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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 10 Dec 1924

Vol. 9 No. 24


It will be necessary, I am afraid, to take all the time of the Dáil to-day for public business. With reference to Deputy Lyons's Motion, which will be affected by that decision, there will be a Supplementary Estimate to-morrow for the Land Commission, and it may be suitable to raise upon it matters which he proposes to raise on his Motion. The proposed order of business is to take the Intoxicating Liquor Bill first, and then, for an hour, No. 3, after which the Local Government Bill will be taken. It will be necessary to sit until 10.30 to-night with the usual adjournment.

I have not referred to the Standing Orders, but is it a matter which can be decided on sudden motion, or rather intimation, such as the Minister has now made to the effect that it is intended to take the whole time of the House, notwithstanding the fact that a private Member's Motion is on the Order Paper? That seems to me to be a very unwise precedent to make, because if that can be done, private Members are simply deprived of their rights. I do not want particularly to plead the cause of Deputy Lyons in this case, but I want to look after the rights of private Members.

Standing Order 74, dealing with business of private Members says:—"Provided that a Minister may move after Questions on any Wednesday or Friday that on that day specified Ministerial business shall not be interrupted, if under consideration at the time fixed for taking up Motions, or Bills to be moved by private Teachtaí. Such Motions may be proposed without notice, and shall be decided without amendment." The Minister, therefore, I take it, is proposing to do that.

In view of the fact that this Motion of Deputy Lyons was down on two or three occasions and postponed and was definitely promised for to-day, does the Standing Order apply, having regard to the fact that a promise has been made, that the Motion will be considered to-day?

Is the Motion before the House now?

I would like to ask the Minister whether he has had any communication with Deputy Lyons, and whether the Deputy has agreed to postpone the Motion, otherwise we would be placed in a very different position from that in which we would be placed if the Deputy had not received notice. If the latter is the case I shall have to vote against the Minister.

The decision was taken some ten minutes ago, and I have not had an opportunity of consulting Deputy Lyons. I have pointed out that the Supplementary Estimate for the Land Commission will be taken to-morrow, and that that should provide a necessary and reasonable opportunity for such matters as the Deputy proposes to raise under his Motion.

The position is not quite so simple. This Motion is already in process of discussion. The Motion was moved and adjourned until to-day. The Motion may be passed by the Dáil, and the question, then, that might otherwise be raised on the Motion providing Estimates would be in quite a different position. I think that the procedure which the Minister has outlined is quite unfair to the House and, while it may be right, and apparently is in order, that the House should have an opportunity of deciding in favour or against this Motion, it is, at least, unfair to private Members that Ministers should come along and without any communication with anybody indicate that they intend to move such a Motion. If that kind of procedure is to be adopted, there is not much protection for private Members, and it is a precedent that would be a very evil one in respect of the general business of the Dáil. I do not think that we ought to complicate the question by discussing it in relation to the Estimates to-morrow. I think it is quite unreasonable.

Deputies are asking the Minister to waive his rights under the Standing Orders. That certainly is clearly the position. We are asked to waive our rights under the Standing Orders. It is said that it is unfair to invoke the rights which the Standing Order gives. That, at least, is the position clearly.

What about are liberty of the private Members?


I repeat that under the Standing Orders the Minister has a perfect right to propose such a motion without notice. That is quite clear under the Standing Orders. Deputies are great sticklers for the Standing Orders, and they have them here. It is quite clear, I repeat again, that there is such a right within the Standing Orders. When Deputy Johnson says this thing should not be confused by speaking about the Estimate to-morrow he hardly meets the merits of the case. The Minister is quite entitled to say, to meet the undoubted equities which Deputy Lyons has in the matter, that on the Land Commission Estimate to-morrow there will be afforded opportunity to discuss this question at length. No one here is anxious to shelve this motion. They are anxious to discuss it. Speaking as the Minister responsible, I am anxious to discuss it, and to give Deputy Lyons the opportunity to discuss it, and to meet him quite fairly on the question, but we are entitled to point out in the circumstances, in invoking the particular rights we have under the Standing Orders, that Deputy Lyons can raise any question he wants to raise to-morrow. That meets the merits of the case.

I would like to remind the Dáil that this Motion has been adjourned by agreement since Friday. I fail to see why the Minister should try and get the time of private members. I think I am within my rights in holding that I must get permission to move this motion to-day. I will not get the opportunity on the Estimates to-morrow that I would get on this Motion. If Ministers are uneasy in their minds that there may be too many hard things said against the Land Commission, or the Minister for Lands and Agriculture, they can make their minds easy. If there are hard things to be said, they must be deserved, and if the Minister is such a plucky man as he is alleged to be, he will not oppose this Motion being taken to-day.


The Deputy misunderstood my point, which was that if the Deputy was prepared to say nice things about me he will get ample opportunity of doing that to-morrow.

On a point of order: If we could get clear as to the precise terms of the Motion before us, and what is contemplated by this particular Motion down in Deputy Lyons' name, we might come to a quicker and better decision as to what we are to do.

Perhaps we could get the Minister to give the precise terms of the Motion.

The Motion is to take the entire time of the Dáil to-day for public business; in other words, that the consideration of the Local Government Bill, or such other public business as is under review at the time for Private Business, be not interrupted.

That does not apply to the point about the motion.

The motion must be that the specified Ministerial business shall not be interrupted at the time fixed for taking up motions or Bills to be moved by private Teachtaí. Is the specified Ministerial business to be discussed the Local Government Bill, or is something else included?

The business is the Local Government Bill.

On a point of order, the Minister has spoken of Estimates to be taken to-morrow. I do not know what are the numbers of the Estimates, as they have not yet been circulated. There is a provision to the effect that Supplementary Estimates not included in the annual Estimates may be brought forward on leave given by the Dáil, after motion made by notice. I do not know whether such motion has been made, or notice given.


Why should the Deputy assume notice would not be given?

If the Minister wants to discuss the Motion to-morrow, and notice has not been given to-day, notice cannot be given.


It is a matter for the Dáil to give permission. The Deputy is raising a difficulty which he may meet to-morrow.

What is going to happen Deputy Lyons' Motion if we have the Supplementary Estimates? The Motion cannot be withdrawn without Deputy Lyons' consent, and it cannot be withdrawn without the consent of the Dáil as a whole. To avoid having the same discussion twice over, it would probably save time to have the discussion on Deputy Lyons' Motion to-day, and probably the Estimates will pass to-morrow without much discussion.

What I hope will happen to Deputy Lyons' Motion is that it will be postponed now. What will happen afterwards is a matter for the Dáil.

As to whether discussion should take place on this Motion, or on the Estimates, it is quite possible that a Deputy can vote for Deputy Lyons' Motion and also for the Estimates. They are two different matters altogether.

On the various points of order, the Motion is "that to-day the consideration of the Local Government Bill shall not be interrupted at the time fixed for taking up Motions or Bills moved by private Teachtai," that is, 7 o'clock. The question that this motion would not apply to an adjourned Motion such as Deputy Lyons's, is a point that has no validity under the Standing Orders. As to the Estimates, I know nothing.

So that the real position is, that the Dáil is asked to give power to the Minister to deal with Ministerial business in preference to the business of private Teachtai, and leave it at that, with the prospect that the Dáil will be adjourned some time within the next ten or fifteen days, and possibly Ministerial business will occupy the whole of the time in the meantime. That proposition has been put to us, and it has been put to us, I suggest, strictly within rights according to the Standing Orders, but with an entire disregard of private Members' convenience. Deputies have come up from the country to-day specially to discuss this question because it was on the Order Paper.

It seems to me that there is to be an entire disregard, to put it bluntly, of Ministerial convenience, which ought to get some consideration as well. I would ask: is the motion of the Minister for Justice in order?

Yes, certainly. The motion is before the Dáil.

Before the question is put I suggest that Deputy Lyons having withdrawn on Friday, and having the Motion put on for to-day instead, arrangements could now be made that his Motion could come on to-morrow, simultaneously with the Vote, and the matter could be met in that way. I do not think it is fair that Private Business should be shelved altogether by the action of any Minister or Ministers. I suggest that, if the substance of Deputy Lyons' Motion can be taken to-morrow in connection with the Vote, it will solve the whole matter.

I would like to say that I think it is very unfair to private members that they should be prevented from bringing in motions before the Dáil. Now, the motion at present before us in the name of Deputy Lyons was tabled on Tuesday week last. It was inserted on the Order Paper for Wednesday. It came on on Friday, and it was to be taken to-day. Surely it is not fair to treat a private Deputy like that. This is not the only occasion on which such a thing has occurred. It has occurred several times within the last six months. I do not think it was the intention of the framers of the Standing Orders that Ministerial business could be used as the pretext for shelving a private member's motion. I have a matter to bring on, in connection with Deputy Lyons's motion, but if this motion is again adjourned there will be no opportunity of raising the matter until after the Christmas Recess. Therefore, I think we should come to some definite understanding as to when this motion of Deputy Lyons will be debated.

I think this discussion ranges itself under two heads. One is the right of the private Member. We would all like to support the claim made for due consideration for private Members in these motions, but when it comes down to the concrete case of Deputy Lyons's motion, surely we need not thresh out that broad principle of private members' time. Seeing that Deputy Lyons has already got an opening opportunity, we need not thresh out this question now. This Motion was postponed from Friday to be further dealt with. But at all events we ought to know if the Votes come on to-morrow whether they will be of such a wide nature, as far as the discussion is concerned, that Deputy Lyons could have an opportunity of speaking on his Motion. Therefore, I think that, in this case, at all events, there is not such a great grievance, considering the urgency of getting on with public business. On the other hand, I would join with other Deputies in deprecating any encroachment on private members' time as a matter of ordinary procedure.

There is more time lost now than if this question were raised and definitely dealt with, perhaps. At the most, one and a-half or two hours would finish this motion this evening. I do not intend to speak very long, as I have already spoken ten minutes, but I do demand my right as a private member in the Dáil and to get the support of the Dáil in this matter; and I think it is up to every member of the Dáil who wishes to retain his rights to vote in favour of this motion being discussed this evening. Neither the Minister for Lands and Agriculture, nor any other Minister, has any right to encroach on private members' privileges in putting forward a motion. It is all very well to say that the Local Government Bill is important. This motion is more important than any Government Bill that has been introduced. The number of people suffering at the present time owing to the delay by the Land Commission in dealing with estates is very large, and it is only right that an opportunity should be given to discuss the matter, and to ascertain where the delay is in getting on with this work. Therefore, I think it is only right that every member of the Dáil who is out for fair play should support me in this motion, and see that the Ministers do not trample on the rights of private members, especially when the motion that is being brought on may animadvert on these Ministers themselves.

Would the Minister undertake to give private members' time to-morrow for the discussion of Deputy Lyons's motion?



The Minister refuses.


We could meet next week for the purpose.

What becomes of the Government's promise to give time for the discussion of this motion to-day? In future if a private member is asked to postpone his motion on the ground that he is going to get private time later, what becomes of that promise?

It will be the same as the other promises.

That is not a question for me, I am afraid.

Question put. The Dáil divided: Tá, 31; Níl, 28.

Richard H. Beamish.Earnán de Blaghd.Seoirse de Bhulbh.Séamus de Búrca.Máighréad Ní Choileáin BeanUí Dhrisceóil.M. Egan.Patrick J. Egan.Desmond Fitzgerald.John Good.John Hennigan.William Hewat.Pádraig Mac Fadáin.Patrick McGilligan.Seoirse Mac Niocaill.Liam Mac Sioghaird.

Pádraig S. Mag Ualghairg.Martin M. Nally.Peadar O hAodha.Seán O Brúadair.Partholán O Conchubhair.Conchubhair O Conghaile.Eoghan O Dochartaigh.Séamus N. O Dóláin.Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.Aindriú O Láimhín.Fionán O Loingsigh.Pádraic O Máille.Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).Caoimghín O hUigín.Patrick W. Shaw.Séamus O Leadáin.


Pádraig F. Baxter.Seán Buitléir.John J. Cole.John Conlan.Bryan R. Cooper.John Daly.Séamus Eabhróid.Osmond Grattan Esmonde.Seán de Faoite.David Hall.Séamus Mac Cosgair.Tomás Mac Eóin.Risteárd Mac Fheorais.Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.

Risteárd Mac Liam.Patrick J. Mulvany.Tomás de Nógla.Ailfrid O Broin.Tomás O Conaill.Aodh O Cúlacháin.Líam O Daimhín.Mícheál O Dubhghaill.Donchadh S. O Guaire.Seán O Laidhin.Risteárd O Maolchatha.Domhnall O Mócháin.Domhnall O Muirgheasa.Tadhg P. O Murchadha.

Question declared carried.

May I ask if the motion which I have tabled, and in regard to the discussion of which a decision has now been reached, can come on on Friday next?

Deputy Lyons's motion will be put on the Order Paper for Friday next for consideration in private members' time.

Could I get any definite answer from the Minister in regard to the discussion of this motion, so as to facilitate Deputies who would probably have to go home early on Friday? Would it be the intention of the Minister also to take up the time on Friday, or will permission be given for the discussion of my motion on that day?

I am sorry I am not in a position to state definitely that it will not be necessary to take the whole of the time on Friday for public business.

May I take it definitely that my motion will come up on Friday and that it will not be interfered with by any of the Ministers?

I think it is not right—

The Deputy is making a speech on a matter which has already been decided.

I can say this much—

No, you cannot.