Dáil Éireann - Volume 1 - 26 September, 1922

MOTION BY MINISTER FOR DEFENCE.

MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Mr. E. Blythe): I think a notice of motion by the Minister for Defence is of sufficient importance to be read now.

The Clerk of the House read the following:—

Whereas the Government has entrusted to the Army the duty of securing the public safety and restoring order throughout the country, and has placed on the Army the responsibility for the establishment of the authority of the Government in all parts of the country in which that authority is challenged by force:

And Whereas the Army authorities have represented to the Government that in order to discharge effectively the duty and responsibility so placed on them it is essential that the Army authorities should have power to establish Military Courts or Committees, with full powers of enquiring into charges and inflicting punishment on persons found guilty of acts calculated to interfere with or delay the effective establishment of the authority of the Government, and that the Army authorities should have [791] power to detain in places whether within or without the area of the jurisdiction of the Government persons arrested by the Army authorities, and power to control the dealing in and possession of firearms:

And Whereas the Government, recognising the force of such representation, has sanctioned the doing by the Army authorities of all or any of the following matters and things:—

(a) The setting up of Military Courts or Committees for the enquiring into charges against persons in respect of any of the offences hereinafter mentioned, provided however that every such Military Court or Committee shall include as a member thereof at least one person nominated by the Minister of Defence and certified by the Law Officer to be a person of legal knowledge and experience;

(b) The enquiry of such Military Courts or Committees into the cases of persons charged with any of the offences following, that is to say:

 (I.) Taking part in or aiding and abetting any attack upon or using force against the National Forces;

(II.) Looting, arson, destruction, seizure, unlawful possession, or removal of or damage to any public or private property;

(III.) Having possession without proper authority of any bomb or article in the nature of a bomb, or any dynamite, gelignite, or other explosive substance, or any revolver, rifle, gun, or other [792] firearm or lethal weapon, or any ammunition for any such firearm;

(IV.) The breach of any general order or regulation made by the Army authorities;

and the infliction by such Military Courts or Committees of the punishment of death, or of imprisonment for any period, or of a fine of any amount either with or without imprisonment, on any person found guilty by any such Court or Committee of any of the offences aforesaid;

(c) The removal by Army authorities of all or any person taken prisoner, arrested, or detained by the National forces to any place or places, whether within or without the area of jurisdiction of the Government, and the detention or imprisonment of any such persons in any place or places within or without the area aforesaid;

(d) The regulation and control of the sale, possession, transfer of, and dealing in revolvers, rifles, guns, and other firearms:

Now, this Dáil, being of opinion that the doing by the Army authorities of the several matters aforesaid is a matter of military necessity, doth hereby ratify and approve of the sanction given by the Government, and of the doing by the Army authorities of all or any of the acts and matters aforesaid.

Motion: “That the Dáil do now adjourn,” put and agreed to.

The Dáil adjourned at 7.35.