Seanad Éireann - Volume 30 - 19 July, 1945

Emergency Powers (Continuance and Amendment) Bill, 1945.—Second and Subsequent Stages.

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

The Taoiseach: From a study of the text of the Bill as passed by Dáil Eireann, and of the reports of the discussions in the Dáil, Senators are no doubt already aware of the general purpose of the Bill and of the nature of its particular provisions. I do not think, therefore, that it is necessary for me to explain it at any great length.

On the 15th May last, within a week of the ending of hostilities in Europe, I informed the Dáil in reply to a Parliamentary Question that it was obvious that so long as the position regarding essential supplies remained as it was, the Government would continue to require certain of the emergency powers which had been exercisable since 1939. I said that it was not the desire of the Government to retain the Emergency Powers Acts in operation for a moment longer than the public interest required, and that it was their intention to divest themselves of any powers that could be dispensed with without detriment to the public interest.

In the debates on this Bill in Dáil Eireann, I again made it perfectly clear that I would be glad to see the end of these emergency powers as soon as possible. In the course of almost six years, however, it was inevitable in the conditions through which we have been passing that a complicated code of emergency powers would grow up. Reasonable time is required for the full examination of this code and of the circumstances which now exist and which may be anticipated in the future. It is not, therefore, practicable to dispense entirely in the immediate future with the powers taken in 1939.

The Bill now before the Seanad gives effect to the Government's intentions in this matter. It provides—(a) that the provisions in the Emergency Powers Acts relating to postal and telegraph censorship and the censorship or control of newspapers, a condition in the lease or licence to [414] of the publication or the spreading of any matter shall be dropped and that the Government shall be specifically precluded from exercising them; (b) that the provisions of the Emergency Powers (Continuance and Amendment) Act, 1942, regarding the imposition of minimum fines shall be dropped.

(c) That the Emergency Powers (Amendment) Act, 1940, which provides for the arrest without warrant and detention of natural-born Irish citizens shall not be continued, and that the 1939 Act shall be construed in its original form in this respect; (d) that the Emergency Powers (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 1940, which provides for summary trials by commissioned officers of the Defence Forces of persons not subject to military law shall not be continued and that the prohibition against the exercise of this power shall be re-inserted in the 1939 Act.

(e) That the powers contained in the 1939 Act for the prohibition, restriction or control of the entry of natural-born Irish citizens into the State and the movements of natural-born Irish citizens within the State shall be discontinued; (f) that the power to authorise the arrest without warrant of natural-born Irish citizens shall no longer be exercisable under the Emergency Powers Acts; (g) that the power to authorise and provide for the searching of natural-born Irish citizens under the Emergency Powers Acts shall be dropped.

(h) That the Government shall be expressly precluded from suspending, amending or applying the Emergency Powers Acts by means of emergency Order; (i) that, subject to the above, the Emergency Powers Acts shall be continued for a further period of 12 months from the 3rd September next when they are due to expire in the ordinary course.

The Bill also contains the usual provision that the Government may, by Order, declare that the Principal Act shall expire on a date earlier than the 2nd September, 1946.

With a view to dispensing to the greatest degree possible with the exercise of emergency powers, Departments have been instructed to examine [415] the question of incorporating in ordinary legislation any powers which it may appear necessary to retain for an appreciable period, e.g., powers relating to the provision and control of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

In addition, the Government has already revoked a wide range of Emergency Powers Orders. Details of these have already appeared in the Press. They cover such matters as censorship, military courts, sitting of courts in camera, powers to arrest and search without warrant, requisitioning of goods and vehicles, regional commissioners, restriction of movements and activities of suspected persons, and a variety of other subjects. The examination of Emergency Powers Orders by Departments is continuing with a view to the revocation at as early a date as possible of every Order of a restrictive nature which can be dispensed with without injury to the public interest.

Mr. Douglas: The Taoiseach, in introducing this measure, referred to the fact that there had been considerable discussion in the Dáil and probably most of us had read it. Unfortunately we can read the newspapers, but we do not get the Dáil Reports in time to read them, and I find—I am not expressing any dissatisfaction at the method of introduction of the Bill— that unless one reads the daily newspapers very closely it is very easy to miss something which has occurred in the Dáil. We do not receive the Official Reports with the same frequency that we received them before the emergency. That is entirely due to emergency conditions, because reports are now published weekly and do not always reach us in time to enable us to study them before Bills reach us.

On one or two other occasions, Ministers have assumed that we were aware of what happened in the other House, but, as I said, unless one reads the morning newspaper very carefully, it is very easy to miss things of importance unless they get a heading. That is inevitable, of course, and I am not complaining about it. There are very good reasons why the Reports are published only once a week.

[416] For my own part, I do not think that this is a Bill requiring very much discussion in this House having regard to the long time spent on it in the Dáil. The essential part of the Bill is contained really in two sections, Section 4 which continues, in effect, the 1939 Act, and Section 6 which reduced the powers previously held by the Government. I think no fair-minded man can possibly dispute the fact that some extension was necessary, and it seems to me that any democrat must welcome the fact that there is some reduction of the powers which can be exercised by the executive without the formal sanction of Parliament.

In particular I was extremely pleased myself that the Government had decided before this measure was introduced to abolish the Press and postal censorships. Many people thought, and I was glad to see quite erroneously, that the censorship might continue for a period of six months or a year afterwards. My personal opinion is that its abolition was one of the wisest things the Government has done for a considerable time.

In every democratic country, it is essential that the people should feel that the information they get is free, but until we have better supplies of paper there will be a certain exercise of censorship, and it will not be perfectly satisfactory. It will not be exercised by the Government, and the responsible people will be the editors and others, but I think it is better, as it is now, that we should recognise that the amount of information available to the public will be restricted until we have better supplies of paper.

I think it was Mr. Cordell Hull who said that in the exercise of democracy it was not sufficient that people should ultimately have control of their own government, but also the right to obtain the information on which to base their opinions with which they could control their own government. My principal personal criticism of this Bill lies in its drafting. This is a Bill of maximum importance. It is one of the Bills which is covered by Article 28 of the Constitution.

[417] The Constitution cannot be cited against it in question of its powers because it is a Bill expressed as necessary for the public safety. It is therefore, in a sense, a fundamental Act of a temporary character and I think it is a pity the Government did not insist on a new Bill. Only a short Bill would be necessary. At present you have to get three volumes and make several references to understand this measure. Personally, I do not think it would have taken very much more time to produce this Emergency Powers Bill, giving us an exact outline of what the remaining powers are. Incidentally, I think there would be less misunderstanding. I have a suggestion which will, perhaps, come better on the Committee Stage regarding Section 6 of this Bill but I shall leave it until the Committee Stage.

Sir John Keane: I wish to say a few words as one who was, perhaps, unduly active in the resistance to the censorship. I should like to express my thanks, gratitude and relief, that the Government has allowed us to emerge from the valley of darkness, and, to some of us, the intolerable sufferings the censorship imposed on us during the war years. I think now that the censorship is removed, the Government and the public realise that no danger really has been incurred, and even if the censorship had been very much less harsh than it was, no real danger might have been expected.

However, we do not want to have a post mortem on the whole thing, but I do feel that the real burden was what might be called the mental tyranny of the censorship, and I think its departure has been noted with great feelings of relief by large numbers of people.

Mr. Kingsmill Moore: As a person who also took a certain minor part in the opposition to the censorship, I feel it would be churlish on my part if I did not say that I did not also welcome the very prompt removal of the censorship. While it would be churlish not to express my pleasure, it was not unmixed with some measure of surprise. I wonder if all those burdens which can be removed have been removed. I am not going into the restrictions that exist, but I would like [418] to express a general view. I think, undoubtedly, that there is a case and an unanswerable case for preserving the restrictions dealing with supplies of commodities and certain other matters which fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Supplies. Yet the case has not been made out for the preservation of any of the other emergency powers especially those affecting in any way the ordinary liberties of the citizens.

Mr. Sweetman: I want to take the opportunity to ask the Taoiseach particularly to inquire into the necessity for the retention of the emergency power by virtue of which land is acquired. I hope it will be possible to dispense with it at a very early date, because its operation, and particularly the operation of the provisions by which compensation is given for such land and turbary so acquired, has given rise to considerable, very considerable, dissatisfaction in County Kildare. Therefore, I would ask him to make sure if possible that the examination of the necessity for the retention of those powers will proceed as early as possible.

Mr. Duffy: I think it should be realised that the Bill does effect a considerable number of repeals in so far as restrictions were imposed under the Act of 1939. These, in the main, are found in Section 6 of the Bill and I think they are important. There is, however, a certain power remaining which is also very important and which can be used in a manner that leaves in people's minds a doubt as to whether in certain cases the best policy is being pursued.

I have in mind, particularly, the powers which are availed of by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to place a ceiling on wages and salaries. At the moment the ceiling is 11/- a week which means, regardless of the considerable increase in the cost of commodities, that the maximum increase which a worker can obtain in his wages is 11/- weekly. I know the arguments which have been used in support of that policy. I doubt if these arguments can be sustained in relation to wages. In other words, has the fixing of a ceiling [419] in relation to wages, the effect of preventing inflationary tendencies? My submission is that it has not and, therefore, whatever is done is in fact placing an obligation on the poorest element in the community in order to prevent the sky-rocketing of prices which the inflationary tendency eventually involves. One could accept the principle and it has been accepted elsewhere that it is necessary to put a limit to wage increases if these were accompanied by a limitation of prices. I complain that that is not done and, in fact, I suggest that there is widespread profiteering, not merely an increase in prices, not merely an increase of 50 or 100 per cent. in prices as against, say, 15 per cent. in wages, but wholesale profiteering, and it has gone unchecked.

I happened to be speaking to a manufacturer the other night, and he mentioned that he made a particular garment of child's wear. He told me that the price at which he sold it to the shop was 10/7. He was waiting for a bus last Saturday evening to go down the country, and while he was waiting he wandered over to a shop window and saw the garment marked 31/6. I happened to be in a boot factory and I was shown a pair of boots sold by the factory in Dublin to the retail shop at 19/9. The manager of the factory admitted that the retail price in Dublin was 35/-. That, I think, is pretty general. I could quote other instances. No doubt certain regulations have been made for the purpose of limiting profits and margins of profit. I am suggesting that they have not been effective while the limitations of wages are miraculously effective, with the result that tremendous injustice has been done. I want to follow the example of the other speakers. I do not want to have a long discussion on this Bill at this stage in view of the lengthy consideration it received elsewhere, but I do think that the Government might very well consider limiting the life of this Bill to, say, six months, so that having regard to the discussions which have taken place, and having regard particularly to the point I have just mentioned—that prices are not effectively [420] controlled and wages are effectively controlled there should be a limit of, say, six months to the life of the present Bill. That would enable the situation to be reviewed, because so far as this House is concerned there is no opportunity of discussing the effects of the Bill except on an occasion of this kind.

In the Dáil there are opportunities when they are discussing in particular the Estimate of the Department of Supplies and the Estimate of the Department of the Taoiseach, and so on. These opportunities do not arise here, but there would be an excellent opportunity for a more lengthy consideration of the Bill if, for instance, its renewal was proposed in a modified form let us say next March. I suggest that it might be an advantage if the Government considered initiating the amending legislation here rather than in the Dáil. It could receive probably a different kind of consideration which in the long run might be much more beneficial than the kind of discussion that sometimes follows a measure like this in the other House.

Mr. Kehoe: The question as I understand it is that the Bill be read a Second Time, and on that question the general opinion I gather is that it should be read a Second Time. I attach very little importance to some of the issues that have been raised by Senators on the opposite benches. I think it is a great thing that the Taoiseach and the Government should now divest themselves of these powers and do so very early thereby fully rebutting any charges of dictatorship, alleged or otherwise, which might be hurled against them. Speaking personally, and only personally, I cannot but feel that they have been a little precipitate or premature in divesting themselves of these powers. In this connection I would like to pay a well-deserved tribute which has not yet been paid to the Minister for Coordination of Defensive Measures, for his attitude during recent years towards Press censorship. The Minister conferred untold benefit on the country. I am as fully conversant with censorship and its implications as anyone in this House. I say that very, [421] very mildly because I know a little about it both in this and other countries. I cannot help harking back to the censorship of other days when the protagonists of opposition to censorship were not so vocal as they are now, but let that pass. I fear that the Government were a shade premature in divesting themselves of these powers but after all they are only human. If they had been armed with the knowledge that we now have of the flood of phoney films and photographs which have descended on us they might not have done so. They are not omniscient but I think if it were to be done over again possibly they would not have divested themselves of these powers. What are we facing in the present crisis? We have films and illustrated weeklies spreading all kinds of undiluted rot. That is all I have got to say. I welcome this Bill, and for my part I am only sorry that the Government have relinquished the sword which they used so sparingly and to the credit of Ireland.

Mr. Baxter: No one would ever guess that a gentle soul like Senator Kehoe would have used the strong terms that he has applied to the Government's move in introducing this measure. Perhaps one has no inclination to quarrel with the views he expressed about some of the films and about the fact that the Government by the withdrawal of the censorship have made it possible for people to see these things. I wonder how long would the Senator suggest the power of censorship should be exercised? Is it to be so that the people would never see these things or is it his view that it is within the competence and the obligation of the Government to save the souls of the people as well as nurture their bodies?

Mr. Kehoe: Why not? They have a spiritual side.

Mr. Baxter: If the Senator spoke from that point of view he should have put it more clearly.

Mr. Kehoe: I thought I was clear enough.

Mr. Baxter: The Senator referred to [422] war films. I have not seen any and I do not intend to. I do not think they are exhilarating, but perhaps the Senator can give us some enlightenment as to what is to be done. There are other people who can withstand these shocks. You cannot close people's eyes and minds. If Senator Kehoe's argument is that the Government's power should be continued to save the people from themselves it would be nothing short of a tyranny, and that would not be profitable for the Government or the people. An aspect of this Bill that was discussed in the other House was the power of the Government to restrict the passage of people out of the country. I am not going to pursue the general lines of the argument there. In fact I have a different view about it. I would like to ask a question from the point of view of getting information from the Taoiseach. There is a problem in this country, apparently, with regard to our education and to the position of teachers. It is being urged that the restrictive powers of the Government under this Bill are being used to prevent a considerable number of teachers who are anxious to leave the country and, in fact, have applied for permits from doing so. I would like to hear the Taoiseach on that point and on whether the matter has come to his notice, and how far it actually affects conditions in the educational sphere. I have information myself that within a limited area a considerable number of teachers are to-day applicants for permits to go out of the country. They have not yet obtained them. Indeed, that is a very general position and it is said these powers are being used to restrict the movement of these people and deny them the opportunity for better employment while in fact they are restrained from bringing into their homes the incomes necessary to the standard of life which their qualifications entitle them to enjoy. I am seeking information on this point, which I think is a matter of very considerable concern.

If these be the facts there is definitely a denial of the opportunity for these people to provide for their families in the way they desire. It may very well be argued that the [423] opportunity to emigrate is something on which the Government can take a decision and that the power invested in them under this Bill is a matter of importance from the community point of view and the security of society. It may be argued that this is a power that the Government ought to have the right to exercise. I am not speaking on that issue. This is perhaps a narrower point, but it is a point on which a large number of people feel intensely. I would be glad to know whether in fact this is the Government policy in regard to these powers.

Mr. S.T. Ruane: Like Senator Baxter, I too am interested in this Bill as I am anxious to get information as to how far the powers restricting the movement of certain people since 1939 are still in force. I come from a district where, unfortunately, for economic reasons the young people have to migrate annually to Britain to get employment of a more remunerative nature and, I regret to say, under better conditions than are afforded in this country. Some people in sheltered occupations are inclined to grow eloquent at times at the unpatriotic action of these people in fleeing from this country as if it were a plague spot. They are not fleeing from it as from a plague spot, many are fleeing for the purposes of being able to put savings by always with a view to returning to this country and purchasing a home in which they may live for the rest of their lives. I happen to know one such person who paid £800 for a holding in 1937, got married and started to rear a family. Unfortunately, the economic war came along and the man went into debt. His little farm is very heavily rated, about £1 per acre. That man was offered within the past two years lucrative employment in England and he made arrangements to have his farm worked. By getting away he would have been able to work off the debt, but he was forbidden to leave the country and had to stay at home. I have no wish to talk about the past but in 1932 when the change of Government came about one of the strongest arguments that appealed to the migratory [424] labourer in the West of Ireland was the promise that the new Government would provide employment at home.

I am not going to blame those who made the promise. No doubt they were disillusioned and circumstances did not turn out as they expected, but the promise was that facilities would be given for employment on better lines than those existing in Britain and America. No other part of the programme was more responsible for capturing the votes not only of the young people but of their parents also who were anxious to have conditions in which the children could remain at home. I know the case is made at the present time that if you have no restriction in the case of people who provide fuel the country would be left fireless, but some means should be adopted to improve the working conditions for those who cut turf and to give them at least wages equal to what they would earn in England. That is my concern about this Bill. The trouble is to get suitable employment at home, and these restrictions should not obtain under the present Bill while that trouble exists.

The Taoiseach: There were a few criticisms that I took a note of. There is a question about land, but first I will deal with that of censorship. The censorship was absolutely necessary here. It was necessary for two reasons: in the first place because if there was anything published in our papers which was forbidden in the papers across the water, that might have been a cause of complaint on the ground that information was leaking out through our Press and might be useful to the enemies of Britain, for example. That was one reason for censorship and a very important one. The other reason was this: we were a neutral State and we knew that the people of this country might have different views about questions arising from the war. These views might be held very strongly by different sections of our people.

I have not been to any of the cinemas, but I have heard that since censorship was taken off, there were demonstrations on one side with [425] counter-demonstrations on the other side. If you had that sort of thing happening during the war in this country and the liberty that was being given to one side was used by the other side to claim further liberty for themselves, we would have a very serious internal situation here. We would have the merits and demerits of the war from all angles discussed and the subject of demonstrations. One of the purposes of censorship was to prevent the warring Powers using this country as a base for propaganda of various kinds.

There was no prevention here in this country of the publication of official communiques; all these were published. Statements by responsible leaders of the Governments on both sides were also allowed to be published. In fact, the truth is that there was scarcely anything kept from our people that genuinely could be regarded as of an informative character generally. I know that does not affect the general principle and somebody may say; “I do not agree; I think the principle is wrong in any case; you have got a democracy to face in all this”. It must be remembered that we were passing through one of the most dangerous periods through which this country has ever had to pass, a period in which the whole life of the nation was at stake, and that everything that might be published or any action that might be taken on one side, would be immediately used by the Press of whatever country might be offended by the publication of these things, to the detriment of this country.

I think that the censorship has been impartially carried out here by the Minister in charge. Of course, as I stated in the Dáil, when you act impartially at a time when two sides are bitterly engaged in conflict, each side imagines that you are throwing your weight against it because you do not allow views which it may have expressed to be published in the way they want to express them. I think that anybody who reads the papers to-day and who read them during the censorship, will not feel, now that the censorship has gone, that there was anything really new being published [426] which they did not know before. They have had examples of pictures and faked photographs. They provide some example of the things that were stopped by censorship—photographs that were proved afterwards to be faked and which were sought to be used for propaganda purposes. That is what this country has been saved. Now, I am not at all arguing for the principle. We have got to accept these things in ordinary times. We have got to allow people to judge for themselves, but in times of crisis, when passions become inflamed and when foreign countries engaged in conflicts can take offence at various things published, I think it is quite a different matter. That is all I have got to say on the question of censorship. We believe that it was necessary in war but we are not in favour of it as a principle. We believe it is desirable that people should be able to judge for themselves and that they should receive every expression of opinion, every dissemination of opinion, in ordinary times. That was why, immediately the real danger passed, we got rid of censorship.

The next question asked was why we require powers in regard to land acquisition. One example is that we need power and authority to go in on land and cut turf for the advantage of the community as a whole. In certain cases there has been an Emergency Powers Order to settle the basis of compensation in accordance with a previous Act. That matter is being considered, to see whether we could do anything to arrive at a wider basis than that which we have already. This power is also necessary in order to make our compulsory tillage policy effective. The Government must be in a position to see that land is used for the purposes which we require. We want to be in a position to take it over, if necessary, to see that it is used effectively for the time being. Because we still may have to face a fuel shortage, steps will have to be taken to ensure that everything that we can do to provide fuel will be done. There is also the necessity of seeing that land is used for the purposes of providing necessary food for the community.

The next matter referred to was the [427] standstill Order. That has been debated much more than any other Order made by the Government, and the reasons for it have been given repeatedly. The reasons are that if we did not hold down wages, that if wages were to rise continually, then prices would follow them and we would get what is commonly called a spiral which, it was felt, would get completely out of control. It is really in the interests of the poorer sections of the community more than those of any other section that we want to prevent that inflation. It is said that it is effective, unfortunately, only on one side, that it is effective in keeping down wages, but that it is not effective on the other side in which we also tried to make it effective, namely, to keep down prices. There have been complaints made in that way, but machinery and other schemes have been established for the purpose of seeing that this profiteering which, it is suggested, is carried on, does not take place. I suppose no machinery is ever fully effective, but I think, at any rate, that whilst it has not been effective in reducing prices or in holding them as steady as wages, at the same time there are certain factors to be considered in regard to prices. You had material coming in from outside, the cost of which had increased considerably and you had to allow for that. Firms were also asked by the Government, in order that there might not be more unemployment than could be avoided, to carry larger staffs than they would if they were simply working from the narrow point of view of cutting down costs and reducing expenses. That had also something to do with the increase in prices.

The Minister is as alive to that matter as any member of the Seanad here can be. The matter is constantly having his attention so as to see that prices will not go up wherever he can stop it. Again, as regards the price of food, the cost of living has gone up considerably, but our position was that if we had not to use compulsion to an extent to which it might defeat its own purpose, we had to give the necessary inducements to the farmer to produce. I think that the farmers have responded [428] very well. They have got, as I have often said when speaking to farmers, reasonable prices, and a reasonable return for their labour. They are a section of the community, who, perhaps more than any other section, have been sheltered by the increases given in prices from the results of the war. We had to be fair to them, because at other times the farmers were very badly hit. We had to be fair to them at a time like this when we were putting a great deal of pressure on them, and asking for an exceptional effort from them. We had to try to give them reasonable prices. These prices are very much higher than the prices which obtained before the war, and they resulted in increasing the cost of living.

Mr. Baxter: And still the farmers are not overpaid.

The Taoiseach: If you take the increase in the cost of living generally, and the increase in the price of agricultural produce, you will find that there has been compensation given to the farmer, so far as it is possible to judge compensation, for the increase in the cost of living more than to any other section of the community.

That is a section of the community I have been talking about, manufacturers and so on, and I have not been able to examine what exactly their position is, but if you take the workers or any other producers of the same type, you will find that there probably has been greater compensation to the farmers than to any other class in the community. It was inevitable, of course, that from the fact that we produce more than we require for our own needs, generally, that we have an export surplus which, in ordinary times anyhow, regulates the price, and the farmers had to sell their produce in a market where they were up against competition from the whole world—it was inevitable, as I say, that our farmers would think that they were not getting an equal return for their labour as compared, for instance, with those working in the cities. Personally, coming from the country, I have very often had to fight for that point of view, but I must say that during the [429] emergency period that has just passed the farmers were not, as they had been on previous occasions, in the front-line trenches, but were well behind the lines, so to speak.

I now come to the question of teachers. In connection with this matter of the control of emigration it has been suggested that teachers have been held back. I have not heard of any particular case, and this is the first time that I have heard teachers mentioned in this regard, but the general idea is that in the case of people who are in employment and who are needed in that employment, they should not be allowed to go. I mentioned the principle of the thing in the Dáil. I have not given a great deal of attention to the matter from what I might call the fundamental, philosophic point of view, but the fundamental point as regards justice and the rights of the community is first of all this: if in ordinary times an individual has been brought up and educated in the community and, in ordinary times, has got a living from the community, is it wrong in a time of crisis to say to him: “Very well. You can get some better reward for your labour, temporarily, elsewhere, but this community will have to carry on and you will be very glad to have this community receive you back when exceptional circumstances stop”? Is it very wrong to say to that individual: “You have been brought up and educated in this community; you have got advantages from it and have been provided with work in it up to the present. Now all that you want is to go somewhere else, temporarily, to get an increase in wages, and you are going to leave our community in the lurch, and we think that you should not be allowed to do so”? I do not think there is any State in the world that will say that that individual has that right as against the right of the community. It is a fundamental question, and it is very hard to draw an exact line as to where the rights of the State should not interfere with the rights of the individual. It is a very difficult question. I would say myself, and I have not any qualms of conscience about it, in regard to any person who has been in employment here in [430] normal times and who, if there had not been a war on, would have continued working here, that if in the time of crisis the community wants him here—I would say that the community has the right to say to that man: “No. You cannot go.”

I do not want to compare human rights with the more material ones, but suppose a farmer were to say: “We can get more for our butter, our milk, or other things elsewhere, because of the particular needs that exist elsewhere. We can get all these higher prices for our commodities and, in order to enrich or better ourselves, we demand the right to export all these products”, is there anybody who would say that the State should not say: “No. You cannot do that. This community must exist and it has the right to safeguard itself”, and say to the farmer who wants to take advantage of a peculiar situation: “No. This community has been as fair to you as it could be. You have been educated here and have been a member of this community, and you will have it to come back to; and therefore, because you had these advantages in ordinary times, in a time of crisis we want you and must get your services”. If you do not admit that, you do not admit the right of a community to maintain itself in a time of crisis at all. If you do not admit that, you certainly cannot admit the right of the community to say: “We will conscript you into an army and compel you, if necessary, to lay down your life in defence of the country.”

I am only thinking aloud now, so to speak, but in my opinion and from a fundamental point of view the community has a right to say to a man in such circumstances: “No. You cannot go, because we want you”. At the same time, however, the community has a duty to safeguard that person from injury to the utmost extent.

Now, in regard to turf production and high wages, I think that the turf workers—those in camp and so on— were getting conditions which were beyond those which prevailed in ordinary times, and that there was a special effort in connection with the [431] work they were doing to give them special remuneration.

I think I have touched on the points raised, in general. There is one thing I would say about this matter. I have been asked that we should have a different type of Bill, and there is a great deal to be said for that. The reason is that we have not been able in the short time at our disposal to go through this very large number of Orders, to segregate them and be able to say: “Well, this is exactly the class that we want.”

We have had these general clauses which were objected to very much in the Dáil, and these are still remaining in the beginning of the Act. One would like to have these powers more definitely and specifically related to supply and distribution problems, but time did not permit of that. I told the Dáil that I would endeavour to have that examination carried out so that we can relate them more specifically, but I am afraid we will have to look forward to these problems remaining for at least a year. I do not see the matter of shortage of supplies being cleared up in one year, seeing that the war in the East is still on. I do not see the supply and distribution problem being cleared within one year, and I feel that whoever is alive next year will have to come along here this time 12 months and seek for a continuation of emergency powers. I promised the Dáil that we would examine the matter so as to have a complete Bill or one more specifically related to what appear to be our problems in the future. There is a remark that I made in the Dáil which I think it is important to bear in mind here. In fact, there were some members in the Dáil who shook their heads when I made the remark, and that was that in fact, during this emergency which has passed, our main and most dangerous problems —I am not speaking now of threats of attack upon us; these were always in the offing and we had to make the greatest efforts to deal with them—but the chief problems, in fact, that we had to deal with were supply problems, and therefore from that point of view, nothing new has happened, and the powers necessary to deal with that [432] matter, I am afraid, will have to be maintained until the supply problem is ended and we have no longer a shortage of supplies.

I made the promise in the Dáil, and of course it holds in the Seanad also, that when this thing comes along again I shall endeavour to have a new type of Bill. The Departments have been told to get ready for it, to make all arrangements as quickly as possible to examine into it, but it must be remembered that our Departments are not over-staffed.

There is constant pressure of ordinary work from day to day. When you suddenly throw a big pile of work of this kind on a Department, you cannot without extra staff, and without upsetting its work, get it done very quickly. It seems to those who have examined it, that it would take almost until Christmas, considering the holiday period and all the rest, to have such an examination carefully made. We will then have to start to draft the necessary legislation, and to examine it carefully, and we would hardly be ready at the earliest until some time in March to bring in legislation. I would not like, therefore, to promise that we could have it before this time 12 months, and I am asking the Seanad, as I asked the Dáil, that we should be given the necessary time for the preparation of suitable legislation. It was also indicated that in the examination there should be segregation of the type of power that should be given through ordinary legislation. As the doing of all that would take time I ask the same time that we have had up to the present, that is that we should have, so to speak, another year's continuance of these powers. It may be possible to get rid of them before that, but I would not like to give any promise. Looking to the future it does not appear to me to be by any means bright. I am, therefore, asking the Seanad to be good enough to agree with the Dáil and to give these powers. I have said something in anticipation, perhaps, which may affect Senators who have put down amendments to that extension of time.

Question put and agreed to.

[433] Agreed to take the Committee Stage now.

Sections 1, 2 and 3 agreed to.

SECTION 4.

Mr. Duffy: I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (1), lines 29 and 30, to delete the words and figure “2nd day of September” and substitute the words and figures “31st day of March”.

There are two amendments in my name, one being consequential on the other. The proposal in the first amendment is that sub-section (1) should be altered in the first sentence so that the Act of 1939 would expire on the 31st March next. I have listened to what the Taoiseach said with regard to the need for the continuance of control by emergency powers legislation in respect of supplies. There can be no doubt that the position will not be materially improved in the near future, and, therefore, there is need, as far as one can see, for legislation of the kind for some years. However, that is different to the type of legislation envisaged here. Bear in mind that even if the amendments were inserted in the Bill which we are now considering there are still very considerable powers reserved to the Government under the Act of 1939. I refer to Section 2 (1). I do not know if Senators have looked at that Act in relation to this Bill. Those who have done so will be impressed by the fact that if all the remaining portion of sub-section (2) were wiped out the Government would still have considerable powers, almost the powers they have now under sub-section (1) of the section. It reads:—

“(1) The Government may, whenever and so often as they think fit, make by Order ... such provisions as are, in the opinion of the Government necessary or expedient for securing the public safety or the preservation of the State, or for the maintenance of public order, or for the provision and control of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.”

Once it can be shown that any Act proposed by the Government is required [434] for any one of these four reasons there seems to be no prohibition on what can be done. I am not proposing to take away that power. All I am asking is that this Bill, which is to continue the Emergency Powers Act of 1939, and the amending Act should be limited to expire on March 31st next. The Taoiseach has given reasons why the Act shall remain in force for a year, and I do not think there could be reasonable criticism for his action, but under the amendment there would be an opportunity to discuss the position as we see it. On the other hand, the Taoiseach may be in a position to deal with a different type of Bill next February. He may say that many of the things included in it are no longer necessary. There is a further reason why we should have the opportunity of having the matter discussed in February. We are asked now to agree to the Second Reading before we have really got over the shock of having agreed to deal with other stages.

I know that we are at the end of the session, that everybody is in a hurry, that there are a number of things to be done, and that staffs have to be considered. All these things are reasonable human requirements, but I suggest that it would be better if we could consider this Bill again next February and its implications rather than at the end of the session. I seriously suggest to the Taoiseach, in the light of the circumstances I mentioned, that he might accept the amendment.

Mr. Douglas: I have a great deal of sympathy with what Senator Duffy said, but I have also a good understanding of the case put up by the Taoiseach. If it meant that this Bill was to come up again next July it would be extremely unsatisfactory. If we had an assurance from the Taoiseach—I think he has almost given it—that he would endeavour to see that a new Bill, which I gather would be of a somewhat different character, would come on two months before the end of a session, so that it could be treated as a serious Bill, and not as an Emergency Bill, I would not be inclined to support the amendment.

[435] I want to take what seems to me to be a reasonable attitude. I do not like September 2nd—I have never liked it as a Parliamentary date, because I have been sufficiently long in this House to know that it nearly always means that Bills expiring early in the autumn arrive in this House usually a few days before the summer holidays. I think the Clerk of the House will bear me out that that has happened again and again. As I said, I do not like September 2nd but July 2nd would, I feel, be a more suitable date.

There is one matter I would like to mention if it is relevant at this stage. I wish the Government Information Bureau would consider issuing a statement once a month, setting out in a simple form what Orders have been repealed. Those of us who have had to deal with emergency Orders for the last five years are all painfully aware of how extremely difficulty it is to keep in touch with changes in the emergency Orders code. Orders are repealed or varied, but the printed copies are often not on sale for a week or a fortnight after the making of the new Order. I know that there are good reasons for that in present circumstances, but it is sometimes rather inconvenient to merchants and traders. At any given moment they do not know exactly what has been repealed.

What I am suggesting now is that the Government Information Bureau should issue a simple document—not a lengthy legal document—which would set out exactly what has taken place within the month. This monthly statement would give the public an idea of what had happened and would enable all of us to go over to the Government Publications Office and get copies of the Orders which had been repealed. I might add that I do not want an answer to my suggestion now. I am simply throwing it out as a practical suggestion which the Taoiseach might consider.

Mr. Duffy: I would prefer to make the date December 31st, 1946, instead of September 2nd, 1946, because of the experience which we have had in dealing with Bills of this kind at the end of a session. In the case of the Army [436] Act, it always ends on March 31st, while other Acts end at December 31st.

The Taoiseach: Of course, the date was not fixed by us. We had to take a date at the time of the year the emergency began. I quite agree that it is a bad time. The Dáil is not in session as a rule at that time, and neither is the Seanad, so that you cannot deal with any legislation about that time. At a time like that you are inclined to put things on the long finger, to put them off as long as you can, and you have to deal with them at the end. I will do my best, without making a definite promise, to have this Bill next year early in June. We will try to make that a zero date for ourselves—not to have it later than the first week in June. Without making a definite promise, I can tell the House that we will do our best.

Mr. Douglas: I hope that will be a zero date, because the Dáil usually takes a month to consider it.

The Taoiseach: Yes, I had forgotten about the length of time it takes in the Dáil, but I will try to do what the Seanad would like, to have it as early as possible so that both Houses will have a reasonable opportunity to consider it on the Second Reading and also in Committee, but I will ask the Senator not to press his amendment for the date. I am afraid I could not accept anything shorter than the time I have stated. It will take a great deal of pressure to get it done in that time. Although you might get temporary people from some other place to deputise for some of the men who are acquainted with this sort of work, nevertheless it does mean a very serious addition to the work of the staffs.

Not everybody can do it properly, so that it must engage the attention, necessarily, of some of the highest officers. Therefore, I would ask for the time and I think I can ask with confidence, notwithstanding all your criticism. I do not think that anyone can say that the Government under these emergency powers has ever tried to do anything except what was considered to be in the interests of the community.

I do not think that anyone can show [437] that the Government has been trying to utilise this emergency for the purpose of getting to itself any powers in a permanent way except the powers it has under the ordinary Constitution. I think that nobody will say that we were trying to use the emergency situation to get for ourselves powers of the dictatorial or authoritarian type. I think we can be trusted as shown by the readiness with which we are getting rid of these powers which interfere with the liberty of the individual and the liberty of expression and opinion. I feel that that is evidence of what our attitude is, and I think we ought to be trusted for the remainder of the time. I ask, therefore, that the Senator should not press his amendment, because I will have to ask the Seanad not to accept it.

Mr. Duffy: May I say that I do not propose to divide the House on this amendment but I would make one suggestion. In the early part of the year, down to the months of May and June, the Dáil is exclusively occupied, almost exclusively, with the annual estimates, with the result that this House has little business on hands. It seems to me that the Bill might well be initiated here. The Seanad could consider it while the Dáil was dealing with the Estimates. I do not know if that procedure is possible but I think it is.

The Taoiseach: I will consider that suggestion, Senator.

Mr. Duffy: I am not pressing the amendment and if I am permitted to do so I will withdraw it.

An Cathaoirleach: Does the withdrawal apply to both amendments?

Mr. Duffy: Yes.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 4 put and agreed to.

SECTION 5.

Question proposed: “That Section 5 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Duffy: There is a point I should like to raise on this section. I can repeat with Fintan Lalor: “Thank [438] God, I am not a lawyer,” but that puts me at some disadvantage at times.

An Cathaoirleach: We have amendment No. 3 to Section 5.

Mr. Duffy: If permitted to do so, I will not move it.

Amendment No. 3 not moved.

Mr. Duffy: On the section, it seems to me that sub-sections (3) and (4) are not necessary. The Schedule to the Bill repeals No. 1 of 1940, No. 16 of 1940, and No. 16 of 1944. Sub-sections (2), (3) and (4) deal with the situation in a way which suggests that the two Acts of 1940 are still in force, although it appears to me that when you repeal the two Acts the original Act goes back to its original state.

The Taoiseach: I do not think that the lawyers hold that.

Mr. Kingsmill Moore: Let me say that I am afraid the consequences which Senator Duffy anticipates do not follow such repeals. It is necessary to have the paragraphs in the text as well as the references in the Schedule to show what is being repealed. That makes it more complete than the section.

Mr. Duffy: Fintan Lalor was right.

Mr. Sweetman: I would like to be sure I did not misunderstand the Taoiseach about his intentions. The situation I take it is that the Government can do everything except certain specified things. Do I understand him correctly to say that this is going into reverse and the new procedure is that the Government can do nothing except certain specified things? When the time comes to consider this new legislation I feel that we should not deal with it on the basis merely of consolidating, although consolidation in this case is very desirable, the provisions of the 1939 Act. We should also deal with it on the basis that within that time we should be able to say what type of things it is going to be necessary to control and what is necessary to carry out by Orders. This procedure states: “The Government can do everything except....” I [439] suggest that the new Bill should be framed in the reverse way: “The Government should do nothing except....”

The Taoiseach: In reply to that point, it is a question of whether it would be practicable to do it in that way. It may be almost impossible to do it in that way. Of course, it would be more desirable, I agree.

Mr. Sweetman: That is as much as I can expect.

The Taoiseach: I would be more satisfied to do it in that way. But, when you are drafting legislation of this kind there is always the danger that you have not got that extra bit of power you need and that is why you need some omnibus clause to protect you.

Mr. Baxter: You cover yourself in that way?

The Taoiseach: That is what invariably happens in legislation. You try to get an omnibus clause, a restricted omnibus clause, to make sure that you have not left any holes behind you.

Mr. Sweetman: Then, it looks like a battle for another day.

The Taoiseach: It is difficult. I urged before this Bill was drawn up that in procedure of this sort we should not seek to legislate by reference. I agree that it is rather an ugly Bill. It is not the type of Bill you would like to present, but it was found, from the safest point of view legally, that this was the best way to do the work and I had to give way to advice in that regard. There is the question of the draftsman's office. The staff there works very hard, but we cannot have it over-staffed. I am constantly receiving complaints that we have not staff enough in that office. Usually there is a delay in the preparation of Bills and it is sometimes attributable to unavoidable delays in the draftsman's office. We do not like to be carrying more staffs than are absolutely necessary [440] to get the work through, and we have, therefore, to put up with delays from time to time. I may take it that there is no question of amendment to this section.

Section 5 put and agreed to.

SECTION 6.

Mr. Douglas: I move amendment No. 4:—

At the end of sub-section (1) to add new paragraph as follows:—

(1) to suspend the operation of or amend the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act of 1936 (No. 58 of 1936).

This section contains a limited number of things which definitely cannot be done under Section 2 of the Principal Act. I understand from to-day's newspapers, although I did not see a verbatim report of the Dáil, that the Taoiseach yesterday made a suggestion that he thought all Parties and all sections ought to accept the present constitutional position, whether they might or might not have liked it at the time. I do not know whether that is a correct description of what he said, but, if it is, I am in complete and absolute agreement with him.

I think that nothing would be better for this country than a feeling that so far as it is possible we will maintain our constitutional position and our external relations with the British Commonwealth as established by the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act. If there were a general feeling that that was the case it would be extremely welcome to a large section of the community. At the time of putting down this amendment I had not read the Taoiseach's speech. A certain amount of uneasiness would be relieved by a clear statement of our relations with the community called the British Commonwealth. I think the number of people who seem incapable of understanding our external and internal constitutional position seems to be almost legion. I have found a large number of people asking me if there was any possibility that we will wake up some morning [441] and find that our relationship with the Commonwealth has ceased by reason of an Emergency Powers Order.

My first reactions to such remarks was to say that it was quite impossible and that nothing of the kind could happen, but on closer examination of the Act I found that actually it could happen. I cannot conceive under any circumstances that the Government would find it desirable to act in that manner, but I think it would be a good thing and that it would help towards the general acceptance of the circumstances if it were made clear that there is no intention to use the Emergency Powers Acts for this purpose.

Pádraic Ó Máille: Tá sé beagnach a naoi a chlog. Bhfuilimíd chun an ghnú do chriochniú anois?

An Cathaoirleach: It is understood that we will go on beyond 9 o'clock.

Pádraic Ó Máille: Leath-uair taréis a naoi?

Mr. Quirke: Until we finish.

Mr. Douglas: Anyway, that is all I want to say on that matter.

The Taoiseach: I do not think that the Senator ought to press this amendment, because I have made it clear that the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act is an enabling Act to carry out the policy which has been the definite policy of the Government from the time it has come into office. I have indicated that is our policy, and I certainly would not think it would be wise or right to deal with matters of that sort during an emergency unless something which we cannot see should happen. I think it would rather indicate, if inserted by the Seanad, that there was a danger we would do something of that sort. Large questions of foreign policy, or external policy, are matters which concern the people as a whole, and I think it would be wrong, suddenly, by means of an Emergency Order to do anything of that sort. There was some suggestion, when we were talking about the exact nature of our present Constitution, by one [442] Deputy, that this was done behind the backs of the people. There was nothing of the kind.

This Constitution of ours was discussed for weeks in Dáil Éireann. It was before the people for a considerable period. There was no question of rushing it through. It was published I think a considerable time before it was approved by the Dáil so that people were given a reasonable opportunity to consider it. And, I think, nobody can say that we have a sleeping Opposition. We had an Opposition during that time and every aspect of that Constitution was discussed. I do not know to what extent it was said that this is a republican State or anything of that sort. I do not know whether there was any talk about that aspect but everybody knew it. The External Relations Act had been passed a considerable time before that and it was for lawyers and everybody else to consider and understand what its implications were. In any case it is of course only an enabling Act. Therefore I would suggest to the Senator that we should leave it at that. There is no intention on the part of the Government to act in the manner which might be suggested by an amendment of this sort.

Mr. Sweetman: While I accept the Taoiseach's assurances, there are other people who are not in this House and are not able to hear him. I would put that point of view to him, that the very fact of not incorporating it in this Bill might, to quote one sentence in his speech which I do not think he really meant, create some uneasiness. I think the Taoiseach, on reflection, will agree that, while he said “unless circumstances arise,” no circumstances could arise in which he would deal with a matter of that sort by Emergency Powers Order. He might come to the Oireachtas and ask the Oireachtas specially to rush through a legislative measure. I do not think for a moment that the Taoiseach would deal with the matter by an Emergency Powers Order. As I say, we are present here, and we are in a position to assess more accurately than those people exactly what may or may [443] not be done. I think it would strengthen his assurance if the Taoiseach were to agree to allow the amendment to be incorporated in the Bill for that reason.

Mr. Duffy: There seems to be some doubt in the minds of some Senators as to the effect of inserting the amendment in the Bill at this stage. The Act was passed in 1939, and now, six years afterwards, we are asked to put into it certain guarantees which were not asked for at any period during the war. I cannot see the advantage of that. It appears to me that a scare is being started by this amendment and that it is likely to do more harm than good. So far as I am personally concerned, I would be opposed to inserting in the Bill an amendment of the kind on the Order Paper or anything approaching it.

Mr. Kingsmill Moore: May I make a suggestion which may help to solve the difficulty which appears to exist in the minds of certain people. There is a general idea that lawyers are concerned with words. They are not. They have the greatest contempt for words. They regard words as valuable only as representing a bundle of rights and duties. I am not concerned in the least with words, whether taken out of a dictionary or a number of dictionaries. I am not trying to make any cheap joke. I am merely trying to explain this amendment. My own view is that the Taoiseach has succeeded in making an invention. He has in the political sphere invented a new heraldic animal.

I do not think any words which have been used to describe the particular political relationships entirely fit in with the conception which the Taoiseach has arrived at. In fact I personally believe it defies the possibility of being expressed in any one word, and it is very nearly impossible to express it in a great many words. What people are concerned about however are realities—the reciprocal relations, undertakings and agreements which exist. For instance our doctors can practise in England and English doctors can practise here. Ireland and Great Britain recognise a great many [444] qualifications which the other party confers, as existing and as having validity throughout what was once an united area. That is the simplest way I can express it. There are people who are very seriously concerned, lest those relationships which are sometimes courtesies, sometimes depend on agreements, sometimes depend on a tacit understanding, should be suddenly disturbed. I think that if the Taoiseach could give this House a guarantee with regard to those mutual rights and facilities, it would go very far towards allaying the doubt which Senator Douglas has mentioned and which is widespread. I imagine that the Taoiseach could give an undertaking that relations of the type I have described, admittedly rather loosely, will not be interfered with in any way by an Emergency Powers Order or by any form of executive action without full discussion and legislative implementation.

Mr. Douglas: I am, of course, in a matter of this kind in the hands of the House. Nothing is further from my mind than that this question should be made a matter of division or of any acute controversy. That would obviously defeat the purpose which I had in submitting it at all. The Taoiseach mentioned the word “republic” in connection with this. I had not intended to raise this, but as it has been mentioned in connection with the amendment which stands in my name, I should like to say that I have not the slightest objection to the word “republic”, and never had. To my mind few people in this country are interested in names of that kind, but an enormous number are interested in the political independence of this State.

The main thing is that this country shall be politically independent and that independence shall, first of all, be understood by our own people and, secondly, shall be recognised outside. That is to my mind fundamental. I have held that view right from the time since I was a member of the first Constitution Drafting Committee. I think the Taoiseach has seen drafts which were signed by me, and I think [445] he will admit that there was nothing in these drafts which would in any way be inconsistent with the independence of this country.

I say that, because as time goes on, it is obvious that there is a certain amount of misunderstanding. I have always believed, and I still believe, in close association on a friendly basis with the British Commonwealth. I have no use for any basis of loyalties which I think do not exist. Its only value is in so far that it will help us, first, in maintaining our independence, and secondly, in living closely in friendship with our neighbours and in maintaining our trade and industry. I think that is a proper and reasonable point of view. The Taoiseach has pointed out, and it is perfectly correct that our present relations with the Commonwealth in so far as they can be defined in an Act at all, are to be found in the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act.

It is very well recognised that not only is our constitutional position at the present time extremely difficult to define, but the relationship between the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations is equally difficult to define. I myself was some years ago endeavouring to lecture on kindred subjects in Geneva, and I was asked for a definition of the constitutional position of the British Commonwealth. I told them I did not believe there was any such thing. I said it was like nothing on earth, and it would only stay together as long as it worked. I believe that is still so. My only point in putting down this amendment is that there is an extraordinary amount of hazy thinking among people who believe that by a stroke of a pen the Government should be able to change that relationship without any reference to the people. If that was done, it would be completely contrary to everything the Taoiseach has stood for, and opposed as I have been to him in some things I do not think that he would dream of doing anything of the kind. I do ask him, however, to believe that there are a great many people who, not through any lack of faith in him, believe that this is something that might be done [446] in the ordinary course of government.

I think that the putting down of this amendment has served some useful purpose from what the Taoiseach has said. If I am correct in the assumption I am making, I would ask leave to withdraw the amendment, and I take it that the Taoiseach thinks that this Act cannot be properly dealt with by emergency powers. In other words it is an Act passed by Parliament which if it is changed should be changed by Parliament.

If that is his view, personally, I do not think this is a very serious matter. The simple reason for the amendment is that I cannot see how you can deal with this Act as a temporary measure. It would be the height of absurdity to alter it until the Emergency Powers Act ends in September. For that reason I do not think it is a serious matter. Some Senators on the other side may think that I am exaggerating when I say that a whole lot of people got the most absurd ideas about what was happening during the week. I laughed at it first but I found there was some foundation. Just because there was an academic discussion in the other House, some people got all sorts of ideas for which I did not believe for an instant there was any foundation in fact. Unless the Taoiseach says that I am not correct in my statement of his view, I am quite prepared to withdraw the amendment.

Professor Magennis: Senator Douglas recommends his proposal by insisting upon the ardent desire he feels for an assurance as to our present relations with the British Commonwealth of Nations—I hope I am correct in that account of his position. Let us apply a simple test: suppose we accept his amendment, how is the situation altered? In what way will the relationships at present subsisting between us and the British Commonwealth become affected?

Mr. Douglas: On a point of explanation, Senator Magennis said that I based my argument on a desire to maintain the relationship with the British Commonwealth. I did not do [447] so. I based my case on this because I wanted to make it clear that the Act could not be changed by an Emergency Powers Order.

Professor Magennis: I took the Senator as expatiating at some length on the desirability of quieting the public mind with regard to what are our relations with the British Commonwealth and the Government policy in their regard. I proposed a simple test. If we pass the amendment, I can see the leader writers of hostile papers busy pointing out that a vigilant and zealous Opposition has wrung from the Taoiseach this undertaking not to use these emergency powers for the disruption of the Commonwealth relations.

That, I think, from our point of view is a sufficient reason why we should resist the amendment: it will be represented as a victory of the Opposition Party.

Why, this very Act of External Relations was enacted by the Government. It is an integral part of Government policy. And we are to exact from the Taoiseach a pledge that he will not by an Emergency Powers Order rescind his policy! The amendment is not quite as innocent as it sounds. The implication in it to my mind is that by some sudden trick the Government might go back upon what has been for years its considered policy. That policy is expressly referred to in the Constitution and that has been completely overlooked by those who have spoken of the amendment. In effect, it asks the Government to bind itself that it will not by an Emergency Powers Order eliminate one of the Articles of the Constitution. That is how it works out.

Mr. Douglas: Oh, no.

Professor Magennis: Someone says: “Oh, no.” I say most certainly “Yes.” After the declaration in the Constitution that Ireland is an independent, sovereign and democratic [448] State, there is an Article referable to this expedient by which in external relations in matters of common concern the diplomatic agent of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations shall be used as our agent—I see the correctness of my statement is challenged.

Sir John Keane: Yes, it is.

Professor Magennis: The implication in the amendment is that the Government might go back upon its declared policy, use the emergency powers to make a volte face politically, and endanger, according to Senator Douglas, our present external relations. Whether the Senator intends it or not, that is the effect his amendment will have on the public mind and it will be represented as meant to bind the hands of a revolutionary who might otherwise at any moment precipitate a new state of affairs.

Mr. P.J. O'Reilly: Senator Douglas' argument is based on the ground that, to use his own words, there is hazy thinking by a number of people and these people who think hazily cannot properly understand the constitutional position in this country. All I say is that if they cannot understand the constitutional position, we must agree that they think hazily. Somebody said earlier: “Thank God I am not a lawyer”. I am also inclined to say: “Thank God I am not a lawyer” because it is only among the lawyers that this hazy thinking on the constitutional position appears to exist. Having regard to the fact that all the instruments of Government and control in this country come from the people I think the people feel that for all useful purposes this is a republican State. That is well known to the majority of the people. Senator Douglas mentioned the word “republic”. I am of opinion that the only reason the State is not called the Republic of Ireland or in Irish Poblacht na hÉireann, is that the Six Counties are not included. As far as the Twenty-Six Counties are concerned, it is a republican State. The [449] Government, in a State republican or otherwise, have a right by legislation to make provision for association with any group of countries or any league of nations according as the Government and Parliament consider proper or expedient. I am speaking now without being a lawyer but the External Relations Act has been used by the Government to do a particular thing and if the Government have these powers they have got them from Parliament and Parliament can change that position at any time it is desirable. The Taoiseach has given an assurance that the Emergency Powers Acts would not be used in the manner suggested by Senator Douglas' amendment. That assurance should be accepted because surely a Government that would do that sort of thing would feel that it had lost the confidence of the Oireachtas and that its period of office was nearly expiring. I do not think that is the position.

Mr. Douglas: I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

The Taoiseach: I was about to say that Senator Magennis has been dealing with an Article of the Constitution from memory and was not quite accurate. For that reason, I thought I would get the Article and read it to the Seanad. It is Article 29, Section 4. Sub-section (1) says:—

“The executive power of the State in or in connection with its external relations shall, in accordance with Article 28 of this Constitution, be exercised by or on the authority of the Government.”

That is, the executive authority in the State is the Government. Sub-section (2) reads:

“For the purpose of the exercise of any executive function of the State in or in connection with its external relations, the Government may to such extent and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be determined by law, avail of or adopt any organ, instrument, or method of procedure used or adopted for the like purpose by the members of any group or league of nations with which the State is or becomes associated for the purpose of international [450] co-operation in matters of common concern.”

That is a very wide Article. The latter part indicates the attitude towards international affairs and so on. It was put in because we realised that if there was to be any peace in the world we would have to have co-operation among nations and as symbol of that co-operation various methods might be used. It was put in in order that it would be possible for us, as a State, to use any procedure that might be agreed upon for the purpose of indicating the solidarity of any particular group or association in a particular group of nations. It did apply also, of course, to the group of nations with which we were associated before the Constitution came into effect. It enabled us, by carrying on the External Relations Act, to continue the procedure which had been adopted to indicate our association with the States of the British Commonwealth. Politically, the problem that faced this country was that we were quite willing to have the association, but the symbols, constitutional forms and so on which had been adopted by the States of the British Commonwealth were associated with something very different from our position. They were associated with the growing up of colonies that looked to Britain as their mother country. They had loyalties of that kind and so on. We could not have loyalties of that particular type. The words “British Dominion” do not hurt a Canadian. It probably would not hurt if it applied to Australia or New Zealand, but it certainly would hurt us.

Mr. Douglas: We are a mother country.

The Taoiseach: Again the word “subject” was abhorrent to us. The idea that we could be classed as British subjects was abhorrent to us. We might, perhaps, be taking the common meaning of the word “subject” and not the interpretation which lawyers might put on it, but the fact was it had a connotation which was abhorrent to us. We did not want to be British subjects and we could not have a relationship in which that could be said of us. The question of [451] allegiance also came in. We did not owe and we did not think we owed any to the British Crown. These are things which are all right for the people of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, but which were not right for us. The problem was that we recognised we had a number of things in common and could we get a solution which would enable us to have these contacts in the things for which the States agreed to work together? Can we get some way by which we will have that co-operation and that association which will be consistent with our desire here to be recognised for what we are: as a mother country and as an independent nation? That was the problem: what could we do in that regard? We were in a certain legal position before we took up office, and that position carried all these ugly implications.

I know that Senator Douglas or anybody else could argue that these things were only apparent, that they were not real, but to our people they were very real. They were very real to me, for one. The idea of taking an oath of allegiance to a Crown which I did not regard as having any authority here, and to which I felt that I owed no loyalty, was to me, personally, abhorrent, and it had connotations which were going to deprive me of my ordinary self-respect as an Irishman who believed in the independence of our country. We had to get rid of these things, and the question was whether there was any method which would indicate that, although we wanted to get rid of them, we wished to cooperate with these other States in matters of common concern, and have an outside symbol of some kind, partly because we were in association, in seeing that certain things would be done, and also because there would be a great difficulty in dealing with the matter in this particular way.

Now, it has worked. It does not matter how strange it may appear—it has worked. It has given us in this part of Ireland an independent republic, which is what our people want, and at the same time it has, or had, enabled us to meet representatives of the [452] States of the British Commonwealth as equals and to consider matters with them that were of interest to us. It enabled us, for instance, to have our Reciprocal Citizenship Act. We are not British subjects. We do not accept that. Whatever Britain may say about it, we do not accept it. I think I said on one occasion that, in view of Acts passed here, it is really impertinence for anybody to try to pretend that we are in that position. We do not accept it. The position has been like that since 1936—certainly, since our Constitution was passed— and, as I said in the Dáil, in the light of and with a complete and full knowledge of our Constitution and all that it meant, this is an independent republic. It was actually referred to in the British House of Commons as such, by no less a person than the present Prime Minister. And that is what it is. It may not have been referred to in that particular way, but it was understood. Now, at the same time, there was an External Relations Act, and that was also understood and the whole thing was that when the Constitution came into operation in 1937, everybody would have understood what it meant. Deputy Dillon asked a question in the Dáil which, I think, every schoolboy in the country could have answered. The question he put to me in the Dáil was, in effect: “Why did you not mention a republic? Why did you not talk about a republic?” The reason was that we would have had the same kind of confused thinking as we had in the Dáil—the same confused thinking or, if you like, an effort to sneer at it, as we had when Senator Kingsmill Moore got up a moment ago to speak on this matter. He did not refer to it, as somebody in the Dáil did, as a political monstrosity, I admit. It is nothing of the kind. It is an effort to determine the relations of the various nations associated with the British Commonwealth of Nations, one with the other, because in the long run, these relations cannot be defined. They are the result of goodwill on all sides, and these States cannot take part with one another in an association unless they feel absolutely free to do so, if they wish. It is a matter of goodwill.

[453] Mr. Kingsmill Moore: That is what I meant.

The Taoiseach: If I could imagine myself approaching this matter from the point of view of a British statesman, I imagine that he would say: “It is not the forms that we want. What we do want is an understanding, in the belief that we have common interests. That is the reality, but the forms do not matter to us.” Now, that is the difference. The forms matter very much more to us because our struggle, over the centuries, has been to assert a certain thing—our independence— and these forms indicate to an Irishman that that thing has not been achieved. The real thing that matters about our Constitution, if the people on both sides would understand it, is that it gives our people in the Twenty-Six Counties what they want, and, as far as the External Relations Act is concerned, it gives, at any rate, an indication of our desire to be associated in the free way in which we are associated with these States for the purpose of dealing with matters of common concern. As I conceive it—and I think it is the view of the Government—that is a far greater safeguard than any question of law or forms, or things of that kind.

I am glad that Senator Douglas has withdrawn his amendment, because I agree with Senator Magennis that this whole thing could be misrepresented. It could be misrepresented so that it would appear that we had to be forced to do a thing which has been the deliberate policy of this Government since we came into office, which was to achieve a Constitution like this. The fact that I was asked to explain the position as it is, is no indication that the people are only now beginning to wake up to the facts of the situation and to the propaganda that was used against the Constitution at the time it was being put to the country. It was opposed by all sorts of misrepresentations, and it was hard for the people to withstand the propaganda. It was a big document and one, necessarily, of a legal character, and so it was easy for certain people to misrepresent it. For example, you saw where intelligent women went out campaigning against [454] the Constitution and saying that if it were passed women would all be confined to the kitchens, or something of that sort. That was the sort of campaign that went on at the time, and I, honestly, had not the heart to go out since then and controvert it because I knew that at every cross-roads in the country it would only mean the starting of the same kind of controversy and misrepresentation, if I had attempted to do so.

One point that has been made was that we have not a republic for the whole of Ireland. Now, Poblacht na hEireann conveyed to us at a certain period, when this was a legitimate, democratic State—founded, mind you, by the votes of the whole people, and not by any junta or anything of that sort—that it was a republic for the whole of Ireland, and if it was not allowed to function, it was not because there was not a democratic basis for it: it was because the Power or State that had control in this country in the past had not a democratic basis here. The Republic of Ireland—Poblacht na hÉireann—is a sacred phrase to those who worked and fought for it, and I certainly would not like to put it in our Constitution until that Constitution is effective over the whole of Ireland—and I hope to see it yet. But even until that time comes, there should be no hesitation in people using the phrase. The fact that the name “Republic,” or “Poblacht na hÉireann” is not in this Constitution does not mean that there is any objection to our people using it. There is no objection at all. In this connection I have seen it pointed out in certain newspapers that the United States of America—one of the first of modern republics—is not referred to in its Constitution as the Republic of America. As far as the United States of America is concerned, it is called, not the American Republic, or the Republic of America, but the United States of America, just as our State is called Éire.

Again, some people seem to think that the using of the word “republic” would constitute a further difficulty against the possibility of the unity of [455] our country. Well, people who speak in that way should remember that the first republicans in this country were Northerners, and that the idea of Irish Republicanism originated in the North; and I believe that the people opposed to us there have republican ideals just as strong as we have in this part of the country. I have not the slightest doubt in the world that the recognition of the fact that we are a republic here would not have any effect whatsoever in retarding the day, which I hope to see, when we will have a united country; and although I am getting older and, naturally, my time is getting short, I still hope to see the day.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sir John Keane: May I be permitted to say a few words. The scope of the debate has been very much widened.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Senator is at liberty to speak on the section.

Sir John Keane: On the section, I should like to say a few words. I do so with reluctance at this late hour. My observations arise from the very wide questions raised by the Taoiseach. I am not concerned with these forms or names. I am concerned with the relations in spirit between ourselves and other countries, including the Dominions. I feel sorry that recently—I think this is an undoubted fact—these relations have deteriorated. That is the only matter about which I am concerned. I feel that the blame is not entirely on other people. I think that there is a certain amount of blame on us and I hope, now that frank and free association in dealing with all these big world problems is so important, the Government will do all they can to offer friendly gestures to people whom we should meet and with whom we should aim to secure a full measure of co-operation. Do not let us bother whether we are a republic or a member of the Commonwealth. We are a nation and should be in association with other nations. We cannot [456] live in isolation. Since the United States could not live in isolation, we cannot. We should take every opportunity to allay any prejudices or feelings of estrangement which have developed lately. We should do our best to heal any breaches and to come together in full and friendly association, without too much regard for constitutional rights or national dignity. With that, I leave that subject.

I should not like the remarks which were made on censorship to pass without some further explanation. I cannot believe, from what the Taoiseach said on that subject, that he realised what was happening. Nobody could object to the censorship exercised in connection with the subjects mentioned by the Taoiseach. But does not the Taoiseach know that the censorship encroached on all kinds of purely domestic matters? If the censorship had been in operation in the past fortnight, the criticism of the Minister for Local Government in connection with Cork Street Hospital would have been censored. I give that, as an instance. Domestic censorship would have been exercised in many cases if the powers had been in force of late. That is an example and that is why we are so much relieved by the abolition of the censorship.

Professor Magennis: On a point of explanation—I congratulate myself on having provided the occasion for that speech by the Taoiseach. He professed to correct me. Now, I wish to point out that the External Relations Act was passed in 1936 and that the Constitution was enacted in July, 1937, and came into operation on the 31st December of that year. The Article of the Constitution which I cited and the Taoiseach read out in full, admits, as he and I interpret it, of application to the External Relations Act previously enacted. That is all the use I made of the Article's provisions. I did not suggest that the words I quoted from the External Relations Act were verbatim repeated in the Constitution but I described the relations in terms of the Constitution and the External Relations Act taken together. My point was—it is too bad that I have to explain what my point [457] was—that the present relations between the members of the British Commonwealth and ourselves, which Senator Douglas is so anxious to preserve, would not conceivably be abolished by an Emergency Powers Order. It would be sheer inanity for our Government to do so, as it had been a great act of statesmanship on the part of the Taoiseach to create that relationship, which has been accepted as a matter of fact.

I hope that I do not appear as resenting the correction. On the contrary, I rejoice that I made the occasion for the speech delivered by the Taoiseach; yet I do feel a certain tenderness with regard to the suggestion that, I do not know the Constitution.

Sections 6 to 9, Schedule and Title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment.

Agreed to take the next stage now.

Bill received for final consideration.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Is it agreed to take the Final Stage now?

Mr. Quirke: Agreed.

Mr. Duffy: I thought we were to take only the Committee Stage to-day?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: I understand that it was agreed to take all the stages. I asked was there objection and I did not hear any dissent.

Mr. Duffy: I do not think that we should go beyond the Committee Stage to-night.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Fourth Stage has already been agreed to.

Mr. Douglas: Personally, I have no objection to the Final Stage being taken now, but it is quite unfair to Senator Duffy to say that there was agreement to take all the stages to-day. There was no agreement to go further than the Committee Stage. I do not want to be taken as opposing the proposal that the Final Stage be taken, but it is not fair to say that there was agreement on the subject.

Mr. Duffy: I do not think it is right that all stages of a Bill should go through the House in an afternoon. If the House is to do its job, it should do [458] it seriously and I do not think it is right to deal with Bills in this way.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Shall we fix the Fifth Stage for next week?

The Taoiseach: I quite understand that there should be an interval between Second Reading and Committee Stage or even between Committee Stage and Report Stage to give Senators an opportunity of putting in amendments. However, since we have arrived at the present stage of the Bill, I think we ought to finish it unless Senators desire to establish some principle.

Mr. Duffy: The Taoiseach is not aware that this plea is made in connection with almost every Bill that comes before the House.

Mr. Sweetman: That is the trouble.

Mr. Quirke: When I suggested that there was agreement I did not want to misrepresent the position. What I meant to convey was that there was agreement on each side of the House; that we were a happy family, and that I saw no reason why we would not complete the Bill.

The Taoiseach: If I might make a personal appeal to the Seanad, it is very awkward when I have to make appointments to have to say that I cannot be sure whether I can keep them or not, if I have to be in the Seanad on the same day. Having put my hand to the plough to deal with this Bill, I should like to finish it, unless the Seanad considers that it would establish a precedent and wants to make sure it would not happen again.

Mr. Douglas: I am not going to press the matter further. I must confess that I find it much more difficult to do so after the Taoiseach's personal appeal. Nobody here wishes to resist a personal appeal, but the fact remains that a number of Senators had no reason to think that all stages of this Bill would be taken to-day. In this case, possibly, that might not happen, but some of us feel that this has occurred on several occasions, but as Senators who are present heard the [459] discussion it seems that this might be treated as an exceptional case. It has happened in this House when we put through all stages of a Finance Bill, that it inconvenienced a number of Senators who could not be present. It is not out of sheer cussedness that the point was raised. I am inclined to let this Bill go through on this occasion, but I ask the Taoiseach, unless the case is an exceptional one, not to come again with a personal appeal for all stages of a Bill to be taken on the one day.

Mr. Duffy: I do not want to be the odd man out, and so I withdraw my opposition. I said what I conceived to be in the interests of the House and of members, so that they should make themselves acquainted with what is contained in the Bill and take a serious interest in their duties. In view of what has been mentioned as far as I am concerned, I have no further opposition to what is suggested.

Mr. Sweetman: The Taoiseach will agree that this is another reason why he should push forward his Bill as early as possible next year.

Question put and agreed to.

Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass”.

Mr. Douglas: In reference to what Senator Magennis said, I asked leave to withdraw the amendment before he spoke. There was an implication that there was some earlier ulterior motive in putting it down. The Senator said that certain things could be implied from amendment. As far as I am concerned I put down the amendment in good faith. It was done at my suggestion, because I thought discussion would be helpful.

Mr. Baxter: It was.

Mr. Douglas: If there is to be blame I accept the blame. In connection with the remarks of the Taoiseach, with which I am in agreement, it is important to those who took a small part in the early life of this State—as he knows, I was interested in the constitutional [460] question then—that we should not have continued differences of opinion as to what was or was not the position here ten or 20 years ago. I think that many things have contributed towards the final recognition of our political independence. My personal opinion is that the greatest step towards recognition of our political independence was when Professor Berriedale Keith wrote a letter to the London Times in which he noted that there were certain words omitted from the Constitution as then published. As everybody knows, that Constitution was supposed to represent a compromise. It was not submitted to the original drafting Constitution Committee and did not completely satisfy anyone. The circumstances were different, as we were threatened with civil war at the time. He pointed out that that Constitution did not give the Irish Parliament the sole and exclusive powers to make laws for the government of this country. I saw that and, when I went to see the late Mr. Kevin O'Higgins and pointed it out, he said he thought it was vital. Eventually, the then sitting Parliament here put these words in, with general agreement. The net result of their acceptance by the British Parliament was a firm act of renunciation, which stated that no Parliament could make laws for this State but this Parliament. I believe it was because that was done that the External Relations Act and the accompanying Acts could be passed and Britain could do nothing about them. I think we ought to recognise that as No. 1 in the way of political achievement towards independence. If we can say that we have reached a constitutional position which no Party now proposes to change, we may have reached a stage which would be regarded as stability. If we have not that stability, I do not think we can make steady progress in any direction. At some point, we must have constitutional stability in this State.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be returned to the Dáil.

The Seanad adjourned at 10 p.m. until Wednesday, 25th July, 1945.