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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 11 Dec 1924

Vol. 9 No. 25


Progress reported.
Sitting suspended at 7.20 until 8 o'clock p.m.
On resuming,AN CEANN COMHAIRLE in the Chair, the Dáil went into Committee and resumed the consideration of the Dublin Port and Docks Bill.
"This Act may be cited as the Dublin Port and Docks Act, 1924."

I am sorry that the last amendment was not accepted, but I hope that this one will be. The amendment which I move is to add a new section before Section 8 as follows:—"It is hereby enacted that if, owing to any cause, the provisions of Sections 5 and 6 of the Dublin Port and Docks Act, 1898, which provides for the election by the Corporation of the city of Dublin, acting by the Municipal Council, of six members of the Corporation to be members of the Board, are unfulfilled, the right to appoint six civic members of the Board shall be exercised by the members of the Dáil for the time being representing constituencies in the city and county of Dublin." The case is made on behalf of the Board or, to be quite fair, on behalf of people who have recently been on the Board, that the Board has been amended somewhat in recent years, and that a different attitude has been adopted in regard to certain complaints that were rife, and that the Board has been, to that extent, put in order.

As to the truth of that, I have no evidence to submit, but I do say that one of the factors affecting that result, if it has been the result, was the existence of civic representatives on the Board. By virtue of the provisions of the Act under which the Board is operating there were to be members of the Corporation representing the citizens acting on the Board. There being no Corporation now there are no civic members and therefore there is no element within the Board to represent the public of the city as distinct from traders and shipping members. It is said that there are schemes of financial consolidation afoot and that there are improvement schemes of one kind or another under consideration. That makes it all the more necessary why there should be on the Board representatives of the citizens as distinct from representatives of the interests.

Is this not a proposal to amend the principal Act in a way different to that proposed in the Bill? Is it not going outside the scope of the Bill?

I do not think so. I think the Bill makes provision for electing certain new members of the Board under certain conditions, and the amendment seeks to add to the conditions.

This Bill provides for the election of elective members on the Board. Is not that so?

That is a special thing, is it not?

That is separate from the Corporation members.

This does not concern the Corporation members at all.

No, this is one of the other purposes referred to in the title.

I have, over and over again, refused to accept the view that the title of a Bill is to determine its scope. It is what is in the Bill determines the scope, and not the title. This is a Bill for a special purpose, and an amendment going outside the purpose and scope of the Bill is out of order. I think this amendment goes outside the scope of the Bill, and is, therefore, out of order. In addition, this is amending by way of public Bill a local Act, a procedure which, I think, is not normal, though it is possible, and which I would be prepared to allow only in special circumstances. In this case there are special circumstances, but any proposal to amend any of the principal Acts, which are local Acts dealing with the Port and Docks Board, is a different matter and should not be dealt with in this Bill, and, possibly, it should not be dealt with at all by means of public Bill procedure.

I can only bow to your ruling. I regret it has arisen thus, because it affects the whole attitude which one must adopt to the Bill. I was hoping it might be possible to assist in the passing of the Bill, to meet what is alleged to be a need, and generally to get over certain difficulties. To pass the Bill in its present form, without some such amendment, would. I think, be a mistake.

My attitude in allowing this Bill to be moved as a public Bill and not sending it to the Examiner is mainly because it makes no change in the Port and Docks Board. It ensures, if I understand the matter, that its ordinary functions shall be carried on, and provides for certain emergencies that have arisen.

Is not this amendment of Deputy Johnson's an emergency provision similar to the emergency provision in the Bill for prolonging the term of office of certain persons whose term of office expires? This is an emergency provision to meet the case of the dissolution of the Dublin Corporation and only endures so long as that Corporation is dissolved or suspended. Would not that be similar to the provision in one section of the Bill that prolongs the term of office in a time of emergency?

The amendment proposed by Deputy Johnson is similar to the provision in the Bill, in so far as it provides for an emergency, but in no other way, I think. The similarity is simply that it provides for an emergency, but not for the emergency contemplated in the Bill, as it passed the Second Reading and was sent to Committee.

Question—"That Section 8 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported with one amendment.