§ 1. Dr. MORRIS-JONES
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether any further communication has been received from the Irish Free State in regard to their declared intention to abolish the oath and the withholding of payments on account of land annuities?
The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
No further official communication has been received from the Government of the Irish Free State, but there has been an important development of which I ought to inform the House. The Bill introduced in the Dáil last week has been published, and examination of its text shows that it is designed, not merely to remove the obligation now imposed on Members of the Irish Free State Parliament to take the Oath set out in the Treaty, but to go further. It purports to repeal Section 2 of the Irish 184 Free State Constituent Act of 1922 which provides that the Treaty shall have the force of law, and that any amendment of the Constitution in any respect repugnant to the Treaty shall be void and in operative. It also purports, by an amendment of Article 50 of the Constitution, to enable the Constitution to be amended without necessary regard to the terms of the Treaty. The text of the Bill thus confirms the general view of the situation expressed in my despatch to Mr. de Valera of the 9th April, namely, that what is actually raised by himis nothing less than a repudiation of the settlement of 1921 as a whole.
§ Dr. MORRIS-JONES
In view of the very grave statement which the right hon. Gentleman has read to the House, is he able to make any further statement with regard to what action His Majesty's Government propose to take?
I have made it clear, on behalf of the Government, that we look upon this matter as a violation of the Treaty. That we have intimated to Mr. de Valera in clear and emphatic terms.
Certainly not. As I have already said in my answer, my reply on behalf of the Government to Mr. de Valera intimated quite clearly that in our view his statement was a repudiation of the Treaty. The Bill which is being discussed in the Irish Parliament con firms that view, and, therefore, it is un necessary for me to go into it.