Seanad Éireann - Volume 9 - 09 August, 1927
PUBLIC BUSINESS. - PUBLIC SAFETY BILL, 1927—SECOND STAGE.
Question: “That the Bill be read a Second Time.”
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: I move: “To add at the end of the question the words ‘this day six months.’ ” Every time the Government is confronted by domestic violence it should endeavour, in my opinion, at the very earliest moment, to adopt a policy of peace. No doubt at the beginning of such troubles severity is often necessary, and often saves further trouble, but experience teaches that immediately after the first efforts at coercion are finished there should be an attempt to remove grievances, or go further and  remove what people seem to consider to be grievances. It is necessary to conciliate the people—all of them.
Mrs. COSTELLO Mrs. COSTELLO
Mrs. COSTELLO: Murderers?
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: So great a thinker as Machiavelli, who was not much disposed towards conciliation of popular opinion, urged that policy very strongly. In his book he gave a number of instances on “Advice to a Prince.”
Dr. GOGARTY Dr. GOGARTY
Dr. GOGARTY: That is on the Index.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: Would the Senator not interrupt? Machiavelli pointed out that some people who obtained position by violence or otherwise, afterwards, by adopting methods of conciliation, have in that way made the people the greatest friends and supporters of the Government. If such a policy is not adopted, as he says, Governments must go about always with daggers and revolvers in their pockets, because of the oppression which is brought upon the people. We have an example at the entrance to these buildings. When entering the gates Senators find the rifle of the sentry pointed at their motor cars. That is an example of the policy of the Ministry from the beginning. Some months ago, when I was walking across the square, with another Senator, the sentry's rifle went off. We went over to the sentry and asked him why the rifle went off, and the answer was “Begob, I didn't know there was a shot in ‘the spout.’ ” That was what he called the barrel of his rifle. That sentry had very little idea of what the effect of the shot might have been, just as Ministers have very little idea of what the effects of this Coercion Bill might be.
It seems to me there is a lack of understanding on the part of Ministers of the elements of statecraft. It has been characteristic of Ministers that they seem to think that by unending pressure and abuse of opponents they will get peace. Every year they come to us with a new Coercion Bill, expressing surprise and alarm that similar previous Acts have not had the effect they desired. They have appealed to the nation, time after time, to support  them because of the peace that they brought to Ireland, but in the last month they have been telling us that the country is in a desperate state, in spite of five years of absolutely despotic power, in which they have been able to do what they wished and during which they boasted of the peace that they had brought. They now tell us that the country is in a bad state of mind, with murder, secret gangs and every other thing; that they want to produce a system of law, or I should perhaps say, of unlaw, to carry on any Government at all. In the words of the “Times,” they say that they must produce a good, thumping Coercion Act, which would bring the blush of shame to Bloody Balfour or Buckshot Forster. Here we have all the old methods of the English Government brought forward after five years of government under this Ministry. I do not see that any peace has been created, and that is because a wrong view of human nature has been taken.
We all backed up the Government's first endeavour and helped them in every way to carry out their policy, but continual repression shows that undoubtedly there is something radically wrong with the treatment of the matter. We are told that there will be no interference with innocent people under this Bill. I have lived a long time under Coercion Acts, and I never heard of a Coercion Act produced in England but that the Minister responsible for it did not put this claim forward: “We are such kind, good people and this will not affect innocent people.” I remember Buckshot Forster expressing such an opinion. He was a very liberal man, a man with more experience than any of our Ministers, and perhaps wiser than any of them. He came here rather to bring peace, and he told us all these things. But at the end of it he had 4,000 “finished ruffians” in jail.
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN Mr. MacLOUGHLIN
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: Did you protest then?
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: Did I protest when Buckshot Forster put 4,000 persons in jail? I was not then in a position to protest. I was not a politician or in a position to do anything of the kind. I  really think that these interruptions are rather silly. Forster told us that innocent people would not be put in prison, but we all know that the great bulk of these 4,000 people were not “finished ruffians” at all. Many of them were put in because some antagonist whispered something against them. Private enmities were brought forward, the police joined in these acts, and the result was a total breakdown of the whole system. This is just the old autocratic appeal, the appeal that has been made by every tyrant: “We want to bring peace; give us complete powers and we will bring peace.” If Ministers had any real political foresight they would see that there can be no peace in this country while one-third of the representatives of the people are excluded, or think themselves excluded, from attendance in the Parliament of the nation. I am not backing up their opinions; I disagree entirely with their opinions; but when for the first time an advance has been made on their part—and they have made some slight advance of late—the Government steps forward and piles up new obstacles to their entry.
Fianna Fáil made efforts lately to come into the Dáil and failed. I am not saying whether the Government's action on that occasion was right or not, but shortly after, when the Government saw some other chance of their coming in was likely to arise, they proceeded to bring in other Bills to prevent them from doing so. More oaths were brought forward. The whole idea of Ministers is to provide oaths. It is well known that the oath has been one of the great obstacles, a thing which Ministers themselves a few years ago would not have taken, would not have dared to take, but now they are piling up oaths as the great safeguard of this country. At first the oath was confined to the Oireachtas, but now it has been extended, in one way or other, to the Civil Service, to schoolmasters, to all sorts and classes of people. The Government says: “You must take an oath; an oath is the only thing that can save us.” They are extending that principle now to a most preposterous extent. It seems to me that after a while the President will  want to make the oath one of the baptismal vows, that every baby born in the country will have to make a vow to support the Government. I suppose if everyone in the country took an oath the President would be satisfied that everything would go on smoothly. I do not believe that oaths will cure our evils, and in this Bill I do not see one single advantage except party advantage. It will be a constant irritant which may be, unfortunately, met by horrible murder and outrage.
Numbers of law-abiding people, people who have supported the Ministers up to now, are shocked at the severity of these Bills. Not only are they shocked at the particular Bill which we are examining at the moment but at the other Bills, which are political Bills and which are purposely drawn up to exclude certain other people in case they desire to come in, or in case they make any effort to come in. All these things are done, unfortunately, under the pretence of defending the Constitution. I suppose you will find that every tyrant who ever took power in any country always came in with the pretence of doing that. Caesar did so, and Napoleon, when he became First Consul, did it. They all did this under the plea that they were defending the Consititution. We know how they acted afterwards.
I was so much astonished when I read the summary of the powers of these Bills one morning that I shut my eyes so that I could consider them. In doing so, I found myself suddenly transported to Wonderland, where I met the Mad Hatter. On being asked if he ever heard of the Free State, he said: “Yes, it is the only Free State in the world; the President has abolished the Constitution and he can now do anything he likes; he is now free to do anything he likes, and consequently it is a very free State.” That was the impression I have of my meeting with the Mad Hatter, and then I thought that nobody but a Mad Hatter would have invented a series of Bills such as these. The oath was the great point on which they all hinged. When you turn to this Bill and examine some of the main sections, what really happens? First, any member of  the Gárda is given power to come along, whether he is in uniform or not, seize a man in the street or in his house or anywhere you like, examine him, and take away from him all the documents he may have. He need not give them back. The Gárda just walks off with these papers in his pocket. The next thing he can do is to bring this person up before a court. It is quite unnecessary for him to prove that the man was a member of a secret association, a prohibited association. It is not necessary for him to prove that he had these things in his pocket or in his possession or anywhere else. When the court has considered the case it may find that the man is able to defend himself in such a way that he can show the court that he had not these documents in his possession and that he was never a member of a secret association. That does not get him clear. The court cannot declare him free. In any court in the world, if a prisoner shows that he is perfectly innocent and that he did not commit the crime with which he is charged, he is discharged by the court. Does that happen here? Not at all. The next thing that happens is, if he wants to get clear he has to take an oath, which is the great cure for all evils in this country. How is this oath better than the evidence of the people brought there to show he did not commit a crime? What is the object of the oath? Supposing he does take an oath, is he clear then? Not at all. The court cannot acquit him. He is not free. The next thing he must do is to go around and get two reputable witnesses to swear that he is not a member of a secret society. Is not that a serious thing? Anybody who knows much about the state of the country knows that reputable witnesses, in the circumstances of the case, will not be very ready to step into the courts and to make statements of that kind, because they do not know that the police will not come down on them and clap them into jail, and then they themselves would have to find two reputable witnesses. Consider the difficulty in this case. There are a great many young people in this country who have not got many friends. There are young men  and young women, too, who have no personal friends, and they may not find it very easy, especially if they are poor people, to find anyone to come forward and give evidence for them. People who would do so would risk grave dangers.
I say this Bill is an attack upon the poor and friendless. A rich person may find lots of people who will come up and swear for him, but the poor cannot do so. The poor man's friends will not dare to do so. People who have experience of police in various parts of the world know quite well what the position is, in such matters. In London cases have happened again and again in which the police have clapped people into prison and caused the gravest possible inconvenience. I do not wish to attack the Gárda Force. Very far from it. They are a very reputable class, a class for whom I have great admiration. They are spread all over the country and do their business very well. They are decent, respectable people, but they are not all decent respectable people. Nobody is infallible. We find that people are influenced by certain passions and desires and by certain things, and some members of the Gárda will be influenced by these things. During the last five years we have seen a great deal of this, unfortunately. Civilians have enemies. These enemies may report to the Gárda Síochána secret information which would induce the Gárda to arrest, say, any citizen.
As I said before, Forster arrested 4,000 people mostly on advice or on the pretended advice of people who did not wish their names to be brought forward. I am reluctant to give examples of these things, but I am afraid it is necessary in this case. I happened to be down in Kerry during the elections, and I was staying in a hotel in Tralee. After I had gone to bed a man came into the hotel. He was an agent for the Fianna Fáil Organisation. He was there standing at the bar for some time, when in comes one of the Gárda, who brings with him five or six of his associates. I am talking now of my own experience, and I daresay many other people have had somewhat similar experiences. This particular person whom  I allude to started to go up to bed at about 11.30. The Gárda and one or two more of those five or six allies that he brought in with him followed this man and intercepted him on the way to bed. They threw him downstairs. They beat him in such a way that he was not recognisable. The place was covered with blood. This was done in the presence of the owner of the hotel and of the “boots.” When I was told this in the morning I went to see him. I said to him: “Are you so-and-so of the Fisheries?” because he gave me some general resemblance to that man. He was in bed, and the whole bed and his coat were covered with blood. “Yes,” said he, in reply to my question. I said I would not recognise him. His nose and ear were split open. He was almost unrecognisable, and was lying almost helpless on the bed. The doctor who attended him stitched him up.
That member of the Gárda had been going round the country backing up his own side, or rather protecting his own side, at various political meetings. He made an attack on this person in the hotel, practically destroying him. The next morning when I came down the police came to see him, and, after seeing him, they came to see me—the Superintendent and the Inspector. They talked over the matter, and I told them that I had nothing to say about it, but I supposed they would investigate it and examine into the rights and the wrongs. They seemed very decent people, and they said they would. I went away quite satisfied. That is all I had to say then in regard to the case. Consider my astonishment when I found that this man was brought into court charged with attacking the Gárda. The whole thing was known to everybody in Tralee. There were people who actually saw it in the hotel. There are those men in every class of the community, in every army and every police force.
When you give members of the police force or the army such powers as are now proposed. You are bound to have things that nobody will approve of and that the President will regret more than anybody else. No Minister  for Justice and, indeed, no other Minister can put his finger on every policeman to see whether he is doing what is right. Human nature and prejudices will combine in bringing about certain things that people will not approve of.
I know something about military courts; I suppose I know more about them than any Minister here, and, perhaps, I know more about them than anybody else in the Seanad. Military courts are not at all suitable for trying political cases. Even judges find it very difficult to deal with political cases, and very often persons charged in political cases are dealt with unfairly. I repeat that military courts are not suitable. The people appointed to preside over military courts are not trained for that purpose. They have their own prejudices, their own political views and feelings, and they cannot be trusted to give fair and proper treatment to any person charged. My experience is that you will find it difficult to get suitable persons to constitute those courts in this country. In other places they have people of long experience, long military education, combined with a knowledge of military law. I do not know where you are going to find those people in a new army that has just begun its existence.
I cannot see in this Bill a single clause which will help the Government to discover the murderers who committed the frightful crime which we all regret and which distressed us so very much. Not one single line do I see in the Bill which would enable the Government to capture those murderers. If they have any suspicion of those people they can arrest them now. If they can bring them before a court there is not a jury in Ireland that would not come to a just decision on them, or a judge who would not give a proper sentence. I see plenty of chances of great oppression in this Bill, and plenty of chances of innocent men being sent to the scaffold by those courts.
When this dreadful event that happened the other day shocked the whole sense of the country, all classes of political thought and all sections joined in mourning and sympathy. Ministers  for the moment had hardly one opponent in the whole country. Everybody was in sympathy with them and everybody was ready to help them. Unfortunately, they did not seize their opportunity; harsh things were said; in this Seanad the murder was put down to a political party and, in fact, speakers went beyond that. Anybody who spoke in the elections and made attacks on Ministers was put down as a murderer—that was the statement that was made. Fortunately, other Senators had the good taste not to follow in that line. Even those who were shocked at what had been said preferred to let the matter pass rather than allow even a breath of discontent or annoyance to enter an assembly where we were all so distressed by what had happened. The President's opening speech was not itself what it might have been.
Now, instead of trying to make for good feeling among our countrymen and doing the best to do away with the difficulties that confront us, this batch of Bills is thrown at us with the object of changing the Constitution and upsetting everything. We are to have five years of government by police; everybody in this country is to be at the mercy of a policeman. A great many people who were supporting the Ministers a short time ago feel great reluctance at having measures such as these passed. Numbers of people have spoken to me. They were ardent supporters of the Government and they were much against the murder of the Minister for Justice. They suspect that these Bills will not have any good effect. I am not a prophet and I do not know what the result of these Bills will be, but I venture to think they are extremely dangerous. It is very doubtful if they will save the life of any man in this country; indeed they will endanger the lives of many.
The Constitution is practically abolished. One member of the Dáil tried to enumerate some of the Articles of the Constitution that would be overridden by these measures. He mentioned many of them, and then said that he did not think that would even cover the effect of these Bills on the  Constitution, and probably many more Articles would be involved. This is done by a Party that professes to honour and respect the Constitution. They upset the Constitution because they respect it! That seems to me a very strange thing. After five years of despotic power, they say that lawlessness and anarchy force them to abolish and override the existing law and replace it with another law. Since the Penal times I do not think any such proposals have been put before the country. We have had arbitrary administration, plenty of it, but this is a length to which only our own Ministers could go. It resembles more what the Soviet people would do in Russia.
In this country, unfortunately, there are two large Parties and they have a vendetta against each other, one Party endeavouring to seize power and the other to retain it. Regardless of the ordinary, plain people this vendetta goes on. I do not think there is very much difference between the two Parties. Unless this vendetta ceases, and unless the people are brought together in a spirit of good-will, friendliness and good temper this country is going to be ruined. It is going down gradually year by year on account of the perpetual hostility between the two Parties.
One Party stands by force and by a series of terrible actions. The other Party is proceeding to chop and change the Constitution just as it likes, a fine example to the other Party when it comes into power, as it may do some day. As we know, Parties change, and then these powers for the next five years will be in the hands of another Party, and God knows what they will do. I certainly have not much confidence in what they are doing. Many years ago I remember an English writer stating in the House of Commons that if he had not succeeded in destroying secret societies, at least he had forced them under the surface. That was a very stupid and silly thing to say, and he found, after a time, that he was sorry for having said it. But that is the very thing Ministers are trying to do to-day, trying to drive those who would like, if possible, to have some political means of venting their views and ideas  underground and into secret societies, so that there may be, for all we know, continual irruptions, public discontent, and private vengeance. I hope that what I am saying may not come true. I certainly think, and many other peoplt in this country—commercial people and others—hold the view, that this is a most dangerous experiment. I certainly shall do all I can to oppose this Bill.
Mr. DUFFY Mr. DUFFY
Mr. DUFFY: I second the motion, for the reason that I believe the proposed period of six months would give an opportunity for the bitterness and animosity that exists between the two principle political groups in the country to die down.
Mr. O'HANLON Mr. O'HANLON
Mr. O'HANLON: I rise to oppose the amendment, because I do not think its acceptance would serve any useful purpose whatever. Senator Colonel Moore has spoken against the Bill and argued against it, indulging, at the same time, in strictures against what he considers to be the repressive and coercive tendencies of the present Government. Yet his amendment boils down to this, that he seeks to defer consideration of this Bill for six months. If Senator Colonel Moore followed the line indicated in the words of his speech, he should simply vote against the Bill. I did not hear him say one word in favour of postponing the consideration of the Bill for six months. What purpose, therefore, is to be served by deferring consideration of this Bill for six months? If there is anything that this country cannot brook and which cuts across its best interests, it is, in my opinion, delay, doubt and uncertainty. The Government has asked us to provide them with an instrument to meet the situation as they see it to-day, and it is our obvious duty, I take it, either to give them the instrument or to refuse it. I cannot see any justification whatever for postponing the consideration of this Bill for six months.
Mr. BAGWELL Mr. BAGWELL
Mr. BAGWELL: Anyone who reads and ponders over the provisions of this Bill needs no special knowledge of the liberty of the subject, under the existing laws, to realise that it proposes to curtail them to a most serious degree,  and if anyone lacking such knowledge had read, as I have done, the official reports of the debates in another place, he would have no difficulty in formulating a series of reasoned statements against its provisions on the score that it deprives the subject of liberties and safeguards which he has enjoyed for generations under the ordinary law which has operated and now operates in this country. It puts the Executive above the ordinary law, above the highest judges, and establishes military courts, a most objectionable thing. Section 16 provides for arbitrary arrest by a Superintendent of the Civic Guard and detention for seven days on his judgment alone. Only direct necessity could justify this Bill even for a limited time. I say all these things because I am going to support the Bill. I should like Senators to know its defects and undesirable features.
Two questions present themselves. The first is: Does there exist the necessity for special legislation, and if so, does this Bill represent the best means of meeting the special danger with which the State is confronted, or ought it to be modified or otherwise improved? To the first question, “Is there a necessity?” I would undoubtedly say “Yes,” and why? Not to avenge Kevin O'Higgins, though I believe him to have been a true patriot as well as an able servant of the State, and though I sincerely hope that his murderers, who have lowered the staning of this country not only in the eyes of the outside world but in the eyes of every decent citizen of the Free State by a cowardly, cold-blooded crime, will be caught. No, this is not a measure of revenge, but of prevention. The reason for the Bill lies in the title: Public Safety Bill. It is common knowledge that political organisations exist here which are opposed to the present system of government and are ready to destroy it, not by constitutional means, but by force. The murderers of the late Minister for Justice, no doubt, only represent an extreme section of those organisations. But where they exist, with impunity, there is always the tendency for their activities to be more and more directed by the extreme minority. A state of  affairs will with them arise in which large numbers of people will go in fear and dare not speak their minds or act according to their convictions. That is the very negation of liberty, and compared with it the most drastic provisions of this Bill are as nothing. Ever since the establishment of the Free State there have been manifestations of the existence of a shadow rival Government, of an armed force owing allegiance to it. No civilised State can afford to allow such things to continue. They cannot but lower the self-respect of the nation as a nation.
Another aspect of this Bill ought not be lost sight of. The existing criminal laws of this country represent no universally accepted standard of civic liberty, nor are they the outcome of a long national development. No, they are English laws, devised for the control of a singularly law-abiding people. The Irish people are not so law-abiding, and they are not so illogical, and unpractical as to say that a departure even for a time from the very mild English criminal code and methods of administration must be bad for the Irish Free State.
The practice of civilised nations differs widely in this respect and, no doubt, for the most excellent and practical reasons. One of the most excellent examples happens to be France, a country with which I am well acquainted. France is a Republic, and its motto is: “Liberty! Equality! Fraternity !” The laws and administrative system are made by Frenchmen for Frenchmen. Have they in France, a great, highly-civilised country, the same measure of civil liberty as we have had under English laws? Certainly not. There is entry and search by the police without, as well as with, warrant. There is imprisonment without trial. There are prolonged interrogations by Judges d'Instructions. There is the principle of guilty until proved innocent. They have cartes d'identité and rounds-up. The French people put up with all this quite calmly, and why? Because being a logical and clear-thinking people they recognise the defects as well as the virtues of their qualities. They know that more than a certain amount of  liberty is not safe. They know that in practice these arbitrary powers do not unduly restrict the civil liberties of law-abiding citizens and they believe them to be necessary for the prevention of crime and the safety of the State. Is it not possible that the present Government are the best judges of what is necessary for the safety and welfare of this State? Remember they are a national Government and do not number even one member who is that kind of Irishman described in the past as a West Briton. I believe that they are good judges of the necessity for this special legislation and, repugnant as much of it is to me in principle, I think it is the best possible alternative to a continuance of political mur— der and treasonable activities—a far worse thing.
Further, I believe that we have the best possible safeguard against misuse by the Executive of these extreme powers. If they use them tyrannically, or unjustly, they will never again be returned at the polls. Besides, even those of us who are opposed to the present Government in many of their acts and policies know that, in the main, we owe them a great debt in that they have discharged the first duty of a government—that is, to govern—and because they did at a time when there was no liberty in this country and no personal safety, restore both the one and the other. They were not panic-stricken then and I do not believe they are now. Therefore, I shall vote for the Bill as it passed the Dáil.
Mr. O'FARRELL Mr. O'FARRELL
Mr. O'FARRELL: I do not approach this subject from the same point of view as the mover of the amendment. The amendment is equivalent to a rejection of the Bill, and I am going to vote for it as a protest against the Bill. I have no feeling of mawkish sentiment of any kind in regard to any unconstitutional party outside the Oireachtas. I am not over anxious to go out of my way to try to lure them from the error of their ways. I am merely imbued with the desire to prevent innocent people from injustice and unmerited punishment in order to catch a few malefactors. I approach this Bill from the viewpoint of the ordinary commonsense  man who must make up his mind how certain emergencies are to be dealt with, not from the point of view of the despot or the doctrinaire. At the risk of being called a Pontius Pilate, I support the amendment and oppose this measure as ill-conceived, unconstitutional, and in the main unnecessary. To my mind the real Pontius Pilate is that member of the Oireachtas who honestly believes that a certain measure is bad legislation and who, while believing that, remains silent and inactive. The treatment extended to people who criticised this Bill elsewhere will undoubtedly deter people here who have influence with the Government from speaking at all on the measure, unless they feel disposed, like Senator Bagwell, enthusiastically to support it. No one likes to be called an assassin; no one likes to be told that he is trying to save his own skin at the expense of others and that he is shirking his responsibilities, no matter how unjustifiable or unmerited such wild charges may be. There are different ways of shirking one's responsibilities, and certainly one of them is allowing to pass unchallenged or uncriticised bad and wild legislation calculated to do infinitely more harm than it can possibly achieve good, through fear of Parliamentary abuse, no matter how experienced or expert the scolds may be. By this time the Opposition in both Houses must have become quite hardened to a certain type of speech from Ministers labouring under the stress of excitement or emotion, which is perhaps not quite in keeping with Ministerial decorum in older assemblies but at least having the saving grace of being explicit though at times unnecessarily forcible and somewhat abusive.
There are certain circumstances in which there is an excuse for the best of men to lose their heads. The assassination of Mr. Kevin O'Higgins was perhaps such an occasion. This terrible deed came quite unexpectedly, at a time when we were led to believe by the Government itself that law and order had been firmly established and that the gunman had been finally extinguished. In fact, it was on the plea of this signal achievement that the Government appealed to the electors for a  renewal of confidence. Now we find from the President's speech, when moving the Second Reading of this Bill in the other House, that the Government evidently felt that they were entitled to mislead the electors a little bit in this respect. Whilst making fine speeches about the reign of law and suppression of disorder, it is now clear that the Government were all the time aware of the existence of unlawful organisations which they now plead as the justification for this terrible Bill, strengthened, of course, by the brutal assassination of the Vice-President. It is in these circumstances, I think, that Ministers have temporarily run amok and have come along clamouring for all sorts of new and evil-looking instruments of disorder, without making any serious attempt, as far as one can see, to use the well-stocked arsenal of such weapons as they now possess. The Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Act, 1926, gave the Government all the powers that they considered necessary last year to deal with just such an emergency as has now arisen. As far as my memory serves me, no member of this House spoke against or voted against that measure, which was passed rapidly through because of certain murderous and lawless acts which had occurred, and the Vice-President indicated those powers as the maximum required to deal with such an emergency. They were accustomed to ask for not less than the maximum, and they got it. That Act of 1926 surely contemplated such an emergency as the assassination or attempted assassination of a Minister. In fact, such an emergency is specifically provided for. It was after the attacks on Civic Guard Barracks and the murder of two Guards. Have the powers given in that Bill been used? Has there been a slackness in certain directions, and is this measure not a sort of cloak for inefficiency on the part of people who have not attended to their duties, who come along here on the plea that they have not the machine they require? Why should every new incident demand new legislation.
Why should every weapon be thrown aside the moment the foes of law and order get in one stroke? We must  immediately have another Bill, and that will not be used until the next stroke is got in, and then another Bill will be introduced. Under Section 3 of last year's Act the Minister has power, without trial of any kind, to imprison for an unlimited period any person considered to be guilty of any of the acts or activitites cited in the Schedule. That Schedule covers practically every conceivable offence, including attempted assassination and matters of that kind. It is a very sweeping Act, particularly when taken in conjunction with the Treasonable Offences Act of 1925. Parliament is asked to give an infuriated Government, smarting naturally under the influence of the brutal assassination of one of their colleagues, carte blanche to swipe blindly at anybody and everybody in the hope that, perhaps, out of hundreds of innocent victims one or two malefactors may be included. That is not law. That is not justice. That certainly is not government, but merely the triumph of primitive passions over civilisation and sanity.
Under Sections 1 and 2 of this Bill the Constitution is set aside as a useless incumbrance for five years. What a wonderful Constitution it must be which at one time can raise Ministers to the highest spiritual flights in defence of every line of it, and again, which can enable them, apparently quite consistently, to kick it into a corner as a menace to public safety. It is already mended and patched in various places. Now it is to be consigned to the muniment room for five years, and all that is being done by constitutional authority. Under Section 4, the Executive Council can, of their own sweet will, suppress any organisation which they think fit without having to appeal to any court. They can suppress any organisation which does not meet with their approval. There is no redress, no appeal to the court, no real definition as to what “association” means. It may have no name. It may be an assembly of a few persons. It can be a trade union, a friendly society, anything in which a few people combine for any particular purpose, friendly, industrial,  or otherwise. If, in the opinion of the Government, it is seditious and not in the interests of law and order, it goes. Anybody listening to or reading the wild speeches of Ministers during the last couple of weeks will have the gravest apprehension in handing into their hands in their present mentality, their present way of feeling, such serious powers as these.
Under Section 5, membership of a suppressed association thus arbitrarily proclaimed, incurs a minimum penalty of three years' penal servitude. The very fact that a person is a member of such an association, presumably after it has been suppressed, incurs a minimum penalty of three years' penal servitude. Surely nothing like that has ever been asked for under similar circumstances by any civilised Government. Even the mere possession of a document, even a handbill, appearing to the courts to emanate from a suppressed organisation, renders a person liable to a fine of £50 and three months' imprisonment. A person lodging in a house in which such document is found can be arrested, placed in the dock. and charged with being a member of such organisation. There need be no evidence except that such document was found on a person or in his house —as I say, it may be a house in which he is lodging—and the court must assume that he was a member of such organisation unless he can prove the contrary.
The court must assume that he is guilty unless he proves his innocence— a reversal of all legal procedure in civilised countries. I think that this is the most monstrous proposition of all. To prove a negative is the most difficult of all things. It is not enough for him to swear that he is not, and has not been, a member of such organisation, but he must get two reputable witnesses who know him intimately and who are prepared to swear that to their knowledge and belief he is not a member of such organisation. Many an humble individual does not know two so-called reputable persons with whom he would be intimately acquainted, and, even if he did, once he gets into the grip of the law reputable individuals would be slow to come forward and give evidence. They would not  like to bring suspicion on themselves. They will naturally say: “There must be something in it. He would not be arrested unless he was a member, and I will not take the risk of swearing that in my opinion he is not a member.” If he fails to secure these two reputable witnesses, who are prepared to swear to that effect, he must be sentenced to a minimum of three years' penal servitude or two years' hard labour. That is a monstrous proposition.
Section 13 contains a new form of penalty. It enables the Government to deport any man or woman at forty-eight hours' notice. Once notice is served on a person he must clear out of our territory within forty-eight hours, failing which he will be liable to be sentenced to six months' imprisonment with hard labour. This is a new type of offence, because failure to carry the order out means six months' imprisonment. I know that every country would be the better of being without some of their citizens, but I think that every country should deal with its own malefactors. It is a bad principle of international law that undesirable citizens of one country should be sent to another country. If it is poison, it means spreading poison amongst inoffensive citizens of other countries. Where will these people go? Great Britain and Northern Ireland will not have them as they think that they have too many of that sort. The United States are not likely to have them. I cannot see a passport or a visa issued to them for America. It simply means that they go to jail. That is a very convenient way of permanently locking up an opponent who may not be a criminal but who may be a very obstreperous political opponent. He may do things constitutionally, but he may be exceedingly awkward, and some of the most awkward opponents whom the Government have are Constitutionalist, and they may be removed in this way. They can lock up such people for five years.
Lest any loophole may be left in the net, Section 16 enables the Government to arrest and detain anybody without trial for three months, release him after that, and, of course, he can be rearrested and put in for another three months. Having resorted to the law of  the jungle, I suppose it is quite natural that we should resort to jungle courts. The ordinary courts may be too meticulous about evidence, and may ask for a person's guilt to be established before he is sentenced. Hence there is resort to special courts. But why compose those special courts of the Army? There is not a state of war, and there is not likely to be. If a man is arrested by the Civic Guards, why should he be handed over to be tried by a court of three, of whom two at least shall be soldiers? Nothing like this was heard of in previous legislation in any other land. Is it believed by the Government that the ordinary judges and officers of the law would refuse to do what the army officers would agree to do, that the army officers would not be so meticulous, and that they would know what their employers—the Government— wanted? I do not think that is fair to the Army. I do not know why they should be brought in at all. They are employed by the Government. They hold their commissions through the Government, and can be dismissed by the Executive Council. Nobody can say they would be independent judges. They would be nothing of the kind. If there is a necessity for special courts, surely there is nothing to prevent the Government composing them completely of legal people. Are they afraid that the legal authorities—lawyers, judges and others—will not administer justice and administer it as severely if necessary?
I think it is a complete vote of lack of confidence in the courage and in the ability of our own courts to administer justice when the Government have to go to military officers, absolutely ignorant of the first principles of law, as most non-legal people are, and ask them to administer justice in matters of life and death in a court of three, of which two at least will be soldiers. The powers contained in this Bill—I have mentioned most of them— are most objectionable and are unheard of and such as we should not give to the hand of any Government outside a barbaric despotism. The members of the Executive Council would want to be angels and to have devils to deal with in order to justify  the handing over to them of such powers. We know, unfortunately, that they are not angelic, and I think we are safe in assuming that the number of devils is a very small proportion of the population. Senator Bagwell mentioned that the laws under which we live were mainly designed for law-abiding English people. The English people may be law-abiding politically, but the Senator will not deny that more brutal and ghoulish murders are committed in England in one year than in Ireland in a century. Most fiendish crimes are of almost everyday occurrence in England. We read of the cutting up there of human bodies, hiding them away in trunks, and other barbarities of that kind. The Senator assumes a superior air of belonging to a different class, and says that the laws good enough for the superior Britons are not good enough for barbarians such as the Celts. I do not know if the President will thank him for his speech in support of the Bill. While we are not settled politically here, and while we have perhaps not yet imbibed the spirit of true democracy, I think in the main the laws that are sufficient to govern England are quite sufficient to govern the people of Ireland.
I think the best service the Government of our own country could render at the moment would be to go away for a much-needed rest and holiday. They are all tired and overworked, and their tempers and nerves have been rasped as a consequence, and above all by the brutal assassination of Mr. O'Higgins. This Bill was conceived in a mentality resulting from these circumstances. In calmer moments I do not believe they would feel it would be necessary to smudge the Statute Book with such an enactment, which is designed to last for five years. I believe if they use the powers they have, they are just as effective for the purpose of capturing criminals or preventing other crimes as the powers claimed in this Bill. Even if we are to assume the present Government were everything we would like them to be, and which they are not, would we be prepared to keep such a measure on the Statute Book for five years, to  be used by any Government that may succeed the present one? Personally I would not trust those powers even to a Labour Government, because they might be tempted to give the farmers and supporters of this measure a taste of their own medicine.
I am not prepared to give that power. There is no longer a safe Dáil where the Government is sure of a majority for all sort of lawless acts. It only requires one thing to happen and out goes the Government. A radical Government composed mainly of people who believe that this Bill is specially designed for their extinction may take the place of the present Government, and we may be much nearer to that than the members of the Government or the members of this House are aware. We may not be much older when there may be developments that will startle such people, and then the new government may have a sufficiently crude sense of humour to use this Bill to deport and lock up the people who introduced and supported it. If that happened I think there is a sufficient amount of grim humour in the country and outside to enable people to laugh at the predicament of the people who would be hoisted with their own petard.
Parliament has not yet adjourned, and Senators would be wise if they would view this Bill from the point of view of the powers they are prepared to give into the hands of any Government set up. I have no power to influence the Government, and very little power to influence this House, but there are members of this House whose advice the Government would take, and I regret that some of them are absent. But there is a sufficient number here to advise the Government to modify this Bill and make it more civilised. I appeal to them to use their influence in the interest of sanity and public safety, in view of changes which may come sooner than expected. We are all interested in the maintenance of national credit. The assassination was a blow against national credit, but we recovered from that. I believe this Bill is a declaration of no confidence in the country. It certainly puts the official seal of lack of faith in the  country to carry on according to ordinary democratic methods. It is quite true, as Senator Moore said, that a fortnight ago everybody was talking about the assassination. There was a marvellous wave of sympathy for the Government, but a fortnight later everyone was talking about this Bill, and the assassination was forgotten in the excitement of the moment. The great man was forgotten. People merely talked of vengeance and the inability of the State to carry on except by uncivilised methods. I can quite understand people who never wanted the Free State to function, people for reasons other than Republicanism, supporting this Bill in the hope that it will bring about a state of affairs leading to the dissolution of the Free State. We had a similar state of affairs in Grattan's Parliament.
We have such a mentality. Yet the Government bring in oppressive laws which hit at the law-abiding citizen probably more effectively than they do at the malefactor, who is generally well able to look after himself. People will begin to say, as some of them have been saying, “We wish to heavens the British were back again.” I can understand people of that kind. I cannot understand people who want the Free State to remain playing up to that type of mentality and allowing themselves to be driven to measures of this kind by a few murderers. By doing that, they are helping to achieve the very thing that those people doubtless desired to achieve by the terrible deed they committed when they assassinated the Vice-President. If they were asked what state of affairs they would like to bring about, they would probably ask for no other position than that which we have now. It is for that reason I oppose the Bill. Every member of the House, I think, knows, or should know, my views with regard to unconstitutional activities, with regard to violence in politics, and generally with regard to Parties who may be said to be partly responsible for this measure. I am opposing the Bill merely in what I believe to be the interest of the citizens as a whole. I earnestly hope that before the Bill leaves the House it will be a more democratic and a safer  measure and that it will be more effective to preserve the nation's interest and the national safety than it is at the present time.
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN Mr. MacLOUGHLIN
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: As the risk of being deported and locked up by a subsequent Government, I support this Bill. To hear certain of the criticisms levelled against it—“barbaric despotism,” “monstrous propositions,” “bad and wild legislation,” and “law of the jungle”—would almost give the impression that Ministers were, in cold blood, plotting the means by which to filch from law-abiding citizens of this State their constitutional rights and to set up an irresponsible and autocratic tyranny. The simple fact is that the objective of the Bill is to safeguard those constitutional rights and to make it impossible for the criminal conspiracy, which is now known to exist, to carry out its avowed object of overthrowing the State by means of political assassination. One would have thought that in the tragic circumstances that confronted the Government and the country, a measure with this object would have had the united support of all political parties who support the Constitution. One would, at least, have thought that the expressions of sympathy and abhorrence of the murder, so honestly made, would have been translated into giving wholehearted and determined support to Ministers in any measures they considered necessary for uprooting the foul conspiracy that deprived the country of its greatest statesman.
Such a demonstration of unity and determination by all Parties in the Oireachtas would have had a very reassuring and salutary effect on the country. In fact it was what the majority of the peace-loving people of the Saorstát expected from representatives who genuinely and sincerely deplored the murder of Kevin O'Higgins. I am sorry, however, that instead of rising above party politics and backing up the Government in their efforts to stamp out this dangerous conspiracy, so many members of the Oireachtas have succumbed to the moral flabbiness which is now, unfortunately, so conspicuous a trait of public opinion and which sees a menace to the stability of  the State, not in dangers and criminal conspiracies, not in the murder of Kevin O'Higgins, but in the measure proposed by the Government to avert such tragedies in the future.
Ministers are said to be running amok, and, according to certain critics, these measures have been conceived in panic by Ministers, who are jeopardising the sense of security and the stability of the country by passing them. The murder of the Vice-President was no doubt a cruel shock to his colleagues, but to say that it put them into a state of panic or caused them to run amok is a slander and an insult to men who never flinched during the reign of terror in 1922 nor in the horrors of the Black and Tan period when they risked their lives, not once but a dozen times, for Ireland. As for the Bill creating instability, if any instability should ensue or any feeling of insecurity should arise I would attribute it more to the bitter manner in which this Public Safety Bill has been denounced and opposed than to any of the provisions it contains.
The opposition to this Bill will not bring a feeling of security or satisfaction to the country generally. It may bring a feeling of satisfaction to the evil-disposed and to those who are plotting against the State when they find that there are members of this Oireachtas, claiming to be Constitutionalists, who refuse to trust the Government with the powers which they consider necessary for the safeguarding of the Saorstát. I could understand this refusal if the Government abused their powers in the past. When the late Vice-President came before this House with previous Public Safety Bills we heard the same criticisms—the same condemnation of the drastic provisions of the Bills—the same fears expressed as to how those drastic powers could and would be abused. Has one of those fears been realised? Can the critics point to any abuses in justification of their criticisms? Has the Government shown by its administration of the previous Acts that we cannot trust them to administer this one with discretion?
I would remind Senators who have any hesitation about trusting the Government  to administer this Act with discretion that when all is said and done the question resolves itself into this: whether you are going to trust to the discretion of the Government or to the discretion of the gunman. There is no halfway position, and those who say that the present powers which the Government have are sufficient to cope with the situation are simply trusting to the discretion of the gunman. They are assuming that in spite of the Cobh murders, in spite of the murder of members of the Gárda Síochána last October, in spite of the murder of Kevin O'Higgins, we can go on as we have been doing until murder again thrusts its bloody fist in our faces. Then, perhaps, some of the critics might be willing to sanction more serious methods, or perhaps they would admit, like some of the opponents of the present Bill, that the Government did require extra powers, but say that those they were seeking were too drastic. I should like to ask who is in the better position to judge whether the powers asked for are excessive or fully necessary? Is it the Government, or critics like Senator Colonel Moore? Ministers, whether here or elsewhere, are generally better informed than the outside public. No doubt they cannot reveal all their sources of knowledge or even of suspicion. Were this done the gainers would be their malevolent opponents, who take no risks and have no responsibility to the nation.
And if some of the powers sought are drastic, who is going to be inconvenienced by them? Not the peaceful citizen content to go about his business honestly, and who is not plotting for the overthrow of the State. Those who are engaged in this criminal plotting will undoubtedly be very much inconvenienced and hampered in their efforts to destroy the State by the operation of this measure. Is it suggested that they should not be so inconvenienced in their work? If so, let it be clearly stated and we will know where we stand. It has been stated that those miscreants who are engaged in this murder plot are an inconsiderable section of extremists who are out of touch with, and have lost the sympathy  of the great majority of those who call themselves Republicans. I am aware, of course, that their latest activity has been discountenanced and the responsibility for it denied by the Council of the Republican Army. It has also been condemned, I would say quite sincerely, by de Valera, and I would like, for the credit of the country, to think that his condemnation of the murder was sincerely accepted by his followers. But I regret to have to state that my experience is that a very large proportion of his followers in the country gloated over the assassination of the Minister for Justice and openly rebuked people for describing it as a murder. These people referred to it as “the execution of Kevin O'Higgins,” and regretted it had not taken place long ago. Yet I am taken to task by Senator Colonel Moore for casting a certain responsibility on those who spread this vicious and malignant propaganda, not only here but abroad.
During his brief career Kevin O'Higgins was assailed as a monster, a murderer and an autocrat. When I say the people guilty of these denunciations created the atmosphere and primed the assassin with the idea that in striking down Kevin O'Higgins they were striking down a tyrant, I am taken to task. As an example of how he was attacked, I would draw the attention of the Seanad to an article written by a special correspondent in Dublin and published in New York on the 9th July, the day before Kevin O'Higgins was murdered. It is headed “The Setting Sum of O'Higginism,” and contains the following sinister passage:—
Ministers are still carefully guarded, and I have heard that Mr. O'Higgins is being solicitously protected, his bodyguard at his residence “both plain and coloured,” being reinforced. Since the near-ducking episode on the eve of the elections, he has been the victim of “nerves.” Young men returning to their homes in the vicinity of Mr. O'Higgins' residence in the suburbs have been frequently held up by the police and required to produce credentials before passing on their way. The older members of the “Force” liken the present precautions to those  taken to protect “Bloody” Balfour and “Buckshot” Forster in the height of their popularity at Dublin Castle.
Of course, everybody here is aware that the story of his being protected, like the story of his nearly being thrown into the Liffey, is a tissue of lies, but what a light it throws on the expressions of regret for his murder, and what a justification it is for those who say that although the assassins of Kevin O'Higgins, like the murderers of St. Thomas a 'Beckett, were not directly ordered by their chiefs to do the deed, the assassination flowed from the stream of tendency of which the revolt against the Treaty and the post-Treaty Republican movement, was the reservoir. So that when we consider that we have here a rival army, with its adjutant-general and its headquarters, sending communiques to the Press, I think most Senators will agree that something more serious than ordinary law, backed up by mere pious expressions of horror and condemnation, is necessary to counteract this evil which is afflicting the public life of this country.
Senator O'Farrell and the Labour Party examine this Bill from the trade union point of view as if it were directed against them. I think that is wholly mistaken. Were the Government an anti-Labour Government or actuated by anti-Labour bias they would have introduced into the Oireachtas, when they had a majority, legislation something on the lines of Mr. Baldwin's measure for curbing trade unions. No such scheme has been thought of here, and only a squint-eyed vision could pretend that measures to curb assassination could affect the general body of democracy in which trade union has its root. I am confident that the murderers of Kevin O'Higgins belong to no trades union and to no Labour element. In my opinion they embrace the section of youth who never wants to do and who never did a stroke of honest work. Every revolution has cast up wastrels, who, ambitioning to live free of honest toil, make their own selfish ideals a Moloch to be worshipped. The Labour Party should take care lest by their  mistaken opposition to this Bill they do cast their children to Moloch.
I deplore especially the statements made by a speaker on a Labour platform that the Government knew who the murderers are and could lay their hands on them in twenty-four hours. Such an assertion adopts the cunningly-laid counter-trail of the assassin that the murder was the work of the old officers of the Army who for a brief period were in mutiny against the administration. At every hearth, at every cross-roads, at every fair and market from Donegal to Kerry this cruel and infernal slander against honest men has been broadcasted to deceive the public and confuse the police authorities.
Senator Moore talks about the lack of real political foresight on the part of the Government. I think it is refreshing to have the survivor of a political party which holds the record for political obliteration talking about “lack of political foresight.” Although the results of the last election were unsatisfactory to most of us, when we reflect on the discrimination that was used by the electorate in wiping out the Senator's colleagues, there is, even for the most pessimistic of us, a gleam of hope for the country.
False analogies have been drawn between the proposals contained in this Bill and the coercive measures that were the stock-in-trade of the old British régime. There is just this difference—that in the case of the old British régime the repressive measures that were enacted were directed to defeat the efforts of the Irish people to secure their rights. In the case of the proposals in this Bill they are directed to defend these rights. Our Ministry includes no Buckshot Forster and no Bloody Balfour, but bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. The welfare of every Irishman, whether he is a coal-heaver or a millionaire, is sacred to their hearts. This Bill strikes not at liberty but at crime, and although criticism may point out that the same pleas arose on the lips of the English Ministers, there is no analogy in the present situation.
English Coercion Acts were passed  to impose on the Irish people penal laws, the horrors of landlordism and emigration—the misrule consequent on Cromwellian confiscations and plantations. These oppressions are the ghosts and miasmata of the past. Now the people own their own lands. All religions are free and equal. Trade unions and combinations are as legal as the statutes that create the Bank of England or the Bank of Ireland. Ancient wrongs need no reprisals, and the modern assassin can find no justification for his wrong-doing in the injustice done to his fathers. In twenty-six out of thirty-two counties native rule prevails as effectively as it does in Britain, Italy or France. No doubt a complete national settlement remains to be effected, but was that the cause of the murder of a statesman, who only adopted the Treaty signed by his leaders, Collins and Griffith? This State has been brought into being as the result of great sacrifice and suffering. It represents a great national achievement. It gives its citizens authority over all that appertains to their lives and welfare. It is the duty of the Government that is entrusted with the task of giving expression to that authority of the people to see that no avenue has been left open by which the rights of the people can be assailed or overthrown. In this task they should have the support of all right-thinking men. I do not seek, nor have I sought, favours from the Government, but as an humble Irishman I would ask the opponents of this measure, and especially my Labour friends, not to surround themselves with a wall of suspicion but to view this measure in the light which has been given to me.
Sir BRYAN MAHON Sir BRYAN MAHON
Sir BRYAN MAHON: I rise to support the Bill. At the same time I hope that occasions which necessitate its use will be rare. The Government, in my opinion, should be fully armed to deal with those occasions when they do arise. At the present time they are not fully armed but this Bill gives them the necessary powers. They are at present like a soldier who has got a weapon unloaded. This Bill loads the weapon for them. I have every confidence that the Government will never use that weapon  except when the necessity arises, but the Government ruling us to-day, or whatever Government will be in power in future, are in the best position to judge when that necessity arises. I heard some remarks made about military courts. I have had experience for a great many years of military courts. I have sat on military courts as a member and as President when very eminent lawyers took part in the proceedings both for the defence and for the prosecution. I have heard the opinions of those eminent lawyers on military courts in which they have taken part. It has been stated to me personally by these lawyers that a military court is a just court and a fair court. They may not be popular courts, but I have never heard any real criticism of them.
Mr. HOOPER Mr. HOOPER
Mr. HOOPER: I am reluctant to give a silent vote on so important a measure as this. I propose to support the Second Reading, because I believe that the powers now possessed by the Government need some strengthening. Furthermore, whatever doubts I might have in respect of that matter would have to be much stronger than they are before I decided to refuse any reasonable powers asked for by the Ministry—the men who are shouldering the responsibilities of government and taking the risks that the unfortunate assassination of Mr. O'Higgins shows only too clearly they are taking. I would venture to express a hope, however, that when we come to the Committee Stage the Government will lend an open ear to proposals for amendments—a more open ear, shall I say, than was lent in the other House, where, I admit, the heated atmosphere of the debates was not as conducive to a consideration of amendments on their merits as I hope may be the case here.
There are certain points in the Bill which to me do seem to need amendment. For one thing, I believe that the transition from the present method of trial by jury to that of trial by military courts is too big a step to take all at once. It may be that such military courts will become necessary. They were necessary in recent years in this country, and they are found  necessary in all countries. But they are intended to operate in a time of foreign war or civil war—at any rate, at a time of open fighting. That, as I see it, is not the kind of situation contemplated in this Bill, and I believe that we should stick as long as we can to the jurisdiction of the civil courts. I believe that there should be some intermediate or alternative stage before we get to the military courts. The Government itself, in the original draft of the Bill, did make such a provision, but for reasons that seemed good to them they excised that provision from the Bill when it was before the Dáil. I should like to see that provision restored. There are some other points as to which I should like to see amendments made. I believe that the provisions in respect to Press offences, with regard to rendering parents liable for their children's membership of illegal associations, and some others, should be reconsidered, and I hope that when we get to the Committee Stage the Government will not be so unbending in respect to them as they were in the other House.
Dr. GOGARTY Dr. GOGARTY
Dr. GOGARTY: There is one consideration that I should like to put forward. Has it ever occurred to people what the position of the country would be if it depended for financial stability and law and order on any one of the persons that oppose this Bill? We have Senator Moore, after a life of militarism, with a “Glaxo” outlook on conditions, suggesting the postponement of a concatenation of clauses which he thought were to be thoroughly deprecated, but after his consultation with the “Mad Hatter” and Machiavelli, I do not think I need go into that. We have Deputy Redmond with a policy which can only be described as one of fatty degeneration. We have the Labour Party with a policy of carping criticism. If these were to be between us and the little cornerboy courts which are probably trying some of the members of the Seanad, the Dáil and the Ministry, I would not feel secure —I would not feel that rising in the morning is fraught with a sense of retiring peacefully in the evening. Nor would the country's credit be very stable. From the murder of the Vice-President  even Ulster suffered pretty severely, from certain English people probably confusing the different parts of the country. It comes shortly to this: that clemency, where it is not required as in this instance, is conspiracy, and the sooner that the Bill is made law the sooner will the enemies who are now in line with “Buckshot” Forster and “Bloody” Balfour, and who are trying to deprive people of their rights, be controlled.
I think the most sensible sections in the Bill, and perhaps the most necessary, are Section 13, which provides for the deportation of instigators, and the section which tries to bring to a national attitude the local Press. This country has been betrayed for five years by the Press, whose anxiety ought to have been to make the country prosperous. There has been an attitude which the French describe as “tendency.” You cannot put your finger immediately on a particular article, but you can put your finger on juxtapositions in a paper. For instance, when Collins was murdered the number of swine selling for the week was pretty close to the notice of his death. That kind of poltroonery will have to be dealt with. As Senator Bagwell suggested, there are different laws for people in proportion to their law-abidingness. You will not get a public opinion in this country while juries are held up by the violent friends of people about to be tried. You cannot protect juries. If you try to protect a juryman he would cease to be a free-acting juryman. You must remember that very little whine is justified from people who have these hidden courts with military pretences, when confronted with a military and open court and a non-military counsel. It does not require very much argument from me to help people to form what I think is already the solid opinion of the House.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: I do not know whether Senators generally have read any of the statements which I made concerning the various activities of the armed organisations in this State who are opposed to its continuance in its present form, I traced, in the Dáil, at very considerable length, the history  of violence during the last four or five years. I do not propose to do more than just briefly refer to some of the outstanding features of the events of the last few years. It will be within the recollection of the House that some five years ago quite a number of young men, with some people a little older and with more experience, endeavoured to prevent the people of this country from freely expressing their views in the ballot-boxes. Public meetings were interfered with, rails were taken up from the railroads, roads were blocked with every possible obstacle, and people coming to public meetings to hear the views expressed by public representatives were interfered with in every way possible. Later, the State had to take action—definite and determined action. It asserted the authority of the people's Parliament—not without some severity. But comparing the severity which was used with that used in other countries which experienced similar trouble, we find that there was a much greater degree of clemency exercised here. When I hear Senator Moore talking about appeasement, I wonder what sort of appeasement he preached to the Boers from 1900 to 1902—whether that sort of nonsense would have been tolerated in the particular organisation of which he was a member.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: I did.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: I suppose the Senator used his gun along with it. The situation there had no parallel with that here, and still Senator Moore was an instrument in restoring what was called order out there. What we asserted here was the authority of the people, the right of the people to express their views, to determine the class of representation they would have, to determine their own institutions and organisations, and it took something like nine months to restore order in the country. A cease-fire order was issued by the nominal leader of those who were in arms against us. Quite a number, while professing to accept the order, actually dumped their guns and proceeded here and there to interfere as much as they possibly could with the administration of the country. Occasionally we hear repudiations, from persons supposed to be in authority, of that policy. But  since that period this Government and the various institutions set up by this Government have, in season and out of season, worked day and night to secure every single one of those dumps, to secure all the arms in the country, and to stop the activities of that armed organisation. We might have adopted the policy of appeasement suggested by Colonel Moore, and anyone who has had any experience of these gentlemen knows what effect that would have had on their minds, or we might have adopted the attitude of doubt and hesitancy which is the particular line of policy of the Labour Party. But we did not. We went on with the work, and there was danger in it, and the Vice-President is one of those who paid the supreme penalty with his life for his devotion to duty, for his relentless policy to secure for the State absolute control of all the arms in the State, to restore order, and to restore the people's authority from one end of the State to the other.
Within the last couple of years, those who were nominally leaders of the people, in arms against the State five years ago, were thrown over by the military people. The immediate result of the throwing over of that nominal control was the rescue of prisoners from Mountjoy, armed attacks upon the police stations, firing upon police and military patrols, the blowing up of picture theatres and the robbery of banks. For example, at Ballinamore, where one of the raiders was shot by the police in a bank robbery, the raider was identified as a member of an irregular organisation. In Cork a trap mine was laid to murder members of the police force, and attempts were made to intimidate jurors. The “O.C.” of the Midland Division, who was captured in Dunboden House, was amongst the prisoners rescued from Mountjoy, and was later found in London with sixteen revolvers in a suitcase. Just imagine Senator Moore adopting a policy of appeasement towards that gentleman. Armed raids on money lenders were carried out in Dublin, Limerick and other centres. The leaders in each case produced what they called official authority from the I.R.A. In November last a number of  police stations were raided and two policemen were murdered. An irregular paper published what they called an official statement in which the irregular army organisation accepted responsibility for the raids. That is what we are up against at present, and one of the fruits of that policy which you can see and trace through all that period has been the murder of the Vice-President.
This Government, at any rate, has adopted one policy all the time towards that sort of armed violence. It is going to meet violence with violence at all times. The Constitution will be suspended in respect of those persons who seek by violence and other treasonable methods to alter the Government of this State. The heads of some of our institutions may be endangered. We are taking the responsibility of defending them. We put before the Seanad what we consider to be the best means calculated to effect that purpose. We heard a good deal of nonsense spoken, particularly by members of the Labour Party, in connection with the late election, that we deceived the people. Now if there is one party in the State that was absolutely straight—and, indeed, the only party which was absolutely straight—in the late elections, it is the party of which I am leader.
Mr. O'FARRELL Mr. O'FARRELL
Mr. O'FARRELL: The Government had not restored law and order.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: We had. No member of your Party, from the beginning or during the last five years has suffered in any way. We have borne the losses. We have manned the institutions of the State with people who had the courage to discharge their duties irrespective of any danger. The Senator is trying to produce the same sort of atmosphere here as was produced, on a similar occasion, in another place. He will not succeed. I can understand every member of the Senator's Party, or a great many of them, being panicky. We have too much experience of all this talk about panic to be panicky over an incident of this sort and we generally find that the people who are most ready to make statements about panic are the people who themselves are in a state of panic. The Senator  speaks of a sense of fear. Perhaps he is a better example of fear than any member of the Government. No member of the Government knows any fear. We certainly are not going now to be driven into an atmosphere of fear over this which we in our generation are going to crush no matter what the consequences may be. We are charged with not having restored order. Anybody with any experience in this country will admit that from November until after the elections and until this terrible crime was committed there was never such real peace in this country. During the whole period of the General Election there was not an arm broken, and the Party which benefited most by that situation—the Labour Party— comes along and says that we, the Government, have deceived the people, and that there was no peace. There was peace, and that peace the Government and this Parliament were responsible for restoring throughout the country. If there were any people who suffered in that period it was the Government, by reason of the loss of various members of various institutions, who gave up their lives in defence of the institutions of the State. And it is that policy which is going to secure peace for the future.
I am not so much concerned with the economic situation as with the moral situation; that we must have respect for life and morality and for religion, and that those scoundrels in any part of the country who are endeavouring to upset morality will find they are up against a bigger proposition than they contemplated. When we have moral conditions and responsibility restored, the economic condition will benefit very much more than by pretending to ourselves that the speech of a Labour member or the speech of a member of any other political party is going to improve the situation.
This Government is absolutely indifferent as to what will happen in the next six or twelve months or in the next five years, whether Mr. de Valera leads in his fifty members or not. None of us ever wanted office or ambitioned it, but we want, while in office, to discharge our duties to the State and to  the public in such a way that we will leave a headline for future governments. I have the most absolute confidence that whatever Government is put into power in this country, whether it is a Labour Government or otherwise, will not abuse any of the powers enshrined in the Acts passed by the Oireachtas. I am not like Senator O'Farrell who speaks of fear. He has doubts even of his own Party, if given such powers that we ask for here under this measure.
Some expressions which came from Senator O'Farrell astonished me. He took Senator Bagwell to task. Senator Bagwell has been much more politically opposed to me, I suppose, than any other member of this assembly. But I must say that I realise a bigger mind, a bigger conception of the responsibilities of representation, on the part of Senator Bagwell than I do on the part of Senator O'Farrell, and I attribute it to this, that Senator O'Farrell and his people have never had the exercise of authority, know nothing about it, and have the utmost suspicion of every person who is entrusted with authority. That is not good citizenship, and that is not going to give any support to the people who are looking to us for a lead and for light. The Constitution is for the people of the country. If there are people who would use it to the detriment of the State, then I say that the Constitution is not for them. We will suspend it in respect of persons who are going to attempt, by violence, to upset this State, and we are not going to be hypocrites about it. The Ten Commandments were of very great use when Moses came down from the mountains and saw the people paying homage to an idol. They were the Constitution of that time, and the Constitution of any State which has not got the obedience and support of the people is of very little use.
Senator Bagwell made one good point when he said that our Constitution was not the outcome of long national development. We ventured upon a great experiment when we passed this Constitution five years ago. We wanted to bring home to the people who were in arms against us, and to other  citizens of the country, that there would be no State in respect of which democratic control was to be so enthroned and so enshrined in the minds of the people as this, that there was no country that would exercise greater democratic control than this. That had no effect on them, but still we persevered. There is no country in the world at present in which the people have got more authority than have the people of this country. It is to ensure that that will not be lost that we are now recommending to Parliament that the Constitution should be suspended for five years in order that it may ultimately survive and that those who seek to bring it down, for whatever reason, will fail in their attempt, and that the authority of the people will be at all times paramount. There are people who have been intoxicated with the liberty that we have. If people seek to use liberty as licence, we are not going to allow it. We are going to collect every arm in the country. We are going to arm our institutions with such power and authority as will enable them to prevent crime. Of those who say to us that we are looking for too great powers in this measure, I would like to ask: If we had not had the terrible experience of the murder of the Vice-President, and had come forward for this measure with the knowledge of all the items I have read out to you of the activities of this organisation during the last few years, what would the answer have been? What would the answer have been from Senator O'Farrell? Would we have been advised to wait until we saw whether or not there was to be an attack upon a Minister of the State?
Senator O'Farrell states that he does not think it fair to the officers to establish military courts. During the first nine months of the disturbances we had here we set up military courts. I have yet to hear from any person, in this country or in any other, that any innocent man was condemned by one of these courts. This is more of the slave mind, to say that our officers and that members of the Gárda are not experienced. It shows an utter lack of confidence on the part of public representatives when they give utterance to  such expressions. More of the slave mind appears in the various pronouncements we have had, both here and in America, that the late Vice-President was the person who signed death warrants in seventy-seven cases. He did not. If there is a person with maximum responsibility in the case, it is myself. But the Vice-President was attacked because people thought that he was unpopular, that they could afford to attack him, that they could afford to show up to the people of the country that there there was a tyrant. It was in an atmosphere such as that that the young fellows were persuaded to say that there was a tyrant here and that he should be removed. We have the slave mind again in Senator Moore when he talks about five years of despotism. Where was the despotism?
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: Here.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: And what was the nature of it?
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: About ten Coercion Acts, one after another, and alterations of the Constitution.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: If there is one piece of evidence of the liberty that is ensured to the citizen it is that a man like Senator Moore can go freely about the country, that he is not in Grangegorman, or some place like it. Five years of despotism! Empty minds give expression to such statements on platforms before young men, knowing full well that the statements are exaggerations, and the young men go home and say: “Where are the tyrants until we remove them and give the country the liberty that it ought to have?” We are charged with severity and despotism, and what is the purpose of it? The securing of democratic control, from one end of the country to the other. We have gradually got control of the arms. For the last three or four years I am positively certain that we have collected 75 per cent. of the arms, and as they come in the hostility of the young fellows gets more pronounced, and they say: “We are not going to allow them to go without a struggle.” The struggle is going to be to their detriment if they try it on. We are  charged with removing from the citizen the right of trial by jury. I read in the Dáil a paragraph relating to three young women, one of whom I know must be educated, because she comes from a family which could afford to educate her, and she got a sentence of three months' imprisonment for endeavouring to get jurors to perjure themselves. I have also heard an account of an attack which was made on the office of the Under-Sheriff in Dublin, on June 2nd, 1926. The primary object of the raid, which was an official I.R.A. operation, was to procure a copy of the jury lists, required by the Cumann na mBan to circularise jurors and to intimidate them from bringing in verdicts in accordance with the evidence in treason cases.
None of the critics of this measure drew attention to the fact that before these special courts are set up a proclamation must be issued by the Executive Council. The mere passing of this measure does not bring into being those special courts. An attack has been made on our jury system. Contempt has been expressed in the courts for the courts of the people of the country. Steps are taken to deal with that in this measure, and the people who endeavour to use the Constitution to bring down the State will find that for every attack that is made on it the Government response will be much more telling in its effect. The ordinary peace-loving citizen, going about his business, need have no fear whatever at the passing of this Bill. There is no fear in the mind of any man as regards the operation of this measure, and there need be no fear, when you have two Houses of the Oireachtas, except in the minds of the panicky and of those who are unused to government and unfit to govern.
Mr. FARREN Mr. FARREN
Mr. FARREN: It is with great reluctance that I rise to speak on this Bill, because of the fact that the Executive Council think it necessary at this stage to introduce a further Public Safety Bill and because of the dreadful event that led up to its introduction. At the risk of being accused of moral cowardice, and all  the other charges that have been made against members of the Labour Party, who had the courage to offer their criticism of this Bill, I feel that I could not possibly give a silent vote on it. In the first place, this Bill proposes to abrogate the Constitution. I may say frankly and honestly that, if the Executive considers it necessary, in order to prevent similar deeds to the one that took place a few Sundays ago at Booterstown, to suspend the Constitution, they are entitled to do so. But, the point of view of the Labour Party is that they are not opposed to giving the necessary powers required by the Executive to deal with an emergency such as this, but that they consider the powers asked for are too drastic. We consider there is a danger that the decent, law-abiding citizen is liable to suffer under the provisions of this Bill. The retort, of course, will be that the decent, law-abiding citizen has nothing to fear from this Bill. A good deal has been said with regard to the attitude of the Labour Party on this measure. The Party has been subjected to the most venomous abuse that it was possible to pour on them. We heard it stated here by the President, and I must say that I was surprised, that no member of the Labour Party had suffered. I remember a good many of my colleagues who suffered. One would think that the members of the Labour Party had no right to offer any opinion on this question.
Another member of the Executive said that we did not come into the arena. When men were wanted in the arena the members of the Labour Party were there. They were in the arena before the fruits of office were going. No one knows that better than the President. I think it is unfair and unjust to attack any Party that offers fair criticism of any Bill that is brought before the Oireachtas and which they are entitled to criticise. Otherwise they have no right to be here at all. If we are to be in the Oireachtas to simply say “aye” to everything the Executive does, there is no use in being here at all. The Labour Party has suffered since the troubles started and has been abused by both political Parties. Both sides expected  that the Labour Party would become a tail of their Party, and because Labour endeavoured to go its own way, according to its own light, it has been subjected to all sorts of abuse by both parties of political opponents.
Senator MacLoughlin stated that Ministers never shirked their duty. I think I know as much about suffering and what the Ministers went through as the Senator. I did not say that Ministers shirked their duty. Members of the Labour Party did not shirk their duty. The view I take of this Bill is that I object to some of the clauses because I think they are too drastic, and that there is a possibility innocent people will suffer. I object to the authority given to the Executive to deport without trial any person of whom there is a suspicion. I object to that because I always believe that a man is entitled to a fair trial. Before any citizen is deported he should, at least, be tried, and it should not be in the right of any Minister to say that a person should be deported. I object to the power given to the Executive Council to set up, by proclamation, if they think the necessity arises, military courts.
I regret that the President withdrew from the Bill the clause that gave power for the setting up of a special court of Judges. If the jury system has failed, if the juries were being got at, nobody could question—at least, I would not question—the right of the Government to set up special courts of Judges to try persons accused of certain offences. The point of view of the Labour Party has been that they believe that most of the powers required to deal with the situation are contained in the Act passed last year, the Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Act. I would point out to Senator MacLoughlin, who spoke about the Cobh murder and the attacks on and murders of members of the Civic Guard, that it was subsequent to those events that the Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Act of 1926 was passed, and that it was with a view to dealing with such a situation that that measure was passed.
Doubt has been raised here, with regard to the giving of these powers to the Executive, as to whether they  would not abuse them. I will be frank and honest. I am not feeling quite safe about it. Judging by the statements made, and the manner in which they were made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the Dáil, I frankly say that I do not believe that if, under the provisions of the Bill giving power to the Executive to declare any association they like an unlawful association, I ran across the path of the Minister for Industry and Commerce on an industrial question, he would not use every power to down me. I am quite frank and honest about that, and any fair-minded man who reads the statement and the venomous abuse he poured out on the members of the Labour Party cannot help coming to the conclusion that it would not be safe to give to such a man the powers that are asked for. With regard to the sneers about our not getting into the arena, I think I have dealt with that already. One does not like to say these things, but sometimes one is compelled. I think I have a fair idea of most of the men who were in the arena in this country for twenty years past. But I know some people who were not in the arena when it was dangerous.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: The President has made certain statements. He seems to think that we are influenced by the popular view in opposing this Bill. On the contrary, is there anybody here in the Seanad who will think it is a popular thing to oppose this Bill? Perhaps it is the most unpopular thing any Senator could do. We are not influenced by that view. The President also seems to insinuate that the people who are opposing the Bill have never suffered themselves. Perhaps he may not know—he does know—that I suffered by the destruction of my own home.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: You were compensated for it.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: Is that compensation for a two-century-old house, for all the family stores, pictures and books that had been stored up there, all destroyed? Is that compensation? Not at all. But I do not carry this petulance, enmity and vengeance so far as to act against my countrymen. I have forgiven those things. The Minister  also talked to me of what happened in South Africa. He challenges me to say what I did there. I acted there as I act now. I opposed the sort of restrictions that were brought forward there as I oppose this now. I opposed them at the greatest risk anybody could possibly afford to take. I risked everything I had in life by opposing them. Finally, I was right in opposing them, and what I said was followed. When I went to South Africa years afterwards it was remembered to me there and I was thanked for it. That is what I have to say. The President himself sent me there. I was abused in those days for what I did. Another Senator says that if somebody else is attacked after this it will be on account of the opposition that we made to the Bill, just as he said before, that anybody who criticised the Ministers at the General Election was responsible for the murder. He is playing for safety. He expects that this very Bill may bring more assassination and more violence.
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN Mr. MacLOUGHLIN
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: Will the Senator please quote me correctly. What I said was that the denunciation of the Minister as a monster and a tyrant created an atmosphere that primed the assassins, and I repeat that.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: The Senator included, as far as I remember, practically everybody who attacked the Ministers. I attacked the Ministers in the circumstances. He went on to say that my party was beaten at the election. My party was not beaten. We reduced the Government to a minority, and that is the result of the propaganda that we put before the country. The Government is no longer in the position it was before the election. That is a very good answer. The Government had to get a whole lot of the votes of other Deputies that do not belong to their party. They are now in a minority. Everybody knows that. I do not flinch at all from anything I have said in this matter. I believe that these Bills are bad. I believe that the whole conduct of the Government—I will not say from the very beginning, because severity had to be used in those days—instead of bringing them  support, lost them support. Instead of allying themselves with people on the other side, with the people across the water who have been our constant enemies, and acting in concert with those enemies, excluding one-third of the elected representatives of the people of this country from the Parliament of this country, they should attempt to appease the people. My opinion is that they ought to have admitted them or made arrangements to endeavour to admit them, as they could very easily have done. Does anybody suppose that if a similar state of affairs existed in England that two hundred English Members of Parliament, or one-third of the House of Commons, were excluded——
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN Mr. MacLOUGHLIN
Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: It may be a relief to Senator Colonel Moore to know that they are coming in on Friday.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: I am very glad to hear it. I am delighted to hear it, and the only good thing that can be said of this Bill, if such a thing happens, is that it has done that, that it has brought them in.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: That is statesmanship.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: If two hundred members of the British Parliament objected to an oath which they were asked to take, and refused to come in, does anybody think that the oath of allegiance in England would last for a month? The English people are much wiser than we are. At one time Irish Catholics were excluded until O'Connell was elected by the people of Clare, and he declined to take the oath. What did the British Parliament do? Just because one man had been elected they abolished the oath. Mr. Bradlaugh——
CATHAOIRLEACH: Will the Senator bear in mind that he is replying to the points made in the debate. The Senator had a full opportunity to present his case to the House in his first speech. He is now replying to the arguments used against that speech.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: I think all the arguments seem to be included in the  last statement of affairs that the President so very eloquently made.
CATHAOIRLEACH: I did not interfere when you were engaged in your statement supporting the amendment; it was only when you were developing some new illustration in support of your original speech that I intervened.
Colonel MOORE Colonel MOORE
Colonel MOORE: I suppose it is natural that one would wander a little bit in connection with the arguments against this Bill. I will restrict myself and I will merely call the President's attention to the desirability of having the oath abolished. I will not go any further. If, by the violence of this measure, the country is driven to such extremes that those people do come in, I think the President will have done a patriotic act.
 CATHAOIRLEACH: The question is: “That the Bill be now read a second time.”
Mr. O'FARRELL Mr. O'FARRELL
Mr. O'FARRELL: On a point of order, that is not the question. Have you taken the amendment?
CATHAOIRLEACH: The amendment is a stereotyped form for a direct negative.
Mr. O'FARRELL Mr. O'FARRELL
Mr. O'FARRELL: We want to know how we will vote.
CATHAOIRLEACH: You will have no trouble about that. The proposal that the Bill be read six months hence is admitted and treated by Constitutional practice as a proposal practically to reject the Second Reading. I will now put the amendment.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 7; Níl, 41.
Amendment declared lost.
Question—“That the Bill be read a Second Time”—put and agreed to.
Committee Stage fixed for Wednesday, 10th August.
Seanad Éireann 9 PUBLIC BUSINESS. PUBLIC SAFETY BILL, 1927—SECOND STAGE.