To ask the President whether the Minister for Industry and Commerce is, or recently has been, absent from his duties; and whether any other member of the Dáil has been acting as Minister in his absence.

There is no indication as to whether the question refers to the Minister's religious duties, family duties, official duties, or personal duties as to his health. If it refers to either or both of the first two, I have no information which would enable me to answer the question; if it refers to the third I can only say that I have no reason to find fault with the Minister's attendance to his duties, and as regards the last I may say the Minister has had an operation within the past week, the success of which may best be left to time to observe. A member of the Dáil has been attached to this Ministry for some time previously, not to do duty in the absence of the Minister, but rather to assist him. Two other members of the Dáil are also assisting.

Arising out of that very informative reply I would like to ask the President if it is not right that this Dáil should have all such appointments brought before it, and that Assistant Ministers of this kind should be appointed by the Dáil.

All those appointments will be brought before the Dáil when the Ministries' Bill, which is in course of preparation, is presented to the Dáil. It is not intended to keep from the Dáil notice of any such appointment. It has not been possible to introduce this Bill yet, but I hope it soon will.

The question I asked was whether the Dáil should not make the appointments.

The Minister should not be asked to express an opinion as to what is right.

If this is a question of right I believe everything done by the Ministry is correct and right.