Prohibition of Forcible Entry and Occupation Bill, 1970: Report Stage (Resumed).

Wednesday, 4 August 1971

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 255 No. 18

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Debate resumed on amendment No. 9:

In page 3, line 35, after “offence” where it secondly appears to add “provided always and it is hereby declared that reasonable comment on a matter of public interest in any newspaper, magazine, periodical or book shall not constitute an offence under this subsection”.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  On a point of order, now that the Government have got their guillotine motion which restricts debate on the final Stages of the Forcible Entry Bill, I wonder whether it would be too much to ask what time the Government have now allocated for discussion on each of the amendments and the Final Stage?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy should address that question to the Government.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Where is the Taoiseach?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  The House has from now until half past ten.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  It is unfair of the Minister for Justice to say that we have from now until half past ten.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  The Taoiseach is not absent, he is in the Division Lobby.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  May I repeat the question to the Taoiseach?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Yes, the Deputy may.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Since the guillotine has been imposed by the Government on discussion of this Bill could we be told even at this late stage as a matter of courtesy what time they propose using their various guillotines, to devote to the subsequent amendments, which number about six, and to discussion on the Final Stage of the Bill?

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  The House has from now until half past ten for the lot. If Deputies opposite want to devote it all to one amendment that is immaterial to the Government. All the remaining questions will be put at half past ten. I might add that the Opposition have had not just from now until half past ten; they have had from 10.30 a.m. on Friday and all day today to debate the remaining Stages. They were given notice by the Taoiseach at that time.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Might I address the same question to the Taoiseach? There are about six more amendments and the Final Stage. Could we have an indication when the various guillotines will be introduced?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  There is only one motion, a time motion, which has been passed, which means that all the questions remaining to be put will be put together at half past ten. As far as we are concerned we can allocate an even time between now and half past ten, which is three and a half hours, for [3299] the various other amendments and the Final Stage. It is up to Members opposite. If they can arrange a quick Whips' Meeting, we will accommodate them.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  It is a bit late in the day in view of the performance of the Government Party to be talking about discussion between the Whips.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Hear, hear.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  On a point of order, it is not the desire nor the intention of this party to engage in any disorderly behaviour.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  If you sneer at that, you might get it.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  We are far too conscious of the seriousness of the situation and the completely irresponsible attitude of the Government.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  They are longer in this House than certain other parties.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  We were here when you were never heard of.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Labour helped to build the foundations in the early years, they did not try to ruin it as you did.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Order, order. What is the point of order, Deputy?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The Chair has come in direct conflict with Standing Order No. 27, Standing Order No. 40 and Standing Order No. 53. There is a limit to what we can accept as an Opposition. We will perform our role as an Opposition——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  No. 24, Prohibition of Forcible Entry and Occupation Bill, 1970, Report Stage, amendment No. 9, Deputy Enright.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  ——and we will not be steamrolled without making it very obvious to the public that this Bill is being steamrolled at the moment. The Chair's regard for the rights of Deputies of this House on the Opposition benches is less than nil. The Chair has clearly demonstrated——

[3300]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is interfering with the rights of a Deputy of this House at the moment, Deputy Enright. I have no intention of putting the Deputy out, I will not put him out.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I know the Chair has no intention of performing his duty in any respect, why should he do it in that respect? The only thing the Chair has any intention of doing is what the Taoiseach tells him to do.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Hear, hear.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The fact remains that the Chair has allowed three items of Standing Orders——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Deputy Enright. The Deputy is now being disorderly.

Mr. Cooney: Information on Patrick Mark Cooney  Zoom on Patrick Mark Cooney  He has given way on a point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It is not a point of order.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): Deputy Enright cannot be expected to speak until the Chair gets order.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Deputy Enright on amendment No. 9. The Deputy is interfering with Deputy Enright.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I am speaking on a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That is not a point of order.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I am speaking on a point of order——

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  Deputy Enright.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The first Standing Order which the Chair totally disregarded in order to help the Government Party, of which the Chair is a Member, is No. 27.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is begging me to put him out. I am not going to put him out at all; what he wants is too obvious.

(Interruptions.)

[3301]Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Is the Chair afraid to put Deputy Cluskey out?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I would regret the Chair putting me out before I make my point of order.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It would not even look well; it is too obvious to everybody. Deputy Enright.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I doubt very much if it is as obvious as the Chair's impartiality.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Wait for your orders.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Dublin's example to Ian Paisley.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Standing Order No. 27 states quite clearly that a motion is not properly before this House unless it bears a signature.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Deputy Enright is in possession on amendment No. 9 of the Forcible Entry Bill.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  It was quite clearly demonstrated, accepted and admitted by the Chair that no such signature was affixed to the motion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is out of order.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  On a point of order, it is for the Chair to preserve order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That is not a point of order.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  It gives no one on these benches any pleasure or any gratification to have to engage in such a lengthy point of order, but unfortunately the Chair's behaviour and rulings over the last week and particularly today have left us as an Opposition who intend to fulfil the obligations of an Opposition——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The rulings have been according to Standing Orders.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Most definitely not.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Yes

[3302]Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  With the Chair's indulgence, which I am sure I will get, I will quote the three Standing Orders which the Chair is clearly in breach of.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is in breach of Standing Orders now. I have called Deputy Enright to continue.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The Chair's respect for Standing Orders is very touching.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): I want to put on record that the House is being reduced to a farce.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I agree and that is why I am asking Deputy Cluskey to resume his seat.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I agree, too, with Deputy Fitzpatrick. Not only is this House being reduced to a farce but it has been reduced to a farce already.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is reducing the House to a crossroads meeting.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I would like to hear the Chair's justification for ignoring Standing Order No. 27 which, as set out, is not in any way ambiguous. The relevant part reads:

All motions to be put on the Order Paper for any day, shall be in writing, signed by a member...

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I thought the Deputy's party wanted some time for discussion of the amendments. Deputy Corish raised that point some time ago.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  This party are concerned that democracy be upheld.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): I regret to have to put on record again that the Chair appears to be cooperating in depriving Members of this House of their right to speak on amendment No. 9.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I have called Deputy Enright.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  You are not a man. You are afraid to do your duty.

[3303]Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I am asking the Chair——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I am asking the Deputy to resume his seat.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I am exercising my rights and am asking the Chair, on behalf of this party, how he justifies his conflict with a clearly stated Standing Order—No. 27?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  There has been no conflict. I would ask the Deputy to resume his seat and allow Deputy Enright to continue on amendment No. 9.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  It is impossible for the House to proceed if Standing Orders are to be ignored by the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Deputies must allow Deputy Enright to continue.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  In order to have any form of democracy in this Assembly, it is necessary that Standing Orders be adhered to. On three distinct occasions the Chair has been in direct conflict with Standing Orders.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Again, I ask the Deputy to resume his seat and allow Deputy Enright to continue.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  You are not doing your duty.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Since it appears that the Chair is not familiar with Standing Orders, I shall quote that part of Standing Order No. 27 with which the Chair is in conflict. This part states:

All motions to be put on the Order Paper for any day, shall be in writing, signed by a member,...

Before the motion was taken today, it was pointed out by a Deputy that that Standing Order had not been decided but the Chair choose to ignore the matter.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Some time ago the Taoiseach was standing idly by but now the Chair is sitting idly by.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Are Fianna Fáil to introduce the guillotine on a Bill that they cannot defend and for which their only defence has been the hurling of personal abuse across the Floor at the [3304] Opposition during the long and protracted debates on sections of the Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  We are discussing amendment No. 9.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  One can expect and even on occasions accept this from Fianna Fáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is not at a street corner now.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The Chair is afraid to carry out his duties. He has never allowed me to go that far.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): On a point of order, surely the Chair has a responsibility to this House?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The Ceann Comhairle should leave the Chair and allow somebody else to do the job.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I would like to make it clear that my remarks were not directed towards any individual but were directed towards the high office of the Ceann Comhairle. I shall continue to direct them towards that high office.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  He has now left and has put the Leas-Cheann Comhairle in the hot seat. It is a disgraceful performance that a well-paid man should renege his duty.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Will Deputy L'Estrange please cease interrupting?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I have considerable sympathy with you, Sir, as a person but I have no doubt that you will perform your functions as Leas-Cheann Comhairle and not refuse to do so as the Ceann Comhairle has done. My point of order is that the Chair, in the person of the Ceann Comhairle, has come into direct conflict with three items in Standing Orders which I shall quote.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that the Chair has called amendment No. 9.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I am on a point of order. We have no wish to be [3305] disorderly but we are trying to clarify why the Chair came into conflict with three specific items in Standing Orders. We have no wish either to aid and abet the Government in reducing this Parliament to a farce but we must insist on our right as elected Members of Dáil Éireann who happen to find themselves temporarily in Opposition——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): On a point of order, I would point out that the rights and privileges of Deputies are being interfered with——

Mr. Carter: Information on Frank Carter  Zoom on Frank Carter  By whom?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan):—— and that the Ceann Comhairle who was in the Chair for about 15 minutes did nothing to ensure that the rights of Deputies are protected.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  He ran for cover.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): A guillotine motion has been imposed here today and the remainder of the time of the House until 10.30 p.m. is precious. Therefore, Members should be allowed exercise their rights in accordance with the Rules of Order of the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  This is the point at the moment. The decisions of the Chair may not be questioned and the Chair has decided that——

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  If the Leas-Cheann Comhairle cannot protect the rights of Deputies, he should vacate the Chair.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Because of the regard that this party hold for the impartiality and integrity of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, we shall not pursue this matter in his presence but shall wait until the Ceann Comhairle returns.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Enright on amendment No. 9.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I reported progress on this debate last week. I happened to be speaking at approximately 6.40 p.m. when the guillotine motion was introduced. The reason for the guillotine was because——

[3306]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy must keep to the amendment.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  ——of Deputy Cruise-O'Brien's long speeches. Deputy Cruise-O'Brien was in order in everything he said. I have never spoken here at any one time for longer than half an hour but while speaking on the guillotine motion that evening I was cut off.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Chair is not disputing the length of the Deputy's contributions. Is it the Deputy's wish to speak on amendment No. 9?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I have never engaged in filibustering which is what Deputy Cruise-O'Brien was accused of.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Would the Deputy come to the amendment?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  This particular amendment, if accepted, would add some touch of justice to this Bill. In dealing with this amendment I shall have to deal with section 4 (1) as a whole because it would be impossible to discuss the amendment in vacuo. This amendment is very important to the whole section. The words of the subsection are:

A person who encourages or advocates the commission of an offence under section 4 of this Act shall be guilty of an offence.

We can see the relevance of every word of this except the word “encourage”. The Minister for Transport and Power referred the last day to the word “encourage” and pointed out that this word had been used in a previous Act. Deputy Thomas Fitzpatrick pointed out too that the word “encourage” was used in the Offences Against the State Act, 1939. I do not know whether this has been mentioned but the word also appeared in the Treason Act, 1939. I hope, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, you will bear with me while I am on this point because to discuss this amendment I submit one must also discuss the subsection and the word “encourage”.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The amendment is qualifying the section.

[3307]Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  It is qualifying the whole section. In regard to the Offences Against the State Act I shall point out briefly the cases where the word “encourage” is used. The word “encourage” is used, first of all, in the case of a person encouraging or engaging in treason. In subsection (b) of section 18 of that Act the word “encourage” is used in regard to any act of violence which will lead to the alteration of the Constitution of this State. In subsection (c) the word “encourage” refers to raising or maintaining a military or armed force in contravention of the Constitution. The fourth one is in relation to encouraging criminal offences or obstruction or interference with the administration of justice. The other two are in regard to criminal or unlawful activities and payment of funds. These are emergency powers which were brought in at a time of great emergency.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  That is incorrect. These are not emergency powers. That is an Act of this House.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  They are worse than emergency powers.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  They are powers brought in in the Offences Against the State Act, 1939.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Passed by this House.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  Certainly, but they are special powers brought in to deal with unlawful organisations at that particular time.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The Deputy is incorrect. They are not special powers. An order operates by virtue of that but it is a different matter.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  This is an Act of the Oireachtas on the Statute Book. It was brought in to prevent people undermining public order at the time and to provide for the punishment of persons guilty of offences against the State. Can the Parliamentary Secretary contradict me on that?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Of course we are not discussing that Act now.

[3308]Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  The Treason Act, 1939, was also entirely different from the Bill before the House. The Minister for Transport and Power stated that the word “encourage” had been used before. I should like to tell the House where the word “encourage” has been used before. It was in an Act of Victoria—the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861. The word “encourage” was used in that Act in regard to anybody conspiring or soliciting to commit murder. I shall read the section:

All persons who shall conspire, confederate, and agree to murder any Person, whether he be a Subject of Her Majesty or not, and whether he be within the Queen's Dominions or not, and whosoever shall solicit, encourage, persuade, or endeavour to persuade, or shall propose to any Person, to murder any other Person, whether he be a Subject of Her Majesty or not, or whether he be within the Queen's Dominions or not, shall be guilty of a Misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the Discretion of the Court, to be kept in Penal Servitude for any Term not more than Ten and not less than Three years or to be imprisoned for any Term not exceeding Two years, with or without Hard Labour.

With all the Acts of Parliament that are on the Statute Book the only Act the Minister could find was this Act of Queen Victoria brought in in 1861. There are thousands of Acts and this is the one he had to refer to.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Will the Deputy accept that that Act is the basis of much of the criminal law with regard to offences against the person at present?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  Pardon.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Is that not in fact the Act under which most offenders against the person at present in Ireland are prosecuted? Is the Deputy suggesting the Act is out of date?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  I hope we are not going back again on definitions of “encourage”. What the Deputy is dealing with at the moment [3309] is an amendment relating back to the section.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  The Government are hard pressed to find an Act which contains the word “encourage” if they have to go back to either the Offences Against the State Act or to an Act passed in the reign of Queen Victoria. I believe the word “encourage” in this section is wrong.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  We are not dealing with it now. It has been decided. It is there. The previous amendment failed in that.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I maintain that if this amendment is not accepted this section will prevent newspapers from making reasonable comment on matters of public current interest. How can a newspaper report on events whether relating to the demolition of a building, to persons in possession of a dwelling house, to some natural view or to a very big farm without being considered to be “encouraging and advocating” the commission of an offence under sections 2 or 3 of this Bill? If this amendment is not accepted it will be impossible for newspapers to comment on matters of public interest. Fine Gael have always maintained the right to private property but we realise if this amendment is not accepted any newspaper editor who publishes a report about squatting could be considered as encouraging and advocating the commission of an offence. This amendment is fair and reasonable and if it is accepted it will ensure that editors and reporters will be able to make reasonable comment. It would be dangerous to allow a situation to exist where they would be deprived of this right.

In the interpretation section of the Bill an effort was not made to define the word “encourage”. Section 1 (4) states:

Nothing in this Act shall affect the law relating to acts done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute within the meaning of the Trade Disputes Act, 1906.

I submit it would have been quite easy to insert this amendment in this exceptions clause——

[3310]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The amendment relates to section 4.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I consider the word “encourage” should have been defined adequately and an effort should have been made, in defining the word “encourage”, to ensure free Press comment. It is important that the public be informed of events throughout the country. If we curtail the Press in the reporting of such events we are whittling away the rights of the individual, as the rights of Opposition Deputies have been whittled away today in this House. The amendment is fair and would allow reasonable comment in newspapers, magazines and books.

In his speech the Minister for Transport and Power stated that the section will not be brought in or used. However, if a newspaper editor publishes a report on a matter relating to squatting or to the taking over of land he will be liable to prosecution. We must ask ourselves whether newspaper editors or reporters should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to print such items. It appears the Government have no faith in the editors of the national or provincial newspapers to decide what they should or should not print. It will be a mistake to interfere with the basic right of editors to decide what to publish in newspapers. When we whittle away this right, shortly afterwards a further list of offences will be introduced that will prevent newspaper editors from printing reports——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy is aware that this does not arise on this amendment.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  It does arise because this amendment would ensure that newspapers are allowed to make reasonable comment——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Further legislation does not arise.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  Once a precedent is set it is easy to follow such a precedent. It can be stated in future that the amendment was not accepted in this instance and the same procedure can be followed in other Bills. However, I [3311] shall not continue on that point. The Minister has stated there is no likelihood of interference with the Press. However, once legislation is put on the Statute Book it may or may not be used, but it is hanging there.

Some time ago there was the matter of the Censorship of Publications Act, 1929, in relation to a case in Cork. The three morning and evening newspapers printed reports of this case in the High Court. I personally at the time felt that the newspaper editors were wrong in printing the subject matter of this particular case and I felt they were certainly in breach of normal journalistic standards, leaving it at that. The State subsequently brought the three morning and evening newspapers to court and they were all convicted and fined. The Act had been on the Statute Book since 1929; no case had been brought under it but it was nevertheless on the Statute Book. The case dragged on from 2nd December to 10th December, and in that time no approach was made by the State to the newspapers to inform them that they were wrong and they went ahead. I make this point to show that once an Act goes on the Statute Book, even though it is never used, it can still be brought into operation later. I am quite certain that if the newspaper editors involved had been approached, they would not have gone ahead any further with that story, but they were convicted and fined. This is one particular area in which newspapers are liable.

They also come under the laws of libel and, if they print certain articles, can be attached for contempt, as in the case of the article in Hibernia and Mr. MacAonghusa, who was the author. They are specific limits and specific curtailments of the freedom of newspapers and I believe that each of these is necessary. I believe that the Censorship of Publications Act is necessary and that in this particular instance, as an offence had been committed, it was right that a prosecution should have been brought. Newspapers come under the laws of libel and are wide open to libel actions. I believe that there is a minimum of one to two libel actions [3312] every year against newspapers. Again, this is a necessary and desirable curtailment of Press reporting and comment. In the case of the action against Hibernia, the matter is pending in the courts and I do not intend to comment any further than to say that these cases can be brought against newspapers. The Minister may feel that I am providing him with ammunition and reasons as to why——

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I was making the point that the Press is already limited in its freedom by many laws and regulations and is well governed, and that already there are sufficient guarantees and safeguards, both for the State and the general public, in regard to Press comment. I have pointed out the different ways in which newspapers can become liable for what they print and I believe that the curtailments on them are sufficient. Any further curtailment of these rights would be a danger to everybody in the country because, as I stated earlier, a well-informed public opinion is important.

We have seen a tendency on the part of Government Minister to be very sensitive in their attitude towards the Press. At different times, many Government Ministers, and in fact many men who were not Ministers but who later reached the position of Ministers, have been very sensitive to newspaper comment. Everybody in politics realises that no matter what article is published about one and no matter what speech is reported, one is never 100 per cent satisfied with it. Going back a number of years, I believe the attitude of the then Minister for Agriculture in regard to the Farmers' Journal was completely unreasonable. At that time the Farmers' Journal was commenting reasonably on farming affairs. I believe that what they were stating was correct and in order, but a Minister deemed that it was not reasonable comment on a matter of public interest, and in view of this, he decided, in his desire to hit at this journal, that the only way he could affect the newspaper was by withdrawing [3313] advertisements from it. Advertising is an important factor in the running of a newspaper. The Minister at that time decided he did not like what the Farmers' Journal were saying about him and his Department so he withdrew the Department of Agriculture advertisements from the newspaper. In fact, if he could have managed it, he would have closed down the Farmers' Journal. He not alone stopped advertisements to the Farmers' Journal but he endeavoured to start a newspaper of his own.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Amendment No. 9, please.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  What was the name of the newspaper?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Meaney on the amendment.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  A statement was made by the Deputy about a newspaper. On a point of order, what was the name of the newspaper?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Enright on the amendment.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  A statement was made by the Deputy that the Minister for Agriculture at the time started a newspaper. I am asking the Deputy to give the name of the newspaper.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy should be aware that he cannot get an answer to a matter that is irrelevant.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I will come back to that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy must keep to amendment No. 9.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  The Farmers' Journal at the time had a circulation of 67,000 and it was being read by approximately a quarter million farmers. It was an important newspaper going into each farmer's house but the Minister for Agriculture at the time did what he could to prevent this newspaper going into their homes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy will appreciate that we are [3314] dealing with amendment No. 9, which deals with reasonable comment in regard to section 4 of the Forcible Entry Bill.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I maintain that the Farmers' Journal were commenting reasonably at the time in what they were saying. The Minister, in what he did, curtailed in some way what they were saying. It was an effort made by the then Minister for Agriculture to curtail the comments made by the Farmers' Journal. I believe what they had to say was relevant and reasonable. Some time ago a motion was brought in by a Fianna Fáil TD, who is now a Minister, to ban reporters from Galway County Council. This matter was raised at a meeting of the West of Ireland branch of the National Union of Journalists. This was reported in the Irish Times of the 30th November, 1968. The proposal was from the present Minister for Local Government, who was then Mayor of Galway. It took the form of an ultimatum that the Connacht Tribune either apologised for a referendum report, which he claimed was inaccurate, or be banned from all meetings of Galway County Council from December, 1968. The Connacht Tribune had commented on a meeting of Galway County Council. I do not know what took place at the meeting but the members of the Press, who were there commented reasonably on the meeting. The Mayor of Galway apparently was not satisfied with what they stated and he wanted to prevent them from attending future meetings of Galway County Council if they did not apologise for their report.

I do not know whether the Minister for Local Government had any hand in the framing of the particular Bill before the House, but it shows that Ministers and Deputies from the Government side of the House are very sensitive to Press reporting. In view of the attitude of the Minister for Agriculture to the Farmers' Journal some years ago and in view of the attitude of the then Mayor of Galway to the Connacht Tribune we see the Government approach to the Press. If newspaper reporters in a county are prevented from attending [3315] county council meetings and are not able to report on them this would have a very serious effect on the circulation of their newspaper. A Fianna Fáil member at the Galway County Council meeting stated that they expected a fair deal from a newspaper which got an £18,000 grant.

Deputies on all sides of the House want a fair coverage from newspapers but I believe it is very hard to satisfy people in politics in regard to newspaper reporting. So long as a newspaper are making a fair effort with regard to reasonable comment in what they are reporting I do not believe there should be any curtailment put on them. In the debate on the Department of Local Government Estimate Deputy de Valera made a very important contribution in regard to legislation which was brought before the House. He felt it is bad to have laws on the Statute Book which are not in fact enforced. He stated that by bringing such statutes before the House and later on not enforcing them it brought the law into contempt.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Can the Deputy relate this to the amendment before the House?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I am relating this to the amendment before the House. We will find that this Bill will not be enforced because the Minister for Justice stated it will never be brought into effect and the Minister for Transport and Power made a statement along those lines as well.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Is the Deputy serious in stating that the Minister has said that this Bill, when it becomes an Act, will never be brought into effect?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I have not got the reference before me.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Let us have a little bit of common sense.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  How many other Acts have the Government got that are not being enforced and that the police are not even allowed to enforce?

[3316]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  We are not dealing with Acts. We are dealing with amendment No. 9 of the Forcible Entry Bill.

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  The Minister never said that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Enright on amendment No. 9.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  That is so ridiculous that I could not resist asking the Deputy about it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Will Deputies allow the Deputy in possession?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  The Minister made a general statement——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  There was a Bill introduced about putting tags on dogs in 1966 and it has not been enforced since.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  What I am saying is that if this section is allowed to stand it will place newspapers in a position that they will not know whether they will be liable to prosecution under the Act. They will not know until they are brought before the courts. They will be in a state of uncertainty because they will not know whether they can report on a matter. There has not been a definition given or an interpretation of the word “encourage”.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  It was explained from this side of the House all right.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  There will be a law on the Statute Book that may or may not be brought into action against them. Deputy de Valera was in order when he gave different examples in regard to speed limits——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  We are not dealing with speed limits.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  If the Deputy insists on misquoting and then making it the basis for his argument he is out of order. Apparently that is what he is proposing to do.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I have not the relevant authorities before me.

[3317]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Chair has already said that speed limits are matters for the Department of Local Government and are not relevant to this debate.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  It would be advisable to accept this amendment. I cannot see why any reasonable man in any party, if he considers what the amendment states, can disagree when I say it would achieve a lot of good and that it would be wise to accept it. If it were inserted in the Bill newspapers would be able to comment on matters of public interest. Therefore, the amendment should be accepted.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I have outlined generally the prohibitions that exist as far as newspapers are concerned. They are sufficient and I do not think there is any reason to curtail them further. For that reason I suggest that the amendment is excellent and I urge the House to support it.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  This is a remarkable debate for many reasons.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  Hear, hear.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  One of the most remarkable features is that the main motivation of the Government, particularly in regard to this amendment but also in regard to an earlier one, has been to get the debate over quickly. I assume they have their holidays booked for this weekend.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Abroad.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  Not abroad.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I am sure they cannot cancel them.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  He had to cancel his honeymoon, unfortunately.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  It is remarkable because earlier we had people from the Government side coming in saying they felt it only right that each amendment should be debated fully.

Mr. Carter: Information on Frank Carter  Zoom on Frank Carter  And so they were.

[3318]Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  They said that every letter and comma should be explained. We have had the remarkable situation that the same people came through the Division Lobby when the guillotine was imposed, not once but three times.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy is on the amendment.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Deputy Carter is a friend of mine and if he wants to say a few words on the Bill I am sure he will have an opportunity for it between now and 10.30. Of course he could go for a walk. It has stopped raining.

Mr. Carter: Information on Frank Carter  Zoom on Frank Carter  The Deputy will not get away with that. He is talking it out.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I have been speaking one minute only but before I finish Deputy Carter will have more to object to. Fianna Fáil Deputies in the House, and they include the dissidents——

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  Who are they? How many has the Deputy in his party?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Tully on amendment No. 9.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  None of us has called each other traitors so far. If we have in this party people who are prepared to disagree——

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  Are they not calling each other everything?

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Deputy Connolly has come in here once or twice. He has been here only a couple of years and he comes in to interrupt Deputies making speeches. If he thinks that is the way to do business he is in the wrong shop.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  Is it not the truth?

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  He has not the experience to know differently.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  The Deputy is not setting a very good example.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  If he came in here more often and listened to the debate he might learn something. I know he is annoyed because he was told to come in here instead of doing something else that he wanted to do and, for that reason, he wants to make a row here. [3319] If the people on the benches opposite are going to try to prevent debate——

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  It is the Deputy's intentions we are worried about now.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I will look after myself. After the next election the Deputy will not be here to worry about me. I will be here but he will not. If Fianna Fáil and, by Fianna Fáil, I mean the disjointed group that now represent the Fianna Fáil Party in this House, want to force this Bill through, and a section in this Bill which the country at large does not want, and prevent a debate on an amendment introduced for the purpose of maintaining the freedom of the Press, presumably they will succeed because of their numbers. Over the past few years these gentlemen have done everything that should not be done by any Government; they have created a situation where, all over the world, if anyone mentions Ireland, people think of what has happened, with the Government turning a blind eye. Because the Press criticised them and did what Fianna Fáil now want to prevent in this Bill, they decided they would put a stop to that and so they introduced this section in the Forcible Entry Bill.

One of the remarkable things about this debate is that we have here an attempt—I am not blaming you, Sir, because you are just carrying on the arrangement and, as one who had the honour to occupy the Chair on occasion, I know what the score is— to prevent adequate discussion. Certain set limits have been laid down and these are set in such a way that an attempt is being made to try to conduct a debate in support of an amendment to a certain section without referring to the section or to any other part of the Bill affected by that section. It is impossible to debate properly in those circumstances and that is why so many on this side of the House have appeared from time to time to be out of order. We have on the Government benches tonight people who are prepared to offer, from their seats, comments on the Bill. A chosen few were allowed to stand up and say certain things.

[3320]Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  That is not true.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Deputy has not been allowed to talk on anything yet so would he, for goodness sake, keep quiet?

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  I could if I wanted to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Tully now on amendment No. 9.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Would the Deputy at least agree that it is hard for Government Deputies to speak so long as Opposition Deputies hold the floor for so long?

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  It is the Deputies opposite who are the chosen few. We are the chosen many.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Deputy is a queer “mini”, 22 stone of mini!

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  The Deputy is being very personal now.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Not personal at all: I thought the Deputy was proud of his weight.

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  The Deputies opposite are the chosen few. We are the chosen many.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Tully on amendment No. 9.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  In the debate a very small group of speakers from the Fianna Fáil benches have either been allowed to speak, or have considered themselves capable of offering comment, and the people who are making all the noise tonight are the very people who had nothing to say or, if they had, were not allowed to say it.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Tully now on amendment No. 9.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Have we reached the stage now at which the Government, having introduced two guillotine motions, have decided to put up the stooges to prevent us talking, the dumb clucks who are not able to say anything, in an attempt to prevent debate on the Bill?

(Interruptions.)

[3321]Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I am surprised at one or two of them. I am surprised at Deputy Carter because he usually makes a contribution to things here; I am surprised at him lending his support to some of the efforts being made here tonight.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Deputy Tully on amendment No. 9.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I will make my speech in my own way, as I have done since 1954 when I came into this House. As Martin Corry used say: “I see you coming and I see you going.” For goodness sake, if you want to say something, get up and say it. I will make my speech in my own way and I will make it as long as I want to make it, until half past ten, if necessary.

Mr. Carter: Information on Frank Carter  Zoom on Frank Carter  That is what has the closure on.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  What has the closure on is the fact that the Fianna Fáil Party were afraid they would not get this Bill through before the end of the session. They know we will have a general election before we come back and they know perfectly well we will not put anything like this on the Statute Book.

It is right at this point that I should place on the record for the benefit of those Deputies who do not seem to know what it is about, as was proved abundantly by speakers on the Government benches, the purpose of the amendment. The amendment reads:

In page 3, line 35, after “offence” where it secondly appears to add “provided always and it is hereby declared that reasonable comment on a matter of public interest in any newspaper, magazine, periodical or book shall not constitute an offence under this subsection”.

Do the Government think, if some action takes place, some action which is unfair and which is seen to be unfair, and anybody who sees it or knows about it considers it unfair, that it is right that they should have power to penalise by way of fine and imprisonment any newspaper, book or periodical which says that the action [3322] was unfair? Is that the Government's intention? Maybe those who drafted the Bill did not give this the thought it should have got but do they not now realise that this would not be accepted in any western European country? We are talking about going into the EEC. This is the sort of legislation which will have to be changed if we ever do go into the EEC because no civilised country will give the right to the Government, and not alone to the Government but to any member of a police force, to arrest and imprison people for publishing what they consider to be fair comment. It is as simple as that. Mark you, there are some in the Fianna Fáil Party with memories long enough in politics to carry them back to the early days when it was difficult to get a press for what they thought was right. Now we have these same people trying to put it across to the country that what they are putting into this Bill, a Bill they hope to have passed into law in a very short time, is the right to allow them to penalise fair comment on any matter with which they disagree.

The Parliamentary Secretary who is a very able debater and who, despite our political differences, I would claim is a friend of mine will I am sure, before the night is out, be making his comment on this matter. I ask him to try to explain to the House for my benefit and the benefit of the other Members if he thinks it is right that this restriction should be put on the Press. Suppose, for instance, my neighbour has been living in a house all his life and his father before him lived there all his life, if, under the previous section of the Bill the owner of the house is not content with the rent or for any other reason decides to get rid of that tenant and goes to the Garda and gets them to go to the house and arrest the tenant and get him sent to jail, does the Parliamentary Secretary consider it is unfair that the Press should be prevented from commenting on that matter? Does he consider that the person who makes a fair comment on matters of this kind should be declared to be in breach of the law?

Somebody asked what was the rush [3323] with this Bill. I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to explain the rush. Why was it that a Bill introduced in July, 1970, and revitalised in January or February this year should suddenly become terribly urgent towards the end of July and why must we get the Bill through without the amendments suggested here before the House goes into Recess? I should like to know what circumstances have created the situation in which this must be done. If the Government consider the situation is so bad that comment of this kind is likely to do some harm, would the Parliamentary Secretary explain what he thinks the harm is? What harm does he think can be done by for instance the editorial which appeared in the Evening Herald last Monday? What harm does he think can be done by editorials that have appeared in the past couple of weeks in various newspapers? What harm does he think was done by editorials and informed comment which appeared when the trouble took place in regard to Hume Street and other places in this city last year and the year before? This is the sort of thing which apparently this section is intended to prevent. These things must not happen again if the section is passed as it is in the Bill.

I am aware that the Parliamentary Secretary has expressed the opinion that the Press is not mentioned in the Bill at all and that there is no necessity for the amendments because there is no reference to the Press, radio or television. The Parliamentary Secretary is not so innocent as to imagine that if one reads the Bill, including section 4, one cannot read into it what can be done. A writer in one newspaper did say that perhaps it would be better to leave it to the courts to decide. I believe legislation leaving this House should be watertight so as to stand up to the interpretation put upon it by the legislators. I do not believe we should have a situation in which, when an Act is passed through this House, somebody who dislikes it should spend their own, somebody else's or the State's money having the validity of that Act tested in the courts. That should not be necessary.

[3324]Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It is their right.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  It is our responsibility.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I hope the Parliamentary Secretary is not speaking as a member of the legal profession.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Is the Deputy suggesting that right should not be there?

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Parliamentary Secretary is not being fair in suggesting that I am saying that right should be taken away. I do not believe it should but I do not think it should be necessary. If the Fianna Fáil Party think it is a good idea to pass a Bill through this House and then have it tested in the courts, they have a very wrong idea of the purpose of this House. The Minister for Justice in his rare visits to the House commented on what he thought the Opposition wanted in this Bill. Either he was not being quite fair with the House or did not understand what the sections of the Bill he was putting through the House meant. If anybody in Fianna Fáil considers they are entitled to put through this House a Bill which will result in, not civil action which can be taken at present, but in criminal action being taken against a newspaper or periodical for making what they consider to be fair comment, they have another “think” coming.

Nobody knows when the next general election will take place: my personal opinion is that it will come very quickly. I think a date in September will probably see it. I shall be very interested to hear Fianna Fáil candidates at the general election trying to defend this Bill, particularly sections 2, 3 and 4. While section 4 is the one we are trying to amend our reason for doing so is that it relates directly to sections 2 and 3. Not only the Parliamentary Secretary but quite a number of other—shall I say—eminent legal people have been putting across the view that the Bill is innocuous, that there is really nothing in it and that they cannot see what all the fuss is about. If that is so why are the Government trying to get it through the House so quickly in this session? Why are [3325] they attempting to put on the Statute Book a law which they claim—outside the House; they will not say it here— does not matter very much; it really is not altering existing law very much; it is just a little thing they want put in.

I deal with as many members of the general public as anybody else and I meet people from time to time who are tenants and have been given notice to quit. In most cases these people cannot find a house the next day. Usually, they look for time if they are giving up possession. If they are a long time in the house and are paying a fair rent they feel they should not have to give up possession. At present the law deals with the matter fairly well. The owner can go to a solicitor and have a civil bill issued. Eventually, the case comes to court and the judge will decide whether or not the person is entitled to retain possession. Usually, on humanitarian considerations the judge will decide that it takes time to get rehoused and therefore he allows time. Usually, the legal people will deal with this matter very well. But I now say to the Parliamentary Secretary directly, because I am aware that he does not agree with this and I want to hear his argument against it, that if this Bill passes through the House there will be no onus on the owner to go to a solicitor. He need only go to the nearest Garda barracks and say: “That man is in illegal possession of my property.” If the man in possession of the property locks the door it will be considered an additional offence.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It is obvious the Deputy has not read the Bill when he is making that statement.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I have read the Bill backwards and forwards, and I shall be very glad to hear the Parliamentary Secretary's comments in his reply. If the person locks the door the guard then does not have to get a warrant. He can forcibly take possession of that house. He can arrest the tenant, bring him to court and have him fined £50, three months in jail, £100, six months in jail, £500, three years in jail; and if the local newspaper reports it they are then breaking the law in the same way. [3326] This is what we are trying to prevent. It is as simple as that.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It is not.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  This is the joke about the whole thing. As far as the Fianna Fáil people who are prepared to discuss this Bill at all outside are concerned, all of them apparently have accepted a line which has been handed down from the hierarchy of the party to the effect that this is not so. If it is not so, may be we could hear from the Parliamentary Secretary to whom I shall give way in a few minutes, as to what exactly is meant by the section of the Bill which deals with (2) and (3). Do not forget (2) and (3) deal with lands and also deal with a vehicle. I am dealing specifically with the house because this is where the most difficulty will be created.

I honestly believe that the Fianna Fáil front bench have sold a pup to their back benchers. They have succeeded in getting not alone the people who normally support them but even those who have sworn outside they would not support them to walk through the lobby here with them on the various amendments. When the final vote is taken on this Bill I shall be very interested to see who walks through that lobby tonight. I would advise the Parliamentary Secretary, who is the party whip, to count his votes before they go through there, because he might be in for a rude shock. No matter what anybody says, this section which we are attempting to amend very definitely proposes to have the effect which I have just described. It is all right to say: “That is a misinterpretation of the Bill. That is not what it is intended to do at all.” What is it intended to do? If it is not intended to do that, is the Parliamentary Secretary going to tell me that it deals only with a fellow who breaks into an unoccupied house and takes possession of it? It does not say that in the section. It says nothing whatever about the property being occupied or unoccupied. It simply refers to the house or lands or vehicle being the property of somebody else. He is not the owner of that house.

[3327]Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It does more than that.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I have read the section up and down.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I shall have to read it again for the Deputy.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I should like to hear the Parliamentary Secretary reading it, because I have heard of his interpretation of it. It is very satisfactory when one is talking to the faithful to be able to trot out a nice little story which they are prepared to swallow; they may have some doubts, and they are not quite sure whether they will accept the word of the great white chief. That is what has happened in this case, and that is why I am deliberately challenging the Parliamentary Secretary and giving him an opportunity of explaining here what exactly is meant if my interpretation is wrong.

I said here the other day that the reason why the Government take such a dim view of their activities, and why they are deciding to clamp down on them is the unfavourable Press they have been getting. It has not dawned on them yet that the unfavourable Press they have been getting is due to their being a bad Government. They have got an unfavourable Press because what they are doing is not only unpopular but also bad for the country. When you find responsible newspaper reporters, responsible newspaper editors and, indeed, editors of some periodicals who cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as supporters of the Opposition in this House, making comment that the Bill is a bad one, then it is very easy to understand why the Government would like to be in a position to clamp down on these people and tell them: “This you can print and that you cannot print.” The Parliamentary Secretary, I am quite sure, will say this is not written down in black and white in the Bill. However, on Sunday in the church we are asked to look for forgiveness for the sins which we commit, including the sins of omission, and simply by omitting certain words from this Bill which allow an interpretation such as I have given shows that it can be and will be used in that manner if the [3328] Government get their way. I want to repeat before I sit down what Deputy Corish said on another section of this Bill. It may be long or it may be short until the Labour Party have anything to do with a Government of this country, but if they ever do that section of that Bill will come out.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Are we to understand the Parliamentary Secretary is now going to occupy some of the limited time made available to the Opposition to discuss this Bill?

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education (Mr. O'Kennedy): Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I have been sitting in this House for approximately three hours now listening to Opposition speakers, not making a case but merely repeating for a particular purpose——

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  We are going to have an outbreak of reason now.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  If the Deputy would claim the right to speak in advance of me having come in ten or 15 minutes ago——

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  I have been here all through this Bill.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I have not noticed the Deputy while I have been sitting here, but I would hope the contribution I make would be relevant. I shall endeavour to confine myself strictly to the amendment, but I fear that in answering Deputy Tully, as he has asked me to do, I may be straying from the amendment. I suppose, therefore, I become irrelevant in answering what Deputy Tully has raised in connection with the purpose of this section and how it is that this tenant of his would, according to him, be guilty of an offence under this and would, according to me and according to the Bill, not be guilty of an offence.

Deputy Tully rightly said that the Bill makes no distinction between occupied and unoccupied land. That is quite properly so. It would have been ludicrous if it did make any such distinction. Deputy Tully either forgot to mention or omitted on [3329] purpose to mention that the function and purpose of this Bill is to prevent forcible entry. The notional case that Deputy Tully referred to on a number of occasions was that of an existing tenant who for one reason or another refused to leave the tenancy. He then suggested that the existing tenant, who, I would presume, had not initially forcibly entered, had no right available to him under the law except to go for a policeman to ensure that that right could be protected.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Would the Parliamentary Secretary look at the first part of section 3.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  If the Deputy would allow me——

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I was just referring to this one and I do not intend to interfere with the Parliamentary Secretary.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  We are faced with the situation that, according to Deputy Tully's notional suggestion of the law as it would be under this Bill, a tenant who for one reason or another has received notice to quit from his landlord will be guilty of an offence under this Bill if he refuses to quit on receipt of that notice. If that is the kind of notion that is being conveyed, and if the public really believe that kind of thing, no wonder some of the public are afraid of the Bill and the Press afraid of what may be the consequences of it.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): He is called “a permissive occupant”.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  All of us know that this cannot apply. The ordinary civil remedies of the law have existed and will continue to exist for dealing with cases of this sort. I hope that has satisfied the case of Deputy Tully's notional tenant. The amendment we are asked to accept here is to exclude from the effect of section 4 by the following words:

provided always and it is hereby declared that reasonable comment on a matter of public interest in any newspaper, magazine, periodical or [3330] book shall not constitute an offence under this subsection.

That particular amendment creates a number of impressions. It creates unjustifiable fears in the public mind. Any lawyer or reasonable member of the public or Press must be aware of that. By implication to request the Minister to include that amendment to guarantee the innocence of comment, whether in the Press or otherwise, seems to state that the law or the Act without it would, in fact, make it an offence to make reasonable comment on a matter of public interest, if it relates to this particular Act.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): If it related to the subject of a protest——

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  If one has to include a section like that to ensure that a citizen is protected, then without that section the citizen would not be protected. I am putting in in adverted commas what the Deputies on the other side are saying. Two of the Deputies on the other side are still practising in the legal profession.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  You will catch up on us.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  You have been doing much more catching up than Deputies on this side of the House. It is suggested that reasonable comment would, in fact, be a criminal offence.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Do not give us Glanville Williams.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I will not give you Glanville Williams. I will give you something much more fundamental, something every law student the first time he goes to a law lecture hears, which is why I wonder why the Deputies on that side of the House feel that this amendment is necessary. I will not go to some of the standard text books used by practising lawyers. I will refer to The Law of Defamation by O'Sullivan and Browne.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  For God's sake——

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  There is relevant comment. Might I refer to the introduction [3331] before I come to it? The preface says:

The growth of a national and international press, the widespread use of the telegraph and the telephone and the entry of radio and television into the homes of millions have made it of greater importance than ever before that the principles of the law of defamation should be widely known and understood.

This is primarily intended to be a basic text-book for students. Even such a book has something to say about the protection of comment. Deputies will appreciate that what is a defence in the civil law must certainly be a defence in the criminal law.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Did you ever hear of truth as a defence of criminal liability?

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Will the Deputy just let me make my case? The book says:

The defence of fair and reasonable comment is available to all Her Majesty's subjects and is not peculiar to the Press.

That is a quotation from eminent judges.

The direction this particular debate has taken is to suggest that there is one law for the Press and another for the public, and that if something is said by one member of the public to another member of the public or is said from a platform from one member of the public to another group of the public that that may be an offence, but if that same person published it in print in a newspaper, while it would be an offence from the platform it would not be an offence if he repeated the precise same words in the newspaper. If that is the kind of law we want to promulgate for our people——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The amendment wishes to exclude reasonable comment on a matter of public interest in any [3332] newspaper, magazine, periodical or book. It does not seek to exclude reasonable comment on a matter of public interest from a public platform in a public hall in a public discussion.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  If you get this through you will be able to put them all in jail.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  This exclusion relates only to people who state things in the Press. For some reason or other television or radio were not mentioned this time.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  They were already mentioned. You put the guillotine on it.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I have acknowledged from time to time that Deputy Desmond has offered his views from the profundity of his knowledge on everybody's contribution, from that of the Taoiseach down to that of the lowest backbencher. I will not accept any comment from Deputy Desmond as to the value of my contribution.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I am not going to have Deputy Desmond pontificating and telling me what I say is rubbish and nonsense. I will not stand and accept that kind of comment which has been so much a characteristic of his performance since he came into the House two years ago. This does refer pointedly to the Press, periodicals and books, it does not refer to the public in the expression of their ordinary views. The freedom of the Press has been raised throughout the debate. I intend to be entirely relevant and fair on this. I do not seek to curry favour from the Press any more than from the public, but let us be clear and fair in our discussion of the matter. It is stated in the Constitution:

The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:

i. The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.

[3333]Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Therefore the Bill is unconstitutional.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Article 40 continues:

The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema—

television did not exist at that time—

while preserving their rightful liberty of expression—

and if I may add my own words here, “which they enjoy in common with every other citizen”.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  That is not in the Constitution.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It is a fact that they, in common with every other citizen, do enjoy it. Article 40 continues:

including criticism of Government policy—

which, of course, must be accepted—

shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.

The Constitution lays it down as a specific obligation on the Legislature, the Executive and all of us to ensure that these very important organs shall not be used, I am not saying by the full-time members of the Press or by professional journalists, or editors, but by anyone who would choose to use them because of the influence they have as views are more widely promulgated than they would be in ordinary conversation——

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  I take it the Parliamentary Secretary is in favour of the amendment.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Take section 4 out completely and the Parliamentary Secretary is dead right.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  With regard to fair comment and freedom of expression the Press are in precisely the same position as any citizen. If any member of the Opposition wants to have it some [3334] other way he had better say so now. If a member of the Opposition wants to say that a journalist writing in the Press or a person like myself writing a letter to the Press should be given more protection because we write in the Press rather than speak on a public platform, he should clearly state it, so that we can tell the public what we have been fighting for for the last few weeks.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Fifty-one years.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I have heard a great deal of crying and cringing in this House on this and other sections. Deputy Enright said today, although he contradicted himself five minutes later, that if one restricts the right of freedom of expression of the Press in any way—these are very emotional phrases and they reach a very emotional audience—it is the beginning of the total curtailment of the freedom of expression.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Hear, hear.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I presume by his “hear, hear” Deputy Desmond is implying——

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  If you start with the Press you finish up with the citizen.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The Deputy apparently does not know that among other things the right of freedom of expression is subject to public order and morality.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Why do you want the Bill then?

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Let us be clear on this——

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The Constitution——

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The Constitution is not being used and abused by me. I am saying that is the law and that will be the law and it cannot be changed. By introducing this amendment the Opposition are implying that that is not the law and that the constitutional protection is not there and by endeavouring to curry favour with the Press, the public at large or somebody against those big, bad, black wolves in Fianna Fáil who see opportunities [3335] for repression in every corner, that they, the guardians of fundamental liberties, are prepared to stand, fight and do away with their holidays and all that so that all these expressions which are there anyway and will be there——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  ——and have to be there——

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Minister for Justice might withdraw the Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Order, order. This is disorderly. Deputy Desmond has already spoken. Perhaps he might let the Parliamentary Secretary say a few words.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  The Parliamentary Secretary is encouraging us.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Richard Burke  Zoom on Richard Burke  Inciting us.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The Parliamentary Secretary has another quality which apparently the Opposition do not enjoy and that is the quality of discipline. I sat for about three hours and probably interrupted two or three times. Deputy Tully will have to agree about that.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Parliamentary Secretary interrupted about five times, but I do not mind.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I was silent because I know there is such a thing as a quality of silence, a quality of listening once in a while and wiser men than I said that 2,000 years ago. The Opposition do not appear to accept that this is a benefit which could be applied by them as well as others.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  We apologise.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I do not want apologies. I am very much junior to the Deputies concerned so no apology is due to me in this matter.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It is implied that without the protection of this amendment the reasonable comment which exists at present would be an offence. I totally reject this for the reasons I [3336] have already mentioned. If one accepts reasonable comment one would exclude unreasonable comment and this would be an offence. This again is totally and utterly at variance with the criminal law as it stands at present. The further one specifies the more one must be taken to express the precise nature of the legislative intention and one is excluding unreasonable comment. I and all Deputies concerned with freedom of expression will not make it an offence to make unreasonable comment on matters which may or may not be themselves an offence. This amendment applies only to matters of “public interest in any newspaper, magazine, periodical or book”; it does not for some reason apply to radio or television.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): We tried to do that in amendment No. 7, but the Government would not accept it.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Amendment No. 7 made no reference to reasonable comment and the Deputy well knows it.

Dr. Fitzgerald:  Ah.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Deputy FitzGerald is a great man for wanting precision in this House, he is now going to get a little of it and I hope he can accept it. Amendment No. 7 made no reference whatsoever to reasonable comment. The Opposition might now indulge in a little acknowledgement of their own mistakes or failures, which is something they recommend to the Government day in, day out. If Deputy Fitzpatrick would like to engage in that particular exercise I would accept it as being totally characteristic of the kind of person he is. He is big enough to do that.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  The Parliamentary Secretary is big enough to receive it.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  If, on the other hand, the Deputy is suggesting that this amendment has the same effect for Press or publications as amendment No. 7 had for radio or television I should like to hear him justify it. [3337] Obviously it does not, because that amendment did not refer to reasonable comment. Let us view the total effect——

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  I have written down that unreasonable comment may be an offence.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The implication is that unreasonable comment could be an offence. I did not say that. The Deputy will have to find a better argument than misinterpreting or misquoting what I said. I said that if this amendment were accepted, the implication could be that unreasonable comment might be an offence.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Perhaps I had better say “could be or might be”.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  What the Deputy decides to say is immaterial to me so long as he does not misquote me. We have had some of that from Deputy Enright who spoke at some length this evening and who convinced those of us who listened to him for one and a half hours before he received instructions from Deputy L'Estrange——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): Did he misquote Deputy Mollov?

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  He misquoted both the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Transport and Power.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  He is getting his Ministers mixed up.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  One could hardly blame him for that since they change so often.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The difference between Deputy O'Higgins and me is that I spend much more time here than he. He spends even less time here than the average Deputy in his own party.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  The last person to say that is no longer a member of the Government, so the Parliamentary Secretary had better be very careful.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It seems to be [3338] almost calling the wrath of the Almighty to comment on the fact that the Deputy is not here even as often as is the average Deputy of his own party.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  The former member of the Government referred to me spending my time in more lucrative vineyards but the Parliamentary Secretary was a labourer in that field for some time also.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I had not reached nearly the stage of lucrative labour that the Deputy has reached.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  At least he gave it up when he became Parliamentary Secretary, unlike the previous Minister for Justice.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  On the question of comment, I would hope that there is no good reason for including it for the Press but excluding it for radio and television.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  I challenge the Parliamentary Secretary to read amendment No. 10.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Order. We are discussing amendment No. 9.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Apparently the Deputy wishes me to jump from No. 7 to No. 10. If he so wishes, he can make my speech for me. Deputy O'Higgins expressed surprise that I referred to the defence of fair comment in the laws of libel. From the extent of the Deputy's experience, which happens to be much greater than mine, I think he will accept that one of the elements of the defence of fair comment is either that the content of fair comment was a matter of fact or, in so far as it was comment, that it was fair comment. What cuts across such defence, even in the civil law, is the proof that the words were used maliciously. In the civil law that defence is open. A defence that is open in the civil law where it is necessary merely to establish the offence on the balance of probability must certainly be open to any person charged under the criminal law—that and much more —and every lawyer knows that it is not only on the balance of probability, that [3339] a prosecution must prove as to which party is right. The prosecutor must prove his case beyond reasonable doubt and, thereby, even by implication or by any test known to the law, there is no need whatsoever for this particular amendment except, as I have said, a suggestion and the implication which the Opposition are endeavouring to project to the Press and, through them, to the public, that this Bill is all about curtailing the freedom of the Press and that the only people who are prepared to defend them are the Opposition Members of this House.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  And every newspaper in the country.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Yes, behind the banners of the all-knowing Deputy Desmond who has stood for the defence of civil liberties since coming here. They must consider themselves very protected in their knowledge that somebody who understands the elements of the freedoms of expression, assembly and otherwise as deeply as Deputy Desmond understands them is behind them and that so long as this is the case they will not be devoured by the black wolves of repression of Fianna Fáil. They must be protected by the sacrificial devotion of Deputy Desmond. I would hope that if I could do no more even at this late stage than get rid of some of the sham that has been circulating around this House for the past three or four weeks under the guise of concern for the freedom of expression, I might have done a good days work for, first of all, our business here in the House, and, secondly, for the courageous expression of the views that each of us holds without in any way currying the favour of the Press or, through them, of any section of the public. For that reason I would like to say that if the Press have a special place in our society—more learned people than I have made this observation—they represent as much the public right to hear as the citizens right to express. Of course it is very important that the Press and radio, more than the ordinary individual, represent the public's right to read and to hear, in that they themselves promote what [3340] appears in the Press or what is heard on radio or television. I will yield to Deputy O'Higgins in that there is no principal of law in any civilised legal system of which I am aware that says that what is an offence for an ordinary member of the public by way, even, of encouraging or advocating, cannot be or should not be an offence for any person writing for the Press. If that is the kind of law that we are trying to establish we are very confused. Surely that is precisely what the amendments are intended to do because nowhere in this Bill are the Press, radio or television mentioned. I wish the public were aware of that.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  I wish the Minister were here.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  What subsection (1) of section 4 says is that:

A person who encourages or advocates the commission of an offence under section 2 or 3 of this Act shall be guilty of an offence.

It was here that the Opposition decided to say that they would contend this subsection to be aimed at the Press.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Does it cover the Press?

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It does not exclude the Press any more than any individual citizen is excluded. I speak as one who has no repressive or phoney attitude towards the Press, but I see no reason why the Press should be treated differently with regard to the commission of an offence by encouraging or advocating such commission than would any person who, either at his own fireside or on a public platform, advocated the commission of such an offence. If we are to tell the Press that they are being exempted from our criminal law then we had better say that honestly because that is what all these amendments are about and it is why all this confusion has been created. I had better say honestly it is why it has been created too by some sections of the Press as well as by some members of the Opposition.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): Including Deputy de Valera.

[3341]Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I do not remember Deputy de Valera making any special reference to this.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): Read the leading article of 27th July.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  He does not read the Irish Press.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The Deputy may or may not, I do not know, understand the difference between the function of a director of a newspaper and that of the editor.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Managing Director.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Does it matter? As I understand it, Deputy de Valera is not editor of the Irish Press. As far as I know—ask the Pressmen in the lobbies afterwards, they know more about this than I do—he can rely on informed, experienced and adequately trained journalists to do it for him.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Is the Parliamentary Secretary suggesting that the Irish Press editorial did not have the blessing of Deputy de Valera? After all, he is the managing director.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The difference between Deputy Desmond and me is that I do not have his omniscience to know what happens in everyone's home at all times.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  He is not a man to repudiate responsibility for something done under his authority.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The Parliamentary Secretary is very innocent.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I do not know whether or not, looking at that editorial, you could, if you had the sharp, precise, incisive mind of Deputy Desmond, detect Deputy Vivion de Valera in phrases through it. Maybe you could.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Ask Deputy de Valera. He is going round the lobbies saying this Bill is absolutely undemocratic. He has told everyone of us but he must march into the lobby.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I have not heard [3342] the view expressed. I take what is expressed in this House. Let us be a little mature. All the old huggermugger and rumours and suggestions of what has been said outside every minute of every day—there is a great phrase for that in Irish—Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean leí—an “ould” one told me that an “ould” one told her—that is what we have been getting all the time. A lot of “ould” ones over there have been talking to “ould” ones who told them about other “ould” ones saying this, that and the other thing. Let us have it clearly out here in the House.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The Parliamentary Secretary should not refer to Deputy de Valera in that manner.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The snide implication of Deputy Desmond, if he is trying to suggest that I have anything but the highest regard for the integrity, the character, the personality and family of Deputy Vivion de Valera, will not cause my statement to be misinterpreted.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Parliamentary Secretary differs from the Minister for Justice in this obviously.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Deputy Desmond O'Malley had no hesitation in criticising him the other night, and poor Mary Kenny into the bargain.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  To give a notion of the kind of bogeymen they are trying to rise for the public Deputy Enright said: “It will be impossible for a newspaper to comment on a matter of public interest.” Deputy Enright is a lawyer too. Imagine a Deputy in this House saying that. That is on the record. I am not misquoting him. I wrote it down. “It will be impossible for a newspaper to comment on a matter of public interest.”

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): If it is the subject of approaches.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  He did not say that.

(Interruptions.)

[3343]Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  He went further. He said: “Newspapers reporting the fact of an unlawful or a forcible occupation——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  One second, Deputy FitzGerald. I am entitled to offer my view in small proportion to the number of times you have offered your view in the House. He suggested that a newspaper reporting this fact: “can certainly be considered to be encouraging and advocating an offence.” He is a Deputy of the Fine Gael Party. He is a lawyer. Other Deputies of the Fine Gael Party have said the same kind of thing. I have read many of them. They speak at various functions in Monaghan, Dún Laoghaire or wherever else. They have been saying it for the past three months. Some I remember. Deputy Luke Belton said it. I think Deputy Cosgrave said it. I think almost every Deputy on the Fine Gael side has said it. Then, because I take up Deputy Enright, because I happened to be here when he said it today, I am apparently misquoting him.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Misinterpreting him.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  This is what has happened on this Bill. You have all been saying it so often, according to your supplied scripts—and we all know that trick now, apparently it is the only way the Press accept it and I cannot say I blame them because of the manner in which we sometimes express ourselves——

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Just accept the amendment.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  If they can create these fears by making these statements —and they have created these fears and the Press know that some of these fears have been created, and perhaps the public fear and believe that Fianna Fáil have a totally sinister, repressive reason for introducing this—then I wonder who is doing the disservice to the nation and to the people.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  All the newspaper editors. They are all at it and all their legal advisers.

[3344]Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I will say one thing about their legal advisers. They are certainly better qualified than the legal adviser of the Labour Party who suggested that to put an animal out of your property would be a criminal offence. At least they are better advised than you people are.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A very dangerous practice.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): The Parliamentary Secretary made a much better speech then than he is making this evening.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I will be guided at any time by the criterion of the comments of Deputy Fitzpatrick but the Deputy will appreciate that I, like everyone else, have to do my best on every occasion. If it falls short——

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  You have to do your thing.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  You are making a brave effort.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The difference between me and Deputy O'Higgins is that I do it more often here than he does. He can work it out for himself elsewhere.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  That is untrue.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  The Parliamentary Secretary is a new Member of this House. He scarcely knows his way around.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Please cease this conversation. There are laws of order in this House to which the Deputy refers on many occasions. The Parliamentary Secretary is entitled to make a speech without interruption.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  I wonder, Sir, would you see that he makes his speech? I think it is his maiden speech. Let him proceed.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Not quite.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  If the Deputy will tell me the tone and the manner in which I should make it I will be greatly guided by him.

[3345]Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  I would be very interested if you would come to the amendment.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I shall read the amendment.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  This gentleman here is the Chair—to effect an introduction.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Anyone who has sat through this debate in the Public Gallery and heard the other contributions will wonder why the Deputy suggests to me that I should read the amendment to prove that I am relevant, having listened to what has come from the Opposition. The amendment states:

provided always and it is hereby declared that reasonable comment on a matter of public interest in any newspaper, magazine, periodical or book shall not constitute an offence under this subsection.

I have endeavoured to stay on that amendment. If I have made some points which might not be directly related to the verbatim content of the amendment they have all, I presume, a Cheann Comhairle, since you have allowed me to continue, been relevant.

I would then in conclusion—here I am sure there will be sighs of relief— like to spell out briefly what the position of freedom of expression is in this country and in every other country. Freedom of expression is guaranteed to every individual, subject to public order and morality. In other words, he is not entitled to freedom of expression to incite, advocate or encourage crime. That being so, every citizen and every organ which citizens use, whether it is radio, television, the Press or otherwise, enjoy that right and that freedom and are subject in that enjoyment to the same conditions. If the Opposition are now suggesting that that freedom applies more effectively when you write something in the public Press or say it on radio or television, they are breaching a fundamental principle of freedom of expression and they must know it because there is no reason why it should be any more sacrosanct or exempt or privileged [3346] than what is said by anyone else. If they are endeavouring to show, by putting down an amendment which asks to state as an addition to the existing law, safeguards which are already contained in the existing law, if they are endeavouring to show that the Bill without their amendment would not have that guarantee, probably they have succeeded. However, in a year or two years time when the Press and the public look at the situation objectively they can say that the bogeymen behind the dark battalions of repressive Fianna Fáil Ministers were unreal. Then they will realise the suggestion in the newspapers that Hitlerism or any other “ism” is hiding under the guise of this Bill is unreasonable and unfair comment. The fact that such comment appears, and will continue to appear, is proof that the law does not need the protection of this amendment to guarantee reasonable, or unreasonable, comment. For that reason, I hope all reasonable people in this House will come to their senses as they have been suggesting for the last few months that the Minister and Fianna Fáil should do.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  It was a pleasure for Deputies who have been in this House for the past week to witness the intervention of the Parliamentary Secretary and to listen to his arguments. Initially I thought he was in favour of the amendment but as he spoke it transpired I was in error and, in fact, the Parliamentary Secretary was speaking against the amendment. Before the Chair accepts a motion from the Parliamentary Secretary that the question be now put, in which event I shall be deprived of speaking further——

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  On that point, my speech was much shorter than speeches of the Members of the Opposition.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  I am merely talking about what is about to happen. I am a Member of the Opposition at the moment; the Parliamentary Secretary is a member of the Government at the moment. I fear I am about to be shot down by a new Parliamentary device which ensures that when an Opposition Member is speaking someone on [3347] the Government benches says something which is inaudible to everyone except the Chair. The Chair says that is the end and what might possibly have been a matter of reasonable comment is lost forever.

Therefore, before this happens may I say it was a pleasure to hear the Parliamentary Secretary speak on amendment No. 9 but what a pity he did not speak on amendment No. 8. Amendment No. 8 was proposed by Deputy Fitzpatrick; it was discussed logically, cogently and effectively. Deputy Fitzpatrick was followed by Deputy Cruise-O'Brien who spoke at great length but was always relevant— as the Chair will vouch for—on what was meant by the words “encouragement” and “encourages”.

Among the absentees on the Government benches I noticed the Parliamentary Secretary. Perhaps he had an engagement to open a sports field on that day or perhaps he was running a race himself but at any rate he was not present in the House. This is a pity because he might have learned what “encourage” can mean. Deputy Cruise-O'Brien spoke for four hours 20 minutes but while he was in the middle of one sentence the Minister intervened and said that the question should now be put. Obviously the Minister was able to get time off to visit the Dáil; he came in full of bustling activity and obviously wished to record one of his rare visits to the House. In that sense one welcomes on amendment No. 9 what I assume is the definitive Government view on how free are the Press.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  I am sorry the Parliamentary Secretary had to leave. If something I have said has offended him I wish to apologise most sincerely for that. It was intended to be a reasonable comment on his speech but nowadays people are so touchy that any comment is regarded as unfriendly. I hope it will not be considered that I encouraged him to leave; I was not saying anything but commenting on the views he expressed in his speech.

[3348] Those of us who have been Members of this House for any length of time can scarcely recall such a situation of musical chairs as we have had in this debate. There were different gladiators sent in. The Minister for Transport and Power came in last week to say there was “no problem—no problem at all”. The Press were entirely free and he could not understand what people were talking about. We had various other people intervening, including the Parliamentary Secretary who is now present. He assured us last week that they were going to sit until Christmas, there would be no guillotine or closure or anything of the kind.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Jack lost his nerve.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Nobody knows nowadays what is happening in Fianna Fáil. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary has been sent for by someone because something happened in the last hour or so. One does not know. What I want to get at is the intervention of the Parliamentary Secretary and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary now present will report carefully what I am going to say. The Parliamentary Secretary—I am so confused with what the Parliamentary Secretaries are Parliamentary Secretaries for——

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Education.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education came in here waving his little red book. I do not know what thoughts it contained but he is brought in here apparently to silence discussion. Once the Parliamentary Secretary raises his little red book, we are all supposed to be told “Now, will you keep quiet”, and what did the little red book tell him? Apparently there is a defence to an action for defamation, called fair comment. This is available, according to the little red book, to an individual or to a newspaper. It is subject to certain restrictions—it must be fair, it must be a comment on fact and, if I gather his reading of the little red book correctly, it must be made without malice.

I was surprised—but I know how tolerant the Chair is and how the Chair encourages full debate and discussion—that [3349] the Chair did not intervene and ask the question which I would like to have asked, but I would have been disorderly to ask it, as to what this had to do with the case, with what we are discussing, because we are discussing a Bill which is a Bill creating a criminal offence. We are changing fundamentally the criminal law of this land. We are not discussing the might-have-beens or the things that could happen—actions for defamation; we are not discussing Artemus Jones; we are not discussing any of the civil proceedings that have arisen, will arise and, I hope sincerely, will continue to arise in the future. We are discussing a fundamental change in the criminal law of this land.

Of course as the law now stands, any newspaper, any person, any citizen, who writes a comment on a matter of public interest which is fair, which is based on fact and which is uttered without malice is not amenable in damages, but there is here quite a marked distinction. In section 4—and would all Parliamentary Secretaries please understand this? —there is a subsection (1) which says that a person who encourages or advocates the commission of an offence under sections 2 or 3 shall be guilty of an offence. That has nothing to do with defamation, nothing to do with comment, fair or unfair; it is a proposal to change our criminal law and for the first time ever to establish as the law of our land a situation in which a newspaper commenting on an occurrence of the day or the week, commenting on a social need or a social problem, commenting on whatever it may be that is arousing public interest and public concern, and following that comment, there is set in motion a chain of events which lead to the commission by people of offences under sections 2 or 3, the writer of that newspaper comment could be charged with encouraging, if not advocating, that offence.

That is what we believe to be the meaning of subsection (1) of section 4. I do not think it is a belief that is unreasonably held. I think it is certainly latent, implicit, in subsection (1) that that construction could be placed on it —nothing to do with fair or unfair [3350] comment or anything else, nothing to do with the law on defamation. It is, in our view, the creation of a new criminal offence which may make amenable those who write or are concerned with comment in our Press in relation to public happenings.

What is this amendment about? We say that that is what we believe is the effect of subsection (1). A succession of Government front-benchers have come in and said “Cod, rubbish”, culminating with the Parliamentary Secretary and his little red book. All right—if that be the position, what is wrong with the Government accepting, what is in their way to accepting, this amendment which cannot change the effect of the section? If the section is pointed in some particular direction, it is not going to affect the direction in which the section will operate. If there is no threat to the Press in section 4, why could we not expressly say so? The real trouble is that the Government will not agree, will not agree to the express exclusion of the Press, and therefore we say why. Because fundamentally they think the Press are going to be curbed. That is precisely the problem we have at this juncture in this debate.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Starting with the United Irishman.

Mr. O'Higgins: Information on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas F. O'Higgins Jnr.  The Parliamentary Secretary who had to leave talked about “Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean lei” and said that what was sent around the circle by a speeding tongue did not add up to proof or conviction one way or another. That is perfectly true. The Parliamentary Secretary will remember that it is a fundamental rule in the courts that what the soldier said to the girl is not evidence. It is also true that what Parliamentary Secretaries or Ministers say in relation to the meaning of a section passed here has nothing to do with the eventual construction of that section by a judge or court of law.

Good intentions pave the way to very bad legislation and we have discovered that to our cost many times. We have had ministerial assurances—“Allow this section to be put into this Bill; the House can be assured that it will not have such and such an effect [3351] and it will not operate in a particular direction”. That is all cod and does not achieve anything.

Deputy Tully was perfectly right. We have a responsibility here to ensure that it is within our competence to legislate and that the legislation carries in the words used the meaning we all attribute to it. It would be slovenly, utterly wrong and running away from our obligations to say: “Let us pass this”. The Parliamentary Secretary says that the courts are there to construe it. They are there to see if it is constitutional or wrong in some respect. They are there to put it right. I certainly do not subscribe to that view. We are a legislative assembly under a rigid Constitution but we have a responsibility to the people of Ireland so to consider and test our legislation here to see to the best of our ability that the legislation carries the intentions we have in mind. We should not any longer pass sections of Bills or enact legislation on Ministerial undertakings that it will not have an inimical effect.

We believe subsection (1), which contains the elements of a restriction on the right of free comment and free expression of opinion, is something which we should resist. It is not novel for Deputies on these benches to speak as I am speaking now. There have been many points of view of Deputies on your right hand side, Sir, expressed on matters of public concern through the years. This is the very lifeblood of democracy and will always be cherished by, in particular, parties in opposition. There is a great temptation on those too long in Government to cloud and confuse the exercise of the freedom of expression of opinion with the tedious repetition of embarrassing views. That is why we oppose subsection (1) and that is why this amendment seeks to have it clarified that in our legislation we will expressly say that the freedom of expression of opinion by the Press shall not be excluded.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): As the proposer of this amendment it now falls to me to conclude the debate [3352] on it. This amendment sought to add certain words to subsection (1) of section 4 which, as Deputy O'Higgins has told us, proposes to enact that a person who encourages or advocates the commission of an offence under sections 2 or 3 of this Bill shall be guilty of an offence.

Section 2 creates the offence of forcible entry and section 3 creates the offence of forcible occupation. Both these offences are new offences being written into our criminal law for the first time, but the important thing about it for the purposes of this amendment is to get it clearly into our minds that they are offences which are centred around protest such as protest about social evils and protest about social reform. They are offences which are centred around protests advocating social reforms, better housing, the preservation of Georgian buildings and the right of the Irish people to fish in Irish waters. These are matters about which it is the duty of every newspaper to take an active interest and about which it is the duty of every newspaper editor to mould and form public opinion.

The point about this is that a newspaper in the discharge of its duty in leading public opinion may find itself guilty of an offence of encouraging an illegal squat or an illegal sit-in under sections 2 and 3 of this Bill when that was never the intention of the newspaper. We have only had forcible entry and forcible occupation in this country for a few years and indeed we have not had them at all since this Bill was introduced on 1st July, 1970. It is difficult, therefore, to see the urgency about this Bill. Newspapers have been conducting campaigns in this country for years trying to get the Government of the day to live up to their responsibility and house the people of this country in houses fit for human beings. They have been carrying on campaigns trying to get the Government to preserve the architectural beauty of this city without much avail. Are these newspapers not to be allowed to continue with these campaigns just because people decide to commit the offence of illegal entry or illegal occupation?

Sections 2 and 3 of this Bill are [3353] creating new offences and it will be an offence for an editor during a protest about the demolition of houses in Hume Street or some other part of this city to write a leading article on one of those matters. If a number of people take forcible occupation of any buildings in parts of this city, say some Georgian buildings, and during that occupation one of the newspapers of this city decides to write a leading article and say: “It is an absolute disgrace that these Georgian buildings should be pulled down; they are part of our heritage. We had the buildings in Fitzwilliam Street pulled down to make way for an ESB monstrosity and we told the Government of the day about that.” Surely the editor who writes that editorial will be encouraging the people in possession to continue squatting and for that reason the editor and the newspaper will be guilty of an offence. For that reason they will be guilty of an offence. I have said that time and again and I am convinced it is true. I am convinced that will be the law when this Bill becomes an Act and I am not the only one who thinks it.

It is necessary to repeat that responsible newspaper proprietors and editors share my view. As I have told the Minister for Justice, they are not only newspapers which from time to time criticise the Government. The Irish Press group agree with me and in an editorial on 27th July an appeal was made to the Government and the Minister for Justice to have common sense, to have second thoughts, to put this matter beyond doubt and to write the few extra words into the Bill that would ensure it would be lawful for newspaper editors to comment in a reasonable way on matters of public interest.

I asked the Minister what is the objection to that. He gave us some woolly reasons the other day the effect of which was that if he did that he would have to write defences as well as offences into every Act. This is an unusual Bill, proposing unusual changes in the law, creating a new type of offence centred around protests which give rise to the expression of public opinion in the newspapers, on television or radio, and that is the [3354] reason it is necessary to write safeguards into this extraordinary section. I know the Minister will not do it and I do not propose to take up the time of the House much further because there is another amendment on similar lines and we are facing the guillotine.

The guillotine motion has been put down and passed since I moved this amendment. It is an extraordinary state of affairs that this is the amendment on which the Minister thought fit to get the Government to impose the guillotine. It is an amendment which seeks to preserve the liberty of the Press. On the Second Reading of this Bill I offered to adopt a reasonable attitude to it, to agree to the principles enshrined in sections 2 and 3, if the Minister on his part were prepared to rid the Bill of its highly objectionable sections, the most objectionable of all being section 4 which we are now seeking to amend but which we will not succeed in amending.

I wish to avail of this contribution, afraid the guillotine might fall before I get an opportunity of speaking again, to say we are voting against the passing of this Bill because the Minister insists on retaining in it section 4, un-amended. We are voting in favour of every amendment that is down as an expression of our opinion that the Bill as it stands is a dangerous, mischievous piece of legislation which should not go on the Statute Book of this land because it is a weapon with which to curb the Press.

We are told this will never happen. We have on the records of the House this evening that the Minister for Local Government when he was Mayor of Galway proposed to exclude the Press from meetings of Galway Corporation unless they saw fit to apologise for, as he said, misrepresenting a speech on a referendum. That is the type of conduct the Press may expect if this Bill becomes law because that is the type of Minister we have in the Government.

I learned of this episode only this evening, but we had the Minister for Justice cracking Deputy de Valera across the knuckles, rubbing his nose on the ground because he dared to criticise the administration of the Department of Justice. I am not criticising Deputies O'Malley or Molloy [3355] personally, but they are the type of Minister we have in this Government. Obviously they do not like Press comment, they are sensitive to Press criticism, and that is the reason why I am perturbed about putting on the Statute Book a section like section 4 which puts into the hands of the Minister for Justice a repressive weapon with which to knock the Press. That is the reason we put down amendment No. 9. Section 4 (1) at the moment reads:

A person who encourages or advocates the commission of an offence under section 2 or 3 of this Act shall be guilty of an offence.

If the amendment were accepted the subsection would read:

A person who encourages or advocates the commission of an offence under section 2 or 3 of this Act shall be guilty of an offence provided always and it is hereby declared that reasonable comment on a matter of public interest in any newspaper, magazine, periodical or book shall not constitute an offence under this subsection.

[3356] What is wrong with that as an amendment? It is doing no more than the Minister says he approves of, but it is at least putting it beyond doubt, in the words of the leading article in the Irish Press of 27th July.

If the Minister had done that in the early stages of this debate there would be no necessity for the guillotine. It is our duty to expose dangerous, repressive sections of a Bill. We have done that and I will conclude now so that members of the Labour Party who have tabled amendment No. 10, more or less on the same lines, will have an opportunity of explaining their amendment before the Minister, by his parliamentary device, tells this Parliament in the most insulting terms to shut up. That is what he will do at 10.30 tonight: he will tell this Parliament: “Shut up. I do not want to hear you any longer. I am going to take this Bill, its objectionable sections and all by the feet of my Deputies through the Division Lobby to pass it through this House.”

Amendment put.

Barry, Peter.
Barry, Richard.
Begley, Michael.
Belton, Luke.
Belton, Paddy.
Browne, Noël.
Bruton, John.
Burke, Joan.
Burke, Liam.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Hugh.
Clinton, Mark A.
Conlan, John F.
Coogan, Fintan.
Cooney, Patrick M.
Corish, Brendan.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Cott, Gerard.
Coughlan, Stephen.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Kieran.
Cruise-O'Brien, Conor.
Desmond, Barry.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Donnellan, John.
Dunne, Thomas.
Enright, Thomas W.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
Finn, Martin.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Fox, Billy.
Governey, Desmond.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Kavanagh, Liam.
Keating, Justin.
Kenny, Henry.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Lynch, Gerard.
McLaughlin, Joseph.
McMahon, Lawrence.
Malone, Patrick.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Connell, John F.
O'Donnell, Tom.
O'Donovan, John.
O'Hara, Thomas.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Leary, Michael.
O'Reilly, Paddy.
O'Sullivan, John L.
Pattison, Séamus.
Ryan, Richie.
Spring, Dan.
Taylor, Francis.
Thornley, David.
Timmins, Godfrey.
Tully, James.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Blaney, Neil.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip A.
Brennan, Joseph.
Brennan, Paudge.
Briscoe, Ben.
Brosnan, Seán.
Browne, Patrick.
Browne, Seán.
Burke, Patrick J.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Childers, Erskine.
Colley, George.
Collins, Gerard.
Connolly, Gerard C.
Cowen, Bernard.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Noel.
Delap, Patrick.
de Valera, Vivion.
Fahey, Jackie.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Forde, Paddy.
French, Seán.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, James.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Healy, Augustine A.
Herbert, Michael.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Hussey, Thomas.
Kenneally, William.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lenehan, Joseph.
Lenihan, Brian.
Loughnane, William A.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Meaney, Thomas.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Moran, Michael.
Noonan, Michael.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Kennedy, Michael.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Des.
Power, Patrick.
Sheridan, Joseph.
Sherwin, Seán.
Smith, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Timmons, Eugene.
Wyse, Pearse.


Amendment declared lost.

Mr. Pattison: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I move amendment No. 10:

In page 3, between lines 49 and 50, to insert the following subsection:

“The publication of reports and statements relating to such advocacy or encouragement and comment thereon by communications media shall not constitute an offence under this section.”

The Minister in his opening statement on Second Reading sought suggestions and comments to improve this Bill. I think he said that he did not put forward the Bill as the last word in perfection. He can certainly say that again. I should make it clear, because it has escaped the memory of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, that we opposed section 4 in its entirely on Committee Stage. In this amendment we are making a last-ditch stand to improve section 4. It is not open to us under Standing Orders to oppose the section in its entirely again, having done so already. The Parliamentary Secretary, when speaking earlier, wanted to know why we wished to exclude the communications media but, like many other speakers, he took absolutely no interest in the Bill on the other Stages and it was only at a late stage of Report Stage that he showed interest. I want to make it clear that we are totally opposed to section 4 and that the amendment is just a last-ditch stand to try to salvage some freedom for those responsible for reporting and commenting on various activities, namely those in the communications media.

I see no justification that the Minister for Justice can put forward for opposing this amendment. He may ask why we seek to have the communications media excluded from the provisions of section 4. It is because they mostly are affected by section 4. It is true that individuals and organisations, [3359] as we have pointed out on Committee Stage, are also very adversely affected by this section but if we can get the communications media excluded it will improve—if that is the right word— this section or, at least salvage something from it. We shall deal with the complete section in due course when we have put the Government out of office. I strongly recommend the Minister to accept the amendment as a very reasonable one and one that has been called for by all sections of the community in recent weeks.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  I wish to second the amendment in the name of Deputy Pattison and myself. We should note that, in any event, the Minister's brief does contain the opening five words: “I cannot accept this amendment.” I am sure the Minister will readily confirm that to us and therefore it should go on record that the Minister proposes to reject the amendment proposed by the Labour Party. Therefore, it is crystal clear that the formal reporting of the factual situation in relation to an incident affecting advocacy or encouragement, or the publication of reports or statements relating thereto in future, in the opinion of the Attorney General's office, can be construed as coming within the range of a new criminal offence. That is the fundamental issue at stake right through the whole debate on the Bill.

I feel ashamed as a Labour Party Deputy to have to plead with the Government to accept this amendment. I feel ashamed because John Taylor and Ian Paisley have real live ammunition to expect from the Minister in his rejection of this amendment because this is what they would expect from a united Ireland, if we were ever fortunate enough to win a united people over to the concept of a united country. This, indeed, is what the minority in Northern Ireland might expect from Fianna Fáil if we, in fact, have a united Ireland with Fianna Fáil in the saddle. This brings me to a well-known quotation from Al Capone as I witness Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey, the men who were, perhaps, the greatest inciters, the greatest advocates, the men who gave the greatest encouragement to [3360] the breaking of the law in the past 12 months. When I witness those men marching through the lobbies of Leinster House, then it brings home to me the truth of Al Capone's statement: “It is a sweet racket if you can keep the boys in line.” That is exactly what Jack Lynch has been doing in the past few years.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Taoiseach.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The fundamental right of public expression, of freedom of speech, of the freedom of the Press, is at stake in this amendment and it is rejected by the Minister. If he looks at the first line of his red brief, which I happened to read as I walked back here, he will see that it says: “I cannot accept the amendment”. Not once through the whole of this debate has Jack Lynch had the moral courage——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Taoiseach.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The Taoiseach. I had forgotten his position. Not once has he stood up here in this debate—as the late Seán Lemass would have had the moral courage to do, as John A. Costello did—when the Minister was making a fool of himself, when the Minister was acting obdurately and vindictively against the concept of protest in this society, when the Minister was out to “get at”—to use his own phrase—the United Irishman, to get at every form of political and social protest in this country. The Taoiseach once again stood idly by and did not defend his Minister, and not once has he had the courage to do so during that debate.

The Taoiseach in desperation is now resorting to the use of the guillotine which was only used in 1967 and which for many decades before was not used in such a flagrant manner by any Government. How long more do we have to have a Prime Minister disgracing himself, his Cabinet and his party, in attempting to bulldoze repressive legislation through? I want to remind Deputy O'Kennedy—and I am not pompous and I am not unduly unctuous about this matter——

(Interruptions.)

[3361]Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  He challenged me half an hour ago to say whether or not we wanted television brought within the scope of this amendment. It is in No. 10 and I challenge him to define the meaning of “communications media”, referred to by us, as meaning anything other than that. At every stage of social and political development in any part of the world freedom has to be conquered, and reconquered, defended and maintained. In this debate the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party have defended these basic concepts. We have defended the universal declaration of human rights——

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  You have filibustered Parliament.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas Cheann Comhairle:  Deputy Desmond on the amendment. The Deputy should be allowed to speak.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Not one newspaper editor, not one television commentator, not one constitutional lawyer, has come to the rescue of the Minister. One of the more distinguished constitutional lawyers in this country. Mr. Seán MacBride, had something to say about the Minister's Bill. In 1948 Fianna Fáil shivered with fear when Seán MacBride took a political stand, and I can assure them they are in for a hell of a shock in the next general election. Never before in the history of the State has a Government been so miserably unpopular.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  Amendment No. 10.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  I endorse the call by Mr. Seán MacBride to President de Valera to refer the Forcible Entry Bill to the Supreme Court for a full investigation into its constitutionality. He, indeed, is well fitted to make that proposition to the country. I shall finish with one quotation. Last March when the debate started Professor David Greene said that Fianna Fáil was once a good party but it had fallen into the hands of gombeen men and hardliners and the slogan on their lips was “law and order” and they now came to save Ireland. Certainly we have seen the draft Criminal Justice Bill. There is [3362] the Explanatory Memorandum and the Bill itself. Deputy Ó Moráin withdrew it with sweat dripping off his nose at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis three years ago. He had to withdraw it because it include the words “advocacy” and “encouragement”.

We in the Labour Party will repeal this Bill given the first opportunity in a change of Government. We submit that the state of public order and public morality and the contingencies affecting the public expression of opinion do not warrant this Bill, and no defence of any consequence has been entered by the Government. The constitutionality of the Bill is in question and we can say that never in the history of the State has a Minister so young proved to be so obdurate, so vicious and so stupid in bringing forward legislation which is both unconstitutional and undemocratic and which by no stretch of the imagination can be classified as being, God save the word, republican in the finest meaning of the term. Therefore the Minister should throw it out and guillotine himself in the process.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  The man from UNCLE now speaks.

Minister for Justice (Mr. O'Malley): Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  It was interesting to hear Deputy Desmond speaking with such authority on what was in the Bill and what was not in it, because I could not help casting my mind back to the Second Stage debate in the course of which in his contribution he said the Minister for Justice was trying to widen the concepts of forcible entry and occupation so much in the definition in section 1 of the Bill that if a husband and wife were in bed together they were in danger of committing the offence of forcible entry. That was Deputy Desmond's contribution to this Bill.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  Does the Deputy deny saying it? That is the sort of learning that is brought to bear on this Bill by the Labour Party. In this amendment what they seek to do is to make it a criminal offence for an ordinary citizen to advocate or encourage the commission of indicatable crime but [3363] that it should not be an offence if the same indictable crime were advocated or were encouraged by somebody who was a journalist. I wonder if those who propose this amendment take into account the provisions of Article 40 of our Constitution. Do they ever think that the citizens must be held equal before the law, that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander? Why do they seek to make one group of people exempt from the law? Why do they seek to make those who are in the best position of all to influence public opinion and to influence the conduct of people free from the obligation not to incite or to advocate or to encourage crime? I do not think there are any reasonable journalists who wish to have the power to advocate, incite or encourage crime, because they do not have it at the moment. They will not have it under this Bill. They will be no better off and they will be no worse off than they are at this very moment.

As we come to the final moments of this debate it is no harm to accept that there are a very great many people on the benches opposite who are glad that this sham, this fraud and this farce of a Parliamentary debate has been brought to an end——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  ——because sham and fraud it was. They showed no interest at any time in the merits or demerits of the sections or the amendments. They were not prepared even to consider them or to discuss them in any reasonable fashion. They tried to get the maximum publicity they could. Once again the Opposition have backed a loser. Once again they have misjudged the people as they did in 1969. The people are 100 per cent behind this Government, this party and this Bill, and the thing that disgusts the people at present is this hypocrisy of the Fine Gael Party, going about issuing pompous statements about law and order on a Tuesday night and coming in and spending Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in this House trying to prevent the Government doing something about it.

(Interruptions.)

[3364]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  You should enforce the existing law. You are not doing it. The Minister is too busy interfering with superintendents and chief superintendents.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  In accordance with the order of the Dáil I am putting the questions necessary to bring the proceedings on this Bill to a conclusion. I am putting the question that the amendment No. 11 be made.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  On a point of order, I do not know what happened to amendment No. 10.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I can tell the Deputy what happened to amendment No. 10.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I want to make a statement of explanation. This has been a sad and black day for Dáil Éireann.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  This is not in order.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  We had the introduction of the guillotine to conclude the debate. We have the introduction of the guillotine now to guillotine selected amendments. We do not believe that democracy has been done any good in this Parliament today by the behaviour of the Government. We do not propose to continue further in the last act of this farce.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  Whited sepulchres.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  There was a time in the early 1920s when Fianna Fáil tried to destroy this Parliament.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  You are trying to destroy the institutions of this State and this Parliament by more sophisticated methods. We do not propose to stay here any further to continue this farce.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): On a point of order, I want to make it perfectly clear that we are voting against this and every other proposal of the Minister as a protest against section 4 of this Bill, which is reprehensible in the extreme.

[3365]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Amendment No. 11 in the name of the Minister for Justice:

In page 4, to delete lines 20 to 29, and to substitute the following:—

“the court, in coming to a decision as to the penalty, may take the damage to property into account as if that damage had [3366] been caused by the defendant and may have regard to whether or not the defendant has compensated the owner in respect of that damage.”

I am putting the question: “That the amendment be made.”

Question put.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Blaney, Neil.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip A.
Brennan, Joseph.
Brennan, Paudge.
Briscoe, Ben.
Brosnan, Seán.
Browne, Patrick.
Browne, Seán.
Burke, Patrick J.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Childers, Erskine.
Colley, George.
Collins, Gerard.
Connolly, Gerard C.
Cowen, Bernard.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Noel.
Delap, Patrick.
de Valera, Vivion.
Fahey, Jackie.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Forde, Paddy.
French, Seán.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, James.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Healy, Augustine A.
Herbert, Michael.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Hussey, Thomas.
Kenneally, William.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lenehan, Joseph.
Lenihan, Brian.
Loughnane, William A.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Meaney, Thomas.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Moran, Michael.
Noonan, Michael.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Kennedy, Michael.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Des.
Power, Patrick.
Sheridan, Joseph.
Sherwin, Seán.
Smith, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Timmons, Eugene.
Wyse, Pearse.

Barry, Peter.
Barry, Richard.
Begley, Michael.
Belton, Luke.
Belton, Paddy.
Bruton, John.
Burke, Joan.
Burke, Liam.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Hugh.
Clinton, Mark A.
Conlan, John F.
Coogan, Fintan.
Cooney, Patrick M.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Cott, Gerard.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Kieran.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E. [3367]O'Hara, Thomas.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Reilly, Paddy.
O'Sullivan, John L.
Donnellan, John.
Dunne, Thomas.
Enright, Thomas W.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
Finn, Martin.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Fox, Billy.
Governey, Desmond.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Kenny, Henry.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Lynch, Gerard.
McLaughlin, Joseph.
McMahon, Lawrence.
Malone, Patrick.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Donnell, Tom. [3368]Ryan, Richie.
Taylor, Francis.
Timmins, Godfrey.

Question declared carried.

Question put: “That the Bill, as amended, be received for Final Consideration.”

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Blaney, Neil.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip A.
Brennan, Joseph.
Brennan, Paudge.
Briscoe, Ben.
Brosnan, Seán.
Browne, Patrick.
Browne, Seán.
Burke, Patrick J.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Childers, Erskine.
Colley, George.
Collins, Gerard.
Connolly, Gerard C.
Cowen, Bernard.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Noel.
Delap, Patrick.
de Valera, Vivion.
Fahey, Jackie.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
Forde, Paddy.
French, Seán.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, James.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Healy, Augustine A.
Herbert, Michael.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Hussey, Thomas.
Kenneally, William.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lenehan, Joseph.
Lenihan, Brian.
Loughnane, William A.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Meaney, Thomas.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Moran, Michael.
Noonan, Michael.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Kennedy, Michael.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Des.
Power, Patrick.
Sheridan, Joseph.
Sherwin, Seán.
Smith, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Timmons, Eugene.
Wyse, Pearse.

Barry, Peter.
Barry, Richard.
Begley, Michael.
Belton, Luke.
Belton, Paddy.
Bruton, John.
Burke, Joan.
Burke, Liam.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Hugh.
Clinton, Mark A.
Conlan, John F.
Coogan, Fintan.
Cooney, Patrick M.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Cott, Gerard.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Kieran.
Dockrell, Henry P. [3369]O'Hara, Thomas.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Reilly, Paddy.
O'Sullivan, John L.
Dunne, Thomas.
Enright, Thomas W.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
Finn, Martin.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Fox, Billy.
Governey, Desmond.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Kenny, Henry.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Lynch, Gerard.
McLaughlin, Joseph.
McMahon, Lawrence.
Malone, Patrick.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Donnell, Tom. [3370]Ryan, Richie.
Taylor, Francis.
Timmins, Godfrey.

Question declared carried.


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