[ DAIL IN COMMITTEE. ] - SCHEDULES.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Clause 1 is:—"The Acts mentioned in the First, Second and Third Schedules to this Act shall to the extent specified in Column 3 to those Schedules be continued until the 31st day of December, 1923, and shall then expire unless further continued." I move that section.

Agreed.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Sub-section 2 states:—"The Acts mentioned in the Fourth Schedule to this Act shall to the extent specified in Column 3 of that Schedule be continued until the 31st day of December, 1923, and shall then expire unless further continued and the continuance effected by this Sub-section shall be retrospective to the date on which such Acts expired so as to validate all acts and things purported to be done under such Acts respectively since that date but not so as to make illegal any act done between the date on which the said Acts expired and the date of the passing of this Act which would not have been illegal if this sub-section were not retrospective." I do not think that requires any particular explanation. The point there about the retrospective thing is what I went into before. It validates certain things that we had done since these Acts expired. It has not the effect of making anything illegal which would not otherwise have been illegal, and it revives the two Acts in question until the 31st December, 1923.

I had no information about these Acts, and I do not recollect them. Could the Minister give us even a rough idea of the provisions of the Local Government (Emergency Provisions) Act, Sections 5, 6, 13, 21 and 23?

I desire to raise a point which may appear to be metaphysical rather than legal. Can we speak of the continuing of an Act which has expired?

That would arise when you come to consider the title, I suppose.

It seems to me that there is an amendation required in view of this Fourth Schedule. You see, the Bill is entitled "An Act to Continue Certain Expiring Laws," but here we are purporting to continue expired laws.

It should be "An Act to Continue Certain Expiring or Expired Laws."

Or, "To Continue Certain Expiring Laws and to Revive and Continue Certain Expired Laws."

The extracts that are mentioned in the Fourth Schedule, the request for the continuance and revival, came from the Local Government Department, and the Minister for Local Government will have available for the Dáil some particulars as to their provisions. It was evidently considered essential for the routine administration of the Department that they should be revived in this, perhaps, not regular manner. The Allotments Act, of course, is a thing that we are all familiar with. I cannot furnish the Dáil at the moment with particulars as to the first Act, that is, the Local Government (Emergency Provisions) Act. I think that perhaps before we are through this stage the Minister will have the particulars.

We could leave Sub-section 2 aside until the information is forthcoming and take Sub-section 3.

It may meet my objection by leaving out the word "expiring," and let the short title be shorter still. It might be stated as "The Laws Continuance Act."

Mr. O'HIGGINS

On that matter, these are two Acts which certainly would have been continued but for the situation that existed; I mean the British Administration would in the ordinary way have revived these Acts. Their noncontinuance is entirely due to the existing conditions in this country, and I do not think that we ought to take the view that it is so much the revival of some Act that had, in fact, elapsed. I think we should treat it much on all fours with other Acts. If we found we were in the position, if the Constitution were passed, and so on, at that time, we would have stepped in to prevent the lapsing of these Acts. Now, if by your title you cannot stereotype the fact that this thing was done and set it down in your titles of Acts, I think it would have a bad effect and a bad implication. It might be that hereafter that Act which had lapsed in an ordinary way was revived by the Dáil in this manner. These are simply two administration Acts—one, at least, the Allotments Act, of very considerable importance—that lapsed only because of the entirely peculiar situation that existed and because of the transition from one administration to another. Unless there is a very strong feeling about it, I suggest that the title, Expiring Laws, be not altered.