ENFORCEMENT OF LAW (OCCASIONAL POWERS) BILL, 1923 - MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT

I move the adjournment of the Dáil until Tuesday, January 30th, at 3 o'clock.

I second the motion.

May we have from the Government some kind of indication as to what business will come before us next week? Besides the Committee Stage of this Bill, what further business will we have?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

It is my intention to introduce a Bill next week bearing on the position of the present District Justices, regularising some things that are not quite regular with regard to their position; and providing for the appointment of local justices, without judicial power, as it is not our intention to revert to the practice of putting them on the bench, but to give them power to sign certain forms, and perform certain minor magisterial duties in their areas. The position of the Civic Guard is difficult at present owing to the absence of such functionaries. The First Reading of this Bill will probably be moved on Tuesday next, and between the two Bills I imagine the business will cover next week at least.

In that case may I ask if it would be possible for us to get the Bill before we meet next week? In order that that might be done, it would be necessary to give it a formal First Reading now, and if that were done it would be possible for us to have the text of the Bill and have an opportunity of studying it, so that the matter should not be rushed.

Mr. O'HIGGINS.

The First Reading of a Bill is a motion for permission to have it printed and circulated. My suggestion was to take the First Reading on Tuesday.

The Minister did not give any indication as to when the terms of reference of the Judiciary Committee are likely to be ready, and when the names of that Committee are to be announced, and when is it likely to begin business. I think I read in the newspapers, whether a correct report or not, that the terms of reference of that Committee are not yet decided. It has been mooted for some time, and I think it would be well if we had some conclusion in the matter.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

My information from the Law Officer is that he is ready to submit to the Executive Council the personnel, and the terms of reference can be made public if it is desirable, here on Tuesday next, or otherwise they can be published on Saturday.

Is there any desire that the terms of reference should be announced to the Dáil before publication. If not they can be published on Saturday presumably.

Having regard to the answer to my question, if I understand the Standing Orders aright, it is not possible to get a copy of the Bill until the First Reading has been given, giving leave to print. If the Bill is in such an advanced stage, if the First Reading was given to it now, you could get it printed and circulated before Tuesday. To help the Minister, and to help the Dáil, and to help forward the business generally, I suggest that it might be a good thing to give the District Justices' Bill the First Reading now.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

As a matter of procedure we do not give the First Reading of the Bill until the draft has been before the Executive Council, and been considered in some detail.

Would any real expedition occur if the First Reading was taken now?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

No real expedition.

I submit that it is not wise to encourage the Ministry to do that sort of thing. They have been doing it. We have pulled them up for it, and for Deputy Figgis to go and encourage them to continue on their evil path was very unwise.

I appreciate the rebuke, and it is well deserved. My point, as I have said, was to give the First Reading now, as if you have the First Reading on Tuesday, the Second Reading may, probably, have to be taken on Wednesday.

Have faith in the corrective effects of your rebuke.

Of course, if the Criminal and Malicious Injuries Bill be ready, I will have to ask for precedence for that, but not undue precedence.

Motion made: "That the Dáil adjourn until Tuesday, January 30."

Agreed.

The Dáil adjourned at 6.15 p.m.