Dáil Éireann - Volume 13 - 07 December, 1925


The PRESIDENT: I desire to move that the Dáil gives permission for the introduction of the Treaty (Confirmation of Amending Agreement) Bill, [1266] 1925, a Bill to confirm a certain Agreement amending and supplementing the Treaty of 1921, and to amend accordingly the references to the Treaty of 1921, contained in the Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) Act, 1922, and the Constitution. The agreement, I think, has been published in a White Paper. I accordingly move.

MINISTER for DEFENCE (Mr. Hughes): I beg to second.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. JOHNSON: I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: I beg to second that motion.

The PRESIDENT: I do not know if I am in order, but I shall have to oppose the motion for the adjournment. I intend to move, when that motion is disposed of, for the suspension of Standing Orders in order to enable the Second Reading of this Bill to be taken to-day and to be dealt with to-day.

Mr. JOHNSON: Is my motion in order?


Mr. JOHNSON: On a point of order the President moved that the House do sit to conclude the business on the Order Paper. There is one principal item on the Order Paper. The second item on the Order Paper is the adjournment of the Dáil. Is it in order to move additional motions?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I understood the President's motion was that the Dáil to sit later than 8.30 p.m. That was the order made.

Mr. JOHNSON: On a point of order, it was quite distinctly stated by the President that his intention was to conclude the business on the Order Paper. That was why the question was not discussed.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The question put was that the Dáil sit later than 8.30 p.m. The President stated his object was to conclude the business on the Order Paper. The motion that the Dáil do now adjourn is in order; I am accepting it.

[1267][1268] Question put. The Dáil divided: Tá, 26; Níl, 55.

Pádraig Baxter.

Seán Buitléir.

John Conlan.

Louis J. D'Alton.

Séamus Eabhróid.

Seán de Faoite.

David Hall.

Connor Hogan.

Séamus Mac Cosgair.

Tomás Mac Eoin.

Risteárd Mac Fheorais.

Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.

Risteárd Mac Liam.

Liam Mag Aonghusa.

Patrick J. Mulvany.

Tomás de Nógla.

Ailfrid O Broin.

Tomás O Conaill.

Aodh O Cúlacháin.

Liam O Daimhín.

Eamon O Dubhghaill.

Mícheál O Dubhghaill.

Mícheál O hIfearnáin.

Pádraic O Máille.

Domhnall O Muirgheasa.

William A Redmond.


Earnán Altún.

Earnán de Blaghd.

Thomas Bolger.

Séamus Breathnach.

Seoirse de Bhulbh.

Séamus de Búrca.

Bryan R. Cooper.

Sir James Craig.

Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.

Michael Egan.

Patrick J. Egan.

Osmond Grattan Esmonde.

Desmond Fitzgerald.

John Good.

Thomas Hennessy.

John Hennigan.

William Hewat.

Patrick Leonard.

Seosamh Mac a' Bhrighde.

Liam Mac Cosgair.

Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.

Pádraig Mac Fadáin.

Patrick McGilligan.

Seoirse Mac Niocaill.

Liam Mac Sioghaird.

Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.

James Sproule Myles.

John T. Nolan.

Peadar O hAodha.

Mícheál O hAonghusa.

Seán O Bruadair.

Risteárd O Conaill.

Parthalán O Conchubhair.

Conchubhar O Conghaile.

Máirtín O Conalláin.

Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.

Eoghan O Dochartaigh.

Séamus O Dóláin.

Peadar O Dubhghaill.

Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.

Donnchadh O Guaire.

Seán O Laidhin.

Séamus O Leadáin.

Fionán O Loingsigh.

Risteárd O Maolcatha.

James O'Mara.

Séamus O Murchadha.

Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).

Máirtín O Rodaigh.

Seán O Súilleabháin.

Andrew O'Shaughnessy.

Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.

Caoimhghín O hUigín.

Patrick W. Shaw.

Liam Thrift.

Tellers—Tá: Deputies Morrissey and Corish. Níl: Deputies Dolan and P. Doyle.

Motion declared negatived.

The PRESIDENT: I move:

That the provision of Standing Order 79, as to the giving of notice for the Second Stage of a Bill, be suspended to enable the Second Stage of the Treaty (Confirmation of Amending Agreement) Bill, 1925, to be taken at this day's sitting.

Mr. JOHNSON: On a point of order, the Standing Order under which the President is moving for the suspension of Standing Orders leaves the onus upon you, a Chinn Chomhairle, to say whether this is a case of urgent necessity. I submit it is necessary, before this motion can be accepted by you, that reasons for the urgency and the necessity for it should be stated by the mover. You and the House ought to be convinced of the necessity for suspending Standing Orders to take a motion of this kind, a motion in relation to the Second Reading of a Bill which has only been put into our hands, and which, as far as we know, has no urgency behind it. I urge that it is necessary to have some reasons stated for the urgency.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: It is necessary for the President to state his reasons.

The PRESIDENT: The reasons are not far to seek. During the last fortnight [1269] this matter has been under our consideration here. Not the least voluble amongst the people who have asked us for our policy with regard to this matter has been the Deputy who raises this objection.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I think the President should address himself to me on the question of urgent necessity.

The PRESIDENT: On that question I think it is well known to you, sir, as you were present during the debates on this matter, that a Boundary Commission was sitting and the publication of its report was imminent. You are aware that we had several discussions here dealing with a report issued by two people, neither of whom was nominated by this Government. That report issued by them contemplated a very serious situation in this country, a situation which, during at least one sitting here, was dealt with by several Deputies representing the constituency that was vitally affected. That it was a situation fraught with grave danger is well known to every Deputy in this House. That was the danger upon which the Government was asked to state its policy here. The Government was asked to produce its policy at a moment's notice. Here is our policy. Here it is.

Mr. CORISH: Why did you not give it to us in time?

Mr. JOHNSON: This is a Bill, not a policy.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Deputies must observe some order.

Mr. MORRISSEY: The President ought to show some of the restraint that he is appealing to the people to show.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: This is not a matter of policy, nor is it a matter of debate; it is a matter for a decision by me on a simple question, and into it there is no necessity to bring any heat whatever. (Deputies: Hear, hear.) There is no necessity, even heatedly, to approve of my own view of this question. The matter is one that requires calm. I want the [1270] President to state, as calmly as he can, for me and for the House—for me in the first instance—why it is urgently necessary that a motion should be made to-day for the suspension of Standing Orders in order to take the Second Reading of this Bill. If the President will confine himself to that, and if Deputies will allow the President to address me without interruption, the matter could be decided, and, when it is decided, Deputies will have every opportunity for debate or otherwise.

The PRESIDENT: It is unnecessary for me to elaborate to any great extent the feeling—the very grave feeling— of nervousness, to put it in its mildest form, which was apparent here during the discussion that took place. Now I tell you that the published report of the Boundary Commission was promised for issue to-day. This measure which is introduced here revokes that power, suspends that authority, and offers an immediate—and necessarily immediate—method of settling the matter in a peaceful, orderly and satisfactory manner for the vast majority of the people of this country. That is my reason for the urgency of this matter.

Mr. LYONS: Might I ask the President a question? Had he or the Vice-President any authority from the Dáil to negotiate on this Northern question?

MINISTER for JUSTICE (Mr. O'Higgins): Yes.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That question does not arise now.

Mr. JOHNSON: I fear that the President has not given any reasons why the Standing Orders should be suspended for the purpose of taking the Second Reading of a Bill which has only within the last quarter of an hour been placed in our hands. It is obvious to everybody that the Bill cannot become law to-night, so the matter of urgency does not arise. Surely, it is absolutely necessary that the Standing Orders can only be suspended in a matter of such grave importance, after due consideration of the Bill which has just been placed in [1271] our hands. The President has spoken of the gravity of the situation. Undoubtedly it is grave. It is grave, because it is touching the very Constitution of the State, and we ought to have time to consider the Bill which has been placed in our hands. If only from the point of view of the proper regulation of the business of the Oireachtas, we should not be asked, on ten minutes consideration, to take the Second Reading of a measure which proposes to uproot the Treaty that was made in 1921. I submit that the urgency has not been proved.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: I would like to add, to what Deputy Johnson has said, that when the Dáil adjourned on Thursday night last, it was understood that we would be called here on Monday, if necessary, to hear a statement from the President. There was no indication whatsoever, then or since, until we met here to-day, that we would be asked to take the Second Reading of the Bill. We came to hear a statement from the President, possibly, but certainly not to agree to take the Second Reading and consider a Bill which was put into our hands only a few minutes ago. I think it would be treating the Dáil very unfairly, in view of the understanding that was present in the minds of the Deputies on Thursday evening last, when we separated, to ask us to take this Bill now. The understanding was that we should assemble, if necessary, to hear a statement from the President on the course of the negotiations in London.

Professor MAGENNIS: I submit to you, sir, respectfully, that the President has not addressed himself to the real question. He has shown no reason why hurried legislation of this sort is necessary. He has shown, whether he intended to do so or not, what is made very obvious, that he himself has been stampeded into a state of panic, and that is the explanation of the hurry on his part. He has not shown why we should be stampeded into legislation without giving that proper measure of thought and consideration needed for a Bill of so much importance. The Dáil last Thursday adjourned under the impression that it was to hear an account [1272] of the matured policy which the breathing time that the Dáil agreed to allow to the Executive Council would provide for. Now, at this sitting, it is demanded that we should proceed to alter the Constitution, to tear up the Treaty. I use the very words——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Deputy is addressing himself to the argument and not to the point of order put to me. I cannot allow speeches to be made on the question.

Professor MAGENNIS: I thought I was at liberty to address myself to the President's argument?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I deprecated the use of arguments of that particular kind by the President. If I should decide to allow this motion to be made, an opportunity will be given to the Dáil to decide whether or not the Dáil will agree to the motion; but on the point of order put to me we cannot have speeches made which are relevant to the question which would arise if the Bill were allowed to be discussed.

Mr. GOREY: When the Dáil adjourned on Thursday it was adjourned for the purpose of waiting until the President would make a statement. The President has not seen fit to make his statement on the introduction of the First Reading of this Bill. We have come here to hear that statement now. I, for one, am of opinion that we ought to give the President an opportunity of making that statement, and when he has made the statement that the Dáil should adjourn to consider it. I am prepared to go any length to have the President's statement, to meet the fire if there is going to be fire. For that, reason I am prepared to support anything that is put forward to enable us to hear the President's statement.

Major COOPER: There are just two points I want to put before you. I have frequently joined with Deputy Johnson in protesting against legislation being taken too quickly. I do not remember that on any occasion—certainly not on more than one occasion—that I have had the support and advocacy of Deputy Professor Magennis.

[1273] There are two relevant facts in this matter. First, that the Bill is a very short one and a very simple one. The important part of the Bill is the Schedule, and that Schedule was in every paper on Friday morning. It was circulated to Deputies. I got my copy on Saturday morning. It was actually in the Press on Friday morning. On Friday afternoon the Labour Party issued a statement condemning it in detail. They have had time to condemn it, but they had not time to consider it.

The second point is that there has been considerable anxiety in the country. That anxiety and uncertainty should not be unduly prolonged. It is not in the public interest. It is bad for finance, it is bad for trade, and it is bad for employment. The sooner this question is settled the better. Therefore, I trust that you will see that it is a matter of urgency.

Mr. OSMOND ESMONDE: I, as one member of the Dáil, have not been handed a copy of the Bill. I find a difficulty in supporting a motion that we are to take a Second Reading, seeing that I have not been given a copy of the Bill. I opposed the motion made by Deputy Johnson, because I felt that the President had a right to make a statement here; but, as I have not received my copy, I do not see why it should be taken now.

Mr. GOREY: The Deputy's copy is more important than the President's statement.

Mr. LYONS: I also oppose Deputy Johnson's motion, and I do so in order to allow the President to make his statement. I did not think that we were going to get this legislation forced on us in this manner by way of a Bill. I was of opinion, when the Dáil adjourned on Thursday last, that the President was to make a statement as to why legislation should be introduced in order to amend the Treaty of 1921. Surely, the least we could expect is that the signatories to that agreement, which was arrived at in London to alter the Treaty, would be prepared to make statements now before they ask us to pass this legislation. I would also like to know whether the Dáil will allow the 47 Deputies outside, who [1274] have not taken their seats, to come in in order to voice their opinions as to whether this agreement should be accepted or not.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Is the Deputy speaking to the point of order?

Mr. LYONS: I am speaking to the point of order on behalf of the constituency that I represent.

Captain REDMOND: Perhaps it might be agreeable to the House if it would be possible, or agreeable to you, sir, that you should suggest to the Government that they should proceed with the Second Reading now, that the President should make his statement on Second Reading, and that the House should then adjourn. That, I think, might meet the wishes expressed from various quarters of the House.

The PRESIDENT: We want the Second Reading of this Bill to-day for the reasons I have stated—for the important, weighty, and grave reasons I have brought before you. There was never an occasion, in my opinion, when it was more necessary to have a clear and unmistakable expression of opinion from this House, either in favour of or the rejection of the measure which we have brought forward for acceptance.

Mr. BAXTER: I am astonished to think that the President suggests that the Dáil should decide to-day to pass the Second Reading of this Bill. If Deputies are going to be given an opportunity of expressing their views on this it will not be passed to-day or tomorrow, even if we were to sit all the time and it would be better for the President to recognise that. It would be better for him to accept what Deputy Johnson and other Deputies suggest. Let the President make his statement and we will consider it.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: It appears to me that Deputy Baxter has given very good reasons for the early commencement of the Second Reading of this Bill. If, as he suggests or threatens, two or three days consideration of this Bill will be necessary, it seems the more necessary to start to-day. I did not follow or approve of Deputy Johnson's [1275] point, that because the Bill cannot become law this evening there is no urgency. It seems to me that the longer the interval between this and the time the Bill becomes law, if it does become law, the more necessary it is to commence consideration of the principle of the Bill, which is a short Bill, simply asking the approval of the Dáil to the Scheduled Agreement. I would like to stress and endorse the aspect presented by Deputy Cooper and the President. There has been a very grave political crisis. That crisis has had its reactions on business, and its reactions, naturally and necessarily, on the money markets, and an early decision, favourable or adverse, on this proposed agreement is a matter of the first importance. As befits a Government, we come to the Dáil with a policy, but as befits responsible representatives of the people, the Dáil must come to a decision on that policy without undue or unnecessary delay. The agreement which is scheduled to the Bill has been before the public for three days. Deputies and parties were not slow to pronounce upon it, and the pretence now that Second Reading cannot commence because Deputies require further time is not sound. I hesitate to use the word dishonest, but I say it is hypocritical.

Mr. D'ALTON: The President proposes for the immediate decision of the Dáil——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The point before us now is whether there is sufficient urgent necessity proved to allow a motion to be made to suspend Standing Orders.

Mr. D'ALTON: The Bill is short, so are the Ten Commandments. I do not know that you can hurriedly construct or consider them. The Bill may be short, but time is required to consider it. It is of very great importance to the future of Ireland. There is a very great difference between undue delay and undue haste. There is a happy medium by which those sent here by their constituents to represent them can give calm consideration to the Bill brought forward by the Executive Council. I say it is not a question of [1276] haste, but a question of giving the Bill necessary time, and Deputy Johnson's motion provides that when he asks the President to make a statement so that the House could then adjourn and the representatives of the various constituencies would have time to give calm consideration to the question of what is best to be done in the particular circumstances.

Mr. CORISH: I also protest against the motion of the President. I submit, as other Deputies have submitted, that he has not shown that there is urgency in the matter. I think a very important point has been made by Deputy Esmonde. He is in the House, and he has stated that he has not yet received a copy of the Bill. There are Deputies who are not in the House at all, and I take it if Deputy Esmonde has not got it they also have not. I am wondering whether it is in order to proceed with a measure a copy of which has not been placed in the hands of every Deputy. When we adjourned on Thursday, as some Deputies have pointed out, we were told that if we came here to-day we could expect a statement by the President. It was pointed out by some Deputies who lived in remote constituencies, such as those in the West of Ireland, that it would be impossible for them to get here. I think when that statement was made the Minister for Industry and Commerce inferred, at any rate, that no business of any importance would be done other than hearing the President's statement. That was the feeling prevailing all over the House. It is all very well to talk about the question being one of gravity, but hasty legislation, such as we are called on to enact to-day, may contribute to a far greater state of gravity than that in which we find ourselves to-day. I think the House ought to consider the state of the country, and consider what hasty legislation might lead to. God knows we are bad enough.

Mr. WILSON: I take it that the necessity for passing this Bill here is no greater than the necessity that would arise in connection with other parties to the Bill. I have information that in the North this Bill will not be [1277] put before the legislature there until Wednesday. For that reason I cannot understand why, in the Free State, Monday is to be the all-important day, while in the North the Bill can wait until Wednesday. Furthermore, I object to the suspension of Standing Orders. They are there to protect minorities, and we will not be a party to giving away whatever protection these Standing Orders afford.

Captain REDMOND: On a further point of order, on the question as to the urgent necessity for the suspension of Standing Orders, I would like to know whether it is the intention of the Government to conclude the Second Reading, if this motion is passed?


Captain REDMOND: The President stated the necessity not only for the commencement of the debate but also for the passing of the Second Reading. The Vice-President made a very good case for proceeding with the Second Reading, but I notice that he did not mention the question of concluding, and before any vote shall be taken as to the suspension of this Standing Order, I think the House should know definitely whether it is the intention of the Government that a Bill of this gravity and importance should be put through all stages within a few hours from now. After all, no less than eighty-one members of the House took part in the division that has just taken place, and is it suggested that these eighty-one members are not to be given ample time for consideration and discussion of the Bill, and that it is to be rushed through the Second Reading to-night?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That is not the point I am called upon to decide now.

Mr. DAVIN: The urgency and necessity for the passage of this Bill——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: No, but the urgency and necessity for giving permission to move that a particular Standing Order should be suspended. That is the question.

Mr. DAVIN: I submit that the [1278] urgency and necessity for doing so are as great to-day under circumstances in which we meet as for the long and careful consideration of the Treaty, of which this is part. President Cosgrave is anxious that the Bill should be passed its Second Reading to-night regardless of the time. If every member of the House has a right, if he desires, to give expression to his views on this, it is impossible to conclude to-night. I submit the President has given no reason why he should move this particular motion, and he should give a reason for repudiating the agreement come to last Thursday when we adjourned, and when everybody agreed we should meet to-day for the purpose of hearing his statement.

Mr. GOREY: I am anxious that the President should let us know whether he intends the debate should finish to-night. If he intends that it should I can promise him he will only do so by the aid of the closure, and that he will have an empty house so far as these Benches are concerned.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Many questions have been raised, under the guise of points of order, which have no relevance to the point I am now called upon to decide. Standing Order 123 reads:—

“By unanimous leave of the House, or, in cases of urgent necessity, of which the Ceann Comhairle shall be the judge, any Standing Order or Orders of the Dáil may be suspended for the day's sitting, and for a specified purpose on motion duly made with or without notice: Provided that when it is proposed without notice to move that any Standing Order relating to the taking of any stage of a Bill be suspended such motion shall not be received by the Ceann Comhairle unless the request to receive it shall have the support of not less than half the Teachtai who have taken their seats according to law. Teachtai shall indicate their support by rising in their places.”

What I am called upon to decide, therefore, is whether a case has been made of urgent necessity for allowing [1279] the President to discover whether more than half the Deputies who have taken their seats according to law are in favour of the suspension of the Standing Order in order to allow a motion to be made that this Bill be now read a second time, that is in order that the discussion on the Second Reading shall begin to-day. I am not now deciding, nor am I asked to decide, any question with regard to whether the discussion on the Second Reading, if it were taken, should end to-day or not. That is a different matter to what I am now called upon to decide, but I do think that in this matter there is a case for allowing a particular motion to be made and received under Standing Order 123, in order to find whether the Second Stage of this Bill can be moved to-day. If I were asked, as a matter of urgent necessity, to allow the suspension of Standing Orders to take all stages of the Bill to-day, I certainly would refuse. What I am asked is to allow an effort to be made to take the motion for the Second Reading of this Bill to-day, and I think a case has been made for my giving that permission. I rule accordingly.

The PRESIDENT: I move the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable the Second Reading of this Bill to be taken to-day.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The motion that the President proposes to move is the suspension of Standing Order 79 as to the giving of notice of the Second Reading of a Bill to enable the Second Reading of the Treaty (Confirmation of Amending Agreement) Bill, 1925, to be taken to-day. Before I can receive that motion, under the Standing Order it must have the support of not less than half the Deputies who have taken their seats according to law. Deputies in favour of the motion being received will therefore rise in their places.

Deputies having risen,

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The request has the support of 59 Deputies who have risen. The motion can, therefore, be made. The question is: “That Standing Order 79 be suspended [1280] to enable the Second Reading Stage to be taken to-day.”

Mr. JOHNSON: I oppose this motion. There are Deputies who have taken their seats in the House who have not had this Bill placed in their hands, who have not had an opportunity of reading the Bill, and who, therefore, have not had any opportunity of exercising their rights as Deputies. The Second Stage of a Bill is defined as a stage for allowing the principles of the Bill to be discussed and decided. When we are dealing with a matter of such importance surely it is due to every single Deputy that he should have had notice according to the Standing Orders that the Second Stage of such a Bill was to be taken and proceeded with. As has been pointed out, we adjourned on Thursday last on the understanding that we would hear a statement on behalf of the Executive Council in respect of the negotiations, or in respect of matters arising out of the Boundary Commission. We have not had that statement, but we were presented with a motion to take the First Reading of a Bill. It has been customary on occasions of importance of this kind for Ministers to avail of the First Reading to explain the purport of and the reason for the introduction of the Bill. The President refused that to the Dáil. So far as I know, no one was treated with the courtesy that Deputies should be treated with by being informed as to what course it was intended to take.

The PRESIDENT: We were not asked.

Mr. JOHNSON: Not asked. Is it necessary for Deputies to ask to be treated with courtesy?


Mr. JOHNSON: Is it not due to Deputies?

The PRESIDENT: I do not intend Deputy Johnson to get away with it that one has to ask to be treated with courtesy. If Deputy Johnson had asked me the moment we came in what was the course of business he would have had a very exact and liberal interpretation [1281] of what the course would be.

Mr. LYONS: What about other Deputies?

The PRESIDENT: It would be the same for every single Deputy.

Mr. JOHNSON: I am not talking about rights now. I am talking about courtesies. To conduct the business of a Parliament it is known that there are certain courtesies developed to allow consideration of proposals. Here we are faced with the proposal to take the First Reading of a Bill. We had circulated officially by the Clerk of the House an Order Paper stating that the First Reading would be taken. Until after the First Reading had been taken no one had any information that the Second Reading was to be taken immediately. The Dáil was not informed by the President on taking the First Reading what were the reasons for introducing the Bill. That at least was due to the Dáil.

Then the question arises as to the necessity for suspending Standing Orders. As has been pointed out, Standing Orders were devised for the purpose of protecting a single Deputy, and a minority of Deputies against possible overbearing action on the part of the majority. This matter was up for discussion once before, and it was recognised that events might occur which would require that Bills would need to be passed without the usual notice. The device was, therefore, formulated that a majority of the Deputies would have to assent before even the motion could be discussed. That assent has been given. I think it now requires to be proved to the satisfaction of the Dáil that it is necessary to suspend Standing Orders, in order to allow the Second Reading of this Bill to be taken to-day.

The Bill is one of the utmost importance, and it raises questions of constitutional right as well as questions of privilege. They may have to be discussed later. Urgency has not been proved. Deputies have assented to the discussion of the motion being taken. I urge upon Deputies that they should be convinced by argument that [1282] there is urgency in this matter, and that it is necessary that the Second Reading of a Bill of this kind should be taken this afternoon. The President has told us that not only is he going to introduce the Bill—he does not merely want the right to explain its provision and explain its urgency —but he wants to compel the Dáil to take a division upon it, thereby depriving absent Deputies of the right that they have in this matter. I say that is a brow-beating of Deputies. It is over-riding the rights of the individual Deputy who has not had a chance to come here and speak his own mind or the mind of his constituents.

At present there are Deputies in the country seeking the minds of their constituents on this issue. There are also constituents in the country endeavouring to reach and convey their views to Deputies. The Minister contends that the Dáil should decide upon the merits of the Bill to-day. I submit that that is a flagrant disregard of all Constitutional rights. It is over-riding all the privileges and functions of Deputies. They are deprived of rights that the Standing Orders and the Constitution itself gives them. They are deprived of the right of deciding a matter of the utmost importance, as to whether the Constitution under which they have been living, and which they have supported, is to be torn in two. If the Dáil is going to give facilities so that the Second Reading of this Bill may be taken under these circumstances, then I say the Dáil is prepared to do anything.

Mr. LYONS: I think the Dáil should not give permission to suspend Standing Orders in order to allow the Second Reading of this Bill to be taken now. I agree with Deputy Johnson when he stated that there are a number of Deputies not present who are seeking the views of their constituents on this question. Deputies were told on Thursday last that no business would be taken to-day, except the President's statement on the negotiations with regard to the agreement arrived at in London. The agreement had not been arrived at on last Thursday, and I agreed then to an adjournment in [1283] order to have statements to-day from the President, the Vice-President, and the Minister for Finance on the boundary negotiations. I agreed to the adjournment so that a statement would be given to the public before any legislation was introduced. The Dáil is asked to-day to agree to the Second Reading of a Bill, the contents of which are not known to Deputies. That is not treating Deputies with courtesy. In saying that I do not mean that I am completely against this agreement. In fact, I might say that eighty per cent. of the people I represent are in favour of it. At the same time I think it is not right for the Government to introduce legislation, and practically force it down the throats of Deputies without giving them an opportunity of considering it. I put it to the Ministry that if they expect this legislation to be passed, the least they can do is to agree to an adjournment of the Second Reading, so that Deputies may have an opportunity of considering the Bill. Wednesday is time enough for the Northern Government to introduce legislation.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: They have not to introduce legislation.

Mr. LYONS: Well, the same thing applies to the British Government and they will not deal with it until Tuesday. Sir James Craig, who really benefits under this agreement, will not have to force legislation on the Northern Parliament, but President Cosgrave, of the Saorstát Parliament, who went away to London without any authority from this Dáil and without any mandate from the Irish people——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The Deputy will have an opportunity of making this speech on the Second Reading.

Professor MAGENNIS: I protest again—I hope I am in order this time —against the effort, which is part and parcel of the Government policy of late, to set aside all the principles of representative government and to introduce autocracy in its place. We set up a Constitution, in which responsible government was the essential feature, [1284] and here we are supposed to do our duty to the country on a very important measure like this in the space of a few hours; in that time we are expected to debate this measure, to digest it and to come to a mature decision upon every point that it contains.

We are told that it is only a short Bill. I can state a thesis in a few words and it will take the ablest men of the world centuries to debate it and to arrive at a conclusion. We are all familiar, in the history of thought, with simple thesis of that sort. Men who wish to force a measure of this sort upon the people, no doubt, are anxious to burk discussion. Why this indecent haste? For fear there should be time given to the country to rise up in protest. It is for fear the people in the country, notwithstanding how they have been doped by inspired paragraphs in the newspapers, may awaken at last to the truth of what all this portends to them and that they may call upon their representatives in this House to resign or vote against a measure of this type. But an opportunity is not to be given. In other words, representative government is to be killed outright by this proposed step. What is the haste? If there were any real cause of haste, why should we not see it exhibited in the Six-County Parliament? Are they in such a panic with regard to their border-line that they must throttle discussion, that they must close down deliberation and rush a settlement, as it is facetiously called, through their House? The country really has not had time to recover from the staggering blow it received or from the consternation that blow caused, that men in their name should undertake to commit them—for that is what it means—to a bargain of this sort. I say that we are entitled, not in our personal character, but because of the fact that we stand for the people, to have the fullest measure of discussion that the importance of the matter requires. So far as tactics are concerned, so far as regards strategic advantage in the matter is concerned, it is best for us who oppose this Treaty No. 2 that the Government should exercise the force of its numbers in the present Dáil to rush the proposals through. If there [1285] were one thing better calculated than another to impress the public with the opinion that they are afraid of public criticism, it is just this pressure on their part to take the Second Reading now.

The President, in his opening remarks, tried, with that dexterity which is peculiarly his, to confuse the issues. He tried, as he has done in his message to the people, to make his audience believe that because he was in a panic, because he and his colleagues were in a hurry, that we, too, must follow the evil example and be in a hurry to come to an irrevocable decision. That is not the way, I submit, of constitutionally-minded members of a Government or members of a representative assembly. If this is not a deliberative assembly, it is a fraud upon the people. I say deliberately and advisedly it is a fraud upon the people to call together a House and describe it as a Parliament and then proceed to take just such steps as will deprive it of its character as a deliberative assembly. What is the real issue in this? Are we a recording body to be called here suddenly and without preparation, merely to record approval of that whereof we do not know? There is, of course, always the tame follower, and, along with the tame follower, there is the practised wire-puller, the prestidigitator of politics. The Irish people are to be terrified by the fact that we are all hurrying to take the Second Reading. This measure is deliberately calculated to-day to enforce the impression, already made upon the public, that there is a danger from which they must be saved, that that danger menaces them now, and that this is the only defence that can be put up. That is a lie.

The PRESIDENT: What is your defence?

Professor MAGENNIS: That is not a question for me. The President is displaying some more of his political conjuring. I am not a card to be played with. “Under which thimble is the pea?” That may do very well in other assemblies, but it will not answer in this.

The PRESIDENT: What is yours?

[1286] Professor MAGENNIS: The President is trying to put me off my point. He ought to know by this that he cannot rattle me.

Mr. SHAW: Answer him then.

Professor MAGENNIS: I always submit to the ruling of the Chair, but not to amateur and self-constituted chairmen. The impression has been made upon a certain section of the public, fortunately not upon all the public, that the only alternative to the danger that we are told threatens us is to allow Ministers to defy the Constitution; to flout this Dáil and to set it at naught. In other words, the danger is so great that to avert it we must undo all that we have gained in the way of self-government. I insist upon this: there is no point I am more anxious the public should be alive to than this, that what the Government are really doing is not merely setting their hands to Treaty No. 2 but that they are also at the same time dealing a fatal blow at representative institutions and representative methods of government. The proposal here that we should rush through this Second Reading is really a move for anarchy. What I mean by that, sir, if you will permit me to explain, is this: The President and his colleagues seek to terrify the people with the bogey of anarchy. We have always been told that there is no alternative Government, and that if there was an alternative Government it was that dreadful thing Republicanism. There is another kind of anarchy not so palpable but quite as terrible—social confusion and the destruction of public order. There is anarchy—I describe it accurately and, I submit, technically—the anarchy of those who ought to be the champions of the institutions of which they are the personal embodiment: of those who use their position not to discharge the natural functions of that office but to undermine it.

Not a single member of the Executive Council is clothed with any authority except what the Constitution and this House give him, and when now as parliamentary leaders in the Dáil, they, backed by a majority, try [1287] to use that majority to stifle discussion on a matter which will have to be debated and is a matter of principle, on Second Reading, they are really, I submit, once more trying to take away from those present their rights, and, inasmuch as there are members who are not here and have not received notice of the highly important matter to be dealt with here and now with such haste, their rights as representatives of the people are taken from them. If the members of this majority and their leaders were so much in love with liberty as they profess to be—if they were such careful guardians of the public well-being as they profess— would they not welcome the fullest amount of analysis and criticism. What are they afraid of? They are afraid to let in the light upon their proceedings; they are afraid to state their reasons. They simply say: we have the might and we will use it. When there is a general election what will the Irish people say?

The PRESIDENT: They will get rid of you, anyway.

Professor MAGENNIS: That may or may not be.

Mr. CORISH: That sort of thing does not come well from the President.

Professor MAGENNIS: I am not afraid, at any rate, to face that ordeal. My hands are clean and my record is unstained, and I hope it will remain unstained and untarnished as long as I am a member of this House. I have heard of these phrases before, but never so specifically as they have been made now. Now you have the revelation—the threat. It is all intimidation. All this contention of special urgency, what is it but intimidation? The whole conception of it is to prevent a full expression of opinion on the part of a full House as to what the constituencies wish to have said. Has there been any public meeting held? Was there any opportunity for the holding of a public meeting at which the issue could be submitted?

I have always held that we should be mindful in this House that we are in a representative character. When a [1288] member of the House is interviewed by the Press on some important proposal that is submitted to him for the first time he may be tempted, as I have been tempted, to express his own individual opinion. I dare say that is within the range of the liberties allowed to a member, but when he comes here to record his vote he ought to be allowed an opportunity to know what his constituents think and feel in the matter.

I say that if our constituents are not permitted time in which to consider this matter, and to have all the bearings of it put before them by their representatives and others who are in a position to guide their thought, then there is a blow struck at liberty. That could not be done in the time allowed here. What was the time allowed? We were all deceived as to what was about to happen. I am willing to admit that I am not such an experienced politician —politician I mean when I say politician—as the President. I did not know that when a promise was made the promise would not be kept, and that I ought to take measures accordingly. I was one of those dreamers, if dreamers they are to be called, who believed that when responsible Ministers asked to stay our hands from criticism so that they might have time to come to a decision on their policy, that they meant it. I was one of those weak fools in politics who imagined that if we gave the members of the Executive Council the time they asked for that they would utilise it for the purpose for which they asked it. Instead, they spring a proposal of this enormous importance upon us. They rush it here. We walk into the House and an usher distributes amongst the majority of the members copies of the Bill, and then the enormous assumption is made that we are such supermen that by merely glancing at an elaborate instrument—not merely an Act of Parliament but in effect a Treaty between the high contracting parties—that in that glance this wonderful vision of ours enables us to see all its implications, its future consequences, its effect upon the country, and its effect upon the spirit of the country, and how it will be taken by those who are approximately affected by it. I refuse to [1289] pay that compliment either to myself or to my colleagues here. We have not these superb gifts of intelligence. We have not that divine insight that enables us at a glance to read out all the implications of a measure, however short, which is complex in its character, and we ought to be allowed—even if it were only for the sake of pretence on the part of the Executive Council that they have some regard for representative institutions even yet—time for deliberation.

No meeting has been held on the part of those who have supported the original Treaty; there has been no time. True there has been, I understand, a meeting of parties or groups belonging to this House, but so far as I am aware, judging from the reports in the daily newspapers, there has been no meeting throughout the various constituencies. Would the President introduce a Bill for the suppression of dog fights and rush it through the House at the same rate as he proposes to rush this through? No. We have had unimportant measures here before, comparatively unimportant, and weeks and weeks have been spent in deliberation upon them.

Mr. LYONS: Would the Deputy name the unimportant measures?

Professor MAGENNIS: I find it easier to name the important measures, as I could enumerate them on the fingers of one hand, but not the multitudinous Acts we passed as a sort of penny-in-the-slot agency. I would not undertake to name them.

We have our rights here, as representatives, and if they are to be filched from us by a majority vote, at any rate, we shall act under duress, and the world will know it. We shall be at pains to let our fellow-countrymen, north and south, realise that we are not lost to all sense of national honour, that we are willing to give our time, and all the thought of which we are capable, to the working out of a proper solution of the difficulty which the incompetence of the Executive Council has created.

This is a Bill, the latter stages of which will be brief, because, as I take it, inasmuch as there must be identical [1290] legislation between the three Parliaments, no amendments will be possible. I take it this is the intention of the Ministers. Consequently, there is ample time allowed through curtailment at that end of the process, without very considerably enlarging the time to be devoted to this measure.

I challenge the Ministers, before the bar of public opinion in Ireland, to justify what they have done, to justify it by expounding the reasons that validate what they have done, and what they now want to make us particeps criminis with regard to. The idea is that we should hurriedly, before we have time to reflect, give our assent to these propositions, and clothe them after the deed with authority that they full well know they have not, and which they usurped. The reason for all this haste, as I have explained, is to stampede the country, and along with the people we represent, and, consequently, to give us a sense of the utter futility of contesting this matter against their phalanxes. Do the Ministers suppose that because by this show of force they get a majority vote, in favour of suspending Standing Orders, that we will retire from the unequal combat of numbers? Their calculation is utterly mistaken. In the exercise of the closure, the powers of which they do not possess, but that I am quite sure would not be a stumbling-block to Ministers, who usurped authority on other occasions which they did not possess——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: What does the Deputy mean?

Professor MAGENNIS: By what?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: By saying the Ministers could usurp authority to allow the closure to be put into effect. What does he mean by that?

Professor MAGENNIS: I am glad you drew my attention to this matter. Speaking impromptu, I have not got, perhaps, clearly before me what the regulations are to which we are subject. I apologise. I should have remembered, with you before me, that no power which is yours as custodian of [1291] this House, will be permitted to be usurped. What I had in my mind was that they would attempt it, as they are attempting it now. They are filching from the Irish people the right to express their views upon a matter which is theirs and which concerns them vitally. We must be allowed the opportunity to know what the Irish people are thinking about this thing, and the Irish people must have an opportunity of knowing what their representatives are saying here. That is my third point. Unless there is time in the country to read the reports of the debates in this House people will not be aware of what is being said on their behalf. They are entitled to know that and to take it into consideration and to form their own views. The Ministry's proposal is to confront the country, outside of these walls, with the accomplished fact, make us, in Hindoo fashion, put up our arms and say “kismet”—“it is written, the fates have decreed. It is useless for us to represent any further.”

Mr. GOREY: I do not take the same view as Deputy D'Alton or Deputy Magennis upon this question. We want the President's statement, and the Second Reading will give him that opportunity. Or is he going to shirk it? For that reason I want the Second Reading. It is the statement we want and not the consideration of this Bill in the country, or of the schedule to the Bill. We can form a fairly intelligent opinion upon the three sections of the Bill and also upon the schedule. We have read them. What we want and what the country wants is the statement.

If Deputy Magennis says the country wants to discuss the Bill, I tell him on behalf of the country it is the President's statement they want to hear. The Cumann na nGaedheal Party has had an opportunity of hearing everything the President told them or choose to tell them.

Mr. CORISH: That was at the block vote meeting.

Mr. GOREY: Neither the country nor the Dáil has had that opportunity.

[1292] Mr. DAVIN: The secret society.

Mr. GOREY: I am making none of these assertions at all. We, on these benches, are not animated with any prejudice whatever on the matter. We want to hear what the President has to say, and we want the country to consider it, together with the Bill and the sechedules. Let us have both together. Let us have the Second Reading statement now and let the Dáil have time to consider it until to-morrow. Is the President prepared to accept that?

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: That is the question.

Captain REDMOND: I should like to support Deputy Gorey in the suggestion that he has made. On the point of order previously, I made identically the same suggestion. If the President would now make the statement which we are all anxious to hear as Deputy Gorey says, and if he would having made the statement, give both the Dáil and the country some time at least to consider it, not an undue amount of time, but some reasonable time, by adjourning, say, this debate until to-morrow and concluding it at a not far distant time, I think that that would meet with the views of all reasonable Deputies and people outside. I think that the proposal, in the first place, that the Bill should be taken by way of Second Reading at all to-day is rather a drastic one, but what I gathered from the few words that fell from the President. Which he has not seen fit to contradict, that we should conclude the debate this evening, is a little bit too far-fetched. After all, this is probably the most serious measure that has come before the Dáil since this Constitution was made, and it is certainly treating the Dáil, to put it mildly, rather lightly to suggest that in the space of a few hours, without giving any intermediate time for consideration, Deputies should be asked there and then to record their votes one way or the other. I do not think that it is an unreasonable request I am making, supported as I now am, I am glad to say, by Deputy Gorey, that the President should make a statement now upon the Second Reading, that he [1293] should give an assurance that he would not move the closure to-night, or in the alternative, that having made the statement the House should adjourn and we should meet to-morrow and conclude the business at a later stage.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: I want to say that I feel this is the most momentous question that has come before the Dáil since the ratification of the original Treaty. In view of the statement made by the President, that he wants the Second Reading passed to-night, I must take strong exception to the suspension of the Standing Orders for the purpose of so doing. This is a matter on which Deputies have had no opportunity of consulting their constituents, and it is my opinion that we have no right or authority to cast a vote on a matter of this kind to-day without first finding out what the considered opinions of our constituents are. We all came here to-day for the purpose of hearing a statement made by the President. That was the distinct understanding given to us by the Minister for Industry and Commerce when discussing this matter on Thursday. We had no indication whatever, until the Bill was handed to us to-day, that we would have to deal with the Second Reading of this important matter. There are Deputies amongst all Parties, certainly there are Deputies of the Farmers' Party and of the Labour Party, who have had no opportunity of knowing that the Second Reading of this Bill would be taken to-day. It is my opinion that the attitude which we take with regard to this Bill, and the vote which we give on it, will be matters which will be discussed and which we will have to account for for many years to come. I believe that a decision of this kind should not be forced upon the Dáil without giving the people of the country an opportunity to discuss it.

I do not agree with Deputy Redmond that we should have a discussion on the Second Reading to-day and that the discussion should end then, or be adjourned possibly until to-morrow. I think that the least time the people of the country should get to discuss this matter is a week—that there should be at least a week's lapse [1294] between the time when the Second Reading is introduced and the time when a final decision is taken. I am going to consider this matter with an open mind; I am going to consider the Articles of Agreement which are placed before us by the Government in the light of the statement which will be made by the President on these Articles. We have here simply the bare bones of the Articles; we hope and expect that these Articles will be elaborated and explained, and we feel that possibly our point of view and the point of view of our constituents may be changed by the statement which will be made by the President. But we want to give our constituents a chance of reading the President's statement and of knowing what the other speakers here will say on this Bill. For my part, all I can say is that if the President insists upon taking this Bill to-day and if he insists, apart from his words, on having the closure put on it, on that point alone I will be forced to vote against the Second Reading.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The President cannot insist upon the vote being taken to-day. The President can claim to move: “That the question be now put,” at any particular time. His motion may or may not be accepted by the Chair.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: It means the same thing.

Captain REDMOND: Do I understand from your remarks that if the President does ask for the closure you will not grant it?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I did not say that. I simply wanted to explain to Deputy Heffernan that the President could not get permission to move the closure without the assent of the Chair, that the motion he was making was not an infringement of the rights of the minority. Deputy Heffernan has got that protection. As to Deputy Redmond's point, I would rather decide each point as it arises.

Mr. GOREY: Is the President prepared to make his statement?

[1295] The PRESIDENT: We have decided to sit late. Obviously we decided that in the light of the circumstance that we were going to do some business. Why should I be asked simply to make my statement? Why could the debate not be gone on with? Why could the Bill not be discussed? What reason is there?

Mr. GOREY: Because we will have heard it for the first time.

The PRESIDENT: It will be very simple; it will lend itself to examination by anybody. Deputies are complaining that they have not had time to make up their minds after trying to stampede the country themselves already; somehow or another it has not come off. I am prepared, and I have always been prepared, to give every possible consideration to any reasonable application made from any part of the House.

Mr. BAXTER: What does the President mean by sitting late? Does he mean sitting until the Second Reading is passed?

The PRESIDENT: It was originally the intention to have a decision on the Second Reading to-day, but as so many Deputies intend to speak obviously that is not possible.

Mr. BAXTER: Will the President move the adjournment at 10 o'clock or 10.30?

The PRESIDENT: Yes. That was my intention.

Mr. D'ALTON: There is one point that evidently Ministers forget, that the country through their action has been lulled into a false position as regards this whole question of the Boundary; the country having been misled through the action of their representative, who, as some people said, was either asleep or in a comatose condition. He evidently did not act as he was expected to act on that Commission. Certainly the Executive cannot be held free of responsibility in that matter owing to want of careful thought on their part in looking forward. I think the country has not seen the mistake that evidently has been [1296] made. The Government's method of strategy may be very good in trying to relieve themselves of the position in which they placed themselves. Still the country is entitled to pause very carefully when you find Ministers going on public platforms—even an extern Minister—and telling the people that the Boundary report is going to be all right, and when the President gets up in the Dáil and tells us that he has unbounded confidence in the members of the Commission. Evidently the Executive Council were misled, and, I say, if they were misled, we are in duty bound to see that the country gets time to consider the matter.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Surely the Deputy is misled as to what the motion is. The motion is for the suspension of a Standing Order to allow Deputy D'Alton to make this kind of speech later on this evening.

Mr. D'ALTON: I do not see why the Standing Orders should be set aside to enable the Executive Council or the President to use their position to rush a matter of such vital importance as this is on the country. The question is to be finished to-night or to-morrow, without giving the people the fullest opportunity of considering what is the wisest or the best course. Evidently the agreement cannot stand scrutiny; by showing undue haste they doubt the opinion of the country.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: It is quite obvious that there is a strong opposition to the motion. As far as I can gather from the statements made by the Deputies, the real opposition is to asking the Dáil to make a decision on the Second Reading to-night.

Mr. HEFFERNAN: Or to-morrow.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: I am not clear what the position is from the remarks the President made, but I take it that he is prepared to move the adjournment of the House at the hour of 10 or 10.30, as is usual when we sit late, and if the debate is not concluded he will go on with the discussion without moving any closure or having any decision taken on the matter.

The PRESIDENT: I did not say I was going to move the closure.

[1297] Mr. T. O'CONNELL: Is the President prepared to say definitely that if the debate is not concluded to-night he is prepared to move the adjournment of the Dáil?


Mr. T. O'CONNELL: Then we have it that the President is prepared to move the adjournment of the Dáil not later than 10.30, and if the debate is not then concluded it is not his proposal to get a decision on the matter to-night.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The President cannot insist on getting a decision to-day. Having settled that, the President's position now is that the debate will continue until the usual hour when we have agreed to sit late, that is 10.30. If the debate is then concluded the question will be put, but if any Deputy then desires to speak, the question will not be put. Does that clarify the matter?

Deputy HEFFERNAN rose.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: This is about to-day. I cannot answer Deputy Heffernan about to-morrow. We go on not later than 10.30. If no Deputy offers to continue the debate, then the question will be put. If any Deputy wishes to speak, then the President will not claim to move a motion that the question be put.

Mr. JOHNSON: When I asked the President whether there was a time limit, he said “no.” If he said “yes” then this discussion would not take place.

Motion put and declared carried.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The President will now move the Second Stage.

Mr. JOHNSON: I want to raise a point of order. This Bill is designated:

“A Bill to confirm a certain Agreement amending and supplementing the Treaty of 1921 and to amend accordingly the references to the Treaty of 1921 contained in the Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) Act, 1922, and the Constitution.”

[1298] The Constitution Act entitled “The Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) Act, No. 1 of 1922” contains this provision:

“The said Constitution shall be construed with reference to the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland set forth in the Second Schedule hereto annexed (hereinafter referred to as the 'Scheduled Treaty') which are hereby given force of law, and if any provision of the said Constitution or of any amendment thereof or of any law made thereunder is in any respect repugnant to any of the provisions of the Scheduled Treaty, it shall, to the extent of such repugnancy, be absolutely void and inoperative.”

My contention is that if there is to be a Bill amending the Constitution, then, according to precedent, we are bound to designate that Bill “Amendment to Constitution No. so-and-so.” We have had an amendment to a Constitution Act, and we have numbered it because we wanted to avoid a difficulty that had been foreseen, which was raised in the law courts whereby a certain Article of the Constitution, which says that within a given number of years the Constitution may be amended by way of ordinary legislation, there is a possibility that that phrase in the Constitution would be taken to mean that any ordinary legislation which contravened the provisions of the Constitution might be taken by the Courts to be an amendment of the Constitution. So the Oireachtas decided by precedent that any amendment to the Constitution would be designated such in the title. Now this Bill obviously is intended not to amend the Constitution by the title, but it is to amend a Treaty, according to which every reading of the Constitution must be decided. No law enacted under the Constitution must contravene or be repugnant to the Scheduled Treaty. Now, the Scheduled Treaty is as we have know it since 1921. This is a Bill to amend the Scheduled Treaty. It is a Bill to provide by ordinary legislation an Act repugnant to the Treaty. Therefore, unless we are to [1299] treat this as a Bill amending the Constitution, and, if so, we must designate it as such, I submit this Bill is not in order, and should not be received by the Dáil.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: This does not seem to be a question of order for me. It seems to me a point on which I could not make a decision. It is that a Bill which has not got a particular kind of title in accordance with alleged precedent should not be received by me. That is not a valid point of order at all, and apart altogether from that, the long title of this does say that it amends the Constitution. The long title is:—

“A Bill to confirm a certain Agreement amending and supplementing the Treaty of 1921, and to amend accordingly the references to the Treaty of 1921 contained in the Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) Act, 1922, and the Constitution.”

In any event the point is not a point of order, and is not one that would prevent the introduction of the Bill.

Mr. JOHNSON: Do you rule that the Bill may be dealt with and treated as though it were a Bill to amend the Constitution?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I am ruling that this Bill can be dealt with now, not as anything in particular, except what it may be deemed to be from its face. I could not undertake anything else.

The PRESIDENT: I move the Second Reading of the Bill to confirm the Agreement amending and supplementing the Treaty of 1921 which was signed on Thursday last by representatives of the British Government, by representatives of the Government of Northern Ireland and by the Minister for Justice, the Minister for Finance and myself on behalf of this State. The text of that Agreement was circulated to Deputies in a White Paper issued on the day following its signature. The last Article of the Agreement provides that it shall be subject to Confirmation by the British Parliament [1300] and by the Oireachtas, and the Bill which I now propose for your consideration is the Confirmation of the Agreement in so far as the Oireachtas is concerned.

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the signing of that historic instrument on which our Constitution is founded. You are, all of you, familiar with the circumstances and with the atmosphere in which it was negotiated and signed. A period of truce had for the moment silenced the sound of the gun and quenched the torch of destruction. But our country was still an armed camp. On both sides the guns were in oil and the torch awaited rekindling. The passions and heat of battle had not died; they had only suffered a temporary suppression. Out of that atmosphere there emerged a Treaty of Peace which will remain an everlasting monument to the genius, the courage and the statesmanship of those who made it. Times have changed. To-day the gun is silent, the soothing hand of Time has calmed the passions of war; the old cloud of hatred and suspicion has blown away. A new atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood has been created; and it is this new atmosphere which has enabled us to bring you to-day a solution of problems which four years ago were, as events have proved, impossible of solution.

No one, even in 1921, regarded the formula in Article 12 of the Treaty as an ideal solution of the problem with which it was intended to deal; no one looked to it to do more than relieve the situation of some of its difficulties. With the best will in the world the Boundary Commission could not satisfy everybody; we might have hoped—we did hope—that it would have dealt with the problem in so far as a large area adjoining our borders was concerned, but we knew and everybody knew that even if our highest hopes in it had been realised, it would bring no relief to a considerable body of people whose abodes were situated in areas which under no conceivable circumstances could be transferred from the jurisdiction of the Northern Government. Nor were we so sanguine as to imagine that the transfer of people and [1301] territory from one jurisdiction to the other could be effected without certain heart-burnings and certain discontent. There was, however, no alternative. Michael Collins and Sir James Craig— both men of vision—sought in vain for an alternative, but it could not be found. Their conferences were barren of result. The time had not come— the confidence and mutual trust necessary to crown their labours with success had yet to manifest themselves.

After much delay the Boundary Commission was at last set up. It was not set up in the manner originally contemplated. Instead of one representative of North and South, with a Chairman of British selection, it was composed of our representative and of two representatives selected by the British Government, one of whom was the Chairman. There is no need here to go into the reason for that change in personnel. It is a matter of common knowledge. I make no apology for the part that my colleagues and I took in insisting that the Commission should be set up and should function. No apology is called for. That was our policy—it was the policy of this House. There was no alternative policy. As events happened, the Commission from our point of view failed utterly to achieve the results for which it was constituted. The forecast of its award, published a month ago, gave rise to feelings of dismay and anger. There was every likelihood that the old hatreds which were dying would revive and that the old passions which had been allayed would be rekindled. The menace of disorder again loomed black on the horizon.

The position was not of our creation. We omitted nothing—we overlooked nothing to ensure that the Commission should be fully cognisant of our claims and should be in complete possession of all the requisite information. The minority in the North on whose behalf we spoke, co-operated in the most loyal and thorough fashion. They came forward and gave evidence before the Commission, and made clear in and their aspects, without facts of their without heat them every assist-case our power—we created a [1302] special bureau to help in the preparation and presentation of their testimony, and I may say in passing that no more hard-working nor more loyal, nor more efficient staff than the staff of the North-Eastern Boundary Bureau has even been given a more difficult task to do or has done it more thoroughly.

And lest we might pass judgment on others, unmindful of the solemn warning of Holy Writ, let us not blind ourselves to the difficulties and magnitude of the task with which the members of the Boundary Cmmission were presented. We may as well be honest with ourselves. For two generations—ever since the national consciousness first manifested itself in the demand for self-government, the problem of the NorthEast was a constant menace. On every occasion when it appeared as if the nation's aspirations were on the threshold of realisation the powerful forces at the disposal of the opponents of self-government were invoked and the door was slammed fast. When our representatives met in 1921 with the representatives of the British Government to discuss terms of peace they found themselves confronted with that problem. They faced it and endeavoured to solve it. They realised that peace could not be secured by coercion, and they accordingly inserted in the instrument of Agreement alternative courses either of which the minority in that corner of Ireland might elect to follow. They were given the choice of throwing in their lot with their fellow-countrymen in the South or, if they preferred, they could retain their existing relation with the Parliament of Great Britain. This was the origin— the genesis of Article 12. It was a formula designed in the event of the latter alternative being acted upon, to prevent the coercion of a minority within that minority.

The situation was complicated by the fact that there was in existence a boundary line already four years old. There were divergent and irreconcilable interests to be considered. There were those whose desire to be transferred to our jurisdiction did not conflict with their economic interests or their geographical [1303] position. There were those who for those very reasons could not have effect given to their wishes. The transfer of the former so far from improving the lot of the latter would aggravate it. There were individuals and communities whose economic balance would be upset by a change as well as those who would benefit from an alteration. Finally, there was the strong sentiment of partisans not personally affected by the Boundary who looked to and expected the Commission to provide a line which to them would be politically satisfactory. In a word, the Commission were called upon to effect by human agency a divine settlement of a problem which had baffled the ingenuity of statesmen for half a century. This is not a time for recrimination nor for logic-chopping. When Dr. MacNeill, our representative on the Commission, severed his connection with that body 18 days ago we in the Executive Council were faced with a situation perhaps the most serious of the many situations with which the present Government have had to deal. An award of the Boundary Commission was imminent —an award which, if the published forecast were even approximately correct—instead of promoting peace and harmony between Irishmen, would, if it had become effective, have sown the seeds of distrust and hate and disorder. Not alone would it fail to bring relief to the minority in the NorthEast, but it would have bankrupted our Northern outpost, the historic country of Donegal. It would have handed over to Northern Ireland a large slice of its richest territory and would have transferred from our jurisdiction thousands of unwilling citizens. The withdrawal of our representative did not, it is claimed, invalidate the Commission. The two remaining members—neither of them nominated by an Irish Government— were legally competent to continue their deliberations and to issue their award. The award once issued was legal and binding. Faced with the legal position we had two alternatives. One was to put it into effect by withdrawing our administrative machinery [1304] from those areas transferred to Northern Ireland and moving into those areas ceded to us. The other was to fly in the face of law and constitution and to resort to the arbitration of force. Either alternative pointed straight to disaster and chaos. The second was clearly unthinkable—the former would rive the country asunder. There would be an outcry from our people, hostile feelings would be aroused, the Treaty position would be challenged and the security, aye, the very existence of our nation, would be shaken.

This was the situation with which we were faced when on last Tuesday I told you that the Executive Council were giving the matter the gravest consideration. It was one which gave rise to the gloomiest forebodings, and I want to say to those who have now rushed in to criticise and disparage, that at that time when we would have welcomed a constructive suggestion, a helpful word of advice, none was forthcoming—nor did we receive any assistance since, either directly or indirectly, from any of them.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: You did not give us a chance of giving it.

Mr. JOHNSON: There was no chance to discuss it.

The PRESIDENT: None was forthcoming.

Mr. JOHNSON: You refused to discuss it.

The PRESIDENT: My office was open. It is not by discussion here that you can come to anything on these things.

Mr. JOHNSON: You refused to discuss it.

Professor MAGENNIS: Government by office.

The PRESIDENT: Above all the contributions I have listened to I think that absolutely the one breathing the least sanity or with any possible conception of representative responsibility is that from the Deputy who I suppose has now somersaulted out of our party. Nor did we receive any assistance, either directly or indirectly, [1305] from any of them. This was not a party question; it was a question of the nation. That fact was fully and clearly and generously recognised in this House.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Why did you not take the nation into your confidence?

The PRESIDENT: By holding a public meeting in the Phoenix Park?

Mr. JOHNSON: Is that the only way you could take the public into your confidence?

The PRESIDENT: One thing and one thing only was perfectly clear, and that was the publication of an award by the remaining members of the Commission would be a national calamity. Whatever legal flaws we might possibly discover in it, whatever line of appeal might possibly lie from its terms, it spelt immediate discontent and disorder. What was the way out? Peace—a lasting and secure peace—if it could be found under such unfavourable circumstances. Nor was this peace a necessity to us alone. It was none the less desirable to those for whom Sir James Craig speaks and to the British Government and people. In this spirit we met in conference Sir James Craig and representatives of the British Government. We went to meet them realising that the situation was one which called for all the statesmanship that we collectively possessed— that only in mutual understanding, by mutual co-operation, in an appreciation of one another's difficulties, and in an atmosphere of friendship and good will could a basis for peace be found. We were met, I am glad to say, in the same spirit, and thanks to the united efforts of the representatives of the three Governments the basis of peace was found. That basis is the agreement scheduled to the present Bill.

The first Article of the Agreement provides for the revocation of the powers conferred by the Treaty on the Boundary Commission, and for the retention of the existing Boundary. This arrangement abrogates the proviso to Article 12 of the Treaty, but in doing so follows in reality the spirit of the Treaty in the altered circumstances and in the new conditions which exist. The Treaty never contemplated that [1306] the Boundary should be changed unless Northern Ireland cut itself off from the rest of the country. In the tragic period which followed, Northern Ireland chose to take that course. But at the recent Conference in London there was a new spirit of cordial co-operation and friendship which, although political separation is an accomplished fact, was a manifestation of a genuine desire for united effort for the common good. That united effort—in itself a form of union—may, and I hope will, in time lead to the voluntary acceptance of closer and more tangible bonds of union, and will, I am confident, justify our decision to put this barren question of the Boundary behind us once and for all, and turn our faces towards new methods and new developments. This is surely a course more in harmony with the intentions of the Treaty than the perpetuation of a fruitless wrangle as to where a boundary between Irishmen is to be drawn.

The Agreement contains no reference to the important question of the position of the Northern Nationalists, which was our first consideration in the negotiations, and one which we discussed at great length and in all its aspects. I want to make our position in relation to the minority in Northern Ireland perfectly clear. At the time the Treaty was made that minority had already been placed under the jurisdiction of the Northern Government. Certain provisions were made in their interests by those who negotiated that instrument. How these provisions would have worked out in the unexpected events which have since happened, the signatories could not possibly have foreseen. We faithfully carried out those provisions, and it was not until everybody concerned had become fully aware that the Boundary Commission was not going to prove the anticipated instrument of salvation for the minority that we made any move towards other solutions of their problem.

The question as to how a minority should be protected has been very often asked. I believe that there is only one real security for minorities, and that is the good will and neighbourly feeling of the people among [1307] whom they live. Next to this written guarantees are scraps of paper, and sometimes irritating scraps of paper which kill in spirit what they profess to secure in words. There are no such written guarantees in the Agreement, because those present at the negotiations were resolved that the minority should have the only real security, which is, as I have said, to be sought only in neighbourly feeling.

Had the Boundary Commission produced a result which would have satisfied the hopes of the Nationalists, a minority would still have been left unprovided for, and in the estrangement between North and South which such a result would have produced, they would have found themselves more isolated than before. Minorities suffer most in times of political strain. When there is peace and accord they come by their own. I know it is difficult for the border Nationalists, whose daily lives are immediately affected, to take what I believe is the wider view. I believe that the organised and dignified statement of their case before the Commission was one of the factors which made the recent Agreement possible. I believe a new understanding is growing up, and that such an understanding is, as I have said, more valuable than written guarantees. I believe the time will come when those who presented their case to the Commission will say that their efforts have been crowned with greater success than if they had been rewarded by an immediate decision of the Commission in their favour.

We have arranged that for the purpose of dealing with certain matters of common concern the two Cabinets should meet together. These meetings must inevitably tend to remove prejudices and allay anxieties and to promote better understanding. Every step in this direction between North and South will react through the development of a better spirit in a favourable manner upon the position of the Nationalists in the North, and the Nationalists of the Six Counties can assist in this development by becoming a connecting link instead of a wall of partition between Dublin and Belfast.

[1308] Article 2 of the Agreement releases the Irish Free State from its obligations under Article 5 of the Treaty. The question of carrying out this Article had been raised by the British Government some months ago, but its settlement had been postponed pending the decision of the Boundary Commission. When the recent crisis made a reconsideration of certain Treaty provisions necessary, it was inevitable that this question should arise in the discussions.

Article 5 provided that the Irish Free State should assume liability for a proportion of the service of the public debt of the United Kingdom and war pensions, as existing at the date of the Treaty, due regard being had to any just claims on the part of the Irish Free State by way of set-off or counter-claim. If agreement as to the amount of the liability could not be reached, the matter was to be submitted to arbitration. Now the amount of the British National Debt at the time of the signing of the Treaty stood at the enormous figure of £7,000 odd millions. As long as our liability remained undetermined this Article hung over us as a menace to our credit, a hindrance to borrowing for development, a deterrent to our business expansion and a not unlikely cause of friction between the two countries.

I would hesitate to make any forecast as to the amount of what our ascertained liability would be, if our case and the case of the British Government had been laid before an arbitrator in cold figures, an arbitrator who was bound to interpret those figures and those claims in the strict and rigid atmosphere of international finance. Suffice it to say that others who have entered into the realm of prophecy on this subject have arrived at figures varying from an annual payment of £5,000,000 to a claim for an annual tribute of £19,000,000.

Mr. BAXTER: What are the President's own figures? What are the figures of the Executive Council? That is what we want to get at.

The PRESIDENT: I have not got any. We wiped them out.

[1309] Mr. BAXTER: Could the President tell us what were the figures?

The PRESIDENT: As I say, we wiped them out.

Mr. GOREY: Perhaps the President would tell us what were the figures in his mind when he was signing the document?

The PRESIDENT: I do not quite understand the Deputy's question.

Mr. GOREY: What were the figures in the President's mind when he was signing the document in London? There is no use in talking about any propaganda that was going on outside.

The PRESIDENT: I had only one figure in my mind and that was a huge nought. That was the figure I strove to get, and I got it.

Mr. CORISH: And you gave five millions for it.

The PRESIDENT: If the question were what figure the Executive Council was prepared to accept, I would say the Executive Council had not any figure before them. We had the other thing before us—that is, the charge.

Professor MAGENNIS: May I ask this question now of the President? Had the Minister for Finance the figures on him showing what the British claim was, or was likely to be, and what the Irish set-off was calculated to be?

The PRESIDENT: I could not say. I did not search the Minister for Finance.

Professor MAGENNIS: Were the figures not brought over by the Minister?

Mr. JOHNSON: I desire to raise a point, and it is of the utmost importance, not warranting a reply of the kind that the President has given to Deputy Magennis. On Thursday I asked the Ministers of the Executive Council who were present what was the amount of the claim, if any, which had been sent in by the British Government, and what was the amount of the counter-claim sent in, if any, by the Irish Government. Neither Minister could answer that off-hand, which was [1310] a thing I did not mind. I gave notice that the question would be put later. It is essential to a discussion on this matter. I hoped it would have been answered to-day either in question form or otherwise. Deputy Heffernan also wanted to put a question on private notice to-day, and you, A Chinn Comhairle, thought it was almost certain to be answered by the President in the course of this discussion. Surely we can invite an answer to a question of that kind which is so germane to the subject?

The PRESIDENT: The figures, if any, will be dealt with by the Minister for Finance. I have not gone any further in my statement than to say that the British Government had taken up this matter with us. I did not go any further than that, and I am not going to go any further. The British Government had written to us concerning this matter.

Mr. GOREY: How could the President be able to make an authoritative statement in regard to our financial position if he knew nothing about the figures?

Mr. CORISH: They knew nothing about them.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Perhaps the President will be allowed to continue, and then Deputies can make their points in subsequent speeches.

Mr. BAXTER: I submit that the President's statement is absolutely worthless if he does not give us figures to show what was in his mind. He must have had figures in his mind. It is his duty to answer the Dáil on this matter and place the Dáil in the possession of all the information he has on the matter.

The PRESIDENT: I am giving the facts as I have them. I have told the Dáil that the British Government took up this matter with us some months ago. I told the Dáil—I am certain I did—that we had not yet replied, that we had not furnished our side of the case.

[1311] Mr. BAXTER: What did they claim?

The PRESIDENT: That is question for the Minister for Finance. It was to his Department that the letter went.

Mr. BAXTER: Does the President not know? If he does know, is he not prepared to answer?

The PRESIDENT: I usually like, in matters of this kind, particularly to be exact. I am certainly not going to hazard a prophecy, particularly when other people are so wild in the prophecies they make in regard to these claims.

Mr. JOHNSON: Could the Minister for Finance assist the President in this matter? The President has moved a motion which deals specifically with this thing.

The PRESIDENT: If I might say so, it is open to Deputies to ask those questions during the course of the discussion.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Are we to take it that this Agreement was practically arrived at in the absence of the Minister for Finance.

The PRESIDENT: Certainly.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Does the President say that the agreement was arrived at without he having any knowledge of what the figures were?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: The President is making a speech to his motion. When he has made that speech, Deputies will have opportunities of making their own speeches. I think that is the best procedure to adopt. I allowed one question to be asked. If Deputies are dissatisfied with the President's answer, they can express their dissatisfaction in a variety of ways. The President should be allowed to continue his speech without interruption.

The PRESIDENT: As I was saying, there are certain people who said our liability in respect to Article V. varied from £5,000,000 annually to £19,000,000. There is nothing so detrimental [1312] to financial prosperity as impending unascertained liabilities. It is essential for conditions of ordered finance that we should know the amount of our debt for good or for ill. This question of our liability was, I am bound to say, approached by the representatives of the British Government with a friendliness of feeling and the broad outlook of real statesmanship. They were not out to haggle over petty details or minor considerations. They were prepared to take the bold course, and to make a generous contribution towards cementing the good relations which have grown up between the two countries since the signing of the Treaty. They agreed to close all outstanding questions of controversy with us, and wrote off whatever sum they might have secured under this Article. We, on our part, undertook to assume liability for damage to property within the Irish Free State area since 21st January, 1919. The arrangement in these two Articles is a most advantageous settlement of outstanding financial matters. We have exchanged a perennial burthen of unknown magnitude in respect of an external debt for the liability to pay a sum amounting approximately to £5,000,000 for compensation for damage suffered by our own people.

The fourth provision of the Agreement is for increasing compensation under the Damage to Property Compensation Act, 1923, in respect of malicious injury to property done in the area of the Irish Free State between the 11th day of July, 1921, and the 12th day of May, 1923. Every Deputy in this House is aware of the complaint which has been made that the measure of compensation for post-Truce damage compares unfavourably with the awards for damage suffered pre-Truce.

We are satisfied that in fact there are grounds for this contention. The complaints were not confined to any one class. Our own supporters complained. They were, perhaps, not as loud in their complaints as a certain section who are commonly designated as the Southern Loyalists. These complaints were a source of embarrassment [1313] both to us and to the British Government. We thought fit to wipe out the cause of these complaints. We regarded an increase of ten per cent. all round as fair and equitable, and we believed that at a time when all parties were united in an effort to remove every cause of friction, this cause should be removed by the introduction of this provision in the Agreement.

Article 5 of the Agreement transfers the powers of the Council of Ireland to the Parliament and Government of Northern Ireland. In agreeing to this, we have been accused of cutting the one connecting link between North and South. In fact, we have done the very reverse. Under the Treaty the powers of the Council of Ireland, which were chiefly the control of railways, fisheries, and the diseases of animals, were restricted in their exercise to Northern Ireland. On the Council half the representatives would have been drawn from the Free State, and Northern Ireland could not have looked on its operation as anything but irritating interference. No real unification, even of the services under its control, could have been achieved in this way. We made the arrangement contained in the Agreement with the intention, which actuated all parties, of removing every outstanding cause of difference, in order to allow for the development, in future, of the best relations. In abandoning the Council of Ireland, the Free State will lose nothing. It will gain goodwill.

This then, is the Agreement which has been signed and to which the force of law must be given if it is to become operative. I believe, if it is accepted in good faith by all parties in Ireland, it will mark a turning point in Irish history. It will be recorded as one of the happiest pledges of these good and friendly relations which have been developing between our people and the people of Great Britain. It removes with one sweep the main outstanding sources of dispute between the two countries. It stabilises our financial position. It secures that we are deprived of none of our citizens. It is the best agreement which we were able to make and it is a good agreement.

It is now for the Dáil to accept it or [1314] reject it. It is open to the Dáil to take either course. We strongly and confidently recommend you to accept it, to accept it in the spirit in which it was made, to accept it in the interests of prosperity and peace.

Some Deputies have already indicated in no uncertain terms their determination to oppose its acceptance. Let us be clear as to the position which its rejection would create. Let us be clear that the Boundary Commission is still in existence—that its existence will be terminated only when the present legislation has been passed both here and in London. Its report is ready for presentation. Do those who oppose this agreement want that report? If they do, and if they can persuade a majority in this House to agree with them, then they can have the report. Will it do them any good? Will it confer on the minority in Ulster any benefit?

Article 5 is not yet gone. It will only go when this Agreement becomes operative. Reject this Agreement and you retain Article 5 with its unascertained financial burthens, its negotiations and its arbitration. If a majority of the House desires the responsibility of wiping out the results achieved by this Government's labours for the past fortnight, they can do so; they can get back to the position where we stood on the 22nd November. If, and when they do, I hope that those who take the lead in advising that course will recognise that they will not be able to evade their responsibilities. It will then be for them to do what they have hitherto failed to do, namely, make some constructive contribution to the solution of the problem which they will thus have created. I hope they will bear in mind that problems of this nature are not solved by platitudes, however profound, or by abstractions divorced from reality. Neither are they solved by the exercise of a capacity for thwarting effort. They are solved by facing facts as they are, and not as they might be in a Utopian world.

Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”


[1315] Professor MAGENNIS: I oppose this Bill, and, in doing so, I am conscious that I labour under very serious disabilities. The President has read a carefully prepared statement in which he was assisted by the work, not merely of his colleagues in the Ministry, but by secretaries and the secretaries of secretaries; whereas we, by these rushed tactics of the President, are obliged to deal with the case as presented to us here and now. The President recited the history of the Boundary Commission. I will follow him therefore, as far as my memory will serve me, in the order of the statement of his case. He said that it was a problem not of to-day or yesterday, and the solution of it had baffled the statesmanship of various generations. He then disclaimed, on behalf of his Government, any responsibility whatever for the position, or the condition, into which that problem had been brought in recent days.

I am not a factionist in this matter, nor am I seeking to score dialectical points off the Minister. I pay no attention to those cheap sneers and jibes with which I am so familiar, that because I am a professor of philosophy and a barrister, and accustomed, therefore, all my life to exact thinking, and that, as a professor with exact thought and precise expression, I am disqualified from the consideration of documents and instruments of government such as this. The man in the street, apparently, who can run his eye over a document and make up what he is pleased to call his mind is, according to President Cosgrave, a better judge of this. No wonder he wants to rush, lest the man in the street should be invited by his representatives here to stay a while and think the matter out and consider its bearings. As I say, I am not speaking as a factionist, I am quite willing as one who is a member of his party—not only that, but I think he will admit I was one of the party most appreciative of him and his efforts in the past—to say that it is no pleasure to me to stand here differing as I do so fundamentally from the position he has now taken up.

Up to a certain moment in the conduct of the Boundary Commission the [1316] Executive Council is absolutely without blame, in my opinion. This Dáil admitted, when the elaborate correspondence from London with the Irish Government was submitted to it, that there was nothing revealed in that which at all reflected upon either the patriotic zeal or the ability of any member of the Executive Council in the handling of our case, but there came a moment when that wisdom ceased to inspire the Executive Council. A member of the Party, when we had suspended operations a few evenings ago in order to allow the Ministry sufficient time to consider the difficult position into which they had brought themselves, said to me: “Do you think that those men would be guilty of anything that is unpatriotic?”

Now I put the question here in public that I may have the advantage of giving my answer in public. I answer now, as I answered then, “Patriotism is a matter of the feelings. Right decisions are a matter of trained intelligence, and there may be no contact between these two.” I am not challenging the patriotism—I have no concern with that of either the President or either of his colleagues—but I am challenging their capacity and confidence and their negligence, of which I accuse them in this matter.

The President says, by way of easy escape, that had someone come to his office he would have received suggestions as to how to meet the difficulty. Would he? Is that the experience of members of this Dáil with regard to the head of the Executive Council? I think I am entitled now, as the President spoke of me of taking up an insane position, to reveal a little history in connection with the Boundary Commission. There was no necessity to pass identical legislation here with regard to the proposal to alter Treaty No. 1. As advised by the Privy Council, the British Government were quite competent, by passing an Act in their own legislature, to appoint a Commissioner in room of the Commissioner who was to have been nominated by the Northern Government. Why did they press for identical legislation on our part? They were astute enough to seek to bind us beforehand to a position [1317] that would preclude us from saying: “We cannot accept the award of a Commission so constituted. It is not constituted in accordance with the Treaty for one of the three members was to have been appointed by the Ulster Government whereas two, other than ours, have been appointed by Great Britain.” There is the first blunder made by the Executive Council. They passed identical legislation. I will correct what I said. The first blunder was not absolutely in the identical legislation by itself but in passing it without its being accompanied by any declaration of our mind in the matter.

Now, the President complains that a member of the Dáil does not approach him to put whatever he knows or thinks at his disposal. These lions cannot realise that even a mouse, on occasions, can be of use to them. I had the temerity to propose to the Executive Council a resolution which would have declared our minds. What reception did it receive? It was returned to me ignominiously. Fortunately it was, because I have the document. I should not have it, had not that fate befallen it. I proposed to the Executive Council, through the President, that we should, on the occasion of the Second Reading of that Bill for identical legislation amending the Treaty, pass a resolution to this effect:— That whereas certain British signatories to the Treaty have declared that the mind in which they signed the Treaty was so and so—to save the time of the House I will not go into details, but the details are in my memory—we declare on our part that the Irish delegation, the signatories to the Treaty had declared repeatedly, both at the time and afterwards, that the meaning and effect of Clause 12 to them was wholly opposite to that declared now by the British signatories; that it was in view of the interpretation given to Clause 12 by the Irish signatories that the Treaty was accepted and endorsed by the Irish people, and that we, as one of the high contracting parties in the Treaty, were as much entitled to declare the spirit in which the Treaty was signed as any British statesman. Not only that, but that the interpretation [1318] of the terms of reference created by the Treaty and within the scope of which the award was to be made by the Commissioners should now be declared by us.

I was quite willing to agree that on the question of international amenities, and even also on the question of strict legality, it might not be in the best of taste on our part to begin by a declaration of our interpretation of Clause 12, but that, in as much as the British signatories to the Treaty and the British Press had tried to poison the public mind with these partisan, ex parte statements, it had become a necessity on our part to declare our minds, that we were not the offending parties.

I submit, and I submit it to the people outside this House, if my words can reach them, that in the rejection of a proposal such as that the Minister sinned grievously against the light. Had that resolution gone out with the passing of the Act which modified the Treaty, the whole question of the exact terms of reference would have been pushed to the front at once, instead of at a later date, when it became so highly complicated that it terrified the President out of his ordinary balance of mind. Now he tells us a lot about the possibility of the Feetham award. We are to be frightened now by the Feetham award into forgetting all about the responsibility of the Executive Council in regard to the possibility of there being such a thing as the Feetham award. Is the country going to permit the ex-Minister for Education to be made a scapegoat for the Executive Council?

Professor MacNEILL: I have not authorised any Deputy to make use of my personal position to draw it in anyway across the considerations of the facts before the House.

Professor MAGENNIS: That is quite so. It is unnecessary for Dr. MacNeill to say he has not authorised me, but that does not affect in the least my right to draw the attention of the public to the fact, and the fact is that Dr. MacNeill undertook a very difficult and thankless task. He knew, as we know, and the President has stated it to-night, and I have said frequently in language [1319] that would appear irreverent that God, in his omnipotence, could not settle the Boundary question to the satisfaction of everyone, for the simple reason that there should be no boundary line at all, a point upon which the extreme Unionists and we are in agreement. With full consciousness of that before his mind, Dr. MacNeill undertook that task. Now not only are our fellow-Nationalists in the North to be thrown to the wolves, but he is to be thrown with them. The Executive Council has asked us to forget everything by adopting the artifice of the cuttle-fish, which can darken the water by its sepia so that its evolution are invisible.

Professor MacNEILL: I protest against this use of my position by the Deputy—this pretence of rhetorical nonsense—about being thrown to the wolves.

Professor MAGENNIS: I regret very much that Deputy Dr. MacNeill and I are not of one mind, because I have such a profound respect for his high character, but he must take the responsibility and consequence of entering public life. Any man who puts his hand upon public matters, or enters upon public activities, must be prepared to be criticised in any way that is legitimate. I am not, I can assure the Deputy, trying to appear to make a case for him, or trying to use him in any way. I think he knows me well enough to acquit me of any such intention. I would use the fact even if it were not the case of a life-long friend or a man for whom I have regard. If the Deputy wishes I will refer to him as A B to show that I am not intruding his personality in the least. I say that a member of the Executive Council was chosen for this difficult and well-nigh impossible position. I charge that the Executive Council retained him as a member of the Executive Council. They have law advisers who would have told them what their legal position was. They must have known long before last week, or the week before last week, that the Boundary Commission was a court of award, that the Commissioners were arbitrators. They must have known that it [1320] had not the powers of a supreme court, which could go wrong, and that the only remedy was to appeal to a higher court, if there was a higher court. If they did not know it was because they did not consult, so that the award would have to be given within the terms of reference.

Deputy Dr. MacNeill, according to the statement he made here, became a political Melchisedech, without generation, and without friends or kindred. The members of the Executive Council, his colleagues, knew nothing of what he was doing, were told nothing, they asked nothing, and yet in this House we have been continually reminded of the collective responsibility of the members of the Executive Council. How did they hope to divest themselves of the responsibility for what is done by one of their number? I am waiting to hear—and I count confidently on hearing it at a later stage—that under an Article of the Constitution the Executive Council are entitled to transact all the business of the Executive Council, and that consequently the President, Vice-President, or any other member who chooses to go over instead of the Minister whose business it was, the Minister for External Affairs, were qualified to transact all the business of his Department. That we will deal with later on in its own place. The plea that will invalidate that is collective responsibility. They cannot have it both ways. They have, and the country must see to it that they have, collective responsibility for whatever collapse, breakdown, threat, or menace of catastrophe was involved in the Feetham Commission.

The Minister for Finance, with the President, went to Emyvale on a certain Sunday. Though the Executive Council required time to make up its mind on its policy, this member of the Executive Council required only 24 hours, for he made what appears to be to everyone an authoritative deliverance on the Feetham Commission, and he told his audience that the Executive Council knew nothing about Mr. Feetham. I do not want to hold him strictly to words used on a platform. We are told by Deputy Good that it is [1321] one thing when a Deputy addresses members of his constituency, and that it is another thing when he addresses members of the Dáil where there are official reporters to record all his utterances. I do not wish to hold the Minister for Finance too closely to his words. Would he say now in the Dáil that the Executive Council knew nothing about Mr. Feetham? Anyone who cares to turn to the official reports for June, 1924, will discover the record of President Cosgrave reading a message sent to him by the British Government announcing the appointment of Mr. Feetham as Chairman of the Boundary Commission, together with an account of his services to the British Government, and his status in the Empire. They knew that much about him.

There was further a discussion about Mr. Feetham in the debate on a motion by Deputy Milroy in regard to the Boundary Commission. Surely they knew that? It will be said, of course, that Deputy Magennis made a speech, and consequently they did not know, and they could not be expected to read or to listen to that. Very good; then their ignorance is culpable and wilful, and in that ignorance they allowed an Executive Minister to go on until there was no way out. The President—I hope I am not misrepresenting what he said, because it is very difficult sometimes to hear him here—gave me the impression that he first knew of the situation through the disclosure in the Morning Post. Therefore, the Executive Council were in a fool's paradise, and would have remained in a fool's paradise, presumably, unless Deputy Dr. MacNeill resigned and disclosed to us, or disclosed to us without resigning, the position of affairs.

I hold that there is no getting away from the fact that, under the Constitution, the Executive Council are absolutely as much responsible as the Commissioner whom they appointed. It was the Executive Council, not the Dáil, who appointed him. The Dáil was not consulted on the matter. I make no complaint about that, but I note the fact as going farther to fix responsibility on the Executive Council. The Executive Council went asleep on [1322] this whole matter, notwithstanding their collective responsibility. Occasionally, the President talked in his sleep and assured the public that all was well—that all was going well in this, the best of all possible worlds. Other Ministers repeated the same assurance, until the country was also lulled to sleep on the matter exactly as the President——

The PRESIDENT: Give me the dates of those assurances.

Mr. DAVIN: The 27th August at Clones, is one date for the Minister for Finance.

Professor MAGENNIS: I admit I cannot give the dates. I am now speaking extempore. The time has been forced upon me. I am adducing arguments and facts——

The PRESIDENT: I am still asleep as far as this matter is concerned, and I would like to know what are the occasions Deputy Magennis refers to. If he cannot give them now, I would like to have them at another time.

Mr. DAVIN: The 27th August, in Clones, is one date.

Professor MAGENNIS: I cannot give day and date now.

Mr. BAXTER: I will give them.

Professor MAGENNIS: Somebody else will give them during the debate. I have no secretary. I did my day's work before I came here. I have done the work for which I receive my salary. I come here to try to do my duty, and every difficulty is placed in my way by the “rush” tactics of the Executive Council. Does the President deny that members of the Ministry have, from time to time, assured the country that the result of the Boundary Commission would be satisfactory to the Saorstát?

Mr. JOHNSON: “Eminently satisfactory” were the words.

MINISTER for LANDS and AGRICULTURE (Mr. Hogan): So it is.

Mr. JOHNSON: Now we have it!

[1323] Mr. BURKE: Deputy D'Alton and Deputy Magennis—the latter in a more general way—have accused me of making a statement in connection with the Boundary Commission. A certain statement to that effect appeared in the Press, but I wish to deny the accuracy of that statement.

Mr. CORISH: Too late!

Mr. BAXTER: Why not contradict it in the Press before now?

Mr. BURKE: I would not contradict it in the Press. I contradict it in the Dáil.

Mr. CORISH: We are supposed to legislate on what we saw in the Press.

Professor MAGENNIS: If I did the Minister for Local Government any injustice, I withdraw any remark that seems to include him. If every other Minister will get up now disowning it —we had the President and an Extern Minister—it would be a delight to the country. If each of the other Ministers who spoke to this effect would now disown his statement, and throw the blame on the newspaper reporter——

Mr. BURKE: I want it to be understood that I am not denying the whole statement. I am denying the accuracy of the statement.

Professor MAGENNIS: I am withdrawing the statement altogether as referring to the Minister for Local Government. It is quite enough for my purpose that the President talked in his sleep.


Professor MAGENNIS: On various occasions.

The PRESIDENT: Mention one occasion.

Professor MAGENNIS: Did the President ever come to this House and tell us to be guarded or cautious, in addressing constituents from platforms, in dealing with the Boundary Commission? Was there any help ever given to a member of the Party to ensure that he would not commit his Party and the leaders of the Party beyond [1324] what was legitimate? Never! Now the Minister for Lands and Agriculture says the present solution is eminently satisfactory.

Mr. P. HOGAN: Hear, hear!

Professor MAGENNIS: I will deal with that statement in its own time.

Mr. JOHNSON: He said the report was eminently satisfactory.

Mr. P. HOGAN: I beg the Deputy's pardon. Professor Magennis quoted me correctly.

Professor MAGENNIS: I quite accept the statement of the President that those who went across to London exercised all the statesmanship they possessed. I make him a present of that. What statesmanship was exercised? It was apparently an occasion for great haste, in order to get in front of the Feetham Award. The President says so. I ask the President now if he will have the courtesy to deny the accuracy of the statement I make that the urgency of the settlement with the British and Northern Government Ministers was to get ahead of the Feetham Award? Very well, we have become conscious at last that while they were supine, careless and negligent on a matter of the highest importance to the State, things were happening which they had to avert by a hasty bargain— by a bargain so hasty that they sold the situation for a named sum. I make that charge advisedly, and I make it out of the President's own statement. A great deal of confusion has been created in the popular mind over the deal on Article 5. A great deal of hocus pocus has been raised. I saw in one of the Dublin papers a row of photographs and above them in huge letters that the blind could almost read, the words: “The men who settled the Boundary Problem.”

The PRESIDENT: That annoys you.

Professor MAGENNIS: There is a way of settling things. There is a way of settling a ship—by scuttling it. “The men who settled the Boundary problem”! How did they settle it? They bring us back to the settlement under the Partition Act of 1920, minus [1325] certain things that were stipulated for in the Act of 1920. The Minister for Lands and Agriculture calls it an excellent settlement.

Mr. P. HOGAN: “Eminently satisfactory” were the words.

Professor MAGENNIS: I think meticulousness is carried to the limit in that correction.

Mr. P. HOGAN: The Deputy is a good judge of meticulousness.

Professor MAGENNIS: I am. I accept that tribute; I take the testimonial. The settlement is the boundary as drawn in the Partition Act of 1920, minus all the considerations in that that made it not wholly unpalatable to the politicians who were in charge at that date. Now, what were we talking about all those years, when we professed to protest against the partition of our beloved country?

Mr. P. HOGAN: “What were we fighting for?”

Professor MAGENNIS: I do not know. You were not fighting any more than I was. During all those years what were we protesting against? Were we humbugs and hypocrites? We talked about this red scar branded across the face of our motherland. We talked about self-determination and the rights of people to determine their own destiny and the type of institutional law under which they were to live their lives. Now, we say—but I will not use the paraphase I was going to use. It would be unparliamentary. We say: “Let them self-determine as they please; we disregard it; to the wolves with them. To the wolves with them, for a price!” We protested against the boundary of 1920. Why? Because it was the interference of an alien power in a matter in which it had no moral right or justification to interfere. Not only that, but it was a denial of all the principles upon which that alien power represented itself as the champion of small nations. Ex-Deputy Milroy, here in these benches, and I following him, repeated expressly——

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Hear, hear! And you “following him.”

[1326] Professor MAGENNIS: I followed him on the debate of 18th June, 1924, in point of time. The Minister makes a point of my use of the word “followed.” That justifies me in making a point with regard to the President's statement of which I made a note. He said: “We followed the spirit of the Treaty.” I once claimed to a leader of Sinn Fein in the early days of Sinn Fein that I was a follower of the Irish Parliamentary Party, and he replied promptly: “Yes, with a tomahawk.” So did the President follow the spirit of the Treaty.

The PRESIDENT: You never had a tomahawk.

Professor MAGENNIS: That is irrelevant. It is as irrelevant as a lot of the arguments contained in the President's statement to-night. Either we were perpetrating a fraud on the Irish people, and attempting to do with England what England has done so successfully in London with these Ministers—“pulling the wool over their eyes”—or we were not. Whether we were doing that or not history will record. If the Executive Council are to be judged by their performance now they accept the Boundary of 1920 without the mitigating circumstances. Why do they accept it? The case made by the President is that they accept it because they are driven to accept it in order to avert the calamity produced by their own negligence on the Boundary Commission. They are trying to hide that terrible fact from the notice of the public. By what? There was always this settlement pending with regard to our alleged monetary liabilities under Article 5. No one is going to deny that Article 5 was as much an Article of the Treaty as any other Article, as Article 13 for example, which is to be cancelled without a word being said. We all knew that so far as the outside public with money to invest were concerned—for example, on the question of raising a loan and other commitments—they would ask: “Where do you stand financially?” I would expect a businessman to do nothing [1327] else. I should certainly do it. I would expect also that with proper business acumen financiers or those who have money to invest, would point out: “We do not know the exact extent of your commitments; therefore your security is not so good.” That is part of the case made by the President, and I accept it. It is no part of our case to deny the obvious. We have too good a case to be reduced to those tricks by which Treaty No. 2 is being supported.

That finance bargain was made under what circumstances? Remember that the coming to close grips with regard to claim and counter-claim would have been an event of history sometime. Very well, when? Diehards in England were pressing the Government and asking “what about Article 5? When are you going to exact from these rebels in Ireland the money they owe?” The British Government paid no attention. Presumably it was preparing its claim. I should have thought that our Department of Finance would have taken notice of that. I understood that we were preparing our claim. If we were not, again our leaders were deceiving us, and the plain people outside, because we were always taught to believe that when our gigantic counter-claim was set off against whatever Imperial claim could be made under the categories of National Debt and war pensions, it would be found that we were the creditor nation. We were always told that. Now, the President comes here to make a statement on the most momentous event that has happened to this Dáil, and he has no figures. The Minister for Finance was not brought over to London any more than the Minister for External Affairs; the Minister for Finance was brought over to sign a document. It was signed within a few hours of his arrival in London. Therefore, he did not negotiate it. Perhaps someone in his Department did. I do not know.

At any rate, the result of it all is that the President, who is President of the Executive Council, with collective responsibility, is not aware of how we [1328] stood with regard to the Imperial counter-claim. Yet he recommends it to us as a good bargain—when we are some millions in debt, a debt which either we pay off by additional taxation at a moment when the country is being kept back from industrial development by an excessive load of taxation or pay off by loan to be raised at 6 or 6½ per cent. and commit the country to an annual charge of from £240,000 to £260,000 or thereabouts. That bargain is entered into with wide open eyes by the chiefs of the Executive Council, without the chief of the chiefs of our Government informing himself as to whether or not there is a balance, and if there is a balance on which side does it lie and what is the amount. Surely, out of the President's own mouth, he stands condemned. He has made a bargain without knowing what his rights in the bargain are. And all that is irrespective of the want of warrant. This performance of our Executive Council in going over to negotiate treaties and settlements and financial arrangements under clauses of the Treaty, what is it but following the bad example set in recent years to other Ministries by Mr. Lloyd George? Mr. Lloyd George, with that colossal egotism that characteristics the man, has found his imitators here. He set aside his whole diplomatic service. He set aside all the trained intelligence of the Empire that could assist in his delicate negotiations and went out and was his own foreign minister and his own staff of experts all in one.

Now, the British Ministers may do that. Are our Ministers claiming that they may do that in these matters in our system of Government? Furthermore, they are fond of talking about facts. It is alleged that I cannot master facts or know facts or remember facts: that facts are beyond me. I ask them to bear this fact in mind, that hours before they signed this undertaking this whole question was raised in the Dáil by Deputy Johnson and others as to what they were doing. They were warned expressly and explicitly that if they were negotiating a new Treaty or alterations in the old Treaty they were [1329] embarking on a very dangerous, career which we would regard as exceeding their authority. Were they informed of that by the Minister for External Affairs in a message, however succinct, indicating the tone of the Dáil on that behaviour of theirs in London, and was that transmitted to them for their guidance? If not, then the Minister for External Affairs sinned grievously in the exercise of his functions. He is one of the members of the Executive Council, and they all have collective responsibility.

Now, as regards this bargain. Was this bargain made as the price for the holding up of the Feetham award? That is the question the country will put, and I am putting it as clearly as I can. Was this settlement, made in the dark as regards figures on either side and rushed into with such indecent haste, signed in spite of the warning given here in the Dáil that those who would attempt to alter the Treaty would be brought to strict account? Was that the price of the surrender of our fellow-nationalists in the North to the Northern Government? Was the opposition to it on the part of the Northern Government withdrawn in view of the fact that they were having their own way? The President assures us that they did all this in the most amicable way: nothing but the most perfect friendliness and brotherhood reigned at this conference which ended in the signing away of the liberties of so many of our countrymen in the North, so far of course as they could be signed away by them while awaiting ratification.

A wife was asked once what was the secret of the friendly relations which uniformly subsisted between her and her husband. She said the secret of it was simply this: “I always allow my husband to have my own way.” No wonder they were so friendly—the others were having it all their own way.

What do they get in the North? Let us balance this little account. What do we get? The border as it was, with the undigested and unconsidered settlement of our claim under Article 5 landing us in a debt of some millions. That is what we have got out of this [1330] superb settlement. What has Ulster got? A boundary of its own choice— a boundary line as its gladiators and champions had it drawn for them by a prejudiced British Ministry in 1920. It has also got a transfer of the reserved powers which were not to have been transferred until the appointed day. It has also got rid of what irritated them so exceedingly—the prospect of the Council of Ireland. Let us not forget that. We have the declarations of the Premier of Northern Ireland on the Council of Ireland, the coming into operation of which was postponed under the Provisional Government for five years. These five years are running to their close. Now the President makes light of the Council of Ireland in its relation to the Northern Government, but at the same time he admits with me that it was a source of irritation to the Ulster Government.

The President recommends Clause 5 of this Bill as removing a source of friction. What was the source of friction? That Ireland was not to be divided: that Ireland became Ireland again as regards the jurisdiction of the Irish people over some of the vital concerns of their nation. It is customary to speak of these powers as dealing with the railways only, with the Diseases of Animals Acts and so on. Remember it had powers also over private legislation, which is a very important thing as regards bringing the people together and inducing in them a sense of common interest. In this Dáil, in the debate in June, 1924, when I referred to Mr. Feetham I quoted from his colleague in South Africa, Mr. Lionel Curtis, the very important views that they shared: that it did not matter when you were dealing with territory that was occupied by people of different racial origins, with different civilisations and with a different outlook—it did not matter very much where at a particular moment you drew a boundary line in their territories because what would bring about fusion in the long run would be a sense of common interest. Now, even the Feetham conception of how union is to be brought about among divergent nationals is thrown away here, and for [1331] what? How mild the language—to get rid of a possible source of friction. Not only does Ulster gain that, but Ulster is now on the fair way of growing into a dominion.

Mr. P.J. EGAN: With a share of the national debt of England.

Professor MAGENNIS: Now we are getting at items that are not disclosed in the bargain. Ulster, as I say—this Six County Government—is in a fair way of becoming a dominion. The source, observe, of union between us and it is a friendly conference between the respective Ministries that may take place “as and when necessary for the purpose of considering matters of common interest.” Who is to decide when it is necessary? Will the coming together of Ministers to confer on matters bring about political friction? Does the President prophesy that in the natural course of evolution if the Ministries of the two policies come together often enough there will be political fusion? Very well then. All the result that will come in the long run out of these trips to London is fusion with Great Britain again. You cannot have it both ways. If the President is entitled to prophesy——

The PRESIDENT: I have not done so. I said I believed it.

Professor MAGENNIS: The President read out a message.

The PRESIDENT: I did not say prophesy.

Professor MAGENNIS: That is quite true, the President did not use the word “prophesy,” but he prophesied. He was too careful to draw attention to the fact that he was giving surmises and conjectures and fine hopes to try to confuse us. I look, as a realist in politics, at the hard facts, and I look to history to see how, in similar circumstances, the results worked out. I may be a professor of philosophy, but that is in my working hours. I know facts as well as anyone on the front bench; I know perfectly well that if it is stated that the machinery of Clause 5 is going to bring about the union of hearts and that sense of common [1332] nationality between the descendants of the settlers of the settlement in the North and ourselves, why then is that same machinery, exercised so frequently, not bringing about fusion between Great Britain and us. I am told that the natural operation of working machine A.B. is to produce C.D. Now if I find that machine A.B. operating somewhere else am I not entitled to ask in this case is it producing C.D. also?

There was in that wretched and much resisted Act of 1920 a provision for bringing about ultimate union. Some of our leaders would have said in those days that was all hocus-pocus, but, at all events, the Bill declared, just as the President's statement declared, that what was intended was to bring about a union of hearts. If I had the Bill by me I am confident I could read out a clause in which the seers, the diviners, and the soothsayers, who framed the Act of 1920, told us that, ultimately, it would bring about union. There was a date on which the Council of Ireland was to go out of operation, and that was a date on which by a similar joint resolution of both Parliaments—the Parliament of Ireland was to be set up. That was one of the clauses in the Act of 1920. Do we find anything to that effect in this agreement? Is there any stipulation in the four corners of this document for the ultimate setting up of a Parliament of all Ireland or anything that would appear to be a Parliament of all Ireland? No! Our self-constituted negotiators forgot all that, they were so anxious to be friendly and to do everything in the most friendly and amicable way. I say, and I say it with all due regard to what I commit myself to, that either Ministers forgot, or remembering, did not care. But the country will hold them to account. There is no reference, says the President, to the position of the Northern Nationalists in the document. But, equally patent is it that there is no reference in this document at all to the Nationalists of Southern Ireland—to the Nationalists I say, that is, the people that regard Ireland as a nation one and indivisible.

Now, on what justification would anyone make a bargain simply arranging [1333] that our fellow-countrymen in Ulster are to be, by our agreement, condemned to remain under a Government which they themselves by self-determination demand to be taken from under. The case that Deputy Milroy made, and I make after him, in point of time, and which I would have made whether he had spoken or not—as Horace says, when two men ride the same horse, one must ride behind— was that when we came to the interpretation of the Treaty we must interpret the terms of it in the sense they bore at the time the compact was entered into. The air was saturated at that time with the doctrines of self-determination, which had been expounded with such wonderful magic by President Wilson, and adopted by the associated powers. On the day before President Wilson published his fourteen points, Mr. Lloyd George made a pronouncement with regard to the terms of peace upon which he was willing to stop the war, and in the course of that pronouncement he anticipated President Wilson with regard to the possibility of people being treated as chattels, and transferred without any regard to themselves, to the suzerainty or control of this or that nation. It was in view of this declaration that we maintained that there should be no boundary line, because we have a clear case against a boundary line.

Inside the four provinces of Ireland there are men whose spiritual home is England. We all know them. They are very intimate friends, some of them of mine. They look to Great Britain and the Union Jack with the same reverence and affection and patriotic devotion as any true-born Englishman in England. Born in England, nationals of Ireland, they were a decided minority. Were they to be allowed to choose the way of life for the majority. Obviously, while Mr. Lloyd George and his Cabinet were proclaiming the great principle of nationality and the doctrine of self-determination, not as a pious aspiration but as a principle of action in international affairs, they could not allege that that minority was to dictate to us. But they raised another plea: that the minority would require to be protected, and the only [1334] way they could see to protect the minority, to its own satisfaction, was to withdraw it from jurisdiction in regard to local matters of the Irish Parliament. It was obvious to Lord Birkenhead and Mr. Lloyd George that in doing that they included large numbers who were entitled exactly on the same principle as the Poles to have a plebiscite taken. They were entitled to have the same machinery put in action as was put in action for the settlement, say, in regard to Silesia, but because these counties were already under the operation of the 1920 Act, when the time came to put these principles into full force under the Treaty, the 1920 Government was installed. The President refers to that, and speaks of a boundary line four years old. Four years is not a very long time in law, but I will let that pass. Now, there was no plebiscite taken at any time, and the Vice-President told Deputy Johnson in the discussion that followed in the debate in which Deputy MacNeill made his resignation, that no plebiscite was taken because obviously it was impossible.

Sitting suspended at 6.30 and resumed at 7 p.m.,


Professor MAGENNIS: At the adjournment I was dealing with the situation under Article V. I had been pointing out that the situation created by this agreement was that of the Act of 1920, but the Act of 1920 minus the provision for the setting up of a Council of Ireland. There is a provision in that connection in a very important Act of Parliament to which no allusion has been made in the Agreement: that, to the best of my recollection, was Schedule 1, Section 3 of the Act which was passed on the same date as the Free State Constitution Act—the Act for the ratification of our Constitution. That would be the 5th December. The Act to which I am now referring was the Free State Agreement (Consequential Provisions) Act. It was an adjustment of the previous statutes as regards Northern Ireland. An adjustment was rendered necessary because [1335] the two Parliaments that were contemplated in 1920 were subordinate Parliaments over which the Imperial Parliament at Westminster claimed to have over-riding powers. So that any statute relating to Irish affairs passed in the Westminster legislature which was contrary, or in any way repugnant, to a statute or part of a statute passed by one of those subordinate Parliaments was ipso facto repealed. In consequence of the Treaty Ratification Act —the acceptance of the Constitution, founded, as the President put it, upon the Treaty—our Parliament became a sovereign Parliament, while the other remained subordinate, and adjustment had to be provided for accordingly. Now all that goes. All that goes with the Council of Ireland, which was contemplated as an instrument of government through which sovereign Ireland would exercise control in respect of railways and other matters in the Six Counties, while there was no reciprocal power given to the Six Counties, as was made clear by the considered opinion of Lord Justice O'Connor, as he was then, acting as Chairman of the Railways Commission. In accordance with that agreement, I say there was no reciprocal power given to the Northern members of that Council of Ireland that in any way impaired, or could be deemed to impair, the sovereignty of this State. That was the position at which I left my case with regard to Article V. at the moment of the adjournment. I asked the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to follow with me a little sum in elementary arithmetic to see what we have got and to see what Ulster, in the sense of the Six-County Government, has got, and then consider also what our fellow-countrymen in the North have got. I pointed out that we have the Boundary line as it was drawn in 1920. We have not the provision for later unification, although the President asks us to believe that conferences from time to time between the two Governments would bring about unification. I have not that power of imagination which would enable me to picture triumphant Ulster, confirmed in its victory, yielding any of its acquired powers to the Free [1336] State, because, from time to time, some of our Executive Council dined with some of Ulster's Executive Council and, over the dinner table, assumed for the nonce a spirit of friendliness.

I am an Ulsterman; I know the Ulster temper; I know very well they will not let go. The President and his colleagues who negotiated this have forgotten all the history of Northern Ireland and the years intervening between the putting of the Home Rule Bill of 1914 on the Statute Book and December, 1925. The President says that all this was arranged in a spirit of friendliness. I have reconstructed the crime, as the French phrase runs, in my mind's eye. I see that friendly meeting, that spirit of camaraderie I understand, when, in the picture, I see one of the friends, with the Feetham award as a gun presented, covering the other, the representative of the Free State with his hands up, crying “Camarade.” That was the camaraderie. Where was the sincerity, in reality, of the friendship, if this bargain had to be struck at once, in order to avert the disaster of the Feetham award being put into operation? Observe that what is in question is the suspension of an award in which the two arbitrators left to issue the award are both of them nominees of the British Government. Yet the President and his colleagues are so much afraid of the issue of this award that they come to this so-called settlement. During all these years that led up to this friendly meeting in London, to use the significant phrase of Sir James Craig himself, he and his people have been “digging themselves in.” How did they dig themselves in? You remember the programs. You remember the flight of the refugees from the North into Dublin and the South. You remember the enrolment of Specials who settled in North Fermanagh and are there still. You remember the gerrymandering of constituencies by which, in Tyrone and Fermanagh, a very effective majority was converted into a minority so that it was present to the mind of Lord Birkenhead when he spoke a little while after the signing of Treaty No. 1 that what took place at a local council was not to be continued. It could [1337] not be supposed that the people would tolerate the suppression of local instituations, in a case where they were, on democratic principles, as a majority, entitled to be in control. The Ulster Government—I am using the word under protest—and its myrmidons dug themselves in. Was there any effort made in those negotiations to dislodge the dug-in? Is there any effort to get back to “as you were” in 1918? Is there any stipulation whatsoever that can be displayed as a stipulation in writing, or bond of any sort that those wrongs are to be righted? No, the President says there is nothing in writing—no written guarantee. You have left to the wolves our fellow Nationalists in the North.

The President's conception of how to protect minorities in his mind of to-night, is: “Leave them to the goodwill of the majority.” He says the position of our very considerable minority in the four counties is better than with written guarantees. The position is better! The simplest and the most directly-told story I know is the story of Algie and the bear. “Algie met a bear; the bear became bulgy; the bulge was Algie.” The President, I daresay, will contend that Algie is in a much better position as a bulge in the bear than with whatever chances and guarantees of safety he may have in a separate existence. Why this newfound doctrine which is propounded to us this evening; that a threatened minority that for years and years have been gradually deprived of their political rights are better off without guarantees? I asked Mr. Joseph Devlin on a recent occasion what was the state of the minority in the Six Counties, and he said: “After what they have undergone, they are thankful to be allowed to live.”

Mr. BAXTER: They are the same still.

Professor MAGENNIS: And now, this most admirable settlement says: “Take your chance of being allowed to live. So far as security for your life in the future is concerned, do not look to your fellow-countrymen in the South except for whatever may come in the post-prandial negotiations between a [1338] Saorstát Minister and one of the Ministers in the North.” Now, what is the hope of this union of hearts of which we have heard so much, the coming together and the fusion to be perfected by the present settlement? Who are going to fuse with you if ever by a miracle there was a fusion? The settlers' descendants, the alien element in the country, certainly not the Irish. I can tell you what would be the feeling of an Ulsterman in this regard who had any sense of nationality, through whose veins the blood of national life had ever flown. He would say: “The men who betrayed us for the thirty pieces of silver for their good financial settlement, we know them no more. We will make friends with the enemy of former times. We will settle down with them and make a new life for ourselves, but no contact, no touch, with the betrayer.” You will find the task, for those who come after us, to promote the Irish union would be to convert back to some feeling of friendliness those whom we have cast out by the decision embodied in this agreement.

Are we to invite our fellow-countrymen in the North to believe that we care nothing about them, that all the so-called fight on their behalf was a sham fight, a mockery, and a delusion? We called upon them to deny the authority of the new government set up by the 1920 Act. At our express solicitation they were invited to put their heads into the lion's mouth, and take the consequences. Teachers were invited to give up their schools and refuse their salaries under the new government. At the end of it all the only thing we have to say to them is: “Go your way, we have made a settlement in which, instead of shadowy liabilities, we have satisfied the banking community and the financiers as to the precise amount of our obligations.” For the sake of persuading the financial world that we are in a good position to raise a loan, we break faith, we disregard the ties of brotherhood, the whole history of the past. We are reckless as regards the stigma of dishonour on ourselves, and we say “Sign.”

If there had been stipulations in this agreement which would have in some [1339] way protected the northern minority, the northern population might have said: “Well, they did not forget us.” Everyone knows the legal device for preventing a man from challenging a will on the ground that had the testator remembered him he would have received a legacy. It is a very simple device—cut him off with a shilling— and if the testator gives a legacy of a shilling the legatee cannot contend that his existence was not present to the mind of the testator when the will was drawn up. Were our northern people present to the minds of these negotiators? Either their position was present or it was not. The President will call this logic-chopping. If it was not present, if it was in the same position as the knowledge of the financial value of our claims against the Imperial Government, what is to be said for this gross negligence, this criminal negligence, that amounts to a betrayal? If it was present to their minds, and they exacted nothing because they did not wish to spoil these feelings of amity, of goodwill, was it not because the gun covered them? They may take their alternative; either under duress they sacrificed the Nationalist population of the North, or they forgot about them. It would be difficult to say which is the more criminal. I cannot regard a man as less an Irishman because he is across an imaginary boundary line that an alien government choose to draw. If for the protection of these northerns who in an Ireland one and undivided are a minority, so many things are to be done in violation of the ordinary principles of liberty and nationality, is there nothing to be done for the minority within their unit, and are we to be the assenting parties? Are we, in the name of Ireland, one and undivided, we who call ourselves the trustees and guardians of the whole national position, to say: “We care nothing for this. A fig for it, or, rather, £4,000,000 for it.”

Whatever else this is, it is not an agreement made in the spirit of the Treaty, and the President claims that it was made in the spirit of the Treaty, that they followed the Treaty. I say, [1340] that to say that is to dishonour the dead and the living who made the Treaty. I refuse to believe that the Irish delegation had such a low conception of Irish national claims or were so cowardly as to barter them away for a settlement. We shall never be able to convince the Northern Nationalists that their rights were not sold for a price. How, I may be asked, could that unfortunate consequence have been averted? Article 5 was there. The President read it out. It was unnecessary; its provisions are only too present to our minds. I quite admit that I always felt that there were two weak spots in the Treaty: the fact that the Boundary question and the financial relations were left unsettled. But I never impugned the Treaty on that account. I am and have been a convinced and a sincere supporter of the Treaty from the hour it was signed until the present moment. I believed then, I believe now, that it was the only expedient to avert what would be practically the extermination of the Irish people. It was made under duress. As I have said here before, all treaties, for that matter, at the end of a war are made to end a war, unless ordinary commercial treaties, which are not treaties in the full sense of the word. Is this Treaty made to end a war? If so, who was making war on us? Our friends, those who were animated by nothing but the most friendly spirit at the negotiations? That Article 5 need not have been negotiated now if it were not with the express design of bringing over the supposed settlement under Article 5 as a stop to Irish feeling.

I have already stated, and again here I repeat the allegation that this was a cunning stratagem to hide all traces of the failure of the Boundary Commission. It has taken the business public. The business public approve of it, because they do not know any more than the President knows about the financial situation, and they do not know what the President does know, the earlier history with regard to it, and they say: “After all, we know where we are.” A good business man always likes to know where he is; he would rather be aware of a deficit, if there is one, than wonder really what his liabilities are. They are looking at [1341] the thing merely as business. A business man thinks that this is a good and clever deal, but what he does not realise is that it could have been made, ought to have been made, under circumstances that would not have alienated our Northern brothers and would not have left them with this irreparable sense of being thrown to the wolves. I do not know what would be the Irish equivalent of Mount Senai, but suppose it is a hill or a mountain in, say, the County Dublin constituency; if the Lord appeared to a modern Moses and revealed to him the settlement under Article 5, suppose that such a thing could possibly happen—I admit there is a contradiction in the supposition, because such an unjust thing contradicts Divinity; but leaving that aside—would not the settlement still be open to objection as to the mode in which it was arrived at? The President cannot get away from the admitted fact that the negotiators, who were there without the aid of the Minister for Finance, did not know the exact position, did not know the extent of our claims, and they came to this agreement under circumstances that warrant the belief that it was a deal, that it was a case of exchange and barter, of sale. That will always be the sore feeling in the souls of the Northern Nationalists.

I object to the method in which this was done. I do not think that the President or any of his advisers ever called in question an article in the Irish Year Book, in which Anglo-Irish finance was analysed. It was given to me during the interval. On turning over its pages I found this remarkable comment of Lord MacDonnell of Swinford: “The total tribute exacted by Great Britain from Ireland down to the last pre-war year was £326,308,000 over and above the expenditure on so-called Irish services.” Speaking of this contribution, Lord MacDonnell of Swinford said: “The tribute is more than an Empire's ransom.” Did it occur to our negotiators with regard to the claims on foot of that Empire's ransom, as business men, if they have business minds, that when there is a dissolution of partnership there is a distribution of assets? What are the [1342] assets which they, in their friendly talk with their good friends across the channel, were entitled to claim a share on distribution? What about the value of the Suez Canal? What about the billions, the thousands of millions, that were raised on the sale of material after the Great War? What about the value as naval positions of the three retained ports in the Free State, without speaking of anything else? What about the millions England has quietly put into her Exchequer which were raised in that tremendous exaction on this country?

The President is old enough to remember the Great War. I think he is. He remembers the enormous employment and the high rate of wages given to munition workers in those days, and we had little or no share of it. I am not complaining that we had not, but I am stating facts. The gentlemen who were so friendly with Great Britain and who were so anxious to create this good feeling, buried the past, or, as the President put it: “We turned our backs on the Boundary.” Is that in the typed copy of the President's statement or did I only imagine it— “We have turned our back on the Boundary.” Surely they, in this new British spirit, would have thought of the assets of the Empire, the Imperial assets that were to be distributed. An opponent, an extremist might say: “We want nothing of the pirates' booty.” But that was not the attitude taken up. The attitude taken up by the negotiators was that of setting-off one claim against another, and they did not know what they were setting off. They did it in the dark. There is nothing to suggest that they would not have claimed a share if they knew what the share was. Why are we called upon to ratify an agreement in the preamble of which it is stated that “whereas the progress of events and the improved relations now subsisting between the British Government, the Government of the Irish Free State, and the Government of Northern Ireland, and their respective peoples, make it desirable to amend and supplement the said Articles of Agreement.” Is that preamble the truth?

Remember, we are invited to set our [1343] hands to that to-day as a declaration of true history—that the relations between the Government of Northern Ireland and their people and the Government of the Irish Free State and its people, and the progress of events and the improved relations now subsisting, and so on. What are the improved relations? The digging in and the suppression of the rights of the minority with regard to local institutions, this forcing of the hand of our Executive Council under what they believed was a certain penalty or peril, that they must turn their back on the Boundary. These are the improved relations. “By their fruits you shall know them.” I test the actuality of these progressive friendly relations by asking what has come to them. This has come to them— that the President is terrified by what would happen if the Feetham award were put into operation. I was challenged here on these benches to say what alternative is there, and the President thought he could rattle me and make me lose my self-command and think in a fog—according to the fashion—by asking me what was the alternative.

It is a very extraordinary thing how history repeats itself, I may say, in passing. There was a star seen in the East before the birth of Our Lord. There was a meteor flashing through the air before the assassination of Julius Ceasar, and there was a greater than record fog in London during the period in which our negotiators were negotiating the present settlement. Now what alternative was there? I will tell the President and my colleagues here on this bench. We will imagine what is not the case, and yet it is not difficult to imagine, that some regard for responsible Government animated the members of our Executive, that we had a sufficient knowledge of history, particularly the history of representative institutions, to know what happens when an Executive Council has to admit that something that itself has done has proved calamitous. In that case not one member goes out but they all resign. Did that take place here? Not at all. But had it happened [1344] what would have taken place? Your newspapers tell you a general election, with all the disruption of business and all the risk to——

Mr. MORRISSEY: Deputies.

Professor MAGENNIS: They are very silent, sir, about the risk to Deputies. The risk of the dislocation of trade, business, and so on. The Constitution provides that a defeated Executive cannot recommend a dissolution, so that there was no danger of a general election—none whatever. Had this Executive Council done its duty to the Dáil it would have resigned on the day on which a member of it resigned, the member of it who object to my giving him praise, a praise which I would be very glad, if he will permit me, to extend now. Had they resigned, a Coalition Government could have taken their place.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Hear, hear.

Professor MAGENNIS: “Hear, hear,” says the Minister who stood up in his place and asked us not to criticise what the Executive Council had never done, but to give them time to formulate a policy. Now he says “hear, hear,” when he is told what their plain duty was, if they had any conception of responsible government and what it entails. He thinks I want a Ministry. That is what is in his mind. He knows perfectly well, as most Deputies know, that I had no such ambition. A Coalition Government could be formed from all the groups of the House. The egotism of this Executive Council is so great as to be equal to their arrogance and their audacity. They expect the people to believe there is no other Government possible but themselves, when everyone knows one could stand at the foot of the staircase at the interval, shut one's eyes, hold out one's hands, and grasp a Government equally good. No alternative Government! What would a coalition Government have done? It would have taken control. The boundary situation would have to be dealt with by it and it would have dealt with the future of the country until the appointed time for the general election.

All that is carefully hidden from [1345] the public. The public are not aware of two things: first, of the Article of the Constitution which provides for a situation of this sort, and secondly, the public are not allowed to know what is done in properly ruled countries. I notice that it is a fatal argument against me that I advocate the setting up of a Coalition Government and that it seems to carry with it my presence as a member of it.


Professor MAGENNIS: So those who are fit having proved their unfitness are to continue in office, and if anyone else is dreamt of as a possible successor in any Department, why he is convicted of hopeless egotism and pretension. What jury of our fellow-countrymen would find that verdict except a little jury of the Executive Council? That is my answer to the question: “What do you propose?” I propose constitutional action, the proper action, that any men with a sense of their duty to the country would of themselves have taken. What did they do instead? They promised to give us, after due consideration, an account of the policy on which they would embark. They embarked on the Packet Boat instead and made for London, and the first we heard in express and explicit terms of what they have been doing, we heard through a communication of the British Minister to the British Parliament. That is the conception of their duty to the Irish people. Members of their own Party waited and waited for a message from them. It became known that the Agreement had been signed at 8 o'clock but there was no message from them to their own party even at 9 o'clock. Ireland did not count, and yet the Irish Parliamentary Party were hounded out of public life and Mr. Redmond was hounded to his grave because he hobnobbed, it is alleged, with British Ministers and, with secret diplomacy, came to an arrangement which committed the Irish people to things about which they did not know. Why is that a virtue in 1925 which was a crime in 1914? We talk about latitude and longitude changing morality. Did a difference of 11 years fundamentally [1346] change morality? It was wrong for the Irish leader for strategic purposes to consent to partition for five years, a consent which produced what result? That Lord Lansdowne, who had been professing to advocate a settlement of the Irish claims on the basis of a grant of separate autonomy for Ulster, was forced in the British Parliament to withdraw his consent, and Mr. Lloyd George declared in the House of Commons that Mr. Redmond had been very badly treated.

Nothing produced such a political landslide as the horror and indignation evoked among the people when they thought that the Irish leader was willing to make a boundary line. But what was only a suspicion and fear is now turned into an absolute certainty. There is no question of a boundary line for five years or seven years, or a line subject to adjustment by Conventions after five years. The line is drawn and we are to be assenting parties to its permanence. This is not a strategic device. This is not something which is intended to put the other side in the wrong, to test the sincerity of their offers. On the contrary this is a Treaty.

In those days when Mr. Redmond was negotiating, Ireland had been reduced to the level of a province. “The men who sold us got their individual prices,” said a Deputy here. I am not going to be induced to make charges of that sort. I make no such charge. I am quite satisfied as regards the patriotism that animates the President. It is his action, his wrong judgment, his want of knowledge, his want of competence, and that of his colleagues that I dilate upon. I am not going to be led into imputations that would be unfair and that could not be sustained. My allusion to the Union was not to the individual bribes received by those who voted for it, but to the fact that we lost our separate nationhood for the time, and in that period that Mr. Redmond operated as Irish leader in negotiations with the British we were ruled from Dublin Castle, dragooned from Dublin Castle. But this is a document, a Treaty between Ireland, between the Irish Free State, a sovereign [1347] State, a co-equal member of the British Commonwealth, and another member of that Commonwealth. That is a very different position. And what might even at the worst be viewed by an opponent as a doubtful manoeuvre in those days, what is it under present conditions? We bind ourselves by the most solemn obligation that a State can enter into, to regard ourselves as leaving the boundary behind us. There is a sense in the word that the President, I suppose, had not in view, but he does leave the boundary behind him, and leaves it behind him with a vengeance. Now I have dealt with the agreement more or less as regards one of these lines in the preamble: “Whereas the progress of events and the improved relations.” There was another line accompanying this, to the effect that Article V. was cancelled. I have shown that it was not cancelled. It has been operated. A financial settlement has been arrived at, as provided for under Article V. Because the time chosen for it is so sinister the effort is made to make it appear that it is cancelled. There is a French proverb which says: “Qui s'excuse s'accuse,”—“He who excuses himself accuses himself.” Why is there so much anxiety to hide the fact that Article V. is put into operation? Because it is a more plausible pretence to say it is dropped and something else substituted for it. But again, let us keep to the facts. What do the facts show? That the set-off has been set off and that we are bound to be on the wrong side, and that there is a surplus against us. That pretence of cancellation is eye-wash. So, too, we were told was the inclusion of Article V. in the original Treaty.

In a conversation a few nights ago I inadvertently mentioned the fact that we had been assured that it was so, that it was meant as eye-wash. How has Lord Carson dealt with it? In the Sunday Times Lord Carson says it was eye-wash. We all knew it was eye-wash. What did the Belfast NewsLetter say about it? That they always regarded it as a bad debt, an irrecoverable debt. Of course the President did not know that, he did not know what the figure was. But of [1348] course it is good enough to say that Article 5 is cancelled and now forget all about it. Article 13 is cancelled, and there is no statement about it whatsoever. I say, therefore, that the allegations in the preamble, recommending grounds for the acceptance of this Treaty are not true. Neither is this a settlement. It is the best settlement that the statesmanship of the Executive Council could secure in the circumstances. That is what it is.

The PRESIDENT: Hear, hear.

Professor MAGENNIS: They say “hear, hear,” so they accept that as a fair account of it.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Sure.

Professor MAGENNIS: Is the “hear, hear,” in derision, then?

The PRESIDENT: Not at all.

Professor MAGENNIS: Then what does it mean?

The PRESIDENT: We are waiting for the alternative. There is only a Coalition Government suggested so far.

Professor MAGENNIS: You did not allow the Coalition Government to operate. No. It was easier to sell the cow in another market. The President said “hear, hear,” when I gave the description of the transaction. That “hear, hear,” is either in derision or it is in approval. If it is in approval, I am satisfied. I have made my case.

The PRESIDENT: I expected more. I thought we would get something after so much labour.

Professor MAGENNIS: I did not catch that remark. However, I will go on. Lord Carson said that he regarded it as eye-wash. Eye-wash for whom? Not for the Irish people, but for the British, especially the British diehards, who are always looking to us as people from whom to expect largesse. When any one of these muddle-headed writers to the editor, who apologises for filling his valuable space, deals with the Irish question, he invariably represents us as fleecing the British taxpayer, forgetting altogether this set-off claim of ours. The President [1349] has given, no doubt unintentionally, ammunition to these letter writers. Why do the Executive Council declare this is a great bargain, if it is not a great bargain in their eyes? How does it come to be a great bargain in their eyes unless we did not really owe so much as, subtracted from the Imperial demands, left only four millions? Surely, if it is a good bargain, that is the reason that makes it a good bargain financially.

To use a favourite retort of the President, no matter what arguments are put up, no case was made. The only case the President has made is, that in his conception of the situation, we have freed ourselves from the imminent and terrible consequences of the Feetham Award. We have stayed the Feetham Award, and this is the only way he could do it. Reduced to its simplest terms, that is the President's defence. The Feetham Award had to be stayed. If it were not stayed, some dreadful thing would occur. Consequently, it had to be stayed at any price, and this was the price.

Now, it is jeered at that other Irishmen taking control could have done better. That is another part of the case, to deny that anyone else could have done better. Where is the proof of that? Where is the proof that the men who muddled the Boundary question were the only possible negotiators? What experience of affairs can they point to? What special capacity, in default of special experience, can they point to that makes them the only possible men to go and play, with the English experts, the great game in which they excel the world? And then, when this hurried and hasty agreement is made, a hurried and hasty ratification of it is demanded. We are to follow suit. Because they made in raw haste what they call a settlement, we in raw haste are to ratify it and the Irish people are to be viewed, as the old dynastic rulers viewed their peoples, as chattels and possessions. What, after all, is this but the dynastic view that the Irish people are to have no voice, are supposed to have no concern, in matters that affect not only their position as regards their population, but as regards their economic and financial [1350] standpoint, and, above all, as regards their place in respect of honour and obligations in the eyes of the world?

Of course, I shall be told the old answer that the fool has his eyes on the ends of the earth. I have my eyes upon the Border and upon the Irishmen who are sacrificed through this permanent Border line. I have my eyes on the future of the Irish race and its opinions about the men who, here in this Dáil, clothe themselves, or have clothed themselves, with a representative capacity, who took on the duty and who are prepared, as regards some of them, to discharge that duty very lightly. If this is rushed, and the desire to rush it through has been manifested, at any rate, it will be upon record there were some among the representatives of the people who did not forget that they were Irishmen and that they had a duty to all Irishmen and not to those that lived south of a line drawn artificially by an alien Government.

Of course, to talk of nationality now is to be old-fashioned. If we talk about nationality, about national principle, about self-determination and the rights of the people, we are told it was good enough and it served its purpose some years ago, but let us forget all about it now when it does not suit us. I wonder how many Irishmen, who are not office-holders in the Executive Council, would be prepared to hold that our contention as regards our right to nationhood, to Statehood, to sovereignty of Statehood, is all bunkum, and that, if we could get a sufficient grant of money from another power, or if we could be put upon a better financial basis for raising loans, we would swallow up all our protestations with regard to nationality.

What an extraordinary contrast we have here! One night in the week we are voting our approval of the educational policy, a policy declaring its central aim is to make the Irish people Irish, and in the same week we have the Executive Council, who declare that to be their policy in education, going to London and arranging in the name of a supposed friendship with the Northern Government to cast out of Ireland Irishmen whose tradition of Irish nationality is, I venture [1351] to say, even a finer tradition than that of the South. I quoted in this House before, and the lines have come to my mind now, a declaration in that regard by Davis:—

“The North began, the North held on,

The strife for native land,

Till Ireland rose and cowed her foes,

God bless the Northern land.”

“God bless the Northern land,” says this partition Treaty. The Executive Council ask us to let them rush this thing through. What will they have rushed? A large and not despicable section of the Irish people, even now before they fully realise the enormity of it, regard it as a great betrayal. I oppose this Bill, therefore, not only because of what it contains but because of what it does not contain, and I would oppose it if it were only for the undemocratic manner in which it has been done. Have we got rid of one autocracy to set up another? At any rate the autocracy under which we groaned long ago, no matter how oppressive, was the government by a people who had power and might and had a long tradition of governing subject people, but our new autocrats, to what record can they point, that we are now in the name of the Irish people to submit ourselves to their dictation, that when they sign, we sign? I recognise they have no authority to coerce us into this. I am quite sure, when the Irish people have got time to consider it in detail and to realise what has been done to them, when the day of general election comes the day of retribution will have arrived.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I listened to Deputy Professor Magennis with pleasure. I nearly always do, and as I listened to him my mind went back to the time when treading the wine-press of the Intermediate I sat down annually before an examination paper in English on which, set out under a distinguished name, there were 10 or 12 abstruse questions to which one was invited to supply the answers and every year as I wrestled with these abstruse questions I thought of the owner of the distinguished name and said that that man must know an awful lot [1352] of English. It did seem to me that the individual who was capable of devising so many abstruse questions, presumably having the answers to all of them stored in the treasure-house of his brain, must know an awful lot of English. That is one of the few convictions of my youth that have not been shattered with the passage of time. The course of years and the closer personal contact with my inquisitor have merely confirmed it. The Deputy professor knows an awful lot of English, and I am satisfied that that to which we have been treated this evening represents a negligible proportion of the sum total. Now to the Agreement. When I put my name to this Agreement I did it for one reason and one reason only, and that is, that I believed it was in the best interests of all Ireland, not of twenty-six counties, nor of portions of three, but of the 32 counties of Ireland, because I believed that it was the only sane, constructive course for the future of Ireland, and the course that led most surely and most swiftly to the unity of Ireland, to the re-uniting of all Ireland within a single political system.

These things cannot be judged in the abstract, as Deputy Professor Magennis invites you to judge them. Acts like these must be judged in the concrete circumstances in which they are done. I ask you to consider them with me quite briefly in the concrete circumstances which confronted those who had primary responsibility. I ask you to go back some seven or ten days with me and consider the situation which then confronted, not merely the Executive Council but the people of Ireland, north and south. The labours of the Boundary Commission were, we were told, drawing to a close. The representative whom we had appointed on that Commission had withdrawn for the reason that an interpretation had been given to the terms of reference which differed vitally and radically from his interpretation, and forecasts, which we were assured were substantially accurate, of the award had been published in certain journals. That award, I am convinced, would have brought to Ireland not peace but a sword, and I submit to the good sense, [1353] to the responsibility, of Deputies that Ireland has had as much of the sword as will do her for some little time to come. The issue of that award spelt friction and waste and hate. The new areas would have been a curse to both Governments, but the issuing of that award would have created a legal position, and this State and this people would have been brought hard up against a question of whether they were going to acknowledge or flout that legal position, for this Council, or some other Council, would have had to decide whether or not they were going to take the responsibility of administering the areas which the award assigned to them, and whether or not they were going to evacuate the areas which the award purported to transfer from them. That was the position.

May I go back a little? There had been a debate for four or five days before in which Deputy McCullough asked the Dáil for an expression of opinion. What was the attitude then of Deputy Johnson, who has since come out in the public Press and characterised this settlement as an unmitigated betrayal? His speech may be summed up in a sentence: “Do not interrupt me. I am concentrating heat on either side of the Border and I am concentrating on my economic grievances.” We were invited to make a declaration of policy to the Dáil, a declaration of policy on the gravest situation which the Dáil or Executive Council had to face since 1922, since the establishment of this State, and we asked for time, quite properly. The Dáil, having given time, has embodied in this scheduled Agreement the policy of the Executive Council. The Dáil is not to be coerced into an acceptance of that policy, the Dáil is not to be rushed into an acceptance of that policy, but the Dáil, sooner or later, after many days or few days, must say whether it will accept and endorse that policy or whether it will reject it. We are told we are undemocratic, feudal, autocratic.

Why? Because, being a Government, we face the Dáil with a policy in this matter; because, being a Government, [1354] we have taken the responsibilities of Government and have proposals here which the Dáil can accept or reject. Negotiations cannot be carried on by Parliaments or by public meetings. Parliaments can say whether or not they will endorse and ratify the results of negotiations, but the spectacle of three Parliaments, coram publico, negotiating by speech-making one at another would scarcely recommend itself to any Deputy who reflected for a few moments on the matter. Yet that seems to be the suggestion, that we should come here to the Dáil and say this was suggested and that was suggested, that Mr. Baldwin and his colleagues should have gone to the British Parliament and asked for an expression of opinion on tentative proposals; that Sir James Craig should have dealt likewise with the Northern Parliament, and that the matter should have been threshed out by speech-making. That is scarcely the best method of transacting international business. There is nothing binding in this agreement, and there can be nothing binding in it unless the Dáil here and the House of Commons in London both endorse and ratify it, but it is the policy of the Executive Council and it is the policy which the Council recommends to the Dáil, not in a note of defence or apology, but with full conviction that its endorsement would be the best step the Dáil could take for the future of all Ireland and for the unity of all Ireland.

The Treaty put no pencil into the hands of the Free State Government to draw a line which would be a new boundary, and it put no pencil either into Dr. MacNeill's hands, or the hands of this Government so that it could draw a line which would be after its own heart. That was not the provision to Article 12. It is:

“If such an address is so presented a Commission consisting of three persons, one to be appointed by the Government of the Irish Free State, one to be appointed by the Government of Northern Ireland and one who shall be Chairman to be appointed by the British Government shall determine in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants, so far [1355] as may be compatible with economic and geographic conditions the boundaries between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland.”

We appointed our representative on that Commission and we know the sequel. It emerged that between him and his colleagues there was a different conception as to what was involved by the proviso to Article 12. On the one hand, you had the conception, of which we have heard so much during the last two years or so, that its function was to carry out mere adjustments of an existing line, the existence of which had to be recognised, a dinge here and a bulge there, both the Free State and Northern Ireland remaining, after the Commission had done its work, substantially the same political entity. On the other side, you had the conception that considerable tracts of territory might be transferred from one jurisdiction to the other. The majority within the Commission took a view that has not been and is not ours with regard to what is involved by the proviso, but out best information was that the two remaining members of the Commission were, at any rate technically and legally, competent to present an award, and that from the date of presentation and publication that award would have the force of law.

It has not leaked out, in the course of discussion so far, how that particular situation would have been dealt with by this hypothetical Coalition Government that would have sprung into office, had we followed the advice of Deputy Professor Magennis and resigned on the day when Dr. MacNeill resigned. I agree that a government ought not to show its hand, that a potential government even ought not to show its hand. These are grave matters of State that should be closely guarded until the time comes to move, and so we must not unduly urge the Deputy professor in this matter. We must be satisfied with mere destructive criticism from him, and it is unfair and unreasonable that he should be invited to say what his sovereign remedy was or is. In any case, such was the situation which confronted us last Sunday [1356] week. It was not an ideal position. It was a position fraught with the gravest possibilities, a position bristling with difficulties, and we found no royal road out of it. For that situation, which was not ideal, we have found no ideal solution, but we have brought here for the consideration of the Dáil what we regard as a reasonable compromise.

It has been suggested that there should have been collective responsibility for the conduct of our representative, qua Boundary Commissioner, for all his actions within the Boundary Commission. That is a proposition which I would like to pause and examine for a few moments. Presumably, if that is so it should apply all round. Presumably, if it were the duty of Dr. MacNeill to keep the Executive Council fully informed of the doings of the Commission, then Mr. Justice Feetham should or might have kept the British Government so informed.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: Where is the analogy?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: And Mr. Fisher should have kept the Northern Government fully informed.

Mr. O'CONNELL: These men were not members of the British or Northern Cabinets.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Now we are getting to it.

Mr. DAVIN: Who informed the “Morning Post”?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Because Dr. MacNeill was himself a Minister and a member of the Executive Council, the view is that there should have been collective responsibility for his conduct, qua Boundary Commissioner; I deny that. There is collective responsibility within the Executive Council for all Governmental acts, but when the Executive Council was considering its nominee for the Boundary Commission it considered three, four, or five names, none of them, with the exception of Dr. MacNeill, being members of the Executive Council. If we had appointed “A.B.,” a private citizen, and invited him to undertake this onerous and invidious task, is it suggested that “A.B.” should have reported frequently to the Executive Council and [1357] that there should have been the fullest knowledge and responsibility within the Executive Council for all his doings? I ask the Dáil to distinguish between the Minister for Education and the member of the Boundary Commission. At a very early stage of the proceedings he exchanged with his colleagues undertakings and confidences, and he, for his part, observed these undertakings strictly up to the time that he withdrew from the Boundary Commission. It is a quibble to say that there is or ought to be collective responsibility, so far as the Boundary Commission is concerned. There is collective responsibility for all acts of Government, for the conduct of the Departments of State that are represented within the Executive Council.

Mr. BAXTER: May I ask the Vice-President if there is responsibility for the conduct of international politics within the Executive Council, in so far as they refer to this country?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Certainly; but I do not include the functions of the Boundary Commission within that reply. I say if it is contended that our nominee on the Boundary Commission should have kept us fully informed of all the proceedings of that body, then that should apply all round, and we should say that the other Governments concerned were equally entitled to be informed.

Mr. DAVIN: If the Executive Council, or if any of the Ministers were not so informed of what was going on, why did the Executive Council, or members of that body, commit themselves to the findings of the Commission in advance?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: The Deputy Professor spoke of 1914 and 1925. The difference between 1914 and 1925 is that in the interim a State has been established here, and that State has a Government responsible to the Dáil. But the position of the Government is not the position of a political party, and the position of the President of the Executive Council is not the position of a leader of a political party. It was suggested here that because there was criticism in the distant past of the Parliamentary Party on certain [1358] grounds that all those criticisms applied necessarily of full force to the recent course of action taken by the Executive Council. That, of course, is a fallacy, a fallacy worthy of the Deputy Professor who coined it.

Mr. LYONS: Do not speak behind his back.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I listened very patiently to him for two hours. Deputy Magennis commenced his address by saying that the man in the street may have made up what he is pleased to call his mind, but that he (the Deputy), with his trained mind accustomed to accurate thinking cannot accept the view that has been hastily formed by the layman up and down through the country. For one who prides himself on the possession of a trained mind and long accustomed to accurate thinking the speech to which we listened with varying degrees of patience this evening was a strange one, because there were long passages in that speech which seemed to show that in the Deputy's mind there was the idea that if only the Executive Council had done all that it should have done, all that he would have done, assuming that he were a member of the Executive Council, then there would be no boundary at all and no Nationalists cut off from the jurisdiction of their choice. That is not the position. After the Boundary Commission had done its best from our point of view, or its worst from our opponents' point of view, there would be a boundary, and north of that boundary there would be a minority. It would be a smaller minority proportionately than that which at present exists within the Six County area. The difference for them would be that they would be a smaller and more helpless minority within the enclave than they now are.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Why did you ever insist on setting up the Commission, if that is so?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: The Treaty provided for the setting up of the Commission. Now that it has fallen through, now that it has failed of operation. I would ask Deputies to put the question honestly within the solitude of their [1359] own minds, whether the Boundary Commission at any time was a wonderful piece of constructive statesmanship, the shoving up of a line, four, five or ten miles, leaving the Nationalists north of that line in a smaller minority than is at present the case, leaving the pull towards union, the pull towards the south, smaller and weaker than is at present the case. Is that summum bonum? We had to approach this settlement, as I suggested in my opening remarks, from the point of view of the interests of all Ireland, not from the point of view of the interests of the Twenty-six Counties. I want to put it to Deputies that when, and if ever, the interests of the country as a whole conflict with the interests of the inhabitants of a particular set of square miles within the country, which should go to the wall?

Mr. BAXTER: The weak ones, of course.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Let us have straight thinking.

Mr. MORRISSEY: And straight speaking.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Yes. Let us have straight thinking and plain speaking on this whole matter. I have nothing but sympathy for the position now created for those who were hoping that, under a favourable Boundary Commission Award, they would come within the jurisdiction of their choice. But if Deputies agree with me, as I invite them to agree with me, that it was in the interests of the whole country that this proviso to Article 12 should be allowed to lapse and that other and saner solutions should be sought for the tangle that had arisen, is it saying too much to assert that the interests of the whole country must be above and before and beyond what seemed to be the immediate interests of the inhabitants of a particular set of square miles up there, in and around the border area?

If I am right in saying that to allow that award to be issued—creating, as it would, a legal position—would only mean friction and waste and hate, that it held no good thing for the Ireland of the future, for the Ireland which [1360] we are working towards and attempting to build up, then should the interests, or the imaginary interests, of any particular set of square miles, be allowed to prevail to bring about such a situation? We did not think they should and we sought, in common with the British Ministers and in common with Sir James Craig, for something that would be a saner and a more constructive solution. The Boundary Commission proviso had, in fact, failed of operation. The award, which stood ready to be issued, would satisfy no one, north or south. There was the probability that it would make a cockpit of Donegal and that all the old hates and furies which we had left behind, or which we had hoped we had left behind, would break loose again and that all the old fires would be rekindled. I knew, when I put my name to that agreement, that to all those whose stock-in-trade is hate and barren negation, it would be disappointing. But I believed and hoped that men of good will, north and south, would approach its consideration from some other standpoint than the standpoint of the cheap and nasty criticism to which we have been subjected here this evening—the standpoint of scoring a petty party point. The alternative to this is——

Mr. DAVIN: It is your own party has spoken, up to the present.

Mr. BAXTER: And spoken well.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: The alternative to this is surely a matter for some serious consideration, if it is not simply a question of “downing” a particular half-dozen men. If it is a question of serving the interests of Ireland, the alternative to this should be weighed and should be stated and there ought to be a comparison, one with the other. For the five or six days before we left, the elements of the situation were known to every thinking person in the country. Yet constructive solutions, constructive suggestions, did not come pouring in upon the Executive Council. And when the deputations came to us from the North, I sat with the President and listened to them and in almost [1361] every case, before they left, they said: “Give us the old line; it is better than the new. It is better than the new, if only for the reason that it is a worse line, a more inconvenient line and more cumbrous in length. Let it stand in all its cumbrous length. Let it stand with its multitudinous inconveniences as long as there is to be a boundary in Ireland. This new line may be more scientific, may be shorter, but it does not do what you and we believed the proviso to Article XII would do and, because it does not, let it go and let us have the old line as long as there is to be a line.”

Mr. JOHNSON: Would the Minister say where these deputations came from?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: They came from various places around the Border.

Mr. JOHNSON: From north of the Border?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Some came from Fermanagh, and some from Donegal, and some from other places. As I say, no shower of constructive suggestions poured down on the Executive Council. There were four or five very anxious and very barren days, days in which it was open to any member of the Dáil who had sympathetic appreciation of our difficulties, and still more to any member of our Party who had such an appreciation, to come in and unburden himself of any ideas which might be of help——

Mr. LYONS: Were the Deputies invited by the Government?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: They did not come.

Mr. LYONS: How could they come when they were not invited?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Any suggestions I heard before we went to London to discuss this grave position with the British Ministers were suggestions which led either directly and immediately, or indirectly and consequentially, away from the Treaty—led to, sooner or later, the position in which there would be no alternative to a full-blooded denunciation of the Treaty. I want to say, as one man, that I am not [1362] going to be shepherded along that road of ruin: that I am not going to be shepherded along a path which I believe to be a path of destruction for this State and for this people. Suggestions no doubt were made, alluring and enticing suggestions, but all of them, when examined and considered, led straight away from the Treaty position; and because I believe that that road leads into a morass for this people, I will not be shepherded along it, and if it is to be taken it must be taken by another Council and a Council which will bear full responsibility before the people for all its acts.

A full-blooded denunciation of the Treaty! There is a party in the country standing for that. It is open to the people to give to that party a clear and an explicit mandate for the programme which it professes, and it is better that the people, if they are to depart from the Treaty position, should do so by a clear, definite and explicit mandate than that they should be, so to speak, hoodwinked into the position in which they would have no alternative to a repudiation of the Treaty. I, for one, would not stand for a denunciation of the Treaty or a repudiation of the Treaty, because the proviso to Article XII was construed and interpreted by the Boundary Commission in a different way from that which we believed ought to be its construction and interpretation. If I can be told, as I have been told, that the proviso admits of the interpretation which has been placed upon it by the Commission, then that is no good or sufficient reason for taking a course which spells a denunication of the Treaty and for plunging the fortunes of this State and of this people back once more into the melting pot. And so we negotiated.

It is easy for Deputies to sneer at the fact that we negotiated with, as the Deputy Professor said, “our good friends, the British.” Hate, whether between individuals or between peoples is a barren thing, and I am not ashamed to say here what I have said, and will say again out through the country, that I believe there ought to be friendly relations and relations of neighbourly comradeship, not merely [1363] between our people and the people of the north-east, but between our people and the people of the neighbouring country which is a co-equal State with ours within the British Commonwealth of Nations. And so mere cheap gibes about “Our good friends, the British,” and so on, are rather out of place and must not be taken, and should not be taken, as a serious contribution to this grave question which we have to settle: the only question we have to settle, namely, whether or not the Dáil will accept, endorse and ratify the proposals which we now place before them as being the best, the sanest, and the most constructive solutions which we could find for an extremely difficult situation.

The value of the elimination of Article V has been questioned. That is a matter on which there will, of necessity, be speculation. It is open to every Deputy to form and express his own view about that and, at best, it can be but speculation, because it boils down to attempting to forecast the result of arbitration.

Mr. JOHNSON: Can we not get the claims and counter-claims?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: It is unlikely that, if Article V had to become an operative article, there would be agreement between the Governments as to the sum involved, and so it would be a matter of arbitration, and the whole question of how far that arbitrator or those arbitrators would agree to give back—just how much weight, if any, they would give to such factors as the Childers' Commission—is entirely one of speculation. Just how much weight they would give to such factors as this: that the Parliamentary representatives of this country at the time of the outbreak of the Great War in the most solemn and formal way committed this people to that war, is again a matter of speculation. I cannot say—the Minister for Finance could not say with any certainty—what the result of such arbitration would be. He could say, but it would be idle and fruitless, what he would hope the result of that arbitration would be—a very different matter, [1364] as we know to our cost, in connection with Article XII.

Mr. BAXTER: You would not handle Article V as badly as you handled Article XII. You would be wiser the next time.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: When the Deputy comes to speak, perhaps he would spend a few minutes of his address in telling us just how we would be wiser, just how differently we should act in connection with Article V. from the way in which we have acted in connection with Article XII.

Mr. BAXTER: If you had to deal with Article XII. over again would you deal with it in the same way as you have been doing for the last twelve months?

Mr. DAVIN: If the Minister would give us the figures which he had before him in dealing with this matter, then we might be in a position to make a comparison.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: The Deputy will not get any figures from me. I am not a man of figures, and I have not the slightest intention of getting into a discussion on them. I do say this, that the elements of the position for us were as follows: This forecasted award, a thoroughly bad one, would bring no peace to Ireland, north or south. Many deputations from the North had urged that, if it were at all possible, the old line should be allowed to stand, and when the negotiations and discussion which involved the amending and supplementary agreement to the Treaty were in progress, it seems to us a good and desirable thing, if possible, to get rid once and for all of this bogey of Article V., which had taken on a new reality, and a more sinister reality, in view of the disappointment which we had met in regard to that other article in the Treaty that provided for arbitration. What was the first reaction to this situation of those who are challenging the State and the Treaty upon which the State rests? What was the first brief venomous message shot out to the Press when this complexity had arisen? “I told you so. You have had [1365] the shock of Article XII. Brace yourselves now for the shock of Article V., and it is going to be a big one. I can tell you in advance that the British claim amounts to nineteen millions a year.” Well the nineteen millions a year, real or imaginary, is gone, as is the five millions a year with which another distinguished financier threatened the people.

Mr. LYONS: Would the Minister for Justice admit that Mr. de Valera was right about the nineteen million?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I will admit nothing.

Mr. WILSON: Would the Minister explain what he got for Article XIII.?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I will speak about Article XIII. in a minute. I might give a brief answer to the Deputy by saying that I regard the concluding portion of clause V. of the agreement as a very good exchange for the beginning portion, a good exchange for the abandonment of the Council of Ireland. The Council of Ireland is an interesting body. It always had a certain attraction for Deputy Johnson which I could never understand.

Mr. JOHNSON: And for the makers of the Treaty.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: He told us once he valued it as an irritant, and when I told him that in criticising it I felt I was trampling with hob-nailed boots on one of his pet illusions, he said: “Not at all; I attach no real importance to it, but it might be of some value as a bargaining factor.” But now that his dream is realised and that it has figured in the bargain——

Mr. JOHNSON: Thrown away.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Now that it has figured in a bargain it is an unmitigated betrayal. Let us examine this Council of Ireland for a moment. I have here the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, which I read for the first time yesterday.

Mr. JOHNSON: I thought so——

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I would make this [1366] comment: that the Council of Ireland under the 1920 Act, and as admitted by the 1920 Act, was a very real and quite a serious piece of machinery. Because there you had a body forming a kind of overhead link of union, administering services throughout Ireland and dealing with railways, fisheries, and diseases of animals in all parts of Ireland. One could imagine, perhaps an optimist could imagine, that with the passage of time by general agreement and identical legislation, this power and that power might be added to the Council of Ireland's functions, and that in time it might take on something more real and serious than superintending thistle-cutting. But the Council of Ireland which survived in a kind of mutilated and lopsided existence since the Treaty is a very different matter. It envisaged twenty people being sent from the Free State, and twenty people from Northern Ireland presided over by a chairman appointed by the British Government, and dealing with what? Not with services of the entire country, but dealing only with services lying within the area of Northern Ireland.

Mr. JOHNSON: Would the Minister say where is the authority for saying the chairman would be appointed by the British Government.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Under the 1920 Act it was provided that he would be appointed, appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant, acting on the instructions of His Majesty, sub-section (2) of Section 2 of that Act.

Mr. JOHNSON: Were there any other appointments made by the Lord-Lieutenant under the old Acts, which are now made by the Governor-General?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Not in that way, not on the instructions of His Majesty.

Mr. JOHNSON: If the Minister thinks that no enactments have been transferred transferring the authority of the Lord Lieutenant to the Governor General, and that His Majesty directs instructions that are not advised by his Irish Ministers, then I wonder [1367] where the Minister has been all this time.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: The point I want to stress is this, that the scope of that peculiar body—that fifty-fifty Free State and Northern Ireland representatives—would lie entirely within Northern Ireland. The Deputy enlarged upon it once and stated it would be, so to speak, a useful irritant, one useful in creating deadlocks and one to obstruct and make trouble.

Mr. JOHNSON: If they refused to use it.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I want to put it that if that is the Deputy's frame of mind it is not the spirit in which this agreement has been framed. We are trying to work away from a state of mind when things are valuable when they are irritants, because one can obstruct with them, and make difficulties with them, and while we are charged here with going further from our fellow-countrymen, that is only on the face of it. We believe that the nett result of this agreement will be that we will draw nearer to our fellow-countrymen in the North-East and they to us, and that whatever seeming formal abolition there is of petty links which the Deputy values as irritants the real basic fact will be that we are nearer this week to the unity of Ireland, nearer to a real close understanding with our Northern fellow-countrymen than we were last week or the week before last.

Mr. JOHNSON: You have great faith.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I have great faith, and with the Deputy's permission I will keep it.

Mr. BAXTER: I ask if the Minister's hopes do not come true what will he do then.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I will die of a broken heart. The Dáil must not make the mistake of accepting the point of view that has been put forward that there is any coercion on them or any wish to coerce them into an endorsement of this agreement. The Government, as long as it remains a Government, [1368] has to have a policy on all matters. This is our policy on this. The Dáil should give it earnest consideration; the Dáil should consider it, not in vacuo, but in the light of facts, as we see and have seen them, in the light of the position that would be resurrected by its rejection. The Dáil should consider soberly, as is due to their constituents, whether or not it is not, in all these circumstances, the wisest, the sanest, the most constructive course. If a better one is put forward to the Dáil. I entreat the Dáil to take it. If a wiser one, a saner one, a more constructive one, is put forward, the Dáil would not be doing its duty to the people if it did not reject this instrument and take the wiser course proposed to it. But every Deputy, with his own individual responsibility, must try to envisage the situation that will confront this country and its people when and if this instrument is rejected, and must satisfy himself before voting for its rejection that that position can be dealt with, and will be dealt with, and is, in fact, a lesser evil than the acceptance of this agreement. If the Dáil acts and votes in that spirit I for one am completely satisfied. This is no summum bonum, no ideal solution; it is only the best solution which we could find and which we could get out of a very grave and a very difficult position. It has been accepted by us, signed by us personally; the Dáil is free as air to accept or reject it, provided that the Dáil is prepared to find men who can and will deal with the situation that will arise from its rejection. It will be a situation not materially differing from that which confronted us last Thursday week.

We have done our best; this is our result. It is open to criticism; it has been criticised and will be criticised. But I do ask Deputies to see that that criticism is not simply destructive, not simply the barren negative line that we have had so far; that some indication, at any rate, will be given of what the real, wise, statesmanlike course is that we should have taken, rather than the road to this agreement. I commend it to the Dáil, believing, as I have said, that it is in the best interests [1369] of the whole country, and that, even if at the moment the interests of the whole country seem to conflict with those of the inhabitants of a particular set of square miles, who no doubt have claims on us, the interests of the country must predominate. I commend it to the Dáil, believing that there is no other course that will lead so surely or so swiftly to the unity of the country which we all desire. I commend it to the Dáil, believing in fact and in truth that any one of these other courses, which were vaguely suggested to us in the anxious period which we have passed through, could but envenom and embitter the relations between the people of the North and the people of this State, and could but postpone indefinitely the ideal of political unity.

When we described this instrument as bearing the seeds of peace we were not simply indulging in rhetorical language, not simply weaving a figure of speech. We sent that message to the people because we believed it, because we believed that this agreement, accepted in the spirit in which it was negotiated, accepted in the spirit in which the principals negotiated and signed it, holds great possibilities of peace and construction for the people of this island. It is the easy thing, the obvious thing, to sneer, to suggest that we were cowed, intimidated, or coaxed or cajoled by the statesmen of other countries into signing this agreement. It is always easier to believe ill of the neighbour's child than to believe good of him. It is always easier to believe that you have been sold, that you have been let down, that people took their price, whether in flattery or in cash, or in some other way; but, in the end, people have, simply faced with a grave situation, to do what they believe in their inmost heart and soul and mind to be the right thing, and to chance the sneers of spatted hillsiders and armchair patriots and the jibes of those who think that the real statesmanship is the perpetuation of hatred. We stand, not for the perpetuation of hatred, but for the rooting up and elimination of the old hatreds, old furies, and the quenching of old fires; we stand for peace and sanity and [1370] construction in this country, and peace between neighbours.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: It would be well that the Dáil should realise that in asking us to give our sanction to this instrument an Irish Parliament is asked for the first time to vote for the partition of our country. It will be the first time that a vote has been given by any Irish representative for the permanent partition of this country, and if this instrument is carried and becomes law, Ireland will have disappeared off the map. There will be no such place as Ireland; there will be no such State as Ireland; there will be no such Nation as Ireland. We shall have an Irish Free State which includes only twenty-six counties, and a Northern Irish State which includes six counties; but Ireland will have been torn asunder, and Ireland as a Nation, as an entity, will have disappeared. Every Deputy who votes for this motion should realise that this is the first time a vote has been cast for the permanent imposition of this boundary.

What is this boundary? I will take a leaf out of the President's book and, with him, I shall say that it is well to answer your opponent out of his own mouth. I quote from a statement made by the Minister for Justice about twelve months ago in regard to this boundary:—

What is this sacrosanct Six-County Area which would remain unaltered even at the price of broken faith if the counsels of certain public men and newspapers were to prevail? I have shown that it is neither “Ulster” nor “Northern Ireland” properly so called, but simply an artificial unit, arbitrarily carved out from our body politic in 1920 without the vote of a single Irish representative, and with less consideration than would be given by a Local Government authority to the extension of a city's boundaries. Its authors regretted it is on record...

That, twelve months ago, was the opinion of the Minister for Justice with regard to this boundary line which he has asked us to-day to give our sanction [1371] to, and we are told that this agreement signed in London last week is conceived in the spirit of the Treaty, and that it is in accordance with the spirit of the Treaty. The members of the Executive Council who have set their name to this instrument have asked us to accept that this is conceived and is in accordance with the spirit of the Treaty. Do they realise that when they ask us to accept that decision they ask us to believe that everything they have said with regard to the boundary line for the last three years is so much eye wash, and that they were not speaking in the spirit of the Treaty with reference to anything they have said within the last two years? That is the position. We cannot have it both ways. When they were saying that they were insisting that the setting up of the boundary line should be in accordance with the spirit of the Treaty, and that they were insisting as to the safeguarding of the people of the North, they were saying what they believed was not true, if they ask us now to believe that the making permanent of this boundary line is in accordance with the spirit of the Treaty. A few days ago I was reading over a statement made by the late General Collins, the man who more than any other man should know what the spirit of the Treaty was, or in what spirit it was conceived and signed. Here is what he stated. He speaks first of the then position of the North-East corner. He goes on to say:

“But what of the future? The North-east is about to get back into the pages of Irish history. Being no longer useful to prevent Irish freedom, forces of persuasion and pressure are embodied in the Treaty of Peace, which has been signed by the Irish and British plenipotentiaries, to induce North-East Ulster to join in a united Ireland. If they join in, the Six Counties will certainly have a generous measure of local autonomy. If they stay out, the decision of the Boundary Commission, arranged for in Clause 12, would be certain to deprive ‘Ulster’ of Fermanagh and Tyrone. Shorn of those counties, she would shrink into insignificance. [1372] The burdens and financial restrictions of the Partition Act will remain on North-East Ulster if she decides to stay out. No lightening of these burdens or restrictions can be effected by the English Parliament without the consent of Ireland.”

“No lightening of those burdens without the consent of Ireland.” Quite so, and now we are asked here to give that consent to lightening the burdens and restrictions which the Treaty placed on Northern Ireland in order to secure from Northern Ireland rights over the Nationalist and Catholic population in the North. What is the position of our Catholic and Nationalist population in the North? It is not for me to say. I will accept the President's statement in regard to it. Twelve months ago, describing the position, he stated:—

“We do not seek to coerce anyone but we say that the principle of no coercion shall be applied fairly and impartially.

Indeed, if we were inclined to waver in our insistence in this principle, events must have urged us on. The Northern Government had not even the tact to wait for another time, but proceeded with shameless urgency to disfranchise the very people for whom, fortunately, the Treaty gave this protection. They have been made into the hewers of wood and drawers of water, that their temporary governors, without concealment, consider is the proper sphere of people of their race and faith.”

These are President Cosgrave's words twelve months ago describing the position of the Catholic and Nationalist population of the North. Now we are told there has been a change of heart. We are told this instrument will lead to unity. We are told Sir James Craig is friendly. Why should he not be friendly? He has got everything he wants. The President told us Sir James Craig is now well-disposed. Speaking on 12th August, 1924, he told us of all the efforts he had then made up to that time to meet Sir James Craig and to come to a friendly arrangement [1373] with him with regard to this boundary and with regard to other questions affecting the people of the North. Here is his statement on that occasion:—

“I have met Sir James time and time again in an effort to discover whether accommodation could not be secured. Time after time Sir James has maintained the same attitude. In his own words, he ‘will not budge an inch,’ ”

Mr. BAXTER: He has not

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: “He has never budged an inch.

He has never made the slightest advance towards accommodation. He has never made any practical contribution to a solution of his difficulties. I see that in a recent statement he has reiterated his willingness to meet me. I have never been unwilling to meet him, but if his attitude remains unchanged I can imagine no useful purpose which could be served by the meeting.”

Here is Sir James' own statement, made after this was signed when he came home from Belfast. He says:

“I thank the Lord Mayor very much for his welcome. I return happy and contented. Every pledge I have made has been fulfilled.”

Why should not Sir James be friendly? You can always have peace, a certain kind of peace. We could have peace without ever having made those sacrifices that have been made for the last one hundred years. We could have peace if we agreed to unite with Britain. That is one kind of peace we could have. We could have this peace and a much better peace if our people agreed three or four years ago to accept what the Government asks us to accept now.

Sir James Craig would have jumped at the offer of the Boundary line and, I am quite certain, would have given guarantees which we have not got. It is easy to get unity of that kind. To sum up, this Agreement has arisen from the fact that a certain award was about to be issued. The Dáil has no knowledge [1374] of that award; it does not know what it is; no authoritative information has been vouchsafed to the Dáil with regard to what the award was. We have not even been told whether the Morning Post line was the award. We can only assume that the award was to be unfavourable, and hence this Agreement. The whole position is the result of the bungling of the Government for the past two years over this Boundary Commission business.

The Labour Party is popularly supposed by members of the Government and their followers to speak abstractly, to have no regard for the future and what may happen in it, to have no vision. Well, I think, if the President or the Government will take the trouble to read the debates which took place on the Bill which was introduced here last August twelve months, they will find that the prophecies of the Labour Party have come to be true. They urged that, seeing what had happened, seeing that English Ministers who had put their signatures to the Irish Treaty in 1921 had actually gone back on their own words in the meantime, nothing could be gained by pressing forward for the Boundary Commission, and the first great mistake that the Government made was not to see then that there was no intention to make this clause effective in the way that was originally intended. Their second and still greater bungle was their declaration beforehand that no matter what the award would be they would accept it. When the Minister for Justice some time ago recommended this as the policy to be adopted, he was questioned by, I think, Deputy Baxter, as to what would happen if his prognostications did not prove to be correct. I have no doubt that he would then proceed to make another Treaty, possibly to give away something else. But I cannot conceive that any Government could be more committed to a policy than our present Government were to the policy of setting up the Boundary Commission and accepting its award, and they should either have done that or resigned from office. They have run away from it; they have run away from their pledges in this matter, and they have proceeded [1375] to patch it up as well as they can.

The Minister for Justice does not believe in the policy of making difficulties for other people, of holding cards in his hands that he could use if necessary. That is not a sound policy according to him, and it is not a good policy. He might have taken a leaf out of Sir James Craig's book. Sir James Craig put difficulties in the way, created them for the British Government and for this Government when it served his purpose to do so, and we see the result. Sir James Craig has got everything he wanted. I question the right of the Executive Council, without authority from the Dáil, without authority from the country, to enter into this Treaty and thereby virtually commit the country—for that is what it amounts to—to this policy. We know that on the occasion of the last Treaty, those who went over to negotiate went with a definite policy and were formally appointed by the Dáil to enter into negotiations.

Again I shall depend for my argument on the statement made by the Minister for Justice in an article which he contributed to the Daily Express on September 9th, 1924. The article got a prominent place in our newspapers. I will read the summary that was given at the top of one of them:—

“The Saorstát Government regards its position as one of trusteeship for those inhabitants of the Six-County area to whom definite rights were secured by the Treaty. This plain statement of the position is made by Mr. Kevin O'Higgins in an article in to-day's Daily Express.

The Minister for Justice, in his article, set out very clearly and distinctly that the Irish Free State, under the Treaty and under the Constitution, takes in and includes all Ireland, that the portion known as Northern Ireland was a portion within that entity over which for the time being the Irish Free State did not exercise its jurisdiction, and that the Irish Free State was all Ireland. The article goes on to state:

[1376] “The bargain stands clear on the face of the Treaty.” There were two alternatives, and two only, open to Northern Ireland. They could agree to remain as a subordinate Parliament of the Parliament of the Irish Free State, which was all Ireland, or they could opt out.

He Said:

“The British signatories on their side agreed—and surely it was a just and reasonable agreement—that areas whose inhabitants desired such inclusion”—in the Irish Free State—“should not be forcibly kept out.”

Yes, the Irish signatories agreed that compulsion should not be used to keep within the area of the Free State areas whose inhabitants were predominantly adverse to such inclusion.

“The British signatories on their side agreed—and surely it was a just and reasonable agreement—that areas whose inhabitants desired such inclusion should not be forcibly kept out.”

Going on to deal with what has happened he continued:

“It was with full knowledge of that proviso”—the proviso which has been wiped out by this agreement—“with full advertence to its significance, that the Northern Parliament, spurning the alternative”— their right to remain in the area of the Free State—“decided on its course of petitioning for exclusion. That it should revolt now, attempt to break the British bond and claim the right to keep out from the Irish Free State system areas which, so far from desiring such exclusion passionately resent it, is an utterly unreasonable and indefensible attitude.”

It was utterly unreasonable and indefensible on the part of the Northern Government in 1924, according to the Minister for Justice, to attempt to keep out of the Irish Free State system people who passionately resented being kept out and passionately desired to come in. That was so in 1924. The Minister in 1925 agrees that it is just and reasonable, and he stands up here to justify it. He says further:

[1377] “We regard our position as one of trusteeship for those inhabitants of the present area of jurisdiction of the Northern Government, to whom definite rights were secured by the Treaty which our plenipotentaries and the British plenipotentaries signed, and which both Parliaments endorsed. If Sir James Craig will confer with these people and convince them that ‘what is is best,’ we will be entirely satisfied. Pending such a development we have neither the will nor do we regard ourselves as having the power to do anything to lessen or to alter these rights.”

That is the statement made by the Minister for Justice in 1924. “Pending such a development”—pending, in other words, the time when Sir James Craig would have convinced the Nationalist North that what is is best, that is, that the Boundary line should remain, “we have neither the will nor do we regard ourselves as having the power to do anything to lessen or to alter these rights.” Why has the Minister for Justice run away from that statement, as he has run away from it by appending his signature to this document? He has stated that not only has he the power but the will, twelve months after he wrote this, to resign his trusteeship for the people of Northern Ireland, which the signing of the Treaty conferred on the Irish Free State Government. That is what the position comes to.

It all comes down to this: The only argument that has been put up here to commend the acceptance of this to the Dáil and the country is, “Something worse might happen if you do not accept this. There was to have been an award, and better than accepting or having to put up with this award we take this Treaty.”

I have been looking over the statement made by the President on the 19th November, on the occasion of the debate on Deputy McCullough's motion. The President there speaks of what he called the Morning Post line, and he states:

“The line, which for shortness, I might call the Morning Post line, fulfils none of the conditions called for [1378] by the clearly-expressed language of Article XII.”

He goes on to say:

“The Boundary Commission is bound by the facts and by the evidence before them. On these facts and on that evidence there are no grounds, there is no justification, there is not even the semblance of an apology for this line.”

Again he says:

“A most indecent and flagrant violation of judicial procedure has been indulged in.”

He says further:

“On the other hand, should it transpire when the report of the Commission is available, as I sincerely hope it will not transpire, that they have allowed themselves to be intimidated or cajoled into drawing a line based upon considerations other than those laid down in the terms of reference, then I say”—amongst other things—“they will have dishonoured themselves and they will have sullied before the nations of the world the reputation for judicial impartiality of which the British Commonwealth is so jealous.”

And again:

“The British Government, which has so far with the utmost punctiliousness fulfilled its obligations under Article XII of the Treaty, could not, of course, escape moral responsibility for the action of its nominees.”

If the Award did mean certain things according to the President, British justice would have dishonoured itself. The traditions of British justice would have been dishonoured and the British Government itself could not escape being sullied by that dishonour. But the Executive Council has stepped in and has saved, by preventing the Award coming out, by holding up the Award at a price, the traditions of British justice, and saved the British Government from participating in the dishonour which would be theirs if the Award of the Boundary Commission was published.

[1379] Now, let us see what the Executive Council is out to do. I shall not travel over the ground, or any portion of the ground, that Deputy Magennis has covered, but I do say with him that this third paragraph of the Agreement is undoubtedly not in accordance with the facts. It is a lie on the face of it, because the reason for entering into this Agreement is not the reason which is set out in the third paragraph. It is not because friendly relations and better relations have come about between the three countries during the past three years. That is not the reason for the Agreement. It is not the reason which the Minister for Justice or the President has given us, for the Agreement. They have told us in so many words the only reason for entering into the Agreement is because a certain Award was to be made which would be something worse than this is. That is the reason, and it is quite wrong to set out on the face of this document something which is not in accordance with facts.

Better relations have come about.

“Whereas the progress of events and the improved relations now subsisting between the British Government, the Government of the Irish Free State, and the Government of Northern Ireland and their respective peoples, make it desirable to amend and supplement the said Articles of Agreement so as to avoid any further friction which might mar or retard the further growth of friendly relations between the said Governments and peoples.”

When did these good and friendly relations come about? When the members of our Executive, no doubt, agreed to accept Sir James Craig's terms. It was not before that and it could not be before that. If these friendly relations which they claim in paragraph 3 were a fact, there would be nothing to fear from Justice Feetham's award, because in the course of the exercise of these friendly relations, both Governments could afford to ignore Justice Feetham's award and set up, in accordance with these friendly relations, a friendly Boundary [1380] line. We are told that this is good for the country as a whole. What have we done? We have held up the Boundary award. We are told—we do not know because we have not been officially told—that the Feetham award meant a slice of Donegal going into the Six County area and a little slice of Monaghan, and that possibly we would get a slice of Fermanagh. To save that slice of Donegal to the Free State we agreed to pay £5,000,000 to England. That is what it amounts to; that is what it comes to. Perhaps the Minister for Justice, who is not good at figures, would do a little sum in simple proportion? If a certain little slice of Donegal cost £5,000,000, what will Tyrone and Fermanagh cost?

Mr. BAXTER: And South Down and South Armagh.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Yes, not to speak of South Down and South Armagh. It amounts to that. We have saved that piece of Donegal from going in with the Six County area. If one were to follow the arguments put forward by the Minister for Justice to-night when he said it is much better that Tyrone and Fermanagh and a good number of Catholics and Nationalists would be under the Six-County Government, apparently it would be a good policy, not only to put in a slice of Donegal, but to put the whole county and the counties of Cavan and Monaghan on the same lines.

The Minister for Finance is satisfied it is a good bargain for his constituency; although the Clones people and the Cumann na nGaedheal parties in Monaghan are objecting and kicking up a row, that does not matter. Deputy Duffy has declared that this is a good bargain for the country. I think this is what he said: “I am perfectly satisfied with the agreement. It is a splendid settlement. It stabilises the financial conditions of the country. That is what we want.”

Mr. BAXTER: It will not stabilise the financial conditions in Clones.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Now we come to the second Article:—

[1381] The Irish Free State is hereby released from the obligation under Article V. of the said Articles of Agreement to assume the liability therein mentioned.

We are told, in effect, that that is a cancellation of Article V. It is not. It is a judgment on Article V. It is accepting, and again for the first time, so far as I know, on behalf of anybody with any authority to speak on the matter, that anything was due under this Article. In the first Dáil a statement was made by the then Minister for Finance, the late General Collins, on the occasion of the attendance there of the American delegates. He set out, at very great length, with great care, the position of the financial relations of the two countries, and at the end he summed it up as follows:—

There, then, Mr. Chairman and members of the Dáil, is the position after a century of union with England. Summarised, England stands arraigned with having, through her financial machinations, first overtaxed us to the extent of at least £400,000,000, drained our capital to the extent of, at a moderate estimate, as already set forth, £1,000,000,000, destroyed flourishing industries and generally retarded our industrial development; banished some millions of our population and made the remainder pay, as Grattan said they would pay, the price of their enslavement.

We need not go back to 1919. Some twelve months ago a certain politician gave it as his opinion that under Article V. of the Treaty we might be called upon to pay a sum of, approximately, £5,000,000 per annum. All of us remember the howl of derision, through the country, at that statement. Some two days after the statement we had a reply made on behalf of the Minister for Finance—one of the men who has set his name to this Treaty. This is what he said—I quote from the report of the Irish Independent of Monday, January 12th:—

Mr. Blythe, speaking at the annual dinner of Chartered Accountants Students' Society, said: Mr. Dillon went on to say that this [1382] country would have to pay for taking over a share of the British National Debt at the rate of £5,000,000 a year. He (Mr. Blythe) had gone into the matter and had looked at it from the point of view of the Clause in the Treaty which provided that regard should be had to any claims in this country made by way of counterclaim.

He had gone into the matter. Our Minister for Finance, the man responsible for the finances of the nation, had gone into the matter.

His view of that Article of the Treaty was that the claim of the Free State for over-taxation, extending over a period, would be, at least, as high as any sustainable claim the British Government could put forward against them for their share of the present British Debt and Taxation charge.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: What else would he say?

Mr. O'CONNELL: I am quoting what the Minister for Finance said. What else would he say? Did he want us to believe this? Did he want the country to believe this?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Should he have said that we were liable for about £5,000,000, and let the British Government start off on that assumption?

Mr. O'CONNELL: I am not saying what he should have said.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: You are evading that.

Mr. O'CONNELL: No, I am not. Which statement are we to believe? Are we to believe the Mr. Blythe of 1924, or the Mr. Blythe that has put his name to this Treaty?

Mr. BLYTHE: Both.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: You are to believe both.

Mr. O'CONNELL: We have the two statements and the country is asked to believe that both are correct.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: And Mr. Blythe would not be the judge in the last eventuality.

[1383] Mr. O'CONNELL: Nothing was due under the Treaty. That is correct, according to Mr. Blythe.

Mr. BLYTHE: That is my view.

Mr. O'CONNELL: The Minister has accepted that as correct. Then, what were the five millions given for? Is it our share of the debt? According to the Minister for Finance, who went into the question, there was nothing due last January. What fresh evidence has the Minister had in the meantime to indicate that something is due? He tells us now that this position is correct, and we are to accept it. The Minister has put his name to the Treaty. We are told that the five millions were not given by way of a share of the British debt, but were paid for something else.

Mr. BAXTER: A little bit of friendship.

Mr. O'CONNELL: We have agreed to pay it as a bribe to the Boundary Commission and the British Government to hold up the Award. That is the only obvious conclusion.


Mr. McGILLIGAN: You will hear another.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Perhaps we will hear something else from the Minister for Finance when he comes to speak. What are the facts and the figures on which the Minister calculates that getting out of the thing for four millions or five millions is a good bargain for us? We have not any figures.

The PRESIDENT: Read Article V.

Mr. O'CONNELL: I have done so, and I cannot find in it anything to justify this country paying four or five millions. There are no facts and figures placed before me.

The PRESIDENT: That shows how much you have studied the Article.

Mr. O'CONNELL: There are no figures to show that the position, which the Minister for Finance stated was the position in January last, has been [1384] uncontroverted by any evidence put forward by the British side. I now come to Article 3, in which the Executive Council agrees to increase the post-Truce awards by 10 per cent. For the past two or three years certain newspapers in England, the Morning Post and the Daily Mail, have engaged in a campaign of calumny against the fair name of this country, against the sense of justice of this country, because they have held that awards made for post-Truce damages by this Government to Irish loyalists, as they called them, were not in accordance with justice, and were not right or fair. That campaign has been carried on and every effort has been made to blacken the name of our country and to blacken our sense of fair play and justice. Time and again, the Minister for Finance and those speaking on behalf of the Government have controverted those claims, have opposed the point of view put up by those newspapers, and now we are told by the Executive Council that they admit the justice of the claims made by the Morning Post and the Daily Mail about these awards for the past three years. They have admitted in fact that these awards were not fair and were not just in spite of the numerous statements that we have had from the Minister for Finance and others on the occasion of the Estimates and in answers to questions that they were fair and just and that the amount of compensation paid to these were just and fair amounts.

The PRESIDENT: I am sure that the Deputy does not mean to do an injustice in this case, but I think it is right that it should be understood that there are two parties to the awards in the sense in which the Deputy is dealing with them. There is, first of all, the Oireachtas, which lays down the terms. Then the Courts interpret those terms, and it might be taken from what the Deputy is saying that the Courts gave unjust awards. I am sure that the Deputy has no intention of doing that, but that is what I gather from the statement that he has made.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: I am speaking of the awards made under certain [1385] legislation passed by this Government, made by the Government in accordance with those regulations. The awards, as I understand them, were made—but perhaps it is not correct to call them awards——

The PRESIDENT: The Deputy referred to them as unjust awards.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: I will correct the terminology, but it comes to the same thing. The amounts which were given and paid to certain people were spoken of by those newspapers as being unfair and unjust, and the Government was responsible for these awards. I am rather wrong again in calling them awards. The Government said these payments were fair and just. But they have admitted that to the extent at least of 10 per cent. of these awards they were not fair or just. They have admitted that, and they have put their names to this Treaty whereby it will be made possible—they have given a pledge in fact—to increase these payments by 10 per cent., thereby admitting the justification of the line taken up by the Morning Post and the Daily Mail, with regard to payments to the Irish loyalists, admitting that in plain language the Government have been up to this engaged in the game of diddling these Irish loyalists who have claims against them for compensation. That is what it amounts to, by signing that Article and admitting that. That is what it comes to. Now not only is that the case but the unfortunate way in which the Government have sought to fix the sum which is to be paid as part of Article V. or under Article V. is open to grave objection. It would have been far better if they were forced into this position, to fix a definite sum and pay over a definite named sum as their share of the liability under Article V., than that they should take the line of accepting responsibility for all pre-truce damage. Because in fact it is accepting moral responsibility for all pre-truce damage. In other words it is letting the English out of their responsibility for pre-truce damage. It is taking over that responsibility. If it were a question of the amount of money it could have been fixed at a [1386] certain definite sum to be paid over in consideration of the cancellation of Article V. That could have been done. If that were done it would have been infinitely preferable to the course adopted, because in effect it saddles this country with responsibility for pre-truce damage, inasmuch as we have accepted responsibility for the payment; and it absolves England from her responsibility, gives her in fact a certificate to the effect that any damage which she did was done because of the action which was taken by the Irish people during those years.

Mr. BAXTER: That it was justified.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: It was perfectly justified, and we are responsible. Somebody came in and smashed up our house and we will pay for the damage. Let the people of Cork pay for the burning of Cork. Let the people of Balbriggan pay for the burning of Balbriggan. Let the men and women who had their houses burned over their heads and their sons murdered by the Black and Tans pay compensation for that out of their own taxation. That is what this Article comes to.

Now the position is clear. They were forced into making the best bargain they could, in view of the circumstances they were faced with and in view of this Feetham Award. Naturally they turned to Article V. I do not know why they should say “Naturally we turn to Article V,” any more than to Article IV. Article IV is the article that has caused perhaps greater disunity in this country than Article V. or Article XII. By the operation of Article IV in the Constitution, the Article which imposes the oath of allegiance to which a certain number of representatives have objection, great disunion is created in the country. Yet Article IV is left there. There is no attempt evidently to bargain Article IV. There is no attempt to secure unity in the 26 Counties. Unity in the 26 Counties does not count. We are going to have unity with Craig on the basis of giving Craig everything he wants, but it never seems to have struck our Executive Council that it would be a good thing when the bargaining was in the air that they might [1387] have attempted to bargain for Article IV. We are faced with this position that we are asked to accept this Treaty which modifies to a very great extent the original Treaty of 1921.

MINISTER for LANDS and AGRICULTURE (Mr. P. Hogan): Improves it.

Mr. O'CONNELL: We are asked to accept this and without any attempt being made to give a considerable number of the elected representatives of this country a chance of expressing their opinions on it. I know it will be said that they have a perfect right, if they comply with the Articles of the Constitution, to come in here and express their opinions on it. I could equally say that Sir James Craig had a perfect right, if he complied with the spirit of the Treaty to do certain things, but that was not done and it will not be done. I wonder would the President agree to submit this document to the ratification of the elected representatives of this country?

The PRESIDENT: Certainly not, sir, not to any person who carries a gun in one hand and a torch in the other. I certainly will not.

Mr. O'CONNELL: I think the President should know that I have never advocated the gun or the torch, and I am not sorry for that. When the people opposite who speak a lot more about the gun and the torch were using the gun and the torch, I was against the use of both, and I am not sorry for it and did not advocate it.

The PRESIDENT: We never used them on our fellow-countrymen.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Now, if the President is not prepared to submit this to the ratification of the elected representatives of this country——

The PRESIDENT: I am—here in this place where the people of this country have adopted the Constitution which I am carrying out faithfully and to the letter.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Will he follow his own advice and submit it to the [1388] people of the country, his own advice on the occasion of the debate on the original Treaty? I quote from the report of the original debate from a statement made by him on that occasion. He said:

“Now, the Deputy from Wicklow made a statement with which I am in entire agreement, that the freedom and the liberties of the people of Ireland could only be given away by the people of Ireland. We represent the people here—at least we think we do—and the people certainly have got a right to be heard on this question. Is there any fear of putting it up to them? They have the right to get it put before them. And they have the right to decide it? I think they have. Are you going to object to their having a decision on it? And you will abide by it? Now if we get that far, I think there is a great chance of healing up the difference between us.”

That was the advice of the President in 1921.

The PRESIDENT: Would the Deputy ascertain what the cause of that was? It was stipulated in the agreement that a general election would be held which would elect a constituent assembly and there were people who objected to that. Show me, now or any other time, that the people are against this and I will go to the country and get a decision from it.

Mr. O'CONNELL: How can we show that?

The PRESIDENT: That is it. You cannot show it.

Mr. O'CONNELL: We can show you that there is a considerable number objecting to the ratification of this agreement, just as there was a considerable number objecting in 1921, and the President in 1921 suggested, insisted almost, that the people should be given an opportunity of deciding upon it. Will he follow the same lines now?

The PRESIDENT: That is, to ask the people whom I am perfectly satisfied [1389] will authorise the sanction of this by two to one. Is it to make doubly certain that they will accept it?

Mr. O'CONNELL: The President was equally certain in 1921.

The PRESIDENT: The Deputy does not understand why I put in that statement. It was because there were people who were endeavouring to prevent the people expressing their opinion on it. It was because they broke up the railways and bridges and fired shots and threatened the people in that way.

Mr. O'CONNELL: There will be no danger of that now.

The PRESIDENT: I know that; we made sure of that, at any rate.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Those disabilities will not be there now. It is quite easy. We have put in our Constitution special machinery for referring to the people questions of this kind. Is the President prepared to accept that?

The PRESIDENT: I am prepared, if I get 100,000 bona fide signatures in accordance with the Constitution—but not in the way the Deputy wants—in a way that will not, perhaps, suit the Deputy when he gets the people's will.

Mr. JOHNSON: We will try it.

The PRESIDENT: Try it. Get me 100,000 names. Do not confuse two issues. You may wish to get the Executive Council out of your way, but do not do it as other people tried to do. Do not sacrifice the country in order to do it.

Mr. O'CONNELL: I think the record of the party, from whose benches I speak, is not such that during the past four years anyone can assume that they were prepared to sacrifice the interests of the country to gain a party advantage. This is a grave document. The action of the Ministry with regard to it would leave one at least open to the suspicion that they do not wish to give an opportunity to the people of expressing an opinion on it.

The PRESIDENT: You cannot prevent it.

[1390] Mr. O'CONNELL: It would be prevented if the thing was made law to-day according to the action taken by the President as was intended. There would be no use in expressing an opinion on it then. I think it is of sufficient gravity to get the views of the people through the machinery——

The PRESIDENT: Upon it?

Mr. O'CONNELL: Upon it, undoubtedly. That is what I say.

The PRESIDENT: Why, then, speak of a general election?

Mr. O'CONNELL: I did not speak of a general election. I am not afraid of a general election, but I did not ask for it or speak of it. I referred to the methods set out in the Constitution for getting the views of the people.

The PRESIDENT: The Deputy did not mention referendum.

Mr. O'CONNELL: What other machinery is set up for getting the views of the people on a specific question except a referendum? If the President prefers a general election, let him have it and submit this matter to the country, but I suggest that a referendum is a better way of submitting specific questions to the people.

The PRESIDENT: I submit that I need not answer that question. The machinery is there.

Mr. BAXTER: May I ask the President if he is prepared to hold up the passage of this measure until a decision of the people can be obtained?

The PRESIDENT: The necessity does not arise.

Mr. O'CONNELL: We know what the mind of the President is.

The PRESIDENT: And he knows the minds of Deputies opposite pretty well.

Mr. O'CONNELL: The President is quite satisfied that he has made a good bargain, and evidently he has convinced the majority of the members of his party that he has made a good bargain. I will conclude by saying what I said at the beginning, that the [1391] Deputy who votes for this is, for the first time, voting for the permanent partition of this country, and it is all moonshine to say that this is going to lead to permanent unity. How will it lead to permanent unity? Along what road will it lead to permanent unity? The position is that the Nationalists in the North are in the position of hewers of wood and drawers of water, and the President has not told us that he got any guarantee that that position shall be altered. One of the Articles of the Agreement says that the two Parliaments “shall” meet, not that they “may.” It is imperative on them— “as and when necessary for the purpose of considering matters of common interest.” Supposing Sir James Craig will continue in his policy of not budging an inch to meet the Free State Government on matters of common interest, where is the machinery to make him do it? There is none. It is, therefore, only a pious aspiration put into this Treaty, and it could never be anything more because it cannot be made effective. Therefore, it is only a platitude and a pious aspiration. I hope every member of the Dáil will realise the responsibility which rests on him, and will realise that in voting for this agreement he is thereby giving it the force of law, and is setting a seal for the first time on permanent partition. He is doing his share to wipe out our ancient Ireland, which will disappear if this becomes law. We shall have two Irelands in its place—two States. We shall have the Irish Free State, which will no longer have a claim to that title because it will be no longer Irish or free.

Mr. MORRISSEY: I had expected that either the President or Vice-President would have told the House what we were gaining by this, or told exactly that we were gaining something concrete, and that they had made a good bargain. Personally, I cannot see that we have got anything. The case put up by the President, and more especially by the Vice-President, is this: we admit that we made a mess of the Boundary situation, and, having done so, we were forced to make the best of a bad bargain. They proceeded [1392] to make a worse mess than they had made at first. The Vice-President wound up by commending this measure to the Dáil, and he asked us to vote for it. This measure falsifies every promise made by Ministers. The Minister has asked us, in effect, to agree to this measure, which practically means that all the statements made about the Boundary and Ireland being a nation are falsehoods. It seems to me that is what it amounts to. We are asked to agree to a measure which, in effect, surrenders every principle of nationality and democracy in order, I submit, to allow an inefficient—because it has been proved to be inefficient— administration to save its face. That is the position as I see it. Of course, the Minister smiles, but he can afford to smile with his comfortable majority of Deputies whipped up for this matter, including Deputies who do not think it worth their while to sit in the House.

The PRESIDENT: There is someone else whipped up, too.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Argument is of no avail, for these Deputies will vote as they are told. It is surprising if some of the Deputies on the far side, who were undoubtedly great patriots— men who made statements in their speeches as to what they were prepared to do and not to do in order to save their fellow-Nationalists in the North—will do so. They were prepared to die in the last trench sooner than allow Sir James Craig and his so-called Government to continue the persecution of the Nationalists of the North. There has been a good deal of talk about Article V. It is said:

“The Irish Free State is hereby released from its obligation under Article V.”

We have not been told what our obligations were. We have been forgiven nothing, for we owe nothing. According to the Minister's own statement that is the position. Will any of the Ministers deny it?

Mr. BLYTHE: Yes.

Mr. MORRISSEY: I am glad to hear the Minister for Finance saying [1393] “yes.” I hope he will be able to justify all the statements, and that he will be able to give the House some explanation of a statement he made recently in Monaghan when he said the report of the Boundary Commission would be eminently satisfactory to the Free State. I hope he will also explain, if the Executive Council got no confidences from their representative on the Boundary Commission, how he came to be in a position to make such a definite statement as that.

Now, with regard to the 10 per cent. All awards, I understand, made by the judges in the courts came before the Minister for Finance to be confirmed by him, and the Minister for Finance reduced or increased them, or left them as they were as he thought fit.

Mr. BLYTHE: I had only power to revise the reports, and not the awards. I had no powers to increase the awards.

Mr. MORRISSEY: I am glad the Minister has corrected me. At any rate, he did what he considered just in the matter, and we must presume the judges appointed by the Government made awards which they considered just. The signing of this agreement by the Minister means in effect that the awards were not just.

The PRESIDENT: I must correct the Deputy. There is no question of the courts administering the Act— which was passed in 1923—on the highest principles. There is not and cannot be any question as to the courts dispensing justice. The point is, was the Act too tightly drawn under the circumstances of the time? I think many representations were made to the Minister for Finance that that was the case.

Mr. MORRISSEY: I am not suggesting that the awards made by the judges were unjust. I have no doubt they were just, but I am suggesting that by the Agreement to give them a further 10 per cent., and by signing that, you were admitting in [1394] effect that they were unjust, and the Minister for Finance is condemning himself.

The PRESIDENT: I think the Deputy is wrong. The Act under which judges gave awards or decrees bound the judges. They discharged their duties properly, fairly and justly under that Act. The Act was tightly drawn under the circumstances.

Mr. BAXTER: Will it be necessary to amend that Act?

The PRESIDENT: Certainly.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Then I can take it the position is that the British Delegation and Sir James Craig and his colleagues convinced the Free State representatives that the Oireachtas was unjust when it passed that measure. That is the position.


Mr. MORRISSEY: That is the position as I see it. It is either that or the other thing. If it is not that I would like to know what it means. I would like to take that further. Did the Ministers at any time during the course of the discussions suggest to the British Government or the representatives of Northern Ireland, that the Nationalists of Belfast and of the North who were burned out were treated unjustly in the awards? Did they try to secure similar treatment for them? Are they satisfied the Nationalists, whose houses were burned and who were driven from the North of Ireland to take refuge in the South, were justly and fairly treated? Did that even come into their heads? If we are to be asked to do this let us know are we to give everything and to get nothing. Not a word about the people in the North. There was no question as to the way the dependents of the MacMahon family were treated, or as to whether the Northern Government or the Courts treated them fairly.

Debate adjourned.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. till 3 p.m. Tuesday, 8th December, 1925.