There were certain drafts distributed on Saturday and certain others today. There is difference on the front page, and I should like to know, Mr. Chairman, if there is any difference in the substance of the draft?
STANDING ORDERS. - RESIGNATION OF MEMBERS.
The difference in the front page was due to inadvertence by which the name of Deputy Cole was omitted. It was sent on to the printers to have that remedied, but there is no difference in the body of the draft. I now call on Deputy Whelehan to move the Motion standing in his name.
I beg to move:
"That the draft Standing Orders submitted by the Committee on Standing Orders be adopted."
There are some clerical errors in the draft report submitted and a few of these will certainly require amendment if they are to be of real practical use. It should be borne in mind by the House that the time at the disposal of the Committee, to get through nearly 80 Standing Orders was very limited because we had to report to the House within three days. I might point out that Standing Order 12 requires amendment and the Committee has an amendment available. In Standing Order 16 a clerical error occurred. The words "10 a.m." should read 11 a.m. Before Standing Order 25 the heading "Rules of Debate" has been omitted by the printer. Before Standing Order 35 the heading "Closure of Debate" has been omitted, and above Standing Order 57 there should be the heading "Bills and Resolutions." In Standing Order 63 the sentence, "If it be referred to a Special Committee the Dáil shall decide without debate the number of Teachtaí who shall serve upon such Committee, shall appoint their Chairman and decide what number shall constitute a quorum," should be omitted. Before Standing Order 72 there should be the heading "Fifth Stage." There is general agreement also by the Members of the Committee on Standing Orders that the half hour appearing as the opening hour should be altered to the hour and that the opening 2.30 should be altered to 3 o'clock, and that the closing at which debate should stand automatically adjourned should be 7.30 and not 7 o'clock. It is hoped that all these errors will be rectified in the next copies of the Standing Orders available.
May we have some information as to when these Standing Orders in their amended form are likely to be circulated, and when they will come up for discussion.
Is Deputy Whelehan moving the actual draft or suggesting that the amendment should go into the draft and that the Standing-Orders should then come again before the House?
I am moving the adoption of the report.
I don't see any provision for taking division.
Yes, it is in Standing Order No. 38.
I wish to know, Mr. Chairman, whether we are now receiving the report or whether we are engaged in the passing of the Standing Orders. The report has only been circulated and the mover of this motion I has indicated some amendments that will be necessary.
I take it that Deputy Whelehan is not moving any formal amendments to the report but he is moving that a number of printer's errors should be put right. There are two or three headings omitted from the printed report which were in the written, report.
A change of hour is not a printer's error surely.
The proper thing is to move an adoption of the Orders as they stand, and then when they are seconded amendments could be seconded.
Mr. J.J. BURKE:
I beg to second the motion for the adoption of the Standing Orders.
What is the procedure now?
The Committee who drew up the Standing Orders represented the whole Dáil, and were unanimous in their conclusions, and it was hoped that the Standing Orders that were adopted by them would be, in substance, accepted by the Dáil. If we were to debate the Standing Orders clause by clause and take amendments upon the different clauses it would occupy a very long time.
Would it not be more business-like if we were allowed time to read these Standing Orders and to consider them. If they came up to-morrow for consideration we would be in a better position to discuss them than now.
My point is that the Committee were unanimous, and we have practically no Standing Orders at the present time for the conduct of our business. For instance the Standing Orders of the old Dáil did not provide for many contingencies that have already arisen, and it was hoped that these Orders would be adopted and later on if it were found necessary they could be further amended.
While some Deputies were lucky enough to get copies of these Orders on Saturday last, some others did not get any, and it seems a rather big job to be asked to adopt and swallow these Orders before we have had time to read them.
The Committee was appointed to represent the whole Dáil, and to make recommendations which it was assumed would be adopted.
Is it not the right of the Dáil to discuss reports of Committees before adopting them?
We have not to swallow every recommendation of the Committee?
Certainly not. The Standing Orders can be taken now.
I hope it will be understood that the effect of the Standing Orders will not be to rule out Motions already on the Paper. The effect would certainly be that, if provision is not made against it.
Yes; there should be an interim period within which they would not apply.
Will the same apply to questions?
Yes, and to amendments of the Standing Orders.
Yes, we could take the clauses under the various heads now. We could begin with the first three clauses.
I do not want to break in at this point, but I wish to suggest that, apart from the changes suggested, and going through them in sequence, there might be also a debate rather anterior to that and on the general principles underlying them, as distinct from the principle underlying each Standing Order. I think that is a subject for debate. In respect of all Bills and Motions discussed before the Dáil there should be a general principles discussion as well as a discussion on clause by clause.
Do you suggest it should be taken in the form of a Bill, and discussed clause by clause?
It would be well if it were done. It would serve a useful purpose in debate, and it might show that the changes suggested by one Deputy were consequential upon another.
We have the Motion that the Standing Orders be adopted.
If you leave that Motion in suspension, and take the Standing Orders in groups—for instance, take the first three moved and seconded.
Deputy Figgis suggests there should be a general discussion first.
There is a definite. Motion before the Dáil—that is, that the Standing Orders and necessary corrections be adopted—that is, the corrections arising out of printers' errors. I think that was the business before the Dáil, and not the question of moving them clause by clause.
I think there are a considerable number of amendments required to the Standing Orders as presented; it may take quite a considerable time to discuss these various proposals to be submitted. It would facilitate businesa if having distributed these draft Orders Members were invited to submit amendments for consideration to the Committee, who would bring forward a later report as it might shorten discussion on a later occasion.
It seems to me the best way would be to consider these, and, having made some alterations, the Dáil should consider the adoption of them. New Standing Orders or Amendments of Standing Orders could, be made at any time at one or two days' notice. We could then give a day or a portion of a day, and have these proposed Amendments considered. I think if we were to fro on any oilier basis except adopting these Standing Orders as they strand it would take too long a time to get them through.
If you take them now you will have them forever; there will be no opportunity for further amendments.
I suggest that without adopting Standing Orders we proceed under the Standing Orders you have until a day be fixed, and that meanwhile Deputy Johnsons suggestion be adopted—that any private member could send in any proposed amendment to the Committee. The Committee could report to the Dáil again, and simply in order to get through we proceed according to that until the Standing Orders are finally adopted.
I think the difficulty is there are practically no Standing Orders at the moment. We require some Standing Orders, but at the same time the Committee which have drafted these could bring forward another draft, but th difficulty of getting on with the business in the interim is very great.
But should not members have an opportunity of reading them? I received mine only a minute ago. Others received theirs on Saturday.
It was due to the difficulty of the Postal strike.
I think the best thing you can do is to scrap them all, and put another Committee on with Mr. Johnson, Mr. Magennis and others. Why not adopt the Standing Orders?
Luckily for us they were not appointed plenipotentiaries.
Two suggestions have been made, and if they could be put together I think they would solve the problem. One is that the Committee should further consider the Standing Orders and the amendments that might be handed in by any Deputy, and the other is, that we should proceed under the Standing Orders up to a definite time. Objection is made to that that under these Standing Orders there is little time for private business. I suggest that the Government would be in a very difficult position if they tried to stop private business. I take it the Government will give a day for the amendment of Standing Orders at a future date if required.
May I ask what is the real difficulty about conducting business under the old Standing Orders for two or three days?
What is the good of wasting all this time over it?
One difficulty is this—there is no provision in the old Standing Orders for the introduction of a Bill in the Dáil.
There is no reason why it could not be introduced by a Minister as a Ministerial Motion. It is a much more important thing than Deputies Hughes and Gorey seem to think. These Standing Orders are going to rule and govern the proceedings in the Dáil for a Session at least, and they should not be passed over without consideration.
Could we consider the portion that relates to the passage of Bills, and see would that be satisfactory?
It would not be satisfactory.
If we could get assurances from the Government that they would afford an opportunity of discussing these matters at a later date I think it would meet the demands of he gentlemen opposite. Now it is perfectly obvious that when we are proceeding to the discussion of the Constitution Bill we will require Standing Orders much more amplified than the bare outline on which we have proceeded up to the present. I thought it was an accepted arrangement that this Committee representative of all parties was set up in order that the real points in discussion might be settled by a unanimous recommendation. It certainly seems to be a reasonable request by the Members of the Dáil that we proceed with these Standing Orders in order to get ahead with the business, and that the Government should give an assurance that a date would be set apart for the consideration of the amendments. The main thing is to get ahead with the amendments. What Deputy Corish has suggested would enable us to get ahead, otherwise we would be held up for another week.
As far as I can see, there is no provision made in these Standing Orders for the amendment of the Standing Orders.
I think there is, in No. 5, p. 58.
To put things m order, I move that we proceed under these Standing Orders for the present, and that any amendment that anybody wishes to move to them be sent to you to be discussed by the Committee to-morrow and Wednesday, and that the same Committee report on the final draft to the Dáil by Friday or Saturday. I move that amendment so that we can get on.
Will the Deputy agree to make his Motion that these Standing Orders now submitted apply for three days? If he makes it in that form it will be easier of adoption.
There should be some definite limit laid down. The amendment made will settle it if the Dáil agrees on the time under which you work these Standing Orders now before us.
Would Mr. Cole agree to the adoption of these Standing Orders for three days?
I think it would be more desirable to say a week.
The Committee will meet to-morrow morning, and, even if they agree on a draft, that could not be printed and be in the hands of the Members until Wednesday morning. They would require time before they adopted the second draft of the Standing Orders, so that it will be difficult to take the limit of three days.
Say one week.
We could keep on adopting them from week to week until they got into their final state. We want Standing Orders for temporary purposes. There are certain Standing Orders here which I hold are a stultification of this body as a free Assembly.
I think these might be passed by consent, and. that the proposer ought to leave out Article 53, which is most contentious. It is not necessary at present; we could all agree if that were left out. That is a proposal which puts all private Members out into darkness, so that I think we might as well not come here at all. I think that Article ought to be omitted from the proposition.
The Motion is that the draft Standing Orders be adopted until Friday next, and that meanwhile any amendments desired by the Deputies should be submitted up to Wednesday, the Committee to report to the Dáil not later than Friday. I would suggest that Monday would be put in there, and that the Committee would, through me, agree to let Deputies have a draft by Friday. I think that is an important thing, and would really meet the objections that have been raised. The matter could then come up for discussion on Monday.
read the amendment: "That the draft Standing Orders be adopted until Monday, the 25th. Amendments should be submitted to the Committee riot later than Wednesday, the 20th, and the Committee to report to the Dáil not later than Monday, the 25th."
I second the amendment.
Before that put in, may I ask that one line be added to it, or, if not added, let it be a general understanding that a Member who desires to move an Amendment shall go before the Committee and explain what he desires.
Does that mean that the whole Dáil can go in and make speeches?
It does, I take it. We will have to be clear about this. Let the Amendments be submitted in writing to the Standing Orders Committee.
It is understood that this is not the only method by which an Amendment can be secured, that is, without prejudice to. any right to move an Amendment at the sitting.
Certainly. That right will not be removed. Amendment put and carried.
Would you mind putting that as a substantive Motion?
There is one Amendment I would like to suggest from the point of view of the Ceann Comhairle and the Members themselves. The Standing Orders provide that Deputies will receive Orders of the Day by the first post, if there is any on the day of the debate. Now, Standing Order 12 makes that impossible, and I think it will be the sense of the Committee that it should read in the same way as Standing Order 16. If we are only to receive one day's notice of a Motion, it will be impossible for us to circulate to the Deputies the Orders of the Day, because of the difficulties of getting things printed.
On a point of Order. Would you mind putting that Amendment as a Substantive Motion. It is the business before the Dáil, and I submit any other point does not arise.
Yes, but we have adopted Standing, Orders that we cannot carry out.
Motion made and question put: "That the draft Standing Orders be amended until Monday, the 25th inst., and that, meanwhile any Amendment desired shall be submitted to the Committee not later than Wednesday, September 20th, and that the Committee report to the Dáil not later than Monday, 25th."