I gCoiste ar an mBille um Bunreacht Shaorstait Eireann. (In Committee on the Constitution of Saorstát Eireann Bill.) - ARTICLE 50. EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY.

"The Executive Authority of the Irish Free State/Saorstát Eireann is declared to be vested in the King, and shall be exercisable in accordance with the law, practice and constitutional usage governing the exercise of the executive authority in the case of the Dominion of Canada, by the Representative of the Crown. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of the Irish Free State/Saorstát Eireann to be styled the Executive Council/Aireacht. The Executive Council shall be responsible to the Chamber/Dáil Eireann, and shall consist of not more than twelve Ministers/Airi appointed by the Representative of the Crown, of whom four Ministers shall be Members of the Chamber/Dáil Eireann and a number not exceeding eight, chosen from all citizens eligible for election to the Chamber/ Dáil Eireann, who shall not be members of Parliament/Oireachtas during their term of Office, and who, if at the time of their appointment they are members of Parliament/Oireachtas, shall by virtue of such appointment vacate their seats; Provided that the Chamber/Dáil Eireann may from time to time on the motion of the President of the Executive Council determine that a particular Minister or Ministers not exceeding three, may be members of Parliament/ Oireachtas in addition to the four members of the Chamber/Dáil Eireann above mentioned."

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I propose first to deal with the parts of this Article which touch on our relations with England under the Treaty settlement. We can pass from that to discussion of this new Executive proposal which is affected by the Treaty, and which is very much a matter for the Dáil to consider freely. In two respects this Government is standing on that Article, and feels that it must stand on that Article, and these two respects are in so far as the Article states that the Executive Authority is vested in the King. You notice after that it goes on to say that the authority shall be exercised in accordance with the law, practice and constitutional usage, as in the case of Canada. It struck me during the course of the debates on this Constitution, and more particularly yesterday, that there is a mentality here which sees this country very much in the role of a stalking horse for all the Dominions—that we are supposed to be a "devil-may-care" kind of people, rather irresponsible, and very much prepared to take risks, even when dealing with the fate and destiny of our own country, and that, therefore, we should go ahead and force the pace for all the Dominions. That is one view, and there is another view which is not quite that, and is more cautious, to the effect that we should aim rather at stating our position in such a way that a challenge to us, or an encroachment upon us, is a challenge to all and an encroachment upon all the Dominions, so that, if a situation like that were to arise, it should be fought not by any one country taking particular risks or acting in an irresponsible way on its own, but it should be fought collectively by all the countries as a matter of common concern and common interest. Now, I am trying to put the thing fairly and without heat. It does strike me that in discussions here yesterday these two particular points of view were very much in evidence. I am standing for the point of view that we should, in stating our position, stand absolutely on the letter and spirit of the Treaty, stating it in such a way that if our position were to be challenged in the future that would be a challenge all round which we could reasonably look to other countries to take up, inasmuch as it would be a challenge to themselves. Now, so much for this matter of the Executive authority of the King. There is a second respect in which we are standing for this Article—that is, in so far as it provides that the Ministers shall be appointed by the Representative of the Crown. If Deputies will turn to Articles 51 and 52 they will find that, in fact, Ministers are not appointed by the Representative of the Crown. "The President of the Executive Council shall be the Chief of the Executive Council, and shall be appointed on the nomination of the Chamber/Dáil, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and the other Ministers who are members of Parliament/Oireachtas shall be appointed on the nomination of the President of the Executive Council." So the Dáil appoints or nominates the President, and the President nominates both the Vice-President and the other Ministers. In Article 52 you have Ministers who are not members of Parliament, but who shall be nominated by a Committee of members of Dáil Eireann. Dáil Eireann selects the President, the President selects the Vice-President and the other Ministers who will be members of the Dáil. As for the Ministers who, it is proposed, will not be members of Dáil Eireann, they are selected by a method to be determined by the Dáil so as to be impartially representative of the Assembly as a whole. So, in fact, the Representative of the Crown has nothing to do with the selection of Ministers, but he automatically appoints them, either on the nomination of the President or the Dáil itself, and on an analysis wherever, in this Constitution, there is power stated to lie elsewhere than in Ireland, you will find it is not real power, that in fact all real power under the Constitution lies in Ireland and in the Irish people, and any statement to the contrary is merely the keeping up of certain symbols. Now, if Deputies will turn to page 356 in their large volume giving Constitutions of the world, you will find the position as laid down in Canada:—"the Executive Government and the authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen." There is no use wasting time turning to the Constitutions of the other countries with whom we are associated by Article 1 of the Treaty, but in all you will find that the constitutional usage and practice as well as the law, vests authority nominally in the Head of the Commonwealth, but in fact the real power in the country is in the hands of the Parliament and the people. That is, of course, a thing from which we could not break away, in accordance with the Treaty. Therefore, in these two respects we stand absolutely on that Article. Now to consider the Executive itself. We are not standing on that as a matter of confidence. It is not a question on which we would go out, but we do very strongly recommend it to the Members. We have examined it carefully, and having regard to the political conditions which we consider likely to prevail in the country, and having special regard to the Proportional Representation system of voting now prevailing in the country, we consider it is a system most likely to lead to stable and orderly Government in this country. Under Proportional Representation you will have not so many great solid parties like in England, which make the party system a fairly good working arrangement, but you will have rather a lot of groups in this Dáil not bound together particularly, but voting independently on the different issues that may arise. Now, if you had the party system of Government here, and such condition of things prevailing in the Dáil, with small groups, you would not have stable conditions, but you would have, we consider, Governments going in and out far too often to admit of stable conditions and to admit of continuity of policy in the chief Departments of the State. This system is modelled on the Swiss system, and it is a system which was found to work very well in Switzerland, and the conditions in Switzerland may be considered roughly to resemble those which are prevailing here. I think it is advisable to spend some considerable time on this proposal. It is a new proposal, and our minds have always been directed towards the English party system, and sub-consciously and unconsciously we think along those lines. This proposal opens up lines of political thought, and it would be well for Members to scrutinise carefully and to weigh its merits and demerits very carefully before deciding on it. To that end I propose to enter rather on a detailed analysis of the new proposal. The scheme proposed is as follows:—

(a) AN EXECUTIVE COUNCIL responsible to the Dáil (Art. 50).

(b) THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL to consist of not more than TWELVE (12) MINISTERS (Art. 50).

(c) OF THE TWELVE (12) MINISTERS,

(i.) FOUR (4) at least MUST be MEMBERS OF THE DAIL (Art. 50).

(ii.) EIGHT (8) chosen from all citizens eligible to the Dáil (whether they are Members of the Dáil or not), SHALL NOT DURING THEIR TERM of office BE MEMBERS of either House (Art. 50).

(iii.) PROVISO that upon occasion a particular Minister or Ministers of the Eight (8), not exceeding Three (3), may be Members of either House if so determined by the Dáil on the motion of the President (Art. 50).

So that the normal would be that you would have four Ministers of the Dáil and eight not members of the Dáil, and you might have seven Ministers members of the Dáil and only five outside Ministers.

(d) THE EIGHT, though not members of the Dáil, are to HAVE ALL THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERS EXCEPT the right to vote. They may be required to attend the Dáil and to answer questions (Art. 55).

(e) THE FOUR (who are to be members of the Dáil) are to include (Art. 51):—

(1) The President of the Executive Council, who may also hold a Portfolio (say external affairs).

(2) The Vice-President of the Executive Council, who may also hold a Portfolio (say Finance).

(3) The Minister of Defence.

(4) A Minister for Home Affairs (in present circumstances where the restoration of order is vital to stability).

(f) OF THE FOUR

THE PRESIDENT is to be appointed on the nomination of the Dáil.

The other three (including the Vice-President) are to be appointed on the nomination of the President (Art. 51).

(g) THE FOUR must GO OUT of office if the President fails to be supported by a majority in the Dáil. (They continue until their successors are appointed.) (Art. 51.)

(h) THE EIGHT are to be nominated by a Special Committee of the Dáil. The Committee is to be chosen in a way to be settled by the Dáil so as to fairly represent the Dáil. (Art. 52.)

N.B.—The Committee is to nominate each Minister of the Eight for a Ministry with special regard to his suitability for that particular office. (Art. 52.)

This is an essential feature of the Scheme, and distinguishes it from:

(a) the British System, where every Minister is appointed by the Premier for party services rather than for special suitability for the office;

(b) a System under which a number of Ministers are appointed in group, distributing the offices amongst themselves after appointment.

This Scheme is capable of helping towards a scheme of Ministries hereafter resting on a basis of Functional or Vocational Councils. (See Art. 53.)

The nominations made by this Committee are to be submitted to the Dáil for acceptance individually, and the Committee is to keep putting up names for each office until one is found acceptable.

The broad idea of the scheme is that (a) the four members who are to be members of the Dáil are to be collectively responsible to the Dáil.

(1) These include external affairs (whether policy, negotiation or executive acts). This would include our relations with England and the rest of the Commonwealth,i.e., the Treaty position.

(2) National defence which must be closely associated with saving and maintaining the Treaty position and preventing any other than constitutional opposition to the Government and Parliament.

(3) Finance upon which the whole National position and every department of it must be firmly based.

(4) Probably Home Affairs in present circumstances; (b) the eight (who are not to be members of the Dáil) while acting collectively as an Executive with the four are to be only individually responsible to the Dáil for their respective Ministries. The intention is that the eight should hold the Ministries for the internal government of the country,e.g., (1) Education; (2) Justice; (3) Post Office;

(4) Trade and Commerce; (5) Local Government; (6) Public Health; (7) Agriculture; (8) Labour; (9) Fine Arts.

Each of these Ministers would (1) have all the privileges of the Dáil save voting; (2) hold office for the whole term of Dáil, that is 4 years, and until successor is appointed; (3) would not go out of office on defeat of the President and the Four; (4) would not be removed from office during his term unless on a report by a Committee of the Dáil that he had been guilty of malfeasance in Office, incompetence and unsatisfactory performance of his duties and failure to carry out the expressed will of Parliament. The intention of the whole scheme is to forestall the party system of government. The party system, as in England, depends for its effective working on two great parties. Where there are a number of parties, as in Italy and France, or as would be here under Proportional Representation, it would be practically impossible to get a stable government. Now, there is further this side to it—that we are launching a State. We have not the tradition of government here. We have not been governing ourselves for a very long time, and we have not been running our own departments, and it will take is a very long time to build up anything like an efficient Civil Service machine that the older established Governments have at their disposal. It would be very important and very valuable if it became possible to select Ministers solely on the basis of their peculiar fitness for their office, and not on the basis of political service or perfervid rhetoric that they may have poured out on the platform, or anything else. It is important that at the launching of a young State that a Minister should be able to bring forward proposals here and have them freely discussed by the Dáil without the feeling that their rejection would endanger his whole Ministry arid his whole administration, and endanger the President, and the policy that the President stood for. That is one of the evils of the Party System of government. In England if the Minister for Agriculture, or the Minister for Education, or some other Minister brings forward a measure, and if he is particularly keen on that measure, the defeat of that is a defeat for the whole Government, and the whole Government goes out. Now, it does not make for freedom of thought, and it does not make for freedom of judgment that the Deputies must feel, "Now, I must support this measure; personally, I do not approve of it, things were very well as they were, this measure is either evil or unnecessary, but if I do not vote for it there is danger that the whole Government goes out, and the whole policy, external and internal that the Government is standing for is in danger." That is wrong. That is one of the evils of the Party System. Now, in view of the amendment that we have inserted in Article 49, it is very well worth while to make such an experiment as this if a goodbona fide case can be established for it, and I submit that that case can be established rather by pointing to the obvious and glaring defect in the Party System, even as it exists in England, where you have two Parties pitted against each other. There are glaring defects in that form of government, but these defects would be multiplied manifold here where you have a Dáil consisting of small independent groups, or even individual members, not bound by any ties to any others in the Dáil. We have such members in the Dáil now, and we are bound to have them in the future. Now if you had a Party System of government things might go very well for a time, but then an issue might arise, such as we had here lately, and purely on the merits of that issue there would be a change in the voting, and out goes that particular Government, and then another comes in, and all the time you have in danger and in the balance the main planks that the President and his immediate advisers are standing for. The important thing, the internal and external policy of the Government, would then be endangered perhaps over some small measure like the compensation for damage to property that we had here last week, or something of that kind. If this system is found not to work it can be changed under the amendment that we have accepted to Article 49. We submit that it is very well worth trying. It is a mistake to say that the outside Ministers would not be sufficiently responsible to the Dáil. They could attend the Dáil, they could be summoned here, and it might be made a matter of routine that they would attend and answer questions, and so on. They have every right in the Dáil, except the right of voting, and they are under this arrangement left free to bring forward proposals without endangering their administration, and having these proposals discussed openly and freely, each Deputy using independent judgment, and voting on the merits of the proposal, which is a most important thing when we are establishing a new order here, and when we must go ahead with so much progressive legislation and reconstructive legislation.

Professor MAGENNIS

Might I ask the Minister to expound to us a little further the reason for the provisions? If one of these half-in and half-out Ministers happens at the time of his appointment to be a Member of Parliament, is he, by virtue of such appointment, to vacate his seat?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

That is part of the proposal, part of the underlying object of the whole proposal. If you want to get away from the Party System of Government, you will only get it by having many Ministers not members of the Dáil, and appointed simply because of their fitness for a particular office, and not for their political qualifications. And then they will be judged by the Dáil only by the efficiency with which their department is run, and the soundness or otherwise of the measures.

Professor MAGENNIS

Would membership of Parliament be a disqualification for such an office?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

It might be found, for instance, that a Member of Parliament would be the most suitable man to appoint to a certain Ministry, and yet to carry out this scheme you want a certain number of Ministers who are not Members of the Dáil. If the man appointed was a Member, he would be expected to resign, as it is underlying these proposals. When you want a non-party system of government you are aiming at securing the best administration of each particular Department, and you are limiting the political aspect of the thing simply to the President and three Ministers around him. They stand or fall on large matters of policy—internal policy, defence, and the general order of the country—while the other Ministers only stand or fall on the efficiency of their Department and the soundness of the proposals they bring before the Dáil. He should be free to bring forward proposals to be discussed on their merits, and should not be in the position that a Minister would have to resign if a proposal he brought forward were defeated. We want free discussion and full deliberation on these matters, and he would only get the mind of the Parliament by bringing forward measures. The Committee that appointed him can at any time sit and remove him under any of the three heads I have named; malfeasance in his office, incompetence or failure to carry out the expressed will of the Parliament.

Mr. SEAN MILROY

This amendment as proposed now, does it not switch us on to something away from the main points of the discussion?

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY

I propose the following amendment to Article 50:—

"To delete all the words from the opening of the Article to the word ‘responsible' inclusive (in ninth line of printed draft before Dáil), and to insert in their place the following words:—‘The Executive Authority of the Irish Free State shall be an Executive Council responsible."'

I wish to say that I find myself very wholeheartedly in favour of the plan which the Government has espoused. I only want to make one observation on it in case it escaped attention, as I did not hear the Minister for Home Affairs. It seems to me it would be undesirable that this new scheme should come into operation until after the General Election. I do not know the weight Ministers attach to that, but you must remember you cannot ask a person of standing outside to come and take an office for six or seven months, and then be out altogether. If you are asking this man to give up his business and undertake some particular office under the scheme he ought to have the four years prescribed by the scheme. I ask Ministers whether this Executive proposal shall apply to the present Parliament, conditionally, on the Constitution being passed, or whether it would come into operation after the General Election?

I move the amendment designed to remove the King from the Executive, and remove so much of the clause describing the Executive as makes an Executive Council to aid and advise the Government in the Irish Free State, with the result that if the amendment be accepted it would read:—"The Executive Authority of the Irish Free State shall be an Executive Council responsible to the Irish Free State," and so forth. I feel that it needs considerably less temerity to move this particular amendment to one of the major clauses on which the Government stands than it needed to make the amendments to the other clauses. For this reason, one that I have no doubt the Minister for Home Affairs will himself admit to be true, namely, that the insertion of the King in the Executive is much more clearly a violation of our Treaty rights than its insertion elsewhere. I would ask Members to recollect what is said in Article 1 of the Treaty. By Article 1 Ireland is to have a Parliament with certain powers and an Executive responsible to that Parliament. These are the exact words, "An Executive responsible to that Parliament." My submission to this Dáil is that it is a contradiction in terms to state that your Executive is vested in the King in one breath and in the other to say your Executive is responsible to Parliament, because the whole theory of the law is that the King is not responsible. This particular phrase, "An Executive responsible to the Parliament" is the most cogent evidence you can get, in my judgment, of the fact that when that Treaty was signed and "the law, practice, and constitutional usage" were employed they mean, as I suggested before, a synthesis of all three. They meant to convey and have expressed in our Constitution the truth as it is to-day. If they had meant us to state first of all the old law and afterwards constitutional usage they could not have used that phrase, "An Executive responsible to Parliament." The King, according to the law which is being imported here, is a being clothed with absolute perfection. He is a person who not only cannot do an improper thing; he cannot even think of an improper thing, and cannot ever intend to do a wrong act. In Blackstone's phrase, "the King can do no wrong," and therefore he cannot be responsible to Parliament. If you bring him into the Executive you are bringing in someone who does not comply with the conditions of the Treaty. It is true, in fact you would have Ministers who would be responsible to Parliament, but here the draft merely says these Ministers will aid and advise him. In truth it is intended they shall govern and be the Executive. Why not say so? That is what the Treaty says, "an Executive responsible to Parliament," will be given to Ireland. That is why I say that this Constitution should state quite clearly that our Executive Council shall be the one proposed in such a way as it will be responsible to Parliament. I think the proposal is a very simple one, and under this very Clause the concession claimed by England is a concession that should not be granted, in view of the very strong logical case we have. The doctrine of Ministerial responsibility which has grown through many evolutions to be the actual practice to-day is one that ought to be expressed in terms, and we should not express a thing which is not quite true in our Constitution, and it is inconsistent with our Constitution to make the King the Executive. Ministers have, naturally enough, scored all along the line on major issues because the people were afraid of losing the Treaty. I put it to them that this particular issue is one upon which they may graciously concede that the amendment proposed is right, and that there is no reason for objecting to it, because if they say to Downing Street we have secured that Parliament shall yield on so many points—ten or twelve—that you consider vital, but on this one we must stand upon the strict wording of the Treaty, we must insist according to what the Treaty says that the Constitution shall express the fact of an Executive responsible to the Parliament, I do not think they would find such enormous difficulty in getting the people across the water, who are so anxious to have their interpretation put upon certain clauses, to see they could not have it their way every time. I therefore trust that the Minister will re-consider this particular clause and accept the amendment.

Professor MAGENNIS

A Chinn Chomhairle, the answer to Deputy Gavan Duffy is very simple. He is confounding two things—the vesting of the executive authority and the exercising of it. The maxim of constitutional law which he has quoted is undoubtedly sound. No one would dream of questioning it. But there is another, much more germane to the point at issue. It says "the King reigns, but does not govern." There is nothing in the wording of this clause which is antagonistic to the doctrine, "the King reigns, but does not govern." You must have the executive authority vested somewhere. The exercise of it is another thing. The exercise of the executive authority in Ireland is given into the hands of the Ministry—the Cabinet as you may call it—the Executive Council. I ask Deputy Gavan Duffy to consider this, supposing he omits the clause vesting the executive authority, what will happen when one Ministry is voted out of office? Another Ministry must be procured Who is to summon the members of the Parliament to form a new Ministry? Where is the executive authority to be during the interval? According to constitutional practice, everywhere, there must be something of this sort. It is a necessary part of the machinery of the continuity of government. If objection was to vesting it in the King, it would be a different point altogether, but, as I understood, or possibly misunderstood, the Deputy, he did not propose a substitute.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY

May I answer that point at once by pointing out to the Deputy that the Constitution, as drafted before us, provides that the Cabinet is to continue in office until its successor takes its place?

Professor MAGENNIS

Who is to summon its successor?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

A Chinn Comhairle, I think that Deputy Magennis's criticism of Deputy Gavan Duffy's amendment, and his statement supporting that amendment, was very sound but there is an even more fundamental objection to the amendment, and it is Article 2 of the Treaty—"Subject to the provisions hereinafter set out the position of the Irish Free State in relation to the Imperial Parliament and Government and otherwise shall be that of the Dominion of Canada, and the law, practice, and constitutional usage governing the relationship of the Crown, or the representative of the Crown and of the Imperial Parliament to the Dominion of Canada shall govern their relationship to the Irish Free State." The effect of that clause of the Treaty is to say that the relations of the Crown to the Dominion of Canada shall be those governing the relations of the Crown to the Irish Free State, and the effect of Deputy Gavan Duffy's amendment is to say that the relations of the Crown or the representatives of the Crown or the Imperial Parliament to the Dominion of Canada shall not be their relations to the Irish Free State. The Article of the Treaty says they shall be the same. Deputy Gavan Duffy's amendment is to the effect that they shall not be the same, but otherwise. That goes to the root of things, and on that ground, and on that ground only, we are bound to stand against that amendment. It is not a view that was forced upon us elsewhere. We hold that view ourselves— that what is embodied and what is implied by that amendment of Deputy Gavan Duffy is inconsistent, with the Treaty.

Mr. MILROY

A Chinn Chomhairle, is the matter before the Dáil now merely the amendment or the discussion generally?

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE

There are two other amendments, one by Deputy Magennis and one by Deputy Thrift, on which discussion can take place.

Amendment put and negatived.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY

I propose a further amendment to add to this Article and before Article 51, to insert as a separate Article the following words: "No Act of State shall be done and no executive action shall be taken in the Irish Free State/Saorstát Eireann otherwise than upon the initiative, and with the authority of the Executive Council Aireacht."

I trust that the Ministry will see no difficulty in accepting this amendment. I need not say very much in support of it, but I want to quote two or three authorities that prove, I think, conclusively that we are entitled to express the constitutional usage in that form. Mr. Harrison, in a letter which has been circulated to Members, advocates inserting in the Constitution:

"a Declaration that while Executive action will be taken in the name of the Crown, no such action in Ireland shall be taken save on the initiative and sole responsibility of the Minister answerable to the Irish Legislature."

He says that that should go into the Constitution, and he adds—

"Can it be seriously argued that Great Britain would be any the weaker for thus abolishing sources of immediate and ultimate friction, and for relying upon quasi diplomatic action as between Government and Government for the protection?"

Then he has a suggested amendment drafted which is very much the same as mine, except that it speaks of the Royal Prerogative, which I have not mentioned in terms. He suggests—

"All Executive Action taken in the name of the Crown and every exercise of the Royal Prerogative shall, within the territories and sphere of authority of the Irish Free State, be based upon the initiative, advice and responsibility of Ministers directly accountable to the Irish Free State Parliament,"

and he defines that—I quote his words, which will have much more authority than any I may use—

"That is to provide in express terms that which is implied in the recognition of Ireland's Dominion status, but which is not clearly prescribed, nor conclusively secured by the Terms of Articles 2 and 50 of the draft Constitution."

Mr. Harrison goes on:

"It has been alleged that the British Crown is written all over the Constitution. The Crown is, however, in its Constitutional aspect as regards Irish internal affairs, no more than the emblem of an authority to be exercised by the Ministers directly accountable to the Irish Parliament, and as regards Irish external affairs, the symbol of certain neutral interests and a common purpose in regard thereto in world politics upon which the Independent units of the Community of Nations known as the British Empire are voluntarily agreed. When this is made clear the jibe above referred to is seen to be pointless. The Amendment puts the King's representative in Ireland in the same Constitutional position as regards the Irish Ministers, the Irish Parliament and the Irish people as the King himself occupies as regards the British Ministers, the British Parliament and the British people. It prevents any action of an executive character whether based on the Royal prerogative or not from being taken in Ireland at the instance of British Ministers. No Constitutional lawyer will under-rate the importance of securing this declaration in the clearest possible terms."

It is important that we should, in the clearest possible terms, make provision against the interference of British Ministers in this matter of the Executive; they are the people who have access. I might remind the Dáil that Professor Keith, who has been quoted here before in dealing with the subject, says:—

"It is not compatible with the idea of the equality of status between the Dominions and the United Kingdom asserted at the Imperial War Conference of 1917 that a Ministry which represents the choice of Parliament and the Constituencies should be subject to control in their actions by a nominee of the Imperial Government, even though his action is taken on his own initiative."

I may conclude this by reading what Mr. Duncan Hall, another very well known authority on the Constitutional practice of the Dominions, says:—

"It was intimated at the debate in the Imperial Conference of 1918 that formal recognition must be given to the fact that in practice the position of the Governor-General is now that of Viceroy. As General Smuts has said recently, the Governor-General should be the representative of the King and nothing else. This may involve a change of name. It will certainly involve a strict recognition of the rule that the Governor-General should act in all cases, even the most trivial, as a Constitutional Monarch, that is, solely upon the advice and responsibility of his Minister."

I trust that the Minister will see the desirability of making that clear in the draft Constitution by accepting either my amendment or putting in other words designed to the same purpose.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

In this matter, as in so many other matters, our minds do not click with Deputy Gavan Duffy's. Deputy Gavan Duffy is the chief exponent here of a great Imperial Conference that is to sit to arrive at definitions, which will be completely satisfactory to all parties. On the other hand we have the letter from Mr. Harrison stating that this Imperial Conference on which Deputy Gavan Duffy has his eye fixed, sat last year, and decided not to decide anything or arrive at any definition. But assuming in the near or far future they will sit and arrive at definite definitions, is it sound for us to attempt, as Deputy Gavan Duffy does, to anticipate these definitions? and is it right, particularly without any consultation whatever with Canada, to take it upon ourselves here to define the Canadian position? Is it not both sounder and more considerate simply to claim the Canadian position, and let that be fought out, as it should be fought out, by Canada and this country, if you will, and the other Dominions collectively as a matter of common interest. In this Amendment again, as in other Amendments, we come up against that mentality which says this country has no more dignified role than that of a stalking horse for the left wing of Dominion thought. We object to this country being used as a stalking horse for any left wing, or for any thought other than Irish thought. And we will state the position always in such a way that when we are challenged other parties in the Commonwealth are likewise challenged, and when there is an encroachment on us that encroachment willipso facto be an encroachment upon other parties in the Commonwealth That is a fair position, and a more constitutional position than to expect one country to act as a stalking horse, getting all the kicks and taking all the risks, while other people get any problematical advantage that may be won without either kick or risk. We will not accept that position, and we do not consider it either statesmanlike or patriotic to advocate the taking up of such a position by this country, having regard to the special conditions at the moment. I submit it is sounder to leave these matters undefined—simply the Canadian position—and leave that Canadian position to be defined at this Imperial Conference, which Deputy Gavan Duffy assures us is going to bring in the millennium for the Dominions. It may bring such millennium, but if it does it will be a millennium in which we will automatically share by the very wording which we have ourselves inserted in this Constitution. The amendment is not accepted by those who are standing sponsor for the Bill.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY

I must disclaim the epithet "Left Wing" for this amendment. This amendment is designed to express the admitted Constitutional usage. The Minister has not told us that there is anything in it that does not express that Constitutional usage, and I certainly shall have to press for a division if it is objected to.

Professor MAGENNIS

Before we are asked to vote, may I take the liberty of asking the Minister in charge of the Bill to return to the point just for one moment? In my view, so far as my limited knowledge extends, what Deputy Gavan Duffy has declared is absolutely correct. His amendment does declare the present state of Constitutional usage. Last evening, on Article 40, I took up the attitude which the Minister takes up on this Article, namely, that we are in a much safer position, more fully guarded by using the language of the Treaty than by departing from it. What I should like to have added for my own benefit, and, I presume, to some extent for the benefit of our colleagues here, is this: though the Canadian Constitution was set up ostensibly by the enactment of the Imperial Parliament in 1867, that British North America Act merely gave legislative body and being to proposals that had been formulated from within the provinces of Canada. There were, as you know already, several Provinces, Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and so on, and they had debated amongst themselves what claim they should make to the rights and privileges they were entitled to as between themselves, and the British North America Act therefore set down, in the language of the draftsmen, many things which had been arrived at by negotiation. Since then the genius of the Canadian people, largely that of the mother country, England, developed along lines which have made their Constitution expand, as the British Constitution itself has expanded, by natural evolution; so that the ordinary onlooker is deceived. He is likely to imagine that the Canadians have a written Constitution, whereas the Constitution of Great Britain is unwritten. As I said a few evenings ago, on another point, we must not let ourselves be deceived by what seems to be obvious logic. One may argue in regard to other Constitutions that it is either a written Constitution or an unwritten Constitution; but here you have the case of Canada where a Constitution is partly written and, in very recent years, is largely an unwritten Constitution. So you have what to a layman would appear an anomalous position. There are many things which, under the British North America Act, are legal, but they are not to-day Constitutional, and one might seek the Courts in Canada under the law, and yet, in the result be defeated by the fact of the Constitution having grown into what it is. What I state is, I think, beyond all question, and I am insisting upon this, because the Law, Practice, and Constitutional usage of Canada, as implied in the Treaty, confers upon the Irish Free State an infinitely better position than many of the critics of the Treaty are able to realise; but in order to get these benefits we must not take the Law or Practice or Constitutional usage by themselves. We must take them all together, because that formula is an effort to express what I have indicated at greater length—the fact that the Constitutional position of Canada is a growth, and that whereas no document could be produced, if it were called upon, to establish the claim of Canada, yet it is a well understood thing, as between Downing Street and the Canadian Federal Ministry, that this is the rightful claim of Canada. That will not be contested. To use the happy phrase of Viscount Haldane, who, as you know, is the greatest authority living on the questions of the relations of Canada to the Crown and Imperial Parliament, because he has decided so many cases dealing with the inter-relations, they are bound by a silken cord. A silken cord of practice and Constitutional usage is replaced, if I might enlarge his metaphor, by the iron chain of legal enactment. I am at one with Deputy Gavan Duffy in trying to claim for our own Free State the fullest measure of Constitutional liberty and advantage that Canada has achieved for herself. But, anxious as I am to support the Minister in his desire that we shall not come into collision prematurely, unadvisably and to our detriment with the British Imperial Cabinet, I should like to have this point considered. My preface is exceedingly long, but very often the longest way round is the shortest way home. Suppose, under the Clause as it stands, Downing Street should claim to exercise restraint, or indulge in interference with us, pleading the law, and pleading the legal position of Canada, it would then become incumbent upon us to plead the practice and Constitutional usage of Canada. The appeal is not there to any legal instrument, or any document or Treaty. As I understand Deputy Duffy's position—he is better able to express himself than I am, but I wish not to interpret him so much as to see what the effect he produces upon my mind is —he wants to preclude the necessity hereafter of this thing being adjudged before some tribunal; he wants us to claim now what we think we are entitled to claim, and have it on record from the very beginning. On the other hand, the Minister is convinced it would be better policy to allow Canada, or the Union of South Africa, already militant, and thousands of miles away from the other party to the contest, to develop a discussion themselves, and for us to become inheritors of whatever they may achieve. It, therefore, resolves itself into a question of policy; it is not so much a question of principle as a question of prudence and policy. Are we now to announce this is the Irish interpretation of the Treaty, or should we leave it to other members of the Union of Free Nations to have that determined? Let us suppose the case has to be adjudicated upon. Before what tribunal will it come? Will it be before the Privy Council of Great Britain, or do we look forward to the creation of a Dominion, or, to use an unhappy word, which is the only word I can use, an Imperial Council? Here is one of the things which have not yet come into being, and yet we talk at times as though they did exist—that Imperial Council. During the War an Imperial Cabinet was called together, and out of it arose a great many of the concessions which Great Britain had to make to the demands of the Dominion Premiers. There is no such Commission as a recognised agent of Arbitration. There is no authorised Imperial or Dominion Council, and, so far as I know, it would be within the power of England to-day to claim that adjudication upon differences of this sort should come before the Judicial Committee of the Cabinet; that is to say, should come before what is to a large extent a British constituted body. I wonder if the Minister has considered that point. I should like to have his view, if it is not asking him too much, before I am called upon to vote.

Mr. ERNEST BLYTHE

Something of what frequently was said during the Treaty debates might be said now: that too much attention can be given to theory, and too little attention to reality, and the tendency of everything that Deputy Gavan Duffy proposes is to give attention to mere theory and not consider what reality is or what reality is likely to be.

Mr. G. GAVAN DUFFY

This amendment states a reality.

Mr. ERNEST BLYTHE

Nothing that we can state in the Constitution in a matter like this will alter the reality in the least. The reality in regard to the doing of acts of State, and the taking of Executive action will depend upon the fact that an Irish Army will hold this country and the armed force of the country will be an Irish force. That is a reality of the situation. It was pointed out many times in the Treaty, and these trappings, which are of much importance to the British, are of little or no importance to us. Now the British effort in the Treaty, and in the negotiations in connection with the Constitution, was to preserve a certain symbolism and a certain number of forms. I take it, the reason that we had not in the Treaty simply practice and constitutional usage of Canada was in order that the forms might be preserved. The law was put in because it is in the law that the forms and the symbolism are preserved. Now, you could not preserve the symbolism, preserve the convention, if you set down further in the law, that the law as already existing in Canada is hereby revised and repealed and that the King is to have no power whatsoever, and that he is to be, if you like to put it, a rubber stamp. That underlies the whole Treaty. That is what the British stood for in the Treaty, that certain symbols should be preserved. You cannot preserve the symbols, if you put it down in black and white that the symbols stand for nothing, that they are wiped out, and that this proposal be substituted. That is an additional reason to the reasons of expediency, the reasons connected with the advantage of linking ourselves up with the strong and distant Dominions. That is the reason why we take broadly the law and in this case the practice and Constitutional usage of Canada; and why we stand for the unwritten Constitution of Canada in all its length and breadth, and do not attempt to cramp and put it down in any particular formula of our own.

Mr. JOHNSON

May I ask this question? It may save a question later on and it seems appropriate to the course this discussion has taken. Can the Ministry give us an assurance that it is their interpretation of the matter, that in any extension of powers or liberties that may come to Canada or other Dominions by practice and Constitutional usage, that these extensions automatically apply to this country? Is that the position as understood by the Ministry, and can you say definitely that that is the interpretation that you intend to place upon it?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

That is the position as understood by the Ministry.

Professor MAGENNIS

Would the Ministry undertake to put that as a recital in the preamble, which will follow afterwards at the end of our proceedings, because it is a thing of vast importance?

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY

Hear, hear.

Professor W. MAGENNIS

I wrote myself on the margin, the very first time I read in the Draft Constitution, "It shall be exercised in accordance with the law, practice, and constitutional usage governing the relationship of the Crown and of the Imperial Parliament to the Dominion of Canada.'"It is a most important thing to know whether or not it is static or dynamic. Is it as the position of Canada was on the 6th Dec. last, or as it grows and progresses from year to year?"

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Well, if people were discreet they might realise that there is a certain virtue in leaving things unwritten rather than insistinghic et nunc and draw it out in the open and insist on your formula and your pound of flesh. In my opinion, at any rate, and I ought to know something about it, you will lose rather than gain in your efforts to get things stereotyped in that way.

Professor MAGENNIS

Perhaps, if I am not speaking too much, the Minister is aware of something that is not disclosed to us. It may be that he is satisfied that the last ounce has been extracted from the Treaty by negotiation, and that any effort made on the part of this Assembly to extract more is injudicious, and, perhaps, dangerous. If the Minister would give me that assurance I should have no hesitation in voting for this.

Mr. JOHNSON

I think I said two or three days ago that notwithstanding the arguments, or, at least, not on account of the arguments that were adduced by Professor Magennis, that by virtue of the position taken up by the Government I was forced to the conclusion that we ought quite frankly to assume that the Constitution was a secondary instrument to the Treaty, and on this particular point, having that assurance from the Minister, I am satisfied that the reading of Clause 2 of the Treaty does ensure, and can be made to ensure if we are firm enough, that it is the growing liberty of these Dominions, and particularly Canada, that will have application to Saorstát Eireann, and I stress that because of the use of the words "shall be." It seems to me that that implies genuine growth. With that understanding I am not going to press many things that I thought of pressing.

Mr. ERNEST BLYTHE

The fact that the Constitutional position of Canada is one of growth and one of change, that things have become obsolete, and that things are obsolescent means that nobody could determine at the present moment what is the constitutional position of Canada, because a thing that has not been done in the past can only be determined to be obsolete if it is not done in the future. It is by the future as well as by what we can judge from the present and the past that we find the exact constitutional position of Canada. That is a thing entirely apart from the question of future growth. But future development is a thing which will show exactly to what stage Canada has got at the present moment.

Mr. SEAN MILROY

I move that the question be now put.

Mr. P. GAFFNEY

Before the question is put I would like to say a few words as regards this Article. And, first, I wish to say that I am opposed to it.

Mr. SEAN MILROY

On a point of order, when a member moves that the question be now put, should it not be put?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

Yes, if the motion is pressed. The motion must be put if the Dáil agrees.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 16; Níl, 42.

  • Pádraig O Gamhna.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Riobard Ó Deaghaidh.
  • Tomás Mac Eóin.
  • Seoirse Ghabhain Uí Dhubhthaigh.
  • Liam Ó Briain.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Liam Ó Daimhin.
  • Seán Ó Laidhin.
  • Cathal Ó Seanáin.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • Nioclás Ó Faoláin.
  • Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.
  • Risteard Mac Fheorais.
  • Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.

Níl

  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Donchadh Ó Gúaire.
  • Úaitear Mac Cúmhaill.
  • Seán Ó Maolruaidh.
  • Seán Ó Duinnín.
  • Micheál Ó hAonghusa.
  • Domhnall Ó Mocháin.
  • Seán Ó hAodha.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Peadar Mac a' Bhaird.
  • Seán Ó Ruanaidh.
  • Ailfrid Ó Broin.
  • Pilib Mac Cosgair.
  • Micheál de Staineas.
  • Seosamh Mag Craith.
  • Domhnall Mac Cartaigh.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Éarnan Altún.
  • Sir Séamus Craig.
  • Gearóid Mac Giobuin.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Piaras Béaslaí.
  • Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.
  • Criostóir Ó Broin.
  • Risteard Mac Liam.
  • Caoimhghin O hUigín.
  • Séamus Ó Doláin.
  • Aindriu Ó Laimhín.
  • Proinsias Mag Aonghusa.
  • Eamon Ó Dúgáin.
  • Peadar Ó hAodha.
  • Séamus Ó Murchadha.
  • Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhríghde.
  • Tomás O Domhnaill.
  • Éarnán de Blaghd.
  • Uinseann de Faoite.
  • Domhnall Ó Broin.
  • Séamus de Burca.
  • Micheál Ó Dubhghaill.
Motion: "That the Dáil do now adjourn," put and carried.

Níl

Pádraig O Gamhna.Tomás de Nógla.Riobard Ó Deaghaidh.Tomás Mac Eóin.Seoirse Ghabhain Uí Dhubhthaigh.Liam Ó Briain.Liam Mag Aonghusa.Tomás O Conaill.Liam Ó Daimhin.Seán Ó Laidhin.Cathal Ó Seanáin.Seán Buitléir.Nioclás Ó Faoláin.Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.Risteard Mac Fheorais.Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.

Liam T. Mac Cosgair.Donchadh Ó Gúaire.Úaitear Mac Cúmhaill.Seán Ó Maolruaidh.Seán Ó Duinnín.Micheál Ó hAonghusa.Domhnall Ó Mocháin.Seán Ó hAodha.Séamus Breathnach.Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.Peadar Mac a' Bhaird.Seán Ó Ruanaidh.Ailfrid Ó Broin.Pilib Mac Cosgair.Micheál de Staineas.Seosamh Mag Craith.Domhnall Mac Cartaigh.Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.Éarnan Altún.Sir Séamus Craig.Gearóid Mac Giobuin.Liam Thrift.Pádraic O Máille.Seoirse Mac Niocaill.Piaras Béaslaí.Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.Criostóir Ó Broin.Risteard Mac Liam.Caoimhghin O hUigín.Séamus Ó Doláin.Aindriu Ó Laimhín.Proinsias Mag Aonghusa.Eamon Ó Dúgáin.Peadar Ó hAodha.Séamus Ó Murchadha.Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhríghde.Tomás O Domhnaill.Éarnán de Blaghd.Uinseann de Faoite.Domhnall Ó Broin.Séamus de Burca.Micheál Ó Dubhghaill.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

On Article 50 there are further amendments. One of them was received only last night and the other to-day. One of the amendments is by Deputy Thrift, and if it is the desire of the Dáil we can take it now.

It was agreed to allow the amendment to be taken.

The CLERK

then read the amendment:

"That this House approves, as a general principle, of the proposal that certain members of the Executive Council, nominated by the Dáil, and individually responsible to the Dáil alone for the Departments respectively under their charge, should not be Members of the Dáil, and that the details of the provisions for appointing such Ministers and for regulating their position should be referred to a Committee of the House, to be nominated by the Ministry, for consideration and report to the House. That the consideration of their Report should come before the House later whilst in Committee on the present Bill.—LIAM THRIFT."

Professor THRIFT

To come to what, I think, is one of the most important clauses dealing with the machinery of the Executive Government in our future State, I trust it will receive the closest consideration from this Dáil. In fact, I put forward this amendment in the hope that it might lead to a full discussion of the principle involved in the proposal of the Ministry without their being hampered by consideration of detail. The proposals admittedly are an experiment, and I should know something about experiments, and I know that sometimes they are dangerous. My first feeling with regard to this was, that it was a dangerous experiment. On later reflection, I must say, I was very much influenced by the argument put forward by the Minister for Home Affairs when speaking on this clause previously, and again to-day. He made me think that the proposals perhaps would not in themselves in the main be dangerous—that, at any rate the danger could be avoided. It was easy to see that they might lead to things, I think, we would wish to avoid. One would always like to avoid the tendency to establish an inner Cabinet. It is possible this proposal might lead in that direction. We should have a big 4, and there might be a tendency for that 4 to be too big a 4. In another direction, I think, it is rather hard to perceive how persons who are Members of the Ministry, and who are in a peculiar state as regards responsibilities would act in consultation with the Executive Council. According to the general tendencies of the proposal, we should have eight Ministers, who are, so to speak, in a safe position consulting with four who are in a more or less difficult position and a more or less unsafe position. It is rather hard to see how their advice might act in future. but I admit very much the force of what has been said as to the action of the party system in England, and how it might act here. There is every reason to expect that the evils of the party system in England would be very much exaggerated over here, and further, in the comparatively small Parliament we shall have, I think it is likely to be the case that the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister in the next Dáil, in other words, Prime Ministers generally, might find a difficulty in getting the 12 men most suitable for being in charge of the different Departments from the small number in the Dáil. And this and other considerations have brought me into a position that I am quite prepared to support the general principle put forward by the Minister, but I think the details of it require very careful examination. I am not quite sure that the Ministers are prepared to stand over all the details, and neither am I sure that we are going to consider the details in a full Dáil here in the best way. Therefore, we should adopt here the general principles and keep away from details. Therefore, I ask the Ministry to appoint a small committee to go into details and make a further report later on. In that way we can discuss the general principles and probably the details can be discussed better with a small number there than with a large number in this Dáil.

Mr. SEAN MILROY

I rise to oppose this motion and to ask this Dáil to reject the fantastic part of this Article. The difficulty about this Article is, where the part is vital to the Treaty I want to stand by it, and the second part, which I think fantastic and impracticable, I will vote against, and it seems to me I can only do that by exercising both votes for the constituencies for which I sit—one for, and one against. I am afraid, however, that is not according to the Constitutional law and practice of this Dáil. I want to support the Government upon the matter which is vital to the Treaty, but I do not——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

The matter before the Dáil is an amendment which comes away altogether from the first part of the Article.

Mr. MILROY

Exactly, but it is important to suggest that if those of us who disagree with the second part want to support the first part there should be a method of doing so. Both parts should not be put simultaneously. I object to this being referred to a committee, for this reason. I think the whole thing is an experiment that Ireland cannot at this stage afford to make, and therefore I want to have the thing disposed of, and the Dáil to get on with the real work of getting the Constitution through. Now the argument has been put forward that we are on the verge of becoming a victim of the party system in politics, and we should try to avoid that. Well, I see no indication in this Dáil or outside of it that there is going to be any cessation of party organisation in the near future. But I believe that all parties will endeavour to get a majority in this Dáil in order to become the responsible heads of authority in this Dáil. And another point that was made is, that any adverse vote in departmental matters might involve the resignation of the entire Government. I do not think that is necessary at all. I think it is perfectly easy to make provision in the Constitution, by which it shall be agreed that an adverse vote on some departmental question which may involve the resignation of that particular Minister, of that particular department, need not necessarily affect the position of the Government as a whole. I think that particular object can be secured by recourse to something ordinary that appeals to the commonsense of everyone. This is what appeals to me. I gather from the speech of the Minister for Home Affairs that what we are going to do is to appoint those eight Ministers who are not in reality Ministers at all, but heads of departments, Civil Servants. That, to my mind, would lead to a peculiar situation; if, upon an adverse vote, four of the elected Ministers resign, the eight unelected were left in possession of the reins of Government. I am not at all certain that Civil Servants do not already exercise quite sufficient influence upon the administration; and people who would carry out the functions of government or administration, responsible heads, should be able to stand the test of the people's verdict. For the life of me I cannot understand why it is deemed something calculated to bring a menace to this Assembly and the country, but of every man who fills the onerous and responsible position of Minister—I see no menace or danger to the country in the fact that he has received the approbation of the people by his election. I see considerable danger, on the other hand, if the reins of Government fall into the hands of non-elected persons, who might possibly be rejected by the electors if they went up before them. And after all is said and done the people must be the final court of appeal or decision, and there is no use in trying by ingenious, I had almost said fantastic experiments, to get round that right of the people with regard to the reins of government in the country. So far from being something that would lead to, or is calculated to lead to, stable and ordered government, to my mind this experiment is more likely to lead us to a stable oligarchy, and bureaucracy. Because I take that rather emphatic view of this second portion of this Article, I think there should be some means devised by which the two portions can be put to this Dáil separately. It had been my intention to have moved an amendment to this Article which would convey my opinions on the matter, but unfortunately I overlooked that the thing was approaching so near us. I decided to defer the putting forward of such an amendment until a later stage.

Mr. JOHNSON

We had been getting on with the work.

Mr. MILROY

I fail to catch the significance of that remark. But my object in deferring it was, that while expressing my decided opinions against it, I intended to listen to the arguments for this proposal, and if I could be convinced that I am wrong, I am open to conviction. But I want to frame my amendment as a result of any benefit I get from the discussion, so that we can meet, or remove, what, in my opinion, are objectionable phrases in this proposal with the least degree of difficulty. Therefore, I think, at least I presume, that this Clause will stand for the present. But I think that the Dáil should make up its mind when it comes to a later stage, if it does reach that far, to consider the fact that the Ireland that is emerging from the old bad conditions of social and political governmental life, that is emerging into the new conditions of things, is not a fit subject for the fantastic experiments which may lead us anywhere but where we want to get. It is not dilettante politics that should be the guiding light of this matter, but the practical everyday facts of life that should guide men in approaching a subject like this. Some Minister to-day spoke of the impression having been given to him that certain people wanted to make Ireland a stalking horse for the Dominions. That may be so. But certainly there are certain people who want to make Ireland a subject of every experiment that the wit of man can devise. They want to try it on the dog first. If it suits Ireland, well, then, they might try it elsewhere. Now, I say that is not right. I say the first thing Ireland wants is to get on its feet on lines that leave no shadow of doubt as to the stability and safety of the position, and then when we have recovered some degree of normal strength and outlook then we can consider this experiment of social evolution such as is indicated in this motion.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS

A Chinn Chomhairle, would it be possible for you to put the first two sentences of this Article down to the words "Executive Council," so as to leave the rest of the Article over for a separate discussion on the matter?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

I think you would require to go further down in this Article. You would want to come as far as the word "Crown" (in the eleventh line). It seems to me that the part of the Article down to "Crown" has been already passed, the amendments directed to alter it having failed to pass. I take it that it is the second part of that Article, from the word "Crown" onwards which is under discussion now.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS

I would ask you to put that therefore, to put the first part of the Article as far as "Crown."

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

The Minister is going to make a statement on the matter now.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

It seems to me, A Chinn Chomhairle, that if Professor Thrift's motion is accepted by the Dáil it disposes of Articles 50 to 55 inclusive.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

I think so too. That was what was in my mind.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

There are no amendments down, with the exception of the amendments to Article 50 that have been disposed of, and there are no amendments down, except one by Deputy Gavan Duffy to delete Article 54, and one by Deputy Johnson, which is a small matter that might be accepted out of hand.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

The amendment by Deputy Gavan Duffy to delete Article 50 would fall if Deputy Thrift's amendment were adopted.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I understand Deputy Gavan Duffy favours this Executive scheme. He has spoken to that effect. I do not see how his motion would turn on Deputy Thrift's amendment. No doubt he has reasons that he could explain. As a sponsor of this particular Bill, I think this proposal of Deputy Thrift's solves just that difficulty which Deputy Milroy states he was in. It takes out this Executive proposal from any other matter, and proposes to consider it as a thing apart. It also enables a clear vote to be taken on the new Executive proposal. Personally, I would favour the acceptance of Professor Thrift's motion. We think it meets admirably the difficulty we found ourselves in, as discriminating between the novel Executive proposals and certain other things in the Articles, such as the position of the King as regards the Executive. Deputy Milroy is apparently lost in admiration of the Party system of Government, as evidenced in Great Britain, and he fears some consequences, if this new proposal were adopted, which I think are scarcely accurate. He spoke of the possibility of the four Ministers being defeated and going out, and of power being left in the hands of the eight. As a fact, the four must go out of office if the President fails to be supported by a majority of the Dáil, but they continue in office until their successors are appointed. So that particular bogey man is disposed of. I do think that Article 49 amended permits of easy changes in the Constitution in the future. It is well worth trying whether we could not devise a better system of Government than that system by which men constantly, as a matter of routine, vote against their own judgment, and almost against their own conscience, for fear of bringing down the particular Party Government to which they adhere. We should try that. There is nothing admirable in the Party system of Government. There is much that is evil and open to criticism. If we can find, or think we can find, a better system, we ought to try. It is time to begin, and it is, at any rate, a thing that can involve no very disastrous consequences, and it is not right to speak in superlatives or in a lurid way of the terrible consequences that might follow if it was adopted. If the consequences are bad, and if the defects admitted in this system are more glaring than in the Party system of Government, then this Dáil will, no doubt, face the fact and avail of the power in Article 49 by wiping out this Executive System and returning to the Party System of Government, with all its errors and anomalies and men voting constantly against what their judgment dictates, simply at the crack of the Party whip.

Professor MAGENNIS

On a point of order, is it understood that we have supported the Government so far as is necessary on a vital point of the King?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I think the new Executive proposals are disposed of in Article 50. By disposing of amendments there is no controversy, from Article 50 to 55 inclusive, except the matter of this new Executive. That is a thing that is strange to our minds, as we are used to the British Party System. I believe, if Deputy Thrift's motion is tried, this Dáil can very well consider Articles 50 to 55 and go ahead on the assumption that this matter in Article 50 is decided in the Government's favour, because I think it has been so decided.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

Could not the Article be put up to a point, and be disposed of?

Mr. GERALD FITZGIBBON

Would it not be in order to move that Article 50 be subdivided after the word "Crown" where it first occurred?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

There is an amendment by Deputy Figgis, but he allowed Deputy Thrift's motion to go first.

Mr. GERALD FITZGIBBON

If a motion be put to the Dáil, that the Article be subdivided after the word "Crown," then you could vote, by giving the Government what is essential, and discuss the other matters afterwards.

Professor MAGENNIS

There are two different things in the Article. One is the part to carry out the Treaty, and the other is the introduction of a purely novel experiment.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

The other is purely internal.

Professor MAGENNIS

It seems easy if the first amendment is negatived. If we are to avail of the thing as it is I want to support the Government, I must point out, but I do not want to support the proposition that Deputy Milroy calls a fantastic scheme.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

If the Article was divided into A and B, A could be taken and the rest would come in afterwards with the amendments.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I wonder what Deputy Gavan Duffy meant by his amendment to delete Article 54, as he spoke in favour of the proposal.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY

Shortly, what I mean is, I think it is a mistake to put down in black and white in the Constitution that phrase that there is one thing, namely, Foreign Affairs, for which five Ministers or whatever the number may be, who are inside, will stand specially responsible. It seems to me matters like Finance and General Fiscal Policy ought just as well to come in. I prefer to leave out that clause altogether and let our Constitution develop as to what are the things every Cabinet Minister is responsible for. It seems to me, the thing as drawn gives the impression, or is liable to mean, that he is to stand or fall mainly on Foreign Affairs.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

If Professor Thrift's motion was passed your amendment would fail.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY

On reconsidering the matter, I do not want to strike out the second part of the Article. I think it is necessary to establish the principle of responsibility.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

It could come up afterwards, when there is a report. There is no objection to dividing the Clause into Article A and B.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

No. You can put Article 50A now.

Mr. FITZGIBBON

I propose that the Article be divided and then be put as divided.

This proposal was agreed to.

CLERK of the DAIL

then read Article 50A:—

"The Executive Authority of the Irish Free State/Saorstát Eireann is hereby declared to be vested in the King, and shall be exercisable, in accordance with the law, practice and constitutional usage governing the exercise of the Executive Authority in the case of the Dominion of Canada, by the Representative of the Crown. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the government of the Irish Free State/Saorstát Eireann to be styled the Executive Council/Aireacht. The Executive Council shall be responsible to the Chamber/Dáil Eireann, and shall consist of not more than twelve Ministers/Airi appointed by the Representative of the Crown."

Motion made and question put:—"That Article 50A stand part of the Bill."

Agreed.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

Article 50A therefore stands part of the Bill. The amendment now under discussion will relate to 50B and all Articles down to 55 inclusive.

Professor MAGENNIS

Then we take it that the proposition of Deputy Thrift is an amendment to practically all those Articles.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

It would, if carried, involve consideration by the committee mentioned in the amendment of all those Articles—50B down to 55 inclusive.

Mr. JOHNSON

As a matter of order, may I suggest it could hardly be considered an amendment. It is rather a motion that is accepted by agreement. It is not an amendment to any proposal, and you had better not discuss it in that light, but rather as a separate motion that the Dáil agrees might be considered.

Mr. GAVAN DUFFY

It might be a convenience if the Dáil decided now not to proceed with the amendments to Article 58, as there is not much chance of finishing them.

Mr. MILROY

Are we to take it that you have disposed of this amendment of Deputy Thrift, or is it still before the Dáil?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

It is still before the Dáil. If you are going to take it as a motion, it is better it should be seconded.

Professor THRIFT

I think it is really the better way, to take it as a motion to refer the rest of these Articles to a committee.

Professor MAGENNIS

A Committee of the whole Dáil?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

No, we are a Committee of the whole Dáil—a Select Committee.

Mr. E.H. ALTON

I formally second the motion.

Mr. COLE

That does not in any way bind us to acceptance or rejection of any particular Article.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

It does.

Professor MAGENNIS

I was going to submit to you that if this Dáil votes in favour of referring these Articles to a Select Committee, by implication we have adopted the general principle.

More than that.

Professor MAGENNIS

Consequently I would suggest to you, with all respect, as a matter of order, that we should debate the matter.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

I think it is the intention of the mover of the motion that the principle should be debated. The Clerk will read the motion again, so that you will see all its implications.

The motion was again read.

Mr. JOHNSON

I think the best form in which to discuss this matter is for me to move an amendment that the words "should be" be inserted after Executive Council, and that the words "should not be members of the Dáil" should be deleted. It would then read:—"That this House approves as a general principle of the proposal that certain members of the Executive Council should be nominated by the Dáil, and individually responsible to the Dáil alone for the Departments respectively under their charge, and that the details of the provisions for appointing," and so on, leaving out the sentence which says "These Ministers should not be members of the Dáil." From my reading of these clauses and many conversations about them with people who claim to understand them, and people who claim that they are not understandable, I have still an open mind, and I am hoping that the discussions here will enable me to come down definitely on one side or the other. My present views are shortly these, that it is desirable that there should be Ministers who are not exactly irremovable, but firmly established, who are not likely to be subjected to mere political party pressure, or who need not necessarily resign when the Ministry may be defeated on a matter of general policy not affecting that particular Minister's Department. I do not understand the argument in favour of insisting that a man, having received the confidence of the electorate, and having been elected as the most fit man for a particular office, should then throw back upon the electorate his mandate, and, in view of Proportional Representation, throw upon that same electorate the responsibility of choosing a man of entirely different way of political thinking from him. He may have been one of the minority elected under Proportional Representation. He is a fit man, and it is because he is not a party man, perhaps, he was selected. He is a fit man for a particular office, and he is chosen by the Dáil for that particular office. He is appointed, and immediately he has to resign, leaving that particular constituency under our present electoral arrangements to elect a man by the ordinary single vote who would be a member of a party, almost inevitably and not filling the same functions for that electorate that the man displaced was intended to fill so far as he is a representative. I do not understand the strength of the argument in favour of compelling this Minister to resign. Nevertheless, I think it desirable that the Dáil should be free to elect a Minister who is not a member of the Dáil, even though he has not been selected by the electorate for membership of the Dáil. He may be a man not of the mind or quality, or of the temperament to face the electorate, and if the Dáil thinks him a fit man for a particular office I think it ought to be understood that they have the right to elect him. Now, on the question of collective responsibility, it seems to me it is the real crux of the question. I think that it is necessary that the Ministry should, in the main, be composed of men who are in agreement upon general questions. I think there is need for something like a common understanding on general questions of policy in the Ministry, and, therefore, I feel that if these proposals are accepted we ought to make up our minds that it means that the real responsible Ministry—the Cabinet—is going to be a small body, smaller than the Ministry. The body that will have general responsibility for policy will be the Cabinet within the Ministry, though the use of the term Executive Council seems to connote the whole of the Members of the Ministry. If this plan is adopted we have to face the likelihood —the almost certainty—that the real Ministry and the real Government, so far as general questions of policy are concerned, will be the smaller number who are responsible to the Chamber, and would have to resign upon a question of confidence, while the other members of the Ministry would not be members of the Cabinet, and, therefore, not responsible for questions of general policy. I think that is a position that we can contemplate with hope and satisfaction. In practice in other countries, and, I think, in practice here we have had that very state of affairs. We have had a number of Ministers who, because of certain virtues perhaps, have become the inner Cabinet, and while we may not like to put that in the form of a Constitutional provision, it is inevitable in every country that there are a smaller number who become the real guardians and advocaters, or formulaters, of Cabinet policy, and we ought to face that and put it into our Constitution. There are other Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet, but who may still be Ministers, and continue their offices after the Cabinet has forfeited confidence. We have been reminded of the British practice. We know there that all the Ministers have been appointed on the nomination of the Premier, but if the Premier forfeited confidence all these Ministers, even the Postmaster-General, who should not be a political appointment, had to resign. Now, the position that I would support would be this, that the Cabinet should be responsible to the Dáil as a whole for general policy, but that there should be a Ministry outside that dealing with more technical affairs, which should not be compelled to resign on the failure of the Cabinet on a matter of general policy to retain confidence. Ministers who are responsible for Departments of the kind I am speaking of—administrative Departments and somewhat technical Departments—would be respecting proposals for legislation necessarily to a very great extent at any rate dependent upon the Treasury for sanction in regard to Bills. I can conceive of a Minister making certain proposals to the Dáil which might involve finance, and the Treasury would say that it is not fit or right that this particular Bill should be brought forward because of the state of finances, and because of the responsibilities that such a Bill would impose upon the financial resources of the country. But if that Minister thought it was a very desirable measure, and was worth the money, I think he ought to be free to explain that to the Assembly, and that the Treasury should be free also to explain its implications and the responsibilities, and even show an apparent cleavage on that particular issue, and leave the Dáil to decide whether the financial responsibility should be undertaken. Therefore, I think in the main that what was called by the Minister for Home Affairs the normal number of 4 in and 8 out should not be considered normal, because 4 is too small to have as an inner Cabinet, and I would think that the larger number, shall we say 7 or 8, was small enough to be a Cabinet, leaving such other officers as may be necessary to be appointed by the Dáil to be free as, shall I say, Ministers on the fringe, who are not necessarily political appointments, and who need not be Members of the Dáil, but who should not be forced to resign if they are members of the Dáil. If this motion is pressed to a division in its present form, stating that the Dáil approves as a general principle that these Ministers should not be members of the Dáil, I shall oppose it. If that proviso is left out, and if the proposal would be accepted that the members of the Executive Council should be nominated by the Dáil, and individually responsible to the Dáil alone, and that the details may be considered, then I am prepared to support the motion with that particular change.

Professor THRIFT

I think that Deputy Johnson read something into the amendment which I did not read there. I find myself, on the general principle, still very much in agreement with the views he expressed, but it is to obviate the necessity for members of the Dáil, if appointed Ministers, having to go back to their Constituencies, that I put forward this amendment. If that is the point he wishes to secure, I am prepared to accept his amendment, provided that it does not involve the withdrawal of the acceptance on the part of the Government which I understood them to give.

Mr. JOHNSON

Would it meet your views if the words "should not be" were altered to "need not be"?

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS

"May not be."

Professor THRIFT

Precisely.

Mr. JOHNSON

That would meet my point.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

We want to get the amendment before the Dáil.

Mr. MILROY

Will it be possible for us to get copies of this? Only a few of us have seen this, and it is very hard to remember everything in it.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

Not immediately. You can get them at half-past eight, perhaps, but not earlier.

Professor MAGENNIS

I tried to extract from the Ministry at the beginning of this whether or not there was good reason for the stipulation that if a member of Parliament was selected for one of these minor Ministerial positions that he would cease to be a member. I hope the Minister will forgive me if I say that the answer was very unsatisfactory, because he did not deal with the specific point put to him.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

There was a motion made.

Professor MAGENNIS

Am I out of order?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

There has been a motion made and an amendment proposed, and I understand that the mover of the motion has adopted the amendment proposed. I want to get the Clerk to read out the exact terms of what is now before the Dáil in so far as it is really an amended motion accepted by the mover.

Mr. MILROY

A Chinn Chomhairle, may I point out this? I think it would be most unfair to this Assembly to put this motion to-night. It is impossible for one to retain the significance of each sentence by just hearing it here. It is a motion of a rather serious kind, because it commits us to the approval of the principles of this Bill. Before we do that, I think we ought to have a fixed time to sit down and think out the implications of these things. I certainly think it is unfair to rush a decision or a vote on this Dáil to-night upon the question.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

It has not been suggested that a vote must be taken to-night.

Mr. MILROY

I am very glad to hear that. It is very reassuring to me. This is the point I wanted to make. Can I take it, then, that you give us an assurance that a vote will not be taken?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

Oh, no, I have not authority to say when a vote will or will not be taken; but it has not been stated that a vote must be taken to-night. In point of fact, we are in rather an unique position. We are in Committee, and we are discussing a motion by special leave to facilitate discussion upon a particular matter.

Mr. MILROY

Exactly, but you must not lose sight of the fact that this motion is not merely facilitating procedure, but that it is also committing the Assembly to the very principle that is embodied in the Article. It is a motion having these implications, and it has only been handed to me now, and I presume a good many members have not seen it yet. It is unfair to this Assembly for the Ministry to entertain the idea of getting a vote to-night, and I, for one, will protest strongly against it. I think it would be most unfair.

Professor WILLIAM MAGENNIS

We are not facilitating anything, but obfuscating a great deal on what is at present proposed, because there is more than one principle in this thing. There is not merely the principle of allowing the appointment to Ministries of men who have not been returned to this Dáil, or to the other Dáil, who have, in fact, not stood before the electorate at all. Now, that is one doctrine, and we are asked to approve that. There is another principle that if, by chance, A. B. has undergone election, and is selected by this Dáil to be a Minister, that he shall,ipso facto, vacate his seat, and a new election shall be held. There is a third principle involved, namely, that there shall be an Inner Cabinet of a certain number; in other words, a minor Ministry and a major Ministry. There is a still further principle, namely, that the major Ministers are to be appointed by the President of the Dáil, and the minor Ministers by the vote of the Dáil. All these things are implied in the scheme, and it is quite possible to approve of one of them and disapprove of two or more of the others, and it seems to me the discussion is being burked upon what is more important. I have no objection to the selection of those—if I may use the term—shy birds so eminently marked out for office, who are yet unwilling to submit themselves to the choice of the people. I have no objection to a President of the Dáil or the Dáil, with almost supernatural vision distinguishing these from the crowd and appointing them as Ministers. I have no objection to that, but I retain doubts as to whether or not it can be done successfully. There is another question which, I think, requires a great deal more consideration than we are able to give it now, after all the discussions we have listened to and joined in. Why, I asked of the Minister in the beginning, should it be necessary for an elected member to resign?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

I understand the insertion of certain words in the motion now before the Dáil does not make that imperative, and, further, when the Committee that it is proposed to appoint reports to the Dáil, it is provided that it will report during the Committee stage of this Bill, so that everything the Committee suggests—if the Committee is appointed—will come up for discussion before the Dáil.

Professor WILLIAM MAGENNIS

I quite understood that, but I submit an important part of this proposal is not being left to the Committee. Consequently, if we leave over the Article with a view to a subsequent debate on the report of the Committee, it is just conceivable we may lose sight of the thing which is more important than what the Committee has been dealing with. The idea that this is a necessary part of the proposal is sprung upon the Dáil. I wanted to point out the utter—I will not say the "folly" or "Bedlamite" character of the proposal—but the extreme novelty of it. I believe in experience and precedent; precedent has been rightly declared to be embodied experience. What precedent is there in support of this idea, that because A B has got the stamp of the electorate upon him, and has further received the additionalcachet from this Dáil of being selected for Ministerial office, that he is to plunge his constituency into an election to replace him upon a different basis of election. There are further implications of an arithmetical character that have been pointed out to me just now. It is quite conceivable through the necessity of vacating offices and going through a fresh election that what was a majority before will be converted into a minority, and ipso facto, the very party to which the Ministers were appointed would go out of office, and you will have the whole confusion over again. There is no history in support of this thing. I challenge any Minister to show us a single country in which it has occurred. I object to my country being made the corpus vitae for an experiment of the kind.

Professor W.E. THRIFT

The principal point is are we to have Ministers who are not Members of the Dáil, or may we have such Ministers, and the Committee will go into all the rest.

CATHAL O'SHANNON

It is quite true Deputy Thrift's proposal does raise the whole question of the principle of "some in and some out." I am opposed to the second part of Article 50 as it stands in the draft Constitution, but I can vote for Deputy Thrift's proposal. In passing, let me say those who want to discuss the principle of "some in and some out" had a considerable length of time during the past two or three weeks to think over the matter and balance one argument against the other, so that it is not a legitimate argument against this motion that the principle only comes before us now. I, and other Members of the Dáil, are in this position, that we want individual responsibility to the Dáil on the part of Ministers. I want, if it is possible, to get away from what is known as the collective responsibility of the Ministry on practically every proposal that comes before the Parliament. There are certain big and grave questions on which I think there would have to be collective responsibility, and that the whole Executive Council would have to stand or fall on. There are others, the administrative acts and general fitness of a member of the Executive to fill his office properly, and on these I think there should be direct individual responsibility, and the Parliament should have the power to dispense with services or turn down a proposal of that kind. I can vote for this proposal of Deputy Thrift in the form in which it is before the Dáil now. If it is carried by a majority it will commit this Dáil to the principle that there may be in the Executive Council one or two, or maybe more, who are not Members of the Dáil, yet I am quite willing to go as far as that. I am not willing to go as far as saying there shall, or may be, eight out of twelve who shall not be members of the Dáil. I have much the same objection as Deputy Prof. Magennis to the Ministers coming in as Deputies and then having to resign and throw back their constituents into by-elections, in which they may lose the advantage they won at the General Election. It is a novel proposal, but I do not think we should be afraid of novel proposals, and I do not think we should object to it merely because there is no precedent. I hope we will do a good many things that there are no precedents for. I think we have already done a number of things there are no precedents for. I think it is worth while to make the experiment. I would leave the door open for the bringing in of a certain number who are not Members of the Dáil. One of the reasons would be because you would get a man who would be most competent to fill a particular office and carry out its administration, but he might be turned down at an election, not because he was unfit for office, and not because of his political views or the policy of his Party, but because of some personal or local grievance or argument. We have all to take our risks on that. I support Deputy Thrift's proposal, though I do agree that those who are out-and-out objectors to the original proposal—those who say every member of the Executive Council must, and shall, be a Deputy— are bound, of course, to vote against it.

Mr. WM. SEARS

I wish to support Deputy Thrift's amendment. As Deputy Milroy said, this is a departure from the policy in every other Parliament. Of course, there is substantial reason for that, for we have the new principle of Proportional Representation now introduced which implies the introduction of groups. Therefore, it follows that we should not follow the system in other countries, where Proportional Representation does not exist and where the Party system prevails. I agree with Deputy Johnson, with regard to the number of Ministers that should be nominated by the Dáil. Certainly, it would be a very serious thing, if the eight non-members, as part of the Executive, could outvote the responsible members. That is a matter which may be settled in detail. It is possible we might get excellent members for some Departments who would have no chance of election. I would remind the Dáil of one instance. There was in Wexford a well-known public man, now dead, Mr. M.A. Ennis, and he certainly would not be elected in any Rural District or County Council in that Division. He was co-opted on the County Council and became Chairman of the County Council, and Chairman of the General Council of County Councils. It was admitted there was no abler man on financial matters. That is a case in point. The great objection I see to that proposal is that if a man is in charge of a department, and if he is not bound to go out of the Ministry, he may become so popular that you could not stir him at all. That is quite possible, and you have seen examples of it in Public Boards in Ireland. I understand in the American Senate they have a rule under which they associate the Ministers' Departments with small Committees of the whole Dáil, whether elected on Proportional Representation or otherwise, I cannot say. I think, if there was in connection with all these Ministers Committees of this Dáil elected on that principle, and associated with the Ministers, they would become responsible and you would take off the Cabinet a large amount of work. Why should the Cabinet have to go into all these matters, agricultural, educational and others, of which a number of them would have no expert knowledge. If a number of farmers were elected on the Committee of Agriculture, and Professors in the Dáil were elected to act in conjunction with the Minister for Education, you would subdivide the work of the Cabinet, and you would interest many of the members of this Dáil in the work of the country, and a larger number than at present, and I think it would be found to work satisfactorily. For that reason I support the amendment of Deputy Thrift. I hope that when the Committee go into this matter, it will be amended and that it will come back to this Dáil again.

Mr. W. COLE

I appeal to the Minister in charge of the Bill to let this matter rest till to-morrow, rather than give a decision on it to-night. I do not think any harm can come by leaving it over for a short time, so that we may have an opportunity of thinking it out. It is clear there are points for and against the various proposals, and I do not think it would be a wise course to come to a decision on them hurriedly. If we adopt Professor Thrift's amendment, we would be committed to the principle. It seems to me that a great many of the arguments used in favour of the appointment of Ministers who would not be members of the Dáil, would be met by the fact that there would be a Senate. There is no reference to the Senate. Surely, several of the men who would be nominated, in the way suggested, could be Members of the Senate. I imagine that a number of these, who would, perhaps, be specialists, would not care for the turmoil of elections, and that sort of thing, and would be included in the Senate. There are two very strong objections, to my mind, to the proposed form of Executive. One was referred to to-day, in the discussion on the power of declaration of war, and the other is the rather hateful idea of a Government within a Government, which would lead to endless intrigue and want of confidence all round and uncertainty in the Dáil, as to which of the two was really the Government; as to whether one Government was in agreement with the other, or at war with it. I think that would be a very undesirable form of Government to have. In any case, I quite agree that the Government should be of one mind, whatever Government we have, and that it should go with all its force in one direction, and let us know where they are going. But if it is possible to have in a Government four or three out of five, there is a possibility that three men might be chosen from the Dáil, and it would be very hard to know what was the relation of these three to the others. Then, again, there is this point of view, that enormous power has been put to-day in the hands of the Government, and the Executive that is to be; that Executive has been invested with practically the power of life and death over the Nation. They have been given power to declare war. If you are going to have a part of the Government, not elected by the people and who are a part of the Government who have power of declaration of war, I think that is taking a tremendous power away from the direct control of the people, and as democrats, I think this Dáil should not agree with it.

Mr. WM. DAVIN

I think the Dáil will admit we could go on discussing the general principles and every aspect of this novel question until the 6th of December, if we wanted to. My mind would be relieved and I would be free to vote in favour, if the Minister replying stated whether or not the majority that is to compose this Executive Council, that is, if the Council is composed of 12, whether the majority, say, of 7 would be responsible to this Dáil, on matters of general policy.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

I think the Dáil should decide now whether we are going to sit later than 8.30. I have drawn the attention of the Ministry to Standing Order 73 G. The question is, are we going to sit after 8.30 or not?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

This draft Constitution was published on the 16th June. Yesterday we got to Article 45. It must have been in the minds of members that we might possibly get to Article 50 to-day. Some Deputies have spoken about us in a way that is a surprise to ourselves. We had no idea that we were criminals and we did not think that the things written on the dead walls were true. Some Deputies think they are true, and it has shaken our confidence in our goodness to find Deputy Milroy and Deputy Magennis inclined to that belief. There is no springing and no rushing. That has been before Dáil Eireann since the 16th June, and it is quite time that Deputies should give a little thoughtful analysis to the new proposal and come to some decision.

Mr. WM. DAVIN

New.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

New in a sense. Deputy Davin speaks as if all the Ministers were not to be responsible to the Dáil. All the Ministers are to be responsible to the Dáil.

Mr. WM. DAVIN

Elected Ministers.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

All are elected Ministers.

Mr. WM. DAVIN

Not by the people.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

No, but every single Minister is responsible to the Dáil and can be removed by the Dáil. The thing is, only a limited number of members stand or fall on general policy, and the rest stand on the efficient running of their own Department, and can be judged only by the Dáil on that respect. In other words, the principle of collective responsibility is limited to four or five. Outside of that you have men who are responsible for their Departments.

Mr. WM. DAVIN

Is that limited to a majority of the number, that is——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

That point will arise when the Committee makes its report.

I think the point the Deputy wants to know is potential. It says, the Dáil may appoint three out of the twelve, as well as the four, to be the responsible Cabinet for policy. That would be seven in that case, or a smaller number.

Mr. SEAN MILROY

I do not wish to leave any lingering doubt in the mind of the Minister for Home Affairs as to whether or not I have made up my mind. I have, very decidedly. I think I have given him a hint already. My considered judgment is this, and I assure him I have been thinking about this before I arrived here to-day. What I was complaining about was not that discussion on Article 50 was rushed, but that this particular motion, which is committing us in the Dáil to the fundamental principle of that Article has been brought on without adequate notice. That is a fair comment to make, and I suggest it requires time to consider it. I would be prepared to agree, if this alteration were made, that this Dáil were not committed to approval of the general principles, and if it agrees to appoint a Committee of the Dáil to examine into it. I do not see why this Dáil should be committed to it before this Committee reports what its considered judgment on the matter is. I think it is reasonable that we should not bind ourselves before this Committee reports. It does not hold up the business of the Dáil, but it enables us, while this Committee of Constitutional Experts, who are providing internal association with other Ministers, sit, while they are weighing up this, to give attention to something which will have a very far-reaching effect upon the whole future administration of the country, and something we should not rush into until we have understood all the implications involved. If they are willing to let this motion go in a way that is not committing us to the general principles, the motion can stand.

There was one point mentioned by Deputy Magennis that I think ought to be explained. He complains that a man having been elected for a constituency, and having come here, and having got the additional imprimatur of being appointed a Minister, suffers some wrong by no longer remaining a member of the Dáil. Let us take one Department, say Local Government, in which the Minister who was appointed was developing a scheme of amalgamation of Unions. I think the Deputy has no experience of that kind of work. Suppose the constituency he represents has several Unions. Perhaps he does not know, and the members do not know, what power and responsibility and interest surround an institution of that sort in the country—the number of people employed, the number of contractors, the number of members of Boards of Guardians, and all the rest of them, each in his own constituency, up against such a scheme. The Minister's position would be difficult, and he might be asked to walk the plank at the next election. There is at least one Deputy here who knows what a disadvantage it is to arrive at a position of that sort. The same thing would apply to several other Departments of the Government, and it is to give a Minister doing strictly internal work, to give him a position in which he is absolutely independent of political preferment, and that he can give the best that is in him to the whole of the country, not having his eye on his own little bailiwick and seeking to placate those who would be affected by any legislation he would introduce. As regards the second part, supposing he were a minority member, there is a disadvantage by reason of his being a minority member, because a majority member will go in for the seat he vacates. He is not lost to the Chamber, but he has much more real power. He has an opportunity of putting into practice all he stood for, and he really is exercising very much greater influence in the Dáil than the majority member who comes instead of him.

Mr. GOREY

Except that you disfranchise the elector.

No. Because there is an election for that seat, and there is another man elected to fill the vacant place. The minority man, supposing he were such—and it is a stretch of the imagination to say that it must always be a minority man—that minority man gets an opportunity of putting what he stood for into practice, for in the ordinary way people think that it is only majority men would have the right to originate proposals. Now, the second point; I do not personally agree with such a small Cabinet as four, but you are not bound to it. There is an opportunity of bringing in three more. Sometimes you get very good Ministers, but gabby ones. You know what a disadvantage it is across the table if you have one man always laying down the law. Well, the next point is, that every single one of these Ministers is responsible to the Dáil, and can be removed by the Dáil. But there is a certain procedure laid down for the removal of what you call extern Ministers, which, I think, is fair to them. It will be observed, sir, when a Committee representative of the Dáil examines and finds that he is guilty of certain sins against the Dáil, he is reported and excluded. But supposing, for a moment, that a Minister had a very bitter tongue, and rendered himself personally obnoxious to members, and that his popularity was on the wane, that would not be sufficient reason to kick him out. It should be that he was incompetent or guilty of malfeasance. But he is under the control of the Dáil, and the Dáil really can dismiss him. The other points in favour of the proposal mentioned by Deputy O'Shannon and Deputy Johnson are that there is continuity of policy. In the English Parliament, as at present constituted, legislation may be three-fourths through in certain matters. A snatch vote comes, and the Government goes out. You do not take up that legislation afterwards, as would be done here. The President is kicked out; the Ministers responsible for internal administration carry on, and that is what we are more concerned with than with political preferment or who is in the inner Cabinet then because irrespective of the political disruption that takes place, the internal administration goes on. Another point that is important is that you give the Members of the Dáil an opportunity of exercising their free vote on this matter—a very desirable thing, as gentlemen from the benches opposite and gentlemen from the benches on the left, gentlemen from the Universities all voting together against the political party; and the sooner we get away from political elements in this country the better. We know what they mean, and they mean that certain people in the country have, let us say, very pronounced capitalistic leanings. Let us say, some very large farmer of 1,000 acres or so, the moment he will see a Labour candidate going along the road he would have him arrested. The same thing happens with the Labour candidate when he sees a big farmer going along the road. We want to get away from that, and get these men to put their shoulders to the wheel for the nation, and get away from the line that a Sinn Feiner of twenty-five years' standing takes up when he sees a much younger member of that Order, or perhaps sees an ex-member of the British Army going along, when people who have no war records come up against those who have very brilliant war records, and all that sort of thing. We ought, if possible, exclude from our minds the acute differences that have arisen within the last twenty or thirty years. There is one weakness in regard to this—and I expected a very big barrage from Deputy Figgis, but it did not come off——

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS

No.

There is only one weakness, and that is, when a Minister with a seat who has had to resign loses his Ministerial post a very strong critic is lost to the Dáil. I think if he loses his post the Dáil could do without him. That is my impression.

Mr. THOMAS JOHNSON

I move that the question be how put.

A division was called for.

Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS

You cannot have a division after 8.30.

Mr. CATHAL O'SHANNON

I beg formally to move the adjournment of the debate.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

There is a motion already that the question be now put.

Mr. A. BYRNE

The Dáil stands adjourned automatically.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE

Yes.

We will take the debate up the first thing in the morning.

The Dáil adjourned at 8.30 p.m.