I proposed to take up the matter postponed from yesterday evening, which appears as No. 5 on the paper, but the next matter now is the resumption of the discussion on the report of the Committee of the House, appointed to consider the situation in connection with the statement by Army Officers. The Secretary of the Committee has some statement to make.
STATEMENT BY ARMY OFFICERS. - COMMITTEE'S REPORT.
MR. J. O'DWYER:
I regret to say that although further conversations and conferences have take place, the negotiations are still where they were. No further advance towards a settlement has been made possible. As far as the House is concerned, the break is just where it was.
I do not know what procedure you are going to adopt in regard to these reports. Is it suggested that they be placed on the minutes and left there, or is it in order to move that the respective reports be submitted to the House for their approval or otherwise?
I understood it was agreed already that the reports would go on the minutes.
Are they to be placed on the minutes and end there, or is the House going to take any action as a result of the reports? If they do, I will be happy to place a motion now before the House that the proposals placed before the pro-Treaty Party be approved, if Mr. O'Dwyer is prepared to ask that his proposals be approved and let the House decide between us.
There is a motion before the House that the three reports be placed on the records of the House. If Mr. Boland is moving an amendment it is in order; if he is not, it is not in order.
I asked a question of the Speaker. If it is not in order that the reports be discussed, if I am at liberty to move an amendment I will move that the proposals handed in by the Republican group be placed before the House for their adoption.
Is not that understood to be a separate motion? As I view the matter, it cannot be an amendment to the motion already before the House.
I would like to have it in writing.
What is the motion before the House?
The motion before the House is that the reports previously placed before us be placed on the records of the Dáil.
I asked a question arising on that motion as to whether I would be in order in moving that the Republican group report be placed before the House for discussion and approval or rejection.
I asked to have that in writing.
I am writing it, but I want you to give your ruling.
My impression is that it was a distinct motion.
My recollection is that Deputy McCartan handed in a written motion——
We are writing out this now, if you give us time, Mr. Duffy.
The actual terms of the motion which we are discussing should be made known. It is now some time since we had it before us.
The actual motion before the House is this: "That the proposals presented by the group of army officers and the reports presented by members of the Committee appointed to secure unity between the different sections of An Dáil, be entered upon the records of this House."
Would I be in order in suggesting the following addemdum: "and that proposals advanced by the Republican members of the Committee, and contained in Appendix D, be approved by the House"?
That would be a distinct motion.
Then to raise that matter, would I have to give twenty-four hours notice?
You will have to follow the Standing Orders.
I would like to know what is the Order. Cannot we hand in an amendment that means simply a question of changing words or adding words? Is not that in order? What is the idea of discussing these reports if they are to be left where they were? Is not it obvious that before the discussion ends on these reports, or their insertion on the minutes, definite action should be taken by the House? I submit that to add something to the motion before the House, for the discussion of these reports before their insertion on the minutes, is in order. It is in order that this matter should be put before the House and, to use Deputy Boland's words, that the proposals contained in these reports be submitted to the House for approval or rejection.
I would like to point out that on the first day when the report of the Army officers was read, Deputy Hayes put forward a motion that we approve of the report. That motion was afterwards withdrawn, but it was not held to be out of order. It was a motion which naturally arose on the report and it was not held by you to be out of order.
I hold that the motion as indicated to me, and which I have not yet received in writing, is not an amendment. That is my ruling. It is not an amendment to the resolution which I have read to you.
Will the Secretary of the House give us a copy of the Standing Order?
Have you not given your ruling and should we not proceed on the basis of that ruling? Are we to wait until our constitutional experts examine the Standing Orders of the Day to see if it is right or not?
Members of the House have a right to put their point of view before the Chair when a decision like that is given. The rules for amendments state that every amendment must be directed to omit, add or substitute words, and no amendment shall be accepted by the Chairman which is equivalent to a direct negative.
See Section K, page 3.
Well, I submit that the proposal to insert these reports on the records of the House was made by the other side and, in proposing the motion, it was contended that it was in order that there might be a record for the future, so that responsibility for the present situation might be placed on the proper shoulders. In order that the matter might be properly discussed, and in order that those who wish to examine these records might have something definite and have the opinion of the House on the matter, as well as the simple ordinary putting down of the record, we want the opinion of the House on our final proposals as contained there be got. We submit that it is a proper amendment to the motion to have the reports inserted in the records to add those words which Mr. Boland has suggested —that the proposals contained in those reports (Appendix D) should be approved by the House. In submitting this——
I have ruled that this is quite a distinct matter from the resolution before us, which is to record on the minutes of the House certain reports presented to it. The amendment as I understand it, and I have not yet received it in writing——
I was waiting until the experts were finished.
The amendment is this:
"and that the proposals advanced by the Republican members of the Committee as contained in Appendix D to the pro-Treaty report, be approved by the House."
Now, who seconds that?
I will second it.
Is this being moved as an addition to the motion?
It is moved as an amendment to be added to the motion.
Does the mover of the motion accept it?
The mover of the original motion?
I do not know about that.
This I rule to be out of order. It is a declaration of policy. To move that Appendix D to the report be approved by the House is quite a distinct matter from placing these reports on the records of the House.
I understood that when the Dáil appoints a Committee to report or inquire into any matter, when a report comes before the House, it should be in order for the House to deal with that report, and particularly so in a matter of such importance as this. Here, the result of our labours evidently will be that the reports are placed here on the minutes and that ends the matter. I presume when the Dáil appointed a Committee to negotiate a possible settlement it went forward from the Dáil as from the Government of the country, and I hold it is for the Dáil to say now whether the proposals placed by the Republican group or by the pro-Treaty group meet with their approval.
A Chinn Chomhairle, is it not a fact that your ruling does not exclude this motion being put on the Order papers tomorrow, or the next day the Dáil is sitting, and let it be then discussed?
Of course it does not.
The very importance Deputy Boland attaches to it emphasises the propriety of adhering to the rules for motions.
Are we to wait twenty-four hours for a constructive motion to be put before us?
We have two reports, one from each side. If it was a joint report with the names of the Committee attached, we could then, I think, have a discussion on it. But here we have no finding as a finding of the Committee. We have two distinct reports, and we could not very well discuss one report without touching the other also. I think we should proceed with the business of the House.
My ruling has been given already.
I do not know if the gentleman who made the pro-Treaty report would agree to a suspension of the Standing Orders to give the House an opportunity of seeing where the Committee failed, and perhaps reach a conclusion.
They might agree to an amendment that the pro-Treaty report be also adopted.
As a matter of fact, I suggested that to Mr. O'Dwyer before I came in, so as to put the matter in order.
The motion before the House is that the proposals presented by the group of Army officers and the reports presented by the members of the Committee appointed to secure unity between the different sections of the Dáil, be entered in the records of the House. I am now putting that motion to the House.
The motion was put and declared carried.
I give notice that I will raise the amendment handed in, in the form of a motion. I am now submitting it as a notice of motion.