Seanad Éireann - Volume 44 - 25 November, 1954

Audience for Six-County Representative—Motion (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:—

That Seanad Éireann requests the Government to initiate proposals for legislation in the Dáil or in the Seanad to provide that all elected parliamentary representatives of the people of the six occupied counties [319] of Ireland will be given a right of audience in the Dáil or in the Seanad or alternatively requests the Government to submit this question for the decision of the Irish people by means of a plebiscite.—Senators McHugh and O'Donnell.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I was making a point yesterday when the House adjourned. I had mentioned and had given examples of discrimination of various kinds in the north and arising out of the consideration of the aim of the motion which I took to be a sincere step towards the abolition of partition, I intervened to examine the situation under Partition in, as I said, a partitioned Ireland.

What I had reached yesterday, in relation to this, was that while in the north of Ireland there were these evidences of discrimination which I mentioned—I need not go into any of that again—there was also another side in the Six Counties of which, on looking at the situation, we ought to take cognisance. That other side I would relate specifically to the social services, the rates of pay, subsidies and so on. The Six County farmer, the Six County unskilled and semi-skilled worker, the Six County teacher, the Six County housewife and the Six County school child all get, in my submission, far more effective and generous aid, Catholic and Protestant alike, than we find possible to give to their brothers and sisters down here.

Now, many members of the House will have read I think, with interest and pleasure, the series of nine articles which appeared in the Irish Times from the 8th November to the 17th November by a very distinguished Irishman, Dr. Duggan.

An Cathaoirleach: Perhaps the Senator would relate this matter that he is dealing with to the motion under discussion.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: My aim is to show that, in aiming at abolishing Partition, we want first of all to know what are the conditions in partitioned Ireland. I want to make the point, when we are asking for the removal of the Border, and asking our friends [320] in the North of Ireland to come down here to give us their views, and giving them audience, that we want to be able to know what is the situation there, what we can offer them, and what sacrifices, if any, we have to ask them to make if, as I take it, the motion is intended as a step towards the abolition of Partition. If its purpose is not such I am afraid I do not quite see the purpose of it at all.

An Cathaoirleach: The Senator will observe that the motion merely asks that the representatives of the people of the Six Counties of Ireland be given the right of audience here.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I realise what it asks, and I am assuming that its purpose is to serve as a step towards the abolition of Partition. I doubt if that contention would be denied either by the proposer or any Senator here. The aim of the motion is to act as a step towards the abolition of the Border.

Mr. Crosbie: Surely if we are going to examine the conditions that exist in the Six Counties of Northern Ireland, are we not going to widen the scope of this debate on a perfectly simple motion out of all knowledge?

An Cathaoirleach: I have no desire to restrict discussion, but I want to suggest to the Senator that it is not in order to discuss the whole history of Partition and the conditions that have been created on both sides of the Border arising out of it. I would refer the Senator to the terms of the motion, and I suggest to him, without making a ruling, that he should keep as close to the terms of the motion as it is possible and reasonable for him to do.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: With respect, I feel that it is impossible to discuss the motion in vacuo, as if it was simply a pious hope, quite unrelated to conditions in Ireland and quite unrelated to what have been the results of Partition, and what has been done here under a free Irish Republican Government and what has been done in the Six Counties as part of the United Kingdom. I shall endeavour, in accordance with your ruling, to [321] point to the relevance of my remarks as shortly as I can. I submit that what I say is not merely broadly and specifically relevant to a consideration of what steps we think would be good to abolish Partition, and to what result we might expect from the passing of this motion to invite Northern representatives down here.

I would remind you that I am, in fact, proposing amendments to the motion to delete the reference to the six occupied counties. I suggest that what I say in relation to what is happening in these counties is entirely relevant. I should like, therefore, to be permitted as briefly as I can, and without discussing every point, to repeat what I have said that to me an examination of the situation North and South is essential if we are going to talk in terms of realism about abolishing Partition, and not merely indulging in a lot of hot air about the situation North and South. The nine articles to which I have referred give a picture of the situation there, a comparative picture. They give a number of details. I am not going to weary the House by going through the whole picture, but a number of significant details I think must be mentioned because they are highly relevant.

It is worth noticing that the tax paid by the individual Northern citizen is £48 per year per head, whereas our citizen is perhaps more fortunate in being taxed to the amount of only £31. That is quite true, but it is true there also that the higher taxation thus collected is an individual contribution to the very wide State services which permit, among other things, contributory old age pensions with no means test plus local assistance to the tune of £4,500,000, as opposed to the comparative figure down here, according to Dr. Duggan, of £2,000,000. This taxation allows for higher children's allowances in the North, considerably higher teachers' salaries and a minimum agricultural wage of £1 a week over the equivalent wage in the Twenty-Six Counties.

An Cathaoirleach: I must bring the Senator back to the motion. There is a net point under discussion which is [322] the question of admitting the elected representatives in the Six Counties to have audience in the Parliament of the Republic. That is the net issue and it is not permissible for any member of the House to wander all over the whole history of Partition.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I am bound, of course, by your ruling, and I should be sorry to place you in the position of ruling out of order any discussion of the facts of Partition, and of forcing me to confine myself to airy nothings about abolishing the Border and of getting everyone into an all-Ireland Republic which was quite empty of significant content. I propose to show that a republic means something to do with the people. It is not an empty shibboleth. It is not just an empty formula. It means something, and is concerned with the living conditions of a country. It seems to me to be a matter of prime importance, if we are to consider the help that might be given to us by inviting the Northern representatives here. It seems to me that to rule out of order any reference which leads or might lead to the issue of such an invitation would be a dangerous ruling, and with respect I would say that I do not think it would be a fair ruling.

An Cathaoirleach: Unless the Senator is able to relate his argument to the issue to be decided in the motion he will not be in order.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I have endeavoured to show that my contention is that if we are to discuss this motion to invite down here representatives of the North, we may legitimately assume —and no one has denied my contention so far—that the purpose of this motion is to act, by this invitation, as a step towards the abolition of Partition.

An Cathaoirleach: That is not stated in the motion.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I grant you, Sir, that it is not stated in the motion, but I am prepared to submit—and I will expect support—that it is quite impossible to state in any motion its full object or its full result. A great deal must be left to common sense.

[323] An Cathaoirleach: Those who have put this motion on the Paper are the judges of what they wanted this House to decide. It is not for any other member of the House to comment on what should be in the motion. The Senator may have his judgment as to what the motion should have contained; it may be different from that of the proposers but we have to take the motion which they have put on the Paper and it is to that motion the Senator must relate his speech—or any other member of the House who may follow him.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I am endeavouring, I think under not entirely easy conditions, to demonstrate to the House reasons why it would seem unreasonable to me to vote against this motion, if it were amended in the way that I am proposing. A Chathaoirligh, when I offer as a reason for supporting such a motion, amended as I propose, and I offer a reason for it, that certain conditions, both North and South, might be changed—you are telling me that any discussion of the result of the passing of this motion which we are supposed to discuss is out of order; and I find, Sir, that it is difficult for me to accept as an intellectual concept, that any argument on my part as to why we should pass this amendment because of certain defects in the motion, is out of order.

I desire, with your permission, to say something about the conditions in the country at the moment, under Partition. We have in the motion the words “six occupied counties of Ireland”. The proposers presumably meant something by “occupied” The six counties referred to, I take it, are the partitioned counties, and if I am to be ruled out of order for discussing what have been the fruits of Partition I would find it very strange indeed. Therefore, A Chathaoirligh, again I say it with respect, I should like to be permitted, as briefly as I can, to survey the situation produced by the fact of the partitioned six-county area, from which we are asked in this motion to invite representatives to come down to our Parliament.

The fact is that since the division which has produced the State which is [324] referred to in various terms, the Six County area, the Partition area, there have been produced certain conditions which would be affected, I suggest, by the granting by us of the right of audience to representatives of the people of those areas, representatives so selected by the people of those areas by the electoral system obtaining in those areas, those people being presumably familiar with the conditions in those areas and being invited to audience in this House for the purpose of giving us counsel and advice in relation to those conditions. I think it would be a good thing, for many reasons, if we could get a good representative cross-section of opinion in those Six Counties to come down here, in order that they might tell us something of conditions in the North. In speaking yesterday I referred to discriminations which exist in the North and quite rightly the Leas-Chathaoirleach, who was in the Chair, did not rule me out of order at all for referring to what you might call the black side of the picture; and I think it would be rather regrettable if I were to be ruled out of order now for trying to portray the bright side of the picture.

An Cathaoirleach: The Senator will not be ruled out of order if he is able to relate his argument to the motion. However, he must do that.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: If we invite these people down here they will be able to give us their counsel and advice. They will be able to tell us about the conditions there, the conditions of elections, the system of representation and so on, conditions such as I have been mentioning, the social conditions in the North, about which we can best learn from men and women whom the people of the Six Counties have duly elected as their representatives. They will be able to tell us and perhaps explain to us, if they come down here, if we grant them right of audience, that although the unemployment percentages in the two parts of the country are about the same, it is possible—for reasons which they should be able to explain to us; I hope they will—for the North to have paid out in 1952 £1,700,000 whereas we [325] in the South with a similar percentage of unemployed paid out £1,000,000.

I suggest that another thing upon which they could make useful comment, were they to come down here, would be the fact that, very oddly as it seems to me, the northern step-by-step policy with Britain has made it into what has recently been called by Dr. Duggan “the more socialist and more agriculturally subsidised Northern State.” We in this part of the country are essentially an agricultural people, yet the industrial North—and I think it is a matter upon which the representatives of the North could give us most useful information and advice—which employs on the land—in agriculture—only 101,000 people, as compared with 441,000 people on the land in the Twenty-Six Counties, is able to have an agricultural production which, proportionately, leaves our agricultural production far behind.

Mr. Crosbie: Would it not be more appropriate for the Senator to wait until if and when there are representatives in this House or some other House of this Parliament, to allow them to give us a survey of economic and social conditions in that part of Ireland, rather than that he should take it upon himself to lecture this House on the conditions up there?

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: It is suggested that we should first decide to give audience to the representatives from the North, and only later, when they come down here, wonder what use it might be for them to come here. Senator Crosbie is asking us to make the decision in the void, with nothing in our minds as to what they might tell us or what they might explain, but simply to extend the invitation.

Mr. Crosbie: I would like them to tell us. I do not want to be told by Senator Skeffington.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: We are asked to grant a right of audience, in the terms of the motion, to the representatives of the people of the Six Counties. Senator Crosbie feels he does not want to know anything of the [326] conditions or problems they might be able to give us information about. I consider it highly relevant to our decision on this motion that we should take into account, as far as we can, certain facts upon which they have information. I am not presuming to lecture the House, in the term used by Senator Crosbie, but there are certain facts about which they have information, and upon which we have a certain amount of information and I submit it would be highly valuable if we could ask amplifying information from them, if and when we give them audience in this House.

There are certain features of the situation there, upon which their personal experience would be of value to us. I think that in granting them audience we ought to have in mind the fact that they will have certain knowledge which it would be useful for us to know. Therefore, I should like to submit for the consideration of the House the sort of thing that I think would result from inviting such representatives here and the sort of know ledge they must have.

I want to put that before the House because it is obviously a vitally important matter for us to be aware of what knowledge and experience these men and women can place before us, if we are to invite them down here and give them the right of audience. As I say, in relation to certain achievements in the North, we would like to know how it is done. I am not telling the Seanad how it is done. I simply say that in the industrial North I notice, from the comparative figures, they have a better agricultural system of production than we have. There may be a number of reasons for that. I suggest that the best way for us to find out is not to ask me, but to ask representatives from the North. That seems to me to be one factor to be considered before we decide whether or not it is worth while giving them the right of audience.

Again, a matter upon which I should like to question them, and hear their views, would be the matter of education. We know that in England to-day some 80 per cent. of all the children get some kind of secondary schooling, whereas in Northern Ireland it is found [327] possible to give similar schooling to only 27 per cent. of all children. I should like some explanation of that from Northern representatives, bearing in mind, of course, that with us, this is made possible for only 20 per cent. of the children.

I should like to know from them also how it is that they succeed in the North to-day, under various disabilities, in spending on primary education for instance in the Six Counties £7,250,000 from State funds plus £2,500,000 from local rates, making a total of £9,750,000—almost £10,000,000 on 192,000 children in the Six Counties of primary school age. How is it that they succeed in spending nearly £10,000,000——

Mr. Hawkins: On a point of order I do not like interfering at this stage but I would suggest to the Chairman that the terms of the motion are being unduly widened. The motion before the House is a simple question as to whether this House in its wisdom would grant right of audience to representatives of the Six Counties. I think the Senator has already got very wide scope from the Chair. I would ask the Chair to direct the attention of the speaker to the terms of the motion.

An Cathaoirleach: I feel that if Senator Sheehy Skeffington exercises his high intelligence, he will appreciate the fact that he has had considerable liberty up to the moment. If I were to permit each member of the House to discuss this motion from his point of view, as the Senator claims the right to do, there would be just no end to it. The Senator must realise the difficulty of the Chair. I have no desire to restrict the Senator, but he must realise that a moment will come when I shall have to indicate that he is not in order and must discontinue.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Thank you. I do not propose, in fact, to mention more than one more point before turning away from the picture of the Six Counties as they are to-day. It is a matter upon which we would get information from the Northern representatives if we invite them.

[328] Professor Hayes: The Chair has specifically ruled that the Senator is not in order. Is he not, in fact, flagrantly disobeying the Chair by a well-known debating society trick where when you want to be irrelevant you couple the irrelevancy with words taken from the motion? I have not intervened before this but the Senator was treated both last night and to-day with extreme patience. He now persists in saying that he is going on to talk about certain conditions. He must either come to the motion as the Chair has ruled or sit down.

An Cathaoirleach: He must.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Do I take it that you are refusing me the right to refer further to conditions obtaining in the Six Counties mentioned specifically in the motion?

Professor Hayes: No Senator in this House has the right to say to the Chairman: “Are you refusing me my rights?” If the Chair rules he is not relevant, then the Senator has no right to be irrelevant in the judgment of the Chair. The terms in which the Senator is putting up his point to the Chair are insolent and should not be tolerated by the House. The Senator has got enormous scope for what is a debating society point and he should not be allowed to say to the Chair that the Chair is curtailing his rights. The Chair is doing no such thing—quite the reverse.

An Cathaoirleach: If the Senator relates his argument to the motion, he is at liberty to continue but if he does not relate it to the terms of the motion, in the narrow sense of the motion, he is not in order and I, accordingly, so rule.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I accept unreservedly your ruling and if there has been anything of insolence in my talk, as suggested by Senator Hayes, I am quite unaware of it and I apologise quite unreservedly for it. I may have used the term “right” but the question I put in fact was: “Are you ruling that I shall not have a right to——”. I did [329] not say: “Are you ruling against my rights?”.

An Cathaoirleach: The Senator will continue his speech and if not——

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: With respect, I think, perhaps, I might be allowed to finish my point of explanation. It was not my intention to be insolent to the Seanad.

An Cathaoirleach: The Chair has already indicated to the Senator the course it would desire him to pursue. I hope the Senator will observe the viewpoint of the Chair otherwise there is just one decision for the Chair to make.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I was precisely in the process of accepting the ruling when the Chair felt it necessary to make it clearer to me. I accept unreservedly the Chair's ruling. I wanted to dispel any notion Senators might have that I was not accepting it. The Chair has ruled—and I accept it—that any reference to the conditions of life of the people is not relevant to this motion. Consequently, I shall omit quite an amount, on the Chair's ruling, of the case I was going to make for the value of giving right of audience to the representatives of the Six Counties. I am submitting to the Chair's ruling on that point.

I do believe that the considerations of this nature, to which I shall not refer again, those that I have been speaking about, must force us to decide in inviting in those representatives how best in the circumstances we can cope with them for the reunification of Ireland which I would take to be the main purpose of this motion. We must face the question, I suggest, as to what we have to offer them and as to whether we want them to lower their standards or perhaps decide that we might ourselves do better immediately, and as soon as possible raise our own standards.

Furthermore, I was allowed yesterday to refer to the fact that there is discrimination in the North and I do not think that while we recognise that fact, and say it fearlessly, we should fail to recognise that we have certain discriminations here. We have legislation [330] of a certain kind based on the teaching of one Church——

An Cathaoirleach: This is not in order. If the Senator is unable to continue his speech based on the motion, the Senator must resume his seat.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I will then turn from that matter, since it is ruled out in relation to the South, though I was allowed to make the point in relation to the North.

Professor Hayes: May I again refer, Sir, to the Senator's insolence to the Chair? He was treated with great latitude yesterday, and he has abused the latitude which he was given in this House by now saying that he was allowed to deal with discrimination in the North but not allowed to deal with it in the South. It is really disgraceful insolence towards the Chair, when he is being given every accommodation which can be given to a new member. I think this is disgraceful conduct on the part of the Senator.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I know these matters have been ruled on, and I will now turn to the three remedies.

An Cathaoirleach: The Senator must accept the ruling of the Chair and if the Chair has to call the Senator to order again I will do so by asking him to resume his seat.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I would like, a Chathaoirligh, to continue this speech and I appreciate that it is your duty to interpret the order of the House, and that it is for us to accept in an unqualified manner your ruling on any matter.

I may say that I accept your ruling, and now I want to say something about the resort to force for the ending of Partition. The matter was fully discussed in Dáil Éireann on what was an almost precisely identical motion to that now before the House, and I find a difficulty in that I do not want to be ruled out of order in view of the fact that I have been given a warning by the Chair. I should like to ask whether you, Sir, will permit me to refer to the matter which was debated [331] at great length in the Dáil by the Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, Deputy Desmond, Deputy Dunne and others including Deputy MacBride I think, on the question of alternative remedies and the use of force. It is suggested in this motion which they were discussing in the Lower House that it would help to avoid the resort to force to have these representatives here. I want to put the question to you—so that I shall not be ruled out of order— will you accept as being in order the same arguments in relation to this motion as were put forward in relation to the same motion in the other House?

An Cathaoirleach: I cannot and I am not going to express an opinion as to whether the matter is in order or not until the case is put up. I hope the Senator will keep himself in order.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I said yesterday at some time that the motion before us to invite representatives from the North would constitute a valuable alternative to the physical force method which is suggested and has been put forward time and again by some. What I intended, and I said at the time, was, that as a far better alternative we could invite the representatives and hear them in amity whether they were Unionist or Nationalist. Such would seem to be one alternative. I suggest that the second alternative to force would be mutual agreement towards a solution of the problem, and that this step of inviting the members to come here and take part in our debates would form part of an approach to the settlement of the problem of Partition, indirectly, by helping to solve on both sides of the Border the important problems relating to social conditions and so on.

My contention in relation to the question of indirect solution, or solution by mutual agreement, was that both of these had a great deal to be said for them; that in the use of these two methods of solving the problem before us the invitation to Northern representatives would form a most useful preliminary step for the purpose of reaching mutual agreement and mutual [332] understanding towards a solution. As I say, the social problems here and the political problems there have to be tackled. I think they could help us if they were here, with their knowledge and experience in tackling the social problems, and I think perhaps we could help them to deal with the political problems in the North. I think we could help them, and the mutual working together could help them to deal with these political problems. I think we could help them also by insisting with them that so long as they remain part of the United Kingdom, British law must run and must not be tampered with by local Stormont politicians. I believe the ordinary Englishman is kept in ignorance of, or is indifferent to, what that position is, and I believe that by a joint effort of the kind I have suggested we could achieve valuable propaganda on the points concerned and the real grievances which we feel to exist. Two of the Six Counties never asked to be disjoined from the rest of the country, and those two counties which have a Nationalist majority have shown that repeatedly through their vote. This fact should be carried to a broader public, and also the fact that in the North in relation to local elections they have not universal suffrage or properly drawn constituencies. I believe that, with the co-operation of Northern representatives, both Unionist and Nationalist, down here with us, we could drive along these lines towards a solution of the problem of Partition, but unfortunately this method of agreement and collective discussion is regarded by some as not sufficient, and so we find in recent weeks, as was stated in the Dáil, that we have people in a body calling itself the I.R.A. organising military action against the British Army in the parts of our country which are at the moment under the authority of the United Kingdom Parliament.

I should like to be allowed to speak about these young men. I have no desire to say things that will wound, but I feel that it is essential that we as public representatives in this part of the country, should voice our opinions as was courageously done by many in the Dáil. I think it is our duty in the Seanad to voice our [333] opinions as to what we think of this method of a new body calling itself the I.R.A., setting themselves up as an army to settle the problem of Partition by military means. I regard it personally as a duty to express my opinion on this matter, and I shall do so with as great an amount of sobriety as I am capable of. I would like to start by saying——

Dr. McHugh: Is this relevant? The motion does not mention acts of force occurring in another part of the country, outside our jurisdiction.

An Cathaoirleach: I was hoping the Senator would indicate or leave it to be inferred that he has fears that if the motion be rejected people will turn to something else. If he is going to relate it to the motion in that way I shall permit him to proceed for the moment.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Thank you, An Chathaoirleach. I think it should be quite clear, and I think Senator McHugh will follow me there, that a major argument in favour of his motion, couched though it be in my opinion in slightly extravagant phrasing, is to ease the tension that is mounting in this country. I think in reference to the Six Counties the object, as I see it, of his motion and the result of inviting these people down, would be to ease that tension and to remove the danger of what has been happening lately on a small scale. It is because I feel—I said so yesterday and I think I won approval —that the danger that is mounting, the resort to physical force by a minority, might conceivably be lessened by such an invitation issuing from this House.

I think that this motion, as amended by these amendments, would not be voted against by a reasonable person. I would like to say that in condemning the resort to force, which I feel might easily become, in the minds of some, the only alternative, as it were, if we did not take positive action along the lines of the motion or in some other way—I would like to say to these people it is quite obvious that they are actuated by courage and a spirit [334] of self-sacrifice, but, in my opinion, courage is not enough. The fact that a man is prepared to die for a cause does not necessarily mean that the cause is right, or even that he understands the cause, or that the method he employs is right. Personally, in relation to military action, I am opposed to anything that will lead to the killing of people, whatever name you may call that killing by, and for whatever cause.

We have had two recent outbreaks of force in this way. The motion before us offers at least an alternative method of approaching the problem. We had an armed raid on the barracks at Armagh. It was a successful operation and it was regarded by some people—I think most regrettably—as a bit of a joke. It certainly was skilfully carried out but I would say that it was lucky that nobody was hurt. That was due, it is true, in great measure, to the skill of those engaged. In Omagh recently the operation was not so successful, despite the characteristically self congratulatory military communiqué issued by people who claimed to have carried it out. Again they were lucky nobody was killed; but several were wounded.

In considering this motion, as to whether we should invite and hear, because it is essentially a matter of hearing, these people from the North, I would like this House to consider what would have happened in the North supposing a dozen young men had been killed on either side in that last operation. Supposing that on a future occasion a young Ulster boy in the British Army, with his home, say, in the Shankill Road, Belfast, were to be killed, what would be the effect? Might the result not be something like a massacre by people moved to indignation by that killing, a massacre of their innocent Catholic neighbours on, say, the Falls Road in Belfast? That might seem a wide stretch of the imagination, but I think that those who remember history will realise that similar things have been known to happen before in this country, and in Belfast. Furthermore a young man from Sligo who was a member of the British Army was seriously wounded. [335] He was, of course, a victim of circumstance. I should like to point out that if we are to reject peaceful and conciliatory methods, such as are suggested by this motion, we will be leaving the solution of this problem to people who can write about this unfortunate man who was so badly wounded, that we should “not get lost in maudlin sympathy” for him, and that he is entitled to “no sympathy and should get none”.

Mr. Hawkins: I would suggest that we have already given the Senator a very wide scope. I would suggest that it is not fair to those people who are at present under trial in relation to the particular event that the Senator refers to. The case is sub judice and I think should not be referred to in this or the other House.

An Cathaoirleach: I hope the Senator will observe the temper of the House in this matter with respect.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I will leave that point in deference to your suggestion and to the intervention of Senator Hawkins. I would like to quote something that was said on a similar motion in the Dáil by the Taoiseach. He said:

“I am convinced that if, by force —force legitimately employed—the Six Counties could be restored to territorial unity with the rest of Ireland, Partition would still remain unsolved.”

When he said that, he was saying something which I think should be listened to by everybody in this country, that even if you could restore territorial unity by force, Partition would still remain unsolved.

The Taoiseach went on:

“It would indeed have become an even graver and more intractable problem than before. The bitterness and division of heart and spirit between Irishmen that would result from that civil war would remain to poison our national life for many generations. The nation would be [336] weaker, not stronger, less and not more, united.”

I would subscribe wholeheartedly to those words, spoken in relation to an equivalent motion, by the Taoiseach himself in the Dáil. I was present myself and heard them spoken. Those are excellent words and I think most of us here will agree with them. They reveal quite clearly the danger of allowing a military force to grow up, or even of allowing the notion that force can solve the problem to grow up, because it would result, in fact— military action—in civil war “which would remain to poison our national life for many generations.” I might say that I agree with the leaders of both the big Parties—Deputy de Valera spoke in similar terms in condemning the use of force to-day——

Dr. McHugh: Is the Senator in order in introducing other people's irrelevancies to excuse his own? I do not think so.

Mr. Hickey: And, of course, if the Senator would admit that England is responsible for all this talk about force, we would get somewhere.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I feel that in deprecating, as he did, in unequivocal terms, the resort to force, the Taoiseach was worthy of, and merited the support of, every thinking Irishman to-day on both sides of the Border. He said further, in another passage of his speech, at column 179:—

“No military or armed force other than the forces raised and maintained by the Oireachtas is permitted by the Constitution to be raised or maintained for any purpose whatsoever.”

I feel that there, too, the Taoisecah was right, and I feel also, with all respect to Senator McHugh, that his intervention was relevant to the situation around us.

Dr. McHugh: Not to the motion.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: He was speaking on the same motion. The wording was precisely the same, ex-muniqué [337] cept for the end of the last sentence which I am endeavouring to have removed by my third amendment. The Taoiseach there says that it is unlawful for any other army than that controlled by the Oireachtas to be raised. I feel that neither the Taoiseach nor Deputy de Valera was sufficiently specific as to what steps they considered it necessary to take for the purpose of preventing such an army being raised.

An Cathaoirleach: That is not the issue in this amendment.

Mr. Hickey: If England will take her troops out of Ireland, we will soon make a decent job of the country. Admit that, and we will get somewhere.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I was lately going through some papers which belonged to my mother, and I came across a question which was put to her, which seemed to me to be a relevant one to put to these people so roundly condemned by Deputy de Valera and the Taoiseach. The question was put to her in Montreal, at a republican meeting many years ago, and it was a very simple question. It ran as follows: “If the Irish Republican Party are elected to power, in your opinion, will it be a Workers' Republic or a Capitalist Republic?” I realise——

An Cathaoirleach: That is not the issue in this motion.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I suggest that the reason that people resort to force is a feeling of frustration and anger, and I think it possible that the people resorting to force and being led so to resort here, are led to it by a sense of frustration in face of social conditions here, by a sense that it is only thus they can serve their country. I submit that it is easy to say: “If we only had the North, our difficulties would be solved”. To say so is, in fact, to run away from the real problems crying out to be solved, for the sake of what would seem to me to be an empty concept of an all-Ireland Republic, with no clearly defined content whatsoever, socialist or capitalist.

[338] I do not propose to go into the question of the precedents of force, because it has been made quite clear to me that that would be considered out of order, and I submit to your ruling, Sir, on that point. I would say, however, that if Pearse and Connolly had lived for Ireland, instead of dying, they would not have been content to-day to leave the solution of our social problems here, where we are now theoretically in complete command——

An Cathaoirleach: That is not in order on this motion and the Senator will now resume his seat.

Professor Stanford: I understand that these amendments need to be seconded. I formally second them and reserve my right to speak later in the debate.

Professor Hayes: It is rather difficult to speak on this motion because it has already been decided in the other House by a very large majority that the elected representatives of the Six Counties will not be given a right of audience in the Dáil; but whether in the form in which the motion is on the Paper or in the form in which it would appear, if amended, I am entirely against it. I am against it because it seems to me to have no practical value at all. We are all at one in desiring the ending of Partition. We may not be at one as to what we would like to do subsequent to the ending of Partition and we may not be all at one as to the method we would adopt towards ending Partition, but what is put to us in this motion is presumably that this is one method which would further the unity of Ireland. If I may be allowed to speak as a person who would like to further the unity of Ireland, I say that I see nothing whatever in this motion which would commend itself to me.

If you take the question which was alluded to yesterday evening, the question of principle, first and foremost, what principle of any kind would be asserted if the representatives of Northern Ireland were given a right of audience in this House or in the other House? I will confine myself for the moment to this House. I do not see [339] that any principle would have been asserted. There might be a certain publicity, such as there has been in relation to the entrance of Senator Kelly, whom I am glad to see here and who has been elected to this House. There would be some publicity in the initial stages, and, after that, the matter would die down, and I think it would be fair to say that no purpose would have been achieved and no principle of any kind asserted. In other words, it would be a gesture which would have no effect whatever upon our relations with our sundered fellow - countrymen, Unionist and Nationalist, in the Six Counties.

What is the meaning of giving a right of audience? I have never heard anybody explain what precisely is meant by it. I have read everything that has been said about it, and I have never seen any adequate explanation. A right of audience, presumably, is the right to attend here and to speak in accordance with the Standing Orders and precedents of the House and subject to the Chair. That right is enjoyed by Ministers under the Constitution, but, even by Ministers, it is enjoyed in a limited way. Theoretically, presumably, under the Constitution, two or three Ministers could come here and could all speak, but, in fact and in practice, that has not been the case. Although we have had several changes of Government, a particular procedure has been adopted.

It is intended, apparently, under the terms of the motion to extend the right to come here and speak to all members elected to the Parliament in Belfast, but is it not well known to us here that no one would come here except some Nationalists, and not all of them? Is it not true that the contacts that we need most in this country are contacts with the Unionists in the North so that they may come to understand our point of view and that we may come to understand theirs? This motion, as a practical matter, would only have the effect of bringing here to the House with the right to speak some Nationalist members. Would they have the right to speak on all topics? [340] Presumably, they would. Would they have the right to vote? They would not. No one has told us, for example, what arrangements will be made with regard to their right of audience. Would they be given expenses to come here and speak and how would that be arranged? Would they be given allowances as ordinary members of the House are given them? No one appears to have given any consideration to that.

On the question of speaking, may I put one point that strikes me? The right to speak, it is alleged, would be useful because they would tell us something we do not already know. I doubt very much whether that is so. The Dáil and the Seanad are not places for discussion purely and simply. It is quite a foolish idea to think that the Seanad is a debating society. Anyone who was here yesterday, for example, and saw the Order Paper, and anyone who looks at the Dáil Order Paper any day will see that both Houses are places where business is transacted and that very little of that business, in the nature of things, concerns the Six Counties.

Therefore, people coming here from the Six Counties and sitting here and expected to intervene on matters about which they have special knowledge, would find, I think, very few opportunities indeed. They would find opportunities, I think, that would be more likely to do harm to Northern Nationalists than the reverse, because, although they would not have the right to vote, they would have the right to use their influence in debate. Sometimes they would find themselves in agreement with people on one side of the House and at other times they would find themselves in agreement with people on the other side. The result might very well be that, instead of being, as they are at present, friends of all sides, they would become friends of neither the one side nor the other.

The only thing that I see in this motion is that perhaps we can discuss the mechanics of it here rather than discuss the high matters which were dealt with in the other House. How would a member of the Northern Parliament coming down to this House [341] spend his time? Most of our discussions from his point of view would be irrelevant.

The members of the Seanad and the members of the Dáil find plenty of things to do. They have visits from their constituents and supporters; they see visitors and attend to correspodence and see the leaders of their Parties. None of these things are open to the members of the Northern Parliament who might come down here. As a matter of fact, what good could they do here to their constituents? We have no power as a matter of simple fact, and there is no use blinking the fact, over any of the matters which a member of Parliament usually wants to influence. Posts, land, schools, school buildings, school programmes, local affairs, the boundaries of constituencies—they would find that none of these matters would be open to them here. For that reason, I cannot see what they could possibly do here which would influence the Northern Government towards ending Partition.

I have often made the kind of speech that one can make about Partition. I have made it in various places abroad. I have made it in Toronto, Quebec, Washington, London and Paris. I presume that we are justified in putting our case, when we are abroad, on these matters, but what value is there in a member from Northern Ireland coming here and talking to us who already are converted about the desirability of ending Partition? I can see nothing in it but harm.

There is another aspect of it, and I am not sure whether it is worth while going into it. It is this, that attendance here on the part of members of the Northern Parliament appears to me to mean abstention from Stormont. It cannot mean anything else. That means that we here are giving our consent to a policy——

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: On a point of order. Is there anything in the motion about abstention from Stormont?

An Cathaoirleach: Senator Hayes.

Professor Hayes: These debating [342] society tricks should not be used by a man who knows at least two languages. He should have more sense and grow up. If you take the position that the Dáil and Seanad were to invite the members of the Northern Parliament to come here and sit here, I suggest that it could do no conceivable good to themselves. We would not be giving them any democratic rights. What we would hope for is a united Irish Parliament with powers in which all members would have rights, but a member who has the right of audience does not get anything at all really.

If we adopt that position and turn their eyes down here we put the seal of our approval upon the policy of abstention from Stormont. Abstention, it seems to me, means non-recognition, and in our history non-recognition means resistance—armed resistance. If that kind of thing is to be done it should be decided somewhere else besides here in this manner. Without going into the matter any further, this motion has been quite clearly rejected in the other House by a very big majority, and by a big majority of people who are just as much interested in the unity of Ireland as those who support the motion. I do not doubt the bona fides of those who support the motion, but it seems to me that the motion can effect no end towards the unity of Ireland, and for that reason I am entirely opposed to it, either in its present form or as it would appear if amended.

Mr. Quirke: When somebody asked me yesterday how long this debate was likely to take, I said that it was very difficult to know how long any debate would take in the Seanad. I put the time at about one and a half hours on the basis that if a speaker set out to deal strictly with the motion before the House he should not take more than 15 minutes in expressing his views. I thought that Senator Hayes was going to exceed the limit but he did not.

Mr. P. O'Reilly: He also is a professor.

Mr. Quirke: The only thing that I can say is what is so often said by a speaker when he gets up to second a [343] motion. He usually starts off by saying that the previous speaker had stolen his thunder. Senator Hayes has said many of the things which I had intended to say. I may say that, as a member of this House, I have read very carefully the debate which took place in the Dáil on a motion similar to this recently. I read it with great interest and having failed to find any reasonable argument in favour of the motion in the other House, I listened carefully here in this House in the belief that something might come to light which had not come to light in the other House. All I can say is that, as far as I can judge, no reasonable argument has been put up in favour of this motion.

Various suggestions have been made which to my mind had very little to do with the motion. I am not by any means criticising the Chair; the only thing I can say is that the Chair, as usual, has been lenient—and it is very desirable in a House of this kind that the Chair should act so. It would appear, however, that the idea of this motion, as it is down here in black and white, is that people should be brought in from the Six Counties into this House and the other House. The question has been asked as to what useful purpose could be served. It is said that the only useful thing which members could achieve would be on the basis of propaganda. As has been pointed out here and elsewhere, the propaganda value would fade out after the first couple of meetings. Where would we get to then? The only place that speeches of that kind would really be useful would be at international conferences, meetings of the Parliamentary Unions and so on, preferably in other countries. In that way, some propaganda value would be got out of such speeches as would be made. Speeches here or in the Dáil would have very little publicity value—none whatever outside the country and after one or two meetings not very much inside the country.

No doubt we would have flowery speeches here, we would be told all about the position in the Six Counties; but I fail to see that anybody [344] could come in here from the Six Counties or anywhere else and tell us anything we did not know already. In other words, you would be preaching to the converted. Practically everybody in both Houses is keenly interested in the abolition of Partition. Everybody has made a very definite study of the problem and would jump at any opportunity to bring about an end to this sore which has been festering in this country for a considerable number of years.

As far as the Party I have the honour to represent is concerned, the Party's view has been put before the people of this and many other countries by the Leader of our Party, Deputy Eamon de Valera, over a number of years. We have nothing to add to what he has said and I am very glad and pleased that now, after a number of years, the speeches he made 20 or 25 years ago are being quoted by men who differed fundamentally from him at that time. We have nothing to add to what has been said in the past. Our policy is the policy which he has laid down in the past and in the belief that no good can come from the motion before the House I intend to vote against it.

Liam Ó Ceallaigh: A Chathaoirligh, is mian liom cuidiú leis an rún atá os cóir an Tighe, ach sara ndeanaidh mé sin ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do rud eile. Seard is mian liom a dhéanamh ná mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis na Teachtaí Dála agus leis an Seanadóir Proinnsias Ó Domhnaill as mé ainmniú don tSeanaid. I rise to support the proposal for the admission of the elected representatives of the Six Counties to the Dáil or Seanad. Before enumerating the reasons which, in my view, render the adoption of this proposal so necessary, I wish to put into perspective some general considerations in regard to Partition. Apart from the direct injury which Partition has inflicted on our nation, one of its chief evils has been the internal dissension which it rendered inevitable. Whenever a powerful State determines to disrupt a nation by lending its financial and military support to a minority, it can usually succeed in sowing seeds of internal dissension. This is, in fact, how Partition was [345] created and how Partition is now maintained by Britain.

In the course of our own lifetime we have had many instances of how this scheme of disruption can be spread by an unscrupulous aggressor. Britain's claim to exercise sovereignty in portion of Ireland, backed as it is by the use of an army of occupation, by money and by political support, upset the very foundation of democratic government. Not only is the ordinary democratic process prevented in the Six Counties but it is also prevented in the rest of the country as well by reason of Britain's interference in our affairs. So long as the Irish people are prevented from determining their own affairs freely by democratic means and so long as a portion of our country remains occupied by Britain, a section of our own people, the most courageous, generous and patriotic section, will seek to assert by any means available to them the sovereignty of the Irish people in our own country. This is an inescapable truth and a consequence of the situation which has been imposed upon our nation. The same consequence would result, and has frequently resulted, in the case of other nations that have been partitioned or occupied by an aggressor against the will of the people. It is an inescapable result of such a situation. That, indeed, is not a reason why we should hang our heads in shame. We might, indeed, have cause for shame were we to accept silently or without protest the dismemberment of our nation and the negation of justice to our people.

It is particularly essential, in dealing with the abnormal situation which has been imposed upon our country, to maintain a clear perspective of the issues involved on the plea of maintaining constitutional government in this part of the country. It would be easy for a Government to drift into a position where, in fact, it was fighting a section of its own people to defend the existing position. In the face of our present situation, this would mean that the machinery of the State here would, in fact, be used to aid Britain in maintaining Partition. I feel it necessary to speak bluntly on this issue, as I am afraid that, unfortunately, [346] on a number of occasions in the past, in the course of the last 30 years, some of our Governments have found themselves trapped into that position. I am quite prepared to acknowledge that these Governments were, themselves, anxious to end Partition and to free Ireland from any bonds of sovereignty to an alien Power. However good their intentions were, they found themselves fighting a section of their own people to maintain the status quo, and I submit that to defend the status quo is to defend Partition. As a result of this, much national energy was dissipated. In addition, oppressive measures were enacted which were, themselves, harsh and destructive of the ordinary concepts of justice and liberty. With the tragedy of our recent history in this regard staring us in the face, is it not essential to avoid a recurrence of such a situation?

Whatever outward appearances and declarations may convey, the heart and sympathy of the Irish people will always be with those seeking to right the wrongs inflicted on the nation and not with the Government that seeks to justify that wrong or to maintain the status quo. It is with such considerations in mind that we, in the part of Ireland from which I come, decided to organise on the basis of the Constitution of this country.

We in Fianna Uladh recognise the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland under which this State operates and we are prepared to work within its framework to extend its operation to the whole of Ireland. Recognising only the Constitution and the sovereignty of the Irish people, we naturally reject the claim of Britain and of any of her institutions to exercise sovereignty in any portion of Ireland. We decline to prostitute our nationality and our consciences by taking the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown as a condition of parliamentary representation.

The people of mid-Tyrone who honoured me by electing me to be their candidate have unequivocally endorsed this and have given me a mandate to take a seat in Oireachtas Éireann and nowhere else. Actuated by generous [347] and patriotic motives, public representatives in the Twenty-Six Counties elected me to the Seanad. But for this, the people of mid-Tyrone whom I represent would be disfranchised in Oireachtas Eireann. The people of South Armagh have likewise elected Mr. McGleenan but they have been deprived of representation in Oireachtas Éireann because the public representatives of the Twenty-Six Counties were not given an opportunity of choosing him as a member of this House.

I should mention in this regard that Mr. McGleenan has now joined the Executive of Fianna Uladh and to that extent I can claim to speak here also on behalf of the people of South Armagh. It is obviously anomalous that my right to address a House of the Oireachtas on behalf of the people in mid-Tyrone or South Armagh should depend on the goodwill or generosity of the public representatives of the Twenty-Six Counties. I appreciate, of course, and am grateful for this gesture of understanding and goodwill on their part. I claim for the people of mid-Tyrone, South Armagh and of any constituency in any part of Ireland that desires to do so the right to representation in Oireachtas Éireann.

I know that the other parliamentary representatives elected by the Nationalist areas of the Six Counties also desire the right of representation in the Oireachtas. In fact, I am aware that the chairman of the Anti-Partition League which comprises all seven elected members of Parliament of the Nationalist areas, wrote to the Taoiseach recently asking permission from him to address the Oireachtas on this very question. The assertion that only some of the Nationalist representatives demand this right is entirely false. The Constitution lays it down that Oireachtas Éireann is the National Parliament, Article 15, Section 1. If the Dáil and the Seanad constitute the Parliament of the nation, then the elected representatives of the people of Tyrone, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Antrim are entitled to be heard. If they are shut out, then Oireachtas Éireann cannot [348] claim to be a National Parliament and will find it hard to command the allegiance or even the respect of the Irish people. So long as Oireachtas Éireann of its own act and volition continues to debar representatives from the partitioned areas from being heard, then it is itself maintaining Partition and the status quo. It is, in fact, taking sides with Britain in preventing the extension of the Constitution to the whole of Ireland and is depriving a section of the Irish people from representation.

I have already referred to the inherent danger resulting from Partition whereby an Irish Government may find itself at any time in conflict with the most patriotic section of its own people. If this danger arises in the present situation, it is in no small measure due to the complete lack of policy and positive action on the part of Governments here. The Government claims the right to exercise leadership. It is entitled to claim that right, but it will only secure loyalty if it exercises leadership. The defence of the status quo and the policy of doing nothing does not inspire confidence. It is this lack of confidence and this refusal to face the realities of the situation which has prompted others to take action of a more direct nature.

The adoption of the proposal in the motion put forward by Senator McHugh and Senator O'Donneil will at least be some earnest that Partition is no longer being accepted. The election of representatives from the Six Counties to Oireachtas Éireann would become the focal objective for the nationalist population. It would enable them to secure representation and it would free their representatives from the indignity of having to commit perjury. It would be the first step towards the extension of the Constitution to the whole of Ireland. It would restore the confidence of the people not only in the Six Counties but of the whole of Ireland and in her national institutions.

It is accepted surely that the attainment of unity amongst all sections of the nationalist people of the North would contribute to a solution of Partition. The major bone of contention [349] amongst Northern Nationalists is the question of attendance at or abstention from Stormont and Westminster. The acceptance of this motion would mean that the question of attendance would not even arise and thus unity might definitely be assured.

The Taoiseach stated that those using and talking about the use of force had declared that Oireachtas Éireann and the Government had no right to carry of the Government of the country. Is not the Taoiseach aware that the attitude of successive Governments in maintaining Oireachtas Éireann as a strictly Twenty-Six County assembly is to some extent the cause and that due directly to that we have the present tragic state of affairs? The Government has repeatedly found itself in a position of conflict with the most courageous and most patriotic section of the people, with a section of the people whose only objective was the reunification of Ireland. Is the Taoiseach not aware that the maintenance of Oireachtas Éireann as a Partition Assembly in the eyes of a section of the people has forced successive Governments to accept the rôle of watchdog, jailer and hangman to the British Empire?

I am not attempting to justify nonrecognition of Oireachtas Éireann but I am pointing out that if this motion was accepted, the initial steps would have been taken in the formation of a 32-County Parliament and that such a 32-County Parliament would command the respect and allegiance of every Irishman. The acceptance of this proposal is in my view absolutely essential in that eventually it would have the twofold effect of securing unity of approach among Northern Nationalists and of the avoidance of conflict within the Twenty-Six Counties.

I believe it to be the clear duty of the political Parties in this Assembly to take off the Whips and allow each member of the House to vote in the manner his conscience tells him is in the interests of his country. I regard this proposal of acceptance of the elected representatives of the Six Counties to the right of audience in [350] An Dáil or the Seanad as of paramount importance and as the first logical step towards the formation of an all-Ireland Parliament and as the only reasonable alternative at this stage to the continuation of Partition. In a debate on Deputy McQuillan's motion in the Dáil recently the Taoiseach posed the question would the suggestion, in any effective way, help or contribute to the solution of our problem of Partition? He further said that if he were satisfied that this proposal would in any way contribute to the solution of the national problem, it would receive his enthusiastic support. I submit that I have pointed out how the adoption of this motion would in fact contribute to the solution of Partition and I have done that in the hope that it will be accepted by the people here.

Mr. Hickey: There is one fact that some people appear to forget when they talk about Partition and it is that England is responsible for Partition. Partition is maintained and continues to operate in this country because of the economic and military power of England irrespective of what Government is in power in England. Listening to Senator Sheehy Skeffington to-day I noticed that he carefully avoided any reference to that or to the fact that responsibility for the partition of our country lies with the British. Every honest Irishman knows well that Partition is preventing the full development of the economic and political life of the nation.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I was warned by the Cathaoirleach that I would not be allowed to go back to the origins of Partition.

Mr. Hickey: I suggest that Senator Sheehy Skeffington should remain silent for the few words I have to say. I am suggesting that if we allow Partition to continue as it is, we are just courting trouble. We have our Constitution and Articles 1 and 2 of that Constitution contain very important provisions. I will quote Mr. de Valera on that. He claims that within the Constitution the unity of the national territory can be restored, that [351] it confers on the people the right to enter into relations with other nations and maintain such relations and that these rights can be freely exercised. If we exercise the rights contained in that Article of the Constitution then, though I do not admit that the Six Counties is a nation because they are our own people, I believe there is nothing wrong in asking our Government to invite the people of the Six County Parliament to meet us in conference and find out from them what they are really worried about in the circumstances that would follow the ending of Partition.

I admit right away that a large section of the Six County people have fears on the question of the ending of Partition. I have regular contact with some men living in Belfast and in various parts of the North of Ireland and I am convinced that they have certain fears of the consequences which might follow the ending of Partition. May I also say that I am inclined to think in that regard that there are little groups of vested interests in this part of the country who probably would not be very anxious to see Partition terminated? Therefore, I am suggesting that the time is now ripe for a new approach to the whole question of Partition. Senator Sheehy Skeffington gave us a very general illustration of the discrimination against our people in the North and I feel that some people in the Six Counties have the same fears of us.

I would suggest to the Taoiseach that he should invite representatives of the Parliament in the Six Counties to meet in conference with himself and representatives of his Government. He could then hear from them what their fears are, what safeguards they require and the Taoiseach should state clearly to them what we are prepared to give them in achieving a settlement of the Partition of our country. The results of that conference would then be given to both Houses of the Oireachtas and to the people in the Six County Parliament.

We know it is a political as well as an economic question and we cannot ignore these facts. I cannot agree with [352] the statements expressed by Senator Hayes when he says that the motion was impracticable. I have close contact with people in Derry, Belfast and even Portadown and I am satisfied that if there were closer contacts on both sides there would be a different approach to this whole question of Partition.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington surprised me when he tried to cloud the issue by showing the difference in the social services here as compared with the Six Counties. If we had a united nation, I believe we could have better social services than even those at present operating in the Six Counties because the nation would be working as a whole. We know that there are businessmen in the Six Counties whose great knowledge would be of benefit here. It is, therefore, the duty of the Taoiseach to invite the representatives of the North to meet him in conference, find out their fears and try to reassure them. Again, in reference to the statements of Senator Hayes, I cannot see any difficulty in doing what the motion suggests. If we take the question of the constituency of South Armagh, we find that there Mr. Lennon told the people in no uncertain words that if he was elected he would not sit in the Six County Parliament but would ask to take his seat here. If we continue to deny these people the right of audience, we seem to be quite unmindful of the fact, and I say this as one who does not believe in physical force, that there are men, and very young men, inspired by patriotic motives and by the men of 1916, who are prepared to make great sacrifices still for the unity of Ireland and to free the country from British domination. Let us not close our eyes to that fact. I think that the time has arrived when we will have to do something more than just talk about Partition and we can do something towards solving the position by a closer contact with the people in the North.

How is it possible to have rugby matches between Ulster and Cork without any trouble? Again, we can have a lord of the realm coming down from the North to discuss with our people here matters concerning the [353] railways and we have co-operation between the electricity supply organisation in the North and the E.S.B. here. I suggest that when we have co-operation in these matters, there is no reason why there could not be similar co-operation on the greater national issue of Partition.

Mr. O'Donnell: I think the most notable thing about this whole debate has been the extraordinary atmosphere of cynicism which has been evidenced, a sort of feeling that this is a kind of cuckoo land where people go about with false ideas, and think that practical values are the only things that are fundamentally of any permanence in the nation's life. It is obvious that we are much more interested in the mechanics of the motion than we are in the spirit of it. I think no greater indictment could be made of this our age than that the majority are not of the same calibre as they were 20 or 30 years ago. I was surprised to hear a member of the Dáil, which in 1919 or 1921 included on its roll the names of Edward Carson and other members of the Northern Parliament, say that this motion had no practical value. Was it for this the Wild Geese fled? “Is Romantic Ireland dead and gone?” It is rather deplorable that in regard to a matter of this nature, where lives and everything else are at stake, people would not manifest some of that nobility which was alive in this country 30 years ago.

In so far as we are a nation at all, it is quite evident that if we are to continue with an outlook which says to our Northern Ireland brethren “we will not have you in simply because when you get in, we do not think there is anything you can do”—if this is to be the outlook of the majority of the members of the Oireachtas, a deplorable day has come for Ireland. My good friend, Senator Quirke, who is as good an Irishman as I am, said in the course of a speech a while ago that it would only help as a propaganda value. No man knows better than Senator Quirke himself that many of the things that were done in the period when he was an active soldier were done for propaganda [354] value. They probably had an erstwhile value but they acquired lasting and permanent values in the course of time. The fact that seven men come down from the North has only a propaganda value of a temporary nature but these developments are in the spirit of eternal things. We ask them to come down here in the spirit which actuated the men who came before them. Senator Kelly is one of the lineal successors.

We want to bring down to this part of the country that spirit which is lacking to-day. There has been talk of mechanics and people ask: “What good can they do if they come down here?” Is this attitude sufficient in an Assembly of an Irish Parliament in 1954? Is that the attitude of mind of a group of Irishmen such as you have to-day; that we should say to our brethren in Northern Ireland, those Nationalists of Tyrone, Fermanagh, Antrim and Down: “You are of no use to us here. We cannot use you. We cannot have you. No, all you can do is to make speeches. Go home”? Is that the reply we are going to give in this House to-day? Are we going to say to the world that we have no use for these men, that we had no use for men from the Belfast, from which came Jemmy Hope, and Tone? Are we going to say that to Senator Kelly?

Let us get down to realities, and to what we are asking in this motion. We are asking you to say to those people: “We recognise you as of our blood, of our kin, of our faith, and of our ideals, and in so far as we can, we will give you all the succour and help in your time of trouble.” We have already had evidence of cynicism in this debate, a cynicism or belittlement, as it were, which is killing that flowering of mind which has been evidenced in Pomeroy and elsewhere. I remember a time 30 years ago, when our minds were not so obscured by legal enactments and constitutional issues, when we did not say to the men from elsewhere who formed the brigades: “We do not want you down in the Southern battalions, because you are of no practical value to us.” We did not say that to them.

Senator Hayes said that there was no principle involved. Good heavens! [355] is there no principle involved in an appeal to this House, this constituent House of the Parliament of this country, that the people of Northern Ireland should have the power of audience here? There is no principle involved! Can I comment upon such a statement? The whole principle of nationality is involved. Is not the whole principle of our sovereign rights as a people involved, and the acknowledgment that that portion of our occupied territory is an integral part of our country? Is not that principle involved? Is not that what we are asking for? We are asking you to-day to do something, which you can do even under the Constitution, to do at least this—and it is the very least you can do—to give the right of audience to those of our fellow-countrymen who ask for that right.

Senator Kelly, speaking on behalf of the Nationalist members of the North, told me that they will fall in with our invitation. Are we going to say to those men who have been elected by their brethren, that we are not going to open this House to them? Are we going to say: “We do not want you because you are of no practical value”? Is that going to be the unanimous or the split decision of this House? Are we going to say: “We agree with Mother England, thank God, she has a right there, because these people are of no practical value in this House”? Is that to be the sole criterion of our attitude towards our Northern brethren? Have symbols yet no value in this country? I remember a time when symbols had a great value, when gestures of defiance were appreciated, and when life itself had a patriotic and a higher quality. Have we really got to the stage, after 30 years of self-government, when nothing is of value but three things—practical values, constitutional rights and legal difficulties? Is that the whole basis of our conception of what the nation should be? Do we still by inference agree that England has a right to occupy the Six Counties of Northern Ireland, because remember on your verdict remains the answer? It does not matter how you quibble about it, it is England which is in occupation of a part of Ireland to-day and your answer will [356] be a confirmation of her rights to remain in the Six Counties, if you vote against this motion to-day. I hope this extraordinary cynicism to which I have referred will not be evidenced again in this House. I hope that some of the people who suffer from it will go up to those areas around Senator Kelly's townland, say the same thing to the people there and approach them with the same attitude which they have adopted towards this motion. If they do, they will get their answer.

Senator Hayes has said that they would have no practical value and then he says that it would have no effect upon our relations with our Northern countrymen. In India, at present, there is a man called Mahommed Abouif who has created a huge following because of certain prophecies he makes. I feel sure that if Senator Hayes established a course of prophecy down here, he would do equally as well. Here is his prophecy, the result of years of wisdom and hard reading: it would have no effect upon our relations with our countrymen in the Six Counties. The fact that we made a gesture down here of opening our Parliament would have no effect upon our relations with the people in the Six Counties! Senator Hayes is a professor of English by vocation and of course has a much better acquaintance with it, in a sense, than I, and, if I interpret his words correctly, I would not like to comment on them. Listen to it again—I want it to sink into your minds—one of the chief reasons for his opposing our motion is that it would have no effect upon the people of the Six Counties. Senator Kelly has already told you about that and anybody who has had any experience of the people of the Six Counties will agree that that statement by Senator Hayes, to say the least of it, is highly exaggerated.

This is a very reasonable claim that we make in this motion. It asks:—

“That Seanad Éireann requests the Government to initiate proposals for legislation in the Dáil or in the Seanad to provide that all elected parliamentary representatives of the [357] people of the six occupied counties of Ireland will be given a right of audience in the Dáil or in the Seanad or alternatively requests the Government to submit this question for the decision of the Irish people by means of a plebiscite.”

I referred earlier to Cuckoo-land and I saw a certain amount of pleasure being taken from my reference by people who probably felt that the Mad Hatter was a more appropriate term, but I wonder if I am entirely irrelevant in talking about Cuckoo-land in relation to this question of a plebiscite, because I am personally convinced, as are some of my colleagues, that, if a plebiscite were taken at this moment in this country on the question of whether this Dáil and Seanad should give a right of audience to the Six-County representatives which we ask for here, the plebiscite would authorise such representation by an overwhelming majority. It is because Senator McHugh and I believe in that that we included it in our motion and I hope Senator Sheehy Skeffington will agree to accept it.

I have read the debates in the Dáil and I have heard the rather tired speeches here against the motion, but I have heard nothing against the motion to change my mind one whit. No case has been made why the representatives of the Six Counties should not enter this House. It is said in one case that they would not be of any practical value; in another, that it might not improve relations with the Six Counties; and again, that it might have a mere propaganda value. But it has never been said that it would not be a gesture the spirt of which would be of much greater value than any practical value which could be given by their coming here.

I appeal to all the people in this House, members who are fundamentally Irish people, to forget for once their Party ties, because there is a bigger thing at issue here than any Party. I appeal to all of you as Irishmen to stand up and vote for this motion as Irishmen because your brethren in Northern Ireland are asking for it. Senator Kelly, whose voice is the only voice we can hear here from that territory, has said that they [358] are asking for it. We went to do our best for them and there is no use in deploring physical force, as Senator Sheehy Skeffington has done, if we do not do something ourselves. Let us at least make this gesture; let us show in so far as we can that, whether they be of practical value or otherwise, we will open this House and the Dáil to the people of Northern Ireland who want to come down here to voice whatever grievances they may have.

I urge that all this slightly contemptuous cynical attitude is entirely out of place in discussing this matter and that even the taking of a constitutional legalistic attitude is entirely out of place. This is something which did not start to-day, or yesterday, or 30 years ago. It started a long time ago. I do not intend to remind Senators of that, but many of you, I am quite certain, no matter what you have said, down in your hearts feel exactly as I do about this matter.

There need not be any difficulty about letting these men into this House or into the Dáil. It is not going to change the country a terrible lot one way or another from the practical point of view, whether or not they contribute to the day to day debates in the Dáil, but it is going to do one thing. It is going to recreate a spirit in the North of Ireland and a spirit in the South of Ireland which has been sadly lacking for a long time. These are things of the spirit that you cannot tie up in legalistic or constitutional phrases. This is something which is alive. It it is a flame, and, for God's sake, let the members of this House not combine to put it out. There will be plenty of people to say: “O'Donnell's emotionalism has gone mad.” As I said, I do not apologise for my emotionalism and I am not ashamed of it. I am begging the House and pleading with the House——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: In view of the possibility that there may be yet a number of speakers, perhaps the Senator would avoid repetition.

Mr. O'Donnell: I was about to wind up by appealing to the House again to vote for the motion. May I refer, as one of the joint signatories to the [359] motion, to the proposed amendments which, I understand, are being taken in conjunction with it? Senator Sheehy Skeffington asks that the phrase “Six occupied counties of Ireland” should be deleted and “Six Counties” substituted. His argument is that in the eyes of the inhabitants of the Six Counties, they are not occupied. I hope I am not misinterpreting him because I do not wish to misinterpret him in any way. So far as Senator McHugh and myself are concerned—it must be remembered that we cannot interpret other people's minds on this matter—they are in fact and de facto six occupied counties. Surely the Senator will not argue with me that where in an area there is a barracks manned by British troops, it is not an occupied area, so long as the people of this country say in their Constitution that this is the Parliament of the Thirty-Two Counties. You cannot have it both ways. If we had a Constitution saying that this was the Parliament of the twenty-six counties, then I might be able to see something in the argument of Senator Sheehy Skeffington, but in our Constitution we say that this is the Parliament of the 32 Counties. Surely, therefore, so long as there is one British soldier, wearing uniform, and in authority within the Six Counties, that is occupied territory.

Mr. Hickey: Of course it is.

Mr. O'Donnell: Let us not be too squeamish about this. I am prepared to give Senator Sheehy Skeffington every credit for being honest in his argument, but if we were to agree with him that the Six Counties are not occupied territory, that there is no occupation there and that the British are there only for the good of their health then clearly the motion would lose a great deal of its effect. Of course, we know that what he has suggested is not the position, and, therefore, we cannot accept his amendment.

If, by any chance of good luck, Senator Sheehy Skeffington's arguments were sufficiently good to convince the majority of the members of [360] this House that the Six Counties were not occupied territory, then I am afraid a tremendous lot of steam would go out of the speeches which a number of Senators have made, and that they would never open their mouths again on this question. I will be interested to see how Senators will vote on the motion.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: On a point of personal explanation. I made the point that the phrase “six occupied counties” was based on the word “occupied” which I interpreted as meaning “occupied against the will of the inhabitants of the area.” I did say that while that might legitimately apply to two full counties and to Derry City and to one or two other areas, it did not apply, individually or collectively, to the other four counties.

Mr. O'Donnell: I accept what the Senator says he did say as being correct. The Senator forgets, however, that the people in this part of Ireland represent a much bigger portion of the nation than those in the six occupied counties, those counties which are occupied against the strong desires of the Irish nation. It is because those counties are occupied against the will of the people there that the word “occupied” appears in the motion. With regard to the Senator's second amendment it seems to me that if this House agrees to give to the elected representatives in the North the right of audience in the Seanad, there is no reason why they should not have that right in the Dáil as well. I could not agree at all to the deletion suggested in the Senator's third amendment. In fact, I may say that I was rather sorry Senator Sheehy Skeffington did not get an opportunity of arguing his case against the suggestion of a plebiscite. As we did not hear his case, we obviously do not know what it was. I do not know why it could not be implemented.

Professor Hayes: He was not prevented from making his case about the plebiscite.

Mr. O'Donnell: I am not saying that he was, but he did not do it. If a plebiscite could be taken I suggest that the result might be to give some members [361] of this House an indication of what the feelings and attitude of the people of this country are on a motion of this nature.

Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Cosgrave): This motion is merely a variation of motions considered on previous occasions in the Dáil. I think that the arguments advanced in support of previous motions were similar to those which have been used here. The case made against these motions when they were considered in the Dáil rested mainly on this: as to whether a proposal, such as that enshrined in this motion, would or would not contribute towards a solution of Partition. When the most recent debate on that question took place, the test which was applied to a consideration of it was the specific one: would the admission of the Nationalist representatives from the Six Counties contribute towards a solution of Partition, or would it, on the other hand, hinder or delay reunification?

I do not think that any of the arguments used here on this motion strengthen in any way the case which was made on previous occasions. In fact, to my mind, these motions are getting a bit moth-eaten, and there is nothing about them which would convince anybody that any inherent advantage or anything calculated to lead to advancement from the national point of view would be likely to accrue if they were adopted, that is, either the motion proposed by Senators McHugh and O'Donnell or with the amendments proposed to it by Senator Sheehy Skeffington.

There has been a lot of talk—and a good many flowery phrases have been used—about patriotic motives on the part of those who bring forward these motions, the implication in fact being that only those who advance such arguments are sincere, and that all the rest are either cynics or in some way or other caught up so much with mundane affairs that they refuse to devote any time or thought to the position as it exists in the Six Counties. The implication is that some people have a monopoly of patriotism or of national sentiment in approaching these matters.

[362] I believe that the vast majority of public representatives, either Dáil Deputies or Senators, are just as anxious as those who have proposed these motions in either House to see Partition ended. It has been the constant and predominant national problem since it was created over 30 years ago. Different political Parties, differing in many respects on other matters such as social and economic questions and even differing at times on the methods which might be adopted to unify the country, have had this in common, that their aim and objective was to secure reunification at the earliest possible moment.

The suggestion that the proposal contained in these motions is a step forward, will not, I think, bear examination, and would not meet any test applied to it to ascertain what progress would be achieved by its adoption. It has been stated on a number of occasions that people are not prepared to accept the status quo and that those who are opposed to these motions are defending the status quo. Merely accepting the de facto position —which probably is a better description than the status quo—merely recognising facts or recognising realities does not imply acquiescence in those realities. On the other hand, to refuse to recognise the existence of a certain state of facts does not lessen the problem and does not in any way diminish the difficulties or help to overcome the matters which have to be surmounted.

It is generally known that Partition was created by an Act of the British Parliament known as the Government of Ireland Act, 1920. Senator Skeffington, in the course of his remarks, referred to the fact that a number of people in the Six Counties—in fact, no matter how the question is considered, probably a majority in that area—are in favour of the maintenance of the present position or the maintenance of some connection with Britain. While that is perfectly true, the decision to partition the country was taken in direct violation of any accepted principles of self-determination and because that decision was taken in violation of those principles a further incursion had to be made on the area which is often referred to as Ulster.

[363] In the nine Ulster counties a majority would be found to favour unity with the rest of the country, and, for that reason, an arbitrary selection was made of a smaller area—of six counties—in which it was possible to get a majority, taking the six as a whole. It is quite true, as has been said on many occasions, that in two of those six counties and in Derry City and in large portions of two other counties, there is an absolute majority, taking particular areas, in favour of unity with the rest of the country. The British Government of the time established Partition in the hope that for them it would solve the Irish question and Irish people resented the expedient adopted and have resented it since. To resist and resent the existing factual situation and to suggest at the same time that because we recognise the de facto position we are maintaining or defending the status quo, is to refuse to face realities —and in this matter we have to be realists and, however sentiment may appeal, however flowery the phrases, however we may be inspired by eloquent descriptions based either on past events or on future possibilities, we have to face this situation in a realistic manner and see what prospects there are in the proposal enshrined in the motion.

In regard to the admission of the elected representatives from the Six Counties, even on that I do not think there is unity amongst the Nationalists in the Six Counties on the proposal enshrined in this resolution. I know that Senator kelly has spoken here to the effect that he has authority to speak for some, and others have expressed similar views elsewhere; but there has been no united request from any representatives in the North. Even if there were a request from a particular section, it is reasonable and necessary from our point of view to see what practical advantages would accrue, not entirely from the point of view of those of us in the Twenty-Six Counties but from the point of view of the people they are supposed to represent in the North. We know that on numerous occasions democratic rights have been refused to our people [364] in the Six Counties. On occasion, meetings have been interrupted because speeches attacking the existing régime have been made and all the various steps that followed from the proclamation or banning of meetings. Can anyone say, who is in favour of this motion, that the admission of any representatives would be of value in that respect? As far as we are concerned, the only representatives who are likely to come down here are the Nationalist representatives.

The Taoiseach did not say, as Senator McHugh seemed to imply last night, that only certain people would come down, that if Lord Brookeborough came down he would be welcome and that the Nationalists were not welcome. What he said was that if he came down it would be an admission and a recognition that Partition no longer existed. What he said was that the only people who were likely in present circumstances to come here were some Nationalist representatives and that their mere presence here would not secure for them any democratic rights. Those of us who employ that term recognise it to mean certain things, such as free assembly, free association, a fair franchise, and so forth. How would the admission of elected representatives, or their right of audience in either the Dáil or Seanad, restore or sustain or in any way extend the rights or the privileges which our people should have in the Six Counties?

I do not think that the speeches which could be made here, that the viewpoints expressed or which could be expressed by elected representatives, would in any way assure to those whom they represent any different treatment than they are getting at the present time. As Senator Hayes said, elected representatives are elected not merely to talk but to carry on the business of the country and the business of the people they represent. If elected representatives came down here, they could not deal with a variety of matters that would affect their constituents up there. It would be quite proper for them to make representations to Government Departments here on a variety of [365] matters. No Government Department could in any way implement any of the suggestions that would be made as far as ordinary day to day affairs in the Six Counties are concerned. It is quite true that the Constitution proclaims the historic claim of the people to sovereignty over the whole country, but no section of the Constitution, no legislative enactment that has been passed here since 1922, has ever attempted to carry into effect its provisions in so far as the Six Counties are concerned; because to do so would be futile and would merely involve those attempting it in the unseemly situation in which their action or their attempted action could be repudiated.

While it has ever been the assertion of all those who wish to see Partition ended, that they wish to see the writ of the Oireachtas extended to the Six Counties, any suggestion that because it is proclaimed or made in the Constitution, it could be made effective by the right of audience here, is to refuse to face realities. Some have admitted quite openly that it would be a gesture and that it would have some propaganda value. I am not even sure that it would have any worthwhile propaganda value. After a short time it is quite likely that the novelty would wear thin and that any publicity which would attend the first few meetings of either the Dáil or Seanad would, with the passage of time, be obscured in the other work that would be before those Houses. On the other hand, the admission of the representatives would possibly involve some of them in internal political matters here—and we have enough internal problems to contend with without getting the one remaining national question involved in political issues or as a matter of political controversy in this part of the country.

I do not think that the proposal has in itself any merits which would make it worth while or which would in any way act as a constructive step towards a solution of Partition.

It was asserted in the course of this debate—it was also stated in the course of the Dáil debate—that the Government lacks leadership. That term was used as applying, I think, to all [366] Governments here during the past 30 years. I do not think any fine distinction was drawn between one Government or another. I do not know what is meant by the expression: “The Government lacks leadership”. I find it even more difficult to follow when some of those who are saying it had themselves, on occasions, responsibility for effecting and influencing national policy. It was not apparent to me and to those who listened to the Dáil debate that they had any more effective proposals or that the influence exerted by any individual was any greater than that exerted by any of the Governments here in the past 30 years.

In my view, the proper approach to this problem is to convert rather than to coerce. We should pursue a policy based on conversion rather than on conquest. It was asserted that because we recognise the status quo that that is in some way or another an indication that we lack leadership. I believe that on a number of occasions examples were given of how progress can be made. I do not claim that in any of these matters where co-operation was found possible anything dramatic or anything that could be regarded as an achievement was done which would of itself result in unification. But we had three specific examples of co-operation on matters between representatives of the Six Counties and the Government here which affected people on both sides of the Border.

One was in the case of the Erne Electricity Scheme. Then there was the Foyle Fisheries. Definite progress was made on joint schemes for the mutual benefit of the people on both sides of the Border in regard to the extension of facilities. Similarly, in the case of the Great Northern Railway, where a situation was deteriorating, the Governments came together and by joint action prevented that deterioration. I hope it will, in future, result in the improvement of the railway system to the mutual advantage of the people on both sides of the Border.

What concrete constructive steps have those who supported this motion in either House advanced in contrast [367] with that? We had plenty of talk, plenty of speeches, and plenty of gestures. The suggestion that it would be a gesture in the right direction and that in that way it would contribute in some way towards a solution of the problem is, I think, exalting symbolism at the expense of statesmanship and common sense.

The three matters I referred to were three examples of constructive effort which I believe can lay the foundations for the future progress which would ultimately lead to the reunification of the country. The implication that because the Government is not doing something which some people describe as leadership without defining how leadership can be given and without making any constructive suggestion as to what is envisaged in that statement is one that does not appeal to me. I do not think it has shown any sense of reality in facing this situation.

Mr. Hickey: Why not invite a conference?

Mr. Cosgrave: We are prepared to do so. If we see any evidence that the Six Counties would join in a conference here we would be more than glad to meet them. I think that goes for the vast majority of the representatives in both Houses. On the matters where we found it possible to meet them we were always prepared to meet them and meetings were arranged both in Dublin and Belfast to work out solutions to the matters in hand.

Mr. Hickey: Why should we not take the initiative? Then we would know.

Mr. Cosgrave: I do not think that at the moment, even if we did take the initiative, it would be received in the manner we would like it to be received. It might in the long run redound rather to our disadvantage to take a step without being satisfied that others would be prepared to go some portion of the road to meet us.

When Senator Kelly and others referred to this problem and the fact that leadership is lacking and then went on to say that because Governments [368] lacked leadership others were obliged to resort to other methods. The only method referred to is force. Any analogy between conditions now and conditions prior to the establishment of the State or any analogy from history refuses, I think, to face a change which has occurred here since 1922. We now have, in this part of the country, a sovereign Parliament and a Government elected under that Parliament with authority to act for the people. No other body in this part of the country has the right to usurp the authority of that Parliament or the elected representatives. No other body has the right to raise armed forces or in any other sphere where Government has responsibility or where the Parliament has defined functions and duties to usurp that authority and employ it without the sanction of the elected representatives of the people. The analogy between conditions now and conditions in the past is——

Mr. Kelly: I did not say that anybody outside the State had the right to usurp the functions of the State. That is entirely false.

Mr. Cosgrave: The Senator may not have said it, but he implied it.

Mr. Kelly: He did not.

Mr. Cosgrave: The Senator said that it was easy for a Government to drift into a position in which it would be in conflict with some sections of the people who were opposed to Partition. He went on to say later that Governments have found themselves in the position in which the lack of policy had given other people reason for doing other things. He went on to use a phrase about the Government being the watchdog, hangman and jailer for the British Empire.

Mr. Kelly: The Senator also said, if the Minister remembers correctly:

“We in Fianna Uladh recognise the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland under which this State operates and we are prepared to work within its framework to extend its operations to the whole of Ireland.”

[369] Mr. Cosgrave: That was one of the phrases used by the Senator but he also used the phrase I took down. Recognition of the Constitution embraces acceptance of the authority under that Constitution and the authority under that Constitution is the only authority which has the right to raise or maintain armed force in this country. As the Taoiseach stated, it is the only authority within the State which has the right to advocate war or peace. I do not think that any quibbling with words such as the Senator——

Mr. Kelly: On a point of order.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Minister may not be interrupted.

Mr. Kelly: The Minister conveyed the impression that I said that a body outside the Government of the Twenty-Six Counties had a right to usurp the functions of the State. I said no such thing and neither did I imply it. I intended to convey that if the Government of the day refused to take the necessary steps to extend the operation of the Constitution to the whole of Ireland, it left other people no option.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: That is not a point of order but a point of explanation.

Mr. Cosgrave: What the Senator said is the same thing. The Senator cannot get away with that. On the one hand, he recognises the authority of the Constitution and the Government under the Constitution and then he says that if the Government does not do this somebody else will take the law into their own hands and do it in defiance of the Government. The Constitution and the Government elected under this Constitution has its right from the people and that right cannot be usurped by anyone without the authority of the people and cannot be usurped in defiance of those elected by the people and charged with that responsibility. The suggestion that because what was described as leadership has not been given was in some way or other contributing to the situation which has developed here cannot, I think, be accepted and cannot be substantiated by arguments or [370] facts. The position, as I have said, is that on any matters on which the Government here has had an opportunity of taking effective steps to promote measures which would lead to the reunification of the country it has always taken those steps. On three specific occasions which come to mind these measures have recently resulted in beneficial arrangements for our people on both sides of the Border.

As I stated, we do not claim, and I do not think that anyone associated with these measures will claim for them more than that they lay the foundation for future progress but we do, I think, say that these measures have in themselves seeds which could fructify into a wider measure of agreement, and into a sphere which I hope will enable the people on both sides to work together for the common interest of all sections of the people.

This proposal is as I stated in the beginning similar to others that have been made previously and I do not think that anything has been said in the course of this debate which would convince the members of the Seanad that any practical advantage would accrue from it. I have not come in here with any particular obsession against the proposals enshrined in the resolution. We approached this matter on the basis of whether it will contribute towards the solution of Partition or not. Senator Frank Hugh O'Donnell referred to the fact that legal quibbles were introduced and constitutional difficulties had been put up from time to time. On various occasions it has been stated that any constitutional or legislative difficulties or Standing Orders of either Houses would not be allowed to stand in the way if it is believed that the proposal in this resolution could contribute towards a solution of Partition. None of these matters will be allowed to stand in the way. I believe we could easily have amendment of the Constitution or of the Standing Orders if it was necessary for us to let the representatives come down here, but the question we have to decide is will it in any way contribute to the solution of Partition or will it merely finish up as a gesture which in a short time will [371] be forgotten and obscured when some serious problem requires to be considered or when some practical problem concerning the people in both parts of the country requires to be attended to. I have spoken recently about this problem of Partition and I only want to repeat something I said then and that was that I did not believe that Partition could be solved by anything like high-pressure advertising campaigns or violent or extravagant language against fellow Irishmen in the Six Counties and there are many in the Six Counties who still claim that they are Irishmen. I was glad to hear Senator Skeffington last night condemn the discriminatory practices which have been adopted by the Stormont régime and directed against Nationalists and Catholics in the Six Counties. I feel that it is right that these injustices should be exposed and it is good to hear them exposed by a Senator member of Trinity College. All the while that these discriminatory practices exist, while it is our duty and responsibility to expose them, we ought not to allow the consideration of this problem to be obscured by violent language or picturesque phrases.

Mr. O'Donnell: Why not?

Mr. Cosgrave: I do not think it helps in the matter.

Mr. Hickey: That is hardly fair comment. We must have some regard for the sacrifices that were made for the freedom of the country.

Mr. Cosgrave: Quite, and nobody has a greater regard for it than I have, but I think in suggesting that we can solve the problem by picturesque phrases and violent descriptions of what has happened does not contribute towards the solution of the problem.

I have repeatedly said that the discriminatory practices up there are unjust and wrong from every angle, and I was very pleased that Senator Skeffington found fit last night to condemn them. We have, however, to recognise that there are a great number of people who forget that Partition [372] was not of our creation. It was not the creation of the Irish people or of the Irish Parliament or of any Irish Parliament. It was created before the Irish Parliament came into existence, but the fact that it is there and the fact that a great number of people in the Six Counties wish to continue it in some form of association with the United Kingdom must force us to consider what steps or measures can be taken to convince them that in a united Ireland their position would be secure just as in this part of the country the minority have had for 32 years scrupulously fair treatment in all matters that affect them, that we have paid scrupulous attention to impartial administration of the laws and impartial administration of all schemes whether they were social service schemes, employment or other matters, or matters connected with their religion. That was in contrast with the position existing in the Six Counties where our people are not so treated in the matter of housing or employment or other services.

I believe that there are a great number of fair-minded people in the Unionist Party who recognise that these practices cannot be continued and who are secretly ashamed of the measures that have been adopted by the Stormont régime. We should seek to utilise the goodwill, if there is goodwill. I believe that there are people there who realise that the discriminatory practices and the unjust operation of certain laws and schemes under the Stormont régime cannot be continued and we should seek to secure their co-operation in a general effort which would lead to the reunification of the country.

To recognise that these matters exist does not imply acquiescence in them, and, on the other hand, to refuse to recognise them, or to gloss over many of the matters that exist is not likely to achieve a speedy solution of the problem which we are all seeking to end, possibly in different ways, but which nevertheless we wish to end at the earliest possible moment. I believe that, if we work on the basis of an acceptance of the policy of conversion, of a policy of co-operation, and avail [373] of every opportunity which is provided, either in this country, or at international gatherings, to point out the injustice of Partition, to point out how serious it is from the point of view, not merely of this country, that in the long run the Partition of a small country or the unjust treatment of a small nation may in its own way militate against the peace of the world, we will proceed along the road towards a realisation of the aim which we all desire. It is not possible for this country to play the part which it might play if Partition were ended in the defence of the free world. We have no great material strength, no great material wealth but we have a spiritual empire which exerts a mighty influence in many parts of the world. Our people are a Christian people, they are a cultured people, they have exerted a unique influence in many lands as well as in the homeland. If their goodwill could be secured, as it would be secured by the reunification of this country, they could contribute in a material way not only to the welfare of Ireland but to the welfare of peoples in other lands who seek the only leadership that it is possible to give in the disturbed conditions of present-day world affairs.

Mr. Commons: I wish to support this motion because I see in it at least some effort to focus not alone attention on the Partition problem as it exists, but also to try to do something positive about it, and to make some contribution towards its solution. The motion asks that the elected representatives in Northern Ireland should be allowed to speak in the Dáil or in the Seanad. We have heard to-day, in a very enlightened speech from Senator Kelly, an assurance that the abstentionist members elected in Northern Ireland are anxious to come into this Parliament. They give as their reasons the fact that they will not sit in Stormont, or in the British Parliament, and that they have been elected by their constituents on that understanding. The second reason they give is that mentioned by Senator McHugh, that they will not take the oath of allegiance that has to be taken before entering either of these Parliaments. They feel [374] that in the Twenty-Six Counties they have a Parliament which they can enter. They need to take no oath of allegiance here; they are not even asked to take an oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic, although we assume that they have already taken that oath. If they were allowed in here to speak for their constituents, the people across the Border, our own neighbours who have elected them in defiance of gerrymandering, and of a hundred and one obstacles that are placed in the path of the anti-Partitionists up there, I think we would have made a very progressive move so far as focussing light on the problem of Partition is concerned.

We have made several efforts to focus the eyes of the world on the problem of Partition. I think in fairness it should be said that different Governments down here, both the inter-Party Government of 1948-1951 and the Fianna Fáil Government, did their very best to focus attention on the problem, but what success have they had? I remember that about 1949, the Irish News Agency was established, and a substantial amount of money was poured into a fund, the sole purpose of which, we were told, was to bring the wrongs of Partition before the world. What has that Irish News Agency achieved? Nothing whatsoever, apart from talk, and a good deal of fire, but no light whatsoever. We must admit, therefore, that attempts to do something through bodies such as that, have ended in total failure. We all have sense enough to realise that the people across the Border—the Nationalists, particularly since the enactment of the Republic of Ireland Act by the inter-Party Government in 1949—look to us with great hope, believing that here some positive effort was being made, which would bring help to the people of the Six Counties, and which would eventually succeed in abolishing the Border.

Unfortunately, apart from the declaration of a Republic for the Twenty-Six Counties, nothing has been done. We have had, of course, the usual amount of idle talk; it may be honest talk, but it has achieved little over the years. We find the [375] position arising now where the younger generation in the North are getting tired of having no positive lead from the Twenty-Six Counties. They are beginning to wonder whether they are going to be left for all time and ignored by the Twenty-Six Counties. I do not claim in any way to be a prophet, but I remember that in 1949 when the Republic of Ireland Bill was going through the Dáil, when I was a Deputy in that House, I said—I quote from Volume 113 of the Dáil Debates:

“There are at present in the six north-eastern counties young Irishmen who, we must all admit, are still under a foreign flag, and still, if you like, aliens within their own country. If these young fellows do not see something being done in the next few years, in the matter of the real unification of the country, they will be inclined to treat this Government in the same manner as its predecessor has been treated”.

That is unfortunately what is happening to-day.

Every member of the Seanad would be glad if we could do something to help to end Partition without the use of physical force. That is the wish of everybody. After all, while we may differ in some things with the people in the northern counties who are not of the Nationalist way of thinking, if we could, by peaceful methods, bring about the unification of the country, everybody would be delighted. However, the position has arisen now where the younger element in the North are watching the Tricolour being pulled down, while every day they see the Union Jack flapping merrily over their heads. What can we expect, except that they will say: “There is only one thing left for it, and that is physical force.” If we could get members of the Northern Parliament, either abstentionists or those who attend that Parliament, to come into the Dáil or the Seanad, we would be able to discuss the matter with them. We would be able to focus much more attention on the problem of Partition, and make the outside world realise, and say to themselves: “Here are men who will not go to the Parliament in the Six [376] Counties, but the Twenty-Six Counties are broadminded enough to allow them to go in and take their seats in the Parliament.” If I were asked my opinion of this motion ten or 12 years ago, I would have said that it was a very conservative motion, but, as we grow older, we realise that there are always two sides to every story, and I should say that, if we accept this motion to-night, and again recommend to the Dáil that legislation be introduced, that the matter be examined in a different light, and that it should go back on the decision it made some time ago, then I think we would be doing something very good.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

Mr. Commons: There are a few things which the Minister said with which I disagree. He said that there is perhaps disunity among the Nationalists in the North, because there are so many different organisations, each trying to steal the other's thunder in regard to which will be first to take some action for the removal of the Border. We must remember that, away back in the past, before our own independence was secured, we had a certain disunity here. We had three or four different organisations, but they all sought the same end and eventually they all came together, so that, so far as any disunity amongst the Nationalist parties in the north is concerned, my belief is that, while they may have different names, the aim and object of each one of them is the same.

One thing we could do here is to give them a right of audience here, because I believe that, if we did that, they would take it as an indication that we were sincere in our efforts to help them to solve this problem of Partition. I also believe that, if these men were allowed in here, these overenthusiastic but sincere and brave young fellows who went out and raided Armagh and Omagh barracks might be deterred from this type of action, if they knew that they were getting help in a constitutional manner and that their representatives here were [377] able to do more than sit down at home and attend no Parliament at all.

Finally, these efforts which have been made—this resort to physical force in the shape of these raids—are being very much talked of all over the Twenty-Six Counties. They are being talked of, much more than the representatives in Dáil Éireann and the Seanad think, outside every church gate and at every fair and market.

At every gathering of people there will be some one or two who will bring up the subject of the raids that have taken place across the Border, and at no time, when I have heard these things discussed, have I heard any individual say anything against the men, the brave young lads, who are willing to take a chance in these raids. People may say it is a pity that this is happening and that physical force has to be introduced, but all the same it is a sort of a kindling of a fire that, mind you, could be fanned into a very big blaze down here in the Twenty-Six Counties. We know ourselves that it is only a jump across the Border, and that young Nationalists here, over-enthusiastic idealists and young men, over the years were willing to lay down their lives to keep this fire going. They will be willing to help out in every way possible anything in the nature of physical force across the Border. No doubt, that would be an embarrassing situation for the Government here, and if we could, by any means at all, give a lead that would prevent that, it would certainly be our duty to do so, and should be our duty. As regards those raids and the history of our own fight for independence, the Irish Parliamentary Party, sincere, honest men, described the activities of the then I.R.A. as mere hopping fleas. Mind you, this movement that has started might not be one of mere hopping fleas across the Border.

Mr. Crosbie: We have had a very wide and a very lengthy discussion not only on the motion but on Partition and all problems appertaining thereto. If this debate leads us in the future perhaps to talk less, at any rate within the four shores of this country, about the problem and to think more about it, it will have served a useful purpose.

[378] I do not intend to detain the House at any great length. I intend to vote against this motion, either in its original or even in its amended form, and in doing so I do not feel that I would be justified in not putting forward some alternative suggestion. I make this alternative suggestion in all the humility of one who sees before him a practically superhuman problem which requires solution. Members of this House, and the members of any other parliamentary Assembly, will be well aware that there are in existence such unofficial bodies as parliamentary associations. There is, for example, the inter-Parliamentary Union which does extremely fine work on an international level. There is again the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and there is the outstanding example of what unofficial parliamentary associations can achieve to be found in the Scandinavian Parliamentary Association.

I admit quite frankly, that the problems which face the Scandinavian countries bear no relation whatever to the problems that exist between ourselves and that part of our country which has been arbitrarily severed from us; but, nevertheless, I do think that if we come to the conclusion that no useful purpose would be served by admitting the national parliamentary representatives from the Six Counties to either of our two Houses, there is nothing to prevent the members of this House or of the Dáil, or both combined from starting an Irish Parliamentary Association to which they would invite as members the elected representatives in the Six Counties, no matter what their political affiliations may be. Within that association they could come together and start by discussing with each other parliamentary problems common to both ends of our country. I do not say that it would be a success. I have no idea, but it is just an idea that might be worth trying.

In conclusion I would like to say this, that each and every one of us, no matter what our political affiliations may be, naturally feel very bitterly indeed about the arbitrary division of our country. I would like, however, to [379] point out to the House that no matter how justifiable the source of one's bitterness may be, it does not turn bitterness into one of the cardinal virtues, and I have yet to learn that bitterness becomes an asset in the solution of difficult problems. I think that if we were to confine our efforts to giving more thought and less speeches—at any rate in Ireland where we are speaking to the converted—to this problem, we might find more rapidly some common ground where we could meet those of our brethren from the North who are so diametrically opposed to us politically.

Liam Ó Buachalla: B'fhearr liom féin gan labhairt ar an gceist seo anseo anocht. Ní hé nach bhfuil spéis agam inti ach tá labhartha agam ar an gceist chomh minic go measaim gur mithid dom seans a thabhairt do dhaoine eile labhairt uirthi. Tá rud nó dhó is gá a rá i dtaobh na tairiscinte atá os ár gcomhair agus faoi chuid de na pointí a luadh le linn na díospóireachta.

Níl ciall ar bith leis an tairiscint mar atá sí ar an bpáipéar. Ní abraim tada faoi na leasuithe atá molta ag an Seanadóir Sheehy Skeffington. Ní mheasaim, sa chaoi a bhfuil an scéal, go bhfuil mórán brí iontu. Iarrann an tairiscint:

“That Seanad Éireann requests the Government to initiate proposals for legislation in the Dáil or in the Seanad to provide that all elected parliamentary representatives of the people of the six occupied counties of Ireland will be given a right of audience in the Dáil or in the Seanad....”

Is dóigh liom nach ciallmhar an rud é an tairiscint seo a thabhairt isteach sa tSeanad beag ná mór, agus go háirithe tar éis chomh mion agus chomh beacht agus chomh cruinn agus a pléadh a leithéid chéanna de rún thíos sa Dáil agus go raibh an Dáil chomh láidir ar aon-intinn gan glacadh leis an tairiscint. Má cuirtear tús le dlí a dhéanamh sa tSeanad má tugtar Bille isteach sa tSeanad agus má ritheann an Seanad é cén mhaith má bhíonn a fhios againn roimhré go bhfuil an Dáil ina choinne? Ní féidir [380] linn dlí a dhéanamh gan údarás na Dála chuige. Tá a fhios againn ón vótáil a bhí sa Dáil go bhfuil an Dáil go láidir i gcoinne a leithéid seo de rud a dhéanamh, agus ní fheicim, beag nó mór, ciall leis an rún seo a thabhairt isteach mar atá. Is dóigh liom nach mbeadh an Seanad ach ag déanamh amadáin de féin, nach mbeadh ann ach amadántacht don tSeanad, dá dtéadh se ar aghaidh agus glacadh leis an tairiscint sa chaoi a bhfuil sí luaite anseo.

Maidir leis an gcuid eile den scéal, an méid atá le rá agam, níl aon bhaint ró-mhór aige go díreach le brí an rúin; mar dá ndéanainn an ceart, tar éis a mhíniú nach bhfuil maith ar bith ann an rún a rith anseo, ba chóir suí síos. D'fheilfeadh dom, tar éis an mhéid adúradh anseo tráthnóna, freagra a thabhairt ar rud nó dhó. Is féidir ceist seo deighilt na tíre a roinnt ina dá chuid. Tá, ar an gcéad dul síos, an taobh morálta, taobh na heitice, ar an scéal; agus tá taobh na náisiúntachta, is é sin le rá, an éagóir atá déanta an tír a dheighilt sa chaoi a bhfuil sí deighilte. An bhfuil ceart ag aon duine a rá go ndearnadh, faillí ar an taobh sin den cheist a choinneáil os comhair mhuintir na hÉireann agus a choinneáil os comhair mhuintir an domhain fré chéile? Má abrann duine nach leor labhairt ar an rud, maith go leor; Céard tá na daoine atá i bhfábhar an rúin seo a dhéanamh ach caint? Sílim go bhféadfainn a rá go bhfuil fianaise agam go ndearna an chaint a rinneadh go dtí seo a lán maitheasa. Níl aon ócáid dá bhfuair an Iar-Thaoiseach, An Teachta de Valéra, an seans nár thrácht sé air. Mhínigh sé é go soiléir agus go beacht, mar atá sé i ndan a dhéanamh. Tá fhios ag muintir na hÉireann faoin gceist seo agus tá a fhios ag muintir an domhain an chaoi a bhfuil an scéal. Mhínigh sé, agus mhínigh sé go maith, i dtaobh móráltacht an scéil. Is maith liom a rá go bhfuilim sásta gur thaispeán an Taoiseach an tráthnóna cheana, nuair a bhí sé ag caint ins an Dáil, go bhfuil an dearcadh céanna aige ar an scéal agus atá ag an Iar-Thaoiseach. Tá mé cinnte nach ligfeadh sé uaidh seans ná ócáid dá bhfaighidh sé nach nochtfaidh sé an éagóir atá ann.

Ba mhaith liom caint faoin dara gné [381] atá ar an soéal. Is gné áitiúil í. Baineann sé le Stormont, baineann sé leis an éagóir atá dá dhéanamh acu ar an aicme náisiúnach sa dúthaigh sin. Céard is féidir a dhéanamh ina thaobh sin, dá dtiocfadh duine anseo as na Sé Contaethe ag insint dúinn faoi? Tá páipéirí na tíre ar fáil acu le gach eolas a chur ar fáil i dtaobh imeachtaí na dúthaí, más mian leo é. Thugamar an seans do dhuine as na Sé Contaethe teacht isteach anseo—thoghamar é—le go bhféadfadh sé sin insint dúinn, dá mba mhian leis, an chaoi an bhfuil an scéal ansin. An ndéanfadh ochtar nó deichniúr an obair níos fearr ná mar a dhéanfadh sé sin, an taobh sin den scéal a insint dúinn agus céard tá á dhéanamh ar ár muintir sinne thuas ansin? Is é an rud atá á dhéanamh againn an cheist d'fhógairt ar aon ócáid anseo in Éirinn nó i gcéin. Tamall ó shoin, nuair nach raibh an tIar-Thaoiseach i gcumhacht, thug sé air féin turas ar fud an domhain, a dhéanamh, ní mar phléisiúr dó féin a rinne sé é ach go mb'fhacthas dó go raibh deis aige, go mba cheart dul amach agus ní amháin ár muintir sinne a shnaidhmiú le chéile ar mhaithe leis an gceist seo ach eolas a chur ar fáil i ngach áit dá ndeacha sé i dtaobh na héagóra.

Ba mhaith liom a rá a shásta atá mé leis an óráid a rinne an tAire. Sílim go mba deacair an freagra a thug sé a shárú. Sílim go raibh sé anréasúntach sa dearcadh a bhí aige air, nuair adúirt sé go raibh sé dícéillí—mar adúirt mé féin—againne dul ag plé le tairiscint den tsórt seo. Nuair a fuair sé deis le gairid i Sasana, níor scaoil sé thairis gan a insint don chomhluadar a bhí bailithe ann cé mar bhí an scéal.

Tá a fhios agam féin, le blianta ag imeacht go dtí na cruinnithe den Aontas Eadar-Phairliminte an obair atá déanta ag Teachtaí agus ag Seanadóirí le scéal deighilt na tíre a choinneáil os comhair na náisiún. Níor scaoileamar ócáid amháin thart— pé acu bhí ceart againn faoi na rialacha nó nach raibh—gan scéal deighilt na tíre a chur abhaile ar na cruinnithe sin. Bhí daoine ann as gach réigiún den domhan—geal, buí agus dubh— agus sílim gur féidir liom a rá go bhfuil toradh maith ar an obair. Má chiallaíonn [382] sé aon rud, is dóigh liom go bhféadfainn a rá nach bhfuil daoine dá dtéann suas ar an ardán ag labhairt ag comhdhála na náisiún ar aon cheist, is mó a gcuirtear fáilte rompu ná na Teachtaí as Éirinn.

Ní mheasaim go bhfuil aon ní atá pléite ag an gcomhdháil sin is mó a gcuirtear ceisteanna ina thaobh ná scéal seo deighilt na hÉireann. Ní anseo sa tSeanad nó sa Dáil a theastaíos óráideacha uainne. Teastaíonn uainne an scéal a chur abhaile ar mhuintir an domhain. Teastaíonn uainn an t-atmosféar a chur ar fáil a mbeidh sé deacair ag an dream atá dílis do Shasana coinneáil as, agus a gcaithfidh siad áird a thabhairt air.

Caithfimid chur ina luí ar dhaoine thuas nach bhfuil muid sásta leis an gcos-ar-easair atá á dhéanamh ar an aicme náisiúnta thuas ansin. Is dóigh liom idir an dá cheist—an cheist mhorálta, an cheist mhór náisiúnta, agus an cheist mhór áitiúil gurab í an cheist áitiúil an ceann is túisce a mba cheart dúinn féin a shocrú, is é sin le rá, go gcuirfimid ina luí ar na daoine sin thuas, cé acu fada nó gearr a bheas Pairlimint acu—go mbeidh siad béasach, múinte, go gcuirfidh siad rialacha daonfhlaitheasacha i bhfeidhm agus iad ag déileáil lenár muintir sinne thuas annsin.

Tá a fhios agam, pé ar bith caoi a bhfuil éirithe le daoine é a dhéanamh, go bhfuil an tuairim imithe i gcionn ar a lán daoine nach ceist pholaitíochta í ceist seo deighilt na tíre, nach ceist náisiúnta í ach gur cheist chreidimh í. Feileann sé go maith do dhaoine áirithe an scéal a scaipeadh gur cursaí creidimh is údar leis an deighilt, go bhfuil faitíos ar an aicme Phrotastúnach thuas nach bhfaighdís cothrom i gcúrsaí creidimh dá mbeidís faoin Rialtas anseo. Is dóigh liom gur gá dúinn a theagasc go foirleathan ina thaobh nach ceist creidimh í beag nó mór. Ar aon abhar, tá fianaise thréan, láidir, údarásach ón aicme Phrotastúnach sna Sé Contaethe Fichead nach gá aon imní a bheith ar an muintir thuas i dtaobh cúrsaí den tsórt sin. Sílim féin, b'fhéidir go dtógfadh sé am, an teagasc sin a scaipeadh i measc na ndaoine sin thuas.

Sílim go mb'fhiú dúinn—mar [383] adúradh sa Dáil agus mar adúirt an tAire anseo tráthnóna—féachaint le teangmháil chultúra, teangmháil trádála, teangmháil sóisialach agus teangmháil gheilleagrach a chothú idir muid fhéin agus an mhuintir thuas mar bhealach chun an réitithe. Tá daoine in aimhreas an mbeadh aon mhaith ann. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil daoine sna Sé Contaethe a mba fuath leo go socrófaí scéal na Sé Contaethe. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil daoine sna Sé Contaethe—ní mheasaim gur dream anlíonmhar iad ach is fíor é—agus dhíolfaidís na Sé Contaethe leis an Diabhal sul a n-aontóidís le haontú na tíre, ach is dream beag iad. Ní hiad formhór na muintire sin iad, agus is dóigh liom, ach an t-eolas a bheith acu i gceart go mbeidis réasunach. Sin é mo thuairim féin, ach dá mbeitheá ann, b'fhéidir go mbeadh a mhalairt a thuairim agat. Creid é nó ná creid, bhí mé tráth de mo shaol ag obair i mBéal Feirste. Tá a fhios agam aigne na bProtastún. Tuigim chomh deas séimh agus bhídis an chuid is mó den bhliain. Tá a fhios agam an t-athrú aigne a thagadh orthu agus muid ag druidim le dáta áirithe sa mbliain. Ina dhiaidh sin is uile, bhí an-chion agam orthu agus nílim in éadóchas faoi na daoine sin nach dtiocfaidis linn ach an scéal a mhíniú dóibh i gceart. Tá litreacha ó dhaoine den dream buí i measc na litreacha a fuaireas ó am go ham. Tá ceann agam ó Phrotastún, ó lucht gnótha, ar ghnéithe oibre; agus tá a fhios agam, ó na litreacha atá agam, go bhfuil an ceann ón bProtastún ar an gceann is fearr liom de na litreacha atá i mo sheilbh. Tá a fhios agam chomh séimh agus a bhíos siad nuair a chuirim leabhra chucu i dtaobh na coda seo den tír, leabhra faoi stair na hÉireann. Na litreacha deasa a scríobh siad agus iad ag gabháil bhuíochais liom agus ag insean an méid spéise a bhí acu ins na rudaí sin. Tá a fhios agam chomh deas agus a bhí siad aon uair a bhíodar i mo theach i nGaillimh agus iad ar saoire agus iad ag teacht ar cuairt chugam. Níl a fhios ag muintir na Sé gContaethe, nó a lán acu, go bhféadfaidis a rialtas féin a bheith acu, dá mba mhian leo seo agus dá dtiubhraidís a gcéad dílseacht do mhuintir na [384] hÉireann agus a gcéad dílseacht d'Éirinn.

Maidir le cuireadh a thabhairt dóibh a theacht anseo, tugadh an cuireadh cheana go poiblí. Rinne an Seanadóir Crosbie rud a bhí ceart a dhéanamh tagairt don Chuman Eadar-Phairliminteach. Thugamar cuireadh do mhuintir Shasana teacht freisin agus an scéal seo a phlé linn an uair sin. Tá a fhios agam go raibh chuid mhór den toscaireacht ón mBreatain Mhóir ar an tuairim go mba cheart sin a dhéanamh. Níl a fhios agam ach b'fhéidir go mba cheart dúinn bheith foighdeach agus an t-am ceart a thogha chuige, agus go dtiocfadh linn an cheist a phlé go caoin cairdiúil, idir an dá chuid den tír.

Níl ach aon rud amháin eile le rá agam agus baineann sé sin leis an gcuid deiridh den tairiscint, mar ar mhol sé an mhalairt nó an “alternative.” Ba cheart dom tagairt a dhéanamh dó:

“...or alternatively requests the Government to submit this question for the decision of the Irish people—

“the Irish people,” féach—by means of a plebiscite.”

Támaid lán-tsásta é sin a dhéanamh. Ní gá aon reifreann a bheith againn sa taobh seo den tír. Tá a fhios againn aigne an stáit seo. Is é an rud a theastaíos uainn go mbeadh reifreann ann don tír fré chéile. Níl an chumhacht againn an reifreann sin a chur i bhfeidhm sna Sé Contaethe. Cén mhaith reifreann a dhéanamh maidir le daoine a bhfuil fios a n-aigne faoin scéal agat cheana féin? Ba cosúil é le geall a chur as capall a raibh tú cinnte go mbuaidhfeadh sé.

Tá gnéithe eile ar an gceist ba mhaith liom a phlé. Tá trí nó ceathair de rudaí ar mhaith liom iad do rá ach ní dóigh liom go ndéanfadh sé aon mhaith iad do rá go poiblí. Tá rud le déanamh againn, ach b'fhearr suí síos, muid fhéin agus muintir na Sé gContaethe go háirithe, agus machtnamh a dhéanamh orthu agus pleananna a oibriú amach. B'fhearr na rudaí sin a rá i gcomhairle phríobháideach ná iad a rá go poiblí anseo. Cibé ar bith, is dóigh liomsa go mbeadh sé fíoramaideach don tSeanad an tairiscint seo, mar atá sé ar an bpáipéar, a rith.

Taobh amuigh de sin, rinneadh a lán [385] argóintí anseo inniu. Níl mé á rá nach raibh na daoine a rinne na hargóintí dá ríre ach ní duine mise a chreideas go bhfuil dream áirithe sa tír, a luadhadh sa díospóireacht inniú ar an aicme is mó a bhfuil grá acu don tír. “The most patriotic section of the people of the country” a tugadh orthu. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil siad antír-ghrádhach, ach ní dóigh liom go bhfuil níos mó grá acu don tír ná atá ag an gcuid sin againne atá i gcoinne na tairiscinte seo. Ar an ábhar sin, táimse i gcoinne na tairiscinte.

Mr. Tunney: I do not intend to detain the House very long but I would like to say at the outset that while the people who have spoken against this motion may be better Irishmen than I am, I am utterly disappointed that this motion has not been received with open arms by the members of this House. As a matter of fact, I cannot understand the mentality that has been displayed or the change that has come over the people of this country during my lifetime. It is beyond my understanding. As one who played his part in the struggle for Irish freedom, I can say that I never during all that period met one person who took part in the struggle and some who gave his life for Ireland, who was prepared to play that part for a Twenty-Six County Irish Republic. I never met during all that period one person who was prepared in the fight for Irish freedom to accept the position of a Twenty-Six County Republic.

We appear nowadays, however, to be satisfied to sit down and leave our people across the Border entirely forgotten. Everyone who was out in the struggle for Irish freedom, including several of the people who have spoken here this evening, believed at that time that Belfast and the other parts of the Six Counties were as dear to them as were the homes and lands of Cork, Dublin, Galway and Mayo. To-day, however, we have heard a lot of talk about the majority in the Six Counties but it must be remembered that there was no majority question at the time the men were out in 1916 and, in fact, at that time resolutions were passed about them in various places. I will not go further into that now but [386] I think it is well to recall lest we forget it.

When we started to debate this motion, I had hoped that it would get the unanimous support of the House. I am sorry Senator Sheehy Skeffington is not here because I do not like saying anything about anybody in his absence but I must say that I was very disappointed with the speech he made here last night. Indeed, I was so disappointed with what he said that I could not come into this House to-day until he finished because I was afraid that I would be tempted to interrupt him.

It was disappointing to hear him make the statement that the Border was not a matter of important concern to the country and that we were more concerned with our stomachs. He did not say that in so many words but that is what he meant. The men who went out and risked their lives for this country, and there are men who are prepared to make the same sacrifices to-day, were not concerned with their stomachs but with the cause of the country and I am indeed sorry that such a statement should be made in this House. He went further and said that the Six Counties were not occupied counties. This gentleman must take us for great fools altogether. It is beyond my understanding when this learned gentleman tried to show us that these counties are not occupied counties and that the British are there with the will of the people of four of the Six Counties. If we were to accept that, we might as well say that the people of Longford, Westmeath and West Galway should not support the inter-Party Government or recognise it because the majority of the people in those counties were supporters of Fianna Fáil. That is the point he was trying to argue and I am disappointed to find that anyone could make such statements. These Six Counties are held against the wish of the Irish people and are under the domination of the British Government which has no right in this country, no right to dictate to us what sort of Government we should have in this country.

We have had a native Governmen-in [387] this part of the country for a good many years but the position is that this whole question of the Border has been taken too lightly and too easily. What could be wrong with allowing these people from the Six Counties to come in here and give their views? We have in this House Senator Liam Kelly who was elected by the Irish people and has as much right to sit in this House as I have. These other people are the elected representatives of the Irish people and the only thing keeping them from taking their place in an Irish Parliament is a foreign Government. They are elected by the Irish people just the same as are the members of Dáil Éireann.

I must have an entirely wrong view of democracy if that is not so. We are told that there is religious bigotry in the Six Counties. I say there is a certain amount. The fact that it is there is being used by many people to say that there would be religious differences and bigotry under a majority Government here. That is one of the falsest statements ever made. We are an honest people and a just people——

An Cathaoirleach: Would the Senator come to the motion?

Mr. Tunney: It is part of the motion because people were led to believe that there would be religious bigotry here. I want to say that as far as we are concerned, there is no religious bigotry in this part of the country. While we hold our own religious beliefs, all we want to see is that people practise their religion whatever it might be. We have no place for those people who have not got a religion or do not practise a religion.

My idea is that we should allow these people to come in here and express their views. I feel that, by their coming here, we would be able to show the world the injustices that the British Government is imposing on this country. After all is it not peculiar to see these people from Britain going to world congresses and conventions, giving the outside world to understand that they are people who stand for justice, democracy and [388] fair play. While denouncing other countries, they have this little country divided, this little country with its natural boundaries. I want to say, that there has been too much talk about this motion, which should have taken only ten minutes to decide. The proper decision, and it should be a unanimous decision, is to allow the elected representatives of all Ireland into this House. It is a serious thing to say that we are going to sit content and allow our people to be forgotten, and I am speaking about those who differ from me in religion, just as well as nationalists.

Somebody said that the nationalists did not agree among themselves. I will ask any sensible man to answer that question. How can they? How could you expect they would agree, because they feel they have been betrayed by the majority of Irish nationalists. I know that is not the exact position, because the people listening to me feel as sore on that question as I do, but because of the inactivity on this side of the Border, they feel they are betrayed, with the result that they do not know where to turn to do something to help themselves. I think, rightly so, as an Irishman before God, that this House should give them a lead, and allow the Northern representatives into this House.

Mr. Tierney: I speak in favour of this motion. Strange to relate, listening yesterday and to-day to the older members of this House, one thing struck me as very strange, not one of the older members of the bigger Parties referred to the Oath of Allegiance which they took to a 32-County Republic 35 years ago. As one of the older members, and as a member of the Labour Party, I am proud to stand here to-day, and to say openly that my Party affiliations never made me renege the Oath of Allegiance I took. It gives me great pleasure to support this motion, and the reason I support it is that the youth of our country to-day are not talking in reference to Seanad or Dáil; they are talking about the North, and about taking the North the hard way. We have to face up to the fact that, if the people in the [389] North, whom we have reneged, look in vain for support from this House or the lower House, then the youth, North and South, will seek another way. I believe, if we throw our weight and our influence behind the people of the North, and give them a vent for airing their grievances here in this House, we would be doing our share to save the youth of our country. If one goes back to 1918 and 1919, one will find that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are now in the position that the Redmondite Party was in then, and that the leaders of those Parties, who, after giving years of good service to their country, have now, in their old age, placed themselves in the position of the Redmondites of 1918. I believe there is only one way to get back the North, and that is the hard way. To avoid the necessity of having to take it the hard way, we should give the right to those people from the North to come here and make representation. I doing so, I think we will do a good day's work. I shall not detain the Seanad longer, but I say that if we are sincere, and if the two big Parties are sincere, what harm can be done by giving representation to the elected members in the North? I believe that only good can come of it. I believe that otherwise we will get the North only by the hard way, and to try to avert resort to the hard way, the Seanad should, I believe, admit the members of the Northern Parliament.

Mr. Sheridan: I have listened with an independent mind to the debate to-day, and I cannot help saying that I am inclined to agree with Senator Kelly, and I have the feeling that this is a question in which the Whip should be withdrawn by the major Parties. It is very disheartening for the Northern Ireland representatives to come here and be told that, in effect, they are not wanted. Senator Hayes said the reason he could not countenance consideration of this motion was that no good purpose would be served by a representation of the Northern members here. Senator Hayes may be right, and the major Parties seem to be unanimous on this. At the same time, I would like to hear from the Minister the Government's reason for thinking that no good could be [390] achieved by this method. To my mind, the only Party that could have any enthusiasm for the attitude of both major Parties here to-day, would be the Unionist Party at Westminster, because, in effect, you are giving your benediction to a continuance of the status quo. I think any motion, capable of removing that impression, would be welcome. Senator Crosbie— I think perhaps he made the only constructive suggestion that has been made from either side—suggested that a Parliamentary association might be formed by all Parties, and that invitations should be extended to members in the North of Ireland to come here and debate questions of mutual interest to both sides of the Border. That in itself is entirely contradictory, because if Senator Crosbie believes that a parliamentary debating society will get members down here to discuss questions, how much more imperative is it that the members elected by the Northern people should be allowed to come here to the Parliament of the Republic rather than to any debating association? I agree that we have a surfeit of long and patriotic speeches, but I do not wish to stand in the way of further speakers.

I intend to support this motion, because I feel that the members on both sides, who spoke against it, did not do so from their hearts. Their opposition did not sound sincere in comparison with the sincere speech delivered by Senator Kelly, which was an inspiration. If we could only get a few members of the calibre of Senator Kelly into the House, nothing but good would come from it.

Mr. S.T. Ruane: While I appreciate to the fullest extent the sincerity of the movers of this motion and, to a certain extent, of the amendments, I must say that I have heard nothing since the debate started that in any way nullifies or neutralises the arguments put forward in the other House by the Taoiseach and the Leader of the Opposition and the arguments which have come from those who have spoken against the motion here and from the Minister.

I should like to compliment Senator [391] Kelly on his maiden speech. I do not doubt for a moment his sincerity in making it, but whatever may be said about a change of mentality on the part of any people in this House, a change of mentality has followed the changing circumstances, the change in the conditions in this part of the country which were referred to this evening by the Minister. I do not think it is right or proper to say that, since the advent of this State, the question of the unnatural boundary has been neglected. I know of no occasion where leaders of the State or of the Opposition had the opportunity to denounce in vehement terms the conditions under which our friends in Northern Ireland suffer, avoided or neglected to avail of it, and here tonight the Minister for External Affairs has voiced his unqualified disapproval and condemnation of the conditions under which a minority in the Six Counties have to labour.

It is not fair to say that no advance has been made, so far as the removal of that unnatural boundary is concerned. Not so very long ago, the Minister, when he was associated with the Department of Industry and Commerce, had conferences with a member of the Northern Government on matters relating to transport, with the result that agreement was hammered out on the matter. I also understand that an agreement has been come to between the two Governments in relation to the supply of electricity when the Erne hydro-electric scheme functions. I hold that it is along these lines, the lines of peaceful penetration, that we must proceed, if we are to see the boundary removed during our lifetime.

There is one thing which saddens many of us to-day and that certainly is a cause of jubiliation to the enemy. It is the fact that the Nationalists of Northern Ireland are to-day—I do not like to say, in different camps—not working in that unified fashion that would make their opposition felt in the Six Counties. As a result of the disintegration which has set in amongst the Nationalist people—the setting up of different sections, each working in [392] its own way—Lord Brookeborough can look on at his work being done. He can rest satisfied that, so long as that condition of affairs obtains, the boundary remains.

Mr. Hickey: You are making a good case for the motion.

Mr. S.T. Ruane: I can see nothing to counter the arguments advanced against this motion both in this House and in the other. The arguments which have been put forward in its favour in no way neutralise the effect of the arguments put forward by the Taoiseach and the Leader of the Opposition and of the Minister here this evening, and for that reason, if it is put to a vote, I will vote against it.

Mr. Bergin: I rise to support the motion. I think that, in spite of all the speeches made against it, the majority of the people on both sides of the House, as a matter of fact, do agree with the motion. The only point of disagreement there is is whether or not this is the opportune time to introduce it. So far as the majority of the members of the House, and particularly the older members, are concerned, this resolution should have been introduced at the time the Dáil and the Seanad were being set up. There was only one reason why that was not done, and, as the Minister has told us, the reason was that Britain was too powerful to enable us to do it at that time.

Each one of us here hopes that at some future date a stronger resolution than this will be unanimously accepted by both Houses and that we will at some future date be able to welcome as full Deputies and Senators the elected representatives of Northern Ireland. There is only one thing that stops us from doing that now and that again is the power of the British Empire. I believe that is the position. So far as I know and so far as the Minister has told us, that is the position, so that the only case which we who are supporting the resolution have to make is that this resolution in its present form should be adopted now. I think it should be, because it is at least a positive step in connection with Partition, even if it is [393] not a positive step towards its solution. It is so long since anything positive has been done in this regard that I welcome the resolution and hope that more will come of it than many people seem to believe will come.

The Minister told us, and it has been repeated, that a certain amount of progress has been made in relation to the Foyle fisheries, the Transport Board and the Electricity Board. I do not think that is real progress and I do not think that the amount of association which we have with Northern Ireland on these two or three matters counts at all in comparison with the relationship we have with Britain in respect of very many other schemes. If these matters indicate that we are getting closer to Northern Ireland, we must argue that the closer business relations we have with England the closer do we get to her. I do not think that argument is made, however.

This is something positive and definite and I was always led to believe that the cardinal error in leadership was to do nothing. So far as I can see, in the past 30 years, nothing has been done under either of the Governments and there is no indication of anything going to be done, except this resolution. I think the House should be grateful to the people who moved it and should appreciate their valour, in view of the treatment which a similar resolution got in the other House. It has at least enabled us to think actively about the situation in Northern Ireland.

The Minister asked us to recognise facts and to be realists. I think we are recognising facts when we ask that these Northern representatives be allowed in here. We are recognising the fact that this is one nation, that there are not two sides or two parts to it. We are recognising the fact that it is one unit and what the resolution asks is that all the elected representatives of the country should be allowed to speak in this House or in the Dáil. That is being realistic.

The Minister also said that there was no analogy at all between the present time and the present situation and the [394] situation that existed in this country in 1918 and 1919. There might be no analogy in this part of our country, but surely there is a perfect analogy on the other side of the Border, and if we in the Oireachtas continue not to give leadership and if that situation on the other side of the Border is to continue, is there anything more natural than that all the teachings of Tone right down to our present leaders in this part of the country should be accepted and used, and that a physical force movement should develop in the occupied part of our country? If it does, what is more natural than that the warm-hearted patriotic young Irishmen of the South should join in helping them and, if that happens, is there not the danger of our own country being involved in war? I think, if we believe in that kind of way, that a great deal of good will not come of it, but rather harm.

If we think that there is any good at all in it, we should recognise that, at least, we are doing something in a positive way that is going to lead to our being active on the question of Partition. If only for that reason, we should make our House open to the representatives of the North to enable them to come in here. I think that their entrance here would do good. I think the fact of their being here would keep the Partition problem more actively before all our minds. We would learn in greater detail from their speeches of the situation that exists in Northern Ireland. It is hard to keep in touch with the situation there from day to day unless a person has some business contacts or relatives there. If, as Senator Kelly has said, we had the seven representatives from the North here, and, of course, their contacts are of an intimate kind, that, in itself, would help to keep our minds actively on this problem.

If ever we expect to achieve our ambition of having this a 32 County Republic, those representatives from the North should be afforded the opportunity of being able to learn from us. They would be enabled to listen to the speeches made here, and thereby learn how difficult it is for us, with our limited resources, to carry on on [395] the same high social plane that was referred to by Senator Sheehy Skeffington. They would learn how we have managed to deal with our problems and what sort of country they were coming into and how they would be expected to help the Government when we had eventually achieved freedom for the whole country. For these reasons I think the motion is a good one and I will certainly support it.

Mr. Hartney: I intend to be brief in the remarks that I have to make on this motion. I have grave doubts as to the sincerity of the movers of the motion, because I think it should be borne in mind by everyone that the people south of the Border, to use a hackneyed phrase, have always accepted the Border with reluctance. The political Parties here have always availed of any opportunity that came their way to do everything possible to remove the Border. I think it is unfair to say that the leaders of the bigger Parties have grown old and have forgotten all about it. Down through the years, this matter is one that has always worried the leaders of the different Parties. As far as consultation is concerned, the doors of all Parties in this part of Ireland are open to anybody who comes from the North for the purpose of setting before them any new grievances which they may have or plans for the removal of the grievances which have been in existence there all through the years.

That, I think, is something that should be understood by everyone who is interested in the question of Partition. I think that the best service which the people who are unfortunate enough to be living in the area that has been cut away from the 26 other counties can ever render to the undoing of Partition is to try and convince a greater number of those across the Border of the stupidity and wrongness of it. The best work they can ever do is to try and convince people who are still unconvinced of the advantage of coming in with the rest of their fellow-countrymen, and of having this country one as it was intended to [396] be, and not to be led away by the argument that they should look to Great Britain as their fairy godmother. That is the best service they could render in that sphere. In that way they might even succeed in converting people, who may be described as Unionists or Tories, to a realisation of the advantage of having this nation one and undivided.

I would appeal to those people to employ their energies in that direction. They are always free to come down here—it does not matter what Government is in power—and meet all Parties in the Twenty-Six Counties, and if they have a reasonable case to make that will help in the removal of Partition they can rest assured of the support of all Parties in this part of Ireland. It is very unfair for anyone to say that there are some people on this side of the Border who do not mind whether it exists or not.

I think that the manner in which this part of the nation, since it got its freedom, has managed its affairs should be brought home clearly to the people in the North. We are all proud to be members of our Parliamentary institutions. It can be said that since this country got control of its own affairs the small minority here have got very fair treatment indeed. Many of them have been decent and honest enough to say so publicly. That is something which should be emphasised.

I cannot see for the life of me how the admission of the elected representatives in the North to the Seanad or to the Dáil is going to help in the removal of Partition, I would appeal to those who are trusted by the people in the North and have been chosen as their representatives—I sympathise with them in their unfortunate position —to work hard in their own area by doing their utmost to bring about a change in the unnatural situation that exists there. Other great Irishmen in the past, in order to achieve their objective, had to go to an alien Parliament in England. That is the appeal that I would make in all sincerity to those who are trusted in the North by their own people. I am as much interested as any man could be in the unity [397] of Ireland. Nothing would give me greater joy than to take any step that would be considered wise towards the achievement of that object. I presume the House will be called upon to vote on this motion. That is to be regretted, but we have our duty to perform. The movers of the motion should realise that the sentiments and spirit of the House are behind it and, therefore, I suggest to them that their activities should be directed to the area that is occupied. That is the area in which to fight the enemy and not in the area where he is not. If those behind the motion realise that, they can rest assured that every step they take in that direction will be looked upon with approval here in the South, and that every possible help and assistance will be given by those in this part of Ireland to bring back to the Motherland the six lost counties.

Dr. McHugh: In originally moving this motion, I stated that I realised fully the necessity for advancing reasons in support of it. Of the reasons I advanced the first was concerned with the moral force of putting this motion into effect. I stated that it would help to end disunity amongst the nationalists in the Six Counties. That would be of no small practical value. By the way, they are all united in asking for the right of audience to the Dáil or Seanad. The moral force of such a motion, I thought, would be of practical value as well as of moral value. I argued further that bound up with that moral question which involves the taking of an oath to support a monarch and constitution to which they are opposed is the question of the exercise of democratic rights.

My second reason—I still think it is a practical one—was that this motion represented an attempt to extend to Irishmen labouring under certain disabilities the benefit of freely execised democratic institutions in this part of the country. Thirdly, I said it was a practical motion because it would provide a continuous means of discussion with Six County representatives on matters affecting the Six Counties. I do not care whether those representatives are [398] Unionists or Nationalists they would have something of value to contribute to any legislation effecting the country as a whole.

My task has been rendered both difficult and easy—difficult because there was a good deal of flamboyant and rhetorical statements made on one side or the other which tended to obscure the issue. My task was rendered easy because there was a number of extremely clear arguments made in support of my motion. I propose in the time that is left to me to discuss the various points raised by the different speakers who opposed this motion and to deal with them as far as I can.

Senator Hayes, for example, stated that there was no practical value to this motion and he asked what principle was concerned. I wonder if Senator Hayes is really in favour of the immoral forcing upon Irishmen of an oath of allegiance to a foreign monarch and an imperial constitution which they do not really want to take? That is a principle. Further, there is the principle of democratic action but for which Senator Hayes would not have the liberty to address us at all in a free parliament. That is an important principle too. Senator Hayes also asked what was the right of audience. If he does not know what it is, there is very little chance of my explaining it to him, but I will endeavour to come up to his level and explain it. It is the right to be heard on any question by invitation in a democratic assembly. He asked about expenses. It seemed a rather mean attitude to take but I suppose it has to be dealt with. Surely, if the Government accepted this motion they would have people whose business it was to work out such details as to whether one paid for the representatives' expenses or not. He asked what use it was to come here and talk about Partition. Surely, for one thing, the offer of free speech to Irishmen denied free speech in one part of the country is a good thing? These representatives would not necessarily be so moronic as to inflict on us the same kind of oratory that Senator Ó Buachalla and others have been inflicting on us for so long.

[399] I have been hearing speeches about Partition for a long time but I want to do something practical about it, and this motion represents something practical. I think that to abolish the necessity for taking this imposed oath is a practical thing. I think that to try to take one small step—it may be very small—to make this Parliament what it purports to be, a national Parliament, and not a Parliament for one part of the country is a practical measure and also one which has a certain degree of moral force.

Although Senator Skeffington spoke irrelevantly, I think he was trying to put across one point which would have answered Senator Hayes's question as to what these people would speak about. They could speak about social conditions up there and compare their social conditions with the conditions obtaining down here, sometimes to our disadvantage and sometimes to theirs. They could speak on such matters as income-tax and various other problems. There is, for example, the distortion of what is really a political and military problem, the problem of occupation, into a religious problem, which it is not. They could talk to us about that and we Catholics, Protestants and Presbyterians would be perfectly willing to discuss these matters with them. These are practical answers to Senator Hayes.

Senator Quirke also opposed the motion. He said that no reasonable argument had been made in its favour. If the arguments advanced concerning moral force, democratic rights, the extension of the democratic system, the removal of the disabilities in connection with the oath of allegiance are not reasonable arguments, I should like to know what reasonable arguments are. He said further—I think it was repeated by one or two other Senators—that there was no real demand by the representatives themselves, that they were disunited. I have already pointed out—I should like to emphasise it again—that the Chairman of the Anti-Partition League has asked permission to address Oireachtas Éireann on this very question of admitting [400] Six County representatives to the right of audience in the Dáil or Seanad. He wrote on behalf of all Nationalist members of Parliament. In fact, it could be said without fear of contradiction that all are in favour of this motion.

I now come to the Minister for External Affairs. I still think that the Taoiseach should have replied but, of course, there is apparently a precedent for the Minister for External Affairs or some other Minister turning up. It does not seem to me to be a matter concerning the Minister for External Affairs. I should like to take his arguments one by one. Among his statements he denied that the Taoiseach had expressed a welcome for the Unionists and an opposition to the Nationalists being given a right of audience in the Dáil or Seanad. I wish to quote from the Dáil Debates on audience for Six-County representatives which took place on Thursday, 28th October, 1954, Volume 147, No. 2 of the Official Reports, column 189. The Taoiseach said:—

“As I said, if Lord Brookeborough came down, we would lay out the red carpet, or even an orange carpet, but let our other friends come down here and does it not really underline the fact that they only represent a minority in the North? Are they going to stop at making speeches about Partition? They will have the right of audience confined to speaking about Partition, but that inevitably leads them to interference in the politics of this part of the country and it inevitably leads to their taking sides with individuals, with one Party or another, and then you have the division and the damage that is going to be done down the years.”

If that is a welcome, it is a very frosty welcome; I think I am justified in saying that the Taoiseach displayed a certain degree of welcome for the Unionist representatives and did not extend a welcome to the Nationalists.

The Minister for External Affairs also appeared to think that if Six County representatives were given a right of audience in the Dáil or [401] Seanad they would talk only about Partition. Can he not give them credit for some degree of sense? Can he not give them credit for having enough intelligence to perceive that they would be preaching to the converted, that they would have something more to say than simply to talk about Partition? I have already instanced some of the matters that they could speak on. The Minister talked about cooperation with the Six County representatives, with the Unionists, on matters like railways. I think the point was ably taken up by the Senator here on my right, so I will not elaborate his point; you all heard it yourselves and it is not necessary for me to reinforce it. I will say, however, that when we talk of leadership or closer relations with our Six County brethren we—the seconder of the motion and myself—are thinking in terms of rather larger things than railways. Freedom does not come in refrigerated railway trucks, nor does free speech or the right of free assembly; practical things are important, but they come only when you have freedom; freedom is the first condition, as Pearse said, of any living effort. You can go on from freedom, but until you have it you are going to be restrained by disabilities and frustrations. Railway trucks may follow later, but there is very little use in having railway trucks and no freedom.

I think also—I speak subject to correction by the Chair—that the Minister for External Affairs was unfair in regard to what Senator Liam Kelly said. He said that young men getting discontented with the lack of progress on Partition matters in this country might feel like taking the law into their own hands. He did not intend to justify that, he simply said that is what happens—and it is what happens. He said that he and Fianna Uladh were in favour of constitutional action within the framework of the Republic. I would like to mention that, as I think the Minister should be corrected.

The Minister talked of “woolly and sentimental phrases.” I think he was correct in slating some of those extremely sentimental utterances that were made; but in his own speech, [402] where it should have dealt with realities, we find him referring to realities and dealing with them in some such phrases as: “The seeds which would fructify into a sphere which could be properly exploited”; that does not seem to me the language of reality or the language of sentiment; it seems to be the kind of phrase you create when you have nothing real to say.

In regard to Senator Crosbie's objections, he suggested that the scheme that operates in the Scandinavian countries might have something in it. In conceding that point to him, surely he will in turn concede that there might be something in this motion? He advocates no logical reason against it and consequently I must ask him to extend to me the same justice and to vote for it, on the off-chance that there is something in it. It would at least be an endeavour to extend to the Irish in the North that freedom we enjoy. I am disappointed in Senator Crosbie's speech, because I heard him speak eloquently at Strasbourg. I do not look forward to the day when we go to Strasbourg and there are speeches made against Partition, assuming we make them, and we are met with the answer: “Why should we worry about your problem, when you will not take one practical step yourselves, such as the admission of the Six-County representatives, to make progress towards remedying this matter?”

Maidir leis an Seanadóir Ó Buachalla, ní féidir a rá go bhfuil ciall ar bith in a chuid cainte. Bhain sé ciall amaideach as an méid sin den rún a bhain leis an “plebiscite”. Do labhair sé air mar “plebiscite” ar dheighilt na tíre. Ní deighilt na tíre a bhí i gceist againn, ach “plebiscite” ar chead a thabhairt do Theachtaí ón Tuaiscirt. He talked eloquently and pointedly about various matters. He said the other motion had been tested in the Dáil and that therefore the Government could not introduce legislation—as if Governments could not change their minds.

Liam Ó Buachalla: On a point of explanation, I did not say the Seanad could not introduce legislation. I said that in view of the fact that the Dáil had rejected a similar motion [403] there was little point in the Seanad bringing in a Bill and passing it, knowing it could never become legislation in view of the attitude of the Dáil.

Dr. McHugh: I accept the Senator's explanation, but I would say that the Seanad is supposed to exercise a certain degree of independence. The Seanad has a chance to say to the Dáil still: “We think you are wrong; will you not reconsider your attitude and introduce the Bill?” I think I am quite justified in saying that Senator Ó Buachalla did me an injustice by talking about the folly of holding a plebiscite about something on which the people are agreed. He referred to putting money on a certainty. The thing he meant they were agreed upon was anti-Partition, being against Partition; but the motion calls for a plebiscite on this question of audience. We do not know whether the people are agreed on that or not. The big Parties are agreed about it, but to judge by reactions outside this House I would say a considerable number of people are in favour of it. I may be wrong, but there is one way of finding out and that is by holding a plebiscite. That is a fair and democratic procedure.

I would like to thank those who supported me. Some of them, particularly Senator Sheridan and this Senator on my right, put their arguments succinctly. As for Senator Hartney, I gathered, after some considerable time that he was speaking against the motion. He talked about inviting them in to give their views and asked what was the good. At least they would make as much sense as Senator Hartney did.

I should say something about the amendments now, as they will be taken first. Senator Sheehy Skeffington has argued that the words “six occupied counties” should be deleted because they are, he says, emotive and propagandist. To me they are words denoting a fact. Ireland is occupied by British military forces against the wishes of the majority of our people, the people of the nation as a whole. [404] There is no doubt about that. The artificial area which he referred to was an area created under duress and which is held by force. Further, if I accepted this amendment it would cast a certain slur on Dáil Éireann. After all, the Dáil debated Deputy McQuillan's motion, which referred to the “six occupied counties” and no one proposed to change it to “Six Counties”. No one suggested, as far as I can recollect the Dáil debate, that we should say that those counties are not occupied by British forces. I think we are justified on those grounds alone in retaining the words “six occupied counties”, so I am refusing to accept the amendment.

I would put it to Senator Skeffington, in case he is thinking of voting against the motion as it stands, that one of the tests of occupation is a military test— foreign military uninvited by the population as a whole. Another is police rule and police brutality. The Taoiseach in the Dáil debates very rightly referred severely to the “bludgeoning of those who seek to exercise democratic rights, as in the recent deplorable incident at Pomeroy.” I take very briefly one case as a demonstration and proof of occupation—the case of a young man, Larry Loughran, principal teacher of a year; bludgeoned in Pomeroy, getting six stitches in his head, completely without provocation; deprived of his position; deprived of superannuation; deprived of recognition as a teacher, and given six months in jail as well. These are at least some of the signs that there is a system of occupation still in operation in the Six Counties. Words describing facts may be emotive and propagandist if you are of an emotional or propagandist nature, but Senators will make up their own minds, I trust, as to which of us, Senator Skeffington or myself, is being accurate and which of us is being emotional in the use of words.

As regards the second amendment, I really have not much to say. At first I was inclined to accept it, but I think the Seanad has a perfect right to suggest “Dáil or Seanad” to the Government. The Government can decide on that matter. There is no [405] point in cutting the motion down to “the Seanad” when we can get the Government to reach a decision to give the representatives of the Six Counties the right of audience. I do not think that the arguments that the majority in the Dáil rejected a similar motion should hold and that it should be taken that, because of that, the will of the people has been determined. I am not aware that the people have ever been consulted on this specific issue. I am aware that on the occasion of a free vote of the House some time ago on a similar resolution, about 20 members of the Fine Gael Party voted for it though on the last occasion they voted against a similar motion in the Dáil. At least we are spared in the Seanad the spectacle of younger men toeing the Party line at the crack of a whip and a sudden switch cannot be excused by the use of a Party whip. I ask in this motion that the representatives of the Six County area should have [406] democratic rights of audience in this House and in that we are voicing the opinion of the united anti-Partition movements. I, therefore, formally move the adoption of this motion.

An Cathaoirleach: Do I understand that Senator Sheehy Skeffington is pressing his amendments?

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Yes.

An Cathaoirleach: You desire to have them put?

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Yes.

Amendment No 1 put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 2 put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 3 put and declared lost.

Motion put.

The Seanad divided: Tá, 12: Níl, 35.

Bergin, Patrick.

Commons, Bernard.

Davidson, Mary F.

Hickey, James.

Kelly, Liam.

McCrea, James J.

McHugh, Roger J.

Meighan, John J.

O'Donnell, Frank H.

Sheridan, John D.

Tierney, Patrick.

Tunney, James.

Níl

Barniville, Henry L.

Burke, Denis.

Butler, John.

Carton, Victor.

Clarkin, Andrew S.

Cogan, Patrick.

Cox, Arthur.

Crosbie, James.

Douglas, John Harold.

Fearon, William R.

ffrench O'Carroll, Michael.

Guineess, Henry E.

Hartney, Seán.

Hawkins, Fred.

Hayes, Michael.

Hayes, Seán.

Kissane, Eamon.

L'Estrange, Gerald.

Lynch, John.

McGee, James T.

McGuire, Edward A.

Mannion, John.

O'Brien, George.

Ó Buachalla, Liam.

O'Callaghan, William.

O'Gorman, Patrick.

O'Reilly, Patrick.

O'Sullivan, John L.

Prendergast, Mícheál A.

Quirke, William.

Ruane, Seán T.

Ruane, Thomas.

Sheehy Skeffington, Owen L.

Smith, Matthew.

Walsh, Louis.

Tellers:—Tá: Senators Tunney and O'Donnell; Níl: Senators Hawkins and S.T. Ruane.

Motion declared lost.

The Seanad adjourned at 8.55 p.m. until Wednesday, 1st December, at 3 p.m.