Dáil Éireann - Volume 67 - 02 June, 1937

Committee on Finance. - Bunreacht na hEireann (Dréacht)—Coiste (d'ath-thógaint—Airtiogal 38).

Mr. MacDermot: For about an hour, Sir, before the subject was interrupted by these other items on the Order Paper we were discussing, not the desirability or the undesirability of Article 38 of the new Constitution but the past history of the President of the Executive Council in relation to Article 2A of the old Constitution. While I have sometimes heard the President credited with being an astute political tactician, I must say that I thought I never saw a worse display of political astuteness than he gave in allowing that subject to occupy the amount of time that it did occupy. I think that if the President had sat tight and said that the House in general is convinced of the necessity for an Article of this type in the Constitution, refusing to be drawn into a discussion of his past in the matter of Article 2A of the old Constitution, he would have saved a lot of very valuable time. It would at the same time have prevented him from giving a rather agonising display. I have sometimes watched an acrobat doing a dangerous act; I have watched him with a sort of agonising emotion arising from the fear that he might do something that would kill him at any moment. Similarly, as I listened to the President, I kept asking myself: “What on earth is he going to say next?” I think even his bitterest enemy must have wept a little for him in listening to his hopeless attempt to prove his consistency.

The truth of the matter is that the public of this country and of every other country is very ready to forgive inconsistency in a public man when it [1575] comes to the conclusion that he has learned from experience. I think that it is very much to the credit of the Government that on this matter and on a number of other matters they have learned by experience, and it is a perfectly idle and undesirable exercise to embark on explanations which are designed to show that the apparent change has not been a real change. The politician accused of inconsistency can always retort with “tu quoque.” In any country you will get such changes; you will get people, when they are out of power, advocating a course that they had resisted when they were in power, and criticising policies when they are out of power that they themselves would unhesitatingly have adopted when they were in power. There have been plenty of instances of that sort on the part of the Opposition Front Bench during the present Parliament, and no doubt there will be instances under every other Parliament so long as Party Government lasts. I cannot but think that this passion of the President for proving his own consistency is one that is damaging and danger-out to the country, and that, if he [1576] would only leave it aside, his actions in some other very important matters might be different from what they are. For example, something might be done about setting the so-called economic war.

For the moment I am concerned only with this Article of the Constitution. I think we all support it, with the exception of Deputy Norton, and how far his opposition to it is sincere is not for me to judge. But I would appeal to the President to desist from the invitations that he was actually offering to the House at the moment we adjourned for tea—invitations to bring forward a supply of quotations from past speeches of his on the subject of Article 2A of the old Constitution. I have a collection of such quotations here if he wishes to see them. For the sake of the time of this House, and in order that we may settle down to discuss the things which we really have to decide about this Constitution, I would urge on him that if he does care to see them he should let me show them to him in private rather than recite them in public.

Question—“That Section 38 stand part of the Bill”—put.

The Committee divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 6.

Aiken, Frank.

Allen, Denis.

Bartley, Gerald.

Beckett, James Walter.

Beegan, Patrick.

Boland, Gerald.

Boland, Patrick.

Bourke, Daniel.

Brady, Seán.

Breathnach, Cormac.

Browne, William Frazer.

Carty, Frank.

Coburn, James.

Concannon, Helena.

Cooney, Eamonn.

Corkery, Daniel.

Corry, Martin John.

Costello, John Aloysius.

Crowley, Timothy.

Daly, Patrick.

Derrig, Thomas.

De Valera, Eamon.

Dockrell, Henry Morgan.

Doherty, Hugh.

Doyle, Peadar S.

Finlay, John.

Fitzgerald, Desmond.

Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.

Flynn, John.

Flynn, Stephen.

[1577]Pearse, Margaret Mary.

Rice, Edward.

Rice, Vincent.

Rowlette, Robert James.

Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.

Ryan, James.

Ryan, Martin.

Ryan, Robert.

Fogarty, Andrew.

Goulding, John.

Harris, Thomas.

Hayes, Seán.

Jordan, Stephen.

Keating, John.

Kelly, James Patrick.

Kelly, Thomas.

Killilea, Mark.

Kilroy, Michael.

Kissane, Eamonn.

Little, Patrick John.

Lynch, Finian.

Macdermot, Frank.

MacEntee, Seán.

McFadden, Michael Og.

McGilligan, Patrick.

Maguire, Ben.

Moore, Séamus.

Morrissey, Daniel.

Moylan, Seán.

Murphy, Patrick Stephen.

Nally, Martin.

Neilan, Martin.

O Briain, Donnchadh.

O Ceallaigh, Seán T.

O'Grady, Seán.

O'Mahony, The.

O'Reilly, Matthew.

O'Sullivan, John Marcus.

[1578]Sheridan, Michael.

Smith, Patrick.

Traynor, Oscar.

Victory, James.

Wall, Nicholas.

Walsh, Richard.

Ward, Francis C.


Corish, Richard.

Everett, James.

Hogan, Patrick (Clare).

Murphy, Timothy Joseph.

Norton, William.

Pattison, James P.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Corish and T. Murphy.

Question declared carried.

Section 39 agreed to.


1. —All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.

This shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.

2. — 1º. Titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State. Orders of Merit may, however, be created.

2º. No title of nobility or of honour may be conferred on any citizen except with the prior approval of the Government.

6. — 1º. The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:—

(i) The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.

The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the Press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.

The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

(ii) The right of the citizens to assemble peaceably and without arms.

Laws, however, may be enacted to prevent or control meetings which are calculated to cause a breach of the peace or to be a danger or nuisance to the general public.

Laws may be enacted for the regulation and control of open air meetings so as to ensure that they will not interfere unduly with public convenience and for the prohibition or regulation of meetings in the vicinity of the place of meeting of either House of the Oireachtas.

(iii) The right of the citizens to form associations and unions.

Laws, however, may be enacted for the regulation and control in the public interest of the exercise of the foregoing right.

2º. Laws regulating the manner in which the right of forming associations and unions and the right of free assembly may be exercised shall contain no political, religious or class discrimination.

Mr. Costello: On behalf of Deputy Mrs. Redmond, I move amendment No. 113:

To delete Section 1 and substitute a new section as follows:—

“All citizens without distinction of of sex, class or religion shall be held equal before the law.”

The words “without distinction of sex,” having been introduced by the President himself, I think, in some previous Article dealing with sex, it would be right to put this in here and, [1579] if it were omitted here, it would certainly cause confusion in interpretation.

The President: That is, of course, the chief objection to bringing in the thing at all. It should have been taken for granted. However, I will look into that so far as putting in the question of distinction of sex is concerned. It would be very much better if we could define “citizens” generally and make it quite clear in that clause that there was no distinction to be drawn in the right of citizenship between the sexes. It might save having to put this in all these clauses. I have no objection to putting it in, of course, except on the ground of a form for the Constitution. It was intended to be applied. I am not, however, prepared to delete the sub-section.

Professor O'Sullivan: If the President is not prepared to delete the sub-section, is it not possible that, though formally that sex distinction will not be a bar, in reality it can work out so? There was, for instance, the 17th amendment to the American Constitution, the famous amendment about race and colour, and so on, adopted after the civil war. States could not bring in any bar on the ground of colour after the passing of that amendment, but a number of States got over the amendment by a provision of the following kind in their Constitution — that nobody whose grandfather was a resident of the State and did not vote shall be entitled to vote. That did not mention colour, but it debarred all coloured people from voting.

It is quite true that you may lay down that no distinction of sex shall prevail, but, on the ground of difference of functions or capacity, you can easily rule against women quite as effectively as if you never put in the saving clause as suggested. I think the President will admit that if he holds on to the second portion of the clause it really does not very much matter what he puts into the first, because, under that, his Government or any other Government, can do what they like.

Mr. MacDermot: What is the object of that sentence really: “This shall not [1580] be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function”? As the President knows, that of course excited alarm, justified or unjustified. What I want to get at is—is there anything to be gained by putting it into the Constitution?

Mr. Costello: Perhaps I did not fully open the amendment of Deputy Mrs. Redmond, in the sense that I only adverted to one particular portion of it. I am sorry Deputy Mrs. Redmond cannot be here to move this, and I only have to do the best I can in somewhat unusual circumstances. Article 40 is one of a series of Articles which, rightly or wrongly, has certainly caused perturbation in the minds of people who lay very great stress on the importance of women's rights. My first reading of this Constitution certainly led me to the conclusion that Article 16 was the place where the flaw was really to be found. The subsequent Articles, Articles 40, 41 and 45; merely seem to reinforce the argument that the omission of the very significant words “without distinction of sex,” which were in the original Constitution, was deliberate and had some significance. The President has undertaken to put in these words, or, alternatively, to find some sort of definition of “citizens” which would make it clear that there was, in fact, to be no constitutional distinction permissible as between the sexes. I do not care whether the words “without distinction of sex” are put in, or whether some phrase is discovered by the ingenuity of the draftsmen which will meet the President's ideas. But, even if it is clear by the definition of “citizens” that they are all equal, the President ought to give some consideration to the question as to whether there is any ground for the fears so widely expressed, and, if there is any ground, whether they cannot be met in some of these Articles that have given rise to the fears.

So far as I can see, the very Articles which have caused the greatest trouble, apart from the omission of the words “distinction of sex,” are Articles which do not appear to have any really [1581] practical value in a constitutional instrument. They are headlines, if you like, statements of general principles, statements of high ideals, to put it at its highest. You would be inclined, as I was on the Second Reading, to call them something else; but they are there, and they do not appear to me to be essential. Taking Article 40: “All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law,” we had something similar in the American Constitution which has passed into a joke.

It was said that so-and-so had not yet been born equal, or declared equal, and he got into the United States of America and had not acquired citizenship. It is of no practical importance whether we say in the Constitution that everybody is equal before the law. In my view, it is all rubbish. What I want to know, as a practical lawyer, is, what is the meaning of it; what practical effect is it going to get? Assuming this is a statement of fact or a statement of an ideal, where is it going to lead? If I see a law passed subsequently to this Constitution when it becomes operative, am I to look down through that law, acting on behalf of a private client, to see is that in contravention to this very broad statement, that all citizens are equal before the law? Presumably, I am. I want to know from the President how he proposes to give this declaration practical application. In the second part of the clause he provides that the statement in the first clause “shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to difference of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.” I had some few words to say on “social function.”

When I read the second part of that section I rather traced its source to the late Lord Balfour. I do not know whether the President will accept that proposition or not. When the late Lord Balfour was trying to cut down the practical effect of the declaration of equality that had been agreed to at the Imperial Conference in 1926, he put in this phrase “difference of function,” and he said that the British Commonwealth of [1582] Nations were hereby declared to be co-equal, none subordinate to the other, but he said that there were, nevertheless, differences of function. In other words, he said that though we were declared to be equal, nevertheless by reason of the philosophic theory developed by him, they could, in practice, take away altogether the practical effect of the declaration of equality. We were not taken in by that at the Imperial Conference. We had no use for high principles and we had no use for grandiloquent statements until we saw them in practical operation, and we succeeded in seeing them in practical operation.

You have here a phrase about all men and women being equal. We want to know what is the practical application of that in Article 41. What does the President mean by saying that the family is the natural, primary and fundamental unit group of society, possessing “inalienable and imprescriptible rights”? I am head of a family and I want to know what my “inalienable and imprescriptible rights” are. At the moment I do not know what they are. If I find anybody wanting to filch these “inalienable and imprescriptible rights,” I want to be in the position to prevent him from doing so. It really requires a certain amount of effort to pronounce these words “inalienable and imprescriptible.” I do not know what they are. What practical effect is going to be given to the declaration that all citizens are equal before the law? That is a phrase I can understand. I would urge that some practical effect be given to it. I can say that I could exercise my practical ingenuity on behalf of a client in boring a hole through an Act that may be passed hereafter by the Parliament here.

When I ask myself what is the meaning of “due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function”, I find myself in a difficulty. So far as the phrase “differences of capacity, physical and moral” is concerned, it has given rise to well-founded fears in the minds of ladies who have made a special study of their particular rights and particular [1583] duties in connection with the state of public matters. It has given rise to a grave fear that although the citizens are declared to be equal before the law, yet because enactments may have regard to physical capacity, and because of subsequent, Articles which speak of the inadequate strength of women, the conclusion to be drawn from that is that though men and women are equal before the law, yet this Article recognises physical disability and capacity and allows laws to be passed recognising these capacities. Article 45 speaks of the inadequate strength of women. The result of that would be to enable some future Government, not the present one, to pass legislation which would, in effect, take away their political or social rights from women as a class or as individuals.

Dr. Rowlette: Are we taking amendments Nos. 113 and 114 together or separately?

An Ceann Comhairle: If amendment No. 113 is pressed to a division the Chair will, if the Deputy desires, so put the question as to save No. 114. However, as the two amendments cover much common ground they might be discussed together.

Dr. Rowlette: They overlap each other. With regard to the question of sex in amendment No. 113, there was some discussion on this matter a few nights ago with regard to another Article, and the President said he was considering in what way he would meet the point that Deputy Mrs. Redmond raised. He also said that he would further examine the question whether there was any necessity to consider other points that were in that amendment with regard to the clause generally. I do not know whether the President has made up his mind yet or not. When I asked him on the matter he referred me to Section 3. Whether the personal rights of the citizen are adequately protected by Section 3, I am not sure, or that the protection goes so far as is proposed in this amendment of Deputy Mrs. Redmond. In Article 44, Section 2 (2), there is [1584] this provision: “The State guarantees not to endow any religion, and shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status.” I am not sure that that gives quite as much protection and freedom as the direct statement here that “all citizens without distinction of sex, class or religion shall be held equal before the law.” I would like the President to consider that before he gives his final decision. It seems a little weaker to prevent positive discrimination against persons. That is not quite the same as declaring that all are equal.

With regard to the second part of Section 1 of Article 40, to which I have put down my amendment that the three lines—that is the second sentence of Section 1—should be omitted, I would like to make a few remarks. In reading this Constitution over, I have again and again been greatly taken with the phrase, which seems to give one something solid to rest upon and something that is really useful as a basis of the State. But when I read the next sentence, I find that the stability that I thought at first was there was taken away by some qualifications, so that one is left in doubt as to which is the dominant phrase or whether it is the phrase which lays down the general principle or the phrase which states the qualifications. As to the adoption of that principle, what really would be the guiding light of those administering the Constitution in the future? The President said that one might be willing to give certain powers to one body of persons—himself and his colleagues —while being quite unwilling to give such powers to persons in whom one has not confidence. That is natural human psychology. I suggest to the President that while one might be quite willing to give the present Government or the present legislators the application of these principles, both the fundamental principle and its qualifications, one might not be willing to give it to unknown legislators in the future. I am not at all sure that some future Legislature would not think that the intention expressed in the Constitution was not really in [1585] the qualification rather than in the principle. What the wise framers of this Constitution really mean is that that principle shall not be carried too far, and that we have to watch it very carefully and to direct its activities. I fear very much, with regard to Article 40, that what future legislators would take advantage of in certain circumstances—I do not say in all circumstances—would be the second sentence of Section 1 rather than the first sentence. They would say: “Yes; while it is the doctrine and theory that we admit the equality of all persons, yet we must take care that it is not misunderstood, and the really important thing is to have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.”

Further on in Article 40 we have the statement: “Titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State.” That is definite and intelligible to everyone, but then you have the statement: “Orders of Merit may, however, be created.” What are Orders of Merit? To some readers of the Constitution it would appear that what was in the minds of the Government is not so much that titles of nobility shall not be conferred, but that an Order of Merit will be instituted. Then, again, we have the sentence: “No title of nobility or of honour may be conferred on any citizen—except with the prior approval of the Government.” Time after time we have these sentences that look at first like a precise statement, such as should be in a Constitution, but then they are watered down by some qualifying phrase.

Most notorious of all, we have later in the same Article references to the right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions, and the right of a free Press is preserved as long as it does not differ with the opinions of the Government. That is the interpretation that will be put upon it by a Legislature in future, not perhaps by the President and his colleagues, but by a less clear-sighted or a less honest Government in the future. This right is to be preserved in relation to the Press as long as it is not used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State. Any Government which is very [1586] sure of itself, of its own rightness, may regard the differences of opinion which members of the Opposition may make use of as being directed towards the undermining of the State; they may hold that what undermines the authority of the Government, by a system of easy logic, undermines the authority of the State. I only use those arguments to show the sort of qualification which is put on excellent first principles, right through this Constitution.

Let us suppose that a Government in the future composed of people who had not the benefit of hearing those debates during these present weeks were to interpret, as applying to their own legislation, Article 40. I think the phrasing is so vague that it would be very easy to put any intention into those lines: “This shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.” Since I read this first I have been puzzling as to what it means. I can understand what is meant by physical capacity, but I cannot understand what moral capacity means. I have asked nearly everyone I have met in Leinster House to-day to explain what moral capacity means, but nobody could tell me. I hope the President will be able to explain it to me. I have never met the phrase “moral capacity,” and I cannot understand it.

It does not matter whether I can understand it or not, but it does matter that those who may have to interpret the Constitution in the future should be able to understand it on the basis of the document itself, and that seems to be impossible. We may understand it when the President has given us his explanation, but on the face of the document itself I venture to say that no Legislature in the future or no court could interpret what “moral capacity” means. It is proposed to legislate here that the State may in its enactments have due regard to something that nobody understands.

Mr. McGilligan: The Article happens to use the word “shall,” peculiarly enough, instead of “may”.

[1587] Dr. Rowlette: It is clear, as Deputy Costello pointed out, that many people have been alarmed by this clause. There has not been for many years such a condition of alarm among the women, as to their rights as citizens of the country, as has been aroused by certain clauses in the Constitution. The President smiles, but I do not think that he has been smiling for the last few weeks when he was receiving deputations. Deputies who have been receiving letters on this subject have not considered it a smiling matter from the point of view of the serious nature of the letters, which show a very widespread and genuine alarm on the part of a large number of the most thoughtful women of the country, the women who have given most thought to matters concerning their own sex. One should not forget that, although the number of women sent to represent citizens here is not large, women constitute, if not a majority, almost a majority of the citizens, and anything which causes alarm to them should be treated with respect and full consideration.

The reference to having due regard to differences of physical capacity certainly points to the suggestion that the State, in legislation in the future, is to consider that one of the ruling maxims, where it is to be at all applicable, is to take care that due regard is paid to the physical differences of the sexes. That is the meaning put on it by many people and, although I do not suggest it is the meaning that is intended, it is open to that interpretation. One recognises that it is quite proper, if women were to endeavour to undertake certain industries for which they were physically unfitted, that it might be the State's duty to forbid such activity. There is no danger here that women would go in for coal mining, for example. It might be necessary in other countries to prohibit such activity on the part of women. Again, it is not likely to be necessary to prohibit them from going in for such unsuitable work as the stoking of engines.

We have in the law of the country [1588] a power residing in one of the Ministers to limit the number of women and prohibit the employment of women in certain industries. When that was under discussion a year or two ago, the Minister pointed out that the intention was to protect women from being forced into occupations unsuitable for them. But at once the cat jumped out of the bag when Deputy Norton explained that a use of such a section would be to prevent women competing with men in employment in which they might endanger the occupations of men. One sees there, when a provision is put before the House by the Minister as a protection, how it may be used by a responsible Party in the House and is interpreted to be a useful weapon to drive women out of certain employment.

When that happens one can see how such a clause might be applied by a Government in the future which had particular views in regard to the employment of women. I think these three lines are unfortunate in their vagueness, unfortunate in the lack of meaning in one of the phrases used, and I believe they include what may prove to be a very considerable danger to the women of the country and perhaps to other persons, if the words are allowed to remain in the Constitution in the form in which they stand.

The President: I suppose we will again have to traverse some of the ground we covered in the Second Reading debate; it seems to be inevitable that it should happen. Let us take, first of all, this question of political rights of women which it has been suggested are being threatened by this Constitution. I explained already to the House that we had a citizenship law actually an Act which is probably the most advanced in the world, and by women's organisations regarded as perhaps the most satisfactory from their point of view. We have a complex situation here on account of the taking over under Article 3 of citizens who are entitled to the rights of citizens here, and we do not want to deprive any of these of their rights. The situation in regard to citizenship [1589] was such that it was not easy to put the whole category of citizens into a simple phrase, and we got over the difficulty by adopting one of the methods which you find in Constitutions for dealing with it, namely, that you leave to law the question of the acquisition and loss of citizenship.

As we have not at any time distinguished between the sexes in regard to political rights, I thought that that was a sufficiently well-established principle here and that there was no necessity whatever—that we should take it for granted—for putting it into our Constitution in any definite way, until the time might come when it would be easier, if it were then thought desirable, to put the whole thing into a simple phrase. The phrase “distinction of sex”, which appears in the old Constitution, I rejected deliberately, on the ground that it was appropriate at a time when women had only just got their political rights, that it was a sort of relic of that time and there was no necessity whatever for introducing it into the Constitution here. However, fears have been excited—to my mind, needlessly, and, I think, from the point of view of those who hold certain advanced views in regard to women's rights, not wisely—and I have said quite definitely that if you are not satisfied so far as your political rights are concerned, I am prepared to put in the fullest safeguards in the most convenient way I can. There was no intention at any time, and I do not think that anybody will suggest that there was, to weaken the position of women, or to interfere with their rights by the way in which this Constitution is drawn up. The only difference between us is how that can be most appropriately done—whether it should be done by bringing in what I regard as an objectionable phrase every time we speak of a citizen, “everybody without distinction of sex”. Now, we have the suggestion that we should put in “without distinction of class or religion”. I am sure that if we continue much longer, some other people will be trying to put in another category and to add to “class”, which is very difficult to define, and “religion”, some other additional [1590] class. I think the whole thing is objectionable, and it is very much better, if we have to deal with the word “citizen”, to try to get as comprehensive a definition as we can and make it quite clear that that definition is irrespective of sex. I leave that then. I take it that we have come to common ground in regard to it and that we need not discuss it further.

Coming to this particular Article, what is the meaning of it? Deputy Rowlette says that this Constitution is characterised by indicating certain broad principles and then appearing to qualify them. That qualification is necessary for truth and for life. You indicate what is the ideal to be aimed at, but you have also to take into account the fact that very often these principles are stated in a form in which they are not, in fact, true. All persons are not equal before the law or anywhere else, and it is ridiculous to say they are. Life is full of inequality.

Dr. Rowlette: Before the law?

The President: It depends on what you mean by “before the law”.

Mr. McGilligan: What do you mean by it?

The President: It depends on what you mean by “before the law.” Does it simply mean that when an individual comes up in a court of law the judge is not going to deal differently with him, if he is in one particular class, from the way he would deal with him if he were in another class, from the point of view of being a man or a woman? That is the meaning of it, but I would say that that has not been the only meaning which people have tried to get into that phrase “shall be held equal before the law.” The suggestion is that it means that, when you are passing laws, you must not distinguish between the various classes and the various social functions they have, that you must not distinguish between capacities of various kinds. Of course, that would be ridiculous. I am not able to trace completely the history of the phrase “equal before the law” as to its origin and meaning, but if it is interpreted in its narrow sense, that, when a person is up in a court of [1591] justice, the judge and the law ought to deal with that person, irrespective of class or religion, or anything else, then that is a definite, precise and narrow meaning, and if there was common agreement that it was to have that meaning, and that meaning only, we could understand it; but I say it has been strained by certain philosophies and as a result of certain philosophies completely away from that meaning and that in fact, the only basis on which you can take it, the only respect in which people can be taken as completely equal is in the fact that they are human persons, having a certain same nature, certain destinies and so on. That is the only really true, philosophical way in which you can speak of equality, so that “as human persons” is put in here deliberately to make the statement a true one and not a false one.

The next part of it is designed to prevent a straining of what was a narrow expression into another sphere, and to prevent its being used to suggest that we should not have regard in our enactments to differences of capacity, social functions and so on. Of course, we must. As a matter of fact, we are bound to. Deputy McGilligan wants to know why “shall” is used. We are bound to. If we want to be just, if laws are to be just, they must take note of capacity of various kinds and therefore that statement as it stands is true. Without this qualification it would be false. If you say there is no use in it because it has to be modified, my answer is that there is a right use of various things and a wrong use. We have private property and there are certain qualifications in regard to it; we have liberties of various kinds and there have to be qualifications, because there would be a wrong use of them as well as a right, and, while indicating that the right use of these things must be preserved, we have also to show that the State is not debarred from preventing the wrong use.

The meaning of this is, to my mind, clear. I might refer to the suggestion of Deputy Costello about this phrase “social function” having been got from Lord Balfour. I have no idea [1592] when Lord Balfour used it, or of the circumstances in which he used it. He was a philosopher, and it is possible that he took and used a phrase that is commonly found in social philosophy. “Social function” is a phrase that is commonly found in books on social philosophy. If you want to distinguish between the various functions—I can scarcely get a better word—or activities of various kinds of classes, you can hardly, in our civic life, describe them by a better phrase than “social functions.” A judge has one social function. A bank clerk has another social function. It is quite clear that you could pass laws which might deal with the position of judges, but which would not apply to those who were not exercising that particular social function, so that the term used was not borrowed from Lord Balfour or anybody else. It suggested itself because it is appropriate and had been used in this connection.

With regard to the disqualifications, these are necessary for truth. In matters of this sort, you hold up the ideal to be aimed at. The right of liberty has to be preserved, but a wrong use of liberty must be guarded against. Equality, as expressed in the first part of this Article, is true, but for people to try to use it to debar the legislature from passing laws which would take account of a difference of social function would be clearly wrong. You have to make this reservation. Deputies say that this Constitution ought to guard against all possible dangers. It cannot do that. I agree that, when dangers can be met, they should be met, but there are dangers you cannot meet without running the risk of meeting other dangers. It is vain for anybody to think that you can, by a Constitution, prevent, as I said here the other day, the passing of unjust and unfair laws. You cannot. Deputy O'Sullivan gave an example of how an Article of the American Constitution regarding the question of colour was got round. What should that prove? The futility of trying, by mere paper enactments, so to speak, to prevent people getting round a provision by ingenious methods. We can [1593] only try to face what is normal and reasonable. We cannot hope completely to prevent people by ingenious methods from getting round anything we may write down. We indicate here the ideal to be aimed at. I think it is perfectly right. Nobody has suggested that there is anything wrong in it except Deputy Rowlette. I pointed out to him that the principle to which he referred would not, in fact, be true in the sense in which it is being strained. I want to make quite certain that if we state a principle, we shall state it in terms that can be maintained as accurate and true.

Dr. Rowlette: May I draw the President's attention to one point? He has stated that, according to our citizenship laws, women are on an equality with men. Quite true. What the President did not develop is that hitherto women have had their status in the Constitution, as on an equality with men, but that equality, so far as it will exist under this Constitution, will be derived from law; it is no longer preserved in the Constitution.

The President: I have said that any steps that can be taken to remove fears will be taken.

Dr. Rowlette: May I ask the President to explain the meaning of the term “moral capacity”? He omitted to do that.

The President: The Deputy knows the meaning of the phrase “moral responsibility” for a certain action. I take it that it would mean morally capable of doing a certain thing—that the person would incur moral responsibility for his act, so to speak.

Professor Alton: Mentality?

Professor O'Sullivan: Does this simply mean weak-minded people and minors?

The President: It could cover those two.

Professor O'Sullivan: Does it cover anything else?

The President: It could cover more.

Professor O'Sullivan: What does it cover?

[1594] The President: It means capable of being morally responsible for an act.

Professor O'Sullivan: The meaning is as clear now as when the President started—perhaps not quite so clear. The President spoke of philosophy. I think the President is about the same age as myself and he may remember the cartoon in which Lord Balfour was depicted as Blondin, the tight rope walker.

The President: Philosophers have to do that.

Professor O'Sullivan: We have several instances of it here. Even if the President did not borrow the phrase from Lord Balfour, it is only natural that he should use it, seeing that it was used by a man given to tight rope walking. The President promises to look into this Article and I gather that he intends to meet any anxiety there is, so far as political discrimination is concerned. I have watched in vain for any pronouncement from him that he will do anything to allay the anxiety caused amongst a large number of women as regards economic discrimination.

The President: That does not occur here.

Professor O'Sullivan: The President must know that, at present, these people are much more exercised as a practical proposition with the dangers of economic discrimination on account of sex than they are by the fear of political discrimination. Many of them do want a Constitutional safeguard, not a mere legal safeguard, for their political position, but they are much more afraid of what may happen in practice as to the taking away of opportunities of work. They take Article 40 and, being sensible people, they read the different provisions of the Constitution together and see certain pointers in them and in the speeches of the President—what he puts into his speeches and what he leaves out. He is willing to meet them on the question of political discrimination but I see no effort on his part to make clear that there is to be no economic discrimination.

[1595] Taking Articles 40 and 41, and that extraordinary Article, 45, they will naturally assume an effort will be made to drive them out of employment. As late as to-day, I heard that certain bodies are already taking steps in that direction, believing that they are carrying out the excellent principies laid down in Article 45. It is easy to lay down general principles, as the President knows, but once you lay down general principles of that kind, you have practically to legislate them out of existence in the next paragraph, so that, undoubtedly, the dilemma presented by Deputy Rowlette is a practical one.

These women are not all of the class who hold advanced views. Many of them are moderate, conservative women who hold views which are by no means advanced. They are, however, gravely perturbed about the economic possibilities—more so than they are about the political possibilities. Steps are to be taken so that the inadequate strength of women shall not be called upon for too much work. How are you going to provide, say, for a woman with a family who has not a husband? Are you going to provide not merely a pension for her, but a sufficiently adequate pension, so that she will have no temptation to work or to supplement it by doing work? If you provide a pension of that kind, are you further going to take steps to see that she will be prevented from doing work? Is it only against the women who, from economic necessity, are compelled to do work, that Article 45 points? Suppose the State is in a position to make adequate provision for women in that position, it will cost the State an immense sum. Let us take another case: the case of a woman with a large family who has a husband. The husband does not work. As the President knows, that occurs very frequently. What is the State to do there? Is it to provide that family also with a pension? Supposing the husband does not work, is he to be put in jail for not working, and is the family to be supported in his absence? The President may say that these are only pointers. It seems to me that women who are [1596] uneasy about this have great justification for their uneasiness, and that the tendency of Articles 40, 41 and 45 can only mean one thing—more and more prevention of women getting positions of employment.

The President: Why should it only mean that?

Professor O'Sullivan: That is the only point it can have.

The President: Because the Deputy wishes to say that.

Professor O'Sullivan: I cannot see any other meaning. I think a great deal of the trouble arises from the rather amateur metaphysical habit of the President putting down general principles—vague, philosophic general principles such as the 18th century one about all men being equal. He knew that was wrong and he tried to qualify it. He gets into all sorts of trouble in his efforts to satisfy some vague philosophic urge, activism of some kind, but certainly not based on any sound thought-out system. The President has here a number of Articles dealing with private property. As I said on the Second Reading, each sentence if taken in the abstract is perfectly sound. Both the principle and the reservation are perfectly sound. But what they all mean, or what they commit anybody to, is what I cannot grasp. Suppose, for the moment, I was a Communist in this country, what is the first thing I would do? I would set out to condemn the proposition that private property is theft.

The President: You would not be a Communist then.

Professor O'Sullivan: I am giving this merely as an illustration of the danger of principles of that kind. If I deal with this now, it will save me from discussing it afterwards.

An Ceann Comhairle: But it will not prevent other Deputies from discussing it.

Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy is making a Second Reading speech.

[1597] Mr. Norton: It is dreadful to contemplate Deputy O'Sullivan as a Communist.

Professor O'Sullivan: Having done that, I would act on the principle and the reservations here and carry out the full Communist policy in practice. However excellent these principles may be, and so far as I can see every one of them taken individually seems to be sound, what I fear is that as a piece of legislation they carry us nowhere. I fear they will have the further effect that once you lay down principles such as you have in Article 40, Section 1, paragraph 2, and such as you have in Article 45, that a number of people will think that all the necessary work is done: that they can lay down their hands and need do nothing else. When we come to Article 45 we may have an explanation of what it means. So far as the position of women is concerned, and taking the whole drift of the Articles I have mentioned—40, 41 and 45—and also the President's attempt to explain them—to explain them as distinct from repeating them—I cannot understand how those who are interested in employment for women can be anything except perturbed. The readiness of the President to meet the political discrimination, and his silence so far as the economic discrimination is concerned, will naturally strengthen that particular perturbation.

The President: Can we deal with these Articles one by one now after we have had these general disquisitions? I say that there is not anywhere in the Constitution any suggestion that a woman is to be prevented from going into any type of employment, not a single suggestion. That is all that I am going to say about the general thing until we come to each particular Article. There is no reference to women in this section. If, at the moment, you had a society in which you had men only, this section is necessary, but, of course, you have people who take it out of its context and apply it in a special connection. If we make the first statement at all, the second is necessary. There is no reference to women in it.

Mr. Rice: I have listened with the [1598] greatest care and with an impartial mind to the statement of the President in reply to what was said by Deputy Costello and Deputy Rowlette as to the alarm which has been caused in the community by this Article. I am afraid that the statement which he has made will do nothing at all to allay that alarm. The President, no doubt, has said that he will make provision afterwards for the part of the Article that is dealt with by the amendment of Deputy Mrs. Redmond. But there is a further portion of that Article, paragraph 1 of Article 40, covered by Deputy Rowlette's amendment. It proposes to delete the qualifying phrase following the opening statement that “all citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.” He proposes to delete the words that:

This shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.

Now, in the last 40 or 50 years a great many occupations have been thrown open to women. The number has increased year by year as the industrial life of the country has developed. What is there to prevent the Legislature, if this qualifying clause is allowed to stand, from enacting that women shall not in future be admitted to certain named occupations.

The President: Suppose it is not there, what is to prevent the Legislature doing that?

Mr. Rice: But the phrase is there.

The President: But suppose it is not there?

Mr. McGilligan: And that you had all citizens as equal before the law as human beings, what would be the situation?

Mr. Rice: What I am interested in is this, and the President has not answered it: If that phrase there is allowed to stand in the Constitution, what is to prevent the Legislature, from within the Constitution, legislating to drive women out of occupations in which they are already engaged? Is it not open for the Legislature to say that, having regard to the [1599] differences of capacity, such-and-such an occupation should be carried on solely by men, and that women should be excluded from it? That is my criticism of this thing, and I take it, from the President's last remark, that he intends to allow that phrase to stand and that he is going to refuse to accept Deputy Rowlette's amendment. As I say, once that Article is allowed to be inserted in the Constitution, the Legislature, any day, can pass legislation to exclude women from any or all of the occupations which they now share with men.

Professor Alton: I would ask the President to reconsider the wording of that very dubious clause which says: “This shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.” Perhaps I am thick-headed, but yet I did read ethics when I was young, and I must say that I found great difficulty in understanding what was meant by the words “moral capacity.” I am really rather proud, however, that I guessed what the President meant. I guessed that he meant the difference in mental capacity.

The President: Not quite.

Professor Alton: At any rate, that is what I guessed was meant, and I also guessed that, in referring to physical capacity, the President was not really applying it to the difference in physical capacity between men and women, but perhaps to the difference in physical capacity as between men and boys— the question of age and so on. When you come, however, to the question of social function, that seems to me to indicate a difference of sex, and perhaps the President can explain that. I think that, perhaps, the President was carried away by a desire not to found a platonic republic, so to speak, in which there would be no differences, physical or social, recognised between men and women; and, of course, there was also the desire to preserve the family as the unit and to preserve all the other adjuncts of our present Constitution. I feel sure that the idea of the President was that this Article was [1600] the cradle, so to speak, of the family, but I do wish he would reconsider the wording of those three lines, to which I have referred, which, to a very ordinary person such as I am, are ambiguous. I am not speaking with any desire to obstruct, or to make vexatious criticisms just for the sake of criticism, but I do think that these words are ambiguous and that they will be misinterpreted by ordinary people.

The President: I must say, Sir, that from the very beginning I cannot get myself into any sympathy at all with the criticisms that have been made on the ground that this has reference to sex. As I have said—and I cannot put it in any stronger way than this— if we happened, for the time being, at any rate, to be a community entirely composed of men—a community in which there were no women—and if we wanted to state this principle and to apply it, we would have to state it in the form in which it is stated here, or in some almost exactly similar form. Surely nobody is going to suggest that the phrase “social function” only has reference to the sexes? We ought to understand, in general, the meaning of these terms, and I am surprised at anybody confounding the terms “mental” and “moral” in this connection. As a matter of fact, I think that, in the old Royal University, there was a subject known as Mental and Moral Philosophy. In other words, the two were kept separate, and were regarded as not meaning the same thing. The terms “mental” and “moral” mean different things, and we should not confound them.

However, leaving that aside, and coming back, to the question of this second part: let us deal with it this way. Suppose that we eliminated it, what is going to be the result? Is its elimination going to prevent the Legislature from doing certain things, or is it not? If its elimination is not going to prevent the Legislature from doing certain things, then it must be held that it is contained, in the first part, that the Legislature may do these things. If the leaving of that out would prevent the Legislature from [1601] doing these things, then I say that this Legislature should not be prevented from doing these things, because it must be permitted to do these things if it is to function properly. It must be permitted to take cognisance in its laws of the different capacities in its citizens; otherwise, legislation would become impossible. There is no halfway in this. Either you have to take the whole thing out—if you are to reason closely at all—or you have to leave the whole thing in; and from either point of view, if you leave it all out, then obviously the Legislature can do these things because there is no question of prohibition of any kind. Therefore, I think that the people who are arguing along those lines are arguing on a completely unsound basis, and I think that they have not a leg to stand on in their criticism of that Article.

These words were not chosen haphazardly. They were chosen with very great care, and they were chosen in order to rectify the wrong use and the wrong statement of certain principles, which contain a germ of truth in them, but which can be wrongly and falsely applied. What we have here is that wherever in this Constitution you have statements of principle, such as, for instance, the liberty of the citizen, that liberty must be upheld when it is rightly exercised, but the community must protect itself against the improper use of that liberty. Who is going to say that the community should not protect itself against the abuse or the wrong use of that liberty of the citizen? Are we, then, in order to try to face life and truth as it is, to leave the principle out altogether? I say that we should not. I say that we are doing a good thing in holding certain things up as a virtue to be aimed at and then indicating where the wrong practice or the misapplication or the misunderstanding of the virtue becomes an abuse. That is what is done here. It is necessary either to put in all these qualifications or to wipe them out. I can understand Deputies saying that they should be wiped out, although I do not agree with that; but I think we are doing useful work in clarifying these principles and enabling them to be understood [1602] properly. I think we are doing useful work in holding up what is the virtue to be aimed at, then indicating that these principles can be wrongly applied and can be abused, and making it possible for the State to take the necessary action to prevent the abuses. As I have said, I think that the opponents of this Article, in their criticisms, have not a leg to stand on, either from the point of view of women's rights or any of the other points of view they have put forward.

Mr. McGilligan: I have listened to two attempts by the President to explain this, and I do not know if I find myself in a different position to anybody else in this House in that the matter has become more and more clouded, the more the President has spoken. He gave me one clue to his attitude on this, but not an explanation of the matter that follows. Apparently, the President believes that he has met arguments based upon the language used here and the decisions this language may give rise to, by dealing with one matter—the matter of sex disqualification that may be read into this. The President evidently feels that he has met that argument by saying that if we were dealing entirely with a male community here, we still would have to write in this Article.

That, we must remember, comes from the President who drew up this Constitution, not merely not putting in equality for the sexes into the Constitution but putting in equality for nobody. The President is quite right. Not merely was there no question of discrimination of the sexes, but there were no constitutional rights with regard to citizenship introduced at all. There were none, and there are not any yet. Anything that is in the way of a right dependent upon citizenship, is to be a matter of legal determination. So far as this Constitution stands in regard to anything in the way of a constitutional right, if there be any such in the Constitution, no man or woman can take it to himself or to herself as a constitutional right dependent upon citizenship because as the Constitution was introduced, when you look at [1603] Article 16, you find that every thing with regard to the determination of citizenship shall be a determination of law. Having that outlook, the President can rightly say: “Oh, I can deal with the sex matter, because even if this was a male community in its entirely, we would have to write in these things in the same way.” The President says that not merely has he definitely to allow for inequalities but he has to command inequalities. There is nothing in the Constitution attaching to citizenship which forbids it.

Let us leave this matter of sex out and let us consider the question of differences—differences made as amongst citizens. Will the President tell me is there any difference between the first phrase in this Article 40, sub-section (1) as it stands and another phrase as I shall put it? The phrase in the Draft reads: “All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.” Can we rewrite that to say: “All citizens shall not be held equal before the law except in so far as they are human persons”? Is that a correct exposition of the Article?

The President: One is a positive form and the other a negative form.

Mr. McGilligan: What does that mean? Supposing you start off with the statement that there is no such thing as equality before the law, except in so far as that is bounded by the phrase “as human persons,” what does “as human persons” mean?

The President: I have explained it already.

Mr. McGilligan: I have not got the meaning. Could the President make another attempt?

The President: Yes, if the Deputy will permit me.

Mr. McGilligan: Yes, later. I just want to get that clear. We start off with that clear declaration about all our citizens—in the interests of “truth and light,” which is the President's phrase. Let us say that all our people are befogged with phrases [1604] about citizens being equal, dug up from ancient philosophies. Let us assume that all citizens are not equal except in so far as these words “as human persons” will regulate the matter. Let us see what that means. Possibly an explanation will be given later but I do not know what it means now. Having said that, even having put it in a positive form, which does seem harping back to ancient philosophies, we go on to state:

This shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.

Suppose we had put the first phrase in the form I have suggested and then continue on in this form: “Consequently, the State in its enactments must have regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.” Is that what the President thinks is required for truth and light? Is that what the President would consider as the real situation in the country? One of the things that rather amazes me is this. If this phrase, “all citizens shall be held equal before the law”—omitting “as human persons”—is wrong and will lead to wrong judicial decisions, why has it been adopted in so many of the Constitutions of the world? Again, I cannot say that I have searched any big number of Constitutions in regard to this point but, in any I have searched, I have failed to find any which contains this interpolation, “as human persons.” I wonder can the President say if there is one which has that phrase in it? I do not know of any but I do know of many which have the simple phrase: “all citizens shall be held equal before the law.” That has been brought into some of the newer Constitutions. It is certainly in some of the very ancient Constitutions and in some of the not-so-ancient Constitutions. It has stood the test of judicial decisions and has not occasioned any embarrassment in the passing of laws. Is there any example anywhere of the use of these words and, if not, why was it thought necessary to put them in here? The President asks: “Suppose we leave out the second paragraph.” [1605] I want to say, suppose we leave out the phrase, “as human persons,” what is the situation then? Does it mean in the passage of ordinary laws here, that men and women or that all men, indifferent to age and everything else, must be put on the same footing because if that is going to be the case the President will say that clearly that should not be so?

Again, when I look for examples in other Constitutions, I find that if there is a declaration of equality in a Constitution which recognises any differences, it is done in this form: that the State shall pay attention to the differences so as to bring the people on a footing of equality. That is not what is here. Would the President face this point: cannot the Government take that phrase in paragraph 2, as has been suggested by Deputy Rice—if there is a Government that wants to get women excluded from certain professions, to get men of a certain age excluded from certain walks of life, or to get men over a certain age excluded from certain walks in life—and say: “We cannot merely do that under the law, but we have a constitutional pointer that it should be done.” It may be that it is merely the tendency of the phrase that is wrong but undoubtedly that tendency prevails through all these fundamental rights. The President told us that he deliberately abandoned the phrase “without distinction of sex.” The explanation he gave must have been excogitated here in the House because I do not think anybody could have seriously thought over the matter and then delivered himself of that explanation. He withdrew it, he said, because it was a relic of the time when these rights were not given. Why not withdraw all these other phrases that are relics of the time in which the rights to which they relate were not given? After all, the liberty of the person— freedom of speech, the freedom of the Press—these things are only relics of the time when they were first put in. They were put in as signs of the victory which had been achieved for these rights.

The President may tell us with regard to the liberty of the person that that day is long past, with regard [1606] to the free expression of opinion that that day is long past, and with regard to the freedom of conscience that that is certainly long past. Why do we carry in these phrases, these relics of a time when these rights were not enjoyed and wipe out this phrase about distinction of the sexes which, if it is a relic of another time, is not so old as is the case in some of the other phrases which have been carried in? That is the tendency which I complain of in the Constitution. There are many Constitutions where there are detailed particulars as to what limitation may be put upon a general principle, and where that limitation is left for the determination of ordinary law, but there is no Constitution that I can remember which has the limitations phrased so as to direct more attention to the limitations than to the enunciation of the principle. The principle is generally shot out in a clear-cut fashion; the limitations are put in apologetically. In this Constitution it is the limitations that are blazoned forth; the principle is almost hidden. There is much more emphasis put on the limitation, on what must be done so that the right will not be abused. Naturally, attention will be much more riveted on that, and naturally if this matter ever comes for interpretation before a court it is a necessary consequence that the principle will suffer a great lessening under this Constitution in comparison with others where it is shot out as an important matter.

The simplest example of what I am saying is this phrase that we have here. I think the majority of the Constitutions contain nothing more in regard to this one phrase—there are undoubtedly limitations—than this statement: “all citizens are or shall be held equal before the law.” There is none of this interpolation; there is a direct phrase. This phrase is put in here, whatever it means, and it certainly has the effect of lessening the importance of the clear-cut declaration. Unless it has a meaning, and a meaning that has some sense and value, this interpolated phrase should be dropped. You will then get a clear-cut phrase, but you have already weakened the principle by putting in those three [1607] words, which are meaningless, I think, to most people in the House. I complain then that in paragraph 2, Article 40 (1) there is too definite a point with regard to what ought to be looked upon as an accidental matter— something that will be met from time to time. Here is this definite statement directing everybody's attention to the fact, and more or less ordering that laws, when they are being made, must have regard to those things. The majority of the laws do not have regard to those things. One can say that inside certain areas covered by laws there will be attention paid to this type of thing, but there is a vast area outside in which that is not required. This, in regard to all law, calls attention to that. It directs everybody's attention, first and foremost, to this matter of distinction, and makes the distinction far more important than the principle.

The President: The difference between this Constitution and the old Constitution is that the old Constitution did not and could not have stood the test of time. It set forth certain principles which were wrongly stated and were inaccurate and could not stand up to the stress of practical application in life. We had an apology being made for it here at one time when the matter of amending it was being discussed. The apology was that that was done at a certain time after the war when all those fine principle were being talked about; that there was a certain amount of window dressing in it, and when it came to confront the realities of life all that window dressing, all those frills—I think that was the word used—had to be abandoned. The attempt in this Constitution is to state principles which are accurate, and to design it so that it will stand up to the practical test of rigid application—the test of life, as I have said. The others were not true; they were false, and things that are false will be proved to be false in application afterwards in life.

Even the phrase that Deputy McGilligan wants us to take, that all citizens shall be held equal before the law, is in itself inaccurate. It [1608] is not true. Even a judge, if there are two people of different moral capacity, is not going to deal with them in the same way. The whole question of the moral capacity will be taken into account. A child, for instance, although he is a citizen, will not be held responsible in the same way. But that is not the precise direction in which I was anxious to avoid misunderstanding. We could run a certain amount of risk in that direction. The direction in which I was anxious to avoid the possibility of misunderstanding and misinterpretation was in the question of legislation. The broad principle that all people are equal is manifestly absurd, because they are not. Then there is the question of equality before the law, in the sense that there would be even-handed justice dealt out, which is, perhaps, the nearest sense in which the phrase could be applied. I say that not only must permission be given to the Legislature to do those things, but it would be clearly wrong to have legislation which would affect one section in the same way as another section, even though those two sections had quite different social functions, quite different capacities. Deputy McGilligan, when he started, said “Let us phrase this differently.” I am sure he knows perfectly well that there is a difference between a positive statement and a negative one. What is here is that citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law. You cannot put that in the negative form and say that that means all citizens shall not be held equal, except as human persons.

Mr. McGilligan: They shall not be held equal before the law, except as human persons. Is not that the truth in life?

The President: It is not an equivalent statement, because a positive and a negative thing are not equivalent. It is quite definite that, if I say certain things shall be held equal, that does not exclude the possibility of a number of other things being held equal. In this case, you have a positive statement that they shall be held equal as human persons— [1609] that is, as individuals with common human nature, they shall be held equal before the law.

Mr. McGilligan: And otherwise not.

The President: No. It does not say “and otherwise not”.

Mr. McGilligan: Does it mean it?

The President: It does not mean it. It may happen in practice to be so, but it does not logically mean it, and the Deputy knows quite well it does not logically mean it. We are not concerned to consider whether in other respects also individuals shall be held equal before the law. We have here a very definite positive statement on one respect in which they certainly shall be held equal before the law. The other part is absolutely necessary to prevent its being carried over into a wider field and misapplied, and the two together have simply the effect of giving you an accurate statement of principle which is inaccurately put down in other cases.

Mr. Costello: At the opening of this debate, I asked a question of the President as a practical lawyer: What is the purpose or intendment of this particular clause of this Article? I have not yet heard any answer to that question. I do not know what it is intended to effect. I do not know what it is intended to mean, and anything that has been said up to date has not enlightened me in any way on that matter. The President said the old Constitution set forth a number of principles which were wrongly stated. It is a remarkable thing that he borrowed a very large quantity of the statements of principle that were embodied in the old Constitution.

The President: Not in the same form.

Mr. Costello: I want to know if the President will give one or two examples of the statements of principle which were wrongly stated in the old Constitution, and which he rectified by his verbiage in this Constitution. He says that this Constitution attempts to state general principles as a headline. Does he intend this Constitution to [1610] contain an exhaustive enumeration of all the general principles that ought to guide us in our legislative, social and all other activities of the State? If he does not intend that this Constitution should contain an exhaustive enumeration of high-sounding general principles, how is he going to select which principle is of importance and which principle is not of importance, and as between these principles which are of importance, how is he going to select which one is more important than the other? Why should he not set out in the Constitution the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount? Why select one or two principles?

Mr. MacEntee: I wonder what sort of a debate it would be.

Mr. Costello: The Minister for Finance interrupts. If I were to answer might I say to the Minister that one of the general principles that ought, in the interest of the Minister for Finance, be set down in this Constitution is the general principle of Christian charity.

Mr. MacEntee: Hear, hear! I notice Deputy McGilligan blushing at that.

Mr. McGilligan: I do not remember asking that any one should be spat upon in the pages of Irish history.

Mr. MacEntee: Does the Deputy remember the Wicklow gold?

Mr. McGilligan: I do, well, and Deputy Briscoe has been dropped from a constituency since.

Mr. Costello: Why have we not got an enumeration of the principles of Christian charity or of the principle “thou shalt not steal” embodied? Here we have a principle that, as far as I could gather, the President himself does not particularly know what it means, what is its scope or intent. If he does, he has not succeeded in conveying to the House what precisely it does mean. Leaving aside the consideration of what it means, I want to know what it is intended to effect as a practical proposition. The nearest he got towards satisfying my mind of what it was intended to effect [1611] was inequality of the administration of justice. Surely that could have been effected by a very much clearer excursion into amateur metaphysics than appears in clause 1 of Article 4. If this has any practical application whatever I await with interest the President telling us what is intended as a practical proposition. He indicated, as far as I could follow him, that it was desirable to set forth a headline and, he took as the headline, the liberty of the citizen. I will not use the phrase he misled himself into using “the liberty of the citizen.” It is an extraordinary and a remarkable thing that while we have this very vague statement of the inequality of the human being, with limitations tacked on in the second paragraph, that when we come to the statement of principle of human liberty we find the solemn words of Article 6 of the old Constitution omitted, “the liberty of the person is inviolable.” I assume, because the liberty of the person is not inviolable the President left them out. He said he was setting forth and holding out principles, but when I look at clause 4 of the Article, where the liberty of the citizen is held up, we find, so far from being held up, the words in the original Constitution, “the liberty of the person is inviolable”, are left out.

If, in practice, that general principle, that the liberty of the person is inviolable, was transgressed, as the President by interpretation would seem to suggest, by Article 2A, the so-called Public Safety Act, he had an unique opportunity to copper fasten the inviolability and liberty of the citizen and to prevent any legislature from again enacting Article 2A. He did not do so, as we heard earlier in the debate this evening. If, as I think, this clause of the Article dealing with so-called equality of rights of all citizens as human persons means anything as a practical proposition then, having regard to the impediment contained in the second paragraph, it is going to do damage. The President said that the clause would have to be inserted if we were dealing with a Constitution for an entirely male community. [1612] The President sometimes in the course of frivolous moments has either seen or read of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, Princess Ida. Perhaps he would in his spare moments, when relieved from the task of drafting the Constitution, draft a comic opera consisting entirely of males, on the lines of Princess Ida and, as an interlude or a prologue, he might draft a Constitution for an entirely male community. We are not dealing with a male community. We are dealing with a community comprising males and females. I am not a statistician, but I have a sort of recollection that in this country, as in most countries, there are more females than males, and therefore we are passing a Constitution for a country in which there are more females than males.

But we find a clause in the Article intending to cut down the statement of general principle in the first part, providing that the State in its enactment is to have regard to the differences of physical capacity, and in a subsequent declaration to the inadequate strength of women. As a mere effort in the construction of a document anyone is entitled to assume that the second part of the Article enables a law to be passed, and specifically declares it not to be unconstitutional, which will take account of the physical difference and capacity arising solely from sex. The President says that there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent women getting work equally with men.

I agree. But there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent a law being passed, the object of which would be to prevent women from getting work equally with men, and having the same equality of opportunity of getting work as men. That is the objection to this clause, that it is an incitement or an invitation to a future Legislature to do what I have indicated. It is open to that construction no matter what the President may say. That construction is strengthened by the phrase in the Article dealing with the inadequate strength of women. If it is to be open to that construction, and if it has given rise to grave fears amongst a certain section of the community, then I think the President or [1613] his advisers are not so devoid of ideas as not to be able to meet and allay these fears.

The President: I do not know if there is any use arguing again on this question. I suppose there is no use in doing so. Because of the attitude the Opposition has taken, it is clear they do not want to see the position. The Deputy taunted me with taking out a certain phrase. If there is one thing more than another that the Deputy should have kept away from, it is on this question of the inviolability of the person. I think the phrase in the old Constitution was “the liberty of the person is inviolable.” With that in one part of the Constitution, the Deputy as Attorney-General advised the Government that they should bring into the same Constitution a previous Article, Article 2A, which not merely runs a coach-and-four through the Article, but is in violent contrast and conflict with it. The second part is “the liberty of the person is inviolable.” Here is a summary of Article 2A, if the Deputy would like to have a look at some of his provisions.

Mr. Costello: I know it backwards. You know it backwards too, because you administered it.

The President: I have a summary of it here in case I had difficulty in remembering what its provisions are. At any rate, the fact is that you had in the old Constitution phrases like, “the liberty of the person is inviolable,” and you had Article 2A side by side with that.

Mr. Costello: Why not prevent it from happening again?

The President: What I am trying to prevent in the Constitution is having that sort of window-dressing which was in the old Constitution. Wherever we have made statements here, side by side with them we have put the limitations which are absolutely necessary. If the Deputy were [1614] going to be Attorney-General and anxious to see peace and order preserved in the community, would he like to have to deal with a Constitution in which you had nothing else but “the liberty of the person is inviolable”? He would not.

Mr. Costello: Of course, I would not.

The President: Of course he would not—not for one moment. I can imagine that if the Deputy were advising a Government who were bringing in a Constitution with that phrase, “the liberty of the person is inviolable,” he would be the first to enter a caveat. If he would not be the first, I am certain he would be hotfoot after the Department of Justice. Let us be realists and try to act fairly with regard to these matters. There is a certain value in the statement of these principles, so long as we state them accurately. There is a certain value in having them in the Constitution, provided they are put in such a way as will not prevent the Legislature from functioning as it ought to function in the interests of the community as a whole. That is the defence I have for putting in these words. They are met with in other Constitutions. Their omission would be the subject of question. We have put them in in the only sense I can see in which they are accurate and true. If the Deputy says: “They give such freedom to the Legislature that the courts will not be able to interfere with the Legislature,” I can only say that, as long as the Legislature acts properly, the courts ought not to interfere with the Legislature; as long as it carries out the functions necessary for the life of the community, then the courts ought not to interfere. For the courts to interfere in such a case would be harmful and would be to the public detriment. As I have said, there is really no use in arguing the matter further.

Question put: “That lines 1 and 2 of Section 1 stand part of the Article.”

[1615][1616] The Committee divided:—Tá, 55; Níl, 37.

Aiken, Frank.

Allen, Denis.

Bartley, Gerald.

Beegan, Patrick.

Boland, Gerald.

Boland, Patrick.

Bourke, Daniel.

Brady, Seán.

Breathnach, Cormac.

Briscoe, Robert.

Carty, Frank.

Concannon, Helena.

Cooney, Eamonn.

Corkery, Daniel.

Crowley, Timothy.

Derrig, Thomas.

De Valera, Eamon.

Doherty, Hugh.

Flinn, Hugo V.

Flynn, John.

Flynn, Stephen.

Fogarty, Andrew.

Gibbons, Sean.

Goulding, John.

Harris, Thomas.

Hayes, Seán.

Jordan, Stephen.

Kehoe, Patrick.

Kelly, James Patrick.

Kelly, Thomas.

Killilea, Mark.

Kilroy, Michael.

Kissane, Eamonn.

Little, Patrick John.

MacEntee, Sean.

Maguire, Ben.

Moore, Séamus.

Moylan, Seán.

Murphy, Patrick Stephen.

Neilan, Martin.

O Briain, Donnchadh.

O Ceallaigh, Seán T.

O'Grady, Sean.

O'Reilly, Matthew.

Pearse, Margaret Mary.

Rice, Edward.

Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.

Ryan, James.

Ryan, Martin.

Sheridan, Michael.

Smith, Patrick.

Traynor, Oscar.

Victory, James.

Walsh, Richard.

Ward, Francis C.


Alton, Ernest Henry.

Anthony, Richard.

Bennett, George Cecil.

Bourke, Séamus.

Broderick, William Joseph.

Brodrick, Seán.

Corish, Richard.

Costello, John Aloysius.

Curran, Richard.

Desmond, William.

Doyle, Peadar S.

Everett, James.

Finlay, John.

Fitzgerald, Desmond.

Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.

Haslett, Alexander.

Keating, John.

Keyes, Michael.

MacDermot, Frank.

McFadden, Michael Og.

McGilligan, Patrick.

McGovern, Patrick.

McMenamin, Daniel.

Morrissey, Daniel.

Murphy, Timothy Joseph.

Nally, Martin.

O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.

O'Leary, Daniel.

O'Mahony, The.

O'Neill, Eamonn.

O'Reilly, John Joseph.

O'Sullivan, John Marcus.

Pattison, James P.

Reidy, James.

Rice, Vincent.

Roddy, Martin.

Wall, Nicholas.

Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.

Motion declared carried.

Mr. MacDermot: In the absence of Deputy Rowlette, I formally move amendment No. 114:—

In Section 1 to delete lines 3, 4 and 5, inclusive.

This amendment has already been discussed. I have nothing more to say about it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Is amendment No. 114 being withdrawn?

Professor O'Sullivan: Was it governed by the decision in the previous amendment?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I think so.

Professor O'Sullivan: I think we took them together.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Yes, the decision in one governs the other. There are here five amendments, Nos. 115 to 119, in the name of Deputy [1617] MacDermot. The Deputy should opt for one of these.

Mr. MacDermot: Very well. I am quite willing to have a decision on one of them.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Then I suggest 115.

The President: I suggest to the Deputy to move the amendment which he would himself regard as best.

Mr. MacDermot: I move amendment No. 115:—

To delete Section 2.

I think this whole section of Article 40 would be better away. I am against having either titles of nobility or orders of merit. I think it is very difficult to draw a hard and fast distinction between the two. I think orders of merit are open to the same objection as titles of nobility, even if you can succeed in distinguishing between the two. Inevitably if they exist a certain number of them are given to undeserving persons, and we can get along very well without them. People should be rewarded for their services to the community by the general regard and respect of the community, better than in any other way. But apart from the question of principle, the section seems to me very badly drawn. There are two sub-sections, the first saying that titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State. Orders of merit may, however, be created. I object to the sub-section. There is the failure to distinguish between titles of nobility and orders of merit. The second sub-section reads:

“No title of nobility or of honour may be conferred on any citizen except with the prior approval of the Government.”

I think that is taken almost word for word from the old Constitution, but, none the less, that does not make it a satisfactory piece of legislation, because how are you going to stop foreign Governments from conferring titles of nobility or honour on one of your citizens? You cannot legislate for foreign Governments.

I suggested in one of the amendments that if it were desired to do it at all it would have to be done by prohibiting [1618] a citizen from accepting such an honour. I think it will be recognised by anybody who looks attentively at this section of Article 40 and considers it, that it is unsatisfactory from the purely mechanical point of view. First it does not accomplish what it sets out to accomplish, and in the second place, the real effect of the whole section is not to rule out titles of nobility so much as to give an impetus to the founding of orders of merit. I personally think that the founding of orders of merit is undesirable.

The President: If the Deputy wants to prohibit these things it is quite clear that it is not sufficient simply to eliminate this Article, because that would leave it open to the Legislature in future to do it. If the Deputy really wanted to effect the purpose he had in mind he should suggest a positive prohibition.

Mr. MacDermot: I do not want to prohibit them in a Constitution; I do not think the matter is of such importance as to be worthy of a Constitution. I merely want to refrain from inviting the creation of orders of merit.

The President: We are not beginning the world to-day, and we are not starting off with this Constitution. There was a certain position which we have taken over, and there was a prohibition in regard to the first part in the old Constitution. If we omitted, under these circumstances, putting a similar clause here, it would be suggested that it was omitted for a special reason.

Mr. MacDermot: Was it not in regard to the second part that there was a prohibition?

The President: The second part was able to cover a lot, under the circumstances. The second part was intended to be sufficient, and, in practice, I think it was found to be sufficient too, but the form in which we have it here is very much more definite. I want to say that I agree with the Deputy with regard to the words “accepted by” instead of “conferred on.” Perhaps I will deal with that first. I agree it is an improvement on the position to put in [1619] “accepted by,” and I accept that amendment. We will see it is incorporated. I do not know whether we are accepting it precisely in that form, but I think we can, almost in identical terms.

Governments do not do those things without consulting each other. There is a certain courtesy that is observed between Governments in a case like that, and if there was a proposition to confer any honours on one of our citizens, we would be communicated with. If by any chance, through some oversight or otherwise, there was a neglect to inform us of that, we would let the Government in question know what our constitutional position was. That was how it was operated in the past, but I agree with the Deputy that it is better to have it in the form which he suggests, and I am accepting that suggestion. In the first part there is a positive prohibition, so the Deputy has no fault to find with that except that it is unworthy of the Constitution. I think I have told him that the omission would be misrepresented or misunderstood, so it is necessary to have it.

The next point has reference to orders of merit. “Orders of merit may, however, be created.” Deputy McGilligan took an unwarrantable liberty with language when he said: “Orders of merit shall, however, be created.” It does not mean that at all. It is quite possible, for example, that we might take up the line, if a law was suggested by anybody, that it would be inadvisable; but in a number of republican countries orders of merit have been established, and they have been found useful. I am not saying that there are not abuses. In fact, our trouble with all this is that the right things can be wrongly used, and you have to ask yourself the question whether you are making it possible to use the thing at all, whether abuse is so likely that you forego the possibility of using it rightly because it might be used wrongly.

We feel, as different views might be entertained on this matter, that we should make it clear in the Constitution that this was not prohibited. [1620] There might be the impression that even orders of merit were not to be created or could not be created, so this is an effort to leave the position open in the respect in which it seems right that it should be left open. We do not know the circumstances in which it might be considered desirable, in the interests of the community, that orders of merit should be created.

The Deputy says there is no clear distinction between titles of nobility and orders of merit. I am not in a position to say straight off that you might not get them to shade into each other, but I think there is, roughly, a clear line of demarcation. One indicates classes of society and the other indicates something that is present, that does not indicate any gradation as regards society. I would say, roughly, that that is the way it strikes me. I think there is not likely to be confusion between orders of merit and titles of nobility. I think, in France, titles of nobility cannot be conferred.

Mr. MacDermot: There is a clear distinction between hereditary nobility and orders of merit, but there is no clear distinction between non-hereditary nobility and orders of merit.

The President: Would I be right in saying that the conferring of a title of nobility would not be possible in France?

Mr. MacDermot: Yes

The President: But you have various orders of merit—is not that so? The question is whether, in regard to things that have been found useful, we should deny the use of them for all time and exclude them. I must not be understood as advocating this. I do not see any reason why we should establish such an order, but I do not want it to be argued from this context that if at any time it was required in the interests of the community to establish such orders, that they could not be established.

Mr. MacDermot: The President referred to France. I should like to say that nobody who is familiar with France would deny that the situation there with regard to the use of orders of merit, such as the Legion d'honneur, [1621] is a crying scandal and they have done infinitely more harm than good. I think there are plenty of cases where it would be hard to establish a sharp distinction between orders of merit and titles of nobility. What would the President consider the English order of merit or title of nobility, whichever it is, Dame Lloyd George? Which would that be?

The President: I would consider it an order of merit.

Mr. MacDermot: If so, how are you going to distinguish between Dame Lloyd George and Sir Somebody, who has been made a Knight because of useful services at some time? I think the distinction is really impossible to sustain. Here is a question that I think might be reasonably put with regard to the second clause: What is the position with regard to the Irish citizen who is serving in the British Army and wins the Distinguished Service Order in some frontier scrap in India? Is the President going to forbid him to accept that? Under the old Constitution, if I remember rightly, the prohibition was against the conferring of orders for services in some way connected with the internal affairs of the Irish Free State. That was more reasonable. Are you going to say if an Irish citizen goes into the British Army and distinguishes himself on active service that he is going to be punished in some way for accepting the Distinguished Service Order, unless he applies for permission first from the Government of this country?

Professor Alton: Some of us are inclined to agree with the President. I see a difference between titles of nobility and orders of merit. I do not quite agree with Deputy MacDermot in thinking that the line of demarcation is not very clear, but as regards the second sentence, I am rather dubious about it. Does the President think that he is marking a claim, that if he did not put this into the Constitution it would not be possible in future to establish orders of merit? Does he not think that the insertion of it here is rather a suggestion, or a promise, that at some future date such orders will be [1622] established? I am very dubious about the value of such orders. I know the abuses attaching to them and I agree with Deputy MacDermot there. I think that one of the advantages which the great Republic across the water has is that it has not got such orders. They lead to infinite intriguing and wirepulling, and I should be very sorry to see such a practice introduced into our little State.

Professor O'Sullivan: What is the difference between a title of nobility and a title of honour?

The President: Take the case of England as an example. A peerage is, I understand, a title of nobility —I am not very well versed in these matters—whereas a knighthood would be a title of honour.

Mr. MacDermot: In that case, is a knighthood covered by sub-section (1) at all?

Professor O'Sullivan: I was going to raise this point in that connection: Can an order of merit be conferred by a foreign State on a member of this State and accepted by him without the consent of this Government?

The President: The practice has been that he cannot.

Mr. Costello: I should like to ask the President if he thinks it worth while wasting time over all this at all.

The President: As a matter of fact, I asked myself the very same question, because it is only in the context of “all citizens as human persons shall be held equal,” as a rule, that you have this question of whether you shall or shall not have titles of nobility, and so on. It breaks the whole sequence of the Article. To be quite frank, the reason I put it in was mainly because the omission of it would be seized upon by people to suggest all sorts of things. The second part is, I think, right and proper and so far as the first part is a prohibition, I do not think there can be any harm in it. With regard to the second part, that orders of merit may, however, be created, it [1623] might be omitted. My own impression would be that that would not debar the Legislature from establishing at any future time such orders, if it were thought desirable and right to do so. Whether in this particular form it is an encouragement or not depends on whether you try to interpret a lot of these second paragraphs as indicating something as a positive suggestion, whereas they rather indicate something to prevent a misunderstanding by too sweeping an application of the first part. What I want to secure is that titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State. I do not think there is any likelihood of the State doing that, but still, some people might think there was and they would like to have the prohibition. I think that those who do not want it, but who do not think it is necessary to put it in, ought to give way and agree that it should be stated—in other words, that we should hold to the position that titles of nobility shall not be conferred.

With regard to the second part, dealing with orders of merit, I have an absolutely open mind, and if I am assured by the lawyers that it would not debar the State in future from creating such orders, I would be quite happy to omit it. I want to make certain that this context will not suggest that orders of merit could not be created. I will consider the point if there is any disposition on the part of members of the House to omit it. The second part of the Article would read: “No title of nobility or honour ....” and that would exclude any possibility from outside. It has been said that after “titles of nobility” we should put in “or of honour” in the first section and that in the second section we should say, “no title of nobility or honour may be accepted by any citizen without the prior approval of the Government.” I think that is right. To deal with the question which Deputy MacDermot raised, of an Irishman in some foreign service——

Mr. MacDermot: I did not say a foreign service.

[1624] The President: Well, I say it. Suppose it was proposed to confer a title of nobility or of honour on an Irishman in a foreign service—the service of Spain, for example. It could not be accepted without the prior approval of the Government by that citizen if he wanted to remain, so to speak, a citizen and to avoid penalties, if there were any penalties or sanctions to be imposed later so as to make good this provision. The Government of the day then would have to use its common sense and to see whether it was to the interest of the community as a whole that this honour should be accepted by that individual, or whether it was just and right or not. It would lie with the Government of the day to make up its mind as to whether it would agree that an Irish citizen should accept such an honour or not. That is the situation as it will be, if you pass this, I take it.

Mr. Norton: What sanctions are contemplated?

The President: That would be a matter for law. It would depend on whether occasions arose in which it was necessary. I take it that if there was any attempt on the part of individual citizens to ignore this constitutional provision, you could impose sanctions by law afterwards, but there is no need to anticipate that. We may not have any occasion at all to use such sanctions, and, if we do not, it is all right. In case we should, we will be able to do it.

Mr. V. Rice: No doubt the comity of Governments would prevent any situation of this kind ever arising. I cannot contemplate the Government of any country proposing to confer a title on a subject of this State, if it is known that this State desires that titles should not be conferred; but I want to point out to the President that there is no provision in this clause to provide any sanctions in the event of such a thing occurring. There is a prohibition, if you like, against a citizen accepting a title, but what is to happen if he is offered a title by a foreign State and accepts it? There is no provision here for legislation to [1625] provide sanctions in the event of such a thing occurring.

The President: The Deputy, I take it, will not argue that legislation could not be passed to implement this by way of sanctions.

Mr. Rice: I merely point this out because there are provisions in other parts of this Constitution for remedies by law, but there is no such provisions with regard to this.

The President: The Deputy is quite right in that. I will ask about it, but I do not think there is any need to set them out. In some cases, we do provide for implementation, so to speak, by law, but the hope is that no case like this will arise. It it does, we are quite at liberty to make the desire of the people, as indicated in this Constitution, effective by way of sanctions.

Mr. MacDermot: I quite agree with Deputy Costello that this whole subject is very trivial in comparison with most of the rest of the Constitution. I have no desire to press my amendments, but I think the President is under a misapprehension if he supposes that the case provided for in the sub-section of clause 2 is not likely to arise. I think it probably has arisen dozens of times since the formation of this State. It arises in connection with the British Government, because there is the problem of double citizenship. I am sure there are plenty of people who possess Irish citizenship and who received rewards of this kind from the British Government during the period since the founding of the Free State. However, I am quite prepared, as I say, to withdraw these amendments and let the President consider the matter between now and Report Stage and, if he sees fit, to drop the section or to alter its form.

Mr. Norton: I think the President is standing on a sound democratic basis in the first sentence of sub-section (2) of Article 40: Titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State. He is on an equally sound democratic basis in Section 2 (2), but I dislike entirely this proposal to create orders of merit which may, presumably, be conferred [1626] by the State. There is nothing in that scheme of conferring honours or titles in other countries that should inspire us to follow their example. We are living close to a country which has been lavishly conferring honours on certain of its citizens—in the main, citizens who can afford to buy the honours.

Mr. V. Rice: Surely there are a number of Labour lords?

Mr. Norton: I said “in the main”.

Mr. V. Rice: It is an important qualification.

Mr. Norton: I have no respect for them, whether they are Labour lords or any other kind of lords. I do not think that the Labour movement has been enhanced or that its prestige has been increased by conferring honours of that kind on working-class people. We all heard of the notorious Honours Fund during the war period. It is still supposed to be of substantial dimensions. I am afraid that the proposal to create an order of merit here will lead to the same kind of flunkeying and purchasing of honours that it has led to in other countries. In the case of Great Britain, and even in the case of this country, people got titles of nobility for very little service so far as the ordinary citizen could discover. In the main, titles of this kind have been handed out to Party camp followers and to people flunkeying after the Government in power in the hope of getting something of this kind from them. Titles of this kind have been used in the most unscrupulous way for company promotion.

I dislike this whole proposal to create an order of merit, which often does not mean an order of merit at all. Oftentimes the system does not ensure that these orders are conferred on worthy people. It often means that the greatest party hack, the greatest “yes-man,” the greatest rubber-stamp in a political party puts out his hand and gets a title in return for that kind of servile loyalty or as a return for a cheque to the party funds. I do not think that there is anything to commend a proposal of this kind. We have managed to get along for 15 years without an order of merit, and I [1627] do not know that a set of circumstances is likely to arise which would prevent the functioning of the State or prevent the people from continuing to lead a normal life in the absence of a provision of this kind. I suggest that the President might very well drop the second sentence of sub-section (2) of this Article.

The President: I have already indicated that there is no proposal in this Article to establish an order of merit. What is done here is simply not to debar the Legislature from having such an order, if it so desires. We cannot foresee the circumstances. I do not want to be put in the position of arguing in favour of orders of merit, but orders of merit need not have any reference to political services. They may be on the cultural side—awards of merit to scientists and so forth. The only reason for putting in this provision was to make certain that if, at any time in the future, it was thought desirable to institute an order of merit for any purpose, scientific or otherwise, it would not be expressly excluded because of the context of these provisions. Early in the debate I indicated that I was ready to consider the elimination of that provision provided I was satisfied that its elimination would not debar the Legislature in future, if it were considered in the interests of the community to establish an order of merit to stimulate work for science or in any other direction, from doing so. It is all very well to talk in general terms, but we have to take account of the things that inspire effort. We have got various degrees to indicate a certain standard of excellence. If the State were anxious to confer an order indicating a certain standard of excellence or performance in science, literature or art, I should be slow to debar it from the start and say that under no circumstances should a recognition of special service be possible by the State. If I am assured it is not necessary, I shall be only too glad to omit the provision, as I should be glad to omit the whole thing if there was any reason for doing so.

Mr. Norton: The United States, [1628] with a population approximating 120,000,000, has, apparently, contrived to build up a gigantic structure for its citizens in a short space of time out of relatively undeveloped resources. The name of that country is respected all over the world and this has been achieved without conferring an order of merit on any citizen, whether in the domain of science, education or literature. If they managed to reach their present degree of commercial, industrial and social eminence, dealing with a population of 120,000,000, without this provision, a small country of 3,000,000, such as this, ought to be able to struggle on without conferring orders of merit. No matter what the intentions of the Legislature may be, no matter what the intentions of the President or Taoiseach may be, inevitably these honours are conferred upon persons for all kinds of reasons—a number of them quite unworthy. In the main, wherever you find this method of conferring honours, you find that the political camp follower pockets the bulk of them. Look at the position in Great Britain—a country which we will be tempted to emulate because of its proximity. You will find that, in the main, these titles have gone into the pockets of people who could use influence with the Government of the day or subscribe to the depleted Party funds of the Government of the day. I do not want to see enacted here——

The President: It is not being enacted here.

Mr. Norton: It is not positively being enacted in this Article, but there is provision to create an order of merit. I want to make my position clear. I am opposed to that and I am opposed to any section of the Constitution which gives the Executive Council or the Legislature power to create these orders of merit or to confer them on any citizen. Nothing in the whole scheme of honours which I have seen administered in a neighbouring country induces me to believe that there is anything praiseworthy in the system. I think the President should drop the proposal.

The President: The dropping of it [1629] is not going to change the situation in the slightest.

Mr. Norton: I think this is an encouragement of it.

Mr. MacEntee: Deputy Norton is a man who suffers from the congenital incapacity to distinguish between titles of nobility and what are described here as orders of merit, because he took orders of merit as being the same as titles of nobility. He made a most unfortunate reference to the United States. Everybody knows that in the United States they have no official titles of nobility or orders of merit, but, nevertheless, it is full of captains and colonels and knights-at-arms who have assumed titles. You have governors, senators, ex-senators, and when men cease to be presidents they still are entitled to the courtesy title of president. Therefore, by a popular usage they have created their own titles of honour in the United States. This Article does not suggest that we propose to create titles of honour. Suppose the Deputy were to carry his objection to its logical conclusion and were to put down and include in the Constitution a positive prohibition of the creation of orders of merit, what might the position be for meritorious service in the Army? You could not even confer a military order for valour, which would be a meritorious service.

Mr. Norton: There is no fear of that.

Mr. MacEntee: I wonder whether membership of the Royal Irish Academy, which is looked upon as an insignia of merit: whether even that might not be prohibited. The position is this: that people do generally recognise where there has been exceptionally meritorious service not merely in political life but in every class of life: they, the people themselves, apart altogether from formal creation by the State, do create badges of merit. Even the presidency of a learned society or of a professional organisation or an association—even the chairmanship of the Labour Party, is in itself an order of merit, and what the Deputy is urging here is that we should prohibit [1630] people from indicating that they held such an honourable post as that of the chairmanship of the Labour Party.

Mr. Norton: I do not think that I have ever heard so much mush talked about orders of merit as I have heard from the Minister for Finance in the last few minutes. He talked about people in the United States calling themselves governors. I wonder if the President, who has a diplomatic representative in the United States, has ascertained from him whether people there are entitled to call themselves governors if, in fact, they are not governors, and to call themselves colonels if, in fact, they are not colonels. What the Minister has said is, of course, a justification of the dangers behind all this. He talked about shovelling out these orders, and said it is not desirable to prevent people from sharing in these orders of merit and badges. That is the mentality that is behind this. If the Minister for Finance had any power to create these orders of merit, and to confer them, I imagine that the only danger threatening the ordinary simple citizen would be that he might be knocked down by the avalanche of orders which the Minister for Finance would create.

Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy is full of vain apprehensions.

Mr. Norton: I was not disappointed with the Minister's performance on this section. I knew that, if there was any one member of the Fianna Fáil Party who would stand up and try to justify it, it was the Minister for Finance. I knew that this, in any case, would appeal to the Minister's political vanity, and that he would try to justify it with an enthusiasm that even the President did not adopt; but I prefer the mentality of the President on this matter to that of the Minister for Finance.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That governs amendments Nos. 116, 117, 118 and 119.

Mr. Costello: I move amendment No. 120:—

[1631] In Section 6, sub-section 1º, i, to delete all words from and including the words “The education”, line 5, to and including the words “with law”, line 14.

This raises a very important principle. I intend to deal shortly with the principle embodied in the amendment, but if I do so that is not to be taken as any indication of the importance that I attach to it. We find here a statement of the general principle that the State guarantees liberty for the exercise of certain rights “subject to public order and morality.” The first is the right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions. If the Article had stopped there it would have received my full support, but the tag that is put on to it constitutes, in my view, a grave menace. The principle that is enunciated at the opening of Clause 1 of this paragraph 6, is that the education of public opinion is a matter of grave import to the common good, and that the State shall endeavour to exercise certain powers over the organs of public opinion, the Press, the radio and the cinema. In that there appears to be ample opportunity for any act of a future Legislature gravely to infringe the right of the free expression of opinion and the liberty of the Press. I draw attention to the fact that that limitation on the general statement at the opening contains within it the germ of serious possibilities.

I think the tag at the end of this statement is entirely unnecessary. The liberty of the Press, and the right of free speech, have in constitutional law a certain well-known and well-defined meaning. The right of the free expression of opinion and the liberty of the Press all have developed in England through a long series of development, largely of judge-made law. The result has been in the end to secure a very wide measure of free expression of opinion and the liberty of the Press, and the limitations on that are well known. A limitation on the liberty of the Press and on the right of the free expression of opinion would, in my view, be amply safeguarded by the general terms used in [1632] the introductory clause to this particular sub-Article of the Constitution, the right to be exercised “subject to public order and morality.” Those wide general terms having been used, there was, in my view, no necessity for the addition of this tag on sub-clause 1, paragraph 6 of the Article. The fact that such a tag is there, coupled with the general terms “subject to public order and morality” lends, in my view, a powerful support to the argument that any future Government may advance to cover its tracks when it is, in effect, making an attack on the liberty of the Press or the right of free speech. I think this addition ought not to be put in and should be strenuously and seriously fought.

Mr. MacDermot: On a point of order, are we discussing amendments Nos. 120, 121 and 122 together?

Mr. Costello: I moved amendment No. 120.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The three amendments overlap.

Mr. Costello: I do not wish to press the matter, but I am anxious to get my own amendment discussed separately. Perhaps Deputy Norton might also prefer to have his amendment taken alone.

Mr. MacDermot: If the question is going to be put: “That the section stands,” would that rule out the other amendments?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Provision is made to save the other amendments.

Mr. V. Rice: I think, Sir, that the provision contained in this section, with regard to the Press, and interference with the Press, if it is considered to undermine the authority of the State, is a very dangerous provision. The liberty of the Press has been established in most countries of the world for a period of about three centuries. Three centuries ago, or very nearly that length of time ago, a great writer used these words: “Give me liberty to know, to utter, [1633] and to argue, freely, according to conscience, above all other liberties.” That was at a time when the liberty of free printing was challenged by the Government of another country. Here you have a provision now in which the right of the Press may be interfered with if it is considered to undermine the authority of the State. Who is to determine that? Who is to determine whether or not articles published in the Press, attacking some policy of the Government, should be held to be undermining the authority of the State? We have had, in this country, many controversies as to fundamental rights. We have had many controversies as to whether or not a Government was exceeding its powers. Is the Press, if it takes a view on that, differing from the view of the Government, to be pilloried or to be interfered with, and to have its liberty checked because, in the view of that Government, the Press is interfering with the authority of the State?

I think that this is a very dangerous provision. Any provision that tends to interfere with the liberty of the Press is a very dangerous provision. The Press, after all, is conducted, as we know, by very responsible people, and they are guided by the wisdom and common-sense of the citizens at large, who are the readers of the newspapers and whose views they have to respect. I think that here we are introducing a principle of a very dangerous character, if a Government are to be entitled to challenge the right of the Press to criticise them, and if they are to be entitled to base that attack on the liberty of the Press on a case that the Press are undermining or interfering with the authority of the State.

The President: Here, again, Sir, we are dealing with the same class of question as we dealt with before—the question of a right statement and a wrong statement: the question of liberty rightly used and liberty abused. It is also a question of things that are not always easy to reconcile, and these are the rights of an individual, from the individual standpoint, and the social rights. These rights have an [1634] individual aspect and a social aspect, and we have got to see to it, in so far as we can, that from both points of view these rights be co-ordinated properly. Is anybody going to deny in this House that, when we are depending upon the knowledge, the information of an electorate to provide us with a legislature and to decide matters that affect the common welfare —the welfare of the whole community— permission should not be given for the wilful and wrongful misleading of the public on these matters? I would ask Deputies to take these provisions as they are here and tell us exactly what is wrong with them. Some speaker on the other side has suggested that we should stop at the right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.

Mr. MacDermot: Subject to public order and morality.

The President: Even subject to public order and morality, as has been suggested, who is going to determine the matter?

Mr. Costello: The courts.

The President: Very well; if it is the courts, then we want to have, when the matter comes to be determined by the courts, something to guide them, so that they will not have just a simple phrase to go on.

Mr. Costello: Subject to public order and morality.

The President: Even so. We want to have something that will be a guide as to what is the meaning or the implications of public order and morality, so far as we can do so. I say that the right of citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions cannot, in fact, be permitted in any State. There are opinions which go to the very root. Let us suppose, for example, that we had for to-morrow the question of social order generally. If we believe in order, are we going to permit the free expression of such opinion as that it is inconsistent with man's nature that he should be governed at all? Are we going to have anarchical principles, for example, generally propagated here? I say no.

[1635] Dr. Rowlette: Why not?

The President: I say, no.

Dr. Rowlette: Because you disagree with them?

The President: It is clearly a matter of the whole question of government and order.

Dr. Rowlette: Not at all.

The President: I say it is. I say that you should not give to the propagation of what is wrong and unnatural the same liberty as would be accorded to the propagation of what is right. Every State has to protect itself against the abuse of liberty that otherwise would be rightful liberty. We want to protect rightful liberty, but in the interests of the community as a whole we want to see that that rightful liberty is not abused. Therefore, I say that you cannot let the first part of this stand by itself—the part which merely declares the right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions. That cannot be allowed and, in fact, is not permitted in any State that I know of. There are obvious limitations on that. Deputy Rowlette, if I understood him correctly, would suggest that there should not be any.

Dr. Rowlette: No.

The President: Then who is going to determine it? We may differ as to where the line can be drawn, and I hold that it can be drawn in this manner, and we will hear Deputy Rowlette and other Deputies argue to the contrary. I hold that the line should be drawn in the way it is expressed here:

The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the Press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.

Is there any objection to it? Should they be used to undermine public order and morality? Is it right that we [1636] should not try to ensure that they shall not undermine public order or morality? Is it right that we should not endeavour to ensure that these powerful organs for the formation of public opinion should not be abused to the extent of undermining public order or morality or the authority of the State? Is it not necessary that there should be government and authority? It is not a question of the interests of the persons who are for the moment exercising that authority. It is a question of authority in general. Is it not a fact that in every State there are laws to prevent the undermining of public order, morality and the authority of the State? What we say in this Article is that the State should endeavour to ensure that these powerful organs of opinion, under the control, for the most part, of very few individuals, should not be used for a purpose which is contrary to public order, public morality or the authority of the State. We go on to say that the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with the law. That is the position as I understand it at the moment. The only thing that may be said about this clause is that it is frank and open, that it says definitely that the State ought to try to do things which the State does as a matter of fact. I am anxious to hear from Deputy Rowlette, or from any other member, what are the arguments against the State endeavouring to ensure that these things should obtain. I think, that apart from suggestions of various kinds, this statement of the position and of the rights of the State is an ample and reasonable statement.

Dr. Rowlette: I had hoped that the dangers so obvious in this section were there accidentally, but from the speech we have just heard it is quite clear that they are there intentionally. I had hoped that in recent years the President was beginning to learn some of the wise principles of democracy but no more undemocratic speech has been delivered in this House, at any rate since I became a member of this House, than the President has made just now. There are many provisions [1637] in this Article with which I agree. I agree that it is necessary to prohibit the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter. I agree that it is necessary also to preserve public order and morality. I do not agree, however, with the President that it is an improper and criminal thing, as the section suggests, to criticise the authority of the State.

The President: I have not said that and it is not implied here.

Dr. Rowlette: This is making it illegal.

Mr. MacDermot: To undermine the authority of the State.

Dr. Rowlette: ——“shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.” I am not criticising the provisions regarding public order or morality. They are correctly there. The State is not something Divine or superhuman. It is not something imposed on us from above. We do not accept in this country either the Fascist doctrine, the Hitlerite doctrine or the Communist doctrine. We believe that the State is the creation of the people. It is the creation of a democratic people and every citizen of the State has a perfect right, or should have a perfect right in a democratic State, to suggest that changes should be made in the State as he thinks fit. That is what is made criminal and is declared to be inimical in this section of the Draft to the well-being of the State—

“shall not be used to undermine the authority of the State.”

Any criticism of the State, any criticism of the Government, any criticism of the Executive Council could be regarded by a corrupt judiciary, by a corrupt Government, as undermining the authority of the State in so far as the authority rested on those persons. Where is the freedom of democratic expression of opinion there? You purport to preserve the right of free expression of opinion, but the degree of rightfulness is to be governed by the following sentence, that it must not undermine the [1638] authority of the State. I shall go this far, that I think it should be declared illegal and inimical to the authority of the State for anybody to attempt to upset the State by force of arms. I do not know whether the President agrees with that or not now. He did not always agree with it.

The President: Just be careful with these statements. We shall see.

Dr. Rowlette: Is the President apologising to us for his past?

The President: I am not apologising for anything. I am quite prepared to deal with that.

Dr. Rowlette: I do not know if the President will agree with me in the view that it should be made criminal to attempt to upset the authority of the State by force of arms. I think it should be but I do not see that provided for in this clause. I do not know whether it is provided for elsewhere or not but, so far as I have examined the Draft, it does not appear in it up to the present. It may be covered by later sub-sections of this section. I am not sure. The first words of this paragraph are: “The education of public opinion being however a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure,” etc. That is to say that the education of public opinion is to be a matter for the State. What more undemocratic principle could find its way into any Constitution? What more could Mussolini or Hitler say than the education of public opinion is to be a matter for the State? I suggest that such a provision is incompatible with the Constitution of any democratic State. Public opinion, if it is to be free, must be self-formed and must be formed by the free thought of the people. It must not be a matter of propaganda by the Government, as suggested in this Draft. There is foreshadowed here a complete control of the organs of public opinion—the radio, the Press and the cinema—a control that might be as complete in the hands of any Government of the future as exists in Italy, Germany or Russia to-day. Is that what the President envisages for the future of this country? I do not [1639] think it is what he envisages, but I say that if this clause passes into law, as it at present stands, it makes such a development possible and makes for the end of all democratic government in this country in our own lifetime.

Mr. MacDermot: I also dislike the phrase beginning with the words “The education of public opinion” and ending with the words “the authority of the State.” I do not understand why Deputy Costello and Deputy McGilligan have carried their amendment further than the omission of these words. They also propose to omit the words: “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.”

Mr. Bennett: Because they are governed by the opening clause just as well.

Mr. MacDermot: These words seem at any rate to do no harm. They merely amplify the provisions relating to public order and morality, and I cannot see that they do any harm. I agree with Deputy Dr. Rowlette in disliking the whole trend of the sentence beginning with “The education of public opinion,” which suggests that the State should not merely adopt, as its normal attitude, the punishing of offences when they are committed and the taking of steps that seem proper to prevent the repetition of these offences, but that it should start out on a sort of advance campaign before any offences are committed. That sort of propaganda is unfortunately suggested by the wording of this paragraph. It has been suggested to Deputy Dr. Rowlette and to me, and I think it will be suggested to most people who read that sentence, whether or not it is so intended by the Government. What does that sentence give to them that they have not got elsewhere? They have got public order and morality covered some lines before the sentence to which we are objecting. They get sedition covered in the sentence after the clause to which I am objecting. It is not at all apparent to me what they [1640] gain by this paragraph. If, however, they are determined to have it in, I think that the objection to it would be very greatly diminished if the President would accept my amendment, No. 122, which makes it plain that, in talking about undermining the authority of the State, you do not intend to rule out criticisms of the Government of the day. However little the President may intend to rule out criticisms of the Government of the day, the words as they stand are open to that construction and Deputy Rowlette is quite right in saying that it is conceivable that the judiciary might, in certain circumstances, so interpret the words.

While I should like to see the whole of that sentence disappear from this— I cannot see that it does any good and it may do harm—I do say that, if that sentence is retained, at least those words should be put in, explicitly permitting free criticism of the Government of the day, subject, of course, to considerations of sedition and the preservation of public order and morality. I hope that the President will consider this matter carefully, because there has been a lot of propaganda going on in the newspapers for some time that I have considered most undesirable propaganda, leading up to this sort of interfering grandfatherly attitude on the part of the Government that it is impossible to read into this sentence.

Mr. MacEntee: In which newspaper?

Mr. Morrissey: In the Irish Press, of course.

Mr. MacDermot: Let us be frank— in the Irish Independent.

Mr. MacEntee: Hear, hear!

Mr. MacDermot: It amuses me that in some of the quarters where this section has been most fiercely condemned, there was a very short time ago going on considerable propaganda for prohibiting the expression of certain types of opinion.

Mr. Corry: The Deputy is a bit of a grandfather himself.

[1641] The President: What has happened in this case is typical of what is happening in regard to a number of these Articles. Quite gratuitously there has been read into it something which on the face of it is not contained in it at all. Because there is an effort in this Constitution to be frank and fair and open it is being attacked. If we had said nothing, but allowed this thing to be hidden away in some judgments of court, then it would have been all right; but for goodness' sake hide it away; let us fool ourselves with the idea that everybody is free to express any opinion he chooses no matter what is affected by it. We have decisions of courts. Now, we may be starting on quite a new system of jurisprudence in this country. In the past very long period quite a different philosophy of life was behind the system of jurisprudence. We may be starting a system of jurisprudence which is of a different character. Those who bow down and adore the system of jurisprudence across the water may feel shocked at that, but it is bound to happen because the whole philosophy of life of our people is not the same as the philosophy of life of the people across the water. In this Constitution, instead of relying on judgments in English courts and so on, hidden away and known only to the lawyers——

Mr. V. Rice: Might I interrupt the President to say that judgments of court are not hidden away. They are public documents available for everybody.

The President: We all know that. We know that the lawyers know all about them, but they want us to go out and flaunt a principle like this— that the free expression of opinion is allowed in this country. They know perfectly well that, as a matter of fact, it is circumscribed in a variety of ways by decisions which say that it must be rightful and proper liberty, so what is the harm in putting it down here so that every citizen who reads this Constitution will see at once that there are limitations on this expression of opinion? We have arguments based on something that is not here. The [1642] only thing that has come close to what is here, and seems to justify the attack that has been made on this section, is something said by Deputy MacDermot —that possibly this clause about undermining the authority of the State might be abused, although the courts are there to determine whether it is or not; whether rightful liberty would not, in a democratic country, include the right to criticise the actions of individual Governments.

In order to make a case, Deputy Rowlette has to come along and posit a corrupt judiciary. I think that in a country where we have laid it down here as a foundation that we shall have an independent judiciary, when a person has to posit a corrupt judiciary in order to make a case, he has a very poor case indeed. There is nobody who wants more than I do to see this Constitution of such a character that democratic institutions and rightful expression of opinion will be preserved, and I will welcome any help I can get from anybody to make it so, but I am not going to follow people who are reading into this something which is clearly not there on the surface of it. Will any Deputy deny that the education of public opinion is a matter of grave import to the common good? Is it or is it not? If it is, should the State not in fact endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the Press and the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty, should not be used to undermine public order? Already a Deputy has said that it should not be used to undermine public order and morality, and should be prevented from so doing. That is conceded.

All this broadside attack against the alleged lack of democracy in this Constitution is now brought down to this point, that possibly instead of interpreting rightful liberty, in the sense in which it is clearly here, to mean that criticism of Governments—legitimate criticism which is necessary for democracy — should be preserved, it might somehow be interpreted that criticism of the Government was criticism of the authority of the State. I do not think one needs to be a metaphysician to see the difference between the two. I am [1643] prepared to admit that there might be some sort of point in the suggestion that it might possibly be done if there was an unscrupulous Government—we must posit that to start off with—and an unsorupulous Parliament to make the law—we have to posit that also— and in addition to that an unscrupulous judiciary which will not pay any attention to the phrase “rightful liberty,” but is going to play with the Government of the day, with the corrupt and wrong Legislature of the day, in ignoring that particular clause, and straining the idea of the authority of the State into criticism of the Government. I would oppose just as bitterly as anybody else here any suggestion that legitimate criticism of the Government should not be permitted. Although I do not think it is necessary, again, as in many of those cases in order to prevent any possibility of misunderstanding, I am prepared to take Deputy MacDermot's amendment, or at least to put in the substance of it. I take it that if we want to modify its drafting form we can do that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Amendment No. 122 will be withdrawn.

Mr. MacDermot: It is a different one.

The President: It governs this.

Mr. Morrissey: It does not govern amendment No. 120.

The President: I suggest that there is a group of amendments here which are more or less alternative amendments.

[1644] Mr. Morrissey: Number 120 is a different amendment altogether.

Mr. MacDermot: Amendment No. 120 goes further than mine.

The President: That is the only thing that I suggest I am prepared to take. I say that I have, in substance, met anything that has been made on the opposite benches in the way of criticism. I have challenged and have got admissions from Deputy Rowlette that what is here is right in so far as public order and morality are concerned.

Mr. Morrissey: Nobody contested that at any time. There was no necessity for the President to challenge that.

The President: Then let us not hear all this bombardment.

Mr. Morrissey: There was not a word said about public order or morality.

The President: We will find, when we come down to it, that all this bombardment against the anti-democracy which it is suggested is here boils itself down to a very simple thing.

Mr. Morrissey: It may not be so simple as it appears.

Progress reported; the Committee to sit again to-morrow.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on to-morrow Thursday, 3rd June, 1937.