Dáil Éireann - Volume 67 - 25 May, 1937

Bunreacht na hEireann (Dréacht)—Coiste.

The President: Perhaps, Sir, I might be permitted to say a few words on a question of procedure. It seemed to me that the best course to pursue in connection with this matter would be to get the intentions of the House by discussion of the English text in Committee, and that then, when that is done, when it comes to the Report Stage, we could, if necessary, recommit the measure for the purpose of a close examination of the two texts, both Irish and English. The intention, however, is to ask the Dáil to pass the Irish text as the authoritative text. I think that, if that procedure could be agreed upon, it would probably lead to the most convenient way of working.

General Mulcahy: Will the President say what will be the machinery for examining the two texts on the Report Stage? Will the Irish text be examined first, or will the English text be examined first, and what exactly will be the machinery for examination?

[942] The President: I think I have already said that the intention was to get here, in the best form we could, in English, the intentions of the Dáil, and that then, on the Report Stage, the Irish text will be examined. There will be people on both sides of the House who will be able to compare the two texts and who will be able to examine the texts so as to see whether the Irish text produces faithfully the intentions of the Dáil as expressed in the English text. I think that that is the best way to do it. I suppose we could get a more expert body than the members of the House itself to certify that, in so far as the language was concerned, the two texts did mean the same thing. However, I do not favour that procedure myself.

General Mulcahy: I am afraid I do not yet understand what the President means. I understand that we are talking about the Report Stage, and that, on Report, we would have to examine both texts to see if they were satisfactory.

The President: On recommittal into Committee Stage on the Report Stage?

General Mulcahy: Yes. We take the Report Stage after the Committee Stage, and the procedure will be that each section will have to be examined in English and Irish.

The President: Yes. We take each section, and, when a particular section has been agreed upon, we then discuss the Irish version in order to see if it does faithfully carry out the intention of the Dáil as indicated by the English text. That is, there will be a criticism of the Irish text on the basis that the intention of the Legislature, as agreed upon in the English text, was not being carried into effect.

General Mulcahy: I am still not quite clear. First, when we reach the Report Stage, there will be a recommittal, and each clause will have to come before the House separately Do I understand that the question in Committee on Report will be that the Dáil agrees that the Irish version here is a true version of the English version?

[943] The President: No. I do not think that would be quite the question. I should say that the question would be that the Dáil would be asked to take each one of these sections and pass it.

Mr. MacDermot: In both languages?

The President: No — passing the Irish text. The English text, presumably, will have been agreed upon in Committee as indicating the intentions of the Legislature. Then, when we come to the recommittal on the Report Stage, the question will be, on each section, that this section is passed, and it will be a passing of the Irish sections.

Mr. Norton: It may be desirable, after this Constitution comes from the Committee, to introduce further amendments, for the Report Stage, in the light of discussions that will take place on the Committee Stage. Will the recommittal have effect with regard to these further amendments, if there are any?

The President: Yes. If it should prove that there will be further amendments, then we would start the recommittal of the Report Stage by first discussing any English sections there until we had the intentions of the Legislature on the whole of the Report Stage. Then, after finishing the English text, we would say: “We are going to take it now and see if the Irish text, which we are going to pass Article by Article, is definitely carrying out, in the Irish language, the intentions of the Dáil as made clear in the English version.” In other words, we take the Irish text of each of the sections with a view to seeing whether, for instance, somebody has any objection on the ground of the Irish text not carrying out faithfully the intentions of the Dáil as revealed in the English text. I think that that is the best way.

General Mulcahy: There are a few things we should like to be clear about. First, we are going to discuss it in English now?

The President: Yes.

[944] General Mulcahy: Then, the first Report Stage will be dealt with in Committee. It is quite clear, however, that there may be a number of further amendments in English. Do I understand that they will be dealt with as amendments first?

The President: Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Before proceeding to consider the Irish text?

The President: Yes.

General Mulcahy: Well, let us say that the English text will be taken on date “A,” and the Irish text on date “B.” Will there be an interval of time between date “A,” when we are discussing the English version, and date “B,” when the Irish version will be gone through clause by clause?

The President: That will depend exactly on what amendments we have. It is quite clear that if the Dáil were to accept a large sheaf of amendments without getting the Irish text to correspond with them, it might lead to difficulties. If we should be able to get through and find on the Committee Stage that there is not a sheaf of amendments, or that an amendment passed affected, say, Article 40, 41 or 42, then we could go ahead until we came to the particular Article. In other words, we hope to conclude the consideration of the English text and to be sure that all the amendments are incorporated before we start on the Irish text. It might be necessary to have a short interval.

General Mulcahy: Are we to understand that amendments to the Irish text are not to be of a material nature, in other words, that they are to be of a literal or grammatical nature only?

The President: Yes.

General Mulcahy: May they be discussed in English?

The President: Perhaps we may have to talk in English and Irish. If we are comparing the two texts it may be necessary to talk perhaps in English to explain a nicety of definition between the amendment of the Irish text and the amendment of the English text. I do not think we need bind ourselves to [945] that, but the intention would be when we come to discuss the Irish text, to discuss and pass it in Irish, and those who do not understand the Irish language——

Mr. Norton: Will not vote.

The President: I take it that if there is agreement as to the text, there will be no difficulty. If we have not agreement some experts may have to be brought in.

Mr. Norton: Suppose on the second Report Stage, which is to be arranged for the purpose of testing the accuracy of the translation, that the President says he has been assured by certain authorities whom he has consulted that this translation is an absolutely faithful representation of the intentions of the Legislature, and that somebody, taking a different point of view, says that he also has consulted authorities who have definitely assured him that it is no such thing, what is to be the position of those members of the House, even members of the President's own Party, who are not in a position to pass judgment on a terminological matter of that kind?

The President: It will be quite obvious, I think, that it is not the Irish text, absolutely in Irish, which will have been passed, but the Irish text after the intentions of the House are made clear in the English text. If a court were asked to place an interpretation upon an Article which was consistent with the English text and which was not consistent with the Irish text, it is quite obvious that the interpretation consistent with the English text as given would be accepted. The only alternative, as I say, would be to pass it in Irish and English. That even could not get rid of the difficulty, because some Deputies may not understand the Irish language sufficiently to be able definitely to say: “I am quite satisfied that that expresses our intentions.” There is a difficulty there, but I think it is a difficulty which, with reasonable goodwill on the part of Deputies, can be remedied and got over.

[946] General Mulcahy: In order that we may be clear on the matter I should like to ask that a memorandum should be circulated from you, Sir, indicating what the procedure is going to be, or, alternatively, that a resolution would be put before the House on which the House could say: “This will be the procedure in connection with the Report Stage.”

An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair will bear that in mind.

The President: In that case we should proceed to discuss it on the basis of the English text so as to get the intentions of the House. I formally move Article 1.

ARTICLE 1.

Question proposed: “That Article 1 stand part of the Draft.”

Mr. Fitzgerald: I presume that the Preamble is, by order of procedure, only to be taken after the Article?

An Ceann Comhairle: Yes.

Mr. Fitzgerald: You will remember that on Second Reading in regard to Article 1, I asked for a statement as to what was Eire and the President said: “The State is defined in the first part.” Under the heading of “The State” here I find: “The name of the State is Eire; Eire is a sovereign, independent democratic State,” and various other things. I should like the President to tell me what he had in mind when he said that the State was defined in the first part. If he says that it is defined as a sovereign, independent democratic State, if that is the definition, England is Eire and so is France and every other country. It seems to me that if one actually had a definition of a State one would know what Eire is. In this Article we are told that “the Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible and sovereign right to determine,” etc. Personally, I do not know whether that entity, which here, in Article 1, making an affirmation is the Eire referred to in Article 4. If the President was right when he informed me on Second Reading that, “The State is defined in the first part,” [947] would he kindly indicate where is the definition to which he refers?

The President: I do not know how the words “the first part” got in. It may have been due to some verbal mistake. What I meant is that there is at present here a certain State. That State comprises a certain community. I have separated quite clearly, in the two parts, the nation from the State, because at the present moment, as I indicated elsewhere, the State is not co-terminous with the whole of the nation. The first part here refers to the nation, and the nation and the State are not the same thing. If they were, there would be no question of having this part about the nation and the part about the State because we would have then a national State. With regard to Eire, Eire is the name of the State which is being set up by this Constitution or for which this is the Constitution, if you object to the words “being set up.” Eire is the name of the State of which this will be the Constitution.

Mr. Fitzgerald: The President agrees that his statement that the State was defined in the first part——

The President: The words “first part” may have been a verbal error. What I have in mind was in the earlier part of this Draft.

Mr. Fitzgerald: Where is what he considers the definition?

The President: Article 4. It is purely a nominal matter. This question of name is purely a nominal definition. We have a Draft Constitution for a certain State. That State is being named, and the name of the State is to be Eire. That is what Eire is. It is a purely nominal definition, the name of the State for which this is to be the Constitution.

Mr. Fitzgerald: The President will agree that to say that the name of the State is Eire does not give a definition of the State. In Article 1 it is laid down “the Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible and sovereign right,” etc. I do not know whether we are to go into the Irish [948] text now, but the Irish text of that Article says: “Deimhnigheann náisiún na hÉireann leis seo,” etc.

The President: I asked that by this procedure we should take the English text and get on with the English text. If we are certain, as far as the English text is concerned, we can deal with the Irish text. I would suggest to Deputies that we should confine ourselves at this stage to the English text. Then if we find afterwards that the Irish text does not correspond with the English text, we can examine that in detail.

Mr. Fitzgerald: The President will agree then that the Irish nation referred to in Article 1 is a different entity from what it is in other clauses of this Constitution referred to as Eire? I think it is very important that we should get this perfectly clear in the beginning. Here is a reference to the Irish nation. That is one entity. Later on there are references to Eire, which entity is not identical with the entity referred to in Article 1.

The President: That can be made clear when we come to the Irish text.

Mr. Fitzgerald: We can discuss it on the assumption that they are different entities?

The President: There is, for instance, the territorial area which is called Eire in Irish, and there is the State. It is easy to distinguish between the two territories if you say Stát na hEireann or Oileán na hEireann.

Mr. Fitzgerald: I think that is going to be pretty difficult. We are told that the national area is Eire, and that the State is Eire.

The President: That is purely an Irish question.

Mr. Fitzgerald: I would agree it is purely an Irish question, except that in English this Irish word — which does not exist in the English language — is incorporated. In dealing with the English text, we speak of the Irish nation, we speak of Eire and we speak of the national territory.

[949] The President: Wherever it occurs in the English text Eire is referring to the State.

Mr. Fitzgerald: All I ask is that we will recognise, in this discussion on the English text, that the Irish nation referred to in Article 1 and the national territory referred to in Article 2 is a different entity from that which is referred to as Eire in other Articles of the Constitution. If that is accepted, I should just like to say this. Article 1 says: “The Irish nation hereby affirms....” In relation to other Articles we know that a certain procedure is going to be taken with regard to the Bill which is before us, but we state here: “The Irish nation hereby affirms.” Now, this is legislation that we are indulging in here in the exercise of our authority, which is confined for the present to that area known as Eire. Here we affirm surely in the beginning that we are legislating for a different entity from the State of which we are the Government? I believe also that, in the implementation of this Bill which is before us, it is proposed to submit it to a plebiscite. Here we are purporting, in fact, we are saying, that not only are we doing something for the Irish nation, but that this entity, the Irish nation, for which we do not even claim jurisdiction at the moment, in the person of ourselves here performing a certain act, is itself doing a certain thing, or, if you like, when this matter is referred to a prebiscite or referendum, that the Irish nation is itself performing a certain act, although that referendum will be participated in only by a section of the community. I am just raising those points because I want the position to be quite clear in my own mind. Would the President say if I am right?

The President: This debate would be interminable if I replied to every point raised immediately it is raised. It would be better to take a number of points together. It is true that this plebiscite will not extend to the whole of the Irish nation, and that, therefore, every person who has the right to regard himself as belonging to the Irish nation will not have an opportunity of expressing his will on this. That is true; there is no suggestion to [950] the contrary. Apparently the point which Deputy Fitzgerald raises is that we, although we are the greater part of the Irish nation, have not the right to affirm on behalf of the nation as a whole. My opinion is that we have — that we, as constituting the greater part of the Irish nation, have, in the peculiar circumstances in which we are placed, the right of making this affirmation on behalf of the nation as a whole. That is the intention.

Mr. Fitzgerald: That would be all right if this Article read: “We, Dáil Eireann,” or whatever we may call ourselves, “hereby affirm that the Irish nation....” But we are stating that the Irish nation is performing a certain act. Personally I do not think any such thing is happening.

The President: If the Deputy had wanted to do so, he could have indicated his views by an amendment.

Mr. Fitzgerald: There were certain amendments which I wanted to put in, but first I had to know what was the meaning of the Bill.

The President: I think the meaning is quite clear there.

Mr. MacDermot: While we are deciding the question of our right to speak for the Irish nation, I want to say a word in regard to the affirmation which we are making. That affirmation is apparently regarded by the Minister for Defence, and some others of the supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party, as strikingly novel. I just want to make the point that there is absolutely no justification for regarding it as novel — that this right of sovereignty, this right to choose our own form of government, to determine our relations with other nations, and to develop our life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with our own genius and traditions, is a right that has been claimed and exercised by the Irish Free State since its foundation, and it is also a right which is claimed and exercised by every one of the self-governing nations which compose the British Commonwealth.

Articles 1 and 2 agreed to.

[951] ARTICLE 3.

Question proposed: “That Article 3 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Fitzgerald: On Article 3, I do not think this Article at all carries out what the President has just given as his explanation of the difference between the nation and the State. I certainly think it should be amended. On his explanation — of course his explanation will have no validity as far as interpretation goes — any person would take it that Eire, the State, and the national territory were co-terminous, but that the laws extended only as far as the area now comprised in the Irish Free State. It seems to me that that lands him in great difficulty when he is stating that the State comprises Ireland, is Ireland, and at the same time its laws extend only over a portion of Ireland. I think, if he wanted to make it clear, he should in Article 3 have put in something to the effect that the area comprised in the Free State is merely the Twenty-Six Counties.

The President: I do not agree that that is correct. I think there is no doubt about it that the vast majority of the people in this island would claim that the nation and the State ought to be co-terminous. There is not the slightest doubt, in my opinion, that if there was a plebiscite taken to-morrow an overwhelming majority would take that view. We cannot prove that because we cannot take a vote, but I believe it is true. We have the moral right, under those conditions, to claim authority over the whole State. In only portion of it at the moment can we have effective jurisdiction, but we have the moral right to claim authority over the lot. The first portion of this is intended to assert that moral claim and that moral right, and I think that we have a duty to assert it on behalf of the nation. Article 3, which we are dealing with, acknowledges that although that moral right exists, and although the Parliament being set up in this would have a moral claim to exercise jurisdiction, yet, in the circumstances we have, we are not able to have effective jurisdiction over a certain portion of that area, and consequently [952] to meet that practical difficulty of the existing situation, Article 3 says:

Pending the reintegration of the national territory, and without prejudice to the right of the Parliament and Government——

the moral right of the Parliament

——established by this Constitution to exercise jurisdiction over the whole of that territory, the laws enacted by that Parliament shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws of Saorstát Eireann....

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I am afraid the President has missed the point absolutely. My point is that if the State is Eire at the present moment, Eire will consist de facto of the State of Twenty-Six Counties.

The President: De facto.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: But when you come to speak of the people of Ireland, as you do in the Preamble, it will mean the people of the 32 Counties. I am on a drafting point purely, but it certainly appears to me that nobody could possibly cut down the people of Ireland, those mentioned in the Preamble, to the people of the State.

The President: The Deputy will notice that in the Preamble we speak not of the people of Ireland but the people of Eire.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: That will not be governed by your definition of the State.

The President: I think everyone will have to take it as a whole. The difficulty between moral right and moral claim is the de jure position and the de facto position from the mere point of view of effective government. These two things have to be distinguished, and I think they will be distinguished here.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: They are not clear.

The President: I can only say that the Deputy had an opportunity of putting in amendments.

[953] Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I did not understand the matter until I heard the President's explanation.

The President: The Deputy can clearly take Eire as meaning the people of Ireland.

Question put and agreed to.

ARTICLE 4.

The name of the State is Eire.

An Ceann Comhairle: Amendment No. 1 is the first of a series of amendments which raise the issue of membership of the British Commonwealth and recognition of the King. The decision on amendment No. 1 should rule amendments Nos. 11, 57 and 102, of which the subject matter is included in the first amendment.

Mr. MacDermot: I would prefer to let the others stand on their own legs, and to let this amendment of mine stand by itself. It does not seem to me to be impossible to separate them. I do not propose to embark on a long discussion, but I think it would be open to the Dáil to reject the first amendment and to accept some of the others.

Mr. Norton: Is it accept amendment No. 5?

An Ceann Comhairle: Amendment No. 11, for instance?

Mr. MacDermot: I do not press the point.

An Ceann Comhairle: It seems to me the others will fall, but I shall give the matter further consideration in the meantime.

Mr. MacDermot: I propose amendment No. 1:—

Before Article 4, to insert a new Article as follows:—

“The Irish nation hereby declares its free and equal membership as a sovereign State of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and so long as such membership continues recognises King George VI and each of his successors at law as King of Ireland.”

[954] I have used the words the “Irish Nation” but I am not really interested in metaphysical subtleties as to whether it should be “the Irish Nation,” “Eire” or “the Irish State.” It is the thing which we are declaring I am interested in, rather than the particular capacity in which we declare it. In his old age Lord Carson confessed to a well-known London police magistrate, Sir Charles Biron, that he thought a mistake was made by the Unionists in not accepting Mr. Gladstone's first Home Rule Bill. I have the feeling that when we are introducing a new Constitution, which it is going to be pretty difficult to alter, and which will require elaborate machinery to alter, when we are going to have a plebiscite and a general election, and when a Fianna Fáil Government is still in power, I have, I say, the feeling that a similar opportunity to that of 1886 will be missed if we do not accept-an amendment such as this, and take our full place in the British Commonwealth on a level with other members of it.

I do not want to go over in detail the arguments in favour of membership of the Commonwealth, which I and others have frequently put before this House in the course of the last five years, but I propose to sum them up very shortly. Full membership of the Commonwealth has certain definite advantages. First of all, there is security. We are a very small and a relatively poor nation beside a very rich and powerful one, and we have an opportunity of having our liberty to manage our own affairs underwritten by each and every one of the nations that compose the British Commonwealth. It seems to me that if, starting outside the British Commonwealth, we found ourselves in the geographical and economic position that we are, we would have jumped at the opportunity of getting our liberty to manage our own affairs secured against encroachment from any quarter, either from foreign countries other than Great Britain, or from Great Britain herself, by this assemblage of nations.

Next to security, there is the question of our commerce. The British market [955] is of such enormous and obvious importance to us that I need not labour that particular question. Any illusions that the old Sinn Féin movement had on the subject, any illusions that the Fianna Fáil Party a few years ago may have had on the subject, have disappeared. The Government realises now as clearly as everybody else the huge and permanent importance of the British market to this country. Our position in that market is only fully secure if we are full members of the British Commonwealth.

Thirdly, there is the problem of unemployment. Apart from the effect on our trade, membership of the Commonwealth, British citizenship; in addition to our own Irish citizenship, enables large numbers of labourers, harvesters, domestic servants, nurses, doctors, civil servants, administrators, lawyers——

Mr. Donnelly: And the Army and Navy.

Mr. MacDermot: Recruits to the Army and Navy if you like — to say nothing of priests and nuns — enables them to go out from this country and carry on valuable work all through the British Commonwealth, and, at the same time, relieves our problem of unemployed here at home. It is a mystery what we should do with our university graduates, especially those from the medical schools, if the opportunities open to them in the British Commonwealth were closed.

Next there is the question of our prestige and influence throughout the world. Our opportunities for spreading our ideas, for exerting a good influence in the affairs of the world, are greatly increased by membership of that Commonwealth. When one's mind goes back to the centuries of humiliation and oppression that this country suffered, one feels that really the best revenge for all that, the most Christian revenge for all that, is the joy that we can take in now exerting a good influence worthy of our past, worthy of our national genius, throughout the British Commonwealth and throughout the world. Every time that I read of the success of an Irishman abroad, of an Irishman becoming, shall we say, a judge in Canada or Australia, or [956] becoming a president of a railway or a great business concern, or a prime minister or minister in some government within the Commonwealth, I confess that I glory in the fact that we are bringing shame on those who have calumniated us in past times. Thereby, without injuring anyone, we prove ourselves the equals, if not the betters, of our critics.

There was a time when the British connection meant nothing but injury to us. There was a time when it meant that the British ran Ireland, and ran it exclusively in their own interests. To-day the British connection, such as it is, means nothing of the kind. It comes much more near to meaning that Ireland runs the British Commonwealth. To a very considerable extent Ireland does that, and it could do it even to a greater extent. Any valuable culture or spiritual life has a missionary side. It is not purely for home consumption, it is capable of being exported. If we have anything to give the world, as I believe we have and shall increasingly have — anything wherewith to raise ourselves in the esteem of the world, our position in the Commonwealth makes it easier for us to do so.

Lastly, there is the most important consideration of all, and that is the consideration of Partition. I most firmly believe that the road, and the only road, to the reintegration of our national territory is by acceptance of the principle of this amendment. The Crown is the lynch-pin of the entire Empire, and the citizenship of that Empire depends, in the opinion of every part of it, upon allegiance to the Crown. That is why the notion of a sort of external association never had any attraction for me; because, while it might solve our relations with England, if we leave the North out of account, it cannot solve the question of the North. It is only by making the Crown an integral part of our Constitution that we can get started on the reconciliation of the North.

All these arguments have been set forth in this House many times, and I am not pretending to say anything unfamiliar to Deputies. But the curious thing is that since I have been a member of the House I have not [957] heard one reasoned argument put forward against membership of the Commonwealth — not one — by Deputies on the opposite benches. If there is a case, it has not been put — at least within my recollection.

There are two quite different philosophies with regard to the British Commonwealth — two philosophies that cannot be reconciled. But what are they? One is a friendly, the other is an unfriendly philosophy, if philosophy is the proper word — point of view is perhaps better. I can understand, much though I disagree with it, the point of view of extreme separatists, people like that very honest and able lady, Miss Helena Molony, so closely associated with the Labour movement in this country, who says that to trade with England at all, send goods to England at all, is to sacrifice one's birthright for a mess of pottage, to lower oneself by making a few greasy pennies. There is the point of view expressed in an article in the Irish World, which I see quoted to-day in the Irish Press, which, apropos of this Constitution — it is curious that it should be apropos of this Constitution, because it is not what the Constitution does — says it is time that the citizens of Ireland should abolish every tie and association with Great Britain and her Godless régime.

Mr. McGilligan: That is the stuff Fianna Fáil would be talking about a year ago.

Mr. MacDermot: I can understand that point of view. I can understand people saying that they want to see the British Empire destroyed; that they hate it so much that that is the main consideration with them — to see the downfall of Great Britain, irrespective of any unpleasant consequences of a material character in our regard. That is not the point of the view of the Government. The Government realises now that the destruction of Great Britain would be an appalling catastrophe to us; that if Great Britain sank beneath the sea to-morrow, it would be an appalling [958] disaster to us. I sometimes wonder if the Government received an offer to-morrow morning from the British Government of a 32 County republic, what they would reply. If Mr. Malcolm MacDonald wrote to the President of the Executive Council and stated: “We have decided to compel the Six Counties to go with you whether they like it or not and to turn you all out of the Commonwealth and treat you all as foreigners,” what would be the state of the President's mind on receiving that communication? Would he beam with joy or faint from shock?

Mr. Donnelly: You would have a special meeting of the Dáil next day.

Mr. MacDermot: My opinion is that it would give him a terrible shock and he would find himself in the position of having to refuse that generous offer.

Mr. Donnelly: Let them try it.

Mr. MacDermot: The truth of the matter is that we cannot face the prospect of ruining the industries of the country not only agriculture, North and South, but the shipbuilding industry and the linen industry, nor can we face the appalling addition to our unemployment problem that would be created by shutting out our citizens from the Commonwealth of Nations as a result of being treated as aliens. As I say, I can understand the “damn the consequences” point of view. I certainly cannot admire it, but it is intelligible that people should have such a violent hatred of Great Britain that they are out for its destruction in defiance of every consideration. But if you once recognise that our prosperity and our welfare are bound up with the British Commonwealth of Nations, then where is the sense of halting short of the point where you get the full advantages of membership, always provided that there is no question of any interference with our own sovereignty, our own dignity, or our freedom from outside encroachment?

I have never heard, as I say, a reasoned argument put up by any member of the Fianna Fáil Party [959] against the value of equal membership as a sovereign State of the British Commonwealth. The only sort of excuse I have heard has been a reference to tradition, a suggestion that we should be betraying our forefathers if we agreed to a cordial and full acceptance of the Commonwealth of Nations. Now that excuse will not stand examination. The larger part of Irish national tradition does not support any contention of that kind. As that is the only defence that has been made, I am compelled to trouble the House with quotations, some of which I have given the House on former occasions. Let us start with Sarsfield. Can it be denied that Sarsfield was a royalist? Let us turn to the Gaelic poets of the 17th and early 18th century. Examine the Gaelic poets and you will find that they were royalists. Come to the era of Grattan. No one will deny that Grattan was a patriot and that Grattan was a royalist. What about Wolfe Tone? Well, the brief quotations that I have read to the House already from Wolfe Tone will bear repetition. He said:—

“When I talk of English influence being predominant in this country, I do not mean to derogate from the due exertion of His Majesty's prerogative; I owe him allegiance, and if occasion should require it, I would be ready, cheerfully, to spill my blood in his service.”

And again he says:

“It is, therefore, extremely possible for the most truly loyal subject in this kingdom, deeply to regret, and conscientiously to oppose the domineering of English influences, without trenching, in the smallest degree, on the rational loyalty, so long and so justly the boast of Ireland. His loyalty is to the King of Ireland.... His first duty is to his country, his second to his King, and both are now, and by God's blessing will, I hope, remain united and inseparable.”

Tone was driven from that position by the French Revolution, by the panic of the British Government in England and the panic of the British ascendency [960] in this country, in consequence of the war with France. With the consequent disappearance of liberalism, men were forced to align themselves as complete reactionaries or complete revolutionaries. Until the visit of Jackson to this country in 1794, Wolfe Tone was, quite definitely, not a complete separatist or republican. Similarly, in 1798, the House may remember that a large number of the leaders of the United Irishmen were seized by the Government before the rebellion broke out, a measure which broke the back of the rising before it took place. While they were in prison and awaiting trial, they produced a document that used to be very familiar to historians but which now has become rather forgotten. It was called the Prisoners' Memorial. In the course of that memorial, which, by the way, was so disagreeable to the Government that they suppressed it, the prisoners stated that the United Ireland Movement set out to reform Parliament and to abolish a corrupt ascendency, and that it was only when that corrupt ascendency had succeeded in forcing the British Government to deny justice that the United Irishmen had been driven into the path of separation.

Then we come to O'Connell. We all know what stress O'Connell laid on the golden link of the Crown, and how little he was of a revolutionary or separatist. What about Thomas Davis? He says:

“On an equality with England, and out of reach of her rapacity, there is nothing in the privilege of the monarch to which Ireland could be averse. The respective advantages of each country would compel from them mutual respect, and the throne would ever be the honourable medium of adjusting international differences.”

Let us turn to Parnell. The year before the first Gladstone Home Rule Bill was introduced, Parnell was interviewed by a reporter of the New York Herald and asked what guarantees had he to give against separation if Home Rule were granted. Parnell answered with characteristic directness, honesty and courage, vide Mr. Barry O'Brien's Life:

“I refuse to give guarantees because I have none of any value to [961] give. If I were to offer guarantees I should at once be told that they are worthless. I can reason only by analogy, and point to what has happened in our own time in relation of other States placed in similar circumstances to England and Ireland, but cannot guarantee absolutely what will happen if our claims are conceded. I have no mandate from the Irish people to dictate a course of action to those who may succeed us. When the Irish Parliament has been conceded, England will have a guarantee against separation in the presence of her army, navy and militia, and in her occupation of fortresses and other strong places in this country; but she will have far better guarantees, in my opinion, in the knowledge of the Irish people that it is in their power by constitutional means to make the laws, which they are called upon to obey, just and equitable.”

Is there any doubt that we have that power to-day? When the 1886 Home Rule Bill was introduced Parnell spoke of it——

Mr. Donnelly: We had no Partition then.

Mr. MacDermot: I am not advocating Partition, and there never would have been Partition if this matter had been handled as it should have been handled, Parnell described it as a Bill that would “close the strife of centuries.” Perhaps more impressive even than things said are things written. Written things are composed with more care. In a letter written by Parnell in 1888 to Cecil Rhodes he refers to the question of the exclusion of the Irish Members from Westminster in the 1886 Bill and to the question whether they should be so excluded in the next Bill, and he rather surprisingly expressed the opinion that their exclusion was a mistake. He says that.

“this proposed exclusion may have given some colour to the accusation so freely made against the Bill that it had a separatist tendency. I say this while strongly asserting and believing that the measure itself was [962] accepted by the Irish people without any afterthought of the kind, and with an earnest desire to work it out with the same spirit with which it was offered — a spirit of cordial goodwill and trust, a desire to let bygones be bygones, and a determination to accept it as a final and satisfactory settlement of the long-standing dispute between Great Britain and Ireland.”

A little further, down he says in the same letter that if Irish membership at Westminster is included in the next Home Rule Bill by Mr. Gladstone

“we should cheerfully concur with him, and accept them with goodwill and good faith, with the intention of taking our share in the Imperial partnership. I believe also that in the event I state this will be the case, and that the Irish people will cheerfully accept the duties and responsibilities assigned to them, and will justly value the position given to them in the Imperial system.”

That was in 1888.

Mr. T. Kelly: Was that the letter that brought the £10,000 cheque?

Mr. MacDermot: Is the Deputy suggesting that it was a lie? If that stood by itself, it would be possible to hold that Parnell had been guilty of a deliberate lie; but it does not stand by itself, for other quotations support it.

Mr. T. Kelly: I do not suggest that it was.

Mr. MacDermot: Finally, after the Parnell split, after Parnell became thoroughly embittered against Mr. Gladstone by what had occurred, and against Great Britain, Mr. Barry O'Brien reports a conversation that he had with Parnell. Barry O'Brien was, of course, a Parnellite and he also felt bitterly, and he said to Parnell:—

“Every Irish Nationalist would go for separation if he thought he could get it.”

There was a pause before Parnell spoke, and then he said:—

“I have never gone for separation; [963] I never said I would. The physical force men understand my position very well. I made it clear to them that I would be satisfied with a parliament and that I believed in our constitutional movement; but I also said that if our constitutional movement failed I could not then stand in the way of any man who wished to go further and to try other means.”

All that is as clear as can be desired, but I am not saying that the views of past leaders of the Irish race, however illustrious, are necessarily binding on us here to-day, not for one moment. On the contrary, I have always contended against that view. Each generation has its own responsibilities. It must look at things as they are. It must use its own reason and not submit blindly to prejudices, however distinguished their ancestry. It must use its own reason and make up its own mind as to what is for the interest and the honour of the country, and no depending on the utterances of past leaders can absolve it from that duty. I am giving the House all these quotations, because it is the habit of those who resist the logic of facts, of those who seek to prevent us from doing the thing that the honour and the interests of the country require, to defend their point of view simply and solely by allusion to the past and by suggesting that we should be untrue to those who had gone before us if we took the line that some of us — all of us, if we allow our reason to guide us — see to be the line most beneficial to the country.

The President once said that there is such a thing as a subject having been considered fully, fairly and calmly, and decided once and for all, and the suggestion was that that decision once and for all had taken place at the time of the 1918 Election. I asked the question then, as I ask it now, why that particular moment in the whole of Irish history should be singled out as the one that is binding upon us? I would supplement that question by another, and that is, do the Government really deceive themselves into thinking that the views that they now hold are identical [964] with the views they held in 1918? Do they think that the policy they are now pursuing is identical with the policy decided upon by the General Election of 1918. The policy of 1918 was the policy of Miss Helena Molony, the policy of the extract that I read from the Irish World. It was the policy to destroy the British Empire if possible, and damn the consequences. There was no suggestion at that time that there were no alternative markets, that this country could not prosper without the British market. There was no suggestion at that time that we valued the privileges and opportunities conferred upon this country by membership of the Commonwealth, by the ability of our citizens to go freely, as British citizens too, into any part of the Commonwealth that they desire.

The truth of the matter is that the actual philosophy of 1918 does not correspond with facts, but, while the philosophy has been given up, the empty husk remains. The Fianna Fáil Party do not see that what remains is utterly worthless, and ought to be thrown away. The differences down here about the things that really matter seem to me to be minute. We are all intensely desirous to see Partition brought to an end. We are all agreed, apparently, that we should remain part of the British Commonwealth in one form or another. The trouble is that the form that the Government are wedded to under this Constitution is a form that blocks the way to the reintegration of the national territory. It is a form that is displeasing to all the other partners in the Commonwealth. Our stock has gone down heavily, even during the last few months. Our popularity throughout the Commonwealth has greatly decreased, even during the last few months. This coronation year — I am not one of those people who get wildly excited about such occasions — was a real opportunity; this Imperial Conference was a real opportunity; this year when we are introducing a new Constitution was a real opportunity; this last year of the Fianna Fáil term of office, before they again commit their fortunes to the uncertain verdict of the country, was a real opportunity. I am full of depression [965] at the sight of that opportunity being let slip. Even at this eleventh hour, I appeal to the Government and their supporters to consider the acceptance of my amendment.

The President: There is no need for me to follow the Deputy through all the arguments that he has just now adduced, because to my mind they are not in question here at all. I think the Deputy will admit that if he holds these views strongly there are sections of our people who hold the opposite point of view.

Mr. MacDermot: What is the opposite point of view?

The President: The point of view such as the Deputy has expressed himself — the point of view, for instance, that he said was held by Miss Molony. There are in between various shades of opinion and why should we, in a Constitution which is to be the Constitution under which we are going to work, let us hope, establish in a fixed position the very thing which is the subject of so much controversy? Ought it not to be our business to put it in such a way as to allow it to be discussed and decided independently of this Constitution? Is it not more desirable to leave it so that we can discuss that question at any time apart from this Constitution? The position is that the connection is maintained by an Act of Parliament which can, if the people want to elect a Government to do it, be set aside and then one point of view can be established. On the other hand, if [966] the people do not want that and if they want to continue the connection, they can do so, but neither position invalidates this Constitution nor should it prevent anybody from loyally accepting the Constitution as it is.

The main aim of this Constitution has been to try to put aside questions in which there is such a difference of opinion, to enable us to have a Constitution which can be loyally accepted by those who hold very different views. I think that is wisdom, and, just as later there is a solution being put forward from the other point of view — the Deputy wants to have it one way or the other — I say let him have this opinion, and if he wants to argue on either of these afterwards he can do so. There is nothing in this to prevent him. The whole point is to see that there is no barrier put forward to either point of view in this Constitution. I hold that that is what is done and done effectively. It is done as it stands, but if the Deputy's amendment were adopted, the whole question would immediately be brought back again to the position in which the Constitution would be violently opposed, and would not get the allegiance and the confidence of a large section of the people. Consequently, I am resisting it on the ground that we are unnecessarily trying to incorporate in a fixed position in the Constitution a matter which is a matter of policy in regard to external affairs.

Question put: “That such new Article be inserted.”

The Committee divided: Tá, 3; Níl, 56.

Alton, Ernest Henry.

Good, John.

MacDermot, Frank.

Níl

Aiken, Frank.

Beegan, Patrick.

Boland, Gerald.

Bourke, Daniel.

Brady, Seán.

Breathnach, Cormac.

Breen, Daniel.

Briscoe, Robert.

Browne, William Frazer.

Carty, Frank.

Concannon, Helena.

Cooney, Eamonn.

Corish, Richard.

[967]Kehoe, Patrick.

Kelly, James Patrick.

Kelly, Thomas.

Killilea, Mark.

Kilroy, Michael.

Kissane, Eamonn.

Lemass, Seán F.

Little, Patrick John.

Lynch, James B.

Moane, Edward.

Moore, Séamus.

Moylan, Seán.

Neilan, Martin.

Norton, William.

O Briain, Donnchadh.

Crowley, Fred. Hugh.

Crowley, Timothy.

Daly, Denis.

Derrig, Thomas.

De Valera, Eamon.

Donnelly, Eamon.

Dowdall, Thomas P.

Flynn, Stephen.

Gibbons, Seán.

Goulding, John.

Harris, Thomas.

Hayes, Seán.

Hogan, Patrick (Clare).

[968]O Ceallaigh, Seán T.

O'Grady, Seán.

O'Reilly, Matthew.

Pattison, James P.

Pearse, Margaret Mary.

Rice, Edward.

Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.

Ryan, James.

Ryan, Martin.

Ryan, Robert.

Sheridan, Michael.

Smith, Patrick.

Traynor, Oscar.

Victory, James.

Ward, Francis C.

Tellers:— Tá: Deputies MacDermot and Alton; Níl: Deputies Little and Smith.

Question declared lost.

An Ceann Comhairle: With regard to amendment No. 2, the decision on it will govern amendments Nos. 3, 4 and, possibly, 149.

Mr. McGilligan: One of them deals with the mere name and the other with regard to the application of that name in a certain context.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy maintains that this is different from amendments Nos. 3 and 4.

Mr. McGilligan: Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 are different, I suggest.

Mr. MacDermot: I move amendment No. 2:—

To delete the word “Eire” and substitute the word “Ireland” and to make consequential amendments throughout the Bunreacht.

I want to make clear that this amendment is intended to apply only to the English text. I do not want to put the word “Ireland” throughout in the Irish text. I think that it is appropriate to have a Gaelic word in the Irish text, but I wish to see the country called in the English text by the name by which it is known to all English-speaking inhabitants of Ireland. There, again, one thinks about the people in the North. The advantages of talking about “Ireland,” as a whole, rather than about “Eire,” in that connection, are obvious.

Mr. Alton: I wish to support the amendment. I listened to the President's explanation and I appreciate the logic of making a distinction between the names of the nation and of the State. We are, however, surrendering a great deal in surrendering the word “Ireland.” The word “Ireland,” speaking pedantically perhaps is a most happy term to describe the nation as it is. It is perhaps a hybrid term but, as Deputy MacDermot said, it has a European significance and not merely an English significance. Every nation in Europe knows us as “Ireland” in some form or other and I feel that we are surrendering the word to the North. I am rather jealous of that. Strictly speaking, they are “Northern Ireland” but they will call themselves “Ireland.” I should like the President to think over the matter. The difficulty could be got over by rewording Article 4. I am loth to surrender the word “Ireland.”

The President: The Irish text is to be the foundation text. In the Irish text, the name of the State will be “Eire.” The question is whether you have necessarily to translate that — if you have a collateral text — into the name which, more or less, corresponds to it in English. The system I adopted here was to take the name “Eire,” which is the name which will be given to the State in the Irish text, and give the State that name in the English text also, so as not to appear to be giving it two names. I agree that, in practice, the probability is that the names of the State will be translated as “Ireland” in common parlance but, as I pointed out, the whole system is more logical as I have it. It is definitely logical and it is worked out properly. If there is any strong feeling in the House that it [969] should be otherwise, I shall have nothing to say against that, particularly if it is accepted all round. I should prefer to keep the name as “Eire” because the whole thing is more logical but, if anybody wants to translate that in the English text as “Ireland,” I have no objection.

I am anxious, however, that the Irish term should be used on the same basis as we use “Taoiseach.” Elsewhere, it is suggested that that should be “Prime Minister.” The term “Ceann Comhairle” has now come to be used instead of “Speaker.” It has come gradually into our speech and the acceptance of Irish words for our own institutions is desirable. This is one of those matters in which I should have imagined I would come in for considerable criticism from the opposite benches if I put in the word “Ireland” instead of “Eire.” While we may argue and divide on amendments, my hope in connection with this Constitution is that it will be accepted as the fundamental law governing our political activities. It would, I think, be a very happy thing for the country if that were so.

Nothing is farther from my thoughts than that this should be an issue between one Party and another at the election. It will be necessary for us, who are positively anxious to see it enacted, to recommend it to the people but I should be very happy if, after we have passed it through Committee and offered it to the country, all Parties would advocate it. I should prefer that very much more than that we alone should be responsible for advocating it. My attitude generally will be that, if there is any strong view expressed by the Opposition and we can go any distance to meet it, we shall do so. I have no strong views in this case. It is not from the point of view of the Irish language that this was put in but from the point of view of having a logical system, properly worked out.

It is not from the point of view of getting an extra word in the language because I think that would come in any case. I shall leave the matter to the House independently to decide. I [970] am willing to consider the point. I have not considered it with my colleagues, but if the view of the Opposition Benches is that we should change the name to “Ireland,” I shall certainly consider the matter. Perhaps, we may leave the matter at that and bring the point up for full consideration on Report Stage.

Mr. Costello: Would the President not agree to accept it now?

The President: I am only giving my personal view. There may be some objection to it, but I am quite willing to surrender on that point. There are two things that can be said in favour of using the word Eire. The first is that it keeps the logic of the whole system much more clear and definite. The second is that we are doing something beyond what we have done before, that is, getting Irish names accepted even in English when we speak English here. I would regard that as a small matter in this particular case compared to getting the goodwill of all Parties in the Dáil to even parts of this Constitution, if we cannot get it for all parts.

Mr. Costello: This is a point on which we feel rather strongly in principle. It is not so much on the question of whether or not we are using the Irish word or the English word, or whether the Irish text is to prevail or the English text. The Irish text is either a translation of the English text or vice versa. It really does not make any difference. If we are, as apparently we are, going to have this Draft passed into law both in Irish and in English, then I think we ought to get the Irish text separate from the English text. I have the strongest objection to using half-Irish and half-English in any document. I object to the system of starting a letter with “A Chara,” and ending it with “Mise, le meas.” This use of the word “Eire” reminds me somewhat of that, but my real reason for putting down this amendment is because I am interested in the status of this State internationally. In so far as we are known abroad as a nation internationally, we are known by the use of the word “Ireland.” If you put in the word “Eire,” [971] then foreigners may think that there is some distinction between the State that we have here and what has been known for centuries as Ireland.

The President: I will take the responsibility of agreeing to the amendment. My hope is that the Irish text will be made the fundamental text. The Deputy perhaps was not present at the start when I explained the procedure. I said that for the logical working out of the whole system I was anxious to have the name “Eire”: that the Irish text is to be the fundamental text, and, therefore, the name of the State. If there is agreement from all sides, I am prepared to take responsibility for accepting the amendment.

Mr. MacDermot: I take it that involves all consequential amendments also?

The President: What I am agreeing to is that in the English translation the name of the State is Ireland. As Deputy McGilligan has pointed out, its exact meaning may not be the same throughout, and I am accepting this subject to this: the right to look into this later. I do not want to bind myself in advance. It may be that because of agreeing to this I will have to fight harder for the Irish text than I would otherwise.

Mr. Costello: And we will have to fight equally hard against that.

Mr. McGilligan: The President has no one to interpret it.

The President: We will see.

Amendment No. 2 agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: The question of possible consequential amendments to be looked into before the Report Stage.

The President: I agree.

Article 4, as amended, agreed to.

ARTICLE 5.

“Eire is a sovereign, independent, democratic State.”

[972] Mr. Costello: I move amendment No. 4:—

To delete the word “Eire” and substitute the word “Ireland.”

The President: I suggest that we leave any of these amendments that are consequential over until the Recommittal Stage is reached. I would like to have an opportunity of reading carefully and seeing what the effect will be in every case.

Mr. McGilligan: If the amendment is withdrawn is it to be understood that it will be put down again without the intervention of the Deputy who moved it. There used to be a habit that amendments withdrawn were put down in the Office again, and the Deputy saved the trouble of reinserting it.

An Ceann Comhairle: I understand from the Office that that was never the custom.

Mr. McGilligan: The Office has forgotten some of its own past as some people are trying to do all over the country to-day.

Mr. Costello: Perhaps the President will accept the amendment reserving to himself the right to move to delete it on the Report.

The President: I will have to go through the text carefully to see whether the use of the word “Ireland” would cause confusion, and would not correspond with the intention here.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. MacDermot: I move amendment No. 5:—

To delete the word “State” and substitute the word “republic.”

I have put down this amendment for the purpose of eliciting the reasons which induced the Government to abstain from using this occasion to declare a republic. I gathered from the President's speech on my first amendment that his ideal Constitution is one which leaves us all in doubt whether we are a kingdom or a republic. Of course, if that is so I can fully understand that he does not wish to make any such [973] declaration as is suggested in this amendment. I do want to point out, however, that the excuse the Government have given for a couple of years past no longer applies. That excuse was that we could not legislate for the North. Now in this Constitution we are puporting to legislate for the North, and it is just as possible to hold the actual application of a republic in suspense, so far as the North is concerned, as to hold the application of this Constitution in suspense so far as the North is concerned.

Mr. Donnelly: The Deputy does not mean this, does he?

Mr. McGilligan: He is trying to point out that you do not——

Mr. MacDermot: I mean what I am saying.

Mr. McGilligan: ——and neither do you, and I doubt if you ever did.

Mr. MacDermot: We used to be told that it was an indelicate thing to ask whether the Government had any intention of declaring a republic: that it was the same thing, and that it was equally unfair and underbred as to ask a man, “Have you left off beating your wife?” because any answer would be misleading. I do not know whether that argument is still seriously put forward. For my part, I do not think it would be at all impossible for the President to give a “Yes” or “No” answer, or that it would be at all inappropriate or unpatriotic for him to give a “Yes” or “No” answer to that very relevant question. At any rate, the fact that I have put this amendment down gives the President an opportunity, of which I am sure he will be very anxious to avail himself, to provide the House with an elucidation of his viewpoint in connection with this matter.

The President: I told the Deputy, when he put an amendment down here in quite the opposite direction, that the thing to be aimed at in this Constitution, in my opinion, as there is an acute difference of opinion of such a character that it would mean that we [974] would not get acceptance of this Constitution by a large section of the people, was to leave this matter to be decided as a separate and independent question. Whether you take one view or the other view, you will have against this Constitution a number of people who, otherwise, would not be against it. In the same spirit, as we try to meet Deputies on the opposite side where it is at all possible, I think we ought to leave this matter also outside it. It can be decided outside the Constitution, and put as a separate and independent question. I think that is the proper place for it, and so I have to resist the amendment.

Mr. MacDermot: Unless some of the extreme Republicans over there object, or unless the Labour Party object, I do not propose to press this amendment to a vote.

Mr. Donnelly: A very good retreat.

Mr. McGilligan: Unanimously dropped.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Article 5 agreed to.

ARTICLE 6.

Question proposed: “That Article 6 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I want to say a few words, Sir, on Article 6. On the Second Reading, referring to Article 6, I spoke as follows — I am reading from column 340 of volume 67 of the Official Debates of the 13th of May:—

“I do not go very far until I come to something which shows the extraordinarily bad drafting of this Constitution, and which, in my humble judgment at any rate, comes very close to if it is not entirely and completely a heretical statement.”

I then read Article 6, and went on as follows:—

“That statement is not true. What does that mean? It means that all legislative, executive and judicial powers are derived from the people; that they are inherent in the people and exercised by the people under God.”

That is what this Article does, in fact, state and mean. In reply to that, I [975] received a very petulant answer, indeed, from the President. I am going to read it. Speaking about me, he reads the Article, and says:—

“He”

—referring to me—

“said that statement is not true. Just listen to that—‘that statement is not true.’ What does that mean?”

The statement I have referred to is the statement contained in this Article that —

“all powers of Government, legislative, executive and judicial, are derived from the people.”

“It means”

—he says—

“that all legislative, executive and judicial powers are derived from the people. Now, that is magnificent coming from a lawyer who has suddenly become a theologian. He read a document, and although it is explicitly stated in the document ‘derived under God,’ the phrase ‘under God’ is eliminated by him and you are to read it as if it were not there at all.”

I did not eliminate the phrase “under God.” I distinctly showed what the words “under God” meant in that Article. Then the President goes on to say:—

“The poor man must have got his information very quickly. He must have got muddled. He was possibly handed a document that he did not understand. Otherwise, I do not see why he went on in that line at all.”

That is the courteous way in which my argument was treated. Now, take this as it stands:—

“All powers of Government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive under God from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State.”

That is a clear statement that they are derived from the people. It is a clear statement that the passage of the power from the people to the rulers is under God. It means that and nothing else — that the power is derived from the people and passes from the people to the rulers under the power, or by virtue [976] of the power of God. That is what that states. It does not state, and it cannot have the meaning the President endeavoured to put upon it, that all power is derived from God to the people. It is as clear as anything can be. It is derived from the people. Who derive it? The rulers of the State derive it, and they derive it under God. They are not deriving it from God, but they are deriving it from the people under God. That is the bad drafting of that Article to which I have referred, and that is the only meaning which those words can possibly bear.

The President put it quite correctly — and I suppose everybody knows what Catholic doctrine is — that disputed matter, as to how authority comes to the immediate rulers through the people, is not a matter that we need go into; although why we should not take one side or the other in a purely philosophical discussion, I do not know. However, it is perfectly plain that this Article does not mean that the power is derived from God, but that it is derived from the people, and surely it is not beyond the President's power to put this in a perfectly clear way. I know what he wants to put, but my point is that he does not put it.

The President: I do not agree with the Deputy at all. Perhaps, in the text which I had, I did not notice that he had brought in “under God,” but he has done the same thing in the explanation he has given now. He has stopped there, and says:

“All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive under God from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State.”

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: We agree on that.

The President: Yes, but it is a part of the whole sentence, and why he should leave out “under God” as if it were a meaningless parenthesis, I cannot understand. It is a clear recognition of the fact that political authority does come from God. What [977] is more, this drafting has been very carefully done so as to leave the people of either school of thought to hold their views under it. In other words, it agrees with the doctrine in which it is held that authority, as everybody admits, does not come immediately and directly to the rulers, but that it comes immediately through the people who designate the rulers. There is a difference of opinion as to the manner in which it comes. This is open to either school of thought, and the interpretation does not hold for one rather than for the other. It is perfectly in accord with either of the two schools of thought. Consequently, I see nothing to amend in it. It has been most carefully drawn and carefully examined, and the more it is examined the more one will be satisfied that it is right. The Deputy is omitting “under God,” and then there is the other part of it “whose right it is to designate the rulers.”

Clearly, there is an indication there that there is a right on the part of the people to designate the rulers.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I am perfectly in agreement with the President that it is the right of the people to designate the rulers, but that has got nothing to do with my argument. The fact that the correct doctrine is stated in the Preamble is all the more reason why this Article 6 should not contradict the Preamble, as it does. It is a matter of the plain English language. Every single person in the House can form his or her own judgment upon it. The phrase is “All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive under God from the people.”

Something happens under God. What happens? The derivation of power from the people happens. Is not that perfectly plain? Under God—Under the power of God, or by force of the power of God, if you like — all powers are derived from the people. Now, that is a perfectly inaccurate and wrong expression, and I do not see why the President clings to this extremely bad drafting, which does not convey the meaning which he wishes it to convey, but which conveys the very opposite [978] meaning. It does not state that the powers come from God or derive from God. It says the powers derive from the people and that the act of derivation is happening under God. I do not see why the President does not put the matter more clearly.

The President: I can only agree to differ with the Deputy.

Mr. Fitzgerald: The President says that this Article is written in such a way that it will be acceptable by all schools of thought. There are certain schools which go much further than this. This Article makes a certain statement. Does that purport to be a statement of natural law, true in all circumstances, in all times, and in all places? If it does, I would have to disagree with it. It says that “All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial derive, under God, from the people.” Is the President's interpretation of that, that the power actually derives from the people? The Articles goes on: “...whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State.” Is that right always and in all circumstances true? Does it override all other ways in which the princeps can pass authority? There are many who disagree with that. That, however, is not my point. The Article goes on: “and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.” We have here a Government with law-making power, with power to bind under sin. The subject of authority is a unity. I do not see how this Government can claim powers of life and death, power to bind under sin, and say that there is a higher law-making authority in this State at the same time. I think myself that that is not holdable. For instance, Leo III in “Diuturnum illud” says:

“Many of our contemporaries walking in the steps of those who in the last century gave themselves the name of philosophers say that all power comes from the people, so that those who exercise it in the State do not exercise it as belonging to them, but as holding it from the people by delegation and under this reserve [979] that it can be withdrawn from them by the will of that same people that has delegated it to them. Catholics have a different doctrine, and they make the right of commanding descend from God as its natural and necessary source. It is important, however, to point out here that those who should be placed at the head of affairs can in certain cases be chosen by the will of the multitude without Catholic doctrine contradicting or being repugnant to that. Then this choice designates the princeps, but it does not confer on him the rights of princedom. Authority is not given; what is determined is the one by whom it shall be exercised.”

Later Pius X in condemning the movement of “Le Sillon” in France clarifies this point. He says:

“Le Sillon places the public authority primarily in the people, from whom it then derives to governors in such a way, however, that it continues to reside in it. But Leo XIII has formally condemned this doctrine.”

What I am complaining of is that I understand this to mean that, although there is a Government in this country claiming to have authority, there is at the same time another authority, what I shall call the dispersed multitude. This word, “people,” can be understood as a unity, but when you turn to the Irish text you will see that what the drafters of this document had in mind was a plurality. The drafters of this document refer to the people as a plurality, and authority is to reside in a plurality. If the President says that this is positive law — that it refers to a condition created by positive law — a Bill to become law may have to go through the additional form of passing through a referendum, then I think my objection will not hold, but it does seem to me that, as drafted, it conveys the idea that the real authority rests in the people, even when a Government exists. The second part of the Article goes on to say:

“These powers of government are exercisable only by or on the authority of the organs of State established by this Constitution.”

[980] Now, that is quite right, but note how it is going to work out. Here we are told that in the final appeal it is the right of the people to decide all questions of national policy. If the term “people” is understood as a unity, that is to say, a unity created by the operation of positive law, then something might be said for it, but I understand this really means a dispersed multitude of the people, a majority. It simply means that anything which that majority votes is automatically binding in law. Under this, what can happen? You may have an election some time this year. Let us assume for the sake of argument that the present Government is returned, that this Constitution becomes law, and that about a year afterwards you have an election for President. We know that the President, through the force of circumstances, must be supported by a strong political Party or organisation. In making an appeal to the people, there is nothing to prevent his proposing certain action. It may be declaration of a republic, the settlement of the economic war, or anything of that kind. If he is elected he can say, “I have been before the people just last week. I got a mandate from the people” — a phrase very popular with the President — “that such action should take place. I am now an organ of the State, no matter what Government was elected a year ago; the Constitution declares that the powers of Government are exercisable only by or on the authority of the majority of the people. The majority, in electing me, have indicated that certain action should take place, and I, acting as the law-making authority as declared by the Constitution, shall proceed to take that action.” He is going, for instance, to be Commander-in-Chief of the Army. The Army, you will say, should be submissive to the Government and act under the Government, but here we are told that no matter what Government is elected, the law-making authority, to bind under sin, resides in the majority, in the multitude in this country. Here is a man who has received a direct mandate from that majority, and when it comes to a point of argument as to whether the Army [981] should obey him or the Government, this organ of the State who has received latest authority from the people, can, it seems to me, claim that this Constitution gives him the right to get up and say to the Army, “I have gone before the people; they have granted me a mandate to have this policy implemented. I require your services for its implementation. Speaking in the name of this Rousseaun entity, this sovereign people, I ask you to take certain action.” Is this a statement of conditions which are to apply in all circumstances, and not one which arises from a convention of positive law? We are told that all questions of national policy are to be decided in final appeal by the people, but it is the decision of the organ, not of the people, as we gathered from the Irish text, as a dispersed multitude. In that case you have a position in which anybody who can claim to have the most recent mandate from the people, and who is an organ of the State, can claim the authority of the Constitution for implementing what he wants to have done.

The President: There is nothing in the Irish text except a plural pronoun used with “pobal,” just the same as you might use a word in the feminine gender to quality a noun, even though it does not refer to sex or anything like that. It is a question of grammar, and nothing more or less, as to whether “pobal” is distributive, or whether you should have a plural or a singular pronoun. That does not tell anything. When we come to the Irish text we can examine it from that point of view. Let us keep for the moment to the English text. Putting all that aside, there is one clear thing that is accepted by all philosophers, and that is first of all that authority comes from God. That is definite and fixed, and nobody disagrees with it. Secondly, there is the question that as authority does not come to any designated people, those people must be designated by the body which are to be the Government, and what you say here is that you have the right of the people to designate, by the system [982] that they will have adopted, or the procedure that they will have designed, who are the people who are to exercise that authority. It is the province of the people to do that, and we have stated that here. They can also determine the form of government and the procedure by which they are to be appealed to in the final appeal. That is all there is in that. There is nothing difficult for anybody to follow. I cannot follow the Deputy in all the details through which he has come to “all times and all places.” We are making a Constitution to be our Constitution, to be in the present circumstances our Constitution, to be accepted and, in so far as we can foresee the future to be accepted with the power to change that Constitution according as the people may want to change it to meet new circumstances. I cannot go into it any further. I hold that that statement there is a true statement. You have to read it all. You cannot read it without its parenthesis; you cannot read it without the second part; you have to read it as a whole. As a whole it expresses a truth which will not be controverted by any political philosopher.

Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: The President ought to make it perfectly clear in this Article that power is derived from God.

The President: I hold it is there.

Mr. MacDermot: I would read the words as meaning subject to the supreme authority of God, as already stated in the Preamble. It does not seem to me that that Article creates any ambiguity.

The President: I cannot see any. If you wish, it is by the operation of the natural law.

Mr. Fitzgerald: I asked did this propose to create a condition, or to state what is true in all times and circumstances?

The President: It states the truth as far as it is known.

Mr. Fitzgerald: Then it is creating a condition by the convention of positive law. I must say that, without reading [983] that, the ordinary man would assume that it is a statement of an eternal and immutable condition. It does seem to me that it implies a peculiar form of government, in which, although you have an established Government claiming law-making power, at the same time instead of referring to certain items such as how matters would be referred to a referendum and so on, it says here “in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy.” The Government comes along and can dissipate this idea which seems to be conveyed. It does seem to me that the people may here mean a perfect society, populus juris consenso. I do not deny that. It says here that the people are to decide, in final appeal, all questions of national policy. How are they going to decide? Is it by a majority vote? Even in that case any majority vote taken subsequent to the election of a Government is a decision by a law-making power in this country. That is how I understand it, and the President has not, to my mind, cleared that point. If it is a fact that, when the Government is elected, the sovereignty continues to reside in the people — and mind this; in a broadcast which the President gave a few weeks ago he said that the sovereignty belongs to them and is indefeasible and inalienable; notice it is there plural, the people — if it is inalienable, and belongs to you and to me and the aggregation of ourselves altogether, if that sovereignty is inalienable and belonging to that dispersed multitude, what authority can the Government claim?

In the interests of order in this country I want a Government which is going to be authoritative. I do not mind whether it is the present Government or another Government; I want to see its authority operated and maintained. I do not see how you can have a condition of good order and obedience to the Government — that Government necessarily using its coercive power to get that obedience from the multitude — as long as you assert that, in the final appeal, all questions of national policy are to be decided by this un-named, this many-headed monster, the multitude. I do not see how it can be said that, [984] when the Government is elected, authority to decide all questions of national policy continues to remain in what is here called the people. The President says that you can have a feminine adjective with a masculine noun or something like that.

The President: That is not what I said.

Mr. Fitzgerald: In Irish, as far as I know, “Is ón bpobal” and “ag an pobal” can be plural or singular. In English, “all powers derive from the people”; again, it can be plural or singular. Finally in the Irish text there is reference to that entity in the plural form. What was meant was not the people unified through the operation of laws exercised by authority, but that dispersed multitude which is merely an aggregation of numbers.

The President: I still do not see what the Deputy is at. It is quite clear that the appeal to the people will be in accordance with the procedure which will be laid down in this Constitution. Obviously we are drawing up a Constitution by which various appeals to authority of one kind or another will be settled. The whole mechanism of this Constitution is to provide for those things. The final appeal is to the people. For instance, Deputy MacDermot was speaking about two rival policies. It may be that the people have to determine which is to become the national policy. Clearly it is the people who are appealed to finally to do that, but the method by which the appeal is to be made is to be provided for in this Constitution. Therefore, there will be no question of somebody at some time resisting authority on the grounds “You must come along and appeal to the people.” There will be definite times and circumstances under which the people can be appealed to. We are providing for that here. This Constitution has to be read as a whole. We are clearly providing a referendum in certain circumstances when the people will decide questions of national policy, either by having frequent elections [985] or at certain times, or in the case of certain measures, appeal by way of Referendum. Clearly that is what is intended. With regard to the Irish word “pobal,” I did not say that it was a feminine adjective. What I said was that as a noun it might be of masculine or feminine gender. I am not sufficient of an authority on Irish to determine with regard to collective nouns, whether when regarded in a distributive sense they would be plural. We can go into the Irish another time.

Mr. McGilligan: What about the scholarship and the Irish text?

The President: What I say is that I am not sufficient of a scholar to determine in this single instance, and, naturally, I would get expert opinion.

Mr. McGilligan: Is not the aim to have this eventually determined by Irish-speaking lawyers in the courts operating on Irish texts?

The President: It is.

Mr. McGilligan: It will be grand then.

The President: Meantime, these people will help their interpretation.

Mr. McGilligan: The originator of the text cannot explain whether there should be a plural to a particular noun.

The President: Steady a while.

Mr. McGilligan: If it is going to lead to another argument, I will withdraw.

The President: The point is a petty one. The same thing happens in English, that there are delicate points on which it may be necessary to get expert opinion in order to be satisfied.

Mr. McGilligan: The man who introduced the text would not make the confession that he did not know what it meant.

The President: That is not so. I hold this is all right.

Mr. McGilligan: But you cannot explain it.

The President: Because the Deputy knows nothing about it.

[986] Mr. McGilligan: You said you could not explain it.

The President: I did not.

Mr. McGilligan: It was an interesting confession. It was the first honest thing said about the Irish text since we started.

The President: What I said was that I did not think myself a sufficient scholar in Irish to determine the question. I would say the same thing if there was a difficult question with regard to English — to determine exactly whether the use of the plural pronoun would suggest that the noun was used in a distributive sense.

Question put and agreed to.

Article 7 agreed to.

ARTICLE 8.

1. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.

2. The English language is recognised as a second official language.

3. Provision may, however, be made by law for the exclusive use of either of the said language for any one or more official purposes, either throughout the State or in any part thereof.

Mr. MacDermot: I move amendment No. 6:—

To delete Sections 1 and 2 and substitute the following new section:—

The Irish and English languages are recognised equally as national and official languages.

I am moving my amendment because to call the Irish language the sole national language is to fly in the face of facts. Why not let us be honest?

The President: You will have to define “national.”

Mr. McGilligan: You would want to define “honesty” in this Constitution.

Mr. Donnelly: If there was an amendment to amendment No. 7 it would change the Deputy to blue.

Mr. MacDermot: To put it no higher, there is at least as much of [987] Irish culture, history and tradition embodied in the English language as there is in the Irish language. A far larger number of the inhabitants of Eire or Ireland is able to speak in the English language than in the Irish language, and this artificial and mischievous Gaelicisation does not do a single thing to advance the prestige or the culture of our country, but serves as an extra and unnecessary barrier between ourselves and the Northern Unionists.

The President: I do not know that I need speak about the question of what is intended by the “national language.” It is the language that is most associated with this nation; the language that is in accordance with the traditions of our people. We are a separate people, and our language was spoken until little over 100 years ago generally by our people. The English language was the language of those who came as invaders. Therefore, I think there is no question at all about the meaning of “national.” It must be obvious that the Irish language is the national language, and we have Irish as the first official language.

Mr. MacDermot: Does the President maintain that Anglo-Saxon is the English national language?

The President: There is no Anglo-Saxon spoken in the primitive form. Anglo-Saxon as such is not spoken.

Mr. MacDermot: I admit there is that difference. The main point is that we are not legislating for the country as it was 500,200, or even 100 years ago. It is for the country as it is to-day we are legislating. Absolutely nothing is going to be gained by this sort of thing. If the time comes when Irish is spoken solely by the greater part of the population then we can begin to call it the “national language.” The only effect of taking this line now is to alienate Northern sentiment and to make ourselves ridiculous.

Cormac Breathnach: Is dóigh liomsa go laguigheann an aidiacht [988] “príomh” comhacht na Gaedhilge i nalt a haon, d'Airteagal a h-ocht. B'fhearr, im thuairim, dá léigfí mar seo an fó-alt san mar is mó a chuirfeadh sé in úil an smaoineamh atá lastiar den dtairiscint: “O is í an Ghaedhilg an teanga náisiúnta, is í an teanga oifigúil í. Agus maidir le alt a dó, molaim go rithfeadh sé mar seo: “Glactar an fhaid is gadh leis an Sacs-Bhéarla mar theangain oifigúil eile.”

The President: We will have to decide now what we want. That is the intention. I am satisfied that this meets the situation, as well as it can be met. We have put in the Irish language as the “national language,” but I cannot hope to convince the Deputy that that is right. I think it would be a misuse of terms to put in anything else. Irish is the national language, and, consequently, we put it in the first place as one of the two official languages. Unfortunately, at the moment we have to use English as the second official language. I do not think we could meet the facts of the situation better than that. The fact is that we have to settle our differences by voting when it is controverted that Irish is the national language. I have no doubt that the majority of the House will support that view.

As regards the suggestion of Deputy Breathnach, we have to say that we have two official languages. You cannot say without qualification the word “first” whether in Irish or in English. In the same way, we have English as the second official language. I do not think we can, in present circumstances, do more. I do not wish to deal with the Irish text piecemeal. So far as I understand it, that is quite accurate. We are dealing with the English text. I stand by it.

Mr. MacDermot: I should be quite content as a compromise to have the amendment read, that the Irish and English languages are recognised equally as official languages and make no allusion to “national” at all.

Mr. McGilligan: That is what the Irish text really does.

Mr. MacDermot: I have no objection [989] to Irish being called the national language, provided English is also called the national language, because English has an equal claim to be the national language of Ireland to-day. It would perhaps, avoid any hard feelings on the subject if we avoided going into that almost metaphysical point as to what is or is not the national language, and said that Irish and English were recognised as equal as official languages.

The President: I am standing by the text.

Mr. McGilligan: Why is this being pressed? Is it on the point of Irish being the national language? That only appears in the English text.

The President: What only appears?

Mr. McGilligan: The first section.

The President: Not at all — as being the official language. I suppose if you have the first mentioned, and another official language, it is the second.

Mr. McGilligan: It would appear from paragraphs 1 and 2 that Irish is the official language, and the English language is next as an official language.

The President: As another official language.

Mr. McGilligan: That is the translation of paragraphs 1 and 2.

Mr. MacDermot: Are the words “national language” left out?

The President: Literally, the translation of the Irish text is that Irish is the national language. It is the first and principal official language.

Mr. McGilligan: And the second is English?

The President: English is accepted as another official language.

Mr. McGilligan: As another? There is no second.

Mr. MacDermot: I do not desire, unless other Deputies wish, to press the matter to a division, but I wish to be put on record as opposing the section as it stands.

[990] Amendment put and negatived.

Question proposed: “That Article 8 stand part.”

Mr. Costello: There is one point on paragraph 3 of Article 8 to which I should like to direct the President's attention. If it is passed into law as it stands, it may have an effect which the President does not intend it to have. The clause provides:

“Provision may, however, be made by law for the exclusive use of either of the said languages for any one or more official purposes, either throughout the State or in any part thereof” ...

and therefore the word “exclusive” may possibly lead to a very extraordinary situation and possibly injustice. The President is probably aware of the case that occurred during the year where a prosecution was conducted entirely in Irish against a person who did not know Irish. It is conceivable that a law might be passed legalising that state of affairs and clearly contemplating injustice. I do not think that it is intended by the use of the words that appear in the paragraph to bring about a situation of that kind, but I think the paragraph is open to that interpretation and it ought not to be left in that way.

The President: Has the Deputy an amendment?

Mr. Costello: I was directing the President's attention to a possible interpretation of paragraph 3, which might allow a law to be passed which will cause grave injustice.

The President: I am afraid that this Constitution as a whole will not prevent laws being passed which may be unjust laws. You cannot possibly prevent that, as Deputies I am sure will agree, by any Constitution.

Mr. Costello: You could try. It is possible.

The President: I quite agree that you should, if it is possible to do it. If the word “exclusive” were left out I do [991] not know that there would be very much sense in what would be left. However, I will look into it, if that will satisfy the Deputy.

Mr. MacDermot: Will any harm be done if the third section of the Article is left out?

The President: I think so. I think it is necessary for it to be there.

Mr. Costello: If it is not there in the Article nothing can be done by law. Constitutions prevent us from passing laws, but do not enable us to pass laws.

The President: That is true. I will consider that.

Question put and agreed to.

ARTICLE 9.

1. The acquisition and loss of Irish nationality and citizenship shall be determined in accordance with law.

2. Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens.

Mr. Norton: I move amendment No. 7:—

Before Article 9 to insert the following Article:—

“Citizenship shall continue to be enjoyed by persons of Irish birth and Irish descent in accordance with the laws in force at the date of the enactment of this Constitution.”

I put down this amendment in order to raise the general question of citizenship and nationality as conceived in this Draft Constitution. It seems to me that, in introducing a new Constitution, we ought to declare who are Irish nationals and on whom citizenship is and can be conferred. But in this Draft Constitution we give no indication as to what persons are Irish nationals or on what persons nationality may be conferred. We make just the negative declaration that, “The acquisition and loss of Irish nationality and citizenship shall be determined in accordance with law.” That seems to me to envisage the possibility that a law may be passed under this Constitution, when it is duly enacted, to create entirely different categories of nationals and citizenship from those in existence [992] to-day under the Nationality and Citizenship Act. This Draft Constitution seems to presuppose that nobody is entitled to be called an Irish national to-day and that we have not conferred citizenship upon anybody. It proceeds to deal with the whole position as if the State had not regulated its nationality and citizenship laws through legislation in existence prior to the introduction of the Draft Constitution. I, therefore, want to regularise the position in, I think, a much more satisfactory way than is done under the Draft Constitution.

My amendment seeks to declare:

“Citizenship shall continue to be enjoyed by persons of Irish birth and Irish descent in accordance with the laws in force at the date of the enactment of this Constitution.”

That would give to those who already possess Irish nationality or who have had citizenship conferred upon them, a definite guarantee that their minimum rights in respect of nationality and citizenship are those enshrined in the Nationality and Citizenship Act. But, if an amendment of that kind is not inserted in the Draft Constitution, it seems to me to be possible, under the Draft Constitution, for the State to enact an entirely new set of laws dealing with the acquisition of nationality and citizenship and the laws of nationality and citizenship, as if it had no commitments and no responsibility whatever to those on whom nationality and citizenship had already been conferred.

The President: It is true, as the Deputy says, that we do not definitely and immediately, on the face of the document, indicate who are the body of citizens. Indirectly, we do, of course, because we are taking over the body of statutes, amongst them our citizenship law, and inasmuch as it is being provided, at the start anyhow, that this will not affect in any way the citizenship of any of those classes who are covered by the citizenship law. But the Deputy would seem to make it imperative by his amendment to continue exactly in [993] the same law. I do not think that we ought absolutely to bind ourselves to hold by the law as it stands. First of all, it may be possible to simplify it. Under certain circumstances, it would be possible to simplify that law tremendously. It was because it was not easy, in the circumstances in which we found ourselves, to define in a simple sentence the body of our citizens that we have done it in this particular way. This has been done in other Constitutions, where perhaps the body of citizens were not exactly in the same position as ours.

Mr. Norton: The opposite is also done in other Constitutions.

Mr. McGilligan: And much more often.

The President: That is true. It is much more frequently done, but there are three or four Constitutions that have this provision in them. You have it in the Constitutions of Portugal, Belgium and CzechoSlovakia. These are three Constitutions, as far as my memory goes, in which they have this provision. I would prefer to leave the matter as it stands. It is better to leave it in that particular form. To meet certain fears we may have to put in some sort of an amendment to prevent people from thinking that all sorts of invasions of their rights are intended. I think that on the whole it is better to leave it as it is now.

Mr. Norton: I am willing to hold the amendment over until the Report Stage if the President will, in the meantime, look into the matter. But this is unnecessarily bare and it is likely to raise doubts on the part of those who have rights under the existing legislation and who have grounds for believing that this is an attempt to interfere with their rights. I am satisfied to leave it over if the President will look into the matter again.

The President: I will look into it again. I may tell the Deputy that there was a real difficulty in defining it. On account of Article 3 of the Constitution being repealed it will be [994] necessary, as a matter of fact, to amend the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act.

Mr. McGilligan: So it is worse than Deputy Norton thought. The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act will have to be amended.

The President: It will have to be amended. I had originally intended to define a class of citizens here but it was not easy and I could not get a simple, satisfactory statement without having a very long form of words, the sort of thing that you would hate to see in a Constitution. It was because of the difficulty in doing it that way, that I abandoned the attempt and accepted this form, a thing that is not unusual.

Mr. Norton: The President says it is not unusual.

The President: They have a simpler set of circumstances to deal with than we have.

Mr. Norton: That may be true but we ought to declare certain basic fundamental principles which give basic nationality to Irish citizens. It may be that certain difficulties peculiar to this country arise, difficulties which do not make it possible to decide the matter in a short and tidy way. There is a lot of matter in this Constitution which could be well cut out to make room for such a provision as this. There are declarations here in this Draft Constitution which are not cognisable by the courts. They mean nothing to anybody, they are pure verbiage and I suggest that the space occupied by this verbiage might well be occupied in clarifying this unsatisfactory position and not leave it in this manner. I do not want to cause any difficulties by my amendment but I do think that another effort should be made to arrive at more definiteness than there is under Article 9 at the moment. If the President will undertake to look into the matter on the Report Stage I will hold over the amendment.

The President: Yes, I will do that.

Mr. McGilligan: Let us understand where we are. At the moment Article 3 of the existing Constitution [995] lays down a fundamental law of citizenship for this country. We are now proposing to pass a new Constitution and Deputy Norton has stated his case in favour of his amendment in a very mild way. There is no proviso to render unconstitutional in any way the effect of the Citizenship Act. But there is a danger in Article 9 of the proposed Constitution that a citizen's rights might be taken away. Article 3 of the existing Constitution and the effect of the present law of citizenship could be carried forward as a constitutional right by Deputy Norton's amendment. What would then happen? That amendment of Deputy Norton's could be changed by such ordinary legislation as the President has in mind. There is provision to change Article 9 in the first three years. Rather than do that the President prefers to clean out nationality and citizenship entirely out of the Constitution. That is a bad thing.

Mr. Norton: I am withdrawing the amendment with permission to re-enter it on the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment No. 8:—

At the end of Section 1 to insert a new sentence as follows:—

No person shall be excluded from Irish nationality and citizenship on the ground only of sex.—(An tUachtarán.)

The President: If we are going to deal with Article 9 again on the Report Stage, it is better not to bring in this amendment, in any case in the form in which I have it myself. In that form it seems quite misleading. There is a suggestion that there is some sort of a threat there. If people are afraid, or if they want to have certain assurances, so to speak, even though their fears are altogether without foundation, I am prepared to meet them. There has not been any suggestion of depriving people of their votes or political rights since this State was established, and long before it as far as this country is concerned. As long as we [996] have any part in making our own laws, the question of woman's right to hold any office has not been in question from either side. It is a matter upon which there is agreement, and upon which there will continue to be agreement. However, if people think they are in danger, and they want to have some safeguards by an amendment such as I have put down here, I am prepared to put in that amendment, but I do it under protest. The amendment suggests a danger which is not a real danger. There has been no movement in this country on any side to interfere with the political rights of women.

Mr. McGilligan: That is not the question. Is not the question the possibility of making such a thing impossible? Why talk in terms of danger?

The President: All right. If we had time to make a Constitution to meet all impossible things that might arise, then we would have a very strange Constitution. However, I am prepared to meet people who have those fears, and to put in an amendment in that form. It would be better to leave the whole matter of Article 9 over for the present.

Mr. Costello: I do not want to speak on this matter in view of what the President has said, but I think the President ought to ponder on the difference between a constitutionally guaranteed right and a right which may or may not be given by law, as distinct from a constitutional right. There is no question as to whether women's rights have been dealt with adversely in this Constitution or not. The question is, hereafter may they possibly be dealt with adversely? That is a distinction which, apparently, the President does not sufficiently appreciate between an ordinary law giving rights and a constitutionally guaranteed right. May I make this last observation? The President's amendment will not carry out, in the form in which it is on the paper, what he intends it to carry out. Perhaps he will consider that, too, in the meantime?

Mrs. Redmond: With regard to the amendment in my name, I would like to say that while I appreciate the [997] President's amendment which, in a way, tends to meet mine, at the same time I would like the words “class or religious discrimination” to be inserted. If we are not going to discriminate against women, and if we are not going to have religious discrimination in this country, I think it would be just as well that it should be made clear in the Constitution. I should like to urge on the President to accept my amendment as it stands.

Mr. Norton: Would it not be better to leave amendments Nos.8, 9 and 10 over until we see the President's new amendment, which will enable us to see the whole matter more clearly?

The President: Perhaps it would be better to leave over any amendments to this Article, because there would be no use in amending an imaginary Article, as it were. Until we see this Article in its final form, it might be better to leave over all amendments. With regard to Deputy Mrs. Redmond's amendment, relating to class or religious discrimination, I think the question of religion is sufficiently safeguarded elsewhere. Nobody has suggested safeguards in relation to religion. I think, possibly, there is no suggestion that such a safeguard is necessary. I think that matter is covered elsewhere.

With regard to class, I have a great difficulty about that word, because a class to me seems to be a group of any kind. There is a suggestion of a meaning which cannot apply to our present society here. I do not see a class here except in the sense of groups. You might have functional groups, groups according to their social functions. We all have a sort of rough idea of what we mean by class. For instance, you talk of the employing class and the employed. That is one group of society which you can bring close to this idea of class. I find the word “class” almost impossible to deal with in this connection. We had it in the text as it was issued. It was put in because it happened to be in the previous one and the omission seemed to suggest some definite purpose on our part. I put it in very reluctantly. If I could have got an equivalent I would have put it in. I think the word “class” is [998] objectionable. It is not a thing that could be defined. The moment you talk of a group you immediately have a class. Bankrupts are a class; people of unsound mind are a class; people guilty of corrupt practices at election times — these are a class.

Mr. McGilligan: Oh, now!

The President: Surely they are a class?

Mr. Norton: They are very numerous.

The President: The point about it is that you will find it very difficult to define the word. I will give Deputy Norton the task of defining the word “class.”

Mr. Norton: I am not the author of this amendment.

The President: I know, but we are the people who have to do it, and will the Deputy say what he means by “class” in this direction? That is one of the objections I have to Deputy Mrs. Redmond's amendment. You could not exclude people in anything that could be defined as a group.

Mr. McGilligan: Like the criminal class, for instance? Is that what the President is looking for? He could hardly include them.

The President: They would not necessarily be the criminal class; they might be lawyers — they are a class. The word “class” beats me, at any rate. With regard to religion, I think it is covered, but we have to examine it to make sure that it is covered. I suggest we leave this Article over for further discussion on a later stage. I have indicated my mind and Deputies will probably be ready for their amendments.

Professor Alton: I suggest that the President should consider deleting sub-section (2) altogether. It is quite out of place there. You indicate earlier that the State is sovereign. It follows at once that implicit obedience is due to it by the individual, and I suggest those words “fidelity” and “loyalty” are ambiguous. It may all be nicely expressed, but I do not think it is in place here. I am not questioning the [999] correctness or the morality of the statement, but I say it is not in place in a Constitution.

The President: I think it is very desirable to have it, all the same.

Mr. McGilligan: Does the word “citizens” in paragraph 2, Article 9, cover resident aliens?

The President: It would not, directly, I would use “persons” if I wanted to do that.

Mr. McGilligan: Are resident aliens, then, free from the obligations set out in the paragraph with regard to citizens?

The President: They have to obey the laws, certainly. But loyalty in the sense of the loyalty of a citizen to the State is not required of a resident alien. They have to obey the laws, but that is not quite the same thing as loyalty to a State.

Mr. McGilligan: So these Articles are for the real native stock?

Amendment No. 8, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. MacDermot: I do not know whether the President has any objection to adding the words set out in amendment No. 10. It seemed to me they were rather needed to complete the moral instruction. My amendment suggests that after the word “State,” in paragraph 2, we should insert the words “as well as subordination of class and individual interests to the general welfare.”

Mr. McGilligan: What is meant by “class?”

Mr. MacDermot: Here again we run against “class.” I do not know if the President it attracted by any of those ideas?

The President: I am not at all attracted.

Amendments Nos. 9 and 10 not moved.

Article 9 agreed to.

Progress reported, the Committee to sit again this evening.