THE PREVENTION OF ELECTORAL ABUSES BILL, 1923. - FIRST STAGE.

The Bill is a consolidation of the existing law in relation to corrupt practices. Provisions which were in several Acts are being brought together and they are being modified in the way that our experience of recent elections would suggest they should be modified. As far as possible, the points set out in the Report of the Electoral Committee have been incorporated in the Bill. Additional powers are taken in regard to the prevention of personation at elections, and to secure that people detected in the offence of impersonation will be more likely to be convicted than they have been in the past. In general, they will be brought before Courts of Summary Jurisdiction rather than courts at which they would be tried by jury. There are certain changes proposed in regard to candidates' expenses, and some other matters. The law has also been adapted so as to fit the carrying out of a Referendum, and the carrying out of an election to Seanad Eireann. Except in the matters dealt with by the Committee on Electoral Abuses in regard to election expenses and things which were previously forbidden, such as the payment for banners, which prohibition is removed, there is very little change in the Bill, beyond what is necessary in view of the Constitution and the altered situation. I move that leave be granted to introduce the Bill.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I beg to second.

I desire to express the hope that the second last recommendation of the Committee, regarding the deposit that was suggested, has not been embodied in the Bill.

Is that in connection with Local Government elections?

The Bill does not deal with that.

Question: "That leave be granted to introduce the Bill," put and agreed to.

I suggest the Second Stage should be fixed for next Tuesday.

I thought next week was definitely allocated to the Committee Stage of the Land Bill?

It occurred to me it is not on the Second Stage we would have the greatest amount of debate. I thought that possibly the debate on the Second Stage might not be very prolonged, because there will be comparatively little new in the way of general principle. It might be fitted in some time during the week so that Deputies could have time to prepare their amendments for the Committee Stage. I would prefer a long interval between the Second Reading and the Committee Stage rather than be-between the First and Second Stages.

I am not objecting, but when one understands and one is trimming one's sails accordingly—to do certain work in a certain way—we rather expect that that programme will be adhered to as near as possible.

The argument is that this Bill will get into Committee without very great difficulty.

I think that the Second Reading is likely to be carried, and that it probably would not take up a great deal of time. It is desirable to leave a good deal of time between the Second Stage and the Committee Stage so as to enable Deputies to look up any amendments they might care to submit.

Second Stage ordered for Tuesday, 3rd July.

When will we have the Bill?

I think about Thursday.