From Our Dublin Correspondent.
Dublin's municipal elections last week have resulted in a bitter disappointment for the Government party, a keen surprise for everybody. These elections were the first test of the extended franchise and all the candidates were elected by universal suffrage. Fianna Fail had contended that its strength lay in the younger people, that Dublin business men, who formerly returned five representatives on a Commercial Register, and even Dublin householders, who alone had votes in former municipal elections, did not represent Dublin.
Yet what were the results of the change? There were thirteen Fianna Fail members in the outgoing corporation, twelve Cosgravites, nine Independents and one Labour member. The new corporation has thirteen Cosgrave members, twelve Fianna Fail supporters, seven Independents, two Labour and one Independent Labour representative.
Assuming that the Independents will continue to support Mr. Cosgrave, and the Labour members, Mr. de Valera; the Opposition finds itself with twenty votes on the new corporation as against the Government's fifteen.
Before the elections the Government was full of confidence of victory. Speaking in Dublin on the eve of the poll, Mr. Sean Lemass, Minister for Industry and Commerce, declared that a result adverse to Fianna Fail would be taken as a repudiation by Dublin voters of the Government's policy.
Not a Portent Nevertheless it is not certain that Ireland or even Dublin, would vote similarly at a general election. In Dublin the Lord Mayor, Aid. A. Byrne, T.D., has an immense personal popularity, and Fianna Fail made a big tactical mistake in conducting a vigorous campaign against the continuance of his tenure of officz. Mr. de Valera has a similar personal popularity both in Dublin and throughout the country. A general election would arouse his supporters in a way the municipal elections failed.
The text of the Air Navigation and Transport Bill is a proof that the Free State Government is at last giving serious consideration to the development of air transport in the country. A national company will be formed with a capital of one million pounds, and the Government, which may even subscribe the entire capital, will hold at least sufficient shares to control the company.
Aer Lingus Teoranta, the newly-established Irish company which is running services to Great Britain in conjunction with an English company, and will be incorporated in the national scheme. The company will have power to construct aerodromes in various parts of the country and establish air lines within the country and between Ireland and other countries either directly or by means of other companies in which it will have a controlling interest.
An Air Subsidy Following the example of the British Government which has been subsidising Imperial Airways up to a maximum of £1,000,000 a year the Free State Government is willing to make annual grants of any sum up to £500,000 for the first five years of the new venture. It aims at creating a monopoly both for passenger and mail services; for one of the clauses in the Bill lays down that no other air services in the Free State-whether for pleasure, charter work or instructionwill be allowed without special licence from the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
Five directors will control the concern, and so long as the Minister for Finance holds not less than one-tenth of the issued shares, or so long as debentures guaranteed by the Minister are outstanding, three of the directors will be nominated by him after consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce.
It is proposed to repeal the Air Navigation Act of 1920 and substitute for it provisions for general powers of control over aircraft in the Free State and provisions enabling the Executive Council to implement the international Air Conventions of Paris, Rome, and Warsaw. Owners of aircraft will be required to insure against certain third-party risks and insurance companies will require approval from the Minister.
Dangerous flying may be punished by fines of £200. Aircraft flying over prohibited areas, in accordance with the terms of the Paris Convention, may be fired on if they refuse to obey signals; and no action civil or criminal shall lie in respect of any damage or injury done in the enforcement of this provision. Aircraft may be detained by Order of the Executive Council.
What of the Twelfth?
Nightly now the drums are booming throughout the Six Counties in preparation for the day that threatens to become an annual festival of blood. As the day approaches men of good will do not conceal their alarm, and the inciters of religious strife become more explicit in their words.
There is little evidence that bigotry has been in any way allayed and no reason to hope that the coming " Twelfth will be less shameful than its two tragic predecessors.
Dr. Mageean, Bishop of Down and Connor, has issued a pastoral to his flock in which he advises them to keep away from any gathering at which they may be liable to insult. This is very necessary advice in Belfast, for most of the more serious troubles spring from minor incidents in which Catholic and Protestant alike lose tempers. And the Protestant Bishop, Dr. McNeice, gave utterance recently to sentiments that give hope of a new spirit in the North.
Within the past two years, he said, their city and province had gained an unenviable notoriety. Foreigners had pointed at them the finger of scorn. Germans and Italians had been presented with lurid descriptions of Northern riots as an objectlesson in the ways of British demwracy.
Meanwhile the " No Surrender " trumpet is being blown as loudly as ever by public men. " It would not make a bit of difference to my colleagues or myself if there was not a Nationalist in the Northern Parliament, " Lord Craigavon, Premier, declared at Armagh. Lord Craigavon has promised to make an important statement during the " Twelfth " celebrations next week. " The Orange Order will stand united against any unity with the Free State," Sir Joseph Davison promised at Belfast. " I deny, " he continued, " that the charge can be laid at the door of the Orangemen of Belfast that they created any trouble whatever last year."
The Wicklow Inquiry There was no evidence that the lease had been granted to Judge (then Senator) Ml. Comyn, S.C., and Mr. R. Briscoe, T.D., in respect of certain goldmines in Co. Wicklow because they were political comrades of the Minister. Such is the finding in the report of the mixed Commission set up last year by Dail Eireann to examine charges made in the Dail by Deputy McGilligan to this effect.
It is recommended that in future steps should be taken to ensure more rigid control over the issue of mining leases, so as to ensure that companies should not be floated with a problematic future. tinue for another ten years. The relay exchanges are reprieved for three years, probably because the task of adjusting matters with some .340 exchanges was too difficult.
The general practice of the Civil Service is to be followed in regard to the control exercised over the private lives of the staff. And the Sunday programmes are to be what is known as " brighter."
A Grievance Here the Catholic listener has something to say. He is all for brighter programmes. He knows that dullness does nobody any good.
But he has a grievance of his own about Sundays, and though it has been voiced more than once in this column, this is the moment to voice it again. He is still not getting his fair share of the talks.
An hour or two every Sunday afternoon are devoted to the kind of talks to which Catholic speakers could, if they were asked, make a valuable contribution. Whenever they have been asked their talks have been universally popular. Instances were Fr. Martindale's series on ' The Saints " and Fr. D'Arcy's series on " Christian Morality."
Not only the Catholic but the general listener would welcome more of such series; and the range of possible subjects is wide indeed. But at present they are rare occasions, when they should be regular occasions.
It is a perfectly fair suggestion that in these talks we should share equally with the State Church and the Nonconformist bodies. We must go on pressing our claim until we do.
Larger Powers Wanted The Catholic listener is forced to con clude that though his interests are represented on certain of the advisory councils, they are not effectively represented. His representatives, in other words, have not the powers they ought to have. They ought, for instance, to be able to secure him the just quota of talks as he gets his just quota of services.
The whole question of Catholic representation is vague to him; and it is one on which he deserves much fuller informa tion. • The government intends to increase the number of governors of the B.B.C. from five to seven. Catholic interests should be represented on the governing body as well as on the advisory councils. Surely this is elementary?
If radio were nothing more than an en tertainment-machine it might be said that Catholic interests were not greatly involved. But as the B.B.C. has made it a pulpit of religion, a platform of politics, a schoolroom and a university, Catholic interests are involved hour by hour. The moment when the government publishes its decision as to the next ten years of broadcasting is surely one when we should press for better representation. The appointment of two more governors offers an opportunity.
WILFRID ROOKE LEY.
The Biome play, Abraham and Isaac, which is to be broadcast on July 26, is of exceptional interest.
It is called the Broine play because it was discovered in a fifteenth century commonplace book at Brome Manor, on the borders of Norfolk and Suffolk. Herbert Farjeon brought it to the notice of the B.B.C., and now after 500 years it is to be performed again.
It seems that it is far more than a curiosity. We are assured that it is the most moving and dramatic of all our mystery plays, a sort of English Everyman, and likely, like Everyman, to be continually played, now that we have got it back.
The play deals of course, with the sacrifice of Isaac, and the characters are God, Abraham, Isaac, a doctor and a sheep. They say that the character of Isaac is one of the most beautiful things in our drama tic literature. Originally it would have been performed on a cart or "pageant" (a kind of travelling stage). We shall look forward to hearing it broadcast and (Continued in next column)