reasons why the Local Government Department should be the initiating authority in some cases whereas the Guards provide 95 per cent. of the administrative material in order to enable the Minister for Local Government to arrive at a decision, he will agree with me that he has something to do with it. I hope he will not escape from his moral obligations by  pointing to a mere matter of law. I would like to hear a lawyer on the relative responsibility of the two Ministers. I hope I have said enough to interest the Minister to encourage the Guards in their special work. I take it I am not allowed to refer to the laws in regard to driving while drunk on the roads. Is that also debarred? I think other Deputies have spoken on it already.
Mr. Childers: I must proceed very carefully, evidently, and wind my way between traffic regulations where the Minister is responsible and where the Minister for Local Government is the enabling Minister, on the advice almost exclusively of the Garda Síochána. No doubt the Ceann Comhairle will advise me in regard to this difficult point. I will proceed to deal with the question of drunkenness. My experience in regard to drunkenness on the roads was a very unhappy one, in that I was definitely informed by the traffic division of the Garda Síochána that, apart from the very small number of cases where the primary reason for death or injury was drunkenness, that between one in two or one in three of all deaths or injuries on the road were due to the partial intoxication of the driver, pedestrian or cyclist concerned. By that I mean the person who had a few drinks and whose reactions to unknown or untoward events is greatly slowed down. I trust the Minister for Justice will have due regard to that fact.
I believe the Garda Síochána have purchased testing machines. I hope they will prove of interest to the public and that the Gardaí will use them to good effect. Machines of this kind were used by the Ford Motor Company in America and they have been demonstrated at motor car exhibitions in this country. They consist of three lights which are illuminated when the foot is put on the corresponding pedals. The individual tested sits before the lights and the pedals. One of the three lights is illuminated when he depresses the pedal under the light in question and the time taken to depress the pedal is measured in a split second. A very large number of tests have  been undertaken in the United States and the case against the moderately heavy drinker is overwhelming, unfortunately. In tests of thousands of persons, it has been shown that the reaction of the moderately heavy drinker is very much slower than that of a normal person. It takes the average person half a second to get his foot on top of the brake pedal from the time that he observes that he must slow down. The car travels 188 feet per second—I think that is the distance travelling at 60 miles per hour—so that he would have travelled a considerable distance before he could pull up. We get the time increased by half a second to one and a half seconds in the case of a person who is normally a slow reactor, as in the case of a person who has taken a fairly large amount of drink but who from the legal point of view is strictly sober. That is the problem which the Minister has to face. My advice to him is that, however sympathetic he may feel or whatever sympathy he would like to extend towards the wives and families who have suffered pain through the prosecution, the imprisonment, or the loss of livelihood of people who have been found drunk in charge of a car, he will have to take a very stern and unrelenting attitude towards those convicted of this offence.
May I say that in Sweden the attitude which the Government has taken is far more extreme than anything suggested here? In Sweden the police authorities have an apparatus for testing the proportion of alcohol in the blood, and they are enabled by the law to invite a motorist at any time of the day or night to visit a station where there is an apparatus of that kind and where the blood of the person concerned can be examined. If the alcohol content of the blood exceeds a certain percentage, the person is automatically prosecuted. I have been told by those who have visited Sweden that if you have taken the equivalent of a “small one” you would have to wait for half an hour before proceeding, because if you did not you would be liable to have an excess alcohol content in the blood. I am not proposing that we should indulge in legislation of that type here. I am merely referring  to what has been done in a very extreme way in Sweden. Obviously these conditions do not apply to this country.
I trust also that the Minister will be able to remove some of the anomalies connected with traffic legislation such as the necessity for serving summonses personally instead of by letter, a matter that takes up a great deal of time of the Guards. I think I have managed to steer my way fairly successfully through the question of traffic legislation without unduly disturbing the Minister. I should like to ask him what his plans are in regard to housing accommodation for the Guards. The previous Minister intended to provide houses for the Guards, and I would express the hope that among the many economies introduced by the present Minister for Finance that that matter in the Garda administration is not being abandoned. Quite obviously houses must be built for the Guards so that they can reside with their families close to the barracks. That is certainly a matter of very great importance. The Minister will know from correspondence which I have had with him of some unfortunate cases of married Guards who found it practically impossible to find accommodation for themselves. I trust his sympathies will outweigh any ideas of economy that may be in the mind of the Minister for Finance in regard to that question.
Mr. Childers: I am glad to hear the Minister say so. I was very glad to hear the Minister, in the course of his speech, refer to his determination to ensure that there shall be no political interference in regard either to the appointment of Guards or the transfer of Guards. Deputies have to face many inquiries made by friends of Guards requesting their transfer from one district to another or requesting that they be not transferred. So far as my experience goes, the former Minister for Justice adopted a very sound attitude and observed a high degree of  impartiality in that matter. I should like to express the hope that the present Minister would maintain the same tradition. Nothing could be more fatal than that Guards should be appointed through political influence or that Guards should be placed in a district as a result of political influence. I hope the Minister will maintain what I believe to be a very fine tradition in that regard.
I hope the Minister will be able to suppress all those elements in the inter-Party Government who deprecated the increase in the salary of judges. One of the many things we had to listen to in the election were the cries, largely of the new Party, that judges salaries had been increased and that as a result persons had been deprived of their old age pensions. I trust that that sort of nonsense has been suppressed or is being eradicated by the present Fine Gael Minister for Justice.
Mr. Childers: I would like also to pay tribute to the former Minister for Justice for his handling of the problem of the I.R.A. in this country and of illegal organisations in general. I would like to express the hope also that the present Fine Gael Minister for Justice will put aside all representations that might be made to him by members of the new Party who extolled the new I.R.A. as heroes on platform after platform when history and experience should have told them the contrary. As the Government is mainly dominated by the Fine Gael Party, I hope that that has gone also.
Mr. Childers: I have heard them over and over again extolling the I.R.A. as heroes who were condemned by the Government and who received persecution and imprisonment. I trust that one good result of the inter-Party Government will be the ending of that kind of thing.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Deputy Boland need not be one bit afraid. I intend very adequately to respect the Taoiseach's appeal for brevity. I want to ask the Minister, between now and the time when he introduces his Estimate next year, to consider seriously the question of initiating a system whereby judges in this country will be enabled at their discretion to award costs against the State in criminal cases.
Mr. Allen: I will not be very long either, but there is one matter which I want to raise to the Minister. Many Deputies on all sides of the House raised on this Estimate the question of jurors and their expenses and costs. I understand that the Minister has power under existing law to pay the expenses of persons attending as jurors a Circuit Court. I would point out to the Minister, if he has those powers— and I understand he has—that in country areas a man is taken from his business and has to travel, as it was pointed out, in some counties up to 100 miles—I am not making any plea for Dublin City as I do not think it is any hardship on a man in the city to serve as a juror although it may be disagreeable for him to leave his business. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will give sympathetic consideration to that matter.
Another aspect of the question of jurors which is also within the function of the Minister is the people who are qualified to be on jurors lists. I think that is a most important matter and one which I would ask the Minister to consider very seriously. The jurors list in each county is limited to certain valuations. There are different valuations in the different counties all over Ireland and the list is thereby very limited. It is not an uncommon thing for the same person to be called to service as a juror every two or three years.
Mr. Allen: I have known many cases where a man was called for service every two or three years. The jurors list should be extended, doubled and trebled. Most people of ordinary intelligence are capable of serving on a jury, and there is no reason, in this enlightened age, why only persons with a certain valuation should be called. I think that is undemocratic and as wrong as can be and I hope the Minister will alter it.
Mr. Allen: I think it is wrong that the list should be limited to certain valuations and that only persons who have certain valuations should be qualified to serve as jurors. A man need have no valuation whatever to make a good juror. Every citizen or most of them will make good fair jurors, and there would not be the difficulty that there is at the present time with the limited list of people being called to serve on juries needlessly. A man over 65 years of age is. I think, entitled to claim exemption. In my constituency I think a man must have a valuation of up to £50 or £60 before he is qualified to serve as a juror. A man with a valuation of £5 or £10, however, would make as good a juror as he would.
Mr. Allen: There is a further snag in this. For some extraordinary reason the valuation in rural towns is such that scarcely a man ever qualifies to serve as a juror. In Wexford there is scarcely any man who is qualified.
Mr. Allen: I would put it to the Minister to give that matter consideration and also the question of residents of towns who seldom come up to the valuation needed and who are never asked to serve on a jury, as that is all wrong.
With regard to the administration of the Road Traffic Act, we are told more or less that the Minister has no responsibility for it and that it is the joint responsibility of the Minister for Local Government and Minister for Justice. The Minister for Justice, however, provides the machinery in the form of the Garda Síochána for the administration of the Road Traffic Act. I would draw the Minister's attention to the men on point duty in this city. I observe the same men doing point duty for long hours. I think there should be relays of men and that a man should be relieved every few hours, especially at the critical hours when the strain on him must be very heavy. I see no reason why they should be on point duty for so long.
The traffic and parking has been already mentioned but there is nothing but absolute carelessness in this city at the present time in the matter of parking. The local authority or the Gardaí should level out parts of Stephen's Green or the parks in the city or cover over the Liffey. Alternatively I would suggest an underground passage. An underground passage should be created under Trinity College. That is a consideration.
Mr. Allen: Perhaps the Chair will allow me to impress on the Department of Justice the necessity of making a recommendation in the matter? There is chaos in this city arising out of the question of the parking of cars and the provision of through ways in different areas.
Mr. Allen: Messrs. Guinness will find means of transporting anything necessary down the quays. In fact, it could be run through a pipe. The Department of Justice, I think, is responsible for the question of the speed limit. I suggest that within 20 or 25 miles of this city and all other large cities and towns there should be a speed limit of 20 miles an hour. Inside a radius which would include Bray on the one side and Naas on the other there should be a speed limit of 20 miles per hour. The same should apply to other large cities and towns. Most of the tragedies on the roads in the last 20 years occurred in Dublin or within 20 miles of it. There have been hundreds of such tragedies. Many of them were due to the excessive use of alcohol and others to excessive speeding by motorists. I hope the Minister will not adopt the system they have in Sweden about which we were told by Deputy Childers. Apparently, if a person there took a half-whiskey he would not be able to pass the blood test and would be imprisoned. I hope we will not have any such drastic regulation introduced here.
Mr. Allen: Probably it would. There is a simple solution for this and that is to introduce a speed limit. That should have been in force in or around the City of Dublin and the other towns and cities. Around the other cities and towns it should apply within a smaller radius than in Dublin. It would probably reduce the number of deaths from motor accidents.
Mr. Allen: I have heard many suggestions about law costs and the Minister's giving authority to allow law costs to be increased. I do not know how the matter affects the legal profession, but down the country we hear many complaints that law costs often prevent people from going into the courts. It is said that the law costs prevent much more legal business from being done.
Mr. Allen: It is quite true. Country practitioners will tell you that they have hundreds of wills lying in their safes that people have not proved because of the costs involved. That is a well-known fact.
Mr. Allen: Then the fees for registering property are absolutely prohibitive. The Land Registry is supposed to pay for itself, but I believe it must be providing an income for the State at present owing to the increase in fees some years ago. That is doing a very serious injury also. I suggest to the legal profession that, in their own interests, it would be far better if law costs were lower. Many more people would go into court in connection with matters that need adjustment or decision if the costs were not so high as they were. I am sure that those responsible for drawing up the Rules of Court and bringing those recommendations before the Minister have taken this matter into consideration. I can assure the House that there is a definite opinion amongst the people of the country that law costs are so high in every respect that they are preventing many people from going into court.
 The question of the housing of the Garda Síochána is a hardy annual. It has been referred to every year on this Estimate as long as I have been in the House, but nothing has been done about it. I wonder if the present Minister has any policy different from that of his predecessors. Is he going to try to force the hands of the Government so as to make provision within the next half a dozen or dozen years for the building of houses in each barrack area for the members of the Garda Síochána?
We heard a lot last week about the bad housing conditions in this city and other places, but there is no worse housed section of the population than the members of the Garda Síochána. I suppose the majority of the force at present are around 50 years of age or over. They have had a difficult time, but the young men coming in who wish to get married are going to have an even more difficult time because they will find it impossible to get a house. The Minister should keep that matter in mind.
The Minister must realise that within six or 12 years two-thirds or three-fourths of the existing force will be going out under the age limit. As a result of that he will have a big problem facing him in the immediate future. The policy at present, I understand, is to stop recruiting for the Garda Síochána. I wonder if the Minister and his officials appreciate what that may mean within a few years. I do not know what length of time it takes to train a Garda—I think the period is about twelve months. A very large number is almost due to retire. Unless the strength of the force is kept up you are going to find yourself in great difficulty in a very short time. It is a short-sighted policy to stop recruiting of even a small number of the good young men who are available for training. There should be continuous training over the years in order to replace even the wastage year by year which the Minister has admitted does take place. I think it is unfair to the force itself and to the older men—the middle-aged men of 50 and 55—who are not able to do the strenuous work they were able to do  20 or 25 years ago. Any man who reaches middle-age has not the energy, even with the best of goodwill, to give the service he gave in his younger years. Young men must be provided for the heavy work especially in the rural areas.
I hope the Minister will see to it that the Government will adopt a definite policy, whether they carry it out in two, three or five years, of providing houses in all areas for the men in the Garda force.
Dr. Brennan: I should like to join the other Deputies in wishing the Minister for Justice success in his undertaking in the office which has been imposed on him. If his actions since he assumed office are to be a forerunner of future activities the country may look forward with hope to a period where peace and contentment will reign supreme. The debate has shown that the Minister for Justice is not a man who does things by halves, and if the suggestions which have been made to him during the course of the debate reach his ears in the spirit in which this debate was conducted, we may hope that the results will be a complete amplification of the views which have been expressed during this discussion.
A good deal of the debate has centered on the Gardaí, and quite rightly too. No section of the community deserves the approbation of the people more than that splendid force. As one who has been associated with them for a good many years it is a pleasure to give testimony always to their efficiency, to their kindness and to their consideration for those in trouble. While the Gardaí have given a great deal they have not received what they deserve. I am not going to repeat what has already been said, but the House may not be aware that this fine force of men, responsible for the maintenance of peace and order in this country, have not the power to exercise the most basic essential of freedom— the power of voting. Three sections of the people cannot vote during a general election—paupers, prisoners and police. It seems to me to be a necessity that these fine citizens should have the means of expressing their views on election day. I sincerely  hope that this matter will merit at least consideration by the Minister for Justice.
While we have all daily experienced the wonderful efficiency of the Gardaí we are sometimes inclined to forget that those who have retired are also deserving of our appreciation. Some of these men have retired on pensions which make present-day existence an impossibility. As a result of the poor pension which they have received they find it very difficult to maintain their homes in comfort and to live in such a manner as they are entitled to after so many years of service. When the Minister comes to consider the question of remuneration for the Gardaí I hope that he will not forget those who have served the country well and who are now under the disability of having retired before the last emergency occurred. Deputy Cowan has suggested that an independent board for the hearing of men's grievances should be set up. I think that is essential, particularly in Dublin, because there is there an admixture of what one might call the old D.M.P. force and the new force which came into existence on the institution of the Free State. A certain amount of discordant views may exist between the members of these two distinct bodies. It is quite evident to one who is in the position of being able to observe the conduct of these Gardaí that some dissatisfaction does exist. That dissatisfaction can only be remedied on lines something like those suggested by Deputy Cowan.
During the debate some suggestions were made in regard to tests for motor drivers—tests for drunkenness. Deputy Dr. Maguire last night enunciated what was true—that the one secure and only test was the blood alcohol content test. Deputy Childers suggested this evening that if an individual simply took a half-one, he must not drive his car for a certain period afterwards.
Mr. Childers: I never said anything of the kind. The Deputy must have misunderstood me. I said we could not adopt in this country for obvious reasons the legislation in force in Sweden to that effect. I made no recommendation of that kind to this House  at all. I merely pointed out the example of Sweden, which has gone very much further than we have in regard to legislation in relation to intoxication.
Dr. Brennan: I am sorry—I did misunderstand the Deputy. At any rate, even if the blood alcohol content, after having a half-one, reached a standard which, according to the test would suggest over-indulgence in alcohol, I would remind the House that a doctor does not make up his mind merely on one aspect of his examination. Other factors come in in the course of his examination. I suggest to the Minister that he should consider the adoption of that test as the only one where a man is accused of being drunk. It is the only test, notwithstanding all that Deputy Allen says to the contrary.
Some Deputies have advocated the Minister's consideration in regard to fees for lawyers, doctors and so on. There is a section of our community to which I belong, a section called coroners. An Act has been passed recently dealing with coroners. I would like to remind the Minister that the object of that Act is not to revise coroners' salaries but to review them. I have been asked by the Association of Coroners to point out to the Minister that this is a very important matter. Coroners have very onerous duties to perform. In the city we are constantly at work. In the country coroners sometimes have to spend days and nights away from their practices as lawyers or doctors and for their work they receive the miserable pittance of £50 or £100 a year. I trust that when the Minister does come to review coroners' salaries, he will do so in the spirit of the Act. I want to pay tribute to his predecessor who, when this matter was brought to his notice, immediately and expeditiously took action. Deputy Boland not only met us in every way but offered us every facility. On behalf of the Coroners' Association, I cannot express my gratitude to him sufficiently deeply. I join with other Deputies in the House in wishing his successor, our present Minister for Justice, every success in his office.
Mr. Rooney: Practically every aspect on this Estimate has already been covered by other Deputies in this House. I want to join with the other Deputies in expressing my admiration of our Garda Síochána. Great credit is due to them as a body and a certain credit is due to the previous Minister for Justice in having established such a fine police force in this country during his period of office. References were made during the debate to victimisation of Garda personnel. I hope that during the Minister's period of office, he will see justice done to those men who have been victimised in the past and who were obliged to suffer privations as a result of that victimisation.
Some Deputies have referred to a County Dublin sergeant who was penalised. It is true that there was a certain element of spite in his penalisation by a Fianna Fáil Deputy. It is rather an extraordinary fact that Deputy Flanagan, Deputy O'Higgins. Deputy Collins and myself all have the one individual in mind. There is some degree of agreement amongst us in the matter.
The problem of road safety presents itself seriously to the Minister at the present time. The number of road accidents is on the increase. Possibly the increase in the number of motoring vehicles has contributed to that. By the imposition of legislation it is possible for the Minister to reduce the number of such accidents despite the increase in traffic. It is well known that the great proportion of these accidents occur when the driver concerned is under the influence of drink. I am in agreement that some new method must be adopted when a person comes under suspicion of being drunk in charge of a motor car. At the moment if a driver is brought to the barracks hours often elapse before he is examined. It is hardly fair to expect a doctor to carry out an examination as to whether he was intoxicated or not several hours after the accident has occurred.
I feel, too, that sufficient attention has not been paid to the problem of jay-walkers in our city streets and on our country roads. These people must realise, like the motorist or the cyclist, that they are road users  and that they have a responsibility towards other persons who are entitled to use these roads. I suggest that penalties should be imposed upon jay-walkers where it can be proved that their conduct was the cause of an accident. These remarks apply similarly to cyclists. They are a veritable menace at busy times in the city. It is not their number that is the menace, but their conduct and the manner in which they use our streets, forgetting that there are other people trying to use the streets at the same time, and entitled to use them. I hope the Minister will bring in legislation that will make cyclists and jay-walkers realise that as road users they have a responsibility.
There was reference made in this debate to the housing of the Garda Síochána. No doubt many of the married Gardaí have the misfortune to have no choice but to live in some antiquated hovel down the country. The rent allowances to Gardaí in rural areas are not as substantial as the rent allowances to Gardaí in the city areas. The allowances do not appear to be adequate. I urge upon the Minister that he should revise the scales of rent allowed to Gardaí living in rural areas.
Many of the country Guards are wearing uniforms which, instead of being blue, have turned practically green with age. I would like the Minister to have the uniforms that are now being used by our Gardaí inspected so that proper clothing can be supplied where it is necessary.
Deputy Lynch advocated an increase in the Gardaí staff. That suggestion leads one to believe that he is not satisfied with the services rendered by the Gardaí to the public. I do not think public opinion suggests that the Gardaí are not doing their duty or are not capable of doing it with the present staff. If the staff is increased we must realise that taxes will have to be found and these will have to be gathered from the public, thus affecting the cost of living. In the recent election the people showed their desire for a reduction in taxation. I am satisfied with the manner in which the Garda Síochána are discharging their duties.
 Deputy Lynch also referred to the average wage of a Garda as £6 per week. He said it was nearly the lowest wage that was paid to any section of workers. He must remember that farm workers and several other sections have wages far lower than £6 per week. I know the duties of the Garda Síochána and I know their qualifications are very high. They are wholly deserving of the remuneration they receive. I would rather see them getting an increase in wages than see the staff increased. It would be a better way of dealing with this matter. Deputy Allen rightly said that quite a number of the Gardaí will be going on pension in the near future. I am satisfied the Minister has that in view and, when the need for recruiting arises, he will not hesitate to increase the staff so as to replace those who go on pension.
The Minister should consider the desirability of providing one-man police stations in some areas. There are one-man police stations in Britain. I will give him a concrete example. In Lusk there is a Garda barracks with four men. These men are also responsible for policing the Donabate area. In that area there is a greater number of people than in Lusk, where the Guards are stationed.
Mr. Rooney: I am not suggesting that the people there misconduct themselves. I am pointing out that the greater number of people, in relation to whom this barracks is operating, are seven miles away from it. If there were a police station in the Donabate area, the Donabate people would, I am sure, appreciate it. Everybody knows that for some reason or other an individual may want to go to the barracks to inquire about certain things. If the people of Donabate want to make an inquiry from the Gardaí they have to travel seven miles, although they form the greater number of people in the area. I would like the Minister to provide one-man police stations in such areas as that for the convenience of all concerned.
Padraig Ó Cuinneain: A Chinn Chomhairle, tá cupla focal le rá agamsa  is ní dhéanfhaidh mé aon mhoill. Tá cur síos déanta ag na teachtaí eile ar gach taobh den cheist sa díospóireacht seo. Tá gearán agamsa. Is é an gearán é gur líonadh cúig phost tábhachtacha i gContae Thiobrad Arainn le cheithre bliana anuas, agus as an cúigear fear a líon na postanna sin, níl ach duine amháin a atá i ndon a chuid oibre a dhéanamh i nGaeilge. Más fíor sin, agus táim cinnte gur fíor, is náireach an scéal é. Tá mé dá iarraidh ar an Aire stop a chur leis sin is gan postanna a thabhairt do dhaoine, go mór mhór postanna tábhachtacha, nach mbeadh i ndon a gcuid oibre a dhéanamh i nGaeilge. Dá luaithe a deánfar sin, is ea is fearr é, mar bar cheart go gcabhródh an Roinn seo le cúis na Gaeilge. Sin a bhfuil le rá agamsa.
Mr. G. Boland: I would like to express my appreciation of the Minister's action in raising the matter he did raise at the start of the debate to-day. It was allowed to pass last night. I did not want to raise the point myself, although I did raise some other points. I want to express my appreciation of the Minister's action in raising this matter.
I should mention that the particular charge made by several Deputies was first made about two or three years ago. I thought when I was concluding the debate on that occasion that my word was accepted, that no political influence whatever was used, so far as that particular sergeant was concerned. I think I expressed my attitude here as Minister for Justice that I thought it my duty if I got a letter of complaint from a representative of the people or from any representative person, to forward that for consideration by the Garda authorities. That was my practice and I never made any secret of it,  but that I ever interfered with the discretion of the Commissioner I deny. The Commissioner is there. The staff of the Department is there; the Minister has full access to the files and he has all the officials at his disposal but he can exert no influence about these matters.
I deny absolutely that at any time I used any influence whatever or allowed any member of my Party or of any other Party to influence the Commissioner. Deputies of all Parties made a practice of coming to me and I listened to them. I think it should be admitted that I listened to any Deputy of any Party who came to my Department. I did not bother about transfers. I did on one occasion, on representations from the present Minister for Defence on behalf of a sergeant, to have him kept in a certain area although he was being moved in the interests of the force to make way for a man with a large family. I am sorry to say that Deputy O'Higgins, having prevailed on me to postpone that man's transfer, was mean enough to join in an attack by Deputy Flanagan, who said that I had used political pressure to put that man out of his area when he knew the facts.
Mr. Boland: The Minister is there now and I leave it to him. I simply make my denial. It is not true; that is all. There was some question of making judicial appointments and some talk about the “spoils” system. While that was going on I jotted down a few names. I am not going to give the names here, but I can give the numbers of appointments. The Minister for Justice is not responsible for the appointment of judges. Judges are appointed by the President on the advice of the Government but, of course, the Minister for Justice makes recommendations as a rule. These recommendations may or may not be accepted. I have a list here of the  judges appointed during our time and I shall just mention the numbers. There were three High Court judges appointed, who, if they had any politics at all, were not supporters of our Party. We never bothered about their politics. It was purely a matter of their efficiency. One of them was taken out of the Oireachtas on pure merit and he was never a supporter of ours. There were three Circuit Court judges also appointed. One was taken out of active politics and the others if they had any politics at all were opposed to us.
Mr. Boland: There may have been people of greater merit but I want to assure the House that we appointed the people we thought best. I think it would be a bad thing if the idea were to go abroad that we did not take that into consideration. So far as promotions were concerned, we promoted on merit alone judges, some of whom had been appointed by the previous Government. I shall mention no names, but I have the names of the five judges whom the last Government promoted on no other ground but their efficiency. That is my answer to that accusation.
I was surprised shortly after the appointment of the new Government to hear over the radio and to read afterwards in the newspapers, that a new method of appointment was to be introduced. I took it for granted that the Government had in mind the appointment of judges, registrars and people of that kind. I asked the Taoiseach a question on that matter and I then found that the new method was going to apply merely to the appointment of sheriffs. There are only three sheriffs in the country altogether and they are all part-time. All this broadcasting and talk about new methods of appointment was concerned only with the part-time office of sheriff.
We took the old method which we found when we came into office and that is still being adhered to, namely,  the appointment of judges by the President on the advice of the Government, county registrars appointed directly by the Government, and State solicitors appointed by the Attorney-General. That was the system we found in operation when we came into power in 1932. We carried it on and although the present Government had a lot of talk about new methods, we find it refers only to one case in Cork City and there are only three such offices in the whole country.
I am sorry the Minister for External Affairs is not here now. I should have got up when he was here because he made a charge during the election that we were shielding somebody, closely connected with the Government, who had been guilty of petrol frauds. On the Sunday previous to the general election he came out with this statement. His statement was that we had hushed up the case, that there was somebody closely connected with the Government, that he had brought this thing to our attention and that we would not act——
Mr. Boland: In that case I shall drop any reference to it. May I say this without dealing with the merits of the case, that it took four months after the election to bring this part of the case to trial? If we hushed it up, if we could be accused of neglecting our duty for three months, then the new Government can be accused of holding it up much longer. If the case is sub judice that settles it, but if there was any hushing up on our part, there was just as much and a little more on the part of the present Government.
Mr. Boland: I got it dealt with immediately. As a matter of fact there happened to be a chief superintendent in Government Buildings at the time and I phoned him up to ask him to remain in the office. I handed him the letter and told him we wanted it acted on immediately. That can be verified.
There are a few other matters to which I should like to refer. I do not know what the Minister intends to do about the Law Reform Committee. It took a long time to get it under way but it was on the point of being set up and the last stroke was being completed when we went out of office.
I think that the Minister would be very well advised—that is my opinion anyway as ex-Minister for Justice—to press for the establishment of that committee. I was accused by the present Taoiseach and Minister for Finance, who were both Deputies in opposition when this Estimate was on last year, of breaking my word in respect of some legislation that was promised. That legislation has been ready for over a year now. I thought and I think, the Minister will agree with me, that that type of legislation is best dealt with by a law reform committee. I think that the whole House will agree that certain types of legislation are best dealt with in that way at the beginning. We all know that the law needs reform and a committee of that kind, most of whose members are voluntary, would give great assistance to the Government and to the Oireachtas generally. It will not  be a very costly affair and I think the Minister would be very well advised to press for that. Of course it is a matter for himself.
I do not want to go into the sad past any more than anybody else. It is not that I am afraid of it for one moment, but I would like to think that we have seen the last of the attempts to upset this State by force. But I am not going to let Deputy Lehane's statement go that anyone was put in jail during our régime because of his opinions or that we used repressive measures until we were absolutely compelled to do so. On three separate occasions we cleaned out the jails and never left a man in. The last time was, I think, towards the end of 1937 when the Constitution was finally passed into law. If we were to be a Government at all we simply had to deal drastically with people who tried to take human life and who tried to shoot our Gardaí—the people on whom we all relied for protection and without whom this country could not exist. Certain names were mentioned here. One of those people who were executed was an old friend of mine and an old comrade. We let him out on a hunger strike as we thought he was going to die. We let him out hoping that he would get better. A short time after that though he was caught with a machine-gun. As everybody knows, no Government could put up with that. I would not belong to a Government who would put up with that sort of thing— that because a man was a 1916 veteran he should be allowed to shoot down Gardaí.
Mr. Boland: There was so much humanity that if it went any further we would be disgraced. We would be disgraced and treated with contempt not only by our own people but by the whole world. Deputy Cowan can speak or the other members of his Party can speak on the subject. I would rather not have dealt with it if it had not been brought up. We did it only because we had to do it. If anybody thinks otherwise he is mistaken. Most members of the Government did it with reluctance.  If we had not done it we would not be fit to be a Government—some people say we were not. We carried leniency as far as we could, in fact we carried too far. Once we decided that we were going to be a Government and have no more of this thing, nothing else could be done. I regret the death of that man in Portlaoighise Jail as much as anybody.
Mr. Boland: The present Minister for Justice was quite entitled to do as he pleased. We left no political prisoners in jail. The five persons concerned were not political prisoners. Some of them were charged with murder and reprieved, and some were there on a charge of shooting Gardaí or shooting civilians.
Mr. Boland: I am not going to let anybody say that we used repressive measures. We did not use repressive measures. During the war years when these things were done there was general agreement on all sides of the House—not a single question was raised until after the 1943 elections when the war was practically over—on the steps that were necessary to defend this country from anybody who tried to put it in jeopardy. Defence was considered by a conference of members of the different parties who reported back to their parties and all these “repressive measures”, as they are called, were adopted, and adopted, I think, with unanimity. Of course there is a new House now and I am glad; I am delighted to see the new members here. Some of them were friends of mine and I only hope that they will be able to get all these other people in behind them and stop any further attempt to get objectives by force. If they are successful in that it will be a great credit to them. Let the past be gone and I hope that the present Minister for Justice will not have the task I had during those terrible years during the war. I would not have mentioned it if the deputy leader, I think, of that Party had not accused us of repression and mentioned names, some of people who were dear to me and people I will never forget.
To come to the question of the Gardaí, I suggest that the Minister is entirely wrong in agreeing to this business of not recruiting. All that was done in our time was to make up the wastage and the wastage was about 200 a year. As pointed out by Deputy Allen, there will be a big number of retirements in a few years' time. I know the position in headquarters and I know that the Commissioner will find it hard to train a large body of men. If you wait until there are a great number of raw young men coming in it will not be possible to train them properly as we have not the facilities. There was no over-policing of the country. I think, in fact, that the country was under-policed. Dublin City is certainly under-policed. You may talk about three Gardaí in a country station. I think in small  country stations there are only three Gardaí in each, but unless the Gardaí do 24 hours' duty per day that only amounts to one on duty. If they are going to do eight hours a day duty and get the same conditions as the ordinary worker that only constitutes one on duty.
Looking upon it in that way I say that we had not too many Guards. I think the Minister can bear me out— he can correct me if I am wrong—that from the time the force was established the numbers were always in or about the same. There was not much change. The cost of the force increased of course, because, as the men got older, their increments increased and, when they got married, they got a rent allowance. Then, in addition, there were increases in pay.
On the question of the pay of the Guards, the Minister ought to be in a happy position if the present Minister for Finance is to be taken seriously. Last year when I asked for an increase of £365,000 for the Garda Síochána, he scoffed at it. He practically told me that I ought to be ashamed of myself to offer them such a meagre sum. He said that if I quadrupled it I would not be giving them too much. He argued that the £ was only worth 10/-. It should be very easy, therefore, for the Minister for Justice to tackle a Minister for Finance who held these views. I did my best in my time to get the Guards increases which I thought they needed. They did get several increases.
On the whole, having regard to the increases given to other members of the community, I think the Guards did not do too badly. I am sure the present Minister, if he can, will get a little more for them. I had a difficult man to deal with. The present Minister for Justice has a man to deal with who, before he became a Minister anyway, was very flaitheamhlach indeed. He said I was humbugging when I proposed to give the Chief Justice an increase of £600. He said that in fact his salary was reduced by half, that instead of £4,600, I was really only giving him £2,300. In fact he suggested that I was breaking the Constitution in doing that. He may have been humbugging, but it is a serious matter for  a man in the position of a Minister. I am sure the present Minister will do the best he can for the Guards, if for no other reason than keeping them contented.
I am satisfied that there is a need for a greater number of Guards in Dublin. When I was Minister I met a deputation from the Dublin Corporation and I had to agree that Dublin was under-policed. Everybody knows that there was great discontent amongst the Gardaí in Dublin because of certain duty tours which they had to undertake and which were very onerous. That was due to the fact that there were not sufficient Guards in Dublin. The Assistant Commissioner was doing his best to meet a situation which required to be dealt with.
I say that the Minister's policy in regard to recruiting is an entirely wrong one. It will not mean economy. Serious damage will be done to the force if he does not insist at least on making up the wastage. If there is any idea of mechanising the force, concentrating them in towns, and taking them out of the country districts, that would be a capital mistake. Having the Guards scattered through the country is of inestimable value.
I agree with Deputy Timoney that the Guards should get duties other than police duties to perform. When I was Minister, I said in reply to some point that was raised that it would be a very good and a very economical thing to pay the Guards more and give them more of these non-police duties to perform in country districts. In Dublin City and other cities, of course, it is a different matter. In the country districts, however, where there is not very much crime, the Guards could be very well employed at such work. They do very valuable work in gathering statistics and they are also available for work in connection with travel permits. There should be more of that kind of work given to them. I think it would be found as a result that there would be need for fewer of the other officials who cost more money. In fact, I would recommend that the Guards should get more pay and more non-police duties in country areas.
We should remember the valuable help the Guards gave during the emergency  when the L.D.F. was being established. I remember well that when General Murphy came to my office, he had a plan ready and we only had to give the word and, overnight, the L.D.F. sprang into existence. It was a marvellous achievement. That was made possible because we had all through the country this magnificent force ready to jump into the gap and organise the countryside. I appeal to the Minister not to let that be undone. It will be a very serious matter if he does.
As to housing accommodation and barracks, I was Minister during the war years and nothing could be done then in the way of housing. If I had been in office I was determined to proceed with the housing programme. In pursuance of that, a Bill was passed just before the dissolution enabling the Office of Public Works to acquire sites for both houses and barracks. When I was Minister, every Deputy who spoke on the Estimate for this Department stressed the necessity for housing accommodation for the Guards. It could not be provided during my time, because the materials were not available. I think most of the difficulties have now been removed and the legislation which was passed will enable the Commissioners of Public Works to acquire suitable sites. I certainly hope the scheme will be proceeded with.
In connection with that I should like to say to the Minister that he ought not to put the Guards into colonies in towns. He ought to distribute the Guards in separate houses amongst other citizens and not establish police quarters. I hope the Minister will not allow the question of housing the Guards to be included amongst the economies. It would not be an economy. The provision of housing accommodation for the Guards would release a large number of houses of which landlords want to get possession and these would be available for other people.
Before I left office, the Commissioner was concerned about his inability to move Guards either for the benefit of the force or for the Guard's own benefit. He found that very difficult because, as soon as a house was vacated  by a Guard, the owner claimed possession. Knowing that that was the case, the Commissioner could not leave a Guard without a house. The result was that both the Commissioner and a good number of Guards who wished to be transferred were inconvenienced. Government Deputies were very keen on that question of housing for the Garda and they should not drop it now. It will help in the housing policy because when Guards are provided with houses their present houses will be available for others.
We had a big debate on the question of prisons last year and the person who seemed to be most interested in that question was the present Minister for Finance. I agreed with most of what he said. I did not say so at the time. People often have views which they cannot express because they are not able to give effect to things which they would like to do. The Minister for Finance spoke then about the position in Mountjoy. He rather overdrew the picture. There are, however, certain conditions prevailing there which would, as I said on the Budget debate, require a new building to remedy. I do not see how they could be remedied except a new prison was built.
There is also the question of the Borstal institution. I took a keen personal interest both in the prisons and in the Borstal institution and the treatment of juvenile and other prisoners. Deputy Dillon was constantly pressing me to provide a new Borstal institution. There was no possibility of doing that during my term of office. I think his idea was rather to ginger me up, because he knew very well that it could not be done during those years.
The site, I think, was actually acquired or almost acquired in County Dublin before I left office. I do not think, from my experience, that it would be wise to build that Borstal there. The best plan would be to ask the Oblate Fathers—I think they would be willing to do so—to take over the care of these tough young fellows. They are pretty tough young fellows but I think that experienced men such as the Oblate Fathers would have plenty of room for them. I know for a fact that that Institution has plenty of land and that  it is very roomy, because when I was Minister it was only half-full. If that were done, I would suggest that the Clonmel Prison, which is so much improved now—it is about the best little prison in the country at the moment— would be suitable for the segregation of the different types of prisoners. The question of herding people, in one prison anyhow, requires to be dealt with immediately and the matter was brought up several times in this House. It would be a good idea to have a prison in fairly good order which could be kept for certain types of prisoners who might require to be segregated.
The project of the site did not get any distance, but the Department was considering that a modern prison could be built on the site acquired for the Borstal Institute somewhere in County Dublin. Eventually Mountjoy Prison could be sold. Maybe the site would be valuable. The project would take years, anyhow, but I suggest the matter should be considered. The room is there for the borstal. I was speaking to some of the Oblate Fathers about the matter. I know that it would not be difficult to do it and it is desirable that something should be done.
Mr. Keyes: I want to preface my remarks on this Estimate, as in previous years, by making an appeal to the Minister for Justice for a modicum of justice for the people to whom he should give consideration, namely his employees. In saying that the appeal has been neglected, I do not intend to join with any Deputy in this House in making a personal attack on the ex-Minister for Justice, for whom I have a great respect. I have approached the ex-Minister for Justice, now Deputy Boland, in this matter. I am satisfied that even if he did not give satisfaction to my appeal and to that of others on behalf of members of his staff it was due not to reluctance on his part but to circumstances outside his control.
In appealing to the present Minister for Justice, General MacEoin, I trust that he will be able to overcome the obstacles which prevented his predecessor from giving effect to what I believe he considered a just claim. I appeal to him to-night to treat the clerks of the District Court Clerks' Association in a manner in accordance with the responsibilities of their office. This time 12 months ago and this time two years ago I had to point out that the Department of Justice were treating their District and Circuit Court clerks on a level lower than that of a builder's labourer. Since then, no improvement has taken place. In fact, the position has worsened because, thanks to the activities of the trade unions, a builder's labourer has improved his standard. But the clerks who are carrying out responsible duties in the Circuit and District Courts are left in the same plane as before. We have had numerous discussions in this House in regard to the higher court officers and officials, from the judges right down. But the Minister for Justice and the plain people of this country must consider the clerks in the Circuit and District Courts. They are carrying out very responsible duties. They are holding moneys as between the citizens and various Departments of State.
Their wages are a positive scandal  and they have been so for a number of years past. It is beyond explanation why their claim has been refused. The only thing we are told is that the Department of Finance sits pretty. Who the “Department of Finance” is or are, I have not yet determined. It is the great bugbear that can sit astride eloquence and commonsense and the appeals of the Deputies of this House. Every Department can seek safe shelter behind the statement that “the Department of Finance says `No' ”. I could keep going for an hour repeating the pleas I made in this connection made over the past five, six and even seven years. I have all the files in front of me to show that no change has taken place in that period notwithstanding the fact that the cost of living has increased for everybody. The value of money has deteriorated. As a trade unionist and as a member of a trade union congress, I am proud to be able to say that by trade union organisation we have advanced the standard of industrial workers of all types throughout the country. It is regrettable, to say the least of it, that those people who are depending on the good offices of the Department and the services of the Deputies elected to this House are left where they are. We have had deficiencies and defaults from time to time but the miracle is that we have not had 100 per cent. more.
When you find a man in a responsible position, who has to have a certain standard of education and responsibility, acting as Circuit Court clerk or District Court clerk and working for a sum less than that earned by the ordinary industrial worker or builder's labourer, I say that it is a reflection on every Party in this House. I am casting no reflection on the ex-Minister, Deputy Boland. I believe he was quite sympathetic to our representations in that respect. I believe our new Minister will be equally sympathetic, but sympathy cuts no ice and butters no parsnips. I would ask the Minister to see to it that the Department of Finance, which has, so far, stood in the way, will give effect to a promise which was made in 1939 for an establishment scheme for temporary clerks in District and Circuit Courts on a basis of recognition  of their services. Their remuneration should be brought up to a standard where they can keep their families in reasonable and decent comfort—something in accordance with the standards they have to reach in the matter of intelligence and education to fill their responsible positions.
When we are speaking of justice we should remember that, like charity, it begins at home. There is no justice in the Department of Justice when responsible officials of their own courts, who are not protected by the rules of court, by professional etiquette or by the people of the High Court—they look after themselves—are condemned to exist on such low wages. I am going to ask this Dáil to-night to put an end to the scandal of the District and Circuit Court clerks, and the other officials also, by removing that stigma. Dáil Eireann should be the supreme authority to ensure that we will not employ people in this year of 1948 and onwards in the responsible positions of Circuit and District Court clerks without paying them a rate of remuneration in accordance with the responsibilities of their office, which will enable them to maintain their families in decent and frugal comfort.
Mr. Bartley: I sympathise with the Minister in wanting to bring the debate to an end, but I do not think I am one of those Deputies who take up the time of the House unduly. I speak rather seldom and my speeches are short. I suggest to the Minister that in this matter he might follow the example of Fianna Fáil when they were in office. Very long speeches did not come from our side of the House at that time on this Estimate. I am sure the Minister is aware of that. Two or three speakers on his side of the House have practically taken as much time as all the speakers on our side.
Mr. Bartley: I make these few prefatory remarks because I want to assure the Minister that I sympathise with his desire to have the debate concluded as soon as possible. I am not standing up now motivated by any impish desire to keep things going.
 On behalf of my Party I would, first of all, like to say that I strongly resent the charges that have been made so persistently against the Fianna Fáil Administration of favouritism and victimisation. Those charges were made by one Deputy here this evening. Having made the charges, he subsequently in the course of the same speech victimised a man whom he indicated to the House. That man had not joined the Garda Síochána during the Fianna Fáil Administration. He actually got promotion during that particular Administration and it can hardly be said that his promotion was brought about by political pull. One of the last letters I wrote to Deputy Boland when he was Minister for Justice dealt with the case of a Garda who was dismissed. Shortly before the Minister ceased to hold office I had a letter saying that this Garda could not be reinstated. What was my surprise to discover a month after the new Government had taken office that this Garda had been reinstated and reinstated through political influence. I do not know what his offence was but I take it, if a man is dismissed from the Garda, the offence must be a serious one. I would like to say that when Deputy Boland was Minister for Justice he consistently and persistently refused to allow Deputies of his own Party to interfere in any way in matters relating to the internal discipline of the Garda Síochána.
Mr. Bartley: Deputy Cowan was not in the House when the appointments were made. One was the appointment of a Circuit Court judge. I never heard such high commendation of a Government or a Minister as I heard of Deputy Boland at the time of the appointment of that particular Circuit Court judge. But when it came to the appointment of somebody as a registrar, simply because the man who happened to be appointed was a Fianna Fáil supporter the abuse knew no limits. Can Deputy Cowan explain to me why in the case of two well-known members of this House who have given long service in the national movement away back to 1916, in one case the Government is praised for the appointment and in the other case the Government is denounced? Can Deputy Cowan explain to me the difference in approach to those two appointments?
Mr. Bartley: The fact that Deputy Cowan says it is not necessary is a sufficient indication to me in regard to the matter. I endorse every word Deputy Keyes has said on behalf of the clerks in the Circuit Court offices. I have no doubt that what the Deputy says about the present position is true and I have no doubt that the Minister will do his best to see that justice is meted out to these particular clerks. I agree, too, with Deputy Keyes that the Department of Finance is the stumbling block. I know that Deputy Boland when he was Minister did his best to remedy the position. I do not ask that people who have very short service should be established on a pensionable basis as recognised civil servants; but I do know that in many of these offices there are men who have given very long service, who are highly efficient at their work and whose conduct in the discharge of their duties has been irreproachable. I know that these men have been recommended both by their registrars and by the Minister for Justice in the past.
Tá Ranna Gaelacha An Gharda Síochána bunaithe anois le tamall maith, agus níor mhó ná a gceart ag an nGaeltacht a mbunú. Má tá aon locht amháin ar an scéim, is é sin go gceapfadh na Gardaí sna Ranna eile nach gá dóibh bacadh le Gaeilge i gcolíonadh a gcuid dualgas, agus dá spáinfidís go raibh an teanga go maith acu go mbéidir go gcuirfí siar iad go dtí iarthar na hEireann, go dtí na stáisiúin phianúla, mar tugtar orthu scaití. Is é rud a mholfainn don Aire go gcuirfí ina luí ar na Gardaí óga go gcaithfidh siad a n-eolas ar an nGaeilge a choinneáil suas nó go gcuirfí siar iad go dtí na Ranna sa Ghaeltacht. Ba chóir, freisin, go mbeadh cead ag Gardaí óga, Gardaí gan phósadh, stáisiúin a mhalairtiú le chéile ar mhaithe le scaipeadh na teangan ina measc. Tá aimhreas orm go bhfuil Gardaí óga faoi láthair ag ceilt a n-eolais ar an nGaeilge ar fhaitíos go gcuirfí go dtí na háiteacha iargúlta iad. Dá dtugtaí d'ugach dóibh nár chall dóibh an faitíos sin agus dá mba é a mhalairt ba chúis faitíos dóibh, is é sin, go gcuirfí chun an iargúil iad mura  gcothaídís a n-eolas agus a dtaithí ar an nGaeilge b'fhearr do chúis na teangan sa nGarda Síochána, agus thríothu sin, don tír fré chéile, é.
Mr. Traynor: I cannot understand the Minister's impatience to deal with this Estimate. If he throws his mind back, he will remember that the former Opposition Party carried this debate on many occasions over four days. Now, at the end of two days, the Minister is impatient and he wants to deny Deputies the right to express their views.
Mr. Traynor: I sympathise very much with the views expressed by Deputy Keyes about the difficulties which he has been up against from time to time as regards the Department of Finance. Finance, as every Minister and ex-Minister is unfortunately only too well aware, is the big bad wolf of the Government Departments. Ministers are not permitted, under any consideration, to give the reasons, the obvious reasons, why they are unable to carry out some undertaking that they have been pressed to carry out. I found that position so irksome that I made a proposition to the Government on numerous occasions that whatever sum was earmarked in respect of an Estimate, the particular Department concerned with the spending of that money should be allowed complete freedom in the spending of it.
Mr. Traynor: It may not be known generally that the position is that any unexpended sum goes back into the Central Fund and the Department which could have usefully used it in respect of some of the matters brought to its attention is not permitted to use it. In these circumstances, I can feel sympathetic with the views expressed by Deputy Keyes.
I should like to express my thanks to Deputy Keyes for the tribute he has  paid to one of the finest men who sits in this Assembly, Deputy Boland. There is no more honest, more frank, more hard-working gentleman in this Assembly than Deputy Boland, and yet, certain individuals in this House deem it their duty to assail that man's character. I listened to Deputy Flanagan last evening telling the House the reasons why Deputy Boland, who was then Minister for Justice, would not permit him to visit Mary-borough Jail. I think every decent Deputy in the House who listened to that harangue will readily understand why the then Minister did not permit Deputy Flanagan to enter that prison.
Mr. Traynor: ——Portlaoighise Prison, were as greatly exaggerated as most of the Deputy's statements are. I think Deputy Flanagan's weakness is that he exaggerates too much. In this instance he led the House to believe that the wonderful prison conditions, which I think he described as being equal to the Gresham Hotel, were brought about through the advent of the new Government.
Mr. Traynor: I can well understand why Deputy Boland did not deal with the situation. The position is that all the ameliorations which have taken place in our prison system were brought about by the Minister for Justice in the last Administration, Deputy Boland. If anyone has any doubts about that statement, it can be confirmed very easily by reference to Deputy Peadar Doyle, who is the chairman of the visiting justices of Mountjoy Prison.
Mr. Traynor: Deputy Flanagan has endeavoured to lead the House into the belief that the conditions existing in Maryborough Prison under the Fianna Fáil Government were insufferable and that they continued to be so until the new Government came into office and brought about amelioration.
Mr. Traynor: Of course they did and they had their own reasons for doing so. I am not going into these reasons. The fact of the matter is that the conditions which exist in the prisons to-day are conditions brought about by the last Government. The Deputy also drew the attention of the House to the fact that there was now an inspector of prisons and that this inspector of prisons was going around, looking after the interests of prisoners to see that they got the full value of the amenities to which they were entitled. I want to tell Deputy Flanagan that such an official has been operating as long as I ever knew anything about prisons. He may not have been called an inspector of prisons. I do not know what his title was but I am aware that such an official has been operating over a long number of years. He may not have been operating in that capacity under the British régime but I am certain that he has been operating in that position long and many a day before the new Government came into office.
Mr. Traynor: In the course of the debate when Deputy Boland was replying to some of the allegations made in this House, Deputy Fitzpatrick saw fit to intervene and make an appeal to which, in ordinary circumstances I  would subscribe, but when I mentioned to Deputy Fitzpatrick that he should have made that appeal at a much earlier stage he stated that his Party had come to an agreement that they were not going to discuss matters of that kind in this House. If I am misstating what the Deputy said, that such an arrangement was come too——
Mr. Traynor: I accept the Deputy's statement but the agreement to abstain has been violated by members of the Party. When I intervened to say that the Deputy might have made that appeal earlier with more value to the debate, that is what I was referring to. I, like Deputy Boland, have no desire to go over the past at all. I think the sooner representatives in this House can forget these evil times the better it will be for the House and the more useful will our discussions here be. Everybody knows that it is a characteristic of the Irish temperament that if somebody stands up and makes a statement of that kind, that statement if possible will be controverted. That is exactly what has been happening in the course of this debate. As I said a moment ago I would like to get away from these things. I, like Deputy Boland welcome the advent of the Clann na Poblachta Party. I would welcome still further the advent of these young men who have not accepted the teaching of the Clann na Poblachta Party. I should like to see that section come into this House and do their utmost to serve the people. I believe they can serve them very much better in this House than outside it.
I should like to say a few words in respect to other matters that have been mentioned, for instance, the question of the difficulty that exists in this city at present in regard to the parking of cars and traffic generally. I should like to see some of the suggestions given sympathetic consideration, if they are not actually put into operation. In the course of Deputy Allen's speech here this evening he threw out a suggestion which has been  mentioned on numerous occasions, if not in this House at least at the Dublin Corporation, and that is the suggestion of covering in portions of the River Liffey. Deputy Rooney seemed to think that was not feasible but I remember having seen a scheme —and I am sure Deputy Byrne will have seen it too—whereby the Liffey was to be covered but not entirely. There was a channel left down the centre to allow of the escape of the smoke or steam coming from Guinness's barges to which the Deputy referred. There have been numerous other suggestions put forward. I do not know whether anybody has mentioned the large expanse which exists in front of the Custom House. There is a spot which is reasonably central and which would require only the removal of the railings to make it accessible for motorists.
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