I desire to move: "That the Dáil agree with the Seanad in this re commendation." It is purely a question of deleting the words "for Defence." The word "Minister" is defined in another portion of the Bill.
ARMY PENSIONS BILL, 1923. - (FROM THE SEANAD.) MOLA ÓN SEANAD (RECOMMENDATION BY THE SEANAD).
There are really two recommendations in regard to deleting the words "for Defence."
The matter I am about to raise is not of great importance, but it raises a matter that may affect subsequent Bills. When a Bill has been passed by the Dáil and sent to the Seanad, and when it returns from the Seanad, is it possible that the Dáil can move amendments again to that Bill, or is it to be construed that the Dáil has finally concluded with the Bill?
Does the Deputy mean this Bill or the last Bill?
We are now dealing with the Army Pensions Bill, are we not?
We are dealing with the amendments from the Minister for Defence, as a Deputy of this Dáil, making certain changes in the Bill, and the point I am asking guidance on is, if a Bill has once left this Dáil and gone to the Seanad and come back, will it be considered in order for other amendments to be considered and moved, or can only Seanad amendments be considered on that occasion?
This is a special case of a Money Bill. The Army Pensions Bill was certified as a Money Bill. The Seanad could not, therefore, amend it. They could only make certain recommendations. When these recommendations come to us, if we agree with them we have to move amendments, and the amendments have accordingly to be made in the Dáil. That is the only possible procedure. With regard to what amendments can be moved, the only amendment that can be moved in this Dáil, when a Money Bill comes from the Seanad, is an amendment which is necessary to give effect to the recommendation of the Seanad, or the amendment which might be offered to the Seanad in connection with one of their recommendations, and which would need to be relevant to it, or a further consequential amendment. With regard to the general question of a Bill coming back from the Seanad with amendments, such as the Land Law Commission Bill, the Seanad in that case has power to amend the Bill. Amendments have been made to the Bill, and if we agree, the Bill becomes law as it finally passed the Seanad. We can, of course, partially agree, and suggest other amendments to the Bill ourselves, but they, too, would have to be relevant to the Seanad amendments or consequential.
On a point of order, I think we are on No. 2.
This is a motion of which notice was given, or at least notice was placed in the hands of the Deputies, last night. Is it in order to discuss it now?
Is it the motion to agree with the Seanad in the said recommendation?
I think so. The motion was received in time to be placed upon the Orders of the Day, and the Orders of the Day were distributed this morning.
I suggest that this is a motion of which four days' notice should be given, and while it does not mean very much, perhaps, to this Dáil, one can see that a precedent may be made, and very important amendments to Bills might be made in the Seanad affecting the whole structure of the Bill, and in such a case Deputies ought to have sufficient notice to examine the implications of those amendments. The ordinary notice of motion should be given, and the Dáil should have sufficient notice of any amendments that are coming forward to enable them to give proper consideration to them. I submit that the form in which these amendments from the Seanad must come before the Dáil necessitates a regular period of notice before they can be discussed in the Dáil.
The motion on the paper, "That the Dáil agree with the Seanad in the said recommendation," was received in time. The Standing Orders prescribe that the Deputies must get the Order Paper with the printed Agenda on the morning of the day to which the paper relates. In this case that has been done. Therefore this matter is in order. There is another question as to whether longer notice should not be given to me of motions dealing with recommendations or amendments from the Seanad, so that the motions could be circulated to Deputies, and the Deputies would have some days to consider the matter before they came on. I think that is a different question, and would have to be decided separately.
This is not an amendment in the sense that an amendment to a Bill already before the Dáil might be considered an amendment. The Seanad has made certain amendments to a Bill, and the Bill comes with those amendments from the Seanad to the Dáil.
Recommendations in this case.
Recommendations in this case; but I am raising it here because of precedent that may be created. Undoubtedly the motion by the Minister for Defence was received by you in due time, but the motion which is now before the Dáil is not quite in the same position as an amendment to a Bill already before the Dáil. It may be of very grave importance, and the Dáil should have an opportunity of discussing the effect of any amendment which the Seanad may make before being asked to come to a decision upon it. While I have no objection whatever to accepting this motion now, I want to call attention to the danger that we might find ourselves in at some future time if there were important and fundamental amendments to a Bill made in the Seanad, and the Dáil has not time to consider them before decisions are made.
Supposing the ordinary procedure had been followed in this case of notice of motion, would it appear on the Order Paper any earlier? If four days' notice was given, would we have it in our hands earlier? Does it make any difference?
No, but I think I see Deputy Johnson's point now. If we take an example such as the previous Bill, which is better, I think, where an amendment has been made by the Seanad, under our Standing Orders we could put this amendment through all stages through which we put Bills—that is to say, we could take the fact that it is made by the Seanad as the introduction. We can read it a second time. We can go into Committee and amend it, and then we can have another stage on the motion that the Dáil agree with its own Committee on the amendment. In that way we would have sufficient discussion of any particular amendment, and if it is of a grave nature it gets all the stages which a section of the original Bill would get in the Dáil. Under present Standing Orders I think we could not do any more than that. I do not know if Deputy Johnson suggests that we should have a rule that amendments from the Seanad should be circulated to Deputies before they appear on the Order Paper with the motion for agreement.
That is implied. I am only raising it now so that note may be taken of the point, because we can foresee rather important possibilities in this procedure.
I desire to move: "To delete the words `for Defence,' line 22, Section 2 (3)."
I desire to move: "That the Dáil agree with the recommendation by the Seanad that the words `for Defence,' in line 6, Section 5 (2), be deleted."
I desire to move. "That the words `for Defence,' in line 6, Section 5 (2) be deleted."
I move: "That the Dáil agree with the recommendation by the Seanad, that the words `any section,' paragraph 6, line 6, Second Schedule, second column be deleted, and that the words `this section' be substituted therefor."
That was an error in the Bill as it left the Dáil, but I thought it better that it should be formally corrected rather than corrected in the office.
The effect of this recommendation is that the paragraph in the Second Schedule now reads: "No allowance shall be payable under this section in any case in which any allowance was payable under any of the foregoing sections."
I desire to move: "To delete the words `any section,' paragraph 6, line 6, Second Schedule, second column, and to substitute therefor the words `this section.' "
I desire to move: "That the Dáil agree with the recommendation of the Seanad that the figure `3,' paragraph 6, line 2, Third Schedule, be deleted, and that the figure `4' be substituted therefor." This is just a misprint, where the wrong paragraph was obviously inserted.
I desire to move: "To delete the figure `3,' paragraph 6, line 2, Third Schedule, and to substitute therefor the figure `4.' "
A message will be sent to the Seanad that their recommendations have been accepted and the Bill amended accordingly.