Dáil Éireann - Volume 20 - 28 July, 1927
ORDUITHE AN LAE—ORDERS OF THE DAY. IN COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. SUPPLEMENTARY AND ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES. - VOTE 18—SECRET SERVICE.
The PRESIDENT The PRESIDENT
The PRESIDENT: I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £10,000 chun íoctha an mhuirir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1928, chun Seirbhísí Sicréideacha.
That a sum not exceeding £10,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st day of March, 1928, for Secret Services.
This is a Vote in addition to the sum which has been already obtained. Deputies are aware of the manner in which these moneys are disbursed; the Minister for Finance explained it within the last few weeks.
Mr. JOHNSON Mr. JOHNSON
Mr. JOHNSON: I think we should have a little more information. I think in the earlier disucssion upon this Vote it was pointed out that there have been each year very considerable proportions of the total sum voted handed back to the Exchequer. The Minister has not given any indication as to whether the sum required now is in addition to the total sum that was voted in the earlier stages of this session. I am to assume that the purpose of this additional Vote is to assist the officers of State, the police, the Criminal Investigation Department and others, to ferret out and put down  organisations which aim at the destruction of the State. I am quite prepared to say that for that purpose it is right that a sufficient sum of money should be at the disposal of the Ministry for secret service when it is known that there are secret service organisations on the other side endeavouring to subvert State institutions. I think that the method of adding to the efficiency of the police organisations is the right and proper way to put down the conspiracy that is presumably aimed at in the Public Safety Bill.
It has not been stated, in the presentation of this estimate, that all the steps that could have been taken within the limit of the Secret Service Votes of past years have been taken. If it is now seen that there is a need to meet attacks upon the State by a more efficient secret police activity, why was that step not taken when the money voted in previous years was available? I would put this proposition to the House: that it is more in accordance with the requirements of the case to equip a police force to enable them to seek and make arrests of criminals and offenders of various kinds than to proceed by way of increasing punishment and arming authorities with increased powers. I think it would be not ill-advised that the fullest possible trial should be made of an efficient police force with the powers that already exist before you increase those powers in almost indefinite ways, without being sure that your police force is going to be more efficient.
I am not opposing this Vote, but I would like to have some information as to why the Vote is required, in the sense that sums of money were at the disposal of the Minister to make efficient the secret service organisation, but were not used. Consequently, presumably the police force was less efficient than it is now to be assumed it will be, having a greater sum of money at their disposal. This Vote, in effect, is a confession of inability in the past to equip the police service with the methods of detection that they now seem to see possible when they have  a larger sum of money at their disposal.
Question put and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 20 ORDUITHE AN LAE—ORDERS OF THE DAY. IN COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. SUPPLEMENTARY AND ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES. VOTE 18—SECRET SERVICE.