Dáil Éireann - Volume 2 - 08 December, 1922

DEBATE ON MOUNTJOY EXECUTIONS.

On resuming at 4.15.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: The motion I intended to move is as follows:—

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: This is not a matter for a motion—it is a matter for discussion. The Standing Order provides for a discussion on the motion for adjournment.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: Cannot a motion be moved?

[48] AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The motion for the adjournment can be moved.

Mr. JOHNSON: You rule that only the motion for the adjournment can be moved, and that we must take a discussion on that motion.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Yes, that is so.

The PRESIDENT: If it suits Deputy Johnson's convenience I will move the motion for the adjournment until 7.30, when we shall get the result of the election of the Committee.

MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Mr. E. Blythe): I beg to second.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: The Dáil was shocked yesterday when they were informed by the President of the murder of Deputy Sean Hales, a member of the Dáil, and the attempted murder of Padraig O Maille, who is Deputy Speaker. That was not an occasion for a speech. We all realised the enormity of the crime. Some of us felt that in view of the position that Sean Hales had occupied in public life, and that Padraig O Maille occupied, this outrage would possibly have led to a revulsion of feeling in the ranks of many of those who had been the comrades of these men. To-day we read in the evening papers that “the execution took place this morning in Mountjoy Jail of the following persons:— Rory O'Connor, Liam Mellowes, Joseph McKelvey and Richard Barrett, as a reprisal for the assassination on his way to Dáil Eireann on December 7th of Brigadier Sean Hales, and as a solemn warning to those associated with them engaged in a conspiracy of assassination against the representatives of the people.” “Horrors upon horror's head accumulate!” It was a horrible, dastardly thing, the assassination of Sean Hales. Murder most foul as in the best it is— but this most foul, bloody and unnatural. The four men in Mountjoy have been in your charge for five months. You were charged with the care of those men; that was your duty as guardians of the law. You could have charged them with an offence. You held them as a defence, and your duty was to care for them. You thought it well not to try them, and not to bring them to the Courts, and then, because a man is assassinated who is held in honour, the Government of this country—the Government of Saorstát [49] Eireann, announces apparently with pride that they have taken out four men, who were in their charge as prisoners, and as a reprisal for that assassination murdered them. These men, unless with the connivance of the Government, could not have been engaged in any conspiracy when they have been in your charge for five months. Any other four prisoners convicted of any offence whatever might be taken out by the Government of the country and shot as a reprisal for any other offence committed by any other person. I do not know whether anyone in this Dáil has any thought for the good name of the new State. I wonder whether any member of the Government who has any regard for the honour of Ireland, or has any regard for the good name of the State, or has any regard for the safety of the State, will stand over an act of this kind. Two days have elapsed since there was a formal proclamation announcing the birth of this new State. It was hoped that the course of law would be in operation henceforth. It was hoped that there would be some rehabilitation of the idea of law; and almost the first act is utterly to destroy in the public mind the association of the Government with the idea of law. I am almost forced to say you have killed the new State at its birth. I cannot imagine that anyone who is thinking in terms of anything but vengeance can defend this action. We felt it necessary that we should raise a protest and a warning against secret trials. We feared the possibility that secrecy in the guise of legality would lead to secrecy without legality. It happened too soon. There is no pretence of legality. There is not even the trial guaranteed under the rules authorised. The offence these men committed was an offence committed before July. So far as we know there has been no trial, and these men were executed as a reprisal. How true it seems that one side in a fight takes upon itself the evils taught by the other side. The papers have been ringing in the past few days with the alleged horrors of the executions of certain statesmen in Greece after trial. The world has been ringing with denunciations. What is the world going to say about Saorstat Eireann? Four prisoners taken out of their cells [50] and executed, not for an offence, not after trial, but as a reprisal, as a warning to other people, with whom they could have no communication for five months! We had hoped that we would be able to be proud of the new State, and, with all our criticisms of the Government, we have tried to be fair; we have tried to recognise their difficulties; we have tried to be reasonable in our criticism. Our criticisms have been directed to help them and to keep them from doing that which they would not wish to do. Yesterday they might have stood against the world—now, none so poor as to do them reverence.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: I think that after what has been said by Mr. Johnson very little remains to be said in protest against the horrible deed recorded in the papers this evening. I thought we had reached the limit when a Minister avowed the other day that it was the official policy to try men for one thing and to execute them for something else. I never contemplated such a thing as this would be possible. Where is this Corsican vendetta to end? Does any man on these benches think you are going to get peace or victory by tactics such as these? I have no words but condemnation for the assassination of our late colleague. But remember that you are a Government, and have the duties of a Government.

Mr. E. BLYTHE: Hear, hear.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: Yes, there was a time not so long ago when our name stood high in the world. I wonder if there is any country will do us reverence to-day. How long is this Corsican vendetta to continue? These men who were executed this morning were your prisoners of war—prisoners for several months —and they are put to death because somebody else killed Sean Hales, and put to death by a Government. Imagination staggers at the idea that any group of men calling themselves an Executive Authority can be so far driven from the ordinary course of human understanding, human appreciation of things, as to sanction and perpetrate such an act as that. I know full well, and every man here knows, that the anger was intense and just; the temptation was strong. But you are a Government or you are not. I want to tell the Government this, speaking as one individual who has [51] watched their career closely for the past few months, that I can conceive no course more certain to ruin the cause that they have at heart. Note that this deed violates the very Constitution set up here a couple of days ago. Let any man read Article 70 of that Constitution. Put that Article up side by side with your executions. You stand self-condemned on your own Constitution. I need not read the thing; it is there for every man to see in plain black and white. It stands as the absolute condemnation of what was done this morning.

General MULCAHY: You had better keep it about you when moving around town.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: The only explanation that can be found is that men who sanctioned a deed like this are not in their normal frame of mind. They are not fit to have in their hands the destinies of this country. I suppose, living under the terrible threats under which they live, it is not surprising that they should find it difficult to judge things calmly, but, believe me, the Irish people, when it realises the full meaning of this thing, is not going to approve nor acquiesce in a deed which is officially described as retaliation, contrary to the laws of war which recognise retaliation, but of a very different kind, perpetrated by a Government because that Government is in authority. I am very glad to lift my voice, however small it be, in support of the protest made from the Labour benches against the deed which is a dishonour to any civilised Government.

General MULCAHY: When in such a critical time as this a responsible public representative comes forward and points to certain actions of this Government that are repellant in themselves, brought about only by the terrible crisis of outrage that surround them, and says that they take certain acts, and carry out their actions in pride, we may expect that at least some inkling would be given of what are the marks of pride that mark our actions to-day. The pride that we have is deep in our hearts, and is simply the candle light of pride that we had there for years past, when we were shouldering responsibilities that were very heavy and very grave. When British statesmen three or four years ago denied the right [52] to our representatives here to meet and to walk their country and to act as representatives of the people, and when we said that we would not tolerate that, and that we would strike at the power that would take up an attitude such as that towards representative Government in Ireland and towards the representatives of our people, we took it up as a very solemn inwardly pride-borne responsibility. We did not ask anybody to be so poor as to do us reverence. The action that has taken place this morning has not taken place because a man has been assassinated whom we held in honour, or because Sean Hales, who was our comrade, has been assassinated. The action that has taken place this morning was brought about by the fact that there are forces working round us to-day, more vicious, more insidious, and more striking than Britain ever employed against representative government in Ireland. On the 27th November the Speaker of this Dáil got a letter addressed to him by one who was the armed leader of the destructive forces in Ireland, declaring that he was the head of an illegal body, and declaring that if the forces at the disposal of this illegal body did not act in a legal way and did not, when they got people shooting down the people of this country and destroying the railways, simply take them and say, “We are responsible for taking care of you, responsible for giving you an egg for your breakfast, and seeing that you have a good cover over you, and a good bed to sleep in,” because the armed forces responsible to this Government and protective of this people have to adopt, in order to save the people, other methods than that, you are told by the representative of those forces of disorder who with the head of a political opposition to this Government shall sign all matters connected with defence, that he shall take very drastic action against you. On yesterday evening a public representative of the people of Ireland coming to the Parliament of Ireland was assassinated on his way there. The Army Council is responsible for the safety of the people of this country. It is responsible to protect, and to enable to be maintained the fabric of Government—the fabric of social order in this country. And the fabric of Government in this country consists of 90 or 100 individual men [53] selected by the people of this country to be their spokesmen to design their laws and to regulate their lives, 90 or 100 individuals. Our responsibility for seeing that the fabric of Government, the keystone of social order is maintained in this country is that we shall see that those who are the representatives of the people can meet here in Council, can walk through the country freely and unmolestedly and discharge to the people the very onerous and responsible duties that the people have put on them. Being a group of individual men like that who have to get around the country, the Government is the most vulernable thing that we have in the country, if we are going to tolerate an armed band going round the country intent simply on their assassination. Rising to its responsibility the Army Council represented to the Government that it was necessary to take exceptional and drastic action to prevent a continuance of the policy that was begun yesterday, and to point out to the people that what was begun yesterday was the single taking-off, man by man, of each of those individuals that formed the Government of this country. If, when our work is done, we do leave as a result of it an Irish people behind us, they may blame us, if they wish, for any stains, alleged, that our actions leave on the fair name of our country or on what were our own fair names, but we shall leave an Irish people behind us. In recommending to the Government that this morning's action should be taken, we did not recommend that the lives of men should be taken who had nothing to do with the policy that was being pursued to-day. We did not recommend that action be taken as a punishment or action as vengeance, or that action be taken in anger, or that action be taken under temptation. We have too long borne the responsibilities that are on us. We have too long held our hands and our hearts and our minds sacrificially in the flame, like the warrior of old, and gone steadily and straightforwardly through our duties, to act in anger, to know very much about temptation. The action that was taken this morning was taken as a deterrent action—taken to secure that this country shall not be destroyed and thrown into chaos by the toleration of any group of men acting together for the destruction, one by one, or in groups, of those single [54] representative people that are the keystone of our Government and of our society here.

CATHAL O'SHANNON: In supporting the protest of Deputy Johnson and Deputy Gavan Duffy, I want to say right at the beginning that the Government sitting over there is incompetent and unfit to govern in this country, absolutely and completely. None of the sarcasm of any of the Ministers will get away from that hard fact of the case. Nobody more than I condemned and deplored the murder of Deputy Sean Hales. But the fact that Deputy Sean Hales was murdered yesterday is a sign of the incompetence of the Government, and of the Army which the Minister for Defence controls. A few months ago I said here, and I said it again the other day, that I could not trust the Army with the great and terrible powers put into its hands. I repeat it, and I say, as we said on these benches earlier in the session, when we were told that the Military Council of Five had replaced the Military Council of three, that you, the Government, had abdicated all functions of government, and had handed the government of this country over, lock and barrel to the Military authorities. That and nothing else is the position in the country. The Minister for Defence gets up here and says that these executions this morning were done in order to deter criminals from committing murderous assassinations and other things. Is the drafter of this official proclamation a liar, or is he telling the truth when he says that it has been done as a reprisal for the assassination of Deputy Sean Hales yesterday? If he is a liar, let the Commander-in-Chief deal with that military liar who comes out in public and says they are doing it as a reprisal. I condemn the whole policy of the Government, executions and resolutions, on the grounds of policy. If the members of the Ministry know anything as to why Great Britain bent the knee to the I.R.A., and came as far as making a truce, they would know it was the horror and detestation, the rising surge of indignation in England against the unofficial reprisals of their forces that helped to force them into that position. Here you have a number of gentlemen put in to be the Government of Ireland, and they commit undoubtedly the greatest crime without any exception that has been committed in Ireland within these [55] last ten years. Because they who ought to be the Government, those who ought to be the preservers of law and order, have committed the greatest breach not only of law and order, not only of morality, but have given the greatest incitement to the forces of disorder and anarchy and assassination in the country. Does anyone think for a moment when it goes out amongst the gunmen of the I.R.A. that these four men were shot this morning as a reprisal for the shooting of Sean Hales, and as a warning to those gunmen not to shoot any more T.D.'s, what the position will be? The position will be that everybody in the I.R.A. who went through the fighting during the last three or four years, and who is a man, will tighten his Parabellum in his pocket and will go out deliberately to shoot down as many members of the Government, and as many T.D.'s as he can. I know just as well as the Minister for Defence about the letter to the Speaker. I am not going to allow anybody to get up in this Dail and say that we who are making those protests are doing so merely because we do not want to appear to have the same measure of guilt in these things as the Government. We have come along and taken our responsibilities, and we are prepared to go on taking our responsibilities to the end, come what may; but we are not prepared to let any Government, so far as we can prevent it, start off with a crime of treason against the State. You did not give these men a trial at all; you had no authority from this body, or from any body in Ireland, to execute these men. You murdered these men—nothing short of murder were the executions of these men this morning. There is not a single necessity put forward for it. Even the Minister for Defence does not plead military necessity. No necessity can justify this kind of thing, and in your official proclamation you do not even put forward a necessity. You are going to deter these men? I am going to talk plain and straight. We are here in the Irish Free State. I want the Minister to answer this question: Where does the Governor-General come in in this affair? Where does the Governor-General come in?

Mr. KEVIN O'HIGGINS: He does not come in.

CATHAL O'SHANNON: I have never [56] denied that on the whole I did not want the Governor-General, and I do not want this kind of arrangement at all, but I bowed to the will—the decisive will, in my opinion, of the majority of the people—to take the Treaty and all that the Treaty contained as a settlement. There is not a Dominion in the British Commonwealth in which a thing like what happened this morning could happen—not a single one of them. Do you know what you have done? You have smashed the Irish Free State? You have smashed it. You think you are going to prevent anarchy and destruction by a thing like that. Well, you are loosing more destruction and more anarchy than Rory O'Connor ever loosed from within the Four Courts—much more. I do not want to talk in any personal sense about these four men. I want to cut out all the personal aspect. Is there any one of you who knows the relationship of a man like Liam Mellowes in Ireland within the last ten years? Do you know that there is not a little nipper in the Fianna since 1912 right down to to-day, from the age of 8 years to 18 or 20 years, who will grow up within the next three years with nothing in his heart but revenge for the death of Liam Mellowes? The President talked a while ago about certain obligations under the Constitution and said that you could not prostitute the Constitution and do the other thing. You are prostituting the Constitution that you passed because you executed these people, and no matter what face you put on it, 99 out of 100 people in Ireland, and outside of Ireland, will say that you have done it out of pure revenge. You are prostituting the Constitution because your Constitution should be the foundation stone of your State. The law-breaking you did this morning is cutting away the very first of your foundation stones. That is an example to everybody in Ireland to go out and deter other people! The I.R.A. will argue in the same way. “It will be necessary for us,” they will say, “to plug a good many of those fellows in order to prevent their troops from firing on us.” They will have just the same argument. You have no more reason, you have no more right, you have no more authority, to do what you did this morning than those men yesterday evening had to do what they did do with Sean Hales—not one tittle more have [57] you. You had a measure of authority in the majority of this Dáil for executing men taken in arms and tried by your Military Courts, but you did not even ask for authority such as this. I am very sorry indeed to be forced to come to this decision. Your National Army, as you call it, is simply morally and legally and according to your Constitution and your Treaty nothing more than an armed body of citizens defending the State. It is not, Sir, an Army. It is nothing more than an armed body of citizens defending the State. You who sit on the opposite Benches, who ought to be the Government, have handed over your power and authority to that armed body of citizens. Now you will have to regularise your proceedings. Your army will have to be the army or not the army. It will have to be the army of the Free State or something else. You will have to be the Government of the Free State or something else. It would be no answer to me if you get up, as you have got up before, and say, “Well, we are willing to take the responsibility and if anyone else steps into our shoes, let them.” I am going to challenge the patriotism, the manhood, and the dignity of this Assembly by asking this Assembly if they have any regard, not for the good name, but for the very safety, the very stability of this State, to stand up like men and give these incompetents what they deserve—the sack. I say that you are not able to carry on the Government of this country. You would not be forced to the necessity, as you call it, of murdering the four men in Mountjoy this morning if you were competent. You would not. Instead of being able to follow up the assassins of Sean Hales and capture and try, and execute them for murder, you would not be forced, if you were competent, to go into Mountjoy and take four prisoners you had in your hands for four or five months. Deputy Johnson has said that if these prisoners were in communication with the gunmen outside, it must have been with your connivance. I do not go so far as that, as I think it was a slip of the tongue, but it must have been with your incompetence, and you know it very well, and the Minister for Defence knows it very well. He knows very well the very prisoners you have inside your jails have been in communication with the forces [58] of disorder outside, and that the only reason they have been in communication is because of your incompetence to prevent them from being in communication. You are not fit to rule and govern in this country. But wait until you hear the cry that will go out through the streets of Dublin to-night, and through the 26 counties, the cry in many a home, “Ah, if the British would only come back.” You will have that all over the country. You said the other day that you wanted the people of the 6 counties in the North to come into the Irish Free State. Did it ever strike you that they have said over and over again that they could never come in under a Government of Southern Ireland because the elected people of Southern Ireland would not be able to rule and govern, would be incompetent to govern? Do you feel any surprise that what they have been feeling for the last six months, and every word they have been saying, has been true? You are proving it every day, and here, when you have set up the Free State, when you ought to be free and strong, and in an independent position in relation to Great Britain, you come and commit this horrible and fearful crime against the whole State. I characterise it as more horrible than any crime committed by any Government that I know of or have heard of, not even excepting the murders—the wholesale murders—and the shooting of the Communers in Paris. Ah! you have struck a harder, bigger, worse blow this morning at the Free State than all the Republican gunmen could strike. I did not believe it, when I heard it this morning. I heard it from a man in the street, who had it. I think, from the editor of the Irish Times. I could not believe it at all, and I said nothing like that happened; it must be that the soldiers in there ran amok. It could not have been an execution. It was an official execution, a reprisal. One could have understood, and one might have gone so far as to condone the act of a number of Sean Hales' comrades if they had run amok last night. One could have understood even a party of what are called the National troops taking a prisoner last night and acting in hot haste in revenge. One could even have gone so far, as I for a moment was inclined to go, as to think that this thing had occurred in some way like that—that someone [59] had taken the bit in his teeth, that someone had done this thing out of hot blood, and that the Government and the military authorities, in order to save the situation, to make things less black, less worse than they were, had covered up all this for the sake of discipline, of dignity, of some sort of appearance in this first week of the Free State. While I did not think, perhaps, as much as Deputy Johnson and Deputy Gavan Duffy, of the opinion of the outside world, I do think a good deal of the opinion of the people of Ireland; and while I do say this thing will shock the conscience of the whole world, that shock will not be as great as the shock it will give to the people over all Ireland. I could even wish now that it was someone that had gone mad and done this thing, and that the Minister, Army authorities, and the Government were hushing the thing up. But you are not; you are proclaiming it as the deliberate act of the Government, the very first act of the Government of the Free State. Why, you have shattered the whole idea of this State in Ireland; you have shattered the whole idea of government in Ireland; and the people who smash the Free State were the first Free State Government.

Mr. SEAN MILROY: I have listened to the speeches of Deputy Johnson, Deputy Gavan Duffy, and Deputy O'Shannon, and their appeals to this Assembly, and the protestations of their regard for the sanctity, the authority, and the stability of government, and possibly, if it had been the first time they had spoken in this Assembly, I might have been impressed. The fact of the matter is that the whole weight of every argument they adduced is utterly discounted by the fact that it has been the same attitude they have adopted with regard to the Government from the very first day the Provisional Government came into session. They got into a wild, hot frenzy to-day, and it was just a replica of their temperament a few months ago, when other things were going to be discussed. Now, this is not a moment or subject for any kind of manoeuvring. It is a moment for every man who has been returned to this Assembly to assist in the function of government. If ever there was a time, now is the time for them to realise the position in which they stand, and to [60] know that, just as Sean Hales fell yesterday, so every man here may fall to-night, to-morrow, or the day after. But if every man in this Assembly is to go down that way, let it be, if we go ere our time, to create security for the people, in order that the Irish nation itself shall not go down beneath the bullet or the knife of the assassin. We are not faced to-day with mere political opposition, but with armed revolt. The nation—the Irish nation—is gripped by the throat by stark-naked anarchy and assassination, and they have challenged the authority of this Parliament and this nation. They have challenged the right of this nation to say what its decisions will be and what its future will be. They have challenged, in the fullest and most absolute sense of the word, the right of this nation to make articulate its will and to give expression to its will in institutions and legislative decisions. When Sean Hales was struck down there was something more than the assassination of that Deputy—there was a blow at the whole basis, the principle, the institutions, and the fabric of civilised government in this country. What we have to realise is that the principle, or the negation of the principle, if seriously put forward and endeavoured to be enforced by all the implements of war that could be secured, by the methods of assassination, to enforce upon the people of Ireland the idea that their lives, their future and their country must live or exist at the mercy and at the bidding of the midnight or the daylight assassin. It is a challenge, the most serious that Ireland has had for generations, a more serious challenge than that which England gave to this country, at least it is a more audacious challenge, and it is one that must be met by the Irish people. Months ago, a year or so ago, this country lived under the horror and the shadow and the peril of the Black and Tan regime. There is a horror, a shadow and a peril hovering over this city and the rest of Ireland to-day. It is not the peril, or the menace, or the shadow or the horror of the British Black and Tan regime, but the agency, the menace, the shadow and the horror of the midnight or the daylight assassin. And whatever be the cost, it is the duty of this Government, which has the solemn responsibility of safeguarding the future of this nation, to rid the country of that pestilential [61] menace. We must have security for the citizens of this country. There must be that condition of life in this nation that men and women can walk the streets in security, can go to their homes without the feeling that ere they have reached their homes they will fall by the bullet or the bomb of those who have brought this country to its tragic position. I do not like to make small points, but Deputy Johnson said that any other four prisoners convicted of any offence might have been brought out and shot as a reprisal. Now, I take it that it is not the idea of reprisals that Deputy Johnson——

Mr. T. JOHNSON: Such a suggestion is beneath contempt.

Mr. SEAN MILROY: I beg your pardon?

Mr. T. JOHNSON: You ought to have more sense than to make such a suggestion.

Mr. S. MILROY: I took down your words. You said that “any other four prisoners might have been taken out and shot as a reprisal.” Am I incorrect?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: It is fairly correct, but it is the inference that is objected to.

Mr. S. MILROY: I took it as an admission from the Deputy that a reprisal might be resorted to. Is that an unfair inference?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I think it is.

Mr. S. MILROY: If so, I withdraw it; but I cannot for the life of me see any unfairness in the inference. Now, Deputy O'Shannon was very vehement; he denounced the Government as incompetent and unfit to govern; he spoke scathingly of the National Army—“the National Army, as you call it,” he said. I wonder does Deputy O'Shannon realise that he would not be here to-day in this Assembly, in a position to denounce the Government of the country if it were not for the National Army, of which he has such a very poor estimate? He said that when the gunmen of the I.R.A. heard this they would do such and such. I wonder is Deputy O'Shannon in a position to speak for what the gunmen of the I.R.A. will do? He seemed to be very, very definite in [62] his prediction as to what their attitude would be. I have no doubt that what has happened to-day will enrage those who have been assailing the foundations of Government, who have been endeavouring to overpower this Government that has been set up after so much difficulty and peril. I have no doubt that what has been done to-day will enrage them more and more, but this Government, this Assembly, this nation, must steel its heart so that it shall not quail before any set of gunmen, no matter if they became as infuriated as so many lunatics. Let us realise that we have got to get rid of this nightmare of horror, bloodshed and turmoil. We have got first to get the principle of government recognised, to get the sovereign will of the people accepted as a basis of that government, and we have got to get recognition for the government that is brought into being to make that will articulate and what is founded upon the expression of that will. If we do not get these things in Ireland, no matter whether this Government were as black as they have been painted and whether they had the wisdom and forbearance of angels, if we have not got the basis of authority established in this country then nothing will save the country from disorder and ruin. I take it I have been perhaps as much in touch with members of the Government in various phases of National effort for the past few years as most men. I have had perhaps closer opportunity of knowing what their mentality has been than has been afforded to Deputies who are denouncing them to-day. I have shared to some extent their enterprise and their danger, and I know the men who were my associates in the past when they were simply like the voice crying in the wilderness trying to get even the ideal of a Nation's independence recognised by some of their critics now, and I know that these men have not changed and that they stand to-day sentinel over the Nation's life, and custodians of the Nation's rights, and that whatever action they took they took it merely in order to secure that the life of the Nation should not be destroyed at the hour when they should stand as the supreme dominating factor of this country. Now, Deputy Gavan Duffy said there was a time when our name stood high before the world. Since I came [63] into this Assembly I have heard most of the speeches of the Deputy, and I cannot recollect that he has ever given this Government credit for having a reputation of even the faintest dimensions since the Provisional Government came into being. We have had denunciations of the Government. We have had predictions of horrible consequences; we have had the foreshadowing of a people rising in its wrath to destroy this Government, which is accused of all the crimes that men are capable of committing. The wrath of a people is a terrible thing to evoke, and the wrath of the people has been evoked already. But it is not levelled at the men who form the Government that is trying to maintain the right of the people. The wrath of the people is evoked by those who are, as I have already said, endeavouring to prevent the voice of the people being heard or the will of the people being made effective. Now, Deputy Gavan Duffy has said that imagination has been staggered. It certainly has been staggered. It is difficult to conceive that the moment which saw the end of foreign rule, the moment that saw the whole fabric of government passing from the alien into the hands of the Irish people, the moment that saw the armed forces of the alien being cleared out of the country, the armed police force of the country passing to the Irish nation, the moment that saw the revenues and the resources of the nation recovered by the nation itself—it certainly does stagger imagination to know that at such a moment, which might have been regarded as a splendid and glorious epoch in a nation's life, that that should have been the moment for an armed band of politicians to strike down the nation, and prevent it from enjoying those blessings that might have flowed from that great victory. That is the situation. Let us not be deflected in our minds from what the facts of the situation are. The question is whether the security and life of the nation is of more value than the whim of irresponsible politicians; whether this nation is to be weighed against the shadow, as a once distinguished man described the alternative to the Treaty, and that the shadow is to be regarded as something greater, nobler, and more splendid than [64] the nation. That reference to the shadow by that man seems to have been prophetic, and seems to have had a significance that none of us then foresaw. To-day there is a shadow over this nation—as great and as menacing a shadow over this nation as ever confronted it. It is a shadow that has arisen, not from Government action, not from the decisions of this Government, but a shadow of death that is created by those who have flung down the gauntlet to the people of this nation. To-day Sean Hales lies dead; but a few hours ago he was full of life and strength and manhood. Some passing references were made to Sean Hales by Deputies who criticised the Government. I think they might have paused to consider this—that as Sean Hales lies to-day cold in death, sleeping his last long sleep after a soldier's life for his country, that as he lies there to-day still in death, so will the Irish nation lie if the Government of this nation does not take steps to crush by all the means that are adequate for the purpose those who would inflict upon the nation the same fate they inflicted upon Sean Hales.

CATHAL O SHANNON: Right or wrong means.

Mr. SEAN MILROY: The Deputy who has just now interjected has spoken many times in this Dáil. I have a fairly good memory and I cannot recollect a single moment when the slightest condemnations against the attempts to strangle the life of the Nation by a gang of armed politicians fell from his lips.

CATHAL O SHANNON: Ní fíor.

Mr. SEAN MILROY: My memory has always stood me in good stead. I said I cannot recollect that I ever heard such remonstrance. At any rate if there was such remonstrance I am pretty confident it was neither very emphatic nor very articulate, because if it was its rarity would have made it stick in my memory as a welcome thing. Now that same Deputy referred to the effect on North-East Ulster. Yes, there has been an effect on the position of North-East Ulster through the campaign of those who—I will take the Deputy's own admission—called forth some reluctant remonstrance from him. There has been an effect, and never has anything happened within the last four or five years that has made it more difficult for us [65] to win the North East than what has happened down here by those armed politicians. They have created a condition of things in the 26 counties or in part of them which almost makes it a mockery for us to say to our fellow-countrymen in the North-East “Will you come into the Free State?” They say, “Why should we come into the Free State, when at least we have some security for life and property here— why go into the Free State where the life and property of every man and woman seems to be at the mercy of this gang of armed politicians?” And the fate of Sean Hales yesterday will accentuate that feeling. The Deputies who might attend this Parliament from the North-East will say, “Are we going down to Dublin to meet the same fate as Sean Hales?” Yes, the Deputy was very right when he said that there was going to be an effect upon the North-east of Ulster, but the cause of that effect, I think, was miscalculated by the Deputy. Now, I have said sufficient. I have resolutely supported the Government in endeavouring to maintain peace. The penalty of that support may be a severe one, but I conceive it my duty when I hear utterances that are clouding the issue and calculated to mislead the public mind and to throw an artificial halo of compassion around those who would destroy the nation—I conceive it my duty as one Deputy, one representative of the people, to say that the Government that is going to assert the authority of the people will have my support till that authority is established beyond danger. Terrible things have happened in Ireland, sad, horrible things. When anarchy and authority come into close grips it is very difficult to know what will happen while the struggle lasts, but one thing that does matter, one thing that is vital to the whole future is, that when authority and anarchy are gripped in a death-lock, that it shall be authority, and not anarchy that shall emerge alive from that conflict—and that is the position with which Ireland is faced to-day. Stark, grim anarchy is throttling the Irish nation and the Irish Government, and I for my part am going to say and do nothing that will assist anarchy to tighten its grip on the throat of the nation and strangle the life of the nation.

Mr. GERALD FITZGIBBON: I feel great difficulty in remaining silent [66] through this discussion. I have never been a wilful attacker of the Government. I have the most profound admiration for the courage with which they have acted throughout a most extremely trying time which is probably at this crisis around about now, but I rise now, not to attack them, but to appeal to them not to let what happened this morning occur again. I am not trying to curry favour with people outside whose methods I detest more than anybody else, and I say now, and I do not care who knows it, that I supported the military Resolutions of the Government, and if they come here and tell us that stronger measures are necessary, in their opinion, to deal with people who are opposing organised Government in Ireland to-day, I will support them to the last, but I do ask them to come here and get authority and I will support them, and I think they will find a very small minority in this Dáil opposed to them. Some there will be, but they will not find me among their opponents. But it does seem to me a thing to be deprecated that men who have been prisoners for a long time, and who I presume cannot have been immediately concerned in anything that happened yesterday, or anything that may happen to-night should be executed by way of reprisal for what was done yesterday. Let them come here and get authority for any form of drastic action that they please against the people who have been concerned in the rebellion against organised Government here. I confess that it seems to me that the men who suffered this morning were treated with extraordinary leniency in being allowed to live so long. I do not seek, as Deputy Milroy said, to voice any passion or sympathy with them at all. They, so far as one could form an opinion from what one has read and heard, particularly deserved their fate as much as any men who have been executed in this country during the last fortnight or so, but they deserved their fate for something they did not do yesterday, but something they did weeks—or it may be months—ago. If this matter were to have gone to a vote, I doubt if I could have voted in support of the Government. I understand there can be no division upon it, but I do appeal to them not to continue the policy that appears to have been commenced to day.

[67] Mr. KEVIN O'HIGGINS: A Chinn Chomhairle, what happened this morning was very sad; it was very terrible. The times are very sad and very terrible; and all events that happen now must be judged and considered in perspective. There was talk here of the intense anger that we must have felt last evening and of the very strong temptation that we were subjected to. I think that somehow we must have got long past anger and past the mere emotional wave of temptation. We have been, as the Minister for Defence said, through times calculated to burn all that out of men. There was no ebullition of anger and no one ran amok when Michael Collins was killed in Cork. The army restrained itself when men like Tom Keogh and others met their deaths, and there was no intense wave of anger last evening which caused this thing to be done this morning. Such as it is, it was done coldly; it was done deliberately—simply looking the whole situation in the eye and in the belief that only by that method would representative government or democratic institutions be preserved here. It was at once punitive and deterrent. The members of the Parliament of Ireland must be kept free and safe to perform their duties as members of the Parliament of Ireland. When one strikes at a representative man the crime is peculiarly horrid. Deputies here will remember that, within a few hours of the shooting of a Deputy who was not of this Parliament and not of our political faith—a Deputy of the Northern Government—there was a strong denunciation in the Press from the late President Griffith. His instinct was right and sound. When one strikes at a man of representative character one strikes at the people who gave him his mandate and who invested him with his representative character; and therein lies the most criminal aspect of the wretched crime that was committed yesterday. It is, of course, merely part and parcel of the continuing crime against the people and against the whole basis of democratic government and democratic thought that has been carried on in this country for full twelve months now. There was talk here of the rules of war and the laws of war. There was more talk of the rules of war, if such there be, than of the practice of war; and the Deputy who, with a kind of doll's house mind, comes here and [68] talks to us of the rules of war is careful to say very little of the practices of war. Perhaps he knows very little of the practices of war. There are no real rules of war. They may be written in a book; they may get lip service from philanthropists. When war breaks out they are more honoured in the breach than in the observance. I have spoken to men who were through the late European war, and I could not come here to this Dáil and talk with any seriousness of the rules of war or the laws of war after what I heard from these men. So let us not proceed just on those lines. And if not the rules of war or the laws of war, what law holds good? I can give but one answer to that that while war exists here, and while the existence of this nation is at stake, there can be but one code—though it sounds a grim code—whereby to judge the actions of those who have been made responsible for the restoration of order here, and that is the code, “Salus populi suprema lex.”

CATHAL O'SHANNON: The code of Oain.

Mr. KEVIN O'HIGGINS: The safety and preservation of the people is the highest law. It is at any rate the only law, for laws are not made or written down in a book to guide men when a state of war exists, for war is anarchy, and there are no rules and no laws to guide men. If people try to make fine debating points here, and to say that the Army Council have outstepped the scope of any written law that is in any Statute Book, the reply to that is that when the Army Council come to the Parliament of the Irish nation which they must save— when they come for their Act of Indemnity, the members of the present Executive Council will take their places with them in seeking that Act of Indemnity and will defend all these things that are taking place on the basis that we had to meet force with force, and that to deter men from taking action which, if enlarged and continued, would smash democratic institutions here, we had to do this thing that was done this morning.

CATHAL O'SHANNON: Will you get that agreed to in Downing Street?

Mr. KEVIN O'HIGGINS: What is the position here in this country? Outside you have a President who was defeated in his candidature for the Presidency, [69] even in that Second Dáil that he talks so much about, a President who fitly enough chooses as his Council of State, for the most part, men who were refused a mandate from any constituency, men whose representative characters were taken from them by the electors of the country, and fitly enough that President and that Council of State has a thing which it calls an Army, but which is not an Army, but simply has degenerated into a combination of apaches, a loose combination. Industriously last December, and in the first three months of this year the wind was sowed. And if some of the people who sowed it have reaped the whirlwind it is no more than they had a right to expect. You cannot meet this thing with a ruler or a measuring tape. You cannot, and the one thing you have to ask yourself is the degree of force that is necessary to smash it. That is your one criterion. We were told that we had handed over the powers of government to the Army. What does any country do when confronted with a situation such as that which confronts this country? I think it hands over very large powers to its Army, realising that its Army is the one thing that stands between it and anarchy, chaos and futility. This Army, such as it is, granted that it is only in process of evolution from the Flying Column stage to a definite machine, has had to be asked to restore order in this country, and we had no other weapon or no fitter weapon at our command to do that job. There is no use talking about the Governor-General. The Governor-General does not come into matters of this kind. There is a state of war.

CATHAL O'SHANNON: On a point of information may I ask if the Governor-General does not come into a matter of Executive action?

Mr. K. O'HIGGINS: Things have to be regarded in recognition of the fact that there is a state of war here. I do not use the word war in any narrow sense, but there is a state of armed crime or national sabotage, call it what you like, there is a state of affairs which takes things out of the hands of the civil power and out of the hands of the ordinary constitutional machinery of the country, and it demands that large and [70] far-reaching powers be delegated to your Army. We do not disclaim responsibility for this act this morning. It was taken after the fullest discussion with us. We will stand with the Army Council when there is a question of indemnity for that act. It was not an ordinary act of Government, it was not an act to which you are entitled to apply the standards of normal times or of settled times. It was an act of war, an act of war and all that war implies. We are not frightened when people stand up and draw analogies with the British, not in the least frightened by fictitious analogies. The situation here now is radically altered from what it was eighteen months ago. Our only moral basis against the British was that deliberately and judiciously in 1918 the majority of the Irish people put Constitutional agitation definitely behind them and gave the word to go ahead. That was the strength of our position, and we went ahead. That decision being come to carefully by the Nation, one did not perpetrate the folly of writing that one was out for a ninety per cent. settlement. One wrote that one was out for a hundred per cent. settlement and went ahead on that basis. Now you reach the stage where there was a stalemate position. We could not drive the British power out of Ireland, but we could make British administration here difficult and expensive. We looked, and people looked, all facts in the face—the military fact, that they could not drive the armed invader out; the political fact, that the people could not be held indefinitely on a course that demanded such high standards of self-immolation if there was no prospect of economic results. The economic fact that was laid before us by a deputation when we were considering the Treaty was that there were 130,000 people out of employment and that the economic life of the country was ebbing. That was the position that was faced. The Treaty was signed; the Treaty was endorsed by Parliament; the Treaty was wanted by the Nation; the Provisional Government was set up to carry it out. Now something vital is challenged—the majority right to decide political issues. Mankind learned that lesson in blood and chaos long ago. We must learn it again here, apparently, and we are learning it, and by the time this thing is over that lesson will be burned [71] bitterly into Ireland's brain, that when you depart from that great fundamental principle you step into sheer anarchy. People took that step quite deliberately, in the early part of this year. They did get a lot of silly, neurotic women to back them in that course and a lot of silly neurotic young boys to do likewise. The thing came on and boiled over in June. We have been grappling since June, not with any political creed but with sheer anarchy. It is all right for people like Deputy O'Connell to stand up here and preach sermons about the principle that force settles nothing. When a man has his hand on your throat and his knee on your chest you do not lie there and tell yourself that force settles nothing.

CATHAL O'SHANNON: You killed somebody else.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Deputy O'Shannon was heard in silence. He attacked the Government bitterly, using very strong language, and he should give the Minister an opportunity of speaking without interruption now.

Mr. GOREY: The weasel must spit.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: We have no talisman except force. Ultimately all government is based on force. If human nature were other than what it is, no doubt one could devise some other method; but we are not able to devise any other weapon to meet the situation that exists here except force. We do not find any other Government in any other country at any other time that did devise such a weapon or such a method. We are at a loss for such precedents of Governments that made that wonderful discovery. It is all right to say these are honest men. It is not a question of their honesty. They have not a monopoly of honesty, and a man can be personally an honest man and be a greater danger to the community in which he lives than a mad dog in a playground full of children. The question of his honesty is not for us to deal with. The question of his sanity even is not for us to deal with. We are not expert psychologists or mental experts of any kind; we have simply to face the fact that certain men, or a certain combination of men, are garrotting this country, and we have to deal with those men by the only means that [72] we know of and with the only weapon that is to our hand. It would be criminal on our part to allow this country to be garrotted for want of using that weapon sufficiently strenuously. That is the position as we see it. We do not want to pose or cut figures on the platform of the Irish nation. We do realise the Irish nation is meant to be something more than a stage or a platform for individuals to cut capers on. It is because we recognise that, such as we are, whatever limitations we have, we are the custodians of the life of the Irish nation, that we have done the things that we have done. It is all right to come here and taunt us with incompetence. No doubt, if we had years of apprenticeship, if we could have foreseen in our youth that we would be in this particular capacity and in this particular position to-day, we would be wiser. Fate, or the will of the people, call it what you wish, has placed us in this position that we are the custodians of the life of the nation, and people are trying to garrott the nation, and we know no better means of dealing with them than the means we have employed since last June, and we will very earnestly consider any representations that will be made to us to do better in our task; and we want to do better in our task. We want to finish it up quickly, and we want to place all power of government in this country in the hands of the Irish people, so that they may rule according to their will; and none of us have any deep feeling of appreciation for the positions we now hold, but simply, as honest men, we are out to do the things that our minds and our consciences tell us it is our duty to do. We will do that regardless of any consequences, physical or political, to ourselves and we will take our stand in any dock that the Irish people wish to put us in hereafter for so doing. “One could have understood it,” says Deputy O'Shannon, “if some people had seen red and had run amok.” Now, please God, there will be no running amok. There were big strains before, and there was no running amok; no one saw red, and there was no hot blood. The thing that was decided on last evening was decided on after the coldest of cold discussions. We may be lacking in judgment, we may be lacking in wisdom. Undoubtedly we have not the long tradition of Government that families in certain other countries [73] have—families from which rulers have been selected for generations—but I do say that from the day the Provisional Government was set up, and from the time we functioned below there in the City Hall, there was not an act done that was inspired by any other motive than the securing of the welfare and the safety and the freedom of the Irish people. There was never an act done through personal vengeance, and never an act done through hot blood. We have no higher aim than to place the people of Ireland in the saddle in Ireland, and let them do their will, but we will not acquiesce in gun-bullying, and we will take very stern and drastic measures to stop it. Personal spite, great heavens! Vindictiveness! One of these men was a friend of mine.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: It was not my intention to have spoken here except for one sentence used by the previous speaker. I stood and voted for the resolution that was passed here last October. If that resolution came forward again I would vote for it again. I have no desire whatever, no ambition stirs me in the least, to curry favour with those who are outside and who are sending certain threatening letters to members of this Dáil every week. Perhaps, it is just as well that no such ambition ever seized me, as I should be scarcely ever likely to gratify it. I want to make that very clear, and I want to make clear that one recognises in here the very great difficulties with which the Government is faced, and also recognises that it is necessary that strong, severe action should be taken if this nation's life is to be saved. All these things are one concern, but it is quite another concern to reflect upon the action that was taken this morning.

I venture to suggest to you that a great deal of the discussion that has occurred to-day is quite irrelevant to the matter raised. We are not talking about the necessity of saving this nation's life at the moment. We are not talking about the necessity of taking life at the moment. We are discussing the definite, the particular circumstance, that occurred this morning, and we are asking ourselves as a legislative assembly whether the lives of human beings should be taken in Ireland without trial first, and secondly, whether lives should be taken, and avowedly confessed by the [74] Government of the country to have been taken as a reprisal. That is the question, not the larger question, the bigger question in many ways; the saving of the life of this Nation. And the particular sentence that has brought me to my feet for as brief a time as I can deal with it was used by the Minister for Home Affairs. Referring to the act undertaken this morning he said, “Only by that method could democratic Government or representative institutions be preserved here.” What is democratic Government? What are representative institutions? Representative institutions are those institutions by which law is made without which people shall not be slain. Yesterday one of our comrades was shot in the streets of Dublin and we all thrilled with horror when that news came to us, and the word was used here that it was murder What made the shooting of Sean Hales murder? Because the person who shot him had no law for that act. That was why it was murder. Where was the law for the act of this morning? There is no law, and therefore, as I see it, while willing with Deputy Fitzgibbon to go with the Government to a much greater measure than the mover of this motion, perhaps willing to go further than some members of the Government themselves would be willing to go, I, nevertheless, am asking myself, and have all to-day been asking myself, if four men are slain on the 6th December, and one man was slain on the 7th December, in two separate acts on two separate days, neither one act having legal sanction higher than the other because it had no legal sanction at all, I want to know what distinguishes one act from the other. But it is the enforcement of that law, it is the creation of that law, that is the business of representative institutions, and it is the enforcement of that law which is the whole foundation of democratic Government; and yet by some strange perversity the Minister for Home Affairs—and I do not desire to take any advantage of the mere matters of wording, realising his emotion in this question—by some strange perversity used the sentence that only by the method undertaken this morning could democratic government or representative institutions be preserved here, when, surely, the truth is that it is [75] only by that method, by whomsoever conducted, could democratic government and representative institutions be endangered.

Professor EOIN MacNEILL: The Deputy who has just sat down has pointed to two actions, and he has asked us to conclude here that there was as much law for one as for the other. The Deputy is not a man of low or mediocre intelligence. He is a man of considerable subtlety; and when matters of this kind arise, subtlety is altogether beside the question. For one of these acts there was no law; for another there was good law and full law—elementary law. I do not say there was a statute. We have not had much time here to devise statutes, but I say there was full law and elementary law for that act. Every Government is armed with full emergency powers when emergencies of extreme necessity arise. When emergencies of extreme necessity arise there is no limit. The question is whether the emergency that faces the State is one of extreme necessity or not. Very well, let me state what it is. For some months past there has been a carefully laid plan—and every one of those who have criticised the Government here to-day is aware of it—a carefully-laid plan to annihilate this Government, this form of government, in which we are all taking part, to make it impossible. That we dealt with at previous meetings and in previous warm discussions here, in one of these phases which was to strike at the Government indirectly through the people and the economic life of the people. The killing of Deputy Hales yesterday was the entry of that plan on a new phase, and the object of that act was to annihilate the power of this Assembly; to deprive not only Sean Hales of his life, but every Member of this Assembly of his elementary right, of his public right, of his representative right to come here, to go from here, and to do his duty here without fear. The object of that act was to strike terror into the minds of every member of this Assembly.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: And it will fail.

Professor MacNEILL: I am glad to know it will fail, and I, for one, will not shrink from responsibility for taking whatever effective steps are necessary to [76] see that it fails. We have been asked by what authority our actions have been taken. Well, it would have been possible for us to have delayed in this matter. It would have been possible for us to come here and to associate with ourselves in the responsibility which fell upon us as a Government the support of manly and straightforward men like Deputy Fitzgibbon, and no doubt it would have been a comfort for us had we been enabled to do so, had we chosen to do so. What we have chosen to do is to take the full responsibility which, as a Government, armed by the people of Ireland through you, with emergency powers to deal with emergencies, we were entitled to take. By what authority? Despite the rather timid croakings that we have heard from some quarters, I venture to say that what I say now will be found to be the truth, that in taking that action in which we acted with the full authority of the people of Ireland, we had elementary law justifying us; we had the highest duty imposed upon us compelling us to take that action; we had the fullest authority we could possibly have for that action, the authority of the people whom it is our duty to protect. Deputy Johnson said of the men who were executed this morning “they murdered them.” Very well. The Deputy has taken part in framing the Constitution here, parts of which he and many others would like to have seen framed on a different model. I think many parts they considered efficient for their purposes. At all events I have heard no criticism to the contrary, and these are the parts which set up the machinery of the ordinary law. I am not a lawyer, but I think it will possibly be found that under the provisions of that Constitution Deputy Johnson or Deputy Gavan Duffy or Deputy Cathal O'Shannon can, if they so desire, indict me for murder if they believe that I have committed murder. I challenge them to do so. If they do I will meet them with no evasion as to the facts; the sole question would be whether under the law the act that took place this morning, the execution of those four men, was murder or was not murder; and that can be tested. I do not ask to wait for an Indemnity Act. I must say I have been astonished at the form in which some of the speeches criticising the Government have been cast. I have acquitted those who made those [77] speeches of any evil intent, but I remember prophecies that were made within the past twelve months, and I can recall those who made those prophecies and the work that was done by them to secure the fulfilment of their own evil prophecies, and I do hope that those who have made evil prophecies here to-day will, at all events, take care that by no act of theirs will they contribute to the fulfilment of those prophecies. On one point I myself personally have been challenged. I am surprised at this, but I will dispose of it. Deputy Gavan Duffy quoted me as saying that this Government tried men for one thing and executed them for something else. I never said anything of the kind.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: I said something of the kind, but if I misquoted the Minister I am very sorry for it. I think he should refer to the Debates to which I referred, and he will find the words there.

Professor MacNEILL: I took down the words exactly as they were spoken and I have only alluded to them, and I am not even going to correct them. Now those who have spoken on the side of the Government before me have sufficiently disposed of the suggestions that the action taken by the Government in this matter has been taken through vengeance and through anger, or under any strong or weak temptation of passion. A certain amount of play has been made on the word “reprisal” because those who wish to criticise us know that the word has become unpopular. We have been told that our act is an act of retaliation. That, I think, has been sufficiently disposed of by those who spoke before me, and I hope we shall have no repetition of it, either here or elsewhere, or suggestions, unfounded suggestions, that in taking action of this kind—and I suppose it is as clear to us as it is to anyone here what a heavy responsibility for the destiny of this country we carry—and if so we might get this little credit that, even if we are incompetent, we have so much sense as to know that our acts should not be acts of passion, acts of vengeance, acts done under severe temptation, acts of retaliation. Deputy Gavan Duffy accused us of violating the Constitution, and in particular he specified Article 70, and having specified it he forbore to read it. I invite him to read [78] Article 70, and having read it, he will find that in no particular has the action taken by us this morning violated that Article.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: I invite the Minister to read it.

Professor MacNEILL: The murder of Sean Hales, Deputy O'Shannon said, is a sign of the incompetence of the Government. Now I do not know exactly what that means. Does it mean that if our army had been more efficient than it is Deputy Sean Hales would not have been murdered? And, if so, our army, I should say, would be more efficient by creating more fear in a more effective way in the minds of those opposed to the Government. Now what is at the bottom of this attack upon us is an anticipation that the horror and detestation and indignation which arose against the reprisal policy of the British Government—I am still quoting—will arise against this Government on account of the action taken this morning. We were told that little boys—little nippers, to use a familiar phrase—of the Fianna are going to arm themselves in the future, to avenge one of the men executed this morning. And immediately when this phrase was uttered I was called outside and I met one of the Fianna lads who was one since 1912. I will say nothing more upon that except this that he did not come to avenge the death of Liam Mellowes.

CATHAL O'SHANNON: May I ask the Minister if it is not very largely true that, to a very large extent, the young men of the Irregulars are the Fianna of the last few years?

A DEPUTY: That is not so.

Professor MacNEILL: Deputy O'Shannon claims that Irregulars are made up of the I.R.A. and the Fianna. The Irregulars are neither the I.R.A. nor the Fianna, and I go further and say that, speaking as he did, and without qualification, as to what these young lads are going to do is extremely reprehensible. We have little boys and little girls coming into politics every day in Ireland without experience and being stirred up by older people to do wild things, and to believe that in professing allegiance to a form of words they are doing something very heroic and something very patriotic. I probably will not be very much mistaken [79] in forecasting that the very words used by Deputies here to-day will be used as an incitement to stir up these young people to do mad things.

Mr. E. BLYTHE: Hear, hear.

Mr. GOREY: And were meant to be used.

Professor MacNEILL: I did not say that.

Mr. WILLIAM O'BRIEN: That remark will have to be withdrawn.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: It will have to be withdrawn by the Deputy who made it and also by the Minister for Local Government. They are both liars.

Professor MacNEILL: I said distinctly, both at the beginning of my remarks and again later, that I acquitted Deputies of any such intention.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Did Deputy Gorey say that the remarks used by Deputies were intended to incite people?

Mr. GOREY: That is what I said.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That remark must be withdrawn.

Mr. GOREY: I withdraw it.

Mr. JOHNSON: The Minister for Local Government said the same.

Mr. BLYTHE: I did not say the same. I said “hear, hear.”

Mr. WILLIAM O'BRIEN: The “hear, hear” is worthy of the plea he made upon his trial.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: If the “hear, hear” was meant to be an absolute approval and reinforcement of Deputy Gorey's remark it ought to be withdrawn as well.

Mr. BLYTHE: I withdraw it.

Professor MacNEILL: I think it would be better on all sides if we did not pay so much attention to phrases and paid more attention to realities.

Mr. DAVIN: That is what we are trying to do.

Professor MacNEILL: We are asked again what will the Irish people say? I [80] am quite prepared to abide by what the people will say. I am here, and my colleagues are here, by the authority of the Irish people, and by that authority alone. If the Irish people say that we have done wrong as a Government, and if they endorse the views that have been placed by one Deputy before this assembly to-day—that we are an incompetent Government—every single one of us is ready and will be glad to give over our charge and responsibility to people with a better sense of what is right and politic, and who will be more competent to carry on the business of the State. I trust I may be mistaken as to one remark made which led me to think that this situation was going to be met by a demonstration of retirement from the Dáil by some Deputies. That is not the way to meet it.

Mr. JOHNSON: I would say that the anticipation which the Minister has in his mind is not correct. It is not the intention to withdraw.

Mr. DAVIN: We will face our responsibility as well as you.

Professor MacNEILL: Then I made a complete mistake, and drew a wrong inference. There is nothing more for me to say, but I claim, as a Minister of this Government, responsible for what the Government has done, the sanction of elementary law and the full authority of the Irish people, and I am prepared to submit it to the verdict both of law and of the Irish people.

Mr. GOREY: As an excuse for my interruption, I, too, thought that the Labour party contemplated withdrawal, and that inspired me with a little venom in the matter.

Mr. MORRISSEY: I think that Deputy Gorey should also withdraw the remark about skin saving.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The really objectionable remark has been withdrawn by the Deputy and by the Minister.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS: I did not care to interrupt the Minister when he was speaking, but he misinterpreted the purport of my remark. I did not say that there was no difference between the act of this morning, and the act of yesterday. I did say there is no legal difference, [81] and I hold that we, who are the makers of the law, should be the most scrupulous observers of it.

Mr. THOMAS O'DONNELL: I would not have risen at all but for the remark made by a Deputy that the death of Seán Hales was a criterion of the action of the Government, or something to that effect. When Deputy Milroy was speaking about other Deputies here being assassinated, he shouted “hear, hear.” Now, I think there is enough of incitement to the people of Ireland already.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I think the Deputy is completely wrong in his interpretation of what was said. Deputy Milroy was saying that other Deputies might be assassinated, and I think that the interruption was meant to imply that Deputies knew that.

CATHAL O'SHANNON: Exactly.

Mr. O'DONNELL: That is not the impression it left on my mind.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I have explained it rightly, and the Deputy has interpreted the remark wrongly.

Mr. O'DONNELL: I never wished to belong as far as I could to any party. I came here to this Dáil not as the special representative of farmers or labourers or of any section, but as the representative of the people as a whole. We should stand with the people, and we should take our place as the representatives of a proud nation, and not as the advocates of any particular section or cleavage amongst our people. Some of the Deputies who came into this Dáil as a result of the Pact never preached Republicanism until they got in here.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I think the Deputy should keep to the subject under discussion. It has nothing whatever to do with the Pact or the elections.

Mr. O'DONNELL: Well, all that I will say in conclusion is that we should be careful not to speak in a manner that would give any incitation to people outside. They are incited enough already. When we speak here we should speak in a way that will tend to unite the people of all sections outside, and I think that should be our object here.

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: I think it would be well if we took Deputy Figgis's advice and got back really to what the matter was on which the debate was [82] raised here this evening. Deputies who have spoken from the opposite benches have wandered a considerable distance away from the real issue at stake. It is customary, when we get up here to challenge the Government for any action, or criticise them for any action which they take, to immediately retort by asking us “What have you said when the other people did so and so? You have made no remonstrance when other people said so and so.” I cannot for a moment see the force of that argument at all. To me it looks as if somebody down the country, or a number of people, conspired to rob a bank, and that this Government also conspired to rob a bank, and if we challenged them for their authority for robbing it or asked them why they robbed it, they would immediately retort, “You said nothing when so and so down the country robbed a bank.” That is the way in which Deputy Milroy's argument and the arguments of other people on the opposite benches have appealed to me. There is the matter at issue. We had yesterday the assassination of Sean Hales, a Deputy of this Dáil. My colleagues here have, in speaking, expressed the views of all the members on these benches with regard to that act. There is no need for me to repeat it. And what has the Government done? They have taken out four men this morning, who on their own admission had nothing to do with that assassination. No Deputy on the opposite benches has attempted to show the connection between yesterday's deed and the deed of this morning—no one has attempted to show it. Now, we are told by the Minister for Education, when challenged by Deputy Figgis and also by a Deputy who ought to know certainly what he is talking about —the Deputy for Trinity College—that the law which justified the action of the Government was elementary law. I do not know what elementary law is in that sense. Is the law to which the Minister refers the old law, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”?

Professor MacNEILL: No.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Is that the law?

Professor MacNEILL: No.

Mr. O'CONNELL: The Minister for Education has stated that it is for the defence of the Deputies and in order to [83] defeat a conspiracy, to which indirect and vague references have been made from time to time in this Dáil, but all the knowledge we have of this conspiracy is vague and indirect references. We have been told it was in defence of the Deputies of this Dáil, to save them and to enable them to come to this Dáil that the action this morning was taken. Well, I try to judge, in any case, the value of an action by its result, and I ask myself honestly and sincerely has the action of this morning tended to achieve the object which the Government say they have in mind? I ask myself that question and I cannot answer in the affirmative. The Minister for Home Affairs when speaking charged us with raising small debating points, when we challenged the Government with having over-stepped the law. And the Minister for Education justified the action of the Government in not coming to this Dáil and getting the authority of the Dáil for action of this kind by saying “We preferred to take full responsibility ourselves for this action.” If that is to be the policy of the Government why have a Dáil? If the Executive Council think it right and justifiable to carry on the Government of this country without reference to this Dáil, why do not they propose that? Why have a Dáil? Why not dissolve it? It seems to me that that is the only logical thing for them to do. Now, the Minister for Home Affairs said that it was all very well for Deputies to get up and say that force is no remedy. We recognise that Governments are based on force, but what we complain of and what we criticise is the direction in which the force is used, and we think it is wrong; we think it is not going to achieve its object. If it is not it should not be used in that direction. The Minister for Education has stated that their action has the full authority of the Irish people, and he states that he believes it will be supported by the Irish people. I can only tell my own experience. The only comment I have heard since this news was published this morning was “Are the Government gone mad?” That is what the common people are saying; that is what the common people are thinking. I heard references to subtlety. The common people have no subtlety; they look these [84] facts straight in the face. I tell the Government what my opinion is of what the common people are saying. I have an opportunity of knowing it, and that is what they are saying. It seems to me that the Government, acting on what they call the will of the people, have, on more than one occasion, fallen into serious blunders, and they seem to be unfortunate in choosing a time when the people who are against them are just falling away, as it were, or losing any support they may have from their followers. It seems that that is the time that the Government blunderingly does something that drives all these people back into their arms again. It happened at the time of the attack on the Four Courts. Now it has happened again. The death of Sean Hales and the manner of his death would have shocked all their followers who had any little feeling left, or any little sense of responsibility left, into a sense of the terrible direction in which these things were tending, but all that effect is lost by this morning's action. It seems to me, as I have said a moment ago, that it is a case of a competition in fearfulness. Now the Minister for Defence stated that no matter what they would do they would go on and they would leave behind them the Irish people. They may, but if they persist with this policy they will not leave behind them an Irish State. I opposed the policy of the executions because I believed, and I still believe, it is not a wise policy. But I can say this much for those executions: there was some show of legality, some show of law, whereas there was no show of legality for the action this morning or no trial. They have been executed although they have been in the hands of the Government for five months, and the only answer we get from the Government is that it was done in accordance with elementary law. The Minister for Home Affairs tells us that it was not even what one might excuse, if he could not justify, that is, that it was an act done in the heat of the moment on hearing of the tragic death of their colleague. He tells us that it was done coldly and calmly and deliberately, as an act of reprisal. I shall be astonished and I shall have lost whatever faith I have in human nature if there is not from the world a cry of [85] shame on the Government that could be guilty of such an act as that performed this morning. So far as we are concerned we, on our part, will lose no opportunity to save the State from the actions of those who are now responsible for its guidance.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: On a matter of personal explanation, I was charged by the Minister for Education just now with misrepresenting him, or the Government, in stating that they were trying people on one charge and executing them on another.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Minister for Education stated that Deputy Gavan Duffy had said that the Minister for Education was responsible for the statement that the Government tried people for one thing and shot them for another. Deputy Gavan Duffy said that.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: I made that charge certainly, but as a matter of fact I did not mention the Minister for Education to-day. I want to refer to the actual words of the Minister, and let him say whether I am misrepresenting him. I have no intention whatever of misrepresenting him. I can give him his actual words.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Minister said he did not use the words.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY: As a matter of fact, I do not think I mentioned the Minister's name when I spoke to-day. I said that was the Government's policy. You will recollect it was because that statement was made by the Minister that I did not proceed with a certain motion I had in this Dáil. I do not want to be charged with misrepresenting the Government. Either what he said was right or wrong. I shall read these few words of the Minister for Education from the Report of November 29th—page 2436. He said: “No man has been executed simply for having a revolver either in his own house or elsewhere.” I interrupted, and said: “This is the first time we have had that admission.” The Minister went on: “And it is not for having a revolver, but for taking a stand, and being identified with that stand, whether as a leader or a follower, to make the Government impossible, including amongst the Government the whole material management of the concerns of this country.” The words speak for themselves.

[86] Professor MacNEILL: I am satisfied

Mr. E. BLYTHE: Deputy O'Connell spoke about the difference between executions following trial by Military Courts and the executions this morning. From the point of view of legality I think there is no difference. The Military Courts were not legalised by the resolution of the Dáil. They for their operations depend upon military necessity, and the executions carried out under the sentence of those Courts are justifiable only because of military necessity. The executions carried out this morning can only be justified on grounds of military necessity. There was a formality in the case of the trials following the Military Courts. The proceedings at those Military Courts were in the nature of precautionary investigations, but the form did not give any legality to the executions that they would not have had without the form of trial. The justification for the putting to death of the men who were put to death following trial by Military Courts was that the situation justified it, and that for the purpose of restoring the rule of law in this country it was necessary that this thing should be done. We were told by Deputy O'Connell that the men who were executed this morning had no connection with the crime that was committed yesterday.

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: On a point of explanation I said no connection had been shown to us.

Mr. BLYTHE: It must at least be fairly well known and be fairly obvious that they had this connection. They were part of the one body with the men who committed the crime. If we call the Irregulars an army, they were part of that army. There is no question of their disapproval of the policy that has been pursued by the Irregulars. They have necessarily been in constant communication with the Irregulars outside. Everybody who has been in prison knows that all prisons leak, and that information can be got into the prison, and information can be got out of the prison, and that there is no possibility of preventing any communication. We know, and it has been published, that policies have been drawn up inside the prison, and communications and advice and suggestions have been sent out from the prison to the Irregulars. There has been no suggestion that the people inside the prisons dissociated [87] themselves from the policy of those outside. They are part of one body; they are in exactly the same position as prisoners of a regular army taken in ordinary war. As far as the question of reprisals goes, they are in the same position as regular prisoners. Now, reprisals are carried out from time to time by all armies engaged in war. To say that a thing is a reprisal is no condemnation of the act when we are dealing with war and the conditions of war. To say it is a reprisal does not condemn it. It would be condemned if it were unnecessary or useless. Frequently nations are compelled, when they are faced with the commission of war crimes, to carry out reprisals on prisoners whom they have already in their hands—prisoners belonging to the army which is committing those crimes. We are doing nothing unprecedented in carrying out reprisals on prisoners belonging to a body outside the prison which is committing crimes which we believe can be best or easily or well prevented by dealing out drastic action on the prisoners who are inside. Deputy Johnson is very much respected in this Dáil, but it seems to me that in all his speeches dealing with the executions that have been carried out, including these executions, he has not shown a sense of perspective or a sense of the relative values of things. It is a fact that there is very much more vehemence about an action carried out by the Government, an action that the Government is justified in taking, and an action of which there are plenty of precedents to justify the Government— precedents drawn from the actions of other Governments face to face with a war of anarchy such as we are face to face with. There is a great deal more vehemence, and I might say passion, in the denunciation of things not perhaps very important in themselves, that are done by the Government, compared with the generally very mild expressions of condemnation with which great crimes, crimes which are mounting up and which are threatening the whole fabric of society in this country, are referred to.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON: If the Minister would have us pull the rope we will do it, but that is a charge you have no right to make. These people are not in this Dáil. You are here and you are responsible. If we were dealing with [88] them in their own particular House, if they had such, we would just denounce them in the same way. Do you not see the difference of charging a criminal and charging a Government? You are pulling yourselves down to their level.

Mr. BLYTHE: The fact remains as I have stated it. It may be that Deputy Johnson is as angry and feels as strongly about the things that are done by the Irregulars as he does feel about the counter-action that is taken by the Government, but that could not be seen or known from the tone of anything that he said here.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Would it not be better if that point were not laboured?

Mr. BLYTHE: I am not labouring things and I am not making any charges.

Mr. O'CONNELL: He cannot see the difference.

Mr. BLYTHE: It is no pleasure to any member of the Government to have to do these things. As has been said before we do not do them either in anger or lightly; we do not do them with anything but the deepest regret that they have to be done, but we feel that we are faced with a condition of things in which the most drastic action is necessary. There can be no doubt at all that there is in the country at this moment a state of demoralisation which we would not have believed possible a few years ago. We have at the present time in this country whole sections of the population who are prepared to steal and loot and grab what is not theirs. We have a state of affairs in the country, in which we know that in one or two cases at least, men have combined to commit a crime, which was a very rare crime, and a very much reprobated crime before that. I think that is the touchstone of the demoralisation that is going on. Now, the people through the country feel that stern action is necessary. We were told when the first execution took place, that the people would revolt, that the people would turn against us for carrying out these executions. There has been no turning against us, and the evidence is that the people are glad to see that whatever measure of force it is necessary to use, things having got to the pass they have got to, we are prepared to use that force for the purpose [89] of restoring the rule of law and ordinary security to the ordinary citizen in the country. I have been in touch with people in many parts of the country, and I have had messages, that have been to that effect. I have no fear that the people will turn against us, or that the people will reprobate us for what we have done to-day any more than they have turned against us for other executions that were carried out. The people generally through the country have come to feel that the state of affairs is such that we must not be sparing of force in putting an end to it. To spare force now, to shrink from drastic or exceptional measures would have only this effect, that it would prolong the present state of affairs, and it would cause additional bloodshed. There are ways of doing things, there are times for clemency and patience and mercy. We for months up to June exercised patience, and shrank from bloodshed and from civil strife. We did everything possible to avoid it, and it is not true to say, that we threw the people back to Irregularism by the action we took in attacking the Four Courts. As a matter of fact, if we did not take the action we took then so far from Irregularism falling to pieces, they would have carried out a coup-d'etat, and there would have been no Dáil Eireann sitting here now. Deputy O'Connell makes the same mistake with regard to the present time. If the Irregulars are falling away at the present moment is it because within the last week or two, we have been exceptionally clement and patient, or that we have been exceptionally drastic? I think, that is a question that might be answered when drastic action is condemned as being impolitic and as being likely to produce chaos, and to bring down the administration which at present holds.

Mr. P. HOGAN: I would not intervene, but for one remark of Deputy O'Connell which I regard as rather significant, and as explaining the point of view, the attitude that Deputies in all parties take to very critical and very important questions that affect the life and death of the Nation here as they arise. Deputy O'Connell stated that he had no real evidence that there was any vast conspiracy against this Dáil. I think that that is correct—that there was no conspiracy against the Dáil, against [90] the Nation outside. As I listened to that remark I thought it was one of the most significant remarks that was made in the debate since the beginning of the debates. We have been charged that during the debate various speakers on this side of the Dáil especially have wandered from the point. That charge is to same extent true, but it applies to speakers on both sides, and the point I want to make is this, that in considering a question like this, no doubt a tremendously serious question, especially when you have regard to the various aspects that it is bound to take in the minds of Deputies, you must wander from the point. Deputy O'Connell, for instance, wandered from the point when he said he had no real knowledge of a vast conspiracy, but that is not what surprises me. What surprises me is this. That we have been in the Capital of Ireland, in this Dáil, for the last three, or four, or five months, and we all know what has happened. We know intimately every circumstance and every step in the long history of the last six months, and yet at a critical moment like this, at a moment when the Government has had to take terrible action, you have a Deputy coming forward and saying that as far as he is concerned he had no real knowledge of any vast conspiracy against the State. I want to be perfectly fair.

Mr. O'CONNELL: What I said was that we heard this morning of these executions and references were made to it during the debate, that there was a conspiracy to pick off one by one members of this Dáil, if you like to put it so bluntly. It was this morning I heard that for the first time authoritatively.

Mr. HOGAN: What the Deputy actually said was that the evidence of a conspiracy was very vague. I will take it from him that what he meant to say was that there was no real conspiracy to pick off the Deputies one by one. But the whole trend of the debate, especially from the Labour Benches, seems to ignore the fact that there is a vast conspiracy at this moment to kill the country, to cut the country's throat. Now, is that the truth, or is it not?

Mr. JOHNSON: We admit the truth, but we say you have no right to take a murderer's mother and kill the mother because of the murder.

[91] Mr. HOGAN: I will come to that. Notwithstanding what Deputy Johnson has said now—I know he has always admitted it and I give him credit for it— this debate has developed, as previous debates always have, on lines completely forgetful of the fact that at the most vital moment in the history of our country there is a conspiracy, a deliberate avowed conspiracy to cut the country's throat. Is that an overstatement of the case? You have got to keep that in your minds; you have got to remember that. You have got to remember all it means, to remember the vast responsibility it places on the Government, and you have got to remember it when you have to face action such as the action which the Government and the army have been forced to take this morning. I remember Deputy Gavan Duffy talking some days ago about war crimes. He talked to-day about prisoners-of-war. He talked about the violation of the Constitution and he talked about war crimes, and I must say that speeches of that sort always seem to my mind most extraordinary, when you compare them with the circumstances of the time and with the situation that we are faced with. As war crimes—what is an attempt to blockade the civil population? What is looting in the firing line? What is an attack on the transport of the civil population in order to starve them out? Everyone of these are war crimes, and the fact of the matter is that the war, so far as it is being conducted by the other side, is one large war crime. We have to make precedents for ourselves. We are perhaps faced with a situation— and I do know a little history—that no country has ever been faced with. We have to take that fact into account. We have to remember all the circumstances, and we have to do the best we can in the bargain. We are asked what law there is for this. We are asked why did we not come to the Dáil and ask for permission to do it. It has been suggested by Deputy Johnson that the Army Council in taking this action had not the authority of the Dáil. I say that it had the authority of the Dáil, and I say that deliberately. I say that, meaning exactly what I am saying, they had the authority of the Dáil and they had the authority of the Dáil in the very same sense as armies of other countries in other periods, in other [92] epochs, had the authority of their Parliaments when they were faced with an attack on the life of the country. Deputy O'Shannon said that this was no Government, that it had simply delegated its authority to the Army. That was a slight overstatement. We have delegated to the Army the task of meeting the attack on the life of the nation, and of restoring civilised conditions, and we have given them complete discretion in that task. That is not the first time that that procedure has been followed. In every country, in every epoch, when the life of the nation is being threatened the same thing is being done; it has been found necessary to take exactly the same measures. We have done it; we have asked the Army to restore order and reestablish civilised conditions, and we had the majority of the Dáil and the majority of the Irish people behind us when we asked them to do that, and the law that the Army Council was acting under when they executed these men was the law of military necessity. That position you may disagree with, but I hope we understand each other. Deputy O'Connell tells us we have not the Irish people behind us. He tells us what the common people said about this. Now, this appeared in the paper, I should think, about 1 o'clock, and at 2 o'clock Deputy O'Connell can tell us what the common people are saying about us. I do not want to make debating points, but I suggest that Deputy O'Connell, or any other Deputy, on a serious matter like this, should not make debating points either. Time will show whether the people are behind us and I am willing to wait the time. Deputy O'Shannon stated what he thought the effect of this would be on the I.R.A. Now, I prefer that he would not use the expression I.R.A. in that connection. He knows who the I.R.A. are and who they are not. I think he suggested that we were acting in the same lawless fashion as the people who are opposed to us. I have stated that we are the Government responsible to the Dáil. I am no longer a member of the Government, but when the Government, at an early stage in this fight, entrusted the Army Council and the Army with the task of restoring order and re-establishing civilised conditions in the country, we left it to their discretion, and we will continue to leave it to their discretion, and with great respect to Deputy [93] O'Shannon or any other Deputy here, I would prefer the discretion of the Army Council and the opinion of the Minister for Defence on the I.R.A. than even his.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Motion made:—“That the Dáil adjourn until 7.30.”

Mr. JOHNSON: My desire was to test the feeling of the Dáil on the action of the Government. I thought for the moment that it was possible to move a motion. That has not been possible, according to the rules. The Minister has moved the adjournment and I propose to challenge that motion, solely for the purpose of testing how many members of this Dáil are prepared to stand by the Government in the action they took this morning.

The PRESIDENT: It was my intention to have said something, but three minutes are scarcely sufficient in the circumstances. I anticipated that we would get some lead from the Deputy who had stated that we were an incompetent Government. I was prepared to admit, and I was almost on the point of bowing acquiescence to him, expecting that words of wisdom would come and that we would have seen some light, that we would have got some indication of the policy to adopt. Two Deputies of this Dáil came to me last July with a proposal in connection with peace. I put it to them whether they were satisfied that if we were to agree to these terms at that time, it would mean peace, and that arms would not be used against us. The Deputy cannot deny that I put that to him, and that he was not in a position to answer me in the affirmative.

CATHAL O'SHANNON: I beg the President's pardon. I did answer his question and I said that in my opinion— it was my personal opinion—the proposal made by the man who made it and the people acting for him, would be carried out. I admit that the other Deputy did not agree, but I certainly said I believed it would.

The PRESIDENT: In any case we did not get any great lead. You may make a debating point out of it but it is a question of whether or not there is a better policy than the policy that the Government has laid down. I admit the seriousness of it. None of us likes it, and gentlemen opposite, well intentioned [94] though they are, are doing a very grave disservice in the serious situation in which we are engaged, in taking the attitude they have taken. It is really a psychological question. It is where terror meets terror, and they must know they will not be allowed to exhaust civilised methods in dealing with matters of this sort. It would not have been possible under circumstances like these to consult the Dáil, no more than it would have been possible to agree to the representations made to us by the gentlemen opposite at the time, that the Dáil and the people should give their consent to going into a war. The sum and substance of the case were answered by the Minister for Education. There is elementary law in this case. The people who have challenged the very existence of society have put themselves outside the Constitution, and only at the last moment, not thinking there was such infamy in this country, we safeguarded this Dáil, and the Government and the people of Ireland from being at the mercy of such people. Only within the last one or two months we have had most diabolical attempts on the lives of the guards, and then there was not sufficient courage amongst those who made the attempts to escape. What are we dealing with? The very dregs of society. We are dealing with people who have no regard for life or property, for security or anything, that the people of this country hold dear. Only the night before last I rang the Commander-in-Chief and asked: “Have you any trials on? If you have I think it is a time for showing clemency.” He said: “Yes; I thoroughly agree with that,” and the next day one of the most inoffensive members of this Dáil, a man who had done great service during the war, and who entered the war with a hurley stick —a hurley stick was his first weapon— was struck down and an attempt was made to strike down the Deputy Speaker. I know full well there is a diabolical conspiracy on foot. I know they have met and discussed this question of assassination and that they have turned it down on paper, just to let it go out, that there are to be no assassinations, and then these gangs are taking it up, so that people at the top can say we accept but we have no responsibility for that. There is only one way to meet it, and that is to crush [95] it and show them that terror will be struck into them.

Mr. T. JOHNSON rose to speak.

The PRESIDENT: The debate is closed now, and the division must be taken. I have stopped before my time, and before I said anything that I should have said.

Mr. T. JOHNSON: I have never made any protestations of my religion, but this is a question of Christianity or Nietzcheism.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: As it is now 7.30, the motion before the Dáil lapses, and I take it that the motion is now changed into a motion that we adjourn until Tuesday at 3 o'clock?

The PRESIDENT: Very good.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Before I put the motion, I will read the result of [96] the election of the Committee for the selection of Ministers who shall not be members of the Executive Council. Forty-six papers were sent in, and the following were elected in the order given:

Deputies W. Cole,

D. J. Gorey.

P. Hughes.

D. McCarthy.

J. W. Dolan.

W. Thrift.

M. J. Hennessy.

A. Davin.

D. Vaughan.

P. J. McGoldrick.

J. Murphy.

G. Nichols.

T. O'Donnell.

T. Johnson.

W. O'Brien.

Question put:—“That the Dáil adjourn until Tuesday at 3 o'clock.”

The Dáil divided:—Tá, 39; Níl, 14.

Tá.

Liam T. Mac Cosgair.

Donchadh Ó Guaire.

Uáitéar Mac Cumhaill.

Seán Ó Maolruaidh.

Pádraig O Braonáin.

Seán O Duinnín.

Micheál O hAonghusa.

Domhnall Ó Mocháin.

Séamus Breathnach.

Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.

Seán Ó Ruanaidh.

Ristéard Ó Maolchatha.

Ristéard Mac Feorais.

Earnán Altún.

Gearóid Mac Giobúin.

Liam Thrift.

Eoin Mac Néill.

Pádraig Ó hÓgáin.

Seosamh Ó Faoileacháin.

Seoirse Mac Niocaill.

Fionán Ó Loingsigh.

Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.

Criostoir Ó Broin.

Risteard Mac Liam.

Caoimhghin O hUigín.

Proinsias Bulfin.

Tomás Mac Artúir.

Séamus O Dóláin.

Aindriú Ó Láimhín.

Proinsias Mag Aonghusa.

Eamon O Dúgáin.

Peadar Ó hAodha.

Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhrighde.

Tomás Ó Domhnaill.

Earnan de Blaghd.

Uinseann de Faoite.

Domhnall Ó Broin.

Séamus de Burca.

Micheál Ó Dubhghaill.

Níl.

Tomás de Nógla.

Riobárd O Deaghaidh.

Tomás Mac Eoin.

Liam Ó Briain.

Tomás Ó Conaill.

Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.

Liam Ó Daimhín.

Seán Ó Laidhin.

Cathal O Seanáin.

Seán Buitléir.

Nioclás O Faoláin.

Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.

Domhnall Mac Cartaigh.

Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.

Motion for adjournment declared carried.

The Dáil accordingly adjourned at 7.45 p.m. until Tuesday.