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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 12 Jul 1923

Vol. 4 No. 8


I ask permission to move the suspension of Standing Order No. 10, so as to allow the Dáil to adjourn until 8 o'clock, so that the discussion of the measure before the Dáil, which is on the agenda, might be conducted in conditions that the measure itself deserves. I think that is the orderly way to proceed, and I want to give my reasons for asking why this course should be adopted.

The Deputy has asked leave to move the Adjournment of the Dáil until 8 o'clock. Standing Order No. 11 reads:—"A motion that Dáil Eireann do adjourn for a period, not exceeding two hours, may, at any time, be made by permission of the Ceann Comhairle and without notice."

That Standing Order prescribes that the period shall not exceed two hours. The other Standing Order which deals with the suspension of the Standing Orders is quite different. It reads:—

"In case of urgent necessity of which Ceann Comhairle shall be the judge, any Standing Order, or Orders, of Dáil Eireann may be suspended for the day's sitting on motion duly made and seconded, with or without notice, provided that such motion has the support of a majority of Teachti of Dáil Eireann who are qualified to vote."

My desire was to move the suspension of the Standing Orders, thinking that that was probably the most orderly procedure.

That would have to be a case of urgent necessity.

I think the case is urgent.

I think in view of the decision we have just reached it could not possibly be maintained that the necessity is urgent.

Owing to that ruling I ask permission to move that the business be suspended for two hours to allow of the special heat of the day to pass before we are asked to undertake the business on the Agenda. I do not think the weather is any cooler now than it was yesterday, and it is within the recollection of the Dáil that the great majority of the Deputies were not able to sit in this building because of the heat. For many minutes or hours of the day there were very few members here, and many times it would have been quite competent, if we had not been in committee, to call for a Count because there were not twenty members in the House. I can only attribute their absence to the discomfort arising from the heat, and I am sure members are as anxious to discuss this measure with all the earnestness and consideration they think it deserves, and that though the flesh is weak the spirit is willing. We have a right to assume that; it is only fair to the Dáil to assume that. To do otherwise would be assuming that Deputies were treating the Dáil with disdain and in fact were doing what you yourself, Chinn Chomhairle, ruled upon yesterday, treating the Dáil with derision.

It is the duty of members to be present when urgent important matters of legislation are under discussion. If the atmospheric conditions are such that members find, notwithstanding their desire to be present, and to fulfil their duty to their constituents, notwithstanding the anxiety they have for the interests of their constituents when matters of this kind affecting dozens of them is under consideration, and their earnest desire to look after those interests, they are not able to attend because, of the condition of the atmosphere of the House, I submit it would be in the general interest that we should adjourn until 6.15, to let the torrid heat pass, and to allow members to get a breath of fresh air, and, perhaps, to provide themselves with the nutriment necessary to carry on their work.

Standing Order No. 11 reads: "A motion that Dáil Eireann do adjourn for a period not exceeding two hours may at any time be made by permission of the Ceann Comhairle and without notice." The motion which has just been carried was a motion to continue after 8.30 tonight, presumably because necessary business would not be transacted by 8.30, and to move to adjourn for 2 hours now seems to me to be a negative of the motion just carried. Unless a reason, better than the atmospheric conditions can be adduced, I do not think permission can be given for a motion to adjourn for two hours now, in view of the motion which has just been carried.

I just wish to draw attention to this fact that the suggestion made on the original motion was, I think, favourably received, and it was only because of the fact that it did not conform to the Rules of Order that it was not generally accepted. I think Deputy Milroy was speaking the views of the members on the opposite side, and only for the fact that the suggestion was not in accordance with the Rules of Order, I am sure the Minister in charge of the original motion would have accepted it. On that ground alone I think the Dáil might be asked to agree to this motion.

When an amendment was offered to the motion that has just been carried, I ruled it out for certain reasons, and the reasons must have made it clear to Deputies before they voted on the motion that the motion was one to sit until 8.30 and to continue longer than 8.30. I, therefore, could not give permission now for a motion to adjourn for two hours for the reasons stated. I allowed Deputy Johnson to state his reasons so that I might be able to see what was precisely in his mind in order to rule on the question.