Dáil Éireann - Volume 246 - 08 May, 1970

Nomination of Members of Government: Motion.

The Taoiseach: Tairgim:

Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Éireann leis an Taoiseach d'ainmniú na gComhaltaí seo a leanas chun a gceaptha ag an Uachtarán chun bheith ina gcomhaltaí den Rialtas:—

Diarmaid Ó Cróinín,

Roibeárd Ó Maoildhia agus

Gearóid Ó Coileáin

I move:

That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following Members for appointment [728] by the President to be members of the Government:—

Jerry Cronin,

Robert Molloy and

Gerard Collins.

I may say that, subject to the approval of the Dáil of the present motion and the President duly making the appointments of these additional members of the Government, I propose to assign Departments to them as follows: the Department of Defence to Deputy Cronin; the Department of Local Government to Deputy Molloy; and the Department of Posts and Telegraphs to Deputy Collins.

I shall also make the following consequential changes in the assignments of Departments: the Department of Social Welfare to Deputy Brennan, Minister for Labour; the Department of Finance to Deputy Colley, Aire na Gaeltachta; the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to Deputy Gibbons; and the Department of Industry and Commerce to Deputy Lalor.

That implies that Deputy Brennan continues as Minister for Labour and Deputy Colley will continue to hold his portfolio as Aire na Gaeltachta.

Mr. Tully: Would the Taoiseach be kind enough to let us have copies of the appointments he has made because it was extremely difficult to hear them? He spoke rather fast.

The Taoiseach: I shall. If the House will permit I will repeat them slowly. I have assigned the Department of Defence to Deputy Jerry Cronin, the Department of Local Government to Deputy Molloy and the Department of Posts and Telegraphs to Deputy Collins. These will involve, as I have indicated, consequential changes. As the House is aware, Deputy Boland held the portfolio of Social Welfare with Local Government. I now propose to assign that to Deputy Brennan, who is Minister for Labour.

I propose to assign the Department of Finance to Deputy Colley who, as well as being Minister for Industry and Commerce, is also Minister for the Gaeltacht. He will continue to be Minister for the Gaeltacht as well as [729] being Minister for Finance. I propose to assign the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to Deputy Gibbons and the Department of Industry and Commerce to Deputy Lalor. The motion, in fact, is for the appointment of the three new members of the Government and what I have said subsequently is for the information of the Dáil.

Mr. Cosgrave: The motion that has now been brought forward to add additional names to the Government is really of no significance in present circumstances. It does not really matter what Fianna Fáil Deputy occupies temporarily any Department. It is of no significance whether he is in one Department or another but what is of significance is the absolute lack of credibility in what was said here by the Taoiseach on Wednesday night.

I want to bring this House, and direct the attention not only of the House but of the country, through the press and every organ, to the completely false picture that was presented here in the plausible statement that was read out. I want to bring the House back to the remarks that I made at approximately 4 o'clock last Wednesday when I said: “Can the Taoiseach say if this is the only Ministerial resignation we can expect?” The Taoiseach's reply, and I am quoting from volume 246 of the Official Report, Column 519, was:

I do not know what the Deputy is referring to.

I went on to ask:

“Is it only the tip of the iceberg?”

The Taoiseach: Would the Deputy like to enlarge on what he has in mind?

Then Deputy L'Estrange intervened and I said:

The Taoiseach can deal with the situation.

The Taoiseach: I can assure the Deputy I am in complete control of whatever situation might arise.

That statement implies and confirms that the Taoiseach's statement to this [730] House on Wednesday night was not a true picture of the facts. The facts are that according to that statement no other resignations were in the offing; no other resignations had been asked for.

At approximately 8 o'clock on Tuesday night I went to the Taoiseach's room and gave him the facts that I have related to the House. By 10 o'clock two Ministers had been dismissed or an attempt had been made to dismiss them, and at approximately the same time a third had resigned. I want the House and the country to decide, once and for all, if we can believe anything from any Fianna Fáil Minister or Deputy.

The facts are that the Taoiseach misrepresented in that statement the true facts of the situation and the real facts were suppressed from the House elected to serve the people until I felt it my duty to disclose the facts as I knew them. Now we have the statement as reported in today's papers from Deputy Kevin Boland saying: “I am sure that the ex-Minister for Justice was asked to resign.” When the ex-Minister for Justice was asked what the situation was, he said: “No comment.”

When will we get the truth? When will we get the truth without consideration of face-saving of Ministers or the Taoiseach or of ex-Ministers?

This is the greatest scandal that has hit this State since we won independence. I am not given to verbal exaggeration. In fact, some of my friends in the press have probably thought that I have been unduly mild in my remarks during my political career. I am not given to exaggeration. The facts as presented in this disclose a deliberate attempt to conceal the true situation. It is irrelevant to give the plausible story which was given with such brevity by the Taoiseach the other night.

He gave a short litany of events that concealed the true picture, that is completely refuted by the times and statements contained in the Official Report. This country is entitled to get, and entitled to expect, from whoever is head of the Government and from the Ministers elected to serve this Parliament, at least the truth about their [731] actions. What does it matter what Ministers are added or subtracted from this Government? What does it matter what Department any Fianna Fáil Minister is assigned to? They do not know what is happening. They are not telling each other the truth. One is giving one picture now and another picture at a later stage.

It is no wonder that when the Tánaiste and Minister for Health was on radio and television he was bewildered. He was bewildered because, to put it in his own words, it was a complex problem. He did not know the situation that existed. He did not know what his colleagues were doing. They did not tell him. They did not tell the Taoiseach. When they were asked to resign or asked to explain their attitude, they denied participation and refused their resignations. Two of them refused their resignations. Have the House and the country analysed this? Two refused their resignations and the third resigned in protest because the other Ministers had refused to accept the request of the Taoiseach.

This is a situation, as I said the other night, unparalleled in the history of this country. In the past, in different stages of our history, either during the '98 period or during the period when Michael Collins eliminated those who were informing on the Irish people, at least it was British secret service money that was being used to betray the Irish nation. Today the people who are elected and paid to serve them are betraying them with money provided by the Irish people.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Cosgrave: It does not matter to what Department any Fianna Fáil Deputy is assigned. The fact is that a deliberate and calculated attempt was made to conceal the facts from this House and that every Member from the Taoiseach down is involved in that effort.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Cosgrave: They were concealing from each other the plots, the [732] intrigues, the subterfuges. I do not ask anyone to accept anything I have said —although my information has been dead accurate. I draw the attention of the House and of the people, and in particular the attention of the press and every organ of communication, to the facts as presented here when I asked at approximately 4 o'clock on Tuesday last:

Can the Taoiseach say if this is the only Ministerial resignation we can expect?

The Taoiseach said:

I do not know what the Deputy is referring to.

and I asked:

Is it only the tip of the iceberg?

As I said the other night it was a modest comment.

The Taoiseach said:

Would the Deputy like to enlarge on what he has in mind?

It was not until I presented the situation as I knew it that the Taoiseach and those of his Ministers who were left with him knew that the game was up and they could no longer conceal the true facts of the situation from the people. The game was up. They had run their course. Now, having disagreed amongst themselves, they are all starting to talk and give different accounts and different reports of what happened, including the concern Deputy Boland has had about 'phone tapping. No one can accept, nobody can believe, a single statement by any Fianna Fáil Minister. I regret having to say that because I agree with Deputy O'Higgins that there are many decent men in the Fianna Fáil Party, there are some decent Ministers in the Fianna Fáil Party——

Mr. P. Belton: They are getting scarcer.

Mr. Cosgrave: ——but they have not been able to come to the surface. This is not merely a serious question for the Fianna Fáil Party. What is serious is that it reflects on the whole fabric and the whole character of the nation. I want to assure those not [733] merely in this part of the country but in the Six Counties of the north as well, that people need not be unduly concerned. They have here a realistic and capable and patriotic alternative Government composed of men of integrity, composed of people who, totally disregarding self-interest, are prepared to serve the nation.

For the second time in the past half-century, in our long and checkered history, this country and our people may thank God that they have this party to maintain and defend and assert the people's rights.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Cosgrave: Only for this party there would be a real danger of civil war, civil war of the worst kind, of a religious character. This Taoiseach and this Government must now resign and dissolve this Dáil and let the people elect a Government in whom they can have confidence and who will guarantee their lives and liberties, their homes and hearts and show to the world that this country, this State established by Griffith and Collins, is fit to and will govern itself.

Mr. Tully: This country is still in a state of shock over what has been disclosed here during the past few days. The fact that the Taoiseach and Ministers have made statements on radio and television and in the newspapers that there is no crisis only makes the matter much worse. Let me try to put the facts as we see them.

It is alleged that two Senior Ministers of this Government who were pledged to uphold the State and whose job it was to see that the State was properly run, made arrangements to have imported into this country large quantities of arms for the use of an illegal organisation. One of the objects of that illegal organisation is the overthrow of this State. The fact that the organisation concerned have refused to recognise the right of Stormont or Dáil Éireann to govern in either part of the country is known to everybody. The fact that the Ministers concerned have agreed apparently, to help to bring arms into this country to further that organisation's objects makes the statement [734] of the Taoiseach that there is now unity in his party and that those Ministers have agreed, as backbenchers of his party, to uphold the Constitution of the State and to support him as Taoiseach, look very, very thin indeed.

The real seriousness of this case does not appear to have been brought home to the Taoiseach, and I shall endeavour to do so this morning. He has stated again and again that there was an attempt to import arms and that that attempt has been prevented from coming to fruition. Is the Taoiseach prepared to stand up here and say that no arms have been imported into this country by that illegal organisation with the collusion of the Ministers concerned?

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Tully: Does the Taoiseach say it is a certainty that arms have not been coming in here for quite some time under various guises, and have been channelled through to the people concerned? Would the Taoiseach care to say where the money came from to buy the arms? Surely the Taoiseach should at least know where the £80,000 paid for this consignment came from and who got it? Does that £80,000 represent the price paid for the arms, or is there a further substantial sum involved for the hire of aircraft and to pay agents for the purpose of seeing that the arms came into the country? Would the Taoiseach care to say if that £80,000 and the other money, which assuredly was spent, came from State funds? Does he know whether it was covered up in the Budget passed in this House? Are we paying for ammunition and arms which can be, and may be, used yet against this House and against this country? Would the Taoiseach say whether or not he has any evidence to disprove that suggestion?

Was the money produced by individuals who bought arms, in the typical Middle East way, for the purpose of re-selling them at a profit in this country? Was it just a business transaction? We know some people have been involved in business transactions involving vast sums of money —people who wanted to make a [735] “quick buck” and were not too particular how it was made? Or—and this is a horrible thing, the most horrible thing of all—was this money the proceeds of the bank raids in this country? Was it collected by an illegal organisation in bank raids and raids on the pay packets of workers? Was it handed over for the purpose of supplying arms here, with the collusion of members of this Government? It must have been handed over or the arms would not have been put on the plane. If so, is there truth in the rumour that because of this no effort whatever was made to try to capture the people who so foully murdered a member of the Garda who was attempting to prevent them from carrying out the raid?

Mr. Crowley: That is a disgraceful statement. The Deputy should be ashamed of himself.

Mr. Tully: The one thing which I cannot take from the Fianna Fáil Party is the suggestion that anybody is acting “disgracefully”. Fianna Fáil are the people who, led by the Taoiseach, last year told the people all around Ireland that if the Labour Party got into power and got support, they would bring in what he termed foreign influence. The Taoiseach used the words “alien philosophy”. Down through the country, as Deputy M. P. Murphy mentioned, people like him had to put up with the henchmen of Fianna Fáil at church gates saying “Do you want to see your parish priest in chains? Do you want to see people going around carrying arms prepared to hold up everybody and to have an armed uprising in the country”? The Taoiseach stood up the day before yesterday and said—no doubt he will stand up today and say the same thing —there is no crisis in this country. The Fianna Fáil Party talked of an alien philosophy, yet they have in their ranks two people who can only be counted with Carson. Carson was a member of a Parliament which claimed to control this country, yet he brought in arms for the purpose of helping an illegal organisation. I subscribe to the view that, not alone are there decent Fianna Fáil Ministers, but there are [736] very decent Fianna Fáil Deputies here, many of whom I am proud to claim as friends of mine. They are prepared to band together now to hold together an unholy alliance. As far as I can see they are only sticking together now because if they do not hang together, they will hang separately.

The people of the country have had just about enough. I do not know whether the Fianna Fáil Deputies here have had an opportunity of going round and talking with the normal Fianna Fáil supporters. The only word which has been mentioned to me and is repeatable in this House is “disgust”. They are absolutely disgusted that the party which they had been supporting for so many years should consider there was no crisis when two of their senior members had apparently accepted the accusation which had been made. They accepted apparently their removal from the Cabinet without any protest about their being framed. They were apparently prepared to agree that they had got just punishment. These Fianna Fáil supporters are disgusted that their party are prepared to accept the support of these men for the purpose of remaining in office.

There is another serious matter affecting this issue: it appears that efforts are being made to smear the police force, the Defence Forces and anybody else, providing the Fianna Fáil Party are not smeared. I think there is necessity for the Taoiseach, who is a man for whom I have high personal regard, to disclose the facts. I think he is attempting to cover up for his colleagues. I regret to have to say that I agree entirely with what Deputy Cosgrave has said. I do not believe we would have heard a word about this, at least not for many months, but for the fact that there was a danger of its being brought out into the open in this House.

There is an onus on the Taoiseach to stand up here—galling and humiliating as it may be—to tell the House whether or not he has told the whole truth. People tell white lies in an effort to try to cover up from time to time. The desire of the Taoiseach not to humiliate his party even more has put him in the position of having to stall. I would not [737] accuse him of being a dishonest man normally, but he is being politically dishonest now in this House because nobody can believe what he said here over the last few days. Nobody is prepared to accept that there might have been a suggestion these Ministers were involved, but no proof.

I was listening to the Tánaiste on television. He used the word “conspirators”. One does not lightly use the word “conspirators” unless one is sure what one is talking about. The Tánaiste had not the privilege of the House when he was talking then. He spoke about these young men being carried away by the fear that the people in the Six Counties would find themselves in the position where they could be abused—in the position where they would need guns. The Tánaiste felt that these young men were carried away by that fear and the implication was that it was quite in order to do what they did. No, the Tánaiste did not say that they were right; he said they were wrong. The Tánaiste did not suggest they were wrong or hint they were wrong; he said definitely they were wrong. There was no doubt in his mind that the two Ministers who were asked to resign were involved up to their necks in it.

I am sad that somebody of Deputy Charlie Haughey's ability should be involved in this. He is a man for whom I had great regard. He did things with which I did not agree but, at the same time, he was a man who appeared to be prepared to stand on his own feet. I never thought Deputy Haughey would be a man of whom it would be told in this House that he plotted the overthrow of the Government of this country. There is no other description for this. If one succeeds, or attempts to succeed, in building up an organisation whose object is the overthrow of the Government and to take over completely the State for themselves, then one can only be accused of plotting against the State. The fact that the person concerned was in charge of the Department of Finance makes the matter even worse.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have heard stories. Perhaps the Taoiseach would be able to give a definite [738] assurance on this. We heard about the boatload of arms at Dublin port, clearance on a note by the Department of Finance and collection by the Army. This is the kind of talk that is thrown about at the moment in relation to the Army. This is the common talk in Dublin. If this talk is incorrect, a definite statement to the contrary should be made.

We heard yesterday evening about arms coming through Dublin Airport and labelled as “Red Cross Supplies”. This has been denied by the head of the Red Cross. Would the Taoiseach say if it is untrue? Would the Taoiseach say why the British Army in the north have been searching along the Border over the past couple of weeks? Surely it was not for the cargo of arms which never got into the country. Surely the Taoiseach must know there was a reason for that search, as there is also a reason for the search this morning in County Fermanagh? Surely the Taoiseach must know about the consignments of arms that came in here? He said he knew about it on 22nd April, 1970. MI-5 stated they knew of this conspiracy for the past seven months. They said they knew of an international ring which had arranged to bring arms into this country from a number of continental countries. You cannot do that on peanuts. It brings me back to the question of where the money came from.

The money came from one of three sources. It came (1) from the adventurer who wanted to invest for the purpose of making a quick buck; (2) it came from the taxpayers of Ireland —fiddling the State finances—in which money was transferred for the purposes of this illegal organisation or (3) it came from the bank raids. You do not find money like that on the street. You do not go out and pick up the hundreds of thousands of pounds required. The people responsible for doing that have been referred to by the Tánaiste to this effect: “No offence has been committed in the State. Therefore, no charges will be made against these people”.

Mr. Childers: I did not say that.

Mr. Tully: The Tánaiste was quoted [739] in the newspapers as saying that. Perhaps the newspaper people might be anxious to make the correction. I do not know what one has to do in this country to commit an offence. The fellow who parks his car for an hour on the wrong side of the street will tell you what you have to do. Very definitely, there appears to be one law for the rich and another law for the poor; one law for Fianna Fáil and another law for everybody else.

We had, of course, the statement from Deputy Boland that he was resigning from the Government. He was definitely entitled to do so. The funny thing about it—unfortunately, it is too tragic to be funny—Deputy Boland is not quite clear why he has resigned. Apparently his first reason was as a protest against the treatment of the other Ministers. This morning's newspapers suggest he resigned because the Taoiseach was attempting to find out, on Deputy Boland's telephone, what was happening; in other words, he resigned because the Taoiseach was tapping his telephone. Maybe Deputy Boland had another reason. I am quite sure Deputy Boland would love to be a Minister who could stand up and be counted if there are any haloes for heroes being handed out, particularly if we can shout about what we are going to do in the north.

The Labour Party subscribe to the policy that the Border cannot be removed by force. If at any time the decision in this country is changed— if a decision is taken that other means are to be employed—the place to take that decision is Dáil Éireann. If it is taken in this House, the Labour Party —as they always have been—will be the first in the van. We have always played our part and we shall continue to play our part.

Whether or not it is a ridiculous suggestion, if the Government and the people of this country want to take a decision on that matter, then they are entitled to do so. However, no penny-ha'penny Minister is entitled to come along here and decide, while drawing £6,000 a year salary with all the “perks”, to have his own private [740] army for the purpose of, according to what he says, fighting in the north and, according to what the general public says, destroying society as we know it in this country.

When the Taoiseach again goes to the country—it will not be very long until he has to do so—every time the word “alien philosophy” comes to his lips I am sure he will make a desperate effort to check himself from uttering the words. I am sure he will be very anxious not to allow those words to slip out. I am sure he will be equally anxious to avoid all reference to the holding up of anybody, to the imprisonment of anybody, to taking arms against them. In such circumstances, he will surely think of what has happened in this country over the past few days. Certainly, he will lose votes if he does not.

The only people who have been proved to be trying to import an alien philosophy here are the people who, the Taoiseach claims, are loyal supporters of his and who keep him in power. On television two nights ago, the Tánaiste gave me much material for thought. He said that, as far as this country was concerned, it was not the most serious thing that has happened. According to him, the inter-Party Government which he described as “the Coalition Government,” had done much worse.

Did the Tánaiste seriously consider that anybody listening to him would believe that the crisis we are now experiencing can be measured in any way against anything that happened during the lifetime of either of our inter-Party Governments? How can we get it home to the Tánaiste, to the Taoiseach and to the responsible members of Fianna Fáil—I am sure there are some responsible members in that Government—that, even up to this minute, there is serious danger of civil war in this? Does the Taoiseach think that the people who swore fealty to him and to this State as recently as last June, on taking office, and now have been responsible for this scandalous situation can be trusted? Is it not a fact that the obvious action for people who have done wrong is to wait for an opportunity until they can get the better of [741] their opponents and that such persons will be quite willing to sit back and to agree to anything in the meantime? If the Taoiseach could not trust these people when they were Ministers of this State, surely he cannot trust them now as ordinary Members of this House?

That brings me back to the suggestion by the Tánaiste that it was quite in order for these people to be Members of this House and that if any action was to be taken it was a matter for the Attorney General—who sat through this debate squirming, I am sure, at some of the things which were said. The Attorney General is a decent man. He must have known he was being put on the “hot seat”. Does the Tánaiste or does the Taoiseach seriously suggest that these men should be allowed to remain Members of this House, members of the Fianna Fáil Party, with a possible chance of reappointment? Does he suggest that the Attorney General, even if he had the evidence, would dare to take any action against them? Is it not crystal clear from what the Taoiseach said when he accepted them back as supporters of his in this House that what he meant was “You are now safe. You will not be prosecuted no matter what you did”?

I am not one of those people who would blame a person for holding views. As I have said, I am surprised about Deputy Haughey, but I feel that if Deputy Blaney, in particular, Deputy Boland or Deputy Moran have views they are entitled to them. I suppose a substantial number of people throughout this country hold similar views. They are perfectly entitled to consider that the solution of the northern problem lies at least in supplying arms for people across the Border so that they can fight for, say, a couple of weeks and that it can be said that the Irish spirit is not dead. The fact that they will all be slaughtered a few weeks later is not taken into consideration. But people are entitled to their views.

That is the difference. Deputy Haughey, a few weeks ago, drew up a Budget which some people regarded as being great. On the evening of the [742] day that Budget was introduced spoke to a man who said there was nothing wrong with it but on the following Friday evening, I spoke to the same man and he cursed solidly for five minutes. I have never heard such bad language for such a sustained period. He realised then as did the people that the Budget was aimed at nothing else but to destroy the country and to destroy the Fianna Fáil Government because, having made no attempt to deal with the balance of payments and having made everybody dissatisfied with his lot because of the particular way in which it was dealt with, the then Minister for Finance created the situation, accidentally or otherwise, in which the Taoiseach was put in the hot seat to present that Budget to the country.

Because of what has happened since then the point has been made by a number of people, including some Fianna Fáil supporters, that it would appear that what Deputy Haughey put before the House was the one Budget which could cause the most discontent at any particular time. Of course, the old story is if you want to have a revolution—God knows we have heard enough talk here from certain elements about revolution—the thing to do is to make as many people as possible discontented. Deputy Haughey succeeded in doing that in the Budget that was introduced here by the Taoiseach.

I do not know whether the matter with which we have dealt over the past few days is to be glossed over and an effort made by Fianna Fáil to show solidarity so that they can hold on to the Government of the country. My suggestion to the Taoiseach is that in view of all we have been told and in view of the general views of which he must be aware, unless he is living in some sort of vacuum, that the people of the country are not satisfied with what has happened, the old game of trying to drag in a red herring, or of trying to introduce the question of 'phone tapping or something else as being important, will not work. What the electors want at this time is an opportunity to show Fianna Fáil that they have been caught out. At the conclusion [743] of this debate this evening or, before then, the Taoiseach must make his way quickly to the Park. We shall leave aside the question of the new Ministers. These are decent enough fellows but they are being plugged in as round pegs in square holes, as temporary holders of their respective offices. Everybody, including the President, knows that the resignation of the Government must come so why not do it now?

Mr. Boland: A Cheann Comhairle—

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. Boland: ——I wish to make it clear at the outset that I fully subscribe to the opinion that the Taoiseach has full personal discretion to decide on the members of his Government and to decide on how long they should remain as members of the Government; that he is entitled at his own personal discretion to request the resignation of any member at any time that he sees fit and that, if any such member refuses or neglects to submit that resignation, the Taoiseach is fully entitled to take the necessary steps to secure the termination of the appointment of any such individual as a member of the Government.

I agree that the Taoiseach is entitled to do this for any reason which seems to him a valid one. I wish to make it clear that at no stage have I made any complaint with regard to any decision taken by the Taoiseach in this particular matter. It is his job to choose the members of his Government and at any time that he may feel dissatisfied with the constitution of his Government, it is obviously his right to decide that the Government shall be changed any way that he wishes.

It is completely untrue for Deputy Tully to suggest that I at any time stated that I resigned from the Government in protest at the decision taken by the Taoiseach. Deputy Tully knows that was never said by me and that I was never quoted as having made any such remark. It may be true that the papers reported that I resigned in protest [744] at the dismissal of two of my colleagues but if the papers said so it is a lie.

I resigned as a member of the Government because conditions had been disclosed to exist in regard to the Government under which I, as an individual, was not prepared to continue to serve. If we include the vacancy filled yesterday it has become necessary to replace four members of the Government. I am the only one of the four who was not, in one way or another, pushed out of the Government or, at least, who was not overtly pushed out of the Government. I wish to explain just why I resigned.

I say I was not overtly pushed out because it is a fact that the reasons given and the events that led up to the course of action taken in the case of my other colleagues did, in so far as I was concerned, constitute a significant if indirect push. The position is that two members of this Government have been dealt with on a lettre de cachet basis, the penalty in this case being dismissal from the Government rather than incarceration in a modern Bastille. The Taoiseach has stated that he acted as a result of information received and even if we disregard the unreliability of the source of that information, since such source has established himself clearly as a man of no honour, I find that statement to be a most extraordinary one.

I find the position disclosed by the statement to be highly objectionable not to mention undemocratic and a violation of human rights. I find the conditions under which the Government have to operate to be intolerable in so far as I personally am concerned and, in my opinion, to be inconsistent with the dignity of a free man. Therefore, under those circumstances I could not continue as a member of the Government. What has been disclosed by the Taoiseach is that some person or persons unknown is or are in the position that he or they can lodge secret information with the Taoiseach and with anybody else who can bid enough for it, be he the leader of the Opposition or the leader of the coalition or whatever he may be leader of, in respect of any member or members of [745] the Taoiseach's Government and that this information will be accepted and that the Ministers concerned will be dealt with on that basis as the Taoiseach has said these Ministers were dealt with. Deputies Blaney, Moran and Haughey have been dealt with in this way already and since the source of this information is so obviously unscrupulous no one can say who is likely to be next. There is no question, apparently, of the evidence or the information being evaluated in accordance with the normal rules of evidence or in accordance with the principles of justice. There is no question of the accused being confronted with the accuser. There is, in fact, apparently no question of fair play in this matter. Information can be lodged by some secret individuals, some unknown unspecified individuals, and on the basis of that information at least two members of the Government have been dismissed. I have no objection to make to the exercise of his functions by the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach is entitled to change the members of the Government at any time he sees fit but, so far as I personally am concerned, I would not be prepared to continue in a Government in which these conditions obtain.

I want to be quite fair in this matter. I admit that this is an effective method of establishing control and of maintaining control. It has the merit of absolute simplicity. The informer lays his information before whomever he likes to lay it—before the leader of the Government or before the leader of the Opposition or before anybody else that he likes. The decision is made on the basis of that information and the accused is informed of the decision. While I have no doubt about the effectiveness and the simplicity and the expedition of this method of making decisions I have considerable doubts about its justice.

I have always remembered a small incident from the time when I first spent an annual period of training with the Regiment of Pearse in Finner Camp. A rather famous and, if I may say so, well-loved and respected sergeant paraded the raw recruits, as we then were, and briefed us on the regulations [746] to be observed in the camp and on local leave. We were informed that to get drunk was conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline. We were a company of university students and we included in our numbers some potential legal luminaries. At the end of the briefing session the sergeant concluded in the normal way by saying: “Any questions?” One of the legal volunteers in the company ventured to ask: “How is it established that one is drunk?” I thought at the time that this was a rather difficult question that would prove not too easy to answer by the unlettered Army NCO but he found it quite simple. He said: “If an Army NCO says you are drunk, you are drunk.” That might be a quite reasonable condition under which to expect soldiers to serve. It seemed to me at that time, when I considered it, to have a certain amount of merit. I gathered later from my legally minded and semi-legally trained comrade-in-arms that it was a somewhat different test to the test that would have to be complied with in a civilian court but it was certainly simple, it was conclusive and it seemed to me that if it was administered with enthusiasm it would be quite helpful in ensuring that people like myself and Deputy Loughnane would succeed in living up to the standards of dignity, decorum and sobriety that had been set by our predecessors in the officers' training corps, such as Deputy Pa O'Donnell. While it might be all right to expect soldiers to serve under the condition that if an Army NCO says you are drunk you are drunk I do not accept that it is reasonable to expect Ministers of a Government to serve under the condition that if Mr. Peter Berry says you did a thing, you did it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy should not refer to people who are not in a position to defend themselves here.

Mr. Boland: That if an unnamed civil servant, or an individual employed by an unnamed civil servant, says you did a thing you did it and that the unnamed civil servant will employ an organisation to keep you [747] under surveillance and to be able to report on what you did and what you did not do. I do not think that it is reasonable to expect members of a Government to serve under those conditions. In so far as I am concerned, I am not prepared to serve under those conditions and that is the reason why I handed my resignation to the Taoiseach. If the Taoiseach trusts me he can have me in his Government, if he does not trust me I suggest that the Taoiseach should tell me he does not trust me but I do maintain that if he cannot get people he can trust, without the surveillance of people employed by an unnamed civil servant, then it just does not seem to be possible to form a Government. Certainly, if I cannot be trusted to act as a member of the Government without this surveillance then I am not prepared to continue in the Government.

I have said that the source of this alleged information has established himself as being untrustworthy because trustworthiness involves loyalty but in this case the information, in addition to being lodged with the Taoiseach, to whom presumably the ultimate loyalty of the individual concerned is due, was also given to the leader of the Opposition. The fact that it was to Deputy Cosgrave it was given gives me quite a good hint as to the identity of the individual who was employed by the unnamed civil servant for this purpose. However, I suppose it would not be in order to mention the name I have in mind. As I said, this was disloyalty and it establishes, beyond any question of doubt, the informer as a man of no honour. It establishes that he has been acting in the despicable role of a double agent and it clearly establishes the information, or any information, in inverted commas, coming from this source, as being unreliable information, as being worthless in face of the denial of the allegations by Ministers who, over a period of years, have never disclosed any Government secrets or never in any way betrayed the trust that has been placed in them.

The individual or individuals employed by this civil servant, by acting [748] in this totally discreditable way, has or have in my opinion lost all claim to credibility. I have seen newspaper suggestions that the whole fantastic story on which this whole business is based was built up with the assistance of the British secret service. I do not know whether that is true or not. I certainly hope it is not true; but if there is any truth whatever in that allegation then the story is surely still less credible because an organisation that have in the past descended to such vile methods as the forging of diaries in order to secure the execution of Roger Casement are obviously capable of embarking on the concoction of a fantastic story such as this, which lacks nothing except the introduction of a beautiful blonde or two.

Those, then, are the conditions of service under which I as an individual was not prepared to continue as a member of the Government. The reason given by Deputy Tully was never given by me and has nothing whatever to do with my resignation from the Government. I would respectfully suggest that the money spent on maintaining this Minister-watching organisation which, apparently works to two sources, would be more appropriately spent on trying to bring the murderers of Garda Fallon to justice.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Boland: When I mention this I cannot help speculating as to why it is that those men are still at large.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Boland: I wonder is it a question, as I know to have been the case some time in the not too distant past, of keeping the pot boiling so that the need for and the dependency on this Branch would continue. With regard to the actual story itself is there any reason to believe that it is authentic? I see no reason to believe it is authentic. I do not know if anybody has seen any arms. Nobody has said that he has. If he has seen them, where and when? Can they be produced? Do they exist at all? Does anything exist except certain documents? On the basis of this so-called [749] information from this tainted source working to the Taoiseach and working to Deputy Cosgrave, the Taoiseach has taken what can only be described as drastic action. The Taoiseach's interpretation of this is that the two Ministers concerned did not agree with the Government's policy on the partition of our country, as laid down at the Fianna Fáil Party's Ard-Fheis. I do not believe for one moment that there is any such disagreement. Certainly, in so far as I am concerned I fully subscribe to this policy and I believe my colleagues, whose positions are also being filled here today, also fully subscribe to this policy.

The objective of the party to which I belong is to bring about the re-unification of this country and this obviously involves the unification of the people of the country. This, of course, as anybody with any normal intelligence will see, cannot be done by force. This does not mean that I subscribe to the outburst of Daniel O'Connellism that has marked recent speeches in this House. Neither does it mean there is any acceptance of the right of any section of the Irish people to opt out of the Irish nation. It certainly does not mean there is any acceptance of the right of any foreign country to divide our country, to maintain an army in it or to legislate for any part of it. The fundamental fact is that the British are aggressors in our country and the responsibility for the existing situation of barely suppressed violence in the Six Counties rests squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Harold Wilson and his colleagues. The first requirement for the solution of the problem is that this fact be recognised by the people responsible for it, that the British guilt be acknowledged and that a decision to embark on what would almost certainly have to be a long process of disengagement and reparation should be taken in the place where the crime was committed and where it is continuing to be perpetrated to this day.

This is not the time to deal in detail with the matter of policy. The motion before the House is the appointment of three members of the Government. I merely want to say that while force [750] could never remove the deep, carefully fostered and massively subsidised divisions which exist in our country, and must be ruled out for those reasons as a policy in so far as we in the 26 County State are concerned, this does not alter the fact that the British are illegally in our country, that they must go and that stupid statements by Messrs. Wilson and Callaghan and other members of the Government that Partition is not an issue, indicate where the main difficulty lies in so far as peace in this country is concerned.

While a policy ruling out force is appropriate and almost unanimously accepted as far as I know for this 26 County State—certainly it is unanimously accepted so far as the Fianna Fáil Party are concerned—there is no doubt that the people in the Six Counties are, in fact, in the same position as the people in the whole country were in before 1916, and they are entitled to make their own decisions. While we here are both entitled and, I think, very well qualified to give advice on this matter, and the advice we would give would be that there should be no inclination to utilise force to solve the difficulties which exist there, and to try to secure the acceptance of our approach, it would be presumptuous for us to attempt from the snugness of this 26 County State to dictate to our fellow countrymen who are suffering under British imperialism, because that is what they are suffering under.

It would be unpardonable for us to take any action to frustrate the efforts of our people in the Six Counties to protect their lives and property. The objection I see to the approach of many Deputies who have been speaking here in this matter is the concern for what is described as the freedom we have achieved, the attitude that the over-riding concern must be to retain this State and this Parliament. So far as I am concerned I want to go on record as saying that I reject that attitude, that I do not see a 26 County State as an achievement. I see it as a retrogression. I see it as a situation resulting from the 1922 betrayal. While I recognise it as a situation which exists, and under which we must work, I also recognise that the national objective [751] is to get rid of two States in this country not one. There is here in this part of our country an established situation of a democratically-elected Government operating under a democratically adopted Constitution and no such Government could tolerate the existence of an armed organisation not under the Government's control. No such Government could permit the importation of arms into this country for such an organisation.

I am absolutely certain that no one who was a colleague of mine in the Government believes otherwise. However, while such an organisation is clearly illegal here the position in the Six Counties is clearly different. The solution imposed on this country by the British, in addition to massive subsidisation by the British taxpayer and to the garrisoning by the British Army, requires the discrimination and oppression that is exercised by the ruling faction. This ruling faction must remain if what is called by British politicians “the integrity of the United Kingdom” is not to be disrupted. All the objectionable features that have marked this Six County State since it was set up, including the murderous attacks on the Nationalist population, are essential to ensure that the ruling faction continues in power and, therefore, that the British annexation of part of our country continues.

In so far as this question of the alleged attempt to import arms is concerned—and I repeat I have no reason to believe there has been any such importation—it is our obvious duty to ensure that any such importation to this part of the country is only carried out by official State agencies. However, we have no function in regard to the Six Counties. It is not our homes or our lives that are in danger. Since we are not in a position to supply protection to these citizens of ours and since the United Nations, to which we subscribe, acts like Pontius Pilate in regard to the situation, we have no right to interfere in any efforts our people in the Six Counties may feel constrained to make to defend themselves from the effects of British imperialism in that part of our country.

[752] I know only what I have seen in the papers of these stories of arms importation. However, may I say that I do not believe them for one moment. As far as I am concerned my position is clear. Arms importation into this part of our country by any agency other than the State is illegal and should not be permitted, but arms importation into the part of the country in which the writ of this Government does not run is not illegal so far as I am concerned. It is our duty to advise against it but it is not our business to interfere and any co-operation with the security forces of the country that continues to occuply six of our counties is, in my opinion, intolerable.

The proposal before the House is one which I think should be unanimously accepted. It is a proposal that the nomination of three members of the Government be approved. The nominations are made by the Taoiseach who has been duly elected by this House with the clearest possible mandate from the people of the country. In view of this mandate the nominations should be unanimously approved. So far as I am concerned I consider the three individual Deputies whose names are before us suitable in every way for the positions for which they have been proposed.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. O'Higgins: There is a certain dreadful fascination for all of us when we hear stories of self-immolation. The absolutely horrifying picture of a Buddhist monk or some other persons of that kind who lies down on the ground, empties a tin of petrol over himself, applies a match and burns himself to death is a fearful, fascinating morbid picture. I do not know whether today we are witnessing the political self-immolation of Fianna Fáil. However, it is certainly significant that the Deputy who has just spoken has told a story I never thought I would hear of conditions which he alleges to be intolerable operating inside the Government of this country. He has told it not only to Dáil Éireann but in the hearing of his own party members and has been accorded a clap of approval by Fianna Fáil Deputies.

[753] Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. O'Higgins: In an interview with the Irish Independent of today's date Deputy Boland is reported as saying that under no circumstances could he work in a Government whose leader kept members under Gestapo-type surveillance. He went on to say: “I could not see the events of the last few days happening in any other democratic country”, a statement with which I fully concur as would 90 per cent of the people outside who are watching the amazing developments which are taking place in this House. Deputy Boland stated in this interview that for a significant time past, under the direct order of the Taoiseach, a group of the Special Branch were directed and organised to “bug” ministerial rooms, to engage in phone-tapping of ministerial conversations, to listen to everything his own colleagues wished to say to one another and to others. This was done not by an unknown, unnamed, civil servant but by the leader of Fianna Fáil. No wonder the Deputy said: “I could not see the events of the last few days happening in any other democratic country”.

The other night I said we were in danger of being turned into a banana republic. What have we now? Deputy Boland complains we have not Mata Hari but we have double agents, phone-tapping and “bugging” of ministerial conversations by a secret organisation organised, according to the Deputy, by his own leader. In the name of the Lord, in the interests of democracy and in the interests of common decency, why does the Taoiseach not dissolve this Dáil and go to the country?

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. O'Higgins: Here we have a Government, members of one political party, none of whom can trust the other, members of a political party whose leader has no confidence in them and some of whom obviously have no confidence in their leader. This new Government will be held together by mutual fear, not by trust: mutual fear of one another, mutual fear that their inner thoughts will be [754] known. The present Minister for Defence—the now designate Minister for Agriculture—and the present Minister for Industry and Commerce—the now designate Minister for Finance— will be kept together for fear that in their desks somebody will be listening through a “bug” and that everything they say will be told on them. What damage they will do to the country! What will happen to the Irish pound? What about the harm being done to the savings of our people by the Budget of recent weeks, by the clear lack of confidence in this Government? Having broken that trust they have caused harm to the country, to its savings, to its resources, to its assets, to the way of life, to the jobs and employment of ordinary, decent, harmless people who trusted them last June.

It is a sordid, disgraceful story that will not be solved by Kremlin-like declarations of loyalty after a quick trial and no doubt a public confession in the Fianna Fáil Party Room. This will not be solved by papering over the cracks. There is a responsibility, high and awesome, on any man who is entrusted by the people with leading this nation. That awful responsibility clearly dictates that, in these circumstances, with this sordid story behind—I am not surprised that Deputy Aiken leaves—that this Government, having no authority except such as is given to them by Deputy Haughey, Deputy Blaney and Deputy Boland, should go to the people to seek a renewal of their mandate. If this does not take place, if the people are not consulted, we shall have this Government endeavouring to control a situation which might well become uncontrollable.

We have a situation in which a leader who used to be called “Honest Jack”, a leader who rejoiced in that soubriquet, has now clearly lost credibility. We find now from a former member of his own Cabinet, of his own Government, that for months back he had not trusted his colleagues, that for months back he had them spied upon and that for months back he had a secret dossier on each Cabinet Minister. [755] We know now from this declaration in the Irish Independent and the speech today by Deputy Boland that it was not merely on the 21st April that an astonished Taoiseach came to learn that his Ministers were behaving suspiciously, if not disloyally. It was established yesterday that the facts of this attempted gun-running, this conspiracy to subvert the safety of this State had been in operation since last November. It was established yesterday, and referred to in the Irish Press, that this entire story was printed in a newspaper called The United Irishman before last Christmas.

Are we to believe that this could be common property in certain circles, among certain people, and that our Special Branch did not know it? If we are to believe, as Deputy Boland has said, that his leader, the Taoiseach, Deputy Lynch, had the Special Branch reporting directly to him and to nobody else—not to the Minister for Justice, not to the Minister for Defence but directly to the Taoiseach himself —and if, as it is now known since last November a plot was being organised by two members of the Government and their relatives to bring arms into this country, I suggest it stretches our patience far too long to imagine an astonished Taoiseach getting this information for the first time on the day before the Budget. I suggest the Taoiseach has a lot more to say and that the people are entitled to ask him to come clean now. He either knew or had the means available to him of knowing that some of his colleagues were concerned in a sordid plot against the security of this State and he took no action at all; in fact, quite contrary to it, he moved a writ in order to force a by-election in South West Dublin and claimed, having got some 30 per cent of the votes, that he had a renewed mandate for his Government from the people of South West Dublin.

The Taoiseach: Would the Deputy give way for one second? The first indication I got was Monday, 20th April. I do not know what the Deputy is relying on for asserting otherwise.

[756] Mr. O'Higgins: If the Taoiseach says that I accept it. The Taoiseach will agree that it is quite contrary to what Deputy Boland has stated.

The Taoiseach: I have only heard what he said today. I have not had time to read the papers this morning.

Mr. O'Higgins: The Taoiseach says the first information he got was on the 21st April.

The Taoiseach: Monday, the 20th April.

Mr. O'Higgins: That is two days before the Budget. I understood the Taoiseach to say the other night it was 21st April. However, there are very serious matters involved here. If what the Taoiseach has said is correct, the Taoiseach learned of this on 20th April.

The Taoiseach: I said that to the House already.

Mr. O'Higgins: I shall deal with the immediate consequence of that. That means he permitted his Minister for Finance to attend a Government meeting and to finalise the last Budget on either Monday or Tuesday or on Wednesday morning, assuming he did not have an accident on Wednesday morning. This colleague, who the Taoiseach was informed was involved in a criminal conspiracy against the State was, nevertheless, allowed to present to the Government of this country this year's Budget.

Mr. O'Kennedy: On a point of order. The Deputy well knows what the implications of a criminal conspiracy are and he should be fully aware of what is involved.

Mr. O'Higgins: I am not going to be told the Rules of Order by Deputy O'Kennedy.

Mr. P. Belton: They should be in jail. They should be charged.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Higgins: In my considered view what I have said is perfectly justified. The Taoiseach was given information on 20th April which indicated [757] that his Minister for Finance was suspected of being involved in a criminal conspiracy against this State and, nevertheless, the Budget was presented to his colleagues, I assume by the Minister for Finance, a Budget which was dealing with a very grave economic crisis. The Taoiseach has the responsibility to tell us: did the Minister for Finance attend the Government meeting? Did he prepare this Budget? Was it on the Monday or Tuesday? What usually happens, to my knowledge, is that the Budget is presented to a special Government meeting on the morning of Budget Day.

The Taoiseach: The Budget was approved at a meeting on the previous Friday.

Mr. Ryan: What are we to believe now?

Mr. Cosgrave: That was one of the days the effort was made to bring in the arms, prior to the 21st.

The Taoiseach: I am only stating a matter of fact for Deputy O'Higgins.

Mr. O'Higgins: The situation then is that the Minister for Finance presented the Budget for Government approval on the previous Friday; the week-end passes and on Monday the Taoiseach received information which if correct means that the Minister for Finance was engaged in a criminal conspiracy against this State. What happened throughout Monday? What prevented the Taoiseach getting his resignation there and then and sacking him? Why did not the Taoiseach act on Monday? On Tuesday? We were told at three o'clock on Wednesday that but for an unfortunate accident the Minister for Finance was going to present the Budget to this House. This man, who, if the Taoiseach is correct, was under a sentence of dismissal from the Government, were it not for an unfortunate accident was going to present this year's Budget to Dáil Éireann.

Where is the story going to end? Where lies the truth? I mean no reflection on what the Taoiseach has said but I do suggest that somebody is not [758] coming clean in all this. There are a whole lot of gaps wide open, growing larger. How is it to be explained that from Monday to Wednesday no action was taken by the Taoiseach in relation to the Minister for Finance? All right.

The Taoiseach: Will the Deputy allow me to interrupt him? I decided to make investigations on the information received.

Mr. O'Higgins: I will ask the questions and the Taoiseach can deal with them fully later on.

The Taoiseach: But the Deputy will have his remarks recorded.

Mr. O'Higgins: Let them be recorded.

The Taoiseach: I may not get a chance to make a reply.

Mr. O'Higgins: The Taoiseach will get plenty of opportunity. Nobody here will prevent the Taoiseach from saying what he has to say. I want to repeat— and here is something the Taoiseach can deal with in his reply—that from Monday, throughout that day, throughout Tuesday, throughout all Wednesday morning, the Minister for Finance continued to be the Minister for Finance. We were told that were it not for an unfortunate accident he would have presented this year's Budget to this House. I would be interested to know how the Taoiseach can explain these facts if he were an astonished Taoiseach who had been informed of this serious conspiracy and serious plot.

Mr. Crowley: Alleged.

Mr. O'Higgins: The Taoiseach says that after his unfortunate accident the Minister for Finance could not be interviewed. I accept that. Every one of us felt very sincere sympathy with Deputy Haughey on the accident and the reported serious concussion from which he was supposed to have suffered. The Taoiseach, I can understand, from Budget Day, midday or whatever it was, until the date he gave the House the other night, the 28th I think it was, could not interview the Minister for Finance.

[759] When did he first interview the then Minister for Agriculture? On the 28th April, according to what the Taoiseach told us the other night. So that, from Monday 20th until the following Wednesday week, Deputy Blaney who was the other person alleged to be involved in this conspiracy had not been interviewed by the Taoiseach. He was summoned to his room on the 28th and asked for his resignation, which he declined to give. No further action was taken by the Taoiseach. A fortnight passes and no action taken until two hours after Deputy Liam Cosgrave went to see the Taoiseach last Tuesday night. I do not think that even in a banana republic this dereliction of responsibility could be tolerated. I do not know what the result might have been if Deputy Cosgrave had not gone to the Taoiseach and if the Taoiseach did not learn, as he did, that a tip-off had currently been given to a newspaper. The story was bound to break and only then was decisive action taken by the Taoiseach. This is a bad, sordid story. We have the background now of this appalling suggestion from Deputy Boland that for months before this——

The Taoiseach: Again, that is wrong, Deputy.

Mr. O'Higgins: I am glad to hear it is wrong but I can assure you that I read here before my eyes Deputy Boland saying that under no circumstances would he continue to work in a Government whose leader kept members under Gestapo-type surveillance. He adds that he could not see these events happening in any other democratic country.

The Taoiseach: No mention of a period, either.

Mr. O'Higgins: He says this earlier —that it has been going on for some time. I just cannot find the reference.

Mr. Sherwin: The Deputy is making the story even more irresponsible.

Mr. O'Higgins: I suggest that Deputy Sherwin, who is a political infant, should not intervene; he will only get burned.

[760] Mr. Colley: He is keeping you on the right track.

The Taoiseach: Following the accusation on Monday, I asked for more information on the Tuesday and then I made some inquiries myself.

Mr. O'Higgins: I would suggest that the Taoiseach can give any explanation he likes.

Mr. Sherwin: You are not stating facts.

The Taoiseach: The Deputy is going on a premise that is obviously not right.

Mr. O'Higgins: I am referring here to what I see before my eyes—an interview with Deputy Boland by the Irish Independent interviewer, Mr. Kerry McCarthy and he makes the complaint that he would not continue to serve in a Government whose leader set up this kind of phone-tapping, spying, and so on, on himself and his colleagues.

I say this is a bad story and the more patching that is attempted the worse it gets. There are sitting behind the Taoiseach now groups of his own party who share common ideas, who work together, who are going to fight together, who are going to lobby together. He has Deputy Boland who is endeavouring to set up another party inside the Fianna Fáil Party.

Mr. Crowley: Nonsense.

Mr. O'Higgins: I will say what I have to say because it will come out. I tell Deputy Crowley, who is a member of the three parties inside Fianna Fáil, that is what is happening now.

Mr. P. Belton: Jumping all over the place.

Mr. O'Higgins: There is a new force let loose inside the backrooms of the Fianna Fáil Party. There is jockeying for position by cynical and ambitious men. We had this absurd statement the other night. After a short party meeting, after the indoctrination and all the rest of it, the people were expected [761] to believe that this whole thing was a non-event, it did not happen. Deputy Haughey who was sacked and Deputy Blaney who was sacked and Deputy Boland who left coincidentally—he claims to have been the only Minister who was not pushed—and Deputy Moran who he says was sacked, who did not resign voluntarily, all these now continue to be members of Fianna Fáil, continue to serve because their votes are important to the Taoiseach. What sort of a party is that?

There are serious things happening in this country. One reads on the paper today the heading “Saor Éire in £14,000 raid”. One reads a statement by this illegal organisation that they will continue to carry out whatever operations they regard necessary to requisition the necessary money to arm the people they wish to arm. Bank raids to get money to buy arms, a bank raid in Rathdrum with an entire village cut off by fellows wearing berets and Sam Browne's and carrying guns, fellows who can go in and hold up defenceless bank clerks, bank raids down on the quays of Dublin city where an unarmed, courageous Garda officer is shot down, bank raids in different parts of the country, raids into business houses seeking pay packets—all done in the sacred name of patriotism and nationalism. When one finds, on top of that, either separately or in unison—one does not know—a suggestion that two Cabinet Ministers are also engaged in this hunt for arms and, when one finds behind that, one who resigns coincidentally, or in sympathy with them, making the charge that his leader has a special private secret service of his own to watch what everybody else is attempting to do, then banana republic, how are you! This is bringing the entire affairs of this State into absolute discredit. It is not even as amusing as a Gilbert and Sullivan opera.

Mr. Crowley: The Deputy spends more time at the opera than he does in this House.

Mr. P. Belton: Blaneyite sit down.

Mr. O'Higgins: He is all things to all men.

[762] Mr. Crowley: The Deputy spends more time at the opera and in the courts than he does in this House. He should be ashamed of himself.

Mr. O'Higgins: The last Fianna Fáil Deputy who tried to take me on is no longer a member of the Government. If the Deputy is not careful he will be no longer a member of the Fianna Fáil Party.

This country is facing now a serious economic crisis, a situation in which our balance of payments has grown so wide, so steep and so big that there may be a run on the Irish £. If we cannot instil a belief in our own economy—mark you, we should because it has survived many assaults by Fianna Fáil over the decades—and if we cannot get our people to have confidence in Ireland's ability to pay its way, then we are in very serious trouble indeed. This sordid affair takes place in the middle of a serious economic crisis. I suggest to the Taoiseach that in all decency, out of all consideration for his own high office, the national needs dictate a new mandate to a new Government in this country. Maybe that Government will again be Fianna Fáil. I do not know and I will not make any political prognostication of one kind or another, but I suggest that any man of honour, leading Fianna Fáil in these circumstances, should go to the country saying, if necessary, “Peccavi, I have sinned, or my colleagues have sinned,” saying, if necessary, that this country in these needs, at this moment, requires a confident Dáil and a confident Government to face and resolve the difficulties and the problems of our people.

Our prestige and the prestige of our Government at home, and our standing and prestige abroad, have never been more sacred to the future of our people. Outside this country it is essential, if we are to survive, that the word of an Irish Prime Minister, or the word of an Irish Minister, be accepted as his bond. It is essential outside this country that the strength of the Irish £ cannot be challenged, questioned or endangered. We are facing a very difficult three or four years. The very survival of our people is involved. The very wit of our people to control [763] their own destiny, to provide a way of life for the young people growing up, is in jeopardy and in danger.

We need a Government that will be like Caesar's wife, against whom no reproach can be suggested. We need a Government that is clearly not thinking of other things and talking of other things while plotting and planning other things. We need a Government of honour, of integrity, of men who will serve the people and no one else, of men who will give no service to any private masters other than the people. We need a Government that will have that standing both here at home and abroad. I am sorry to have to say it, but this Government cannot come from this Dáil. There are decent men in Fianna Fáil, very honourable men in Fianna Fáil and I am certain that the vast majority of them are men of distinction and honour and dedication, but they have allowed something rotten to happen. They have allowed a canker to grow which has very nearly destroyed the credit of Fianna Fáil in the country. Maybe it was a hopeless effort to mix two brands and two ideals, to mix the captive republicanism of the past, the kind of captive political thinking of Deputy Boland, which stopped in 1922; maybe it was an impossible task to mix that with the modern mohaired approach of others but, whatever it may be, this mixing of water and wine did not produce a good bottle and the result has been internal stresses in the party.

I have sympathy with the Taoiseach, a man who has been trying to do his best to paper the cracks, but the result is that, in the process, he has been obliged to look at too many places simultaneously and in too many directions at the same time. That will not do for Ireland. There are too many things at hazard and too many things at risk and the need of the moment, the requirement of the country, is a new mandate to a new Government.

Mr. Murphy: One would much prefer to opt out of contributing to this debate and I personally dislike having to stand up here to make a contribution on the subject matter of debate here [764] this morning. We have in this State relatively small population by comparison with other countries, a population of less than three million people; in the severed part of the State there is a population of only 1,250,000 people. We are all Irishmen, whether we live in northern Ireland or southern Ireland, whether we are members of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or the Labour Party and it is the ambition of all of us to advance the nation and improve the standards of our people.

So far as the Labour Party are concerned, we are very, very sorry indeed that such a discussion should take place and none of us here in the Labour Party has any inclination whatsoever to score any political points. I venture to say that the same can be said of the other Opposition party here. We may have differences of opinion and we may occasionally have wrangles here in debates, but something like this is far above and beyond the kind of minor wrangles that might arise in less important debates.

It is deplorable that this position should arise at this moment. It is seldom a discussion on Government wranglings arises in this House. The only previous discussion that bears a slight semblance to the discussion we have today is the discussion that took place on the alleged wranglings of the inter-Party Government who were moving out of existence in 1951. The statement made by the then leader of the Government in this House after listening to that discussion for some time could apply more aptly to this morning's discussion. That statement was: “We have had enough.” This House has had enough of the secret, internal wranglings of the Fianna Fáil Party and Government. It is not we who should be deciding the issue of whether this Government should or should not continue in office by restoring three members to their depleted ranks but the Irish people through the polling boxes.

This debate is more akin to something that could happen in a conspiracy trial in, say, Green Street courthouse rather than the national Parliament. We have some people in the dock charged with serious offences. Is [765] the prosecutor members of the Fine Gael Party or the Labour Party or the Attorney General who usually has the task of prosecuting people who commit misdemeanours? No, in this case the prosecutor is the Taoiseach. He outlined the case for the prosecution last Tuesday night and Thursday morning. He bases his case on the fact that two of the members of the Government, that he, as Taoiseach and head of the Government appointed, and for whom he is responsible, have betrayed him, that they have been guilty of gross deceit so far as he, as Taoiseach, is concerned and that they have allegedly engaged in practices completely adverse to the welfare of this country. I do not want to delay the House by outlining these practices—possibly that is not the most apt term—but it strikes me very forcibly that the alleged offence had its source, as regards the arms supply, in Czechoslovakia.

In the past few weeks we have had reports of criminal proceedings in the British courts against a former member of the Government party there as a result of association with diplomats of the Czechoslovak Government. That man has been found not guilty. I read in the Evening Press, which is recognised as the Government paper and naturally deemed to be more factual in such matters because it would be supposed to have inside information, that the value of the arms, the subject matter of the importation, was £80,000. It told us that the arms were bought in Czechoslovakia, transported overland to Vienna and from there landed at a British airport and were halted there by the British Secret Service.

As this is a point not covered by previous speakers I should like to take up a few minutes of the time of the Dáil on this question. I assume that the Evening Press statement is correct and that the arms were bought in Czechoslovakia. Everybody knows what is happening there at present and that you could not buy a pin without a Government agent breathing down your neck, never mind buy ten tons of arms for £80,000. I assume that no such purchase could be made in Czechoslovakia without the connivance of the Czech Government. Neither [766] could the arms be transported to Vienna without the connivance of the Czechoslovak Government.

What I am getting at should be obvious. I regret in this hour of great danger for this country to have to make these statements but I want the Taoiseach, who has more information than I have, to give the House and the nation in his reply satisfactory answers to my question. What I mentioned earlier I am only elaborating in regard to the case the Taoiseach made as prosecutor. It was he who mentioned that he is satisfied from reports available to him that two of his Ministers were engaged in a criminal conspiracy. Let me digress to say that I have no ill-will against those concerned. I am very sorry that these alleged activities should have been committed by them and that they should be deceitful to their leader. I do not know whether or not the allegations are true. We shall have to come to the case for the defence which has been presented in the front page of the Irish Independent. The Taoiseach should have read this before he came to the House. It is interesting.

The Taoiseach: I have read it but I did not see any reference to the period Deputy O'Higgins mentioned.

Mr. Murphy: I am sorry to see Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey in this situation. I hope I shall not be regarded as boastful when I say that I never hold personal bitterness against anybody, but I am glad that this ill-wind has blown Deputy Boland out of the Government. I am glad there is this small credit side. I am not being personal and not trying to, and would not be associated with a party trying to get political kudos out of this. The Taoiseach and I happen to originate from the same part of the country, not too many miles apart, and although I am not a supporter of the Taoiseach I know the respect in which he is held by the people there, even by those who disagree with his political views. Personally, I have the same respect for the Taoiseach, whether well-founded or otherwise. I am satisfied it is well-founded.

I am perturbed about the Czechoslovakian [767] side of this business because I am against any dealings by any Irish Government with any communist country. We know what happens in communist countries, and there is no need to say what has happened in Czechoslovakia where the arms were supposed to have been purchased. What had Dr. Husak to say last Tuesday or last Wednesday when making a statement in Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia? He said that the Czechoslovakian people were most grateful and most thankful to Russia and the other countries who came to their aid in August, 1968. Does the House think that represented the viewpoint of ten per cent of the people of Czechoslovakia? Is there any danger that we will have people here in Ireland, who do not represent ten per cent or five per cent of the population, setting themselves up as the Government, taking over, and talking as if they had the united support of the people behind them?

Is not that what happens in communist countries? There is no such thing as a debate such as this. There are no elections. There is no freedom of speech. There is no freedom of movement. There is a takeover; the people have to toe the line and be satisfied; and they have to make statements supporting the Government even though there is little or no sincerity in such statements.

I want to get a detailed account of this Evening Press statement. It is one thing that perturbed me more than anything else in this affair. The Taoiseach said the arms were purchased in Vienna but then I read that they were not purchased in Vienna. They were transported by air from Vienna to London, but they were purchased in Czechoslovakia. We read, perhaps not too carefully, during the past three or four weeks, references to some difficulties which arose between members of a Czechoslovakia trade delegation and members of societies in Ireland who are deemed to be friendly with Czechoslovakia. These difficulties occupied the front pages of our national papers for two or three days. At that time I did not attach much importance to them [768] but, at the same time, taking into account what their activities were in the country which adjoins us, and taking into account what has transpired in the past few days, I should like, and I am sure the country would like, full detailed information about them.

That is part of the Taoiseach's case in the role which he has undertaken as prosecutor. In June after the election this House was asked to nominate him as Taoiseach. This House by a majority vote acceded to that request and he was duly nominated. On him only rested then the responsibility for nominating and appointing Ministers. It was on his shoulders. He was the man to pick from his party or from this House the people he deemed to be reliable and trustworthy, people he considered would serve the Government and the Irish nation. We had no say in that other than that as usual, once he had chosen them, we had to walk through the Lobby in a formal way and say: “Look, we do not like you,” but the outcome was quite evident.

A Deputy: What a mistake.

Mr. Tully: The appointments were a mistake.

Mr. Murphy: We opposed the appointments because we felt that some of the team were not too competent. How right we have been proved since, if the prosecutor's claim is correct? We walked through the Lobbies then and the Taoiseach won the vote.

What obligations are now carried by the Taoiseach? Is he not responsible for the activities of his Government and, if he made a mistake in nominating some of them, if they have now deceived him, if they are guilty of the offences of which he claims they are guilty, surely he must resign? Is not that what would happen in Britain? Is not that what would happen in any other democratic Parliament? He may be excused personally. He may make the excuse: “I made a mistake. I did not know that your opposition was in any way well founded. I had complete trust in my Ministers. It was misplaced trust. I made a mistake.” He must pay for his mistakes.

[769] Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Murphy: He must resign. I hate to say that but that is the only conclusion one can come to. The Taoiseach, in his prosecuting case, states that on Monday, 20th April, he first heard of the events which led to the dismissal of the two Ministers. That is only a few weeks ago. Apparently the Taoiseach did not read this morning's newspapers but in The Guardian, a British paper, it is claimed, as was mentioned earlier by Deputy Tully, that the British Secret Service were effective in stopping this arms deal and knew all about it as far back as November last. There is a big difference between November last and Monday, 20th April.

As a result of these resignations Dáil Éireann is faced with a motion to replenish the ranks. What is the case for the defence? What have they to say? We are asked here to replace the Ministers who were dismissed or resigned by other Ministers and, if we accept the statement in the papers today and in the House a half an hour ago by one of those Ministers, what are we being asked to do? I want to quote now from today's Irish Independent in which it is stated:

He repeated again a declaration he had made earlier in the day that he could under no circumstances work in a Government whose leader kept members under Gestapo-type surveillance. “I could not see the events of the last few days happening in any other democratic country. All that was missing was the beautiful blonde spy,” he said.

The Taoiseach is there charged by a man who was in the Government from the first day he came into the Dáil, by a man who has the inside information, which we have not. In regard to Garda Fallon's death there is an implication both in his newspaper interview and the statement he made here today. The former Minister said:

... those working in the “Super-Special Branch” would be much better employed tracking down Garda Fallon's killers than spying on those elected to serve the people of the country. He was convinced [770] that these men had to answer only to the Taoiseach.

The people were informed through the national Press and through the national Parliament by a colleague of the Taoiseach that the Taoiseach was not doing what he should do to arrest the killers of Garda Fallon. If that is not the implication in that statement, I am not able to interpret anything. The Taoiseach heard the former Minister substantiating that statement in the House. The Taoiseach heard him ask whether this was a conspiracy to let people who are guilty of offences roam around the country free from arrest and from detention.

The former Minister's statement is quite clear. His statement is that there is no substance in the charges. We have not had anyone giving us the Taoiseach's point of view, other than himself. We have had no supporting speech from the Government benches with the exception of Deputy Boland's speech. Has the Taoiseach been abandoned in his hour of need? Is he left alone to fight this battle? Can the Minister for External Affairs or the newly-appointed Minister for Industry and Commerce come to his rescue? I have great sympathy for the Taoiseach.

On Wednesday at 11.30 a.m. the Taoiseach came into the House when this whole affair had been exposed. He was followed by three or four Ministers. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was there. Some other Ministers were within the precincts of the House. The Minister for Defence and one or two other Ministers were not here.

It has been said that a system of phone-tapping existed in certain houses owned or occupied by members of the Government. If that is so, it is not unreasonable for me to conclude that that system is operating on a much wider scale. Is it likely that Deputy Corish's phone or Deputy Cosgrave's phone is being tapped? This issue has been raised by a Deputy who has been a Deputy for 30 years. The defence is that there is no truth or substance in the charges preferred by the Taoiseach. It is said that the Taoiseach has been misled by a named member of our Civil Service. This named member of the Civil Service is alleged to be in [771] charge of the super-Special Branch and part of the duty of the super-Special Branch is to tap the telephones of some of our Ministers. Deputy Boland's words are more eloquent than mine. He does not call them the super-Special Branch but “the ministerial watching organisation”. This is a peculiar state of affairs in 1970. It is peculiar that we have this organisation headed by a named civil servant who is a secretary of one of our premier Departments and that he has under him an organisation known to former members of the Government as the ministerial watching organisation and to others as the super-Special Branch.

People are very distressed that the police force are not able to do better in so far as the detection of some of our more serious crimes is concerned. I am casting no reflection on the police force. I am not in any way reflecting on their integrity when I make that statement. I am worried about the implications of the statements which we have had earlier in this House to the effect that the police are being pulled back for some unknown reason. It is hard to understand how criminals can escape with the very limited outlets for escape from justice here in a sparsely-populated country where even in the capital city everybody knows everybody else. It is impossible to escape the law if there is a concerted attempt made to apprehend those who are required. I am making that statement by virtue of what we have heard this morning from the Member in question.

We had an intervention through a radio and press interview from the Tánaiste, Deputy Childers. He made excuses, but one thing he said struck me forcibly and that was that when the Government are in office for a long time they get complacent. Not only did the Fianna Fáil Government get complacent but they have become arrogant and dictatorial and have moved into a position in which they are destroying themselves on their own without any help from the opposite benches. What should the verdict be? The big question the country is asking at the present time is: should the Government continue in office without a fresh mandate [772] from the people? When we here, Members of this House, are expressing our views on this matter and on the need for a general election it is no pleasure for any of us to contemplate an election following this type of upheaval within the party with the main support.

We find no pleasure in that. I am finding no pleasure in it. Neither will I find any pleasure in going around to the church gates in west Cork areas or in moving out to the islands or peninsulas in an endeavour to retain my seat here. We have no alternative. It is not our own security that is in question. The security of the nation is in question. By virute of these major revelations—even alleged association with communist countries—we must have a much wider jury than the limited number of public representatives who have the privilege of being members of this House.

We have this motion for the approval of the nomination of three Deputies as members of the Government. In the light of the present situation, this motion has little significance. I would have nothing to say against Deputy Cronin, Deputy Molloy or Deputy Gerard Collins: they are all men of integrity but the implications of the situation are wider than that. The question is whether the Taoiseach can be allowed by this House to fill his depleted ranks by three Deputies whose names are submitted here; whether he is entitled even to put that kind of motion before this House after having had to tell Dáil Éireann that he had to dismiss three Ministers and has been deserted and abandoned by another Minister.

After what happened here the day before yesterday, and in the light of the amazing disclosures in relation to the activities of some members of his Cabinet the Taoiseach comes here this morning and, in effect, says: “I want this House to give me four Ministers so that I can continue as leader of this this Government and leader of this country”. Even if we were inclined to give that approval, have we the right to do so? Has any party in this House the right to give such approval in view of the appalling situation which has been disclosed to this House and [773] to the people of our country in the past few days? In my view, we have not a right to do so because it has been laid down in this House, in times gone by, that the head of the Government is responsible for the activities of his Ministers. It is a well-established maxim here that there is collective responsibility in the Government—all for one and one for all—and that the Taoiseach is responsible for the activities of his Ministers.

Some members of the Opposition seem to have information from other sources: my only information consists of statements by the Taoiseach and other members of this House as well as what I read in the newspapers. Undoubtedly, a very serious situation exists. Some people, either with State connivance, State funds or funds obtained elsewhere, have moved into a communist State to procure arms. It is reasonable to assume that there was not much bargaining about the price of the arms. If we got arms from Czechoslovakia then, if the Czechoslovak Government is in any way involved as it must be if the story is correct because otherwise it could not happen, it is for a very ulterior motive. It could be a matter of some plotting or planning for the overthrow of democracy in this country.

Deputy Tully quite correctly brought my name and the names of others into this debate. He said that I and others had retained our seats in the Dáil despite persistent and violent allegations and imputations by Fianna Fáil against our integrity, motives and objectives. It was alleged that we were trying to put across a policy alien to the view of Irish people; that we were mixed up in some way or another with people far removed from Irish national traditions. I derive no pleasure from the fact that Fianna Fáil are now hoist with their own petard. I recall insidious rumours about the Labour Party in this country and, in the same breath, mention of priests being tortured, bound in chains, and so on.

I would say that a tremendously high proportion of the 224,000 people who voted for Labour candidates in this country are imbued with the best of Irish traditions in every sense of the [774] expression—national traditions and Christian traditions alike. If I thought there was any danger that the Labour Party would undermine this State—as the State is now said to have been the subject of an attempt by others to undermine it and to overthrow democracy here—I would not be associated with that party for 24 seconds, never mind 24 hours. I had to face such charges. I succeeded and was returned to this House. My colleagues, Senator Eileen Desmond, Patrick McAuliffe, Thomas Kyne, and others, did not succeed. The assault was too violent. Despite the fact that the basis for the assault was absolutely fictitious, absolutely without substance, it happened that, sometimes by the shortest of short heads, we lost some seats. That is why our ranks have been somewhat depleted here after the general election.

There is a big difference between the depletion of the Labour Party's ranks here after the general election and the way in which the Government's ministerial ranks have now been depleted. This question is of such momentous importance that it must be referred to the people. There is no use in the Taoiseach's telling the House and the country that the Ministers in question did not measure up to his requirements; that he is guilty of an error of judgment; that it could happen to anyone. I believe the Constitution is absolutely correct in giving the head of the Government the sole right to nominate the members of his Cabinet and the sole right of dismissal. The nomination of the members of the Government must be approved, of course, by the Dáil.

With an upheaval of the magnitude of the one now before us, I hold that the Taoiseach is not entitled to come to this House to ask the man who made the statement for the defence here this morning, and who, by implication, termed the Taoiseach a liar, to keep him and his changed Government in office. By implication, the Taoiseach was called a liar this morning by one of his ex-Ministers in view of the Taoiseach's statement to this House the day before yesterday that the first time he gained any knowledge [775] that a conspiracy of any kind was afoot was on 20th April, 1970.

The man whom the Taoiseach will ask to support him on these motions is the very man who is reported in today's Irish Independent as saying he believed that for some time members of the Government were of the firm opinion that their telephones were being tapped. Deputy Boland is quoted as having said: “In the case of one Minister this has been definitely established”. The newspaper report also quotes Deputy Boland as saying to the interviewer, Mr. Kerry McCarthy, that:

A Super Special Branch has been secretly set up by the Taoiseach, Mr. Lynch, to spy on Members of the Government.

I am saying to the Taoiseach that surely he cannot continue in office with the support of people who have made such statements. That should be clear to all Irish people. Having listened to all the statements made here in relation to this matter, having read all the comments on the matter and having watched an interview with the Taoiseach on our national television network yesterday, I have come to certain conclusions. I accept that the Taoiseach is a man of integrity. It may be that he is too weak, or that he has too much confidence, or maybe he did not have the ability to detect earlier what was going on within his party. However, he did detect what was happening but what hinders me in expressing my personal view is that if the Taoiseach did detect it earlier, has he made untruthful statements to the House?

The Taoiseach: I cannot see the point the Deputy is making.

Mr. Murphy: The point is that I am questioning the Taoiseach's capacity to lead the Government.

The Taoiseach: The Deputy is entitled to do that.

Mr. Murphy: As I have said, the Taoiseach is a man of integrity who is endeavouring to do the best he can but I am wondering if he had the necessary [776] qualifications to detect the upheaval that was taking place within his party. According to himself, such did not occur to him until he received certain information on Monday, 20th April. Assuming that the Taoiseach's statement is correct and assuming, too, that the statement of the former Minister for Local Government, to the effect that the Taoiseach has under his command a ministerial watching organisation, is correct, the type of assertion that I have in mind to tide us over this major national crisis would not apply. I was thinking that because of the events that could arise in either the northern or the southern part of our country, we should have a national Government of one kind or another. I was of the opinion that if the Taoiseach made such a suggestion, the other parties would not refuse to discuss the position with him and with those Ministers who have shown their faith and confidence in him by remaining in the Government.

Mr. P. Barry: Oh, no.

Mr. Murphy: I am entitled to personal views. This is not a matter which was discussed at any meeting of our party. I do not believe in being hamstrung and neither do I consider it right that any Member of the House should be hamstrung unless there is practically unanimity of opinion, of party support. There should be a certain amount of flexibility in making personal statements.

All of us wish to avoid trouble in this country and everybody would wish for a solution to our problems, both north and south, by peaceful means. We do not wish to see any of our people dying on the roadside as a result of civil war or strife. Neither do we wish to see any political party trying to get kudos out of internal difficulties within the democratically elected Government Party. Instead of nominating the three new Ministers perhaps the Taoiseach should have filled the ranks with two or three members of Fine Gael or Labour.

Who would have imagined even one week ago that we would have this kind of debate here today; who could have imagined the former Minister for Local [777] Government making the statements that he is reported to have made to a press reporter or who could have imagined, one week ago, that he would be the man to put fuel under the remaining Ministers of the Government in an effort to ignite them and blow them up? We have heard from Fianna Fáil about their solidarity but we have also had to listen to a great deal of criticism about little internal wranglings within our own party but we do the best we can to overcome our difficulties and one recent difficulty has been solved quite easily. However, in order to save himself the Taoiseach was forced to burst forth in publicity. I do not know if this debate would be taking place today if it were not for the revelations made to the leader of the Opposition.

I am of the opinion that when information is available to any Member of Parliament, whether he be a leader of a party or otherwise, to the effect that there is danger to the welfare of the State, there is an obligation on that person to pass that information to the head of the Government of the day. None of us likes to be deemed informers but, where the welfare of the Irish State and the Irish people is concerned, that is the course to take.

I said I should like to see a kind of closing of ranks at this stage when we have so much trouble in Northern Ireland. What a fine gesture it would be if we had more close association down south. I do not think that is altogether unattainable. I feel it could be done and, taking into account what is happening up north, it would be advisable to do so. Now we have the Taoiseach telling us that he will continue in office. We have the introduction of this motion today to appoint three of his own party as members of the Government. My answer to that is that he is exceeding his functions. In present circumstances the Taoiseach has no right or authority to ask Dáil Éireann to nominate these three Members.

It may be, as the Tánaiste, Deputy Childers, told us, that this all arises from being too long in office. It could be. I accept that the Tánaiste knows more than I do. He attends meetings of the Cabinet and he knows about this [778] complacency, this disease known as being too long in office. I do not know how one could describe that ailment. I believe the Government should go before the people. I am quite confident that if the Irish people were consulted now they would recommend a very strong prescription for the ailment from which Deputy Childers told us the Government suffer.

Mr. Colley: The Deputy is well inoculated against it.

Mr. Murphy: One need not be a prophet to know the prescription our people would recommend for Fianna Fáil at the moment. What do you think, Sir, it would be? It would be a long rest from office. I suppose this could happen any other party that would be so long in office. Fianna Fáil have been in office for 34 years now. It is possibly an ailment that any party in any country would suffer from after such a lengthy period.

Mr. Colley: No, the Deputy's party have an in-built immunity against it.

Mr. M. O'Leary: The communist parties do not suffer from it.

Mr. Corish: No, nor the Unionist Party.

Mr. Moore: You said the same last year.

Mr. P. Barry: Was he not proved right this year?

Mr. M. O'Leary: You are a pack of Reds.

Dr. O'Donovan: There will be less talk about communists now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. Murphy: The Unionist Party suffer from this ailment at the moment and Fianna Fáil suffer from it. The one thing I disliked, now that you will be moving out of office, was your arrogance. Some members of the Government were, indeed, quite all right. This lack of honour was extending to the Civil Service. It struck me forcibly that some of our civil servants got the [779] idea that Fianna Fáil would be here forever——

Mr. O'Sullivan: It must be an epidemic.

Mr. Murphy: ——and once they were supporters of theirs it did not matter how they did their work; it did not matter how they treated the Opposition. What are they getting paid for?

However, it is superfluous for me to announce what the Irish people would prescribe for the Government at present. They would prescribe for them a very long rest from office which they need urgently. I am not being sarcastic when I say that I should like to have the Taoiseach down, not too many miles from me, resting peacefully in the nice house he has bought and is renovating near Roaring Water Bay. It would be far more pleasant for the Taoiseach to be listening to the roaring of the Roaring Bay waters than listening to the roaring of some of his colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party.

Mr. Ryan: Whatever merit there may be in Deputy Murphy's suggestion that the present national emergency calls for a national Government, no reasonable Irishman could entertain for a moment the suggestion that any Government, either a national Government or a Fianna Fáil Government, should be formed under the Taoiseach.

Mr. Bruton: Hear, hear.

Mr. Ryan: The events of the last week, his protestations of innocence ever since he became Taoiseach, clearly prove that it is no longer possible to believe daylight from the Taoiseach. We now know that he tried to cover up treason. He tried to conceal what he knew was taking place, the putting of arms into the hands of some Irish people for the purpose of murdering their fellow countrymen. He endeavoured to keep from the Irish nation the fact that the institutions of this State were being undermined by Members of an Irish Government and [780] that Members of an Irish Government were endeavouring to build up and maintain an army other than the army authorised by Oireachtas Éireann.

His only reaction in the face of this appalling situation was to remain silent while one, if not two, of the members of his Cabinet had diplomatic illnesses or coincidental accidents. Kremlin colds and feverish attacks of the flu in Moscow have nothing on the farce we have witnessed of the miserable efforts at covering up and providing an escape hatch for members of the Government, who deserved, from the moment that the knowledge of their activities came to the Taoiseach, complete condemnation, expulsion from the Cabinet and being arrested and charged with the most serious offence which can be committed by any man against his own country—the offence of treason. Any man in a position of trust has an obligation to act with speed and decision in an emergency. The Taoiseach holds, under the present——

The Taoiseach: On a point of order the Deputy used the word “treason” and he stated that two Members of the Government were guilty of treason. I want to state that I took action on the grounds that not even the slightest suspicion of the activities I referred to should attach to a member of the Government. I think, Sir, that the Deputy should not be permitted to allege treason against Members of this House or anybody else.

Mr. Ryan: If the Taoiseach prefers it, I will say the Taoiseach failed to act when he received information——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy will appreciate that it is not in order to say that Members of the House are guilty of treason.

Mr. Ryan: Sir, I was about to say that I will amend my remarks by saying that information has been furnished to the Taoiseach which indicates that Members of the House have been guilty of treason.

Dr. Hillery: The Taoiseach never said that.

[781] Mr. Ryan: That is a fair interpretation for any person to put on the information at the disposal of the Taoiseach, the information which he disclosed in this House within the last 48 hours. The Taoiseach had a clear obligation to act with speed. Even if it were only suspicion the matter was too involved and the consequences too terrible to suffer any delay. Instead of acting the Taoiseach allowed two days to pass by before he resolved to question two of his Ministers who had been named to him. He gives as an excuse for not pursuing one of them the fact that he had an accident. He did not pursue the other who had no accident and who continued to represent the Government in this House, who continued to attend Government meetings, who continued to attend his office, who continued to use all the lines and power of communication, knowledge and influence available to him in it without even calling him in and requesting him to absent himself from his office or absent himself from the Dáil. He allowed him to continue for at least nine days after he had reason to believe that he might be associated in some way with treasonable activities. I am in deference to you qualifying my remarks in that way although I will have no hesitation in expressing them elsewhere without any qualification.

The former Minister for Finance was allowed 48 hours after the knowledge came to the Taoiseach to remain Minister for Finance, to prepare his Budget speech and to commit this nation financially and economically to a certain course of action at a time of financial and economic crisis, at a time when the Taoiseach knew that the same man was endeavouring by force of arms, or by association with people who were prepared to use force of arms, to pervert the whole destiny of this country. That clearly indicates, whether it be a coalition Government or a one-party Government, the present Taoiseach is wholly and totally unfit to occupy his present position. Anybody who puts any other interpretation on the events of this week is naive indeed.

I am frankly worried that so many people feel relieved that the Fianna [782] Fáil Party have for the time being found a solution to their current problems. The effect of it is only to make the position ten times worse. It is only about further evidence that Fianna Fáil are concerned, not with the national welfare. If it were they would get rid of a Taoiseach who suffered this situation to exist for so long, either through his inability or through his reluctance to disclose the truth. Any head of a Government is clearly under an obligation to put the national need before party interests. How can anybody believe that the Taoiseach put national need before party interests when he procrastinated for days on end and did nothing of any worth in this matter until he was confronted by Deputy Liam Cosgrave, the Leader of the Opposition? What disturbed the Taoiseach then was not the fact that the leader of the Opposition knew but that there was then the possibility that other people would know. Deputy Cosgrave could have caused a dramatic crisis in this House, could perhaps have drawn the full blaze of glory on himself by revealing it in this House, but in a statesmanlike way he went to the Taoiseach and gave him the information hoping he would take steps to examine whether or not the information given to Deputy Cosgrave was true.

What did he find? He found that the head of the Government knew that all the information Deputy Cosgrave had received was true and was doing nothing about it; that he had not then done anything about it; that he had not then dismissed his Ministers who were suspected of acting in this particular way. This to my mind is criminal negligence on the part of the Taoiseach and far from anyone believing this country can now go forward with any confidence under him it seems to me that the people of this country are now aware they have a Taoiseach who is totally and completely unfit from the point of view of ability and integrity to occupy the position of head of the Government for one moment longer.

Any head of a Government once he is elected to that position should act without fear or favour. Can anybody [783] say that the Taoiseach acted without fear when this information first came to him? He did not act on the 20th April or on the 21st April before any accident or any illness coincidental, diplomatic or otherwise, occurred. He did not even send for those whom last night he called his able, brilliant and dedicated colleagues, to discuss with them in the national interest the information received. He did not do it. Why? He did not do it because he feared them; he feared their wrath; he feared the number of supporters they might have in the Cabinet; he feared the number of supporters they might have in the Fianna Fáil Party; he feared their associates outside; he feared the IRA; he feared other illegal organisations; he feared them all and was hoping that this dreadful thing, this nightmare, would dissolve or that somebody else would find a solution without involving him.

That was a cowardly Taoiseach not fit to occupy the position of Taoiseach for one moment longer once that fear and that cowardice became known to the people. That same Taoiseach was under an obligation to act without favour. What did he do? He showed favour, he showed understanding, he gave consideration, he gave time to the people who were mentioned to him as being involved in this alleged criminal conspiracy. What did he do when ultimately he got over his fears and faced his obligation? He went and discussed it with them and they asked for time to consider their position. The Taoiseach did not say then that the position of the nation comes first, that the position of the Government comes first.

Dr. Hillery: The Deputy is misquoting the Taoiseach. This is most serious.

Mr. Ryan: This is most serious. The Taoiseach said that those people asked for time and he gave it to them.

Dr. Hillery: The Deputy should quote the Dáil record fully.

Mr. Ryan: I am quoting from yesterday's paper. I am sure if it was wrong the Taoiseach, or his minions in the Government Information Bureau, [784] would have taken care to state it was not true. I certainly am prepared to rely on this until it is proved it is wrong. The Official Report is not yet available for Wednesday. I am reading from yesterday's Irish Times in which it stated on the front page, column 5, that having spoken to the two Ministers named each of them denied attempting in any way the importation of arms. It says here: “They asked me for time to consider their positions.”

Dr. Hillery: I am quite satisfied it is the full thing.

Mr. Ryan: Thank you. I can certainly understand with all the things that are being said and because we are only getting pieces of this jigsaw gradually that it is very difficult to follow the thing line by line. I am endeavouring to be careful in what I say and to make my comments measured but it seems to me I would be failing in my obligation if I did not draw attention to those specific things so that the facade or umbrella some people would draw around or put over the Taoiseach will be seen to be wholly unjustified. He has failed entirely under every test you apply to a man holding a responsible position, such as was entrusted to him. Above all, if one is in a position of trust one must never abuse that trust. That trust requires that the interests of the people be served before any personal inclinations or preferences. Clearly, that has not been done.

One wonders why Ministers should have been involved, as apparently they were, in this frightening transaction. One wonders at their recklessness. One could understand that people with a firm conviction that the minority in the North should be armed would take steps to arm them but one would be amazed, as we all are, that Ministers of State should act in this way as apparently we were led to believe two, if not more, Ministers acted. It points to one simple fact which we have asserted here for a long time and which the Taoiseach has repudiated as being without proof; members of Fianna Fáil would do anything if they could get away with it. The view of many of the people who voted the [785] other night for the election of Deputy O'Malley and who may vote today and other days in support of other members of the Cabinet would be that the only sin committed was that they were found out. That is the reality of the situation. The other night they won a Pyrrhic victory and while they may rejoice in keeping their sordid conspiracy intact, it will not conceal the fact that there are no longer any principles or standards worth accepting so far as the Government are concerned.

Gun-running is one of the most lucrative international practices. Profits can be made more quickly from gun-running than from any other traffic and the profits derived from gun-running are as great as those derived from drug-trafficking. However, two things are necessary for gun-running— the capital to buy the guns before profits can be made and the incitement of people to the use of arms so that they will buy the guns.

It is with a terrible sense of alarm that one now appreciates what happened. Last year immediately following the dreadful outburst of violence in the North, a newspaper started circulating in the North particularly in those areas where the minority lived lauding Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney. It perpetually quoted their speeches, many of which were regarded by the Taoiseach as inflammatory and designed to incite. Recently I read a report on gun-running in which it was pointed out that it was not profitable unless you incited people to purchase guns. It now seems it was all part of the master-plan to incite the people of the Bogside, the Falls Road and other areas in the North to seek guns so that the traffic would be profitable. I do not have to mention which member of the Government would have been in a position to furnish the capital to purchase the guns——

Mr. Colley: That is a shocking allegation for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Wait until the full facts are known.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The [786] Deputy knows that charges against Members should not be made.

Mr. Ryan: The Chair will appreciate that I have not named anybody. If the cap fits let it be worn. On one of the documents which has been received regarding this matter mention is made of the name of two Tacateers as being associated with members of the Government. In deference to the rule that we must not mention names in this House, I do not propose to name the persons concerned. The whole story was so wild and incredible that it seemed improbable at first. One of these gentlemen accompanied the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries when he arrived at the House here the other day and he accompanied him brazenly and brashly throughout the House and the precincts of the House. Other members of the Taca organisation were also seen accompanying Deputy Boland and Deputy Haughey was brought to his about-to-be vacated office by another member of Taca.

All of this alarms one particularly when some of the men who were mentioned, and who were in the company of the suspected persons the other day, own ships that cruise in Irish territorial waters. One can fairly ask whether there is any link between this and the trawler that was seen in Dublin Bay on the morning after the murder of Garda Fallon which took two people from a rowboat and sailed away in the grey mists of dawn. Many questions still remain to be asked——

Mr. Colley: This is disgraceful.

Mr. Ryan: ——and a great deal more information requires to be supplied before the full truth of the appalling——

Mr. Colley: If the Deputy has evidence of this he should give it. If he has not, he is not entitled to make such a charge about people outside this House. The Deputy clearly implies——

Mr. Ryan: I have not named anybody. The former Minister for Local Government, Deputy Boland, complained that so far there is no question of the evidence being evaluated in [787] accordance with the ordinary rules of justice. We say let the evidence be evaluated in accordance with the ordinary rules of justice. Let those against whom charges have been made, let those named as being involved in a conspiracy to import arms into this country for goodness knows what purpose, be charged with the offences. Let the evidence be assembled and tested as Deputy Boland wants done in accordance with the ordinary rules of justice. We will abide by the verdict so long as we are satisfied that the law officers are in no way curtailed in the presentation of their evidence and as long as we do not have any further efforts to pervert the course of justice. We would welcome this and all the information which is available to the Taoiseach and to anybody else to be tested by a full inquiry or by the proper weight of investigation of criminal charges. That is the only way it can be done.

May I ask a simple question to which the Taoiseach must give an answer? If an ordinary person was discovered to be involved in a plot to import arms without licence and without payment of customs duty, would it be regarded as an innocent activity? Would an ordinary person be permitted to do this or would he be arraigned before the court? Is it open to anybody to conspire with others to import arms without licence and without payment of customs duty? If not, let those who are known or suspected of being involved in this matter be dealt with in the proper manner.

For a long time we have known and heard of many attempts to pervert the course of justice, to obstruct the Garda, the Army and customs officers in the due execution of their duty. Have we any reason to feel confident that while the present administration remains in power there will be an end to this? Far from it. We have had the appointment this week of a man to the office of Minister for Justice who threatened to take steps to dismiss from the Garda Síochána a mild and harmless garda who was executing his duty.

I have grave reservations about the impartiality or appreciation of principle [788] of some of those who were nominated by the Taoiseach today for new ministerial responsibility. Collective Government responsibility is necessary to rule fairly and efficiently. That responsibility is equal and joint; it lies on everybody as an individual and must be shared by each member of the Government with others. Quite clearly the people who have resigned from or have been dismissed from the Government do not share that feeling, and it would appear to us that the Taoiseach does not accept the obligation of collective responsibility. As far as the Taoiseach is concerned, if any member of his Cabinet is no longer of use to him or is an embarrassment to him he can be disposed of. Ministers are simply disposable bits of the Lynch capsule, just jettisoned into space, discredited and dropped and others substituted as though nothing had happened, as though there were no crisis, no cause for concern; the mighty ship with the pilot Lynch is still on course——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Taoiseach.

Mr. Ryan: ——with Taoiseach Lynch is still on course. This we are told is the situation of calm which should make the country content that all is well, that the Taoiseach is in charge of a ministerial observation post, that Ministers and, I suppose, their associates are being spied upon. We have had and no doubt will continue to have a Government in operation in a kind of James Bond complex with phone tapping, double agents and so forth. The resigned Minister, Deputy Boland, said he objected to the simple and effective ways of gaining control by a number of nameless people, and then he went on to name one of the people whom he considered to be involved.

I believe the overwhelming majority of the people would far prefer to be protected by the members of the Garda Siochána and by our national Army than by any of the people whom Deputy Lynch as Taoiseach had in his Cabinet or indeed any of those who may still remain there. The people need protection. One of the most fundamental reasons for the existence of [789] the State is protection from violence from without and within, and the army that gives us that protection is the Army and the Garda Síochána. This must not be tampered with or interfered with, and there is ample evidence that it has been tampered with and interfered with, and again this is inexcusable.

We are asked to accept apparently that Deputy Haughey, Deputy Boland, Deputy Blaney and Deputy Moran are now without influence, that they are now people who will no longer obstruct the Taoiseach or no longer be in a position to interefere with him and the great Fianna Fáil Party in running this country. That is a foolish claim to make and it would be folly to believe it for one moment. On 18th January last Deputy Kevin Boland was elected honorary secretary of the National Executive of Fianna Fáil and he remains honorary secretary of the party today. On the same date Deputy Neil Blaney was elected honorary treasurer of the National Executive of Fianna Fáil and he still is the honorary treasurer of that party. On 18th January last Deputy Charles J. Haughey was nominated by the Taoiseach as a member of the National Executive of the Fianna Fáil Party and he remains so today. On the same date Deputy Paudge Brennan was elected to the National Executive by the Oireachtas Party.

This morning we heard Deputy Kevin Boland making his apologia and one would have thought that as he was speaking with such condemnation of the Taoiseach and was speaking on a line which was clearly at variance with his stated view of the Fianna Fáil Party, his remarks would have been received without approval by any of his Fianna Fáil colleagues. But when he sat down so many applauded him that it was impossible for us to collect the names or identify them all. Those who gave support by their applause this morning, to the consternation of the Taoiseach, are the newly elected Deputy Sherwin, Deputy Loughnane, Deputy Briscoe, Deputy O'Leary from Kerry and Deputy Power from Kildare. Deputy Crowley applauded until he saw he was being watched; then he [790] copped himself on and folded his arms.

Mr. Colley: The Deputy will realise that Deputy Boland said many things which could well be applauded.

Mr. Ryan: Those Deputies who were supposed to be 100 per cent behind the Taoiseach, who were supposed to be unanimous in the view that the Taoiseach was right, applauded the man who denounced the Taoiseach for what he had done——

Mr. Colley: What did they applaud?

Mr. Ryan: ——who disagreed with the Taoiseach's outlook, who felt that a great deal of wrong had been done. The great united party was divided. True, some of them put their hands in their pockets and did not applaud. However, they are far from united and the disintegration of the party is only about to begin.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Ryan: Could we ask the interrupters in the Fianna Fáil Party to try to measure up to the importance of this occasion? The fortunes of Fianna Fáil or of any other party, Fine Gael or Labour, matter absolutely nothing. The fortunes or reputations of Deputies in this House matter not a whit. What does matter is whether or not we shall have a Government who are united in their determination to execute agreed national policy.

I would again challenge the Taoiseach, as I challenged him the other night, to accept for debate in this House without further delay the Fine Gael motion which says that Dáil Éireann “repudiates the use of force to effect the end of Partition”. That is a perfectly simple request to make and if he dithers or delays one moment longer on that he will continue to be questioned by the nation for his lack of conviction and it will be quite clear that he is, as I said earlier, a coward who is unfit to hold Government office.

Pretended unity is a spurious unity, but in so far as it does exist let us question why. It is conceivable that [791] men of principle in any political party in any Government would be in disagreement with their colleagues. It is possible that even a man of principle would feel that the end justified the means and that he would try to use the powers of Government available to him to achieve those ends. However, any man of principle who had such strong convictions, if dismissed from the Government, would refuse to lend further support to that Government, to the head of that Government or anybody associated with it. Therefore we cannot accept that those who have been dismissed or have been forced to resign are men of principle, for if they were they would not, by their votes or by their silence, be lending support to a policy with which they are or pretend to be in such strong disagreement.

Once again we have proved that self-interest is the only guide of members of the Fianna Fáil Party, the self-interest of those who do not want a general election because the Fianna Fáil Party would suffer considerable losses which would entail the departure of some of the Fianna Fáil members from this House, the self-interest of those suspected of the conspiracy who appreciate that it is only by the preservation of the Government in office that they are immune to prosecution. This sordid self-interest is one of the most despicable reasons behind this spurious facade of unity, not the interest of the nation because the nation's interest requires that the Government would resign from office and particularly that the Taoiseach would resign and resign quickly.

It may well be that some of those still in the Taoiseach's Cabinet, still giving him support, anticipate what the nation anticipates, and that is, that the Taoiseach will not be Taoiseach much longer and therefore they remain within the party or even, like Deputy Boland this morning, they profess allegiance to the party while all their actions are in conflict with their profession because the day will come when again the pack of cards will collapse and there will be more shuffling and bargaining for [792] position. Therefore the sordid bargain is made: it is better to keep your powder dry because the real battle has not yet begun.

The purpose of an Army is to protect a people against external and internal violence and our Army is responsible to all our people through Dáil Éireann. What then must we think of anybody who has attempted to pervert Army officers in the execution of their duty, who has endeavoured to get or persuade members of the Army to act contrary to their oath to serve Oireachtas Éireann and no other group? We must condemn such people. Such people have committed criminal offences. It is quite clear that evidence has been given to the Taoiseach which links certain names with such activities not related alone to the attempted importation of arms from Vienna but related also to training which was given in at least one Army camp to civilians in the use of arms.

Mr. J. Gibbons: That is not true.

Mr. Ryan: It seems that this crisis is so grave that the Taoiseach—the present one or whoever shortly succeeds him—has a clear obligation to take the whole Dáil into his confidence. There is provision in the Constitution for the holding of a secret session of the Dáil in case of national emergency. I believe we are in such a position at the present time——

Mr. Desmond: It is a public session we need.

Mr. Ryan: ——that we are in a state of national emergency and if there is information available which the Taoiseach believes it would not be in the public interest to reveal he can call that secret session. As far as we are concerned, we have no wish to have it discussed in secret. We believe the whole nation would be the better to have the information fully and freely disclosed so that the people might know what they are entitled to know, in whom they can place their trust.

An attack was made this morning by Deputy Boland on a senior civil servant of long standing. He mentioned him by name. It is fair to remark that [793] the man in question loyally served Deputy Boland's father for very many years during an extremely difficult and embarrassing period.

Mr. E. Collins: Shame.

Mr. Ryan: What a terrible thing it now is to hear Deputy Boland making snide remarks and identifying a senior civil servant in this House because of the fact that in continuation of the long and dedicated service he has given to this country he has been obliged in the execution of his duty to name some of Deputy Boland's friends. Thank God that we have such a public servant. Thank God that the commissioner of the Garda Síochána was not prepared to accept a direction to admit arms without customs formalities. Thank God that the Garda Síochána refused to be a party to this until they got clearance at the highest level and thank God that, although efforts were clearly made by members of the Government to keep the knowledge from the Taoiseach, it ultimately reached him and thank God we had Deputy Cosgrave to force the Taoiseach's hand when he was prepared to lie in wait and hope the crisis would pass off.

Mr. Davern: That is not true. Ridiculous.

Mr. P. Belton: Completely true.

Mr. Ryan: This is a matter upon which Deputies wish to speak and I have no wish to detain the House too long but there are a couple of points in what Deputy Boland said this morning that I must take up. I am not going to condemn Deputy Boland for resigning from the Cabinet. He did it for what he considered to be correct reasons, although I cannot see how he can possibly continue to lend his support to a Government with which he is in so much disagreement. But he spoke about trustworthiness involving loyalty and he suggested that whoever gave the information to the Taoiseach and to Deputy Cosgrave had acted wrongly and he said that Deputy Cosgrave's informer was a man with no honour. To whom is the loyalty owed? Is it owed to a political party? Is it owed to [794] a Taoiseach who, having the information, refuses and fails to act in the interests of the people?

It seems to me, Sir, that there are occasions when the normal traditions of preserving secrecy and conducting one's office only in direct relationship to the Government are transcended by the obligations of emergency. This was clearly a case in which any person loyal to the people of Ireland whom he served had an obligation to communicate that information to a quarter which he knew would not be tainted and to a quarter which he felt would live up to the obligation which lay on any person in a position of trust who had such information. That is why Deputy Cosgrave was given that information, because he was known as a man who would use the information, not for personal advantage, not for party advantage, but for the sake of the country. That is why he telephoned the Taoiseach and having got an appointment with him went in confidence. Had he not done so we would still be a Dáil with a Cabinet that was acting disloyally to the Taoiseach and the Taoiseach afraid to do anything about it.

Deputy Boland also spoke about the long delay in bringing the murderers of Garda Fallon to justice and he suggested that this was the Taoiseach endeavouring to keep the pot boiling in order to justify the surveillance of his fellow Ministers. We do not know the truth of this. There has been so much allegation and counter-allegation that the position is becoming more and more bewildering rather than clearer after a couple of days debate, but the Garda are certainly all complaining of the fact that they have not been given the facilities and the scope necessary to bring the murderers of Garda Fallon to justice.

Mr. Bruton: Hear, hear.

Mr. Ryan: This is a situation which is terrifying in the extreme. It is a situation which must be remedied and the Taoiseach and his new Minister for Justice have a fundamental obligation to see to it that all restrictions on the Garda in the pursuit of the criminals involved in that sordid [795] offence, and many others, are brought to justice. We even had the ex-Minister suggesting that the efficiency of the Garda Síochána would have to await the outcome of the implementation of the recommendations of the Conroy Commission and so on. The situation is far too serious to be trimmed to administrative convenience. It is much too serious and all the resources of the country and all the money available must be used to restore order in the affairs of the country and to provide the guardians of our peace with the security they deserve in their highly dangerous task.

Deputy Boland also rejected what he called an attitude that some people in this House had to our overriding obligation to preserve this State. He said our obligation was to remove two States. I had hoped that we had left the thinking in that sentence behind us many years ago. Can any sane person expect that Irish unity can come about other than by building a united country, with this State of ours, which represents 3,000,000 people and covers 26 counties, being bonded and welded to the six north eastern counties? There is no other way of doing it and anybody who speaks as Deputy Boland did, suggesting that the destruction of this State is equal to the destruction of the statelet in northern Ireland and that, only by destroying both, can unity come about, is talking like a madman or a fool. We know that Deputy Boland is no fool and we must, therefore, fear such a man, so long in the Cabinet and, now that he is outside it, still in a position of power in the Fianna Fáil Party, for he is still secretary and he still has his followers in the party whom we heard applaud him this morning after his highly dangerous and emotive speech. Unity will not come until the fears of the Protestant majority in the north are overcome. It is as simple as that. I thought, after last autumn's debate here, that this was accepted by all parties and by all members of all parties but now we know that that is not so. The fears of the Protestant majority in the north are again being exacerbated by Deputy Boland——

[796] Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Ryan: ——who says he had no part in this and he does not believe others had either—all their hands are clean. He protests he had not any part in it, but he believes it would be correct to have arms imported into the north of Ireland by one side, which he supports. But there is no use in giving arms to anybody to play with, for people just do not do that. The purpose of arms is for use against others and there is no point, except the point of mischief, in saying that it is permissive to exacerbate the situation in the north of our island by encouraging, or facilitating, the importation of arms.

It might well be that if any emergency arose and it appeared that the military and police forces in that quarter were unable to afford the necessary protection we would then have to use whatever forces were available to us to preserve life. But that is a totally different thing from supplying people with arms now. If such a situation arose again I believe that what would occur would be that the United Nations, which certainly proved rather unsatisfactory in its attitude last autumn, would be forced by the pace of circumstances to move. One would not wish a tragedy in order to bring about this movement but, nevertheless, the remedies suggested by Deputy Boland and others would only make an appalling situation even more appalling.

The Taoiseach should now, I think, quietly reflect on his own position. He should realise that the stresses and the strains of government are too much for him. He did act all right, slowly, belatedly, with reluctance, and only to avoid the greater shame that would lie on him and the greater disgrace that would arise if, having been made aware of the fact that Deputy Cosgrave knew he was not acting responsibly in the matter, he continued to behave in the way in which he did. The Taoiseach should go and with him should go all the people he selected as his Ministers. He was clearly very wrong in some of the selections he made. Will we need another crisis, a new emergency, to show that there are still people left in the Cabinet who are in disagreement [797] with him? He has transferred the Minister for Defence to Agriculture and Fisheries. One may wonder why. Would you not think that, if Defence were properly conducted and everything was in order there, this was not the time to move the Minister for Defence? But he was moved and there has been mention of his name in association with the affairs that have taken place.

Mr. Colley: This is more of the allegations the Deputy has been making. There is no basis for that allegation.

Mr. Ryan: Deputy Gibbons's name was mentioned.

Mr. Davern: The Deputy is quite scurrilous.

Mr. Colley: Deputy Ryan's name might be mentioned in connection with something, but that would not necessarily mean that Deputy Ryan was involved.

Mr. Ryan: These denials will not be listened to. Three days ago the Taoiseach said he did not know to what Deputy Cosgrave was referring when Deputy Cosgrave asked a mild and simple question: “Can the Taoiseach say if this is the only resignation we can expect?” The Taoiseach did not know. Poor simple Jack! He did not know. What he did not know was that Deputy Cosgrave knew what was going on. He did not know, but he knows now, that Deputy Cosgrave and a Dublin newspaper received Garda Síochána notepaper with the name of Deputy Gibbons on it, associating him with this sordid transaction.

Mr. Gibbons: An anonymous note.

Mr. Ryan: This is the reality of the situation and denials and accusations of scurrility will not dissuade anybody on this side of the House from exposing it. Threats, either verbal or physical, will not dissuade anybody on this side of the House from discharging his duty to the nation.

Mr. Colley: Stop being emotive.

Mr. Ryan: This change has taken place. We regard it as a very wise change, but the fact is that there is [798] reason to believe that the last Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries did not keep his hands out of army affairs, or out of Garda affairs, or out of customs affairs. What guarantee have we that this Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries changed, under suspicion, from the Department of Defence to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will keep his hands and his opinions to himself in future? The minions of the Fianna Fáil Party, who are literally hoping for more heads to roll so that they can get promotion, like some of their colleagues, should hold their silence. The days are numbered—I thank God for it—of corrupt and unprincipled Government in this country.

Mr. S. Browne: We will be here when the Deputy is not here.

Mr. Ryan: We know now that Deputy Browne disagrees with me. He believes that the days of corrupt and unprincipled Government are going to last forever.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. S. Browne: I am telling the Deputy to make the statements outside that he is making here. If he had any principle he would do so. He was being put out of the party a few weeks ago.

Mr. Ryan: The days in which Ministers believe they can do anything they like are also numbered.

Mr. S. Browne: I challenge the Deputy to make outside those cowardly statements that he has been making here for the past half-hour.

Mr. Ryan: Let us hope and pray that they will go before any further damage is done.

Dr. Thornley: I have been in the House slightly less than a year and I have never risen to participate in a debate yet with greater regret than I do now, nor with greater pain. Much of the business of the House is necessary but mundane but moments arise when we have an obligation to the Irish people to recognise the historical importance of certain events and of [799] what we are doing. To me this debate is, without hysteria or exaggeration, perhaps the most important debate that has taken place in Dáil Éireann since the Treaty debates. Deputy Tully opened his remarks by saying that he felt the nation was still suffering from a sense of shock over the events of the past few days. That is perfectly true. I think this House is suffering from a sense of shock and, personally, I am suffering from a sense of shock and pain at what has recently occurred and a sense of outrage which I think is shared by every decent person. I am also suffering from a sense of pain because of some of the things that I, for one, will have to say in my contribution here.

Mr. Harte: I do not wish to interrupt the Deputy but, in view of the fact that Fianna Fáil are in the dock, it is disgraceful that there are so few of them in the House and I ask for a quorum.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is a quorum in the House.

Mr. P. Belton: There is a quorum now.

Mr. S. Browne: Deputy Harte was not here for the last two or three days.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. P. Belton: He was not bringing in arms.

Mr. Davern: He was not representing the people of Donegal at a soccer match.

Mr. Harte: I have been representing my constituency here for many years and not doing like the Deputy's colleagues have been doing.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will Deputies cease interrupting and allow the Deputy in possession to speak?

Dr. Thornley: When I first entered [800] the House I made a personal resolve, as I said before, that I would not indulge in personalities and, on the whole, I have adhered to this. Unfortunately, the nature of this debate is such that it is impossible not to enter into personalities because certain members of the Government have, by their actions, stepped across the boundary which separates private and public life. In so doing they have brought the whole Government and parliamentary process into disrepute.

When we speak of people being in the dock and this sort of thing we must recognise that what is being debated today is not the individual aberrations of two members of the Fianna Fáil Party but a whole style of Government for which everybody sitting on that side of the House must take collective responsibility, a style of Government which has finally found itself out in the most glaring light of publicity it is possible to imagine and in so doing has made the whole nation a mockery in the eyes of international political opinion.

One thing about the—I regret to say it—bogus republicanism, in my opinion, of Deputy Boland is that there is some danger that this sort of republican sentiment may be found in the country and that the people who allegedly have taken part in this extraordinary deal may be represented to the country as brave boys and republicans and so on. We on this side of the House have as long and as honourable a republican tradition as Deputies on the Government side. It was not without considerable reflection and considerable risk to our political positions that we came out in the terrifying days of the late summer and autumn of 1969 and deliberately stated our policy to be the rejection of the use of force. This does not make us O'Connellites, whatever that terminology means in Deputy Boland's history reading. His history reading may be more extensive than mine but I was not aware that to be an admirer of Daniel O'Connell was necessarily a form of political opprobrium to be thrown at one. It does not mean that we are O'Connellites but that we recognise the inexorable fact that the provocation of the use of force in [801] Northern Ireland can only precipitate the kind of bloodbath in which both sides, Unionists and Nationalists, must inevitably suffer. We have the strange, quasi-logic by which Deputy Boland is apparently able to reconcile being a member of a Cabinet which avowedly will not countenance the use of force in the north and, at the same time, he gets up to make in this House what I regard as quite the most outrageous speech I have ever heard in my life, and say that if guns are to be smuggled into the North, if that is what they want, “fine”, “fair dos”; he does not see anything wrong with it. That is a most provocative, dangerous and appalling statement for an ex-Minister to make in the House and particularly appalling when you consider that he is only an ex-Minister of 24 hours duration. Presumably, he held the same views as a member of a collectively responsible Cabinet.

I do not understand this exuberant republicanism which is used on that side of the House to justify this alleged arms deal. We have all been hearing about arms deals for months, long before this one broke. I do not understand this alleged republicanism being put forward to provoke sentiments both south and north of the Border when it is put forward by men who are apparently quite willing to countenance the passage of information to the British police so that young Irishmen can serve, as they are serving at the moment, harsh and onerous prison sentences in Britain. I do not quite reconcile this brand of republicanism, so flaunted here today by Deputy Boland, with the practical actions of the Government in respect of these young men.

Deputy Boland said something to the effect that in the North they face the same situation as we did before 1916. Apart from the fact that this is contrary to his own Government's policy I see two essential differences: first, there is the difference that at least in the 26 County section of Ireland we have a lawful Irish Government and we have here what Deputy Boland himself described as a democratically chosen Constitution which binds Ministers of State to certain [802] obligations towards their colleagues and the country, obligations which in this instance, if the allegations are correct, have been blatantly broken by at least two of them, if not more.

Deputy Boland said that it is not our lives that are in danger. This is true. It is not our lives but the lives of the people in the North. If guns have been or were to be, brought into the North with the concurrence of members or ex-members of the Cabinet, it is those lives that are being put in danger, and the Government cannot claim to speak for those people. They have their own spokesmen who have made quite clear to us that the one thing they do not want in the context of a possibly dangerous summer in Northern Ireland is the importation of arms. We are rendering them no service and doing nothing to satisfy their needs by acting in this way.

With some personal regret I want to take up a line of argument developed to some extent by Deputy Ryan. The ultimate person who must take responsibility for the appalling situation in respect of public morality in which this Parliament now finds itself is the Taoiseach himself.

The House must ask the question: when did the Taoiseach first hear of these rumours of gun-running? Some of the versions circulating in the Press imply that knowledge of this sort of activity goes back months. The Taoiseach has denied this, so far as he is concerned. Accepting his denials—and it is very difficult to accept anything he says now—the fact remains that he admits himself that this information came into his possession on Monday, 20th April. For a further 16 days the two Deputies in question remained members of his administration. For a long period of this time we were debating the Budget and the Taoiseach sat over there, standing in for one of the two now dismissed Ministers. He sat there with an inscrutable mandarin-like expression even when quizzed about possible Cabinet changes by Deputy Cosgrave and, I think, Deputy O'Leary.

How long did he know and why did he make this concealment? I do not know if I am in order in saying this: I [803] regret to say that I regard the silence of the Taoiseach in those 16 days as being, effectively speaking, a deliberate deception of the national Parliament, and a deplorable one. When in England a few years ago the scandal broke over Mr. Profumo—a much smaller scandal if the facts of this case are as the allegations state them—the ultimate thing which broke Mr. Profuma was not his extracurricular aberrations but the fact that he had told lies to the House of Commons. This fact over one indiscretion on his part, which it was never seriously suggested imperilled the safety of the State, drove Mr. Profumo not merely out of office but out of public life and utimately brought down an administration.

The far greater scandal, if the allegations are correct, of the behaviour of two Cabinet Ministers in this instance has resulted only in their retiring to the back benches of the Fianna Fáil Party where they continue to exercise and exert the influence and pressure and strength which we know them to hold throughout the country and they continue to hold, as Deputy Ryan pointed out, the offices in the Government Party which they held before.

I venture to suggest that in any sophisticated and honourable and responsible democracy those men, if the allegations are correct, would be hounded out of public life. No other conclusion is possible. The events of the past few days have reduced the standards of Irish political practice, therefore, to lower than those in Westminster and have reduced them to the standards of a banana republic.

It is all part and parcel of a larger picture of which we had heard rumours. Now these rumours must come again to the surface. We are entitled to cite rumours in this House since we have no firm statement of the facts, no firm assurances in which we can believe. Now the alleged role of the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries in the North over the past 12 months takes on a new light. We must ask ourselves again is this true. The alleged utilisation of Fianna Fáil money in a provocative manner in the North through the intermediacy of a certain [804] journalist, whom I shall not name, now takes on a new relevance and we have to judge these rumours afresh and think about them.

Again, here the Taoiseach stands condemned. It would be a national tragedy if a picture were to emerge from this of a nice, kindly, absentminded Taoiseach who had facts brought to his attention and then behaved with stern, ruthless, moral integrity. I am afraid this really is not good enough. It is not the picture as it really is. The Taoiseach sat there for 16 days, if not longer, knowing that these accusations existed and he produces the feeblest of medical evidence for his failure to interview one of the Ministers concerned and no evidence at all for his failure to interview the other. The same Minister whose life would have been jeopardised by discussions was able to come in and clear out his office papers very rapidly within a short space of time which, I understand from one of my colleagues, would have been medically impossible if the circumstances were as described by the Taoiseach. Can we have any further credibility in what the Taoiseach says to us?

I do not understand the legal terminology of Deputy O'Higgins and Deputy O'Kennedy but, if the allegations are correct, the Taoiseach is an accessory before the fact and must stand and take the blame with everybody else. I hate having to say this but, a few moments ago, when Deputy Ryan was speaking and there were some interruptions on a point of fact, one of the Fianna Fáil Deputies said, as if it concluded the matter: “The Taoiseach told you it is not true.” I am very sorry to have to say that it is no longer good enough to say that the Taoiseach told us, because the Taoiseach has concealed facts in this House and has made conflicting statements in this House at a point when he knew them to be in conflict with the truth. I shall adduce the evidence of that shortly.

In this context, declarations of Fianna Fáil loyalty to the Taoiseach settle nothing. Enthusiastic telegrams from cumainn around the country settle nothing either. The crunch [805] is the Taoiseach's and his colleagues ultimate loyalty to this House and to the constitutional processes which put them here, constitutional processes which, if the allegations are correct, they have outraged. Here is where the buck stops. If there are to be arms in this State this is the place to decide it, not outside. The guilt firmly rests, if the allegations are correct, on the Taoiseach himself who has acted at best in a dilatory, irresponsible manner.

I want to say something about the subject of Cabinet responsibility. I am not very long in practical politics but I know something about political science. The practice of political science in respect of Cabinet responsibility is laid down with absolutely unchallenged clarity in every textbook of politics and in the procedure of every civilised democracy. Turn to Dyce, Bagehot, Jennings or Erskine May and you will find firmly enshrined the principle that action taken by a Cabinet Minister of a major or serious national kind is in effect, action taken by the entire corporate body of his colleagues and they therefore share his responsibility.

The Taoiseach in simply relegating two of these Ministers to the back benches and then endeavouring to proceed, as I have no doubt he will be quite unable to proceed, as if nothing had happened except a little rumble in the intestines of the body politic, is flouting all the conventions of Cabinet responsibility and he compounds his contempt, his arrogant contempt for the decencies of political life, by rising after the event is over, after the sackings have taken place, and referring to the sacked Ministers as able and brilliant and dedicated colleagues. Really, he is trying to have it both ways.

He sacks them, because whatever the allegations are they are evidently strong enough for the Taoiseach to feel that they should not hold office any longer and, having sacked them, he calls them able, brilliant and dedicated colleagues. Dedicated to what, might I ask? Dedicated perhaps to the Fianna Fáil Party as their spurious unanimity shows, but certainly not dedicated to the Constitution of Ireland, certainly [806] not dedicated to the national Parliament, and certainly not dedicated to the normal ethics of public life.

Are we furthermore to believe that these strong men, able men, and one man in particular for whom I have the highest admiration, Deputy Haughey— the House knows I am not being insincere in saying that because I said it in this House before anything like this arose—were led astray in some strange way and that, in a moment of romantic nationalism or bravado or something like that, they put their initials in effect to procedures totally at odds with normal ministerial and Cabinet practice? It is quite incredible, utterly incredible. No serious adult could believe that this was merely an aberration.

It has become quite clear now that what we all suspected on this side of the House over the past 12 months, and further back, was true: that there was an extremely effective junta in the Cabinet which, effectively some people say, ran the Cabinet over the head of the Taoiseach and certainly was so strong a junta that it was able to go behind the back of the Taoiseach and start, if the allegations are correct, organising a private army of its own. This junta is now out of office, but it is not out of Parliament and it is not out of the party. In this context the meeting of the Fianna Fáil Party unanimously pledging loyalty to the Taoiseach and to the party becomes positively sickening.

I understand that Deputy Haughey's statement this morning was, broadly speaking, to the effect that he denied the allegations and pledged unswerving loyalty to the party as the only possible hope for democracy in Ireland. This statement takes on a hideously cynical and selfish light. Loyalty to the party is placed before all eyes. There is no question of generalised loyalty to this House or to the people of Ireland. Even in their departure from the front ranks of public life these former Ministers demonstrated their arrogance. They demonstrated it to the Taoiseach by refusing to tender their resignations until they were forced to do so by the Taoiseach's action under the Constitution. I am reasonably well versed in the history of Irish political practice [807] since 1922 and I do not think a precedent for conduct of that nature exists. There is no precedent of anyone having the sheer neck to say: “I will not give up until I have to.”

Something happened between the morning and the evening of last Wednesday. The heads were counted and it was seen that they had to go. This was a despicable way of demonstrating collective responsibility or loyalty to their leader and to the House. The arrogance was again demonstrated in the fantastic and astounding attack by Deputy Boland this morning on the processes by which the misconduct of these people was discovered. There was an onslaught on the Special Branch and it was implied that the people who had given information to the leader of the Fine Gael Party were by definition dishonest men.

Does Deputy Boland know anything about the traditional impartiality of the Civil Service or about the traditional impartiality of the police? Does Deputy Boland honestly think that it would be more desirable to have a situation in which the Special Branch and the Department of Justice followed me, Deputy O'Higgins, Deputy Corish, or tapped our phones or opened our letters but that members of the Cabinet should enjoy special immunity? Does he think that members of the Cabinet should enjoy unique right of access to facts of public import collected by the police in the discharge of their honourable duty and, having got those facts, have the right to suppress them in the teeth of public interest? This is a despicable view of the impartiality of the administration of this country. This demonstrates the historic importance of what we are talking about today. When we are all dead historians will write about this episode as a case history of abuse of the traditional relationships between the Executive and the Legislature.

Deputy Boland's speech was shot through with funny stories, which were laughed at. I do not think this is a day for funny stories. It is a day of tragedy. Statesmen should be above reproach and should be seen to be [808] above reproach. The projection of a private citizen into public office, so far from rendering him immune from inquiry into his private life, as Deputy Boland seems to argue, renders him all the more subject to inquiry. If I were in the position of holding office, I would fully accept that I had lost privacy rather than gained it and that my actions would be subject not merely to the same scrutiny as other citizens of the State but to even more excessive scrutiny. If the civil servant whom Deputy Boland named in this House acted as Deputy Boland implied he acted, then the House and democracy in Ireland owe him a warm vote of thanks, and owe the Civil Service of this country a warm vote of thanks. At least, he demonstrated that, 48 years after we got our freedom, even if our politicians have not yet learned to have respect for the decencies of public life, the Civil Service have retained that tradition and have rescued us when we needed it.

In speaking as Deputy Boland did and in acting as the Government have acted, a further question mark has been cast on the credibility of the Civil Service. This is to be regretted. Deputy Boland has dragged the name of a senior civil servant into this House and has made an implication about the role the Civil Service should play. It has been implied that the Civil Service should be subservient to Government Ministers. A great disservice has been done to an honourable institution in Ireland.

I do not understand how a Government as ready as this Government have been to utilise the facilities of the Special Branch resent the Special Branch in this instance. I know that if I had behaved as it is alleged Deputy Haughey and Deputy Blaney behaved I would not have been given 16 days in which to make up my mind about what I felt like doing. My door would have been locked when the Special Branch arrived. Does Deputy Boland mean that there should be one law for the ordinary people and another for senior Ministers of State? If these allegations are correct, the proponents of this conspiracy should not even be allowed to take back seats in the House. They belong in prison [809] where I, and any ordinary citizen, would be if we had done the same thing.

The Taoiseach cannot escape this obligation to make facts known. Facts must come out. Facts cannot be suppressed. Deputy Boland said something about the allegations not having been put forward in accordance with the normal rules of evidence. Not long ago an extremely expensive inquiry was instituted in this State into a certain television programme. When it was argued in this House that there was a difference between journalistic standards of truth and legal standards of truth, this point was lost on the then Minister for Justice. In the light of subsequent events all the actions of the then Minister for Justice, including those in relation to that controversy, must now have a large question mark over them.

When this issue arises here, the Government not merely fail to see a distinction between the high standards of morality demanded of politicians and those demanded of the ordinary people, but they inverse it and decide that politicians are entitled to have lower standards. Deputy Boland said this morning that what happened was that the penalty had been: “dismissal from the Government rather than incarceration in a modern Bastille”. What a frivolous way to view the consequences of improper parliamentary action. Dismissal from the Government is not an adequate punishment. It is not adequate in my eyes and will not be adequate in the eyes of the Irish people. A great fog of distrust now hangs over the Government and over the Taoiseach in particular. We must ask whether the Taoiseach is telling the truth when he says there was no other attempt at gun-running except this one. I am sorry to say that I do not believe this was the only attempt which was made. I am sure my views will be vindicated when the whole story is known. It may seem that I should not attack the integrity and credibility of the Taoiseach. That was pointed out to me a while ago. The Taoiseach said in the Dáil on Wednesday night that there had been no suggestion that the Minister for Justice was involved. The Taoiseach repeated that Deputy Ó [810] Moráin's resignation had been tendered on health grounds. His information was from an eminent doctor and was to the effect that the Deputy would have to have some further months of treatment. Deputy Boland, speaking this morning, said that Deputies Blaney, Haughey and Ó Moráin had been dealt with. Somebody is lying. Who? I want to know.

Mr. Colley: There is no conflict between those two statements if you examine them closer.

Dr. Thornley: Really?

Mr. Colley: The Deputy has a preconceived idea. If he would try to get rid of that preconceived idea, and if he would look objectively at the matter, he would find that it presents a different aspect.

Dr. Thornley: I have no preconceived idea. All I have is a pair of ears and a capacity to understand the English language. How a Minister has been dealt with, when his resignation has been accepted on health grounds, I cannot understand, particularly when he was bracketed with two other Ministers who were forcibly ejected from their Cabinet offices——

Mr. Colley: Who is bracketing them —Deputy Boland?

Dr. Thornley: Deputy Boland.

Mr. Donegan: I took a note of what he said here today. He said he was one of the four not overtly pushed out of office. I do not know if the Minister was pushed or not.

Dr. Browne: Does Deputy Colley know what has been going on between those people?

Mr. M. O'Leary: Is Deputy Colley in possession of the full facts? Has he been in possession of the full facts? Is Deputy Colley one of them? That is what he is now implying. Does Deputy Colley know what has been going on? Whose side is Deputy Colley on?

Dr. Browne: Deputy Colley knows whether or not Deputy Moran was in it.

[811] Mr. Colley: The Taoiseach said the information available to him confirmed that Deputy Moran was in no way concerned with or implicated in the allegations made against Deputy Haughey and Deputy Blaney.

Dr. Browne: Who believes the Taoiseach any more? Who believes any of you over there any more?

Mr. Colley: If you do not believe, do not ask.

Dr. Browne: How can we believe anybody over there any more?

Dr. Thornley: The point quite simply is that the Taoiseach places one interpretation on Deputy Moran's resignation while Deputy Boland places a different interpretation on Deputy Moran's resignation. The two interpretations are in direct conflict. One or other gentleman is giving an incorrect version of the circumstances surrounding Deputy Moran's resignation. The credibility of the men on that front bench over there—the Taoiseach included—is so low that one does not know what to believe. Every day we hear correction of statements made yesterday and corrections yesterday of statements made the previous day and, no doubt, there will be corrections tomorrow of statements made today.

If the Minister, Deputy Colley, does not know that this country is seething with rumours of one kind or another he must be a very simple man indeed. If the Minister is not aware of the dense atmosphere of distrust and the misgiving that hang over the country in regard to this whole affair then he is a much simpler man than I would have given him credit for being. These questions must be answered. We must be told where the £80,000 came from. Was it State money? Was it private money? Where did it come from? We have heard mention of one captain in the Army whose involvement was described as “marginal” and who was permitted to resign from the Army. This will have to be investigated. If the enterprise was on the scale which the allegations seem to imply, we are entitled to ask, and to be told, if this was the only Army officer involved. I [812] am not trying to bring the Army into disrepute. The conduct of the Ministers has lowered the morale and reputation of the Army to the point at which they will now be the subject of totally unfair generalisations and suspicions.

I am sorry to have to repeat that the standard of political debate here has been lowered now, in one sharp stroke, by the Government and by the Taoiseach. We must now ask whether the ex-Minister for Finance, Deputy Haughey, really fell off a horse or whether something else happened to him that led to his having to spend some time in hospital. One rumour is that what happened to Deputy Haughey is not unconnected with the events we are debating today. Were other people involved in this enterprise, if it took place? How many people in the Civil Service—if any— were involved? If a coup of this kind was envisaged, you do not bring in £80,000 worth of guns from the continent merely with the help of two Ministers and one Army captain. You do not mount an enterprise of that kind on that kind of strength.

This is a very sad debate and this is a very sad subject. In a way, one could gloat at seeing the Government Party in evident disarray. I shall not do that. Too many people whom I like are involved in this. There is too much dispute involved in the practice of politics in this country for anyone to take pleasure now in the very evident humiliation of political opponents. The history of Fianna Fáil has finally caught up with it and broken it as was prophesied for many years. In the 1930s, Fianna Fáil was an honourable party—a small farmer, working-class party—with an honourable tradition. In later years it has slowly and progressively turned into two parties—(1) a party of the past, of tradition, of a kind of mindless republicanism which does more disservice than service to the Republic and (2) it became a fixing, buck-passing, Mercedes-driving Dublin party. It is a strange coalition. Government Deputies have an aversion to coalition but, by heavens, the Fianna Fáil Party is a coalition, as has amply been demonstrated for the past two [813] days. It has governed very effectively as a coalition party. It has Taca as a backing. It is a fine, ruthless organisation.

When necessary, Fianna Fáil sent Deputy Blaney and Deputy Boland down to the west and elsewhere to try to build up the old tribal hostilities. Inevitably, this attempt to reconcile those two kinds of political practices was doomed to split wide open—and split it did in the most tragic way possible. If, as the former Deputy J. A. Costello used to boast, perhaps with justice, he had done much to take the gun out of Irish politics then it can equally be said that the present Taoiseach, Deputy Jack Lynch, and his colleagues may congratulate themselves on bringing the gun back into Irish politics. It is an achievement for Fianna Fáil to boast about—I do not think. In so doing, they have brought the whole process of democracy into disrepute.

We all know the cynicism which is very often displayed by ordinary members of the public towards politicians who tend to think they are all crooks and “on the make”. People who have been thinking along those lines now have the finest piece of evidence they required in this connection since the inception of this State. In future, it will be very difficult to refute suggestions that other fiddlings are taking place at the top. The entire credibility of ministerial administration has received a severe set-back. The progress of democracy in this country has been set back for 50 years.

The position in this country at the moment is so vital that the matter must be referred to the people. I also think that it is so vital that it must be referred to the courts. The truth must be known, one way or another. Perhaps most tragic of all—since we hope the guns did not arrive—the mask of deceit now hangs over the face of every member of the present administration. It hangs not merely over the faces of the outgoing Ministers but over the faces of those who remain and particularly over that of the Taoiseach himself. People will demand that that deceit be swept away. The conflicting statements in the past two days will not suffice; they are not good enough; they will not be [814] accepted by the people. If this mask of deceit is not stripped away then I think the members of the present Cabinet will have rendered the greatest disservice to Irish democracy since the foundation of our State.

It is a tragic and inevitable conclusion of the election in 1957 of the newly-formed Fianna Fáil Cabinet. Of five of that Cabinet—for all of whom I have a great personal goodwill—one Minister is dead and three are now cast into outer darkness. It is a great reflection on the short-lived nature of gains won by human vanity. It is a great reflection on the impermanence of politics. Above all, it is a reflection upon the soul—or lack of it—of those who have been involved in this regime of government since 1957. If any credibility is to be brought back into Irish politics, the Taoiseach must tell us the truth. But it is too late now because nobody would believe him if he did. The Taoiseach has to go.

Mr. Donegan: My remarks today will be made in full seriousness. If, because of the present crisis, my remarks are of a personal nature and I have to mention personalities, and what they did or failed to do, I am sure the House and Deputies on the Government benches will realise I do so in sadness and with no desire to demean the personality of anybody. As far as the unfortunate people who have been removed from office and their families are concerned, I wish them nothing but good luck in the years ahead. However, politics are a different matter and we are only concerned with the performance of these people as politicians and with the performance of their work for the country within their own political party.

During a crisis such as this, those of us who have been in the House for 15 or 16 years, as I have been, are searching for a theme and we are watching how the crisis is being guided by those who are in a position to guide it, namely, the Fianna Fáil Party. I have been studying the way in which the Taoiseach and his Ministers have behaved, as I have studied the speech of the former Minister for Local Government this morning, and my [815] assessment is that the theme emerging is the continuance in office of Fianna Fáil. The seriousness of the matter that has resulted in so much activity in this House during the past 48 hours has not been dealt with at all. The Taoiseach's theme is to create a situation whereby it will be possible for Fianna Fáil to remain in office. That same theme was evident from the reaction of the Minister for Transport and Power on his leaving the short Fianna Fáil meeting the other evening when he put his hands together and said: “We are going to continue.” May I also quote an ex-Minister, Deputy Paddy Smith who, when he met a Deputy of our party in the corridor, asked him if he wanted to make some money——

An Ceann Comhairle: Details of private conversations should not be introduced into this debate.

Mr. Donegan: I withdraw that but, at any rate, it was evident that the theme was the continuation in office of Fianna Fáil. It is not good enough for any political party at a time of a crisis such as this to have only that aim in view and neither is it good enough that the Taoiseach should aim only at keeping his own party in power.

What has been the instrument on which Fianna Fáil have been playing? Politics are a detailed game and those of us who have been here for some time have, perhaps, better powers of observation than others. The instrument on which Fianna Fáil have been playing is the continuance of the PR job and the deification of Deputy Jack Lynch. Four Ministers have gone but Fianna Fáil continue. Ministers may come and Ministers may go but irrespective of their conduct, Fianna Fáil must continue. That is the theme that has emerged during this crisis.

On television the other evening people heard the Tánaiste say that nobody other than Fianna Fáil could rule Ireland and that democracy could not continue unless Fianna Fáil continued in Office. The reaction to the Tánaiste's statement was quite extraordinary. People were revolted by such [816] a suggestion whereas, perhaps, a month ago they might not have been so revolted. By producing this Big Brother philosophy and by suggesting that there is nobody else to govern but Fianna Fáil under Deputy Lynch, by suggesting that he is a man whose hands are clean in this whole controversy and that those who were wrong are gone is producing a theme that the people of this country will not and should not accept.

There are side issues arising from this crisis. The Fianna Fáil organisation in Donegal have proposed a vote of confidence in the ex-Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. The Howth Fianna Fáil Cumann have proposed a vote of confidence in their senior Deputy. In other words, these gentlemen who stand arraigned, if not condemned, are now being gathered together and the matter is being minimised by as much of the Fianna Fáil organisation as can safely do so without damaging the main theme. This party who have been so careful about their public relations and who have been so successful in their management of votes are continuing in this day of national crisis to attempt to manage votes.

Having put forward my view as to what is the theme emerging at this time I shall now deal with some aspects of the crisis. However, before doing so, perhaps I should refer, as some of my colleagues and some members of the Labour Party have referred, to the reference made last night by the Taoiseach to the able and brilliant people who have gone. One would almost think that the Taoiseach was mourning some departed colleagues who had gone to another world whereas, in fact, he was speaking of the people he had had to sack—people he probably would not have sacked if it had not been that the leader of the Opposition brought him certain information. He brought the information at 8 o'clock in the evening; they were sacked at 10 o'clock on the same evening.

I should like to discuss the position of the gentlemen who have left office. The phrase “the Ministers were dealt with” has been used on a number of [817] occasions during the debate. It is as good a phrase as any but I wish to ask what would have been the position if, instead of two Ministers being accused, two back benchers had been accused. I suggest that if two back benchers had been involved, in order to appease the feeling of horror in the country, there would have been only one course open to the Taoiseach and that would have been to remove the Whips from the back benchers. During my early years here I witnessed the removal of the Whips from two Fianna Fáil back benchers. One of those was afterwards re-elected. They are both dead now. However, the Whips have not been removed from Deputies Blaney and Haughey and when we vote at the end of this debate it is almost certain that Deputy Blaney and the resigned Minister, Deputy Boland as well as Deputy Haughey, if his health allows him to do so, will walk through, not as independent members but as members of Fianna Fáil to vote against us.

I suggest that that indicates there is no change and that what has been said here is true. I suggest that whatever influence remains in respect of these two Deputies will be used within the Fianna Fáil Party to sway Fianna Fáil opinion, policy and decisions. These are the gentlemen who are accused of importing arms for use against Northern Ireland with forces in Northern Ireland or with others.

The Fianna Fáil National Executive was elected on the 18th January, 1970. The honorary secretary is Deputy Kevin Boland. I understand he remains the honorary secretary. The honorary treasurer is Deputy Neil Blaney. I understand he remains the honorary treasurer. Nominated by the Taoiseach to the National Executive is Deputy C. J. Haughey. I understand he remains, nominated by the Taoiseach, on the National Executive of Fianna Fáil. The man whom nobody talks about—and again all personal goodwill to him but this is politics—Deputy Paudge Brennan, was elected to that executive by the Oireachtas Party of Fianna Fáil and I understand remains a member of that executive.

Fianna Fáil cannot have it both ways. Either these gentlemen stand [818] accused or they do not. One of them today issued a statement, which has been broadcast, to say that he is not guilty. Time will tell. He can take steps when his health improves. Again, personally I have nothing against any of them, but if the Taoiseach saw fit to take the extremely serious course of removing his two most senior Ministers from office because of a certain action, it is not good enough for the people that they remain members of the Oireachtas Party of Fianna Fáil, that they work under the Fianna Fáil Whip and that, as well as working under the Fianna Fáil Whip, they remain, in their positions of power in the moulding of policy, as members and officers of the Fianna Fáil National Executive. That is just not good enough.

I mentioned the great skill of the Fianna Fáil Party in manipulating votes. I have said that it is quite improper and a sign that they put party before country that in this crisis Fianna Fáil have been seriously manipulating votes. Let us face it: there is not a majority but a sizeable number of people in this country who do not assess the details of the situation, the seriousness of it and who would say that we should march on the north tomorrow. This is a mistaken view. Everybody who has studied the position knows it is quite impractical, that it would be improper in any case and that Fianna Fáil policy, as stated, Fine Gael policy as stated, Labour Party policy as stated, namely that the re-unification of our country must come by peaceful means, is the correct policy. However, Fianna Fáil have never ceased to garner the harvest of votes that can be garnered by a section of their party, if not deliberately certainly, in the words of Deputy Boland, overtly, courting those people who would prefer to have a physical move towards the North of Ireland for their votes.

I do not like to tell anecdotes but I remember the funerals of those two young men, South and O'Hanlon, who participated in a raid on Rossleigh Barracks during the time of the inter-party Government and who were shot in that raid. I was, at that time, a young Deputy and a member of Louth County Council.

[819] On the day the funerals of those two young misguided men—for whom and for whose families I had the greatest sympathy—arrived in Dundalk a county council meeting was being held. A proposal was made that standing orders be suspended and that a vote of sympathy be passed with the relatives of the two young men. I felt, in honour, that I had to disagree with the vote of sympathy. My reason for so doing was that if two young men had been killed in a car accident outside the county council office on that morning there would not have been a vote of sympathy and that if I acceded to the proposal to pass a vote of sympathy I was, with my fellows, encouraging two other young men to go up and do the same thing and get shot. That in conscience and in all honesty, I could not do and I did not do it. The 25 other members, or whatever number of them were present, acceded to the vote of sympathy and I sat where I was. I paid the penalty for my action four months later by not being re-elected to this House. I am proud of it because I felt that I could not do that, that I would be sending up other young men to get shot. I will never do that at any cost, even at the cost of a seat in this House.

When those two young men were buried, one of them in Limerick—and I have the file—there were 11 Fianna Fáil TDs at the funeral. It is easy to say: “What does that matter?” I am talking about the garnering of votes, about the playing of the political fiddle, about the fact that the Taoiseach saw fit, while dismissing two senior Ministers, to describe them as able and brilliant men. I am talking about the fact that the Fianna Fáil Party think they can get away with dismissing their two senior Ministers and leaving them in the House under the umbrella of the Fianna Fáil Whip. It just cannot be done. The two things do not go side by side. One is utterly contradictory to the other. This must be laid before the eyes of the people. It is a complete prostitution of all this House stands for. It is a complete prostitution of all that those—both from the Fianna Fáil side and this side, and many of whose relations are here—who died for the independence [820] of the country stood for. We cannot go on like this. We must have our political discussions and disagreements here on economic matters, employment, industry, agriculture, foreign policy and everything else but we must not try to get votes by any means, otherwise this Parliament will dissolve and there will be the anarchy towards which there is a danger of the State heading. We do not want to mix up these things and please God they are not mixed up.

A man was shot yesterday in a raid in which £15,000 was stolen and a body which says that it wants to take the north by force has claimed responsibility for that this morning. I do not want to talk about the bank raids. All I hope and pray is that there is no connection or correlation between the incident that has resulted in the dismissal of two Ministers of Government and the disappearance of two others and these bank raids. We live in times when we do not know how much arms there are in this country. How far I am going on that is just simply a question of how far I feel I can go and be responsible.

The Taoiseach said that he had ensured, the first day he heard of this sad and sorry affair, that adequate steps were taken to see that there were no further arms importations and that this was the only consignment. I am assured by Deputy Pa O'Donnell that along the north-eastern coast every Irish trawler that enters territorial waters is searched when it comes to port. I know that those trawlers that have been leaving the ports near where I live—Clogher Head and Skerries— have been under some degree of Garda surveillance. The gardaí have been interested in what time they were leaving port and in what time they were coming back. I happen to be interested in the sea. I sail. I have left the Isle of Man after Mass on a Sunday morning and had a bottle of beer in Carlingford that evening. When I arrived I put up a yellow flag, which means “customs come along”, on the boat but nobody came near me.

Our coasts are not adequately manned by customs and by gardaí. We are talking now about closing garda [821] stations all over the place. I know we probably could not afford to man them and probably we had no reason to man them up to now. I suggest that a small coaster or trawler could bring in this consignment of arms, a lorry could be waiting for it and it could be loaded and away before the gardaí in the nearest Garda station would know anything about it. There are at least ten points between Greenore and Dublin where this could happen and I know every one of them. I am sure Deputy Harte, Deputy Cunningham, Deputy Blaney or any other Deputy who knows the area, even perhaps if they never put a foot in a boat, could tell the House that there are at least ten or 20 such places where arms could be brought in.

It is quite ridiculous for the Taoiseach to say blandly that there was no other importation of arms. The truth is that he does not know. I do not know. Nobody knows except somebody who actually saw them coming in. Let us have regard to history. Let us think of the Asgard. It went into Howth in troubled times and unloaded quite a considerable quantity of arms. At the moment she is on a cruise of Ireland with a complement of young boys. The Rev. Ian Paisley brought home as a sort of souvenir the Clyde Valley. It came in with cargoes of arms. During the recent cement strike coasters with cement were brought into small disused ports in the west of Ireland. In one incident cement strikers fell out and stopped unloading the cement. However, cargoes of 500 to 700 tons of cement arrived and were loaded on to lorries. They vanished into the country and that is all there was about it.

Whom does the Taoiseach think he is codding? If he does not know those things himself because, perhaps, he may not be interested in or have any experience of maritime matters, he had many advisers to tell him, including an ex-Minister who was in charge of Fisheries as well as Agriculture. To emphasise what I have been saying and to show that I am not telling a fairy tale, I would refer the House to a report in the Irish Independent three or four weeks ago concerning the sighting of a trawler with a white paint mark along [822] its waterline which was made at four or five o'clock one morning in the vicinity of Clontarf. Two men in a boat rowed over to the trawler and vanished inside it. That morning all the trawlers in Howth were searched from stem to stern. I do not know what the trawler was doing. I hope it did not acommodate two of the murderers of Garda Fallon. I do not know whether the trawler had taken arms aboard at some other point. All I know is that so far nobody has denied that a trawler was in that position that morning and nobody has denied that two men went out in a row boat to it but every trawler in Howth was searched that morning.

Nobody seems to know the value or weight of the consignment that is freely talked about in the House. It was worth £80,000 and its weight was five tons. A trawler could carry 20, 30 or 40 tons. Therefore, let us put the matter into perspective. We do not know whether or not there are large quantities of arms in this country. The Taoiseach sat on this matter for 16 days.

I should now like to discuss whether or not the Taoiseach acted properly in this matter. The Fianna Fáil Party, through the simplicity of the Taoiseach have endeavoured to re-install themselves in office. I now want to deal with the Taoiseach's behaviour in the matter. He informed the House—I took detailed notes of this—that on the 22nd April he became aware of the incident. He did not inform the country. He decided he would have an interview on the 22nd April with Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey but then Deputy Haughey had an unfortunate accident and, in fact, the Taoiseach had to read the Budget speech for him.

This meant that the Taoiseach knew prior to the Budget that there was an attempt to import arms yet he was quite prepared to allow Deputy Haughey to read the Budget speech. He hoped, as I said, to interview them on the 22nd but Deputy Haughey was unfit for interview. Eventually on the 29th the Taoiseach was allowed by Deputy Haughey's doctor to have a short interview with him. In the meantime he did not interview Deputy Blaney. In the meantime ten trawlers, which are far more dangerous in this [823] regard than aircraft, could have called at any of ten points on our coastline, lorries could have been waiting and those lorries could have vanished into the hinterland.

This is the man who holds himself out to be the paragon of all virtues. On the 29th April he had his interviews and both men denied the charge and asked for time to consider their positions. The Taoiseach continued his investigations but he still did not inform the country and the country still did not know what was happening. He then decided to approach them again. When did he decide to do so? I do not want to depart from a most serious matter to make a facetious comparison but I would draw a parallel as far as Parliament is concerned. A former member of the British House of Commons, Mr. Profumo, was not dismissed from the British Government because of certain activities. He was dismissed because he told a lie to Parliament. If I were to ascribe a lie now to the soon to be Minister for Finance, the present Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Ceann Comhairle would quite properly call me to order. If I did not withdraw this, I would have to withdraw from the House. That would be proper procedure. I would be quite wrong if I did that. I would be quite entitled to say that he was in error and to say what he said was untrue. Therefore, I regard the question put on the 5th May, last Tuesday, as of paramount importance, when the Taoiseach made the statement that Deputy Michael Moran had resigned as Minister for Justice. At the time Deputy Cosgrave was in full command of the facts in relation to a far more serious matter. I want to quote from column 519 of the Official Report of last Tuesday, vol. 246, No. 4:

Mr. Cosgrave: Can the Taoiseach say if this is the only ministerial resignation we can expect?

The Taoiseach: I do not know what the Deputy is referring to.

Does anybody realise the seriousness of that reply? Yet, in subsequent debates the Taoiseach quite clearly tells us that he knew about it for three [824] weeks beforehand. In my opinion, this is a grave abuse of parliamentary privilege and an abuse of this House for which anybody else would have to answer to the Committee of Procedure and Privileges. However, the Taoiseach must be made answer to the Irish people and to nobody else. I may not ascribe the accusation that the Taoiseach was acting in a certain way because I must comply with an order of this House. Deputy Cosgrave continued: “Is it only the tip of the iceberg?” to which the Taoiseach replied: “Would the Deputy like to enlarge on what he has in mind?” At this stage Deputy L'Estrange interjected, there were interruptions and then Deputy Cosgrave said: “The Taoiseach can deal with the situation.” The Taoiseach replied: “I can assure the Deputy I am in complete control of whatever situation might arise,” to which Deputy Cosgrave replied: “But smiles are very noticeable by their absence.”

I discussed this matter with certain people. I considered this was perhaps one of the most serious factors in this whole affair—that the Taoiseach was prepared to come in here and answer a Deputy in what I cannot describe other than as an extraordinary and impossible way. There are two lines of thought on this: one, that the standard of our parliamentary institutions has so deteriorated that such an answer, given in the circumstances, was of little moment and, the second, that the Taoiseach must resign. I hope that the second suggestion will be followed so that our parliamentary institutions can be preserved as they are the only bulwark between this nation and anarchy. I know that if it were Deputy Cosgrave or Deputy Corish who were involved they would be hounded to the last ditch to leave public life forever. Yet, the man concerned is the person to whom we have applied the sobriquet “Honest Jack”.

I want to deal with the situation which has been developing in the past months. At the last Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis there was a line of thought that the time had come for active participation in the troubles and affairs of Northern Ireland. However, the majority prevailed and the policy I have [825] already mentioned, that reunification of our country must not come by force, was reaffirmed. The other side of the argument was also ventilated and the results we can see now. We then had the famous speech by the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Deputy Blaney, in the Golden Grill Restaurant in Letterkenny and the Taoiseach had to refute the statements made by the Deputy and to state that they were not Fianna Fáil policy. We now find that Deputy Blaney acted absolutely contrary to Fianna Fáil policy— not in words, which is one thing, but in deeds, which is quite another. He has placed himself in a position where perhaps there may be criminal proceedings against him.

During that period Deputy Boland was saying the same kind of thing. I do not want to deal with rumours or secrets but there was a rumour circulating at the time of the troubles in Northern Ireland that the former Minister for Local Government walked out of a Cabinet meeting and it took until the following morning to ensure that he did not resign. The Deputy wanted our ill-armed Army to march on the North of Ireland. I do not want to be facetious about the matter but these are things I would describe as “Living with Lynch”. I do not think it has been very difficult for most people on the opposite side to do just that but I wonder how much more has poor Deputy Lynch lived with? However, in so doing I want to say that sympathy is out. So far as Deputy Lynch is concerned both the sympathy and the “Honest Jack” philosophy are out on this occasion.

The situation is quite simple. We must have a Taoiseach fit to lead the Irish people. If the Taoiseach is not prepared to discipline his own party, is prepared to vacillate in his description of events to this House to the stage where his credibility is no longer something of which we can be certain, then for the sake of the nation he must go. Just as he described the situation in relation to his two senior Ministers, that if there was any suspicion at all of their being involved in such an affair they must go, so too if there is any credibility gap so far as the Taoiseach is concerned he [826] must go. The attempt by Fianna Fáil to manipulate votes by using his name is something that the Irish people cannot be allowed to buy. As Deputy Thornley said, collective responsibility is one of the first tenets of the operation of a democracy.

The Taoiseach is responsible. If it transpires at the conclusion of this debate on this sad and sorry affair that the Taoiseach came into this House and provided an incorrect description of what occurred, then his political head must roll. The former Minister for Finance sent a message to the Press and radio this morning and said he felt it was better for Ireland that Fianna Fáil should be preserved intact than that his political career should be put first. It is better for the people of Ireland that the Taoiseach and his party should vanish forever rather than that they put their party first and the country second. There is something sinister in the fact that the Tánaiste can say on television that there is nobody else fit to govern Ireland and that the sacked Minister for Finance can give his message to the Press and radio that so far as he is concerned the first priority is his party. This is not a time for party politics.

We had a speech this morning from Deputy Boland in which he said that he had resigned because he would not have our secret service tapping his phone or investigating his comings and goings. It seems an extraordinary thing and much more than a mere coincidence that Deputy Boland is one of the people who for the last year have been making the inflammatory speeches. In fact what would have been said was that when this plot was uncovered it was extremely odd that Deputy Boland was not one of the people involved. When he says he resigned for this reason I wonder does he really mean it. Did he resign because he agrees with the suggestion that arms should be passed through here to people in North of Ireland? He said, as has been said here after he spoke, that our job was not to get rid of one State but to get rid of two. A man who was a Minister of the Government up to a few hours ago has now said what the wild and [827] woolly side of the Fianna Fáil Party have been saying at local cumainn— and he was applauded for it—that it was our job not to get rid of one State but to get rid of two. He wants to get rid of this one, too, and to unify the country.

He mentioned the name of a civil servant and he withdrew it and therefore I must not use it. However, if a civil servant, particularly in the Department of Justice, feels it necessary to acquaint the President or acquaint other serious-minded people who serve the State, of certain happenings, then he must do it. For that this man was named and attacked by Deputy Boland. There were some things Deputy Boland said with which I agree and I certainly admire his frankness, but I want to know when you read his speech will you agree with me this was the speech of a man who believes in physical force, that this was also the speech of a man who, if he could, would march on the Border? Any party who hold that man within their ranks, give him the party Whip and keep him in the position of honorary secretary of their national executive——

Mr. Allen: What about the Deputy himself?

Mr. Donegan: I shall deal with that. I am extremely glad——

An Ceann Comhairle: Will the Deputy cease interrupting?

Mr. Donegan: I am extremely glad Deputy Lorcan Allen mentioned something for which I suffered and rightly so. I intend now, with your permission, to explain this matter to the House. I was returning from shooting snipe and a group of people, who were not itinerants, were parked in a certain place. A few hundred yards away from it I was foolish enough to fire up in the air. Deputies may laugh, but I think I have the right to explain myself. This has hurt me very much. I have been punished for it and rightly so. I deserved to be punished.

Mr. Desmond: And in the courts of law.

[828] Mr. Donegan: And in the courts of law. I do not intend to mention names here because I will not abuse privilege in relation to the people who were camped in that particular place. All I can say is that I was taken; the press was sent for first and then the gardaí were sent for. I was brought to court. I pleaded guilty of intimidation. I was fined £20, and properly so. I deserved it. I wonder what will happen the Fianna Fáil fellows? Are you silent now? Will they go to court?

Mr. Allen: The Deputy was cornered.

Mr. L'Estrange: The Taoiseach was cornered the other night.

Mr. Donegan: A personal matter has been raised here and I am glad of the opportunity of saying this again. I deserved what I got and probably more. I was foolish and stupid. I accepted what I got. What I want to know is, will the Fianna Fáil people be charged? Will there be an investigation into their activities? Will they be charged with treason or conspiracy? Two of them were sacked, and the Attorney General should be sacked along with them. If he wants from me the name of the person involved in a drunken driving charge that went up four times from the superintendent's office, and was sent back four times because he was a Tacateer, with instructions not to proceed, I will give it to him. He is a rogue and should be sacked along with the other two.

Mr. L'Estrange: He is only one of hundreds.

Mr. Donegan: And if anybody on the other side wants to come again I will take another one and I will send the file to the Taoiseach, so Deputies opposite should keep their mouths shut. I repeat my invitation to the Attorney General; he will get the name from me. He should be sacked along with the two who were sacked. That is what is wrong with this country. Fianna Fáil have created a situation in which there is no law or order, in which anybody can fix anything as long as he is in Fianna Fáil.

[829] Mr. L'Estrange: And get away with it.

Mr. Donegan: Yes. I now intend to proceed with my analysis of Deputy Boland's speech this morning. He said he was only one of the four—and I took a careful note—not overtly pushed out of Government. That indicates that Deputy Moran, Deputy Paudge Brennan, Deputy Charles Haughey and Deputy Neil Blaney were pushed out of Government. That is in direct contradiction to what the Taoiseach said. The Taoiseach went to great pains the other day to say that Deputy Moran was not guilty, that Deputy Moran had resigned for health reasons and health reasons only, that he had accepted his resignation for health reasons, but the former Minister for Local Government, who at the time of Deputy Moran's departure was a Minister of the Government and resigned himself half-an-hour later, says that is not so, that Deputy Moran was pushed out of Government.

Deputy Boland having expressed a complete denial of the statement of his leader will serve under the umbrella of the Fianna Fáil Whip and as honorary secretary of the Fianna Fáil National Executive. He also dealt with the question of the Special Branch, tapping of phones, following of Ministers of State to see where they were going. He said he was not prepared to work under that sort of administration. Then he said, of course, it was an effective method of maintaining control, and he repeated the words—an effective method of maintaining control. In other words, all we heard over the last year about the attempts in the Fianna Fáil Party to overthrow the Taoiseach is correct. In fact, in the end, when they had gone so far as to be verging on treason and conspiracy, he was in a position in which he had to “bug” their phones and put Special Branch detectives following them to find out what they were doing.

This is the party now playing the theme that they must be preserved in office. This is the party gathering around “Jack” on the grounds that he is not a sinful man and they can continue in office with Deputy Jack Lynch as leader. I remember the proposed [830] Minister for Industry and Commerce meeting me one day outside in the corridor. He said: “Paddy, you used to be quite a nice, decent fellow. Why have you got so difficult and sore?” I said: “I have got to do it. I have got to hit Jack Lynch. I do not like doing it, but I have to.”

For five years I have been indicating to the House that the Taoiseach is not all he is cracked up to be. In fact, the sobriquet given to him, “Honest Jack”, is not correct because he allowed things to happen within his Cabinet which should not have happened and he was not, through his Ministers, acting in an honest way. What I have to say now hurts me as much as it may hurt others. I hope Deputy Haughey, Deputy Blaney, the Taoiseach and other members of the Fianna Fáil Party with whom I have associated over the last 16 years will have a happy life and a nice time with their families and in their homes and I hope they will have the good health to enjoy that. I am sincere in that. But we are talking now of political things and the issue is simple.

The Country cannot go on with Fianna Fáil in office. If Fianna Fáil ride this one out, if the sinners are gone, if the sheep have been separated from the goats, then we have nothing left but sheep. The question is should Deputy Jack Lynch continue for four years and then win another election, with his open invitation to every Minister to do what he likes. The only way this country can be preserved is by a full investigation into this whole affair, by those who are guilty being punished and by the resignation ultimately of the Taoiseach who must take unto himself inevitably, under our parliamentary institutions, all the sins of those whom he had to sack.

Dr. O'Connell: In this present situation those of us who make statements should be very careful to ensure that those statements are responsible statements. It must be obvious to everyone that what is happening here now and what has happened in the last few days is being watched with extreme interest both by people in the north and by people in Britain. We must, [831] therefore, have a very responsible approach to this matter.

I have heard statements about arms coming in at every port. I am honestly very worried and I would like a statement on that and an assurance that this is not happening. What I am afraid of is that extremists in the north may use this as propaganda. I appeal to members of this House to be very careful about the statements they make about arms being imported into this country. I should like to dissociate myself from such statements and I trust others will act responsibly in this matter. We have no intention whatsoever of using force against Northern Ireland. This House, and this House only, will decide otherwise. It is very disquieting to hear rumours all over the place about a military junta and about arms coming in everywhere. It is more disquieting to ordinary people who have been profoundly shocked by the developments over the last few days.

I am disappointed in the Taoiseach. I question whether he has told us the truth. He says he received the information on 20th April. I am puzzled that no one has so far pointed to the fact that he did not make a statement before Budget day. He got the information on 20th April. He had an obligation to the nation to contact these two Ministers on that day and get a statement from them as to whether or not it was true. He let it go to the 21st and, from what I hear, he did not question the two Ministers on 21st April either. We had some mysterious news about the Minister for Finance having had an accident. We hear rumours that he was assaulted by members of an illegal organisation. These rumours should not be allowed to pervade this House or the country.

I am disappointed in the Taoiseach because he did not act rapidly enough, in my opinion, on news of such seriousness. I have the feeling that he placed party politics above the affairs of the nation. He has not been strictly truthful or honest with this House. In Britain a Member of Parliament told a lie and his dismissal followed. The Profumo affair rocked Britain and [832] brought about the downfall of the Conservative Government. That downfall came because a Member of Parliament told a lie. It was not due to anything else. It was due to the fact that he told a lie in the House of Commons, a very serious matter when one remembers that we accept the word of a Minister; we believe he is telling the truth. The Taoiseach's statement that the Minister for Justice was not connected with this affair at all, followed by the statement of Deputy Boland and his implication this morning that three Ministers were pushed, casts a grave reflection on the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach has not told the truth.

Mr. L'Estrange: Hear, hear.

Dr. O'Connell: The Taoiseach said the Minister for Justice was ill and that the death of Garda Fallon had contributed to his illness. I saw the Minister for Justice here with his political antics. I am shocked that he received such widespread publicity and acclaim from the Press for his antics here. I indict the Press for paying such a tribute to his political antics here in what is described as the “Maggot Durcan” affair. I was shocked that a Minister should carry on as he did on that occasion. It should have been evident to the Taoiseach at the time that he was not a man fit to hold office. I am shocked also that a Minister for Finance, who should have been suspended from office last year for dealings in land which to say the least of it were not befitting a Minister, should have been allowed to continue in office. I am shocked that the Taoiseach did not take action then.

I do not know how Deputy Boland left. Long ago, I felt the Taoiseach should have taken action in the case of Deputy Boland. I brought his behaviour last year when he made an unprovoked attack, a physical assault on certain people, to the notice of the Taoiseach and I was surprised that he did not take action. When the behaviour of Ministers led to the danger of civil war in our country I am very surprised the Taoiseach did not act rapidly on April 20th. He says that the [833] accident occurred on April 22nd and that he was unable to interview the Minister for Finance. I can readily understand that in the week from the 22nd to the 29th April the Taoiseach could not interview Deputy Haughey. But what the Taoiseach has not said or satisfactorily explained is why he did not interview Deputy Blaney in that week. He has kept silent on this matter. Yet the facts before him were such as to associate those two men with illegal arms importation. He left the then Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries alone for one week.

The day before the startling announcement or on Tuesday last, the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries was very smug in answering questions. I was looking at him that day and I can say, from reading character, from his attitude, that he had no knowledge of his impending dismissal. I believe he was unaware that he was to be dismissed. It seems strange that the urgent meeting of the Government should come following the information supplied by Deputy Cosgrave. I would ask the Taoiseach to be more truthful and explain why he did not interview Deputy Blaney in the period from the 20th to 29th April. The Taoiseach has lost credibility because of this.

I am surprised at the statement by Deputy Boland and the attacks he has made against institutions of the State. I cannot understand why a man in his sane senses would make such a statement now. This is the system that he has supported all along, the Special Branch, and he now suddenly attacks it because his colleagues were engaged in illegal activities and because the same Special Branch——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy must be careful in the way he refers to the charges. “Alleged” would be a suitable qualification.

Dr. O'Connell: I shall re-phrase it, although I must confess that no statement to the Press or radio by any ex-Ministers, phrased as it was, would allay my anxiety about this matter and about what was happening behind our backs. The statement made today by the ex-Minister for Finance would not [834] allay my anxiety. We have children growing up, my children and other children, and if they hear this news on radio and television and hear men in responsible positions accused of activities contrary to the policy of the Government, contrary to our principles and policies, they will lose faith in the country and in us. I felt ashamed when I heard men in responsible positions accused of acting as they did. I ask the Taoiseach, with the information he has, to lay these documents before the House so that they can be examined by Members of the Oireachtas.

I am more puzzled when I hear Deputy Boland say that he cannot understand why Garda Fallon's murderers were not apprehended. He makes subtle charges and innuendoes against the Special Branch and implies they do not want the murderers apprehended. This ex-Minister implies this with the knowledge he has at his disposal. It is very disquieting to hear these remarks made in this House. If he found the Special Branch acting contrary to what he thought were the proper principles he should have gone to the Minister for Justice. If he had known these facts, that they were doing wrong things, and if they were creating imaginary events as he stated, he should have brought this to the attention of the Minister for Justice.

The whole thing is like a cloak and dagger mystery, like a James Bond story. The answer lies with the Taoiseach and he has not given a satisfactory answer. I wonder if Deputy Boland, by his attacks on the Special Branch, is now trying to encourage support from the illegal organisations in this country. His statements suggest that, and this is very disquieting.

I was shocked to hear the Taoiseach pay tribute to the two ex-Ministers when he said that they are able, brilliant and dedicated. I have no doubts about their being able or brilliant but I wonder to what they were so dedicated that they were dismissed from office. They certainly were not dedicated to their work or duties as Ministers. Because of this the Taoiseach loses credibility in my eyes. If, as has been suggested, two Ministers were engaged in [835] gun-running I would interpret it as indicating they had contempt for this House which alone can decide our policy on Partition. I am surprised that, as Ministers and politicians, they did not endeavour to change the policy of their party if they felt that policy was contrary to their principles.

I am very surprised that these men are still on the executive of the Fianna Fáil Party. This is very serious for the country because they will dictate the policy of this party if they remain on the party executive. If there is suspicion surrounding these two men I would feel ashamed if they should remain as Members of this House because if we do not take action and have people associated with this sort of thing removed from the House the standard of the House will be lowered very rapidly and people will lose faith in our Parliament.

The Northern Ireland question is a very serious one. In the present climate it would take very little to inflame passions and create an explosive situation. We should be endeavouring at all costs to allay anxiety in the North and should take every opportunity to speak to our brothers there and tell them that we do not intend by any means to employ force. We should establish closer communication with them. We should all help to reassure them on this point because untold damage has been done to our relationship with Northern Ireland by recent events.

The Fianna Fáil Party are treating this as a joke. I saw them the other night and I felt ashamed when they tried to laugh it off. They clapped and when charges were being made they were inclined to laugh. They should hang their heads in shame at what has happened. This is no laughing matter. This is the security of the State at risk.

If the Attorney General is not going to investigate this matter, I should like the information the Taoiseach has to be placed before the Houses of the Oireachtas. He has an obligation to do this as Taoiseach. It is the only way to restore his own name. If he feels there is nothing to hide, he should make a statement to this effect. I will [836] say nothing further except that I feel very ashamed to be associated with this matter as a Member of this House. I would hope that each and every one of us would denounce something like this in order to raise the standard of this Parliament.

Mr. P.J. Burke: My comments will be very brief and to the point. For some time today I thought I was in some supernatural institution where nobody ever sinned——

Mr. Harte: After yesterday it seemed that way.

Mr. P.J. Burke: ——and that nobody ever committed a sin in this House or outside it, especially the Members of the Opposition Parties. Very few of us in this House would like to see all our sins written on our foreheads. I should like to see a charitable approach adopted in a number of statements made about people who are not in this House and who are not in a position to defend themselves. Men were brought into this debate today who had nothing whatever to do with the discussion in this Parliament. They were not here to defend themselves.

Mr. Desmond: Including Mr. Berry who was brought in by Deputy Boland, the Deputy's colleague.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): We do not know what side he is on yet. Give him time.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Has Deputy Desmond spoken yet?

Mr. Desmond: Not yet.

Mr. P.J. Burke: I will listen to the Deputy and I will not interrupt him. One of the Ministers was complimented by Members of the Opposition and was welcomed back to the House after an illness. That was the Minister for Finance. Just because he made one slip, or an alleged slip, or whatever slip he made, one would imagine that there would be some little charity towards him and towards the other Minister. It was hard enough on the Taoiseach, as a colleague, to make a decision of that kind. The Taoiseach is by no means an uncharitable [837] man. Deputies should not try to rock this House and this democratic institution by going beyond limits and making allegations that have nothing whatever to do with this matter.

A Deputy, no matter what side of the House he is on, is a representative of the people. If any Deputy falls by the wayside and if he is condemned and removed from his job, that is punishment enough. I accept policies for what they are. I do not blame the Opposition for trying to gain political kudos for themselves. All this morning here there was not one scrap of Christian charity. The attitude was: if a person is down, down with him and kick him.

False allegations were made against our leader, the Taoiseach, for whom we have the greatest possible respect. He has the respect of the country. I hope he will be with us to guide us for many days. There are very few parties that did not have their ups and downs. We are all human beings liable to error. Deputies of this democratic institution have responsibility. The man who could say: “I am perfect. I never did anything wrong. I never will do anything wrong” would have to have the grace of a supernatural being. We are dealing here with human beings.

There are decent men on all sides of the House. At this stage I appeal to my colleagues to treat this matter with a little more charity and forbearance. The Opposition should bear in mind that politically they will gain more by doing that. I have been associated with politics since I came to the use of reason and I never saw anyone gain anything by saying vicious things about their fellow men. We may have a political crack in this House but not about the individual. I was always anxious in this House to leave the individual alone. Some day, some time, we will be judged and when we are being judged I hope it can be said that we were charitable towards our fellow men. We should adopt that attitude towards one another and help one another in a crisis of this kind. I am not asking Deputies to do the impossible.

[838] The Taoiseach is the leader of the nation. His cross is a heavy one, a very heavy and difficult one. If we are to uphold the dignity of this House we should respect him. There have been crises in other parties in my time and before it. I remember going through the Civil War period. I remember when I was young seeing what happened in our country. I know the feelings that were at large at that time. I saw the bitterness, the murder, the underhandedness and everything else that went on— everything imaginable.

The people of Ireland and the people of the world are looking at this House this evening to see how we will conduct ourselves. Speeches were made by the Opposition suggesting that we are responsible for doing something in the North of Ireland. Our stand in regard to Northern Ireland is well known. Let nobody by word or implication tell this House that we are trying to do anything to injure our people there. Anything we could do at that period was done. Our great diplomat, the Minister for External Affairs, when he got a chance of speaking to the world at the United Nations, did what he could, but he was ruled out of order. Everything that could be done at that period was done. We will continue to do what we can.

The speeches made in the House could be interpreted by people in Northern Ireland, particularly the extreme element, as indicating that we are playing with fire and that we are facing two ways at the same time. The Taoiseach has spoken for us and has explained the position. He has expressed his views strongly and emphatically. We stand four-square behind him. I appeal to my friends on the other side of the House not to do anything which would discredit this democratic institution. We are big enough to ride a storm of this kind. The Opposition will have a chance on many other occasions of having their say politically against us. For God's sake leave the individuals who are not in this House alone. Leave those who are not in a position to defend themselves alone.

Mr. J. Gibbons: I want to intervene in this debate to clarify some points [839] which have been raised and also to refer to a statement that I have heard has been made by Mr. Patrick Kennedy. MP, in the course of a radio interview. I have been informed that Mr. Patrick Kennedy, MP, in the course of a Radio Éireann interview, suggested that any participation by Captain James Kelly in an attempt to smuggle arms could only have been made with my knowledge and consent. I wish emphatically to deny any such knowledge or consent. I was aware, through the Director of Intelligence, that attempts to smuggle arms were a constant danger and these attempts were kept under surveillance at all times. I wish to say I discharged my duty to the full extent of my knowledge of the situation. I want to say also that in recent times I formed the opinion that Captain Kelly was becoming unsuitable for the type of work that he was employed on. I want to say that certain suspicions were forming in my mind. I was kept informed by the Director of Intelligence but nothing concrete emerged. I am satisfied that at all times I honoured the obligation that was placed on me by the Taoiseach when he made me Minister for Defence.

I want to refer specially to the references that were made in this debate by Deputy Ryan, in which he sought by innuendo to suggest that in some way or other I was implicated in the business of running guns into this country for illegal organisations or for any other purpose. I can only say that if Deputy Ryan, or any other Deputy, has any scintilla of evidence of any such activity on my part, he has an obligation to produce it and produce it at once so that the necessary steps may be taken. I am happy in this knowledge and I give this challenge in this knowledge that since there is no such evidence of any implication on my part there is nobody in this House or outside it who can produce any evidence of the kind suggested by Deputy Ryan. I am well aware that this suggestion of Deputy Ryan's, made originally the other night, has given rise to certain speculation in the Press and on the radio and television. I want, once and for all, to state my position and to state [840] it as clearly as I can. I think I have done that. That was my principal intention in rising to speak on this debate.

I want to refer to other matters which were alluded to in this debate so far. There was a suggestion by Deputy Tully that weapons, presumably for illegal organisations, were collected in Army trucks at Dublin docks and presumably driven away to some unknown destination. Does Deputy Tully realise what a serious thing this is to say? Does he realise how fantastically and absurdly untrue it is? That is the least offensive part of it. The real danger lies in the fact when a person of Deputy Tully's standing makes such a suggestion, even though I think it was merely speculative in nature, it must be realised that, once made, one must always bargain for a residual of credence and for somebody getting a hold of the story and getting the idea that Army trucks were used for the carriage of illegal arms. I do not think it should be necessary to deny a fantastic story of that kind. I want to point out to the House that from the trend this debate is taking it would appear to me that the Opposition Deputies at the present time will accept no bounds.

Mr. Desmond: Would it not be good if the speculation could end and if Deputy Blaney would talk?

Mr. Blaney: I will talk.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Minister for Defence must be allowed to speak.

Mr. J. Gibbons: I am very anxious to put the position of the Department over which I have the honour to preside and to put the position of the Army in this affair beyond all doubt. I am anxious also to put my own position beyond all doubt. That is why I rose to speak. The attitude of the Opposition has tended to be irresponsible in making charges of this kind.

Mr. Cluskey: Talk about people being irresponsible comes badly from the Government benches at the moment.

Mr. Desmond: Who clapped this [841] morning on the back benches of Fianna Fáil?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Minister for Defence. Other Deputies will have the opportunity of speaking.

Mr. J. Gibbons: There have been fantastic suggestions made by some Opposition speakers earlier today about ships lying in Dublin Bay and sailing away with murderers on board. By inference, at any rate, it is suggested that members of the Government are involved in this kind of thing. There is an obligation on me to point out that this kind of talk is very destructive in the country at a time like this. There was some reference to the training of civilians in Donegal. I want to point out the position of the Defence Forces in this regard. The Defence Forces train only members of their own ranks, whether they be FCA or Army or Naval personnel. That is the extent of their training. This story first got currency in the Protestant Telegraph. It is time that stories of this kind ceased.

I have nothing further to say on this matter. There were certain matters which I wanted to clarify for the House at this stage and I have done so.

Mr. Harte: At the outset, I should like to say that an appeal by Deputy P.J. Burke for Christian charity, coming in such a debate, seems to me the most ironical statement in such a situation as we have in this long drawn out debate.

I would underline and go along with the Minister for Defence, Deputy Gibbons, to a great degree in what he said about gun running. As a northern Deputy, I have kept in reasonably good contact with northern political thinking. I have heard rumours. Any persons who approached me or mentioned to me that there was gun running I asked them to put up the information and I would arrange a personal interview with the Taoiseach, or I would arrange for those persons to go to the Taoiseach. I did not think it would be responsible for me to come into this House and to make allegations about gun [842] running without evidence. This is the most damaging thing that could be said in this House. Any rumour I have heard has not been substantiated. I would add that, when I have been approached and when I indicated I would arrange for the information to be given to the Taoiseach, I was not approached later on that subject.

In this Dáil, the Fianna Fáil Party have had the largest majority, except one, of any Irish Parliament. I have sat here constantly since 10.30 a.m. and it is a disgraceful fact that there have been an average of only nine or ten Deputies present. I have been accused of going to a soccer match in Milan but I would point out that, in the midst of this crisis, when the Fianna Fáil Party are in the dock, they could not provide a soccer team—11 Deputies—despite the fact that an ex-Minister over there is the president of that association. I want to say that I went to Milan at my own expense and I was not buying guns. I went there to see sport.

I have not prepared any detailed notes for this speech, nor have I gone into the details of the circumstances and events of the past few days. I am speaking, basically, off the cuff and I shall give the House my views as the picture appears to me and I believe these views to be the views of the majority of the Irish people. Nevertheless, that being so, I want to add that I respect the views of others. I respect the views of the Ministers who have been fired. Logic and judgment aside, I recognise that these men sincerely believe that what they were attempting to do was in the best interests of national unity. However, I question their thinking in this respect because this is the same type of thinking displayed by Billy Craig, John Brooke, Harry West and others. This is the type of thinking that has muddled Irish politics for the past 50 years. This is the type of thinking that must be suppressed by the Irish people.

During the events at Bogside, when I had information at my disposal I indicated the facts directly to the Taoiseach; and I would like to add that I received the utmost courtesy from him. I felt that the most responsible thing any Deputy here could do [843] would be to make available any information he thought the Taoiseach should have in helping him to arrive at a good and final decision. I had the utmost confidence in the Taoiseach at that time. I believe, as an Irishman, I played a responsible part in communicating with the Taoiseach, irrespective of whether or not my information was small or insignificant because it might have been part of a jig-saw which would help the Taoiseach to arrive at a wise conclusion.

Having listened to the debate so far and having read all the newspapers I could lay my hands on, because of my absence from the country over the past two days, I have now reached the conclusion that I can no longer extend confidence to the Taoiseach. I can no longer have confidence in the leader of this Government. If he cannot command the confidence of his own Ministers and the backbenchers, how can the Taoiseach expect the confidence of a member of an Opposition party?

This is a grave national issue which the Fianna Fáil Party have no right to decide. The Fianna Fáil Party have no clear mandate from the people in this connection. Fianna Fáil do not speak exclusively for the Irish people. They have a majority of Deputies here, but they are backed by not more than 45 per cent of the electorate. Therefore, Fianna Fáil cannot claim to speak with authority exclusively for the Irish people.

The root of this crisis is one of the most burning problems that have beset our people for hundreds of years. Now that we have matured politically it is time this matter were decided by the people once and for all. The Irish people must be consulted on this issue. Deputies on the Government benches may argue that the issue would be confused and that there could be no campaign or a clear decision. The Fine Gael Party, who had the responsibility of setting up and establishing this State, have been consistent in their political thinking in this direction from 1922 to the present day. Recently we have re-stated our attitude and our political doctrine in relation to Northern Ireland. That was the unanimous [844] decision of the Fine Gael Party—not merely the Fine Gael Members of Dáil Éireann or Fine Gael supporters in Seanad Éireann but Fine Gael supporters from Deputy Liam Cosgrave down to the chap who votes for his first time in an election. Fine Gael are unanimous on this. From a glance at the Labour Party's document on Northern Ireland, and having listened to their speeches in debate. I believe they are very close in line with this aspect of Fine Gael policy.

Why do Fianna Fáil not make up their mind on this vital question? Why does the Taoiseach not say that Fianna Fáil policy is a reiteration of the Fine Gael Party document? The former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Deputy Blaney, made a statement in his northern constituency which is in flat contradiction of statements by the Taoiseach in regard to the Fianna Fáil outlook on Partition. This being the position, the Fianna Fáil Party and the Taoiseach have an obligation to the people to put the matter to a test.

I believe the Taoiseach no longer has a mandate from his own party to control. I would certainly question his ability to lead his own party at the moment. If he cannot lead his own party through this crisis, then I respectfully suggest he should consult the people and let them decide finally what the decision is to be. Let me quote a few of the headlines which catch the eye in today's Irish Times: Unionist Meeting to Discuss Crisis; Arms for Violent Action; Young Unionists call for end to “softly, softly”; N.I. Labour wants no gun in politics. That is the reaction of Unionist and Nationalist opinion north of the Border. Those few headlines spell out most emphatically the thinking north of the border.

The Fianna Fáil Party had republicanism as its cornerstone. It came into being and was founded on republicanism but this party, through their bad economic policies, have established the Border for evermore. Let not this generation forget that the Fianna Fáil Government have been in office virtually all of my lifetime—and I have a teenage family. Let us not forget that the Fianna Fáil Party was founded on republicanism [845] and that their aim was to abolish the Border and unify the country. I speak as one of the younger generation in this House. Do not forget that, for the first ten years, from 1921 to 1931, Partition existed only as a political boundary and not as an economic boundary. Partition, as an economic boundary, was established by the party which was formed to end it—the Fianna Fáil Party. Beyond doubt, Partition has been strengthened through bad economic policies of successive Fianna Fáil Governments. As a result of the publicity attaching to the actions of Fianna Fáil ex-Ministers and to the behaviour of the Taoiseach and his party in the past few months, and in the past few days, Fianna Fáil have, beyond all doubt, alienated moderate Unionist thinking north of the Border. Not alone have Fianna Fáil alienated moderate Unionist opinion by what has been exposed, but Fianna Fáil's bad economic policies have made it less attractive for nationalist-minded people north of the border to come in with us here if there were a plebiscite there on that issue.

This is the reality of the Irish question at the moment. Catholics—if I may be excused for using this terminology—or nationalists north of the Border who were always seeking to join us, who were always seeking to unite the country, now stop and ask: “What is in it for us? Can they not conduct their own affairs? Why have their standards not kept pace?” This has taken place since 1931 and during all that time, except for two short periods of inter-party Government, the Fianna Fáil Party have been consistently in office. This is the Government who claim to be republican, to have the solution to Partition in their ranks.

This is the Government who caused an economic war in 1931 and established an economic boundary between north and south which made it attractive for profiteers and racketeers to make money across the Border. This is the Government who, by their bad economic planning, have put a big question mark even into the minds of the majority of people in the Bogside. If they were given the opportunity tomorrow morning of coming in here it would be, in the words of [846] one of their leaders: “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”, to stay in Clark's Northern Ireland or join Lynch's banana republic or what another of their leaders, a lady whose name I do not have to spell out, called: “Mr. Blaney's margarine republic.”

I would have liked very much if the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries had spoken before me. I would have liked to hear his views on this although, on reflection, what Deputy Blaney will have to say will in no way influence my political thinking. I hope my contribution will invite him to give his views because, like me, he represents north-east Donegal. He was elected as a Deputy and he was elected to give his views. I would ask him to come into the House and state clearly and distinctly what his position is in this matter. I would ask him to inquire from the members of his own party, if they feel they can still give loyalty to the Taoiseach, whether they do not think, as Christians living in a democracy, that the people of this country should be consulted on this issue. I hope Deputy Blaney accepts my challenge.

Having brought Deputy Blaney into it I want to say that my remarks are in no way personal. I do not doubt for a second that some people have those thoughts in their minds but I believe that when a Deputy and a Minister such as Deputy Blaney steps out of line or does something with which I disagree I am justly entitled to say so in this House and I have done so. When a man of the calibre of Deputy Blaney is sacked from the office of Minister, a man who is reputed to be the crack organiser of the Fianna Fáil organisation, the evidence must be very substantial. I have said in private circles that I admire that man in many ways, despite the fact that the opposite is very often the case. I see Deputy Blaney as a ruthless politician, who believes that the future of Ireland lies within the ranks of the Fianna Fáil Party and I suppose he is entitled to his opinion.

I believe Deputy Boland deeply feels that the solution to Partition is force. In his statement this morning he said it was wrong to have two armies in the State and in the same breath that [847] he could see nothing wrong with arms being sent into the Six Counties. That is tantamount to civil war. That is giving people arms to defend themselves—but to shoot others in doing so. Surely the answer to defending people is not to give them arms but rather to disarm the other people? Surely Deputy Boland must realise that when he talks about force he should consult the mother of the child who was killed in Belfast, or the widow of the man who lost his life in Bally-shannon or the family of Mr. Gallagher in Armagh, or Mrs. Arbuckle who lost her young husband, a police officer. These are people who have more right to talk about the use of force than Deputy Blaney, Deputy Boland, Deputy Haughey or myself. These are the people who on their own front doorsteps have experienced loss by force. If I were given the opportunity of giving the life of one of my children in a vain effort, which has been a repeated exercise in the last 50 years, I would hesitate to sacrifice the life of any one of my children. Let nobody point at me and say that I am a coward. Let each and every one of you ask yourselves the question: “The life of which child would I give or would I compromise with my own patriotic feelings?” and say: “No, I would give my own life.” I ask a further question. What right have you to give your own life in vain, as has been the case for the past 50 years, without consulting your wife, if you are married, without consulting your family, if you are a father? What right have you to take this decision? You have no right and it is no decision to take because there can be no gain.

The motion before the House concerns the merits of Deputy Molloy, Deputy Cronin and Deputy Collins. I know these three young men particularly well and I have the highest regard for their integrity and their ability and I wish them well but this debate has nothing at all to do with their appointments. This debate is on the question of the re-unification of this country and the method by which it should be achieved. If Deputy Blaney claims the support of 50 per cent of the people how can he claim that this is [848] unity? How can he claim that 50 per cent of anything is a majority? When these men talk about arms how do they envisage a 32 Counties? Do they see a Catholic victory over Protestants? A republican victory over Unionists? Do they want a united 32 Counties? If they want a united 32 Counties I believe they must endorse the policy of Fine Gael. They must accept at this time the decision of their leader. If they refuse to accept it then there is an obligation on them to say so in this House and to refuse to vote in a vote of confidence in their leader and so cause a situation where the people may be consulted. If the people are consulted I have no doubt what the result will be.

Different speakers have said how detestable it is to see the British Army in the North of Ireland. I visit the North of Ireland virtually daily. I do not like to see British soldiers there but then let us take them out of it and see what will happen. Let us imagine the situation in Derry city on the evening in August last when the British Army came into it. No person with whom I have spoken since that day, who was aware of the circumstances, has contradicted the statement that one hour later this country north and south would have been in a civil war where even I could not opt out, where battle lines would be drawn by people who make statements confusing the political issues. When battle lines are drawn there is no opting out. There is a polarisation which cannot be avoided. If the Bogside had been attacked without the British Army protection on that Thursday evening in August last there would have been an invasion across the Donegal border and I do not say that I would not have been a part of it. These are the situations which must be avoided.

Such a situation must never be allowed happen because it is all too easy to take sides and when sides are taken and the chips are down there is no opting out. I wish to relate an incident which occurred recently while my wife and I were having a meal in a Derry hotel. I was recognised and was drawn into a conversation with a couple of Derry people whom I did not know. One of the men stated emphatically [849] that there was an opportune time in the history of Ireland when, last August, the Irish Army were along the Donegal border for them to have gone in and taken Derry city. Perhaps there is a moral in this because I have heard the same sentiments repeated in different circles. I do not subscribe to that view because we know well what would have been the result of such irresponsible action being taken by an Irish Government. Many people would have died while the Border would still remain and the position would be worse than ever, with deeper bitterness on both sides and a deeper rift than ever.

When we speak about national unity we must recognise that, irrespective of what are our personal views on the decision taken in this Parliament in 1921 during the Treaty debates, and irrespective of whether it was right or wrong to accept 26 counties as a stepping stone, the position is that the boundary was established and that north of that line there are 800,000 Irish people who have not bought the idea which we have tried to sell them of a 32-county Ireland. If they have not bought that idea and if we want them to buy it then we must not blame them completely but rather find a new approach. Perhaps we may consider that the priorities of the Unionists are somewhat mixed up but we must remember that these are as good Irishmen as the Republicans in the south. We must have some rethinking on our attitude towards Northern Ireland. We must either make up our minds that there are 800,000 people who do not wish to come under the Tricolour and so leave the position as it stands, or we must endeavour to understand them and to ask them what it is they seek in a 32-county Ireland, which they do not wish to buy now. Those men who have been shouting loudest and who are now very much in the headlines should remain silent, or else they should consult Nationalist opinion north of the Border to find out if they were given the opportunity of coming in with us under a democratic vote they would do so. It is a sobering thought.

References have been made to phone-tapping. This is a practice to [850] which I do not subscribe but if phone-tapping was necessary in order to expose what has been alleged then I welcome it because in this State which we claim is a democratic one, where every man has equal rights, it would be extremely wrong if people in positions as senior as the men in question were allowed the safeguard of not having their telephones tapped while others, whose motives are questioned, must accept phone-tapping.

I was totally unaware of what was happening in Cabinet circles until a very late hour on Wednesday night. Naturally, on Thursday morning I made every possible attempt to obtain an English newspaper in Milan. When I did find one I read one of the most damaging statements that one could imagine. I cannot remember the name of the paper but in reference to the allegations that have been made there was a comment to the effect that if the statement were true it bore out the fears of the loyalists in Northern Ireland that there was a plot in the Government of the Republic to undermine the authorities in the north and that unrest in Northern Ireland was not coming from within. Not alone did that comment condemn people this side of the Border but it undermined the people who have been fighting for civil rights in the north.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Harte: It questions the motives of the three ex-Ministers and while the leaders of the civil rights movement have recently been denying that there has been outside intervention we find members of our Government in a situation that not only embarrasses them but questions their ideals.

Needless to remark when, during the past few months, members of Fine Gael, not excluding myself, have made slashing attacks on Government administration, we were described as arch-anarchists. I wonder where are the anarchists now? I wonder, too, if it is wrong for Deputies in the Opposition benches to make charges against Fianna Fáil. I wonder if it is wrong for us to be right even one time out of ten if we can at least inform public opinion of matters such as the one [851] with which we are now dealing. I make no apology to anyone for any of the statements I have made in this House. I might also add that Deputy Haughey is a man for whom I have a great regard. He is a man whose ability is without question. He has been recognised by people on all sides of the House as being a brilliant politician. He is a man who has been earmarked for Taoiseach. In fact, if any Deputy from this side of the House wishes to find, by the process of elimination, a successor to the present Taoiseach he cannot go outside the names of the three men who are now most in the news, Deputies Haughey, Blaney and Boland, with apologies to Deputy Dr. Hillery.

Mr. Desmond: There is no parliamentary coup d'état.

Mr. Harte: With regard to the dismissal of Deputy Moran most people to whom I have listened seemed to miss the point that he was the longest serving Deputy in the Cabinet. It takes a matter of a very serious nature to bring about the dismissal of a man who, comparatively speaking, is still young and who held such a position. The Taoiseach has stated that Deputy Moran resigned but Deputy Boland is reported in today's Irish Independent as saying that the former Minister for Justice was fired.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: He repeated it on the radio this afternoon.

Mr. Harte: I am told he repeated it on the radio this afternoon——

Dr. FitzGerald: And in the House.

Mr. Harte: ——and in the House this morning. I have the utmost respect for the Taoiseach and the former Minister for Defence, Deputy Gibbons, but when a Government member makes a statement in the House which he expects us to accept we must be left in doubt when contradictory statements are made by Members of the House who were members of the Cabinet a few days ago.

The nation is at a crossroads. Anything [852] can happen north of the Border in the summer months, including civil war. Let us hope that never happens but it cannot be ruled out. Whatever chance we have of avoiding civil war in Northern Ireland will not be enhanced by actions such as Ministers are alleged to have been involved in or statements made by Ministers which only tend to encourage extremists north of the Border. Those extremists on both sides, as I have already said, only draw the battle lines and create a situation in which moderate-minded people are no longer allowed to remain moderate and there is no opting out. If we want to behave in a responsible way, I humbly suggest to the Taoiseach that he should invite public representatives north of the Border who are opposed to discrimination to act in some capacity in the Oireachtas. I would suggest, perhaps, by an all-party agreement that members in this capacity be nominated to the Seanad. In this way they would advise members elected to the Dáil from the southern part of the country on political thinking north of the Border. The re-unification of Ireland will not be achieved by what we think. This problem will be solved by what we all think and that must be acceptable to the majority of people north of the Border.

Last week in the Dáil I engaged in a bout of good-humoured exchanges with the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries I was requested to leave the House. I had asked the Minister about the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis when the Taoiseach said: “This is the time and now is the place”. I now wonder if other Deputies knew what I was hinting at because whatever I was asked to leave the House for still puzzles me.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy was not asked to leave the House because he asked a question about any political organisation. He was asked to do so because he was interrupting consistently for 20 minutes. If he looks at the Official Report he will find that I am correct.

Mr. Desmond: I had not intended, [853] following my contribution late on Wednesday night, to make a further contribution. Arising from the new motion this morning and more particularly from the really disquieting statement of the ex-Minister for Local Government, there is an obligation on each Member of the House to give his reaction and state his views. I would prefer to have heard the views of Deputy Blaney because up to now the Opposition experienced considerable difficulty in getting into focus the views of part of the Fianna Fáil Party or the numerous parties now in it.

This morning Deputy Boland sent a chill down my spine. I experienced an even greater chill when I heard the applause of the 12 silent Fianna Fáil backbencher apostles who have not yet had the guts to express their views to the House on the so-called unanimity of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party. Therefore, the obligation rests on the Opposition to ensure that those views are well known to everybody in the country.

The situation in Northern Ireland is extremely disquieting—a fact which has been repeatedly underlined by Labour Party spokesmen including Deputy Cruise-O'Brien in his contribution on his recent visit to Northern Ireland. We are well aware of the situation. The director of intelligence of the Defence Forces in the south is well aware of the situation. The Special Branch section of the Department of Justice is fully aware of the critical situation in Northern Ireland. The Garda commissioner in respect of Garda patrols in the Border areas is equally well aware of the situation. Indeed, the very professional staff in the Department of Justice and the staff of the Revenue Commissioners are fully aware of the border nuances developing as we approach the July and August period.

At a time when there is a probability of further serious trouble in Northern Ireland what do we get? We get men of the calibre of Deputy Boland fomenting it in the south on a general basis when they are aware, in fact, what is likely to happen. Indeed, this applies as much to Deputy Blaney in respect of his past attitudes. I do not [854] expect any public act of contrition on his part and neither do I expect it in relation to previous overtones of militaristic politics in which he has indulged in respect of his brand of republicanism. I certainly do not expect his views will differ substantially from those of Deputy Boland in that setting.

We have forces in Northern Ireland aligning themselves with and dependent on Mr. Paisley. The 12th July parade is nigh. There are Apprentice Boy developments in Derry. The Catholic population are naturally reacting in increasing irritation to provocation from Paisley. We see the British Army in some respect rather complacent about the situation. In that situation what do we get? We get men of the calibre of Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney who are ready to put a match to the powder keg in a situation in which they themselves will not suffer. They will not be over the Border in pursuit of their preposterous aims. Therefore, I hold in supreme contempt any public representative or anybody who advocates armed military insurrection in respect of any country. On that score alone, Deputy Blaney and his colleague, Deputy Boland, most certainly stand indicated at the bar of this House.

On Wednesday night I said that I did not delight in and derived no pleasure whatsoever from witnessing the sundering of a national political party. But I see the arrogance of Deputy Boland, who comes before this House and indicates that he is not prepared to accept the supreme authority of this sovereign, elected Assembly, says he will go his own way and still march into the backbenches because he has not got the courage to face the electorate of South County Dublin. It is time that we stood up and called a halt to the kind of political suicide and self-immolation that seems to have possessed him in recent weeks.

There are a number of aspects which need clarification and among them is the contribution made by Deputy Cosgrave. Although I consider the political opinions of Deputy Boland wrong, I concede that he has a point when he accused Deputy Cosgrave of not being totally frank with the House in regard [855] to his sources of information. As reported in column 643 of the Official Report of the 6th May, 1970, Deputy Cosgrave stated:

I considered it my duty in the national interest to inform the Taoiseach of information I had received and which indicates a situation of such gravity for the nation that it is without parallel in this country since the foundation of the State.

At column 644 Deputy Cosgrave stated:

I understand that because of the linking up of certain Ministers, an army officer, the brothers of two Ministers, one the brother of the former Minister for Finance and the other the brother of the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries...

He further stated:

Yesterday when I received a copy of a document...

Deputy Cosgrave has received a great deal of information and I suggest to him that he declare to this House the sources of this information. It is in the national interest that this should be done. It is in the public interest that the whole truth be disclosed by the Government side and by those on the Opposition side who make statements irrespective of their immunity, whether they are people like Deputy Boland, claiming virtual diplomatic immunity or people like Deputy Cosgrave, who claims that he is privy to sources of information which he has laid before the Taoiseach and whose authenticity has been accepted. As an elected public representative, I am entitled to know the sources of information and I think such information would help the conduct of this debate.

What we must be primarily concerned with in this House is not the survival of Fianna Fáil. It is not any electoral capital Fine Gael may gain or any amount of political kudos the Labour Party might get out of their contributions to this debate. These are [856] insignificant issues compared with the catastrophic effect these developments might have on the people of Northern Ireland—and this includes the total population, all shades of political views. One must view the statement of Deputy Boland from that point of view. It is not enough for him to say to the Taoiseach that he will support him in the Lobbies of this House. That is trivial in the evolution of the Irish nation. What is important is that we have in this House a total and complete repudiation of the style of politics advocated here this morning. This style of politics says, in effect, that we should have guns in the North, guns financed sub rosa, have them distributed on an ad hoc basis and, if there is a confrontation between British troops and people using those guns, we can stand back and say “This is the historical evolution, the total repudiation of British imperialism in Northern Ireland”.

I fully concede to Deputy Boland that the continuing crisis in the north has arisen from the refusal of British imperialism to recognise the total impracticality of Partition. However, I depart totally from the Deputy when he says that is the total reason and that in the seventies that must remain the sole basis of the struggle to ensure that elementary human and civil rights are guaranteed in Northern Ireland. This is why I suggest to Deputy Boland and to Deputy Blaney —the latter lives close to the Border and is fully involved in the developments in that area—that they have not read their history since the 1940s. In 1956 and 1957 they were very ready to play the reverse role. I was then 21 years of age and in Cork city I knew young men who went north on a completely impracticable and ludicrous crusade across the Border. At that time there was no great reluctance on the part of the Government and Opposition to make sure that that campaign did not escalate and develop.

These are the reasons why I personally feel very emotional on a development of this nature. I suggest that the Taoiseach should give far more information to this House. It is the only way of stopping the rumours, [857] nonsense and speculation that has gone on. I reject totally the suggestion by Deputy Ryan that we should have a secret session of this House. The House is like a leaking bucket in terms of speculation and I do not think anything could be gained from this undemocratic suggestion.

Within the limits of national security and the sharp limits imposed on the Taoiseach by virtue of his office there now devolves on him an obligation to let us have more information than he has given us up to now. We do not want any-more “Let's back Jack” campaigns, even if they only last while his back is not turned. Let us have the reports of the Director of Intelligence and of the Special Branch in so far as they can be disclosed to this House. Let us have in the Library, for the information of Members, the files of the Secretary of the Department of Justice and any information from the Revenue Commissioners in respect of allegations of arms imports. Let us put the report of the Garda Commissioner before the House.

If that were done I suggest to the Taoiseach that it would prevent any allegations of lack of integrity being made regarding his behaviour or allegations of his acting in a manner which was less than frank with this House. At this stage we are not quite sure whom to believe and I see no good reason why the great residue of respect, regard and trust which the Irish people placed in the Taoiseach in the last General Election should be eroded and destroyed by the precipitate and stupid actions of some members of the Cabinet who have betrayed him and completely lost the confidence of the Members of this House.

I equally think the Taoiseach should assess the desirability of having a general election. Again I have no desire to see Deputy Blaney, Deputy Boland and the 12 supporting musketeers dragging their versions of ideological republican purity before the public, the cloak having to some extent fallen off the shoulders of Deputy Colley. It would be interesting to hear his views on these developments in recent months. There are many important [858] social and economic issues—for instance, our entry into the EEC—which we would normally expect to discuss during an election campaign. While admittedly all this would be lost and while Deputy Cosgrave would probably get a bonus out of the situation for being the first man to find the lollipop, and while it would be a very unreal general election, nevertheless, taking all these considerations into account a general election is called for. I have no desire to live in this House until half way through 1973 waiting for another little nuance of republican ideology from the back-bench blackmailers of the Fianna Fáil Party, or to see the people subjected to that development. It is probably better to do it now than to do it in six months time.

One of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party members said to me only an hour ago: “We will sit this out. We are going to hang on”. The survival of parliamentary democracy and the survival of the respect of the electorate —from the age of 18, if the Fianna Fáil are politically honest—are far more important than the survival of Fianna Fáil in power for another six months while the Ministers find their feet, while the Minister for Finance to be, Deputy Colley, re-assesses his attitude to the NIEC, to Buchanan, says a few polite words on the Devlin Report, and generally fits himself into the establishment attitudes in Finance, many of which are more progressive than the attitudes of Deputy Colley. In any event, a period in Opposition would not do the Fianna Fáil Party any harm. Most certainly at this time in our political history it is eminently desirable.

Those then are my suggestions to the Taoiseach. I can never be accused in this House of having made any snide remarks to him or about his attitude to the people. It is not my desire that the Taoiseach should go down in history as “Captain Terence” Lynch. Let us not have a repetition of that kind of politics in the Republic.

It is also in the interests of the preservation of the Constitution that Fianna Fáil should leave office. Article 13.2 says that the President may in his absolute discretion refuse to dissolve Dáil Éireann on the advice of a [859] Taoiseach who has ceased to retain the support of a majority in Dáil Éireann It also says that the President may, at any time, after consultation with the Council of State, convene a meeting of either or both of the Houses of the Oireachtas; and that Dáil Éireann shall be summoned and dissolved by the President on the advice of the Taoiseach.

It is time the Taoiseach came to what would be the inescapable conclusion to which the President, Eamon de Valera, would have come in similar circumstances. Fianna Fáil owe it to their own political heritage, to their own evolution and their own contribution to political life to go before the people. It is high time we stopped these public confessions. It is high time this exuding of political charity on the part of Deputy Burke was stopped and that we tried to re-establish the respect of the Irish people. I want to suggest—and it is no great consolation to me to do so—that a number of articles of our Constitution have been contravened in a disgraceful manner by members of the Government and Members of this House. If what the Taoiseach says is true, then both Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney have, by implication and attitude, contravened Article 28 of the Constitution in respect of the Army and armed rebellion in a part of this country. These are serious charges which must be faced up to by the Taoiseach.

I want to put it to the Taoiseach that he should explain to the House why he did not interview Deputy Blaney between the 22nd and 29th April, as reported by the Taoiseach to the House. I do not know what happened in those seven days. It may well be the meeting did take place, but the information we have from the Official Report is that on 22nd April the Taoiseach decided to interview the former Ministers. The word “Minister” is plural, yet he says he got permission from Deputy Haughey's doctor to interview him on 29th April and he added: “I then summoned Deputy Blaney to my room and interviewed him, upon which I went to the hospital and interviewed Deputy Haughey.”

[860] There does not seem to have been any collusion between those two ex-Ministers, but again I speculate in the absence of full information. Until we get the proof we are entitled to speculate even if it takes us until five in the morning.

I respect and I certainly accept the statements made by the Minister for Defence to this House an hour ago in relation to some of the allegations made before this House. Indeed, it is good to see the truth coming from the members of the Fianna Fáil Party. Therefore, the Taoiseach should make this particular indication to the House and he most certainly owes this to us in that regard.

I do not wish to detain the House unduly with my views on this affair which is so tragic for the future of the country. I have no desire to inflict further pain and embarrassment on Deputy Moran but there is such a clear and total conflict between the statement of the Taoiseach and the statement of the former Minister for Local Government, Deputy Boland, that I would strongly suggest to the Taoiseach that clarification on his part is required.

I suggest that for at least 2½ years a very, very dangerous game has been played in the Cabinet. Now that the truth is out and now that within the Cabinet itself the full truth, in so far as we have got it to date, is coming before us, and when we see the deliberate and cynical attempt by some, and sincere enough attempt by others, to gain electoral advantage in the coming months from the critical situation in Northern Ireland, for their own personal ambitions or because of what they feel, wrongly are in the best interests of their own party, it is time we called a halt to this Dáil and it is time the people of this country judged whether or not the Fianna Fáil Party should be returned to power.

There has been much speculation in the newspapers. Yesterday, 7th May, there was this statement by Arthur Noonan, who reported accurately and clearly the feeling of the House:

The news that the Fianna Fáil Party had fixed everything up after no more than 50 minutes, that the [861] ranks had been closed and that the smiles were back on all faces came as quite an anticlimax to the long hours of tension and build-up during which Deputies sought any bits and pieces of information as eagerly as members of the public.

I suggest today in the cold light of the statements before this House, in the cold light of what has now transpired, and now that the sense of euphoria has left the Fianna Fáil Party, now that they have clapped their hands once again, it is time the smiles went; it is time the game of survival stopped and it is time a halt was called to the playing of purely party politics for narrow political electoral survival by the Fianna Fáil Party. It is time they went to the country.

I do not agree with the Taoiseach's ephemeral meanderings. I share his attitude on violence and the use of force. I would say on platforms north or south that even in this difficult electoral setting it is time that we faced one another at the crossroads and allowed the people to express in the ballot boxes their total disappointment with us as politicians, their total repugnance to some of the politicians and, I would hope, their total repudiation of a few politicians who brought this country into disgrace and inflicted such dangers and totally unwarranted and unnecessary pain on the people of Northern Ireland with consequences that are incalculable and which will be tragic in regard to the future of the country.

Mr. Blaney: I want straightaway to deal with the allegations of gun-running that have been so freely made in so many places during these last few days and to say here before this House that I have run no guns, I have procured no guns, I have paid for no guns, I have provided no money to buy guns and anybody who says otherwise is not telling the truth.

I want also to deal with the much more sinister, far more subtle and blackguardly rumours that are being spread and, indeed, peddled around in various ways, perhaps unwittingly by some but no doubt wittingly and knowingly by others, that I have or had anything to do with subversive organisations [862] in so far as this country is concerned.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: This country or this part of the country?

Mr. Blaney: To those who say that I have any link with this lousy outfit, Saor Éire, on which perhaps Deputy Cruise-O'Brien may be able to enlighten us a little bit better——

Mr. M. O'Leary: That will not do any more now.

Mr. Blaney: I want to say that I have nothing but the utmost contempt for that outfit and any association with them would be as repugnant to me as it would be to any other Member of this House. The blackening operation was the suggestion of a tie-up between this organisation and certain Government Ministers who are said to have intervened and used their influence to try to cover up and to allow to escape from this country, as it is said they have escaped, the murderers of Dick Fallon.

These are the sort of things that those who are peddling them should be ashamed of. These are the things that those who unwittingly are merely repeating what others have said should try to retract as fast as they can, because this is not the case, never has been the case, never would be the case in so far as I or any of the people with whom I have associations and friendship are concerned, whether they be north or south.

In regard to my associations, I take a very, very poor view of the manner in which some of my very best friends, some of my associates, some of our best supporters, are being blackguarded and publicly harried at this very time by insinuations and innuendo, by the naming of names, by association of names, to the detriment, no doubt, of those personalities in question. Without any question whatsoever, those associations of names are intended to harm the individuals concerned and any and everybody associated with them. They are intended, perhaps, to try to isolate me from the friends I have and the friends I have made and the organisation [863] to which I have belonged since as long back as I can remember.

Then we come much more close to home and we have brothers being named, not only mine but those of Deputy Haughey, who would be very well able to talk for himself in normal circumstances but who is unable, unfortunately, to be here, not through any lack of wish to be here, but because of the fact that his injuries are such that further damage might be done to him if he were to attempt to do what I know he wants to do in this House, as he has done in the newspapers today, to tell the public, and in particular, the Members of the Dáil, of his not being connected with this whole matter. I want to say in regard to his brothers, whom I know, and whom I am glad to know, and in regard to my own brothers, of whom, lest Deputy Cosgrave does not know, there are five others, that, so far as they are concerned, I know of no connection of theirs with any illegal organisation in this country. They can answer for themselves, are quite well able to do it, and, I have no doubt, are doing it, and will do it, thoroughly and properly in due time and, indeed, have already in some cases done so.

I want also to say that my background so far as politics are concerned is one which, perhaps, needs a little restating. I could not but be Fianna Fáil and republican unless I was to renege the heritage of my parents before me. I was born while my late father was under sentence of death. He was again on the run. A few years later, as a child, I was kicked out of the cot I lay in by one of the forces of the then alleged nation, the people who would now decry what republicans stand for and what they stood for. These are the sort of things that at this time come back to me and, added to that, my father, having been condemned, was then lodged and lay for months under sentence in the notorious Davmboe with the gallant men from Kerry and Derry, with whom he was proud to serve and with whom he was prepared to die, and they were Daly, Dan Wright and Sullivan and Larkin from Derry. Those are the [864] associations. This is my background.

We come later then to 1926 and, even at four years of age, even at that young age, I remember, believe it or not, the raids of the irregulars and the special branch of that day. I remember my mother and I, as a child, and others of my family being terrified by these fellows, who were as often drunk as they were sober when they came on these raids, perhaps because, having sold out their republican principles, they had to drown their shame in liquor. I remember it. I shall never forget it. And let nobody in this House or outside ever try to tell me what should be my outlook in so far as the unification of this country is concerned because that is the way I was brought into being. That is the way I was reared. That is the way my thought has been developed. My guidance comes from that source. At this particular time I derive great strength from my past, from my breeding from my father and mother, both of whom have gone to their reward. These things I cannot forget. These things I do not want to trot out, but these things must be said in order that people should fully understand where I stand and how I come to stand there and how I came to be in Fianna Fáil right over the years, working as I did, for I was a child in Fianna Fáil, being kicked by a Blueshirt black and blue on my way from school because I displayed on the lapel of my coat, or jacket, or jersey, or whatever it was, the tricolour that these people would never stand up and give honour to. Well I remember it. I shall never forget it. I try to forgive but never to forget. Let us keep things in mind. I shall keep them in mind, but let us also keep in mind that as those years went on I became part of Fianna Fáil. I could not be otherwise because it was founded with one primary aim of trying to undo the Partition of this land of ours, which has given so much trouble, cost so much pain, and is continuing to do just that, and will continue to do it in lesser or greater measure so long as unity and unification have not been brought about.

I apologise to no one for my views and the views I hold in regard to the re-unification of Ireland, but I do think it [865] is necessary at this particular moment to restate my position. I have been misrepresented, grossly misrepresented, by the architects of Partition both in this House and in Stormont on the question of force. I have never advocated the use of force as a means of bringing about unity of this land—never. Those who say otherwise are liars. What I have said is that we in this part of Ireland cannot stand idly by in these circumstances while the nationalist people of the Six Counties are subjected to murderous assault, as they were last August and, unfortunately and regrettably, it is my opinion that they may well be subjected to the same, or worse, in the not too distant future.

I have no faith in the authority of the British Government and still less in the role that can be played by the British army in preventing bloodshed in the Six Counties. I know from my friends, my personal friends, my very many contacts there, that the Unionist extremists are determined to have what they call the “Ulster Question” finally settled by an all-out assault on the nationalist minority to coerce them and to beat them down into subjection again—this I believe sincerely. The same kind of subjection, I should say, existed until last August when, after many, many years, the people of the Bogside in Derry, later followed by the Falls, by Newry, by Dungannon, by Armagh and Strabane rose up in protest as they had never done before.

Believing, as I do, that violence and, perhaps, bloodshed may be not far away in the Six Counties I charge the leaders of Fine Gael for the disreputable role they have been playing during the past few days to bring down this Government by attempting to provoke a constitutional crisis. They are simply following in the footsteps of their predecessors who sold out in 1925, sold out on the Border question, and handed over almost half a million of our people against those people's expressed wish and against the expressed wish of the majority of all the people of this island, this land, this country of ours, the 32 counties, sold them out and handed them over to the domination of the Orange junta in Stormont, handed them over to discrimination in jobs and in housing, about which we [866] all knew but about which others up to recently may not have been aware.

They sold out to injustice and intimidation, to the periodic pogroms that took place in 1921, 1937 and 1969. Ireland has always had its British lackeys; you can pick them out in every generation, those hypocrites, those who for their own ends are always ready to play Britain's game in this country. Listening to the leaders of the two parties here and also on television the other night was enough to nauseate even the strongest of people with honesty in their souls. We heard the posturing about law and order and public security, the same hypocritical tones that come from Paisley and the Orange extremists, the self-righteous concern for the safety of the Irish people; the blank charges thrown about. It did not matter who they hit so long as they did damage.

I want to know—I think it is a fair question—where were these people who are so concerned now last August? Where were they when the people in the Six Counties cried out for help and even for moral support? They were in the same position as they have always been in, trying by every means at their disposal, every trick in the bag, to get whatever selfish, narrow political advantage they could from the grave situation; going up, making sure the Press knew they were coming, that the photographers were around so that they could be photographed and recorded as having been there on conducted tours. This was done and the Deputies and the people of the country know it was done.

I have done what little I could, whatever lay in my power——

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: What was it?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Blaney: I have done whatever I could to help the Irish people in the Six Counties, regardless of their religion because I am not like many here: I have been reared in a mixed community. I know the people of all religions. I have been reared among them, gone to school with them, danced and played with them and I think I know what I am talking about. I have a [867] feeling for all our people, not for any particular section.

Mr. Desmond: So has Eddie McAteer.

Mr. Blaney: Just hold it, Deputy Desmond. You who know so much would publicise yourself to such an extent and finish up by doing nothing. I have done what little lay in my power in any way I could to help these people at that time and since because the crisis is not over in the Six Counties. I do not retreat from what I have done to help and encourage our people who were being brutally assaulted in those bad days and, indeed, some other days not so long ago in Belfast. I hope I shall never retreat from that outlook or position.

In regard to the sniping that has been done here at my other colleagues I want to say that the arrogance talked about in regard to Deputy Boland is something that I think Deputy Desmond should not have chosen to mention on this particular day. I listened to Deputy Boland today and I am further impressed by the sincerity of the man who believes in the Republican tradition in which he also was reared. Whatever else may be said about his humility and so on certainly no question of arrogance can be raised in regard to his stand and his forthright speech here today.

In regard to the manner in which another colleague, Deputy Ó Moráin, is concerned I can only say that it comes poorly from his colleagues on the opposite side of the House that he should be vilified as has been done; that it should be said that he was drunk in the Gresham Hotel when in fact he should be applauded for standing up and refusing to bow to the claims that this notorious Serjeant Sullivan was somebody we should be proud of, somebody who should be held up as a model to the young Irish people of today whereas this was the man who proposed, I believe in 1919, to the notorious Tans, the Irregulars of those days, that there should be reprisal shootings and executions and that people from all over the land—innocent or guilty, it did not matter a damn—should be pulled in. I think [868] his proposition was that if one of the forces was lost, 32 of those taken in should be shot.

Credit to the Tans, and God knows it takes something to make me say credit to them and those in charge of them in those days, they did not use his formula. But he got people to use it afterwards, in 1922, and we got the reprisal shootings and we got the 77 people shot down. These are the things we must remember when we talk about Serjeant Sullivan. These are the things we should keep in mind when people are blackguarding Mick Moran who was fully capable that night. I have gone to extreme trouble to make sure that this was so and to nail the lie while the man is still quite ill in hospital. He was fully capable that night and he was doing no more than I, and I think many others, if not all of us here, would do if any dignitary at home or abroad stood up to uphold this particular man of our sad past as a model and example to the young people of Ireland, no matter to what profession they belong.

As regards the idea that there is a split down the middle of Fianna Fáil I want to say that Fianna Fáil is not split; it is not even splintered. I say this as one of the people who is no longer in the Government, who is gone from the Government, who refused to resign from the Government. I want the House to know why. With no disrespect to the Taoiseach or to the Government, and with sadness so far as the President of the country is concerned, I refused to resign because I believe that, by so doing in view of the extremely delicate situation in the Six Counties, I would be aiding, perhaps causing, something that would result in some explosion about which we might be very sorry in the future. If my judgment was wrong, I bow to those who would condemn me. This is why I did not resign at the time I was requested and for no other reason.

To all the newspaper reporters and all those who would write about the manner in which I repudiated our Taoiseach, I want this House, and everybody outside it, to know that it was not a repudiation of him. It was no attempt to denigrate him or take from his authority as the elected leader [869] of the Fianna Fáil Party and as Taoiseach of this country duly elected by a majority of this House which, as displayed again only 48 hours ago, is solidly and completely behind him to see that he continues and carries on as Taoiseach and leader at this critical time, at this difficult time, at a time when those in Opposition would try to make it much more critical than it might otherwise be.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Blaney: I want the House to be fully aware of that. I want them to know that in going from the Government I go with regret, yes, but I also go with the full knowledge that I believe in the principles of Fianna Fáil as laid down in 1926. I believe above all in the first object of Fianna Fáil, as laid down in our constitution at that time and as enunciated again by the Taoiseach at our recent Ard-Fheis and acclaimed by the thousands there present. Believing as I do, I am as Fianna Fáil today as I was last week, last year or in the past decade.

I want the Opposition to know that they are merely chopping ground with a very poor safety razor blade if they think they will by their tactics here disrupt Fianna Fáil and split that which has stood the test of time, not because it is Fianna Fáil by name but because of the fact, as I am solemnly and completely convinced at this time as, indeed, in many other times, that this is the one party capable of doing what is best for this country. Because of that all of us here right across these benches support the party and the leadership of it. We support the Government members of the party and we are about to support the new members of the Government who are proposed to the House. We will do that when the time comes and whether it be 6 o'clock this evening or 6 o'clock tomorrow morning does not matter.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Blaney: Having said that, I will leave it to others to give their versions of the split and the crisis—which do not exist on this side of the House. [870] If there is anything riling the Opposition it is—and perhaps this is to be understood—due to their disappointment that there is not actually the split they had hoped for. To the Labour Party I would say in particular: Perhaps we have done you a good enough turn by taking you off the headlines as we have done truly and completely in the past few days.

Mr. Coughlan: Thank you very much indeed.

Mr. Blaney: Do not mention it. However, let me finish by saying there is no question whatever, or no doubt whatever, as to the allegiance of myself and Deputy Charlie Haughey, for whom I speak here this evening, and Deputy Mick Moran who is in hospital—not that that was ever questioned I think, or maybe it was; so much has been said here and so many things have been said in order to confuse—and Deputy Kevin Boland who has spoken for himself.

Mr. Desmond: Why then was the Deputy's resignation sought?

Mr. Blaney: I am speaking for Deputy Charlie Haughey and myself when I say that there is no question about our allegiance to the leadership of Fianna Fáil, to the members of the Government, and past colleagues, and to the new members who are coming into the Government. So long as there is a Fianna Fáil Party standing on their constitution, so long will they have the support of myself, Kevin Boland I am sure, Charlie Haughey and, I hope, those who come after us bearing the same names. The party will have that support in abundance and there will be no doubt about where our allegiance lies because, in my belief, Fianna Fáil and their continuance is synonymous with the advancement of this country and the ultimate bringing about of unity and the betterment of all our people.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): I do not intend to follow Deputy Blaney into the events of 50 years ago but I think it necessary to remind the House, following the speech to which we have just listened, that this debate does not arise out of a row between [871] the Fianna Fáil Party and the Fine Gael Party. This debate does not arise out of a row between the Government party and the Opposition parties in this House. It arises out of an eruption within the Government party. This debate has arisen out of the sacking of two or three Government Ministers by the Taoiseach of the Fianna Fáil Government and the resignations of one or two Cabinet Ministers who refused to serve under their Taoiseach's leadership.

I only want to say about the speech to which the House has just listened, and which came from one of the sacked Ministers, one of the ex-Ministers who has given rise to this unpleasant episode in Irish history, that it would have been much better had Deputy Blaney devoted much more of his time—in fact all of it—to an explanation as to why he was called upon to resign by his leader and why he was sacked in default, rather than in trying to stir up in this House the hatreds, the enmities and the sad events in our past history, which events are now giving rise to trouble in other parts of this island.

That is all I want to say about the speech of the man to whom we have just listened except that this morning I listened attentively to Deputy Kevin Boland, a former Minister who resigned. I have just now listened with equal attention to Deputy Neil T. Blaney, who was sacked in default of resignation. While I agree with neither of them nor anything they stand for, I respect their right to express their views. I want to say this—and I would not be surprised to learn that a great many people agree with me—I would have far more respect for Boland, who spoke this morning, and for his sentiments than for Blaney, to whom we have just listened.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Of Deputy Boland who spoke this morning you might say he was rugged. You might say he held views which you could not share. You might say [872] he was a civil war politician. You might say he was expressing views which were not in keeping with the “'seventies” but you would have to have regard for his sincerity. I could not say that about the man who made the speech to which we have just listened, a speech calculated to stir up hatred, a speech calculated to open up the sores of the Civil War, a speech, in my respectful submission, calculated to drive young men like Deputy Foley of Dublin and other young Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party to guns, into civil war and back to arms. I leave him to the judgment of this House where he has been listened to without interruption.

I said when I last spoke on the previous motion here that I could not support the Taoiseach's nominees for Ministers because, in my opinion, the Taoiseach had lost the confidence of the House and of the country. The Government have been in power far too long. Many of the evils which are now bedevilling us spring from that fact. I stated the other night that the Taoiseach, over the past couple of years, has come to regard low standards in ministerial office as normal. I want to repeat that statement now.

I want to say after full consideration and after due thought that in addition to the Opposition Parties in this House the national press have a serious obligation to discharge. I regret to say that in my considered opinion the national press have, in recent years, been treating that serious obligation lightly. For the past couple of years from these Opposition benches we have found it necessary to point out that in our opinion certain Ministers of State were behaving in an improper manner.

When we pointed out that the Minister for Finance was indulging in what to us appeared to be a doubtful, if not a shady, transaction regarding the sale of land, he was backed up by the Taoiseach and supported by the national newspapers who said we should not have made such suggestions. That man has now been found out by the Taoiseach, and sacked in default of resignation. We found it necessary in debate in this House to draw attention to the fact that the [873] Minister for Finance had appointed to a State board a former Member of this House who is a self-confessed corrupt person and a self-confessed recipient of bribes in his public office. The Taoiseach said that he could think of no better man for the position. A national newspaper published that ex-Deputy's photograph in its daily edition and stated that many people thought that the recognition conferred by appointment to a State board was long overdue to the individual concerned. That was printed under the photograph. Can I be said to be exaggerating if I say that both the Taoiseach and the national newspapers, believing that this Government was in power for keeps, have been treating their obligations to this country lightly?

We found it necessary during the debate on the Estimate for the Department of Justice to draw attention to the fact that, for stated reasons, we considered the former Minister for Justice unsuitable for that office. The Taoiseach stood over that Minister and brushed aside as nothing the complaints we made against him. How did the national newspapers deal with it? They lauded the reply of the Minister to the debate as the greatest since the halycon days of the former Deputies Paddy Ruttledge and Paddy McGilligan, forgetting that Paddy McGilligan had never been Minister for Justice. The national newspapers can be excused for falling into the trap that the rest of the country has fallen into of believing that the Fianna Fáil Party could be trusted in power indefinitely. The sorry and sordid events which we are now considering prove that is not so any longer. I know it is a risky thing for a politician, who depends on publicity and the press, to say these things. I believe certain journalists in this country writing articles belittling politicians, and belittling Ministers of State, reducing them to ridicule and treating the whole thing in a manner in which an up-dated edition of the Dublin Opinion might be expected to do, are rendering no service to this nation, to this Parliament or to democracy.

This Government were elected on [874] the 18th of June, 1969. The Fianna Fáil Party campaigned on the basis that there was only one Government available to the people. They dealt in their own way with coalitions and inter-Party governments. That reminds me that I have not heard the word mentioned from the opposite side of the House since the debate began. That campaign was conducted on the basis of “Let's back Jack” and on the basis that they were a united Government with well-defined, well-known and well-publicised national policies. On the strength of that campaign they were given 75 or 76 Deputies to represent them. This was the greatest majority ever given to this Parliament, with one exception, since its foundation. Surely then, its Taoiseach owed a considerable obligation to the people of the country and to the Parliament.

What do we find? We find the Taoiseach carrying on with this majority from the 18th of June, 1969, fighting a by-election in Dublin South-West in the early part of this year, fighting two by-elections more recently on the slogan “Let's continue to back Jack” when the people who published that slogan knew, or must have known, that, in fact, they were stabbing Jack in the back at Cabinet level. This Government are in power on false pretences. Many of the Deputies on the Government benches are occupying seats which they would never have the right to sit in if the people had been told the truth in June last and if the people had known that there was a sharp and marked division on national policy within the Cabinet. The Taoiseach has been less than frank and less than honest with the country and with the Dáil over the last months. It is very difficult on occasion for members of the Opposition to find out a Taoiseach in matters pertaining to the higher activities of the State or to find out Cabinet Ministers.

I do not have to go farther back than 5th May, 1970—last Tuesday—to prove out of the Taoiseach's own mouth and out of the Official Report of this House, that the Taoiseach was not truthful in this House, that he misled the Opposition, that he misled many of his own Deputies and that, through the mass [875] media, he misled a great many people in this country.

The House will remember—it is no harm to repeat this and to keep repeating it because it is very serious— that the Taoiseach announced the resignation of Deputy Moran, Minister for Justice. He emphasised that it was a resignation on health grounds. I am not calling the Taoiseach a liar but Deputy Kevin Boland who spoke here this morning did so.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy will need to correct that— the word “liar”.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): I am not saying that the Taoiseach told a deliberate untruth but I say that a former colleague of his for many years has done so in this House today. At any rate, when the resignation of Deputy Moran was announced, Deputy Cosgrave said: “Can the Taoiseach say if this is the only Ministerial resignation we can expect?” The Taoiseach replied: “I do not know what the Deputy is referring to.” The Taoiseach could be excused for keeping his cards close to his chest. The Taoiseach could be excused for refusing to give a definite answer. The Taoiseach cannot be excused for knowingly misleading this House. He could have said: “I shall deal with that again. I am dealing now with only one matter.” But he just washed his hands. He said, in effect: “I know not the man.” He said that in so many words. In written words, he said: “I do not know what the Deputy is talking about.” I think there is a very full explanation due to this House and due to the country from a Taoiseach who behaved thus on Tuesday of this week and who comes here today, Friday, asking this House to approve his nomination of a number of Cabinet Ministers.

The policy of the Fine Gael Party on the unification of Ireland is well known. It is subscribed to by every member of the Fine Gael Party and presumably it is subscribed to by the Taoiseach because, when we had occasion to debate the matter last year, the Taoiseach, within minutes, [876] said, in effect: “That has been the Fianna Fáil policy for many years.” Our policy is well known. We are now and always were constitutional. We do not now and we never did believe in the use of physical force to solve Partition. As far as I know, the policy of the Labour Party on the unification of our country is equally well respected by every member of the Labour Party. They do not believe in force either. The only party about whose policy on Partition there has been any doubt or any equivocation in the past 12 months is the Fianna Fáil Party.

Mr. Carter: Is the Deputy speaking about the Coalition?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): I am speaking about facts. I spoke a lot in Longford-Westmeath not so long ago.

Mr. Carter: It was the only time you had not a new policy: you forgot about it.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): I got a very good reception there and a great number of votes—a lot of them in Longford town. The only party whose policy on Partition is in doubt is the Fianna Fáil Party. The only party in this country who ever refused to accept majority rule was the Fianna Fáil Party. I think it can be said with a great lot of truth that the leopard does not change its spots.

We are discussing here this evening a motion in the name of the Taoiseach to approve of three members of his new Cabinet. The Fianna Fáil Party are asking for this vote under the umbrella of the Taoiseach. We are asking the House to appoint two Ministers in respect of two Deputies who have been sacked from the Government, Deputy Charles J. Haughey and Deputy Neil T. Blaney. Did it ever strike the people of this country, did it ever strike the members of this House, that, if the lobbying which went on a couple of years ago had been successful, this House might have been inflicted with either Deputy Charles J. Haughey or Deputy Neil T. Blaney as Taoiseach—because each of them was in the Taoiseach's stakes within the Fianna Fáil Party a couple of years [877] ago. They are still in the Party. Does it ever strike the House that, on a future date, if the occasion arises, this rabble rouser whom we heard this evening might work up sufficient support for himself to have himself appointed leader of the Fianna Fáil Party and then, if the country were so foolish as to have him in office, we would have him as Taoiseach?

Mr. Desmond: He took the first step here this afternoon.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Did the enormity of that thought ever strike anybody here? Is there not only one way to deal with this, namely, to let the country weed out the people in the Fianna Fáil Party whom they do not want?

Mr. Tunney: What about Fine Gael?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): When a debate goes on as long as this debate is likely to last, the water may get muddy. We may, on the invitation of Deputy Blaney, be enticed away from the solid facts. I was glad this evening to hear a former Minister for Defence, the Minister designate for Agriculture, speak. I concede that I had heard him mentioned in connection with the sordid business we were discussing. I did not think that one up. I did not invent it. My party did not invent it. The country is full of it. I want to tell Deputy James Gibbons now, and I make no apology for telling him, that speculation was rife in this House yesterday morning as to whether he would walk into it behind the Taoiseach, Deputy Jack Lynch, or stay out of it in company with Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney. I did not invent that. Those are the facts. The newspapers had it. Deputy James Gibbons has been mentioned in dispatches.

Mr. Tunny: I thought the Deputy did not believe in newspapers.

Mr. J. Gibbons: I have been mentioned in Deputy Ryan's dispatch.

Mr. Colley: Not in Deputy Cosgrave's.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: Yes, he was.

[878] Mr. Tunney: The Deputy said earlier he did not respect newspapers——

Mr. Desmond: What Deputy Tunney is trying to do is——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Let me deal with my speech in my own way, please. Let me tell Deputy Tunney, and all the rest of the Fianna Fáil Deputies, we shall stay here until tomorrow night, if they wish. This debate today has been marked by one thing, namely, that everybody was allowed to say his bit, whether on that side or this side of the House. In a debate dealing with matters of such magnitude and such importance I think everybody should be allowed to have his say without interruptions. I was saying I was delighted to hear Deputy Gibbons, the Minister for Defence, who is now Minister designate for Agriculture, intervene in this debate.

The enormity of the situation with which we are dealing, the vacuum in which Fianna Fáil are living, the arrogance which has descended on the party during the years and the fact that they have been seen to become immunised from public opinion as a result of the length of their term in office was brought home to me in the clearest possible terms by Deputy Gibbons. The Deputy seemed to be utterly outraged that anybody should suggest that Army trucks were used to unload from boats ammunition which was to be used for illegal purposes. Deputy Gibbons seemed to be out-raged——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy should be referred to as the Minister for Defence.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): That is much more appropriate to the context in which I am speaking. The Minister for Defence seemed to be outraged that he should come under suspicion in any way whatever and he said that, as far as suggestions from this side of the House were concerned, the sky was the limit.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Yes.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): If that is so might I ask the Minister [879] for Defence if he considers that the Taoiseach went to outer space looking for suggestions when he called on the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries to resign because, in his opinion, there was a prima facie case that they had been engaged in unconstitutional matters, to wit, the illegal importation of arms into the country for illegal purposes? Was that not a more far-fetched suggestion than the suggestion made by us? It was the Taoiseach who put these two men in the dock and not us. It is that which has us here at 6.30 on a Friday evening, probably for the first time in the past 50 years, discussing a matter of this nature.

Can I be blamed for suggesting that Fianna Fáil have taken leave of their senses, that they believe they are omnipotent and can do no wrong? It is my belief that the Minister for Defence would adopt the attitude that it is very wrong for an Opposition party to query, in a democratic way, the activities of a Minister but that it is not wrong for a Minister to be engaged in unconstitutional and criminal activities.

Deputy Richie Ryan and Mr. Kennedy, the Northern Ireland MP, are no particular friends. As far as I know they do not go on holidays together or have conferences, but yet there is the suggestion against the Minister for Defence coming over the air from Northern Ireland. What position does the Taoiseach find himself in today— the same Taoiseach who comes to this House and asks us to approve the appointments of three new Ministers to replace those who have been either sacked or resigned?

The other evening there was a meeting of Fianna Fáil Members to discuss what must have been the most important item ever to appear on a Fianna Fáil Party agenda. That meeting lasted for 50 minutes at the end of which time everybody came out clapping their hands and saying everything was all right. Yet, in this morning's papers there is a report of an interview with a man who attended that meeting, and who was one of those who gave the unanimous vote of [880] confidence to the Taoiseach, attacking the Taoiseach—the man whom he yesterday said he accepted in the fullest sense of the word—as being engaged in Gestapo tactics and saying that he would not serve in any Government or under such a Taoiseach in these circumstances. It is hard to believe.

It appears to me that Fianna Fáil do not take the country seriously. This article in today's issue of the Irish Independent stands uncontradicted and not only that, but the former Minister for Local Government came into the House today and made what I believe to be a sincere contribution—a contribution with which I utterly disagree but, nevertheless, which I believe to be sincere. He repeated everything in substance that is reported in the newspaper account of the interview. He believed that his colleagues were unfairly treated but what happened? He sat down to the din of considerable applause which indicated considerable endorsement for what he had said from a number of Deputies within Fianna Fáil—the same Fianna Fáil Party who were unanimously united at 6 o'clock the other evening. That same party applauded one of their members today for denouncing the Taoiseach as being engaged in Gestapo tactics and saying that he would not serve under him in any circumstances.

There is a serious situation in Northern Ireland and there is a considerable amount of credit due to the young progressive people there who, after 50 years, have focused the spotlight of world opinion on the injustices in that part of the country. Those young people, whom we all admire so much, do not wish for armed intervention from this Government and neither do they wish for inflammatory speeches from any member of the Government of this State. If the Taoiseach is honest and if his Minister for External Affairs is honest, he must know that such is the case. These young men who are doing a good job and who have brought about changes that were believed to be impossible a few years ago have specifically told the Taoiseach, and I invite him to deny it, that they do not want any [881] inter-meddling in the affairs of the north by the Government of the south.

I believe that the Minister for Justice was sacked, that he ran away from his job and that a senior officer in the Department of Justice was carrying out the work of the Minister for Justice. It is my belief, too, that that is why the Taoiseach sacked Deputy Moran, as we have been told by Deputy Boland.

After 32 years of Fianna Fáil administration it is good to know that there are dedicated and honest public servants in this State, both in the Army and in the Civil Service, who do not believe in the omnipotence of any Government, who are prepared to serve vigorously the people of this State through the Government that is in power for the day. It should go on record that the people of this country owe a debt of gratitude to our national Army founded, thanks be to God, by Michael Collins and to the Civil Service, founded by Griffith, Collins, O'Higgins, Cosgrave and the rest, for the unselfish and fearless service which they have given to this State.

I honestly believe that, if the Taoiseach would adjourn this debate until Tuesday and get into his car and go down to west Cork, to that nice, secluded, beautiful countryside, and think things over away from the atmosphere of the television, away from the atmosphere of Leinster House, away from the newspapermen and away from the coming and going and lobbying that is going on within his own party, and ask himself where he stands vis-à-vis the Irish people and his own party, he would come to the conclusion that the Fianna Fáil Party have let him down and have let the country down, that they have been in power for far too long, that he himself is considerably to blame for tolerating low standards in high places but, above all, he would, I think, in all humility come to the decision that he has a terrible cheek, that he is being very audacious, that what he is asking this House to do is utterly unreasonable. He is asking this House to repose a vote of confidence in him and in his shattered party—shattered, not on the price of beer, not on [882] whether we should or should not enter the EEC, but split from stem to stern on one of the greatest national issues affecting this country—the issue of the abolition of Partition, entailing the very existence of this State. He would come to the conclusion that there is only one clean way, only one honourable method out of the mess into which he and nobody else—because he is the leader of this Government and he is the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party—has led the country and has led his party, and that is to dissolve Dáil Éireann, to go to the country and give the people an opportunity of voting with open eyes—and not in blinkers as they voted on 18th June last. If he does, I will be satisfied. If he is returned to power—which I am satisfied he will not be—he will be able to face the House and to face the country bearing the sobriquet which he now quite dishonourably allows the people to apply to him—“Honest Jack”.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: We have a new Minister for Justice. We are about to have a new Minister for Defence. We have also reached a stage in which the Ministers of Justice and Defence have become what are called key posts. In happy conditions, in a country that is united, these particular posts are not usually considered key posts, but, when tensions rise, when there is talk of civil war, when rumours of violence and conspiracies are rife and when actions and words of members of the Government lend colour to such rumours, then these become key Ministries. They are key Ministries now due to the emotionalism and the confusion, the bungling and the duplicity of the Taoiseach's party, the people whom he brought into office.

What do we know about how these men will behave in certain emergencies? I do not want to dwell on the nature of such emergencies. I do not want to raise the already dangerously high level of passion here and in the country. There could be emergencies and what do we know about how these people would behave in such emergencies? We know this: the Taoiseach has told us that they are suitable for the posts which he is now filling. Less [883] than a year ago he told us all here that Deputy Haughey, Deputy Boland, Deputy Moran—and who was the other one—were all suitable for the posts that were being entrusted to them. He subsequently found out not his mistake but his four mistakes. He found them out only after other in this House had drawn certain facts to his attention.

That record would hardly encourage any prudent person to put confidence in the Taoiseach's choice of people. These are all people whom he knew very well. He knew them, naturally, much better than most of us and he had confidence in them for these posts. He found his confidence abused. It is still being abused. He was quoted this morning as saying that these people, or some of them, are able, dedicated and brilliant. Able and brilliant they may be but it would appear that they have dedicated their ability and their brilliance to mischief, to illegal activities, to something very like a conspiracy. I say it would appear so from the fact that the Taoiseach has found it necessary to dismiss them in the circumstances in which he did. If they can be cleared—and I notice the extent of their denial of the charges— then I am sure we will all be very happy about that; but we would want to know how the Taoiseach came to reach the decision he did, that they had to be dismissed. These people are found suitable for the key portfolios of Defence and Justice with responsibility for the armed forces and the Garda. They are found suitable for those posts by the Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach has said—and this is relevant to these areas—that he does rule out force. He believes in unity by persuasion, by eventual consent, something which we must admit is remote but something which we aspire. That is reasonable. That is something which commands the confidence of this entire House. If those people were found suitable by the Taoiseach, with a thorough knowledge of them and how they stand, then, in the light of those principles, we would support such appointments. We have also heard that those new Ministers and Ministers to-be are considered suitable by precisely [884] those colleagues whom the Taoiseach has just dismissed from ministerial office. They agree that those men are suitable people so we are going to have a Minister for Justice— we have one already—and a Minister for Defence stamped with the seal of the approval of Deputies Boland and Blaney.

Is that a reassuring thought to anyone? It will not be to many people in this country. I must say I would feel far more reassured if Deputies Boland and Blaney found those people unsuitable for such posts. What do those people say, and, what is important, how do they say it? We have just heard Deputy Blaney. He gave a remarkable performance. I am interested in the theatre and I can find only praise for his performance as a performance. He touched the chords of passion skillfully; he wound up on a skillful and successful appeal to unity and by doing those two things he earned the applause of the majority of the Fianna Fáil Party. It was only the Minister who sat without clapping their hands as that performance went on.

As a speech it was passionate and it was also evasive. It touched emotion but it failed to divulge any facts. Deputy Blaney said: “I have run no guns.” He made a series of other denials. Apparently those did not convince the Taoiseach who knows him. Why should they convince others here in the Opposition who know him less? He disavowed one particular illegal and violent organisation in the north— one. There are several. The others were not disavowed by him. He touched the chords of the emotions of an old civil war, the emotions of nearly 50 years ago. With skill he played on those. He obviously touches hearts over there with that language.

It is rather hard in the circumstances of May, 1970, as we move into one of the most tense and dangerous summers in this island, to forgive someone who rakes up the emotions of an old civil war, in language, in accents which evoke old passions. Deputy Blaney says he knows the north, both Catholics and Protestants. No doubt in a sense he does as far as those can be [885] perceived through his mythology, through his fixations and through the experiences of his youth. If he knows the north all the more shame on him for striking that note now. Surely there must be those on those benches—I am addressing those remarks particularly to the Minister for External Affairs and the Taoiseach—who will repudiate not merely the language but the tone and the whole style of the speech which was pouring petrol on to flames.

Deputy Blaney said: “I have never advocated the use of force as a means of brining about the unity of Ireland but I cannot stand idly by while the nationalist people are subjected to murderous assaults.” We can all understand his feelings. We can all share such feelings which are only too easy to realise. What does he mean when he says “I cannot stand idly by”? He was up there but what was he doing? He was doing something and he is still committed to the further doing of that something. What was it? He was asked from those benches what this was but he did not say. There was a hint that he was doing dangerous and patriotic things but what they might be we do not know. He specified a number of things he said he was not doing.

Deputy Blaney said that Fianna Fáil were not split. He may well be right on that. Nothing was more significant, nothing more ominous, nothing more sinister in this debate than the applause which those dismissed Ministers drew from those benches over there from people who are saying they are loyal to the Taoiseach but who applauded the men he dismissed from his Cabinet. Fianna Fáil may not be split. They may unite around those people. He said also that Fianna Fáil were leading the country in some kind of new advance. I would say this. If Fianna Fáil indeed follow the pattern which Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney are hinting at, and which their applause proves, it will be an advance of Gadarene swine towards the gulf of civil war they are heading for. I do not believe they are committed to that path. I think they are not quite sure what they are doing themselves and for a long time they have been confused [886] on this issue. Deputy Blaney was not very explicit about what he was doing or what he believed should be done.

Deputy Boland who is a straighter man said what he thought and I believe him. I believe Deputy Boland was being frank with the House and we should appreciate this although the sentiments that emerge through his frankness are most disastrous and dangerous in the present crisis. He indicated that he also ruled out the use of force as a means of reunifying the country. That has become something of a formula and something of a code language which covers something else. It is only from Deputy Boland's speech here this morning that we find out a little of what that something else is.

What is the policy which has been hinted at and which I fear has been practised? He indicated that he was opposed to illegal organisations of a military character in the 26 Counties— I suppose at this stage we should be grateful to have that assurance at least from an ex-Minister of State. I am paraphasing the Deputy now and if I say something which seems to him seriously to distort what he said, perhaps he would correct me. I understood the Deputy to say that as regards such organisations in Northern Ireland he was not specifically approving them nor would he condemn them. They would have to make up their own minds about what they would do. He seemed to indicate a preference for their using the weapons defensively only, but he would not condemn them if they took other decisions.

Deputy Blaney implied the same thing. Deputy Boland put them in exactly the same position as the rest of the country prior to 1916. That has certain implications. It has the implication that a rising, even if unsuccessful, would be justified. That is only a part of his thoughts because he also said that arms importation into the north should not be illegal; in other words, if guns were to be run across the Border from here over that famous land frontier the Government here, the police and military should look the other way even if they did not actually lend a helping hand. That is what [887] I understood the Deputy to say in the speech that was applauded by so many gentlemen over there.

These speeches are made not in a vacuum: they have already been heard in Northern Ireland. There they fall on attentive and fanatical ears and they will raise tension which is already extremely dangerous. They may even be responsible for actual loss of life —that is not impossible. I was in Belfast last weekend. Already then the tension in that city and in other centres which I visited—and I go there openly —was very marked. When I went again last night to speak on Ulster Television the atmosphere, which previously had been tense and ominous, had become electric. I have never seen so many frightened people in so short a time. Deputy Garret FitzGerald who was with me will bear that out. In the television studio we saw the tension and alarm of the producers and the controllers; we heard hostile telephone calls; we saw a little, rather pathetic, Paisleyite mob in the street, including small children whose faces were contorted with hatred and fear. The hatred and fear are being carried along the soundwaves by people like Mr. Paisley in the North and Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney here—the Deputies who still sit on the benches in this House as honoured members of the Fianna Fáil Party.

The terrible thing is that a vicious circle is involved. Those who rouse up passion, the Paisleys or the Blaneys, play into each other's hands and they confirm one another's prophecies of woe. Deputy Blaney tells us that violence is not far away in the Six Counties. His speech brings it nearer and he must know that since he knows the north. That speech was applauded and this I consider appalling. It is terrible also that people whose political future now depends on an upsurge of emotion in which they have appealed here, have the power of provoking such an upsurge by the impact of their words in the north and by the further impact of events in the north on the 26 Counties. This is extremely ominous and I do not want to amplify that for [888] fear, even in terms of warning, of adding anything to passions here.

I appeal to the Taoiseach in this crisis to think in those terms, to think of this island in danger of drifting towards the verge of civil war through the words and actions of members of his party. I appeal to him to act firmly and to repudiate these men, to withdraw from them the Fianna Fáil Whip, to turn them from his party as he has turned them from his Government. Only then will his frequently wise and prudent language on this subject ever again carry any credibility. After what we have seen and heard I doubt if the Taoiseach will do this—I doubt whether he is any longer able to do it. I fear he may have become the prisoner of these men. Fianna Fáil are a sick party——

Mr. J. Lenehan: We will get in again.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: The party is sick with a dangerous and infectious sickness. It is incubating the germs of a possible future civil war.

Mr. Coogan: What we have before us this evening is the filling of three posts. I note my colleague, Deputy Robert Molloy, is one of the nominees. I take this opportunity of complimenting him on his selection; in his favour I would say that he will fill the role somewhat better than the previous Minister as far as sanctioning matters concerning our town is concerned.

We are entitled to discuss the question of Ministers who have held office up to now. The Taoiseach should come before us and account for the stewardship of these ex-Minister, the stewardship of these fallen angels of his party. We heard the arrogant speech of Deputy Blaney, full of fire “let me at them in the north” and this is what we have to contend with. It is said that, in some countries, when one falls into disgrace, as these fallen angels have here, one goes out and commits hara-kari. The Taoiseach should be the one to tell them to get out. He is holding on to office depending on those in the front bench with the knife and they will knife him in [889] the back. The fiery speech that was made here was not for this side of the House but for the Taoiseach's side. This is the greatest scandal that has come to this House for over 50 years. I say a Boland should be the last to be associated with this, because there was a Boland in the past who brought over Pierpoint, the English hangman, to hang Irishmen for less.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is discussing a man who is not a member of the House.

Mr. J. Lenehan: What about the 77 you got?

Mr. Coogan: I am entitled to point out that 37 young men were executed.

Mr. P. Belton: Deputy Blaney referred to 77 and he was not pulled up. Therefore Deputy Coogan is entitled to mention 37.

Mr. Coogan: Every time the Taoiseach appears on television and I happen to be sitting in company the remark is passed: “Doesn't Jack Lynch look a bit shook?” I say: “He has every good reason to be shook, putting up with that bunch he has to deal with.” What we see today is the house that Jack built falling down around him. He is trying to patch it up and hold it together, but it will not be for long. It is about time the Taoiseach went to the country and let those people get their answers.

I am often asked: “What sort of a man is Jack Lynch?” I honestly reply: “Basically he is a decent type but he is not made of the stuff to deal with the Ministers he has around him.” I think he should be very careful of the Lucifers. It is no wonder the Taoiseach had a set-back recently himself. He is carrying a burden that it takes a man to carry, and I sympathise with him in that respect.

What can we expect when we look around the House and see Deputy Aiken who one time deserted the Free State to fight the north? These are the little things that are being whispered around in the party: “We should have another go at them. If [890] I were as young a man as you I would have a go at them in the north.” It is no wonder we have this trouble today. It is no wonder that young men have gone to their untimely deaths when there is this kind of loose talk from the Blaneys of today and the Aikens of yesterday.

The question has been asked in the country and I am entitled to ask it here: what mystery trips has the Asgard done lately, this famous gun-running boat of the past? For what purpose was it painted up? How was it that a large amount of ammunition was found under a bridge in Dublin? Why was there a hush-up in this regard? Strange happenings like this are all forming into a picture about which the people are asking questions. It is about time we had a bit of Lynch law, but I am afraid the kind of law Honest Jack can give is not decisive.

Deputy Boland made a very grand statement here. He should be ashamed. He said it was very wrong of the Taoiseach to give him “the bum's rush” out of the front bench, and that is what it amounts to. It is a grand day to see removed from the front bench that arrogant bunch who were snarling here in a manner reminiscent of the lion in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer pictures.

Coming from a major tourist centre I think it is bad enough that we should be suffering from the effects of a very severe Budget but now we have this bombshell which is causing and will cause cancellations over the whole area. This will bring ruin to people who have put money into providing tourist amenities, extra rooms and other facilities. This will have a dire effect on the strongest arm of our economy in the west. There is only one answer: get rid of Fianna Fáil and their trigger-happy gangsters. There has been a great deal of talk about the Ard Fheis and how the Taoiseach spoke there, but we did not hear one word about the document that was floating around the House: “Back Neil Blaney”. It was “Back Jack” before the election.

Mr. J. Lenehan: There was no such document.

[891] Mr. Coogan: The place was covered with them. I know the Deputy would not be able to read anyway.

Mr. J. Lenehan: There was no such document.

An Ceann Comhairle: If Deputy Lenehan does not desist from interrupting I shall have to ask him to leave the House.

Mr. Coogan: It is all coming to the surface. There was this document floating around at the Ard Fheis: “Back Neil Blaney”. The most disgusting sight I ever saw was at the gate of Leinster House the night before last. The gates had to be closed. All the mohair Taca merchants were storming the front of the House anxious to know what the position was. The Tacateers had come to see where they stood. They were milling around the gate in hundreds. When the three musketeers came out with pipes in their mouths, television cameras ahead of them, they got a cheer from the mohair group. Where does the Party stand now? These Taca men would not have taken guns if the guns were being dished out by Deputy Blaney. All they ever took was cheques but they had to pay a cheque in return.

It is a sad day. We seem to have gone back 50 years, to be playing into the hands of Paisleyites, as we have seen in the last few days. The repercussions will be felt for many a year. They will be felt by our children.

There is a rumour, and it is not without good reason, and it is on the lips of every Garda in the country, that the order was, “hands off the bankrobbers” and they were let off. It is very strange. What has happened this money and the £80,000 that has gone out of the country? Would this be the bank money to pay for these famous arms and ammunition? We are entitled to a full investigation and to a full reply. There is a smile on the face of the Minister there but it is rather hollow. He reminds me of a man whistling passing the graveyard. He is a decent man, one of the few left.

Mr. Lalor: The Deputy's speech is like a record that is being played over and over again.

[892] Mr. Coogan: The Minister is one of the few decent men left.

Mr. Lalor: Thanks very much.

Mr. Coogan: It is a regrettable fact that has come to light that several Fianna Fáil Ministers have been associated with what is now becoming clear to being a communist plot.

Mr. Tunney: The Deputy is reading too many comics.

Mr. Coogan: Does the Deputy not know where the arms were coming from? Someone should advise the Deputy. It is rather strange that he should be so innocent. It is about time that a charge of high treason was made against some of these gentlemen. Young men in this country were sent to the gallows for much less. Here we have a supposedly responsible party. The whole thing smacks of the days of the Chicago gangsters—Al Capone, Legs Diamond, Baby Face Nelson—yes and we had Bugs Moran thrown in with them too. These are the gentlemen who tried to take over Chicago, like the crowd who are trying to take over Jack.

The house that Jack built is falling down on top of him. There is no use in trying to patch it. Let it be a warning that history should not be repeated. Some of us have seen enough in our lifetime. I know what is keeping them smiling. They are digging in because they know that if they go to the country they will get their answer. The Ministers who deserted the front bench are like rats deserting a ship. I heard one decent member of Fianna Fáil saying: “Never again will I stand.” It was only yesterday that he said that to me. He was one decent man. I knew he was. Decent men can be misled. It would be a decent thing if the other Members would do the same thing.

The attempts of the Ministers to wash their hands, like Pontius Pilate, were pitiful. Jack had to sit there. One would have thought that there was a halo around Deputy Blaney when he was describing what he did in the past. I never saw any bullet marks on him.

Our leader, Deputy Cosgrave, has pulled down the wallpaper and shown [893] the cracks. When the walls begin to crack, the foundations are rotten. That is the position of Fianna Fáil. It is time the Fianna Fáil bubble was burst. That will happen sooner than many of them think.

I have sympathy with Jack Lynch. I would advise him not to die for the country in the way he is dying. He was advised by another Deputy to go off to west Cork and enjoy a peaceful holiday. Before doing so, would he take a little ride to the Park? I would gladly pay the car fare if he would go to Aras an Uachtaráin and tell the President that he is packing in.

Mr. Lalor: There is a backfire in that car. The boss said that before.

Mr. Coogan: There was a backfire at this gate and it did not come from the rear of the car; it came out of the side and you had to cover that up. Things are more dangerous than the people know. Thank God we have a free press in this country. If the Blaneys and the Bolands and the rest of them had their way the people would know nothing. God forgive us if we ever allow Fianna Fáil to get in again.

Dr. Browne: The debate has gone on for so long that there is very little left for Deputies to say without repetition. However, I think that the Taoiseach was subjected today to more implied and more offensive criticism from his own benches than we have heard from the best efforts of the Opposition speakers of both parties because what we heard today was that the Taoiseach has made a very serious blunder, that he has effectively emasculated his Cabinet; he has put out of it three men—two men if we take Deputy Haughey and Deputy Blaney—who all Deputies in this House know to be what he called brilliant men, very talented men and those of us who have been here for a while with all our differences, recognise them to be extremely clever tacticians, parliamentarians and good politicians. What we have been told today is that these men are innocent of very serious charges made against them by their colleague, the Taoiseach.

[894] Now the truth cannot lie with both. The truth lies with one or the other, with the Taoiseach or with Deputy Boland, Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey. Therefore, one of these is also lying by implication. One of these is not telling the truth. That means that we have a Cabinet which contained men who, on this very serious issue, are telling deliberate falsehoods. I was rather struck by the Taoiseach's approach to this whole problem of the disloyalty in his Cabinet from his own senior Cabinet colleagues. I have no doubt at all but that the motivation to take action came from Deputy Cosgrave, the leader of the Fine Gael Party, and it seems to me that Deputy Lynch, the Taoiseach, was not going to take action——

Mr. P. Belton: Correct.

Dr. Browne: ——until he was forced to do so following an ultimatum from Deputy Cosgrave. That is, I think, a very serious charge to make. I think it is a valid charge. I think it can be the only explanation of the three-o'clock-in-the-morning episode and the extreme urgency with which the Taoiseach eventually acted. From that we have, I think, to accept that in spite of the information the Taoiseach had held for at least a fortnight, he continued to harbour these men whom he believes were acting in a subversive way either because he was frightened of them or because he had a certain sympathy with their objectives, if they could get away with these objectives, and that he only acted when he was forced to do so by the intervention of the leader of the Fine Gael Party.

I do not think anybody who knows anything at all about this subject has any doubt but that rumours of this sort, concerning at least two of the Deputies, Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney, had been in circulation last August. We heard them when we were in the north at the time. I said they were rumours. They could have been untrue. According to the Taoiseach, the position is that they, in fact, were true. They were widely circulating particularly in the Falls Road area. I am trying to be very careful now because this is a very serious matter, but there [895] were rumours that arms were being supplied from the south as a result of the intervention of members of the Irish Cabinet.

I find it almost impossible now to believe that these rumours did not reach the ears of the Taoiseach until 20th April of this year. I also heard these rumours when we were in London and I have heard them since in Dublin. It seems to me that there was a responsibility on the Taoiseach, assuming he heard of these rumours, and I am quite certain he must have heard them, to carry out inquiries in order to ensure their veracity or otherwise.

I come now to what I consider a very strange part of this whole affair and that is the Taoiseach's recital the other night of his scehdule of action on getting the information from the security forces. I should like to ask him, first of all, what security forces he is talking about. Is he talking about our security forces here? Is he talking about the security forces in the Six Counties? Is he talking about the security forces in Britain? Is he talking about Interpol? The Taoiseach owes it to us to tell us which of these security forces, or how many of them combined, to alert him as late as April when, in fact, as I have just said, many of us had heard rumours as long ago as August last. Which of these alerted him on 20th April? It has been suggested that he was activated only when he was forced to do so by the British Government. I think the Taoiseach should answer the question and give us the information.

Is it a fact that our security forces here knew of these dealings and, as on so many other occasions, their advice was ignored? Was their advice suppressed? Anybody who has read a recent article in Hibernia concerning a series of bank raids, an armed cowboy style hold-up in Rathdrum, extraordinary, well-planned, expertly carried out raids and robberies, ending up in the terrible death of poor Garda Fallon, cannot but be impressed at the failure to bring anybody to justice for these crimes. It seems to be nearly impossible in an island of this size, with a population as [896] small as it is, to believe that the failure was due to some defect in our security. It seems incredible that all of this could have gone without some success on the part of our security forces.

I find it impossible to believe that they could be that incompetent. Are they that incompetent? Or is it that the information supplied by them was simply ignored, not acted on, or suppressed? If that is so, who is responsible? Which Minister is responsible for that situation? I find it very difficult to talk about a man who is ill, be it Deputy Moran or Deputy Haughey— let us talk about ministries—but, in circumstances such as those with which we are confronted now, what ministry was responsible for the fact that over such a long period either a totally inept security force was kept on the strength without serious inquiry having been made into their ineptitude; or conversely, if this is an unjust, unfair charge, which I suspect it to be, then let us know why was information supplied by them not acted on by the Taoiseach?

I was surprised at the peculiar preamble to the Taoiseach's speech the other night. He dealt with Deputy Keating's excellent speech, excellent in so far as I think he established what is for all of us now generally accepted here in the Dáil and outside in the country, that this is a Government that cannot be trusted, no matter who is speaking, on any serious matter and, in particular, that the Taoiseach, above all, is the least trustworthy and the least reliable in the whole Cabinet. The Taoiseach said, and I am quoting from the Irish Times of the 7th May:

I told them both that I had information which purported to connect them with an alleged attempt to unlawfully import arms on the basis of which information I felt it was my duty to request their resignation as members of the Government. Each of them denied attempting in any way the importation of arms. They asked me for time to consider their positions and I agreed to do so.

In the meantime I authorised the continuance of investigations and I made personal investigations myself, following which I decided to [897] approach the two Ministers again and to repeat my request that they tender to me their resignations as members of the Government.

I find a peculiar inconsistency in that statement for this reason: if I were Taoiseach and if I had information of this kind about my colleagues in the Cabinet I do not think I should be justified in going to them and requesting their resignations on information supplied to me which I had not troubled to verify to the extent that I could verify it. You notice in the statement the Taoiseach said he went along and asked for their resignations on information supplied and then he went to make personal inquiries and personal verification.

I believe that in his first approach to them he was being unjust to his colleagues on such a very serious charge affecting their political careers, affecting their personal lives, their families, the community and the country. To me it seems there is some inconsistency in this introductory statement which requires clarification on the part of the Taoiseach. It is quite impossible to believe that a man would go along to two of his trusted and respected senior Cabinet colleagues on what appeared to him to be doubtful information—doubtful because he went to the trouble of verifying or attempting to verify it by private investigation—asking for their resignations. It would seem to be a precipitate action and to that extent I find it very difficult to credit that that is, in fact, the way the Taoiseach behaved.

He dismissed Deputy Keating's “perhaps” speech—“We regret we cannot believe you; you may be telling an untruth”—because he tried to say that when he went to Deputy Haughey, to whom I wish a speedy recovery from his illness, he was told by a physician that he could not take any action in this regard. I accept that. He also went to Deputy Blaney and what I would like to know is why did the Taoiseach not act in respect of Deputy Blaney on 20th or 21st April? Deputy Blaney was not concussed: he had no eminent physician to advise the Taoiseach that he should [898] not be shocked by any dangerous conversation or announcement. Why did the Taoiseach not ask for Deputy Blaney's resignation on 20th or 21st April? Why did he continue to leave Deputy Blaney in office, there being no medical reason whatever? We listened to the very powerful, very healthy ex-Minister, Deputy Blaney, today, and there was no reason in the world why he should not have been dismissed on 21st April when the Taoiseach got the information and further corroborated it and concluded his own personal inquiries which appeared to verify the charges he had made.

We must try to understand some other puzzling aspects of this problem, such as the unanimous vote of the party after an hour's discussion. What proof did the Taoiseach give to the party that committed them to a unanimous acceptance of the sacking of the party treasurer, the party's aspiring Taoiseach and the resignation of the party secretary, three very distinguished members of the party, three of the most active, loyal members of the party, from their offices in the Cabinet? Presumably charges were made at the party meeting. Was a defence made by the two Ministers? If a defence was made what were its terms? If proof was advanced by the Taoiseach, what was the proof? What reliance could be placed on it? If reliable proof led to a unanimous endorsement of his decision, how do we explain the professions and protestations of innocence by Deputy Haughey and Deputy Blaney and Deputy Boland? Is it that the Taoiseach has made a monumental blunder? Or is it that these three are lying or misleading the House?

It is very difficult to believe that the Fianna Fáil Party can for long survive this very serious crisis, a crisis of confidence in themselves. There must be some Deputies there who despite their votes must say like ourselves—unless they got this conclusive proof—that Deputy Haughey simply could not have been so stupid as to do this. About the others, it is possible that they could have done it, but it becomes very difficult to accept it about Deputy Haughey, a very sophisticated, intelligent, mature, clever politician, as he has always shown himself to be. There [899] must be many Deputies in the Fianna Fáil Party asking themselves that question.

I believe in those circumstances the Taoiseach has a responsibility to us all to deal with the statements made today, because implicitly they question either his integrity or his qualities or qualifications. As a distinguished man, as he happens to be, as a practised lawyer, as he happens to be, we must assume that he was satisfied with the proof supplied to him. He is a man who practised in the courts. Is not this in his own interests in view of the fact that the country must be divided between the Taoiseach and his Ministers? As a result of the statements made here this morning we must all take sides in our own minds and, what we feel here, will be reflected throughout the country.

Unless the leader of the Cabinet, unless the Taoiseach—and he is Taoiseach to all of us—unless the leader of our country can establish without question that he acted justly and fairly and correctly to these men—and that has all been put in question by the statements of these three responsible and respected members of the Fianna Fáil Party and Members of this House— then the respect which the Taoiseach has held for so long in the country— he was the great incorruptible—must collapse in ruins and there must be a continued loss of confidence in the Fianna Fáil Party. That does not worry me very much, but there must be a continued and slow increase in the vociferous forces within the party as the debate goes on. I heard one respected Fianna Fáil Deputy whose name I will not mention say that if he has the proof he should publish it.

That is only the beginning of the debate within the Fianna Fáil Party. Assuming they survive this episode, as time goes on and as the Taoiseach who has now lost his mantle of infallibility becomes more and more discredited, not only as a result of his delayed action as some people would say, or precipitate action as others would say, the conflict within the party, the polarisation within the party, pro-Lynch and pro-Haughey, must become exacerbated [900] and intensified and can lead only to growing inefficiency in the work of the Cabinet and in the work of the Government because they will be so busy fighting each other that they will find it impossible to unite in order to discharge their functions and care for the affairs of the country.

I have never had a high regard for the Taoiseach. I cannot pretend I ever had. I came into the Dáil with him in 1948 and my recollection of him at the time is that he was a person who very rarely if ever contributed anything worth listening to, or anything at all to any debate. He never seemed to me to take any serious interest in questions or discussions. He rarely intervened. On getting office he passed through various ministries. He left the Department of Education as he found it. The late Deputy O'Malley later on had to make the major changes which the Taoiseach Deputy Lynch, should have made when he was Minister. He passed through the Department of Industry and Commerce. We had cost of living rises, continual industrial differences of one kind or another, continual disorder and lack of any kind of direction, or policy, or control within that Department. In the Department of Finance the record is precisely the same.

We all know that he became Taoiseach—and this is a very common thing in parliamentary democracy— because of the polarisation around two able men who were his opponents. He happened to step in. There was nobody else. Faute de mieux they took Deputy Lynch. He is a man of supreme incompetence and ineptness. I am not at all surprised to find that he is now in the middle of this dreadful mess which affects all of us. What has surprised me is that it has taken so long to eventuate. At the same time, he is not above playing his own brand of dirty politics when it suits him. We had cause to know that during the past general election when he imputed various charges against us of harbouring alien doctrines and so on, an implicit communist smear—there was no doubt about that —of the worst kind.

In addition, he did not hesitate to play politics on the issue of Partition which appears to worry—I emphasise [901] that; appears to worry—Deputy Blaney. I have no doubt at all that the movement of the troops to the Border in July or August was a playing up to emotional demands at the time. He was responding in a primitive political way to a terribly dangerous situation. This danger we appreciated fully only when we went into the Bogside and found the poor people there—the most harrowing experience I have ever had— waiting for and expecting that if they needed help they would get it from the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Government.

To some extent they were preparing their strategy on that assumption and on the possibility of a rising. We had to beg and assure them that this was simply a political device on the part of the Taoiseach, Deputy Lynch, designed to allay the demands of the mavericks which we now know he had within his own party. So far as I now gather, what saved our people in the north at that time was the reasonably responsible behaviour of the leaders in the Bogside area who said to themselves: “Yes, it is possible that Jack Lynch could help us and could save us if we decided to have a rising but our fellow-Irishmen in the Falls Road area of Belfast would be subjected to a pogrom and to genocide on the appalling religious grounds which are the source of the differences between the people in the north of Ireland.” It was the responsibility of the leadership in the Bogside which helped to save our people in the north from the irresponsible behaviour of Deputy Lynch on that occasion.

The Taoiseach knew quite well, logistically speaking, that he could not have raised a finger to help the people if they were attacked by the military. The appalling truth was that the British Army was the only guarantee of protection the people in the Falls Road area had from what they felt was to be an incursion by the sectarian bigots who wanted to kill them because they were of a different religion. It was about time that Deputy Lynch was found out. I am delighted to see it. Deputy Lynch, the Taoiseach, has been getting away with political fraud [902] for too long. There was a danger at that time. An attempt was to be made to establish our bona fides down here as people who wanted to try to reassure the Protestants who would become a minority in a 32-County republic.

There was great talk about what we did, what we could do, and what we should do. Nobody talked louder than Deputy Lynch, the Taoiseach, who said that all these problems which appeared to worry some of the Unionist Protestants in the north were capable of reasonable solution after discussion. They were capable of compromised solutions of one kind or another. One will recall the problem of the special constitutional position of the Catholic Church. It was felt that something could be done about that. It was said that something could be done about the Ne Temere decree and about divorce if people wanted it, and that something could be done about such a problem as contraception. These were to be the subjects of discussion and then of constitutional amendment here so that at least we could show good faith and could envisage a united Ireland in which the minority could join us and not feel frightened, as our unfortunate minority feels frightened up there at the present time because of possible sectarianism, discrimination and exploitation on religious grounds.

There was a debate. An all-party committee had made certain recommendations. Most of us were ready. The Taoiseach started on his new objective. The Taoiseach started on a Presidential election campaign—his Presidential election campaign. Then it became quite apparent that he had no intention whatever of doing anything. He was not prepared to subordinate his personal ambitions to these important pre-conditions to the creation of a united Ireland. We were told that these matters had been considered and it was decided to take no action in regard to them. They were very thorny and very difficult problems to discuss down here. On the Taoiseach's preparedness to discuss these dangerous subjects depends the sincerity of his protestations as to whether he wants [903] a united Ireland or not or whether he wants to see the end of Partition. That is why the Taoiseach's protestations about being anxious to see the end of Partition are just so much humbug.

I can only describe Deputy Blaney's speech today as an evil speech. It was a terrible speech. It was an appallingly irresponsible speech. Those of my generation—and Deputy Blaney is one of my generation and I remember fighting a by-election in Donegal many years ago with the Deputy's father— know well how much we have reason to hate the whole idea of armed conflict between our people within this country. The whole of our political lives have been bedevilled by that dreadful Civil War of the older generation. I do not wish to pass judgment on them because of the circumstances in which they found themselves. It is easy to criticise people in other generations. I am concerned only with our own generation. Deputy Blaney should have learned from their experience.

I remember the first Dail of which I was a member and the terrible recriminations—the 77, the Blueshirts; and on the other side, the same thing. Back and forth it went across the House. We had no time to talk about the things we were sent here to discuss —health services, unemployment, emigration, the care of the aged and the disabled. We had no time to attend to these matters because there was too much bitterness, too much hatred here. There was too much bitterness out of that Civil War. Deputy Blaney knows that well. It aborted political development here—right up to this particular Dáil. It is the first time I have heard from all parties and heard young Deputies making valuable contributions on every subject without reference to the Civil War—until we come to a speech like that delivered today by Deputy Blaney. It was a completely disgraceful performance—rabble rousing, barnstorming. It was an evil speech. I now understand, when I read of the thundering of feet at the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis, why the feet thundered. It was because he was rattling the sabre; because he was calling them to arms; because he was exciting the [904] lowest animal instincts in humanity— that you could ever solve anything by killing a fellow man.

As I said to my old friends—people who were involved in the Civil War— slightly mockingly but sympathising with them, no matter how we differ in our time, have no fear, we will never shoot one another because we disagree with one another on our social and economic ideas. Deputy Blaney should know that as well as I do. Deputy Blaney should preach that as much as I endeavour to do.

The Taoiseach is a humbug and a hypocrite. He has played politics over the artificial division of our country. He deserves everything that is coming to him. I hope he will be displaced as Taoiseach; I shall do everything in my power to bring it about. That charge is equally applicable to Deputy Blaney. Each of these men—the Taoiseach, and Deputies Blaney, Boland and Haughey—has at some time or other occupied the power Ministries in this community. Each of them, including Deputy Blaney—the one who gave us all this hot-headed rhetoric today about the ending of Partition—has used that power to do nothing, to create a milieu, an atmosphere, a basis on which there could be a sane solution to the ending of Partition.

Deputy Blaney says he knows the north. One of the things he must know about the north is this. Not only will the Unionist Protestant not come in, not only is he frightened to come in for the reasons I gave earlier—legitimately frightened or not—but the truth is that because of the failure of 32 years of Fianna Fáil Government there are so many major defects in the social structure, the social fabric of our society—in health, in care of the aged, in care of the disabled, in neglect of education, in regard to unemployment and emigration—that the so-called Catholic Nationalist does not want to come into the Taoiseach's republic either. Deputy Blaney must know that as well as I do because they told me that at Bogside and on the Falls Road. There might be sectarianism there but there is a health service there. There is university education there. The old people grow old in [905] dignity, they do not die of hunger. Even if you are unemployed, your children still get fed. It is a dreadful conservative Unionist Government but it is not quite so dreadful as Deputy Lynch's conservative Government. That is the appalling truth.

If Deputy Blaney was sincere in his protestations he would have organised agriculture so that we could have created the wealth required to provide services which would be as good as, and preferably much, much better than, those provided by the British Government in their hand-outs to the Six County Government. Deputy Blaney was in charge of the Department of Local Government. He could have built some houses for our people. So could Deputy Boland. If Deputy Haughey had been interested in emigration he could have done something about unemployment which stands at 7 per cent, 8 per cent or 9 per cent at present; one of the highest in Northern Europe. He could have seen to it that the unemployed families were fed instead of being starved into emigrating. Certainly the parents of the unemployed were starved into emigrating —emigrating to Britain, to the tender care and protection of John Bull whom these people so much hate.

Emigration became an integral part of Fianna Fáil's social and economic policies. If they did not emigrate, they starved. Therefore, one million of our fellow-Irishmen were hunted into exile because of the failure of agriculture, because of the failure of finance, because of the failure of the Taoiseach, because of the failure of health, education, social services and the various disastrous ineptitudes of these various Ministers who would not change their policies because they and their friends did too damn well out of them. What is their solution to this problem? It is “if they do not come in willingly, we will bring them in at the point of a gun”. Everybody has talked about what will happen in summer. Deputy Blaney was very bitter in relation to the shoneens. He said that we have always had British lackeys. This is the real old wrap-the green-flag-round-me-boys humbug that went out in the twenties and in the thirties and thank [906] God for that. This very man is the one who played a major role in signing the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement.

Mr. O'Higgins: Hear, hear.

Dr. Browne: This is the man who has opened the floodgates for the reunification of Ireland by the British entrepreneurs, capitalists and others. This is the man who, with his Taoiseach, is waiting for approval from Westminister before joining the British as very junior partners in the EEC undertaking. This is the Fianna Fáil Government who, not only have proved themselves to be British lackeys but have also shown themselves to be Dutch lackeys, Danish lackeys, American and Japanese lackeys.

Mr. Corish: Leave out Czechoslovakia.

Dr. Browne: We are accused of having alien philosophies. May I ask what is owned by the people here? In Cork there are the Dutch; in Kerry, the Germans; in Dublin, the French, except where they decided to bail out with so much of our money, and throughout Ireland we have the various other outsiders who have been begged to come and run our country. What was the whole freedom movement about? For what did we seek freedom? For what did Connolly and Pearse give their lives? Was it that this should happen?

Deputy Blaney had the appalling impertinence to say that Fianna Fáil are synonymous with the advance of this country and with the unity of Ireland. Yet, so many of our population have had to get out under the Fianna Fáil administration and the Catholic Nationalists in the north when speaking on unity tell us that they will not come in at any price because of the way in which affairs are organised down here.

Mr. O'Higgins: Hear, hear.

Dr. Browne: That is the achievement of Fianna Fáil. That is the measure of their failure, the measure of their success. We are opposed to this whole concept of the use of force. Unfortunately, Connolly was shot and [907] when that happened our revolution ended. Connolly advocated a socialist Ireland and it was the failure to take notice of Connolly's ideological teachings that has led to the grossly defective society in which we now live.

There can be only one kind of unity and that is an agreed unity between the ordinary people of Ireland, north and south, both Catholic and Protestant. There can be no unity at the point of a gun whether the gun be held by a Unionist, by a Protestant or by a Catholic. Therefore, if the Taoiseach has any guts at all, and I do not believe that he has, he should repudiate and completely reject the type of irresponsibility as practised by Deputy Blaney.

There is more confusion about the word “Republicanism” than there is about the words “Democracy”, “Christianity” and the other various words that are thrown about in this House from time to time. Does Deputy Blaney seriously believe that he is a Republican in the tradition of Wolfe Tone? Does he believe that he is a Republican in the tradition of the French Revolution or in the tradition of an egalitarian socalist society? That is Republicanism but cowboys and Indians on the Border is not Republicanism.

We in the Labour movement believe there is only one solution to the ending of Partition and that solution is based on an approach in social terms, an approach in fiscal and economic terms, an approach through agriculture and through industry. It is only when we have accepted that down here that there is any likelihood of our finding ourselves as one with the people of the North of Ireland.

After that speech by Deputy Blaney today what will be the position in July, about which Deputy Cruise-O'Brien spoke and of which most people are pretty well aware? Will this abject loyalty to the leader, this humbug, this two-faced loyalty outlast a pogrom in Belfast in July or August, contributed to by the dishonest rhetoric we have listened to today? How dare he talk about loyalty to a man whom he has made the common clown of Irish political life and Ireland the common [908] political clown of international political life? How dare he talk about loyalty? Will that loyalty outlast that? Will Deputy Boland's? Will Deputy Haughey's? Will Deputy Brennan's? Will that loyalty outlast—the unanimity of the party behind it and the party in the country behind the Parliamentary Party—the demands of that situation? We know what happened last year. We know, too, that the situation is infinitely more dangerous now than it ever was. British soldiers may get shot, agents provocateur, Catholics, Protestant Unionists may get shot and the whole powder keg is set aflame. Where do these people stand then on those protestations today? Only the other day charges were made against a Labour Deputy in Britain on the question of security and he resigned from his seat in Parliament. He was tried and found innocent. Yet we have this behaviour today. This Deputy had the impertinence to come into this House today to exhort his party to line up behind Jack, to go on backing Jack “just like I have been backing Jack during my period of office with him in the Cabinet”.

This to me is simply the end result of a sordid, petty-minded, irresponsible power struggle within the Fianna Fáil Party. It is nothing more than that. The appalling tragedy is that innocent people may get involved in the working through of their antagonisms for one another within Fianna Fáil. It is a struggle for leadership—defeated Haughey, Blaney and Boland with their knives out for Lynch. Make no mistake: nobody believes those knives are sheathed.

Mr. Cooney: When elected to the Dáil three weeks ago I had no idea that my maiden speech would be delivered in such sad and distressing circumstances and that I would have the responsibility of contributing to what I consider, as a newcomer to this House, a most awesome debate. It is awesome because it has been precipitated by treachery. The word “treason” was objected to here yesterday on technical grounds and I do not propose to use it. I am quite happy with the word “treachery”. It is defined in the concise Oxford dictionary [909] —if I may quote an Oxford dictionary in this place after what we heard this morning—as “violation of allegiance; the betraying of trust; perfidious and not to be relied on”. It is those standards of betrayal that have brought this debate into being.

I find it extremely sad that my maiden speech in this House should be made on such an occasion. If the dismissals by the Taoiseach were for other reasons, even for reasons of financial dishonesty, I do not think it would be half so bad but the reasons for the dismissals may become obscured when one considers the speeches of Deputies Boland and Blaney here this morning. They may become obscured under the guise of patriotism. I understand patriotism to mean love of one's country and if one can visualise either of the two gentlemen who spoke this morning being a patriot, having regard to what he said, then such a person requires to be educated. Deputy Dr. Browne has very eloquently exposed the sham rhetoric of Deputy Blaney but as well as exposing it for the fallacy that it is we should realise the reason for it. He boasted here with some emotion of his patriotic Republican background. There are others in the House who have as patriotic a heritage and we do not find it necessary to boast of it.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Cooney: He boasts of it, in my opinion, because he knows it is inadequate. He boasts of it to try to compensate for its inadequacy. He related how his father was under arrest and sentence of death by the lawful authority of the time, the Free State. He was because it was the law at that time that anybody arrested with a firearm in his possession would have to be sentenced to death. His father was arrested with a firearm in his possession but there is some doubt as to whether it was loaded. There is no doubt. That it was never fired. The patriotism of these people, their sea-green Republicanism, never flowered until after the last British soldier had left these shores. Who ever heard of a Black-and-Tan in Donegal? Who ever heard of a flying column in [910] Donegal? So much for the patriotism that is Deputy Blaney's heritage—the effort to compensate for the lack of contribution to a struggle when a contribution was needed.

The stance and the attitudes and the emotions of Deputies Boland and Blaney are 50 years out of date and because of that they are deadly dangerous. They are deadly dangerous in case they might delude anyone of my generation into thinking that they have a validity today. They have no validity today and Deputy Dr. Browne has made that very clear. They have no validity because all they can achieve is to cause bloodshed. There has been enough bloodshed in the name of patriotism.

Last Wednesday I attended the commemoration ceremonies at Arbour Hill. I went there with a considerable amount of pride as a new Member of this House commemorating the final sacrifice the men of 1916 had made that I might be in this House. When I came back here after those ceremonies I learned the news. Ministers were dismissed for treachery of a kind that could have destroyed this House and completely set at naught the supreme sacrifice we had commemorated that morning. What those men have done is an enormous crime against this country. What appals me is that the enormity and the shame of it has been obscured and does not seem to have been realised by their own party.

This horrible tale is one of lies and deceit. The ex-Minister for Finance, Deputy Haughey, was to have come here. If he had come here last Wednesday, the day after he had already been convicted and found guilty by his own Taoiseach, he would have expressed social concern for the poor, the sick, the unemployed and the aged. He would have said that a genuine and widespread feeling of social concern is the hallmark of a humane and civilised society. This is a gentleman— I do not accept his denial—who has been convicted of attempting to smuggle guns, guns which can only be used to kill people. His protestations of concern for the poor, the sick, the unemployed and the aged sound extremely hollow in the light of that knowledge.

[911] The deceit which is more serious than that of the ex-Minister for Finance is the serious deceit we have had from the Taoiseach. It seems quite clear from what has happened that his delay in acting on the information available to him on the 20th April is unpardonable and was motivated by an attempt to deceive this House if at all possible. When he had to act, and when he came before the House on Wednesday, he gave an account of the chronology of events from the time he got his information until he dismissed his Ministers. Yesterday morning he again dealt with the chronological sequence of events. Those matters are reported in the Official Report, columns 642, 716 and 717 and my reading of those reports reveals startling inconsistencies. When I draw them to the attention of Deputies, I feel they will agree that they support the charge of deceit against the Taoiseach. In column 642 the Taoiseach tells us he informed Deputy Haughey's doctor he wanted to see Deputy Haughey, and the Taoiseach then goes on to say:

I told the doctor it was a serious matter and he repeated his opinion that he felt he was not in a position to discuss, certainly at any length, a matter of serious import. However, I ultimately got the doctor's permission and I decided to interview Deputy Haughey in hospital on Wednesday, 29th April.

After getting the doctor's permission he decided to interview Deputy Haughey in hospital on the 29th April. He further states:

Having made that decision and before I went to the hospital, I then summoned Deputy Blaney to my room and interviewed him, upon which I went to the hospital and interviewed Deputy Haughey.

We know he went on to say that those men asked for time, that he gave them time—an extraordinary gift in the circumstances of the knowledge which he had.

I now want to turn to column 716 when the Taoiseach was winding up the debate and where he said:

I visited the Minister in hospital [912] and frankly I was worried after the first four minutes of the interview lest I do this man, who had suffered a fractured skull, permanent damage. I cut the interview short—much shorter than I would otherwise have done—as the doctor in any event had informed me that I could not get concentration for more than a few minutes. Having interviewed a man who was suffering from a fractured skull, does anyone suggest that I should there and then have taken action against him? I gave him some further days, as I thought I was bound to do having regard to his condition, to consider the situation and I also gave some further days to the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

I also find an inconsistency there. In his prepared, considered statement to this House reported at column 642 he says:

I decided to interview Deputy Haughey in hospital on Wednesday, 29th April.

Before going to the hospital he saw Deputy Blaney. At column 717 the inference is that he saw Deputy Blaney after being at the hospital. Furthermore, from his prepared statement on Wednesday it appears that the Taoiseach had an interview and a discussion with Deputy Haughey, at which he must have put to him those serious charges. I am quite certain an interview of that importance and of that magnitude could not have been concluded in the four minutes he referred to when he was winding up the debate. I mention those points in the hope they will copperfasten the charges of deceit that have been made and, to my mind, proved abundantly. In a matter as serious as this, where the very fabric of this State was being threatened by treachery from within, one would have expected that the leader of the State would take major steps to ensure that every statement of his to this House accounting for his stewardship would be completely accurate.

Again, there has been deceit and this time of a different kind by the Taoiseach. As he said himself in the course [913] of the debate, he is a lawyer by profession and he knows what the burden of truth is and what is involved; but he also knows, I am quite certain, what a prima facie case is and what it involves. I am quite certain the case he put to his Ministers was at least a prima facie case because, if it was not, he would surely have accepted their denials. We now have the deceitful situation that those two men have come into this House to repeat denials which have already been refused by their own Taoiseach, but yet that Taoiseach still accepts their support. This is deceit of the highest order. It is deliberate deceit and it is deceit for expedient, political purposes to avoid an election because the Taoiseach still wants those men behind him. I do not know why he wants them, but he certainly wants them. I fail to see how any Taoiseach of any honour or standing could say the following about two men he had found guilty of treachery:

Each was a person of great intellect and both persons had given, in different capacities and different Ministries, great service to the State.... I want the House to remember that each of these men was a man of outstanding ability.

There is a contradiction in terms. Those men could not be men of outstanding ability if they were prepared to betray their leader, this House and their nation. However, for whatever reason I do not know except what I have suggested, the Taoiseach is prepared to praise these men, to retain them and to have their support.

Another factor which we in this House must consider is what is going to happen when this debate finishes. The Taoiseach is a lawyer and he must have satisfied himself that there was a prima facie case against these men. If that is so, he has a duty to see that this matter is taken further by the law officers of this State. If he does not do that he will have done immense damage to the rule of law.

I would remind the House that the rule of law is what stands in any civilised country between order and chaos, between civilisation and anarchy. There are certain principles [914] involved in the rule of law which, if not adhered to, can mean that that rule can be diminished. If that rule is diminished disorder will follow and we do not want disorder in this country.

One of the things that can diminish the rule of law is disrespect for the law of the land. Even in small matters such as the quashing of traffic summonses, the condoning of after-hours drinking, or even the indulging in it, or the unreal remission of prison sentences—and all of these things have been happening with frightening and distressing regularity—all of these diminish the rule of law. As I have said, anything that diminishes that rule is an unpatriotic and dangerous act.

I consider the application of the rule of law at this time to be essential to the well-being of democracy in Ireland. The first rule is that no man can be punished for a breach of the law except in an established way before the ordinary courts of the land. The corollary of that is that no man should be tried except in the ordinary courts of the land. If the Taoiseach has found a prima facie case against two of his Ministers then, as the person ultimately responsible for the upholding of law in this country, he has a solemn duty to see that any trial of those men does not take place behind closed doors in a party caucus but that it is held in the tribunals of the land. Every man, no matter what his rank, must be subject to the ordinary process of the law.

Technically, the motion before this House is to approve new Ministers. These are Ministers of the Fianna Fáil Party which met on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. to hear officially for the first time about certain rumours they might have heard beforehand. They heard officially from the lips of their leader that two of the most powerful members of that party had been dismissed for treachery. That party comprises 70-odd Deputies and yet in 50 short minutes they were able to hear that verdict from their leader, able to question him on his statement, and 70-odd Deputies were able to debate among themselves the consequences arising from what must have been, even to them, a shattering disclosure.

I do not believe there was any debate [915] within the Fianna Fáil Party rooms; in the 50 minutes there could not have been. It is my belief that someone, whether the Taoiseach or the men he had dismissed, said to the lobby fodder that comprises the Fianna Fáil Party “We stick together, boys, or we are out forever”. I think this was said and that there was not a man with guts enough to object because they came back here like lambs and voted. Because there was nobody man enough to object, there is nobody of sufficient stature and integrity to be a Minister of a Government of Ireland.

What appals me about this debate is that all the speakers have had to come from the Opposition side. As a novice in this House perhaps there is a convention about which I know nothing, but as an ordinary citizen it strikes me as extremely odd that nobody from the Government benches has got up to defend his Taoiseach, to say what he thinks about the statements of Deputies Boland and Blaney. Do they not realise the enormity of what has happened? Have they no conception of the shame this is causing me and other people concerned with our nation? Is this a political matter to be clouded over as quickly as possible, to get rid of these nuisances on the Opposition benches so that we can all go home?

I am a novice in this House but I consider what I have seen and heard in these last few days truly appalling. I consider this Dáil has been soiled and fouled and that it can never be purified again unless by a general election.

Mr. Keating: It is now 44 hours, a little less than two days, since I last had occasion to contribute to the work of this House. In the speech I then made, because the events we are still discussing were so new, I had to pose a number of questions to which at that time I could not give any answers. For the sake of justice and equity I then had to express what I chose to call a number of “perhapses”. In the intervening 44 hours they have ceased to be matters of “perhapses”. In the light of evidence and of the appalling silence, these have now become matters on [916] which it has been possible to form opinions.

I want to deal, first, with the credibility of the Taoiseach—our Taoiseach; alas, my Taoiseach. I can no longer accept his credibility because, on his own admission and on what has been said by speakers in this debate, I am faced with the choice that he has done one of two things in the last three weeks. Either he has framed, for party political purpose, persons who were his competitors for the ultimate power in the party, or else in a period of two weeks or more he has been negligent at a time when common prudence apart from a legal training, would indicate that the people he has charged would be covering their tracks, hiding the evidence and making it difficult to bring to light the real facts. Either he framed his opponents, or else his charges are true and he was negligent in pressing those charges. But, either way, he has lost the right to be leader of this Government.

There was doubt 44 hours ago as to whether the party to which he belongs could retain any serious credibility. Perhaps they have been railroaded, as the last speaker has said— and I compliment him on what was a most impressive maiden speech. Perhaps they were railroaded by somebody standing up and saying: “We hang together or we hang separately”, so they came back after 50 minutes saying that the winner was all right and that unity prevailed. In the intervening hours, however, not one person found the courage to go back on that shameful unity, and therefore the whole party has lost its credibility.

What should one think of what can be called the leadership of the Opposition, not in the Dáil but inside the Fianna Fáil Party, those people who, temporarily at least, have been dumped overboard so unceremoniously? Two of them we have heard today in this House. On one of them I shall not comment, Deputy Boland, because I was not here. It is an interesting exercise in this Parliament to watch the facial expressions and to try to read what is going on in the minds of Deputies as they are speaking.

[917] I was here for the speech of Deputy Blaney, a speech which started with a total, explicit, emphatic denial of those charges. If, Sir, I overstep the bounds of what is proper in a Parliament, you will guide me and correct me, I trust, but I shall have to express my thought as precisely as I can. In regard to the first part of Deputy Blaney's speech today we have a choice of two things to believe: either he is a sincere and honest man who has been framed or else he is a polished and total liar. It is one or the other and it is equally disgusting either way. To turn it the other way round, either the Taoiseach is a sincere and upright man, who has been betrayed and lied to, or he is a total liar—one or the other for both of them, an inescapable dichotomy and equally disgusting either way.

I want to turn now from the opening part of Deputy Blaney's speech to its main content. It was more striking for what it omitted than for what it contained. It was full of evasions; it was full of the most enormous holes but, sadder still, it was also full of hate. I said to a Fianna Fáil Deputy, who was asking me my impressions of this House a few months after entering it, that what appalled me most about it was the amount of hatred in it— hatred, be it said, at that time that came from the victors, the people who won, however, dishonestly, the general election. We who came in here with high hopes not fulfilled were able to be charitable, but the victors were spewing hatred towards us and towards our supporters. When I say “us” in this context I am using it for a collective opposition.

Today we got a look into the mind of Deputy Blaney, and in the repetition of events of his childhood we perhaps got a key to why that hatred is there. If people suffer from disturbing experiences in early childhood we can understand they may be disturbed people for the rest of their lives. To the extent that we can understand it we forgive it, but that sort of hatred, that sort of psychological disturbance, even though we may understand it, totally unfits a person, in my view, for holding high offices in any country.

His speech was full of harping back [918] to a tragic past. It was an effort to re-create bitterness for political advantage, bitterness which I think decent people all over the country wish to lay at rest. It was a very tragic, very harmful, very wicked speech. But it was also a very cynical speech in this sense: Deputy Blaney repeated something the Taoiseach had said on television and elsewhere. Deputy Blaney said: “The Fianna Fáil Party is not split. It is not even splintered.” The Taoiseach said the same thing on television: “What split? There is no split.”

At this stage it is surely a waste of breath to argue as to whether one exists or not. There is no point in proving things that are so totally obvious, but what is distressing and disgusting about both of those utterances is the contempt they show for public opinion, for the people of this country. Because of their office, because of the position they hold in their party, they are inevitably listened to by the people at large with a little credence and respect. They say things that in the end are simply mocking the people. It shows that in their hearts they despise the people and that they believe the people are foolish enough to believe anything they may utter, however improbable it seems. The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries designate, Deputy Gibbons, said a very interesting thing today. It was nicely put, I thought, too. He said you must always bargain for a residuum of credence. It is all that is left for Fianna Fáil now, that residuum of credence on the part of people who find it impossible to change their minds and to re-assess situations.

I find it very serious, if the charges are true, that the Taoiseach gave to people he considered had broken the law grievously enough to entail their dismissal from ministerial position the time to cover up their tracks. If the charges are true, then he is not just politician enough but he is lawyer enough to appreciate the seriousness. If they were true then it was necessary to put them in circumstances where they could not possibly conceal either the objects of their exercise or the various contacts, the various documents [919] or the various other things that would have made legal proof possible. It looks as if the Taoiseach wanted to have the benefit of being able to make the charges and dismiss the people while at the same time avoiding the possibility of the charges being provable in a court of law. It looks as if, once again, he was trying to have it both ways. It is a perverseness on his part which could have the most enormous repercussions. You see, according to his own account of two days ago and I quote: “I felt it was my duty to request their resignations as members of the Government. Each of them denied” —as they did today—“he instigated in any way the attempted importation of arms. They asked me for time to consider their position. I agreed to do so.”

That is fine. So, he thought, he says earlier on, that there was prima facie evidence. He asked them to resign. They asked for time and he gave it to them then and he is a lawyer and a very experienced politician. OK, maybe there was a time when he got blank denials from these two people that he found it his duty to praise so fulsomely after dismissing them—they have since issued them to the public—Deputy Haughey today by a statement and Deputy Blaney by his speech in this House—he might legitimately have doubted the validity of the evidence he has, but then he says: “In the meantime I authorised the continuation of investigations and I made personal investigations myself” —OK, maybe there was a doubt about it—“following which I decided to approach the two Ministers again.”

So that, on a second investigation and a personal investigation, far from believing their denials, far from believing that he had been misled by whatever evidence he got initially, he said he believed the initial evidence because he decided to request their resignation again.

In the light of this, surely the days spent allowing them to cover their tracks—it must so have appeared to him because he must at that time on re-investigation have been convinced that the charges were true—cannot be [920] interpreted merely as charity to one of the two who was then injured. It has to be assessed, I think, by this House and by the people as a whole as complicity because he had attained the objective that he wanted if the theory that it was simply a way of getting rid of political opponents is the true one.

However, people have analysed the actions of the Taoiseach and of one of the dismissed and one of the resigned Ministers who came into the House today. I think it is a time of great confusion for the nation and I want to pass away from this section of my speech to try to look at some of the effects of the past 48 hours or so on the nation as a whole because at a time when it seems to me that the Government both individually by certain Ministers and collectively have sown confusion and doubt and the seeds of future disasters in this country, Members of this House have a duty to try to talk directly to the people, to analyse the difficulties that have been brought about by this Government action, to try to direct and guide them so that we may with the least national damage get out of the terrible mess that we have been landed in.

If we are to form judgments about the correct thing to do now and try to utter those judgments, we have to analyse a bit the effect on different parts of the country. Let us look at the effects on the north. Let us look at the effects on traditional Nationalists. If the traditional Nationalists believe the Taoiseach's charges then they will conclude that persons that they thought were their political allies were simultaneously in cahoots—if I may be permitted the term—simultaneously in collusion with another section of the anti-Unionist forces. The traditional Nationalists of the Nationalist Party must inevitably feel a sense of betrayal, a sense of being bypassed, an even further blow to their already impaired political credibility in the Six Counties.

Much more important, of course, is the effect of these actions on the Unionists. There is not a single Unionist organisation any more; there are various strands. I am prepared to state as a member of the Labour Party, as [921] a socialist, that there are hopeful strands in Ulster Unionism. One of the most hopeful strands has already been driven out of Parliament and others of them have been enormously weakened in their efforts to hold Unionism to some sort of creative and constructive course.

Mr. Chichester-Clark now finds himself, oddly enough, in the middle of the road inside Unionism because the effect of this will be for the Paisleyites, for the Protestant Unionists, for the most extreme and bitter and bigoted sections of northern Unionism to be able to say: “You see, we were right all along. Everything we told you about distrusting the south is true. They are not to be believed. They are liars. They have soft words, words of peace, and actions which betray those words”.

So, the effect of this is precisely to strengthen Mr. Ian Paisley and his colleagues and to destroy the possibilities of building up a middle section in northern society by which the two communities may speak to each other, may get to trust each other, may get to know each other, in the fullness of time one would hope might even get to love each other and to live together in amity. That is the effect on Unionism—to strengthen inside Unionism everything that personally I find disgusting and that I believe the majority of members of the Fianna Fáil Party find disgusting.

You see, the net results of foolish actions are to produce effects contrary to what people wish. I do not think that the majority of Fianna Fáil subscribe to the theory that the worse it gets for Northern Ireland the better it gets, that the more hatred, the more death and the more division of the community you get the better it will be in some mystical way. I do not think they believe that. That is the effect they are getting; that is the result of these actions.

We have said always as socialists, as members of a Labour Party, that the way in which we saw unity coming was the unity of people who work together, who had common interests as workers, who learned to trust each other on the factory floor, in the shipyards, in their daily jobs. It was the unity of the working class. We applauded the unity [922] of the working class. We applauded the unity of the Belfast shipworkers last year. We applauded their efforts. We were proud that it was the labour movement in Northern Ireland, irrespective of religious background, irrespective of ethnic grouping, if one accepts ethnic groupings in a rather mixed-up population, we were proud it was the working class who fought the efforts at sectarian division. We treasure working class unity because we look on a united working class as the basis of a united country, as the custodians of all that is decent and progressive. They are the people who exploit no one. They are the people who oppress nobody. They are the people who have no economic reasons for attacking each other and distrusting each other.

Consider the result of an action like this. One does not have to be clairvoyant, to go to Belfast, or to be very familiar with Northern Ireland to appreciate the stresses these actions will place on the unity of the Belfast working class in the Belfast shipyards, a unity which was about the only ray of light in northern events in the last year. The effect will be to divide where unity is what is necessary, to build distrust where trust is what is necessary, to split the people and to engender again the hatred which we all agreed in this House last October was the one thing to be avoided. We agreed that it was on the basis of people being able to accept each other as fellow human beings with valid points of view, being able to trust each other and to work together in harmony, we agreed that it was on that basis, the unity of the working class, that one might be able to build on to a real unity and not a unity imposed by force, a unity involving the oppression of one section by another.

I am as little willing to have a unity which involves oppression of the Protestants in the north as I am unwilling to have the present situation which involves the oppression of Catholics in the north. If we cannot have unity, a united country where the promise of the majority can be believed and the fruit of our work can be accepted, then we have no right to ask them into our country [923] at all. This particular matter under discussion has set back the prospect of that unity that was seen to prevail in the shipyards last year. I hope that the unity that was built in the shipyards last year will weather this piece of irresponsibility on the part of a Dublin Government.

Think of the effect, when talking about the north, on the militant republicans, the people who for so long have been so brutalised and so oppressed that they feel, not that they can win with arms, but just that they can achieve some sort of catharsis, some sort of ending of an intolerable situation, feeling that they themselves will die and other will die too. That is a natural feeling on the part of people driven to an extraordinary level of frustration. This frustration, of course, has been contributed to by the present Government. It was contributed to when Mr. Lemass, in his drive for a détente with the north, set about obtaining it on the basis that none of the injustices was to be talked about by his party any more. But the effect of that on a section of the people in the north who are sincere, who are honourable, who are wrong in thinking that solutions can be found by guns, the effect of that will be to encourage them profoundly in that belief. It will further encourage them in the belief that they only have to wait, that the guns are just around the corner. The effect on that section of the northern community will be a disastrous one.

Think of the effect on the Civil Rights movement, which seemed to me to present a great possibility of peace in the north. The effect can only be disastrous. I am proud that all over Northern Ireland the Civil Rights movement was initiated and pushed forward, not by the associates of the traditional “republican party”—I do not accept that description and I put that phrase in inverted commas—but by the socialists, by the people of the left, believing the time had come to talk about certain things: equality in housing, equality in voting, equality before the law, equality of job opportunities; and believing that, when those were attained, the possibility of building a real unity would grow stronger. [924] What are they to think now? They are to feel betrayed by the south. They are to feel themselves under intense pressure both from the physical force republicans in the north and from Unionists alike. They are to see themselves, the only hope of real progress in the north, ground down between the two extremes. That is what this action will engender. That is a scandalous thing to have on one's conscience.

What will be the effect on the Unionists who were not bigots, who believed that being part of the United Kingdom was the best thing for their country, who did not hate us, and who did not wish to oppress, who were ashamed of the inequalities, and there are such Unionists? They are now prisoners of the Paisleyites. What will be the effect on the Catholic Nationalists who wanted to move away from the traditional Green Toryism of the Nationalist Party and the religious and social ghettos? They will now find themselves driven back and the bridge between different religious ethnic groups, which was the hope of Northern Ireland, has been destroyed by this irresponsible military escapade. It is not an escapade. It is a piece of boy scout romanticism.

Think of the effect on the south and think of the effect on the political situation we have to face. Think of the effects inside this Republic over the next 18 months. We are told by the Taoiseach and by Deputy Blaney that there is no crisis, that there is no split and the Fianna Fáil Party is united. It is unnecessary to say that I disbelieve that. I do not think it is meant to be believed by anybody in contact with political realities. It is not necessary really to say that it is not true. We are in for a very bitter struggle of a very dangerous kind. How could the “military escapade” section of Fianna Fáil conceivably come out on top in the party, and not just in the party, but in the nation as a whole in a general election? There is a strategy by which they could do it, a profoundly dangerous strategy for the country. These people now have a vested interest in trouble in the North of Ireland. They have a vested interest in the outbreak of violence during the summer because, if there is a sharp deterioration [925] in relations between the two communities in the north, and if there are people killed, perhaps some members of the British Army first and a larger number of Catholic Nationalists afterwards, they may conceivably belive they can ride to power on the upsurge and indignation engendered in this part of the country.

That is really a horrifying prospect because the course you are set upon then is what I could only call an Israeli solution to the problem of Ireland. The Israeli solution is that all the Catholics should be driven out of the North of Ireland and you would have a six-county, one-religion, semi-fascist state with the possible reciprocation that all Protestants should be driven out of this State and that we would have a one-religion, profoundly conservative, authoritarian State. That would be great; that would be a logical solution to the problem of Ireland. That is something that Mr. Paisley would like. This is the path that these geniuses, these republicans, these people worthy to put themselves forward to claim leadership of the nation, are now setting out upon.

One section of them now has a vested interest in confusion, in destruction, in death, because there is political advantage in it. There is the salvaging of what now seems to them a precarious political position. Think of the effect of these passions; think of the effect of a lot of Blaney speeches, set in the circumstances of a pogrom in the North of Ireland, on the youth and the working class of this country, on its economic development, on the whole texture of public life in this country. It is a spectacle. They have put peace for the future and the development of the whole nation in peril.

What a culmination for Republicanism —an Israeli solution, a Protestant statelet and a Catholic statelet. What a culmination for people who claim to be the inheritors of the mantle of Tone and Emmet. What a total reversal of the principles they professed to uphold. But history sometimes contains these total reversals. This is what happens when the form itself, possession of power, being in power, becomes more important than the content of power because the content of power is what [926] you do with it; and when you decide that you will hang on to power at all costs you are led into this sort of perversion.

I suppose that so deep are the feelings in this country at this time that it will be very difficult for me to try to speak to the rank and file of the Fianna Fáil Party all over the country but it is something that none the less I shall endeavour to do. As I said before, I grew up in a house that was Fianna Fáil and I recognised, apart from my own first political attitudes, my own growing up, the validity of the Fianna Fáil posture in the thirties. I recognised that they released real social energies in the thirties. I realised that the people who rallied to Fianna Fáil in 1932 and afterwards were very good, partriotic, sincere people and in many ways they were the most dynamic and valuable section of the whole community. But analyses of political attitudes have shown in many countries that while-at a time of great upheaval, people change their political ideas, in the absence of such upheaval they go on believing the same thing and supporting the same parties even if those parties change. What has happened now is that the Fianna Fáil Party have totally betrayed all the points of view, all the policies on which they came into power and are therefore betraying the people who have given them their support and still do.

It is, therefore, profoundly important for us to make the distinction between the decay in the leadership and the honour, sincerity, patriotism and decency of the great mass of the people who support the party. I shall have something to say about that later on. I want to ask where it was that the party went wrong. because when I hear the word “Republicanism” uttered by the Fianna Fáil Party it is very often uttered with sincerity. They think that they are Republicans and they do not know why it is that their good intentions are incapable of being brought to fruition and that their actions seem to drive further away the goal which they profess to wish to reach and which I think most of them do wish to reach.

What is, in fact, the crisis of policy that exists? Why is it that the old [927] Republicans must feel that everything they set out to do has in some way evaded them? Why is it that a mistake which originated a very long time ago should now leave the party in the extraordinary situation in which it finds itself to day? It is like the curate's egg; it is no use being excellent in parts. It is no use being Republican in parts. It is no use being a Republican if you think: it would be nice to have a Republic but we could still be part of the sterling area. We can write “pound” on the note in Irish letters but it is still part of sterling. You do not need to control your own currency or to have currency control at all. You can be part of the sterling area which, as Deputy Boland said today, is dominated by British imperialism. You can be part of the financial grouping dominated by British imperialism. You can permit the free flow of capital from here to there and back and you do not need to control your financial system but you can still be a Republican if you put “Republic” on the pound note in Irish. But when you do that when it is not an Irish pound you have already set out on the path of deceit which ended in this debacle of today and yesterday.

A Republic means that you have control of your economy but you see, we are too small, too weak and inept and so we cannot really build our own economy. We must bring people in with tax holidays, with almost no investment of their own capital. We have to beg people: please develop the economy for us, because, although we are a Republic, we do not wish to retain control of our economy. Republicanism in song and in language without Republicanism in money and in industry is basically hollow and impossible and self-contradictory and bound to end where the party has now ended.

It has ended in two bits, it has ended in a bit which regardless of the personalities and the deceits involved, in the long run jumps when various collections occur and financial and industrial power hold the strings. That is one bit. That is the bit that can say, as the Taoiseach said here in 1967: “We accept the EEC totally and all we mean by negotiations about EEC [928] will be, firstly, how much representation do we have in the European Parliament, and secondly over what period will entry be phased.” But that could mean accepting the loss of sovereignty as a Republic without any qualms; that could mean finding the EEC compatible with Republicanism because Republicanism was confined to words. The Taoiseach did not see that it was necessary to be Republican all the way through and not just in parts. That is one section which, although Deputy Boland denounces imperialism—I concur with him in disliking it and I am old fashioned enough to use the same old fashioned names as he today used —is so dependent on imperialism as to be unable to struggle against it.

Then there is the Blaney/Boland, the rural bit of the party, that knows that, when it comes to framing actual actions that might make the country more genuinely republican, more genuinely independent, it is “not on”.

In a perfectly honest attempt, in some cases, to salve their consciences they go in for exaggerated manifestations of their national identity in some ways, and for military escapades of a romantic sort in other cases. Of course, national unity is very important to them, but it seems to me that it is important to them as a substitute, as a sort of psychological lighting conductor for the things they know they cannot have. It is not based on the ordinary people. It is anti-working class. It is not for the purpose of introducing many things which republicans believe in. It is, as I say, a sort of psychological soother because they know that the real heart of their republicanism lies in the control of our economy and this they are not either able or willing to assert. That is the basic division that has led the party to where it is today.

This is the reason why a socialist in a wry sort of way, in a very tragic sort of way, can be permitted to say: “I told you so.” In fact, if they would study him, Connolly told them so. He said quite clearly that it was impossible to be genuinely republican and, at the same time, be in alliance with big industry elsewhere. In the long run, since we are a small country with small industry the only way to be republican, [929] according to Connolly—and I believe today's events validate it-is to be socialist as well. The only genuine republicanism now is socialism based on the working classes.

We are faced now with the task of asking over the heads of any party, and over the head of Parliament, directly of the people: “What do we do now?” I hope it is still to Parliament they will turn for the answer to questions like that. I hope they have not reached the stage of having contempt for Parliamentary institutions and in which different sections set about implementing different solutions by force. We must try to give some answers at this early stage to the question : “What do we do now?” If I might use the language of the moment the first thing to do surely, if any of my analyses about the effects in the north and south are correct, is to “cool it”.

Military escapades now of any description will end in the sort of holocaust which has been described from different parts of the House. We have the task at this moment of defending democracy, not just in the north where there is an obvious need, but in the south as well. It seems to me that people in high places who are willing to do the things which the Taoiseach says two of his Ministers have done, if they see their power threatened, are willing to by-pass not just this Parliament but the whole of the democratic process.

We have to say quite clearly to the people in the south where it is less obvious as well as to the people in the north, that democracy has to be defended at this moment against any challenge to it. We have to say as a Labour Party, as socialists, that if it is true that the only ray of light in the north last year was a united working class, then for God's sake let us keep and extend the unity of the working classes, the men of no property, the people who exploit nobody, the people who are the custodians of what is honourable in this nation's traditions. That is up to us as socialists, as a Labour Party, as a labour movement. It is on this rock of working class unity within this part of the country and also [930] working-class unity in the north that the efforts to set up an anti-democratic régime in this country will inevitably founder.

If we are to be credible, if we are to undo the damage that has been done to the efforts at unifying this country in a way that is acceptable, then we have to build a better life for all sorts of working people, not just working class people but small farmers, small shopkeepers and everyone like that. That is why in this precise context the struggle for social justice at this time now becomes a priority. That is why from this side of the House we have to take up and push forward so far as we can all of the civil rights issues in the North of Ireland and why it becomes a profoundly anti-patriotic deed to carry out any action which damages the unity and strength and the future of the civil rights movement.

It is also important in this context, if there is to be a future for real republicanism, and if we are to avoid the blind alleys into which frustration has led some of the republican movement, to strengthen the public sector of our industry so that in the circumstances of the free trade agreement, in the circumstances of the EEC, in the circumstances of the threat to a separate national identity at the economic level which is the fundamental level, we may be able to continue to exert some control over our resources. The strengthening of the public sector, far from being irrelevant at this time, becomes a more urgent demand.

We have the task here of building up a Republic into which we can ask the people of Northern Ireland of every description to come. We cannot in honour do that at this moment. I believe the voices we heard today of Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney were the voices of religious bigotry. In fact, I would go further than that. I think they see what they would consider the Celtic, Catholic strand and the Protestant, Presbyterian, Unionist strand, what they would possibly think of as the Scottish or English settler strand, as being two ethnic groups. Deputy Boland suggested that he would like to reverse the Plantation of Ulster after nearly 300 years. [931] They were not only speeches of religious bigotry. They were speeches bordering on racism. They were looking on the majority in the north-east of this country as different ethnically from the people in the rest of the country.

To me the most horrifying moment since I came into this House was the occasion of a maiden speech by Deputy Fox. It was more horrifying than anything that has happened today because, when he was adducing evidence to this House that a campaign of bigotry had been waged against him, he was howled down from those benches and you, a Cheann Comhairle, did not hear a member of that party accusing him of forging a document he was holding up. We heard the authentic voice of bigotry which is the betrayal of republicanism from those benches. Nobody in the party was ashamed of the howling down that a man got during his maiden speech. Subsequently, if we wanted more proof one of the central figures in the events of the past few days, Deputy Boland, called Deputy Fox a B-Special. He was compelled grudgingly and half-heartedly to withdraw. That was the authentic voice of bigotry from that party. Bigotry is a denial of Republicanism. They are incompatible. One could not be a party to bigotry and be in the Republican party at the same time.

We know how hard it is for people to change their political allegiance. Once they are set on a course they tend, unless in times of great upheaval, to go on following the same voting patterns. This is depressing. Many investigations about voting patterns reveal that this is true. Most of the major swings in support for political parties come from the actual change in the voters. Some of the top age groups pass on and new people come in at the other end. That shows change. In any pattern if we followed up through the years, we would see there is not much swing in political opinion except in times of great social upheaval when old people can change their political allegiance quite quickly. I would suggest to the people that this is a time of such social upheaval. This [932] is the time when the actions of the Fianna Fáil Government have put in question all that is most dear to us in terms of democracy, unity, independence and stability.

It is a major question. I would beg some of the best people in the country who gave their political allegiance to the Fianna Fáil Party in the thirties, to pause and examine the validity of what they do in terms of the reality which has now been revealed and in terms of the truth which has now emerged. I beg such people to stop before this intra-party quarrel destroys the whole fabric of this country. This intra-party quarrel can be pursued until the useful things Fianna Fáil people did in the building of the nation are destroyed. The people should indicate that they repudiate not merely the Lynch explanations, not merely the Blaney-Haughey-Boland blank denials, whichever turn out to be true, but that they repudiate the whole lot—both sides—this whole party which, as I said, had a useful role. People change; parties change. The Party were once constructive. They have long since ceased to be an engine for national progress and are now an engine for national disaster. Somebody said a long time ago that outworn engines become brakes. Fianna Fáil are now a brake on all national development. If we are to say anything to the people at this time, we should tell them to repudiate the leadership, whichever side it comes from, to repudiate Fianna Fáil to repudiate the whole rotten lot.

Mr. P. Brennan: I am not so vain as to think that my resignation from the position of Parliamentary Secretary is going to affect the position greatly during the week. I am quite satisfied that there are many people, both inside and outside the House, who are wondering why I took the decision I did on Wednesday morning. There are many people in the House, in my own constituency and throughout the country, who know me, my family and my background and because of this perhaps they were not so surprised.

I have never been a member of any organisation other than Fianna Fáil. I believe the decision taken in the early [933] days of 1922 resulted in the establishment of Fianna Fáil and if that is true I was born into it. I remember as a very small boy in my village in south Wicklow, where there was not a great deal of support for Fianna Fáil in the early days, having to do things at election times on behalf of the organisation that now fall to the lot of the menfolk. I was not alone in this because the other members of my family were just as deeply involved. I recall in the early 1930s I found it very difficult to get boys of my own age-group even to speak to me or to be associated with me because I was the son of a Republican. I have never changed my views just as my father never changed his views. I never denied the fact that I was a Republican. I did not have to join any other organisation because I was quite happy and satisfied that the aims of Fianna Fáil would some day bring about a solution to our internal problems. That is why I remained a member and worked for the party. I do not think I could ever have been accused of being bitter although perhaps I had as good a reason as many others for being bitter. I do not wish to say anything tonight that would appear to be along those lines.

My father became a Member of this House in 1944. It was my privilege to succeed him here ten years later. When I came in here I naturally became associated with the members of the political party. I was a very proud young man coming in to a party led by our founder-leader and a majority of whose members here were Civil War veterans. There were some young people like myself who had the same kind of background as I had. It was not unnatural that we should get together to discuss Fianna Fáil, their policies and the problems of the country. If I found myself in the company of people like Neil Blaney and Kevin Boland at least the republican-minded people in my constituency and throughout the country will understand it. I do not expect the people on the Opposition benches to understand it. By a coincidence I became very active in the organisational work of the party. Here again I found the same people and this, too, brought us closer to [934] one another. Then I had the privilege of being re-elected in 1965 and of being appointed a Parliamentary Secretary to one of these individuals. A good few years afterwards, I found a change in leadership here that resulted in a change of Ministers in Departments and I found myself again with one of the people who, as far as I was concerned, really mattered.

I took my decision on Wednesday morning last at home without having consulted anybody, good bad or indifferent, but my wife. In fairness to my wife I want to say that she did not have much problem in agreeing with me when I decided I was going to resign from my position as Parliamentary Secretary. I do not want anybody to think that this was done by me out of loyalty to two individuals. It was done out of loyalty to the strong Republican ideals which I hold. I have no apologies to make to anybody for my holding these views. I looked forward to the day, which I hope is not far off, when this problem of Partition is solved. So long as it remains unsolved, there cannot be real peace in this country.

I remember an occasion when another Government was in office here and I was a member of a local authority. During the period of office of that Government people died because of this unsolved problem. I suppose it could be said that some people might try to take advantage of the Government at the time; that was never my form. I remember saying on one occasion that so long as Partition remained young men would die in trying to get rid of it. That is why I hope that, with God's help, it will go and go soon.

The fact that I resigned my Parliamentary Secretaryship does not in any way affect my loyalty to the Fianna Fáil Party. This is something that people may find it very difficult to understand. So long as that party remains the Republican Party that it is and so long as it holds dear the aims of its founders—and that was restated by the Taoiseach at the recent Ard-Fheis—then they have my support.

Somebody said yesterday—I think it was the Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Cosgrave—that when this is [935] over, sooner or later there will be a general election; later, I think myself. However, whenever it comes—and come it will because I am a realist and I know that our Constitution provides for it—my political party in my county will decide whether or not I shall be a candidate. If I should be so honoured as to be one of the candidates then it will be up to the people of my native county to decide whether I was right or wrong in my decision yesterday morning. Whatever their decision will be, it will be fully accepted by me. In the meantime I just want to make this further remark. So long as this party continues to hold dear the real aims of Fianna Fáil, then the Taoiseach, the members of his Government, the Parliamentary Secretaries and the Parliamentary Party will have my support. None of them need have any doubt whatever on that score.

Mr. M. E. Dockrell: I, like every other man of goodwill in this House, was shocked and appalled by the events of the last few days, or rather by the facts which came to light in the past few days concerning the events of the past.

We do not know yet exactly what happened. We do not know all that happened. We do not know the exact circumstances of the happenings. There have been conflicting statements. Deputy Paudge Brennan's statement of a few moments ago has not shed much light on it. I think he says he did what he did, not just out of loyalty to two persons, Deputy Blaney and Deputy Boland, but on account of his Republicanism. I am not quite clear whether he was referring to his resignation from the Parliamentary Secretaryship or whether he was involved in the events of the gun-running. But that is symptomatic of the talk which surrounds this whole tragic matter.

The Taoiseach has said that he took certain steps. Three Ministers of State have been dismissed and one has resigned. The two ex-Ministers who have spoken in the House have denied the charges. As Deputy Keating and probably others have pointed out, the differences between what the Taoiseach said and what the two former Ministers [936] have had to say are very interesting. Ohters on this side of the House may also have pointed to this fact. I have not heard all the speeches because no man can sit here for hours, however interesting and fascinating and important the debate may be. One must go out for meals and so on. I missed the contributions of other people who pointed to differences in the speeches by the Taoiseach and by the two former Ministers. They have denied that they had anything to do with gun-running. I heard the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Deputy Blaney, say that he had nothing to do with gun-running in the country. He was asked in an aside by Deputy Cruise-O'Brien whether he was including the north, but I do not think we have had any particular light on that aspect of this whole, sad, tragic affair.

One can discuss this matter from many aspects. One can discuss it from the point of view of the Government, from the point of view of the effects on the north and from the point of view of the effects on the whole of Ireland. One can discuss it from the point of view of what young people will think and what the public will think. If they are as confused or as bewildered as most Members of the House, then the Government or what is left of them are very wrong not to give a clearer lead and not to give concise information.

I do not like to say this but it would appear that as between the Taoiseach and two Deputies who are ex-Ministers, one is faced with the horrible alternative of entirely disbelieving one and thereby making out the other to have told untruths. Deputy Keating pointed out with all humility that we are placed in that position that is so sordid for the whole country. It is a tragedy that as between three of the highest officers of the State we must believe two and disbelieve one or vice versa. However unpleasant that may be it will pass but what will take a long time to clear up is the harm that these men have done to the country. I do not know at this stage whether further information is about to come to light but I have heard whispers to that effect.

I do not know, either, where the [937] guns and ammunition were going but I presume they were going to the north. However, no matter where they were going it was to a part of Ireland and anyone who sells arms of any kind cannot sell them with any tag because there is no limited right of usage of a gun, a hand grenade or any of the other terrible modern weapons of war. Once these weapons fall into the hands of individuals, God only knows what use will be made of them.

Deputy Blaney talked about the past and parts of his speech were moving in their incitement. The speaker who has just spoken referred to the psychological aspect of the Deputy's childhood. To some extent, we are all prisoners of the past. Deputy Blaney must be able to break from the tragedy and the sadness of his upbringing. There are many men in this House and many who have been here but have now been called to their rest who broke free from the past and decided that the bitterness and tragedy which they experienced should die with them and not be passed on to the youth of the country.

I remember when the External Relations Act was repealed I was not very happy about it. I cannot recall what I said when speaking on the Fifth Stage of the Bill but I can remember what was in my mind at the time but I did not express it because, perhaps, I did not consider it right to do so. It was that young men who got on their bicycles in those days would have been going out to undertake nefarious deeds. In those days the people were not as mobile as now and young men went out on their bicycles with their heads down wearing caps. They ran the risk of killing either themselves or others. I was conscious that the Bill would stop that practice in southern Ireland and it did stop it. Whatever were the losses and they were negligible, the advantages of that Act have outweighed any disadvantages that there might have been.

I abhor and loathe the use of physical force. I remember one night during 1916, while I was recuperating from an illness and staying in Greystones, being taken out of bed and shown the red glow in the northern sky. That [938] was Dublin on fire. I saw men going through Greystones in trains from the south and for the first time in my life I found the green, white and orange flag hanging out of trains. Whatever dramatic effect that may have had on me at the time, even greater was the effect of knowing that many thousands had died in the great war. Anyone of my age who has lived through two great wars, who has lived through the Rebellion and through the Civil War has had more than enough of guns and of the harm they can do, because guns are never used for fun. As somebody said today it is not cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians. This is a serious thing. I have a horror of war and many people of my generation have that horror too. They have seen too much of it.

Even if one is prepared to hand out guns without, perhaps, thinking of the horror of it, surely it is apparent and indeed patently obvious that the north cannot be brought in with the south in that way? In this country we have two hard line sections. In the north we have the Unionist extremists, the lunatic fringe of Unionism. In the south we have the IRA, which is a lunatic fringe too. In between are the men and women of goodwill who wish to see their country governed properly, who wish to be at peace and able to go about their lawful business. Anything that is an infringement of that can only hinder the settling of the situation between north and south and hinder the doing away with the Border for which we all wish. It is only on methods that some of us may differ. When the Unionists in the north scream it affects the extreme Republicans in the south and vice versa. Let us here in the south hold on to our Republicans. I have nothing against Republicans. It is very good. Let us hold on to our Republicanism but let us always bear in mind that the ultimate aim is doing away with the Border, the pacification of Ireland, so that future generations will not have to go through what men, women and children went through in 1916, in 1918 to 1921 and during the Civil War.

When I first came into this House there was a certain amount of cross feeling, an echo of those tragic days. I [939] thought there was remarkably little, considering the short period of time that separated the two sides of the House. Then quite suddenly it all seemed to go and the rule of law which faltered perhaps sometimes, that thing of great beauty, the idea that all men are equal before the law and that the ballot box is the most important thing, was accepted and it appeared to be genuinely accepted among high and low in the country. I say that not in a social sense. I am thinking of Ministers of State and ordinary citizens. They accepted that we were a democracy and our young people were and are proud of this being a democracy. One sees them being taken round this House. They sit up there in the gallery. One sees teachers, lay and religious, taking them around and pointing proudly to the pictures that are here. Those children do not mind on which side those men stood in the Civil War. They know they all stood fundamentally on one side and never left it, the side of the love of Ireland. They may sometimes have interpreted that in different ways. We have come far enough to accept that.

That is why to men of goodwill this was terrible event. I do not think there can be any explanation. I would like to think there could be a reasoned, rational explanation but it must be settled whether we have a general election or not. I shall not try to make party politics out of that. I do not think that is of paramount importance. It may happen. It may be of paramount importance that we should hold an election. It may be of paramount importance to every man of goodwill in the Fianna Fáil Party, to every man of goodwill in the Labour Party and to ourselves but equally well it may not be a time to do that. We have heard and we understand the phrase “papering up the cracks”. We on this side of the House do not want to see the cracks papered up. In fact, in so far as it lies in our power and in the power of the Labour Party too, we will not allow it but equally we will not wantonly try to interfere with democratic processes if democratic processes are to be used sincerely and for the right reasons.

[940] We do not want to see ever again a situation in which Members of this House are in any way implicated in letting loose the dogs of war. The worst, bitterest and most horrible form of war is civil war. We must not do that. We must take no steps that would exacerbate that difficult, awful situation in the north. The summer is coming, the dog days when men's minds. even in the northern part of our island, turn almost inevitably to strife. Let us do what we can.

I do not want to hold the House up. I am probably echoing what many people have said. I shall not speak for very many minutes more but I should like to finish on this sentimental note. I heard Deputy Blaney speaking tonight and, as I say, that strange, sad, bitterness came out. He said he had lived amongst people of different faiths and different politics—that is the real truth—and that he lived in amity. He went to school with them and he played with them. I know he is that sort of a man. I remember one night I was very tired after a by-election and he would not let me drive home. He drove my car and drove me up to my own house and his own car followed. He was then taken home. That is just a small thing. He does not do himself justice as an Irishman when he forces his mind into the past and lashes himself with pity, because young people might misunderstand it.

I hope this matter will really be cleared up, that the Taoiseach will give us the details and that there will never again be on the part of, not only Ministers of State, but Members of this House a repetition of that, and that we will follow the democratic principle. Let us be true to the democratic principle, let us be true to the principle of peace, good Government and gentle persuasiveness and some day the north will be glad to come in with us. There will be no question of trying to force them because to force them is not only wrong, but is bound to fail.

Mr. Treacy: I rise to support the motion in the names of my colleagues in the Labour Party:

That the Dáil and the country [941] at large have no confidence in the present Government.

Mr. Dowling: Is this motion being debated?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: This motion is not before the House.

Mr. Treacy: The motion is in conjunction with the appointment of Ministers.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That motion is not before the House and cannot be debated.

Mr. Treacy: The events of recent days and the political volcano which has shaken this nation, and which still continues to erupt with regular violence virtually every hour, has certainly shocked and saddened the consciences of all right-thinking people. In that context, having regard to the changes which are taking place from hour to hour, I am sorry the Taoiseach is not here at present to hear not merely the voice of concern speaking in this national Parliament but to convey to us what the true situation is from time to time.

The most recent evidence avilable to us paints another picture of a worrying nature, the role played by ex-Captain Kelly in this whole sordid episode. I understand that the evidence which this man has now made available is in stark conflict with the views conveyed to us today by the Minister for Defence, Deputy James Gibbons, who is now proposed as the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. While not seeking to prejudge the issue, I think it is right and proper that somebody, especially the Taoiseach himself, should clear the air in respect of this matter.

The allegation of Deputy Boland today that the Taoiseach was not being frank with the House, was not telling the whole truth is given weight by the statement of Captain Kelly tonight. The Minister for Defence would seem to be placed in a particularly hot seat. It is only the Taoiseach who can tell us the facts of this matter, whether Captain Kelly is right or whether the Minister for Defence is right. If it [942] transpires that Captain Kelly is right —and only an impartial tribunal and probably a court of law can decide this-then I suggest and submit that Deputy James Gibbons is an unfit person to occupy the high position of Minister for Defence, and in those circumstances it would be an insult to this House and to this nation to propose his name as Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

It is important, therefore, that this particular episode be cleared up as quickly as possible. We have now to contend with a most sordid, sinister and alarming situation which clearly threatens the security of our State and undermines our basic institutions. We believe the Taoiseach has lost not merely the confidence of his Ministers but the confidence of the country at large. If when the general election takes place, and people are insisting that one should take place, it will not be fought on mere bread and butter politics, it will not be fought on health or welfare or the economic future of the country. The issue now before us and before the nation is the fundamental matter of war and peace, whether the gun will come back into Irish politics, whether the sovereign Parliament shall ordain that there shall be one Army, or more, one Constitution and one law.

The issue now is whether we are going to allow this drift towards anarchy, this reversion to the law of the jungle as certain former Ministers would seemingly wish. Up to now when people tampered with the pillars upon which our democratic system is based they had to face the rigour of the law and were rightly punished. We must ask whether the Deputies responsible for this chaotic situation will be arraigned before the law so that the truth of the whole affair will be brought out in public. Whether they were individuals or groups, up to now those who offended against the Constitution or the laws of this country were punished. No Minister of this State has the right to flout the law, to flout the decisions of this House, or to flout our Constitution.

It now appears that is the position. We have had this outright contempt [943] for the leader of the Government, for the decisions of this all-party assembly in respect of our approach to Partition and the dangerous situation which has existed in the north for some months past. We have had Deputies displaying the same old familiar arrogance, showing contempt for our hallowed institutions and when they did not have their way and their say they denigrated the Civil Service, repudiated their Taoiseach and our institutions. All who seek to stop them in their evil designs are castigated and in this situation we are asked to believe that there is no crisis in this country.

There is a crisis of the most serious kind and the worst aspect is that the Deputies who have come in here and tried to explain their behaviour have shown no repentance whatsoever, have repudiated any suggestion of guilt and have given us nothing but a display of spurious loyalty to the party. It is fair to say that loyalty in the Fianna Fáil Party, and the front bench in particular, was such during the years that no Taoiseach would have had the temerity to dismiss a colleague without grave and compelling reasons. Before Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey were dismissed I am sure the Taoiseach did serious heart-searching and that he only dismissed them for obvious dereliction of duty of the gravest kind. This spurious attempt at loyalty is, perhaps, understandable. Fianna Fáil have got to stand together now. It is the unity of rogues who have been caught out. They realise they must either hang together or hang separately and they are choosing to hang together for as long as they can. They dare not face the country on this fundamental issue of national security, on the fundamental issue as to whether the gun comes back into Irish politics.

I believe that the Taoiseach must have known a lot about this sordid episode before he spoke in this House some 24 hours ago. If he did not know about the actions of his Ministers who were undermining the security of the State, it is fair to suggest that he was out of touch with events or, perhaps, he was afraid to deal with these men. We know that Deputies Haughey, [944] Blaney, Boland and Moran are, politically speaking, strong, domineering men; they are arrogant and ruthless. It would take a lot of courage to deal with men of that calibre. It seems to be the opinion of a large number of people that, were it not that this information of such a startling nature came into the hands of Members of this House and the cat was let out of the bag, the Taoiseach would have sat on this matter and would never have revealed the facts. These people would still have their portfolios, they would still continue to operate their Departments and carry on with their mad game of importation of arms for illegal organisations, thereby undermining our whole democratic system.

This veneer of loyalty, this gathering together of Fianna Fáil Deputies, this alleged unanimous support for the Taoiseach, is an absurdity no sensible person could accept. It is particularly revolting to find the men who were indicted coming in here, beating their breasts and declaring anew their loyalty to the party and to their leader. We all know, and the Taoiseach most of all realises, that these men sitting on the back benches of Fianna Fáil constitute a serious threat to him and his continued existence as leader. On this occasion they have merely bided their time, waiting for an opportune moment to attack. The Taoiseach and his incoming Cabinet must feel very uncomfortable about having to carry on with such strong domineering, arrogant, extremists operating from the back benches.

Men such as Deputy Boland have always displayed a desire for power. Does anyone seriously suggest that this Deputy will be content to remain for long on the back bench? He has shown his desire for power on many occasions. He was the chief architect of the two attempts to destroy democracy in this country: the attempt to abolish PR and have the straight vote adopted, and the gerrymander that went with it. We must thank God today in this Assembly and congratulate the Irish people for their wisdom that they saw through the designs of this unscrupulous man and rejected his attempts by a massive majority just three years ago in his ruthless attempt to abolish PR and [945] rivet himself and his party in power indefinitely. The mind boggles at the thought of what would happen now if PR were abolished, if the straight vote were brought in and minority voices silenced in this House. The mind boggles at the things they had in store for the Irish people if they secured a massive majority in this House.

Mr. Timmons: You have no standing at all in the country.

Mr. Treacy: The Deputy's Party have not a screed of respect or credibility at the present time. No one can ever again believe what is being said by Fianna Fáil Ministers in this House.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If the debate is to continue in an orderly fashion interruptions should not come from any side of the House.

Mr. Timmons: There should be no provocation.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Treacy is in possession.

Mr. Treacy: I do not have to prove to the country at large the ridiculous posture of this Government and this party at the present time in the shabby pretence of unity they are seeking to display. We know full well they are rent asunder by internecine strife. It has been going on for a long time but it has now come out in the open. It will be very difficult to paper over the cracks which are now evident in this party. These are not minor differences; they are fundamental differences of ideology, fundamental differences on the issue of war or peace in this country.

It must have been a great shock to the people when they learned that responsible Ministers of State were seeking to embroil this country in war, were embarking upon war and bloodshed. Deputy Blaney sought to create a bloodbath in the North of Ireland, but it is certain that Deputy Blaney, Deputy Boland and Deputy Haughey would not be in the bath. Deputy Blaney and others were seeking to bring guns into this country.

[946] Mr. Timmons: There is no evidence at all.

Mr. P. Belton: Why was he sacked then?

Mr. Treacy: Deputy Blaney would not be the one to operate the guns.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: The Taoiseach is wrong then?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Would Deputy Treacy be allowed to make his speech? If other Deputies wish to contribute the Chair will recognise them in due course.

Mr. Treacy: It is appalling to realise that responsible Ministers of State have been using the instruments of State, their offices, the Civil Service and indeed, it is alleged, various Departments of State, Agriculture, Justice, Industry and Commerce, Defence; even the Red Cross has been mentioned, and the consular services. It is despicable that Ministers of State would so abuse their privilege as servants of the taxpayer as to engage in such nefarious practices and that men of this calibre should be seen to have consorted with and aided and abetted illegal organisations.

One of the main reasons these Ministers give for their disagreement with the Taoiseach in what he has done is their harking back to their allegiance to Republicanism. Republicanism, they say, is what activated them in this mad escapade. The Fianna Fáil (Republican) Party has long since ceased to be the Republican Party in this country. It is difficult to understand Deputy Boland and others resurrecting Republicanism, because we well remember who adhered to the republican and socialist cause. The Bolands have anything but a good reputation in dealing with republicans.

Mr. Timmons: Shame on the Deputy to say that.

Mr. Treacy: There were many republicans sent to their death by the rope and bullet and many more thousands incarcerated, especially during the war, by the so-called Republican Party. By reason of their anti-republican [947] attitude during these crucial years, especially the war years and immediately afterwards, there emerged another republican party called Clann na Poblachta which made considerable progress for some time, in order to assert again the true principles of Republicanism. There are still elements of Sinn Féin in this country who would repudiate, and rightly repudiate, any suggestion that Fianna Fáil were the inheritors and the only inheritors of the philosophy of Tone.

For a long number of years the Fianna Fáil Party have forgotten utterly and completely about true Republicanism. The evidence of this is in their actions and attitude towards the elimination of the Border. Reference to the Border has not been made in any world assembly for a long, long time by Fianna Fáil spokesmen, be it the Minister for External Affairs or anyone else. They were as silent as the grave on this issue in the United Nations down the years. It was only when the holocaust broke loose last August, and by reason of the stand taken by members of this party, that they were provoked into taking a stand before the world on this fundamental issue. Republicanism in this context is a sham and a pretext. It will not convince anyone. The reasons for this are deeper and more sinister.

If Deputy Neil Blaney and his Donegal Mafia want to create a private army in Northern Ireland, let them do so and let Ian Paisley deal with them but he has no right whatsoever to involve the Irish people in this escapade. He has no right to usurp the functions of this House or his high office in order to create a private army, certainly not in this part of Ireland, and he has lesser right to use the machinery of State here for this purpose.

The Taoiseach, the Government and the Fianna Fáil Party are now reaping the harvest from the seeds they sowed in the minds of the Irish people, especially prior to the last general election. They are reaping the whirlwind now. In April to June of last year they talked of alien influences in this country, about the security of the State being in danger, about anarchy [948] and, in the main, they sought to impute these things to our party. They sought Reds under our beds. Led by their Taoiseach they embarked on the most vicious and despicable smear campaign ever engaged in in the political history of the country.

Mr. Dowling: You are not doing too badly yourself.

Mr. Treacy: Deputy Dowling is well known as the chief mudslinger of the Fianna Fáil Party——

Mr. Dowling: I will deal with you in a few minutes.

Mr. Treacy: ——the muckraker of this House. He, too, carried on this slander everywhere.

Mr. S. Browne: There has been enough muckraking in this House today.

Mr. P. Belton: Do you not deserve it—smuggling guns?

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: The interruptions must cease.

Mr. Desmond: On a point of order, could we have some order?

An Ceann Comhairle: We are doing the very best we can.

Mr. Treacy: Deputy Dowling is a pastmaster at what I shall now deal with—the role of the character assassin, the role of the slanderer and the calumniator, the role of the liar and the deceiver. This was the campaign carried on in the last general election when they told the people that the Labour Party policy was alien to their aspirations, that there was something essentially evil about it, that we were the people who would tear down the pillars of society. Little did we or the Irish people think that within 12 months all the evils that they were attributing to us would be displayed openly in their own party. The Irish people now know who the anarchists are and who are the people who are seeking to tear down the pillars of our society. They know now that they are not in the Labour Party. When the [949] Taoiseach was going on his tour of the country, visiting in particular religious houses, convents, presbyteries and schools, having on his face a sanctimonious expression, he whispered “communists”, whispered “anarchists”.

Mr. Timmons: You should be ashamed of yourself.

Mr. Dowling: Have we to listen to this type of tripe?

Deputies: Yes.

Mr. Treacy: He little thought that he would have to be dealing with persons of this ilk in his own party within 12 months. Everyone now knows who the conspirators are and now realises that that campaign was one of vilification. There would not be a God if this did not boomerang on themselves.

Mr. Coughlan: The chickens came home to roost.

Mr. Treacy: That is what Ian Paisley said and Ian was right. The chickens have come home to roost.

Mr. S. Browne: Stevie will be roosting somewhere else.

Mr. Coughlan: Stevie is able to look out for himself.

Mr. Tully: He will have to. We know what has happened to Fianna Fáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Would Deputies allow Deputy Treacy to make his speech?

Mr. Treacy: I must advert to that campaign of vilification because it was, and everyone now recognises it to have been, a vicious smear campaign. The Taoiseach must have used up many tons of red paint trying to paint our faces. Some of that stuck and very many decent parliamentarians in our party failed to be returned to the House as a result. It was a most dishonest and dishonourable campaign, one of the worst ever carried out in this country.

The mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceeding small. There are [950] now in his own party the alien influences which are seeking to secure arms in communist countries as well as in democracies. They were very close to the Taoiseach himself.

I do not feel the Taoiseach should be exonerated from any blame in this whole matter. The Taoiseach led the campaign of vilification at that time. He made a particular point of visiting convents, presbyteries and schools. He engendered fear in the hearts of many people that the Labour Party were insidious and dangerous, that their ideology was alien and that if elected to power we would nationalise everything. He said all these things and schoolchildren were brainwashed. I know this because I and some of my colleagues suffered as a result.

The Taoiseach and his henchmen talked of many things in that campaign. They used communism, Castro and Cuba. Little did we think that within 12 months we would have a little Castro in the Fianna Fáil Party in the person of Deputy Neil Blaney, seeking to set up a banana republic in this country.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. P. Belton: With guns bought in Czechoslovakia.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Andrews: It is people like the Deputy who sneer——

Mr. Donegan: Go away out of that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Would Deputy Donegan please cease interrupting and would the——

Mr. P. Belton: What about Deputy Dowling?

An Ceann Comhairle: Just a moment—and would the Parliamentary Secretary please allow Deputy Treacy to get on with his speech?

Mr. Treacy: He is not a Parliamentary Secretary yet.

A Deputy: And he will never get there in my opinion.

[951] Mr. Treacy: The Taoiseach, with his sanctimonious expression and his veneer of the honest man, purported to be the repository of all that was good and holy in this country during the last general election campaign and the rest of us were all to some degree evil.

Mr. Donegan: Holy John!

Mr. Treacy: We now know the truth. The facts are known. The men who were the real danger to the country and who had no respect for the institutions of the State, or the security of our people, who were prepared to consort with anyone at home or abroad to attain their despicable ends, were the people closest to the Taoiseach himself. It was a particularly despicable campaign of slander and lies.

Mr. Donegan: Hear, hear.

Mr. Treacy: And it is only fitting now that the party which perpetrated this great fraud on the Irish people should suffer the humiliation of finding themselves hoist with the same ideology themselves. As I said, they used the religious orders——

An Ceann Comhairle: Now the Deputy has already said this four times.

Mr. Donegan: And it would be right if he said it five times.

Mr. Coughlan: The Taoiseach said it on 1,004 times during the general election.

Mr. Treacy: He used the brothers, the nuns and the little children——

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is aware that repetition is out of order. I have allowed the Deputy to make this statement at least four times.

Deputies: Arís, arís.

Mr. Treacy: I am not given to indulging in repetition, but I want to assert that not only did they cajole in this fashion, with this mock piety, but they threatened and they intimidated. We know it to be their stock-in-trade. People were threatened that they [952] would lose their jobs and pensioners were threatened with the withdrawal of their pensions. They fastened on the weakest and poorest sections of the people, the people who are drawing the dole, the recipients of old age and widows' pensions, and so on, and they threatened that, if they did not vote for Fianna Fáil, they would lose these pensions and they would lose the dole. All these things were done in the last general election campaign.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Treacy: They bullied the poor and they bribed the rich.

Mr. Donegan: Hear, hear.

Mr. Treacy: They have continually adopted the line that they in the Fianna Fáil Party are the almighty party and, if they think you are in a weak position and do not support them, then you will get nothing.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Treacy: I have known this intimidation to occur. I have known it to be said: “If you vote for Treacy he will nationalise industry”, or “if you vote for him you will lose your job.” And it was whispered many times in the ear of defenceless people: “You have a pension, have you not, and mind it.”

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Treacy: We know the campaign that was waged in the last general election. It is indeed revealing to find that party, which carried out that kind of campaign, in a shambles today. I have referred to some of the Ministers involved in this sordid matter. I referred briefly to Caoimhín Ó Beoláin, Deputy Kevin Boland. It is pertinent to point out that there is an excuse for the arrogance of this man.

Mr. Donegan: No.

Mr. Treacy: But there is. This man, strangely enough, was never a TD in the strict sense of that word. He had never to do the hard grind of public representation or sit on public boards, such as many of us have had to do.

[953] Mr. Dowling: He was a member of Dublin Corporation.

Mr. Treacy: He came into this House and the first day he came into this House there was placed upon his shoulders the mantle of a Minister of State. He was never allowed to sit here as an ordinary TD and it must be very uncomfortable, indeed, for him, after his long sojourn in the various Ministries of Defence and Social Welfare and Local Government, to sit in the back benches and be a backbencher for the first time in his life, an ordinary rookie TD. I do not want to advert at length to his dereliction of duty in regard to the provision of homes and water supplies and sanitary services and the colossal scandal of housing which he has left behind him, but it is only fair to say that I always regarded him as a most unfair Minister in that, on every conceivable occasion, he gave the kudos to his own political hacks, even though others of us had earned the reward of the reply to or the acknowledgment of representations.

I have already said that he was power hungry and I do not believe he will be content to rest in the back benches without asserting his claims to power again in the future. He is now obviously turning his venom on his own leader. He says he did not agree with the dismissals. Are we to take it that Deputy Boland condones the actions for which Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey have been dismissed by their Taoiseach? He also, not having had his own way, resorted to the last desperate act of threatening to resign. He did, in fact, resign. A man who behaves in that fashion towards his leader, adopting a threat of that kind in very difficult and painful circumstances, is a man bereft of reason and I am sure that his plea of loyalty in this House today will fall on very deaf ears indeed where the Taoiseach is concerned.

Deputy Blaney is also a very strong-willed man. If he wants to create a private army in the North let that be, but he has no right to involve the Irish people in this mad gamble. Nor has he any right to use the institutions of State for the purpose of armed rebellion. Deputy Blaney and his colleagues [954] are trying to create a power keg which is bound to blow up and many lives are likely to be lost. If there is bloodshed in the north and guns are used the Taoiseach must realise that responsibility lies on his head. If illegal organisations can secure arms of this kind at the behest of Ministers, the Fianna Fáil Government have much to answer for.

Deputy Haughey's association with this nefarious and sordid business came as a surprise to all of us. In his statement today he claims that he is innocent of the accusation of bringing ammunition into the country. The Taoiseach has an obligation in replying to the debate to give more facts as to the reasons why these Ministers were asked to resign. It is not good enough to say that they disagreed with the Taoiseach and the Government in respect of the attitude towards the Border. The full facts of the whole affair must be made known. It is not enough for Deputy Blaney or Deputy Boland to come into the House and avail of its privileges and in vague generalities and, with pleas of loyalty and adherence to the Republican cause, seek to roll the other fundamental issues under the carpet.

The Taoiseach must be more frank and honest with the House and tell us also of the conflict of evidence between the ex-army officer, Captain Kelly, and the evidence of the Minister for Defence, Deputy Gibbons. We would have much preferred if Deputy Haughey had concentrated more on dealing with the Budget in a responsible manner——

Mr. O'Higgins: Hear, hear.

Mr. Treacy: ——rather than that he should do the lazy and indolent thing and by one stroke of the pen increase the turnover tax without any serious endeavour to select the luxury goods for taxation and ease the burden on the most necessitous sections of the community.

It was an indolent and irresponsible Budget which did nothing to deflate the economy, a Budget which of set purpose sends costs spiralling again and gives an opportunity to every exploiter and usurer to exploit our people. In the past few weeks since the Budget [955] was introduced every housewife realises that the price of every essential commodity has increased out of all proportion.

An Ceann Comhairle: We cannot have a debate on the Budget.

Mr. Treacy: I am commenting on Deputy Haughey's Budget vis-à-vis his endeavours to bring in arms here for illegal use as distinct from his primary duty of dealing with the economic affairs of the country——

An Ceann Comhairle: Nevertheless we cannot have a debate on the Budget.

Mr. Treacy: ——and introduce some stability in respect of prices and safeguard the people from exploitation. He failed abjectly in that regard and was seemingly engaged in nefarious activities.

What the people want most of all is to see justice done in relation to this sordid episode. If there is to be any respect for law and order the people who have been guilty of such serious offences, if not crimes, should be brought to the bar of justice where there will be full, fair and impartial investigation into the whole affair so that we can regain some semblance of respect for this House, so that we shall regain our honour and respect for the institutions of State that have been so sullied in recent days by the irresponsible and dangerous activities of Government Ministers. I, therefore, ask the Taoiseach to give us an assurance when replying that he will not tolerate these people in the Cabinet, in his party or in the House but will see to it that for what they have done they will receive the same treatment as any other citizen would receive in the same circumstances. There are at present some men under long and severe sentences in England for merely having attempted to secure arms. It will be interesting, therefore, to know what will happen to these people who have so disgraced this House and society.

Mr. Dowling: I did not intend to speak at all today. I came here at 10.30 this morning to listen and I have listened until 11.30 tonight. One's patience becomes exhausted at times. [956] First, I want to refer to the motion before the House so that those who are listening will understand how far the Deputies who were supposed to be discussing the motion went outside it. The motion is:

That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following Members for appointment by the President to be members of the Government—

Jerry Cronin,

Robert Molloy and

Gerard Collins.

I am happy to support this motion and to say that these are honourable men. I wish them the best in the future. I know they will carry out their duties for many years to come with dignity and understanding.

Many matters have been injected into this debate here tonight including the attack on the dead father of Deputy Blaney and the Boland family. It is pretty difficult for one to exercise restraint but these false charges that have been made here tonight will be answered in detail. According to Deputy Keating it would seem that it is a crime to be a republican. We are republicans and proud to be republicans; we will always be republicans and it is no crime to be a republican in this country.

Mr. Keating: A bogus republican.

Mr. Dowling: Men have died for this Republic and for the unity of the country. Men were executed because they would not compromise their principles down through the years. We have no apologies to make for being republicans. Throughout the debate we have seen that Fine Gael and the Labour Party can be congratulated as men of great imagination and men with a keen sense of rumour. Through the day they carried on a recital of distortions and lies, of unfounded allegations and character assassinations. We are happy and proud to be with the men on this side of the House and very happy to stand behind the Taoiseach——

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: And Deputy Blaney?

Mr. Dowling: Many attacks have [957] been made on him, particularly by the last speaker, and I noted that he did not make those attacks when the Taoiseach was present. The Taoiseach is a man of courage and understanding. He did not run away or would not run away from his responsibilities as he sees them. He had two options on this occasion. One was to do nothing and the other was to run away as you gang did on a previous occasion. He did not do that. He did what he thought was right and proper. We support him as the leader of this party and as the president of our great organisation. We support him for his courage and understanding in doing what he thought was right. He has the right in accordance with the Constitution— and this party agree on this—to hire and fire as he so desires. That is his right and if he decides to dispense with members of his Cabinet that is his affair.

He did what he thought was right and we stand behind him just as the party stood behind him unanimously yesterday. It has been suggested here today that we had no right to speak. We had a right to speak and we did speak. We asked questions where questions were necessary. It was not a case of being brought into a room, as was suggested by some of the Opposition speakers, and told what to do and getting out in a hurry. It may show the efficiency of our party that we were able to deal with the problems in such a short time. It did not take us three or four weeks with hundreds of meetings, as it did other parties to deal with small problems which they had. We dealt with them effectively and efficiently and we pledged our support to the leader of our party and to the party, because we know it is the only party that can do anything or has done anything for this country.

Many matters have been injected into this debate and it is necessary for us to examine some of them in detail. The attack by a new Deputy on the father of Deputy Neil Blaney, on the father of a dead man who was a good Republican and who has a good Republican son——

Mr. P. Belton: The father of a dead man? He is dead but he will not lie down.

[958] Mr. Dowling: The father of Deputy Neil Blaney was attacked by a new Deputy from the Fine Gael Party. We know they would try to discredit even the dead. There was an attack on the Boland family when Deputy Treacy said they had a bad record in relation to this nation. Was he referring to Harry Boland? Was he referring to Gerry Boland? Was he referring to Deputy Kevin Boland? He said “the Boland family”. The Boland family have a Republican tradition better than Deputy Treacy or any member of the Labour Party or the Fine Gael Party.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Dowling: The Deputy had his say and he will listen now, and he will not again insult in this House men like Neil Blaney's father or Harry Boland. I am sure that he and the other members of Fine Gael and Labour who spoke here today would not say outside this House what they said under the privilege of the House. I am quite certain they would not, because they are a crowd of cowards. They have always proved that. They have come in here from time to time and made serious allegations that they would only make in this House. When they were challenged outside they would not make them. We are a party with a leader and a policy which I am sure the people of this country appreciate. They appreciate the fact that the Taoiseach took the steps that were necessary and desirable in his opinion. We have a united party and we face the future with a united party. We were told recently of the attempt to overthrow the leader of the Fine Gael Party in May, 1971.

Mr. P. Belton: May, 1971?

Mr. Dowling: Deputy Ryan was brought in and paraded on a number of occasions and after he got a course of corrective training he apologised to the people.

Mr. Donnellan: This is only 1970.

Mr. Lalor: A Daniel come to judgment.

[959] Mr. Dowling: I was giving them another year to go. We heard quite a lot from the rabble rousers of Fine Gael and Labour. We know they are efficient at this business. They proved it today. The previous speaker did not know what motion was being discussed. He stood up and spoke to a Labour Party motion which proves he was completely out of touch with the affairs of this House. He did not know what motion was being discussed here today. He used Tuesday's speech instead and I note that he did not conclude the speech but put aside the balance for next Tuesday when he can again carry on with the type of character assassination he carried on here for an hour or so.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Dowling: I will not speak on behalf of Deputy Neil Blaney or Deputy Kevin Boland or Deputy Haughey. They spoke on their own behalf and there is no need for me to say what I think. They have made their statements and that is that. This party stands fully behind the Taoiseach. We are concerned with the unification of this nation. Like many other people in this House I served this nation honourably under arms. Today I was appalled to hear some Members of the House insulting the Defence Forces of this country. There may be one person in that force, or one person who was in it, who broke his oath to the nation but the bulk of those people are honourable and respectable men who are serving this nation honourably under arms and will continue to do so. They have done so with dignity in the Congo, in Cyprus and elsewhere. Nobody in the Opposition can point the finger at the members of the Defence Forces or, indeed, the members of the Garda Síochána who carry out their duties effectively and efficiently.

Mr. Desmond: We will not allow the Deputy to abuse them either.

An Ceann Comhairle: Order. Deputy Desmond has already spoken at length. He might allow another Deputy to make his speech.

[960] Mr. Dowling: We were accused here tonight of being loyal to Fianna Fáil. This was one of the accusations made by the Labour Party. We are proud to be members of this party. It gives me great pride to be a member of this party, having listened to the boloney preached here by the muckrakers and character assassins from the Fine Gael and Labour benches. They spoke with one tongue today and I am quite sure they will do the same in the future. That is the only way they can possibly survive.

We are concerned about the unity of this nation. I agree with some of the views expressed here in relation to the unity of the nation. I do not agree that any illegal organisations should be supplied with arms. Members of my party do not agree that illegal organitions should be supplied with arms. Each and every one of them stated that today. I am quite sure that our Defence Forces are competent to do their job, that the Taoiseach will do the job for which he was elected, and that the Government will carry out the job for which they were elected. The sooner these three men who are the subject matter of this motion are appointed the better, because the longer the Opposition keep them out of office the longer they are delaying the business of this House in connection with such things as the Housing Bill——

Mr. P. Belton: The Taoiseach caused the delay.

Mr. Dowling: ——and all the other Bills that are on the Order Paper. The longer they keep this debate going the longer they will delay the implementation of the valuable and necessary Bills which are going through this House at present. I can well understand their desire to ensure that there will be a delay in putting through effective and progressive legislation but, nevertheless, however long they may like to discuss this motion, the day will come when those young men will take up their duties and prove that they can do the job in a highly effective and efficient manner.

Mr. Coogan: Which the other lads did not.

[961] An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. Dowling: We believe in the complete unity of this nation. We believe in the ideals of Tone and Pearse and Brugha and Liam Mellowes and Rory O'Connor, men of uncompromising principle. They are our ideals and they will always be our ideals. The complete unification of this country is our ideal. We will not allow rabble rousers to insult Republicans or good Republican families. Not alone have they been insulted but members of such families were shot. The wayside crosses in every county are monuments to courageous men who fell at the hands of the assassin whether it was the foreign enemy or the native slave. Many of them lost their lives on the gallows—victims of the British hangman. We will not allow Fine Gael or the Labour Party to insult these people as they have done here today. We know their views on Republicanism for many years. I was not born until 1922. I never introduced this subject in the House before. I have deep feelings for courageous men of uncompromising principles. When I see them attacked by rabble rousers it angers me. Respect for the dignity of the House prevents me from saying many things which I should like to say to the rabble rousers here today.

I do not want to see a blood-bath. The only possible solution at present appears to be the policy enunciated by the Taoiseach and by the members of the Fianna Fáil Party as endorsed at the Ard-Fheis. One has only to read the constitution of Fianna Fáil to know what we stand for. We stand for each and every one of those aims and ideals. There are many young men in this country motivated by a desire to free the nation. This terrible picture stems from the infamous Treaty for which so many courageous men lost their lives.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: Shame on you.

Mr. Dowling: That is my view and I have the right to express it just as the Opposition have the right to express their views. We heard references to the Irish Independent. One knows [962] the type of stuff the Irish Independent has printed over the years. It was quoted by every member of the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party in relation to the attacks on honourable men in this party. Since I came in here tonight the Taoiseach has been referred to in a variety of ways in his absence.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: The Taoiseach was not here all the time.

The Taoiseach: I was here for several hours today.

Mr. Dowling: The previous Labour speaker was pulled up by the Ceann Comhairle for repeating himself several times. He was using the one speech over and over again. When the Taoiseach came here tonight to put the position before the House he had taken a number of decisions. He put his future at stake on the basis of decisions he had made. This is the action of a courageous man and not the type of man Deputy Tracy depicted on a number of occasions. I shall not go into details because of the type of filth the Deputy poured out tonight. The Taoiseach will lead this nation for a long time to come. The people are satisfied and will respond when they are called on to respond in his favour again.

We heard references to a statement supplied by the police to Deputy Cosgrave. It was indicated that this was on headed Garda paper. It would appear that there is a double agent in the police. This House should demand the name of the man who signed the document given to Deputy Cosgrave. How much was that man paid for the information? Let us examine the situation and see was he paid for it. The Deputy is under an obligation to place that letter before the House in order that it can be examined and analysed.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: It satisfied the Taoiseach.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Dowling: This man should be dismissed.

Mr. Coughlan: He is doing his duty.

[963] Mr. Dowling: If he wishes to supply information to a variety of people he is not doing his duty.

Mr. Coughlan: That was his duty.

Mr. Dowling: He is betraying the oath he took to do the job he was employed to do.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Dowling: I disagree with the statements made by some of the Fianna Fáil Deputies here today. If we have a security service it is up to us to use the information as it comes to hand. This is not a State where authority is immune from ethical consideration. Each person is equal in this State. It is up to the Taoiseach to use whatever legal means are at his disposal. We vote money here year after year for this service. I see nothing wrong in the Taoiseach using information supplied to him in this way. Some Members thought this was not right and proper. Money having been voted in this House, the Taoiseach is entitled to use the service and on that score I disagree with some Fianna Fáil speakers.

A foul suggestion about Garda Fallon's murder was introduced into the debate. Indirect efforts were made to tarnish the names of many men here with the murder of Garda Fallon. We hope that every Member of this House knows that the foul and brutal murderers of Garda Fallon will be brought to justice as soon as possible.

Mr. Treacy: You are taking a long time about it.

Mr. Dowling: That may well be. There are some people in this country who were never brought to justice. They are knocking around since 1922 and before it.

Mr. Keating: The year you were born?

Mr. J. Lenehan: You are right on that one, anyway.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: Who are you telling?

Mr. Donnellan: That is a popular expression over there.

[964] Mr. J. Lenehan: And they are all on the far side of the House.

Mr. Dowling: The Army and the Garda are forces for which I have the height of respect, as has every honourable man here. But references have been made here today by the Opposition casting reflections on the honourable men in the Garda and Defence Forces.

A Deputy: That is not true.

Mr. Coughlan: And the Special Branch.

Mr. Dowling: Not alone were the Garda and the Army attacked but the Legion of Mary and the reverend mothers in the convents.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Deputy Paddy Burke will talk for them.

Mr. Dowling: It would appear from Deputy Donegan's remarks here today that we will have to get either the Special Branch to arm or to protect the Garda in the future because he appears to have no respect whatsoever for them. He might do the same thing with them as he did with the tinkers in his gun running escapade.

Mr. J. Lenehan: No bullets left.

Mr. Dowling: Deputy Noel Browne introduced a new line into this debate. He spoke about contraceptives, the disabled, emigration, unemployment, care of the aged, housing and a variety of other matters, and divorce. I do not know how all this comes into the motion by the Taoiseach seeking the approval of Dáil Éireann for the appointment of certain Deputies as Ministers. Nevertheless, Deputy Noel Browne injected those matters into the debate.

Mr. Coughlan: You are going well. Keep at it.

Mr. J. Lenehan: You are on a winner so long as you stay on the confraternity.

Mr. Dowling: Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien in his contribution today complained that Deputy Blaney did not let him know what he was doing in the north. Of course, Deputy Cruise-O'Brien [965] did not tell us what he was doing in Ghana, in New York or in the Congo. Why should Deputy Blaney or anyone else tell him what he was doing?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: I was not a Minister responsible to this House.

Mr. Dowling: The Deputy was responsible at another time to another organisation.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: This man is responsible to this House. Let us hear about that.

Mr. Dowling: We know the type of people the Deputy associated with in Ghana and in other places.

Mr. J. Lenehan: Up a monkey tree.

Mr. Dowling: The ex-Minister is under no obligation to tell Deputy Cruise-O'Brien when and where he goes.

Mr. Donnellan: This is the beginning of the next general election.

Mr. Dowling: He has an obligation to tell the Taoiseach where he goes.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Buffoonery is not in order.

Mr. Cluskey: If it were, they would be saved by it.

Mr. Dowling: In his speech Deputy Keating referred to the 50-minute meeting. As I said earlier, each Member of this party had an opportunity of speaking. Members of this party did speak and asked whatever questions they desired to ask.

Mr. Keating: For 35 seconds.

Mr. Dowling: It shows the efficiency and speed with which we can deal with major problems.

Mr. Cluskey: Come on. Tell us more. Has the Deputy lost his comic-cut?

Mr. Dowling: You were out of a job of cleaning the gutter.

Mr. J. Lenehan: He did not get £50,000 for a fake farm, either.

[966] Mr. Tully: You were in Fine Gael until the mid-1960s.

An Ceann Comhairle: The House should allow Deputy Dowling to speak.

Dr. FitzGerald: I wish he would do so.

Mr. Donnellan: Maybe he has finished.

Mr. E. Collins: It is very difficult to hear him.

Mr. Dowling: Is the lady with the curly hair on the back bench of Fine Gael speaking?

Mr. E. Collins: You cannot even distinguish——

Mr. Dowling: Earlier today Dr. Noel Browne spoke of the methods we would employ in order to achieve the unity of this country. He says that if they do not come in willingly then we will bring them in at the point of the gun.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: That is not true. Deputy Noel Browne never said that.

Mr. Dowling: It is true. The Deputy was not here.

Mr. Cooney: I was here and heard him and it is not true.

Mr. Tully: It is not true.

Mr. J. Lenehan: It is absolutely true.

Mr. Dowling: This is what Deputy Noel Browne said. Why not send for the record and I shall wait for it?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Get the record.

Mr. Dowling: If the Ceann Comhairle will allow me to go for the record, I am prepared to go for it.

Mr. P. Belton: The Deputy should have it there with him if he wishes to speak about it.

Mr. Dowling: This position has clearly been explained not alone by the Taoiseach but by other Members of the party who spoke here today. They have clearly outlined the policy of Fianna Fáil in relation to the unity of Ireland. They have never indicated that this was the method that would [967] be used for the unity of the country. Although many years ago I believed that physical force was the way, I do not believe it now.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Did the Deputy ever use any?

Mr. Dowling: I served this nation honourably under arms.

Dr. O'Connell: The Deputy has been up in arms ever since.

Mr. Dowling: I lost my job. The trade union organisation did not do much about it.

Mr. Treacy: The talent is getting very scarce, anyway.

Mr. Dowling: I have plenty of material here to keep me going. Deputy Bruton will have to wait until after midnight.

Mr. Bruton: I can wait.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If Deputies would allow the Deputy in possession to speak, everybody would have an opportunity to contribute to the debate.

Mr. Treacy: He is not speaking at all.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Give the Deputy in possession an opportunity to speak.

Mr. Dowling: They are refusing it to me. When Deputy Keating was speaking, he was judging men by their facial expression, not by what they said. He indicated that Deputy Blaney was a man of hatred; that Deputy Boland was a man of hatred. However, he himself poured out nothing but hatred here for an hour or so. There was no question there of forgiveness. How could Deputy Keating judge on facial expression whether men had hatred in their hearts? Why did he not listen to what they had to say? They had one desire: to see that this country does the right thing and goes the right road. That is what all believe in.

I can quite understand Members of Fine Gael and Labour who are trying to discredit tonight the Budget that was introduced here the [968] other day and to mix it up with the motion now before the House so that they would be able to present a different picture. They are not concerned about the unemployed, about the disabled, or about the widows or orphans. They are more concerned about divorce and contraception and a variety of others matters about which Deputy Dr. Browne spoke for so long.

Mr. J. Lenehan: A nice boy; he was exported from Mayo when he was only three months old.

Mr. Dowling: I shall deal now with the security of the State. I am satisfied that the State is secure although efforts have been made here today by Fine Gael and Labour to undermine that security. There is no need for anybody to be terrorised as was the desire of members of the Opposition. We have absolute confidence in the security forces and we are confident they are carrying out their duties in so far as the security of the State is concerned.

We know, too, that this type of approach by Fine Gael and Labour was an attempt to draw in other forces from outside the State. The suggestion has been made by the Opposition that Deputy Cosgrave informed the Taoiseach of the matter concerning the two Ministers at 8 o'clock in the evening and that by 10 o'clock the same evening the two Ministers had been asked to resign. Of course, the position in relation to this matter was clearly outlined by the Taoiseach and by others. In this connection, may I say that whoever was the renegade or traitor who sold the information must be dismissed from his post if he is a member of the security forces or of the Garda Síochána. It was indicated that the information was supplied to Deputy Cosgrave on franked Garda paper but I know from people who were standing behind the Deputy in the lobby when he read the letter that it was a plain sheet of paper.

Mr. Treacy: He saved the country from disaster.

Mr. Desmond: Deputy Dowling should not start a witch hunt against the Garda Síochána.

[969] Mr. Dowling: I have no time for renegades or traitors whether they be in the Labour Party or the Garda Síochána.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If Deputies will cease this kind of conversation across the House and address the Chair perhaps the Deputy could continue.

Mr. Dowling: In conclusion I should like to say——

Mr. Coughlan: No, we are beginning to enjoy ourselves.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will Deputies allow the Deputy to conclude if he so wishes?

Mr. Dowling: It would appear that the Labour Party would like to hear more. While Deputy Dockrell was speaking he referred to cowboys and Indians and to cops and robbers. This was his type of contribution to a debate on a serious matter. I do not know to whom the Deputy was referring because it would appear that the Indians are all on that side of the House.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: There are a good few cowboys over there.

Mr. Donnellan: Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

Mr. Dowling: I would appeal to the House to approve of the nominations as outlined in the motion. I hope that these men will soon be able to take up their appointments so that the work of the country which has already been held up by the activities of the Opposition can be continued. If there are people in the public gallery who have heard the speeches of members of the Opposition I say to them that they need not come back on Tuesday because the speeches have been the same today as they were the day before yesterday and we can be sure they will be the same again on Tuesday.

Mr. Bruton: According to reports in yesterday's papers an officer recently resigned from the Army, admitted that he was involved in the affair which led [970] to the forced resignation of a number of Government Ministers. The officer qualified this by saying that his involvement was only slight, although he did admit involvement. Patrick Kennedy, who is an MP at Stormont, was today reported as saying that Captain Kelly, the officer to whom I refer, is a friend of his and is a good Irishman. Mr. Kennedy said that anything the officer did was done with the full knowledge of his superiors, his superior in this case being the Minister for Defence, Deputy Gibbons.

In this House today Deputy Gibbons denied that he had any involvement in this affair. However, a statement by Captain Kelly to the BBC and as issued by them to press and radio tells another story. I quote from Captain Kelly's statement:

Under privilege of the Dáil, Mr. Gibbons has attacked me. All he has said is a tissue of lies. Any work which I did I brought to the knowledge of Mr. Gibbons at any and every opportunity. He is completely aware of anything I did prior to my leaving the Army.

On May 1st when I was arrested by the Special Branch I claimed privilege and asked for Mr. Gibbons to be called. Mr. Gibbons advised me to tell everything I knew concerning my work as an intelligence officer. I rejected this advice because of the implications involved. It was suggested that I speak to the Taoiseach which I did. In my hearing, Mr. Gibbons, before leaving the office (this is the office of the Special Branch) indicated that I was a competent and respected officer and that I should be treated as such. I found my family in a hysterical condition on account of what had been said in the Dáil.

Referring to Deputy Gibbons, Captain Kelly said:

This man is an unmitigated scoundrel and I say this not under the privilege of Dáil Éireann. I met him at his office in Leinster House on April 29th and I gave him a full account of my work. We parted on amiable terms. Mr. Gibbons has often indicated that I was doing an [971] excellent job for the country as an intelligence officer.

This statement clearly implicates Deputy Gibbons in this affair. Now, where do we leave the Taoiseach's statement that not even the slightest suspicion should attach to any member of the Government in a matter of this nature? How is that statement to be applied in this case? The Government may seek refuge behind the line adopted in the current edition of the periodical This Week. They may seek to adopt this story to state that Deputy Gibbons covered himself by telling the Taoiseach at the end of last year of his knowledge of this matter. I quote from the current issue of This Week:

The next development, coming up to the end of the year, must have been a bombshell to the Taoiseach. He was consulted privately by James Gibbons, the quiet, unflappable Kilkenny-born Minister for Defence, who had some very disturbing information.

Gibbons had reports from Army sources that the connection between the IRA Army Council and the two Cabinet Ministers was still being continued. The reports were vague; there were no times, places or hard-and-fast details to back them up.

Unverified, the information he brought could not be acted upon immediately. Lynch was left in a lonely dilemma of doubt, which he had no clear way of resolving.

More concrete evidence was not too long emerging, however. Within the last two months, hints, rumours —and a lot of more factual material —snowballed.

However, this is not conclusive evidence that Deputy Gibbons was not himself implicated in the plot. There is no reason to believe that he may not have been covering himself by going to the Taoiseach while in fact continuing in the plot with Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey, backing both horses at once. No matter what way we look at it either of two situations must represent the true facts. Either Deputy Gibbons did tell the Taoiseach at the end of last year as in the This Week [972] story that he knew of the plot, in which case the Taoiseach did nothing about it and has misled this House in saying that the first knowledge that he, the Taoiseach, had of this affair was on the 20th April, or—the alternative—the Minister for Defence himself was involved in the plot behind the Taoiseach's back and did not go to the Taoiseach. In this case the Taoiseach's implication that no further Ministers were to resign when he stated to Tom McCaughren of RTE yesterday morning—excuse me, I had better start that again.

Mr. Davern: Who wrote it for you?

Mr. Taylor: He is well able himself.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Bruton: In this case the Taoiseach's implication that no further Ministers were involved, when he stated that no other resignations were anticipated to the RTE reporter, Tom McCaughren, was totally untrue.

Mr. J. Lenehan: There is another copy of This Week. Take a look at it.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: Good sale.

Mr. Bruton: Now, what price do we put on the honesty of the Taoiseach? If further evidence were needed of the Taoiseach's deceits we need only look at a recent matter which was raised in this House. The Taoiseach alleged that he asked Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey to resign on the 29th April. However, on the 5th May in this House when the leader of Fine Gael asked him if there were to be any further resignations the Taoiseach told him that he did not know what Deputy Cosgrave was talking about.

The Taoiseach: How did I know what he had in mind?

Mr. Bruton: He stated on the following day, the 6th, that as far back as the 29th April he had asked Members to resign. Yet, he came into this House on the Tuesday and told Deputy Cosgrave that he did not know what he was talking about when Deputy Cosgrave asked him if there were to be any [973] further resignations. Can anybody believe the Taoiseach any more?

Mr. B. Lenihan: End of story.

Mr. J. Lenehan: No one would heed you.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: I rise this evening for a number of reasons. I did not intend to speak on this motion because I felt it would go on far too long and that many things would be said that people might regret later, but I rise now because, as the day wears on, it has become increasingly obvious to me that most of the statements that came from the Government side of the

Let us examine the position. We are here tonight to approve a motion nominating further new Ministers. The reason House are inaccurate to say the least, we find ourselves in this position is that the Taoiseach says that he believes two of his senior Ministers are involved in a plot. These senior Ministers retaliate and deny it emphatically. This to me is elementary: somebody is telling an untruth. As well as these two Ministers, another Minister and a Parliamentary Secretary resigned. Three of these people have contributed to the debate today. Deputy Boland, who was not asked to resign, he resigned himself, to his credit at least appeared to be sincere. To the other two I could not attribute any vestige of sincerity. The performance of the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries in the House this evening was nothing short of scandalous. He came in here and ranted and raved about the Civil War. There are many on this side of the House and on the other side of the House who were not born until after the Civil War. Indeed, there are some on this side of the House, and they must be on the other side too, who were not born until during the 1939-45 war—and after it, Deputy Bruton reminds me. It is time we got away from talk of the Civil War.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: People come into this House and boast that their fathers and their grandfathers were great patriots. Maybe they were, but it is no credit to them that they were [974] born into these families. This is an act of the Almighty. Some of us were born into families with national traditions——

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: ——and we can be proud of it but others were not and it is not their fault. For God's sake let us work for the good of this country now. I was taught that one's first duty was to one's God, then to one's country and to one's family. I hope the same traditions were taught to every Irishman in this Parliament. Maybe I was naive when I came into this House and accepted that any Minister appointed by a democratically elected Taoiseach would work for the good of the country. Can this be said of Ministers who are indicted by their own Taoiseach? Can it be said of them that they worked for the good of the country if they conspired to bring arms into this country?

There was a lot of loose talk last Wednesday, today and tonight about patriotism. Yesterday my small daughter said to me: “What is patriotism?” As I hunted around to explain to a ten year old what patriotism is I said to her: “I think the simplest way to say to you what patriotism is is that it is working day in and day out to make a nation strong”. Can the Taoiseach and members of his Cabinet say they work day in and day out to make this nation strong? It appears to me some of them have worked day in and day out to bring down this nation.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mrs. Hogan O'Higgins: Those who are guilty have brought shame on this country, shame on their own side of the House and unfortunately shame on the entire House. It might be funny to listen to Deputy Dowling ranting, raving and amusing everyone if it were not for the type of situation we find ourselves in in this country today. For God's sake let us try and retrieve the situation. Let us make ourselves proud to be Irish and let us be able to face the rest of Europe. At the moment we are in a position that we have a Taoiseach and Cabinet who must be in the most disgraceful condition in the whole [975] of Europe. I can say that we must be viewed by foreigners like the banana republics of South America.

I cannot prove who is right but certainly, if the Ministers claim they are not guilty, then the Taoiseach has done them a disservice. Let us remind the House that the Taoiseach is a lawyer by profession, or was before he became Taoiseach and I am sure he did not act without weighty evidence. I am equally sure he would not have acted at all if he had not been pushed by Deputy Cosgrave. A Fianna Fáil Deputy said to me: “I am afraid that only for Deputy Cosgrave we could have got away with it.” That is the feeling in this country, that if you are Fianna Fáil you will get away with it.

There must be law and order in this country. If there is to be law and order the same law must apply to Fianna Fáil as to the rest of the country. It must apply to Cabinet Ministers the same as it does to the man in the street. At the moment we do not see this law applying to the Cabinet Ministers and it is time we did. I see in the hasty cementing together of the Fianna Fáil Party loyalty to one thing, loyalty above all else to the Fianna Fáil Party. You are putting your party before your country. In the name of God, let the Taoiseach go to the Park before it is too late, before we are disgraced before the whole world and let us try and retrieve this situation.

We have done harm to the North of Ireland. Fianna Fáil speakers would give the impression that they are the only people who are interested in the North of Ireland. There is not any Member of this House, no matter what side he is from, who is not genuinely interested in a peaceful solution to the problems of the north. Let us not inflate the position any further by lies, untruths and denials from the very highest on the far side of the House. Let the Taoiseach get up and let him assure the House that we will have the truth. Let the people of the country judge for themselves. The only way the people of the country can express their views to this House is by electing a Government for the country. Let them have a [976] chance, knowing the full facts, to choose the Government they want, and I am quite sure they will not return the Fianna Fáil Government who are sitting opposite us tonight.

Mr. O'Connor: It is indeed a pity, listening to the references made by Deputy Hogan O'Higgins, that the party opposite did not implement her ideals and carry on with the work of the nation over the past few days. That has not been the case. The party opposite made every effort to panic the nation, to sling every type of mud that could be slung across this House. Nobody can say here tonight that an effort was made by them to face the situation that the nation was facing, to help in this difficult time.

Every effort has been made by the party opposite to make innuendoes about every Member on this side of the House. However, Deputy Hogan O'Higgins said: “Let us get away from the Civil War. It should not be mentioned.” I know the people on the far side of the House do not want to hear it mentioned. I heard Deputy Tom O'Higgins mention here the other night that action should be taken and I heard the new Deputy here this evening say that the rule of law should apply. Deputy Joe Dowling made a passing comment here that there were still people roaming the countryside who should have been dealt with by the law a long time ago, who were protected from 1922 to 1931 by the then Government, and who should have been brought to justice afterwards.

I am perhaps one of the few Members of this House who in 1922 stood and saw two of my comrades, two sick men, taken out of their homes, taken a mile away and brutally murdered on the side of the road. The members of the Government of that day condoned that type of thing. They condoned the shooting of another man near Beaufort, they condoned the blowing up of the men at Ballyseedy, the men at Countess Bridge and the men at Bahaghs, Cahirciveen.

Mr. O'Higgins: Níl cuid den tairiscint é sin.

Mr. O'Connor: I am referring to [977] what took place when you were in Government. Some of your Deputies went back into the past and I am going back the whole way. This is something the young people of this nation should know. As a result of the Nuremberg Trials the leaders of wartime Germany were executed. There were leaders in this country at that time—they are still around—who should be brought to trial for the outrageous, diabolical murders for which they were responsible. I know the people opposite do not want to hear this kind of thing. I never intended to raise it in this House but what happened in those dark days has to be brought home to our younger people.

Deputy Cosgrave proudly boasted the other night that from 1922 to 1931 they served this country faithfully. I was subjected to violence by the security force of those days. Our ordinary work was held up. You could not go outside your door at night because armed police and armed detectives were about. That is the kind of law that existed in the dying days of the Government of that day. The people of Ireland in 1932 put that Government out of office, and, but for two short periods, they have kept them out ever since.

Let us face facts. I am not in here to rake up the past. I believe that we in this House have a duty to the nation, that we have a duty to our country to build it up. We have enough trouble trying to develop our western counties and give a livelihood to our people. We should not listen to the kind of contribution made by Opposition speakers in the past two days.

In his opening speech this evening, Deputy Keating commented that the first thing he noticed when he came to this House was the hatred that existed. That hatred comes from the far side of the House; and it is obvious from the contributions made in the past few days that the people opposite have not changed. They are still saying the same things. The Irish people are evaluating what they have said in the last few days. Any ideas the Opposition might have that they would get the support of the nation if we went [978] to the country tomorrow morning are incorrect. They would find themselves in the same position as in the past. However, the Opposition need not worry because we will not be going to the country. When we came into this House yesterday the longest faces were on the Opposition back benches. They were the most relieved people when they found out after our meeting that we were all solidly behind the Taoiseach and that Fianna Fáil still existed as strong as ever.

Let us face up to the situation and try to regain the confidence of the nation because we have much work still to do. We will always have plenty to do in this country to build and extend. Great opportunities are open to us in the next few years. We should try to build up a country which would show any foreign industrialist the many advantages of siting industries here. We should try to do all we can to build up the kind of country for which the men of 1916 laid down their lives. All our people have the right to live in this nation and it is important that we provide the necessary way of living to enable them to do this.

If the people opposite tried to help us in this way rather than trying to get the nation into a state of panic they would be doing a much better job and they would be seen by the people of the country in a much better light. By making contributions similar to what they have done in the last few days they certainly will not further their own interests. For as long as they continue with this type of contribution I consider it my duty to keep before the people the background of the Opposition Deputies and of their friends, many of whom are still around and who should have been brought to justice for the atrocities for which they were responsible.

I should also like to refer to a remark made by Deputy O'Higgins the other night that a senior Garda officer was prevented from carrying out his duty. This is my interpretation of what the Deputy said. I am not too sure that he was not referring to the death of Garda Fallon. However, as I understand the position, a Garda officer is bound by his oath to carry out his duty. If there [979] was a Garda officer who was so prevented it is the duty of Deputy O'Higgins to report that fact to the Garda Commissioner. That fact should be laid before the commissioner and the Government, and any officer who has been found wanting in the execution of his duty should be dealt with immediately by his superiors.

In conclusion, I would ask all people here not to send out from this House confused ideas to be published by the Press and radio. Certainly, the utterances of many Deputies in the past few days will not be of any help to the people of the country, and certainly will not help Fine Gael. That party must realise that they are not getting the message across to the people. They are still making outdated contributions which are of no help to the nation.

Mr. Pattison: Like previous speakers on this side of the House I am intervening in this debate not just for the sake of speaking or merely to prolong the debate but because I consider that no Deputy should cast a silent vote on this important question now before the House. The magnitude and importance of this affair should not be overshadowed by references to 1916 and 1922 or any other part of our history. That history has its place in Irish life but it certainly does not have relevance to the important subject of this debate.

I disagree with speakers who have tried to overshadow the serious matter of this debate by emotional references such as we have heard from Fianna Fáil speakers. We are dealing with allegations here that affect the lives of people now living in this country. We are dealing with allegations of interference in the democratic process of this nation and with the grave allegation of people in authority betraying the high trust placed in them. These are the things on which we should be concentrating in this debate. It is important for all Deputies to let their opinions be known on those matters. We represent the country as a whole and we should let the people know our attitude to what has been disclosed here by the Taoiseach in the last few days.

[980] It is not enough for a party to meet behind closed doors and to come out with a decision after a mere 50 minutes. Deputy Dowling may congratulate himself in this matter of reaching a decision in such a short time, but that will not be sufficient to satisfy the people. Each member of the Fianna Fáil Party should let us know if he intends to vote in favour of this motion. Even though the terminology of the motion in one way is misleading, the essence of the debate is that either we agree with what has happened in Cabinet circles over the past few weeks or months or we disagree and denounce the conduct that has been brought to light in this House in the Taoiseach's statement. This is basically what the vote at the end of this debate will be about and nothing else. Therefore, if Fianna Fáil members are voting in support of that kind of conduct they should let their reasons be known to the people who elected them.

There is no doubt that the rank and file of Fianna Fáil members of this House were in a state of shock when this news became known to them. We know they were suffering from shock, but it is very difficult to know whether it was the shock of having to face a possible general election or shock at what was revealed. I do not know which really shocked them more. However, when they found they were able to close the ranks and that there would not be a general election, they recovered from the shock. Perhaps it did not concern them or shock them at all that these revelations by the Taoiseach should have been made. Of course, the decision of the Fianna Fáil Party on this matter is quite beside the point. It was not a condemnation of the activity of the dismissed or resigned Ministers. It was a decision giving the Taoiseach power to appoint certain people to the Government and that was the decision that was conveyed through the Press to the public.

We do not know yet whether the Fianna Fáil Party accepted the allegations made, whether they have said they are right or wrong. What we want in this unfortunate affair is the truth. We have heard many versions. We [981] have heard further statements here quoted by Deputy Bruton which differ from statements made from the Government benches even this evening. We have heard the Taoiseach's statements. We have heard the statements of the dismissed Ministers and the resigned Minister. They are completely at variance. Either the Taoiseach is wrong or the former Ministers are wrong. According to the Fianna Fáil Party both groups are right. Nobody is wrong in Fianna Fáil.

The Taoiseach says the Minister for Justice was not asked to resign, but Deputy Boland says he felt the Minister was asked to resign. Then the Fianna Fáil Party say they are both right. There has been this attitude right through this debate in which the Taoiseach was acclaimed for his statement. The former Minister for Local Government received claps—of approval, I presume—this morning. The former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries received claps of approval this evening. Therefore we wonder what kind of spell is hanging over the Fianna Fáil Party at the present time. The statement made by the former Parliamentary Secretary was probably the most straightforward and honest statement of the lot, when he came clean and said he resigned out of loyalty to the strong Republican principles of the dismissed Ministers.

What amazes me is the smugness and glibness of the Fianna Fáil members in this whole affair. They seem to think nothing has happened, that nothing wrong or bad can happen in Fianna Fáil, that they are infallible and that the public have a very for giving attitude to them. It may be that the public have a forgiving and forgetting attitude to the actions of Fianna Fáil but on the present issues I do not think the public will have such an attitude to them. That is what frightens the party at present and holds them together, saying: “We will cling to one another. If we let go we will drown.” That is indicative of the present mood of Fianna Fáil.

When Fianna Fáil are really in trouble Deputy Joe Dowling is thrown in to divert attention. This happened again tonight. With his usual farseeing [982] intellect he tried to make light of the situation, tried to attribute false motives to people on this side of the House. He also referred in a critical way to the Garda Síochána. He seemed to be very annoyed that, according to him, a member of the Garda Síochána betrayed the Fianna Fáil Party.

The Garda Síochána belong to the nation, not to any party, be it the party in power or a party in opposition. I was frightened by the attitude of Deputy Dowling on this question. He seemed to be of the opinion that a member of the Garda Síochána who, in the pursuit of his duty, co-operated in any way with anybody other than the Fianna Fáil Party was betraying the force. This is a very sad commentary. This is a comment that should not have been passed and that should be withdrawn by the Deputy. He went so far as to accuse a member of the Garda Síochána of selling information. Of course, this is so ridiculous that I suppose I should not refer to it at all, but the fact is that it has been placed on the record of the House and it should be categorically denied that this is so. This is another attempt to divert attention from the real issues involved in this case.

Deputy Dowling also spoke of important social measures being held up by this debate. This debate is not of our making. It arises because of the alleged activities of members of the Cabinet and it is our duty to get the full facts, the real truth. I am certain that if we had got the real truth this debate would not have been so prolonged. Unless we get the real truth damage will be done to economic, industrial and tourist development. These accusations, left without proper and full explanation, will damage the country.

Therefore, I would impress upon the Taoiseach the importance of letting us have all the facts, all the truth. I would impress also on all the rank and file members of the Fianna Fáil Party that they should realise the issue they are voting on when eventually they go into the division lobbies. It is not simply a question of appointing certain Members to be Ministers. The question is far deeper and graver than that. There are some aspects even of [983] the appointment of Ministers that should be and could be discussed in the House but all these matters are overshadowed by the facts revealed by the Taoiseach.

There is one thing that strikes me in the appointment of Ministers and the reshuffle of Ministries. I find, possibly in the confusion and hurry, the Department of Social Welfare is reconnected with the Department of Labour. We spent hours debating in this House and it was agreed on all sides that the Department of Labour should be separate from the Department of Social Welfare. After hours of debate and agreement on this vital question of divorcing these two sections of the Administration we find that in this confusion a backward step is taken and the Departments are linked once again. That is only a very small matter vis-à-vis the major issue before the House. We will welcome another opportunity to talk about that and other shortcomings in the Cabinet changes. Deputies should not cast a silent vote on the issue before the House tonight but should let their voices be heard.

Mr. O'Sullivan: I rise to contribute to this debate because I represent a constituency that contributed in a big way to the freedom we have in this country today, suffered a great deal and did not get much satisfaction. Did I ever think that a situation would arise in which the people would be sold down the drain by an Irish Government? Did I ever think that a Government, full of power, full of arrogance, that controlled every issue in the country, that controlled the Civil Service, the Garda Síochána, the Army and the Fianna Fáil people, would be in this position? All that they went in to govern were the Fianna Fáil supporters. They never thought anything of the rest of the people who in their eyes were West Britons, people with whom they should not be concerned, people who should not be here, who should be exported. Their sole aim was and is to govern on behalf of Fianna Fáil. We find them at the height of their power, with everything under control, and now the bubble bursts.

[984] What do the Irish people think today of a Government having that power putting the people in this position? Wherever we go we see that the people are stunned. It is no wonder that they are. They are stunned because they thought that the Government, 50 years after we got our freedom, would not let the country slip into this position. Surely the Government had experience. They had the example of other countries. They had the power. They had the influence. It has come out quite clearly now that members of the Government were well aware of what was happening, not today or yesterday, but months back. I am very sorry to say that they neglected to do their duty to the people. They have done untold harm to the country, to its economy, to its tourist industry and to everything on which it depends. They have, for their own ends, sold out the country. No wonder they are afraid to resign. They know full well that, if they faced the people again, the answer they would get is “No”. The people are no fools. They gave them a chance. They took the chance and they played with the people's interests.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Sullivan: I do not think I have ever interrupted a speaker here and the Deputy from the Atlantic shelf can keep his mouth shut while I am speaking. Here we have a case of the highest Ministers of State involved in the sordid affair of buying arms from a communist country. What links do they have with that country? The members of the Labour Party spoke the truth when they said at the last general election they were painted pink and even red; it was said they were not fit to be in control of the country. Here we have Ministers of State, or their agents, going into Czechoslovakia and buying arms for importation into this country. For what reason—to start a war that would ruin the country for generations to come? These same Ministers and this same Taoiseach at the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis recently adopted a motion whereby they agreed that the only way left to bring in the North was through tolerance and agreement. They [985] did not keep to that motion very long. Not alone did they deny the party the right it had, but they took the very ground from under it.

I listened to Deputy Blaney speaking here today, a solid Republican. I remember for over 40 years, before every general election, we had them marching on the North. It was always the day before the election. Nothing ever happened after the election. They were marching for the North every general election with the glint of battle in their eyes, but it was like the old song—tomorrow never came. I wonder if Deputy Blaney would have been half as aggressive in the Bogside as he was down in Killarney with his supporters the night of the election. Killarney was a safer place to do battle than inside the Bogside.

I heard an ex-Fianna Fáil Deputy boast recently about how they got into power. It was no news to me for I was well aware of it. He said: “I went into my local booth in the morning and I asked the presiding officer how many votes were cast and he said ten. I got the block and I stamped the lot and put them all together and put them in. `Come out now,' sez I, `and I will stand you a drink. Your job is done.' ”

Deputies: That is not true.

Mr. O'Sullivan: They got into office by intimidation and personation and that is known to the people.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Lenehan will cease interrupting.

Mr. O'Sullivan: I know what the Deputy is wearing all right and I am telling him that the people of this country will know what he and every one of the Deputies over there are wearing before the week is out.

I am sorry that Deputy Haughey was involved in this. He has denied it and I will not prejudge him. I am sorry he is involved. He was an excellent Parliamentarian and a likeable man. He will be a great loss to this Parliament, but I can tell some of the others that I am not a damn bit sorry for them because, when I put down a [986] question last week here about a gentleman who was taking out nationalisation, and the only qualification he had was vilification of one of Ireland's greatest men, I got no satisfaction of any kind; he got his nationalisation but I can assure you he is not a Republican.

The people will judge Fianna Fáil on what Fianna Fáil have done. They gave Fianna Fáil power. Fianna Fáil told them it was the only party fit to rule. What will the people say now? What can they say? The answer is there in front of them in black and white. Fianna Fáil are not capable of ruling. Fianna Fáil has done something that this country will never forget, something never done in this country since it achieved its independence.

Mr. Tunney: What was that?

Mr. P. Barry: “Revolution” is the word.

Mr. O'Sullivan: The best thing to do with the like of the Deputy opposite is to ignore him. I would ask the Taoiseach to consider seriously the position. I would appeal to him not to prolong the agony for himself and his party but to go up to the Park while there is yet time and not keep the poor old gentleman up there waiting for him. I appeal to him to hand over his seal of office and let the people decide forthwith what type of Government they want.

Mr. Tunney: Go dtí seo a dhíospóireacht tá daoine ag caitheamh droch-mheas ar a chéile agus sin á dhéanamh acu in ainm na tíre. Ó thosnaigh an díospóireacht seo táthar á rá gur ceart grá a bheith againn ar na daoine sna Sé Contaethe, gur ceart aitheantas a thabhairt don Phrotastúnach, don Chaitiliceach, don duine bán agus don duine gorm. Ar an dtaobh eile den scéal, níor stad lucht an Fhreasúra de bheith ag masladh na dTeachtaí atá ar na bínsí seo. Conas is féidir leo a bheith dáiríre faoi thuiscint nó faoi ghrá, grá pearsanta nó grá tíre, muna mbíonn ar siúl acu san am gcéanna ach an masladh? Glacaimse go bhfuil gach éinne anso chomh díograsach liom féin maidir leis an tír. Glacaimse gurb é mian [987] gach Éireannaigh saoirse a bheith againn lá éigin agus go dtiocfaidh an tsaoirse sin go síochánta. Nior mhaith liom go ndoirtfí fuil ar bith chun an tsiocháin sin a bhaint amach. Bá mhaith liom féin siúl síos Sráid Uí Chonaill leis na daoine is dúire mBéal Feirste agus greim láimhe againn ar a chéile.

I have listened with as much patience as possible to the many contributions that have been made to this debate which on the surface would appear to be on a motion regarding the appointment of new Ministers but which, for reasons best known to other speakers, they have utilised to indicate their ideas of what Irish freedom should be. We have had long journeys into genealogy, history and party affiliations each man trying to establish, he would have us believe, what he thought should be done in the cause of Irish freedom. I have heard speakers indulge in what they called charity; appealing to this side of the House for tolerance, telling us how intolerant we were, trying to convince us that they were the sole guardians of minorities here, there and everywhere while simultaneously indulging in a form of intolerance and cruelty to people who sit here such as I have never heard before. There is not much point in talking about tolerance and preaching about it when by your very utterances you show you have no interest in it.

I only mention this as an indication as to why I cannot accept the contributions I have heard. I see Deputy O'Higgins opposite me now and he reminds me of his contribution which, in the main, was fair political comment. On the other hand, in a situation where he was preaching about the tolerance and concern and the regard which we should feel for our fellowmen in the North I do not know why he should have pointed his finger towards Deputy Boland and expressed what I consider to be rather personal ill-will and an ill-wish, politically at least.

I listened to Deputy Keating who stood up full of self-righteousness and would have us accept him as the custodian [988] of all that was proper in our attitude towards our fellowman and at the same time I heard him indulge in a form of cynicism and criticism that gives me to think he is well versed and educated in the art of doing the mean thing gracefully. I saw him, during Deputy Dowling's contribution, sitting back, sneering and sniggering and looking to the gallery and looking around trying to make little of Deputy Dowling.

I cite these instances, not in any special criticism of the Deputies concerned, but as indications of their insincerity and reluctance to practise what they preach. Unfortunately, I missed Deputy Bruton's contribution but I am sure that like other members of his party he told us how concerned he was for genuine Irish freedom. I imagine he would associate himself with his fellow-speakers who told us how concerned they were about removing Partition. Mentally at least, I am sure he agrees with all the heroic offerings we got from that side of the House.

As an indication of Deputy Bruton's insincerity I refer to the debate on the Estimate for the Department of Justice when he endeavoured to make the point that it was a waste of time for members of the Garda to have to learn the Irish language. He said this after making a rather elequent and telling case for persons needing psychiatric treatment, such as prisoners. He told us how we should be organised to look after them and protect them. But during his contribution, especially when he said he did not see why gardaí should have to know the Irish language, I interrupted, as reported at column 131 of the Official Report of 2nd December, and asked what I hoped was a reasonable undisturbing question and to me a very important one: “Does the Deputy deny me my Constitutional right to talk to a garda in the Irish language?” There was nothing emotional, passionate or incorrect about that. I suggest I was speaking on behalf of many Irish people.

Mr. Bruton: Knowledge of Irish is not required for entering this House. Why should it be required for entering the Garda Síochána?

[989] An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. Tunney: Deputy Bruton replied: “I deny the Deputy the right to expect the garda to have to listen to him.” He was followed, as I said before, by his foster-father, Deputy Garret FitzGerald, with a resounding “Hear, hear.” These are the people who will tell us of their interest in the North, tell us the great heroes they are, how they are hungering for Irish freedom, for tolerance and for the day when we will have a 32-County Republic. What are they hungering for if in that Republic a citizen cannot, if he so desires, at least speak to a member of the Garda in the Irish language?

The Taoiseach indicated to this House that because of certain information he had to hand he felt obliged to take certain action. That to me was a very responsible statement by the Taoiseach. I do not think he prejudged the situation in any way. It is quite obvious from the contributions made by the Opposition that they prejudged it. They have already convicted. I am surprised that the Opposition with so many legal men, having regard to the special circumstances of the announcement, did not hold their fire until they had more information.

I regret if anything I said disturbs anyone on the Opposition benches. That was not my intention. My intention was, if I could in my inexperienced way perhaps, to give them my honest reaction to what I heard since the debate began. They expressed certain fears about the situation as they saw it, about what would happen in the country and about the dangers and damage that might ensue. I could read in quite a few of their contributions what I consider to be wishful thinking rather than any genuine fears.

I do not know what happens in the field of politics. I do not understand the situation in which a special licence is given to a politician to twist certain words and to denigrate virtues. I do not think that should happen. That has been happening.

Deputy Pattison suggested that we seem to fear a general election arising from what has occurred. I personally have no such fears nor do I imagine [990] there are any such fears on these benches. From my chats with people around the House before this debate took place I consider that the round of applause which was given to the contribution made by the leader of the Opposition was given because no general election will take place. That was after they had heard that the Fianna Fáil Party were united, as they feared ultimately but hoped not for the present, and that there would be no general election.

Mr. Donegan: Three hours before precisely. Four to seven.

Mr. Cott: The disclosures of the past few days will stand forever as a shocking indictment of the Taoiseach and his management of this country. These events will stand as a monument of inefficiency and mismanagement. I say this with regret. Indeed, in his present dilemma, which is most unenviable, the Taoiseach has my deepest sympathy. Under his leadership lawlessness goes unchecked and revolutionaries are proving an ever-growing menace to our society.

Within the short space of three years our balance of payments has swung from a surplus of £15 million to an estimated deficit of £60 million. Prices are increasing more rapidly than in other OECD countries with the exception of Iceland, Yugoslavia and Portugal. Our national debt stands at the highest ever peak at nearly £1,100 million requiring nearly £100 million to service it annually. Now our Government are disgraced in the eyes of the world. There are allegations of conspiracy and counter-conspiracy. There are plots to import arms illegally and these plots involve Cabinet Ministers.

The Taoiseach tells us that they have unanimity within their ranks. Fianna Fáil say this after their famous 6 o'clock party meeting. Members were supposed to have given their leader a unanimous vote of confidence. What hypocrisy. It is obvious that at that famous 6 o'clock meeting the gauntlet was thrown down. The ultimatum was issued. They had to stand together or face political suicide by going to the country. At that meeting the strongest of all animal instincts [991] prevailed, the instinct of self-preservation. Self-preservation was the order of the day and the dissident groups concurred.

Why did they do so? Because if their own party could cling to power they would still be Members of this House of the Oireachtas. They would be backbenchers in the Government party, ideally situated to continue their intrigues and their plots. If there were a general election I do not think there could be any doubt but that the Fine Gael Party would be returned to power and a full-scale investigation would be carried out. These men who are alleged to have betrayed this country would stand subject to the laws which they themselves enacted. No man can stand above the law. No man can flout the law.

The Taoiseach above all men must show total and absolute respect for the law. These men must be arraigned before the courts of the land. They must be judged on the allegations and the prima facie case now held against them. What is happening at the moment? There is a total lack of credence in most statements that are being made at present. The Taoiseach tells us he has a prima facie case. The former Government Ministers involved refute this categorically.

In this evening's edition of the Evening Herald the former Minister for Finance is quoted as saying:

I have not had the opportunity to examine or test such information or the quality of its source or sources.

In the meantime, however, I now categorically state that at no time have I taken part in any illegal importation or attempted importation of arms into this country.

Where is the Taoiseach's prima facie case? Why was the former Minister for Finance, Deputy Haughey, dismissed from his Cabinet post? The allegations too have been denied by the former Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. Again the Taoiseach maintained that he had a prima facie case against these people. It would now appear that the Taoiseach has known of these developments within his Cabinet and within his Government for [992] a considerable time. I quote from This Week. In the edition of 15th May it is alleged that the Taoiseach was told some time in August or September of last year that Deputy Blaney was in close contact with the northern command of the IRA. The Taoiseach apparently ignored these intelligence reports. It is stated that the next intelligence report which reached him was more alarming. It indicated that men who were known to be members of the IRA council in Dublin had been in consultation with both Deputy Blaney and Deputy Haughey in the city, not once but several times, and that they had met the two Ministers separately and together. It was also alleged that Deputy J. Gibbons had reports from Army sources that the connection between the IRA council and the two Cabinet Ministers was being continued.

Captain Kelly, who resigned his commission, has stated this evening that Deputy J. Gibbons was totally involved. He said that Deputy J. Gibbons was aware of his work and commended him for it. The Taoiseach, who has made no statement whatsoever about Deputy J. Gibbons, intends to appoint him to a very senior Cabinet position. The Taoiseach is asking us to support him in that move. Until the Taoiseach comes out and categorically denies that Deputy J. Gibbons was in any way implicated in the alleged importation of arms I shall certainly oppose him. This matter appears to me to be much more serious than would appear from the way in which it was being treated by certain Members of this House who have indulged tonight in a comic opera. I ask the Taoiseach whether any of these arms have been imported. To whom were these arms given? Were they given, as has been alleged, to subversive groups who were determined to disrupt the organs of State and the whole structure of our society?

We have been told that all the attention has been directed towards the defence of our defenceless people in Northern Ireland. Was it intended to send armed members of an illegal organisation over the Border? Was this the intention of the dismissed Cabinet Ministers? Has any consideration been given to our Army in case [993] of such an eventuality? Were the Army lines to be infiltrated before this was to take place? One might ask which was to come first, the north or the south. Was there, and is there, a plan for a massive military coup in the Republic to be followed possibly by armed intervention in Northern Ireland? Perhaps it was to be vice versa. Maybe it was to be simultaneous in both places.

These are serious possibilities which must be examined. What action has the Taoiseach taken against these people in respect of whom, he maintains, he has a prima facie case? He has allowed them to continue as backbenchers in his own Oireachtas Party. I should like to ask the Taoiseach to give this House and the people an assurance that a full, relentless investigation will be carried out and that, if these men are guilty of treachery, they will face the courts of the land. These ex-Ministers have not admitted any culpability. Instead they have made speeches in this House to whip up misguided, emotional Republicanism, to which youth is particularly susceptible. I submit this exploitation of the youth of our country is misguided. They are inexperienced and irrational. Many of them are going through a phase that most of us with very proud republican traditions went through when we were young. Most of us had the intellectual capacity to reason out our Republicanism and to realise that the day of the gun was gone. Nothing can ever again be achieved in Ireland at the point of a gun.

It is frustrating to try to analyse the motivation for these plots and intrigues on the part of former Ministers who have been charged, not alone by Deputies but also by their own Taoiseach, with these activities. If this is what they call Republicanism, then to me it is perverted Republicanism. If this is what they call Nationalism, it is perverted Nationalism. How can they reconcile Republicanism in the purely Irish context of complete and absolute separation from Britain with our total, absolute and ever-growing monetary dependence on Britain? I should very much like to hear them give an explanation.

[994] These ex-Ministers, if the charges are true, would arm a certain section of the community in north-east Ireland. I firmly believe they would do exactly the same here in southern Ireland: they would arm subversive groups bent on the destruction of all the organs of our State. Those of us who are rational about north-east Ireland can well appreciate that many of our people in that area do not wish to join us at the moment—some of them, because they belong to a privileged class, a class of vested interests, others because they have been alienated by the bitterness, hate, bigotry and prejudice instilled into them for over half a century. Still others have been alienated because they enjoy far better social services there than we can offer them here.

What, if the allegations are true, would these ex-Ministers have us do? Force them down to come within our jurisdiction at the point of a gun—and they would do this in the name of Republicanism. They would do this in the name of Nationalism. What a perversion of those two glorious words.

I do not think the Taoiseach should be exonerated of all culpability because, to me, he is guilty by association; he is guilty by default. He made no move against those ex-Ministers until he was forced to do so by the leader of our party, Deputy Cosgrave.

The Taoiseach, I submit, has become contaminated by the arrogance of his own Cabinet. It is quite disgusting for me, as a new Deputy in this House, to witness the disdain and the contempt with which even supplementary questions are treated in this House. It is an appalling spectacle because, no matter how simple they appear to be, particularly in the context of the national scene, they are important to some people—people in many cases merely looking for their rights.

The Parliamentary question is, for most of us, the only means we have of making serious inquiries in this House. These, as I said, are very often treated with contempt. The Taoiseach has tolerated this attitude. He has tolerated this behaviour since I have come into this House. I must say I am most disappointed in him. He had many warning [995] signs of impending events of a very serious nature and he failed to take any action whatsoever. Now, he continues to keep these men, who may, as I have said, and not with any levity, be guilty of treason. I understand treason to be such a serious crime that the death penalty still applies.

The Taoiseach owes a responsibility to the people who have placed trust and confidence in him. This responsibility can only be fulfilled by going to the people and letting them decide whether or not they wish him to continue with the mandate they gave him in the last general election. For the moment, the troubles in this country are being pushed under the table. They are being sneered at; they are being made a joke of. I submit that this country at the moment is in a very serious plight—and the crisis has not passed. There is no doubt about it but, under continued Fianna Fáil Government, it will again raise its ugly head.

The Taoiseach now has a glorious opportunity of explaining fully the state of this country. The people, I am sure, demand it. If we are to make any progress, this absolutely revolting mess must be cleaned up once and for all. If we are to make any advancement whatsoever the co-operation and goodwill of every working man and woman must be sought. The true state of our economy should be exposed, no matter how painful it may be. The people should be told—not in a hypocritical way—what disasters are pending. The Taoiseach should tell the country—indeed he should tell the world—what has in fact happened. He should stop the speculation which is rife at the moment. I sincerely wish he would do it for his own sake, for the sake of his party, for the sake of all parties in this House—indeed, for the sake of the country as a whole.

Sir Anthony Esmonde: I rise to speak at this somewhat late hour because I feel that everyone in this House, no matter to what political party he belongs, should express his opinion, on what has happened here. Let us make no mistake about what has happened here. It will have vast repercussions on us in every sphere. Anyone [996] who has been abroad as much as I have—surely the Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Dr. Hillery, will agree with me on this—knows that many people regard Ireland as just one unit. Already the repercussions of what has taken place in the Six Counties have had a considerably adverse effect on us here. On top on that, suddenly this explosion bursts on the country—not unexpected from this side of the House but certainly unexpected by the followers of the political party in power today. The thoughts of many people must be directed to the fact that what has happened in the Six Counties is likely to happen here. Already, not having escaped the repercussions of the disasters in the north, we place ourselves in a very perilous position here. I belong to a political family who have had the honour of representing this country formerly in the British Parliament before we had our own Constitution and Government here, and subsequently here, since the inception of this State.

This is one of the most serious issues to face the country. Like other speakers, I do not think we have seen the end of the revelations and the disasters. I do not think that any Fianna Fáil Deputy knows exactly the extent to which this rot has permeated the Government. It is all very well for the Government to say they are a united party, but this morning we witnessed what, in my opinion, was a most disgraceful exhibition when two former Ministers came in here and practically accused the leader of their party of telling lies. One could put no other construction on the matter but that either the leader of the party was telling lies or they were, because both had a different story. What are we to believe and what is the country to believe? However, this is not the real issue. The real issue, the important issue, is that the prestige of this Parliament has been lowered not only in this country but throughout the world. Like everybody belonging to me, I am, and always have been, a constitutional Nationalist. I would do anything to defend democracy, to defend the right of free speech and to defend the right of individuals to live their lives in peace.

[997] We reached a dangerous situation—the Government may deny it if they wish—when the Garda Síochána were afraid to act because they had not the force of authority behind them. We reached a situation in which members of the Government in a position of trust were at variance with their leader, although I am glad to say that both men came in here today and attempted to make an amende honorable by saying that they do not believe in physical force. However, there can be no doubt but that the statements made by them have been conducive to revolution. In such event, it is the ordinary people of the country who suffer. I know that because, as I have said, all my people were constitutional Nationalists. We were caught in the 1922 split of the physical force movement when there was pillage, plunder and lack of order. It was then that the late Mr. W.T. Cosgrave, the former President of the Executive Council, took charge and re-established law and order. Forty years later it fell to his son to discover what was going on within the Government and to make that information known to the Taoiseach. If it were not for that, I am convinced that the Government would not have gone so far as they have now gone and that they had no intention of doing anything.

I do not accuse the Taoiseach of being a dishonest man but I accuse him of being a weak and complacent man because he allowed these happenings to build up gradually under his control. One can only hope that, having at last decided on what is necessary, the Government will eradicate these festering sores and endeavour to govern. One can only hope, also, that the Taoiseach will have the force of personality to continue to govern.

Many speakers have suggested that the Government should resign. In that case we would be faced with a general election. I wish now to express an opinion, but I must make it clear that this is my own personal opinion. I and as I am sure, in their own way, the majority of Deputies in the House place or should place the nation before a party. They should realise that, above everything else, the safety, the [998] life and the freedom of the individual must come first. Although the full facts are not at present available, I believe that underground forces may still be at work and that, if Dáil Éireann were to be dissolved, we could face an election such as the election of 1918, which I am old enough to remember. At that election the gun was used; people voted under the threat of the gun. As a youngster at that time I was a supporter of the Redmondite Party, the party which upheld constitutional methods. If Dáil Éireann were to be dissolved at this time I can envisage the use of the gun again, but this time the gun would not be used against the Redmondite Party but against the Government and against all lawfully constituted candidates seeking election to Dáil Éireann.

The Taoiseach has acted, but he acted belatedly. I would ask him now to show the courage of his convictions, to have the moral courage to govern, because it is no use trying to cover up the irregularities that exist.

Our Parliament and our nation are in danger. The prestige of this Parliament has been greatly lowered by the vacillating action of the Government. I hate speaking on a debate such as this and I hate referring directly to individuals but I consider it to be the duty of every Deputy to assert the right of a free people in a free Parliament. In the world of today, where there are so many disturbances and revolutions, such as they have on the campuses in America, all the people have to fall back on is a democratically elected Parliament. Therefore, I say to the Government that they should have the guts to govern—they have not shown them so far—and to honour the memory of all who served and fought in the past for freedom. They should remember that the fight for Irish freedom did not start in 1916. There is no monopoly of patriotism on the Fianna Fáil benches, because there are as good and better Irishmen on this side of the House as ever sat on the Fianna Fáil benches.

Although I am a constitutional Nationalist, I honour the memory of people like Collins, although such men were physical force men. At the same time, they laid down their lives so [999] that this Parliament could be set up and so that the Irish people could live in peace and comfort.

Let Fianna Fáil take heed of what has happened. I do not know for how long they will be able to continue in power, but I express the personal opinion that it is their duty to stay in office and to govern, as it is also their duty to clear up the mess that exists and thereby ensure that all those who have contributed so much to this country may raise our Parliamentary standards again, so that Ireland may continue to be in the future as she was in the past: a democratic Parliament, upholding the rights of the individual regardless of what may be his political affiliations.

Mr. Healy: The Deputy need have no fear. There will be no dissolution.

Mr. T. O'Donnell: I have had the honour of being a Member of this Dáil since 1961. At all times I have been very conscious of the special privilege which membership of this Parliament confers on anybody who has been fortunate enough to have been elected to it. I have listened in this debate to passionate and emotional speeches from the opposite side of the House in which the words “Republicanism” and “patriotism” have been bandied about. There has been a deliberate attempt by the Fianna Fáil Party, not for the first time, to convey to the people the impression that patriotism and nationalism are virtues to which only Fianna Fáil can lay claim.

There are Deputies in this party who can validly and rightly lay claim to close family associations with the struggle for freedom and independence. There are Deputies in this party, like the distinguished leader of this party, whose father and close relatives were members of this Parliament, who helped to lay the foundations of this State, who helped to lay the foundations of the democratic institutions which we enjoy today. I am proud to be one of those Deputies who have family connections right back to the early days of this State and to this Parliament.

[1000] I regarded this Parliament as a serious place where serious business was to be transacted and during almost nine years membership of this Parliament I have never indulged in personal abuse nor in any type of mudslinging. I have deplored it on many occasions because I felt that Parliament was a place where the nation's business was to be transacted and where the Members were expected and obliged to devote their time, their attention and their energies, whether as ordinary Deputies or members of the Government, to this task.

I have been shocked, dismayed and disillusioned that such things as have come to light over the past few days could happen in a free Parliament in a democracy such as ours. I am particularly shattered to find, and it is a tragic and terrible thing, that there are men who have been elected to membership of this Parliament, who have occupied the highest office in this land, who have abused their rights, their privileges and their power in the manner in which these men have done.

I was in my own constituency of Limerick city yesterday and the reaction there of the ordinary person was one of shock and dismay. The reaction of the citizens was well expressed in a banner headline in this weekend's issue of our local newspaper—the Limerick Leader. The banner headline contained only three words: “The Nation Reels”. People have been shocked and dismayed by the terrible things that have come to light. The reaction of the ordinary person—and as I have often said I regard myself as being privileged and honoured to represent, as an ordinary plain person myself, the ordinary people in my constituency —was “How could such terrible things take place? How could such things happen? How could men who have been elected to the highest office in this land stoop to such folly?” These were some of the reactions which I found among ordinary men and women in the constituency I have represented for almost nine years.

The extraordinary thing is that the two members of the Government who have been dismissed from office—Deputies [1001] Blaney and Haughey—were two members of the Government who had built around them the aura, the mystique and the glamour of the modern whiz-kid, leaders of the jet set, outstanding men who have been held up to the people and particularly to the youth by the media of communication as being outstanding examples of modern, progressive, hard-headed, nononsense politicians, men who have been able to manipulate the media of communication in such a way that they projected an image of modern Irish patriotism. One of them was described on many occasions as “the golden boy of Irish politics”. The same man was recently described in this House by a former journalist who is now a member of the Dáil as “a much maligned man”. I refer to the former Minister for Finance, Deputy Charles Haughey.

It pains me to think that we have reached the situation that we have reached here tonight. No matter how we may dislike the uglier aspects of public life or politics facts are facts and we must state our views. I believe the Taoiseach stands tonight before this nation as the leader of a Government irreparably discredited and holding on to office now through fear. The Taoiseach must remember that for a number of years now he has been the leader of a Government which contains members whose names have been synonymous with high living, with high spending, with land speculation and with property deals. This has not just taken place in Dublin. We know all about it in Limerick too. The Taoiseach has been the leader of a Government which has operated the diabolical patronage system known as Taca. The Taoiseach has also, as we have learned in the past 48 hours, been the leader of a Government which contains men who have now been exposed by the leader of this party as gunrunners. It is a well-known philosophical dictum that power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely. I believe this is what happened in the present case.

Mr. P. Barry: This is the whole problem.

Mr. T. O'Donnell: Deputy Blaney [1002] said this afternoon that he could forgive but never forget. I want to say to the Taoiseach, to his Government and to members of the Fianna Fáil Party that the people of this country will never forgive and they will never forget the outrageous happenings of the past few days.

Mr. Governey: Who would ever think that in June, 1969, less than 12 months ago when the Fianna Fáil Party got a mandate from the Irish people in a general election to govern and came into this House with the second largest majority a Government ever had we would find ourselves faced with the crisis we have this week? There is an old saying and a true one that power is a potent weapon. I believe one of the reasons for the happenings of the past week is that the Government have become drunk with power. At least it is fortunate the Irish people did not return two Fianna Fáil Deputies in the last two by-elections in Kildare and Longford-Westmeath. If they had, I am sure we would have a Government even more drunk with power than they have been over the past 12 months.

I have never been known to refer in this House to members on the Government side or to Deputies but we must get our facts straight. I am afraid from what we have heard over the past few days and from what we have read in the papers that somewhere along the line the facts are not being given straight. The Taoiseach sacked two of his senior Ministers, Deputies Blaney and Haughey. Deputy Boland resigned. He told us yesterday morning the reasons he had for resigning from the Government. The Taoiseach also stated in this House on Tuesday last, 5th May, and I quote from volume 246, column 518 of the Official Report:

The Taoiseach: I should like to announce, for the information of the Dáil, that Deputy Michael Moran yesterday tendered his resignation to me as a member of the Government. I have advised the President and he has accepted the resignation with effect from today. It was my hope to introduce a consequential Motion for the appointment of another member of the Government today. This is [1003] not possible and I will do so tomorrow at 11.30 a.m.

Mr. Cosgrave: Can the Taoiseach say if this is the only Ministerial resignation we can expect?

The Taoiseach: I do not know what the Deputy is referring to.

Mr. Cosgrave: Is it only the tip of the iceberg?

The Taoiseach: Would the Deputy like to enlarge on what he has in mind?

Mr. L'Estrange: What did Deputy Blaney say last week when he threatened the Taoiseach in public?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Cosgrave: The Taoiseach can deal with the situation.

The Taoiseach: I can assure the Deputy I am in complete control of whatever situation might arise.

Mr. Cosgrave: But smiles are very noticeable by their absence.

The Taoiseach accepted the resignation of Deputy Michael Moran. We were told that Deputy Moran resigned from the Government for health reasons. If I heard Deputy Boland correctly yesterday morning he said that Deputy Michael Moran was pushed.

Mr. P. Barry: That is exactly what he said.

Mr. Governey: Who are we to believe and when are the Irish people to be told the truth from this House? Again, in connection with the sacking of the two senior Ministers the Evening Herald yesterday evening carried the headline: “Haughey: `No Part in Guns Plot' ”. I quote from the Evening Herald of Friday, 8th May:

Mr. Haughey said that he did not propose to make further statements, but added: “I have fully accepted the Taoiseach's decision as I believe the unity of the Fianna Fáil Party is of greater importance to the welfare of the nation than to my political career”.

Mr. Andrews: A decent statement by a decent man.

[1004] Mr. P. Barry: How decent was he?

Mr. Healy: Very decent.

Mr. Governey: Just above that statement in the Evening Herald there is the following:

“I have not had the opportunity to examine or test such information or the quality of its source or sources”, said a statement from Mr. Haughey, issued today at the offices of Messrs. John S. O'Connor & Co., Solicitors, Upper Ormond Quay.

“In the meantime, however, I now categorically state that at no time have I taken part in any illegal importation or attempted importation of arms into this country.”

Whom are we to believe? The Irish Times of Friday, 8th May, states: “Boland suspected by Special Branch”. During the course of the interview with Dick Walsh, the former Minister for Local Government, Deputy Boland, said that in all probability all the members of the Cabinet had been under the surveillance of the Special Branch for some time. He said he had no evidence that he was one of those under surveillance by the secret service although he had a feeling he was. This is what we hear from ex-Ministers, and if Deputy Boland believes all the members of the Cabinet have been under watch by the Special Branch are we not in an extraordinary situation in this country? Has the Taoiseach not alone no confidence in the Ministers he sacked but no confidence in his remaining Ministers? From all the reports it is difficult to know who is telling the truth.

Since Deputy Lynch became Taoiseach he has had the name of “Honest Jack”. When the Taoiseach is replying to this debate, if there is anything else wrong in this Government let him make a clean breast of it to this House and to the country. Had the leader of Fine Gael, Deputy Cosgrave, not gone to the Taoiseach on Tuesday night, I wonder whether we would have had the sackings of the Ministers this week?

We in this party were called names by a Deputy who spoke earlier. Personally, I am proud to belong to Fine Gael with our leader who is prepared [1005] at any time to face the people. When he does they will have the opportunity of deciding on a Government on whom they can depend, and the sooner that day comes the better. After the events of this week I do not think the Taoiseach has any alternative other than to dissolve the Dáil, go to the country and let the people decide for themselves. If that line is taken we will come back into this House with Deputy Cosgrave as Taoiseach, to give the people the decent, honest Government they deserve.

Mr. L. Belton: I shall commence by mentioning a quotation by the Taoiseach a couple of years ago which I am sure Deputies will remember. As Minister for Finance he introduced a Supplementary Budget and his opening remark was: “What went wrong with my Budget?” I suggest that in the last few days the Taoiseach has asked himself a few other questions. He has probably asked: “What went wrong with my Minister for Finance?” “What went wrong with my Cabinet?” Indeed it is quite probable that he has said to himself: “What went wrong with myself?”

Mr. Coogan: That is an important question.

Mr. L. Belton: I wonder when exactly the Taoiseach knew of this disastrous happening within his Cabinet? According to himself he was aware of it a few days prior to the introduction of the Budget. Will the Taoiseach tell the House what would have happened had Deputy Haughey not met with this accident? Would the Taoiseach, who was then aware of what was happening, have allowed Deputy Haughey to introduce this Budget? We must remember that the Budget is probably the most important document to be introduced in this House in any year and the Taoiseach has stated here that prior to the Budget he was aware of the recent developments. The only reason he gave why Deputy Haughey did not introduce the Budget was that he had an accident. Do we assume that were it not for this accident Deputy Haughey would have been allowed to introduce the Budget?

[1006] In this Parliament the Taoiseach is the head and next in seniority and importance is the Minister for Finance. I would imagine the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries would possibly come next in line. The Taoiseach has told the House that he did not interview Deputy Haughey because of the accident the Deputy suffered; that he was afraid it might do irreparable damage to him and the medical advice was that he should not interview Deputy Haughey. However, why did the Taoiseach not take the necessary action against Deputy Blaney? Why did he wait so long? Deputy Blaney was rubbing shoulders with him every minute of the day. Surely he was not afraid of doing irreparable damage to Deputy Blaney.

Mr. P. Belton: He did a fair bit of damage to him lately.

Mr. L. Belton: Why did Deputy Boland resign? According to the Evening Herald of 7th May, Deputy Boland told almost 1,000 people at a Dublin factory that he would not serve under what he described as Gestapo rule. What did Deputy Boland mean by “Gestapo rule?” Can it be otherwise than that the Government were under Gestapo rule, and, the Taoiseach being the head of the Government, is it not reasonable to draw the conclusion that Deputy Boland would regard the Taoiseach as head of the Gestapo? That is logical enough, but Deputy Boland has assured us that he is determined to serve to his utmost the Fianna Fáil Party and the head of the Fianna Fáil Party, who is the Taoiseach. On the one hand he refused to serve the Taoiseach as head of the Gestapo and on the other hand he is willing to serve the Taoiseach as head of the Fianna Fáil Party. When the Taoiseach spoke he did not mention Kevin Boland: he mentioned Caoimhghín Ó Beoláin. I do not think anyone will for a moment think that Caoimhghín Ó Beoláin and Kevin Boland are not one and the same person.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Belton is in possession. Deputies must cease interrupting.

[1007] Mr. L. Belton: When the crisis came the Taoiseach asked leave to adjourn the Dáil until 10 p.m. He was questioned about that time and he explained that the Fianna Fáil Party were having a meeting at 6 p.m. and he could not reasonably expect to be in a position to come back to the Dáil any sooner than 10 o'clock. What happened? Fianna Fáil held their meeting at 6 o'clock or very soon after it and within an hour the meeting had concluded and the story was that all was well, all were willing to serve.

Mr. Moore: You were disappointed.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): What about the papers the following morning?

Mr. L. Belton: Even Deputy Moore will agree that with 75 Deputies plus I do not know how many Senators, if they were to talk this out in a sane, sensible manner, they could not possibly do it in less than an hour. Therefore, it is clear to everybody that this matter was not discussed or thrashed out. It was just a cover-up, a face-saver: “We will all go down and say everything in the garden is rosy”. I cannot understand this attitude of either Caoimhghín Ó Beoláin or Kevin Boland. He must have a split personality, if he can serve the Taoiseach as leader of the Fianna Fáil Party but will not serve the Taoiseach as head of the Gestapo. I do not know what Ministers the Taoiseach can have confidence in in his Cabinet. He has indicated by his actions that he has no confidence in Deputy Haughey or Deputy Blaney. Deputy Haughey assures us, according to the Evening Herald of Friday, 8th May, that he had no part in the guns plot. I do not know whether he had or not, but surely the Taoiseach must at least have a suspicion that he had; otherwise why did he sack him? I quote what Deputy Haughey says from the Evening Herald:

I have fully accepted the Taoiseach's decision as I believe the unity of the Fianna Fáil Party is of greater importance to the welfare of the nation than my political career.

[1008] In another column beside it I see a heading relating to Deputy Haughey: “His supporters are very upset”, and it goes on to say:

The Fianna Fáil Party supporters in Dublin North-East are, according to constituency election agent, Mr. Patrick J. O'Connor, “in rebellious mood.”

They feel their man is being very wrongfully accused and very badly treated and they are most upset, said Mr. O'Connor, the well-known Dublin solicitor who was responsible for releasing Mr. Haughey's statement today.

I do not know if Deputy Haughey fully agrees with the Taoiseach's ruling, and yet the man who issued the statement for him says Deputy Haughey's supporters are in rebellious mood. Can it be, on the one hand, that Deputy Haughey is quite pleased to accept everything but that, on the other hand, Deputy Haughey's supporters are in a rebellious mood? The two things just do not add up. There is only one course open to the Taoiseach: he must have a complete and very detailed inquiry in respect of each and every member of his Cabinet, because Deputy Haughey and Deputy Blaney were sacked or forced to resign.

Again, on the word of that gentleman, Deputy Boland, Deputy Ó Moráin was forced to resign. That is three of them. A Parliamentary Secretary has resigned. That is four. I do not know what role each of the other Ministers may play in this drama. Surely the Minister for External Affairs should know of any happenings or any collusion or anything from outside endangering the safety of the nation. I do not for a moment suggest—and I would be shocked to think—that the Minister for External Affairs would have any part in it. I do not believe it. But he should be aware of any of these happenings.

Then we come to the Minister for Transport and Power. Quite recently in the Dáil, and even since the Taoiseach admitted hearing of this occurrence, the Minister for Transport and Power, when Deputy L'Estrange passed some remark about anarchists, said that the only anarchist in this [1009] House was Deputy L'Estrange. Will the Minister for Transport and Power now be kind enough to come forward and say that the people sitting beside him and in daily communication with him and who sit at the same Cabinet meetings with him were a lot more entitled to be termed anarchists than Deputy L'Estrange was?

Take the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. According to Deputy Boland, phones were tapped. If phones were tapped surely the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs must have issued some authority for the tapping of those phones? Will the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs tell this House if such accusations are true? Remember, they are not being made by Fine Gael or by Labour. They were made by Deputy Boland who is a member of the Fianna Fáil Party.

This speech of Deputy Boland's was unique. It was unique in that it was the first time that Deputy Boland spoke without interruption. Normally, there used to be continuous interruptions when Deputy Boland, then Minister for Local Government, was speaking. This time he spoke uninterruptedly. It was also unique from the point of view that for the first time Deputy Boland was not attacking the Opposition. Whom was he attacking? He was attacking the Taoiseach. He devoted practically all of his speech to an attack on his own Taoiseach. That is worthy of note. It is unique in the history of Kevin Boland.

Dr. Hillery: According to Luke.

Mr. L. Belton: According to anyone you like. It is, nevertheless, a fact. Even the speech of Deputy Blaney today was unique because, again, Deputy Blaney, for the first time to my knowledge, spoke without interruption. While Deputy Boland devoted all his time to an attack on the Taoiseach, Deputy Blaney devoted all his time to an attack on the Opposition. He told us his life history, how he was born, when he was born, who his ancestors were, why he was in Fianna Fáil. He used the phrase that he would be unfaithful to his heritage were he [1010] to be anything but Fianna Fáil. He is quite entitled to that opinion. He mentioned in an aside that Deputy Boland would also be unfaithful to his heritage if he were anything but Fianna Fáil. Did anybody notice that he did not mention that Deputy Haughey would be unfaithful to his heritage? The Taoiseach, the Ministers and most of the Fianna Fáil Party, if not all of them, know that Deputy Haughey was not born into a Fianna Fáil heritage. He was born into a different heritage, a more decent heritage.

Mr. Moore: He saw the light then.

Mr. L. Belton: Quite possibly, but according to Deputy Blaney, if you do not continue in the heritage in which you are born you are unfaithful.

Mr. Moore: It is preferable that way.

Mr. L. Belton: Therefore, according to Deputy Blaney, Deputy Haughey must be unfaithful to his heritage. It is just a simple deduction.

Mr. P. Barry: Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one another.

Mr. L. Belton: Correct.

Mr. Kenny: In Castlebar Deputy Haughey was bred, born and reared.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: We can have only one Deputy speaking at a time.

Mr. L. Belton: I do not know what part any other Deputies may or may not have played but any Deputy or any Minister who is innocent—I am sure some of them are innocent —should welcome this inquiry; and should really call for it, to show to the public and to the Irish people that they are innocent. They should be glad to avail of the opportunity of an inquiry.

Despite the fact that the Taoiseach said that he knew some days prior to the Budget what was happening, I wonder why he delayed so long in taking action. I wonder what his reasons were. Remember, on the night before he disclosed this to the Dáil, [1011] Deputy Cosgrave went to see him at 8 p.m., and Deputy Cosgrave told him what he knew. Deputy Cosgrave intimated to him that, if the Taoiseach did not take action, Deputy Cosgrave would regard it as his duty as leader of the main Opposition party to let this Assembly and the Irish people know what was happening. Can we be blamed for thinking that, were it not for Deputy Cosgrave, the Taoiseach would not even then have disclosed to the Dáil what was happening? I think great credit is due to Deputy Cosgrave for the way in which he handled this situation. He could, had he so wished, have made political capital out of it. God knows, political capital has been made out of a great many less important things by Members on that side of the House. We all remember in the by-election campaign, the by-election that Deputy Joan Burke won, all the fuss there was over one paltry letter. We all know the great furore and the excitement that was created.

Mr. O'Higgins: Hear, hear.

Mr. L. Belton: What would have been the course of events had some of those people over there had the knowledge that was in the possession of Deputy Cosgrave? I think Deputy Cosgrave has earned the respect and the gratitude, not alone of this Assembly but of the Irish nation——

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. L. Belton: ——for the responsible manner in which he went about this task of his.

Mr. P. Barry: His father's son.

Mr. L. Belton: He refused to make political capital out of it. He put the interests of the nation far and away beyond any gain or any political kudos for himself. In that connection, I think it is very interesting to see in no less a paper than the Irish Press of Friday, May 8th, an article which is headed: “By our political correspondent, Michael Mills.”

Mr. J. Lenehan: Truth in the news.

[1012] Mr. O'Higgins: They have changed that slogan. Does the Deputy not read the Irish Press?

Mr. L. Belton: If the Deputy will wait a moment he will realise how truthful it is on this occasion. The article says:

One factor which played a big part in preventing an even worse political situation was the responsible and very fair way in which the leader of Fine Gael, Mr. Cosgrave, dealt with the information which had come into his possession recently. If he had disclosed this information in the Dáil instead of going first to the Taoiseach he would almost certainly have brought about the downfall of the Government. He and his top advisers spent a long time debating what should be done and he decided that the interests of the country rather than the advantage of his party should have prime consideration.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. O'Higgins: Truth in the news.

Mr. L. Belton: It is truth in the news for once, maybe the only occasion. I think this House and the Irish people should be very grateful to Deputy Cosgrave for the magnificent way in which he handled this situation. Those of us who know the tradition or, to use Deputy Blaney's words, the heritage into which Deputy Liam Cosgrave was born, do not wonder that Deputy Cosgrave handled this in the manner in which he handled it. He was being true to the tradition of his father, his father who, 50 years ago almost, when this country was struggling for its existence, when two of the greatest men of our time, Collins and Griffith, had died, not because he wanted power, not because he wished for power but because of what he regarded as his duty—he did not shirk his duty —ensured that this State, having won its freedom, would prove that Irishmen were capable of ruling in this country.

It is very significant, indeed, that very responsible people—high ranking people in the Garda and the Army— when they wanted to expose this [1013] matter, when they realised that the Taoiseach possibly did not have the knowledge at his command to expose it, having regard for the safety and the preservation of this nation, confided in Deputy Cosgrave. It is a tribute to Deputy Cosgrave that such a thing should happen.

I should like to ask the Taoiseach now one question: does he consider that these Ministers, two of whom he has thought fit to sack and the third who, Deputy Boland says, was forced to resign, are fit people even to be Members of Dáil Éireann, much less to be Ministers of State? If anybody in this House is unfortunate enough, through no fault of his own, to become bankrupt or insolvent he is adjudged not to be a fit person to sit in Dáil Éireann.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. L. Belton: Is that any greater crime than that of which the sacked Ministers are suspected? Can the Taoiseach say that they are fit people to remain as Members of Dáil Éireann? He will probably say that he has no right or no power to terminate their term here as Deputies. Probably he has not but, in the event of a general election—we hope in the near future—will these men be put forward as candidates of the Fianna Fáil Party? If they are selected at local level will the Taoiseach agree to ratify them as fit people to stand for election to Dáil Éireann?

Mr. J. Lenehan: Fianna Fáil are never short of candidates.

Mr. O'Higgins: They were once when the Deputy became one.

Mr. L. Belton: We all regret that two Ministers, two reasonably young men with a fair amount of ability, should be involved in this. We all regret this had to happen to them, but they should remember the old saying that those who play with fire risk getting burnt fingers. If they played with fire, and the Taoiseach at least suspects they did, then they must take the consequences. When the Taoiseach was talking last night——

[1014] Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Deputies opposite should advise Deputy Lenehan to go back to sleep.

Mr. L. Belton: ——he tried very hard to arouse sympathy for the sick ex-Minister, even for the ex-Minister who was healthy enough not to surrender his office without a struggle. Fine Gael may have some sympathy with the ex-Ministers for getting themselves into this position but their main sympathy is not for those who possibly could be regarded as having betrayed the nation and their own office. Our sympathy is with the decent, honest citizens who paid the salaries of those Ministers while at the same time those Ministers were plotting possible bloodshed and anarchy.

Mr. O'Higgins: Hear, hear.

Mr. L. Belton: Since news of those events first burst on the nation I have been in a few cafes and restaurants and in one or two publichouses and heard the conversations that were going on. This topic was freely discussed even at street corners. Most people were asking the question: “Will those ex-Ministers be charged for this offence?” Their very reasonable argument was that if an ordinary citizen was even suspected of having dealings in arms he would find himself in the Bridewell in a very short time. That was the unanimous opinion. They wondered if there was one law for the ordinary people and a different one for Ministers. Some people said perhaps those ex-Ministers would like to be regarded as patriots, even misguided patriots. They wondered if this very polished Deputy Haughey and the rather boorish Deputy Blaney were importing arms to protect the Catholics and Nationalists in Northern Ireland. I can tell the House public opinion does not tend that way. The argument—and mark you it is reasonable—was that those ex-Ministers, if anything, were hardheaded businessmen——

Mr. Moore: That is pretty dirty.

Mr. L. Belton: But this is what the public are saying. I do not say it.

[1015] Mr. Moore: It is what a Fine Gael Deputy would say.

Mr. P. Belton: This is not thought; this is fact. We will tell you more about it.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. L. Belton: I am not giving this as my opinion but it is what I have heard, that those ex-Ministers, being hardheaded businessmen, were definitely in it to make a profit out of it.

Mr. Moore: That is a disgraceful remark.

Mr. J. Lenehan: Disgusting.

Mr. L. Belton: That is what was said.

Mr. J. Lenehan: They had enough money already.

Mr. L. Belton: I would agree.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Would Deputy Lenehan please control himself?

Mr. L. Belton: My opinion is that they were not in it for money but solely for power.

Mr. J. Lenehan: They were not.

Mr. L. Belton: They were in it because, as has been said before, power corrupts.

Mr. Moore: A misquotation. It tends to corrupt.

Mr. L. Belton: I think it more than tended in this case.

Mr. Donnellan: Would Deputy Moore give us his version of it?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. L. Belton: They were more concerned with power than profit although I am repeating what has been said around town.

Mr. J. Lenehan: Bunkum.

Mr. L. Belton: I believe they saw themselves as dictators and that in their personal pride they intended to [1016] own the country entirely. Can the Taoiseach tell us where the money to buy the arms was coming from?

Mr. Donnellan: Perhaps Deputy Lenehan could tell us.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Donnellan should cease interrupting and allow Deputy Belton to speak.

Mr. L. Belton: Was any of this money to come from any bank raids that have taken place recently or from any State Department? I do not know. We all know there has been a spate of bank robberies in recent times. We know that the gardaí have risked their lives to try to apprehend the raiders. We know that Garda Fallon died bravely, and we hope not vainly, in an attempt to apprehend raiders. May I say that Garda Fallon was personally known to me. I know his brothers, his father and his mother. He died upholding the honour and dignity of the Garda Síochána as it has always been upheld by members of that force through the years since it was established under the Fine Gael Government. Fine Gael do not wish to gain any political kudos out of this——

Mr. Moore: Not much.

Mr. L. Belton: “Truth in the News,” Fianna Fáil's own publication, has said this.

Mr. Moore: It did not say that.

Mr. L. Belton: I read it before and if the Ceann Comhairle allows, I shall read it again.

Mr. Donnellan: Just for the benefit of the Fianna Fáil Party.

Mr. L. Belton: In the Irish Press of 8th May it is stated that one factor which played a big part in preventing an even worse political situation was the responsible and very fair way in which the leader of Fine Gael, Deputy Cosgrave dealt with the information which had come into his possession recently. “If he had disclosed this information” it says, “in the Dáil instead of going first to the Taoiseach he would almost certainly have brought about the downfall of the Government. [1017] He and his top advisers spent a long time debating what should be done and he decided that the interests of the country rather than the advantage of his party should have prime consideration.”

Mr. Moore: You are speaking of Deputy Cosgrave, not the party.

Mr. L. Belton: It says he could have brought about the downfall of the Government.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Higgins: It is going to happen anyway.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. L. Belton: Fine Gael stand for social justice. Fine Gael regret that Ministers can remain untouched and untouchable by the law of the land and by the Taoiseach who uses his majority in the Dáil to ensure this. Fine Gael's record is one of good service. Fine Gael are proud of their traditions. We are proud of the part we played since the establishment of this State. We are proud of our founders, Collins and Griffith. We are proud of the father of our present leader, Liam Cosgrave. We are proud of an earlier Minister for Justice, Kevin O'Higgins, who laid down his life for this country. We are also proud of the men who are living today, who are ready and willing and would not hesitate, if necessary, to lay down their lives.

I do not think that the inquiry which I suggested is the real solution to this problem. It is probably the second best solution, but the only real solution is for the Taoiseach to be honest with the people and let the Irish people decide on this question. Let him put it to the Irish people and see what their verdict is. We in Fine Gael have not the slightest doubt as to what the verdict would be. Deputy Murphy said this evening that the Irish people would give a good prescription to the Taoiseach and the Government, a long period of retirement. Possibly the Government would agree with this because [1018] I am told that the Tánaiste said this can happen when Governments are too long in office. Deputy Murphy was quite correct when he suggested that the Government should have a rest.

When I was speaking about the different Ministers I omitted to say that the Minister for Defence, Deputy Gibbons, should welcome such an inquiry. I believe Mr. Kennedy, a member of the Northern Ireland Government, said today after the 1.30 p.m. news that the officer who has been named, Captain Kelly, was a personal friend of his for many years and that, knowing Kelly well, he was quite sure that any action Kelly engaged in was not engaged in without the knowledge of the Minister for Defence. I believe Deputy Gibbons, Minister for Defence, spoke today and denied all knowledge of Kelly's activities. He stated that for some time he doubted whether Captain Kelly was suited to the work on which he was engaged in the Army. If he suspected this for quite a long time, why did he not take any action? Surely there is some room for doubt as to whether he was doing his job.

We might also take into consideration the position of Deputies on that side of the House apart from the Ministers. I read the other day that all Cork was completely behind the Taoiseach.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Would Deputies please control themselves.

Mr. L. Belton: I also read that Senator McGlinchey said that everybody connected with Fianna Fáil in Donegal was solidly behind Deputy Blaney. We must assume that everybody connected with Fianna Fáil includes the Fianna Fáil public representatives in Donegal and this brings into question the position of Deputy Brennan, Minister for Labour. Is he still in full agreement with Deputy Blaney or the Taoiseach? It would also bring the Ceann Comhairle into question, not in his capacity as Ceann Comhairle, but as a public representative in Donegal. It would also bring in Deputy Cunningham and Senator McGowan. What is the attitude of those people?

[1019] Mr. Meaney: Our solidarity kills you.

Mr. L. Belton: Your solidarity behind which leader?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. L. Belton: For quite a long time this split has been in Fianna Fáil but they have managed by several different methods to polish it over or to paper it over. At last the wallpaper cannot cover the cracks. The split has now come out into the open. This division in Fianna Fáil has come out in the open and the fact that they are split down the middle.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. L. Belton: Surely it must be hard for Deputy Cunningham to decide whether he is with Deputy Blaney or with the Taoiseach. I understand Deputy Cunningham is in the running for a Parliamentary Secretaryship. It might suit him to be on the Taoiseach's side despite the fact that Senator McGlinchey said they were all behind Deputy Blaney. No amount of shifting of Ministers or of promotion from one post to another or the promotion of backbenchers to posts as Parliamentary Secretary can help. It may hold for a short time but it cannot hold for very long. The Fianna Fáil Party would be well advised to do the decent thing. The Taoiseach would be well advised to take a taxi to the Park and dissolve the Dáil and let the Irish people decide, because surely the Taoiseach must know as we and everybody in the country know that after this split and division in Fianna Fáil things can never be the same again.

Mr. P. Belton: I should like to open my remarks with words used by Deputy Paddy Burke. Every year he uses an expression, whether the Budget is good, bad or indifferent and the expression is: “Great things happen in our time”. This is true in this case but it is no laughing matter. It is wonderful to see this arrogant Fianna Fáil Party being hammered down and to see Deputy Brian Lenihan coming in after 1¼ hours with his hands in the air saying: “How are you fixed? There are no worries and no trouble”. [1020] That is the very opposite to what has been happening. The Taoiseach would find it very difficult to win. He has his football team in the Seanad of 11 votes which he picked himself. I do not know how he got them. There was some Cork blood in most of them. The Taoiseach had every young fellow there looking for another £4,000 or whatever is added to the salary. Older people are looking for it too.

If these two Ministers were gunmen and if it is true he will now have two Ministers who have told several untruths in this Dáil and outside it. Over the years we in this party here and the members of the Labour Party asked them about corruption and were laughed at. If they are telling untruths about serious things how can we believe them about anything? When we mentioned corruption the Fianna Fáil Party denied it, and this cannot now be believed. I agree with Deputy Murphy that the best thing Deputy Lynch, the Taoiseach, could do would be to take a permanent holiday and leave here. The Fianna Fáil Party are in disarray. They have been going around the House for the last few days and they are being led by the most incompetent leader. The Taoiseach is dithering and changing his mind. There is a cloud over one of the Ministers whom he proposes to appoint. We have two Ministers accused of buying arms and bringing them into this country. The papers, and particularly the Unionist Party in the North of Ireland, jumped to the conclusion that these arms were for Northern Ireland. They could be for a coup just as easily. Deputy Haughey looked like a dictator walking outside his mansion today. He made his money since 1957 and now he is bringing arms into this country.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Deputy Belton should not talk about how money was made. This is a very sensitive area for Deputy Belton.

Mr. P. Belton: You can say what you like here or publicly outside and I will not take an action.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Deputy P. Belton did not make £250,000 in ten years.

[1021] Mr. P. Belton: We hear that they are trying to keep the Fianna Fáil Party together. I wonder is that true. How can we believe the two Ministers accused of gun-running? Have they something else in mind? Will something else happen before the week-end? Deputy Blaney made the most disgusting speech he ever made. He was inciting people to rise. He wanted the use of arms, and bloodshed. He was trying to get the youth of the country on his side and telling them he was a man who would lead them. He said that he was a Republican. What Deputy Blaney did not say was that Fianna Fáil were in power for 32 out of the last 38 years and the Border is still with us and they have done nothing about it. All of a sudden Deputy Blaney thinks he has the ability to take over or to be one of the top men taking over. Around the House in the last couple of days in the yard and in the restaurant there were thousands of Fianna Fáil people. There were no Republicans among them. They were big businessmen, architects and auctioneers.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. P. Belton: If I made money I made it without Fianna Fáil or Taca. I made it on my own ability and that of my staff and I can stand over it.

Mr. B. Lenihan: The Deputy has not shown much ability here.

Mr. P. Belton: I proved myself in business and I could not say of the Parliamentary Secretary that he did the same on circuit. He could barely make a living out of it. At least I can prove that. Now, we heard Deputy Blaney shouting here today. We heard him shouting during the Limerick by-election about the 77. Seventy-seven people rebelled against the Government of their country and they were executed. From 1932, 37 were executed under the Minister of that time because they rebelled against the Government of that time. Call it what you like— 37 or 77: they were executed for rebelling against the Government of the country.

[1022] Mr. B. Lenihan: It is very sad stuff.

Mr. P. Belton: Deputy Blaney tried to talk about what happened 40 and more years ago. We are trying to talk of something that happened in the past couple of months and which came to light in the past couple of days. We also heard Deputy Boland. He attacked the Taoiseach, the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party. He spoke about spies watching him, and other matters. Nevertheless, he will back the leader. This was the man who was so arrogant that, against all advice, he introduced into this House legislation to amend the Constitution in relation to voting and held the referendum. When he was defeated by a huge majority, he then told the people who voted against him to go to hell, that he would have the three-seat and four-seat constituencies to suit himself. That is not really proportional representation and comes near, in effect, to the single seat constituency. This was done for Fianna Fáil—and to hell with Ireland and the Irish people. This will not succeed now. Deputy Boland talked about spies and so on, but the attitude still is to hell with Ireland and ahead with Fianna Fáil.

At a by-election in West Limerick I was in a village a mile away from where my mother was born. I went into a licensed premises and there were two persons there—one Fianna Fáil and the other Fine Gael—having quite a hot discussion. I was taking a drink at the bar and the two people were arguing over a certain matter. I asked the owner of the public house if what was being said was true. The argument was that a blind person was caught riding a bicycle; she was collecting the blind pension. She was caught and the pension was taken away from her. It was got back by Fianna Fáil representation. That is factual.

I now come to something that happened in Dublin. This is something nobody likes to speak about but I feel that when there is gun-running in a country and lives are involved, one's friends and other people must be forgotten. One must think of Ireland rather than of friendships alone. In my constituency we have quite a Protestant [1023] vote. Two Protestants were appointed to small jobs, such as inspecting horses in Europe, and so on. This is a “perk” they got because they were friendly with the Minister for Finance. The next thing to happen is that the Minister for Finance, according to the Taoiseach, is involved in bringing in guns presumably to bring up to the North to shoot the Protestants there.

I can relate an episode about the Minister for Finance, Deputy Haughey, when he was Minister for Justice. A Labour Deputy who is not now in the Dáil told me the following story because I represented Dublin North-East. He said he was driving up the Howth Road one day, exceeded the speed limit and was pulled up by a policeman. He admitted the offence and was asked for his name.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Be coherent. Address this House.

Mr. Harte: The Minister should go back to sleep.

Mr. Tunney: We cannot hear Deputy Belton.

Mr. P. Belton: Deputies opposite should take the wool out of their ears. They might also get something in between the two ears while they are at it. Anyhow, this ex-Labour Deputy was told by the garda that there was no point in charging him because he would get off like the rest of them.

We see the arrogance of Fianna Fáil in Dublin North-East. Four candidates were elected, one of whom is Deputy Cruise-O'Brien. In this House, Deputy Haughey refused to answer a question by Deputy Cruise-O'Brien. That is the type of stupid arrogance and nonsense to which Fianna Fáil subject the members of the Opposition in this House.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Good. We can hear the Deputy now.

Mr. P. Belton: Deputy P. Brennan resigned from his post as Parliamentary Secretary. I do not think many people here could say what he was working at. Certainly I could not. He was in and [1024] out of the House. He was picked to organise, but he could not do that for Fianna Fáil. The Taoiseach was saved the task of sacking him.

Mr. Harte: Has Deputy B. Lenihan made a contribution? What is his portfolio now?

Mr. P. Belton: I should like to ask this question of the Chair. I have checked this now for the ten to 15 minutes during which the Minister has been interrupting me. The other day the Chair told me that Deputy Harte was asked to leave the House because he had been interrupting for 20 minutes. If Deputy B. Lenihan, Minister for Transport and Power, continues for another five minutes to interrupt me will the Chair put him out of the House?

Mr. B. Lenihan: I cannot hear the Deputy. It is very difficult.

Mr. Harte: The Minister should go back to sleep. There are little butterflies in his ears.

Mr. P. Belton: The Taoiseach had the evidence to warrant the sacking of these Ministers. He said they were gun-runners and involved in the illegal importation of arms. Let the Taoiseach give the same information to the police and let them be arrested—or is the Taoiseach to stand over the fact that he can sack two men but yet he does not hand them over to the police? Will these two sacked Ministers continue to sit in Dáil Éireann and be allowed to vote to keep this Government in power while there is evidence against them which, if it were proved, would mean they were guilty of a treasonable offence? Is the vote more important to the Fianna Fáil Party and to Ireland than justice? If this was the case of an ordinary citizen who was not a Member of Dáil Éireann or of the Fianna Fáil Party, he would be arrested and would be up before the courts by now. Is the Taoiseach willing to have one law for Fianna Fáil and another law for the people of Ireland?

Mr. Harte: In Glengall Street there was a big banner which read: “United we stand; divided we fall”.

[1025] Mr. P. Belton: I will outlast all interruptions.

Mr. Keating: I would point out to the Chair that there is a Minister over there who has been interrupting.

An Ceann Comhairle: I told the Minister to desist. I do not need any instructions.

Dr. O'Connell: The Minister has been interrupting a lot.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Belton. Would Deputy Harte please allow his colleague to make his speech without interruption?

Mr. P. Belton: We could be on the edge of civil war and the person responsible for that situation is the Taoiseach. He is a very weak Taoiseach who was not able to control his Cabinet while they were shouting at variance with his statements. He now sacks two Ministers for the alleged attempt to import arms but he would not have done this if it had not been for the fact that he was questioned by Deputy Cosgrave at 4 o'clock on Tuesday evening and supplied with the information at 8 o'clock on the same evening. Deputy Cosgrave could have called a Press conference at which he could have made known the situation. The country would then have faced a general election because Fianna Fáil could not have continued. By 10.30 on the same evening two Ministers had been sacked and one had resigned.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Harte: Is it in order for the Minister to continue interrupting?

An Ceann Comhairle: Order. Deputy Belton.

Mr. P. Belton: The Ceann Comhairle should ask the Minister to stay quiet.

An Ceann Comhairle: I have already asked him to do so.

Mr. P. Belton: He should be asked to leave the House.

Mr. Harte: There are enough of them going.

[1026] Mr. P. Belton: Deputy Cosgrave, as was admitted in the Irish Press, is the person of the moment. He is the one who has safeguarded us from anarchy and from this rotten Government. The Irish people should never forget what he has done on this occasion. Neither should they forget the responsible attitude which he took in relation to this matter, putting his country before his party while Fianna Fáil are thinking of nothing else but of saving the party and to hell with the country.

The Taoiseach is interested only in closing the ranks and trying to hold on to office for a while longer, while Deputy Cosgrave has shown himself to be a very good leader and an honest Irishman. He is the man to lead the country.

If the by-elections had not been held until after the Budget had been introduced, Fianna Fáil would have accused us of a post-Budget victory, but the elections were held before the Budget and we won. Deputy Cosgrave has been accused of being, maybe, a quiet man. This stems from the fact that he is a shy man. For some years, newspapers here have had political correspondents who are reasonably fair. However, sometimes they are inclined to slant comment to suit themselves, particularly when an election is in the offing. Very often this is done by submitting the Fianna Fáil comment and omitting the Fine Gael one.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Is the Deputy making a point?

Mr. P. Belton: Since I started speaking 25 minutes ago the Minister has continuously interrupted. Is the Minister to receive more favourable treatment than an ordinary Deputy or, as in the case of the Taoiseach, is there one law for the Ministers and another for the people?

An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. P. Belton: There are very few potential Taoiseachs now left but there is one person who has headed the poll in his own constituency and who is respected by the people and that person is Deputy Cosgrave.

[1027] A political gossip correspondent writes for the Irish Times on one day each week. That man is very vain and thinks that every comment he makes is correct. When he makes a correct comment he tells us about it on the following week.

Mr. B. Lenihan: What has this to do with the motion before the House? It is an irrelevancy.

Mr. P. Belton: It appears that some time ago this columnist met Deputy Haughey at Killybegs. Since that time he has been praising the Deputy in his column while he has endeavoured to ridicule the leader of our Party by referring to him in such terms as “Little Liam.” Is not this a nice person to have working for any paper?

An Ceann Comhairle: This is not relevant to the debate. We are not discussing those who write for the newspapers. What we are discussing is the motion before the House.

Mr. P. Belton: I am letting the House know what has been done by publicity to try to destroy a man. That man they have tried to destroy is the man who has forced the situation of the moment and who has succeeded in having exposed two men whom the Taoiseach has referred to as gun-runners.

Mr. B. Lenihan: There must be some order.

Mr. P. Belton: If we are to have order it will be necessary to have the Minister removed from the House.

Mr. J. Lenehan: The Deputy is making an idiot out of himself.

Mr. Harte: What an intelligent interjection. Turn-over Joe.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. P. Belton: Deputy Lenehan leaves the House but is back again in a few minutes to interrupt and cause trouble.

Mr. J. Lenehan: If the Deputy will come outside the door——

[1028] Mr. B. Lenihan: Deputy Belton is on dangerous ground. I saw his behaviour in the Lobby the other night.

Mr. P. Belton: I would do it again.

An Ceann Comhairle: Can we come back to the motion before the House?

Mr. P. Belton: The Taoiseach thought he would sweep this crisis under the carpet as he must have done with many other crises and troubles in the Fianna Fáil Party. But on this occasion Deputy Cosgrave knew too much and brought it to light. The Taoiseach in this crisis, proved that he was weak. He was afraid— until Deputy Cosgrave put everything before him—to sack anybody. We had Ministers going around attacking people at various dinners. We had to remove guards who did not do their duty. We had arrogant Fianna Fáil Ministers going all over the place. We see the arrogance of Deputy Lenihan tonight, trying to put a face on it.

Now let us take the history of the Taoiseach. He allowed the referendum to take place. If the people had not been wise enough and if the Government had won what would have happened? Do you think this would have been noticed today? Do you think any civil servant would be allowed to say a word? Would he not be put in jail? This is what Deputy Boland wanted.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. B. Lenihan: Let him off.

Mr. P. Belton: Deputy Boland said today that he could not allow anybody, no matter how bad the Minister was, no matter what he did, to be a double agent.

We saw the present weak Taoiseach —he may not be there very long—he is the man who dismissed Micheál Ó Móráin.

Mr. J. Lenehan: Micheál Ó Móráin is dead sound.

Mr. P. Belton: He would want to be a bit sounder than you anyway.

Mr. B. Lenihan: It is between you it is.

[1029] Mr. Harte: Poor old Joe.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Belton.

Mr. Harte: Where have all the bright boys gone?

Mr. P. Belton: Who is in possession, a Cheann Comhairle? Am I in possession?

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Belton according to the record.

Mr. P. Belton: I wonder if they could be quietened?

An Ceann Comhairle: We will do our best to keep them quiet for you.

Mr. P. Belton: Your best is not very good at the moment.

Mr. Harte: Joe, will you sing them a lullaby?

Mr. J. Lenehan: Shut up, you East Donegal smuggler. What are you?

Mr. Harte: Do not talk about smuggling in this debate for God's sake.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. P. Belton: It is great to see that the Fianna Fáil Party treat treason— and that is what it is—as jocosely as they do. The people of Ireland will be glad to hear that. There were about two in here all day. They did not give a damn. Now they are in and they are willing to interrupt and they do not give a damn one way or the other.

The Taoiseach appointed Deputy O'Malley as Minister for Justice. A short time ago Deputy O'Malley had a row and threw a bottle or a glass full of drink and when a guard tried to stop him he told the guard to take his hands off or he would remove him. This is the new Minister for Justice.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. B. Lenihan: What about yourself?

Mr. P. Belton: I am not Minister for Justice or Minister designate; he is or he may be. I do not know [1030] whether he will ever get it or not. This is the man the Taoiseach appoints. There was a man who was not allowed to stand for Fianna Fáil at the last election because there was a photostat copy of a letter shown here. That man has a top job in an Irish company. That is what the Taoiseach has done. A man who is discredited is made director of the Irish Sugar Company.

Mr. B. Lenihan: We know what happened to the man who organised the letter.

Mr. P. Belton: Deputy Ó Móráin was able to give a house against the normal procedure, down the country. He spoke in Dáil Éireann and made a marvellous speech. The papers wrote up his speech but not one of them said whether he answered the question he was asked or not. He did not but his speech was written up.

Deputy Thornley mentioned the Profumo case in England. Profumo was involved with two prostitutes. He was not dismissed for his involvement in that.

Mr. J. Lenehan: There are whores on your side anyway and well you know it.

Mr. P. Belton: Did you hear that, a Cheann Comhairle?

Mr. J. Lenehan: I will name them for you.

An Ceann Comhairle: Will Deputy Belton continue his speech?

Mr. P. Belton: When the Taoiseach gets up he will get the same treatment, I can promise you that. In this case Profumo was not dismissed for his involvement but he was dismissed for telling untruths. We had even the Taoiseach telling untruths here and we have two dismissed Ministers telling untruths. We had the Taoiseach saying here that there was only one effort to bring in arms—£6,000 worth. It is £80,000 worth and we do not know how much has come in already because the Taoiseach has never been definite about it.

I admire Deputy Tully. In every debate he comes up with two or three great points. I only got bits of this [1031] but I think what he said on this is worth reiterating. First of all, where did the money come from to buy these arms? Was it money from the Exchequer? The Taoiseach has not yet told us where the money came from. Those arms were bought. The security service will be able to find out. Did the money come from the Exchequer? Was it collected by turnover tax put on by this Government? Was the money supplied by Taca members for profit? Was the money stolen from the banks? There were three ways of getting it. It did not appear from the sky. I do not think any of the accused men would hand out their own money.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. P. Belton: You will get money from me but not to shoot Irish people. Deputy L'Estrange brought up a matter in Dáil Éireann. Deputy Lenihan was probably Minister for Justice at the time. He wanted to know why the IRA were allowed to attend a funeral in Mullingar with revolvers strapped to their waists and when the guards wanted to interfere they were told not to touch them. This happened. I asked in Mullingar and it is definite. This is some organisation like the IRA. The IRA were not involved in this but it was some organisation——

Mr. B. Lenihan: Will the Deputy speak up?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): If the Minister would stay awake he would be able to hear.

Mr. P. Belton: If the Minister was not so stupid and insolent and if he sat up properly he would hear. He is like a big fat child there doing nothing. It was some organisation similar to the IRA or Saor Éire that also caused the death of Garda Fallon, but when these people were walking around with revolvers the superintendent would not be let do his job. That is correct.

Mr. B. Lenihan: If you say so it must be.

Mr. P. Belton: The four Ministries [1032] involved are, Finance, Agriculture and Fisheries, Defence, to a small extent, and Justice. They are four very strong Ministries. The money is available in Finance and in Defence we have the Army. The other Ministries are very small. Therefore, you can take it that three-quarters of the Government are gone and you are laughing as if nothing had happened.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): He is quite happy with his Department. It is a good one.

Mr. O'Higgins: It is more power than transport anyway.

Mr. P. Belton: The Taoiseach has been a front for Fianna Fáil, and I must say a very bad one. He may have a very innocent looking face but one can also say it is a very weak one. He has proved very weak in those circumstances as he has been dithering around. Let us look at the political history of the Taoiseach. He was in Education and he left it the same as he got it, with nothing done. He was in Industry and Commerce and he left it without any change or any improvement in it. He went to Finance then. Admittedly he was put in there shortly before a Budget. He got rid of the married woman's policy. This was one of the most stupid things any man could have done.

Mr. B. Lenihan: He got rid of what?

Mr. P. Belton: The Minister would not know anything about it.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. P. Belton: Look who has arrived.

Mr. E. Collins: I do not think you should allow those ignorant interruptions from the Fianna Fáil Party. That party are laughing but half of their Government have been dismissed.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Belton without interruption.

Mr. P. Belton: They are laughing now despite the state the country is in.

Mr. B. Lenihan: He got rid of what?

[1033] An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair must insist that there be no interruptions from any side of the House. Every Deputy who wishes to speak will have the opportunity of doing so.

Mr. Cluskey: And the Minister.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: And the Minister. Any person who wishes to speak will get the opportunity without interruption.

Mr. Murphy: Ministers are not inclined to speak.

Mr. E. Collins: There are not too many of them.

Mr. P. Belton: The Taoiseach, as I said, was in Education and left it as he found it. He did nothing in it. He did the same in Industry and Commerce. When he came into Finance his opposite number was the late Gerry Sweetman and if ever I saw a lamb led to the slaughter it was the present Taoiseach.

Mr. B. Lenihan: What did he get rid of?

Mr. P. Belton: It is called the married woman's policy.

Mr. O'Higgins: We know the Minister was a sucker there.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair is in possession at the moment. Deputies ought to co-operate with the Chair in doing its job. This is a debate and Deputies on all sides of the House ought to co-operate in debating the matter which is before the House. If Deputies do not wish to listen to the comments of other Deputies then they have their remedy by leaving the Chamber.

Mr. O'Connor: We are trying to listen but we cannot hear what is going on.

Mr. E. Collins: On a point of order, is the Chair going to allow the remarks of some of the Deputies opposite to stand on record?

Mr. O'Higgins: It is a tradition in [1034] this House that we never hear the remarks of Deputy Lenehan from Mayo.

Mr. E. Collins: That is a fine tradition.

Mr. J. Lenehan: I did not carry out 75 executions.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): On a point of order, might I respectfully submit to the Chair if the Minister for Transport and Power, who is apparently representing the Taoiseach, would behave himself in the Chamber and give good example we would get on much better.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is not a point of order.

Mr. O'Higgins: It is a point of information for the Minister for Power.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Thank you.

Mr. Harte: After all the sackings.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Would the Deputies allow the debate to proceed or does the Chair have to leave the House?

Mr. P. Belton: Also in that period the present Taoiseach as Minister for Finance introduced capitalisation on the money a person would get on the sale of land. We all knew that should be cut down to a certain extent. The late Gerry Sweetman and myself spoke on this at that time and said that this was not going to stay. The man who changed it was Deputy Haughey who, as we all know, a short time after got a bit of money for land. That is his business. We have had many people here talking about what we should do about buying arms illegally but over the last number of years the Government have reduced the Army from its maximum of 12,000 to 5,000. What I have said many other people have also said and it will be said for many days to come. As long as this House is sitting, without going to the country, then every single day, and probably [1035] every hour of every day, you will be reminded that either the two men the Taoiseach accuses of smuggling arms, or who were involved in the illegal importation of arms, should be put out of this House and charged or the Government should resign. This is what we want. We want to go to the country now. I do not believe there is any Government in any country in the world who would have the neck to stay in power when two of their top ex-Ministers are accused by the Taoiseach of bringing arms into the country to rebel against their own party and their own country.

Mr. Meaney: We are discussing a motion here today:

That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following Members for appointment by the President to be members of the Government:

Jerry Cronin,

Robert Molloy and

Gerard Collins.

This is the Motion that was put before the House at the outset of business today. The Opposition asked that there be no limitation to the scope of the debate and also that there be no limit to the amount of time on the Motion. They have got their request and we are very glad of it. However, it is only right and proper that we should refer to the three men who were mentioned here. We in the Fianna Fáil Party are very glad that we have three outstanding young men to come in here and we ask the House to give approval to their nomination as Ministers. They are young men who are following in the footsteps of the Republican tradition. They are men whose people before them came into Fianna Fáil in 1926 and 1927. We make no apology to anybody for the lines this party are following. Indeed it is very heartening on this side of the House that we have men of such ability, such ideals and the right spirit to take over office.

Unfortunately, this debate has not been confined to the three names mentioned in the motion. There has been [1036] character assassination by the parties opposite. They have called people robbers, traitors and every other possible kind of name. I challenge them to repeat those statements outside the House and we will see what will happen. They tell the Taoiseach that he should be man enough not to take these Deputies into his confidence and into his party when he goes into the lobby. The two leaders of the Opposition should examine their consciences and look at their own parties. I say to Deputy Cosgrave, as leader of Fine Gael, that he has within his party a man who was convicted and told in the early forties by a circuit Court judge that he was a perjurer. He is still in the Fine Gael party; he still goes into the lobbies and Deputy Cosgrave will not get rid of him. There is another man in his party also who was convicted and received a jail sentence for burning out of his house a man with a wife and family and this man also goes into the Fine Gael lobbies. Let Deputy Cosgrave examine his own conscience and his party. It is not long since a Fine Gael Shadow Minister attacked unfortunate itinerants and fired shots at them. It is common knowledge that he bought out the witnesses. I ask the leader of Fine Gael to look at these men. Nothing like this can be said about Deputies Haughey, Moran or Boland. They are not guilty of anything like this. Deputy Corish is following the same line——

Dr. O'Donovan: It is a bit late in the day——

Mr. Meaney: It is early in the day.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order. Deputy Meaney is in possession.

Mr. Meaney: We have been listening for the last half-hour to the Deputy with the high alcoholic content, Deputy Paddy Belton, and he should be quiet for a few moments. Deputy Corish would want to look at his own party, the party that is torn between pink and red. He would want to look at the card-carrying communist members of the Labour Party——

[1037] Dr. O'Donovan: You had the “unanimous consent” like the communists——

Mr. Meaney: We know those communists are out to wreck this nation. They want to get rid of the democratic system. The Deputy would want to go down to Deputy Coughlan who it is stated condoned the shooting-up of the Maoist shop in Limerick. I do not agree with those people but——

Mr. Coughlan: That is a confounded lie. I am not like you——

Mr. Meaney: You condoned the shooting. You said in the papers it was bound to happen. Your leader and your party had not the guts to expel you——

(Interruptions.)

Deputies: Chair, chair.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputies will please sit down.

Mr. Murphy: The heat is on.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputies will sit down. Again, the Chair would appeal to Deputies for their co-operation and ask them to carry on the debate with some decorum. We cannot have a debate if Deputies are being shouted at from one side of the House to the other. If Deputies would address the Chair the personalities might not fly so freely. If Deputies would address the Chair then each in turn could make his contribution to the debate.

Dr. O'Donovan: Sir, I will now address the Chair. Is Deputy Meaney going to be asked to withdraw his false charge against Deputy Coughlan?

A Deputy: That is not a point of order.

Dr. O'Donovan: It is a point of order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Coughlan.

Mr. Coughlan: A charge was made against me by this Deputy that I condoned [1038] and encouraged violence in Limerick in my position as Mayor of Limerick. Nothing could be further from the truth. I said in my opening statement when I was asked to comment——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy is making a statement now.

Mr. Coughlan: ——that I did not condone violence.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy is making a statement He will have an opportunity of speaking.

Mr. Coughlan: I demand that the Chair call on this Deputy to withdraw the allegation; it is completely false and unfounded.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair has no way of controlling Deputies making political charges in the Chamber. The Chair deprecates this but Deputies can make their own denials in their own time.

Dr. O'Donovan: On a point of order. Is it not the accepted procedure in this House that if a Deputy against whom a charge is made says it is false that the speaker withdraws the remark?

Mr. Cunningham: On a point of order, will the Deputy who alleged that the speaker told a confounded lie be asked to withdraw that remark?

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): On a point of order, is there any truth in the rumour that Deputy Cunningham is in the running for a parliamentary secretaryship?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: These are not points of order. The normal procedure in the House is that when a Deputy states that a statement made is not true then normally that is accepted. If a Deputy states that a statement is a lie he is not thereby imputing that the individual who quoted it is a liar. He says it is a lie. That is what the Chair understood.

Mr. Cunningham: Is it in order for the Deputy to say that what Deputy Meaney alleged is a lie?

[1039] An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: What the Deputy said was in reply to an accusation; he said it was a lie. This is what the Chair understood the Deputy to say.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): It is no wonder that Deputy Cunningham has had to wait so long for promotion. He does not even know the rules.

Mr. Meaney: We do not like to discuss people individually because the Dáil is the place where one discusses party policy. However, we on this side of the House have since early morning listened to attack after attack under privilege of this House on our Ministers and Deputies——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): And ex-Ministers——

Mr. Meaney: And we are proud of them. This is a united party. The Fine Gael Party are sorry for themselves——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Is the Taoiseach proud of them?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair is not going to permit interruption of the Deputy in possession.

Mr. Meaney: We are a party who will go into the lobby and vote together. The only regret in the Fine Gael Party is that the pro-O'Higgins group have lost the opportunity to unseat Deputy Cosgrave at the Fine Gael Ard-Fheis which will take place in the near future. Some of the Deputies in Fine Gael know that he is getting a little too strong and they are sorry that he is not in a weaker position. Many of the Fine Gael Deputies have been trying to tell us that it was he who really forced the Taoiseach's hand in this case. The Taoiseach knows what is happening and, as happens always between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael were a fortnight behind with the news.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): £2,500 a year would make you vote for anything.

Mr. Meaney: No. I was taught to stand for a principle.

[1040] Mr. E. Collins: What principle?

Mr. Meaney: The Republican principle.

Mr. E. Collins: Which Republican principle?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will Deputy Collins resume his seat?

Mr. L'Estrange: Why does he not resign like Deputy Paudge Brennan did?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will Deputy L'Estrange cease interrupting?

Mr. Coughlan: I would suggest that the cement strike be settled as soon as possible to plug the broken walls around here.

Mr. Meaney: Deputy L'Estrange has come in here as usual. We all know by now what he is, the muck spreader of the Fine Gael Party. He says that we on this side of the House have committed treason and so on, but he is the man who when he was disposing of his farm did not offer it to the Land Commission. It was the same as selling his birthright for gold.

Mr. L'Estrange: On a point of order, the Deputy is completely wrong. I sold my farm and bought another. I offered the farm to the Land Commission, but the man who bought the farm paid only 5 per cent——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy will have an opportunity of speaking later.

Mr. L'Estrange: Therefore, Fianna Fáil must not have looked upon him as a foreigner.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will Deputy L'Estrange please resume his seat.

Mr. L'Estrange: I offered my farm to the Land Commission——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): The Land Commission had no money to buy it.

Mr. L'Estrange: ——so the Deputy can withdraw that falsehood.

[1041] Mr. Meaney: I will not withdraw it. It is a fact. He sold it to a private individual maybe for £25 more instead of giving it to the Land Commission to divide among smallholders. I put it to the Deputy: did he for the sake of a few pounds——

Mr. L'Estrange: I offered it to the Land Commission but they did not buy it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is irrelevant.

Mr. Meaney: There is a great deal of talk about this side of the House being in disarray, but we can state emphatically we are not in disarray. We are not here just for a month or a year but for the rest of this term. We are not afraid to face the people. If we have any difficulties, we are well able to resolve them. We have in our Taoiseach an honest man, a man with the highest reputation.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy must be allowed to make his contribution.

Mr. L'Estrange: It is getting funny now.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputies must not interrupt.

Mr. Meaney: Our Taoiseach has the highest ability. He has the best reputation of any politician in this country and the people as a whole look up to him. He is well fitted to lead this nation. Having regard to all the personal attacks that have been made I should like to refer to an incident which occurred when we were voting for the appointment of Deputy Des O'Malley as a member of the Government a few nights ago. A scene occurred the like of which was never seen in this House before. While I was acting as teller Deputy Paddy Belton made a personal attack on me, using obscene language. That should not be tolerated. He is a member of a party who claim they can run the country in a proper manner, but the people will never give them a mandate. They can talk away for the rest of the [1042] night but we know we can defeat them tonight and when we go to the country in 1973.

Mr. McLaughlin: It is quite noticeable by the tone of the speakers on the other side of the House that they do not want to go to the country. It was particularly noticeable on Wednesday night last when they succeeded in bringing in three Ministers and a Parliamentary Secretary who tried to convey to the people that all was well in the Fianna Fáil camp. That was a desperate attempt to paper over the cracks in Fianna Fáil.

This night reminds me very much of our history of many years ago when this State was being founded. Late nights were spent here by Ministers because it was too dangerous for them to leave this House. They remained firm because they had a job to do, to establish this State and to establish law and order. Those men who spent long hours here, as we are doing here tonight, achieved their purpose. A crisis has arisen here and the party on this side of the House are here to emphasise the danger in the attempt which was made at gun-running by men who were Ministers only a few days ago.

News got to the people throughout the country at 7.30 or 8 o'clock on Wednesday morning that two Ministers had been asked to resign by the Taoiseach. Everyone is convinced now that Deputy Moran was also asked to resign. The Fianna Fáil Party may say what they like, but the people took a very serious view of the announcement and became very suspicious of the conduct of the Government they had elected with one of the biggest majorities of any Government yet elected. Naturally enough the electorate were disappointed. They were promised all sorts of benefits; prosperity was around the corner, but ten months after the election this is what they were told, having suffered the shock of a server Budget about a week ago, a Budget that was introduced by a Minister who could not appear in the House.

Saddened as the people were on hearing such serious news it was a consolation to them that such a discovery [1043] was brought home to the Taoiseach and that it was on the advice of the leader of the Opposition that those two gentlemen had been told they would have to leave office. Nearly 50 years ago Deputies were in this House until 4 and 5 o'clock in the morning. Fifty years later another leader of our party is responsible for the Dáil being in session last Wednesday and tonight. That goes to show the sincerity of the party to which we belong.

I think, and the public think, that the Taoiseach should have moved far more quickly. This State was given a Garda force and an Army second to none. The people have the greatest confidence in the Garda force and in the Army, the Garda established by General Eoin O'Duffy and the National Army established by General Michael Collins. It is too bad that the Taoiseach should have remained silent in regard to information of a serious nature, without taking drastic action and getting to the root of the trouble, until at 8 o'clock Deputy Cosgrave told him that, if he did not move, the matter would have to be made known to the Dáil the following day. Then at 10 o'clock two Ministers were relieved of their offices. That is a very serious thing to have happened. That is not the way in which the people of the country should be treated. The people treated Fianna Fáil generously and appreciation was not shown.

The people wondered why more changes were not made in the Budget. They now realise why there was not some effort made to redress the balance of payments position. They now know that there was trouble in the camp and that the easiest thing for the Minister for Finance to do was simply to double the turnover tax and to give some small increases in social welfare payments and in the beef subsidy scheme. There it ended. It was, as Deputy Tully described it, a lazy man's budget. It was not that the man was lazy; it was that there was trouble in the camp and he had other things on his mind.

Fianna Fáil must realise that the people are becoming suspicious of them. For 12 or 18 months past [1044] throughout the country banks have been raided and the raiders got away. There was an attempt made at pursuit but no arrests were made and there were no prosecutions.

Recently a young garda was shot dead in a Dublin street. There was a great hue and cry. Nothing came of it. The people are becoming very suspicious of the Government. I do not wish to detract from the Garda Síochána or the Army in any way. About a week ago the Minister for Justice, following an incident in a hotel in the city of Dublin, went into hospital and shortly afterwards tendered his resignation. That and the other things I have mentioned arouse suspicion.

Law and order is breaking down throughout the country. If an ordinary person is discovered with firearms or if somebody in a quiet rural area fails for any reason to have his gun licensed. he is summoned and severely reprimanded and may have to surrender his gun.

The people are now very anxious to know what action will be taken in regard to the two Ministers who have been relieved of their offices. The Taoiseach, being the honest man that he is or supposed to be, did not relieve those two gentlemen of their Ministries without very good reason. The country is inclined to the view that the Taoiseach would have tried to get over the problem without dismissing those Ministers had it not been for Deputy Cosgrave.

It is time that Fianna Fáil got out. It is noticeable that they do not want to get out. I do not blame them because Fianna Fáil could not go to the country and ask the people for their support in present circumstances.

Fianna Fáil have succeeded in getting 75 Members returned to this House. Fianna Fáil worked hard for the last number of years. Many of them worked hard in their own interests. The information available today is that some of them have become very wealthy men. That is a sad thing to have to say. When the people put their confidence in those gentlemen that confidence should not have been betrayed. The persons concerned should [1045] justify that confidence. They should live on the salaries provided. When men become millionaires, go into the million bracket in the course of ten or eleven years, the public become suspicious. The privileges and the power that those Ministers had were used in order to accomplish wealth through the purchase of land and the purchase of property. That is something that should not happen. People have told me what they see going on around this city and in many parts of the country.

If Fianna Fáil were to go to the country today there would be no doubt whatsoever as to the result. The result would be a change of Government and the affairs of the country would be put into the hands of men who would be capable of dealing with them. They would be put into the hands of the sons and daughters of some of those men who sat here in this House, as we are doing tonight, so that the safety of this country would be ensured. That is something of which we are proud on this side of the House. The very fact that it should be a son of the late President William T. Cosgrave who was responsible for bringing this matter to light is something that proves beyond all doubt that the Fine Gael Party, whether in Opposition or in Government, have the very same fundamental interest in the affairs of this nation.

Mr. J. O'Leary: I, like every other Fianna Fáil speaker in this debate, am fully behind our Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, and the policies being carried out by the present Fianna Fáil Government. I know that Fianna Fáil is the only party capable of running this country. I believe in the policies of Fianna Fáil. My constituents in South Kerry want Fianna Fáil to remain in office because they, too, know that Fianna Fáil is the only party capable of running the country. Fianna Fáil is synonymous with Ireland.

We have heard in this debate character assassinations. We have heard vilification of ex-Ministers of the Fianna Fáil Government. I say, without fear of contradiction, that we are proud of these men and what they have done for Fianna Fáil and for Ireland.

[1046] Mr. E. Collins: Is the Taoiseach proud of them?

Mr. J. O'Leary: I represent Republican South Kerry. No one will silence the voice of Kerry in this debate. We entered the last general election knowing full well the smear campaign that would be carried on by the Opposition Parties and we had the smear campaign against the Taoiseach and his Ministers.

Mr. E. Collins: Will the Deputy particularise?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will Deputy Collins cease interrupting?

Mr. E. Collins: I only want clarification.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair will permit no clarification. The Deputy in possession will be allowed to speak. Others can speak in their turn. The Chair again appeals to Deputies on both sides of the House.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: When will Deputies have any respect for the Chair? When will Deputies co-operate with the Chair in trying to conduct this debate?

Mr. J. O'Leary: We carried out a very successful election campaign despite the allegations and the accusations made in this House just as in the last few days and we came back with 75 Deputies, an overall majority. It must be remembered that there were allegations that we would have a mini-Budget.

Mr. E. Collins: We had gun-running.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The next time a Deputy interrupts the Chair will send for the Ceann Comhairle and will ask that the Deputy be dealt with. The Chair is no longer prepared to put up with these interruptions.

Mr. J. O'Leary: The Opposition were shocked when our books balanced at the end of March. They were even more shocked when they discovered on Wednesday night that there was not even a splinter in Fianna Fáil not to mind a split. Fianna Fáil is more united [1047] now than ever before, and that is some solidarity.

Mr. J. Lenehan: Tá an ceart agat.

Mr. L. Belton: A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, will you send for the Ceann Comhairle?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair will decide when to send for the Ceann Comhairle.

Mr. J. Lenehan: I did not interrupt.

Mr. L. Belton: You said you would send for the Ceann Comhairle at the next interruption. There is the next interruption. Send for the Ceann Comhairle.

Mr. J. O'Leary: The primary objective of the Fianna Fáil Party is the re-unification of our country. The 26 Counties are on a firm footing. We must maintain our steady economic progress. At the same time, we are all of us deeply committed to the Fianna Fáil programme and policy. We have our priorities right. We must think, too, of our fellowmen across the Border and our primary objective of re-uniting the country. The people of Kerry know that that is the primary objective of Fianna Fáil. Whether the Opposition realise it I cannot say. As Deputy Tim O'Connor said, the people of Kerry have a very proud tradition. He could recall events that occurred long before I was born. I and every other Deputy am 100 per cent behind the Taoiseach and the Government and I deplore the disgraceful tactics of the Opposition in their efforts to create a crisis when, in fact, no crisis exists.

I deplore the efforts of the Opposition at character assassination. I deplore their insistence on an all-night sitting of Dáil Éireann when there was no need at all for such a sitting. I deplore their attempt to link our ex-Ministers with Saor Éire and illegal organisations, without any proof whatsoever. I shall not detain the House any longer. We are quite happy in Fianna Fáil so long as Fine Gael and Labour maintain their present tactics. [1048] While they do so they will always be in Opposition.

Mr. Hogan: The leading news item in Thursday's Irish Times reads:

The Taoiseach, Mr. Lynch, last night with emotional frankness accused his two former Ministers, Mr. Haughey and Mr. Blaney, of the attempted illegal importation of arms from the continent.

Arising from the motion before the House concerning the elevation of three members of Fianna Fáil to Cabinet rank, this discussion has developed. This is the most serious affair to come before the Parliament since the foundation of the State. We had difficulties in the past and it is in the nature of things that every government and parliament will have difficulties, minor and major scandals, but this is of such primordial importance, so very fundamental that it has rocked the foundations of the State.

I think none of us could do justice to the enormity and gravity of the offence which the Taoiseach claims his Ministers have been party to or privy to. This is not a question of a Minister being guilty of some minor default or appropriating to himself some money or assuming undue privilege. It is a most fundamental issue involving the lives, property and safety of every individual north and south of the Border.

We have heard much tonight from Members on the opposite side and it all revolves around one thing, the one problem uppermost in their minds. The only thing that seems to affect or bother them at present is their unity, in other words, their self-interest. We heard that before.

To come back to Thursday's Irish Times, the first paragraph of the leading article reads as follows:

If we lack unity in other things there is certainly a consistency of pattern in party politics, north and south. The unanimous vote of confidence in the Taoiseach expressed last night at Leinster House will raise a watery smile from the least sophisticated citizen: we have heard it all before; the names, then, however, were O'Neill and Unionism.

[1049] That simple paragraph may be prophetic. It may show what is about to happen in this country in the next few days, weeks or months. I do not know how long the Taoiseach will be able to preserve that unity about which we heard so much last night. The previous speaker, particularly, hammered the table in front of him to emphasise the tremendous unity and solidarity of the Fianna Fáil Party. In fact, it is obvious to everybody that there are serious difficulties and disruption in that party.

Uncontrolled importation and distribution of guns and similar lethal weapons can mean only intimidation, robbery and murder and it will not be confined to one part of Ireland but will be all over this island. Its extent will depend on the number of guns and lethal weapons imported uncontrolled. Two Ministers have been formally accused of this appalling conduct by the Taoiseach and have been dismissed. These men have remained members of Fianna Fáil and of the House to date. It appears they have friends and backing in the House and God knows what friends and backing they have outside it. A dangerous situation has been created and allowed to develop.

I must censure the Taoiseach as the man mainly responsible for his vacillating behaviour in allowing these developments to reach the stage to which they are now come. It is completely unconvincing to me for anybody in the opposite benches to try to cover this up as some kind of a patriotic gesture calculated to abolish Partition. It is no such thing. Despite any protestations coming from the opposite benches I do not believe that Fianna Fáil are interested, or have been interested for many years, in the abolition of Partition. They have been in power since 1932 and they have done damn little about it. Up to yesterday they believed they would be in power to the end of this century. Does a party occupying that monopoly position, a party that so obviously has an avarice for power really want to have 1,000,000 Protestants join us here in the south and, perhaps, go out of power as a result? They are doing [1050] nicely at the moment; why rock the boat?

I am not, and have not been convinced for a long time that all the Fianna Fáil protestations about Partition are genuine. I do not believe the present crisis arises from either patriotism or republicanism or idealism. These are merely clichés, merely embroidery, a nice covering with which Fianna Fáil members have tried to wrap up a horrible performance. I believe it derives primarily and fundamentally from avarice for power, place and privilege, avarice for financial gain and economic opportunity. Primarily, I say, it derives from avarice for power. I believe this development does not extend to all members of Fianna Fáil; it is probably limited to a few but the few have been strong and forceful enough and greedy enough to force us into the present terrible crisis.

This crisis did not happen today or yesterday. It is the end product of a rot, of progressive moral deterioration, which has been inbuilt in the Fianna Fáil structure for many years. We had minor incidents in the past. I say minor because they are minor when we view them vis-à-vis the present crisis. For instance, we had the famous case of the Locke Distillery. That upset the nation at the time but, looking at it in the context of the present situation, it was, as the Minister for Health, Deputy Childers, would say, small beer. It was merely wrangling for a bit of loot and it caused serious repercussions inside the country at that time.

What repercussions will this cause? It is a far graver situation altogether because it affects life. It affects the lives of hundreds of people perhaps. The Taoiseach must be aware, and I am sure he is aware, that last October there was a move in Huddersfield to spend £200,000 for the purchase of arms. The men were charged. Purchases of that nature, purchases mentioned in the newspapers of close on £1 million, coming into this country by various channels, apparently, make for a frightening situation. Does anyone think that we in this island of saints and scholars are such holier-than-thou people that, given guns freely [1051] and completely uncontrolled, we will control ourselves? We are no different from any other people. Perhaps we are even worse. The uncontrolled distribution of lethal weapons can lead only to the things I mentioned in the beginning.

Fianna Fáil tell us they have closed their ranks. I wonder do Fianna Fáil know exactly what their position is? Do they know how far this malaise has spread amongst their own members inside or outside this House? I wonder are the Fianna Fáil members walking around here looking over their shoulders and wondering if they can trust the next man? How many members of Fianna Fáil knew of this situation before it broke? I assume the majority were surprised, shocked and humiliated, but did they know or do they now know, how deep-rooted this is and how far it has spread even in their own party? A situation like that is like an infection. You do not know where it has been incubated or how far it has spread. Nobody knows, because nobody can read into another man's mind and nobody can examine another man's conscience.

We do not know even now, and we may never know, how close we were to a coup d'état, how close we were to a military takeover or, perhaps, the establishment of a dictatorship. The wholesale dissemination of arms in a small island such as this can result only in one thing, bloodshed, the shedding of the blood of Irishmen be they Protestant or Catholic, and be they northern Irishmen or southern Irishmen. Deputy Boland spoke here today——

Mr. Coughlan: Yesterday.

Mr. Hogan: Yesterday. He spoke well for Deputy Boland. In many ways, misguided though he is, he has his own honest, rough approach to things and, while I think Deputy Boland is completely wrong on many aspects, we have to judge him on his past performance. He was the strongest mover, the dominant man, the strong man of the Fianna Fáil Party some short time ago when that party moved to abolish proportional representation. [1052] The people at that time did not accept Deputy Boland's thesis. They did not give him or his party the power which he sought. They believed that the abolition of PR would result in too much power for one party and that that would be dangerous. I would never accuse the Irish of being people of great perception but in this respect they were wise. Now they can all look back and say how wise they were.

How narrowly we have escaped. Events as now unfolded must show clearly to the people how wise they were in their time to preserve some check over the establishment in this country of one all-powerful monolithic party, certain members of which have seen fit to behave, as they appear to have behaved according to the Taoiseach in the past few days and over the past few months. Deputy Boland having failed to abolish PR did what he could within the constitutional limitations open to him. He butchered and gerrymandered the majority of the constituencies to secure the maximum representation and the maximum power for himself. Some 100,000 people were displaced outside their constituencies in the re-arrangements he made, which culminated in his being able to secure probably four or five extra seats for his party.

I showed here by a series of amendments at that time, and the validity of those amendments was not questioned, that this could be done quite simply by a movement of 20,000 people. There is nothing sacrosanct in county boundaries but the purpose which motivated Deputy Boland was not good local administration or good government, but merely to secure a monopoly of power. While Deputy Boland probably made the best case, and was not dismissed but resigned, we have to take the plausible arguments which he made in that context.

Deputy Boland says that he will not serve under Gestapo rule. Apparently he regards the Taoiseach as a modern Herr Himmler who was the head of the secret police in Germany. He resents any form of check or control upon his movements as a Minister. I would certainly agree that, in normal circumstances, it would be highly [1053] objectionable that any Minister should be subjected to phone tapping or other forms of control of that nature, but we must recognise that we were not passing through normal times. We were passing through a terrible crisis and, if the Taoiseach had not done even that much—and God knows he did little enough and late enough—we would be still more critical of him here today.

Deputy Boland says he will serve in the Fianna Fáil Party and as a Deputy. He would take ministerial office again if asked but, apparently, he would not take it under the Taoiseach, Deputy Lynch. He must therefore set about removing that Taoiseach if he is to fulfil his ambitions. That is apparently the loyalty that we now have in the Fianna Fáil Party. Deputy Haughey is also fully behind the Taoiseach, as he feels the unity of the Fianna Fáil Party is more important to the nation than his own political career.

We can all recall a time in Hitler's Germany when there were various purges of the officers and politicians in Hitler's following. How many of them died under Hitler's orders with their hands raised shouting “Heil Hitler”? It seems that we will have the same mentality here. They are all loyal; they will all serve again. Are we convinced? Is the Taoiseach himself convinced? Is the country convinced? Ultimately that is the test we must face and the question we must answer. If the country is not convinced and has not confidence in this assembly, the trust in Parliamentary methods will break down.

Will the Irish people believe in the Ministers who have been removed from office protesting that they were not guilty, that they did nothing wrong, but still remaining in the party and professing loyalty to the Taoiseach whom they claim has treated them wrongly? Will the Irish people believe in these protestations of loyalty? If the Irish people do not believe in the fundamental reality of this institution and of the men here, they no longer believe in Parliament. It is clear, then that the Taoiseach must clear out the stable and must go to the people. The Taoiseach must realise now that in the [1054] minds of many people there will be a sense of distrust.

The Taoiseach has named two ex-Ministers, Deputies Haughey and Blaney. The position about Deputy Boland is rather ambiguous. The Taoiseach said that Deputy Boland tendered his resignation. Deputy Boland says that he was, in effect, pushed. I do not know what measure of equivocation is being used to describe what happened here. Am I to understand that Deputy Boland tendered his resignation but did so after being ordered or requested to do so? That is something which the Taoiseach should make clear. One is left with a very unpleasant suspicion that both of these gentlemen have many fellow-travellers in this House who are masquerading behind the Taoiseach and protesting their unity and loyalty. Time may unfold that and then it may be too late.

I have sympathy with the Taoiseach in the position in which he finds himself. Deputy Cosgrave confronted him at 8 p.m. with information which he had at his disposal. At 10 p.m. two Ministers were dismissed and a third Minister had resigned. It is only reasonable to conclude that, had that confrontation not taken place, these Ministers might still be in office. The suspicion remains that efforts have been made to cover up this disgraceful episode, and that this was done in the interests of party unity and of remaining in power. No doubt the Taoiseach may tell us now that he had no such intention and that he moved as quickly as possible once he got positive confirmation that there was serious trouble in the offing. The suspicion must remain in all our minds that the Taoiseach might have attempted to cover up, under some pretext or other, the sordid, despicable and dangerous practices of his Ministers for which he was later compelled to publicly sack them.

Great power is vested in a Prime Minister. He appoints all the Ministers of State and the Parliamentary Secretaries. He can reshuffle the Cabinet if he thinks fit and terminate ministerial office at any time without offering any reason. I understand this to be the [1055] constitutional position. Great authority also carries corresponding responsibility. That responsibility must be exercised continuously and must be exercised immediately the occasion demands. It permits of no dilatory procedure and of no procrastination. Anything else is merely vacillating and can only lead ultimately to graver troubles. This is where the Taoiseach failed. I am not in any way implying anything improper in respect of the Taoiseach. In his personal capacity he is a very estimable and good-natured man. I doubt if he has the rigidity of character or the grit to be a Taoiseach, and particularly a Taoiseach in charge of the type of men of whom, unfortunately, he was placed in charge.

The Taoiseach may not be able to remove his offending Ministers as Deputies from this House but they have emphatically stated their determination to remain in Fianna Fáil. To what purpose? Do the Fianna Fáil Party, as such, or whatever Members are here, or does the Taoiseach himself think that this is in the interests of the party or of the Taoiseach or of the country? Does he see any inherent dangers ahead?

In these islands, and we have not a perfect code here, we have been comparatively free for many years both in England, Scotland—not so much in Northern Ireland recently—and down here of organised crime. Our murder rate is low. The murder rate in the United States is, I believe, about ten times that of the British Isles or here. There are many reasons for that. I would submit that the primary reason is the easy access to guns and lethal weapons which obtains all over the United States and which the United States Government has so far failed to control or contain. Admittedly, it is a different country. You have racial problems there. Probably, even under the circumstances obtaining here, they would still have a higher crime rate.

However, it largely derives from the easy access obtaining in American States to guns of various descriptions. We had in this Chamber, standing there on the left of where the Ceann [1056] Comhairle sits, the late President of the United States, Jack Kennedy. He died in America. He was assassinated. His assassination was made much easier, if not caused by, the easy availability of lethal weapons for every Tom, Dick and Harry in the United States. Do you want a similar position to obtain here? Does anybody think that, once guns come here, their distribution can in any way be controlled? Is it not obvious to anybody who thinks about it that any organisation in possession of modern, attractive, lethal weapons would easily secure young men to join that organisation merely to be in a position to secure a gun or a revolver.

As I said already, I have a certain sympathy with the Taoiseach. Allowing for the fact that he has shown an undue degree of vacillation, weakness and incompetence he did—I must say this in mitigation of his position—inherit some of the problems now besetting him. He has been hoist with the petard of years of posturing in this country—since 1932, 1933, 1934, indeed, since the foundation of the State. We have talked about Partition but we have done practically nothing about it. In fact, we have moved more and more away from fellow Irishmen north of the Border. I know, I accept, that they are open to the most severe criticism; but have we put our own house in order? Have we not, in this country, introduced every possible barrier against re-unification—legally, constitutionally, industrially, culturally? We have wrapped ourselves up in a little green flag in our 26-county state. We have not moved towards the development of the foundation of a pluralistic society. Our flag here is green, white and orange. It was first raised in my own county, Tipperary, by John Blake Dillon under arms. We have forgotten the orange in that flag. We have made no serious attempt— as we should have been doing from the day the State was founded up to the present—to create an atmosphere which would ultimately lead to unity and to the development of a pluralistic society. We have moved merely to develop our green celtic state.

If, now, we find these difficulties more firmly rooted than they ever [1057] were before, we here in the south are as much to blame for it as the north. Yet we keep prating about Partition. I blame the party on the Government benches principally for that. They had a longer time to do something than any other party but they did not do it. True enough, at any Fianna Fail gathering it was trotted out—the one outstanding problem, the re-unification of the national territory. This was like a ritualistic war-dance, performed for local consumption and then discontinued until the next occasion; but nothing really happened and no effective effort was ever made to establish a situation here conducive to ultimate unity.

We adopted the notion that the north should accept us on our terms— terms which could not ever be acceptable to many in the north. If we were genuine in our wishes to do that, we should have made attempts, all down through the years, to try to understand the conditions obtaining in Northern Ireland so as to establish some rapport between them and us. It is this position; it is this inherited attitude; it is this peculiar, hypocritical brand of Republicanism, this posture by Fianna Fáil, which has now placed the Taoiseach in his present position. This is what he inherited. It half absorbs him. But, added to that, was his own weakness, his own vacillating character, which some might call good nature. He now finds himself in a political crisis. He now finds himself in the position that his personal word, his personal integrity is being questioned by Ministers who were yesterday sitting with him in his Cabinet.

The interview given by Deputy Boland, as reported in Friday's Irish Independent, covers some of the points made by the Deputy in his speech here today and elaborates on some further points. The interviewer, Mr. Kerry McCarthy, had this to say:

He also told me that he believed that for some time members of the Government were of the firm opinion that their telephones were being tapped. “In the case of one Minister this has definitely been established,” he declared.

[1058] The report continued:

He repeated again a declaration he had made earlier in the day that he could under no circumstances work in a Government whose leader kept members under Gestapo-type surveillance. “I could not see the events of the last few days happening in any other democratic country. All that was missing was the beautiful blonde spy,” he said.

I do not know to what extent Deputy Boland missed the beautiful blonde spy but apparently she was all that was missing to make his day complete. Further on in the interview, Deputy Boland is quoted as having said:

He was astonished that Mr. Lynch had dismissed two senior Ministers on the basis of secret and unconfirmed information supplied to the Government as against the word of the Ministers who denied they were implicated in any arms plot.

When the interviewer asked Mr. Boland if he was surprised that Mr. Lynch had so readily accepted his resignation, Mr. Boland said “certainly not.” He added:

Of the four senior Ministers who have gone in the past few days, “I am the only one who voluntarily resigned. I am sure that the ex-Minister for Justice, Mr. Ó Moráin, was asked to resign.”

These remarks are apparently contradictory to what the Taoiseach has told the House. It is the duty of the Taoiseach to take the House and the people into his confidence and to make a complete statement on the whole situation. I expect that the Taoiseach has much more information than he has given the House in his opening statement on this matter. Deputy Blaney made a very emotional speech here today.

Mr. Desmond: A very inflammatory speech.

Mr. Hogan: I made some notes of the speech——

Mr. Desmond: A very mischievous speech.

[1059] An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

The Taoiseach: Unctuous Desmond.

Mr. Hogan: Deputy Blaney denies that he had any association with Saor Éire or with any other subversive organisation. He stated that he had not contributed one penny towards the purchase of guns and he asserted that he had nothing to do with the escape of those who murdered Garda Fallon. He also stated that he knew of no association of his brothers with any illegal organisation in the country. He admitted that he refused to resign but we are not clear about the reason he gave. I gather it was in some way calculated to help the people in the north.

Deputy Blaney then went on to relate ancient history. It was an inflammatory speech in which he paraded his own ideas and his impeccable patriotism and loyalty to the Taoiseach and to Fianna Fáil. It did not appear to him that there was anything in his recent behaviour as alleged by the Taoiseach that might be irreconcilable, hypocritical and bellicose.

Mr. Desmond: Very clever.

Mr. Hogan: It was an emotionally charged speech calculated to inflame primitive emotions, a speech not befitting the position that he had held.

I was present at a meeting of the Dáil some time after the northern crisis in August. Perhaps I am a simple man, but I concluded as I think did most people, that there was unanimity in this House among all Members that the use of physical force in relation to Partition was out. We all welcomed that declaration but it now appears that there were some silent dissenters. When the matter was discussed at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in January, the Taoiseach appeared to have been satisfied that he had the approval of his own party.

I can understand a member of any party not seeing eye to eye with various points in relation to some matters or acts of his party. Generally, one thinks the matter is worth raising, one expresses one's opinion and then one abides by the majority decision. [1060] However, there are certain times when there is a crisis of conscience. Perhaps it might happen once in a man's life. If it happens to a man who is a member of a political party and he finds that he can no longer reconcile his conscience with the majority opinion of that party, he owes it to himself and to those whom he represents to state his case and to resign from that party.

If he occupies a senior position and finds himself unable to agree with the policy of his party, he should resign. Deputy Blaney, for instance, could not see eye to eye with the unanimous decision of this House taken last year. That was the time for him to talk. That was the time for him to come in here and say his piece, and not today. That was the time to place himself in the hands of the Taoiseach and to say to him quite simply and openly: “My conscience does not allow me to agree with you on this matter. What do you want me to do?” The Taoiseach might have said to him: “If you can still continue to do your job as a Minister you may continue on, provided you do not let your views impinge on the general attitude of the majority of your party”. Or he might have said to him: “I think you should go” or the man might have said it himself. That was the time to do it. That was the time for him to state his position unambiguously. That was the time for any other Deputy of any party, if he did not agree, to stand up and to say his piece. Deputy Blaney did not do that. Deputy Haughey did not do that. They remained in this Government, in this House, apparently accepting and apparently agreeable to the unanimous decision of this Parliament but, at the same time, according to the Taoiseach's allegation, apparently also indulging in practices of quite the opposite nature.

Now the Taoiseach finds himself in the ignominious position of having to come into this House and wash his dirty linen in public. I have already referred to the Taoiseach's weakness, his vacillation, his failure to come to grips and to nip in the bud the situation which has now developed into a national scandal.

During all last summer there was [1061] as we all know a dangerous situation developing in Northern Ireland. There was also a less dangerous situation developing down here. There was a general election. We profess to have a tremendous interest in Northern Ireland. Perhaps it is a lately awakened interest, since the civil rights movement began—it has been rather dormant for many years—but, at all events, we all profess it. Yet during all that summer—and the Taoiseach, I am assured, was kept reasonably informed of developments in Northern Ireland—he made no determined effort to secure a consultation with his opposite number in Great Britain, Mr. Wilson.

If Partition is an evil largely deriving from British actions in the past they still possess some responsibility in the matter and they still have effective jurisdiction over Northern Ireland. Here was the Prime Minister, the head of the Fianna Fáil Party, the party of reality, the party that was always going to abolish Partition, standing idly by during the long, hot summer. Beyond some feeble letter sent some time in the spring, no practical, concrete step was taken by him to secure consultations with his opposite number in Great Britain. In effect, the Taoiseach spent most of that time campaigning around southern Ireland, calling on reverend mothers and giving exhibitions with a hurley ball. I suppose it won the election. I am sure it helped. But it was not the kind of activity, the kind of exercise, that one would expect a responsible, effective Taoiseach to indulge in during that long, hot summer.

There is recognised in all modern Governments what we call collective responsibility. During all that long, hot summer Deputy Blaney was allowed to put forward his own peculiar solution for the problems of Northern Ireland. These solutions were contrary to those the Taoiseach and the Government had apparently adopted. Ultimately, on 14th August, the Taoiseach took action. It is now clear, or it seems to me anyway, that this was an action partly forced upon the Taoiseach at that time by a recalcitrant and difficult Deputy Blaney. He sent our Army shadow boxing to the Border and he sent poor Deputy Dr. Hillery clowning [1062] to the United Nations. I know Deputy Dr. Hillery did his best. His best was very little. He did not even succeed in getting the Irish problem put on the agenda, but he was allowed to make a statement. They heard him politely. That was the sum total of Deputy Dr. Hillery's efforts at the UN. Mark you, he was lauded when he returned to Ireland as a man who had done something marvellous, a man who had achieved something. He had been allowed to read a statement.

The anties on the Border were, to my mind, quite inexcusable. At different times our Taoiseach who apparently was, perhaps, against his better judgment, led into this type of action has given different explanations. One explanation which he offered is that troops were there in case the British troops might ask them in to provide a joint peace-keeping force. Fat chance that the British would invite our troops into Northern Ireland. The next explanation he offered was that they were there to help those who might flee across the Border from the issues which were likely to break out in Northern Ireland and which, in fact, did break out. If that was the purpose it would surely have been a prudent thing to keep communications very clear and very open. If mere medical help was the purpose, then the Army Medical Corps with some help from the Red Cross should suffice and the Government Information Service make it very clear that no equipment or officers were being dispatched to the Border. The last and most recent explanation he gave was that the troops were on the Border to prevent infiltration from the south into the north. These are three different explanations and you can pay your money and take your chance.

This was to my mind a most dangerous exercise by a small country. It was beyond our capacity in a military sense then and is now to embark on force in respect of Northern Ireland. We all knew and agreed that even if we could do so a captive people are no use to anybody. The Taoiseach attempted to rectify the situation. Shortly after the Fine Gael Party published their ten point programme on Partition the [1063] Taoiseach took himself to Tralee and there made his conciliatory speech affirming, among other things, that the ten point Fine Gael programme was actually the traditional Fianna Fáil programme. We were all together again and Deputy Blaney was out of the running for the time being.

I recite those events because they should not have occurred. I believe a resolute Taoiseach with the strength of the House behind him should have insisted from the beginning on collective responsibility. He was vested with the authority to do so and if he had done so he would not be sitting in the dock accused by this side of the House and by his own ex-Ministers.

I should like at this point to put a few questions to the Taoiseach to which I hope he will reply. I should like to ask him if at any stage he received any information from Interpol or any agency outside the State in regard to this matter. Apparently investigations into the importation of arms had been going on for a considerable time. It was stated that sums of money up to £1 million had been offered to procure arms. I mentioned the Huddersfield deal already. It seems to me extraordinary that information that was apparently available to international agencies was not available to the Taoiseach.

I should like to ask the Taoiseach when he applied the security arrangements to his ex-Ministers. How long has this form of surveillance been in operation? Was it merely put into operation following the approach by Deputy Cosgrave to him? I should like to ask him whether the statement by Deputy Boland to the effect that Deputy Moran was sacked is correct and if he would state whether or not Deputy Moran was invited or requested to tender his resignation. I should like to ask the Taoiseach if he would give us the date he first instructed our security forces to begin investigations on the question of ministerial implication in the importation of arms into this country. I should also like to ask him if he is in a position to state how the purchase of the smuggled arms in [1064] question was negotiated and the source of the money for the purpose.

According to the newspapers, there was a considerable inflow of money from American sources. The money was collected in Great Britain. I would be particularly anxious to know that no State funds under one guise or another were in any way diverted to those purchases. I should further like to ask the Taoiseach if he could tell me whether the Garda have interrogated Deputies Haughey and Blaney and their respective brothers in regard to the activities for which he dismissed the two Ministers, or analogous activities in respect of the importation of arms. I would ask him if he is in a position to state whether citizens of Northern Ireland were brought to the south at any time last year for special army training and if he will state on whose authority this was arranged, the extent of the operation, whether he was informed about it beforehand and if he gave his approval and whether any financial commitments fell to be met by the State.

He has already told us when he first received information about the arms smuggling that has culminated in the present difficulty. I would ask the Taoiseach whether crates labelled for the Red Cross arrived at Dublin Airport and, if not, where they were intercepted? I should like to know what arms they contained and whether such crates got through customs without examination after ministerial intervention. I should like to know the name of the Minister who intervened, the name and address of the consignee and the ultimate disposal of the consignment. I should like to ask the Taoiseach what legal action is open to him or contemplated by the Government in respect of the deposed Ministers and others involved in recent arms smuggling. I know the Taoiseach will probably reply that this is a matter for the Attorney General and that the Attorney General is dealing with it already.

I should like to ask the Taoiseach if he proposes to take steps to tighten up our security arrangements with a view to avoiding further illegal activities. [1065] This is a matter of paramount importance. We have no guarantee that further smuggling of arms will not be continued in this country. I do not know to what degree arms have already arrived here. The recent spate of bank robberies would suggest that they certainly are coming in. I would ask the Taoiseach to furnish the people with complete details, so far as security arrangements will permit, of this arms smuggling episode. It may be that at this point he will not have the fullest details but I trust that he will let us have all the information at his disposal. The position in which the Taoiseach finds himself is an unpleasant one and his credibility is being questioned.

Mr. Donegan: Hear, hear.

Mr. Hogan: Not alone in fairness to this House and to his own party but also to himself he should make the fullest disclosure of all relevant information dealing with this unfortunate matter. I do not believe we have seen the end of it; it will not merely disappear because we wish it to disappear. For too long the Taoiseach has indulged in this kind of wishful thinking, trying not to see something that was only too obvious, trying to avoid an ultimate confrontation with circumstances and conditions that would not go away. It is the tragedy of a man in one of Shakespeare's plays who could not make up his mind.

Since the foundation of our State we have unfortunately had an extremist element which has been always difficult to contain. Both political parties have been embarrassed. A political party often fails to face up to a difficult situation. Every party lives by votes but one can buy votes at too high a price. During the years Fianna Fáil have found themselves in that difficulty partly due to the fact that they are prisoners of their own past. Now the chickens have come home to roost and they are some chickens. When the Taoiseach comes to reply this evening or tomorrow——

Mr. Tunney: He has better staying power than your leader.

Mr. Hogan: ——I would ask him [1066] to give us the fullest possible information. I would also say to him to take his courage in his hands and, whether he remains Taoiseach or not, for his own peace of mind he should go to the country and ask the people if they want a change of Government. Do they want a change of party in this House or do they not? Procrastination is bad for the country. The vacillation the Taoiseach has shown in handling the problems of his Government has got him into the present difficulties and further procrastination which he may be inclined to indulge in will merely lead him into greater difficulties. It would be better for the country if the Taoiseach would now make up his mind to call a general election.

Mr. Taylor: Speaking on this motion to replace the Ministers who have been found by the Taoiseach to be unfit to retain office does not give any Deputy pleasure. However, as it is of vital importance to the nation every Deputy feels it is his duty to contribute to this debate. The events of the past few days have moved so rapidly that one finds it difficult to keep pace with the statements, the denials, the counter-statements and further statements. At this hour of the morning it is difficult to know who to believe and what to believe. We must rely on the statement of the Taoiseach that some of his Ministers have not been loyal to him. This is a rare thing to happen in any Government. The people of this State are alarmed at the situation which has arisen when men who have been trusted with office and who have been given their seal of office by the President have betrayed the trust reposed in them. It would be normal to expect any Taoiseach to be saddened by finding himself in such a position.

Over the past few days the people were wondering where we were going, what security there was within the State and what efforts were being made to secure some stability for themselves and their families. Were it not for two important institutions we have, our Army, under our Minister for Defence, and our Garda force, under the Department of Justice, we might wonder where we would be this morning. It is well to know that in the [1067] future if in a Government any Minister of State should be tempted to be disloyal to his Taoiseach we have within the State two organisations which would prevent any Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries from throwing the State into chaos.

It is well to remember that when our predecessors in Cumann na nGaedheal established the Army and the Garda force they did so in spite of severe opposition. Both of those institutions justified the confidence that was placed in them by the people who founded this State and have never been found wanting, but in recent months there was a growing fear among the members of those two organisations who could not get from the Government assurances that everything was being done that should be done and there was a general feeling of uneasiness and unrest which is a bad thing in any State.

It has been said time and time again since this debate started that rebellious tendencies had shown themselves in many ways and in many counties. Questions have been asked: when will we have respect for law and order? When will those who break our laws be brought to justice? Every Deputy would like to see that we would have within the State when this debate finishes, a respect for the people who maintain law and order and that the Ministers concerned who hold the portfolios will see that this law and order will be enforced. Some time ago the Taoiseach made a wild statement that the Fine Gael Party had nothing to be proud of. I was rather surprised that he should make such a statement. Now he can remember that the leader of that party in the very gentlemanly way you would expect him to do it approached the Taoiseach and warned him of the danger the State was heading for. I hope the Taoiseach is grateful for that warning. We are glad he acted on the advice and on the warning given by our leader.

I am very proud to be in that party that the Taoiseach thought had nothing to be proud of. I should like to remind him that, when an emergency faced the [1068] country in 1939, our leader put on the uniform of an Irish soldier and served the country, as many Deputies on the opposite benches did also. I should like to remind the Taoiseach that Deputy Liam Cosgrave's father, many years before that, gave service when the first spark took fire which inspired this country to stand before the world and to fight in order to show its nationhood. I am proud to be in that party despite the Taoiseach's suggestion that we have nothing to be proud of. I am proud to serve under a leader who, when the State was in the present crisis, again stepped in and prevented a serious situation arising.

We, as a party having within our ranks young intelligent men, will always be in a position to provide an alternative Government, a Government which can be relied upon. We can select from the Deputies on this side of the House men who can be depended upon to be loyal to our Taoiseach when we come into office.

I am sorry that three responsible Ministers of State are in the position that they are in this morning. It is a rare occurrence. I hope no such situation as has arisen this week will ever again arise in this country. I do not propose at this stage to lay too heavy a hand on any of those men. Their actions speak for themselves. We could be charitable at this stage. We should devote the time that is left to us to an effort to restore confidence in the institutions of the State, to undo the harm that has been done, to convince the people that the primary concern of Deputies is to have a Government in power which will make a serious effort to restore stability for a period and, if then unable to do that, that will take the alternative course of asking the people to elect a Government that will be in a position to do that.

It was an extraordinary thing to have a former Minister objecting to the methods employed by the Department of Justice and to the source of information available to the Taoiseach as to what is happening within the State. When that Deputy was Minister for Defence he was well aware of the methods employed by our Army, fully aware that there was an intelligence [1069] section within that Army, as there is today, thank God, through which necessary information would be obtained in order to secure our safety against fifth columnists either from within or without the State.

I find it very difficult also to understand why any Minister who on his own admission was an officer in the Regiment of Pearse, who swore loyalty to the State and to the Constitution, should object to the methods employed by our Army to obtain necessary intelligence for the security of the State. It is difficult to understand the change of heart that occurred in a person who one day was a Minister and the next day became a Deputy.

The sequence of events has been so rapid that it is very difficult to know at this stage who is discredited. Reference has been made to an Army officer who served in the capacity of intelligence officer and who should be relied upon and whose information should be acted upon. I listened to a statement made by that officer quoted here tonight by Deputy Bruton and, as far as I know, the former Minister for Defence, now the designate Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, has denied the authenticity of this officer's statement, which complicates matters still further. A statement from the Taoiseach at this stage should clarify many of the things about which we are not clear.

There is one Minister, who, I feel, is very embarrassed because of the position in which we find ourselves. He is an honourable man who can always be relied upon to be loyal to any trust reposed in him. I refer to the Minister for External Affairs who is recognised in this country, in Clare and in every country where he has gone, as being a decent and respected man.

Mr. Coughlan: Up Clare.

Mr. Taylor: Yes. He is from County Clare. Have the events of the past few days made his position any easier in the negotiations for our entry to the Common Market? Have the events of the past few days improved the status of our representatives [1070] abroad? Has the respect for our peace-keeping forces abroad, in Cyprus, the Gaza Strip and the Middle East, increased as a result of the events of the past few days? It would take a very united front by all Deputies within this House to restore the confidence which the world generally had in us and bring the country back to what we would like it to be. Because of what has happened in the past few days I believe it is now necessary to increase the strength of our security forces.

Now that we are approaching the tourist season, I should like to feel that those who come here can be assured that they are coming to a country in which there is stability and in which the Government are in full control of the affairs of the State. In the interests of those who are dependent on the tourist trade we must do everything we can now to bring about an atmosphere which will encourage tourists to our shores in the assurance that they are coming to a peaceful State. Every medium of communication should be used to spread the message abroad that we are a peaceful people. The sooner that is done the better it will be for everyone.

I think the men proposed to fill the vacant Ministries cannot be overrated. As far as I know, they are all reliable men. I am glad to see Deputy Jerry Cronin in the Department of Defence. He can be depended upon to act in a responsible way and I am sure the Army will give him the same loyalty they have always given to Ministers for Defence. Despite some of the things that have been said, I am sure Deputy O'Malley will be able to ensure that the forces of discipline he controls will get full authority to act in a way which will ensure that our people are safeguarded in their individual capacities.

If we could divorce our approach from emotional considerations and deal with the important principles involved that would be very beneficial. The security of the State and of its people is of primary importance. Nothing should be done and nothing should be said which might endanger that security. When this debate is finished I hope that those whom we [1071] represent will feel that we have made an honourable effort to ensure for them a peaceful existence. I hope people will be satisfied that this is the last occasion on which it will be said that there were rebellious tendencies within the State which attempted to overthrow or bring into disrepute certain Departments of State.

Mrs. Burke: I do not often speak in debates here. I do so now in sorrow. May I be allowed to voice my views not merely as a Deputy but also as a mother? I am apprehensive for the future, the future not alone of my own family but the future of all the families which, since the end of the last war, have enjoyed peace. In any true democracy the only real asset is peace— peace in the city, peace in the town, peace in the market place and, above all, peace in the home. This country is renowned for such peace and security in the home. I do not mean that financial security is the dearest wish of every mother, wife or sister. Fear is the natural enemy of such security. Anything that gives rise to fear should be carefully avoided. Not to cause fear and thus preserve security should be the aim of all public representatives.

The Taoiseach by his delay and his failure so far to give the facts has initiated this fear. The speeches of Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney have fanned the flame of fear. Their words are calculated to upset individuals and families north and south of the Border. To do this may, in the short term, give them some sort of heroic image: in the long term their words will be judged for what they are—messages of hate. On such words the people can place no reliance. These are upsetting words, harmful to peace of mind. I fear that these are words that will drive young minds along the path of destruction. I appeal to the Minister, to the Taoiseach and to the Government to stop this talk now, to tell the truth. The people who sent them here deserve it.

Mr. Timmins: When one rises to speak in this debate, which deals with the appointment of three Ministers, [1072] one's mind is immediately directed to the circumstances that brought about this situation and to the reasons for this motion. As one living in the east of the country and not as closely connected with the northern problem as many other Deputies are but at the same time very much concerned that every effort should be made to establish moderation, I feel it is reasonable to say that a Government from which two Ministers are sacked and one has resigned is in dire trouble, not only because of the three people involved but especially because any of the three was a potential leader of Fianna Fáil. They were certainly policy-makers within the party.

Deputy Blaney was crack organiser and strong man whose strength, at the grass roots level of the party, is unequalled in many constituencies. Deputy Haughey was, one might say, the economic and financial expert whose ability was recognised by all sides of the House. Deputy Boland was the man who, after the referendum campaign, did so much with his Electoral Bill to return Fianna Fáil to office. Having regard to all these facts, how can anyone now say that all is well in the Fianna Fáil Party and that the dissensions that so obviously exist have now been healed? How can anyone say that, particularly after hearing the emotion-packed speech of Deputy Blaney and the statement by the Taoiseach—the first the words of a republican hardliner and the second the words of a passive moderate?

The Fianna Fáil Party cannot be all things to all men. The events of the past few days leave it discredited before the House and the country. It is not a pretty sight. It is one that brings the credibility of members of the Government into question and leaves the House and the nation discredited and shamed in the eyes of the world. In the past few days talk in the corridors and lobbies of the House has been generally about the credibility gap that exists but with the events of the last 48 hours that gap has widened to a yawning gulf that no change of Ministers can close or paper over. The Island of Saints and Scholars will soon be known as the island of gunmen and gun runners.

[1073] What really must concern everybody is the effect the disintegration of Fianna Fáil is having on the nation. We are being asked to appoint three Ministers. No matter what members of the Government may say or how anxious the Opposition, in charity, might be to believe them the facts are that the people have lost confidence in the Government. Its duty is to the country, not to itself or the Fianna Fáil Party, nor is its function to ensure retention of power. The principles of democracy must be clear. Only 11 months ago the Fianna Fáil Cabinet was the youngest in Europe; today it is the youngest burst-up Cabinet in Europe.

In the Irish Independent of yesterday, Deputy Ó Moráin, when asked why he resigned, is reported as having said: “No comment”. Obviously, the question arises: did he fall or was he pushed? One hears from Fianna Fáil speakers on many occasions that the interests of this country are synonymous with the interests of Fianna Fáil. Perhaps that is apparent within the Cabinet or within the Parliamentary Party, but it is certainly not apparent from the outside to the people in the country in general.

When Fianna Fáil first came into office nearly 40 years ago, to a great extent they pursued a policy of idealism which was not consistent with the economic requirements of the State. Nevertheless, it was an idealistic policy. Many people felt at that time that more realism was called for and, as the years went by, some realism did manifest itself. The party could now do with some of the idealism of the past so that their duty to the country and to democracy would be done.

I say this with a certain sense of sadness and also because of the outbursts of emotion by Deputy Blaney here this evening. One respects a person with deeply held views, but outbursts of that nature will no nothing but harm at this time. Those of us who were born since the Treaty should respect the people who were prepared to make the supreme sacrifice so that we might be able to come into this House in freedom and peace. We [1074] should respect those people no matter what side they took during the terrible tragedy that followed the Treaty.

In this House in 1970 no effort should be made to inject into Irish political life some of the heat, hate and bitterness of the past. Any member of the Cabinet whose opinions did not conform with the policy on Northern Ireland as defined by the Taoiseach should, in all honesty, have severed his connection with it. How many times have we heard the Taoiseach say there was unanimity in the Cabinet and how many times had he to put the record right after members of the Cabinet had made statements on Northern Ireland? In the light of the happenings of the past few days these statements are further proof of the deep rift that existed within the Government and the Fianna Fáil Party for some considerable time.

This debate is taking place not because of any act or any action of ours but because the Taoiseach felt that he could not allow certain Ministers to continue in office as a result of information he had. While some people may request Deputy Cosgrave to place the source of his information on record, the Taoiseach knows the source of his own information and, when Deputy Cosgrave made available to him the information he had, he decided to take action against members of his own Cabinet before the country became aware of the real position.

Mr. J. Lenehan: Where is he now?

Mr. O'Higgins: Where is who now?

Mr. J. Lenehan: Fathead, shut up.

Mr. Timmins: Certain things have been said, but can they in all honesty say that everything has been said? There is a duty on people who are elected to this House to find out the real truth so that the people of the country will be given an opportunity to make up their minds. The main duty of an Opposition is to make the Government do their duty, and more particularly a reluctant Government.

Over the past number of years there has been a growing sense of frustration [1075] among our people. Our young people have become cynical because of the broken promises of the Government, because so many things were promised and so few delivered. Over the past few days all hope has been shattered and, no matter what changes take place, the Government have been discredited before the people. I say with great respect to the Taoiseach that this is not a question of keeping Fianna Fáil in office.

Mr. M. O'Leary: It is a question of getting them out of office.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Not a chance.

Mr. Timmins: It is not a question of the Members of the Fianna Fáil Party remaining in power. It is a question of bringing politics in the minds and hearts of our people back to what it was in the early days of this State. This is what should determine the Taoiseach's attitude now.

Mr. Enright: There is a great obligation on every Member of this House to contribute to this debate, which is one of the most important debates that has ever taken place here. I should like to add my contribution. I am a young Deputy. I am a young man who has taken a keen interest in Irish politics since my days in national school. I have admired all of those men I read about in our Irish history books, the brave men of different generations who worked for Ireland, who fought for Ireland——

Mr. J. Lenehan: And lived on Ireland.

Mr. Enright: ——and many of those men made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives for Ireland. I have great admiration for all of those men down through history, men like Owen Roe O'Neill, Red Hugh O'Donnell, Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet, Kevin Barry, all those patriots who served Ireland so gallantly and so well. They were men from all parts of this country. They were men of different religious views but they all had one thing in common and that was their love of Ireland. Perhaps the most glorious [1076] period in Irish history was 1916. Perhaps it is the one that we all read about much more attentively than we read about any other period.

Easter Sunday, 1916. Everybody here should remember with pride the heroic stand taken by Pearse, Connolly, Plunkett and the other true and loyal men who loved Ireland more than life itself. A few short years after this event, we succeeded in wresting independence for 26 of our counties. The event, in its own way, set in motion a trend of events that reverberated throughout the world. These events at that time offered hope to people all over Europe and all over Africa. These events offered hope to men of every class, colour and creed. A flame was ignited in 1916 which has never been quenched throughout the world.

In Ireland at that time, Michael Collins described the Treaty and regaining of independence as but a stepping stone. I feel it still can be a stepping stone. I believe that ultimately it will prove to be but a stepping stone. Time passed and tragedy followed with civil war. Former comrades in arms, who had fought side by side, separated and fought on different sides. I believe no one will doubt and very few will contradict that, on both sides in that civil war, there were brave and loyal men dedicated to a cause in which they believed. Many men died in the struggle at that time. I cannot say who was right or who was wrong in this civil war. However, I think an epitaph written over the graves of two young men who fought and died in the American Civil War will help to illustrate the point I was making. It was written by the father of those two sons who died fighting on differing sides. The epitaph the father wrote was as follows: “God knows which of them was right for I certainly do not know”.

The effects of the civil war here set this country back decades. We missed the opportunity to show our fellow countrymen in the Six Counties that we here could manage our own affairs, could provide our own Government, could live in peace and harmony. Instead, we provided the doubtful, the cynical, the hesitant with an opportunity [1077] of finding reasons for not coming in with us. From this civil war they got the material for their argument that we could not live and work together.

In later years we have overcome a lot of these disadvantages. We have overcome the setback, the bitterness, the hatreds and the wounds brought by the civil war. We have overcome those wounds and at last they have begun to heal. We could meet people with different political views and discuss events. We could all meet as Irishmen and we could discuss our different feelings in regard to our country. People began to forgive and people began to forget.

Deputy Blaney, however, has been able to forgive but, I am sorry to say, he has not been able to forget. I believe that events such as those are better forgiven and forgotten. When I was growing up in this country and when I was a young man I believed that this country at that time was one of the finest and greatest examples of a democracy in any part of the world. I felt it offered freedom and equality. I felt it was a place where a person could live in peace and harmony with his neighbour, where one could go about one's business without fear of interference or molestation.

I felt is was one of those countries where a person could apply for a job without being asked his religious or political beliefs, where a person could conduct his business without fear of attack by armed bandits, a place where people could live life as it should be lived, a place where people could interest themselves in the various arts, in the culture and history of this country, in sports and language. I felt it was a place where people could interest themselves in everything that helps to make life worth living; a place where people could live for the present and plan for the future. I felt it was a country that was becoming renowned all over the world for its hospitality, its friendship and its peace.

Irish boys and girls who had left this country at different times, because they were unable to get jobs here, looked back on it and remembered home here as something that offered peace and happiness. They were anxious to come back here. I believed [1078] that in the Six Counties until a few short years ago any reasonable man or woman could look down here and note how things were progressing. I am certain many of them would have wanted to join and work with us.

The night had been long but, with the dawn, one felt a new day would break over Ireland. The poet said: “All is changed, changed utterly; a terrible beauty is born”. I should like to paraphrase that a little bit and just say of this moment: “All is changed utterly—and it has changed in the past few years.” We have seen a situation arise in Ireland where jobbery has become a way of life. We frequently hear now that, all other things being equal, a person belonging to Fianna Fáil has a better opportunity of getting a job here. We have become accustomed to violence in our streets. Armed bank robberies have almost become commonplace.

There have been at least 13 bank robberies during the past two years and, as far as I know, there is not one person serving a sentence as a result of being convicted for any of these robberies. Recently there was the tragic event of the shooting during the execution of his duty of a member of the Garda Síochána, one of the most highly respected police forces in the world. These, then, are some of the events that have taken place. We now have a former Minister who has said that the Taoiseach has appointed a Super Special Branch to spy on members of the Government. The former Minister for Local Government, as quoted in Friday's edition of the Irish Independent, said:

A ‘Super Special Branch’ had been secretly set up by the Taoiseach, Mr. Lynch, to spy on members of the Government.

The columnist added that Deputy Boland told him:

... he believed that for some time members of the Government were of the firm opinion that their telephones were being tapped.

Mr. J. Lenehan: Good man yourself.

Mr. Enright: This morning the same ex-Minister openly contradicted [1079] the Taoiseach in regard to the resignation of a Minister. In the interview to which I have already referred, Deputy Boland is quoted as having said that:

Of the four senior Ministers who have gone in the past few days, I am the only one who voluntarily resigned. I am sure that the ex-Minister for Justice, Mr. Ó Moráin was asked to resign.

We have had different information in regard to this particular Minister. On Wednesday, 6th May, as reported at column 642 of the Official Report, the Taoiseach told the House:

On Monday, 20th April and Tuesday, 21st April, the security forces of the country at my disposal brought me information about an alleged attempt to unlawfully import arms from the continent.

Further on in the same column the Taoiseach is reported as saying in relation to the two Ministers:

I told them both I had information which purported to connect them with an alleged attempt to unlawfully import arms, on the basis of which information. I felt it was my duty to request their resignations as members of the Government. Each of them denied he instigated in any way the attempted importation of arms. They asked me for time to consider their position. I agreed to do this. In the meantime I authorised the continuation of investigations and I made personal investigations myself, following which I decided to approach the two Ministers again and to repeat my request that they tender to me their resignations as members of the Government. I did so on the basis that I was convinced that not even the slightest suspicion should attach to any member of the Government in a matter of this nature. Having told the Ministers that I wished to have their resignations forthwith, each of them told me he would not give me his resignation until this morning.

As we are all aware, the Ministers concerned have denied any association with the importation of arms. A further [1080] situation has now developed whereby a Captain Kelly has involved the Deputy whom the Taoiseach has proposed to be Minister for Agriculture. Why did the Taoiseach propose the appointment of this Deputy if he believes that not even the slightest suspicion should attach to any member of the Government in a matter of this nature?

There have been contradictory statements. People who had been held in high esteem by this House and by the country have denied that they were connected in any way with the importation of arms while the Taoiseach claims that they were so involved. The Taoiseach should give the House further information in this regard. He should tender all the information at his disposal so that we can see for ourselves why he has dismissed the two Ministers. A further explanation is needed so that we can judge for ourselves, because the explanation already given is not adequate.

For now, we shall have a look at the situation as it exists. We have people who adopt the old hard line attitude, the attitude of hatred and bigotry, and who endeavour to stir emotions in people in all parts of the country. Whatever else can be said about these gun-running plots nobody can deny that this situation has been brought about by Government inaction or, shall we say, Government action. There can be no doubt but that the Government have allowed themselves to slide into this situation and that they are solely and collectively to blame for any repercussions that may result from these events. This is the year 1970.

Mr. J. Lenehan: Did the Deputy think it was 1960?

Mr. M. E. Dockrell: Now, now. Do not be naughty.

Mr. Enright: We are preparing to enter the EEC. After entry it appears certain that the Border will go. After our entry to the Common Market I believe the Border, after a very short time would become an anachronism. I believe that the lives of the people here would benefit from entry. Everyone [1081] would benefit. The people in all parts of Ireland would receive equal social welfare benefits. The Government White Paper would lead us to believe that after entry we would see an improvement in our standard of living and in our living conditions. A few years is a short time in the life of a nation; a few days is even less. Let us hope that the events of the last few days do not jeopardise our chances of entry to the EEC.

Mr. Bruton: Hear, hear.

Mr. Enright: Let us hope that these events in the past few days will not damage our negotiations for entry. Nowadays we must look outward. We can no longer be insular. We must look to Europe; we must become part of Europe, if we are to survive and live and work as an Irish nation. The events of the past few days have shocked and saddened the people of this country. I am certain this crisis will pass——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin South Central): It will, of course.

Mr. Enright: ——and even though the people are shocked at the moment I am certain that all over this country commonsense will prevail in the coming months. The one lesson all of us can learn and if I could send a message to the people who are not here this morning, many of whom will never hear what I have had to say, it would be this: the mechanism of a democracy is extremely delicate and because of this it requires regular examination. If a party is in power for too long patronage follows and this can result in a situation in which the Army comes completly under the control of one party; the judiciary in its own way can be manipulated by a political party.

Mr. B. Lenihan: That has never arisen here. That is nonsense.

Mr. Enright: I am making the point that democracy——

Mr. Bruton: The Minister must have a guilty conscience.

Mr. L'Estrange: Certainly, in regard [1082] to the judiciary too—all hand out Fianna Fáil touts.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. L'Estrange: It is an awful thing to have to say but it is quite true.

An Ceann Comhairle: The judiciary should not be referred to as touts and the Deputy knows that.

Mr. B. Lenihan: That is my view, too, a Cheann Comhairle.

Mr. Enright: The point I am making is that in any country in the world if a Government continues too long in power it can lead to a situation in which there is manipulation by the Government of the Army, of the judiciary and of the police.

Mr. B. Lenihan: I object to this in regard to the judiciary——

Mr. O'Higgins: The Minister may object but it is perfectly in order.

Mr. Bruton: He said it can happen, not necessarily that it did happen here. The Minister has a guilty conscience.

An Ceann Comhairle: Order, Deputy Enright.

Mr. Enright: The point I was making—and I believe it was a valid point—was that it can, in its own way, lead to a situation in which the Government can manipulate the judiciary. It can lead to manipulation of the police and of the Army.

Mr. B. Lenihan: We appointed Deputy Tom O'Higgins presidential legal adviser to the supreme court in this country and I am personally responsible for it. Deputy Tom O'Higgins is presidential election adviser in regard to legal matters and was appointed by the Government on my advice to the Supreme Court of this country.

Mr. O'Higgins: The Minister should get some sleep.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Deputy Tom O'Higgins knows it.

[1083] Mr. O'Higgins: The Minister should get some sleep.

Mr. Enright: If a Government are left in office, if democracy is not worked properly, it can lead to the situation I mentioned. This is one of the greatest dangers facing this country at present. There must be checks and there must be balances. They are essential in the Army, in the police and in the judiciary. This is one of the fundamentals of a democracy. The Government have been in power for a continuous run of 16 years and, again, for the last 12 years.

This is bad for democracy and people outside should remember that to safeguard this democracy, to safeguard this House, to safeguard the institutions of this country they will have to have a change of Government. They will be offered an alternative Government and, in their own interests, in order to prevent situations like this recurring, they should make certain that they change the Government.

I believe the only way we can ever hope to bring in our fellow countrymen in the North of Ireland is by the example we show them of living in peace with our neighbours, whether they are Catholic or Protestant, rich or poor, old or young. We must all live together; we must all work together for the good of one another and for the good of Ireland. With examples like that I feel we can become a 32-county Ireland, an Ireland which will be held in respect, an Ireland which will be able to look to the world with dignity as a complete unit. I believe this can happen if we make the most of our democratic institutions.

Dr. Byrne: I would like, speaking on this motion, to refer to the resignation which has caused one of the vacancies in the Cabinet. On the 5th of this month at 4 o'clock the Taoiseach stated:

Deputy Michael Moran yesterday tendered his resignation to me as a member of the Government.

Yesterday morning we heard Deputy Boland in this House contradict this statement. We heard him say that this [1084] resignation had been called for. The Taoiseach denied this when Deputy M. P. Murphy of the Labour Party asked: “Was the resignation asked for?” The Taoiseach in reply said: “The resignation was tendered.” This is at Vol. 246, column 519, of the Official Report for Tuesday 5th May, 1970. This is the first appearance of a crack in Fianna Fáil and it is the first appearance of a crack in the Taoiseach. At column 519 Deputy Cosgrave asked the Taoiseach: “Can the Taoiseach say if this is the only ministerial resignation we can expect?” and the Taoiseach replied: “I do not know what the Deputy is referring to.”

Mr. B. Lenihan: We heard this ten times before. Have you all got a prepared script?

Mr. P. O'Donnell: You will hear it many times.

Dr. Byrne: Deputy Cosgrave then asked: “Is it only the tip of the iceberg?” The Taoiseach, quite innocently asked: “Would the Deputy like to enlarge on what he has in mind?” He then assured us all he was in complete control of whatever situation might arise.

Mr. B. Lenihan: We have heard that before.

Mr. O'Higgins: I know it is very hard for the Minister to stay awake but he should not do it by interruption.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Byrne should be allowed to make his speech.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Dr. Byrne: The Taoiseach asked Deputy Cosgrave to enlarge on what he had in mind and enlarge he did. At eight o'clock that night Deputy Cosgrave went to see the Taoiseach and approximately within an hour of leaving him the Taoiseach had sacked two high-ranking Ministers and had the resignation of a third high-ranking Minister. The Taoiseach had got to take those steps because of the allegation and the prima facie case which he [1085] said he had that those Ministers were involved in unlawfully importing arms.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Is it in order for the Deputy to read out something like this?

Mr. O'Higgins: The Minister is interrupting to keep himself awake.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Dr. Byrne is entitled to refer to his notes.

Mr. B. Lenihan: He is reading out a prepared script. I would suspect it is Deputy Garret FitzGerald's.

Dr. Byrne: This was not the end for quite soon afterwards we had the resignation of a Parliamentary Secretary. In the meantime, since we started to debate this motion, further cracks and crevices have appeared in the Fianna Fáil Party. An Army captain has alleged that the then Minister for Defence was involved in some way in this subversive activity and has stated to the press that he informed Deputy J. Gibbons of all his activities. When will this resignation come? When will it be handed in? Will it be handed in like Deputy Moran's resignation was handed in? What can we believe from what is being said over there? It is in black and white in the Official Report of the 5th of this month, it is contradicted on the 6th and now again on the 8th we have further contradictions. This is coming from supposedly reputable people on the far side of the House and coming from the Taoiseach. Yet the Taoiseach still accepts the support of people he does not think are of high enough calibre at present to be members of his Cabinet.

The Taoiseach has kept those people in his party and he has kept them on his back benches, where they are paid their ex-Cabinet Ministers' pensions and also their salaries as Deputies. They are still being paid by the taxpayers even though they are not good enough, even though they are so bad they had to be sacked. The Taoiseach insists that he remain in office, and that his Government remain, with the votes of those men and their associates in the Fianna Fáil Party. The money for the guns was meant to come from [1086] the taxpayers' money. We witnessed Deputy Blaney yesterday in the House making——

Mr. Carter: Has the Deputy any evidence? That is a serious charge.

Mr. B. Lenihan: The Deputy does not know what he is talking about.

Mr. O'Higgins: The Minister was asleep all night. Will he whist now?

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

Dr. Byrne: Deputy Blaney went around the country, following the events of last August, making speeches promoting the use of force, purporting to support the use of force for solving the problems in Northern Ireland. The Taoiseach at one time in his life was a sportsman and distinguished himself on the playing field. I can remember in 1967 when James Dillon, the previous leader of our party, was on a television programme, a self-portrait, and he was asked what advice he would give to young people who were going to enter politics. He said: “Beware of entering politics lest your soul shall be damned”. I feel this would now apply to the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach has allowed his soul to become damned in this matter. The Taoiseach is ignoring the will of the people. He is bringing back on to the pitch players who have already been thrown off. He has no mandate from the people to do this. The Taoiseach is allowing the disqualified men to fight on. He has disqualified the boxer and he is now letting him back into the ring. He has given him a platform. The Taoiseach by his action in staying in power, with the support of the men he has kicked from his Cabinet, is kicking the Irish people when they are on the ground. I would like to know what action, if any, the Taoiseach would have taken had he thought nobody else in this House was aware of the activities of certain members of his Cabinet.

As late as four o'clock on 5th May the Taoiseach stated that he was in full control of the situation and was not expecting any more resignations. [1087] Yet at ten p.m. that night three Ministers had been removed from the Cabinet. Would these men still be in the Cabinet had the Taoiseach not been made aware that others knew what was happening? The Taoiseach has given top priority to loyalty to Fianna Fáil when he should be loyal to the country. He should go to the country and ask the people what they want him to do. Our leader, Deputy Cosgrave, is and always has been loyal to this country as was his father before him. He is the greatest statesman this country has and he has proved it by the way in which he has handled this delicate affair.

The Taoiseach as a sportsman knows that there comes a time in every fighter's career when he must lose. In my opinion the Taoiseach is no longer a sportsman, he is a bad loser. He will not go and seek his new mandate from the country, which is now essential in order to continue the democratic procedure necessary to maintain the institutions of this country. He should resign and call a general election. When he loses the election he should ensure that Fianna Fáil do not come back into the Opposition benches as they first came into this House in 1927. They should come in to present a formidable Opposition and thereby contribute to the good Government of the Fine Gael Party.

We must remember what has happened to the country under Fianna Fáil rule. In 1932 when Mr. W.T. Cosgrave handed over Government to Fianna Fáil he handed with it a loyal Army, a loyal Civil Service and a loyal Garda force——

Mr. J. Lenehan: It was more than you handed over; you had no money.

Dr. Byrne: ——all of whom were fully prepared to serve whatever Government was elected by the people. It was the insane economic measures adopted by Fianna Fáil which, in 1932, caused our exports to drop from £36 million to £18 million in 1938. This is something from which the country has never recovered. It was the time of the introduction of the dole [1088] and free beef and the small farmer never recovered his independence.

Mr. Foley: It is early in the morning to tell fairy stories. Tell us about loyalty to the British Army.

Mr. Creed: Do not get annoyed.

(Interruptions.)

Dr. Byrne: What is Deputy Cosgrave going to get back from Fianna Fáil? He is going to get an Army demoralised by recent events and by maladministration in the past five years. He is going to get an Army which has been completly run down and whose Minister has been accused by one of the Army captains of being a participant in this plot to bring guns into the country.

Mr. J. Lenehan: We are well able for you.

Mr. M. O'Leary: So this is what Fianna Fáil are like early in the morning.

Dr. Byrne: We will get a Navy without any ships which will be very convenient indeed for the smuggling of arms to this country. We are going to inherit an economy which is in a disastrous state. Let us look at the Army. The Taoiseach has appointed a Parliamentary Secretary to try to make some attempt to clear up the mess into which the Army has fallen. There is no confidence whatever in the administration of the armed forces. During the year I pointed out certain deficiencies that existed in the equipment available to the armed forces. They were supplied with 16 armoured cars and yet the shells supplied for these cars misfired two out of three times because they were mortar shells and the Army could not get the Government to purchase the proper shells. As a result the armoured cars are practically useless. I pointed out these defects last year and I said that the number of troops our Army can actually put into the field is less than 1,000——

Mr. J. Lenehan: Nobody needs you.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Do not be rattled by the sage from County Mayo. Make [1089] your case, we have plenty of time. There will be new incidents every hour during the day.

Dr. Byrne: It is quite possible to allege that the Army, Air Force and Navy have been allowed to be run down deliberately. The morale of the Army is a its lowest ebb due to the bad housing and service conditions in which the troops find themselves at the moment. With the permission of the Taoiseach we have troops serving side-by-side with the British Army in Cyprus. If we are going to accept the position that the British are capable of keeping the peace in Cyprus, are we not going to accept that they are in a position to keep the peace in the North? If we do not accept that there is no point in having our troops in Cyprus. When the troubles started in the North of Ireland last August it appeared to me that we should have sent for these men and brought them back here. I do not know why they were not recalled.

I am in full sympathy with fellow republicans and I could understand the tremendous upset which occurred last August when people were being shot down and attacked in the Bogside. But, if anything was to be done about it as regards Army intervention, then was the time to do it and not now. The situation which exists in the North of Ireland now is completely different from what it was last August. There is now a completely different arrangement there. Our people were then attacked by the B Specials and by the extreme Protestants. Now the B Specials have gone and the extreme Protestants are kept away by the British Army regiments. The Catholics up there have some defence and are permitted to join the new Ulster Defence Regiment. It is either one thing or the other: either accept the British as a responsible peace-keeping force as we appear to do by our action in sending our troops out to keep the peace with them, or else do not accept them in Cyprus. However, it is a contradiction to say these men cannot be accepted as keeping the peace in the north while our Army serves with them in Cyprus.

Deputy Blaney made a heart-rending [1090] and inflammatory speech here. One has great sympathy with him because he holds his republican views very strongly but obviously the road to hell has been paved with good intentions. We all felt great sorrow and wanted to do something last August, but what could we do apart from diplomatic negotiations and what the Minister for External Affairs did at that time? It appears as if it was working out fairly well. Now we have brought on a position similar to that which existed here in the Thirties. We have now replaced the arch-Republican de Valera with Blaney in a small part, and in the north instead of Brookborough they have Paisley, once again in a minority, but even though a minority very dangerous to the lives of people both north and south of the Border.

I was speaking recently to an MP from Stormont who tells me that the activities of members of the Taoiseach's Cabinet of recent days has really polarised these extreme groups and has set back for many years the progress that had been made in the North of Ireland negotiations for reunification. The credibility gap between what the Taoiseach says and what is actually true appears to be increasing rather than decreasing.

It is easier to get guns into Ireland at the present time than it was a short time ago to get food and medicines into Biafra. I have no evidence of this but it appears that one of the small airports in Ireland has been used over the past six months by small aircraft for gun running from the Continent.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Which airport?

Mr. M. O'Leary: There is a great lack of Fianna Fáil defenders in speeches but plenty of interrupters.

A Deputy: Which airport?

Dr. Byrne: In Kerry. It is not a question of whether guns have come into this country but how many. Is the Taoiseach prepared to tell this House how many guns have come in here?

The position the Garda Síochána find themselves in at present is an unenviable [1091] one. They have just lost their Minister for Justice. It was reported he tendered his resignation but it appears the portfolio was taken from him. I spoke recently to a senior member of the Garda Síochána who had resigned and he pointed out to me that when he joined the force first they used to look round and say: “What more can we do for the building up of the State? What way can we help?” He resigned in disgust over political interference in the Garda Síochána. Many gardaí have gone to the stage where they realise what has been going on. They have had their ear to the ground and realise that while they may have had a little bit of proof it did not get very far. They have lost all confidence in the Government.

I wish to refer to Deputy Childers's appearance on television on Wednesday last. He said there was no split or division in Fianna Fáil. Yet Deputy Kevin Boland received tumultuous applause from the backbenchers in the Fianna Fáil Party following his statement in which he referred to the Taoiseach's dismissal of Deputy Moran and in which he referred to the Gestapo-like handling of the situation and the extreme surveillance which had been exercised by the Taoiseach over his Cabinet. It is very obvious that not only is there a split but quite a big crack and it is only a matter of hours before this crack widens. Deputy Childers referred to the magnificence of the Fianna Fáil Party and the fact that it could purge itself and how tragic it was it had not purged itself more often in the past. I agree with him on the second part of his statement that it was a pity it had not been purged more often. However, would the Taoiseach have carried out the purge this time but for the fact that he was aware other people knew of the allegations which had been made? This is the biggest point in this whole matter of the resignations. Would these men still be in the Cabinet but for the fact that the Taoiseach was made aware of the situation approximately six hours after he had stated in this House on three separate occasions that there was nothing whatsoever to be worried about, that he did not know [1092] what Deputy Cosgrave was referring to, that he had complete control over whatever situation might arise? This is the biggest credibility gap that could possibly have occurred, that within six hours of his making this statement three Ministers should go from his Cabinet.

What purge has the Taoiseach carried out? He is still sitting over there. His party is still attempting to run the country. The members he has thrown out of his Cabinet for subversive activities are still members of his party and are supporting him to keep him and his party on that side of the House. I would expect them to resign from the House.

Dr. O'Connell: There will be a new Taoiseach. That is the next move— the week-end move.

Dr. Byrne: Is this an honest approach?

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy in possession.

Dr. Byrne: The credibility gap which Fianna Fáil has presented to the country over the past number of years has been increasing of recent years and there is now a fantasic credibility gap. We on this side of the House just do not know what to believe. We do not know when we are being told the truth.

Mr. M. O'Leary: That feeling is shared by the other side as well.

Dr. Byrne: It appears as if the attitude is to put the Fianna Fáil Party before everything else, to put forward this cloak of unity, to put forward the Fianna Fáil Party before the people, before the welfare of the State. This is not honest. Anyone who is labelled with the tag “honest” for supporting this or initiating it is certainly not being honest with himself. We have known for some time the open declarations made by Fianna Fáil that political jobbery is a necessary evil. We know why Fianna Fáil are in power, why they are over there. It is not because of their policies on economic [1093] expansion, of education or external affairs. It is because of the fact that so many people—I know many of them— are receiving certain special attention in their different walks of life. It is obviously an open policy with Fianna Fáil. It is not a policy that deserves any credit. It is one thing to do it; it is another thing to come out and say you are doing it. It shows the contempt they have for the Irish people.

I remember recently in the Dublin South-West by-election being outside a church when a Fianna Fáil man was speaking and his contribution was that the great advantage of having the Fianna Fáil candidate elected was that he would be able to get the Minister to do whatever one requested him to do, whereas the other fellow would not.

(Interruptions.)

Dr. Byrne: Can Fianna Fáil, in all honesty, claim to be the government of the people at the present time? Do they feel that the people have any confidence left in their party to govern the country? Can they really say in all honesty that now or at any stage they have been a government of the people? In the 1965 election they had 500,000 votes against approximately 600,000 and in the 1970 election they had approximately 600,000 against a combined 700,000 for the Opposition parties. Yet, the Taoiseach, Deputy Lynch, will say that he represents the majority of the people and he does not.

The Taoiseach: Is the Deputy talking in favour of the straight vote now?

Dr. Byrne: The Taoiseach is sitting over there because of gerrymandering, misrepresentation and personation.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is a Deputy addressing the House.

Dr. Byrne: The Fianna Fáil Party are not giving government by the people or for the people. Down the years that party have shown that it is for themselves and their supporters. The distress which has been evident over a period has now come to a head. The [1094] one ting that the Fianna Fáil Party can say about themselves as regards integration with the Unionist Government in the North is that they can gerrymander, misrepresent and personate every bit as well as the North of Ireland and that is what has them over there but they will not be there again.

We should like to know how the Fianna Fáil Government in 1965 could by some wave of a magic wand open up all the mental hospitals in Ireland and allow the patients out to vote and yet deny the vote to the 18 years olds, the people that they have recruited for the Army, who pay taxes to the Exchequer. They will not even consider giving them the vote because of some fear for survival. They will not spread the voting. We in Fine Gael have called for this. It is a progressive step. We fully support this and would like to see this change made in the Constitution. Our 18 year olds have gone to the Congo and Cyprus. Some of them have died in Cyprus. They should certainly have some say in the running of the country. This has been denied them because of the intense will and desire of Fianna Fáil to hold on to what they have. I do not think that Fianna Fáil particularly want to hold on to what they have now because they certainly have not very much. It is safe to say that the country is not left very much at present. This country is the laughing stock of the world. The eyes of many countries are centred on this Parliament. We are the laughing stock of Europe. How can we negotiate for membership of the European Economic Community when members of our own Government have been sacked because the Taoiseach felt he had sufficient information to indicate that they were participating in importing arms into this country for alleged use against the forces of authority in the North of Ireland? What kind of reputation are we going to bring in with us? What kind of heritage are Fianna Fáil going to hand over to Fine Gael when we take over government in a very short time?

It is quite clear that there is now grave doubt as to whether the Taoiseach would have taken any action were it not for the fact that he was made aware that other people had [1095] authoritative information on this whole matter. There is a possibility that these gun-running activities would still be going on and would have been covered up were it not for the fact that other people saw fit to raise this very serious matter. Possibly there were two investigations carried out by the Taoiseach, one to discover how much had gone wrong and another to discover if it could be covered up and how much others knew. You cannot have it both ways. The situation blew up and Fianna Fáil can count themselves extremely fortunate that the leader of the Fine Gael Party——

[Interruptions.]

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair has repeatedly said that it will not tolerate interruptions. The Chair's job is being made very difficult by this constant spate of interruptions.

Dr. Byrne: There was no effort on the part of our Leader to gain any political kudos whatsoever from this.

Mr. Andrews: A lot of hypocrites.

Mr. Harte: On a point of order. Is it in order for Deputy Andrews to refer to the Leader of the Fine Gael Party as a hypocrite?

Mr. Andrews: I did not use the word “hypocrite”. I used the word “hypocrites”.

Mr. Harte: Is it in order for Deputy Andrews to refer to the members of other political parties as hypocrites?

A Deputy: On a point of order. Is it in order for Deputy Harte to speak from the passageway?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is not a point of order.

Dr. Byrne: We are prepared to take over and govern this country. Why will the Taoiseach not go to the country? Because he is afraid. We have had the recent commemoration of the 1916 patriots. It is rather bizarre to find them also commemorated in these monstrosities up in Ballymun. The blocks are named after the 1916 [1096] patriots. All these monstrosities have done is to foment hatred in the people living in Ballymun. They are called after patriots who should be revered by some proper monument, not by these monstrosities. I cannot see how a competent Minister could have sanctioned the building of these hideous flats. We know now, of course, that he was not attending to his job. The people who are living in Ballymun are utterly dissatisfied; it is called “Blaney Heights”.

We, in Fine Gael, are quite prepared to take over the running of this country. It was our party founded the State and built up the economy of the State. Very little improvement has been made since Fianna Fáil took over in 1932. In fact, the country was driven close to bankruptcy, with exports dropping from £36 million to £18 million inside five years. The country is still trying to recover from that misguided economic policy. Part of that policy was alleged to be getting rid of the British landlords. What do we find today? We find the foreign-based development combines coming in here buying up our land. The landlords we got rid of in 1932 are now coming back in droves, taking over all the prime development sites and charging fantastic rents, mainly to Government Departments, and vast quantities of money are leaving the country.

This party has the tradition behind it of having handed over in 1932 to Fianna Fáil a country with a healthy economy. We will get back very little from Fianna Fáil. There can be no doubt about the integrity of this party or the reason why Fine Gael want to get into office; they want to rectify some of the grave social evils which have grown under the Fianna Fáil administration. We have the necessary endurance and honesty.

We have heard very little about the cache of ammunition found under one of Dublin's canal bridges some time ago. I never saw any further mention of the large cache of machine guns found in the North Brunswick Street area in 1967. All these things together give rise to suspicion. But there is no need for suspicion: we know what is happening now. How long has it gone on? How many men are armed? Is [1097] the present system of administration safe?

When we were in government we set up State boards and companies and if the Government had representation on them we ensured it was minority representation, the exact opposite of what Fianna Fáil do. They load their members on to such concerns. This was very much apparent when the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Deputy Blaney, was setting up the agricultural board.

Either the Tánaiste or the Taoiseach, I think, said that the only party capable of administering law and order was Fianna Fáil. What law and order have we? We have numerous bank raids, armed bank raids in daylight. We had a series of farmers' marches and sit-downs in Dublin. We have the cement strike at present and anybody who visits my constituency will be sure to see a very large protest walk because they are continually walking for some injustice or other. It might help Deputy Burke to join these walkers; he might shed a little weight. These people were driven into the gallery here one day on Deputy Burke's invitation. They kicked up a row and had to be removed. I believe it was the first time in 35 years that this happened.

Mr. Foley: Was the Deputy responsible for them?

Dr. Byrne: It was Deputy Burke who issued the invitation.

Mr. Foley: Deputy Burke will show in the next election how well he represents his area.

Dr. Byrne: I am sure he will. It is not my area. Even though it appears that Ballymun town should be in one constituency it is divided among three. Charlie has a slice. P.J.'s parish goes into it and Deputy Tunney has part.

(Interruptions.)

Dr. Byrne: We have three common grounds for unity in Ireland of which two are open. These possibilities should be pursued at all costs. Our basic common unity is that of the playing field. This was demonstrated quite recently when the Irish rugby team played [1098] Wales and everybody, north or south of the Border, declared themselves to be Irish. We should encourage sports organisations that do not recognise the Border. Also, at heart every Irishman is a politician and interest in the formation of a common Government or the introduction of a federal system could be promoted.

If members of the Fianna Fáil Party had any self-respect to begin with or have any now left and if the Taoiseach retained any degree of honesty he would immediately go to the country. Because of the lack of confidence all over the country in the Government there is no alternative. The Taoiseach must be aware of this. He makes us suspicious of his motives in political life. We wonder whether he is here to rule for the welfare of his fellow countrymen or for his own welfare. It appears that he is prepared to hold on to power at all costs and swallow any principles he may have had. The events of the past few days leave this very dubious.

Putting a name of two words over 74 or 75 individuals does not necessarily mean they will all pull the same way. We are aware of the big division and difference of ideals existing in the Fianna Fáil Party from the grass roots up to the top and of the disillusionment felt by the rank and file at the last Ard-Fheis. Many of them questioned the validity of the words “Republican Party” appearing on their membership cards. Fianna Fáil cannot go on because, despite their shortcomings there are men in its ranks who are honest and will, perhaps, insist on going to the country for the great mandate they say they have from the people. I know they have not got it at present. They know in their hearts that they have not got it.

They can best be called an imposter Government, a party of imposters. To have any right to sit in government after the events of the past few days, after dragging the country through the mud and making it the laughing stock of the western world, they should go back to seek a mandate from the people.

Mr. Moore: I had not intended to [1099] speak but I have gone through Purgatory listening to seven consecutive Fine Gael speakers and from each one we had a eulogy of the Leader. I do not object to that because I think their Leader is held in high esteem by most of us at least on this side of the House. Listening to the eulogies, I recalled the statement a few months ago by Deputy Ryan when he prophesied that the Leader would be knifed in 1971.

All the prepared scripts given to members of Fine Gael—although I am told the previous speaker did not take a prepared script and, having listened to him, I am inclined to believe that— stressed the responsibility shown by that party, and especially by their Leader, in handling this matter. It was stressed so much that one came to the conclusion that responsibility was not the Fine Gael Party's strongest point and that on this rare occasion they acted responsibly. They certainly never stopped preaching about it.

I listened to practically every speaker. I do not think the motion to appoint the three new members of the Government was mentioned by two of them. They went on their very hypocritical way and shed many crocodile tears about the state of the country and the economy in general. All the time they used this to blacken the Fianna Fáil Party as much as possible.

Dr. O'Connell: They blackened it themselves.

Mr. Moore: This party have not been blackened in any way. I have not been here for a long time but, during the years I have been here, I have heard Fine Gael and Labour speakers prophesying: “You will go the next time.” There was one doctor who was not a member of the Labour Party, strange as that seems, a man called Dr. Coue. He believed in auto suggestion. The idea was that you kept saying: “We will win, we will win, we will win.” In that way you convinced yourself you would win. If he were alive today I am sure he would join the Labour Party. This foolish notion that they are serving democracy by their attacks here, when all the [1100] time they are just helping to damage the democratic fabric of this State——

Dr. Byrne: We are waiting for the next resignations.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Moore is in possession.

Mr. Moore: Deputy Byrne knows, just as Deputy O'Leary and other Deputies know, that the last thing the Opposition want is an election.

Dr. Byrne: That is not true. We will take you on tomorrow morning.

Mr. Moore: I personally wish that the Taoiseach would decide on that.

Dr. Byrne: Why not say that to him.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Moore is in possession.

Mr. Moore: The other night when the Fianna Fáil meeting was about to start, some people over there were very worried in case anything would happen at that meeting which might precipitate an election. If you want to attack us, attack us honestly. If you want to criticise us we do not mind, but at least do it honestly. Deputy Byrne gave us all the old clichés. He talked about the credibility gap, but that was not the worst one he used. He talked about the 10,000 homeless families in Dublin. There are not even 10,000 applications for houses or dwellings in the city.

Mr. M. O'Leary: There is no problem.

Dr. O'Connell: The Minister was so busy with other affairs that he would not even prepare a list.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. Moore: The Taoiseach dealt with the whole matter in his speech. Fine Gael speakers said that he would not have acted if their leader had not got this anonymous letter.

Dr. Byrne: We said he might not.

Mr. Moore: I want to ask Deputy [1101] Cosgrave will he let me see the document from which he read the other night.

Dr. Byrne: Why should he?

Mr. Moore: Why should he not? He mentioned it in the House.

[Interruptions.]

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. Moore: Deputy Cosgrave gave the impression that he was speaking from an official document sent to him by some anonymous scribe.

Mr. Crinion: He knows who it came from.

Mr. Moore: That is something else. Perhaps he would disclose to the House who sent it, if he knows.

Dr. Byrne: Why should he?

Mr. Moore: That is only fair. We want to honour this man. This man, acting in a public spirit, sent a letter to Deputy Cosgrave. I am sure he will get the plaudits of the country for his great act.

Mr. M. O'Leary: We know the plaudits he would get from the Deputy's party.

Mr. Moore: We cannot do this unless we know his name.

[Interruptions.]

Mr. Harte: Was Deputy Lenehan not a member of the Blue Shirts when this happened?

Mr. J. Lenehan: I was not. You were not born at that time. You would not be taken into the Blue Shirts as bad as they were.

Mr. O'Higgins: You were.

Mr. J. Lenehan: I was not.

Mr. O'Higgins: Yes you were.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order.

Mr. J. Lenehan: I swear on my oath that I was not.

[1102] Mr. O'Higgins: Yes you were.

Mr. J. Lenehan: I was not. You were in the Four Courts and you were executing people.

Mr. O'Higgins: I am recognising another Blue Shirt.

Mr. J. Lenehan: I was never a Blue Shirt.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair——

Mr. J. Lenehan: I was bad enough but I was never a Blue Shirt in my life.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair is loathe to deprive any Deputy of his opportunity of voting on this motion but, if the Chair is not permitted to conduct the debate or attempt to conduct it, the Chair will ask Deputies to leave the House for the day. The Chair is loathe to do this but he is getting no co-operation. He has repeatedly asked for the co-operation of Deputies and he is not getting it. I will ask Deputies to remember that.

Mr. Moore: A common strain running through the Fine Gael speeches since yesterday morning was the fact that Fianna Fáil were too long in power. They never seem to remember who put the Fianna Fáil Party into power, the people, at every election in 40 years with the exception of two. There is no hope for the Fine Gael Party that the people will make a decision in their favour in the future so the point out of which they are trying to make capital, this incident or the appointment of these Ministers, will not gain them one more vote. They and the Labour Party and ourselves are classed as the Establishment. They are part of the Establishment so they are just injuring the democratic set-up and gaining no kudos for themselves. The two parties might approach this whole matter in a more constructive way.

We had an exhibition from some members of the Labour and Fine Gael parties which would have done credit to the late Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin. I have never seen anything like the witch hunt that went on here. [1103] I saw absolute hate on the faces of Fine Gael speakers when they spoke. There was no charity. I am not asking the Fine Gael Party or the Labour Party to pull their punches when criticising the Government. Let them hit the party but let them not try to bring down democracy also.

This debate has gone on now since 10.30 yesterday morning. Perhaps a better description would be an inquisition rather than a debate. They attributed all kinds of base motives to the Ministers who resigned. Indeed, at about 3 or 4 o'clock this morning a Fine Gael speaker suggested that this had been done for money. I do not know how low some speakers can go. I would ask them to remember that they are members of the national Parliament and to try to maintain some tone and dignity. When the Nazis brought down the German democratic Government they did it just by ridiculing it. After that it was easy.

The Taoiseach has handled the matter with great ability. The men who resigned conducted themselves with great nobility. The Fianna Fáil Party, from the Taoiseach to the newest backbencher, acted with dignity and responsibility in trying to meet this problem. Every Government in the world has and always will have problems. The Government are here to solve these problems. I have no doubt that the Ministers designate will be appointed and that the Fianna Fáil Government will again carry this nation forward, as it has been doing in every year of office.

One of the most maligned men here is the former Minister for Finance, Deputy Charles J. Haughey. He is the man who, in every Budget, gave some extra help to the less well off of our people, to the maimed and the handicapped. Indeed, I got a letter from the Garda Síochána Pension Association; other Deputies may have got such a letter also. It read as follows:

Please convey our thanks to the Minister for Finance

—who was then Deputy Haughey—

At last we have a Minister for [1104] Finance of integrity and ability who saw that these ex-public servants did receive an increase in their pension.

That happened only this year. I am not a physical force man, although I do not rule it out at times. The men who resigned have paid a great price. They have shown they did not just measure politics by the amount of money they got from it. Therefore, let us approach the matter in all charity and try to see the problem as it should be seen. To attempt to make cheap capital out of the present crisis is despicable.

I feel that this episode will be seen in its true perspective after a lapse of time. I feel that then we will understand. There is the old proverb “To know all is to forgive all”.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Is that from some lament?

Dr. Browne: On a tombstone.

Mr. Moore: During the night, Deputy Enright quoted some line from a poem which he said was written by Patrick Pearse. In fact, it was not Pearse who wrote that poem.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Pearse was a Fianna Fáil man.

Mr. Moore: He would have been. All the best people are in Fianna Fáil.

Mr. M. O'Leary: That is my point.

Mr. Moore: Each Member of this House, whether on the Government or on the Opposition Benches, has a duty to approach this whole matter with the sense of responsibility it deserves. I do not intend to deal with the subject in the way some of the Deputies opposite have. An awful lot of harm is done by ridiculous talk about Partition. We, on this side of the House, were not responsible for it. I am not going to go back to civil war days or to the Government of Ireland Act. We have now to face the problem that is with us.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: That is a sensible, practical outlook.

Mr. Moore: We must do whatever we can to remove it——

[1105] Dr. Browne: Gun running.

Mr. Moore: We shall not do it by emotional speeches. The people in the north have suffered for almost 50 years. Therefore, our approach towards the problem should be one of responsibility. If we cannot say anything that will help, then I think we should withhold our comment. I do not claim to have done anything heroic for the north during the last row up there. Perhaps if we paid more attention to the problem, we would come to the solution. It cannot be an easy one. However, I think our national Parliament must give the lead, and that is a matter for all the parties in it. We have an opportunity in this debate to show that Parliament is relevant. Some of the contributions would suggest that some people here think it is not relevant. Bear in mind a former Deputy of this House, Deputy James Dillon, be it said to his credit, always stressed here the importance of Parliament. One of the best speeches I heard from him before he left this House was one in which he mentioned trouble in Europe and here. It was a most responsible contribution. I do not want to think that, with the departure of Deputy Dillon, the Fine Gael Party is now less responsible. However, some of the Fine Gael speeches tonight were absolutely irresponsible. I am told the leading Member prepared scripts for some of the speakers. I would not give such scripts to my worst enemy.

I trust that my short contribution will help. My plea is for a more reasonable attitude to the problem facing the country at the moment. It is the primary duty of the Government to lead and to govern. Democracy will not work unless all the parts in the democratic machine are working, too.

Mr. M. O'Leary: We are to believe that there is no problem in the Fianna Fáil Party on the matter of unity and that yesterday's events were a sort of bad dream. I have never seen so many of them appearing so fit as they appear after the events of the past few days. I can understand the condemned man in the cell having a false gaiety on the morning of his execution. The [1106] gaiety of Fianna Fáil today is of that nature. The attitude is that these events were thought up by television, newspapers, the communications media who have always been against Fianna Fáil and that Fianna Fáil will fiddle away.

We have even had calls for charity. It is a long time since I heard that in this House. It is a welcome and a reasonable approach. We even had Fianna Fáil Deputies asking that there be no witch hunting. They quoted the manuscripts of Senator McCarthy. The kind of unity Fianna Fáil would ask us to accept as existing in their party at present is the kind of unity we have seen in the disputes between the various parts of the various communist parties in Eastern Europe. It is a peculiar analogy in relation to Fianna Fáil in its present crisis. There is unanimity and votes of confidence, but the true position is exposed in this House. All the elements of a Greek tragedy appear in this particular case.

I suppose there is a kind of poetic justice, too, in the fact that Parliament is discussing this national crisis. How often have we had the example in previous years of some of the Ministers who are now no longer in office, as well as other prominent spokesmen of Fianna Fáil, giving important national information at various functions of outside bodies throughout the country? At least we can now say that, during the past 48 hours, this Parliament has reasserted its place as the national forum of debate.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Mr. M. O'Leary: There may be people who will say that this debate shows ragged edges and repetition but let us not fool ourselves because this debate is being closely followed by every man and woman in the country. A national debate is in process and this parliament is in full session exploring and questioning. The people are in touch with every new development in this crisis. There are new developments. There was a new development when Captain Kelly made a statement in relation to his working for the Minister [1107] for Defence. Had the House adjourned yesterday evening that statement would not now be part of the discussion. There may be some fresh developments during this day. The impression that most speakers have got is that we have not yet reached the bottom of this plot.

Some Fianna Fáil people will have us understand that all this is merely a matter of suspicion on the part of the Taoiseach. We had this explanation of the Taoiseach's conduct enunciated by the Minister for External Affairs during a television interview last night. The Minister said that if the Taoiseach had any suspicion of any member of his Cabinet, that member could be got rid of immediately. I am at a loss to understand how the suspicion which resulted in a call for the resignation of two members of the Government cannot now alight on the head of the Minister for Defence, Deputy Gibbons. There appears to be a highly selective principle at work in the manner in which the Taoiseach's suspicions fall on different members of the Cabinet. I can understand the sense of grievance of those members of the Cabinet who have lost their portfolios. I have seen a look of impatience on the faces of the new men whom the Taoiseach has proposed that we appoint. Their seals of office are awaiting them in the Park but there has been a delay and they must endure this interminable talk. With all due respect to them, other matters detain us for the moment and before these new members can go to the Park certain matters must be cleared up. One can understand the feelings of the proposed Minister for Local Government who expressed himself in a vigorous interview yesterday evening, his fair locks blowing, when he said that he is anxious to get down to the challenge of his job.

None of us have any special desire to keep this House in all night session. We do not like the uncomfortable arrangements of the House but because of the importance of the subject matter of this particular debate which is not being held for the sake of argument but because the democratic [1108] institution of this State has been undermined in a way in which it has never been undermined before in the State's history. My principal charge is that if there is any guilty man in this Cabinet, it is the Taoiseach. He is the person who, in reality, is in the dock and not any member of his Cabinet. He is the man who must answer the questions that have been raised during the debate. On Wednesday night we saw the two sides to the Taoiseach. During his opening statement we had a contrite Taoiseach under obvious physical strain, explaining his very carefully prepared case and the reasons for his delay in approaching those members of his Cabinet whom he suspected of being involved in this plot. At the end of the debate we saw the other side to the Taoiseach: we saw the Taoiseach looking at the clock and blaming the shortage of time for his failure to explain and answer adequately the questions raised during the debate.

I do not know whether the Taoiseach is mentally prepared to brazen out the questions raised during this debate or whether in reply to the valid questions raised he will repeat his subterfuge of the other night and again, looking at the clock, refuse to answer questions. It would be most unwise for him to take such a course because the questions that have been raised are not ones that can be blown away. They are too serious for that and too many people are interested in hearing the replies. I would say to any young member of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party that he should use all the influence he can to persuade the Taoiseach to answer the questions because the worries and the puzzlement of the people will not be assuaged by evading these questions.

I say the Taoiseach is the guilty man because he states that until about a fortnight ago he knew nothing of this plot but a report in yesterday's edition of The Guardian suggested that the British Secret Service were in possession of facts in relation to the importation of arms into this country by illegal organisations as far back as seven months ago. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility—in fact it is very probable—that if this were the case, the [1109] British Secret Service must have been in touch with whatever security there is in the State as far back as last autumn.

The Taoiseach must have been aware of gathering rumour in relation to this matter. No facts have been given to us which would connect the ex-Ministers with any such previous attempts but what is clear is that if the Taoiseach considered his information to be such that they must be relieved of their portfolios, these ex-Ministers must have a long acquaintance with organisations involved in such importation. If the Taoiseach makes the point that he did not know the scope and extent of such associations and that he did not know until recently of his Ministers' collusion in such activities, he is incompetent and if, as I suspect, the Taoiseach had reason for suspicion some months ago we are left with the other conclusion, that he acted as a politician putting his leadership of the party above all other considerations. He is a Taoiseach who is obviously, throughout this debate, avoiding the doctrine of Cabinet collective responsibility, one that has always been adhered to in this State by every Cabinet.

From very early in the Taoiseach's public life his style of politics—if one could call it a style—has been a style of declared integrity. No politician in the last 20 years has made his honesty more his trade mark—his integrity, his political honour being the thing that set him apart. In any problem affecting his leadership of this Government, of this House, his concern has always been to prove that his hands were clean, cleaner than anybody else's. That, I submit, has been his one concern throughout this particular event.

I concurred with the general public opinion of the Taoiseach—that he was a decent, honourable man. The general election of 1969 changed my opinion of the Taoiseach. He then used the high place he enjoyed in public opinion to traduce members of my party in scurrilous fashion. He misrepresented and told lies about our policy. He said we wanted to rob money from the banks. He alleged from his high position, suggested, insinuated that we were not [1110] what we purported ourselves and our policies to be. The question could be asked: what do the convents of Ireland think of the Taoiseach now? I submit that he has been in top training in the longest and best-prepared Presidential campaign in the history of this State. I would like to say this to the children's Cabinet, to the young men he has now gathered around him: do not be certain that your turn will not come. He ditched abler men than any of you. He ditched Charlie Haughey. Do not be too certain that your phones will not be tapped. We have the word of Deputy Boland that he has a super-branch of the secret service reporting to him personally. Keep your secret thoughts to yourself because we have also the word of the sacked Ministers that he trusts no man in his Cabinet, that his manner is to tap their telephones, eavesdrop on their conversations, trusting none of them. We know also about his background. It is well known. I do not attack any man's background in this House save when it blends with a matter of public policy. We know and Deputy Boland and Deputy Blaney know that he knew nothing about the older traditions of the Fianna Fáil Party. He had no tradition in the Fianna Fáil Party. He has shown in Government, in his style of Government, that he will not act on major problems facing the nation. His style, in fact, is non-action, taking no decision. His concern at all times is to preserve an impregnable alibi for himself—no action on the Devlin Report, no action on the plans for the decentralisation of Ministries, no action on university restructuring, no action on the grave issue of incomes, no action on the planning of industrial growth areas —all questions affecting one's standing with the public—and, gravest of all in this debate, no action on devising a policy of unity.

He was, if you remember, the reluctant Taoiseach. He did not want the office. All the newspapers knew he did not want the office. He smoked his pipe; he was in no hurry; he had no ambition. The strange thing is that all his opponents of that time, with the exception of Deputy Colley, are now vanquished, lost, gone out of public [1111] life in their role as Ministers. They are still Members of this Parliament but they have lost all official might in that particular party. I said “with the exception of Deputy Colley” and maybe his turn to be pushed will come soon also.

Now since the Taoiseach, in my analysis of the situation, is the man in the dock the way he acts or the way he does not act and the reasons why he does not act, his background, the way he looks, his motivation, is relevant to this debate and as I see it the style of non-action on his part is a snare devised by him to trap any rival in that party. My advice to the new members of this Cabinet is: if you wish to remain on in this Cabinet do not be photographed too often, do not become too popular. I think of his manner yesterday when he was explaining why he did not contact these erring Ministers sooner. He was contrite and he explained how his suspicions gathered force. His sterling honesty was proven in the way in which he gave us date and time. I noticed how shaken he was, how much he rested his case on the health condition of Deputy Haughey. He was so worried, he told us, in case Deputy Haughey's health would be impaired and naturally he, being a considerate Taoiseach, did not wish to impair the health of Deputy Haughey so he did not put these questions to him at that time. We all applauded that decent streak in the Taoiseach. Then in his concluding remark he attempted to trap the Opposition into interruption, attempted to get away on inessentials, attempted to evade the questions raised.

It is fair to say that his sole concern throughout these terrible events has been to maintain his own personal popularity while he plots his own route to the Park. Every decision this Government will take in its remaining days will be subservient to that need of the Taoiseach for permanent popularity at all costs—sedulous fostering of that image of being everyone's uncle. He will play for public sympathy at the expense of decision. He will attempt to nurture something he nurtured before [1112] now—that public sentiment which will say: “Poor Jack, surrounded by all those rough thugs—Blaney, Boland and Haughey”. Where are these formidable men now? No longer Ministers. Poor Jack is still the Taoiseach. In fact he shares a deeper guilt than any of those sacked Ministers because he trapped them, executed them for offending against a policy which allowed for private reservations about the use of force in the north whilst publicly talking peace. That has been the dilemma of Fianna Fáil policy, privately talking war, in public pursuing the ways of peace.

When those Ministers made their first public utterances advocating force in certain unspecified circumstances the Taoiseach in this House defended them saying that this was Fianna Fáil policy also. No wonder they must now feel indignant and outraged. He has done no work, felt no obligation to develop this policy of his on unity. It has been easy for him to suggest that the Fianna Fáil Party are united behind a policy which, in fact, has not been worked out. He has referred vaguely to a federal solution but in answer to questions earlier this year he said no appreciable work had been done on that as yet. He dispatched Deputy Hillery to the United Nations last year on what turned out to be a fool's errand.

I saw one of the new Ministers, Deputy Gerry Collins, on television. He kept repeating with touching faith that the people trusted the Taoiseach, Deputy Jack Lynch. They did to some extent but it is now the duty of every Member of the House to look again at the Taoiseach, to question him closely on those events, and to demand the answers to those questions and not be fobbed off.

The new Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to be must swear their loyalty to the Taoiseach. He evidently likes that. It is true they would not have won the last election but for the high regard he was held in by the people. He did not win that election in any manly fashion. In it he played on fear and he played on the genuine religious beliefs of the majority of our people suggesting that somehow we [1113] here in this party were anti-God. You may say that political argument is selective but I believe the manner in which he conducted that argument was unmanly and a genuine clue to the Taoiseach's character in the way he talks down his enemies, in the way he gets what, in fact, he wants.

I would say, therefore, that the concept of collective Cabinet responsibility is broken in the manner in which Ministers have been sacked and Ministers have been punished. Further punishment may be in store for them but I would say the man who is in reality in the dock, the real culprit in this situation, is the Taoiseach because he refused to develop a policy on the north. When those Ministers came out in public utterances advocating force he suggested that, in fact, was Fianna Fáil policy also. When he saw the signs earlier on of ministerial difference with what he claims to be his policy now he did not correct them and he did not check them. Instead, obviously, all along his deliberate plan appears to have been to execute those men at the first available opportunity. I am not defending the mistakes which those men have made but I consider the guilt of the Taoiseach is far greater.

The Fianna Fáil policy on unity has been a confidence trick from the very start. We had the theatricals of last August; we had that famous television address of the Taoiseach. In diplomatic language to talk of sending troops, even in ambulances, to the Border was a diplomatic way of drawing the sword. We have referred before to this ambivalence in the policy, peace in public, war in private. It is extraordinary when you think of the way this policy has faltered between those two extremes without being resolved in any direction.

We had the long north-south talks which went on under Seán Lemass, the former Taoiseach. The basis on which those talks went on was that areas of contention were to be avoided. In 1967 in this House I spoke about the need for seeking a price for the continuation of those talks because at that time we had the beginning of a general civil rights movement on that side of the Border. At least, during this period when Seán Lemass was [1114] Taoiseach that party over there spoke through one man on this problem of unity and relations with the north. This, of course, is also the de Valera tradition. One man, the Taoiseach, spoke on this particular problem, this national issue. It is only under the present Taoiseach that we have had a deliberate confusion of voices on the north.

It may be that other Ministers have been involved in anti-Fianna Fáil policy, as the Taoiseach understands it, on the northern question. It may be that the Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Dr. Hillery, may have made those mistakes against the party in his meetings with the various groups from the Six County area. It may be that Deputy Dr. Hillery has at various times spoken in two voices to them, repeating the same permitted mistakes. Before this affair comes to a conclusion it may be that the Taoiseach's suspicion will rest on the Minister for External Affairs.

Under his “Taoiseach-ship” he has wilfully permitted confusion on the northern question. Like so many other things he hoped the problem would go away, would disappear, no hard decisions would be taken on it and everybody would be allowed to say his piece. When discrepencies and divisions were pointed out to him in this House he denied any such divisions existed. I do not know what the background to the bargain was that made him Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party originally, whether the bargain made when he became leader was that this freedom would be permitted within his party. I do not know, but it is a freedom which he certainly has profited by because he has been able to trap his enemies, to trap his rivals, when they offended this non-existent policy, which he never developed.

Of course, the Fianna Fáil preoccupation in regard to the northern question has been to present a view that would prove popular in the Twenty-Six Counties. This has been the over-riding factor in all Fianna Fáil approaches to this question. When declaring their sincerity in regard to achieving unity they have in practice been interested merely in winning seats [1115] in this part of the island, in maintaining their control over this part of the island, fanning secret hopes of force and publicly protesting their pursuit of peace. This particular two-way approach, this devious manner of dealing with this important national question meant that they, in fact, for party political purposes continued in this dishonest way to defend and perpetuate their own political fortunes on this side of the Border.

In fact, I would surmise that the secret confidential advice of all Fianna Fáil Ministers or spokesmen to northern exponents of a physical force solution has been to offer hope of help. Their attitude has been “trust us and wait”. We saw some of the spokesmen of the northern groups in Dublin yesterday evening, and there may be more in the next few days, giving their versions of interviews with various Ministers in the last few months. How many Ministers have offended the policy of peace towards the north in these interviews? Dr. Hillery may say that he never met these groups except with the permission of the Taoiseach. However, there may be others who met these groups and who legitimately, as they understood Fianna Fáil policy, offered them solace in their hour of need. Without specifying the circumstances, they certainly fanned their secret hopes that help would be available in large measure from this side of the Border.

The fact that there was no Fianna Fáil policy on the north explains the fear of having a full-scale discussion in this House on the many occasions we asked for such discussion. In the area under his control in the 26 Counties there has been a reluctance on the part of the Taoiseach to reform the laws which were ridiculed and criticised by so many people desiring unity in the north. We had his reluctance to change our Constitution in the areas that northern spokesmen criticised.

His fear of vested interests in the 26 Counties showed his lack of sincerity on this question. We could have gone ahead with plans to reform the area [1116] under our control to make this part of the country less objectionable to certain people in the north but there was a failure to act. There was reluctance to have a Dáil debate last summer and we had to wait until October. The Taoiseach indicated his fear was that the Dáil might lead the nation astray. In the event, it was a mature debate and some of us thought it would be a major influence on informing and educating public opinion on this side of the Border to the realities of the northern situation.

As our spokesmen have made clear, the Taoiseach's fear was that divisions in his own ranks would be exposed. The Taoiseach did not refer to the northern question at great length in his final speech before Christmas. It is good that this Parliament is the centre of this national discussion today. It is poetic justice that the Taoiseach and his Ministers who have often attempted to bypass this Parliament have come home here to explain these great issues of State to the elected Members of this House.

After Christmas last year the Taoiseach gave an interview to Mike Burns. During that season Deputy Blaney had made a speech in Letterkenny on the Northern Ireland question at a gathering commemorating his 21 years in Parliament. I afterwards described it as a meeting of the Letterkenny Parliament. The press spoke about the firmness of the Taoiseach; there was a much publicised firm discussion with Deputy Blaney and in this radio interview the Taoiseach amplified the nature of the discussion. He said: “I had a firm chat with Deputy Blaney.” Deputy Blaney was on the same programme and when the Taoiseach had said this, Deputy Blaney replied that it had been “the shortest firm chat on record” as he claimed it had taken place on the gangway at Question Time. According to Deputy Blaney the Taoiseach said to him: “Do you agree with official Fianna Fáil policy?” Deputy Blaney replied: “Yes” and that was the end of the matter.

The problem of Fianna Fáil policy on unity is that one did not exist. Publically there was a commitment to a peaceful solution and in private [1117] there was this secret conviction that force could be used in certain circumstances. Many other members, apart from the deposed Ministers, may have been guilty of offending this peculiar policy of Fianna Fáil of which only the Taoiseach had the correct interpretation. All the Ministers accepted the policy because there was no policy; the Taoiseach alone knew the secret interpretation of this policy. He allowed these Ministers to advocate force and at this stage when they have now gone over the brink they can feel aggrieved that the Taoiseach did not correct them.

On television yesterday evening John Hume remarked that a policy of reconciliation or unity had not been worked out by this Government. This is a sensitive matter for members of the Fianna Fáil Party because they boasted that they alone understood the national question. That party above all other parties saw its role as being one of bringing about unity. However, the party is now exposed as one without any policy and Ministers are sacked because they have offended against a non-existent policy. The Taoiseach deliberately allowed them to make mistakes and now that those Ministers have gone over the brink he has punished them.

The fact that Fianna Fáil have got away with this double thinking and paucity of policy is due to the nature of the party and their Ard-Fheis. How often have we seen the Ard-Fheis at long weekends, behatted and begloved, the great ones gathering, the rural cumainn meeting together in happy congress for the weekend, the pragmatic party——

Mr. Cunningham: We held only one Ard-Fheis at the weekend.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Oh, yes. You abridged your discussions last year in imitation of ourselves——

Mr. Cunningham: It is for the same length of time but not at the weekend.

Mr. M. O'Leary: That is right. You met in more leisurely days at midweek. At the Ard-Fheis there was no policy discussion; members seemingly [1118] talked about anything they liked. Various Ministers got up at different points and made speeches. The nature of the Fianna Fáil Party seemingly is one in which the Cabinet executive wield all control. The Ard-Fheis boils down to being a public relations exercise——

Mr. Sherwin: There is a clár from different cumainn around the country.

Mr. M. O'Leary: There is no obligation on anyone to take action?

Mr. Sherwin: If passed by the Ard-Fheis, the Government act on it.

Mr. Cunningham: Through the National Executive.

Mr. M. O'Leary: We will probably have time at the Vote of No Confidence next week to go into that matter. However, I have a good idea if I examined your clár for ten years back I would find matters on which no action has been taken.

Mr. Sherwin: What about the socialist Republic?

Mr. M. O'Leary: We will come to that. At least we honestly attempt to promulgate what we think our policy is to our members. There are many divisions and disagreements on the content of that policy. We see here the terrible penalty of being purely a pragmatic party, a “Party of Reality”. Here we have Ministers punished for voting against a policy that nobody understands save the Taoiseach. This is the essence of their tragedy. Their Ministers meeting northern groups tell them they can hope for force to be used. They honestly believe that to be an aspect of Fianna Fáil policy. I heard one of the northern groups saying on television last night he understood this to be the upshot of a conversation he had with the Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Dr. Hillery. However, we shall hear more from other northern groups in the weeks ahead.

There are many similarities between Fianna Fáil and the Unionists. They share the same confusion between country and party. They share the [1119] same intolerance of any opposition. Just as the Unionists consider their loyalty to be beyond reproach Fianna Fáil consider their patriotism beyond reproach.

Let us get down to the problem of Deputy Blaney in particular. Enough attention has been given to these former Ministers, and I would prefer to see this debate concentrate on the position of the Taoiseach. However, Deputy Blaney said he thought his resignation might cause a further explosion and that was his reason for not resigning. He did not specify the explosion, whether it would be in Montrose or Belfast. Deputy Blaney made a sincere speech, according to his lights. It did not contain any reasoning that I could see in the heart of it but there was certainly emotion. What I could not understand is how he could square this emotion and his memories of childhood horror at the hands of Free Staters and other villains with the co-operation and the happy relationship which exists between the Fianna Fáil Party and the Unionist groups on Donegal County Council.

Mr. Cunningham: There is no Unionist group on Donegal County Council.

Mr. M. O'Leary: I know the name they call themselves now.

Mr. Cunningham: They do not call themselves anything.

Mr. M. O'Leary: And very convenient that they do not.

Mr. Cunningham: There are only two, and one belongs to the Fine Gael Party and the other to the Fianna Fáil Party, and there is one Independent. There is no Unionist group by any name.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Not by name. A very happy relationship exists all round the Border areas at county council level with the Fianna Fáil Party.

Mr. Cunningham: The Deputy is caught out. There is no Unionist group in the Donegal County Council.

[1120] Mr. M. O'Leary: I am not caught out. The only thing one could say about Deputy Blaney is that his political growth appears to have been arrested. Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien referred to people's feelings on this matter of unity being based on childhood experience, people who in adult life had not considered this problem afresh, and this apparently is Deputy Blaney's position. Let us recall Deputy Blaney's activities in recent times. In the northern elections he called on nationally-minded people to vote, in effect, Nationalist.

Mr. Cunningham: What did he say?

Mr. M. O'Leary: In effect, to vote Nationalist.

Mr. Cunningham: Those are the Deputy's words.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Let the Deputy look up his actual words.

Mr. Cunningham: The Deputy is making the case, not I.

Mr. M. O'Leary: He has shown by his advice in that ar