SECOND SCHEDULE. - REGISTRATION RULES FOR UNIVERSITY CONSTITUENCIES.

Rule 1 reads:—

"The register for each University Constituency shall contain the names of all persons who are entitled to be registered as Dáil or Senatorial electors in that constituency and shall distinguish the persons who are entitled to be registered as Dáil electors only from those persons who are entitled to be registered as both Dáil and Senatorial electors."

And I move an amendment to insert at the end, after the word "electors," the words "and such register shall show which persons have elected to be regarded as Postal Voters."

The purpose of this amendment is really to secure the same object as aimed at by the Government, but with less trouble and less expense both to the Government and to the University. I think the same object will be secured by marking the one list as is proposed to do for the Senatorial electors, otherwise there will be separate forms to be sent out and it will involve a good deal of labour on the University Registration Officer and a good deal of expense on the part of the Government. There is no principle involved.

I accept that. I am not sure that it would not be better to have University voting done by post altogether.

That is my contention, allowing anyone who lives in the city to be his own postman and to deliver the letter by hand.

That would really satisfy me.

If we are agreed upon this I could bring in words later on, proposing that the entire University elections be by post.

I take it that it is agreed to, and Rule 1 is added as part of the Second Schedule and consequently therefore Rule 2 is deleted.

Yes. I move that Rule 2 be deleted.

Question: "That Rule 2 be deleted," put and agreed to.

I beg to move Rule 3, which deals with the forms of claims to be sent out. Deputy Thrift has given notice of an amendment to this clause and to some subsequent clauses. I am in agreement with the object he has in view, but I think that if we had some consultation over the matter we could come to an agreement and therefore I would suggest to him that he should not propose his amendment at this stage. I am glad he put it down, but I would like to discuss the matter with him and somebody representing the Post Office. The object is, as I take it, that it shall not be necessary for the University elector to renew by post each year his claim to remain on the University register. I think it is possible that owing to that system the University registers might shrink very seriously. On the other hand some of the University electors might move about from constituency to constituency, and if some precautions additional to those suggested in the amendment moved by Deputy Thrift were not provided it is probable that you would find people whose names appeared upon two electoral rolls. Then again you probably would have a large number of dead men appearing as University electors. I think it might be quite possible to use postmen in all parts of the country as enquiry agents so far as the University register is concerned. I see no reason why at the address of each University elector the postman of the area might not leave a form to be filled which he would ask for the next day or the day after, so that it would be ascertained in each case whether the University elector had left his previous address or whether he was still living in the same place. It is a matter of some little detail and would have to be gone into, but I think we can devise a system whereby we would have a University register as good a register as that of any ordinary constituency with practically no name upon it that ought to have been removed from it, and so compiled that it would not give any opportunity for dual registration. And on the other hand I think we could arrange that the University register would not depend entirely upon people filling up, and posting before a certain date, their claim to re-entry upon the register each year. Because I believe if the matter was left that way as in the Schedule it is quite possible we would find that through carelessness not half the people who wanted to be on the University register were on it, and it might happen that the University register would shrink to very small proportions indeed. I think it is quite proper to provide that once a person is elected to be registered as a University elector that that shall stand unless there is a specific request that he should be registered as an ordinary elector. I am at one with Deputy Thrift in desiring that that should be brought about, and if the Deputy will consult with me and someone from the Post Office I think we could arrive at a rule that would meet his wishes entirely.

Would not that imply that the whole of the Second Schedule had better be withdrawn and be brought up again at a later stage?

The system we have adopted is the best, subject to such alterations as are suggested.

I heard with pleasure the statement which the Minister has made. It is clear he appreciates the position. In fact I simply put forward this amendment in order to raise the principle. Of course if this amendment were adopted there would be a considerable number of consequential amendments which I did not put upon the paper. I quite accept what the Minister has stated, and place myself at his disposal whenever he wishes.

If the Schedule is to be substantially amended would it not be better to withdraw it and bring it up later?

If the Minister accepts the principle it could be brought up in a modified form later.

I do accept the principle.

If Professor Thrift's amendment is carried in its actual wording it would mean the rejection of Rule 6 and the modification of a great many other things.

Yes, that is so. It means a great number of changes, but I do not wish to withdraw the Schedule. The fact that the Schedule is not in as good form as it should be is the fault of the Universities.

Would the Minister explain in what way it is the fault of the University people, because that is an extraordinary accusation to make at this stage, considering that—so far as I am concerned—there was no opportunity given to assist in the drafting of one iota of this? It would seem as if there was some lapse or dereliction of duty on the part of the Universities, from what the Minister has said.

I was not referring to any persons in this Dáil, but to persons concerned in the compilation of the register.

That is more satisfactory.

Now, we have already taken two amendments. We have an addition to No. 1 and we have deleted No. 2. Does the Minister suggest that it should be passed in that form on the understanding that it will meet the point raised by Deputy Thrift?

Would it satisfy the Minister if we simply postponed the passing of Rule 3?

I notice that, if No. 3, which is Deputy Thrift's amendment, were to be adopted, there would be two or three subsequent rules consequently changed. I do not see how that could be done offhand by postponing it. I did not mean to withdraw the schedule, but simply to postpone it until there will be that consultation which Deputy Thrift and the Minister judge to be necessary.

We could take it on Friday. Would that be too soon?

I think we had better take it on the Report Stage. If this schedule is passed I will bring up a new schedule.

Let us pass it as it stands with that understanding.

I do not think that we could pass it as it stands if it is not to be as it stands.

We have done it in a number of other cases.

This schedule is as it stands. There is no doubt about that. There are two amendments by Deputy Duggan. Will they be moved?

I suggest leaving them over.

The second schedule is therefore moved with the two amendments already agreed to.

Question put: "That Schedule 2, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

Tomorrow we shall take Schedules 3, 4, and 5, and on Friday, Schedules 6, 7, and 8?