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Dáil Éireann debate -
Monday, 11 Sep 1922

Vol. 1 No. 2


On the adoption of the Temporary Standing Orders I am bound to receive a Motion.

I beg to propose that the Dáil do adopt the existing Standing Orders of Dáil Eireann until the said Committee shall have reported and the Dáil shall adopt other Standing Orders for the regulation of its business.

I second the Motion.

Motion put and agreed to.

I think that the Committee on Standing Orders of which I have been appointed Chairman should meet at the earliest possible moment. I suggest to-morrow at 11.30, if the members will come to my room at that hour. I should mention another small point. It will be necessary to appoint a number of Committees. I suggest, and I think the Dáil will approve, that the gentlemen who met me to-day should meet me to-morrow at these rooms, to make such suggestions, as they may think fit, on this and on general matters.

I have given notice of my desire to ask for the suspension of the Orders of the day to deal with a matter of urgent National importance. I have a resolution which I propose to move with the permission of the Dáil; it reads as follows:—That this Dáil repudiates the statement issued by the Minister for Home Affairs beginning with the words: "The Government does not recognise the right of Civil Servants to strike"...

The business on the Order paper is a statement by the President by leave of the Dáil. The question which Deputy Johnson proposes to discuss does not seem to me to be of sufficient National importance in comparison with the matter on the Agenda paper.

I think that——

My ruling is that this matter is not of urgent National importance.

If I may be allowed to read the Standing Orders, they say: "The Chairman shall at the request of a Deputy suspend the Orders of the day for the discussion of a matter of special National importance provided that on a sow of hands the request has the support of 10 Deputies."

It is to be presumed that the Speaker is to be the Judge as to whether it is a matter of urgent National importance.

There is nothing in the Standing Orders to show that the Speaker is the Judge as to whether it is a matter of National importance.

Nothing is of greater National importance than the matter on the Agenda paper.

It is not aquestion of comparative importance. It is a question of a special matter of Natioual importance, and if the decision of the Minister to declare men outlaws for doing what has been recognised for a generation is not of National importance, then I do not know what the meaning of the term is.

On a point of Order, I submit that it is not for the Chair to say whether it is a matter of National importance or not. I have no particular interest in this question, and I probably shall not support the gentlemen in their views on the subject they wish discussed. It is absolutely essential in this Dáil that this particular rule should be observed, and that the Orders of the day should be suspended for discussion of a matter of National importance when the request is supported by ten Members.

There could be no more ridiculous theory than that ten members should have the right of defining what is of urgent National importance. If that were recognised then 10 Members could occupy the time of this Dáil and interfere with the business generally.

The Standing Orders must be interpreted on the lines of ordinary business procedure.

I submit that you have no authority from the Standing Orders in preventing Deputy Johnson from bringing this matter before the Dáil.

I have ruled on the Standing Orders. A discussion on that point can be raised later on.

Is that Section 5 of the Standing Orders?

Yes, Section 5.

The Minister for Local Government has submitted that it is silly for ten members to do this. I submit that it is more silly for one man to have the right to decide what should be done.

Without wanting to continue the discussion I would suggest that on the reading of the Standing Orders of the day as to the discussion of a matter of National importance that most undoubtedly this question is one of National importance. This is a matter which Mr. Johnson suggests, and I agree with him, should be given time to hav discussed. It can be brought up on the question for adjournment, or later on in the day, but I think the President's statement is entitled to precedence.

I am prepared to allow the matter to be raised on the adjournment.

Will you fix the hour for the adjournment?

I would suggest that the adjournment be at 6 o'clock, and that this question by Mr. Johnson be taken on the motion for adjournment.

I should suggest that the Dáil should adjourn, resume at 7, and, on the motion for adjournment, this question should be raised.