ADAPTATION OF BRITISH ENACTMENTS BILL. - CLAUSE 8.—POWER TO ESTABLISH COMMISSIONERS TO FUNCTION IN SAORSTÁT EIREANN.

"(1) Wherever any statutory Board of Commissioners or other statutory body was in existence on the 6th day of December, 1921, and had jurisdictions, powers or duties extending to the whole of the late United Kingdom, or to any part thereof, which included the area now comprised in Saorstát Eireann, the Executive Council may, by order, establish a Board of Commissioners to exercise in Saorstát Eireann the functions which were on the 6th day of December, 1921, exercisable by such statutory Commissioners or statutory body as aforesaid in the area now comprised in Saorstát Eireann.
(2) In exercising the powers conferred by this section the Executive Council may confer or impose on any one Board of Commissioners established under this section all or any of the several jurisdictions, powers and duties of two or more such statutory Commissioners or statutory bodies as aforesaid, and may divide the jurisdictions, powers and duties of any such statutory Commissioners or statutory body amongst two or more Boards of Commissioners established under this section.
(3) Whenever the Executive Council establishes under this section any Board of Commissioners the Executive Council shall, by the Order establishing such Board, apply to such Board with such adaptations and modifications as may be necessary the several Acts of the British Parliament regulating the Commissioners or other body or bodies whose or any of whose jurisdictions, powers or duties are by such Order conferred or imposed on such Board."

I beg to move Sub-section 1 of this Clause.

This Sub-section affects the rights of the Board of National Education and the Board of Intermediate Education, and it confers powers upon the Executive Council to remove these Commissions, and the second Sub-section, to which I may perhaps be allowed to refer, I hold empowers the Executive Council to create new bodies of their own motion. That is a great deal more than the adaptation of an Order. It means repealing certain Statutes. I draw the Minister's attention to the peculiar character of the National Board which I think was overlooked. The National Board is a Chartered Corporation as well as being a Board of Commissioners. It is of a character altogether different from the Intermediate Board, and it can be denuded of its functions only by having its charter surrendered voluntarily or by having its charter withdrawn. I think it well to mention that to the Ministry because these are matters of Education that might have escaped their vigilance.

The point raised by Deputy Professor Magennis might be covered by an amendment of which I have given notice.

I have not received any papers to-day unfortunately, so I am not aware of any amendment.

The amendment to Sub-section 2, it seems to me, is provided subsequently in clause 18; however we will come to that later on.

I would like to say that, in addition to the point made by Deputy Magennis, there is the further point which may prove difficult. This deals with Chartered Commissioners who are empowered to hold property, and as under their Charters the National Board Commissioners are holders of property, the cutting off of their existence might lead to difficulty. There is another point that seems to be wider than what is intended by this section. It refers to the statutory powers of the Commissioners, so that they are a statutory body. I would like some assurance that that might not go further and would not affect the Board of Trinity College, which is a statutory body. It seems to me it is quite open to that interpretation, and that that might affect the very existence of the Board of Trinity College.

I think Trinity College is a chartered body.

It is a Statutory Body in the sense that there are College Statutes. That is why I say this goes wider than was intended. I do not say it was intended that it should go wider, but I want the point to be considered by the Law Officer.

No, it was not intended to interfere with Trinity. If it were we would not do it in that fashion. I understand the main body concerned in this is the Revenue Board Commissioners. However, we will look into the point on the next Reading.

Question: "That Sub-section 1 of Section 8 stand part of the Bill," put and agreed to.

I beg to move Sub-section 2.

I want to move just one of the small verbal alterations which Mr. O'Higgins had down here: "To insert `Boards of' before `Commissioners' in line 55 so that it would read `Statutory Boards of Commissioners.' I take it that amendment is agreed to.

Is it understood that it applies only to the Revenue Board?

No, but that is the main one.

Amendment agreed to.

I propose we should add to the end of this Sub-section:—"Provided that no order of the Executive Council made in pursuance of this Sub-section shall come into operation unless and until it has been laid before each House of the Oireachtas and approved by resolution of each such House."

If you read Clause 18——

Clause 18 does not satisfy the requirements. The powers are very great, because they may include bodies such as Development Commissions and so on, and the mere laying on the table, having made the Order, would put the onus of turning down the Ministry on one or other of the Houses, whereas my proposal is that the Executive Council should come forward with a resolution and have the Order approved as distinct from merely laying it on the Table for the Dáil to take the initiative, It is simply strengthening the point provided for in Clause 18, and I do not think it should be objected to.

That is a matter I would like to leave to the discretion of the Dáil. I have no views on it.

I would like to point out that under Clause 18, we might be confronted with the accomplished fact. For instance, an Order might be issued abolishing the Intermediate Board—I take that as an instance, because I am interested in education— and then after that has been done we may have a resolution of this Dáil disapproving of an edict of that sort, but the thing would have already been done, and under Clause 18 any such resolution would not operate to prejudice the validity of any such thing previously done under such an Order. Whereas in the amendment of Deputy Johnson we have an opportunity, before it is too late, to see the proposal, to estimate its consequences and results and then the considered verdict of the Dáil is pronounced upon the proposal. So it seems to me it would be much better if we have an opportunity to debate the policy involved in the Order before the Order is issued.

I am leaving it to the Dáil.

I am not quite sure of the bearing of that, but there may be Orders to be made under the provisions of the Act, which would not require that formality, to be passed by resolution, but here we have a proposal to do what might be considered the functions of an Act of Parliament— rather more serious, possibly. I do not think it is intended, but possibly it may be rather more serious than a mere departmental Order. My suggestion is that in this connection, something rather stronger, some greater safeguard should be provided than a general Order in relation to other clauses in the Act.

I think it would be found, if you introduce an amendment in No. 18, that it would hamper the Executive considerably. Because, if you look at the very next clause you are dealing with, it enables them to substitute a fund not in their name. That is obviously a piece of mere machinery, and it would be a great pity that such a salutary change should be held up for 21 days, possibly the Dáil might not be sitting, and it would be another 21 days before it would be sanctioned. I think, on reflection, the President will see that to introduce a general suspensory clause in No. 18 might very seriously hamper the carrying out of the Act.

The reason for the introduction of that clause is, it is the usual clause put into the Acts of the British House. I do not know whether it has been successful or not. I have no experience of that House, but its continued use must have justified it to some extent.

I have no objection to Clause 18 in its proper place. I think it is desirable, and that it would be a mistake to alter it. It is rather that something of a different type is requisite here for the purpose of making the net not so wide in its cast, and preclude it from including things which you might regret.

The CLERK OF THE DAIL

read Section 8—Sub-section 2—to add the words "provided that no Order of the Executive Council made in pursuance of this Sub-section shall come into operation unless and until it has come before each House of the Oireachtas and approved by resolution of each such House."

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move the following Sub-section:—

"(3) Whenever the Executive Council establishes under this section any Board of Commissioners, the Executive Council shall, by the Order establishing such Board, apply to such Board with such adaptations and modifications as may be necessary the several Acts of the British Parliament regulating the Commissioners or other body or bodies whose or any of whose jurisdictions, powers or duties are by such Order conferred or imposed on such Board."

There is another small amendment to that in line 63, to alter the word "Acts" so that it would read "Several British Statutes of the British Parliament," and substitute the words "the Boards of" before "Commissioners."

Amendments put and agreed to.
Question put: "That Sub-sections 2 and 3 as amended stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.