Dáil Éireann - Volume 13 - 08 December, 1925


Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”— (The President.)

Mr. MORRISSEY: When the House adjourned last night I was endeavouring to point out that according to this Agreement the British signatories secured that the Southern Loyalists, as they are termed, would get adequate compensation, and that the Irish taxpayers shall pay them an added 10 per cent. But there is nothing in this [1420] Agreement to say that the Nationalists of the North, the people who were driven out of their homes, people who were driven from their work, people driven out of their business are to receive any compensation or to receive any addition to whatever compensation some of them may have already received. I should like to know whether the Free State signatories had these people in mind when they signed this Agreement. If they had them in mind, did they suggest or impress or insist upon the British or Northern Governments that at least the privileges that they recommended us to give to the Southern Loyalists should be extended to the people of the North? Had the people who represented the Free State Government in mind the positions of the thousands of victimised Nationalists in the North? Had they in mind the fact that many of these people, driven out in 1920-21 by the terrorism of the Orangemen, have never been allowed, even up to the present, to return to Belfast or other parts of the North? Had they in mind the fact that there were hundreds of workmen driven out of employment in Belfast, forced to break up their homes, and to fly for their lives to the South of Ireland, to England, or any other country where they could obtain work? Did the people who signed this document, on behalf of the Free State, suggest to the Northern representatives or to the British Government representatives that these people were entitled to some compensation and justice, and if they did not, why not? It seems to me that these people, to put it bluntly, have been sold, that their rights—and they have rights greater, I submit, than the Southern Loyalists, because they have endured greater hardships and greater suffering than any of the Southern Loyalists—have been ignored.

I am not trying for a moment to justify any of the things done to the Southern Loyalists. I am not suggesting that the relatives of any persons who lost their lives or that any persons whose property was destroyed should not be compensated. I am suggesting that if it is fair or just that the Southern Loyalists should get an added 10 per cent. to their compensation [1421] then the Nationalists of the North are entitled to equal justice at least. But there is nothing in this Agreement and nothing in his Bill that we are asked to pass for that. Did any of our representatives ask Sir James Craig whether he was prepared to allow these people who were driven out and who have not been allowed to return to their homes, to return now, or did they take it for granted from his winning smile and handshake of friendship that all would be well, now that he has got all that he wanted and more than ever he thought he would get? Some of those people never received compensation. Surely it is not possible that the Minister for Finance, the President and the Vice-President were unaware that there are people whose businesses were destroyed and whose homes were burned in the North that never received any compensation whatsoever. Surely they are aware of that, and I ask were these matters taken into consideration and discussed when this Agreement was brought up, and, if not, why were they not? It seems to me that the Free State representatives were so desperately anxious to prevent the Feetham award, whatever it meant, being made known, that they were prepared to sign anything—to make any agreement. We are told that the Agreement was made in the spirit of friendship—nothing but the best of good feeling. Surely that was not the position. Surely the position was: “You sign this or the Feetham award becomes law.” As was stated yesterday by some Deputy, that was the pistol which was held to the heads of the Irish representatives.

We learn from the newspapers that the members and officials of the Boundary Commission are to receive honours from the British Government. They certainly deserve it. One thing that can be said for the British anyway is that they always reward and honour those who do their work for them. Great Britain and the Six-County Government have certainly got a good bargain in this. The Nationalists of the North get nothing. Those of them who got miserable awards are to get no increase. We are to raise another 10 per cent. to give it to the [1422] Loyalists, and we are to pay the Black and Tans for burning the homes of the people, for murdering the citizens of the country and for mercilessly persecuting the people. We are to pay £5,000,000 for that. I suppose the next proposition from the Minister for Finance will be that there is to be another 1/- or 2/- taken off the old age pension to make up the £5,000,000.

Mr. DAVIN: Give Feetham a pension.

Mr. MORRISSEY: “Peace and the seeds of peace”! I am sure we are not going to have peace out of this so-called settlement. Even if it were to secure a sort of peace, is not the peace bought too dearly—bought at the price of the permanent partition of our country; bought at the price of wiping Ireland off the map as a nation? That is the price that Deputies are asked to pay; that is what they are asked to cast their votes for. It seems to me that this proposition to give up Irish territory voluntarily, to desert the Nationalists in the North, is asking us to do something that we should be ashamed to do, is asking us to renounce the rights of the living and, I venture to say, not only that, but to insult the memory of the dead.

Great play has been made with Article V. None of the three signatories to this bargain has told us what our position was, or would be under that Article. Even in answer to a question to-day the Minister for Finance gave us only a partial claim, I take it, that had been made by the British—figures which would cover part of their claim. He did not give any figures to show what the counter claim would be. The President yesterday practically admitted that he did not know whether we would be found to owe money to the British or the British would be found to owe money to us. We can take it, I think, as a fair assumption from the Minister for Finance's reply to Deputy Johnson's question that he was in a somewhat similar position and did not know. Still we are told that we have got a good bargain and we are to pay £5,000,000 for it. It seems to me, that to agree to be forgiven a debt under Article V. that we did not owe, is a [1423] bargain worthy of the greatest political omadhauns that ever postured in Irish history.

The PRESIDENT: The Deputy said we were giving £5,000,000 to pay the Black and Tans. That is not true, to the knowledge of the Deputy and to the knowledge of every member of the House.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Surely the President will not deny that the £5,000,000 is to pay for the work of the Black and Tans?

The PRESIDENT: That is not what the Deputy stated. He said it was to pay the Black and Tans for burning Balbriggan and Cork. That was the Deputy's statement. If he likes to correct it and put the true statement on record, I am satisfied.

Mr. MORRISSEY: If it pleases the President and the House, I will put it the other way. It amounts to the same thing in the end.

The PRESIDENT: That is better.

Mr. MORRISSEY: It comes to the same thing. A quibble like that is not going to remove it, is not going to get over the moral implication.

The PRESIDENT: Tell the truth.

Mr. MORRISSEY: I do not want to make any point like that. I do not want to state anything but the truth. If the President is of opinion that the statement I made is not accurate, then I am prepared to agree with his own statement. There is not that much difference between the two statements. It has the same effect, the same moral implication. The fact remains that the people of Balbriggan and the people of Cork will have to pay for the burning of Balbriggan and the burning of Cork.

Major COOPER: I am glad that Deputy Magennis is in his place, because I want to pay him compliments. He told us yesterday, apropos of a proverb of Horace, that when two people rode the same horse one must ride in front—that on a previous occasion he had been supplanted by Deputy Milroy and had to take a back seat. [1424] Deputy Milroy is now dismounted from that horse. Deputy Magennis has now priority, but he has not sole possession of the horse. I congratulate him on the priority, but he has not sole possession of the horse. Deputies O'Connell and Morrissey have already mounted behind him, and there are indications that Deputy Baxter and Johnson and other Deputies will follow. I hope it is a strong horse. I think it is a hobby horse. Such as it is, Deputy Magennis has priority.

Mr. DAVIN: It is not an ass.

Major COOPER: I want to congratulate him again. Yesterday, not for the first time, he reminded me of Cicero, the great Roman orator. The dignified presence, the silvery, mellifluous voice, the inexhaustible flow of eloquence, above all, the dramatic power, all call back Cicero to me. While I can well understand that the eloquence would hold Deputies spellbound, I hope it will not blind them to the fact that as a politician Cicero was the most disastrous failure ever known. His lack of judgment ruined every cause that he was associated with, and finally destroyed both his party and his country.

Professor MAGENNIS: He saved Rome.

Major COOPER: He said he saved Rome. That was his own assertion, and he went on talking about his great services to Rome until finally he had to commit suicide to defend himself from the infuriated Romans. I hope Deputy Magennis will never be forced to these extremities. Having done with compliments, there is one point on which I wish to challenge Deputy Magennis. In his speech last night, he talked of those with whom the President had been making an agreement —the representatives of the Government of Northern Ireland—as settlers' descendants and alien elements. These are his words. Then the Deputy went on to quote Thomas Davis—Thomas Davis who wrote:

“No matter if at different times,

Our fathers sought this sod;

No matter if at different shrines

We worship the one God.”

[1425] And Deputy Magennis, after talking about settlers' descendants and alien elements, invokes Thomas Davis to support his case. If Thomas Davis were here he would repudiate the Deputy's arguments as much as Deputy Dr. MacNeill did. Thomas Davis was himself a settler's descendant; he was himself, by descent, an alien element.

Professor MAGENNIS: He was a Celt.

Major COOPER: I have never been able to get an exact definition of the term “Celt” and I will not argue the point. At any rate, he was of my Church, and I suppose Deputy Magennis includes me as a settler's descendant and alien element. My father's ancestors have been here for over three hundred years and my mother's came over in the same ship as that of Deputy Redmond's seven hundred years ago, but we are summed up by Deputy Magennis as settler's descendants. So, possibly, is Deputy Magennis and so, certainly, are very many Deputies in other quarters of the House. If we are to be progressive we must assimilate people who are settlers' descendants and alien elements. There are no Americans except the Red Indian in the backwoods. Any country must assimilate. Deputy Magennis's policy—I think it is his considered policy, for his speech certainly was prepared—is that the Government of Northern Ireland and the people they represent are settlers' descendants and an alien element.

Professor MAGENNIS: On a point of explanation, the two remarks of the Deputy are equally inaccurate: that I made a prepared speech, and that I object to assimilation. When I speak of an alien element I am referring to their attitude towards Ireland as indicating that they are not assimilated. Anyone, I do not care what is his racial origin or religion, so long as he becomes an adopted Irishman or is an Irishman by conviction, taking a national view of things, is, to me, as good as anyone of an unbroken Gaelic descent. I have never taken up the attitude the Deputy alleges, and I would repudiate and traverse it as [1426] strongly as he if I heard it from anyone else.

Major COOPER: I am glad the Deputy has repudiated my statement. I still do not understand the meaning of the words “settlers' descendants” unless they were intended to apply as I understand them.

Professor MAGENNIS: You are still hostile; you are unassimilated.

Mr. BAXTER: And refuse to be assimilated.

Major COOPER: Our task is to assimilate. I will leave that point. I am glad Deputy Magennis was not seriously advocating what might be called an aboriginal policy until finally the Firbolgs will control the land. I will leave that point and pass on to the Bill. I suppose the first task of everyone in this debate will be to prove that they have been consistent. I want to prove my consistency by a brief quotation from the debate of the 12th August, 1924:

“My last word is, that although I shall vote for this Bill to-night”— (that was the Bill for setting up the Boundary Commission)—“I am not entirely enamoured of the method of proceeding by the Boundary Commission, because I agree with Deputy Johnson that whatever the Boundary Commission decides we shall not get all that we expect, and a considerable number of people will be disappointed.”

I think I was a truer prophet than I knew.

“That will be a factor rankling in the State in the future. I would have preferred if the Government two years ago had followed the policy of the late General Collins when he met Sir James Craig and decided to deal with the matter independently of the Boundary Commission. I believe that if General Collins had lived that that would have been the most satisfactory result.”

The Government generally take my advice sooner or later—generally later. The Government did take my advice. The President met Sir James Craig and [1427] came to an agreement with him. I advocated that fifteen months ago, and I am glad that later on that step has been taken. I was reading the other day the memoirs of the late Speaker of the House of Commons, best known as Mr. Lowther. He was Chairman of the Boundary Commission in 1914, when Deputy Redmond's father and Sir Edward Carson——

Captain REDMOND: Not the Boundary Commission. I must correct the Deputy. It was not a Commission. My father had never anything to do with any Boundary Commission.

Major COOPER: I am very glad to be corrected. At any rate, it was a commission to discuss the limits within which Northern Ireland might stand out of the Home Rule Bill, and the final words of Mr. Lowther, summing up his experience of that Commission, were— I am quoting freely—“It was my impression that if the representatives of the two parties in Ireland had been plenipotentiaries entitled to act with full powers, a solution might have been arrived at.”

The only two people in this island who can be plenipotentiaries entitled to act with full powers are the President of the Saorstát and the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. They are the only two people who could arrive at a temporary solution of this problem and I am glad they went over and tried to do so.

Deputy Morrissey in his speech last night asked a very pertinent question. In a business-like manner he asked: What have we gained and lost? His speech was a model of the manner in which we should approach this question. I do not agree with him, but he approached it as a working-man should when approaching such a question. What have we lost and what have we gained? We have lost the Council of Ireland. I anticipate that Deputy Johnson later on will move in mourning garments behind the Council of Ireland, if only because he has always attached a disproportionate importance to that Council.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Why should Belfast [1428] be so anxious to insist on getting it too?

Major COOPER: It is possible to suspect your enemies too much. I might as well have expected that my friends here would have spent their days mourning the defunct Parliament of Southern Ireland.

Professor MAGENNIS: So they do.

Major COOPER: They do not, because they are too happy here. I am talking of Deputy Thrift and Deputy Sir James Craig. The Council of Ireland never functioned or could function in the absence of consent from Northern Ireland, and if it had it could never have achieved anything of permanent value to this State. We have not had it for the last four years, because it could not function, and, not having had it, have we lost anything?

Mr. JOHNSON: Why did it not function?

Major COOPER: Because the Northern Parliament would refuse to appoint representatives. Deputy Johnson will, no doubt, later on, produce a complete and cogent reply to me, but if he wants to appoint twenty representatives to go and interfere with the railways and the diseases of animals in Northern Ireland, would we have gained any practical advantage from that? We have also lost the Boundary Commission. Who is going into mourning for that? We have lost a lump sum payment of from five to six millions. Those are the losses as far as I can see. What have we gained?

Mr. BAXTER: Nothing.

Major COOPER: We have gained the cancellation of Article V. I find that a difficult thing to argue because I have made some research on my own account into our liabilities and counterclaims under Article V. I must say I have had some idea of the figures that might be claimed and that we might counter-claim. But the Minister for Finance's answer at question time has knocked all my figures sideways unless that is only a partial claim, because if it is a total claim I am astonished at [1429] the moderation of the British Government.

As regards our counter-claim I have some figures. They tally very closely with Deputy Magennis's. The only thing is that mine are three millions more. That is possibly due to the fact that Deputy Magennis takes his figures from the late Lord McDonnell and I take mine from the late Mr. Erskine Childers. I make our counter-claim approximately at three hundred and twenty-nine millions, and Deputy Magennis made his three hundred and twenty-six. We will call it three hundred and thirty millions for good measure. But that claim for over-taxation is not a claim for the Saorstát; it is a claim for the whole of Ireland. There are people in Belfast who pay income tax, there are people in Belfast who pay super-tax, and the people in the Six Counties drink tea and smoke tobacco, and even, under certain limitations imposed by their licensing laws, they drink beer and whiskey. Looking at our tax yield for the year 1923-4 I find that we pay £2 in taxation for every £1 that Northern Ireland pays. That is an approximate figure but I think it is fairly accurate. Therefore one-third of this claim is wiped out altogether; instead of three hundred and thirty millions it is only two hundred and twenty millions, so far as the Saorstát is concerned, and that claim rests, as the Minister for Justice indicated last night, on a somewhat unstable basis, because if the arbitrator, whoever he may be, were to refuse to accept the figures of the Childers Commission and insist on embarking on the thing anew we would not know where we were.

As regards the British claim on us, I do not know how they estimate it, but it must be a substantial claim, because I have some of the figures of the expenditure of the various Dominions in the European War. I will take New Zealand. The expenditure of New Zealand in the European War was £75,000,000. New Zealand is a smaller country than this in population, its population being about one-third of ours. If New Zealand is liable for £75,000,000 I do not see how we could get off with less than £150,000,000, and [1430] possibly £220,000,000. In addition to that there are the pensions. That I do know something about. The British Government is paying war pensions to people in this State to the value of £2,000,000 a year. The capitalised value of that is £40,000,000, and in view of the fact that war pensions are explicitly mentioned in Article V., and that this money is paid to citizens of the Saorstát resident in the Saorstát, I do not see how any arbitrator could say that we were not liable for that money. That brings the equitable British claim very nearly to our figures, and our figures are very likely to be cut down; they are the maximum claim put forward on the Irish side. What the figures of the Minister for Finance might be I do not know, but at the best we could not gain on that; we are liable to lose and we have an undoubted liability, hanging like a millstone round our necks when we go into the money market and when we want to develop our country. So that I think there is something gained in the cancellation of Article V. I do not want to exaggerate its value. I do not want to say that either the estimate of £5,000,000 or the estimate of £19,000,000 is the correct one. They are not the estimates I should negotiate on, but there is some liability, I think, and whatever the liability, its very indefiniteness is the difficulty.

I do not want to follow the example of other speakers in speaking at great length, but I want to say a word about the position of the minority in the North. That is a matter that appeals to me very deeply, because all my life I have been in a minority, and I think I always shall, until the day comes for me to join the great majority, and then I shall join it very reluctantly, and not of my own act. I look on this also from the point of view of the minority here. Speaking as one of that minority, speaking, as I believe I do, the minds of all that minority who are represented here, I would say that we welcomed the Treaty not so much because it lifted the shadow of death from over our land, as it did, because it stoppel the incessant killing, bloodshed and horror; we welcomed it for that; we welcomed it more because we [1431] felt that it healed old quarrels and gave us a chance to play a part in the life of our country. The minority in the North are in the same position. I hope that this Agreement that has been entered into, entered into, I believe, wholeheartedly and fairly between the two States, will mean that the minority in the North will have a fair chance of playing their part in the life of the country, and if there are any obstacles that prevent them from obtaining their full and fair representation in the Northern Parliament, that those obstacles will be swept away. I can say this with all sincerity, and I only hope that my voice may reach to Belfast, that I hope they will receive the same fair and generous treatment as we of the minority have received here. I think there is no Deputy sitting near me on these benches who has been associated in the past with that minority that does not feel that, as a result of the kindness we have received here, the friendships we have made, not only with those supporting this Bill, but those opposing it, that we have ceased to think in terms of majority and minority at all. These barriers are going; they are being broken down. We judge questions on their merits; we judge questions as friends who want to see the best for our country, not as individuals who want to maintain the position of a particular interest or of a particular Party. I have every reason to hope and believe that the same will happen in the North, that in a smaller House than this, where people are brought more intimately into association, that the same feeling of friendship and of mutual co-operation will arise in the North as in the South, in which case that majority and minority will become fused. It will not be the work of a day, or even of a year, but if I might prophesy at all, it will come about in time. And side by side with that there is the promise of co-operation between the two Governments, each Government learning to understand the other, each Government learning to respect the other, each Government learning to appreciate the other's difficulties, each Government learning to help [1432] the other, until finally there comes the moment for which everyone in this Dáil longs, the moment of fusion, the moment of unity, not by force but by good-will.

Mr. A. BYRNE: John Redmond said that.

Major COOPER: I studied under John Redmond and I realise that what Deputy Byrne has said is true.

Mr. A. BYRNE: That was his policy.

Major COOPER: I would like that co-operation of Governments to be carried a little further if it were possible. I would like, if possible, that the two Governments should agree to a conference to consider the question of unemployment, at which not only the Governments should be represented by Deputy Johnson, Mr. Kyle, Deputy Good and the Chairman of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, with the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Northern Minister for Labour, could sit down round a table and tackle this problem, which affects all of us, the problem of mutual unemployment benefit. I think that that would be a great good and a great step towards a united Ireland. I was impressed by Deputy Morrissey's case as regards Northern compensation. I would like one of these conferences to consider the question of whether the Northern Government would increase their compensation. We would have to prove that the Northern grants were inadequate to the scale we have, as compared with the scale on which we are going to compensate. If we could do that I believe that that, too, would be a tangible intimation of the new spirit. But the spirit is more than the letter. If it were my last word here I would say: “Trust to the spirit of good-will rather than these safeguards and restrictions.” I have been dealing with safeguards and suggested safeguards for something like fifteen years. They are valueless. If you can get the spirit of co-operation, the spirit of friendship, the spirit of good-will, as I hope and believe we have got it, that will do more for the minority in the North than any safeguard.

[1433] Yesterday, outside the Dáil I heard a speech, preparatory to listening to five hours of speeches here. That speech was from a man of some eminence—Sir Harry Lauder—and he summed up the good things of life. He said: “What you want in life is God, home, work, and a good neighbour over the garden wall.” It is my belief that this Agreement will give us a good neighbour over the garden wall, and in that belief I support the Bill.

Mr. GOREY: Before I say anything on the main question I want to clear the air and to clear my mind with regard to one incident. It has been whispered about the Lobbies, whispered to two or three or four of the Deputies of my party, and at least to one Deputy of another party, that about 15 or 16 months ago, a Deputy of this House, going on his holidays to the North, came into contact with our late representative on the Boundary Commission. I understand that he says a message was given him to be delivered in the North to the effect that we looked for no territorial aggrandisement. This is important, because it involves the viewpoint of our Commissioner and, perhaps, to a certain extent, of the Executive Council, and in view of what has happened the incident needs to be explained. Deputy Dr. MacNeill is in the House, and the other Deputy I refer to, Deputy Sir James Craig, is in the House, and before I proceed I would like an explanation on this particular point.

General MULCAHY: Are we really discussing the Agreement?

Mr. CORISH: We are discussing what led up to it, I hope.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I think Deputy Gorey should continue, and if either of these Deputies speak later, they can, if they choose, make an explanation.

Mr. GOREY: I was very glad to hear the portion of Deputy Cooper's address dealing with the feeling of good-will, and in which he said that the spirit means everything, the written word very little. I hope it will be acted upon. As one who has lived very many years [1434] in the South, who was born and reared in the South, I must say that I have never heard what could be considered intimidation or intolerance or a word of it. I have always felt offended and insulted by this allegation that we have been intolerant in the South. I never had experience of it. I am very glad to hear this tribute coming from Deputy Cooper and the other Deputies to the South. I could never understand the spirit of the North in my time, and for years before, and I hope we have heard the last of it. I hope there is going to be a change and that it is not mere lip service we are getting about this good feeling, change of front, and this change of heart. Dealing with the main question before the House, I will try to come as close as possible to the actual question at issue, whether we should accept or reject the Agreement that has been come to. I think, stripped of all its side issues and all the incidentals as to who said this and who said that, who did this and who did that, and what led up to it, the best thing we could do is not to judge these incidentals and not to take these side issues into consideration at all, but to judge this question on what is right and what is wrong and what is the best choice in the circumstances. Before this debate started yesterday we had been reading the opinions of Deputies and outsiders, and we heard this Agreement described as rounding off the work of Collins and Griffith, and as a great victory for diplomacy. All the parties to this Agreement and to this conference have said the same thing. They all claim it as a great victory for diplomacy. They have had thanks givings in the North. If it is a great victory for diplomacy and a great victory for all concerned, what have we been fighting for for years——

Mr. JOHNSON: Exactly.

Mr. GOREY: And what has been at issue for the last two or three months? Deputy Morrissey spoke yesterday about safeguards and to-day Deputy Cooper said that good-will counts for more than the written word. I hope it does. Safeguards are not new things. Safeguards have been asked for [1435] before and safeguards have been given, and one asks oneself if they have been given and asked for in other directions, in view of the history of the past was it found necessary to ask for them and to give them in the case of the North? There may be a better explanation or a sufficient explanation of the whole question. It may be said that what has been done is better than if guarantees were asked for and given, and to this extent I am prepared to accept that; I am prepared to accept that if the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland gave these guarantees, it is very doubtful if he would be in a position to enforce them. Compensation for our refugees has been referred to, and what has been done in that connection? I do not think we could impress too strongly on the Executive Council the necessity for them to do all in their power to see that the refugees who have been driven—driven as if they were black men, attacked as black men have been attacked in some of the States of America—should get due and proper compensation and should get an opportunity of going back to resume their former occupations.

In discussing the recent Estimates for Public Services we found an item— I do not remember the amount—in connection with Secret Service. What way has that Secret Service Branch served the State? Justice Feetham was Chairman of this Commission. What has our Secret Service done to tell us what Justice Feetham's record was, who he was and how much he was to be depended on? A good many people in this country are aware that this gentleman served his Government in India. A good many people are aware that he took away in the Constitution what was given to India in the Indian Reform Bill. Our Secret Service might at least have found out that. Perhaps they might have gone a little further and found out what trend the Commission's findings were taking, what was in the minds of the Commissioners.

Dr. MacNeill, to his credit, as a man of honour, never told a soul what had happened. His right hand did not know what his left hand was doing. [1436] Not a member of the Executive Council knew anything of what was happening. They did not know what direction the minds of the Commission were following. One is tempted to think that this is a good deal a better world than we ever thought it was. There is absolute trust and absolute innocence. The babes in the wood were only in the tuppence-ha'penny place compared with the trusting and innocent people who are responsible in this country.

We are told that this is rounding off the work of Collins and Griffith, and we are told by members of the Government Party that this is a great victory for diplomacy. If there is any victory, it is a great victory for our innocence and for our babyish trust. This question of Article V. is so complicated, there are such diverse views about it and so many cases can be made in regard to it, that I, for one, have no indication of where we are when we touch on it, except I accept the views of one man who has some knowledge of the situation, perhaps. Lord Carson described this Article as eye-wash. I believe that to all practical intents and purposes it is eye-wash.

Mr. BAXTER: Pure eye-wash.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: It is no longer eye-wash.

Mr. GOREY: It could be made very serious eye-wash. I recognise that it could be made a very serious dose of eye-wash if the matter was left to the Commission to decide and if the Commission made its Award. I want to view this picture from both sides. I am not actuated, nor is the Party with which I sit actuated, by any Party or personal viewpoints. We are trying to act in this matter as a jury. Amongst ourselves we are endeavouring to deal with this very intricate and very vital question, regardless of party or personal feelings. We want no party kudos at all.

We hear great howls outside about this Boundary and this agreement. People have again got suddenly active who were idle for a few months. There would be no Boundary question at all were it not for the mad men and the mad women outside. There were two [1437] periods at which this Boundary Commission could have been dealt with. If our mad men and our mad women had not gone mad there is no doubt whatsoever that the North was coming in and the Boundary question would have disappeared. On the other hand, if the Boundary Commission was set up in the atmosphere of the Treaty, while the signatories to the Treaty were alive, the Award that would have been made then would be quite different to the Award that was made. I would like to see an Award made with the late General Collins as one of the members of the Commission.

I do not believe, any more than the Minister who spoke yesterday, that we have an ideal solution of this problem. We certainly have not a lasting and secure peace. That is too illusive. Anything might happen. We cannot give any guarantee for what may happen in the future. This is not a lasting and secure peace. There is no more truth in that than there is in the assertion that the Boundary is fixed for all time. Nobody can control the future. The next generation, or the next few years, may bring the total abolition of the boundary. The next generation or the next few years, or the next few months for that matter, may dash to the ground all this security and all this peace. All these prophecies and all that has been prophesied can cut both ways. These prophecies go for nothing and are worth nothing.

We are asked to recognise the difficulty of the position confronting the Commission. We know that the members of the Commission, set up four years after the Treaty was signed, had a very much more difficult position confronting them than if they had to deal with the question in the atmosphere of the Treaty. We know all the propaganda that has been carried on and all the money that has been spent since, all the influence, all the wirepulling and all the pronouncements of public men. We know that the Commission was dealing with a problem rendered infinitely more difficult by the progress of time. We want to recognise that.

The President did not know the [1438] figures; he was unaware of the financial position. I do not know the financial position and, when the President does not know it, we certainly could not. There is, however, one thing that I do know. When talking about Article 5, we ought to approach it in the light that, if the financial relations fail to be adjusted by the representatives of the two countries concerned, this country and Great Britain, an arbitrator would have to be appointed and we would have to run the risk of what that arbitrator's award would be. We would have to abide by the result, the same as we would have to abide by the Feetham-Fisher award and the Feetham-Fisher boundary line, if this agreement was not made. That, to my mind, is the light in which we have to view the position. In speaking about Article 5 we have to look at it, not from the point of view of the claims, but what the eventual award would be.

The Council of Ireland has been referred to; it has often been referred to in this House. As I said before, I set no value at all on this Council of Ireland; it is a Council that carries functions of no importance, functions embracing Diseases of Animals Acts, Fisheries Acts and railways. It serves no purpose whatsoever and drawing it into this discussion is either an error of judgment or else it is utilised to make an argument where there is very little argument.

A boundary line was to be drawn some place. Deputy Magennis has talked about selling our people in the North and he dealt with the setting up of a Boundary. We were faced with this question of a Boundary since 1920. We were faced with the question of a Boundary in the Treaty, and the only point was whether it would be drawn here or there, two or three miles this way or four or five miles another way. When the Boundary was there, I will not say it is dishonest, but it is not facing the issue, to state that this Agreement has made the Boundary.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: Permanent.

Mr. GOREY: Permanent? There is nothing permanent in this world.

Professor MAGENNIS: Stupidity is.

[1439] Mr. GOREY: If the Deputy means that in my connection——

Professor MAGENNIS: Oh! no; I do not.

Mr. GOREY: I can understand some grievances among people immediately along the Border. The same grievances would be in the minds of any people living on the Border no matter where the line would be put. The people who thought that the present Border was going to be changed would have a grievance. No matter what place you put the Boundary line, the people on either side of it would have a grievance. I believe, from the information at my disposal, that the people who would ultimately be included inside the Border, if the line were made narrower, would have a greater grievance still, inasmuch as they would be put in a much greater minority—the minority would have been reduced still further. When dealing with the question of a Border, or a limit, it is very hard to find out where you are.

It might have been a better position if Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan were let in and thus equalise both elements. Then you would have no Border at all. The Border would have solved itself inside Ulster. I can understand, as I have said, the dissatisfaction on the Border. But we are not asked to view this thing in a parochial way. It would be wrong to view it in a parochial way. We must view it in a national way, and so far as the nation is concerned the question of whether the Border is here or there or whether it is two, three or five miles one way or another does not affect the national position, and in that light we view it.

Statements have been made by Ministers. The Minister for Finance went to Monaghan and he made sweeping statements there with regard to territorial aggrandisement. He promised them everything. I can understand that the Minister at the time was an advocate of a certain cause. He was stating the maximum of his claim. But it is an extraordinary thing that when elections are on is the time that opportunity is taken to make these extraordinary claims. The Seanad election was on. The recent Dáil elections were on. These are the times [1440] when huge promises are made to the people. Unfortunately, up to the present a lot of the people have swallowed these promises. I can understand the position of the Minister making a public statement in order to make his case. It was the statement of an advocate. I can find, certainly, in that connection excuses for the case and the claims that Ministers have made. As the Minister for Justice said yesterday: “What else would they have done?” I want, however, to ask them in the future to select some other time besides election times for making statements of this kind, if not in the interests of the nation at least in the interests of common decency.

I have been some time in this Dáil and I have come in contact with most of the Deputies. If there is one man more than another that I appreciate personally it is Dr. MacNeill, our late representative on the Boundary Commission. But in paying him that compliment I must say that I never looked upon Dr. MacNeill as a man of the world, and I doubt if the members of the Executive Council looked on him as a man of the world. I have no doubt whatsoever that he was the wrong man for this job. I think there was no doubt in the minds of the Executive Council that he was the wrong man. Now, our choice in this matter is fined down to a very narrow point. We are faced with an accomplished fact. I see no method of retreating from the present position. There are two alternatives.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: Will the Deputy say what exactly he is referring to when he says you are faced with an accomplished fact?

Mr. GOREY: You are faced with an accomplished fact. This agreement, to my mind, is an accomplished fact, and I will prove it. It is true that we have the option to reject it if we choose to take the consequences. That is absolutely true. I also know that questions of this sort can be dealt with by Executive Councils and not by public debates and public assemblies. But in saying that, I wish to say also that once the signatures of the representatives of this Government have been put to this agreement that the foundations have [1441] been cut from under our feet. The alternatives to that are: First, the Feetham award, and, secondly, chaos. We have to choose between the three. I have been sitting here quietly last evening, and to-day waiting for the critics of this Agreement to put forward something constructive, to put forward some scheme that we can follow with any certainty of success. I want them to put forward a definite scheme. I was waiting here for it, and I was prepared to give it due consideration. I did not hear it. Perhaps we will hear it yet. I was even waiting for the skeleton of a scheme, but I did not hear it.

Mr. MORRISSEY: You have the skeleton in the cupboard.

Mr. GOREY: That may be witty, but it is beside the point. There must be an alternative to this Agreement, but we have not heard it. We have not been shown one square foot of solid ground on which to put our feet. When it is shown to me, I am ready to stand on it, and so is every member of the Party for whom I am speaking. Not one Deputy in this House has put up a scheme that he will pledge his word is a sound one with any chance of success. It may come. Deputy Johnson or some other Deputy may put it up. But we are waiting. The Minister for Justice questioned the words that I used, that it was impossible to retreat from the position. To this extent it is impossible—that to a large extent altogether our boats are burned. To adopt a hostile attitude now, and to take the field would be putting us in the wrong.

Professor MAGENNIS: Hear, hear.

Mr. GOREY: I believe that the idea and aim of every Deputy in the House is this—to decide what is best for the people of the country in the particular circumstances in which the country finds itself. I say that anybody who can set aside personal spite, personal envy, personal vanity and personal hate, whether that hate be of individuals or of countries, ought to place the plain men and the plain women of the country first in their consideration, and come to only one [1442] conclusion and one decision on this question now—to accept this Agreement. I will again use the words of the Minister for Justice—it is not an ideal solution, not anything that we can congratulate ourselves on. It is not a victory for diplomacy, but it is the best that we can get, the best that we can do at the moment. I will go so far as this, that the deputation that went to London in connection with this conference have done the best they could, and have made the best they could out of a very bad situation, a situation very largely of their own creation. I think I have put, so far as my poor abilities will allow, my position and that of this Party as clear as I can. We are not enamoured of this Agreement. We think it is the best that could have been made in the circumstances, and in that spirit we are prepared to accept it.

MINISTER for EXTERNAL AFFAIRS (Mr. Desmond Fitzgerald): Yesterday my mind turned often to a phrase by a French poet which means: “Take eloquence and wring its neck.” In all the eloquence I tried to find out exactly what is wrong and what is right. I gather that the Government was incompetent in the handling of this matter. I know quite well that there are people to whom the very qualities of sincerity, honesty, and a regard for public weal are the very hallmarks of incompetence. I gather that, somehow or another, because we did not resign or proffer our resignation when Dr. MacNeill resigned, we prevented the Dáil from resigning and the coming into existence of a Coalition Government which would have either abolished the Boundary or treated it as if it never had been. Most of the speeches up to this have posited a boundary that never existed or that should cease to exist. I have gathered also that a Coalition Government would have produced compensation for the Nationalists in the North, and that it also would, somehow or another, get Article V. of the Treaty so interpreted as to mean a gift of money to us rather than a gift of money from us to England. If this House could produce a Coalition Government able to achieve [1443] that there is no body of men more anxious than the present Government to hand over control to that Government. We are told that that Coalition Government could be produced by a man standing blindfolded at the bottom of the stairs and that such a Government would be better than the present. It may be on the assumption that there are some people in this House who would put themselves in the position of a blind man.

Let us see what is wrong. To begin, there was the Treaty of 1921. There was Article XII. with its conditions. Was it right or wrong to accept it? As abstract justice it should not have been accepted, but under the circumstances was it not a pretty fair offer? I think it was. It was not going to make abstract justice, but the whole purport of it undoubtedly was to see that the majority of the people, at present under a Government which they do not want to be under, should come under a Government they want to be under. Circumstances changed after. A certain party outside this House, with whom certain members of this House have been hobnobbing this morning, apparently have solved the problem by passing a resolution against partition. If that is all that was to be done the Government could have done that quite easily. As Deputy Gorey said, there is no doubt about it, so far as we could humanly judge, there would be no partition but for the action of our friends' friends. The Article remained and the original interpretation should have remained. Therefore, we went ahead at the request, I think, of this House with the formation of the Boundary Commission. Anybody going before a Court—I think Deputy Johnson went before a Court some time ago—has to posite that the judge would be a just judge. If people said, “What are you going to do if the judge disregards the justice of your case?” one has to say “I must posite that the judge will be a just judge.” Even the Coalition Government, if it existed a little time ago, would have to posite on the face of it under that Article that the judge would be a just judge; but life is full [1444] of accidents. In this case most of us are satisfied that the judge was not just. I was in jail with a man who said “I would not mind my sentence if I had got a fair trial.” That might be the attitude of some people. We did not get a fair trial. It would be more to the point for that man to try to get his sentence reduced rather than complain about not getting a fair trial. The Government was quite right in going ahead with the Boundary Commission. Dr. MacNeill was quite right not to keep the Government informed. He was a minority in that Commission, bound by its findings. The whole argument about Dr. MacNeill is that he should have resigned earlier. If he had resigned a day after the Boundary Commission was formed I am not sure that it would have made any difference but it would, perhaps, have put us in a better propagandist position.

Mr. MORRISSEY: It would have made a difference to the “Morning Post.”

Mr. FITZGERALD: Do you suggest that a man should be dishonourable?

Mr. MORRISSEY: I do not suggest that, but if he had resigned the day after it would have made a big difference to the “Morning Post” with its big scoop.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I dare say it might have made a difference, but we are much more interested in the fate of this country than in anything that might happen to the “Morning Post.” Where has the Government gone wrong? The Boundary Commission was formed and, so far as we can judge, no action of Dr. MacNeill could have altered the award they proposed to bring in. Once they were formed, the majority decided the award. We were faced with the position some time ago that we were told the award was coming alone? What ought we to have done? We should have gone over and, somehow or other, having that extraordinary power which is posited by this Coalition Government, got the abolition of the boundary, compensation for the people in the North, and the payment of a large sum under Article 5.

[1445] With regard to that Article, the Minister for Finance informed you that the British claim was for about 170 million pounds. On the other hand, we had probably, on abstract justice, a claim for more than that. We were, however, faced with a claim for 170 millions and we had no tangible assets against it. I, personally, cannot see, up to the time the deputation went to London, where exactly the Government went wrong. The Government had incompetence, honesty and sincerity, which are so abhorrent, at least to one person we could mention. So long as you have this Government you will have this type of incompetence, which probably would not be such a disadvantage to the Coalition Government. They went over faced with the publication of the Feetham award, which was to be law and which was to be maintained by the courts of the Free State. Was that good or bad? It was admittedly bad. What was the opinion of the country? Was it better to maintain the existing line?

Mr. CORISH: Where did you get the general opinion of the country?

Mr. FITZGERALD: The general opinion of the country is that it was better to accept the existing line.

Mr. CORISH: You suggest that the general opinion was to accept the old line. Where did you get that opinion?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: We got it from many deputations from the North.

Mr. FITZGERALD: The Deputy has been very careful not to contradict it —that it was better to keep the old line rather than get a new line. We were faced with the problem that the new line would lead to disorder. It was a good thing to avoid that disorder. I think any intelligent man recognises there was a strong possibility that we would have a claim made upon us for a considerable sum under Article V. There was a very strong possibility of that. Deputy O'Maille, the other day, denied that we owed England anything. I believe a private meeting to-day protested against Partition. Denying and protesting do not get us anywhere. [1446] We have to face facts. Partition exists, and there was a strong probability that there would be a claim for a very considerable sum. Many people would have said we would not pay for the reason that the man who has not a penny cannot afford to pay. Even if we had striven our utmost to pay, it would result probably in bankruptcy. I suggest that for Ireland to have a debt placed against her name that she could not pay was going to affect the lives and well-being of the people of this country. I suggest to the Party who are anxious about unemployment and an increase of wages that that would be a very detrimental thing and would, in fact, be disastrous. The only other thing left that I can think of is the Council of Ireland, which, we were told, was a very good irritant. Deputy Gorey seems to think that because certain people in the Six Counties, in England, and in the Free State say that this is a triumph of diplomacy for them that that claim is contradictory. It is nothing of the sort. It is a triumph of diplomacy to avoid war, and it is a triumph for both sides. Most Deputies are anxious for ultimate unity. Will anybody explain to us how the Council of Ireland as an irritant was going to get us unity? To begin with, if we sent our people we would have to posite that the Six Counties would send theirs. Supposing they did not send theirs, it might be an irritant, too. We could not do anything; we could not make the Council of Ireland without them, and with the Council of Ireland what were we going to achieve? Were we going to irritate them to the point where they would say: “We can stand this no longer, we must join in.” Does anyone posite that as a policy for the Free State? I would like to know what the policy should be. It was, if you like, a propagandist weapon—a way of proving the non-sovereignty of the Northern Parliament.

Professor MAGENNIS: I think it was the President who called it an irritant.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I think it was the Minister for Justice who quoted Deputy Johnson as saying that it was [1447] an irritant. Now we come back to the question of abstract justice. People get up and protest because we should have to pay for the damage done by the Black and Tans. Partition itself is not abstract justice. It would not be abstract justice that we should have to pay any of that £170,000,000. Is it better to give any sum of a million pounds, or tens of million pounds, to England than to pay that proportion of the Commission's award to those Irish citizens, some of them good citizens and some of them bad, who suffered both pre and post truce, considering that the total sum to our friends and enemies, post truce and pre-truce, amounted to something in the neighbourhood of £5,000,000? I think it was a fairly good bargain. All the arguments in condemnation of the Government are that we failed to get more from the British and from Northern Ireland.

Mr. MORRISSEY: Have we got anything?

Mr. FITZGERALD: I suggest we got something. I suggest that the present line is better than the Feetham line. I suggest it is better to pay that proportion of compensation which would have been paid by England to our Nationals rather than pay an indefinite number of million pounds to England. I suggest that these are gains, and I suggest what we have given up for that is the irritant. I suggest that if it is not abstract justice it is a good bargain.

Mr. T. O'CONNELL: Is the ten percent. increase a gain?

Mr. FITZGERALD: I suggest that the 10 per cent. increase, plus the pre-truce damage which we have to pay to England, is a substantial gain as compared with the indefinite sum due to be paid or claimed against us and to be awarded against us by Article V. That is possibly the most important gain in this whole business.

Professor MAGENNIS: Nobody else has settled it but you.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I do not suggest that nobody could settle it but us, but [1448] what I want to know is why we should stand condemned for incompetence because of an honesty which is fairly rare in some quarters and because our sole pre-occupation was the well-being of this country. There is an attempt made here to indicate to people outside that if only the Government resigned as soon as there was a really dangerous problem to be tackled all would be well Instead of that we give the House the opportunity of getting rid of us.

Professor MAGENNIS: You asked for time and misused it.

Mr. FITZGERALD: The Deputy may say that we misused time, but when it comes to deceiving the people Deputies should not get up and try to convey to people that a blind man at the bottom of the stairs could have chosen a Government which would have abolished the Boundary and given increased compensation to the people in the North.

The PRESIDENT: Is it in order for a Deputy to say that we deceived the House?

Professor MAGENNIS: I made that charge last night in a variety of forms.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: It is, I suppose, a matter of opinion.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I think we need not bother much about points of order when the same Deputy yesterday used the phrase particeps criminis. I think there was a point of order then which might have been dealt with. Deputy Gorey suggests that the signing of this Agreement represents the burning of our boats. I contest that absolutely. If Deputies, or the people in the country think that something better than this could be got there is nothing to prevent them forming a Government to get it. The British Government, the Northern Government and the world at large, know well that this Government only exercises powers delegated to it by the Dáil. It has done its best and it comes to the Dáil and says: “We have done the best we can do for you. Are you determined to go for something better?” That is not burning the boats. If you set up a Government to-morrow, you can go [1449] over to England and, of course, you can come back afterwards and say: “We should have done better only you had gone before us.” But anybody with any intelligence knows perfectly well that you can go over there and that you will find that we have not tied your hands in the least. I put it to you that if you are going to form this Coalition Government——

Professor MAGENNIS: Will you resign on those terms?

Mr. FITZGERALD: We will resign as soon as the House puts us out.

Professor MAGENNIS: Oh!

Mr. FITZGERALD: Is Deputy Magennis going to decide the future or are Deputies of this House going to do so? We may not have wonderful, trained minds, we may not have the wonderful power of trying—perhaps I should not say it—to mislead people that the Deputy has, but certainly the Deputies of this House, even with their poor education, even with their lack of eloquence that the French poet spoke of, are going to decide this question and not the great orator, the silver-tongued Chrysostom — Deputy Magennis.

Professor MAGENNIS: On a point of explanation, Chrysostom was a saint, not an orator.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I was referring to the meaning of the word and I was not referring to St. John Chrysostom.

Mr. BLYTHE: If that is applied to Deputy Magennis I think it should be withdrawn.

Mr. FITZGERALD: It is the Deputies of the Dáil who are going to decide who will be the Government and not the people who thrust themselves forward into the arms of the blindfolded man. All I suggest is that we have a little honesty here and that the people who are going to vote against this motion should tell us what they are going to get and how they are going to get it. So far, the whole attempt here has been to present the case to the country that if only we were done away with the Shelbourne [1450] Hotel people, as we may call them, would get abolition of the Boundary, compensation for the people in the North and be paid money under Article V. Let us hear how you are going to do that, and, whether the Dáil wants our resignation or not, we will insist on resigning to enable you to get a Coalition Government that will accomplish this for you.

Captain REDMOND: I am not going to follow the last speaker in the methods he has used in addressing himself to this discussion. I rise as one of three of your members who was a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party and who, for 13 years, was a member of the British Parliament. For 9 years out of those 13, I had the great honour of representing the County of Tyrone. I desire to approach this whole question from an entirely different point of view to that of any of the Deputies who have spoken so far. Indeed, the last speaker has almost touched upon my point of view.

We are not here, as far as I understand, to decide whether there is to be partition in Ireland or whether there is not. There is partition in Ireland. Your Treaty made partition in Ireland. Article XII. of the Treaty determined that in certain contingencies, which did eventuate—namely, a certain portion of the country deciding to secede from the Free State—a Boundary Commission should be set up and that that Boundary Commission should determine the boundary for Ireland. Therefore, partition is there. I want to have my position clear. I was no more responsible for your Treaty or for that partition than I am going to be responsible for this Boundary Bill to-day. You had your Treaty and you have your partition now. The question seems to me to be not whether there should be a line of boundary or not, but what that line should be. As reference has been made by several speakers to the part played by the Party with which I was associated in the past in regard to this question of partition, I say here in my place in this House to-day, without fear of contradiction, that no member of that Party, from the highest to the lowest, at any [1451] time ever consented to permanent partition for Ireland.

Reference has been made to the Buckingham Palace Conference. The Buckingham Palace Conference took place in the year 1914. If the representatives of Ireland at that conference had been then willing to accept what you are proposing that we should take now we should not have gone through those years of bloodshed, of turmoil, of strife, of degradation and humiliation which we have gone through since. We would not be brought here to-day to be asked to accept what the then leaders of the Irish people refused with scorn. So much for the Buckingham Palace Conference.

Negotiations took place in 1916 and we were held up to scorn for being contaminated by contact with British statesmen. But, contaminated or not, having come into contact with them, we suggested to the Nationalist people of Ulster a proposal that was made by Mr. Lloyd George and subsequently repudiated by him. That proposal was that six counties of Ulster were to be excluded—mark you, not partitioned —from the rest of Ireland for a period of time—not for ever—to be decided by the termination of the war. We submitted these proposals to the Nationalist people of Ulster at a Convention. As then understood these proposals meant temporary exclusion and not permanent partition. They were accepted by that convention. Subsequently, it was disclosed that Mr. Lloyd George had said one thing to one side and another thing to the other side, but when he made it plain, as did also Lord Lansdowne and Lord Salisbury, that it was not to be temporary exclusion, but was to be permanent partition, the then leaders of the Irish people repudiated the contract and refused to abide by it. I think it only right for me to be entitled to say that such is our record on the question of partition.

Then came the Treaty. The Treaty was none of my making. The Treaty was the result of a state of affairs which I am not going into now and which everyone knows that I, at any [1452] rate, never approved of. I was never consulted nor were my friends or colleagues consulted about the Treaty or the terms of it. You made that Treaty or your associates made it, and now you have got the results of it. The Treaty was much flaunted, and some members seem to regard it as the bedrock of Irish nationality. The Treaty it is, which has made partition in Ireland. The Government of to-day, it is true, were not responsible, but their associates were responsible for the Treaty. But the Government of to-day are singularly responsible for the setting up of the Boundary Commission under the Treaty.

Personally I have never said one word, nor have I thrown one obstacle in the way of this Treaty being put into effect or the Boundary Commission being set up. The only opinion that I ever gave expression to in regard to the Boundary Commission was that I had no faith in it. I think I am entitled to recall that expression of opinion to-day. The Boundary Commission was set up by the Government and on the insistence of the Government. The Northern Government did not want it. They refused to appoint a representative upon it. Certainly the British Government never went out of their way to have the Boundary Commission set up. It was this Government, and this Government alone, that insisted upon the setting up of that Boundary Commission. I listened with great attention, and in many ways with a considerable amount of satisfaction, if I might use the word—personal and public satisfaction—to the speech of the Minister for Justice last night. I was very much impressed with a great deal he said in the course of that speech, but there was one argument, if it might be called such, that I could not follow. The Minister for Justice said, in effect, that after all, if an award had been made under the Boundary Commission, taking in certain portions of the North of Ireland and annexing them to the Free State that that would have rendered the position of the minority there even more difficult and more hopeless. That is so. That is why I never wanted the Boundary Commission. That is why I think it would have [1453] been better, even if after the Treaty had provided for a Boundary Commission, if the Government had not insisted on its being set up. If that was present to the mind of the Minister for Justice and his colleagues, I cannot understand why they were so insistent upon the setting up of a Commission which, if it had made an award, the Minister for Justice now says would have inevitably rendered the position of the Nationalists in the North worse than it is at present. I say the Government are responsible. The Government or their associates are responsible for the Treaty. The Government are responsible for the setting up of the Boundary Commission under the Treaty, and the Government are certainly responsible for the conduct of their representative on the Boundary Commission.

It is all very well to say that Dr. MacNeill, for whom we all have the greatest respect, was a plenipotentiary or that he was so bound in honour to his colleagues on the Commission that he could not divulge to his colleagues in the Cabinet what was going on between him and his new colleagues on the Commission. That may be so, but I put it to the Dáil that it was not necessary for Dr. MacNeill to tell his colleagues in the Cabinet or even to tell me, who knew nothing about the inner secrets of the Cabinet, or to tell the smallest and the meanest intellect in Ireland that evidence was being taken at that very Commission from portions of the country within the Free State. Everyone knows, and it was published in the newspapers that evidence was taken from the County Monaghan. If evidence was taken from County Monaghan it must have been presumed that there was a question of portion of County Monaghan being transferred to the North of Ireland, and is not that what the Government say to-day the Commission had no right to do? If the Commission meant to act ultra vires by transferring any portion of the Free State to the North of Ireland, then I say, when that news was made public and broadcast, as it was, it was the duty of the Government to recall Dr. MacNeill if they then thought, as they say they think now, [1454] that in so taking evidence the Commission was acting ultra vires. The Commission took evidence from both sides of the border, and there is one thing I would like to say personally on the Articles setting up this Commission.

This Article has been described by some people—I think I am right in saying by the President himself—as clear in expression. Well, I do not go so far as that. I think it was a very astutely drawn Article and that many interpretations might possibly be taken from it. I think it was possibly and probably—I do not say by our representatives but may be by others—an intentionally nebulous expression of opinion. There is one clear and certain thing in the Article which we cannot get away from: it is that a boundary had to be fixed, but it is not clear from the Article, and that is where I think the Boundary Commission was bound to fail, what were to be the units of self-determination along that border and that made all the difference. As everybody knows, it makes a difference in the North of Ireland, along the Northern border, whether it was a parish that was to decide if it was to go into the Free State, or whether it was an urban district area that was to decide, or whether it was a county council that was to decide, or whether it was to be the whole of the rest of Northern Ireland that was to decide. None of these things was made clear in that Article, and I say that the first duty of our representative on that Commission, before proceeding to deal with the boundary itself, was to have the terms of reference in black and white to decide as to what were the duties, rights and powers of that Commission.

Well, so much for the work of the Commission. It was not until we heard through the British Press of the probable findings of this Commission that evidently we began to think that the Commission was acting ultra vires, and then our Government decided to send representatives or plenipotentiaries, I do not care what you call them, to confer with people in similar positions in the British and the Northern Governments. Now I want to lay stress on this point for the [1455] moment: your Treaty of which you are so proud, and which has made this partition, was made between two sovereign States—Ireland on the one hand and Great Britain on the other— but this Treaty, it appears, is between three States. Are these three sovereign States? Has the Northern Government now been raised to the status of coequality with both Britain on the one side and the Free State on the other, and if not, why should the Northern Government be a party to this Treaty? There were three parties to this Agreement or second Treaty as it is called. By that Agreement we are asked—we the representatives of the twenty-six counties, because remember that is all we are at the moment—to hand over the people in the remaining six counties. What right have we to hand over any portion of the North of Ireland?

Mr. BAXTER: We have no right.

Captain REDMOND: You have not asked those concerned. Have you even done what was done in 1916—gone to the North to hold a convention there? No. I say it is a very serious responsibility for us to take upon our shoulders: that we should say to our Nationalist friends in the North of Ireland, “You shall not come into the Free State,” because that is what we are asked to do. Your Treaty of course destroyed Ireland. Ireland in name is gone. Ireland as an entity is gone. We have on the one hand Northern Ireland and on the other hand we have the Free State, but unfortunately the Ireland of the past, which we all hope may come into being again, for the moment it has disappeared. But how is that happy goal to be brought about? It is said and said quite truly, and I fully appreciate it, where is the alternative to the proposal that the Government make? Now I am not here to give the Government any alternative. I did not bring them into the position that they are in. They brought themselves there, and it is for them to get out of it. If they say that they are going to get out of it this way, if they say, backed as they are certainly by a majority in this House, that this is the way and the only way and the best [1456] way that they can command at the moment for getting out of the position which they have put themselves into and which nobody else has put them into, then I say it is their business, and I for one am not going to interfere with their carrying out of what they consider to be the best manner of discharging it. But that does not mean that they are going to fix the responsibility of the present situation, and the future arising out of the present situation, on me because I will not accept it. I say that if you choose to walk into a bog with your eyes open as you walked into the Boundary Commission —if you choose to step in up to your neck—I say that then if you choose to seek assistance from those whom you would not seek assistance from before, and then if you choose to adopt methods which you did not adopt and which you did not approve of before, I say that is the business of the Government, and it is for the Government to prove in the future that what they have done is best.

I was very much struck by the opening and concluding sentences or expressions in the President's statement. The President said: “Times have changed,” and he wound up by saying: “Let us face the facts.” With both those sentiments I am in hearty agreement. Times have changed. Some ten years ago if we had not departed from the policy we were then engaged upon of conciliation, which you are now engaged on, had we not departed from the policy of constitutionalism which you are now engaged upon, we could have got as much and a great deal more than what is now called the “Free State,” and of what we purport now to give away in the northern portion of what was once Ireland. Yes, times have changed. I am glad that, at long last, after ten long and weary years—ten years which I only wish could be blotted from the pages of Irish history—we have come to our senses, and that we are going to face the facts. I am glad the people of this country are coming to see that what they set out to do by other means, ten years ago, was impossible, and that what they are going to do to-day is not what, I think, they should or would [1457] have done then, but is accepting a great deal less than would have been necessary at that time. It may be said that my remarks consist of the sentence: “I told you so.” Well, they do consist of that, and, I think, I am entitled to say so, and it is not in any feeling of vaunted pride that I come here to say that I did tell you so ten years ago. It is rather this: that I want now for all of us to try to do our best, even after having done what I consider to be our worst, for that period of ten years, for the benefit of our country.

Mr. GOREY: What is your best?

Captain REDMOND: My best is what it always was, and that is, not to have to accept responsibility that I, or anyone associated with me, am not responsible for, but not to interfere with those who are now endeavouring to get out of it. That is my position. So far as the actual arguments have gone on the terms of this agreement, it has been styled in some places a triumph and in other places a victory. I do not say that everything could have been secured by this conference which would have been beneficial to the whole of this country, but I do think that, in many respects, more might have been got. I do think that when special regard was paid and specific reference made, even down to the actual percentage in figures, of the rights of the minority in the South, that some regard should have been had, and some reference also should have been made, to the rights and safeguards of the minority in the North.

I do not understand why, if it is no use having statements about a minority in one place, it is any use having statements about a minority in another. We are told it is better to depend upon the spirit than the letter. But did the Northern representatives depend upon the spirit, or did the British Government depend upon the spirit when they were agreeing to these Articles of Agreement? On the contrary, did not they insist—at least I presume it was they insisted—upon placing on record in Clauses 4 and 5 of the Schedule that certain safeguards [1458] should be provided and certain things done for the people they represented? I cannot see why we could not have done the same.

Now in regard to Article V., I must say I was astounded to hear the President say here yesterday that at the time these Articles were agreed to he was not actually aware of the value of what he was giving away. A nice position, truly, for a business-man to be in, who is about to make a bargain and going to a conference with possibly his business rivals, and when the question came up of liabilities or otherwise, under a certain previous agreement, to say: “Oh, let that stand; we will pay you so much in cash.” That seems to me to be the result of the President's action. If that was the way that the financial provisions of this agreement were arrived at, I hope that a little more consideration was given to the other and, to my mind, more important portions of it. When I say more important portions of this agreement, I have great regard for the financial considerations of this country, but at the same time financial considerations are one thing and a nation's honour is another. In days gone by the party that I belonged to was often represented as having sold the North of Ireland. Whether that was true or not, I am not going now to argue, but there is no doubt about it this time. It is not only sold, but it is literally sold. We actually have the figures in black and white whereby the north has been sold.

Mr. O'HIGGINS: What exactly was sold? The Feetham Award, which nobody wanted.

Captain REDMOND: The Feetham Award which nobody wants was sold, and in substitution for that we have the boundary line now. Does the Vice-President say that anyone wants that?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I know this, that eight or ten deputations from the north came to us prior to our going to London to assure us that they would prefer the existing line to the Feetham line.

[1459] Mr. T. O'CONNELL: Did they say they wanted the present line?


Mr. BAXTER: Were these deputations from one county or from any of the Six Counties?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: No, right along.

Mr. BAXTER: Outside or inside the Six Counties?

The PRESIDENT: Both inside and outside I should say.

Captain REDMOND: Does that mean both sides of the border?


Captain REDMOND: Now I understand. It was on the representations made to the Executive Council by those deputations, from both sides of the border, that they thought it better to accept the present line than the Feetham one.

The PRESIDENT: Not exactly. We do not want to put the entire responsibility on the deputations. We had certainly to consider all matters raised and all the circumstances in addition to that. First of all, as far as the partition line is concerned, the statement that we are drawing a line now, and that for the first time there is partition, is certainly not true. There is partition already there; it has been there for four years. Consequently, if you have to have a line, what is the line that is least objectionable? In that connection many considerations had to be taken into account and I think I have recited a great number.

Captain REDMOND: Does the President mean to say now that he took unto himself and his Executive Council the rights and privileges of the Commission to inquire as to the opinions of the people along the border, and that then, in effect, the President and the Executive Council formed themselves into a Boundary Commission and the present line is the result? It would appear from the statement that the President has made that it would amount to something like that.

The PRESIDENT: No. I want to make the point clear. I do not want [1460] it to go out that we are putting the responsibility of the position on deputations which came to us. We accept our own responsibility in that connection.

Captain REDMOND: I am glad to hear the President say that, because so much has already been made in this debate of these deputations that I really understood that it was because of those deputations manifesting to the Executive Council that they preferred the present line to the Feetham line. Now we know it was not on the strength of those deputations.

MINISTER for INDUSTRY and COMMERCE (Mr. McGilligan): That was an element.

Captain REDMOND: That was an element. I wonder would it now be possible for the President, if those deputations were not exhaustive or truly representative of the whole of the border line, to constitute himself into the Boundary Commission and make inquiries along that line to see what the people along the border really think. I think it would not be at all a bad suggestion.

Mr. GOREY: What about the next line, that will change that line?

Captain REDMOND: I noticed that the Vice-President, in the course of his speech, answering a point made by Deputy Magennis, that the same criticism should be levelled against the Executive Council to-day as was levelled against the Irish Party at the time of the Buckingham Palace conference, said that he thought that that was an entire fallacy, because, I think he went on to say, at that time the Irish leaders were only representing a Party, and now they were the Executive Council of the Government of Ireland. Am I right in that?

Mr. O'HIGGINS: I pointed out that in the meantime a State has been established and we are, for the time being, the Government.

Professor MAGENNIS: Which I had also pointed out.

Captain REDMOND: If I might be [1461] allowed further to augment the Vice-President's remark, I think that, a fortiori, if leaders of a Party were criticised for a certain course of action which they definitely and stoutly refused to take, members of an Executive Council and of a Government ought to deserve far more criticism for the same course of action which they actually did take. However that may be, I would like it to be understood that the attitude I am taking up to-day in conformity with my two colleagues, Deputy A. Byrne and Deputy J. Cosgrave, is the same attitude that I have adopted ever since the formation and creation and the coming into law and existence of this Treaty. This Treaty was none of my making; it was none of their making. I placed no obstacle in its path; I never suggested that anything should be done either about the formation or the conduct of the Boundary Commission. I left all that to those who were responsible for the Treaty, for the conduct of the Government under the Treaty, and for the setting up and the work of the Commission under the Treaty. I am leaving it now, as I did then, to those who are responsible, because they have got a majority in this House; who know that they are responsible; who should and must be held responsible to the people of the country. I am certainly going to place no obstacle in their way in the direction which they say they think will be the best; but in view of my own position, in view of the attitude that as an Irish Nationalist I have always adopted towards the Boundary question, in view of my own past, and in view of the past of others, I feel that I, for one, could not possibly support this Bill.

Mr. P.J. EGAN: We have listened to still another eloquent and vigorous speech without having had put before us a single constructive thought in dealing with the matter before the Dáil. I listened in vain to both Deputy Redmond and Deputy Magennis for any constructive thought. After all, the plain man in the street has a right to know when a policy is criticised what they are prepared to put up in place of it. Have they got anything; [1462] have they any proposition; have they got any way out of the trouble? Could they help us in any way whatsoever, good, bad or indifferent? No. Their whole attitude has been an attitude of destructive criticism from start to finish. I suppose there is no easier pastime than destructive criticism. Anybody can play at that game. But it does not get us any further; it does not help us out of our difficulties, and it certainly is not helping to solve this problem.

Deputy Magennis started off by passing strong reflections on the capacity, or want of capacity, of the various members of the Executive Council, collectively and individually. He made it very clear that he did not wish to impeach their patriotism or their sense of public duty, but he also made it clear that he had the supremest contempt for their capacity and for their fitness to handle the problem with which we were faced. So far so good. But although he spent two hours or more in addressing the Dáil—and to be perfectly candid I always enjoy Deputy Magennis from the point of view of eloquence; I always listen to him with great pleasure and I did so last night; that is to say, if one is to judge his speech altogether from the rhetorical point of view—although he treated us to all the usual polemics with which we are familiar, and gave us the benefit of all his resources in the matter of eloquence, when I tried to grope through what he had told us for two and a half hours I simply could not find one single constructive comment. There again I say that the Dáil has not benefited by listening to speeches of that sort. I think when people take up the time of the House even at eloquent length, the House is entitled to ask them what their cure is, but we have not received any help at all.

Now, as far as the Bill is concerned, personally I am convinced that the members of the Executive Council made a very good bargain. I consider that from the commercial point of view the elimination of our very indefinite but very considerable financial liability under Clause V. of the Treaty is a very great triumph. I think that in the [1463] wiping of the slate clean from this heavy obligation they have done a wonderful thing in the matter of establishing our national credit. I am afraid that in this country there is not quite the attention paid to the matter of national credit that there should be. The whole economic future of the State is absolutely wrapped up in our financial credit. There are two classes of criticism which are generally levelled in connection with the elimination of Article V. First of all, you have the very superior person who says with a superior smile: “Oh, Article V. was simply inserted in the Treaty as mere eye-wash or padding; it was never meant to have any significance whatever, apart from ornament, and it was not meant to be treated seriously.” I submit that is an exceedingly dangerous type of argument for anyone to indulge in. If that criticism can be levelled against any clause in the Treaty it can, with perfect logic, be levelled against every other clause, and it would follow then that you had no Treaty at all. I do not subscribe to that. I will not prognosticate what our liability to England would be in the balance of our accounts with England. If I did so it would be a case of “fools rushing in where angels fear to tread.” I say that I am not prepared to gamble for paying any part of the total national debt of Great Britain. It would be about eight thousand millions to my mind. No matter how you arrive at the amount on the basis of population and set off anything you can set off, you are going to arrive at a sum of money utterly beyond the resources of the new state of Ireland. Consequently, I am not prepared to gamble on that, and I think anyone who would gamble on that would be doing a very serious thing.

To come back to this matter of our national credit. When I speak of national credit I am not considering the opinion which the Irish people have of their own financial resources, but, what is a great deal more important, I refer to our standing in the great financial world. I can visualise the time in the near or distant future when the Minister for Finance will [1464] have to float a large loan upon which he will have to depend for external support. Now I want to know, supposing our Irish Free State is mortgaged up to the hilt as to its resources and that there is a large unascertained—all the more dangerous because unascertained—debt looming in front of us, what would the response be from the financial world when our Minister for Finance would invite a loan? It would be absolutely nil. I would like to remind the House in this connection that the question of our ability to pay does not enter into the matter at all. If a man or a country owes a debt the question that does count is does he pay it, and not whether he can pay it or not. He is not going to get off on the ground that you cannot get blood out of a turnip. If he does he has the status of a defaulter and no one will touch him. His credit is gone, and that is precisely what would have happened in the case of Ireland in the near future. From that point of view, I consider that we gain enormously by having the slate wiped clean and instead of having to pay a probably huge sum of money which would tax our resources we are getting off with a mere £4,000,000 or £5,000,000. One of the most valuable parts of this proposed Agreement, to my mind, is number 5:

“The powers in relation to Northern Ireland which by the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, are made powers of the Council of Ireland shall be and are hereby transferred to and shall become powers of the Parliament and the Government of Northern Ireland; and the Governments of the Irish Free State and of Northern Ireland shall meet together as and when necessary for the purpose of considering matters of common interest arising out of or connected with the exercise and administration of the said powers.”

To my mind we advance a very long way when an arrangement is made by which the Northern Government and the Irish Free State Government will automatically come together to exchange views.

[1465] Mr. JOHNSON: Will the Deputy say how the “automatically” comes in?

Mr. EGAN: They come together as and when the necessity arises.

Mr. JOHNSON: Who decides that?

Mr. EGAN: They come together when any point arises which will require their joint consultation.

Mr. JOHNSON: What is automatic about it? What is the machine or impulse?

Mr. EGAN: The Agreement is.

Mr. JOHNSON: Then it is at the option of either party to meet the other.

Mr. EGAN: It will be a matter of mutual arrangement, obviously.

Mr. JOHNSON: It is not automatic then?

Mr. EGAN: If the Deputy finds fault with my phraseology I make him a present of it.

Mr. JOHNSON: “Automatically” suggests constitutional arrangement, which makes all the difference in the world.

Mr. EGAN: I do not know what the word “automatic” suggests to Deputy Johnson, but I know what it suggests to me. Anyhow it is a good thing that any provision could be made whereby the two Governments could come together to discuss matters of interest. I think we have made a great step forward in having that arrangement, because, up to now, we have unfortunately been at arm's length, and I am hopeful that the operation of that portion of the Agreement will be one of the things which will gradually bring about the very much-to-be-desired friendly relations. I am one of those people who have never had any particular confidence in the Boundary Commission. I never lived in a fool's paradise over the Boundary Commission. It was inevitable, taking all the circumstances into account, that no award by any human beings could have been given which would have left each side satisfied. It [1466] appeared to me to be inevitable from the very start that if and when an award was issued it was bound to be taken exception to by one side. I hold the view that the whole question between North and South will be settled, and will only be settled, by mutual agreement and good-will, from whatever source it springs. It is utterly impossible to fix it in any other fashion. and I believe that this Agreement has undoubtedly led to the basis of a proper atmosphere to exist between the two countries. I am firmly convinced that in the near future better relations will prevail.

There is one way to my mind by which the North will be induced to come in, when we have given them an example of good government and of low taxation, and in getting rid of our huge obligations under Article V. of the Treaty we are paving the way for that state of affairs. I believe that it is inevitable in the very near future that we will have a lower rate of taxation than they will have in Northern Ireland, and I think that, in the case of Northern Ireland, as in the case of most other countries and most other peoples, money is one of the things that talks. I believe that when we have shown them that we have been capable of successfully managing our affairs and that we have arrived at a stage when we have lower taxation than they, the time will be ripe for the two countries to come together. But there can never be any fusion between Northern Ireland and the Free State by force, by boundary commissions, or by anything except by mutual agreement, by a mutual understanding of one another. I consider that the Agreement which the Executive Council has asked the House to ratify is a good one, and I sincerely hope that the House—I know the people of the country will do so— will endorse it, because I believe it contains the germs of a very excellent settlement and a very excellent future for the two countries.

Mr. JOHNSON: The Deputy who has just sat down tells us now that he never had any faith in the Commission and, I presume, he used his persuasive powers on the Government to that [1467] end. Possibly he did persuade the Government that there was no good coming out of the Commission, that possibly, also, the Government was afraid to give expression to its opinion in this regard eighteen or fifteen months ago. I put it to the Deputy and to the House that if he had then spoken about his lack of faith in the Commission and the outcome of the Commission we might have had a different story to-day. Had the Ministry approached the Northern Ministry at that time with the good will that they now say they are offering they could have got this boundary unquestionably, without sacrificing anything else.

Mr. BLYTHE: What did we sacrifice?

Mr. JOHNSON: I will come to that later. Deputy Egan is culpably responsible for the trouble in which the Donegal Deputies have felt themselves. He did not give expression to his lack of faith in the Boundary Commission when the matter was before the Dáil at the setting up of the Commission. That was the time when he should have said that he had no faith in the Commission. Of course, Ministers have also told us that they were not very confident, that the Boundary Commission was not an ideal solution, and so on. It is well to have these statements now and to have them on record. The Deputy started off by asking what was the alternative. Well, if we wanted simply to follow the precedent set by Ministers and the President we would answer in the President's own words: “Our position is the Treaty, the whole Treaty, and nothing but the Treaty.” For quite a long time now, as it seems, certainly if we live in deeds, a very long time, but since the year 1921, we have been told that we were going to ensure that the Treaty would be observed, that the Treaty would be enforced, and really the position that we are now discussing is whether the occasion has arrived when the Treaty shall not be enforced, when the provisions of the Treaty shall no longer apply. That is the question before the House—to what extent the Treaty is to be maintained. Ministers tell us that up to now the Treaty was an agreement that it was [1468] necessary to maintain in its entirety for the well-being of the country. But now the well-being of the country demands that it shall be altered in a particular respect, and they have endeavoured to argue that the alterations of the Treaty, which was sacred up to now, have to be on the lines of this Agreement that was made in London last week. The document contains four proposals, in effect: That the power conferred by the proviso to Article XII. shall be revoked; that the obligation under Article V. shall no longer apply; that the Free State shall pay certain sums of money for which hitherto we have not had liability, and that the Council of Ireland provisions, and all that they imply, shall be revoked.

On this matter of the finances I am quite prepared to see the force of the case made by Ministers and Deputy Egan that there is much more to be said for having a definite knowledge of one's liabilities than for having indefiniteness over our heads. I am willing to concede to Ministers all they have to say on that. But I am not willing to concede to them that their inability to produce any counter-claim under Article V. which would be a satisfaction for the hundred and fifty or hundred and seventy millions that has been claimed by the British Government ought to be bought off by this payment of £250,000 a year. If Ministers had no faith in their counter-claim they have a good case, but let them tell us that. Presumably, they had at least gone some distance on the road to estimating or to laying the foundations of their claim before they came to the actual calculations. They could tell us whether they were counting, as I think it was mentioned yesterday, upon the Free State's proportion of British assets, in addition to the alleged over-taxation charges, and so on. They surely have not been carrying on for four years without having considered this matter in view of their knowledge that indefiniteness was a defect, that it was dangerous to the national credit to have this continued indefiniteness. They surely have gone some distance towards defining what the counter-claim was and have a right [1469] to tell us whether the sums that have been mentioned before were greater and whether they believed their claim was strong enough to coerce, in the legal sense, an arbitrator that it would amount to more than the £170,000,000 mentioned here to-day. If they tell us that they had no faith in their contentions and that they were bought off cheaply at £5,000,000 then we have simply to make some computation of their veracity in the past.

Coming on to the other side, the proviso to Article XII. is being annulled. Why is it being annulled? It is being annulled because the Commission which was demanded was believed to be on the point of bringing in a report which was not satisfactory. The proviso to the Article, of course, we are all familiar with:

“Provided that 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 as may be compatible with economic and geographic conditions the boundaries between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland——”

and so on. Well, they have been insisting—we have attempted to support them in their insistence—that if that proviso meant anything it meant that the wishes of the inhabitants in the area concerned, such area to be later defined, were to be ascertained and that the Commission would act accordingly.

The late development of this question is very interesting, in view of the climax. Up to a very recent date the insistence of the Government was that the wishes of the inhabitants must be the main determining factor of the Commission's award, but very recently the Ministry's tune changed. They side-tracked a motion which was in course of circulation in this House by Deputy McCullough dealing with the wishes of the inhabitants and they introduced [1470] an entirely different motion. The two of them are in my possession. The first was circulated and then recalled, and for it was substituted the resolution which was moved by Deputy McCullough which was a protest against the transfer of territory. I would like to draw from the Ministers, if they will be so good, the reason for that change of tune. The tune which was played was, as I say, that the wishes of the inhabitants were to be the dominant factor in the drawing of any Boundary line, that they were insisting on that from the beginning to almost the end, but when the question arose at a critical moment, their decision was to insist on another reading of the Treaty and the Commission's terms of reference, that reading being that there was no authority in the Commission to transfer any Free State territory to Northern Ireland. That is to say, they were beginning to copy Sir James Craig's motto: “Not an inch.” I would like to know, if we can be given the information, why that change took place.

The Minister for Justice, on the 1st August, 1924, said: “To my mind the North-eastern position was perhaps the biggest factor for the acceptance of that responsibility,” that was to say, the inability to enforce the Republican Party's proposition that Dáil Eireann was sovereign over the whole country.

“As a practical proposition it did seem that that situation of close on a million people, utterly hostile to the objective which the rest of us had written up as our war programme, did necessitate some compromise by which the unity of this country could be preserved and some compromise which would enable time to play its part in solving a problem which had for a variety of reasons become very inflamed and very embittered indeed.”

A little further on in the same speech he said:—“There has been no territorial ambition on the part of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, who simply desire that the residents of these Northern areas should have their rights which were secured for them by the Treaty which Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins signed.” Referring to a motion which I put forward [1471] on the 12th August last year, he said:— “We have to surrender the rights which the Treaty signed by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins won for those friends of ours in the North-eastern area. We have to tear up now the International document which secured those rights for them. We are to put ourselves before the world in the position of being branded and blackguarded from end to end as people who have broken faith.” Now we will note the insistence. They were obliged to accept some compromise in the making of the Treaty by which the unity of the country could be preserved.

Sitting suspended at 6.35 p.m, and resumed at 7.15 p.m.


Mr. JOHNSON: Before the adjournment I had been drawing attention to the policy of the Ministry up to very recent times. The policy stated by the President is, in very few words: “Our position is the Treaty, the whole Treaty, and nothing but the Treaty.” The view that has now taken the place of that is that the Treaty must be amended, and amended in the particular form which this Agreement and the Bill sets forth. I quoted from statements made by the Minister for Justice and the President to show that the policy of the Government, at the signing of the Treaty, had been to maintain the unity of Ireland, and that in the signing of it some compromise was necessary for the purpose, the avowed purpose, of maintaining the unity of Ireland. I quoted also to show their insistence time and again that the friends of ours in the North-East area should be protected—“that the rights which the Treaty, signed by Griffith and Collins, won for those friends of ours in the North-East area, should be protected.” That has been the policy, I said, of the Ministry up to very recent times. I pointed out that when we arrive at the 19th November the President appears to have changed his ground and laid special emphasis, not upon the rights of friends of ours in the [1472] North-Eastern counties, but upon friends of ours, citizens of the Free State, who are in the Free State, and his primary desire was to secure that they would not be transferred.

The Ministry's contention was that the terms of reference of the Commission set up under Article XII. did not permit them to bring in an award which would transfer any Free State territory to the North. I was twitted by the Minister for Justice over the position I took up when Deputy McCullough brought in his motion on the 19th November. There had been a certain amount of excitement created by the reports in the morning papers— the “Morning Post” and other papers —over the coming decision of the Commission. I took the position, which I think I was justified in taking, that this was an excitement being artificially generated, first in the NorthEastern area, and responded to by people on the Free State side of the Border. The idea was to create an artificial excitement.

I knew, if I were to believe the protestations of Ministers time and time again, that the wishes of the inhabitants had not been ascertained, that we could not contemplate a report of the Commission, a definitive report, until that process had been gone through. On those counts I deprecated, in the course of my speech, the artificial excitement that seemed to me to be in course of generation. Judge my surprise and astonishment when the President read a carefully prepared statement which showed that, instead of the wishes of the inhabitants being uppermost in the minds of the Ministry as being the dominant requirement of the Boundary Commission, they were fearful, or rather they were not fearful, according to the actual language of the President's statement, but they told us there was no need to be fearful, because the “Morning Post's” prognostication, its prophecy, could not, if the Boundary Commissioners were sane men, have any foundation in reality. “Until I have some better proof to the contrary,” the President said, “than the publication in the ‘Morning Post,’ I prefer to think that the members of the Commission are men who place a value [1473] on impartial justice. They will respect the considerations which have been laid down for their guidance and direction and they will not allow outside considerations to sway them from the path of judicial honesty.”

We have not yet had publicly stated any really definite information as to the contents of that projected report. We have had certain hints, suggestions, and animadversions upon it from Dr. MacNeill, and we have had created an assumption that the Feetham report was to be a report very much like, if not absolutely the same as the “Morning Post's” prophecy. I take it, in the absence of any other information, and in view of the proceedings that have taken place since the 19th November, that the Ministry have now been made aware of the contents of that report and they are satisfied it was proposed to transfer considerable areas, or, shall I say areas, from the Free State to Northern Ireland.

It was because of the eruption from Donegal particularly that the President was moved, that the Ministry was moved, to go to London and endeavour to prevent the report being issued. I must say it seems to me a very strange attitude for Deputies from Donegal to adopt. There was a report expected which was to deprive that county of a certain slice of its territory and transfer it to the Six Counties. Now they feel that position has been altered. The possibility of that transfer has been avoided and, therefore, they are content. Everything else is quite satisfactory.

It was the most terrible thing imaginable for a slice of Donegal to be placed under the Northern Parliament, but in respect to the rest of the Six Counties, in respect to Derry City, East Tyrone, South Fermanagh, South Armagh, and South Down, areas which, according to the wishes of the inhabitants, according to the Treaty provisions and the evidence that was conclusive in their view and in the view of the Ministers a month or two ago, should be transferred into the Saorstát, there was no need to trouble about them. They were to be left over. On the assumption that this Bill was to pass, and on the settlement, as it is called, being ratified, [1474] it did not matter to Donegal what became of those people from those other counties, who also expected, under the terms of the Treaty, to be transferred into the Saorstát.

Was there anything really fearful, was there anything to be afraid of by the Donegal Deputies, regarding the transfer of Donegal territory into the Six County area? Why were they afraid? Was it purely for financial reasons? Was it simply and only because they feared £60,000 worth of rateable valuation would be taken from them? Was that the only reason? I wonder will any Donegal Deputies answer me that? Was their only reason that they feared certain financial loss to the County Council? If that was the only reason, let them avow it. If it was not, why are they so satisfied now that the people of East Tyrone, South Fermanagh, Derry City, South Armagh and South Down are to be left under the jurisdiction of the Government and Parliament which they themselves were so fearful about?

It is a position which requires some explanation, and I think the friends of those Deputies who are on the Border, the friends of those Deputies in Derry City, will want to ask for very solid reasons why Donegal Deputies who were so fearful of the possibility of transfer of any of their friends from the Saorstát should leave the rest to the bitterness, shall I say, to the fate which they had hoped to be relieved from.

Now we have been informed—and this is the crux—that there is a new spirit developed at Locarno—no, not at Locarno, but in London. The President said “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 the problems which four years ago were then, as events have proved, impossible of solution.” “No one even in 1921 regarded the formula of Article XII. of the Treaty as an ideal solution of the problem that it had been intended to deal with. No one looked to it to do more than relieve the situation of some of its difficulties.” Well, take the first portion of that statement. Will the President give us any evidence of this new atmosphere of friendship [1475] and brotherhood? When did it begin? Did it begin when the representatives of the three Governments met in London? Was it there it suddenly sprung into life? Had it existed any time prior to that? If it had existed any time prior to that, where is the evidence?

I am as anxious as any Deputy in the Dáil to see a spirit of concord, of comradeship and good-fellowship between the people, North, South, East and West. We have been associated in our Labour movement with organisations and members of organisations that have their membership all over Ireland, and our closest friends are men who live in the North. Many of our most active colleagues are men who live in Belfast and Derry, and it is natural that we should desire to see developed, and to do nothing to prevent the development of, a spirit of amity and concord. I am one who has insisted pretty frequently upon this—that association in other walks of life than politics will eventually bring about the unity which we desire. But I am one also of those who have never depreciated, in any degree, the importance of political institutions, institutions of Government that are representative of the people. I think it is a mistake for people to say that politics do not matter, that only economic influences are at work, and that economic influences are the sole and final factor in the development of social life; I deny that; I do not hold it at all. I believe that political institutions are of the greatest importance either to assist or retard the development of that spirit of concord and growing together of a people or peoples. Therefore it is that I feel very sorely about this particular proposal, because I see in it without any question—and it is not denied—the cutting of whatever has been left of the organic unity between the two parts of this country.

I asked what was the evidence of this new spirit, this new atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood. I am told that within a week or fortnight past there has been a very considerable series of raids on political people in the North, that men in considerable numbers have been arrested and interned [1476] because of activities or alleged activities, and because of political associations of months and years ago. Now, if that is true, it does not indicate the existence of this new atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood up to a week ago. I would desire that the Minister would tell us what is at the back of this, what is the evidence of this new atmosphere, this new friendship and brotherhood. There is not the slightest doubt that everything that is contained in this Agreement, so far as the North of Ireland had a say in the matter, could have been attained any time within the last four years. There have been offers from Ministers of Northern Ireland to have these conferences in matters of common interest within the last twelve months. It has been an open secret that the Northern Ministry was anxious to have such meetings with the Ministry here, and with Ministers here, any time within the last couple of years. There is nothing new in that. But what then is the explanation? It is clearly that the claim of the Northern Government which they have insisted on from the beginning has not changed in any degree. It has been conceded. Of course, when you give a man all he asks for, he is naturally going to say you are a very fine fellow; if you continue to do the same, if you continue to give him all he asks for, he will praise you up to the skies. That is for public consumption. But he will have a certain contempt for you for private use.

I am going to ask the Dáil to consider the attitude of the Northern Government, and the Northern people any time within the last ten years, and longer if you like. Since the 1914 Home Rule Bill was brought forward, and before the Home Rule Bill was brought forward, at the time of the Covenant, their contention was: “Not an inch. What we have we hold. There is not going to be any giving away on our part to any Government in Dublin. We are not going to allow our people to come under the Governmental influence and control of these people of the South and West.” There are Deputies on the Ministerial Benches who know very well the history of that [1477] time. Since the 1914 Home Rule Bill which became the Government of Ireland Act, and, following that, the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, right on from the beginning to now, they had insisted that they were not going to come within the Irish polity, they were not going to allow their people and their territory to be governed by an Irish Government.

The 1920 Act was, as they say, forced upon them against their will. It provided for a Government for the Six Counties of Northern Ireland, and, while they did not vote for it, when they saw there was no way out, they decided they would accept it, but at the same time they decided they were not going to have anything to do with the government of Ireland. Has there been any change? Not an inch.

Before the Treaty was signed, there was, as Deputy Mulcahy revealed to the House some months ago, a series of letters communicated from the delegation in London to Ministers in Dublin. Passages from those letters have been published in the republican newspapers and read by Mr. de Valera at Limerick. These letters, going on from the beginning of November, will show that there was a continual struggle on behalf of the delegation for the unity of Ireland. The Vice-President told us that the unity of Ireland was to be preserved, it was one of their desires, and “that the conditions of the North necessitated some compromise by which the unity of the country could be preserved.” It is clear from the communications that were sent from the delegation in London that there was a considerable struggle in respect to the Ulster position. A proposal was made for an All-Ireland Parliament with certain rights to Ulster. Mr. Griffith said “that that was their proposal. It was not his proposal.” This kind of communication was repeated over a series of letters culminating in this statement: “I said I had written them a letter in which I conditionally accepted association with the British Empire and recognition of the Crown in exchange for essential unity.” The dates of those letters are very interesting if we relate them to the letters sent by Mr. Lloyd George [1478] to Sir James Craig, making his proposal and informing Sir James Craig of the intention of the British Ministers. They coincide accurately with the reports coming from London to the Dáil Cabinet. C and D Clauses of the proposal at that time state that “the Government of Northern Ireland would retain all powers conferred on her by the Government of Ireland Act. The unity of Ireland would be recognised by the establishment of an All-Ireland Parliament upon which would be devolved the further powers necessary to form a self-governing State.”

That was dissented from by Sir James Craig. He said in reply: “The possible unity of Ireland is provided by the establishment of the Council of Ireland under the Act of 1920 together with machinery for creating a Parliament for all Ireland, should Northern and Southern Ireland mutually agree to do so. An all-Ireland Parliament cannot, under existing circumstances, be accepted by Northern Ireland. Such a Parliament is precisely what Ulster has for many years resisted by all means at her disposal and her detestation of it is in no degree diminished by the local institutions conferred upon her by the Act of 1920.” A later letter from Mr. Lloyd George to Sir James Craig says: “All experience proves, moreover, that so complete a partition of Ireland as you propose must militate with increasing force against the ultimate unity which you yourself hope will one day be possible. Your proposal will stereotype a frontier, based neither upon natural features nor broad geographical considerations, by giving it the character of an international boundary.” His (Sir James Craig's) proposals, by the way, were to increase the powers of the Northern Parliament and detach it from what was then contemplated to be the Free State. Mr. Lloyd George said: “Partition on these lines the majority of the Irish people will never accept nor could we conscientiously attempt to enforce it. It would be fatal to that purpose of a lasting settlement in which these negotiations from the very outset have been steadily directed.” A little further he said: “The majority in Southern Ireland have a strong sense of responsibility [1479] for their co-religionists in the Six Counties. The majority there have an equal interest in your sympathy and support.”

There was a reply to that from Sir James Craig. There had been a suggestion for a conference on the condition that they should agree to the establishment of an All-Ireland Parliament or that the proposal to establish an All-Ireland Parliament would be accepted. He says: “To enter a conference on such a condition would, in our view, be dishonest, since we know that in no circumstances would Ulster accept such a position, involving permanent subordination to Sinn Fein. We are strongly convinced that it would only tend to make settlement more difficult and encourage false hopes, if even by implication, we discussed a condition which cannot be conceded.” There is ample evidence in those documents and, of course, there is the public knowledge that the Northern Government and the Ulster Unionist Council, who control the Northern Government, have consistently and insistently taken the view that they will not associate with Ireland in a political unity. But the people who signed the Treaty, the people who ratified it, and the people who acquiesced in the Treaty position rely on the position created by the Treaty, by the correspondence which led up to the Treaty; and the Minister for Justice, as well as the President, and other Ministers and Deputies, have never hesitated to make the claim that under the Treaty, Saorstát Eireann was created as an all-Ireland entity.

There were two possibilities in respect of North-East Ulster. There was the possibility of their accepting the position and retaining all their powers, and their present territory within the polity of Ireland, or if they refused to do that, then their position was to remain subordinate, with the retention of a link “by which the permanent unity of the country could be preserved,” to use the phrase of the Minister for Justice. I ask the Minister for Justice, Deputy Egan, and others, who are now saying that this Council of Ireland provision was of no value, why was it inserted with such [1480] deliberateness in the Treaty? It followed these discussions about an all-Ireland Parliament. Remember, it is within their knowledge, as it is now within the knowledge of Deputies, that in those Treaty discussions there was insistence on the unity of Ireland, insistence upon maintaining that single political entity, and finally there had to be a compromise made in the final settlement which gave the North-Eastern Counties an option. There was still presented to them machinery by which unity could be preserved, some form by which the organic connection could be maintained. What was that organic connection? It was the Council of Ireland, that which it is now intended to be cut, that which was intended to retain the essential unity which Ministers then believed was essential to the welfare and the well-being of the country, but which the Ulster Unionist Council consistently and insistently said they would never agree to. Now Ministers come along and say the Ulster Unionist Council was right. They may have all they demand; we were wrong in maintaining this bond of union, or, if you like to put it so, this organic connection, which, if used, would be useful and grow, but which, if not accepted, would be an irritant and a preventative to that development into independent statehood which the Northern Government are asking for. The Council of Ireland, it has been suggested, has been insisted upon by me as a valuable contribution, and it has been said that I have a pathetic regard for it. If I may be reminiscent, I will tell Deputies that I had a conversation, I think on or about the 9th or 10th of December 1921, with Michael Collins on this very subject, and he was quite as insistent then upon the value of this Council of Ireland provision as I am to-day as being the means of securing at some time in the future the essential unity and would prevent the possibility of the absolute break which was being demanded by the North of Ireland, and which would never have been thought of by the Dáil of that period.

There are two or three Articles in the Treaty which rest upon this proposition of the Council of Ireland. The whole system envisaged by the Treaty and envisaged [1481] by our Constitution assumes that there is going to be an organic unity between Northern Ireland and Saorstát Eireann. If you cut out this now you are cutting out that completely and absolutely, and I say that your contention which has been the subject of discussion in some of the courts—the contention may be doubtful, I am not going to be dogmatic about it, but Ministers can say what they wish on this—that the territorial waters of the Six Counties are within the authority of Saorstát Eireann is cut away by the provisions of this Bill.

The contention is also cut away that there cannot be added to the Northern Ireland Government any powers without the consent of the Saorstát, and you are having placed before you now the position that all those contentions of past politicians, from I do not know how far back, but certainly ever since Home Rule was brought into the region of practical politics, to use Gladstone's phrase, that there was to be in Ireland a unity for political purposes—is now being reversed completely. In Home Rule Bills “Ireland” was dealt with. In the 1914 Act there was a possibility of partition of Six Counties for a period, and the question arose as to whether their coming in or their going out was to be a matter of fresh legislation, but in the Act that was passed there was no permanent cut away. In the 1920 Act provision was made for two separate Parliaments, with a Council which was to be a kind of super-Parliament to which powers would be added by identical Acts after consultations such as are mentioned in this provision here. The 1920 Act did not come into effective operation in the twenty-six counties. It did come into effective operation in the North, and then came the Treaty. Is anybody going to say that the Treaty contemplated the cutting out permanently of the Six Counties from Ireland as a political organisation? If you say that, then you brand these people who made the Treaty as being false in their statements. If you say it did on the contrary retain this essential unity then you are asked now to undo in this matter what the Treaty-makers did and [1482] what all other men speaking for Ireland in these negotiations for self-government also insisted upon. The question then arises as to the alternative. Ministers say: “We are prepared to cut away this bond of union or this political organic connection and we are prepared to substitute for it the conference method. We will establish something in the shape of two separate and independent Governments and make two States of this one. We will establish them as independent States without any connection, and we will trust for the growth of amity and goodwill to the development of this conference method and Government by conference in matters which concern the joint interests.”

I put against that the maintenance of the provisions of the Treaty. When Deputy Egan spoke—I do not want to lay too much stress on it, but it illustrates my point—he suggested that because of this Agreement there would be automatic consultations and conferences in matters which are of common interest; that “the two Governments would meet together as and when necessary for the purpose of considering matters of common interest.” To begin with, they may come together and consider matters of common interest as and when necessary, if they please. Nothing has ever prevented them but the unwillingness of one or the other. Nothing ever prevents that between any two countries but the unwillingness of one or the other. And if the two Governments come together and consult and agree upon any matter of common interest then each side “will take the steps that are necessary to give effect to the agreement.” But if they do not agree, then there is no common solution of any problem of common interest. They go different ways and the probability is that unless the change takes place which is hoped for and expected by the Ministry, the policy of “not an inch” will continue. Unless in these matters of common interest the Northern Government gets its way the conference is useless. This motto of “not an inch,” as anybody that understands the Ulster Unionist Council and the mentality that is embodied in it realises [1483] quite well, means that when they speak of “not an inch” they are not thinking of territory only. They are thinking of the world of social affairs, political institutions, powers of Government and social life generally.

I have had a fairly long and a very intimate experience of the Northern people who constitute the elements that go to make up the Ulster Unionist Council. I think I understand more intimately perhaps than the great majority of Deputies here the way they look at problems affecting the people of Ireland. While what I say does not embrace everyone—I know there are many exceptions outside the elements that make up the political governing body in the North—the mentality of these people is to treat the “South and West”—a term which is taken to include people even who live in Donegal or the Falls Road—as inferior clay. It is contempt they have for you. That is the mentality. You may talk about this new spirit of friendship and brotherhood, but honestly I would like to see some evidence of it. I believe there is a sufficient leaven in the commercial, industrial, intellectual and artistic life of Ulster to wipe out eventually this feeling of contempt for the mere Irish, but it is not yet in the councils of Government.

Mr. BAXTER: And if England does not interfere.

Mr. JOHNSON: That is what I am coming to. The evidences of what I say are found in recent developments in regard to the gerrymandering of constituencies, and in the building up of its “B” Special forces. The whole atmosphere of the Government of Northern Ireland is impregnated with this feeling of contempt for the Irish. They associate them with inefficiency, with dirt and with everything that is “degraded,” in a literal sense. They are superior; they are the dominating race. They have embodied in them what used to be called the Prussian notion, and they are the Prussians. That is evidenced in this Agreement. What is the effect of the Council of Ireland upon that? Ministers have asked for alternatives. The Council of Ireland possibly might have been an irritant. So long as they maintained [1484] this attitude their powers could not be extended. They had no authority to legislate in respect of railways, fisheries, or the contagious diseases of animals. These three were fixed and definite. Railway legislation will become a matter of considerable importance within the next few years. I do not want to stress the value of irritance, but it need not be an irritant if they are possessed of a spirit of friendship. If the spirit existed the Council of Ireland could have been amended. No doubt the provisions were not very satisfactory as a working machine. No doubt there were flaws in the building of that part of the Treaty, as in other parts. There was negligence in the making of that hurried instrument, in the actual phraseology, but if there was a desire or an atmosphere of friendship or brotherhood why did you not consider the possibilities of so amending this machine so that things could be eased for national unity and so that political relationship could have been retained? There was the line of conference and improvement if there had been any atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood. Then it would not have been an irritant, it would have been a healer, a help.

But you say “No; throw it aside; cut off the Six Counties. Let us hope that the atmosphere of brotherhood and friendship will continue and that, somehow or other, some day, the two elements will come together and knit.” I think it is generally accepted that when a State has a Parliament and Government established, the demand is not for lessening its powers, authority and status, but for the growth of its powers, authority and status. The longer the split, the partition, the division, persists without organic connection, the surer the division will be permanent. The less chances there are for uniting of two complete, compact, self-governing States the longer the division exists. I think it was stated during the debate on the policy of the Minister for Education that the ideal was a Gaelic State, a Gaelic Ireland, at-least something emboding what is believed to have been the Gaelic conception of social life. It was believed that that ideal would be gradually approximated to in the Saorstát. With a view [1485] to that, the Education system is being directed, and in the minds of many it is desired that there should be some definite move towards an objective of that kind. If you make this absolute cut, do you expect any national unity to come, the Free State going towards the Gaelic conception and Ulster, dominated and directed by the Ulster Unionist Council, going in an entirely opposite direction—commercialised, capitalised and completely industrialised? It seems to me that the break is going to add to the difficulties of the Free State in its objective. Are you going to assist the Nationalists of the Six Counties of that way of thinking by this break? As I said a little while ago, a political State organisation can do much to assist or to retard the cultural influences, the educational influences, the social influences brought about by industrial associations and the like. The unity which these associations might tend to bring into being can be assisted or retarded by political institutions. I say that the policy of the Ulster Government will undoubtedly be to retard any development amongst the National, or Gaelic, elements in the Six Counties towards the ideal which we would like to see in a united Ireland. The unifying influences of your cultural associations are going to be damaged by this political cut. It will be answered, of course, with some justice, that the existence of a Six-County Government or a Four-County Government, or a Two-County Government would just have the same effect upon the people within the ambit of that Government. I admit that. So long as you make that cut complete, that division takes place. What I am contending all this time is that in your negotiations for the Treaty, and in the Treaty, as it was made, there was retained something, however attenuated, which meant a unity, which meant that for some functions of government there was an Irish organisation with control. If it were only one single function, I say it would gradually add to itself other functions. If you had proposed to this conference the setting up of a Council to replace, if you like, the Council of Ireland, if you had proposed to set up a Council to deal with [1486] agriculture, if you like, to deal with railways, if you like, to deal with any single function of Government or any administrative Department, then I think you would have been doing good work and you would have been ensuring ultimate unity. With this proposal you are destroying the chance of that ultimate unity.

We are asked what is the alternative. Of course, there is no alternative to the Treaty unless the Northern Government were prepared to consider alternatives within the unity of Ireland. If you say “Produce your alternative” when there is an absolute refusal to confer on any condition which will pre-suppose an Irish unity, then there is no alternative to the Treaty.

The provisions of the Treaty in respect to these unifying influences were, I admit, very thin and very attenuated, and it would require the co-operation of the Northern Government to make valuable, in the growth of unity, those provisions, but it was their responsibility. It could be made valuable if this new spirit really existed, but are we to say that because they refused to discuss any question which pre-supposed Irish political unity that, there fore, we are to cut away the chances of unity? If there was a willingness to consult, to consider and to confer and to argue as to the government of Ireland, then Ministers might well have proposed what has been proposed—the setting up of a council either of this particular kind or vocational councils which are provided for in the Constitution where, in matters affecting Northern Ireland, they would undoubtedly have a majority voice in any decision. If there was a willingness to consult with the Free State Government in any matter affecting Ireland as Ireland, then there were many proposals which have been carefully thought out but which are useless unless there is a willingness to think of Ireland as Ireland. Ministers told us, and Deputies appear to be willing to approve, that inasmuch as the Ulster Unionist Council declined to think in terms of Ireland in any matter politically, administratively, or within the region of Government, that therefore there is no alternative but to say “Cut away; we detach you [1487] from this national entity and are willing that you should go in the hope that some day you will come back.” I do not think that there is any reason to believe that there will be any coming back merely by virtue of the kind of conference that is suggested here. If I saw any evidence of it, if I saw any change of mind in regard to it, I would begin to think that there might be something in it, but even then I think it would be a fatal mistake to cut away the organic connection.

Ministers have prepared very much evidence for presentation to the Boundary Commission in this handbook on the Ulster Question. They circulated it to Deputies some considerable time ago, and I have no doubt it has been read with interest by the majority. There is a very clear case for the claim that under the terms of the Treaty portion of the present Six County area ought to be transferred to the Free State if the wishes of the inhabitants are to be given effect to. We have encouraged the belief amongst those people that there was a probability, nay, a certainty, that considerable numbers would be transferred. It is, of course, generally known that I have not had a great deal of faith in the value of the Boundary Commission. Since a year ago I have had no faith in it. Since the Boundary Commission was actually set up I have had no faith in it whatever. On the contrary, I believed that it was certain to produce results which would be damaging and unsatisfying, and probably disastrous. But I think if there was a sense of trusteeship for the Nationalists of the Six Counties held by the people of the Saorstát, if there was that sense of trusteeship, we surely had a right to meet and consult, and we surely had a right to have some conference with them before agreeing to this pact.


Mr. JOHNSON: The President has told us that deputation after deputation came and expressed to him the desire to retain the present line, that it was better than the line that was feared would come out of the Boundary [1488] Commission. Of course the Minister may have had many deputations, but certainly if my information is right, that was not the view of all the deputations. The views of many of the deputations were expressed in a way which this communication would suggest. It is from Newry and reads:

“When this morning I asked a leading citizen of Newry his opinion of the Agreement he answered me tersely, ‘sold again.’ On consideration, I think he was slightly in error, because it is usual, when one is selling an article, to get something in exchange, as otherwise it would be a gift and not a sale. In this instance, it seems to me that the Free State Executive have not only got nothing in exchange for the surrender of the Boundary portion of Article XII., but that they will be actually out of pocket to the tune of over four million pounds if the figures in the Irish Independent are correct. Truly this is adding insult to injury, to sell us at such a price. I think it is a fair statement of fact to say that we are being thrown to the wolves by the Free State Executive.”

That illustrates the state of mind that the Nationalists on the Border counties have been placed in, and I think it is distinctly unreasonable and unfair that that agreement should have been entered into by men who consider themselves, to some degree at any rate, trustees for their fellow-Nationalists in the Northern counties without conferring with them. We have been told that the wishes of the inhabitants were to be the dominant feature of the Commission's terms of reference, and that they were the dominant feature. If it was possible for the President to speak emphatically about the Commission going outside its terms of reference when there was a suggestion of transferring Free State territory to the North, surely he had the right to speak just as emphatically and to act as emphatically when there was to be a Boundary Commission report which had not taken into account, or even attempted to ascertain by direct methods, the wishes of the inhabitants.

I say that the Northern Nationalists have a just ground for complaint, but I agree, too, that the only change that [1489] would have happened would be that there would have been fewer numbers to have a grievance, if it were a grievance, and that had the Donegal Nationalists or the Monaghan Nationalists been brought into the Northern Government, there would have been a larger number. The line of the Boundary as such is not of such great importance as the fact that there is a Boundary. The line of Boundary is not of absolutely supreme importance, if there is maintained some national unity, but it is surely of the greatest importance if that national unity is utterly destroyed.

Now I am going to ask the Vice-President if he will be prepared to do, to-day, what he was prepared to do in February, 1922. He said then:

“It is due to the people of Ireland that they should get an early opportunity of declaring whether or not they are prepared to endorse the Treaty signed in London on the 6th December last, and, subsequently, approved by a majority of the members of Dáil Eireann. When there are acute differences of opinion amongst the people's representatives, on matters so gravely affecting the lives and fortunes of all citizens, the natural and democratic course is to submit the issue to the final court of appeal—the sovereign people.”

I ask Ministers if they are prepared to do, now, in respect of the new Treaty, what they were prepared to do in February, 1922. It may be remembered that the Labour Party at that time proposed and urged very earnestly that the issue should be placed before the people by the direct question: “Are you or are you not in favour of the Treaty?” But Ministers then said: “No, we will go to the country, if you like; we will have a general election, if you like. By a special method, we may have it at once.” That was in May or June, and their opponents of that time said: “We will have a general election three months further on, but in the meantime, let us retain our position.” We then suggested the direct question to the electors so that there would be no other issue raised, and although consistency [1490] is not a thing that should be regarded as a god to be bowed down to, for the sake of consistency, yet I will be consistent enough to believe, and to advocate, that this is a matter that should be referred directly to the people. If you prefer a general election, very well. Have a general election. But if you want the definite issue decided that will throw the responsibility directly upon the people for deciding a matter that affects their future and the future of Ireland, then, let us have a Referendum. You say there would be a two or three or four-to-one majority for it. All right. So be it. You would be justified, but I ask you not to allow this issue to be decided by the Oireachtas, without either a direct Referendum or a General Election.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: I rise to give my heartiest support to this Bill. Some ten days ago, or a little more perhaps, the Executive Council found itself faced with perhaps the most serious position that any executive committee could possibly be placed in, and, in my opinion, they have emerged from this position with the greatest possible credit. It is ridiculous for anyone to suggest that at any time the Treaty of 1921 was considered to be a final solution of what had been in dispute for centuries. No one, at all events, dreamt that it was a final solution. All authority comes from the people of Ireland and from them through their representatives in this Dáil. The Dáil elects the President and approves of the appointment of the Executive Council, and it is nonsense to suggest that this Executive Council were not perfectly capable of conducting negotiations in London without reference to this Dáil. It would be perfectly impossible for any people to start on negotiations, and to keep running backward and forward, telling us what stages they had reached in the proceedings. Since the negotiations have ceased, every effort was made by the Executive Council to place the Dáil and Deputies in possession of the facts as to what had occurred. I want to say here that any gesture of good-will between the Free State and the North, and between the North and [1491] the Free State, should be applauded. Anything that will bring the country into harmony is a thing to be desired and acclaimed.

I think some of the speeches delivered here, during the last couple of days, are likely to do an infinity of harm instead of doing any good. I think the statements made, at least by two Deputies, that the Nationalists in the Six Counties have been thrown to the wolves, is not a statement that is likely to create good feeling in the North. I suggest that as far as the North was concerned what they were most afraid of was taxation. It was stated on one occasion by the Minister for Finance that he was going to cultivate the garden so well that the people looking over the wall would be so pleased that they would want to come in, and I suggest that what the Free State wants to do is to follow out this intensive cultivation suggested by the Minister for Finance and let the North see we are prosperous and economically sound and that there would be no prospect of them being, as they think they would be, over-taxed if they came in.

I think the signatories, as I say, were very wise in not attempting to create bad feeling in the North by suggesting that the Nationalists of the North would receive fair treatment, as soon, at all events, as the effects of the resistance to the established government in the North had passed away and in time were forgotten. As a descendant of one of the settlers and as a person of alien blood, described by Deputy Magennis, I can say after a life of 45 years in Dublin that I have never received anything but the greatest kindness and hospitality and the most generous consideration from the majority in the South. I have made friends in this Dáil and I hope I will not be considered very assuming if I suggest that there are very few Deputies who do not regard me with great friendship. (Deputies: Hear, hear). With all due respect, I say that I am a typical Northerner. I am a person who will not be driven. I consider that I am both broad-minded and reasonable, and I say again that I consider I am [1492] typical of the North. I consider that if you leave the matter to the sense of fair play, to the sense of honour, and the sense of justice of the Northern Ministry, you need not have any fear as to the future treatment of Nationalists within the area.

Deputy Johnson has given us a description of the Northern which I entirely repudiate. I do not recognise myself in the arrogance and superiority which he has described as being part and parcel of the general attitude of the North towards the South and West. On the contrary, I find that people who come down from Northern territory to live in the South will not go back again. They are extremely anxious to live here. I do not think it will be suggested that I have ever thrown out the slightest hint that I considered my friends here—and I consider you all friends—to be either dirty or anything of the nature of the suggestions made by Deputy Johnson. I say again, with the greatest possible respect to Deputy Johnson, that he is not doing any service to the Free State by making statements such as he has made. Nor is there any use in going back over ancient history to describe what the North did in the past. I might as well go back to the time of the Union and talk about the attitude of the people then as to describe the attitude of people some years ago. Times have changed.

Mr. JOHNSON: Three months ago —three weeks ago.

Mr. BAXTER: Deputy Johnson described the position at the moment.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: He described the attitude of the North. We are now assured—and I feel perfectly satisfied with the statements made, not only by the President, but by the Vice-President—that the attitude towards the North has changed. I could say a great deal more with regard to what I know of the attitude of the North in the direction of the desire to come into the Free State, but I am not prepared to go as far as I should like to go with regard to that. I will say, however, what I honestly believe, that had it not been for the destruction carried out in the country by Mr. de Valera and [1493] his followers the North would probably have been in by this time. My honest opinion is that it was the destruction done in the country, and the fear of the North that if it came in it would be overtaxed to pay for the destruction, that has kept it out. Deputy Johnson has made exceptions to the rule, but I know that as far as professional men and business men are concerned, and the people generally, in the North, they had nothing but a desire to come into unity with the Free State. There has been a great deal too much talk in connection with this Bill, and I shall not intrude any further except to say that I wish again to repudiate the attitude that Deputy Johnson has taken up in giving a character to the Northerners that I do not think they deserve.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: I feel inclined sincerely to apologise to the Dáil for the few remarks that I am going to make. To me they seem so obvious that I hesitate to put them before the Dáil. It is almost as if I were to undertake to prove that two and two make four, and I have always had a shrinking from doing anything of that elementary kind. There will be, therefore, as is usual when I speak, no eloquence in what I have to say to the Dáil, and if what I say is obvious it will not, I hope, detain the Dáil too long. Like the other Deputies who have spoken for this Party in connection with the proposal now before us, I also can commend this Agreement to the acceptance of everybody in this Dáil, except those who have deliberately declared against it. The Agreement is, undoubtedly—I can hardly understand even controversy on the point—the best in the circumstances. When I say in the circumstances, I do not mean the circumstances of the last three weeks. I consider that these circumstances are exceedingly important and I do not think that the Dáil ought to lose sight of these circumstances for a moment when it comes to a decision as to whether or not it will reject this motion for the Second Reading of the Bill. But, when I say in the circumstances, I do not mean merely those circumstances; I mean other circumstances as well. I mean the whole condition [1494] of the country, the condition that the country has been in since the signing of the Treaty in 1921; the strength of the country at any time to wage what I consider a war, if we are to abandon the Treaty position.

I have listened very patiently to the various speeches made, and I have yet to hear it suggested that there is any half-way house at this moment before the people of the country between the acceptance of this particular motion and the rejection of the Treaty. I do not want, and I am never anxious, to go into past bitternesses or try to revive them, either here or on public platforms, but we cannot forget what this country has gone through, and it does not seem to me that this country is in a position to adopt the only other alternative to the acceptance of this motion. The country at present is simply not strong enough to make any kind of resistance—the kind of resistance involved in the rejection of the Treaty position—after the two wars we have gone through.

Like Deputy Magennis, I always thought there were two weak points—I mean in the sense that they were unsatisfactory, not all we wanted—in the Treaty. I confess I never had much trouble about the oath, but I did consider the uncertainty of Articles V. and XII. as a serious drawback in an otherwise excellent solution—not, of course, serious enough for sane men to hesitate about the acceptance of the Treaty, even with that uncertainty in it. To me they always seemed the two weak spots in that Treaty. Again, they are, notwithstanding Deputy Johnson's elaborate defence of his pet ideal of the Council of Ireland, still the two articles that form the main gist of this particular Bill. I do not think that anyone that accepted the Treaty looked upon Article XII. as an ideal solution, yet listening to speeches here the effect conveyed to my mind by the general tone was this, that in some extraordinary way Article XII. could not merely be used to shove back the Boundary but could be used to charm it altogether out of existence. Speeches have been made here suggesting that now for the first time a Boundary is made permanent and that owing to the fact apparently [1495] that Article XII. did not work out precisely in the way we wanted it. I used the word “permanent.” I quite agree the word is not correct. I am using it as it is used. Possibly the word “definite” is better. I agree with Deputy Gorey that it is a mistake to use such a word as “permanent” in this connection. There is a definite solution for the moment at all events of a particular question and some boundary was permanent in that sense and involved the possibility it always involved in the Treaty. The only question was, what boundary? The word “betrayal” and other words of similar character have been loosely thrown about here and in the Press.

The effect is—I do not say the purpose really is—to obscure the issue to bring in a fear of adopting the non-heroic position of making an appeal to our enemies to come to the best possible solution in the interests of the country as a whole. It would never dawn upon me to suggest that the people of South Down, South Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Derry that were anxious to come in should, for a moment, be accused of betraying their fellow-Nationalists in the rest of the North-East corner of Ireland. Not for a moment should such a thought enter my head. They have excellent reasons, if they could manage it, for coming in. They might urge that their staying in the Six Counties would be no relief to the other people in the Six Counties. I say the rejection of this particular Bill gives no relief to any of the Nationalists in the Six Counties, just in the same way as the people I mentioned might urge that their staying in the Six Counties would give no relief to the people in Belfast. I admit that naturally it is not the view of the people in the Border counties, but it may be the view of the people in Belfast. They have a very definite attitude on that particular matter. I saw in an organ that represents a considerable body of Nationalist opinion in the North of Ireland——

Mr. JOHNSON: Was it the “Derry Journal”?

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Deputy [1496] Johnson spoke for an hour and three-quarters and I listened to him with a great deal of patience. Deputy Johnson can make his speech, but if he will permit me I will make mine. I was going to mention the journal.

Mr. JOHNSON: The Deputy need not be annoyed. I did not want to interrupt him except in a friendly way.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: The paper I spoke of was the “Irish News” in Belfast. I shall give a few quotations from it to show what is the attitude of certain Nationalists in the North of Ireland towards this particular question. It says that the most optimistic solution would give us about 100,000 Nationalists. Then it asks: What about the three and a half times as many Nationalists who remain inside? What is their position? It naturally suggests it would be worse, and it goes on to point out the real danger to the Nationalists, speaking of the Nationalists in the North of Ireland, not the people who support this Bill, but the people who try to foment disturbance by the rejection of this Bill, people within the Twenty-six Counties and outside them.

There was another reason why Article XII. of the Treaty was never fully satisfactory. The primary purpose of the Treaty, I take it, was more or less this, I presume, that it should be a settlement for the whole of Ireland, that there would be unity, that the North would come in of their own free will. If, after the Treaty had been signed and accepted by this country and peace had been established here, the North did not come in this Article was, so to speak, an extra inducement, a kind of threat for them, to come in, not perhaps as strong as we could wish, but in that matter a great deal depends on the amount of what you call extra help that their goodwill was to get for coming in. A great deal would depend on the amount of goodwill they had for coming in. There is no good, it seems to me, blinking the fact that the opposition to the Treaty not merely played havoc with the 26 Counties but it and the Civil War that followed it, and the [1497] natural consequences of them, to anybody who knew human nature, and certainly to anyone who knew this country, were that it destroyed the hope which the Treaty brought that we should have a united Ireland; it also made useless, so to speak, this particular instrument that was put into our hands. It is not merely the lapse of years between 1921 and 1925 that makes Article XII. a much less satisfactory instrument in 1925 than it was in 1921. It is what occurred in this country in the intervening years that makes it now so much less a satisfactory instrument or so much less capable of satisfying our hopes. This thing might be remembered by those who think that there is any salvation to be found from the people who, after the signing of the Treaty, must be saddled with the main responsibility for this situation which has led now to our discussing Article XII. of the Treaty. The problem before the Executive Council three weeks ago and the problem before the Dáil now is: What are they going to do in the face of the situation that is presented to them? Ireland is more or less on the horns of a dilemma, and neither of these horns is a very comfortable resting place, certainly not for any length of time. The acceptance of the Feetham Award, plus Article V., is one thing; the rejection of the Treaty position and what it involves, the denunciation of the Treaty and what that involves, is another. These are the two alternatives. This way out, which seems to me, under the circumstances, a satisfactory way out —not an ideal one, not as satisfactory perhaps as it might have been under different circumstances, with different human beings and with a little more sense on our own part, or on the part of a certain section of the people of the country—though not as satisfactory as we could wish, is in the circumstances practically the only way out.

The other weak spot in the Treaty always seemed to me to be Article V., because of the danger that we would probably be saddled with a very heavy responsibility in comparison with what we could bear in the way of paying what is called our share of the National Debt, amounting to several million [1498] pounds, and the uncertainty when no sum was fixed. In 1921 possibly we had not as bad an economic situation confronting us as we have had in the last couple of years. Then the uncertainty seemed bad, but in 1925 we have not merely the uncertainty but we have also the practical impossibility of paying any contribution. That would not relieve us under Article V. if it had been decided that we ought to pay. Remember, it is not a question merely of what was the British claim and what we could claim as a set-off—and it would be merely a set-off.

Mr. JOHNSON: A counter-claim.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Our counter-claim would merely be a set-off against what they could claim. An arbitrator would have to decide on the one side as to whether we came clear out of all, and on the other, whether we were responsible for a portion of the debt. Would the Government be justified in taking the risk of that particular question going before an arbitrator? Was our experience with Article XII. so satisfactory? In default of agreement arbitration was the way out suggested by the Treaty. Is there any guarantee that the arbitrator might not mulct us to the extent of several millions a year? I do not say it would be nineteen millions, or eight millions, but still a considerable sum in millions might be given against us by the arbitrator. Would the Government be justified in taking that risk? Surely they were justified in using the first opportunity they got of wiping out that Article. I know that we might take strong views, that we might afterwards say that the arbitrator did not take our view of the case. There are very few cases that go to arbitration where the view of one side is agreed to altogether. This question has cropped up at various times when the union of two countries under the one Government was dissolved, and methods had been arranged for the division of the National Debt between them. Great Britain, in her demand, could make a very definite demand. Whether we could be so definite on the plea of over-taxation is quite a different question.

It seems to me that there were two [1499] great opportunities for the unity of this country since the Boundary problem was raised in the Home Rule controversy debates, since 1914 and since 1920. There were two opportunities, one far the best, leading, as I believe and as I think most people in this country believe, to an almost immediate solution of that particular problem, and of other problems, and that was after the Treaty had been signed. That opportunity was lost. I believe that we have now another opportunity. Not by any means will the solution be as quick. We cannot hope for that. It was pretty much the same type of mind that was operating in 1921 against the Treaty as is operating now, with a lack of vision and a lack of faith in the future of Ireland as one nation. I never heard a stronger plea for the two-nations theory than I have heard from Deputy Johnson. It had been asked, too: “How could these mutual conferences between Dublin and Belfast slowly lead to unity? Is there not a danger that conferences between Dublin and London would lead in the same direction?” My answer is simple. Ireland is one nation; Ireland and England are not one nation. There is the national factor in the one case that I hope will ultimately be predominant. That is absent in the other.

I think there ought to be general agreement in this House on this, that peace and tranquillity are necessary not merely for England, but for the North-East of Ireland, and they are necessary also for the Twenty-six Counties. I suggest they are still more necessary for the Nationalist minority within the Six Counties, no matter what Boundary you have. You are asked to remember the pogroms. Quite so, remember them and let us not adopt a line of conduct that may lead to similar excesses. Deputy Magennis spoke of Mr. Devlin's attitude. He said that he asked him what was the position of the Nationalists in the Six Counties, and Mr. Devlin replied: “Well, they are thankful to be allowed to live.”

Mr. LYONS: So they should be.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: Let us not [1500] take that away from them at least, by plunging the Twenty-six Counties and the Six Counties again into a state of war or turmoil. I will read one or two extracts from a paper that does represent a certain body of Nationalist political opinion in the North of Ireland. These extracts are not long; they are taken from articles that appeared on Saturday, Monday, and this morning in reference to this particular settlement. They are not deliberately taken out, but represent the gist of the three articles, and most of them are in leaded type:

“Were it not for these hideous years of ruthless and devastating internecine conflict, sane and patriotic people on both sides of the Border would probably have succeeded in composing their differences before the middle or the close of the year 1923.”

That is not the opinion of a person who does not know the North of Ireland. It is not my opinion. It is the opinion of a person living in Belfast, in the midst of the North of Ireland. He does not, any more than Deputy Gorey, believe that partition will be permanent. He believes that the joint, the compelling, interests of the Free State and Northern Ireland will gradually compel union. Then about the opponents of this measure he says:

“The real partitionists are these fomenters of discord, dissension and strife in the Twenty-six Counties and any supporters they have in the Six. Would the 77.7 per cent., or the 82 per cent. of the Nationalists of the Six Counties find themselves happier, more free or more secure if the Boundary Commissioners did all that was hoped for by their erstwhile admirers?”

I promised not to read much of these extracts, but as Deputy Johnson has got something from a man in Newry I thought at least there might be some reference to the Nationalists who, under Article XII. of the Treaty, remained behind in the Six Counties. Deputy Gorey asked for an alternative. Does he think he has got it?

Mr. GOREY: No.

Professor O'SULLIVAN: I should [1501] say not. I waited in vain to see what was the alternative to this particular policy. If there is to be a Coalition Government what is to be its alternative? Let there be a Coalition Government—I can hardly imagine it—but let that Government know what its alternative is before it does come in. There are two alternatives to this Bill—accept the Feetham award and Article V. and do nothing more, or reject the Treaty. As I said in the beginning, there seems to be no half-way house between the acceptance of this measure and the rejection of the Treaty. There is a certain amount of consistency in those in this House who oppose this measure having their meeting in the Shelbourne Hotel to-day. That at least seems consistent. Remember the Boundary report is still there. Clause V. is still there. Neither is repealed until this Dáil or the country accepts this particular Agreement. The only other alternative is to reject it and to reject the Treaty, to tear up that particular document and accept the consequences. Personally, once, I think, is enough for any country in the space of ten years to descend into hell. Whether in the space of 10 or 12 years it can get out of it is a matter I leave to your imagination.

Mr. LYONS: Looking forward, as I do, to a united Ireland of 32 counties, not of twenty-six, I cannot give a silent vote on this Bill. Deputy Professor O'Sullivan referred to the fact that the people of Northern Ireland are lucky to live. I think they are quite lucky to live if they live under the Agreement arrived at by the Ministers of the Saorstát. I regret that the Ministers think so little of their Agreement that they have not the courage to remain in their places during the time that it is being discussed. It was not my intention to cause delay in any way to the Government in testing their strength in this House with regard to this Agreement but I would like to dwell for a few moments, until some of the responsible signatories return to the Dáil, on the situation and particularly on the speech of Deputy Professor O'Sullivan. He mentioned the meeting in the Shelbourne Hotel to-day. I was one of those who attended it, and if I [1502] can do anything to unite the people of Ireland in order that we may achieve our desires—that is sovereign independence from England—I think that meeting to-day was genuine and was necessary.

A lot has been said in regard to this Agreement and I want to put it to the Government—what authority had the President or Vice-President, or the Minister for Finance to go to London to negotiate on a subject when they had not got permission from the Dáil? I thought that the representatives of the people voiced the opinions of the people. At least the Dáil is supposed to be representative of the majority of the people, and if the Executive Council can go to London and scrap part of the Treaty at the beck and call of England, then why should not the Saorstát Government have the power to scrap another part of the Treaty at the beck and call of Ireland? I say: “Do away with the oath and let the forty-seven Deputies who are outside come in, take their places and voice the opinion of their constituents.” We cannot get that, of course. That is not England's ruling. I understood when I became a member of this House that I was elected by the people of Westmeath and Longford to represent those people in an Irish House, in the Dáil. I regret that I do not represent them in an Irish Dáil. It is just the very same as if I were elected in 1912 to go across and express my opinions on behalf of my constituents in Westminster.

We are supposed to look for unity. We are told we do not want war with Ulster. Possibly Sir James Craig and his war-lords, with their speeches, are too strong for our Minister for Defence, and we begin to think that we must give Sir James something; we must give him something in order to keep him quiet. The Minister for Justice said yesterday that we do not want war with the North. Do we want war with ourselves? Do we want war with the forty-seven Deputies who are legally elected? We have passed through periods of war since 1921, since the Treaty was signed. This country has suffered quite enough. We do not want more suffering; we want peace and work, we want employment [1503] for our people. We should have a united front and I do not think it is right that the Dáil should now give sanction to an Agreement that specifies the permanent partition of our country.

There are thousands of men and women in the Six Counties who did everything they could possibly do for a united Ireland. In many cases sacrifices were made. Sacrifices were made by numbers of people in order to see Ireland free. In some cases no less than six or seven members of the same family were murdered. This is how we are going to recompense people up there. We say to them, by agreeing to this measure: “You must still remain part and parcel of England; as you are under the Northern Government, you must still remain their victims; they can arrest you any time they like, and they can place you on the rack of torture simply because you are a Nationalist and probably a Catholic and you went out against them from 1916 to 1921.” That is a very poor recompense.

I have heard Deputies here ask for an alternative. I will give an alternative, if any Deputies on the Government Benches have the pluck to agree with it. The alternative is this: Cast back in England's teeth the agreement and tell England that we will not accept the agreement unless the Treaty is so amended as to allow all the representatives of the people to come in and voice their opinions, whether they take the oath or not. Why should we deprive a section of the community, that voices the opinion of at least thirty-five per cent. of the population of the Saorstát, from giving expression to its views on this matter? I know the Government would not wish to have the Treaty amended so as to do away with the oath to England. I know the Government would not wish to do away with the position of the Governor-General as the representative of the British Empire in the Saorstát.

The Government have succeeded in eye-washing the Irish people simply because Deputy Professor MacNeill [1504] made a mistake in connection with the Agreement entered into by the Boundary Commission on the 17th October. That Agreement was read to him. He was, as he alleges, sworn to secrecy. He could not even tell the Cabinet Ministers what was taking place. That is another thing that I, as a citizen of the Saorstát, do not believe. Deputy Professor MacNeill sat on that Commission from the 17th October until Deputy McCullough raised this question of the Boundary. Then the Government realised that the Dáil was against partition. The result was that Deputy Professor MacNeill resigned as a member of the Commission.

Why did not the Saorstát Government put their views before the Dáil in the beginning in regard to the Commission? Why was England allowed to have two members as against one for the Saorstát? Of course in Ulster they were genuine. Sir James Craig was out for the interests of his people. He would not take part in the Boundary Commission. No, but the Saorstát, being, of course, innocent and easily led, was won by the smiles of England. The Saorstát took part in the Boundary Commission. The Executive Council sent a representative, but that representative was not sent from the Dáil. The Dáil was not acquainted at the time and it did not nominate any representative. The Executive Council, so to speak, declared: “We are thy lords, thy gods, and there shall be no other gods but us.”

That is, sir, the opinion of the Executive Council. They appointed a representative and sent him on the Commission. Of course, naturally he is a very clever man. But, as clever as he is, the men appointed by England were far more clever. I think that our representative was having a nod or a snooze when they put their fingers in his eyes. I put it to the Dáil that the Irish people never anticipated that they were electing a Government that would be guilty of signing an agreement to make permanent the partition of this country. I understood from my childhood that Ireland was a country of 32 counties, not 26. If the Dáil agree to pass this Bill that is before us, [1505] it will certainly make Ireland once and for all a new country called the Saorstát, a country of 26 counties. The Dáil will in that way be allowing the Nationalists of the Six Counties to be at the beck and call of and to be under a foreign Government. I understood by Article XII. of the Treaty that the people involved in the Boundary question would be allowed to voice their opinions as to what form of Government they wished to live under.

The Minister for Justice and the President told us that they received nine deputations from both sides of the Border. I wonder if these deputations were appointed by the Nationalists of the North or were they of that class of capitalists who are able to come on their own responsibility as a deputation without being appointed and without having any authority. I have heard to-day at a meeting in Dublin at which I had the pleasure of being present, expressions of the views of people not only from the Six Counties but from all Ireland. I can assure the Deputies here that if they could have heard the appeals that were put forward there by the deputation that was received at the Shelbourne Hotel to-day, they would feel most sympathetic with the Nationalists of the North. We blame the Government for entering into this hasty agreement without getting at least a mandate from the Dáil, I mean from the present Dáil at which we are sitting, that is to say, the Deputies who are sitting and acting.

We blame the Government for going on their own responsibility and signing this Agreement. What is this Agreement? Is it anything better than could be got in 1914? Why did the Irish people howl down and drive out of office the old Nationalist Parliamentary Party that sat at Westminster? Was the Home Rule Bill offered to John Redmond in 1914 better than this offer now to us? I hold that the agreement that was offered to John Redmond in 1914 in the House of Commons was far greater than this. It involved only temporary partition. This is permanent. You have here sitting in this Assembly three Deputies, Messrs. A. Byrne, James Cosgrave and [1506] Captain Redmond, who sat in the Westminster Parliament as members of the Irish Party.

We were against that old Party. The young blood of Ireland rose up and said: “We are out for the sovereign independence of our own country, and we will have a Parliament at home in our own country.” We were encouraged by President Cosgrave and the Minister for Justice. We were encouraged by these gentlemen who are now members of the Government. One of these has the honour of being President of the Saorstát and I hope he will retain it. However, we were encouraged to do everything that we possibly could to hamper England and to defeat the old Irish Party. For what? For a Republic. We were supposed to get the Republic. Where is the Republic to-day? Where are the 47 Deputies elected by the people of the Saorstát as Republicans? Why does not President Cosgrave allow them to come in here and voice their opinions and let them say whether they accept this Bill or not? Is the President as good a Republican to-day as he was in 1914 or 1915? Is he as good a Republican as he was in 1907? No. We are different. We are a part of England. The English nation is too rich. The smiles of the English members are too becoming. Naturally with the wealth of that nation and the smiles of the members of the British Government we are influenced, and being influenced we must forget everything that we said in the past against those people who have wealth and smiles.

I hope that the Irish people will realise—if it is a question that this is put to the country—that they have made sacrifices. There is no home to-day in the Saorstát that has not made sacrifices. There is not a mother or father who has not lost some relative of the family through political strife. I hope that the people will realise when they go to vote that these sacrifices were made for one purpose only, and that was for Ireland as a nation and not as part of a nation.

People were murdered by the British Government because they were out for sovereign independence. We should not [1507] allow a portion of our people to be handed over as victims to be placed on any rack of torture on which a foreign Government may choose to place them. When the President was in the Dáil on Thursday afternoon he knew well that he was going to London, and he knew the business that was taking him. Had he not sufficient confidence in the elected representatives of the people here to ask their opinion as to whether they should agree to have partition? He had time to make a speech on the Shop Hours Bill, and on that Bill the President was defeated.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: That has nothing to do with the question before us.

Mr. LYONS: The Government have only to press a button and their supporters all flock together and vote “Tá.” We are not elected representatives of the people, but we are slaves to the Government. If the President is genuine and is of opinion that the Irish people agree with him, instead of bringing pressure to bear on them or terrorising them, will he leave this to a free vote of the House? Is he game enough? The least the Government should allow to members of the Dáil is to leave every Deputy free to express his opinions and to leave this to a free vote. I also ask the President is he prepared to allow the 47 Deputies outside who have not taken their places in the Dáil owing to the oath to have the Treaty amended about that so that they can come in? The Treaty is broken as regards Article XII., and for that you get Article V. The Minister for Finance said to-day that under that Article we would be liable for £150,000,000.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE resumed the Chair.

Mr. LYONS: Are you prepared to sacrifice thousands and thousands of people who are living under a tyrannical Government in the North for Articles V. and XII.? The Irish people are not going to pay for England's war. The President himself advocated the policy of not recognising England and her war. Why then should we pay? I hold that this £150,000,000 [1508] would never be payable by Ireland. The Government now come back to us and in order to fool the people say that they have saved over £150,000,000 by agreeing with Sir James Craig. Sir James Craig when he arrived back was met by the Lord Mayor and carried almost shoulder high. When I found all the Tories and Unionists of this country in favour of this Agreement I began to think that there was something wrong. I admit when I first read the President's message I felt a kind of delight and was certainly of the opinion that he made a good bargain, but next day when I saw the terms of the Agreement and when I observed the delight prevailing among the enemies of Ireland, the enemies of freedom, I realised that the Agreement was made at the sacrifice of thousands of our people in the North. That is the peace we have got—peace at a price. Therefore, I ask the Dáil not to vote for this Bill. The Minister for Justice stated to-day that several deputations came to see him. The President said that they came from both sides of the Border. I wonder were those self-appointed? I have always said that I would agree with majority rule, but I certainly will not agree to a measure that has been forced upon the Dáil by these three gentlemen who have been described as the three blind mice. I agree that these men went to London for the purpose of negotiating an Agreement on the Boundary question, upon which one of their colleagues, I cannot say through his neglect but through his quietness, let us down. We must put the blame and responsibility on the Government. Deputy Dr. MacNeill was appointed by the Executive Council who knew well what a quiet class of man he was and that he was out, more or less, all the time for peace. They sent him to London without any authority whatever from the Deputies of the Saorstát. He attended meeting after meeting of the Boundary Commissioners for nearly eighteen months, and I quite admit he tried to get the very best terms. He saw his mistake, and he should have resigned on the 17th October, but he did not tell the Dáil what the findings of that Commission were. He waited, naturally, to [1509] consult the Executive Council who sent him over, and they apparently told him to resign. The result was that Dr. MacNeill had not only to resign from the Boundary Commission, but he lost his post as Minister for Education. Considering the attitude of the Executive Council, the best thing the President and his colleagues can do now is to allow their followers to exercise a free vote on this Bill.

Do not commit yourselves. If you do I might have to be asking questions in the next Dáil as to why these gentlemen are not getting the unemployment benefit. I think I have carried on this farce long enough. This is one of the most humorous farces that I ever took part in. This is the farcical sketch of the Agreement that was signed in London on behalf of the Irish people, and they knew nothing about the Agreement. They did not know that the characters were on the stage. I can assure the Dáil that the farce will turn into a tragedy at the expense of the Irish people. If the Dáil accepts this Agreement to amend the Treaty what is to prevent England in future amending another part of the Treaty? What is to prevent England sending a wireless message to the Minister for Justice or the President saying: “We want you in London. Such an Article of the Treaty must be amended?” If the Treaty can be torn into scraps why not have it amended in the right way and in the way Ireland fought for? Why not amend the Treaty and say that you will abolish the oath, do away with the position of the Governor-General and then declare the sovereign independence of the Irish people? Why not amend the Treaty in the right way if you amend it at all? Why amend it at the beck and call of England? It is only for England the Treaty is being amended because England does not want trouble in the North. England ruined our industries, murdered our people, and now because you have a Treaty with England the Government comes forward and says: “We will amend the Treaty at the beck and call of England.” Except General Collins, no man has done so much for Ireland as President Cosgrave. Surely he realises that if a Treaty was signed by [1510] plenipotentiaries in 1921 it should be kept by England and England should not have the power to make any change so as to achieve her own desires. England does not want this part of Ireland to have any hand, act or part where Sir James Craig and his party rule. And our representatives, who were appointed by themselves, made this Agreement for the deletion of Article V. I want to make my position quite clear. I am and was prepared to stand by the Treaty, and if the 47 Deputies outside came into the Dáil I was prepared to stand by the Government and support the Treaty. But how can I support a Government that allows the British Government to tear up and scrap the Treaty as they please? I do not want war. I want peace. I want industry, I want employment for the unemployed, and I want to see the hungry children fed. I am not out for the destruction of property. I never was. I am not out for the confiscation of any man's property.

Mr. CORISH: You take what you get.

Mr. LYONS: I will not get much from the Labour Party anyhow. They want it for themselves. I say that the people of Ireland have suffered at the hands of England. The Treaty made in 1921 was supposed to bring peace and goodwill between the two nations. Ireland was then looked upon as a nation. Ireland is not a nation to-day. Ireland is now only a part of the British Empire, to do and to carry out the will of England. Even the legislation that the Irish people are living under is, I might say, dictated from England. We are asked now to scrap and tear up the Treaty that was made on behalf of people who suffered and fought for sovereign independence. The majority of the Irish people were delighted with the Treaty, and they got more under it than some of them ever expected to get from England.

We have lost everything through this Agreement. You have placed six counties in the hands of the Northern Government, not temporarily but permanently. They can never budge. They can never say that they desire to come into the Saorstát. They are bound hand [1511] and foot. In another month, if Sir James Craig, pursuing his dog-in-the-manger attitude, says he wants another bit of territory, I am sure the Executive Council will agree again to amend the Treaty and make another agreement in order to prevent war. How many lives were lost since 1916 in order to establish independence? You succeeded in getting a Government but you did not get independence. I submit that you cannot have a nation except you have the thirty-two counties, but this Agreement debars you from getting the thirty-two counties. I do not think that there is a mule in Ulster which would not raise a leg to kick the President if this Agreement were to go through.

Mr. P.W. SHAW: Deputy Lyons said in the Dáil yesterday that 80 per cent. of the people of Longford-Westmeath were in favour of the ratification of this Agreement——

Mr. LYONS: That is right, but I did not say it yesterday.

Mr. SHAW: I am in entire agreement with the Deputy in that statement, and if it be correct, and if Deputy Lyons represents the people of these counties, I certainly claim his vote in support of this motion.

Mr. LYONS: On a point of explanation——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: There is nothing to explain.

Mr. LYONS: There is, and I hold to my right here——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Deputy Lyons will please sit down.

Mr. LYONS: I hold to my right to be heard.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Deputy Lyons will please sit down. If he does not sit down, he will have to withdraw from the House immediately. I have listened to him for a very long time repeating arguments and he cannot speak now. He will please sit down.

Mr. LYONS: I will have to be put out.

[1512] AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Very well! I call on the Captain of the Guard to remove Deputy Lyons.

Mr. LYONS: He will have to be a better man than I am to remove me. I am on a point of explanation——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I have given Deputy Lyons ample licence and I will not bear him now. The Deputy will have to sit down or withdraw from the House.

Mr. LYONS: The man who puts me out will be a better man than I am.

Several Deputies: Sit down!

The Deputy resumed his seat.

Mr. SHAW: I have listened to a great many speeches by Deputies opposing this motion, but up to the present I have not heard one constructive suggestion. I consider that we have made an excellent bargain. It is my intention to deal with only one particular item of the agreement. That concerns Article V. of the Treaty and, in order to illustrate the point I desire to make, I will have to read a short portion of Article V. This Article states:—

“The Irish Free State shall assume liability for the service of the Public Debt of the United Kingdom as existing at the date hereof, and towards the payment of war pensions as existing at that date in such proportion as may be fair and equitable....”

Some statements have been made here in connection with the amount of money that comes into the Free State in connection with War Pensions. I made it my business a few days ago to communicate with the Minister of Pensions in England and to get particulars of the exact amount paid in this way. I received a letter this morning which I will read:—

Dear Sir:—In reply to your letter of 6th December, I am desired by the Minister of Pensions to inform you that the total expenditure by this Ministry for the year ended 31st [1513] March, 1925, in benefits to persons resident in the Irish Free State by way of pensions, allowances, etc., was approximately £2,250,000, exclusive of the cost of administration.

Mr. LYONS: We will have to pay that still.

Mr. SHAW: If you include the cost of administration of those pensions, there is an annual amount coming into this country of £3,000,000 per annum from England. That money is spent here. I do not know if any person here will claim that if this matter had been referred to arbitration we could have hoped to get off with an award of three times that amount. We have, by this agreement, cancelled any claim, good, bad or indifferent, in connection with War Pensions paid in Ireland in addition to claims in connection with the National Debt. If we are receiving £3,000,000 per annum in war pensions, we have cancelled our liabilities for practically the same sum as comes into this country from England in this way in one year. We have got out of an annual payment, and that at one-third of the amount it would have been if we had gone to arbitration. I consider that we have made an excellent bargain, and I have pleasure in supporting the motion.

Debate adjourned until to-morrow (Mr. Corish).


The PRESIDENT: Might I ask if it is possible to get any information as to when the division on this motion might be taken? I presume there are not many more speakers. I hope, at all events, that there will be no more long speeches. I would like to get some idea as to the Deputies who intend to speak, so that we would know when the division would be taken and when we would be able to get on with the other business.

Several Deputies intimated that they desired to speak on the motion.

The PRESIDENT: Then we will have to sit late to-morrow night.