Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Queen Victoria Statue.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Dangerous Road for Children.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - British Nationality Bill.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Bilateral Agreement with America.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Foresters' Conditions.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Division and Acquisition of Lands.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Price of Skim and Separated Milk.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - County Kerry Egg Sorting Station and Hatchery.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Short Stem Barley for Seed.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Farm Improvements Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Bi-Lingual Government Advertisements.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Coimisiún Log-Ainmneacha.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Hard Currencies.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Farm Machinery Petrol.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - County Dublin Drainage Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - County Kerry Accommodation Road.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Felling of Firewood Trees.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Executed Persons' Letters.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Conditions of Employment Acts.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Flooding in Athlone and Banagher Areas.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Conditions of Service of C.I.E. Drivers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Glove Industry.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Cost-of-Living Index Figure.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Letterkenny Hosiery Factory Dispute.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Bicycle Supplies.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Copper Sulphate.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Tramore Tourist Development.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Dublin County Council Appointments.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Erection of Offaly Cottages.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Caherciveen Cottages.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Road Accidents.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Mental Hospital Turf Contract.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Caherciveen Hospital.
Business of the Dáil.
Order of Business.
Social Welfare (Reciprocal Arrangements) Bill, 1948—First Stage.
Estimates for Public Services, 1948-49.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 32—Office of the Minister for Justice (Resumed).
Committee on Finance. - Vote 33—Garda Síochána.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 34—Prisons.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 35—District Court.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 36—Circuit Court.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 37—Supreme Court and High Court of Justice.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 38—Land Registry and Registry of Deeds.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 39—Public Record Office.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 40—Charitable Donations and Bequests.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 9—Office of Public Works.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 9—Office of Public Works (Supplementary Estimate).
Committee on Finance. - Vote 10—Public Works and Buildings.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 11—Employment and Emergency Schemes.
Committee on Finance. - Adjournment Debate—British Nationality Bill.
Written Answers. - Mountmellick Garda Station.
Written Answers. - Abbeyleix Water Supply.
Written Answers. - Clonaslee Water Supply.
 Chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. C. Lehane: asked the Taoiseach if he is aware that the national feelings of the majority of Irishmen are outraged by the failure to remove the statue of a foreign monarch from the Quadrangle at Leinster House, and if he will state whether it is proposed to remove this statue at an early date.
The Taoiseach (Mr. Costello): A scheme, which was approved in September last, for the provision of parking accommodation for motor-cars at Leinster House involves the removal of the statue to which the Deputy refers, and it is anticipated that the work on the removal of the statue will begin early next month.
Mr. C. Lehane: That is very gratifying to the Irish people.
Mr. O'Grady: Will the Taoiseach say why the work which was actually begun has been suspended?
The Taoiseach: I am not sure that the work has been suspended. There was a contract with the Commissioners of Public Works and it is under that contract that the work is going on.
Mr. O'Grady: Anyone approaching here could see that the work had been begun.
Captain Cowan: Why is there this excuse “to provide parking accommodation?” Why is not the real reason given?
The Taoiseach: I gave no such  excuse in my reply. My reply involved no excuse whatever.
Captain Cowan: It was given by the previous Government.
The Taoiseach: I do not know. I thought you were referring to my reply.
An Ceann Comhairle: The question was addressed to the present Taoiseach.
Mr. Lahiffe: asked the Minister for Education if he is aware that the boreen road leading from the public road to the school at Lurga, Tubber, Gort, County Galway, is in a dangerous condition for young children going to school, and if so, whether he will bring this matter to the notice of the responsible authority with a view to having the road made safe for these children.
Minister for Education (General Mulcahy): No representations have been made to my Department regarding the condition of the approach road leading from the public road to Lurga National School, Tubber, Gort, County Galway. I am, however, having the matter referred to by the Deputy inquired into.
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for External Affairs whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the Government's position regarding the British Nationality Bill.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for External Affairs if he will state whether his attention has been directed to Press reports of a debate in the British House of Lords on the British Nationality Bill; and, if so, whether he will state what agreement or compromise was come to between the Government of Ireland and the British Government concerning the measure; further, if he will state the present attitude of the Government of Ireland to the changes in the measure made by the British House of Lords.
Minister for External Affairs (Mr. MacBride): With the Ceann Comhairle's permission, I propose to take  Questions Nos. 3 and 4 together. As the Bill is still under consideration in the British Parliament, I prefer not to make any detailed statement with regard to it at this stage, beyond saying that the Bill, as amended, is wholly contrary to our conception of nationality and must inevitably lead to an aggravated conflict of nationality law between Ireland and Britain.
I sincerely trust that the amendments proposed in the British House of Lords will not be passed. The views of the Irish Government on the matter are already well known to the British authorities.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: Will the Minister say whether his attention has been directed to an article in to-day's Irish Press on this particular subject, and if so, whether he has any comment to make on that article? Will he say also whether he thinks it desirable that ex-members of the Government should refer in newspaper articles to confidential Government information?
Mr. MacBride: With regard to the first matter raised by the Deputy, my attention was drawn to two articles in to-day's Irish Press. These articles contain statements that are completely incorrect and misleading. I also feel that I should state that it is a completely wrong practice that confidential documents on diplomatic matters which were within the knowledge of ex-Ministers or ex-officers of the Government should be referred to in newspaper articles, and if the practice is not discontinued I shall ask the Attorney-General to take steps in the matter.
Mr. Lemass: Would the Minister say what statement in these articles was incorrect and what confidential documents were referred to?
Mr. MacBride: In the article, which is unsigned, appearing on page 4 of to-day's Irish Press, there is a review of various matters connected with the Nationality Bill at present before the British Parliament. The article deals with three different objections. In regard to the third of these objections the article says:—
“The obligation provisions affecting Irish citizenship everywhere, inside as well as outside of Ireland, remain unaltered as the Bill has left the House of Lords for consideration by the Commons.”
That is untrue. These provisions were amended in the House of Lords on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor and as a result of representations made, not before the 18th February, but since.
Mr. Lemass: Will the Minister say what confidential documents are quoted in the articles.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Morrissey): Are you not using them every day in the week in the Irish Press?
Mr. MacBride: “The draft Bill before issue was submitted to the Irish Government for its observations and these were communicated to the British Government by Mr. de Valera in an aide memoire.”
Mr. Lemass: Continue. Read the next sentence.
Mr. MacBride: Unless the writer of the article had access to private and secret information he could not have made that statement.
Mr. Lemass: Was it not public knowledge that this aide memoire existed? Was not the House informed of it?
Mr. MacBride: The House was not informed.
Mr. Lemass: I hope that the Minister does not keep the Attorney-General too busy with that information.
Mr. Dillon: They have no shame.
An Ceann Comhairle: I think the reply might be left to the Minister.
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for External Affairs if he will state the position concerning the bilateral agreement with the Government of the United States of America arising out of the European Recovery Programme, and when the matter will come before the Dáil.
Mr. MacBride: The Agreement was signed in Dublin on the 28th June, and copies of the text were laid on the table of the House on the same day. It is proposed to give time to-morrow and on Friday morning for the discussion of this Agreement, as well as the Convention signed in Paris last April. The Government will ask the Dáil to approve of both Agreements. It is particularly desired to secure approval of the bilateral agreement in time to enable acceptance of it to be completed within the limit of time fixed by the American Act, that is to say, by Saturday, the 3rd July.
Mr. C. Lehane: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state (a) the system under which foresters employed by his Department are graded; (b) the number of foresters at present employed in each grade; (c) the wages paid to each grade, and (d) whether it is proposed to review the wages and conditions of foresters in the immediate future.
Minister for Lands (Mr. Blowick): There are, apart from the forestry inspectorate, four grades in the outdoor forestry service, head forester, forester grade I, forester grade II, and forest foremen. The grading system is similar to that existing in other branches of the Civil Service whereby the work is assigned to the various grades in accordance with its difficulty and complexity.
The number at present serving in each grade is as follows:—Seven head foresters, 27 foresters grade I, 59 foresters grade II and 51 forest foremen. The salary scales of the various grades are set out at page 291 of the current Estimate. In addition to scale salary, each officer receives at present an allowance of £20 a year in recognition of increases in the extent of his duties and responsibilities in recent years. Wherever possible foresters and foremen are provided with free houses. Where free accommodation cannot be provided an allowance in lieu thereof is paid.
The salary scales of foresters and forest foremen are at present under review in my Department. The question of an improvement in these scales  is, however, not a matter which lies solely within my discretion.
Mr. C. Lehane: Will the Minister bear in mind, when the review to which he referred takes place, that the remuneration of foresters in this part of the country amounts only to 60 per cent. of the wages paid to foresters in Northern Ireland?
Mr. Dunne: Is the Minister in a position to state whether a decision has been arrived at in regard to the question of improving the wages of forestry workers?
Mr. A.P. Byrne: Could the Minister say whether it is a fact that very many of the forestry foremen are in fact doing forestry work?
Mr. Blowick: It is not a fact.
Mr. McQuillan: asked the Minister for Lands whether the division amongst the local people of the Stanghas estate, Cross, Menlough, County Galway, is being considered, and, if so, when the division of the land in question may be expected.
Mr. Blowick: The estate in question cannot be identified in the Land Commission from the Deputy's description. If the Deputy will give me further particulars I shall have the matter looked into.
Mr. Beegan: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether the estate of Mr. R. Howard, Record No. S.8981, County Galway, has been acquired and, if so, why the acquisition of this land has been delayed and also when the reserved decision of the Land Commission court will be given.
Mr. Blowick: There has been no unavoidable delay in the proceedings for this estate which has not yet been acquired. Judgment of the Land Commission court disallowing the owner's objection to acquisition was delivered on the 21st April last.
Mr. Beegan: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether proceedings for the acquisition of the estate  of Mr. John H. Howard, Record No. S. 8982, County Galway, have yet been completed, and, if not, why the acquisition of the lands in question has been delayed.
Mr. Blowick: The proceedings in respect to this estate have not yet been completed. The owner's objection to acquisition was disallowed by the Land Commission court on the 21st April this year. There has been no unavoidable delay in the matter.
Mr. Beegan: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether negotiations are proceeding for the purchase of the estate of Mr. Charles French, Record Nos. U. 2067a, S. 5490, County Galway; and when the purchase of it is likely to be completed; further, if he will state the area from the total excluded with the mansion from the sale; finally whether he will state if the owner now wishes to exclude a further area, and, if so, what amount.
Mr. Blowick: The Land Commission have instituted proceedings for the acquisition of 857 acres of this estate exclusive of the mansion house and 186 acres. The provisional list was published in Iris Oifigiúil on 25th instant. It is not possible to indicate at present when these proceedings will be completed.
Mr. Beegan: The Minister did not reply to the latter part of the question: whether he will state if the owner now wishes to exclude a further area or has made any representations to the Land Commission to that effect?
Mr. Blowick: The Deputy should realise that that is a matter for the commissioner and that the case is sub judice.
Mr. J. Flynn: asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that farmers in the Inchabeg Rathmore, County Kerry, area have been offered 3d. per gallon by the local creamery for skim milk and, if so, whether he will ensure that at least 5d. per gallon is offered for the milk in question in  view of the fact that its food value is worth that sum.
Mr. McAuliffe: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware that creameries, the property of the Dairy Disposal Company, in County Kerry, retain the greater part of the separated milk which normally should be returned to the suppliers; that the farmer is now paid at the rate of 2d. per gallon for the separated milk so retained; that the farmers are most dissatisfied with this rate of payment and have demanded 5d. per gallon, and whether he will have their claim investigated with a view to securing for the suppliers an equitable rate of payment for this milk.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dillon): I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to take Questions Nos. 11 and 12 together. I am informed by the Dairy Disposal Company that the price paid to farmers for separated milk retained by the company's creameries in County Kerry is 3d. per gallon. The same price is, I understand, paid by other creameries owned by co-operative societies who purchase whole milk from their suppliers. I consider that the price at present being paid is reasonable, and I do not propose to intervene in the matter.
Mr. J. Flynn: Is the Minister aware that the price paid is not an economic one and that this milk is worth more than that in food value to the farmers themselves; that under the arrangement made by the Dairy Disposal Company with the chocolate company the price for whole milk is not a standard price? Will the Minister act as a mediator between the farmers and the Fry-Cadbury Company with a view to having an equitable price paid?
Mr. Dillon: In reply to the Deputy's supplementary question, the facts are as I have stated them. If Deputy Flynn, however, or Deputy McAuliffe, would care to drop in and talk this matter over with me, I shall be very grateful for any additional information they can give me and I can assure them that if, as a result of our discussion, it appears that anything useful can be done I will be most happy to do it.
Mr. J. Flynn: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware that representations have been made to the Dairy Disposal Company regarding the establishment of an egg sorting station and hatchery at Castlemaine Creamery, County Kerry; and, if so, whether he will take steps to have the matter expedited.
Mr. Dillon: I am informed by the Dairy Disposal Company, Limited, that arrangements are at present being made by them for the establishment of a hatchery at Castlemaine Creamery, and it is expected that it will be ready to be put into operation for the next hatching season. The question of the provision of an egg-packing station at this creamery is at present under consideration.
Mr. Keane: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state whether the short stem barley grown at the Model Farm, Glasnevin, will be used for distribution among selected suitable growers for the purpose of making seed available for barley growers in Ireland next year; further, whether there is any possibility that imported seed barley of the same variety will be procured for use in Ireland.
Mr. Dillon: All stocks of seed of suitable short stem barley varieties which will be available within the country from the current season's crop will be used as seed. Steps are also being taken to import seed of similar suitable varieties but it is not possible at this stage to say what quantity will ultimately be procured in this way.
Mr. Sweetman: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware that a rumour has been widely circulated that the Government intend to suspend the farm improvements scheme, and if he will state whether there is any justification for such rumour and make a general statement on the position.
Mr. Dillon: I am aware that misguided opponents of the Government  have spread false rumours that the Government intended to suspend the farm improvements scheme. I believe that this was done by people who were fully aware that their allegations were untrue, and I gladly avail of this opportunity to state emphatically that there is no intention whatever to suspend or abridge the farm improvements scheme.
When I became responsible for the Department of Agriculture there were about 23,000 applications for farm improvement grants awaiting settlement outstanding from the 1947-48 programme, and if a notice had then been published inviting applications under the 1948-49 programme, the organisation for dealing with the farm improvements scheme would have been overwhelmed, and the hopeless confusion characteristic of the past administration of Government schemes consequent on overtaxing the available administrative staff would have supervened. I therefore decided to clear up the arrears before inviting new applications.
I am glad to inform the Deputy that these arrears have now been reduced to manageable proportions, and I have given instructions for the publication of an advertisement at the end of this week inviting applications for farm improvement grants for the current year.
I should add that vexatious as it undoubtedly is to witness attempts to mislead the people by mendacious propaganda, the Deputy no doubt will agree with me that in the case of persons concerned to disseminate falsehoods of this character, it is well to remember the maxim that the more rope they get, the higher they will ultimately hang.
Mr. Keane: Deputy Smith, when Minister for Agriculture, did the very same thing.
An Ceann Comhairle: Has the Deputy a supplementary question to ask?
Mr. Boland: The answer was a speech and he is answering one speech with another.
Mr. Keane: I am not making a speech. Is the Minister aware that  Deputy Smith went down to Mitchelstown and stated a certain thing there?
An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise.
Mr. Lahiffe: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will now state whether applications for grants under the farm improvements scheme lodged with his Department to date will be attended to this year, and also if he will now state when he will accept further applications under this scheme.
Mr. Cogan: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he can now state when it is proposed to readvertise for applications for grants under the farm improvements scheme.
Mr. Dillon: With your permission, a Chinn Chomhairle, it is proposed to take Questions Nos. 16 and 17 together.
All applications lodged for grants under the farm improvements scheme, 1947/48, have been, or are being, dealt with. I propose to advertise early next month for applications for grants under the scheme for the 1948/49 season.
Mr. Smith: Public pressure, that is the boy that will keep you in your place.
Mr. MacEntee: The tomato houses again.
Mr. Dillon: Do not pull out too much rope.
Mr. Smith: That is the real McCoy.
Mr. Sweetman: Public pressure put you there and will keep you there.
Mr. C. Lehane: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the amount of the estimated saving by the decision to cease bi-lingual printing of Government advertisements.
The Taoiseach (for the Minister for Finance): The saving resulting from the decision to cease bi-lingual printing of Government advertisements is estimated at about £500 a year.
Mr. C. Lehane: Arising out of the Taoiseach's reply on behalf of the Minister for Finance, will the Minister consider effecting a saving by the stoppage of Government printing of English versions of all Government advertisements?
The Taoiseach: I am sure the Minisster will consider that.
Mr. Aiken: He will put the answer to that in abeyance like a lot of other things.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: den Aire Airgeadais an bhfuil socair ag an Rialtas deireadh a chur leis an gCoimisiún Log-Ainmneacha.
The Taoiseach: It has not been decided to put an end to the Place Names Commission. The Government has, however, as an economy measure, decided to suspend the work of the commission for the present. The question of resuming this work will be considered in connection with the Estimates for the Supply Services for 1949-50.
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the total expenditure of hard currencies, to which the communiqué issued after the London trade negotiations refers, during the first half of 1948, and indicate the currencies which are regarded as hard for this purpose.
The Taoiseach: As the first half of 1948 expires only to-day it is not possible just now to give exact figures of the total expenditure of hard currencies during the period. If the Deputy repeats this part of his question in a fortnight's time I hope that by then the complete returns of expenditure of foreign exchange during the first half of 1948 will be available. As regards the second part of the question, the hard currencies to which reference is made in the communiqué are those of the dollar area, including Canada and Newfoundland, and also Argentina, the Belgian monetary area, the Portuguese monetary area, Switzerland, the bi-zone of Germany and Japan.
Mr. Lemass: Am I to understand from the Taoiseach's answer that a commitment was entered into to limit Irish expenditure in hard currencies without a definite figure being in mind and, if there was a definite figure in mind, can the House be informed?
The Taoiseach: No such commitment was entered into and the House will not be informed until a fortnight's time.
Mr. Lemass: Did the communiqué issued following the London trade negotiations not indicate that an agreement had been made to limit Irish expenditure of hard currencies to the amount actually expended in the first half of this year? Was that commitment entered into without the negotiators being aware of the amount involved and, on the assumption that that is not so, will they tell us what they had in mind?
Mr. Dillon: More and more rope.
The Taoiseach: The exact terms of the communiqué are that the Government of Éire would continue to effect the maximum economy in expenditure of hard currencies and would not exceed the level of expenditure during the first half of 1948. When that undertaking is being put into effect the Government will then know the exact amount of the commitment to which reference is made in the communiqué.
Mr. Lemass: Did the Government make that agreement without knowing the commitment they were undertaking?
The Taoiseach: How could we know the commitment for the first half of 1948 when it has not yet expired?
Mr. Aiken: It is queer then to enter into an agreement about it.
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state what further restrictions, if any, on imports from hard currencies areas, will be necessitated by the limitation on hard currency expenditure to which the Government agreed at the London trade negotiations.
The Taoiseach: Plans for future imports from hard currency areas are dependent on the amount of assistance which will be received by this country from the United States of America under the European Recovery Programme. As was stated in the official communiqué issued after the London negotiations, we have agreed that, pending clarification of the amount of American aid, we will continue to effect the maximum economy in expenditure of hard currencies. At present my Department has under review the programme of hard currency imports for the coming six months, with particular regard to the dollar area, with a view to ensuring that the expenditure of foreign exchange will be confined to essential purposes. It is not yet possible to state how far it will be necessary to eliminate or curtail imports of commodities in respect of which hard currency facilities have been granted in the past, but it is clear that unless our future resources of foreign exchange increase materially beyond those at present foreseen, the necessity for applying available currency to objects vital to the national economy will involve substantial restrictions on less essential items.
Mr. Lemass: When is it hoped to be able to inform the House as to the restrictions arising out of the agreement?
The Taoiseach: The Deputy ought to know very well from his knowledge of matters of this kind that it is not possible to give even an estimate of when the Minister will be in a position to give the answer the Deputy requires.
Mr. Lahiffe: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state when he will give effect to his proposals regarding the reduction in the tax on petrol for farm machinery.
The Taoiseach: Effect will be given to the proposals as from the 1st of August next.
Mr. Dunne: asked the Minister for Finance if in view of the fact that State lands will be improved by the  proposed drainage under the Matt river (County Dublin) rural improvements scheme, he will consider making a contribution towards the scheme in respect of these State lands so that no undue burden may be placed upon local contributors.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Donnellan): An application has been received under the rural improvements scheme for the cleaning of a stream flowing through the townlands of Matt, Inch, Turkinstown, Ring, etc., near Balbriggan, County Dublin which is at present under consideration. Under the terms and conditions of the rural improvements scheme the amount of the State contribution which is offered to the beneficiaries towards the cost of a proposal is normally 75 per cent., provided that the utility of the work is commensurate with the expenditure.
So far as I can ascertain, the State does not own or occupy any of the lands which would be benefited by the cleaning of the stream in question.
Mr. Dunne: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this stream is fringed by commons and in view of the fact that commons are generally regarded as State lands, will he review his decision in this matter?
Mr. Donnellan: Yes, I am aware that in the second branch of that stream, roughly 170 perches long, it would benefit only a commonage or waste land and would benefit probably 12 additional land owners. The Deputy can tell them that at the moment, as being no man's land, so to speak, it is not State land.
Mr. Dunne: Will the Parliamentary Secretary not consider that by this drainage work being carried out these commons will be improved and will be of value to the State?
Mr. Donnellan: That is not my information, but if the Deputy can point out anything like that, I will be only too delighted to look into the matter.
Mr. J. Flynn: asked the Minister for  Finance whether he is aware that the road leading to Coolroe, Beaufort, County Kerry, Curramore E.D., has been swept away by erosion; that proposals for an accommodation road to replace it have been under consideration jointly in his Department and the Department of Lands for a considerable period; and if so, whether in view of the fact that the absence of a proper road constitutes a grave menace to the safety of the inhabitants of the district, he will ensure that this work is undertaken at the earliest possible date.
Mr. Donnellan: This case has been examined by the Special Employment Schemes Office. The cost of restoring the accommodation road in its original position would be excessive as an employment scheme, either in relation to the number unemployed in the area or the number of landholders to be served. An alternative site has been proposed, but one of the landholders whose lands would be affected has objected to the alternative scheme and the Special Employment Schemes Office have no compulsory powers to overcome an objection of the kind. I understand, however, the Land Commission have the matter still under consideration.
Mr. Keane: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state whether all the firewood trees have been disposed of in the Moore Park woods, Kilworth, or whether there are any left to be felled yet.
Mr. Donnellan: All trees of firewood quality in Moore Park have been felled and disposed of.
Mr. Keane: Is the Parliamentary Secretary prepared to substantiate that statement?
Mr. Donnellan: That is the information I have got.
Mr. Keane: My information is entirely different. However, I dare say the Parliamentary Secretary will make the necessary inquiries?
Mr. Donnellan: I will be very grateful to the Deputy for any information he may be able to give me which is different from what I have got here.
Mr. Larkin: asked the Minister for Justice if he will state whether or not letters written immediately before their death by persons executed during recent years were withheld by his Department and, if so, whether he will consider making such letters available on application by the addressees.
Minister for Justice (General MacEoin): The answer to both parts of the question is in the affirmative.
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state whether it is proposed to place before the Dáil the text of the agreements and resolutions adopted at the Second Assembly of, the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Morrissey): I do not propose to lay formally before the Dáil the texts of the resolutions adopted at the Second Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Copies of these resolutions will be made available in the Library for the information of Deputies.
No agreement was adopted at the assembly, but a convention was drawn up relating to the international recognition of rights in aircraft and this convention has been opened for signature. It has not yet been decided whether this country will be a party to the convention, but if it is so decided the convention will come before the Dáil in due course.
Mr. Dunne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will introduce proposals for legislation for the purpose of having the Conditions of Employment Acts made applicable to workers in the tomato growing industry.
Mr. Morrissey: It is not my intention to promote legislation of the kind referred to, as this would raise the question of the whole position of agriculture workers as distinct from industrial workers under the Acts.
Mr. Dunne: Arising out of the Minister's reply, is the Minister aware that the workers in this industry are subjected to conditions entirely different and distinct from the conditions obtaining in agriculture generally? Is he further aware that the profits that are made from this industry exceed the profits that can be made presently from agriculture? In view of these two facts will he investigate the matter further?
Mr. Morrissey: If the Deputy has any additional information to put before me I will certainly be prepared to consider it.
Mr. Childers: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he has examined the correspondence between the association representing the interests of farmers whose lands are constantly flooded between Athlone and Banagher during August, and the Electricity Supply Board; whether he is aware that court proceedings have taken place to test the responsibility of the Electricity Supply Board for such flooding; whether he will take steps either to relieve doubts in the minds of the parties concerned or to provide State compensation or to direct the Shannon river authority to take some remedial action, or to deepen the Shannon channel from Athlone to Banagher at the earliest possible moment.
Mr. Morrissey: I have not examined the correspondence between the association and the Electricity Supply Board to which the Deputy refers, but my attention has been drawn to the correspondence about flooding on the Shannon between Athlone and Banagher which passed between the Deputy, the board and the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the years 1946-1947. I am aware that a claim for damages against the Electricity Supply Board in respect of the flooding was decided by the courts in favour of the board. I do not propose to act on any of the suggestions made by the Deputy in his question and would refer him to the relevant paragraphs  in the Report of the Drainage Commission, 1938-1940.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Arising out of the Minister's reply, is the Minister aware that this matter has been taken up with the Commissioners of Public Works by a deputation on which Deputy McQuillan and I were members? Has he any information as to what the policy is of the Commissioners of Public Works and the Electricity Supply Board?
Mr. Morrissey: I have no information about any representations which have been made to the Office of Public Works.
Mr. Keyes: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if his attention has been directed to the report of a recent prosecution at Sligo involving a driver of a public service vehicle the property of Córas Iompair Eireann who was alleged to have been guilty of negligence in the management of the vehicle; whether he is aware that it was proven in court that the man concerned was on duty from 7.30 p.m. until 5.30 a.m. with a break of an hour during the night for the purpose of taking a meal; and whether in the circumstances he will have an investigation held into the conditions of service of such employees and make a statement on the matter in view of public anxiety about it.
Mr. Morrissey: Limitations on periods of continuous driving are contained in Section 169 of the Road Traffic Act, 1933. On the facts that have been reported to me, there does not appear to have been a breach of these provisions in the case to which the Deputy refers.
Section 169 of the Act provides machinery whereby any person representative of employers concerned, or employees similarly affected, may apply to the Minister for Industry and Commerce for an Order varying any prescribed period of continuous driving. In reaching a decision on any such application the Minister has the benefit  of the advice of the Road Traffic Advisory Board, which include representatives of employers and employees engaged in both public and private transport.
Mr. P.J. Burke: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that a firm of glove manufacturers in Dublin have laid off 30 of their staff due to the import of foreign-made gloves and, if so, whether he will prohibit the import of foreign gloves so as to protect the interests of all those engaged in this industry.
Mr. Morrissey: I am not aware that any firm of glove manufacturers in Dublin have laid off staff due to the import of foreign made gloves. From 1942 up to 1946 there was a customs duty on gloves of all kinds of 37½ per cent. ad valorem, with a preferential rate of 25 per cent. In December, 1946, the customs duty was suspended on all gloves except fur gloves. The customs duty on leather and skin gloves was reimposed on 1st October, 1947, and on other gloves on 22nd January, 1948. The customs duty on fur gloves, which was never suspended, was doubled in the Supplementary Budget of 1947. The present position is, therefore, that there is a customs duty of 75 per cent. ad valorem on gloves made wholly or mainly of fur, and 37½ per cent. on gloves made of other materials, with preferential rates of 50 per cent. and 25 per cent., respectively, in favour of gloves imported from Great Britain and Canada. I consider that these rates of protection should be adequate to enable Irish glove manufacturers to compete successfully with imported gloves.
Mr. P.J. Burke: Is the Minister aware that 30 men have been laid off in this factory? Would the Minister state whether he is in a position to give any further protection, other than what he has stated, in order to ensure that these people will be kept in employment?
Mr. Morrissey: I am not aware that 30 men have been laid off in this factory. I have not been so informed by  the factory, by any of the employees in it, or by the unions concerned.
Mr. P.J. Burke: That is my information.
Mr. P. O'Reilly: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will consider restoring the original 1914 base for the cost-of-living index figure and also for the agricultural price index, in view of the grave difficulty of getting a later period which would give an equitable base for both.
Mr. Morrissey: The year 1914 is too remote a base period for index numbers. The question of a suitable base period for the cost-of-living index is under consideration. The base period for the agricultural price index number, namely September, 1938—August, 1939, is considered the most suitable as occurring just before the war at a time when prices were fairly stable.
The approximate effect of transferring the base to 1914 can easily be computed from the published figures.
Mr. P. O'Reilly: Would I be correct in saying that on the 1914 basis the cost of living in 1938 would be 173, whereas the agricultural price index at the same period would be 111.8? If that is so, does the Minister consider it would be more equitable to agriculture to take this as a base for the future?
Mr. Morrissey: As I have informed the Deputy, I have under consideration the question of finding an equitable basis and a true basis.
Mr. Cogan: Arising out of the Minister's reply, would the Minister not consider it desirable to base the data for both the cost of living and the agricultural price index on the same year?
Mr. Morrissey: All that will be considered.
Mr. Tully: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that since the 8th May, 1948, there has been a lock-out at Letterkenny hosiery factory, owing to a trade union dispute;  that consequently grave loss is being suffered by the union members; and, if so, whether he will consider intervening with a view to settling the dispute at an early date.
Mr. Morrissey: I am aware of the dispute in question. The matter has been referred to the Labour Court and I do not propose to intervene.
Mr. Dunne: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that considerable hardship is being caused to small traders by the refusal of wholesalers of certain makes of bicycles to supply small shopkeepers who were not in business before 1939; and, if so, whether he will make representations to the firms concerned with the object of securing supplies for such traders and eliminating any tendency towards monopoly.
Mr. Morrissey: Some persons have made complaints to my Department that they have been unable to secure supplies of bicycles from wholesalers, but I have no statutory power which would enable me to intervene effectively in the manner suggested by the Deputy.
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state whether notice of intention by Ceimici Teoranta to manufacture copper sulphate has been issued; whether a report of its manufacture has been submitted to him, and, if so, when a decision is likely to be made; further, if he will make a statement in the matter.
Mr. Morrissey: Pursuant to Section 7 of the Industrial Alcohol (Amendment) Act, 1947, notice of intention to grant a licence to Ceimici Teoranta for the manufacture of copper sulphate has been published. In applying for the licence the company gave certain particulars as to the proposed basis of manufacture. As other Government Departments are concerned, I cannot say when a decision will be taken, nor am I in a position at present to make a statement concerning the matter.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) the name of the person who acted as clerk of works when the hydro at Tramore was being built; (b) what qualifications he had for the post, and (c) whether the position was advertised in the public Press.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) the name of the supplier of the groceries, soaps, etc., to the hydro at Tramore, (b) the value of such goods supplied to date, and (c) whether the traders in Tramore will be given an opportunity of tendering for these supplies.
Mr. Morrissey: I propose, with your permission, a Chinn Comhairle, to take Questions Nos. 36 and 37 together. These questions relate to matters coming within the day-to-day administration of the Irish Tourist Board, and reference to the board is necessary in order to obtain the information sought. If the Deputy will be so good as to repeat his questions in a week's time I hope to be in a position to reply.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state whether an application has been received in his Department for sanction to apply for a licence to sell intoxicating liquor at the hydro, Tramore, and, if so, whether the application has been approved.
Mr. Morrissey: The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The second part of the question does not, therefore, arise.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) the cost to date of erecting and equipping the hydro at Tramore, (b) the number of people at present employed on the staff, (c) the duties performed by each person, (d) the remuneration of each, (e) whether these posts were publicly advertised and, if not, how were the employees recruited, and (f) what qualifications these persons have for their respective offices.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the amount to date expended by the Irish Tourist Board on development at Tramore.
Mr. Morrissey: I propose with your permission, Sir, to take Questions Nos. 39 and 40 together. The total advances made to the Irish Tourist Board for works at Tramore up to date amount to £80,116, of which £24,225 refers to the hydro. These advances were provided for acquisition of properties, legal expenses, the construction of a swimming pool and the erecting and equipping of the hydro. The information sought at (b) to (f) in Question No. 39 is not available in my Department and inquiries are being made from the Irish Tourist Board. If the Deputy repeats his question in a week's time I hope to be in a position to furnish the information.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) the yearly rental paid to the Tourist Board by the owners of (i) Wilf's Amusements and (ii) Barry's Amusements and (b) to whom this rental is paid in the first instance.
Mr. Morrissey: Neither of the parties named has a tenancy of an amusement site from the Irish Tourist Board.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) the cost to date to the Irish Tourist Board of providing a pitch and putt green at Tramore; (b) the revenue obtained, to date, from it; (c) whether that revenue has been paid to the board and, if so, (d) who so collected and paid it.
Mr. Morrissey: A pitch and putt course was provided last year at a cost of £250. A second pitch and putt course is at present under construction. The revenue from the first course amounted in 1947 to £321 3s. 11d. net; no figures for the year 1948 are yet available. The revenue which is collected by Tráigh Mhóir (Tramore Development) Teoranta is paid to the Irish Tourist Board.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) the names of the directors of the Tramore Development Company, registered on 3rd July, 1945; (b) what business relationship exists between this company and the Irish Tourist Board, and (c) whether it is the intention of the board, at any future date, to sell to this company the buildings, etc., which have been provided by the board at Tramore.
Mr. Morrissey: The names of the directors of Tráigh Mhóir (Tramore Development) Teoranta are:—John P. O'Brien, Seamus Ó h-Eochadha, James Alyward, Martin S. Breen, John H. Lodge, Martin Malone, Samuel Morris.
The company was formed to manage the properties owned by the Irish Tourist Board in Tramore and its objects and powers are set out in detail in the memorandum and articles of association. It is the intention of the Irish Tourist Board to dispose of its holdings in Tramore to commercial interests as soon as this can be done on satisfactory terms.
Mr. Timoney: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (a) whether the lands owned by the Irish Tourist Board at Tramore were let for grazing last year, and if so (b) to whom were they let and what rental was received; (c) whether offers were received for this grazing last year from any persons other than the persons who obtained it and, if so (d) what were the amounts offered by those persons; (e) to whom has the grazing been let this year and what rental is being paid for it, and (f) whether this grazing was publicly advertised last year or this year and, if not, what procedure was adopted to secure a tenant for it.
Mr. Morrissey: Portion of the Irish Tourist Board's property at Tramore was let for grazing in 1947 to Mr. Lodge, one of the directors of Tráigh Mhóir, Teoranta, at a nominal rent, subject to his undertaking responsibility for fencing. The grazing for 1947 was not advertised and offers were not sought from other persons as the Irish Tourist Board have informed me that they were satisfied that no other person would take the lands on the  conditions as to fencing. The grazing for 1948 was advertised and let for May and June, 1948, to a Mr. Quinlan for £65. No arrangement has yet been made for the month of July.
Mr. Dunne: asked the Minister for Local Government if he has received complaints concerning the manner in which appointments are made to positions as clerical officers and staff officers in the service of the Dublin County Council, and, if so, whether in view of the uneasiness which exists among clerical employees of the council in relation to recent appointments, he will state what considerations resulted in the filling of such posts by employees with much less service than that of other applicants.
Minister for Local Government (Mr. Murphy): I did receive a complaint in regard to the appointments made to the post of staff officer, but no formal appeal has been made to me by any aggrieved officer.
From inquiries made I understand that the appointments made to the permanent posts of clerical officer and to the posts of staff officer were made by the county commissioner on the recommendation of a selection board.
Mr. Dunne: In view of the fact that dissatisfaction exists amongst the employees of the county council, because it is evident that some of these appointments were made without reference to the service of the officers concerned, will the Minister inquire into this matter in greater detail?
Mr. Murphy: I have no objection to making further inquiries on the lines suggested by the Deputy, but I think he will appreciate my limitations in this matter and the very limited functions I have, having regard to the manner in which the appointments were made. However, I shall have any inquiries that may be necessary, along the lines suggested, made.
Captain Cowan: May I ask if the Minister has received an application to see a deputation representing the officials; and, if so, will he meet the deputation?
Mr. Murphy: I have received representations suggesting that I should meet a deputation. So far as I know, no particular business was suggested at that meeting. I think, in any event, that that is a matter that will have to be otherwise dealt with, in the first instance, though it may be necessary to meet the deputation on a particular matter at a later stage. I have no objection to that. I have made certain communications to the persons from whom I received the request and suggested the course of action they may take. I shall probably hear from them further on the matter.
Mr. Dunne: Will the Minister give us a description of the selection board and will he inform the House by whom the board was appointed?
Mr. Murphy: If there is no objection, I am prepared to do so. The particulars involve the names of certain very responsible people. If the Ceann Comhairle permits me, I shall give the information.
An Ceann Comhairle: I shall have to leave that to the discretion of the Minister.
Mr. Murphy: I am prepared to give it publicly in the House or communicate it privately to the Deputy. If he asks for those names in the House, the particulars are as follows——
An Ceann Comhairle: Better give them privately.
Mr. MacEntee: No, Sir; there is a little bit more than that in it. The suggestion underlying this matter is that the commissioner has acted improperly. For the commissioner's protection, the names of the selection board ought to be given.
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Minister so desires.
Mr. Lemass: Has it ever been done before?
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not know the nature of this selection board, but the commissioner might be reluctant to give names. Was this board set up by the commissioner?
Mr. MacEntee: Yes, by the commissioner.
Mr. Murphy: The matter arose from a large-scale reorganisation of the clerical staff of the Dublin County Council, which reorganisation was approved by the Department in September, 1947. Following this a board consisting of Mr. Moylan, former Assistant Secretary of the Local Government Department, Mr. Kavanagh, Deputy City Treasurer, Dublin Corporation, and Mr. O'Keeffe, Secretary of the Dublin County Council, interviewed (a) the temporary clerks then in the employment of the council who sought permanent employment; and (b) the permanent clerical officers of the county council who sought promotion to three vacant posts of staff officers. As a result five temporary clerks were given permanent appointments. The remaining clerical officer vacancy is being filled by local competition and the vacancies of staff officers were filled by the appointment of the first three or four persons declared by the interview board to be qualified.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: asked the Minister for Local Government if he is in a position to state when the proposal for the erection of a number of cottages at Clonbullogue, Offaly, will be carried out and what stage has now been reached in relation to this proposal.
Mr. Murphy: A site at Clonbullogue to accommodate 12 cottages is included in the Offaly County Health District Labourers Order, 1947, which is at present before the Department for confirmation. It is expected that a decision on the county council's proposals for the compulsory acquisition of sites will be conveyed to the council in the very near future. I am not yet in a position to state precisely when the scheme for the erection of a number of cottages at Clonbullogue, Offaly, will be carried out.
Mr. Palmer: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware of the necessity for the immediate erection of not less than 40 cottages in Caherciveen and, if so, whether he will state (a) if sanction has been granted for their erection; (b) whether the sites  have been selected and purchased by the local authority and (c) when the work of building is likely to begin.
Mr. Murphy: Housing needs in Caherciveen have been estimated at 39 cottages and a scheme is in preparation for the provision of 34 of these. This scheme has not yet been submitted for my approval, but I understand that the housing authority have selected the necessary sites, and in default of agreement with the owners, propose to acquire them by compulsory purchase. In the circumstances, I cannot forecast when building will commence.
Mr. Larkin: asked the Minister for Local Government whether in view of the increasing number and gravity of road accidents in which intoxicating liquor appeared to be a main or contributory factor, he will consider the necessity of introducing proposals for legislation to amend the law so as to ensure that drivers of motor vehicles found guilty of driving whilst under the influence of drink will be subject to more severe penalties, with automatic suspension of their driving licences for defined periods or for life.
Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for Local Government (Mr. Corish): Yes, I am considering proposals on this matter in conjunction with certain projected amendments of the Road Traffic Act, 1933.
Mr. J. Flynn: asked the Minister for Health whether he is aware that tenders have been invited for over two months for the supply of turf to the Mental Hospital, Killarney, but that a contractor has not yet been selected; that in the meantime the contractor of last year is still delivering turf to the hospital at last year's contract price, and, if so, whether he will state (a) the price per ton for turf supplied to the hospital for the past three years, and (b) the reasons for the delay in approving of one of the tenders submitted, which will effect an immediate reduction in the fuel costs of the hospital.
Minister for Health (Dr. Browne): The matters referred to in the question are primarily the responsibility of the county manager. I have, however, made inquiries and I understand that tenders for the supply of turf to the District Mental Hospital, Killarney, were invited in April last and that two contractors have recently been selected one of whom had been supplying turf immediately prior to the invitation of tenders. It is not correct to state that this contractor has been supplying turf since the commencement of the current financial year at last year's contract price. The contract prices for the latter half of 1947 were 47/6 to 49/6 per ton. When supplies were required from the contractor since 1st April, 1948, they have been provided at 32/6 per ton. The current contract prices are 30/- to 32/6 per ton.
The following are the prices per ton of turf delivered to the institution during the past three years:—
|July, 1945||22/9 to 32/6|
|January, 1946||34/- to 37/6|
|June, 1946||32/6 to 33/9|
|January, 1947||40/- to 54/-|
|August, 1947||47/6 to 49/6|
The delay in reaching a definite decision on the tenders submitted was, I understand, due to the necessity of having samples of the turf to be supplied examined by the county engineer. Fifty-one tenders were received and the turf on offer was widely dispersed over the county.
Mr. J. Flynn: Can the Minister inform me as to when these two contracts to which he referred in his reply were entered into?
Dr. Browne: On June 15th last, the county manager considered the engineer's report and accepted the tenders.
Mr. Palmer: asked the Minister for Health if he will state (1) whether a site has been agreed on and purchased for the erection of a district hospital in Caherciveen and, if so (2) when building operations will begin, and (3) how many beds will be provided for in the hospital when completed.
Dr. Browne: (1) It was decided on 28th May, 1936, that, subject to enlargement and certain other conditions, a site at Curranabann would be suitable for the erection of the proposed new district hospital for Caherciveen. The local authority compulsorily acquired this site on the 26th August, 1937; (2) the Commissioner for the Kerry County Council was informed on the 10th April, 1948, that the planning of the hospital should be proceeded with. The local authority has appointed an architect for the planning of the hospital and the Department has approved of his appointment. The local authority has submitted proposals for staffing, which are being examined by the Department's medical advisers. This is a necessary preliminary to the preparation of a schedule of accommodation. When that schedule has been prepared planning will be commenced. Every effort will be made to expedite the preparation of the necessary plans, but it is not possible to indicate at this stage the date when building operations will begin; (3) the number of beds to be provided will be 34, of which seven will be maternity beds.
Mr. Lemass: I beg to give notice of my intention to raise the subject matter of Question No. 3 on the adjournment this evening.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: Ba mhaith liom a chur in iúil duit, a Chinn Comhairle, gur minic a chuireas ceist Phárlaiminte ar Aire den Rialtas nua seo agus gur minic a tugtar freagra uirthi i mBéarla. Tá a fhios agam nach bhfuil aon smacht agat air sin.
An Ceann Comhairle: Níl.
The Taoiseach: The Deputy must know that that is a matter for the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, who arrange about the order of business. It is a question for the Minister whether he will answer in Irish or English. If he puts down a question in Irish addressed to a Minister who does not know Irish it would be simply ridiculous to have the answer in Irish.
Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Is minic a cuirtear ceisteanna i mBéarla ó Theachtaí go bhfuil togha Gaedhilge acu.
Mr. Bartley: Could it not be arranged to have written answers in Irish to suit such questions?
The Taoiseach: There would be no question about that.
Mr. Bartley: Because I got a written answer in English to a question which I addressed to a Minister in Irish.
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take business in the following order: No. 6 and No. 8 (Votes 32 to 43 inclusive), in the order in which they appear on the Order Paper. Public business will not be interrupted at 9 o'clock.
Leave granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to enable reciprocal or other arrangements to be made with other countries in respect of matters relating to National Health Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Insurance and Workmen's Compensation and to provide for other matters connected with the matters aforesaid. (Minister for Social Welfare).
An Ceann Comhairle: When is it proposed to take the Second Stage?
Mr. Norton: This is a short enabling Bill and its primary purpose is to facilitate the making of reciprocal arrangements covering the classes of insurance referred to in the long title. It has become somewhat urgent to effect these reciprocal arrangements as speedily as possible in respect to national health insurance benefit and in respect of maternity benefit. I should be grateful to Deputies if they would agree to set down this Bill for Second Reading to-morrow. I hope to circulate the Bill this afternoon.
Mr. Lemass: There is no objection if it is urgent but we cannot agree to take the Bill until we have seen it.
Mr. Norton: I quite appreciate the Deputy's difficulty and I am fully in the Deputy's hands, but when the Deputy sees the Bill he will see that it is designed to help insured persons who travel from this country to Great Britain and vice versa. My desire is to facilitate these persons as much as possible.
Mr. Lemass: Will the Minister say if the Bill is along the lines that were under discussion previously in the matter of making reciprocal arrangements?
Mr. Norton: The Bill has been drafted only in the last week or so because it was thought previously that there were powers already in existence to effect the reciprocal arrangements. It has now been ascertained that the powers which existed are not sufficiently wide in scope to effect the reciprocity we have in mind. This Bill is designed to give us power to effect reciprocity on a broader scale. I am sure the Deputy will have no difficulty in assenting to its provisions.
Mr. Lemass: It is not a question of assenting to its provisions, it is a question of taking a Bill which has not been circulated yet.
Mr. Norton: I am in the Deputy's hands. I do not want to press that view. I may say that the British National Insurance Bill, now an Act, only enabled the British Government to effect reciprocal arrangements as from the 5th July. This Bill is designed to dovetail into the British Bill, and to ensure that there will be no time-lag which might be injurious to our contributors.
Mr. Lemass: The Minister should have foreseen that before now.
Mr. Norton: It was assumed that the power was there already but the reciprocity which it is now sought to effect is wider in scope than was originally intended.
Second Reading ordered provisionally for to-morrow.
The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance and resumed  consideration of the Estimates for Public Services for the year ending March 31st, 1949.
Mr. Traynor: As the House was adjourning on last Thursday evening, the Minister, in replying to a suggestion which I had thrown out in regard to parking places, stated that that particular question did not come within his Vote. That statement, of course, is technically correct. I am not going to dispute that fact but I do want to point out to the Minister that I made that suggestion and that numerous Deputies in this House made similar suggestions for the specific purpose of strengthening the Minister's hands with regard to this question which is causing a tremendous amount of consideration to those motorists and businessmen who have to take their cars down the city in the course of the day. There is no question of embarrassing the Minister in any respect, and I relate that suggestion to the fact that the Garda Síochána are responsible for the enforcement of the regulations in respect to the parking of motor cars within the restricted areas of the city, and that has become a very difficult question. I know that the enforcement of these regulations against the people they have to enforce them against is distasteful to a number of the Guards. It is impossible for a businessman who is allowed only 20 minutes in which to park his motor car to go into a premises and conduct his business. As everybody in the House who has ever had to undertake business of one kind or another knows, it is impossible to conduct important business in the course of 20 minutes. If the 20 minutes are exceeded, the Guard on duty, unless he is a sympathetic Guard using good commonsense, is more or less compelled to serve a summons on that particular businessman. I suppose there is no more law-abiding section of our community than these individuals, no people with greater respect for the law than these people, and yet, an extraordinary  thing, they find themselves in court much more often than another type of person. Something will have to be done somehow. I have thrown out one suggestion; other Deputies have thrown out other suggestions; some of these suggestions will eventually have to be tackled with a view to bringing about some relief of this particular problem.
That brings me to the question of the temporary withdrawal of the acceptance of recruits to the Garda Síochána. I think that is a false economy and that it is folly to continue that policy at the present time. If it is part of the economy plan which is being adopted by the present Government, then I say it is carrying that policy to a ridiculous length to stop the recruitment, especially in the city, of that particular body. I must confess that I have no knowledge of the strength or weakness of the Garda Síochána in the country, but I do know that here in the city the metropolitan section of the Garda Síochána is regarded as being well under strength and the duties they are compelled to perform cannot be properly undertaken by the present numbers. The situation regarding the observance of the law in the city—while I am not suggesting that it is worse now than at any previous time—has probably deteriorated in proportion to the increase in the population. I cannot say if the metropolitan section of the Garda Síochána has risen in proportion to the rise in the population, but the fact remains that I think the Minister will be reinforced by the opinion of the various Deputies who have expressed their disapproval, in the course of this debate, on the question of the cessation of recruitment. I would strongly plead with the Minister, whatever it may be necessary to do with respect to the rural areas, that certainly as far as the metropolitan area is concerned, recruitment should not only continue but should be intensified until the situation is completely and entirely under control.
That brings me to another matter. A number of Deputies have made reference to the Special Branch of the Garda Síochána and called for its disbandment.  I sincerely hope that the Minister will not listen to that plea. In the course of the debate, Deputy Con Lehane stated:—
“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 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.”
Now that special branch was not the creation of the last Government. It was there when the Fianna Fáil Government came into power and it was accepted as part of the machinery——
General MacEoin: I think the Deputy is not being helpful on that. I suggest that he should not travel that line.
Mr. Traynor: I am merely making a plea to the Minister in respect of an appeal that was made to him by a Deputy of this House, and surely if one section of the House is allowed to make certain statements, another must be allowed, if possible, to controvert these statements, and that is all I am doing. I am asking the Minister not to give ear to these statements. The Minister must know from his own experience, as we know, that it was not the function of that body to exaggerate the differences of opinion that exist among certain sections of the community. That is a most amazing charge coming from the Deputy. To me it appears more amazing still coming from a man of the professional qualifications of that particular Deputy. I certainly say that they should never have been made.
Then the Deputy went on to refer to a promotion that the Minister had apparently approved of. I do not know whether it is necessary for the Minister to approve of a recommendation of the Commissioner. The Deputy went on to say:—
“I think it is a pity that there was  appointed as titular head of the Special Branch of the Garda an official whose activities, as known to a good 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 think it is a pity this appointment was made.”
That, again, is a rather astonishing statement to have been made by a Deputy. The reference to Deputies other than members of the Clann na Poblachta Party might very well apply to me as a member of a Party other than the Clann na Poblachta Party, because in my time I did come under the review of members of that particular branch, very much more so I would say than it applied to Deputy Con Lehane. The only difference between Deputy Con Lehane and myself is that he continues to bear malice to these men and I do not. I must admit that at the time to which I refer they, because of their official standing, did get the better of me. That is no reason, however, why I should continue to hold malice against them.
Mr. C. Lehane: On a point of personal explanation.
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy gives way.
Mr. Traynor: I have no objection.
Mr. C. Lehane: I think Deputy Traynor, when he quotes from the Official Report, should have regard to the fact that everything which I said on the occasion to which he referred was governed by the initial remarks which I made and that I directed the Minister's attention to the fact that I was speaking not with malice, but with a view to the Minister's conduct of the Department of Justice so that unity, peace and order would be preserved here.
Mr. Traynor: I am glad the Deputy reminded me of the fact that he prefaced his opening statement with the remark that he was going to express a point of view not frequently expressed in this House in the past. I  certainly agree that the Deputy's point of view is luckily one which it is doubtful has ever been expressed, much less frequently expressed in this House. He went on to say that he was going to make that statement without bitterness and without recrimination. Surely he cannot suggest that there was no bitterness in a statement which appealed to a Minister to disband, first of all, a very efficient section of a unit of this State. When the Deputy came into this House I presume he came in accepting all the conditions that applied to membership.
Mr. C. Lehane: The Deputy came into this House as an Irish republican and will remain in it as one.
Mr. Traynor: The Deputy was enabled to come into this House as an Irish republican because of the fact that Fianna Fáil made 26 of these counties an Irish Republic.
Mr. C. Lehane: Because of the fact that the people sent me here.
Mr. Traynor: That is how the Deputy was able to come here without any test of any kind.
An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise.
Mr. C. Lehane: Deputy Traynor is trying to impose one.
Mr. Traynor: If the Deputy makes statements in this House that I think it necessary to controvert, I am entitled to controvert these statements that he makes, just as he is entitled to make these statements.
Mr. C. Lehane: Certainly.
Mr. Traynor: In the course of that statement the Deputy made this remark:—
“There are Deputies sitting opposite who know perfectly well the great temptation that there is for some of us with regard to the bitter and tragic things that happened during the past ten years.”
The implication in that statement is that the bitter and tragic things that happened in the past ten years were brought about as a result of the régime of the Fianna Fáil Government.
Mr. C. Lehane: That is what was intended.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Lehane must not interrupt. He must give as good a hearing as he got.
Mr. Boland: He will get plenty.
Mr. Traynor: I want to ask Deputy Lehane was one of the bitter and tragic things that happened in the past ten years the death of a young detective officer who had given service in the Irish Republican Army?
Mr. C. Lehane: I served under him.
Mr. Traynor: He was mowed down by a Thompson gun, his wife left a widow and his children left fatherless. Was that one of the tragic things to which the Deputy referred?
Mr. C. Lehane: That was one of the incidents caused by the policy pursued by that Government.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Lehane must not interrupt.
Mr. Traynor: Was it one of the tragic things that a 1916 veteran, who was captain of a company throughout the Black and Tan war, who was a sergeant in the detective force, and who fought against overwhelming odds, was eventually murdered in the precincts of his own home? Was that one of the bitter and tragic things that the Deputy referred to?
Mr. C. Lehane: It was.
Mr. Traynor: Was the shooting of a young army officer who was called out to lend aid to the police force of this State and left maimed another of the tragic things?
Mr. C. Lehane: Yes.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Traynor is in possession.
Mr. C. Lehane: On a point of order.
An Ceann Comhairle: What is the point of order.
Mr. C. Lehane: I wish to ask the occupant of the Chair if these are to be regarded as rhetorical questions or  will the Chair allow me to reply to them?
An Ceann Comhairle: They are rhetorical questions.
Mr. Traynor: Was the shooting of a detective officer in Cork another of the tragic things? Were the wives who were left widows and the children who were left fatherless not part of that tragic ten years? Was it Fianna Fáil who initiated these shootings?
Mr. C. Lehane: Yes, certainly.
Mr. Traynor: When the Fianna Fáil Government came into office in 1932 its first act was to open the jail gates and to give all these men who had been imprisoned under a former régime their liberty.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: That is deliberately provocative.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is answering statements from the other side of the House.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: With all respect, Sir, he is asking a series of questions, none of which, to my recollection, was raised by the Deputy. This is a deliberately provocative speech.
Mr. Boland: He is refuting the statement that Fianna Fáil was guilty of repressive action against a certain section of the community.
General MacEoin: The Minister for Justice cannot be asked to answer these questions because the events did not happen within the last 12 months and that is the period for which I am responsible. I would appeal to the Deputies on both sides of the House to observe——
Mr. Traynor: I am not asking the Minister to deal with these questions. I am refuting the insinuation that the tragic and bitter happenings of the past ten years were brought about by a Fianna Fáil Government.
Mr. C. Lehane: Which they undoubtedly were.
Mr. Traynor: The Deputy knows in his heart and soul that that is not so.
Mr. C. Lehane: The dead body of Seán McCaughey is proof enough for me.
A Deputy: You should be ashamed to mention his name.
Mr. Traynor: All I want to say to the Minister in respect of the request by these responsible Deputies who asked for the disbandment of that Special Branch is that he should turn a deaf ear to the request. I do not know whether these Deputies were speaking merely as individuals or whether they were speaking as the voice of a certain section of the inter-Party Government but I would ask the Minister not to allow any pressure to be brought to bear on him in respect of the suggestion that that particular branch should be disbanded.
Captain Cowan: Did Deputy Traynor not recruit that branch?
An Ceann Comhairle: I shall give no further warnings to interrupters.
Captain Cowan: I am not interrupting.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is interrupting.
Captain Cowan: Deputy Traynor is making a case in regard to the Special Branch.
An Ceann Comhairle: And he is entitled to do so.
Captain Cowan: But he himself recruited that Special Branch.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a disorderly interruption.
Captain Cowan: It is a fair question, I submit. He is defending his own branch.
Mr. Traynor: I made it clear at the beginning of my speech that that Special Branch existed when the Fianna Fáil Government came into being.
Captain Cowan: It did not.
Mr. Kissane: It did.
Mr. Traynor: I even pointed out that I had come under its survey.
A Deputy: Deputy Cowan never did.
Mr. Traynor: In this particular matter I would ask the Minister to stand firm and to see that the detective officer, referred to as the titular head of that branch, will be retained in his position and in his promotion. There can be no question whatever about the courageous service he gave to the State, which defeated the gentlemen who are now clamouring for his removal. These men have come into this House, having been elected by the people of their various constituencies, to accept all the commitments which representation in this House means. One of the commitments is the acceptance of the machinery of State which exists at the present time. That particular section is part of that machinery.
Mr. Hickey: I hope the Minister will continue the good work he is doing in bringing about peace and understanding among all sections of our people. There is a general feeling of appreciation and satisfaction in regard to what he has done since he came into office. I am not going to refer to the tragic incidents of the immediate or the remote past because I believe that every Deputy in this House and every true Irishman regrets what has been done in that respect. None of those tragic incidents would have taken place, and none of those patriotic self-sacrificing men have lost their lives, if the British Government had not committed the terrible crime of partitioning our country. It is not too much to ask the present British Government to undo that crime now——
An Ceann Comhairle: That is far away from this Estimate, Deputy.
Mr. Hickey: ——and allow the people of Ireland, from Belfast to Cork, to enjoy that harmony which is the right of every Irish man and woman. I would like to say a word about the Garda force. They are a force of which any Irishman should be proud. Their efficiency, integrity and honesty are beyond reproach. I do feel that we have scarcely done justice to these men as far as remuneration and other things are concerned. I know  I am speaking to the Minister as a man who has a deep appreciation of our force, and I would ask him to make some effort to help them in that direction.
Another matter which I should like to bring to his notice is that of the housing of Gardaí throughout the country. I know of cases where these Gardaí, having been transferred to certain areas, have to travel long distances in order to get a house. I would suggest to the Minister that the question of making some provision for housing the Gardaí throughout the country is a matter of which he should take serious notice. I would also suggest that the Gardaí, as I know them, are not sufficiently paid for the onerous work they are doing and for the responsibilities they have day in day out among our people.
There are a few things I would like to mention in connection with our prisons and the places where the youth of our country are detained. That is a matter which the Minister should go into seriously with a view to bringing about a more humane atmosphere in these institutions than exists in them at the present time. I should like him to consider the question of the segregation of certain prisoners who are in for not very serious crimes from those in for more serious crimes. I have heard from men who have visited those prisons where young boys are detained that they were not at all impressed by the way things are being run. I am quite satisfied that I need not stress those points with the present Minister because I have knowledge of his views in this matter.
I consider that some of the fines that are imposed by our District Justices for offences such as selling milk deficient in fats, are not sufficiently severe. There are too many recurrences of those serious offences and fines such as 5s. and 7s. 6d. are not severe enough to stop those people from committing those offences. Finally, I would stress that, as far as our Gardaí forces are concerned, I am inclined to think that these men are entitled to much more consideration  than they are receiving at the present time.
Mr. M. O'Reilly: I should like to point out to the Minister—I am sure he fully appreciates it—that he is in charge of the most important Department we have here. The most important duty the State has is the protection of the individual. I am sure every Deputy in this House agrees that that is so. In view of that fact it is lamentable to find Deputies coming into this House and trying by every means in their power to belittle and weaken the force at the Minister's disposal for the protection of the individual. I thought that when Clann na Poblachta were on the hustings they had commonsense or, at least, a sense of citizenship. At that time they proclaimed on almost all their platforms that they were leaving the past behind them. They come in here to this House and on this Vote— the first opportunity offered to them— they open up again national cankers which would be better left without comment. If that principle is going to be adopted every new Party coming into this House, because possibly Clann na Poblachta themselves have paved the way for another Party, will raise the very same questions ad infinitum.
Captain Cowan: The Deputy should read the debates for 1927 and 1928.
Mr. M. O'Reilly: It is time that we in this House had a little commonsense so far as these matters are concerned. It is our duty to assist the Minister. It is our duty to make the Guards as strong and as powerful as possible for the safety of human life. That is the first duty of every one of us. No good purpose will be served by making irritating statements. I think it is time we dropped that.
I want now to take this opportunity of complimenting the Guards. They are an excellent body of men. Sometimes they work under grave provocation. On many occasions they have worked with great danger to themselves. As a disciplined body I think they can hardly be surpassed. That is all to the good. In a few days' time there will be motions before this House under which we will either beg or  borrow money from other countries. We cannot expect to get that money unless we can show that we have here a certain element of security. It is not the security of machinery, factories, businesses or ships that counts. It is the efficiency of our police force that is the vitally important matter in the long run. That is how the international moneylenders judge the suitability of prospective customers. How can we expect to have a loyal and efficient Garda force if we continue in the irresponsible way in which we have carried on in the past?
I suggest very seriously to the Minister that road traffic has become a most important problem here. That has been adverted to by many Deputies. To those of us who travel by night the most dangerous hazards we meet on the road are lorries with only one light or lorries which, having two lights, can dim neither light. I know that that happens with quite a number of motor cars as well. It makes road travel very, very dangerous and some steps should be taken to ensure that lorries and cars using the road should have the proper equipment. I have noticed, too, that recently there is a continuous passing out around turns. All motorists know that that is exceedingly dangerous. Possibly that does not happen here in the city but it does happen on an extensive scale in the country districts. The only way to combat it is by having a sufficient number of Guards. It is obvious that we cannot control traffic unless we have a bigger police force.
One of my main objections to this Estimate is because of the fact that under it recruiting has been stopped at a time when we actually need more Guards. Without a vastly increased number of Guards it will be impossible to enforce a speed limit. I am not asking for a limitation of speed. I ask that commonsense and courtesy should be used by motorists taking turns. Where commonsense and courtesy are not used some compulsion will have to be introduced. The second grave peril confronting users of the road to-day is that of motorists driving while, as the law puts it, under the influence of drink. I know that such motorists have been severely punished and I hope  that that will continue. I would advocate, too, that every motorist convicted of driving while under the influence of drink should have his licence suspended for all time. That would be one of the best deterrents. We all appreciate that the Guards should be non-political. In dealing with this Estimate for the Department of Justice it is rather a pity that the Guards should have been made so acutely political by the Leader of Clann na Poblachta.
Mr. Roddy: I wish to bring to the notice of the Minister the sorry plight of some of his employees. I refer to the District Court clerks and the clerks in the registrar's offices. These men have responsible positions and they are compelled to keep up a certain appearance of respectability. The labourer can go to work in a pair of dungarees. The men in these offices must wear their collars and ties. The labourer's wage is very often equal to theirs. These men entered these posts full of ambition. They looked forward to setting down some day and making homes for themselves and their families. Many of them now have wives and families. Their financial difficulties are so great that they cannot afford to give to their wives and families the ordinary comforts of life. They would like to give their children the same upbringing and education as they got themselves. Because of their financial limitations they are unable to do so. I would appeal to the Minister to give these men an adequate salary. I know that that may mean additional expense, but those men are as much part of the machinery of the State as is the President, who is drawing £15,000 a year. That is an exorbitant salary. If it were reduced by at least a half——
An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise on this Estimate. The Minister for Justice is not responsible for that.
Mr. Roddy: Half the money spent on his establishment could usefully be employed in giving these men adequate salaries. The difficulties in regard to parking places have been mentioned in this House. The problem of parking is just as acute in the country towns  as it is in the city. I would ask the Minister, when he is considering this problem, to take steps to ensure that parking places will be provided in the country towns.
During the course of this debate great praise has been meted out to the Civic Guards. I know that they deserve it. All that praise was somewhat marred in Sligo town last Sunday owing to the sudden death of one of the Guards there. He was going to the barrack to report for duty when he fell dead.
For the past two years that Guard was in very indifferent health. He was in Dublin for six or eight months because of heart trouble. Someone must have been at fault when a certificate was issued that that man was fit to go on duty again. I was speaking to him after he came back from Dublin and he told me that his heart was in a very poor condition. When they discovered that this man had a weak heart they should not have asked him to continue on duty. Already he had given 23 years' service and he should have been retired on full pension. I hope the Minister will see that such an occurrence will not be possible again, and I hope that this unfortunate man's dependents will get adequate compensation.
Mr. O'Grady: I should like to make a few observations before this debate concludes. I do not want to tax the Minister's patience unduly. The debate has dragged on almost to an alarming extent, despite the appeal made by the Taoiseach at an early stage in it. Unfortunately, that appeal fell on deaf ears so far as some of the Minister's supporters are concerned. One of them treated us to no less than three hours of bilge, three hours of abuse, three hours of mud-slinging.
Mr. Commons: Three hours of the truth.
Mr. O'Grady: It would be much better if the bulk of the Deputy's speech could be left out of the debate.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: Birds of a feather!
Mr. O'Grady: I did not catch what Deputy Commons said.
Mr. Commons: Three hours of the truth.
Mr. O'Grady: We will deal with that subsequently—I ask the Minister to deal with it. I would like to draw attention to the serious position which has been developing in recent times regarding road accidents and to the necessity which exists to try to avoid road casualties such as have been occurring. The great cause of many of these accidents is that many people drive motor cars while under the influence of drink; at all events they have taken more intoxicants than are good for them. In this condition they drive a car on the public road to the danger of other road users—people whose business brings them on the roads, whether as motorists, cyclists, pedestrians or children going to or coming from school.
The Minister must take the steps necessary to prevent road accidents. I know that no matter what he or any other Minister can do; accidents will happen, but he should take every step humanly possible to avoid them. In a case where a man is convicted of driving a motor while under the influence of drink, his licence should be suspended for all time. A few examples of that nature will have a very salutary effect on others who may wish to emulate his example. It should not be merely a question of a fine; there should be penal servitude for every person found guilty of driving while under the influence of drink.
There should also be a speed limit, particularly in towns and cities where every motorist has to be so careful, because there is contributory negligence on the part of cyclists and pedestrians. The campaign which was started by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government in the last administration should be continued. He made a great effort to educate road users and teach them their obligations.
I would also like to see a resumption of recruiting for the Garda Síochána. If the present suspension on recruiting lasts for a number of years, many  of the men serving in the Garda and nearing the termination of their service will not be easily replaced. If it is left until these men have to retire by the thousand on attaining the age limit, the Department will be confronted with a tremendous task to secure fresh recruits. It would be far better to select a few hundred a year and in that way prepare to replace the men who will be due for retirement. The Minister may rest assured that any expense that may be involved will not be begrudged by the taxpayers, because they know it will be to these men they must look for protection for their lives and properties. Recruitment to the Garda should be seriously reconsidered.
As regards Guards on point duty, these men have to stand at busy street corners for four hours and that is too much to ask of any man. I do not know how they have patience, considering all they have to put up with at busy street corners. If it could be arranged that they would have two hours on and two hours off, that would be only fair and just to these men.
There is one matter that I think should be regarded as above Party politics. Allegations were made by one speaker on the Government Benches concerning the judges in our courts. These observations have been carried out over a long period, more by way of insinuation than direct charge. The suggestion is that at least two Ministers of the former Government interfered with judges in the discharge of their duties. Nothing could be more calculated to undermine the State or the confidence of the people in the Government than such allegations made by a responsible Deputy. It may be argued that the Deputy concerned is not responsible, but any person elected by the people to sit here must be regarded as responsible. I submit that allegations of that nature are calculated to undermine the confidence of the people in the administration of justice. Such allegations should not be made, and I hope when the Minister is concluding that he will point out that no person, whether he be the Taoiseach or any other Minister of State, should dare to  interfere with the judges of any of our courts.
General MacEoin: That is right.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair does not allow any allegations to be made against judges.
Mr. O'Grady: I quite agree that the Chair reproved the Deputy, but nevertheless, in an oblique way, the Deputy still continued, despite the reprimand from the Chair, along the same lines. In that way he endeavoured to get home allegations he was making that two Ministers of the previous Government had interfered with these judges. Not merely that but no fewer than four Deputies on the opposite Benches charged the former Minister for Justice with yielding to political influence in transferring a Garda sergeant from County Dublin to somewhere in the West of Ireland, and in eventually locating him in Offaly. These allegations are either founded on fact or are falsehoods. If they are founded on fact, I think some tribunal should be set up to inquire into them. If they are founded on falsehoods, the falsehoods should be withdrawn. It is a bad state of affairs for this country if allegations can be flung against Ministers, present or past. If any Minister is deemed to be guilty of these charges, the necessary machinery is there to have an inquiry into them. It is bad for the country and bad for the interests of the people generally that such charges should be levelled without cause. I would appeal to the Minister when he comes to conclude the debate, to deal with these particular matters.
Mr. Pattison: I agree with the last speaker that some things have been said in the course of this debate that were better left unsaid in the interests of the prestige of the House, and of the State. I think it is to be deplored by everybody that any reflection should be cast on the judiciary because without the judiciary we might as well live in conditions of open anarchy. I want to make a few observations in regard to this Estimate. First of all, I think the time has come when the Minister for Justice should have a complete review of the whole organisation of the  police system here. Much has been said in relation to the City of Dublin and a great deal of what has been said about Dublin applies also to the city from which I come, Kilkenny. We find that the force there is most inadequate and that the personnel are not able to devote much time at all to what might be described as police work proper. Most of the men are engaged on clerical work of some kind or another, keeping records and dealing with applications which should be dealt with by organisations directly under the control of other Ministries. Certain work which really belongs to the Department of Industry and Commerce is handled by the Guards. The same is true also of work connected with the Department of External Affairs and the Department of Social Welfare. I think that work connected with the Department of Justice is the only type of work which the Guards should be called upon to do. I hope it will be possible for the Minister and the Government to review the whole position in regard to the proper functions of the Garda force. Other ways and means should be found to deal with work which comes mainly under the control of other State Departments.
The question of housing for the Garda has been referred to. That is a matter which I also wish to stress, because I find that the corporation in my native city is the only body to which the Garda can look for shelter. When a married Guard arrives in Kilkenny he can find no house to live in and he is obliged to stay in lodgings until such time as the corporation is in a position to provide him with a house. That means, of course, that we are depriving some other family of that house. Most of the houses built by the local authority are intended for the working-class but the corporation also feel that we must have the police force provided for although really it is not their responsibility to provide housing for the Gardai. We are often faced with that embarrassing situation. It is about time, after a quarter of a century's control of our own affairs, that the State should be able to devise some scheme of providing quarters for  married members of the force. In the case of the Army a certain amount of housing accommodation is provided for married soldiers.
With regard to traffic regulations, I think the authorities are giving serious consideration to the matter at the moment. I have not very much to say in that regard so far as Kilkenny is concerned because we recently had a conference with the superintendent and we are satisfied that the scheme which is to come into operation is reasonably satisfactory, having regard, first of all, to the safety of human life and also to the needs of business and other interests in the different parts of the city.
As regards the suspension of recruiting, I think that is a step which will be regretted by everybody. I do not think it is an economy. In fact, it is a slander on our economy proposals to suggest that recruiting should be suspended at the present time. It is admitted, I am sorry to say, that there is a good deal of certain types of crime in the country, housebreaking and offences of that kind. We therefore require additions to our police force to suppress such crimes. The force has now reached an age when many of its members are due to retire on pension year after year. Even in the days when there were no retirements on pension, and the only vacancies were due to gaps caused by death or illness, there was a certain number recruited annually to the force. I think the Minister for Justice should shake up his colleague, the Minister for Finance, on this question. I am not satisfied, nor I think is anybody here satisfied, in regard to the present position. In connection with recruiting, I heard of a case not very long ago of a fine young man who passed all the examinations some time last year and was recently called for medical examination. When he got the result, not only himself, but everybody who knew him, including a couple of members of the medical profession, were surprised. He has been certified as being medically fit by a very eminent member of the profession since but he has no way of appeal. The gentleman in the Depôt who issues a certificate to the Minister seems to be the first and the last court in the  matter. I do not think that anybody could agree with that system. I have the greatest respect for the medical profession but in this case there was a conflict of evidence and I think there should be some way of determining who is right and who is wrong. We have heard a good deal about political victimisation in regard to the last Government and surely here is a case which would give rise to suspicions of that kind. In this case an eminent doctor certified the young man as being in perfect health, but a gentleman up in the Depôt does not certify that, so I think that the Minister should look into that. I do not know any other case of it. I only came across the one. I do not know if other Deputies or the Minister have other complaints in that regard. I would not have made a complaint only that the evidence in the matter is so definite.
With regard to houses for married members of the Guards, I raised the question time and again over a number of years. The problem of houses has been recently discussed on the Estimate for Local Government. Everybody realises how big that problem has been made by the late war, so the Minister for Justice should at long last assume responsibility for dealing with the problem throughout the country.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: I sympathise with the Minister in the impatience he has displayed over the protracted character of this debate. He cannot place the blame for its protracted nature on this side of the House as there has been a good deal of loquaciousness on the benches behind him and particularly from Deputy Flanagan who found his voice again after a silence of a considerable time, I suppose because he was disappointed that nothing came his way in “the sharing of the spoils.”
There has been a good deal of discussion on appointments which came within the purview of the Department of Justice, or their salaries at any rate. The old insinuation of corruption was made against the previous Government. I think one Deputy characterised it as “administrative  corruption.” That is a very dirty word, a very nasty word. Some appointments were made since the present Minister for Justice assumed office. I think a couple of State solicitors and a county registrar were appointed and, I think, a Circuit Court judge.
General MacEoin: The Minister has nothing to do with them.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: Their salaries are carried on this Vote. There is somebody responsible to this House for it anyway.
General MacEoin: All right. I will carry it.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: The Minister, I think, understands what I am getting at. I have not very much blame or very much criticism to offer regarding the appointments he made in themselves. The point I am getting at is something different. It is simply that the system in regard to appointments in operation during the previous Government's régime is being adhered to, and the system that Government took over is being adhered to. The Minister made sure that he got dyed-in-the-wool supporters of his Party but I do not blame him provided he got good men. One of the appointees was a Fine Gael candidate in the last election and in another case one of the appointees was, I understand, a Fine Gael election agent. I do not know that any of the other Parties in the Coalition have shared any of the spoils. I did not hear that they did, but what I do care about is that it is damned hypocrisy to talk of corruption, “administrative corruption”. That is all damned hypocrisy. It is not a bad system and I would be prepared to defend any appointment made by the previous Government. They were not always political supporters of the previous régime either. I can point to a case where a man was taken out of the Opposition Benches here and made a Circuit Court judge. I can point to another case where a member of the Oireachtas, a member of the Fine Gael Party, was given another important appointment by the previous Government. I wonder will the present Government have the same thing to say when they go out of office? Will they  display the same leniency towards their political opponents, as the previous Government did in regard to these appointments? There was one appointment made, however, which I think was a regrettable one. The Minister will know which one I refer to. I do not want to say anything hurtful, but in view of all the mud that has been slung here, I think that one appointment was unsatisfactory from the point of view of the previous record of the person appointed, and I will say no more. The Minister will understand what I mean and other colleagues of his on the Front Bench will understand also.
Captain Cowan: Was the appointment made by the Minister, by the way?
Donnchadh Ó Briain: That is a very slick question. The Minister has to be responsible for it and the Government has to be responsible and take responsibility if anything serious occurs hereafter as a result of it.
There has been a good deal of talk about Garda administration and the old chestnut of interference on the part of Fianna Fáil cumainn with the transfer of Guards, during the administration of the last Government. One would think from all the talk that went on here that the previous Minister for Justice and the Commissioner did not run the Gardaí at all, but the Fianna Fáil organisation. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am for 15 years a Teachta Dála, representing Limerick constituency, and during that time on only one occasion was I approached by a Fianna Fáil cumann in Limerick to approach the Minister for Justice to have a Guard transferred. That cumann came to me with good and sufficient reasons in that case— I remember it distinctly—but the Guard was not transferred. I was approached again and again, however, by Fianna Fáil cumainn or by individual members of cumainn on behalf of Gardaí who were in trouble with the Department or their authorities because of disciplinary charges and things of that nature, and to stop the transfer of Guards who were being  transferred by their superior authorities. That was the only way in which I experienced any intervention on the part of Fianna Fáil cumainn, and I think that would also be true with regard to other Fianna Fáil Deputies. There is no truth whatever in that allegation that has been slung in this House for years and all over the country that there was interference by the Fianna Fáil organisation in the running of the Garda Síochána. We had an admission from the Fine Gael Deputy from West Limerick that in his hurry to interfere in regard to the transfers of the Garda Síochána, he got a Guard into trouble and in danger of being proceeded against in a disciplinary manner because of his policy of interference.
There is one other matter for which the Minister for Justice is responsible and to which I should like to refer, and that is the appointments of peace commissioners. I know the system that operates, but there was a recent appointment made in Newcastle West district, County Limerick, which was a disgrace. A person with a very shady past was appointed a peace commissioner. I think the Minister should look into that again and get all the information that is available locally and undo it if he can do so. After all, peace commissioners should be men of standing, men of responsibility, and men of character in the community. They have very important functions to fulfil nowadays with regard to the filling of forms and the various other duties which they perform for the people. Men of character attached to all political Parties can be got in abundance for these positions.
I should like to add my voice to the appeal made on behalf of the District Court clerks. Their case has been put forward for a number of years past, particularly since the emergency. As the position stands at present, they have nothing to look forward to in the future. Their occupation is a blindalley one. They are growing older in the service and I should like to see their position made more secure. The previous Minister did something to improve their condition and I understand that last year he had some other  ameliorative measures under consideration for the benefit of these District Court clerks. I should, therefore, like to add my voice to the appeal made by several Deputies on behalf of this deserving section of the public service.
Do labhair an Teachta Pádraig Ó Cuinneáin—is oth liom nach bhfuil sé anseo anois—i dtaobh ceapacháin áirithe a rinneadh le déanaí i dTiobraid Árann agus ghearán sé nach raibh Gaeilge ar bith ag aoinne díobh siúd a ceapadh. Ní foláir nó is fear anashimplí an Teachta Ó Cuinneáin má mheasann sé gur féidir “Aon mhaith do theacht as Israel”. Más dóigh leis go dtabharfaidh an Rialtas seo aon áird ar an nGaeilge maidir le líonadh post den tsórd so, tá breall air. Ní thabharfaidh an Rialtas so aon áird ar Ghaeilgeoirí.
C. Ó Liatháin: Tabharfaidh, agus i bhfad níos mó ná mar a thug Fianna Fáil.
D. Ó Briain: Más mar sin atá, is ait an tslí ina bhfuiltear á theaspáint. Cad tá le rá ag an Teachta Ó Liatháin i dtaobh an Rialtas a bheith ag cur deireadh le hobair an Choimisiúin Logainmneacha? Cad tá le rá aige i dtaobh an tslí ina mbíonn ceisteanna i nGaeilge anseo sa Dáil dá bhfreagairt i mBéarla?
C. Ó Liatháin: Níl leigheas air sin.
D. Ó Briain: Sin leathscéal deas! Tá leigheas ar gach rud, má tá fonn ar dhaoine an leigheas d'fháil. Níl an toil ann chuige. Sin mar atá an scéal.
C. Ó Liatháin: Ní dhéanfaimid aon ní a chuirfeadh Fianna Fáil ar ais.
D. Ó Briain: Tiocfaidh Fianna Fáil ar ais in am tráth agus ní bheidh tásc ná tuairisc ar an Teachta Conchubhar Ó Liatháin.
Bhíos ag tagairt don chainnt a rinne an Teachta Ó Cuinneáin. Má fhéachann sé siar thar dhromcladh na mblian, faid a bhí Fianna Fáil mar Rialtas, gheobhaidh sé amach gur líonadh cuid mhór phost den tsórt atá i gceist aige. Geobhaidh sé amach freisin gur Gaeilgeoir a toghadh gach aon uair a raibh  Gaeilgeoir oiriúnach le fáil do gaci sórt poist.
Bhí an ceart ar fad ag an Teachta Ó Cuinneáin sa mhéid a dúirt sé agus aontaím go láidir leis, ach is eagal liom gur saothar in aisce againn a bheith ag caint.
Captain Giles: I would not have risen were it not for some statements made by Deputies. I join in the tribute paid to the new Minister, because he is the right man in the right place. I should also like to pay a tribute to his predecessor who had a hard and difficult job and did it very well. I was very pleased at the tributes paid to the Guards. For many years I know they got nothing but bricks and bullets for doing their duty. That day has passed and the Guards are now coming into their own. All Parties recognise the usefulness of the Guards. Deputy O'Reilly accused the Clann of attacking the Guards. I am their speeches and they were good and satisfied that the Clann did not attack the Guards. In fact I heard most of their speeches and they were good and satisfactory speeches. Deputy O'Reilly is one of the last men who ought to say anything on this matter. If he brought his mind back to what happened a few years ago in the town of Trim he would keep very quiet. Something happened there which was no credit to him or any of those connected with it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: How far back is that?
Captain Giles: Only last year. At that time a band of drunken hooligans came into Trim from a local colony and created a shindy and started to beat up people there. To their credit, the local people struck back and gave them a trouncing which they will never forget. Deputy O'Reilly tried to interfere on behalf of the men from the colony and he was told by the Trim people to mind his own business. He very quickly took himself away then. Shortly afterwards, the sergeant who was responsible for seeing that peace and order would prevail in Trim got a very quick move. I am satisfied that he got that move because of political influence. I do not think that Deputy O'Reilly  was 100 miles away from that influence. The people of Trim think he had a big hand in it. The Civic Guards are a splendid body of which we are all proud. From 1932 to 1945, however, a great deal of damage was done to the force. A certain type of people called Broy Harriers were brought into it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That has nothing to do with administration.
Captain Giles: Many of these were a public disgrace.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That has nothing to do with administration.
Captain Giles: Some of these men did a great deal of injury to the force. Some of them are still in the Guards.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I cannot allow the Deputy to go beyond one year's administration. The present Minister has no responsibility for that.
Captain Giles: I shall leave it at that. I am satisfied the Civic Guards to-day are not the force they were in the past. In many cases they have got lax, chiefly because of political influence brought to bear all over the country. They cannot do their duty fearlessly and well. They say to themselves: “What is the use? If I do my duty, I will be sent to Hell or to Connaught”. That is what happened to the police force. We have not the efficiency now that we had in the past. I hope the police force will be tightened up, because it needs tightening up. I am sorry to have to say these things, because the majority of the members of the force are a splendid body of men who do their work very well. But we have some men in the force who are no credit to it. In fact, most of the police force say that they would rather these men were not in the force. I know many of these men who are too fond of the publichouses. Plenty of them can be seen staggering back to their barracks. That is a thing that should not happen.
I know that many publichouses throughout the country can remain open all night, while other publichouses in the same town cannot stay  open five minutes after closing time or the owners will be summoned. I should like to know how that happens in certain towns. I believe that will not happen in the future, because the change of Government will bring about a change of conditions and these things will be stopped. I know owners of publichouses who have made thousands of pounds' profit by remaining open after hours. They could keep their houses open all night if they liked. That was a disgrace and I hope it will not happen in the future. I am mentioning the matter to the Minister so that he can get it cleaned up.
The trespass by animals on the roads is a public disgrace. Horses, cattle, goats and asses are allowed to trespass on the roads and I have never heard of any of the owners being summoned. I know that Guards pass these animals on the roads and they never summon the owners. I do not want the Guards to summon the owners, but they should see that the owners take the animals off the roads. That is a duty which the Guards should carry out. With the present motor traffic on the roads, this trespass by animals should not be allowed. On top of that I see endless wagons of gypsies and tramps parked on the public highways. Some of these highways are quite narrow, and these gypsies, with perhaps 15 or 20 horses and donkeys, park there for four, five and even six days at a time. It would take perhaps 20 minutes to get by the string of them with all their horses and donkeys straying on the road and some of them lying asleep on the grassy edges of the road. One has to drive very carefully when one is passing those people and their animals. That state of affairs should not be allowed to continue. Gypsies and tramps should not be allowed to park on the public highways. They should be put into some byway where they will not interfere with the traffic.
I am satisfied that under the School Attendance Act there is a great deal of laxity. There are many cases of children mitching for weeks and, although the cases are reported, nothing seems to be done. The school inspection officer should do his duty conscientiously. At the same time I  may say that I am proud of the Garda force. The majority of the members of it are splendid men of whom we can be proud. I know that they are doing their job well. Now that the force is clear of political entanglements I hope the Minister will give an order to the Gardaí to do their job without fear or favour and, if they do that, they will be respected. The force wants tightening up and the members of it know that well. They will be proud that I brought this matter up in the House to-day because they want to do their duty but they never got a chance.
Mr. McGrath: Some months ago the Cork Harbour Commissioners were informed of the immoral conduct on the Quays of Cork when the shipping returned at the end of the war. The clergy and others approached them and a committee was set up to advise on the matter. The Chief Superintendent of the Gardaí was a member of that committee too. He was very sympathetic and willing to help in every way he could but said that he had not sufficient Gardaí to put them regularly on the quays with a view to putting down this conduct. On the other hand we now find that the recruitment of Gardaí is being stopped. We, in Cork, hoped that with the advent of a lot of young Gardaí over the past few years there would be renewed activity by them in such matters as that which I have mentioned. I add my voice to the appeal made by the other Deputies to the Minister to review the question of recruitment.
Another matter which has been brought to my attention is the fact that Garda barracks are too far away from the new housing schemes that have been built around all the cities. My remarks in this connection would apply to Dublin City as well as to Cork City. There is a necessity for Garda barracks in the areas where those large housing schemes have been built. Like all the other speakers I must say that my experience of the Gardaí is that they have always attended to their duties and been helpful in every way. I do not believe that they were influenced by any political  Party. I think they were far above that. I do not agree with the last speaker when he said that Fianna Fáil had an influence over the Gardaí. They were intelligent men and they carried out their duties efficiently.
Mr. MacEntee: Normally I do not speak on this Vote except when a matter arises in regard to which I think it is necessary in the public interest that those members of this House who feel strongly about certain fundamental principles should indicate precisely where they stand. The Minister for Justice holds perhaps, from the point of view of the ordinary citizen, the most important office in this State—for the first obligation of government is to preserve public order. Unless that be done there could be no security for life or property, no freedom and no safety for the individual. For that reason particular responsibility falls upon the present Minister. Personally, apart altogether from the policy which his Government represents and the Party for which he stands, I am glad that an old comrade has secured public office. That does not make me unmindful of the fact that he owes a particular obligation to this State. He is taking office at a time when respect for life and property is higher and more general than it has been for many years. That is due in no small measure to the courage and public spirit of his predecessor. The Minister has courage, energy and intelligence. He will have to use all those gifts to the full in order to discharge the heavy obligations that lie upon him. He will have to use them to the full in order to ensure that that respect for life and property which was made widespread in this country under the régime of his predecessor remains unimpaired.
I have no doubt that the present Minister will leave nothing undone that he can do to preserve that condition of affairs. No doubt, like his predecessor, he will have to do many things that in charity and in humanity he would wish to avoid. His task will be at all times difficult, and to sustain him he will require the loyal and steadfast support of all sections of this  House. Not least will he require it from all those who claim to be his supporters and upon whom he depends for office. His predecessor was fortunate in that regard. He had the unstinted and unflinching support of every member of his Party. He was strong, as the present Minister will be strong, in having support from other quarters of the House as well. The present Minister is perhaps more fortunate than Deputy Boland was because there will be unanimous support from this side of the House for everything that the Minister does in order to preserve the peaceful condition of this country and to ensure the safety of the State.
Unless the Minister gets that support through thick and thin, particularly from those who sit on the benches behind him or on the benches to his left, it is doubtful whether, with all the desire in the world, he will be able to fulfil the obligations which the law imposes upon him. The Minister for Justice is responsible for the control and administration of those services in connection with law, justice, public order and police, and all powers, duties and functions connected therewith. According to the law these obligations include, in particular, the business, powers, duties and functions of the branches and offices of the public services specified in the second part of the Schedule to the Ministers and Secretaries Act; and the first of these services is that of police. As I was saying, if the Minister does not get the unstinted, unflinching and steadfast support of those upon whose votes he depends in this House for his office, then I fear that he will be unable to do his duty by the people and by the State. Unfortunately for the Minister, unfortunately for the people, and unfortunately for the State, things have been said in the course of this debate by those who spoke for the Clann na Poblachta and Labour Parties which indicate that that support is not likely to be given to him without serious reservations.
Deputy Lehane is, I understand, Deputy-Leader of his Party. In the course of his speech he virtually accused a branch of the Garda  Síochána of provoking crime and, larding his speech with references to “agent provocateur”, he went on to demand that the Minister, when the duties of his office permitted him—
“should set up a small and impartial tribunal, judicial or otherwise, to consider and examine the activities of that police force during the past 15 years.”
The reference is to Dáil Debates, 24th June, 1948, columns 173 and 174. That is a demand which is not calculated to help the Minister in dealing with those elements that still refuse to accept the verdict of the people and the Constitution of this State.
The Minister is well aware of the fact that there has been an attempt made during recent months to recruit for these organisations, organisations which a previous Government had to ban as illegal and unlawful. Deputy Cowan, speaking prior to Deputy Lehane, demanded that the Minister should make a special Order whereby, when public demonstrations in support of these illegal organisations are being held, demonstrations at which appeals are made for recruits to these organisations, the Special Branch of the Garda Síochána should not be permitted to go near the place where these demonstrations are being held.
Captain Cowan: I would appeal to the Chair that, if I am being quoted in this House, I must be quoted correctly.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: And fully.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: As far as I understand the Deputy is making a paraphrase. He is not presuming to quote.
Captain Cowan: I have no objection so long as he quotes me correctly.
Mr. Commons: It is the report of the Irish Press.
Mr. MacEntee: I do not know what Deputy Cowan has in mind when he makes that demand.
Mr. C. Lehane: What demand? Quote the Deputy.
Mr. MacEntee: “I would say to the Minister that he should make a special Order that when these national commemorations”—that is what the Deputy described them as, but every person knows under whose auspices these national commemorations are being held. We all had the opportunity of reading recently in the newspapers the report of a speech which was delivered at one of these national commemorations.
Mr. C. Lehane: I am very glad to learn that Deputy MacEntee stigmatises national commemorations as illegal commemorations.
Mr. MacEntee: I know that for a number of years anniversaries, in which all Irish people take high pride, have been utilised by an organisation which was acting as the enemy of this State for a considerable number of years past and which was engaged in activities subversive to the State, as a cloak to enable these people to make a public appeal for recruits for its ranks.
Captain Cowan: Hamar Greenwood used to say that.
Mr. C. Lehane: He was only trotting after Deputy MacEntee.
Mr. B. Brady: Anyhow that organisation has repudiated you people.
Mr. Commons: They had good reason to repudiate you.
Mr. MacEntee: We all know that these occasions are made use of by the people whom I have in mind, and about whom Deputy Cowan and Deputy Lehane appear to be so tenderly concerned, in order to recruit young men and boys into organisations which have been declared by successive Governments of this State to be unlawful and illegal organisations. They are organisations which we, as members of a former Government know, were at one time actively engaged in plotting to bring about an invasion of this country.
Mr. C. Lehane: That is not so.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy presumably speaks with the authority of  one who was within the councils of these organisations.
Mr. C. Lehane: The Deputy knows that is not so. Dr. Ryan and Stephen Hayes probably know more about it.
Mr. MacEntee: Unless Deputy Lehane is in a position to disclose to the House the fact that he is in the confidence of these organisations, or unless he is in a position to assure the House that he knows no less about their activities than those of us who were members here during that critical period, then I suggest that his word in regard to these matters carries no weight.
Mr. C. Lehane: Deputy MacEntee's view on the Republic does not matter.
Mr. MacEntee: It matters a good deal more than the view of Deputy Lehane, who can no longer call himself a Republican.
Captain Cowan: Deputy Lehane did not desert his post during the fight against the British, anyway.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Let us keep to the debate. Deputy MacEntee is in possession.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: He did not hide in a convent.
Mr. MacEntee: I never hid in a convent in my life. You were not even in your cradle at the time so keep quiet. I know the purpose of these interruptions. It is somewhat unpleasant for Deputy Cowan and others to listen to what they said in this debate. I am not worried about what was said except for the effect which these statements may have upon members of the Garda Síochána, and upon members of these organisations whose activities it is the duty of the members of the Garda Síochána to supervise, and for the difficulties which they may create for the latter and for the Minister himself, whom these Deputies purport to support, in discharging the obligations of his office. It is about these things that I am concerned.
I was saying that Deputy Cowan had gone so far as to request; we know the request—an ultimatum with a veneer  on it. Deputy Cowan had gone so far as to request that the Special Branch should not be permitted to go near the place at which these so-called commemoration ceremonies are being held. Deputy Lehane, following suit, went even further. I will say this for Deputy Cowan: he did not at all suggest that the members of the Special Branch of the Garda Síochána were acting as agent provocateur, or that they were endeavouring to create crime, or manufacture crime, as Deputy Lehane suggested, to justify themselves in their jobs. He did not make an attack upon the officer upon whom has been placed an onerous and dangerous responsibility as head of the Special Branch of the Garda Síochána. That was left to the deputy leader of his Party, who had as an ally Deputy Dunne, who suggested that it is time this force should no longer be maintained. He was modest, but still there they were, the great triumvirate, hunting together, and not for the first time, trying to induce or persuade or coerce the Minister to disband a branch of the Garda Síochána which deserves well of the people of the country.
Captain Cowan: I must remind the Deputy of 1932.
Mr. MacEntee: The circumstances that exist in 1948 and those which existed in 1932 are very different, and that difference is due entirely to the leadership given to the Irish people by the Deputy who was then Taoiseach.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: This is totally irrelevant.
Mr. MacEntee: I know it is, but Deputy Cowan has endeavoured to make a parallel between the circumstances which existed in 1932 and the circumstances which exist to-day. The Deputy is sitting in this House now, but he had not to subscribe to any test when he came into it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy ought to come back to the Estimate.
Mr. MacEntee: He came here under a Constitution that cannot be challenged  in any court except the Supreme Court of this land. The Deputy is doing that because of what was done by the Deputies who sit on these benches in order to rectify the Constitutional position. I am sorry that I allowed myself to be led into a digression, but it is necessary that we should make it quite clear in the mind of Deputies here, and of people outside this House who might be misled by such interjections as that for which Deputy Cowan has been responsible, that there is a very great difference, a vast gulf, between the Constitutional position to-day and the Constitutional position of 1932.
Captain Cowan: The subject of the adjournment debate to-night shows where we are Constitutionally.
Mr. MacEntee: Deputy Lehane suggested that the activities of the Special Branch of the Garda Síochána would justify the Minister in setting up a special tribunal, judicial or otherwise, he said. What sort of tribunal it would be if it was not to be judicial, or a tribunal which could approach a question with judicial impartiality, I do not know. Perhaps it might be that sort of tribunal which exists in other countries towards which some Deputies are popularly believed to have certain hankerings, and for whose systems they are supposed to cherish a special affection. The tribunals in those countries, when they are set up, do not consider the question presented to them in a manner which is judicial.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: We are not concerned with what sort of tribunal is set up in other States.
Captain Cowan: The Minister could use the military court.
Mr. MacEntee: I know we are not concerned with tribunals set up in other countries, but the Deputy advocated the setting up of a tribunal here, judicial or otherwise.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Is it necessary to tell the House about the tribunals that are set up in other countries in order to illustrate the Deputy's argument?
Mr. MacEntee: No, I do not propose to do that, but I suggest there might be one country——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: This State is the only State to which the Deputy must refer when he is speaking about setting up tribunals.
Mr. MacEntee: Deputy Lehane said we should set up an impartial tribunal, judicial or otherwise, to consider and examine the activities of what he describes as “that political police force” during the past 15 years. Deputy Lehane is a lawyer and I suppose he must have read the Garda Síochána Act. He knows that this House, when it passed that Act, took pains to ensure that the police force would not be a political force, and that the control and administration of the police is vested, not in the Minister, but in the commissioner. The commissioner is responsible to the Minister for the efficiency, the organisation and the good conduct of the police force, but, as has been testified here time and time again during the debate, the Minister has no power over any single element in that force.
I can say that, during the period when we were in office, every promotion to commissioned rank in that force, while it was made by the Government, was made in full accord with the recommendation of the commissioner, and the commissioner, in making his recommendation, was guided by a promotion board which sat to consider the qualifications of candidates for promotion. The commissioner invariably, as far as I know, accepted the recommendations of that promotion board, and the Government invariably accepted the recommendation of the commissioner, unless—and I do not recollect a single case——
Captain Cowan: You dismissed the commissioner.
Mr. MacEntee: Precisely; when we were satisfied that a change was necessary we did, because that is where a duty and an obligation lie on the Government. If the Government of the day is not satisfied with the condition  of the police force under the control of the then commissioner; if it is not satisfied that the force is impartial, that it is efficient and well disciplined, then it is the solemn duty of the Government to make such change in the commissionership as will ensure that these deficiencies in the Garda Síochána will be rectified. Whenever over the 15 or 16 years we were in office, we had to make changes, the people whom we selected were people who could not be accused of having any Party affiliation with us.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: How does this arise?
Mr. MacEntee: It has been suggested that by changing the commissioner the Government could exercise political influence over the force. That statement is not well-founded and there is no justification——
General MacEoin: There was no commissioner changed in the last 12 months. It is true that you sacked two, but I am not responsible for that.
Mr. MacEntee: Precisely.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: In the administration during the last 12 months no commissioner has been sacked.
Mr. MacEntee: All I can say is that if there is any content in the interjection for which Deputy Cowan is responsible, it is to suggest that the present commissioner is a person who is politically biased.
Captain Cowan: That is what they call MacEntee logic.
Mr. MacEntee: That is the implication which is carried by the interruption for which the Deputy was responsible.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I should like to point out that every interruption of Deputy Cowan is not in order. As a matter of fact, every interruption is disorderly.
Mr. MacEntee: I agree, Sir, except that it did raise an issue which I think it is necessary to clarify—that is to make it quite clear that as far as the  Legislature could secure it, ours is not a political police force.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The administration of the Minister for the last 12 months—that is the only thing that it is necessary to clarify.
Mr. MacEntee: I think that in a debate of this sort, if I might respectfully say so, touching the Department of Justice, it is important that the public should not be left——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Everything that is important is not relevant. The Deputy should remember that. There are many things of importance that are not relevant to this debate. The Deputy must confine himself to the administration of the Department for the last 12 months.
Mr. MacEntee: A little more than that, I respectfully suggest. Are Deputies not entitled to answer criticism?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If the Deputy were to answer all the interruptions the debate on this Estimate would never conclude.
Mr. MacEntee: I am not dealing with interruptions. I am dealing with the statement made by Deputy Lehane that the Minister had set up a political police force——
General MacEoin: May I suggest that the Minister in introducing this Vote made a certain statement in regard to policy for the future and policy within the last financial year? I suggest that an experienced Deputy like Deputy MacEntee should address himself to that.
Mr. MacEntee: What we are concerned about, and the Minister knows it, is that, not merely is the policy of the Minister——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is no reference to policy in this Vote.
Mr. MacEntee: Very well, then, it must be on the question of administration. Is the police force, under the present Minister and his predecessor, part of whose administration is covered  by the Vote of last year, a political Party police force? That is the issue which has been raised by Deputy Lehane.
Mr. C. Lehane: It was never suggested.
Mr. MacEntee: Of course. Deputy Lehane's words are as light as air and have as little substance.
Mr. Lehane: The reference was to the special section set up by the Deputy's colleague.
Mr. MacEntee: In view of that, am I not in order in dealing with the special section which Deputy Lehane calls a special Party police force? Why does he say that? Why have Deputy Lehane, Deputy Cowan and, to a much lesser extent, Deputy Dunne, chosen to attack the Special Branch in this way? Have they done it to undermine the confidence of the people in the bona fides of the force? Why do they want to do that? I cannot, of course, do more than surmise what is in their minds.
Deputy Cowan's speech, however, was in that regard rather illuminating. He said that not merely last year but over a period of years there was a serious conflict between the citizens and that branch of the Gardaí. I am not aware that there was any conflict between the general body of citizens and the Special Branch of the Garda Síochána. On the contrary, I think that so far as the general body of the citizens were concerned, they held the Special Branch in high admiration and esteem —admiration for their courage and esteem for the men who were as zealous to the public service as the members of this branch had shown themselves to be in trying and difficult circumstances.
When these members of the Special Branch were maligned and vilified, the general body of the citizens condemned those who were responsible for the slanders on them and commended the members of the Special Branch for the way in which, regardless of any personal feelings, they acted with impartiality, and with a strict sense of justice towards all men. Not only however are Deputy Lehane and those who have  been associated with him concerned to undermine the confidence of the people in the integrity of the special branch but Deputy Lehane went further and, in order to undermine the discipline of the police, commented on the activities of one of the officers who had been promoted to the onerous and highly critical position of superintendent in charge of the special branch. I want to refer the Deputy to column 173 in which he is reported in these terms:
“I think it is a pity that there was appointed as titular head of the special branch of the Gardaí an officer whose activities, as known to quite a number of Deputies in this House, were calculated to provoke disorder rather than preserve peace. I say it is a pity that this appointment was made.”
I would ask any responsible Deputy or any responsible citizen in this country to consider that statement and to ask themselves how it is going to react upon the discipline of the members of that special branch? How it is going to react upon the facility with which the superintendent of the special branch is going to be able to discharge his duties? Is it not quite clear that if there happen to be insubordinate and unruly members in that force as there may be—I do not know—they can look over the head of their superior, whose invidious duty it may sometimes be to enforce discipline and maintain order, to Deputy Lehane, who is here in Dáil Éireann, and on whose vote the Minister for Justice depends if he is to retain office? They can say: “If my superior officer, if the superintendent in charge of my branch, reports me for any type of infraction or breach of the regulations, if he intends to punish me for them, I can go over his head, because Deputy Lehane is sitting here in Dáil Éireann, and one or two or three or four Deputies who are all vital elements in the majority that maintains the Government, can make representations to the Minister on my behalf.” If there is any element in the special branch, any single member of the branch, who is likely to be disloyal, who is mercenary, who is capable of being bought, will he, if he is guilty  of any active disloyalty, any act of treachery to his comrades— as, remember, during the period of the emergency one or two were— will he say that he has some devil's advocate here to whom he can turn, who will be prepared to come up here and say that the superintendent who is responsible for ensuring that such a man will not remain in the special branch is a person whose activities “were calculated to provoke disorder rather than to preserve the peace.”
Sir, the officer who is being attacked in those terms is an officer who deserves well of the people of this State.
Captain Cowan: Since when?
Mr. MacEntee: He is a man with as good an I.R.A. record as any one, in the times when the I.R.A. was a name to be proud of, before it was used as a cloak to cover a multitude of crimes. He was not a political supporter of ours, as far as I know, at any time. He is a man who was loyal to this State and to the Government of this State, a man who was prepared to serve it to the utmost extent of his ability without any regard for himself, for his safety or for the safety of his family. He is a man to whom this country owes a great deal. He and those who were associated with him in the special branch, at a time when many people here would have invited many strange guests to our shores, when there was plot and counter-plot going on here——
An Ceann Comhairle: This is leading to——
Mr. MacEntee: Sir, I am entitled to deal with this matter since the person to whom I refer is being attacked. This man who has been attacked by Deputy Lehane in the terms I have recited, is a man who, with his colleagues, prevented these plots from coming to fruition. If we came safely through the war, if the dangers were much less than, in fact, they might have been, if we were preserved from many of the horrors of war, we owe it in no small measure to the services given by “the present titular head” as Deputy Lehane describes him, of the special branch and to those other officers and men associated with him  in that particular branch of the Guards.
Captain Cowan: And to the cordial relations between Fianna Fáil and the British Government.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy must be heard without interruption.
Mr. MacEntee: That, Sir, should be known to every man, woman and child in this country, because they owe a great debt to these men, a debt which I hope we shall never forget. If their character or integrity is called into question without reasonable cause— and there is no cause that I know of —one of us should at least stand up and testify on their behalf.
It has been urged by three Deputies, Deputy Lehane, Deputy Cowan and Deputy Dunne, that the special branch should be disbanded. I think that would be a great mistake. The need for a special branch is greater in my view than ever. The Minister must know that, as any person who has had intimate contact with what is going on in this country and going on in the world outside must know it, there is a world-wide organisation infiltrating into every State, infiltrating agents who come in many guises, sometimes posing as extreme patriots, sometimes as advanced humanitarians, lovers of their country, friends of the workers, champions of the poor. That is what they hold themselves out to be, while all the time they are acting here on behalf of a power which hopes to encompass the world in its influence, of a power which is operating through what some people describe as a new religion. It has its agents in every country and it has them here no less than elsewhere, and in many guises.
It is the special responsibility of the Minister for Justice to be responsible for public order. We have operating in this State an organisation existing under many forms, an organisation open and secret. As an open organisation it exists under all sorts of harmless aliases. It may appear at one time as a social club; at another time  it may appear as an advanced workers' organisation; at another time as an organisation operating for the advancement of a particular form of culture, but the agents are all associated with each other. They are all linked up with each other in a very peculiar way, in a way which will be familiar to those who have been members of a revolutionary organisation. They do not all know each other. It is only the chosen few at the top who have a fairly full knowledge of who, in fact, are in the organisation and who are not in the organisation. The organisation contains many people who pretend and purport in public not to be in it, who purport to be opposed to it. Their general technique is that of infiltration. They start by bringing people in on the outskirts, but they permeate these societies and send their agents in. That technique is being pursued in this country and I say that the Minister cannot deny that. Those who have studied the matter are as positive of it as I am in making the assertion that I am making. It is well known; ecclesiastics have spoken about it and others have spoken about it.
It is all very well for Deputies in the House to jibe and jeer, but we have the experience of other countries to guide us, even if we had not the knowledge which, in fact, we have. We know what was exposed in Canada by a judicial investigation and what was exposed elsewhere. We know that on the other side of the water, even a Labour Government have had to take special measures to ensure that their public services will be free from those elements, those elements which, let me repeat, are as active in this country as elsewhere. They have one idea, to overturn the established order of things here by revolution or by evolution. But, one way or the other, it does not matter which, they are working for the overthrow of this State and everything that the State stands for. One of the special obligations of the Minister for Justice is to maintain and preserve public order here. He is responsible in particular for all the business, powers, duties and functions of the branches of the public service which are concerned with the preservation of public order.
Captain Cowan: On a point of order. Is the Deputy entitled to repeat the speeches that used to be made by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney about 15 years ago word for word?
Mr. MacEntee: Or Deputy MacEoin. I am not making the speech that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney made 15 years ago. I am a little bit better informed than he was 15 years ago, and a great deal has been done over that period to bring the gravity of this menace home to us than it was then. It was only in its infancy at that time. It has grown since. Admittedly, it has grown with the power that has been responsible for this world-wide organisation. However, that is not the point. The point is that this is a subversive movement, that these subversive elements exist in this community, that they are operating in this community, and that it is the duty of the Minister who is specially charged with the preservation of law and order to ensure that these elements will be kept under observation and control. That is his particular function. That is what the special branch exists to do, to enable him to keep these organisations under observation, and, with the help, if necessary, of the other forces of the State, to keep them under control.
A demand has been made that the Minister who is charged with the preservation of public order should divest himself of the instrument by which these agencies to which I have referred are kept under observation. The Deputies who have demanded that the special branch should be disbanded must no doubt have reasons of their own. I do not know whether they speak in ignorance or in malice. If they speak in ignorance of what has happened in the world around them, I am astounded. The other alternative I can leave to the House to weigh up for itself. But that is, in fact, the issue that has been raised in this debate. Let me repeat that Deputies are asking that the Minister for Justice should deprive himself of those agents or instruments by means of which he can keep those subversive forces and organisations under observation. They are asking  him, in fact, to deprive himself of his eyes and ears—the Minister who should be alert in the public interest to everything that is going on in this country.
The Department of Justice has not been created and the Minister for Justice has not been appointed merely to administer judicial patronage or to administer the police force. He has been called to that high and onerous office because he has a particular duty to perform in the interests of the safety of this State, a duty which affects every citizen in his daily life and every minute of it. Therefore, we cannot talk lightly about this matter and we cannot take lightly the issue which has been raised in this debate. The Minister is not going to be misled or fooled or cajoled or even coerced by Deputies Lehane, Cowan and Dunne. I have no doubt whatever that he will recognise, as all sensible, reasonable and loyal citizens must recognise, the need for maintaining the special branch in the highest state of efficiency; the need to support it if it should happen to have to discharge difficult and dangerous duties in the future as it had to do in the past. So far as the Minister is concerned and those members of the Government opposite and those members of the Parties opposite who support that Government, in so far as they require our moral or active support to deal with the forces to which I have referred they are assured of getting it fully and without any stint.
Minister for Justice (General MacEoin): I want to thank Deputies on all sides of the House for the many points of view they have expressed on this Vote. I assure them that I appreciate very fully the many points they have brought to my notice. Perhaps I might be permitted to thank the Deputy who has just sat down for giving me a fine lecture upon what my duties are in regard to the maintenance of law and order. I suppose the best thing I can do is to thank him for it and say that it is a great thing that we both think the one way. In my opinion, the tributes to the Garda Síochána are well deserved. So far as I am concerned, while I am Minister for Justice everything that I can do to assist them in  carrying out the duties and obligations they have undertaken I will do. The special branch are a section of the Garda which has been established to perform certain functions. It is true that for a great number of years their activities were directed towards one section of the community. I think that that day has gone. There are other duties, however, which they must perform and which the Government and the people expect them to perform. I hope that they will perform these duties efficiently and loyally.
I have been criticised for the suspension of recruitment for the Garda Síochána. The Garda Síochána were established about 25 or 26 years ago, and they were thrown rapidly into a gap that had to be filled. For many reasons there has not been from that day to this a systematic survey of the whole question of recruitment. I, therefore, suspended recruitment when I came into office in order to give myself an opportunity to make a survey of the whole situation of the Garda Síochána. It is only a temporary suspension and recruitment will be opened up at the earliest possible moment when I see the road clearly before me. I am perfectly satisfied that a Garda force of proper strength is very essential and can never be eliminated. I must take notice of the many duties thrown upon the Garda. There is hardly a Department of State for which the Garda do not do some work altogether outside their police duties. I am having that matter examined so that I may be able to make the life of a policeman a little bit better than it was last year or the year before or 20 years ago.
Recently I gave an interview to the representative body. They certainly made a case which deserves and demands from me sympathetic and careful consideration relating to pay, pension, hours of duty and so on. I am having that matter examined and I can assure the representative body and the Gardaí that I will do everything possible to meet their requirements and to see to it that they will get a fair deal from the State to which they have rendered such good service.
On the question of discipline, I agree  with Deputy Cowan that it would facilitate matters if there was an orderly. Of course, the orderly room relates to the Army. There are so many men in a battalion that a commanding officer can almost call the men and, if they have been bad boys the night before, say: “Four hours' pack drill will do this. Half-a-crown fine will do that”. With five Gardaí in a station, to put it in plain language, it would be very hard to give any one of them five hours' pack drill when he has already done 100 hours in the week.
Captain Cowan: My suggestion to the Minister was confined to Dublin.
General MacEoin: I am going to examine that matter and leave it to the commissioner who is fully responsible for discipline. It would be a good thing in the City of Dublin, Cork, or Limerick, where there is a fair number, but the old file system is a good one, because, notwithstanding what Deputy Cowan says, the Garda does get a fair opportunity of seeing what is against him in black and white. Unless he is a fool he should take a copy of what is written against him, and when he is replying he should keep a copy of what he said. In every case I have been up against so far when you ask him what the file charged him with he says that he does not know, and when you ask what he wrote in reply he does not know. That is just putting one too much over on me. I cannot accept that view. If that were true he would not be a good policeman. It would be a charge in itself to show that he was not fit for his job. I am not going to develop the point of the patrol system in Dublin. I have had a report on it. It is true to say that a great deal of the crime in this city happens between certain hours. The commissioner or the deputy commissioner of the Gardaí came to the conclusion that by spreading out this system the city would be better covered by a patrol system. While there has been a reduction in crime during that period and while there has been success as a result of that measure, it is, however, too soon to approve of it, and it is too soon to condemn it. Therefore, I must wait  a bit further until I have the system fully examined.
Captain Cowan: I should be glad if the Minister would look into the question of the hours as well.
General MacEoin: The grand hour for the fellow who wants to smash the crib is between 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock in the morning. Therefore we have to try to make it impossible, if we can, for that individual. Please do not ask me to develop that point any further.
I do not think that there was any degree of attack upon the special branch or upon the officer who is the titular head of that branch. This Government promoted that officer after full consideration of his merits, on the recommendation of the commissioner. The Minister for Justice has only what is known as a very nominal duty to perform in that regard. I can assure Deputy C. Lehane and every Deputy in this House that that man would not. like myself, grace a drawing room well but that he is a good officer. It is true that the eyes of the unit are now in another direction. He can serve and render service of a very important type and I am satisfied with his honesty and ability. I hoped and believed firmly that on the day on which I opened the gaol gates it was the last time in the history of this country that such a situation would arise.
Mr. Boland: Hear, hear.
General MacEoin: I am not going to follow this matter of victimisation out. I do not believe anything happened in the last 12 months. Whatever step I may take in that regard does not arise now.
The matter of road traffic, as the Deputies know, is one for the Minister for Local Government. However, I will bring the matter to his notice and perhaps by a little co-ordination we might do something to reduce the loss of life on the roads at the present time.
On the question of prisons, it is true that the housing conditions for the warders of the prisons are not as good as we should like them to be. There is only one house with a bath in it. That is true. But we are only a few months in office and, for goodness'  sake, do not ask us to do it overnight. There is also the point that there is no place for a bath in the houses. We will have to do something about it.
Mr. MacEntee: Will it be done before this time next year?
General MacEoin: Well, I do not know. All I can do is this——
Mr. Boland: The Minister is not a prophet.
General MacEoin: If the Deputy would like one of the houses which I will have next year I will give him a present of one.
Mr. MacEntee: You will be a few months longer in office then.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: He will make improvements before 16 years are out.
General MacEoin: I will do my best within the year to improve conditions for all these warders.
Now again the question of bars and dances, I would point out that is not my responsibility. The law is quite clear. I should like to avail of this opportunity to appeal to everybody concerned to use discretion in the powers that the Oireachtas has given them in the granting of these licences, because in my opinion it is a situation that can be fraught with grave danger.
I should like to say a word upon counsels' fees in the Circuit Court. As I said in reply to a question, this matter is being examined. I have the rules with the Attorney-General at the moment and I hope that a decision will be given at an early date.
Land registry fees have given me a good deal of trouble and concern. I think it is very desirable that land registry and everything connected with it should be simplified. Because the fees are high the inclination is to do nothing. At the present moment two-thirds of the farms—and that is, I admit, a very high number—are unregistered or not properly registered in their present owners.
The patience of the District Court clerks must be nearly exhausted. I want to assure them that their present position is no fault of mine; nor do I think it was the fault of my predecessor.  We have reached a stage now when a decision must come. I cannot say any more at the moment except to assure these officers that I appreciate their patience very much and that I hope their patience will be amply rewarded in the very near future.
With regard to jurors' expenses, this is a very important matter. I am examining into it but I think it would be a pity to depart from that tradition of every citizen doing his duty in the interests of all. The right of a man to be tried by his own peers is an important one. Once the element of payment enters into it jurors will be regarded, as it were, as officials of the State. I do not want to prejudge the issue but I think it would be a pity to change now from a system that has prevailed for so long.
There are many other points to which I would like to refer, but I do not think the interests of the State would be served by travelling too long or too far. I regret some of the things that have been said in the course of this debate on both sides of the House. I do not think it was in the interests of the State that such references should have been made. Ours is a great country and we have a great tradition behind us. I think we can hold that tradition and hold the country against all comers. I want the support of all Deputies on both sides of this House in maintaining that great tradition of ours.
Vote put and agreed to.
General MacEoin: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £1,919,190 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Garda Síochána (No. 7 of 1925, No. 10 of 1926, No. 5 of 1937, No. 19 of 1941, Nos. 1 and 17 of 1945) and for payments of compensation and other expenses arising out of service in the Local Security Force (No. 19 of 1946).
Mr. Boland: I do not intend to say very much on this Vote but it is possible that an admission of mine, while speaking on the main Estimate, might be misunderstood. I refer to what was said about the special branch. I do not want my position to be misunderstood in the matter. I want to say that that particular branch of the Garda Síochána was responsible for preventing subversive elements in this country from dragging us into the late war. Had it not been for the service given by that branch this country would have found itself in a very precarious position indeed. The officer who has been promoted was an officer of the Garda Síochána prior to our administration. He was a most efficient officer in every way. I congratulate the present Government on having promoted him. He richly deserved it. There is no finer officer in the service.
I do not want this debate to conclude without a special tribute from me to all members of the Garda Síochána from the commissioner right down. I would like to pay a special tribute to General Murphy for the magnificent way in which he handled the L.S.F., I would like to pay a special tribute to the Chief Superintendent in charge of the Special Branch, the late Chief Superintendent Gantley. He did magnificent work for us. I congratulate the Government in the appointment of his successor.
Mr. A.P. Byrne: I would appeal to the Minister to ensure that those young men who enlisted in the Taca Síochána in the first instance will be treated in all respects as if they had enlisted in the Gárda Síochána in regard to salary, pension rights and so on.
General MacEoin: I accept the tribute paid to the Gardaí by my predecessor. He knows their merits and their worth.
Vote put and agreed to.
General MacEoin: I move:
That a sum not exceeding £111,980 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of  March, 1949, for the Expenses of Prisons, the Borstal Institution, and the Maintenance of Criminal Lunatics confined in District Mental Hospitals (17 & 18 Vict., c. 76; 34 & 35 Vict., c. 112, sec. 6; 40 & 41 Vict., c. 49; 47 & 48 Vict., c. 36; 61 & 62 Vict., c. 60; 1 Edw. 7, c. 17, sec. 3; 8 Edw. 7, c. 59; and 4 & 5 Geo. 5, c. 58).
Vote put and agreed to.
General MacEoin: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £43,970 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for such of the Salaries and Expenses of the District Court as are not charged on the Central Fund (7 Edw. 7, c. 17, sec. 3; No. 27 of 1926, secs. 49, 50 and 66; No. 15 of 1928, sec. 13; No. 48 of 1936, secs. 51 and 77; No. 4 of 1946, secs. 35 and 36; and No. 21 of 1946) and for a Capitation grant.
Vote put and agreed to.
General MacEoin: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £56,470 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for the Salaries, Allowances and Expenses of Circuit Court Officers, Deputy Circuit Judges, Sheriffs and Under Sheriffs; the Travelling Expenses of Circuit Judges; and the Expenses of Revision of Voters and Jurors Lists (No. 27 of 1926, etc.).
Vote put and agreed to.
General MacEoin: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £47,200 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for such of the Salaries and Expenses of the  Supreme Court and High Court of Justice as are not charged on the Central Fund (No. 27 of 1926, No. 48 of 1936 and No. 25 of 1945).
Vote put and agreed to.
General MacEoin: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £42,880 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Land Registry (40 & 41 Vict., c. 57; 54 & 55 Vict., c. 66; No. 10 of 1924, sec. 102; and No. 26 of 1942, sec. 22); and of the Registry of Deeds (2 and 3 Will. 4, c. 87; 27 & 28 Vict., c. 76; 38 & 39 Vict., c. 5; and 46 & 47 Vict, c. 20).
Vote put and agreed to.
General MacEoin: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £4,693 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Public Record Office, and of the Keeper of State Papers, Dublin (30 & 31 Vict., c. 70; 38 & 39 Vict., c. 59; and 39 & 40 Vict., c. 58), and for the purchase of Historical Documents, etc.
Vote put and agreed to.
General MacEoin: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £2,690 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Charitable Donations and Bequests Office (7 & 8 Vict., c. 97, secs. 7 & 8; 30 & 31 Vict., c. 54, sec. 24; and 34 & 35 Vict., c. 102).
Vote put and agreed to.
Minister for Justice (General MacEoin): I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £128,060 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Public Works (1 & 2 Will. 4, c. 33, secs. 5 and 6; 5 & 6 Vict., c. 89, secs. 1 and 2; 9 & 10 Vict., c. 86, secs. 2, 7 and 9; etc.).
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Donnellan): Following the practice in previous years, I propose to take Votes 9 and 10 together. Vote 9 bears the salaries and expenses of the administrative, executive and technical staffs of the Office of Public Works, which is the office responsible for the administration of Vote 10. Vote 10 provides the necessary funds for the purchase of sites and buildings for State purposes, for the erection, maintenance and furnishing of the Government offices and other State-owned premises throughout the country, for arterial drainage and other engineering works, for the erection and improvement of national schools, for the erection of major military buildings, for the maintenance of State-owned parks and State harbours and for a number of minor activities.
The gross expenditure under Vote 9 is estimated at £3,894 more than in the years 1947-48, but an increase of £5,754 in receipts under the Appropriations-in-Aid sub-head is anticipated, making the net Vote £1,860 less than in 1947-48. The Estimate for Public Works and Buildings shows an increase of £270,380 on the Vote for 1947-48. The main increases are in the sums required for new works, maintenance, fuel and light and drainage and for the purchase and maintenance of engineering plant and machinery.
Expenditure last year on sub-head E —new works, alterations and additions —was £295,000. The programme for the current year envisaged by the previous Government and provided for in this Estimate would call for an  expenditure of £525,000, but it is hoped to secure substantial economies under this head by deferring or indefinitely postponing such of the items included in the Estimate as should, in the opinion of the present Government, be abandoned or deferred until the need for economy becomes less urgent.
Essential expenditure, under the maintenance sub-head, in recent years has exceeded the provisions, due to the high costs of material and labour, and it is necessary to increase the provision for 1948-49 to £300,000.
As regards fuel and light, reserve fuel stocks are virtually exhausted and requirements for 1948-49 will have to be met for the most part by purchases. The Estimate for the sub-head has been prepared on the basis that coal will be used in the central heating installations in Dublin requiring hard fuel, and that turf will be used generally for open fires and for the heating of provincial establishments.
The provision for arterial drainage works amounts to £40,000. This is the estimated net expenditure within the year on the Brosna catchment drainage scheme, the total estimated cost of which is £1,080,000. The works on this scheme, as Deputies will be aware, commenced on the 31st May, 1948. The rate of progress with these works will depend largely on the availability of labour and of the necessary engineering plant and machinery; but I can assure the House that no effort will be spared to secure that the work will proceed with the utmost possible despatch. The K. sub-heads cover the purchase and maintenance of plant and machinery required for arterial drainage, dredging operations and other engineering works. The amounts provided are necessary if the plant and machinery are to be brought up to and maintained at the level essential for the most economical and efficient discharge of their duties by the commissioners.
There is also a Supplementary Estimate on Vote 9, the purpose of which is to pay the fees and travelling expenses of the assessors who were appointed to conduct a competition for designs of a national theatre which the late Government had proposed to build  in Dublin at State expense. This project, amongst others, came under the consideration of the present Government, who have decided, in view of its very considerable cost, which has been estimated to be in the region of £750,000, that the project should be deferred. It is necessary, in the circumstances, to pay the assessors the fees due to them for the services which they have rendered.
Mr. O'Grady: It is customary, I understand, to take Votes 9 and 10 together?
An Ceann Comhairle: Yes.
Mr. O'Grady: I regret I missed the opening remarks of the Parliamentary Secretary, but there are a few points on which I would like to get some information. I notice that for the purchase of engineering plant and machinery £100,000 has been provided. Was it really necessary to sell the Constellations in order to pay for the machinery recently imported? Was it not possible to pay for that machinery apart altogether from the other transaction? I take it the State was not bankrupt. On the advent of the new Government they floated a loan of £12,000,000 which was over-subscribed in a couple of days. In the Estimates prepared by the last Government there was £100,000 for the purchase of plant and machinery. I was amazed to see a statement in the papers, alleged to be made by the Parliamentary Secretary, that they sold the Constellations to pay for machinery. If we never had the Constellations we could have paid for the machinery many times over. The resources of the State are by no means exhausted.
I am glad to notice that the Board of Works has commenced operations on the Brosna. This is a huge scheme and it took a considerable time to prepare. That is only natural. It is much better that a scheme of that kind involving an expenditure exceeding £1,000,000, should be carefully prepared in order to avoid mistakes. Criticisms have been levelled against the board in the past because certain schemes have not been successful. When this or any other scheme is completed, you will still  have people complaining no matter how carefully the plans have been executed. There will always be people with grievances, because drainage works will not prevent flooding. The best that can be hoped for is that they will mitigate the consequences of flooding.
This country presents a difficult problem to drainage engineers because of its shape. The centre of the country is low-lying and it is surrounded by high land. The big problem of drainage is centred on the Shannon. The difficulties of the Parliamentary Secretary in that connection are not of his making or of the making of his immediate predecessor. One of the greatest obstacles to the drainage of the country as a whole is the existence of the Shannon scheme. I do not want to deride that scheme or belittle its benefits, but you have to weigh one thing against the other. I take it the Government that initiated the Shannon scheme had to make up its mind whether it could go ahead with the scheme, with the very obvious obstruction it would cause to major drainage problems.
The Shannon drains the largest part of the country. In this Estimate we have the drainage of one part only, and that will cost £1,080,000. Every one who has experience of estimates knows that whether it is for building or anything else you rarely get an estimate that covers the entire cost. No matter how carefully an estimate is prepared, there will be unforeseen items which will add to the cost. I venture to say in connection with this Brosna scheme that later on we will be faced with an additional expenditure.
In the past there was a good deal of criticism as to why the Board of Works were not draining the whole country in a very short period. With the best will in the world, that is impossible. Every scheme takes time to prepare, and the more time spent in preparation, provided it is properly done, the better in the end for the taxpayer. I sincerely hope that everything that can be done will be done to speed up the drainage of other rivers in the country. It cannot be done overnight. My predecessor,  who was responsible for piloting the 1942 Drainage Act, which makes this drainage possible, was careful to point out that it would take up to 28 years to complete the drainage of this country.
We had on the last occasion criticisms of the Board of Works because in the very short time at their disposal it was said that they should at least have started the drainage of the many rivers which will have to be dealt with in the course of the ensuing years. I hope that the new Government will not alter the order of priority prepared in the past and that they will not interfere with that very carefully prepared scheme. I hope they will continue, as far as their staff will allow, to prepare further schemes. There are at the moment, I understand, three fully prepared and one which is about to commence. That scheme will take a considerable time also. There are several areas in the country which are crying out for drainage, and no doubt pressure will be brought to bear upon the Parliamentary Secretary, or whoever is responsible, to deal with each particular area. The Parliamentary Secretary will only have to resist many such claims. Every Deputy who has a drainage problem in his constituency—and there are few outside Dublin who have not—will try to bring pressure to bear to have his particular area dealt with before others. On examination, the Parliamentary Secretary will find that the order of priority has been impartially prepared, and I hope there will be no serious departure from it.
With regard to other matters with which he has to deal, I hope that the economy axe will not be wielded too sharply and that these very useful works will be continued. Perhaps I had better leave over until we come to the next Estimate some matters to which I wish to refer in particular, lest I might infringe the rules of order. Some large sums are to be provided under Vote 11 and we can deal with them when the Vote is under consideration. I only desire to add at this stage that I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to continue the good work already begun.  The more speed he makes the better we shall all be pleased. I should like to ascertain why the Brosna scheme was not put into operation in April as originally intended. Was it due to the fact that the necessary machinery was not available or was it due to a scarcity of labour? We had a forecast from a gentleman, who now occupies a Cabinet position, 12 months ago that he could get sufficient men from a small village between the Brosna and the Shannon bend of the river to carry out the work. I should like also to know whether the Board of Works have obtained all the machinery they require completely to drain the Brosna. For instance, have they got the large dredgers which they hoped to get to enable them to reach midstream or will they have to start operations with small dredgers in the hope of coming back again to finish the work with larger dredgers? I sincerely hope that that will not be necessary, because of the obviously increased cost which it would entail. If they have not got these large dredgers, I hope they will be able to procure them in the near future, and so avoid the increased cost to the State entailed in having to go back over the work at a later stage.
Mr. A.P. Byrne: I wish to appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to see that the wishes of the donors of the national park at Killarney are carried into effect. It was the express wish of the donors that the park should be made available in future for use as a national playground, particularly by the youth of the country. I think that steps could be taken to ensure that these wishes are carried out more effectively than they are at the moment. The park is not fully available to the people and it is certainly not available to the youth of the country in the way in which the donors intended it to be. It has been suggested that Muckross House should be made available to the various children's sunshine homes, trade union holiday homes, the youth hostel associations and various other associations or to a committee representative of all of them, who would see that it was established as a holiday hostel for the youth of the country. I ask the  Parliamentary Secretary to give that matter his sympathetic consideration.
Mr. J. Flynn: On this Estimate, I should like to refer to the question of major drainage schemes. I agree with Deputy O'Grady that the equipment for these major drainage schemes is not at all satisfactory. Take the Brosna and the other major drainage schemes under consideration at the moment. How many years must elapse before these are complete or even half completed? We have in my area the Cashin drainage scheme and the completion of the main drainage catchment area. By the time these schemes are completed, five or six years must elapse. In my opinion, we have not a fraction of the equipment required to carry out drainage in this country. I would suggest, not alone to the Parliamentary Secretary, but to the Minister, that money should be set aside to provide equipment so that at least three of the major drainage schemes could be operated simultaneously. In that way, within a given period, a substantial effort could at least be made to cope with drainage in this country.
Of all these millions that have been mentioned, I should like to know what amount is scheduled for equipment. What are the overhead costs and what is set out for depreciation and so on? I submit that if that is deducted from the total amount mentioned in these Estimates for major drainage schemes, you have very little left over for the employment of labour within the current financial year. The employment and labour content is very little. I would like to have that examined and gone into in detail. If you schedule £4,000,000 or £2,000,000 for a scheme, what is the given period you can expect to complete that drainage and what is the overhead cost apart from the amount set aside for labour? I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he did one great day's work in getting rid of planes and buying dredgers. I would like to see that pursued further and more dredgers bought from Britain or America or any other country that can supply them. I am very sceptical about one drainage scheme in County Kerry which was, I  understood, at one period scheduled as No. 4 drainage scheme. I now find, however, that it is tabled as No. 5.
Mr. Donnellan: Who told you that?
Mr. J. Flynn: I have that much information, but I would be very glad if it is, as it should be, No. 4 in the major drainage schemes.
Mr. O'Grady: I think it used to be No. 3.
Mr. J. Flynn: I go on to the minor relief schemes. I am in order——?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: They are all discussed together.
Mr. Donnellan: Nos. 9 and 10 are discussed together.
Mr. J. Flynn: I have one very important matter to refer to in this connection. For years, drainage schemes and works regarding accommodation have been rejected in certain areas in County Kerry, simply because a sufficient number of men in receipt of unemployment assistance cannot be recruited in the areas adjacent to where the works are going on.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Does the Deputy know that Vote 11 is being taken separately? It will naturally arise on that. The Deputy will get that in on Vote 11 when it comes up for discussion.
Mr. J. Flynn: Very well.
Mr. Corry: I will not delay the Parliamentary Secretary very long as I understood that Vote 11 would also come in on this. There are a few small matters I would like to allude to. No. 1 is in connection with the purchase of dredgers, excavating machines and other machinery estimated at £100,000. I would like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary the number of those dredgers, etc., that were under order when the Parliamentary Secretary came into office and the number the Board of Works have ordered since. I would like to know exactly where we stand in that matter. Another matter is the Haulbowline Wharf. That has been hanging fire now for a pretty considerable time and I would like to know when the tenders  are to be accepted and the work proceeded with. We have received from the previous Parliamentary Secretary and, I think, from the present one, reports in connection with that. The actual position is that until that wharf is built, you will have, what we have had up to the present in Cork, a periodical scarcity of petrol owing to the want of storage facilities. The work was got under way by the previous Government as far, I understand, as the contract stage, and I wonder if the Parliamentary Secretary could inform me whether the contracts have been taken or not. I do not intend to delay the House further but those are a couple of matters I would like to have dealt with.
Mr. S. Collins: I have one suggestion to make to the Parliamentary Secretary in connection with drainage. I, like Deputy Flynn, feel that in certain parts of the country it is a case of live horse and you will get grass as far as drainage is concerned. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to explore the possibility of getting more of these schemes under way simultaneously and, if necessary, to see if he can find a firm engaged in drainage work to tender on a contract basis for these schemes. If the Parliamentary Secretary finds that he can get some of these people to tender for that kind of work, I can assure him that he will have my active support in looking for money, whether it is by way of loan or by way of another Supplementary Estimate. If drainage is tackled as it is at present, by the time the Brosna and the two or three schemes that succeed it are finished, it will be time to begin the Brosna again.
Mr. McGrath: I would like to refer to the pay of the workmen employed by the Board of Works in Cork City. I refer to liftmen working in Government buildings in Cork and the caretaker in the cemetery. The two liftmen, I understand, are paid at the rate of £4 7s. 6d., while the caretaker of the graveyard gets £2 18s. 3d. A labourer's wage in Cork City, a corporation labourer or a harbour commissioners' labourer gets £5 11s. 0d., while  a builder's labourer gets £5 13s. 6d. I think the Parliamentary Secretary will agree that the cost of living is as high on his employees as it is on corporatíon or harbour board labourers or builders' labourers, and I would ask him to be a bit more generous with them.
Mr. Davin: I can truthfully say since the Parliamentary Secretary came into office he has been doing some very good work, although, naturally, there is a considerable amount of work facing him in the future. Some of the Deputies who have spoken in the House and outside it seem to be under the impression that all that is required to get drainage schemes going throughout the country is more machinery. I think that is wrong. So far as I can learn, there is a considerable amount of survey work to be done before the Department of Finance will sanction further schemes that are waiting to be carried out. I understood from the Parliamentary Secretary on a recent occasion when I met him with Deputies from other areas that there is considerable difficulty in getting the necessary survey staff organised. We are all anxious to get drainage schemes going in our own areas. If Deputies will do whatever they possibly can to assist the Parliamentary Secretary to get back from Great Britain and other countries the young Irish engineers who went there because they could not get work at home, they will be doing a very useful work. I do not blame Deputy Flynn for thinking that County Kerry schemes should come before schemes for Laoighis, Offaly, Clare, Limerick, or other areas. No one will blame a Deputy for suggesting that.
Some Deputies were present at a recent interview with the Parliamentary Secretary in connection with the drainage of the River Nore. I have seen two estimates quoted for the carrying out of this very necessary and urgent scheme. One of them apparently is 25 years old. I do not know how old the other is. When you take into consideration the increased cost in the meantime of carrying out such a scheme, it is essential in the case of the Nore and other rivers that there should be an up-to-date survey carried out and an estimate based on modern costs supplied.  Until that preliminary work is carried out, I think I am correct in saying that the actual drainage operation is a long distance away. I urge the Parliamentary Secretary and everybody who wants to assist him to get the necessary number of members of this survey staff together on an organised basis as quickly as possible. When that is done and we have an up-to-date survey of the different drainage schemes carried out, we shall be nearer to the time when the machinery will be more useful than it is to-day.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: There are one or two matters to which I want to refer on this Vote. First of all, the purpose for which this House is asked to vote this money, namely, drainage, is, to me at any rate, one of the most important before the Government at the present time. It is a regrettable fact that after 26 years of freedom in this country we should still be faced with a serious drainage problem by reason of which a considerable portion of the land of this country is not and cannot be used by the people. Drainage has been talked of in this House ad nauseam for the last 25 or 26 years and it is only now that some stir has been made to tackle the problem. I am sure that it is not necessary for me to impress this on the Parliamentary Secretary but, in my view, this is one of the most important tasks before any member of the Government. By a successful tackling of the problem of drainage he will bring back into cultivation acres and acres of land at present useless and valueless to the State.
Speaking like Deputy Davin for the constituency of Laoighis and Offaly, I know that we have in these two counties some of the worst drainage problems in the country. Apart from problems arising from small local rivers, we also share with Roscommon and parts of Westmeath the problem of the Shannon drainage, a problem which is so great and whose consequences are so severe that it should engage the very early attention of the Parliamentary Secretary and the Office of Public Works. While I recognise, as other Deputies recognise, the immensity of the task before the Parliamentary  Secretary, and while we all recognise that the inactivity of the past cannot be undone in a matter of months, I would nevertheless like to say that we expect now less delay, less red tape, and more action. We have been told time and time again in regard to certain rivers the drainage of which has become a matter of urgency that the survey of these rivers cannot be tackled until their particular place in the arterial drainage programme is reached. That may or may not be a very sound reason. If it is a reasonable and cogent one, then I trust the Parliamentary Secretary will see that the arterial drainage scheme for the country is hastened.
On the Vote for the Local Government Department I mentioned as possibly a matter that might come under the jurisdiction of the Minister the question of the drainage of the River Cam Cor at Knockbarron, County Offaly. It is possible that this river may come within the powers of the Parliamentary Secretary's Department. I should like again to emphasise that, by reason of neglect in the last 14 or 15 years, this small river has now left its bed and flows 1,500 yards down a public road connecting two important towns in Offaly, Kinnitty and Kilcormac.
As a result of that, this public road has become a river and has been in that condition for the last five years, with the residents of Kilcormac unable to go to Kinnitty and vice versa and with the children from Kinnitty fishing on the public road. That is a matter which should appal any public representative no matter to what Party he belongs. That river has been in that condition since 1942. The county councils have been approached and the office of Public Works has been approached. Each Department of State that could possibly have any power in relation to the matter has been approached. Yet the only thing that has been done has been the erection of a notice by the county council saying “Danger! Water ahead”.
I am glad to say that the matter is now being investigated by the Department of Local Government. If it should transpire that the county councils have no power in the matter, I urge  the Parliamentary Secretary to have this matter investigated. I realise that the arterial drainage of the catchment area of the Cam Cor may possibly not be reached for three or four years, but something can be done immediately by way of a local employment scheme or something of that nature at least to alleviate the considerable hardship caused to people in that area. Quite apart from the interference with the public thoroughfare, there are, to my knowledge, ten different farms extensively flooded by the river as it finds its way back to the original river bed.
It is a great pity that we should have some local problems like that which exists at Knockbarron still unattended to and I commend to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should not be content merely to accept the policy previously pursued by the Office of Public Works; that he should now drive that Department into activity. In saying that, I do not want in any way to criticise the personnel of the Office of Public Works, but I know from my own experience that there has been far too much talk in the past and far too little action. He can now by insisting on activity, if necessary activity in particular places at first, do a lot in the coming 12 months to alleviate drainage. If he does that he will restore to the farmers of this country land at present valueless which may become valuable in the coming 12 months and be an asset to this country.
Mr. Childers: I arise on this Estimate to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance to give some indication as to what the policy of the inter-Party Government in regard to drainage is. During the election we had to face comments by practically all the Parties, say perhaps in certain areas the Fine Gael Party, which suggested that the severe flooding that took place in the last three years was almost entirely due to neglect by the Fianna Fáil Government. Candidates were going around during the election showing photographs of people travelling in boats in Leix-Offaly——
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: They were true.
Mr. Childers: ——and in other counties. The suggestion was clearly made that the Fianna Fáil Government was responsible for the plight of those people travelling in boats. The candidates concerned never bothered to examine the meteorological records or to ascertain whether rainfall during those periods had been excessive. Anything was good enough for the electors.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: For the people you mean.
Mr. Childers: These people suggested that delays in putting into operation the Arterial Drainage Act of 1944 were exclusively the result of inaction or indifference on the part of the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. The suggestion was made that the floodings that occurred not only in the early part of 1947 but later on also were due to a lazy and irresolute Minister for Finance. Of course I could have, in advance of this Estimate, asked the relevant Minister for the figures for rainfall in those months. I have not bothered to do so because I assume most Deputies in this House will recognise the existence of abnormal rainfall conditions in the last three years.
Mr. McQuillan: Fifteen years.
Mr. Childers: The attitude, as I have said, of a number of Parties in the inter-Party Government shows the most fatuous ignorance of the conditions under which rivers can be drained in this country. I should like to repeat again what I think the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance can hardly deny, that this is the only saucer-shaped State in the world with mountains around the coast. We have, therefore, an extremely difficult problem of surveying and carrying out drainage without fear of flooding. The Parliamentary Secretary will be able to give the House, if he so desires, falls that occur between, shall we say, an area of Westmeath, Leix-Offaly, Carlow-Kilkenny and the Atlantic and the Irish Sea Coasts. He will be able to tell the members of this House the enormous technical problem of effecting drainage without undertaking surveys that take months and months, if  not years, to complete. He will be able to tell the House that drainage undertaken in the course of the last ten years has not proved altogether highly successful. He will be able to give the House some indication of the effect of the drainage of the Robe River in Mayo. I myself saw the flooding that took place in Mayo along the Robe River during the period of extreme rainfall in the last two years. All I can say is that one could well imagine that the Robe River had never been drained so far as the effect of the flooding was concerned.
Mr. Blowick: Would the Deputy agree that it was well done?
Mr. Childers: So far as I understand the work was performed by competent surveyors and carried out properly. There is no evidence that the present Parliamentary Secretary can produce better surveyors or engineers to carry out the same work.
Mr. Blowick: I hope you will not leave down any mill dams across rivers.
Mr. Childers: There have been difficulties in the carrying out of that drainage. However there were difficulties also during the time of the Fine Gael Government. They carried out certain drainage works which were not successful. If you look at the names of the consulting engineers and the people appointed, it is very hard to say that those appointed for the “A” or “B” river scheme, by any yardstick by which they can be judged by the Board of Works, were people of less reputation than those who are now undertaking drainage schemes. It would be unfair to cast a slur on these men who surveyed these rivers. So far as I can ascertain there is no great difference with regard to their competence judged from their general works and the engineering works they must have undertaken in this country during the past 20 years. Deputy O'Higgins has referred to the urgent necessity of draining the flooded areas in Leix-Offaly. He seems to have forgotten the now famous oration by the Taoiseach on the opening of the Brosna drainage scheme. We all waited his remarks with eagerness. We wished  to find out whether the wild cat crazy schemes of the Clann na Poblachta and Labour Parties in regard to the immediate and continuous drainage of this country were going to be implemented.
We have heard Clann na Poblachta speakers throughout Longford and Westmeath talk about the neglect of drainage by the previous Government, about the necessity of carrying out immediately large-scale main drainage schemes throughout the country without regard to cost and about the necessity of altering the financial system in order that moneys could become available by means of which these drainage schemes could be carried out. We heard talk of nationwide reclamation and drainage schemes that were to be undertaken if the Clann na Poblachta Party were elected to office. We heard the same thing from the Labour Party. I will say this for the Labour Party—they did not fly their kites quite so high. They did talk vaguely of a certain laziness on the part of the previous Government with regard to drainage and that if they were elected to office there would be an improvement. They did not paint a dream picture for the electors. All they said was: “We will do better. We will spend more money. The taxpayers can afford it.” They did not paint a dream picture of what would happen if the new Party got into office. Then we heard the Taoiseach speak on the occasion of the opening of the Brosna scheme. We heard him blow his whistle; we heard him put into operation a scheme devised by the previous Government— that he had a perfect right to do—and we heard his speech. We were amazed to find that he spoke of the difficulties of securing dredgers—with or without the sale of Constellation aeroplanes to pay for them. We heard him speak of the difficulty of obtaining dredgers in sufficient quantities to drain any large number of main rivers.
We had the impression from the Parties supporting the Fine Gael Party that if they got into office main drainage schemes would start at the rate of at least two or three in every county almost immediately. Then we heard from the Taoiseach that in addition to  the Brosna drainage scheme there were three or four rivers in the whole of the Twenty-Six Counties that were now being surveyed for main drainage. I invite all the Deputies of the Government Party to list the names of the main rivers in their constituencies about which they spoke so fulsomely during the election. I would invite the Clann na Poblachta Party in particular to list all the main rivers in their constituencies and to address Parliamentary questions to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance as to within how many years at a minimum the survey of those rivers is likely to be undertaken. They will get an answer which will surprise the electors who voted for them.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Or surprise you.
Mr. Childers: I challenge the members of the new Party to list consecutively and carefully the main rivers. Surely, if they desire to have not all their policy put into abeyance, as was clearly indicated by Dr. Browne, the Minister for Health, in the course of his speech in Galway, and surely if they wish to have at least the remnants of their policy implemented they should provide themselves with some advance information. Let them take all the main rivers in their constituencies and ask the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister for Finance as to how soon these main rivers are likely to be surveyed for main drainage. Then we shall perhaps hear something which may disillusion the minds of those people who hoped for a paradise in the way of drainage if they elected the members of some of these Parties supporting the present Government.
As I have said, the Taoiseach was absolutely honest. I commend him for his honesty in the statements he made when opening the Brosna drainage scheme. He gave a clear indication there of the colossal difficulties in carrying out this scheme. He spoke of the difficulty in finding labour during those months when the levels of the rivers decline and when it is possible to carry out main drainage. He spoke of the difficulty of finding sufficient  machinery for more than four or five main drainage schemes at once. I am not sure whether he spoke of the financial difficulty of carrying out drainage at a colossal rate, but no doubt that was in his mind. In any event, he made an extremely honest speech in which he foresaw the difficulties we foresaw in carrying out drainage at a steady rate of progress and a rate which would take some number of years in order to achieve the drainage of all the main rivers in the country.
I come now to the question of the Shannon drainage. About that we had a holocaust of speeches during the elections.
Mr. Donnellan: It is a pity you were not here when Deputy O'Grady was speaking. He could have told you all about that.
Mr. Childers: For the last few years the Shannon has been flooded during the month of August in a way that has not been experienced for many, many years before during the period when the hay is lifted. I and other Deputies of all Parties have been endeavouring to see for some time past whether something could not be done for the tenants along the banks of the Shannon. The Electricity Supply Board has given technical information of a very detailed kind. To those who asked for it they issued letters stating what their view was as to their responsibility for the excessive flooding of the Shannon, not only in the last few years when rainfall has been excessive but during the period since they became responsible for the Shannon river level. The information they have given indicates that from their point of view they are in no way responsible for the excessive flooding. It is not necessary for me to go into the technical details. Any Deputy in the House who is interested in the flooding of the Shannon between Athlone and Banagher can obtain a copy of the same letter that I received in regard to the matter.
During the election Deputies of Parties, other than Fine Gael, came out with fulsome condemnation of the Government for abandoning the tenants on the Shannon. The Shannon Farmers' Association  scheme was started and the purpose of this scheme was to take legal action in an effort to obtain some protection for these farmers who had already suffered severely from flooding. Into that scheme farmers were paying sums of money they could ill afford in order to take this court action.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Who was behind that?
Mr. Childers: All the Deputies of all Parties, including Fianna Fáil.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: I suggest you were one of them.
Mr. Childers: Including Fianna Fáil. We all of us did our best to impress upon the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in so far as he has responsibility for the Electricity Supply Board, and the Minister for Finance in respect of his indirect responsibility for the Shannon, the necessity for securing some statement from the Ministers concerned which would advise, help or offer some hope to these people. The attitude of the Electricity Supply Board was quite definite. They believed their technical facts were beyond criticism. What I complain of is the fact that Parties, other than Fine Gael, made the most fantastic promises in regard to Shannon flooding. They promised that if they got into office they would see that something would be done for these farmers. Farmers' memories along the Shannon were naturally clouded by the past. They were promised they would get compensation. Whether or not the Electricity Supply Board could prove in court that the Shannon, allowing for natural rainfall, had been flooding the lands of these people in previous Augusts any more than in the period before their operations commenced, something would be done for these farmers.
The former Minister for Industry and Commerce and the former Parliamentary Secretary felt that the Electricity Supply Board had a good case. If you live as a farmer along the banks of the Shannon your memory must naturally be short. You tend to remember the bad years rather than the good. Technical information given by the Drainage Commission and the  Electricity Supply Board was sufficient to make both the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Finance feel that they had better not intervene in this legal question as to whether the Electricity Supply Board should or should not give damages to the riparian tenants. So far, so good. That was perhaps a reasonable attitude. But the promises made by these candidates, other than Fine Gael, were both fulsome and grossly exaggerated. They were going to do everything they possibly could for these people. They were going to ensure that they received compensation. I shall be interested to see whether or not these promises made during the course of the election will be implemented. I would like to say a few words now about the employment schemes in general.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is a separate Vote. Vote 11 will be taken by itself. We are dealing now only with Votes 9 and 10.
Mr. Childers: In conclusion, I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether he can give some indication to the House as to the probable progress of main drainage generally throughout the country. Tens of thousands of people are waiting to hear what progress is likely to be made. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary if he can announce the plans for the survey of the main rivers in the Counties Longford, Westmeath and Leitrim. Can he say whether the surveys for these rivers will be undertaken within the next three years? I refer now to the Rivers Camlin, Inny and Black. A great deal of disturbance has been created in the minds of people because of the election speeches.
Now that we have an inter-Party Government in office, coupled with Parties which stressed drainage to such a great degree during the election, it may be possible for the Parliamentary Secretary to give some further indication now. The Camlin river is severely flooded during heavy rainfall. In the case of its tributaries land improvement schemes in relation to drainage are not permitted. All over North Longford there are thousands of acres on which land improvement schemes  for minor drainage are not permitted because of flooding.
I would like very much if some clear indication could be given as to the Parliamentary Secretary's intentions with regard to the survey of these secondary main rivers, if I may so term them, in various areas. I must say I sympathise with the Parliamentary Secretary because he has a heavy burden to bear; he has on his shoulders the responsibility for carrying out drainage at the rate which was foretold by the Fine Gael Party and the fantastic rate which was foretold and promised by the new Party, and by a good number of members of the Labour Party.
Mr. McQuillan: It is quite evident to me that the last speaker was mainly concerned with justifying the deplorable attempt at drainage undertaken by the previous Government. He was more concerned with justifying that than with offering something of a useful nature in this debate, some useful suggestions to the Parliamentary Secretary in connection with one of the most serious problems in the country. Clann na Poblachta consider that the land problem and land hunger as it exists to-day is closely associated with drainage and that if the drainage problem were properly tackled we would not have all the trouble with farms of land and land division. Before Clann na Poblachta could hope to put into effect the plans they have for drainage, the first essential was to put Fianna Fáil out. By their effort, and by the energy of the campaign prior to the election, they helped in no small way to remove Fianna Fáil from office. In the past Fianna Fáil neglected this matter of drainage. I do not intend to go into the relative merits of Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil—what they did or did not do in connection with drainage. I am more concerned with what we all will do. Too much time has been devoted here to statements such as “You did not do this” or “You did not do that”. If that time were spent making suggestions on how properly to tackle these problems, it would have been much  better spent. I am glad that the terrible extravagance under the previous Administration — extravagance which would be continued but for the set-back in the election—in the way of air services, buying aeroplanes of too expensive a type for this country, and that we had no need for——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Is the Deputy not flying away a bit from the Estimate?
Mr. McQuillan: I feel that the money spent in that way could be more usefully devoted to drainage. I know the national arterial drainage scheme has priority and I am sure the experts who have worked things out have done so in the fairest possible manner. The areas which cannot be tackled immediately, however, are hoping, now that the first scheme has been started, that their problems will soon be tackled. I come from one of these areas. The people, a lot of them, have no hope that the drainage in their area will be undertaken within the next ten years. I think, therefore, I would be in order, under this Estimate, to put it to the Board of Works and to the Parliamentary Secretary that temporary measures should be taken to alleviate the distress caused in these areas through flooding.
I would like to refer, as Deputy Childers did, to the Shannon area, the area between Athlone and Banagher. I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary what can the people on both sides of the Shannon in that area hope for in the nature of drainage or alleviation of distress within the next five years? They have been bluffed for long enough; they have been told at every election that the drainage of the Shannon there would be commenced immediately. Deputy Childers was one of the men who told them that. I have been informed that this area between Athlone and Banagher is not suitable for drainage and that it cannot be tackled in a satisfactory manner. We know the Electricity Supply Board have statutory powers there. The residents in that area, whose people have lived there for generations, are people who  have good memories and they assert, and are quite positive in their assertions, that the flooding has increased since the Electricity Supply Board took over. We have this quibbling of officials and experts that in their opinion flooding has not increased, that it is no worse now than 40 years ago. That is no good to the people in that area. If their lands were flooded 40 years ago, that is no reason why they should be flooded to-day under a native Administration. Recently in the area to which I refer, between Athlone and Banagher, the medical officer or officers of health have deplored this situation. Not alone is the land flooded but the houses all along the Shannon are also flooded which means, of course, that the health of the occupants of these houses is endangered. Already several of these unfortunate people have had their ailments diagnosed as tuberculosis. The position is such that nothing can be done in the line of drainage in this area. What do the Board of Works intend to do? Do they intend to leave the people there as they have been left for the last 25 years? I do not want to refer, except in passing, to the fact that this was one of the best areas in Ireland for the production of seed potatoes and had an export market. There is one solution and that is to take the people of the area and give them holdings of land up in Meath——
Captain Giles: Oh!
Mr. McQuillan: ——or wherever land division is to take place, seeing that Deputy Giles does not agree with me. I am sure if he saw the conditions under which these people live he would have nothing but the greatest sympathy for them.
Mr. Kennedy: And welcome.
Mr. McQuillan: There is also what I might term a temporary measure to alleviate distress there which was put up to the Board of Works. Not so many seasons ago, one of Guinness' barges overturned in the river in this area. The sluice gates were opened to let the flood water out in order to recover the casks from the barge. The gates were opened only for a short  time but yet I am informed by the people of that locality that the flooding disappeared from the land immediately. I put it to the Parliamentary Secretary that these flood gates or sluice gates should be opened for 24 hours at the week-end. The engineers in his Department, I am quite certain, will offer objections, but there is nothing like trying that, anyway, to see whether or not it will be successful. I should like if he would give two or three trials to this suggestion of mine to have these sluice gates opened. We shall then at least satisfy the people in the area that the Parliamentary Secretary and the Board of Works are serious in their efforts to alleviate flooding.
There are a number of other rivers to which I should like to refer but I do not think there is much use in going into detail. The conditions in all cases are more or less the same, but I would urge the Parliamentary Secretary to remember that, for instance, in the case of the Suck and the Feorish in Roscommon, temporary measures could be taken such as the removal of mill dams and mill races. Obstructions such as these derelict mills should not be allowed in the rivers. Long ago when mines and explosions were of common occurrence, some of them could have been usefully employed to blow a lot of these things out of the rivers, because, so far as I can see, we cannot expect the Board of Works to do it. We were told by Deputy Childers that this country is saucer-shaped and that it presents great difficulties in the matter of drainage but, so far as the questions I am raising are concerned, it does not matter two hoots what shape the country has. If you have drainage schemes and allow weeds to grow and mat in the river as happened in the case of the Suck, then after five, ten or 15 years you will have a solid mass extending out ten or 15 yards into the bed of the river. It does not matter what shape the country is, that is nothing but absolute neglect. I am putting it to the Parliamentary Secretary that matters of that kind should be tackled as matters of the greatest possible urgency. There is no use in sending a reply back to the local people to say that the matter is being investigated. That is no use to the people in  the area who only wish that some reasonable attempt should be made to deal with the trouble. They do not expect national arterial schemes in all areas, but why start, as was done in the case of the Suck, cutting the heads of the rushes three weeks before an election? I saw that river in flood and I saw men on a raft cutting the heads of the rushes. According as the river went down, they kept clipping the heads of the rushes. That was the attempt made at the maintenance of the drainage in that river. It was sheer waste of public money in my opinion. I shall not refer to it further in this debate because I believe minor relief schemes and rural improvements schemes are dealt with under the next Estimate.
Seosamh Ó Cinnéide: Ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do na haibhne nach bhfuil faoi chúram na gComhairlí Contae. I want to make a case for portions of rivers not under the care of county councils. Recently an unemployment grant was given to the county councils to be supplemented by an amount put up by the local authority. We were told that we could spend it, amongst other things, on the improvement and the maintenance of certain rivers maintained by the county council. We put up a case for doing portions of rivers that were not in the maintenance areas but we put it up in vain. I now put it to the Parliamentary Secretary for his consideration that out of these unemployment grants provision should be made for the maintenance and cleaning of portions of rivers that do not come under the ordinary maintenance system. I have in mind, for instance, the Stoney-ford River, which is a tributary of the Boyne. We appealed for a long period, but in vain, for that to be put in with the Boyne maintenance area. I now make the plea that a proportion of the unemployment grant should be devoted to this purpose. I happen to represent a constituency, part of which in the County Westmeath is very much under water and where the rainfall, along with that of Kerry and the West of Ireland, is very high, where we have  a lot of lakes and rivers and a lot of flooding. Drainage is one of our big problems and I would stress that the Parliamentary Secretary should get the Board of Works to take particular note of our requirements and get sums of money for cleaning the tributaries of these rivers already in the maintenance areas, the pools and the other contributory factors in flooding in Westmeath.
I think that this debate is curtailed; I had meant to deal with the minor relief schemes and rural improvement schemes with regard to drainage but I have to confine my remarks to drainage itself. The Brosna drainage scheme was inaugurated recently and it affects my county to a great extent. I hope, in giving employment on this particular scheme, that the rule giving preference to Old I.R.A. men, National Army men and those who have served in the F.C.A., will be observed. I know nothing to the contrary at present, but I would like to draw to the notice of the Parliamentary Secretary that it is very desirable that that preference should be continued to these men who have given service both in the cause of independence and in the recent emergency. I do not know what other particular headings are dealt with under this Vote, but I will confine myself to those points.
Mr. J. Flynn: May I refer to one matter?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy has spoken before. I will call the Deputy if no one else offers himself but I will not call the Deputy twice when others have not spoken once.
Mr. Commons: I have not much to say on this debate because I understand that this does not deal with rural improvements schemes, minor relief schemes or employment development schemes which will be taken later, but entirely with drainage. I am glad to see that the long talked of, long expected scheme for arterial drainage has at last succeeded in getting under way. With that will come an improvement to a large acreage of land and bog in this country. We have looked  forward for 50 years to see some similar scheme started and we are glad to see it now in operation, not in full operation as we would like it to be, but going ahead, and everything points out that its momentum will be increased as time goes on.
While the Brosna, which is first on the priority list, is being made the spearhead of the Government's attack on drainage, I would like to remind the Parliamentary Secretary that in other parts of the country there are very bad rivers which are very much in need of drainage and dredging. I would refer in particular to two rivers in the Province of Connaught. One is the Corrib catchment with the Black River, the Clare River, the Dalgan River and the Sinking River. I understand from the Parliamentary Secretary that a survey of these is already in progress and I would be very grateful if he could use his powers to the utmost in an effort to purchase all the available machinery he can abroad because I realise full well that we cannot expect those things to be tackled unless we have sufficient excavators and machinery to carry on. Another river in my own county is the Moy, which does an immensity of damage and is even worse than in the Midlands because the land which is flooded is entirely the property of small uneconomic land holders who dwell in that area on the banks of that river and on the banks of a river known as the Yellow River. They have very small holdings and if the entire acreage of their land was arable and fit for cultivation, they would still gain a meagre livelihood, but when they have to contend, as they have contended for 100 years, with the fact that their small acreage is flooded almost in its entirety, then they must look for help and assistance as quickly as possible from the Government in power at the present time. I do not expect the Parliamentary Secretary or his Department to perform miracles in the arterial drainage sphere, but I would just bring those two rivers to his attention because there are so many small subsidiary rivers that cannot be cleaned up by minor relief schemes or rural improvements schemes until the main arteries are put in shape first.
I have made repeated representations  to the Office of Public Works with regard to these small rivers but my applications have always been turned down and I have received the answer in every case that it would only be waste of money to clean the small rivers until the main rivers are cleaned first. With that I entirely agree, but it is a poor consolation to the people who have had to wait so long and so patiently and who now have to wait for another period before they can get relief. I will not be too hard on the Office of Public Works or on the Parliamentary Secretary and I would only say “speed up the amount of machinery that is purchased from abroad”. We realise, everybody realises, in this modern age that the day of the shovel, the spade and the pick in drainage is gone, and those who have seen excavators and other machinery at work on the Brosna realise what valuable articles they are and what a competent job they can do without any hard labour on the men concerned. While I would like to see the Moy, the Clare-Dalgan-Corrib catchment area stepped up on the list of priority, I would also be glad if the Parliamentary Secretary and his Department would purchase, irrespective of cost, all the machinery they can possibly get in the outside world. These excavators will pay for themselves, not a hundredfold but a thousandfold. Now that it is possible to get them, if they are purchased and the work of drainage gone on with, within the next ten years we will go beyond the thoughts or ideas of any Deputy in this House.
The idea of drainage has been neglected in the past. A scheme similar to the scheme we have in operation now should have come 20 years ago. It was easy then to get machinery, perhaps not as good as at the present time, but nevertheless good enough to bring relief to the people in the flooded areas. Now that we have got under way I hope that the momentum will increase and that the good work that has been started will be pushed ahead as quickly as men and machinery can do it.
Mr. Beegan: It has been stated that Fianna Fáil did nothing so far as  drainage is concerned. Deputy Commons has given a clear indication as to why Fianna Fáil did not perhaps do as much as people expected. He said that this drainage problem should have been tackled 20 years ago. It was tackled nearly 200 years ago. It was also tackled 24 years ago by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. After the experience of previous Acts, the Fianna Fáil Government set about tackling it in a very comprehensive manner. We all know that a reasonable attempt was made by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government to tackle it but, when the drainage schemes were carried out, it was found that the people resented paying the drainage rate. One good provision in the 1945 Act so far as my county was concerned was that people who found it impossible to pay the drainage rate under the 1924 or the 1925 Act were relieved of the obligation. County councils are now obliged to maintain drainage schemes carried out under those Acts. Maintenance is now a county-at-large charge and it does not fall any heavier on the people who benefit directly than on those who, if I may say so, do not benefit at all.
Maintenance work was neglected for a long time. The reason given was that the people were not paying the drainage rate and that consequently it was not right or proper to increase the county rate on the rest of the community to carry on maintenance work. Maintenance work has now started on a number of drainage schemes. As the Parliamentary Secretary knows, some rivers are very wide and deep. There is a good deal of silt in them and manual labour is of very little use in carrying out maintenance work on many rivers that I have in mind. Consequently, I suggest that where a county council is prepared to spend money on carrying out good maintenance work on existing drainage schemes the Office of Public Works should hire out to them a suitable dredger for doing that work. A maintenance scheme was carried out last year on the River Killimore and the Office of Public Works supplied a dredger for that work. As a result, the amount of maintenance work carried out on that river  in about eight weeks would not be done by 2,000 men in three years. I should like to see the dredger coming back there to carry out further maintenance work.
Deputy McQuillan mentioned the River Shannon from Athlone to Banagher. My interest in that river goes a little further; it goes as far as Meelick. While we all welcome the beginning that has been made on the Brosna, people living along the Shannon banks from Shannon Harbour to Meelick are not so enthusiastic about it. They hold that when the Brosna has been drained into the Shannon their position will be very much worsened if something is not done. Deputy McQuillan said the complaint made to him was that a great deal of the flooding caused there is due to the way in which the Electricity Supply Board controlled the sluice gates at Meelick.
When that case was put up to the Electricity Supply Board, they contended that the development of the Shannon for their purpose has not increased flooding, but that on the contrary it has decreased it. There are, therefore, two different opinions on that matter. As was pointed out by a previous speaker, old people there contend that flooding has very much increased and that it could be very easily controlled. They contend that if the lock keeper at Meelick had discretion to lower the sluices after, say, two hours of heavy rain very little flooding would result. The position, however, is that the lock keeper has to contact Limerick and Limerick then contacts Dublin, which takes about three days, and within that three days the water is all over the place. The people in that area more than in any other part of the country suffer great losses of stock and crops and even damage to their homes. In 1946 they organised the Shannon Drainage Committee and they met a number of Deputies from Offaly and Galway. Of course 1946 was an abnormally wet year. They had, however, compiled a list of losses on both sides of the Shannon. Perhaps the losses may have been slightly exaggerated, but, at any rate, they went into the matter in a very detailed manner and they computed their losses in that year as £4,610. They asserted at that meeting,  and I am sure they have asserted it to the Parliamentary Secretary in recent weeks, that the flooding could be almost entirely avoided if the sluice gates at Meelick were properly controlled. I am not an expert on that, but I should like it to be gone into very thoroughly.
Deputy McQuillan stated that, so far as he could see, the only hope for the people there was to give them land in County Meath or elsewhere. The Deputy will find that on various occasions they were offered by the Land Commission migrant holdings but, despite the fact that they are flooded out three times annually, they do not like to go far from their present homes. In my opinion, the only hope for them is, if there is any land available near them, to take it over and give them a residence and five or ten acres of good land near their own holdings. I believe that that is the only way that the problem can be solved in that respect if nothing can be done in respect of drainage. As regards the maintenance work that is being carried out already with the money that was estimated in the first instance by the Galway County Council and secondly with the money that was made available by the Minister for Finance and the Board of Works the people employed on this work are those who were disemployed owing to the abandonment of the hand-won turf scheme. Nobody can find any fault with that. There is, however, a number of people who are also unemployed and even though they are registered at the labour exchange they are now being refused work. I even know a few people who were working on the turf scheme every year during the emergency period until 1947 when owing to illness they were unable to take part. They also have been refused employment. That state of affairs should be remedied and while first preference might be given to those people who worked on the turf schemes in 1947 no unemployed person, particularly a married man with a family dependent almost entirely on his labour to sustain it, should be deprived of work on these schemes.
Mr. Donnellan: I suppose I have never been so disappointed in my life and never will be again for the simple  reason that on this Estimate in which there are some very important matters such as buildings and so forth the debate has concentrated on just one particular item—the matter of drainage. That shows the great necessity for it. I can assure the House that while I am in charge of the Board of Works anything in the world that I can do, as far as it is possible for me to alleviate the distress in this country of ours and the hardship that flooding has caused to people, will be done. I can assure the Deputies that with the co-operation I am getting from the chairman and the secretary and the commissioners and officials of the board, who are as determined as I am to see that things are done as speedily as it is possible to do them, the Deputies who talk about the number of years it will take to have the works done will be surprised. It will not, in my opinion, be such a long time until we will see other schemes in hand and eventually, please God, the day will come when we will live to see the drainage of this country complete. Of course, Deputies are terribly inerested, every one of them, in drainage. However, when I listened to some of the Deputies speaking here to-day I wondered why they did not read the report of the Drainage Commission. If they had done so they would not have made some of the statements which they did make. Every Government and every Party since this country got its own native Government has been determined to see that drainage would be carried out.
There is no use in Deputy Childers speaking across the floor of the House and putting probably a bit of a political tint on this debate—I must say that he was the only Deputy to do so—by saying that the Clann na Poblachta Party said they would implement their drainage policy. I probably believed that I could do more, and probably it was the view of the Clann na Talmhan Party as well that more should be done than what the Clann na Poblachta Party thought. Surely, when Deputy Childers was speaking during the recent general election, and every other election too, he knew it could not be done. He said he knew it but I would nearly make a bet that he told the people it was going to be done.
Mr. McQuillan: You are right.
Mr. Donnellan: Why did we all carry on like that? Why has every Party in the House put this matter first and foremost—because of the great necessity for it. The 1945 Arterial Drainage Act is based on the report of the Drainage Commission. Deputy Smith, when he was piloting that Bill through the House, got the co-operation, as I am sure he will admit, of all Parties of the House in doing so. Definitely, in my opinion, it was a good Bill, and it is a good Act. In times gone by, drainage was carried out in a piecemeal way. That Act completely does away with piecemeal drainage. When several Deputies come to me and say: “This piece or that piece of a river should be drained,” all I have to say is that the 1945 Drainage Act prevents me from doing so in other than a catchment area and it is a good job that that is the case. I would ask Deputies to have a little patience. Those arterial drainage schemes under that Act are nationally charged and maintained. In the past, drainage schemes were not maintained. They were maintained, as Deputy Beegan said, in a sort of way.
People must realise that maintenance is a great point in the Act. They must realise that it is as necessary to maintain the drainage scheme as it is to maintain a road. If we made a great concrete road and left it there for 20 or 30 years and did not look at it again for that period what state would it be in? The 1945 Act was a great Act. I would ask Deputies to give us an opportunity. Under that Act we hope to recover to this country over 1,000,000 acres of land that is at present subject to flooding. Deputy Flynn sees nothing but the danger of flooding in Kerry; Deputy Beegan sees nothing but the danger in Galway. Every Deputy sees nothing but what is needed most in his own area. As far as we in the Board of Works are concerned they are all the same to us. Our idea is to get to them as fast as we possibly can. Deputy Childers, I regret to say, went to the trouble of misquoting what the Taoiseach said when opening the Brosna drainage scheme. He asked me what is the policy of the present Government as regards drainage. I would quote the  words of the Taoiseach when opening the Brosna scheme. This is our present policy:
“We hope within the next few years to have at least three major schemes in hands concurrently and to have the preliminary investigations and design work sufficiently completed in advance to maintain a steady pool of schemes major and minor ready to absorb all the machines, all the experts and all the labour which we can obtain.”
That is the policy of the present Government. Here I would make an appeal to labour. May I appeal to the youth of our country who are leaving it not to leave it? May I appeal to them to remain at home and assist us in this work of national importance? When we started operations on the Brosna scheme we required 500 men. To date we have only 120.
Deputy Corry asked me about machinery. As fast as we can get the machinery and the labour so much the quicker shall we carry out the work. We hope, too, to see some of our Irish engineers who have crossed the water coming back again so that we may train them in drainage and they will help us to rush this work through. Under the Estimate roughly £40,000 will be spent on the Brosna drainage scheme in the current year. That was the Fianna Fáil Government's Estimate. I am prepared to spend ten times that amount if I get the labour and the machinery to carry out the work. Some people may say that the Board of Works are holding up the job. That is not so. We have almost completed the survey in two other schemes. Our engineers are on another scheme and, as fast as it is humanly possible to carry out this work, we shall carry it out. As far as the Government and the Board of Works are concerned it is a case of pushing an open door. The grievances that you have you have had them for years. I ask you to give us an opportunity of doing this work and we will do it with all possible speed.
Deputy O'Grady referred to the priority list and to the danger that it might be upset or interfered with. Deputy John Flynn surprised me by telling me schemes that were allocated, how they were allocated and where  they were on the priority list. There is a priority list. I was handed the list when I went into the Board of Works. The Brosna is the first on that list. That was recommended by the Drainage Commission because it was the most economical and the one most likely to prove a success. There are other schemes on the list but I would remind the House that certain circumstances may compel changes. If we cannot get labour in an area, for instance, for which a scheme is complete, we will not be able to carry out the work. If it is possible, there will be no very serious changes made in that list but local conditions may compel changes from time to time. I am sure Deputy O'Grady will agree with me on that. I can assure Deputy Flynn that Kerry will not be forgotten. I am sure that schemes have been prepared for that area and Deputy Finucane tells me there is plenty of labour available. Whether that is correct or not I do not know.
Deputy Corry asked me about machinery. Deputy Corry probably reads the Irish Press and if he believes what the Irish Press says, then he must be under the impression that it was the Fianna Fáil Government who ordered this machinery.
Mr. Corry: The question I asked was what other machinery the Parliamentary Secretary had ordered since he came into office. I think that is a fair question.
Mr. Donnellan: On the 10th May, 1948, we got a quotation for machinery in the Board of Works. When I went into the Board of Works certain machinery was on order by my predecessor. No doubt he hoped to get that machinery as speedily as he could. It was ordered from a British firm. Early in April I was informed by this firm that the machinery which my predecessor had ordered could not be delivered for two years. I am sure Deputy Corry would not expect the Board of Works to sit down and wait for the next two years for that machinery. Our first object was to find out in what part of the world we might be likely to get the machinery. On the 20th May I gave an order.  Since that date six machines have been delivered. Within the next three weeks we expect another two and we are promised delivery within two months of four others. As quickly as we get the machinery the quicker we shall do the work. Now, I do not make that point for the purpose of scoring but I do want people to understand that the statement made in the Irish Press that this machinery was on order long before the Coalition Government took office does not bear out the facts. The machinery was ordered on the 20th May. I went into the Board of Works on the 24th February of this year.
Deputy Corry also raised a point about Haulbowline jetty. He asked if it had been abandoned. It has not.
Mr. Corry: I did not ask if it had been abandoned.
Mr. Donnellan: I want to point out that it was just on the point of reaching a certain stage when the previous Government went out of office. It is not going to be dropped. A scheme has been prepared and it will be given practical effect to with the least possible delay.
Mr. Corry: We are very anxious for it.
Mr. Donnellan: Deputy Collins referred to drainage being done by contract. That I admit would be a good way out of our difficulty if it were possible. But one must realise that the contractor must be a man who can turn round and buy hundreds of thousands of pounds' worth of machinery. There are very few men you can get to do that, but, once you have got a man to do it and you put him on a contract, every contract for every other drainage scheme will come up and you will have to give it to him as well; he can charge what he likes and the thing is bound to be a failure.
Deputy O'Higgins mentioned that there was a certain amount of red tape. I can assure the Deputy that, so far as the Board of Works is concerned, we have to work within the Act and do things in a proper manner. We cannot hasten any faster. I should like to point out that there are people who think a  drainage scheme can be carried out by sending a couple of excavators into a place and start digging holes. That cannot be done. We must send in engineers who will carry out a survey. You must know what way the water will go when you send in your dredgers. Any other class of work would be only a farce and the position would be worse when the job is complete than before it was started. That has happened in connection with other drainage schemes in the past, because they were not engineered properly.
Deputy McQuillan referred to drainage as a serious work and reference was made to the desirability of giving preference in the matter of work to people in the Brosna area. I can assure Deputies that we want all the workers we can get. Of the 500 workers we need we have got only 120.
I would like to make an appeal to all the people who are working there. They are getting a fair wage. When they think they are not, they have machinery and they can make a case. I appeal to the Brosna workers and to the workers on other drainage schemes that we will start as soon as possible, not to have any strikes. I believe that strikes on drainage works would be acts of sabotage. The workers have the machinery, if they have a grievance as regards pay or anything else. I appeal specially to labour representatives to impress that on the workers. I ask the workers not to hold up work so terribly necessary, work that should have been done generations ago. We are getting the machinery to do it and I appeal to labour not to impede us. Do not delay the work by strike action. Give us every opportunity to do this work, which is so very necessary.
Mr. Smith: Will the Parliamentary Secretary say what provision has been made on the Brosna site for the accommodation of the number of men he claims is required there?
Mr. Donnellan: I am sure Deputy Smith will agree that Rome was not built in one day. We are making every preparation. I assure the Deputy there will be no hardship on the men as far as we are concerned. We realise they  are our men and their comfort counts in their loyalty to the job. We are not slave-drivers or anything like that.
Mr. Smith: I submit I have not got an answer to my question. The Parliamentary Secretary invited us to believe that progress was being retarded because of lack of labour. He has indicated that there are only 120 men employed there and 500 would be necessary. He also claimed that if further machinery were available more work would be undertaken. I am anxious to know whether, if 500 men become available to-morrow—naturally, you would not expect them from the immediate area of the Brosna—the Board of Works has made provision for their proper housing?
Mr. Donnellan: We have got an offer of co-operation from the Turf Board along the line Deputy Smith is inquiring into. I can assure him it will not be through lack of accommodation that the workers will not turn up there.
Mr. Little: I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary whether he proposes to carry on with concluding an agreement with the Rotunda and following up the plans for the building of a concert hall.
Mrs. Rice: I am anxious to know if the Parliamentary Secretary has any information as to when the Clyde drainage scheme will be undertaken. I am particularly anxious about the extensive flooding in the Carrickmacross area. There is a lot of land under water there for most parts of the year and I should like some assurance as to when the drainage scheme will be undertaken.
Mr. A.P. Byrne: Has the Parliamentary Secretary any comments to make on my remarks earlier in the debate?
Mr. Donnellan: The Clyde and Dee form one of the catchment areas that are being surveyed. If we find conditions suitable and if we get the opportunity—that is, if sufficient labour is available—we intend to go ahead with the scheme.
Mr. Smith: Has the scheme been published yet?
Mr. Donnellan: No.
Mr. Smith: What time do you estimate it will take?
Mr. Donnellan: I could not say.
Mr. Smith: I assume work could not start until such time as all the preliminaries have been gone through. Could the Parliamentary Secretary give Deputy Mrs. Rice some indication when operations will start on the Clyde and Dee?
Mr. Donnellan: As the Deputy knows quite well, when the scheme is mapped out it has to be exhibited in certain public places. All the land holders have to be contacted and notified about it. He also realises that it takes a few months for objections to be considered, and until that is done—and we are compelled to do it by a section of the Act that the Deputy should know about—I could not give any guarantee when it will be begun.
Mr. Smith: When will it be published? The Parliamentary Secretary has shown considerable interest in drainage problems with which he is familiar. He has also admitted that other Deputies have a right to show concern for problems affecting their own areas. It happens that while very slightly the Clyde and Dee touch on the part of the country I know best, I am interested to know when publication will take place and also as regards the preliminary steps that are necessary before operations can begin.
Mr. Donnellan: I cannot give that guarantee and there is not a Deputy who knows that better than Deputy Smith. This work will be done as soon as possible.
Mr. Smith: I am not asking for a guarantee. I merely want to know when publication will take place.
Mr. Donnellan: As soon as possible. As regards the public concert hall mentioned by Deputy Little, that is one of the matters the Government has deferred owing to cost.
Mr. Smith: So, if machinery became available in whatever quantity the Parliamentary  Secretary might desire, it would not be possible to start operations on the Clyde and Dee, which are, I understand, in a most advanced stage from the point of view of drainage work?
Mr. Donnellan: Between machinery and concert halls, I do not know which you want. The machinery is coming whatever about the concert halls.
Mr. Smith: There does not seem to be any immediate need for a concert hall.
Mr. Little: I should like to contradict that last remark and to put in a plea that a very wide public has developed for these concerts. It is regarded as a very important factor in the education of the people. A great deal of work has already been done. It is really a form of extravagance to drop it at this stage.
Mr. Donnellan: It is not dropped; it is deferred.
Mr. Little: There is the contract waiting to be signed with the hospital authorities; it only requires to be completed.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is entitled only to ask questions.
Mr. Little: But surely we are in Committee and I had not spoken.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary was called on to conclude.
Mr. Little: Even so, I do not trouble the House with long speeches. I did not think the Estimate would have been concluded to-night because I had hoped to speak on the matter tomorrow. I put in the plea that it is a matter which affects a great many people, having been associated with these concerts earlier and seeing the correspondence in the paper. Anybody with experience will know that there is no alternative for supplying that particular need in the country except the building of a concert hall. I would put in the plea that we should at least complete the contract and not defer the matter longer than is necessary.
Mr. Beegan: In regard to the opening of the sluice gates which I suggested in the course of my remarks, will the Parliamentary Secretary take the matter up with the Electricity Supply Board to see if anything can be done in that way? It might take legislation but I am not advocating legislation.
Mr. Donnellan: The engineering experts say that it is not going to be one addition or one help in the world to the people concerned. I assure both Deputy McQuillan and Deputy Beegan that I shall go into that matter exhaustively and if I find out that it will relieve the people by one inch, so far as flooding in that area is concerned, I shall see that they will not be penalised but the engineering report is against it. Deputy Little is interested in the concert hall. I am sorry he was not in in time to speak on the matter but I can assure him that that matter is deferred because we believe that there are many schemes more necessary and that we would not be justified in spending such a huge sum on a job like that at present.
Mr. Little: You need not spend it all at present.
Mr. Donnellan: The day may come when the country will be able to afford it.
Mr. McQuillan: I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether it would not be possible to give a trial to the remedy suggested by Deputy Beegan and myself to relieve flooding. The people in the area maintain that if these sluice gates were opened it would alleviate the flooding. Why not give them a chance? They are not interested in the engineer's report and they want to see the thing done.
Mr. Donnellan: I actually intend to get the chief engineer and his assistant to come down there with me to see if anything can be done.
Mr. A.P. Byrne: Has the Parliamentary Secretary anything to say in regard to the future use of the National Park?
Mr. Donnellan: No.
Vote put and agreed to.
Mr. Blowick: I move:—
That a supplementary sum not exceeding £10 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1949, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Public Works (1 & 2 Will. 4, c. 33, secs. 5 and 6; 5 & 6 Vict., c. 89, secs. 1 and 2; 9 & 10 Vict., c. 86, secs. 2, 7 and 9; etc.).
Vote put and agreed to.
Mr. Blowick: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £866,500 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for Expenditure in respect of Public Buildings; for the maintenance of certain Parks and Public Works; and for the Execution and Maintenance of Drainage and other Engineering Works.
Vote put and agreed to.
Mr. Blowick: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £850,000 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1949, for Employment and Emergency Schemes (including Relief of Distress).
Mr. Donnellan: Before referring to the programme of works proposed for the current financial year I shall give a brief review of the work done in the year ended 31st March last. The amount provided by the Dáil for employment and emergency schemes in the financial year 1947-48 was £1,250,000, of which £1,232,296 was expended within the financial year. To this expenditure should be added contributions, principally from local authorities, amounting  to £225,985, making a gross expenditure of £1,458,281. Subject to possible amendments in detail, the expenditure on the various sub-heads was as follows:—
|A.— E. — Salaries, travelling Expenses, etc.||45,870|
|F.||Public Health Works in Urban Areas||58,284|
|Housing Sites Development||8,448|
|Road Works in Urban Areas||188,922|
|Amenity Schemes in Urban Areas||41,150|
|G.||Public Health Works in Rural Areas||94,062|
|Road Works in Rural Areas||154,159|
|Amenity Schemes in Rural Areas||1,169|
|H.— Minor Employment Schemes||106,813|
|I.—Bog Development Schemes (Landholders' and other private producers' bogs)||107,992|
|J.—Reconditioning or repair of public roads subject to heavy turf transport||45,785|
|K.—Farm Improvements Scheme||347,992|
|L.—Seed Distribution Scheme||95,337|
|M.—Lime Distribution Scheme||3,910|
|N.—Rural Improvements Schements||144,270|
Of the expenditure of £1,458,281 approximately £404,817 was expended during the period 1st April to 30th September, and the balance of £1,053,464 during the winter months. The maximum number of workmen employed at any one time during the year was: Farm improvements scheme, 6,090; other schemes, 12,985; total, 19,075. The average number employed each week on all schemes during the period up to September was 4,976 and from October to March 14,252. Approximately 33 per cent. of those employed were workmen who would otherwise have been entitled to unemployment assistance; but if the figures for farm improvement, bog development and rural improvements schemes, on which the numbers of unemployment assistance recipients engaged are relatively low, be excluded, the proportion of workmen who would have been entitled to unemployment assistance if not engaged on employment schemes was approximately 76 per cent.
 The total number of applications received for minor employment schemes during the year was 1,473 and about 5,100 proposals were investigated and reported on, including proposals already partially carried out. During the spring and summer, approximately 470 minor drainage schemes were carried out at a cost of £31,500, principally for the development of bogs used by landholders for the supply of their domestic requirements of turf.
The total number of effective applications received under the rural improvements scheme from its inception in 1943 up to 31st March, 1948, was 6,409, of which 5,660 had at that date been investigated on the ground by inspectors and reported on. Of these, 540 were for various reasons found to be unsuitable; offers of grants were issued in 4,912 cases. The number of such offers accepted in the course of the year under review was 1,030, for which grants totalling £97,738 were sanctioned towards a total estimated expenditure of £121,822, the balance of £24,084 being contributed by the applicants. The total expenditure incurred on the rural improvements scheme during the financial year was, approximately, £144,270. By the end of the year the number of individual works completed since the inception of the scheme in 1943-44 had reached 2,366, while a further 737 schemes were in progress.
I might remind Deputies that the rural improvements scheme is complementary to the farm improvements scheme, and enables groups of farmers to carry out various kinds of works for their joint benefit, principally small drainage works, and the construction and repair of accommodation roads to houses, lands and turbary. The usual rate of contribution by the landholders is 25 per cent., but this may be reduced in special cases where the work, in addition to being of benefit to the landholders immediately concerned, also serves members of the outside public. It will be observed that there was a net under-expenditure of approximately £17,700 on the Vote in the last financial year: having regard to the diversity of the types of schemes and to the large number of separate works—from 2,000 to 3,000—comprised  in the annual programme, this is a relatively insignificant sum.
Turning now to the programme for the financial year 1948-49, it will be observed that the provision in the Vote remains the same at £1,250,000. In this regard I should mention that the allocation of those sub-heads of the Vote provided specifically for employment schemes amongst the various urban and rural units of area is broadly in proportion to the number of unemployment assistance recipients in each area, and the programme for the financial year is based on a special enumeration of unemployment assistance recipients made in the beginning of each year, usually in January when unemployment is at a maximum. The total number of men returned in this census in January, 1948, was approximately 54,600, as compared with 54,000 in January, 1947. The corresponding figure for 1940 before there was any significant movement of workmen to Great Britain, was about 111,500, compared with which this year's figure shows a reduction of roughly 51 per cent.
Of the sum of £1,250,000 included in the Estimate for the current year, £766,600 will be spent on the continuation of schemes sanctioned before the 31st March, 1948, leaving a balance of £483,400 available for expenditure on new schemes. To the amount of the Vote must be added contributions from local authorities, and from beneficiaries under the rural improvements scheme, together estimated at £273,000. This gives an aggregate of £1,523,000 available for expenditure within the financial year 1948/49, and to enable this expenditure to be achieved as far as possible within the time limit, it is proposed to authorise schemes to the extent of £766,600 (State grant) in excess of the amount of the Vote. In accordance with the usual practice, this sum, equivalent to the unexpended balances on works in progress before the 31st March, 1948, together with a proportionate amount for local contributions, will be carried forward to form part of the coming year's programme.
In this regard it is desirable to  remind the Dáil that a large portion of each year's Vote is allocated for expenditure by local authorities, and the expenditure of the full amount of the provision depends largely on the acceptance by these authorities of the grants on the terms offered, and on the prompt submission of schemes.
The bulk of the proposals for works on which the year's programme of employment schemes is based are not lodged until after the beginning of the financial year, and for that reason and because the incidence of unemployment both in regard to time and place is liable to fluctuations, it is not feasible to make a close estimate beforehand of the sum required for each sub-head of the Vote. It has always been the practice, therefore, to allow a considerable degree of flexibility and inter-dependence between these sub-heads, the eventual savings in some being set against the excesses on others. In addition, a certain proportion of the Vote is kept in reserve, in sub-head O, miscellaneous schemes, to meet contingencies, or to provide for classes of works which are not proper to the other sub-heads.
In this regard I should remind the House that certain sums have already been earmarked to provide alternative employment for turf workers disemployed through the cessation of hand-won turf production by county councils and Bord na Móna. £200,000 has been allocated to county councils for works of restoration on county roads and for works of additional maintenance in existing drainage districts; and £60,000 for a special scheme of field drainage. This latter scheme will provide for the carrying out by the Department of Agriculture of field drainage on farms in or near the areas where unemployment has resulted from the discontinuance of hand-won turf production. In the first instance it will be confined to the two counties of Mayo and Galway, and to areas therein in which there are sufficient numbers of men formerly employed on turf schemes to form gangs. Landholders will be required to contribute to the cost of the work at the rate of £4 per statute acre of the land drained, and  the works will be carried out by gangs of eligible workers.
Subject to the foregoing remarks the programme of employment schemes for the present financial year will be broadly in accordance with the general practice in previous years.
Mr. O'Grady: I notice in some of these sub-heads this year there is a slight reduction in the amount provided. I also notice that in sub-head H., the expenditure was £106,000 last year, but this year only £95,000 was provided; also that the amount provided under the lime subsidy scheme was not fully availed of last year. I understand that it was part of the policy of the new Government to expand the lime scheme and I would like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary if the amount provided this year, although £2,000 less than that provided last year, will be fully availed of and if further moneys will be provided if they are necessary.
£60,000 has been provided for field drainage and under this scheme it is expected that farmers themselves will contribute £4 per statute acre towards the cost of this drainage. I wonder if the Parliamentary Secretary is yet in a position to give an estimate of the total cost per acre of the new scheme. What percentage of the total cost does this £4 represent? If I am right in my opinion, land would want to be very valuable to enable a farmer to make a contribution of £4 per statute acre. We have had a lot of clamour to acquire extra land for forestry. The average price paid for forestry land in the past to buy it outright was about £4 per acre and under this new scheme if it is expected that farmers will make a contribution amounting probably to 100 per cent. of the entire value of the land, I doubt if there will be many applications for it.
Perhaps in areas where there is very rich, valuable land farmers might be willing to make such contribution as this specifies, but I doubt whether in Galway or Mayo which are the counties concerned farmers would be prepared to make such a large contribution as £4 would seem to represent. Of course in the absence of figures as to the estimated  cost of the drainage, it is very hard to say exactly how it will work out. I hope, however, that there will be no economy with regard to the carrying out of the very many valuable schemes for which the Parliamentary Secretary is responsible, schemes that have not merely given useful employment, but have brought considerable benefit to many parts of rural Ireland.
The minor employment scheme was the first of these. As Deputies are aware, in many areas where the number of registered unemployed did not justify the carrying out of a scheme, a scheme could not be undertaken. But, where people are willing to make a contribution towards the cost, they can join together and put up a portion of the cost of a scheme, which is usually about 25 per cent. In my opinion, that is an even more valuable scheme than the rural improvements scheme, because people who come together and pay a portion of the cost of a scheme and who may be employed on that scheme are much more likely to give a better contribution for the money expended than those who would be only indirectly concerned and who would have no personal interest in the job. That scheme is one of the best that has been introduced for a good many years.
As well as that, we recently introduced a farm improvements scheme under which farmers are given a contribution towards the cost of carrying out improvements on their own lands. That is a big step forward and it is a scheme which has been very much appreciated by the farming community. It is a big thing for a farmer to get a grant from the taxpayers' money to improve his own lands. I hope that, so far as these very useful schemes are concerned, the Minister for Finance will not step in to use his economy axe. I do not want to go into detail about the various methods of operating these schemes. I sincerely hope, however, that the Parliamentary Secretary will resist any attempts at economy in regard to these very useful schemes which have been such a boon to the rural community. It is the aim and object of all Parties, according to their professed policies, to keep the people on the land. These schemes are a  means of giving widespread employment to people in remote parts of the country where it is very much needed.
Mr. Kennedy: There is a small matter concerning the rural improvements scheme and the minor relief scheme which has given me cause for thought for some considerable time and about which I got a resolution passed at a recent meeting of our county council and sent to the Office of Public Works and to which I now wish to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary. First of all, let me say that in connection with many of these minor relief schemes it would be desirable to have a decadal or quinquennial review of them. Small schemes are carried out and are a great asset to a locality and then they get into disrepair. If they were done every ten years or so the utility would be lasting.
Unlike Donegal, let us say, in the Midlands the boreens are hedged over with bushes. You have two kinds of minor relief schemes. You spend £100 on a boreen in a particular area where the fences are stone walls. That work lasts for at least ten or 12 years. On the main roads the farmers are obliged by law to cut their hedges and keep them breasted. You spend £100 on one of these boreens over which there is a canopy of hedges on each side. The dripping from the hedges comes on to the road and within a year you have pot-holes all over the place. The resolution which we have sent to the Office of Public Works asks them to take steps to compel farmers to dress their hedges so as to allow the sunlight to get through to the road that has been done. I do not know whether or not that would require legislation. I put the suggestion before the Parliamentary Secretary. If that is done, it will save money. Whether you should make application beforehand or not, I shall leave to the judgment of himself and his Department.
I did not quite catch the figures which the Parliamentary Secretary gave when speaking about the expenditure under the lime scheme. So far as I could follow him, there appears to be a big saving under that  heading. I make that statement subject to correction. It is a very good scheme. We have heard a lot about the crushed lime industry being brought into operation, and the sooner it is brought into operation the better. In connection with all schemes, whether rural improvement schemes or minor relief schemes, there should be a little more elasticity in the Office of Public Works. I have two schemes in mind in a particular area in which there was flooding. The men had to cease work on that particular drainage scheme. They signed on at the labour exchange. If you had the elasticity which I advocate, these men could be transferred to the other work. Apparently, the local survey staff was bent on getting one job completed. I think a direction should be given that, where it is impossible owing to weather conditions to complete a particular work, the men engaged on it should be transferred and kept in continuous work as long as possible.
In connection with the £4 per acre contribution that is expected from farmers under the scheme which is going to operate in the West, I should like to have more details about it. I have discussed the matter with farmers in my constituency and they want to know the nature of the work. They are not prepared to pay up to £4 per acre for drainage of their land. They say that it is an impossible contribution to ask for. Take a man with 25 acres of land. You ask him to pay up to £100 for the drainage of his land. We should like to know the nature of the drainage and what exactly is going to be done. Are they going to put French drains or small piping all over the fields? We contend that it must be a very elaborate scheme which demands a contribution of £4 per acre, and we should like to know the details of the work that will be carried out. The farm improvements scheme comes under this Vote. There was a question about that in the House to-day. So far as I can see, in the Midlands the inspectors engaged under that scheme are idle at present. The people are ready to go on with the work, and the sooner that work is initiated in the present financial year the better for the  farmers and for everybody engaged in it.
On the other Vote, Deputy Beegan spoke about a matter which also comes under this Vote. I understand there is some sum—I cannot give the exact amount—being provided for the men who were engaged on turf work in the last financial year and who are now unemployed. I should like to point out that there are a number of men in my constituency, and I am sure the same is true of other constituencies, who were engaged as helpers in the carriage of timber by lorry. These men have been notified that they cannot get work under this scheme. We have contacted the Custom House in regard to this matter but there seems to have been no definite decision made. Those men who have stamps on their cards are still going to the labour exchanges. Even though they are fathers of families or have dependents they are unemployed, because there is a rule that they cannot be employed under this scheme as they were not engaged in connection with turf production last year.
I have the anomaly in my locality of three single men being employed out of one house and a father of a family being disemployed simply because the three men worked on the bog and the other man did not. That matter should be remedied immediately.
Mr. McQuillan: On the question of minor relief and rural improvement schemes this is one matter in which the Board of Works, as it is, should “get the works.” The system at the moment with regard to minor relief, whereby we have to have a certain number of registered unemployed in the area before a useful scheme can be carried out, is absolute nonsense. There are a number of reasons which I will give to the House to bear out that statement. In my constituency, at any rate, we have a number of young men who still have enough decency left not to look for the dole. They are not interested in registering for employment at the local employment exchange. They are the sons of small farmers; they have small holdings themselves and they do not like this business of registering as unemployed  before they can hope to get work under a minor relief scheme. In the majority of cases that I know of, those who do register are generally men who live in the vicinity of towns. They are either very young fellows who want to get pocket money or else they are people who are not suitable for work on such schemes. It amounts to the fact that at times money is spent on minor relief scheme works and that the best possible labour is not available. The work is given to those people who are registered and who very often are not the most suitable to carry out this type of work. That means that there is a loss of public money because there is not a proper return of labour for the money involved. I fail to understand the reason for the proviso that there must be a certain number of registered unemployed in an area before a minor relief scheme will be started there. I cannot understand the type of mind that thought it up. I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to inform the House if it was thought up in a lunatic asylum.
I have recommended, after great consideration, a number of schemes for minor relief. After about a month's dilly-dallying I got back, and am still getting back, this type of reply: “This scheme that you have recommended cannot be considered owing to the fact that there are not enough of registered unemployed in the area.” The aim of the Board of Works and of the Parliamentary Secretary is to give employment on schemes—not to get out of giving employment by a quibble like that. It is a very important point and one that I would bring very forcibly to the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary.
With regard to the rural improvement schemes, a local contribution of 25 per cent. is required. I suggest that, as a remedy for this mix-up between the minor relief and the rural improvement schemes, this local levy of 25 per cent. should be reduced to 10 per cent. and that the minor relief schemes should be cut out altogether. At the moment there are two staffs, I presume, one dealing with the minor relief schemes and the other with rural  improvement schemes. Both are crossing each other, whereas the one staff could do the job successfully. A Deputy opposite mentioned that when a rural improvement scheme is carried out nothing is done about it for another ten years and that at the end of the ten years' period another rural improvement scheme is needed. I would suggest that when a scheme of rural improvement is carried out the local county council should be given authority to expend on maintenance a small sum of money, say, every three years to keep up that road or whatever else was done. That would eliminate the necessity of another rural improvement scheme being initiated in the area in ten years. I think that should appeal to the rural improvements scheme people as it would save them further expenditure. A small amount of money expended on maintenance every three years would save the giving of another big grant at the end of ten years.
I should also like some information from the Parliamentary Secretary with regard to this drainage. It is being carried out in Galway and Mayo and from what I know great interest is being taken in it, at any rate by the farmers in County Galway. I should like to put the case of Roscommon before the Parliamentary Secretary. I do not see why Galway and Mayo particularly should be singled out for these items in the beginning. The farmers in County Roscommon have shown as good a return as those in Galway and Mayo. Of course, if it was Roscommon the other Deputies would say why did Galway or Mayo not get it. But I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to consider Roscommon next year.
“Here's to Galway and Mayo,
That never feared the foe.”
Mr. McQuillan: The Deputy ought to know that there is no need for a musical concert at the moment. I can assure him that there is no need and that there will be no need or hope for one in the next ten years until the mess you caused is cleared up.
Mr. Flynn: I agree with all that Deputy McQuillan has said, simply because certain of the unemployment assistance recipients did not reside in that district. I know the answer the Board of Works will give. They will say that there are not enough poor men in the district and that that is sufficient proof that it is not a congested area or a district in which the people cannot very well afford to carry out this work themselves. We are surrounded by mountains. Our valleys are sparsely populated. It is impossible to transport people into them. There are not sufficient people in the valleys to do this work themselves. The present system, as Deputy McQuillan says, is impracticable. Why could not the Board of Works take a headline from the turf scheme? Why could not they transfer men to these areas as they transferred men to the bogs during the emergency? If that is not possible, then the Board of Works should help these people by scheduling this work as a rural improvement scheme. In one district in Beaufort there are only five men available. In order to recruit the 20 or 30 men required one would have to cross mountains. Transport for these men, who would have to travel ten miles into the valley, is out of the question. These areas should be inspected by the Board of Works officials in order that they might see the actual situation as it exists and the conditions under which these small mountain farmers have to live and maintain these roads off the beaten track. I have confidence in the Parliamentary Secretary, because he is not a man with an urban outlook. He comes from the western seaboard, an area very similar to Kerry. I know he will do good work, but he must cut out this red tape and circumlocution.
I want to make some comment with reference to the employment period Order. The matter may not be relevant on this Vote, but in my constituency there are numbers of men who are unemployed and who cannot find work of any kind. I suggest they have a prior claim on the State. They have been deprived of unemployment assistance on the ground that work is available. Work is not available. I  have given details of this matter to the Tánaiste and to the Minister for Local Government. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary now to inaugurate schemes which will give employment to these people. I pay tribute to the Tánaiste because he did not enforce the Order this year until four weeks later than the date on which it was enforced last year. There are hundreds of workers in South Kerry and there is no work available for them.
There is one other matter to which I wish to refer. I have asked the Board of Works to expedite a scheme for the erection of a sea-wall near Ballinskelligs Abbey. Thirteen years ago I approached the Board of Works in that matter. They gave instructions to the then county surveyor to prepare a scheme. They have now given instructions to the present county surveyor to do likewise. I called to the Board of Works recently to find out what had been done. Some months ago I put down a Parliamentary question on the same matter. I was informed by the officials of the Board of Works that the county engineer had prepared a scheme. They had asked him to come to Dublin for consultation and he would come probably in the near future. When he will come nobody knows. We may have to wait five, six or seven years for its implementation. This is an abbey of historic importance. Beside it is a burial ground. Because of erosion part of the burial ground has been washed away. Yet the Board of Works are unable to formulate a simple scheme for its protection. It is no wonder that Deputy McQuillan says the Board of Works should “get the works”. They have certainly fallen down on their job. I hope the new Parliamentary Secretary will once more put them into action.
Mr. Smith: It would be difficult for the Parliamentary Secretary, “the generous country boy,” as he was described by Deputy Flynn, to resist the pleas made in connection with the contribution demanded at present and which has been demanded for some time in regard to certain schemes operated by him. I would like to say at the outset that I think it is a mistake  both on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary and the members of this House to attempt to mislead the public into believing something is going to happen which will not, in fact, happen. If there is any plea that I would make to the present occupant of the post of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance it is that he should state quite clearly what his attitude is and what his attitude is likely to be on this matter. In reply to a Parliamentary question put by a representative from my own constituency he gave the stereotyped reply that there was not a sufficient number of registered unemployed in the particular area in which the proposed scheme was situated and that, if improvements were to be carried out, they can only be carried out on the basis of a contribution from those who would benefit.
Now, that reply was all right as far as it went, but Deputy O'Reilly was not satisfied with it and he pressed the Parliamentary Secretary still further and suggested there was some injustice in asking the beneficiaries to make such a contribution. The Parliamentary Secretary, in order not to let him down too roughly, in order to keep his hopes at a fairly high level, said “I hope to see the day when a contribution will not be necessary.”
Mr. Donnellan: It may happen.
Mr. Smith: It may, but, if it happens, well and good. What I am pleading for is a statement from the Parliamentary Secretary on behalf of the Government as to what the future attitude will be, a statement that will clear away the doubts to which expression has been given by a Deputy who is a very youthful member of the House—youthful in years, in experience and in many other ways—and by Deputy Flynn. I would like a statement that will clear away doubts and give the sufferers some indication of where they stand. I understand that works of this nature concern people who are living in backward places and I refer to them as sufferers. If you hold out the hope that there is a chance of the elimination of this contribution, you are inviting them to remain in their present condition rather  than make the contribution and have the work done at once.
If, on the other hand, a clear, positive statement were made, such as I made, with all my faults, in my time, not for the purpose of letting people down easily or in a hard way, but for the purpose of letting those people who were affected and who wanted to be relieved of walking through the muck and who would like to be relieved without any contribution, but who would make the contribution if they felt the work would not otherwise be done, know where they stood, it would be much better for all concerned. Instead of this sort of soft talk that we hear, instead of these generous gestures towards the Parliamentary Secretary and vice versa, instead of all this bowing and nodding, what I invite the Parliamentary Secretary to do is to give us a clear statement of the policy to be pursued by his Department.
I noticed recently a public announcement from the office of the Parliamentary Secretary informing us of an experiment—again, strange to say, a Galway experiment——
Mr. Donnellan: There were a few Cavan ones in your time. Do not develop that point.
Mr. Smith: I will develop anything I decide to develop—do not be one bit afraid of that. I will develop it and stand over all my public actions in this House or outside it.
Mr. Flanagan: I hope the Parliamentary Secretary, when he is replying, will not forget the carpenter in the Board of Works.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I hope Deputy Smith will not be interrupted any further.
Mr. Smith: While I appreciate your desire to perform the duties of the Chair impartially, I should like you to know that Deputy Smith will take all the necessary steps to protect himself. It is not often I participate in public debate here, but I do not mind interruptions. I have stated that the experiment  to which I refer was, strange to say, another Galway experiment. I have no objection to raise because of that fact. I shall deal with the experiment itself and what I think of it. Members of the House have some knowledge of the manner in which the execution of works, for which money is asked here, has been supervised. In the past that supervision has been carried out through the county surveyors and their assistants. This experiment proposes to set up in County Galway——
Mr. Donnellan: In Galway alone?
Mr. Smith: As far as the announcement to which I referred is concerned, it seemed to indicate that the experiment was being confined to Galway.
Mr. Donnellan: As regards this experiment, our intention is in some places to open offices to carry out schemes. Galway is one of the areas where the county surveyor told us he was not in a position to carry on the scheme because of the work he has to do in his own area. We have also taken up Clare, Tipperary North, Tipperary South and Roscommon. Therefore, it is not purely a Galway experiment.
Mr. Smith: Even if it were a Galway experiment, that does not meet the objection I will make to it. This problem is not a new problem. I am prepared to admit that it is a problem that was to some extent in existence when I occupied that office. It is a problem on the solution of which I have had many discussions with officials of the Special Employment Schemes Office and I am only proposing to give my considered opinion at that time as to the advisability or otherwise of proceeding along the lines that are now being followed by my successor. I am quite well aware of the legal position as regards the execution of these works. I am perfectly conversant with the objection raised to having these works carried out in this fashion, the objection raised by some county surveyors. I am well aware of the fact that in certain instances the manner in which the work was executed was not everything to be  desired from our point of view. I am well aware of the difficulties with which the Parliamentary Secretary and his officials have had to contend. But is it not a peculiar thing that we have to resort to the setting up of this new organisation in the different counties?
We start with Galway and then go on to Clare, coming next to Tipperary, next perhaps to Mayo and finally we set up a new organisation for the execution of works of this nature whilst we have on the spot a county surveyor and a number of assistants. They have the necessary equipment, the necessary machinery. They have the places in which the machinery can be stored without expense. If we proceed along the lines indicated in the statements which have been published in the Press and confirmed by the Parliamentary Secretary now, is it not obvious that we are building up a new organisation which will be dealing with somewhat, though not entirely, the same kind of work and, as a result, the overlapping involved will give rise to unnecessary expense?
Mr. Donnellan: Was that not decided on by your predecessor? Ask Deputy O'Grady.
Mr. Smith: I am responsible only for giving to the House the benefit of my own knowledge, experience and judgment, as I am doing now.
Mr. Donnellan: Ask Deputy O'Grady.
Mr. Smith: I say then that if we had in the past taken steps, not only in regard to this matter but in regard to matters under other Departments to cut out overlapping—if other Departments, as in the case of the Local Government Department, decided to amalgamate services carried out by different engineers and to make the county surveyor responsible with his assistants not only for the roads of the county but for all other services—how can we satisfy ourselves that the course that is now being pursued in the establishment of a new engineering organisation, provided with new equipment to carry out employment schemes and other works for which the Parliamentary Secretary and his office is  now responsible, is a satisfactory arrangement? I have prefaced my remarks by assuring the Parliamentary Secretary that I was conscious of the difficulties in regard to this matter. While I did give all attention and consideration possible to the matter, I hesitated, and I believe wisely hesitated, before establishing a new organisation, in the full knowledge as to what that was going to cost and the lack of co-ordination and co-operation that would exist as between the county engineering services and the new organisation set up for these purposes.
Mr. Donnellan: You knew that that was decided on when Deputy O'Grady was in the Board of Works.
Mr. Smith: I have told the Parliamentary Secretary that I am speaking of my own experience and what my own opinion was and is. I have consulted no other person.
Mr. Donnellan: You walked into it.
Mr. Smith: Each Deputy is entitled to express his own opinion as to what he thinks of any proposition and I want to put on record my objection to the course that is being pursued. I am suggesting to the Parliamentary Secretary that while he might have found it difficult, it should not be impossible in respect of the county surveyors who had indicated their unwillingness, to ascertain whether the responsibility for the execution of these works could be regarded as coming within the terms of their appointment. Whether that was the case or not, there should be some means by which this Department could have insisted on their taking the responsibility they took in years gone by.
Like some of the other Deputies who have spoken on field drainage schemes, I am at a loss to know how exactly the Parliamentary Secretary could have arrived at a flat contribution of £4 per statute acre in a scheme like this. I think Deputies will agree that, however urgent field drainage may be in any particular area, there is scarcely any two acres in which you will find a like necessity for the same number of drains. While one acre can be effectively  dealt with by 400 or 500 yards of field drainage, another acre may require 1,000 yards of drainage. The Parliamentary Secretary has not told us what type these drains are to be, whether they are to be stone piped or not. I can see an immediate objection coming from a farmer who has four or five acres of land requiring perhaps limited drainage, while his neighbour may require a substantially larger number of drains for a similar area. He can say: “It is not fair to ask me for a contribution of £4 per acre for a certain number of drains, whilst my neighbour is asked only for the same contribution although his land requires a greater number of drains.” Like other Deputies, I can therefore see the need for a good deal of clarification on that matter. I think the Parliamentary Secretary will find when he attempts, if he ever does attempt, to extend this scheme to other parts of the country, that it has been thought out rather hastily. Whether my prophecy should prove true or not, I should like to hear him give the House a clearer picture of the amount required for, say, an acre of the sort of land he has in mind in Mayo or Galway and what amount of that estimate this £4 contribution would represent. How does he propose to meet the sort of cases I have cited where the need for drainage is greater in one man's farm than another? Is it going to be a case of insisting on the farmer, irrespective of the need for drainage, or the number of drains to be made, making this contribution? I move to report progress.
Progress reported; the Committee to sit again.
Vote put and agreed to.
Mr. Lemass: I gave notice to raise this question of the British Nationality Bill on the Adjournment because I object to the atmosphere of secrecy and mystery with which the Minister for External Affairs is endeavouring to  surround it. I think that all that secrecy is entirely unnecessary and bad national policy. The issues which arise out of the British Nationality Bill are of a character which arouse deep-felt feelings amongst our people, feelings which, I think, transcend the boundaries of Party organisations. Our viewpoint on these matters cannot be expressed by merely legal arguments and diplomatic representations, but by demonstrations of Irish public opinion. The Minister, in reply to my question, said that he did not wish to make a statement on the Bill while it was before the British Parliament. I am completely unable to understand that viewpoint. If the Minister is to make a statement at any time, surely it is while the Bill is in process of enactment he should make it and not wait until the Bill, with all its objectionable features, has passed into British law.
The issue of this Bill entered into a new phase when the details of the Bill were published on February 18th. Deputies will remember that date. The Fianna Fáil Government vacated office and the present Coalition Government came into office. Whatever might have been said in favour of keeping private the discussions and representations which were proceeding between the two Governments concerning the Bill before that date, before the publication of the Bill—and something could be said for it, because it might be thought that by following that line the Irish viewpoint on it would have better prospects of being accepted and the Bill when it was produced would not be objectionable—subsequent to that date, when the details of the Bill were published, it became the right of any individual to say what he wished about it and neither I nor any other individual will be prevented from saying what we think by any childish threats which the Minister for External Affairs made this afternoon. It is not merely our right as citizens, but it is our duty as members of the Opposition, to see that the Government is kept on the right road regarding it. It is our duty as members of the Dáil to ensure that by no blunder, by no act or omission of theirs will they fail to protect the national interests. The Minister's attitude here  this evening, with his obvious resentment of discussion on the matter, of criticism or of any reference to it in the newspapers, only tends to create in our minds a suspicion that he has not been as active as he should have been, that he has allowed the position to be lost by his default. I do not know if the Minister resents being urged to do his duty, but whether he resents it or not, I want to tell him that the Deputies on this side of the House will keep stepping on his heels to see that he moves when he should.
Minister for External Affairs (Mr. MacBride): How has the Minister been in default? Will the Deputy explain?
Mr. Lemass: I will speak in my own way and I will deal with the points in whatever order I choose. I do not want to be interrupted by the Minister. I have 20 minutes to speak and I want to speak for those 20 minutes. The knowledge which we have as former members of the Government of events relating to this Bill is confined to the period which preceded its introduction in the British Parliament on the 18th February. From that date we have no knowledge of anything concerning it except from what we have seen in the newspapers.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Morrissey): I doubt it.
Mr. Lemass: I do not care what Deputies doubt.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Will the Deputy say who wrote the article in the Irish Press?
Mr. Lemass: Will the Deputy sit down? This matter came to a head at the end of 1946 when the British Government made known its intention of introducing legislation to amend the British Nationality Act of 1914 and it was proposed that a conference should be held on the matter. It is public knowledge that Irish delegates attended that conference. It is public knowledge that their views were conveyed to the British Government through one channel or another. It is also public knowledge that the Minister for External Affairs as an Opposition  Deputy in the previous Dáil asked Dáil questions concerning the matter and got replies about it. There was no difficulty on anybody's part in understanding that this matter was a live issue in discussions between the two Governments leading up, as it obviously did, to the introduction of proposals for legislation in the British Parliament. The Minister said to-day:—
“I think it is a completely wrong practice that confidential documents on diplomatic matters should be referred to in newspaper articles.”
I questioned the Minister as to what confidential documents he referred to and he told me that he referred to the aide memoire and said that the writer of that article could not have made that statement regarding the aide memoire unless he had access to private and secret information. If the Minister for External Affairs had read the article in the Irish Press with a little more care, he would be something the wiser. This article in the Irish Press contains the following paragraph: “On 1st June, he”—that is, Deputy Lemass—“asked the Minister for External Affairs what steps had been taken by the present Government to ensure that the objectionable features of the Bill as indicated in Mr. de Valera's aide memoire to the British Government would be removed.”
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: What is the date of the article?
Mr. Lemass: 30th June. “The answer was a request to repeat the question at a later date.” There was a reference in that question to the existence of the aide memoire. There was certainly no objection on behalf of the Minister then to the reference in the question to the aide memoire. Nothing appeared in that article in the Irish Press which was not available to any person who read the newspapers. In the course of the debate in the British House of Lords on the Committee Stage of this Bill a communication from the Irish Government—the Fianna Fáil Government—was read by the British Government spokesman. The article in the Irish Press stated that the aide memoire had not been published and it  did not purport to quote from any document, confidential or otherwise.
Mr. C. Lehane: Will Deputy Lemass answer one question?
Mr. Lemass: When the Minister for External Affairs goes to the Attorney-General with his childish and nonsensical threat, I hope that the Attorney-General will have something better to do than to listen to him.
Mr. C. Lehane: Is the author of that article an ex-Attorney-General?
Mr. Lemass: What does that matter? I say that that article could have been written by anybody who read the newspapers. There was no use of any-confidential information. The statement made by the Minister that the knowledge that the aide memoire existed was secret and confidential information is not true. In this House reference was made to the aide memoire and in the House of Lords reference was made to it.
Mr. C. Lehane: Does it quote the ipsissima verba?
Mr. Lemass: It does not. Does the Minister expect that ex-Ministers are going to forget what happened when they were in office and make no reference to it even when he uses their silence for the purpose of misrepresenting their actions in the past? To-day, the Minister took full advantage of the fact that we have been meticulous in observance of our duties as former Ministers in the use of confidential information to try to score a mean political point, to misrepresent our position. He said that there was an amendment carried in the House of Lords. He said, I am quoting from the Official Debates, that these provisions were amended in the House of Lords on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor and as a result of representations made, not before the 18th February, but since. Will the Minister stand over that? Has he read the aide memoire? Is he trying to suggest that there was nothing done in the aide memoire or on many other occasions to convey to the British the strongest  possible representations concerning that Clause 3 of the British Nationality Bill? Will he publish the aide memoire now to see which of us is telling the truth? I say the Minister made a false statement and he made that false statement hoping to get away with it in the knowledge that we would not quote confidential official documents to prove him wrong. I say, in consequence of the Minister's assertion, that in the aide memoire the most emphatic representations were made and strong objections expressed to that particular clause of the British Nationality Bill. I say that similar representations were made on other occasions, verbally and in writing, to the British Government concerning that clause in the Bill before the 18th February; that the statement made by the Minister this afternoon is untrue, and I challenge him to put that issue to the test by publishing the aide memoire now. Its publication can do no harm now.
Mr. C. Lehane: Why the mystery about the identity of the author of the article?
Mr. Lemass: I am trying to find out the mystery behind the attitude of your colleague, the Minister for External Affairs. I repeat that I and my colleagues, who were members of the former Government, have been most careful not to use any confidential information which we have in a manner which would do national damage. There is no recognised code of practice in the matter; there is no law; there is no precedent. We have established our own code. We are certainly not going to be put in the position of listening to our actions being misrepresented and falsehoods being disseminated without taking measures to correct them.
The attitude of our people to this British Nationality Bill need not be a secret. It is not necessary to keep it secret. Any member of this Dáil, any man in the street, could have prepared the aide memoire that went to the British Government. He would at least have used the very same arguments against the objectionable provisions of the Bill, because it is a matter upon which there is no difference  of opinion amongst us. Our objection to that Bill was threefold. As stated in the article, first of all, we objected to any citizens of this nation resident in any part of the national territory, in the Six Counties or the Twenty-Six Counties, being denied the legal right to describe themselves as Irish citizens and being compelled to give any allegiance other than to this country. We objected to the provisions of the Bill as it was introduced which provided that Irish citizens can become —the term in the Bill is “can remain”—British subjects by merely expressing the wish to or claiming to remain British subjects. That particular provision of the Bill was amended in the House of Lords. It was amended by the Opposition to the present British Government in a manner which makes it much more objectionable, because it is no longer necessary for an Irish citizen to go through the formality of making a claim before being described as a British subject under this British measure.
Captain Cowan: A subject of his Majesty.
Mr. Lemass: As I said, in the debate on that particular section of the Bill the representations and the written communications sent by the previous Government to the British Government were quoted by British spokesmen. We objected to Section 3 of the Bill, the section which proposed to bind Irish citizens everywhere by the law at that time in force in Great Britain. We regarded that as a flagrant infringement of our sovereignty. That section was amended. May I say that no reference to any amendment of that section appeared in the very full report of the debates on the Bill in Committee and on Report in the House of Lords? I have, however, seen the official report of the debate in the House of Lords and the amendment which was inserted to the section.
I want to know from the Minister does he accept that amendment as adequately meeting the Irish objections to the section as introduced. It is true that it no longer makes Irish citizens liable to penalties under British law for offences committed in Ireland or outside Great Britain. It  does make them when in England legally subject to British law. If the Bill as now framed containing the British Government amendment had been law during the recent war, Irish citizens in Great Britain would have been liable to conscription in the British military forces. They are now liable to be called upon to give service under the British National Service Act. An Irish citizen going to Great Britain to visit a sick brother could, as the law now stands, be called on under British law to give service in the British forces or in any other way in which British law requires service from a British subject. Has the Minister accepted that amendment as meeting the objections to Clause 3 of the Bill and, if not, what does he propose to do about it? I know what the Minister, if he had been an Opposition Deputy, would have said about that section if this Bill had been presented to the British Parliament with or without this amendment when there was a Fianna Fáil Government in office. It is in relation to that particular section that he implied that no representations were made to the British Government before February 18th. I mark that as a plain falsehood.
Mr. MacBride: I never said that no representations had been made before 18th February.
Mr. Lemass: What the Minister stated was that these provisions were amended in the House of Lords on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor and as a result of representations made, not before the 18th February but since.
Mr. MacBride: I stand over that.
Mr. Lemass: The Minister can stand over that, but I say that in doing so he is standing over a falsehood. That statement is in every particular untrue, and I challenge him to put it to the test in every particular by publishing the aide memoire.
Mr. MacBride: Will the Deputy apologise for calling me a liar if I prove him to be wrong?
Mr. Lemass: I will apologise if the Minister can produce the aide memoire without reference to that clause in it.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Lemass did not call the Minister a liar. The Chair was particularly careful to see that he did not. He described the statement as a falsehood. If he had followed that up in a certain fashion, I would have asked him to withdraw.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: On a point of order. I beg to call the attention of the Chair——
Mr. Lemass: I want to say——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Lemass must give way on a point of order.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: I suggest to the Chair that in an earlier statement Deputy Lemass referred to it as a falsehood knowingly made.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: No. I was careful to see that Deputy Lemass did not qualify the word “falsehood”. The Chair would not allow any Deputy to say that another Deputy, Minister or otherwise, had uttered a deliberate falsehood.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: I accept that. I may have misheard the Deputy.
Mr. Lemass: I have said before and I repeat now that if the Minister intended by these words to convey to the House that representations were not made to the British Government before February 18th concerning the objectionable provisions of Clause 3 of the British Nationality Bill that statement is false. There is an easy way of putting that matter to the test. The article in the Irish Press, with the one exception of the reference to an amendment in Clause 3 concerning which nobody could have got information from the newspapers, was accurate and reliable in every possible respect. The Minister's statement that the article contained a number of inaccurate and misleading statements was equally wrong.
Mr. C. Lehane: Tell us who wrote it.
Mr. MacBride: Before dealing with the various irresponsible charges made by the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition  I should like to state in one or two sentences what the attitude of this Government is in relation to the British Nationality Bill and any amendments that have been introduced to it, lest anything that Deputy Lemass said might mislead those on the other side of the water who are dealing with this Bill. This Government does not accept this Bill as a satisfactory Bill nor does this Government accept the amendment to Section 3 as a satisfactory amendment. It is merely an improvement on the position that has existed, because, I do not know whether Deputies of this House are aware of it, until now under British law each and every single citizen of this country was looked upon as a British subject.
Captain Cowan: There is no doubt about it.
Mr. MacBride: That had never been challenged by the last Government until this Bill came up.
Mr. Lemass: It was.
Deputies: Order. Order.
Mr. Morrissey: Keep cool.
Mr. MacBride: The matter came up for discussion in December, 1946, for the first time.
Mr. de Valera: The matter was challenged when our Nationality Bill was going through. Tell the truth.
Mr. MacBride: Let me pass from that to the charges made by Deputy Lemass. As regards the amendments to Section 3 of the Bill that were introduced, representations were made by the last Government. These representations were rejected on the 6th February last and, as pointed out by the Irish Press, the Bill was introduced with Section 3 unamended on the 18th February last. I took the matter up on behalf of the Government and, as a result of the representations I made to the British Government, an amendment was introduced which was an improvement on the position that existed—an improvement which, apparently, the last Government had failed to obtain. I never said that the last  Government had not made representations. They had written an aide memoire and they had left it at that.
With regard to a more serious matter, because I think it affects fundamentally the privileges of members of this House and members of a Government not merely in this country but in any country, I say with the utmost deliberation and with a full sense of responsibility that whoever wrote the article that I referred to in the Irish Press to-day had at his elbow, at the time of writing that article, a secret official document from which he quoted. Portions of that article are, comma for comma, taken from a confidential memorandum handed to the British Government. The only four sources from which that secret diplomatic memorandum can have been obtained are (1) from the Leader of the Opposition who was Minister for External Affairs when it was written; (2) from the ex-Attorney-General who was consulted and who drafted portions of it; (3) from the British Diplomatic Representative in Dublin or (4) from some dishonest official of my Department. I now ask the Leader of the Opposition whether he abstracted a copy of that memorandum when he left office.
Mr. MacEntee: Which he drafted.
Mr. de Valera: Is it suggested that ex-members are not entitled to keep Cabinet papers?
Mr. de Valera: I am standing over that.
Mr. de Valera: There is no question about it. I want to know what circumstances——
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Morrissey): Now we know where the Irish Press is getting its information.
Mr. MacBride: May I teach Deputy de Valera the law he should have known when in office? Under the Official Secrets Acts to which he had recourse on a number of occasions it is a criminal offence for any Minister or  any official to make use of information that they obtained in the course of their duties.
Mr. de Valera: Nonsense.
Mr. MacEntee: Sheer Nonsense.
Mr. MacBride: Let me quote:—
“Any person is guilty of a misdemeanour, punishable by imprisonment, or fine, or both, who having in his possession or control any article, note, document, secret code word, sketch (including photograph), plan, model or information which he has obtained, or to which he has access, owing to his official position communicates the same to any person other than a person to whom he is authorised or it is his duty to communicate it, or retains it when he has no right to retain it....”
Does Deputy de Valera claim in this House that he is entitled to abstract official State documents and retain them and make whatever use he wishes to make of them?
Mr. de Valera: I do not, but I say that I am entitled to keep the documents which were circulated to me as a Cabinet Minister, and that that is the practice. I am not entitled to publish them or to use them as such——
Mr. MacBride: “As such.”
Mr. de Valera: Let us have a debate on it.
Mr. Morrissey: Let the Minister finish. That is your old game.
Mr. MacBride: Having carefully compared the memorandum with the article written in the Irish Press, that article written in the Irish Press quotes word for word sections of that memorandum. I now challenge Deputy de Valera to say whether, as one of the directors of the Irish Press and as ex-Minister for External Affairs, he abstracted that document and made it available to his newspaper.
Mr. de Valera: I did not.
Mr. MacBride: Does he deny that? Very well, I accept Deputy de Valera's denial. If he says he did not do it, I accept his word.
Mr. de Valera: There is a big question——
Mr. MacBride: I turn next and I challenge Deputy Lemass to deny that that article was written by the ex-Attorney-General, Mr. Carroll O'Daly, and that he had at his elbow when writing it a secret confidential document.
Mr. de Valera: Is a person who writes a document——
Mr. MacBride: Is the Deputy rising on a point of order?
Mr. de Valera: I am rising——
Deputies: Let the Minister finish.
Mr. MacBride: I challenge Deputy Lemass, the General Manager of the Irish Press, to deny that that article was written by Mr. Carroll O'Daly, the ex-Attorney-General, who made an improper and a criminal use of an official secret document.
Mr. MacEntee: Not at all.
Mr. Morrissey: Let Deputy Lemass answer it.
Mr. MacBride: Does he deny that? Does he admit or deny that?
Mr. de Valera rose.
Mr. Killilea: Let us have a debate on it.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government (Mr. Corish): Let him say “Yes” or “No”.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: This can be discussed on another occasion.
Mr. de Valera: Let us have a full discussion on the matter.
Mr. MacEntee: Publish the document.
Captain Cowan: Leave it to the Military Court.
Mr. Gorry: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state in regard to the proposed new Garda station for Mountmellick (a) if a site has been decided on and, if so (b) when the new station will be built.
Mr. McGilligan: A site for a new Garda station at Mountmellick has been selected, but it is not possible to say at present when the building will be erected.
Mr. Gorry: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the present position in regard to the water supply scheme for the town of Abbeyleix.
Mr. Murphy: The plans and specification for this scheme were approved on the 21st ultimo.
Mr. Gorry: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state what progress is being made in regard to the water supply for the village of Clonaslee.
Mr. Murphy: On the 24th instant my Department was informed that the consulting engineer appointed to prepare this scheme was desirous of having gaugings taken in a dry period to determine which of two possible sources would be more suitable.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 1st July, 1948.