LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND ELECTIONS.

Cuirfeadh roimh an Treas Dáil é arís.

"Reacht on Aire um Rialtas Aitiúil. (Decree by the Minister for Local Government).

"Be it enacted that no person being a wholetime official or employee of a Local Authority is eligible for election to or membership of any other Local Authority. Local authority meaning a Co. Borough, Borough, Co. Council, Board of Guardians or other Body being administered mainly by funds raised in rates.

I move this decree which has been suggested by the Ard Fheis last October, and in the second place by the General Council of County Councils. The exact terminology is the suggestion of the General Body of County Councils. That body is composed of three members of the County Borough Councils and two members from each County Council in Ireland. This decree has been advised by practically everybody who has any experience in connection with Local Government. It is with a view to having well disciplined officials and Boards and Councils composed of persons who have no ulterior motive, that this decree has been moved.

Aontuighim leis sin.

There is only one comment I would like to make on this decree, and I think it ought to have a wider significance. I think it ought to apply to the Dáil itself; that any man receiving a salary or any man who could be called a wholetime official in any Department of the Dáil ought not be a member of the Dáil at the same time. I think it is a practice that does not lead to good Government or to the most effective work. I think that any man who accepts a whole time paid position under the Dáil ought be prepared to resign his membership of this body, or else the position he holds. It is not right or proper for men to occupy a dual position. I do not refer to men who occupy positions as members of the Government, because they are giving their whole time to the work of the Government. I think there is a difference between occuping the position—a Cabinet position, say, and the Inspector of some Department under the Local Government Board. A man might be an Inspector, or in the Home Affairs Department, or something of that kind. I do not think that would be right or proper, and it would be well if the Cabinet, present or future, would bear that in mind in making any appointment. I do not know whether it is relevant. I think it is relevant. And I certainly think it is a matter that ought to occupy the attention of this or any future Government— that no member of the Dáil should occupy a wholetime salaried post (except such a man is a member of the Ministry). No man should occupy such a position and remain a member of Dáil Éireann.

I would like to support that decree. It is a very wise one. I would also like to support Mr. Seán T. O'Kelly with regard to members of the Dáil itself. I think it is altogether wrong for members of the Dáil to be officials of the Ministry. Therefore, we should amend that here. I do not say that we should amend it now, because a decree embodying these remarks ought to be well drafted and because we should see that it did not cover more than was required. I have much pleasure in supporting the decree.

MR. COSGRAVE:

The suggestion made by the Deputy for Dublin is one that I would scarcely be entitled to embody in the decree. The cases he refers to are few, and according to my information they are those who served us during the war period. There are certain considerations. It would, however, be a matter for the consideration of a future assembly as to what steps they ought to take to deal with that.

There is one remark I would like to make. This decree does not go quite for enough, and some people would be able to point the finger of scorn at us and say we are binding them while we are prepared to allow our own members to do what we are now seeking to prevent. I do not know that we should not make an addition to this decree, and that is that the Minister for Local Government should not be a member of any body over which he has control. I do not think it is right. I am not making any personal references to the present Minister for Local Government. But I do not think it is right that being head over all the members of Public Bodies in this country he should sit upon any of the bodies over which he has ultimate control. It detracts from his dignity as Minister, and perhaps puts him in a very invidious capacity in his position with other Public Boards in the country. I think that the matter is of such importance that it could be dealt with by the Third Dáil, and that satisfactory arrangements should be made by which no Minister in the Government should be a member of a body which is controlled by himself.

MR. COSGRAVE:

As a matter of personal explanation, I should say that I offered my resignation to the body on which I have a seat, and they asked me to reconsider it. I have not attended the meetings for a long time—once only in three or four months—and if the people there do not agree with that they could ask me to resign.

I am sure Alderman Cosgrave's services are appreciated by the Dublin Corporation but I do not think we should allow ourselves to be regarded as a lot af humbugs by the country, passing laws for public bodies which we do not apply to ourselves.

Decree put and carried without a vote.