BUSINESS OF THE DÁIL.

Before entering upon the other business on the Order Paper, we must decide when we shall take the statement of the Minister for Industry and Commerce in reply to Questions 2 and 3. The statement is intended, I presume, to lead to a discussion upon the fuel situation. The simplest method, of course, would be for the Minister to make a statement on the adjournment to-day. It could be arranged that the adjournment would be taken at such an hour as would provide a suitable opportunity for the discussion and allow say one and a half hours.

With regard to the Order Paper, I understand Order No. 10, the Money Resolution for the Amending Land Bill, will not be taken to-day. The Minister has another proposal on the matter, and in that way we might have the adjournment at an earlier hour than usual, thus giving an opportunity to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to deal with the fuel question. I would be prepared to hear the Minister for Lands and Agriculture now, if he so desires.

Mr. HOGAN

Deputies will remember that on the Second Reading of the Land Bill suggestions were made by various parties dealing with matters that were not included by me in the Bill which I brought before the Dáil. In my reply I indicated that possibly these points could be dealt with in Committee. That decision should, of course, have been as obvious to deputies as to myself. I said on Second Reading that the various points mentioned, notably those by Deputy Gorey and some deputies on the Labour Benches, could be dealt with in Committee. I did not realise at the time that in dealing with some of these points amendments would have to be introduced which, in effect, would not be in order. The points raised were mainly in connection with fee farm grants, residential holdings, building grounds, fisheries, and other matters which I need not mention at the moment. I thought that we might be able to deal with some of these by way of introducing amendments to the Bill, that is to say, that deputies who are interested in getting a decision on these points could introduce amendments and have them discussed. I indicated at the time that I would oppose them, but I stated that they could be discussed in Committee. Now I find that a number of them cannot be discussed, as they would be out of order. Not that that would make any difference as, with great respect, I think I would have got Second Reading, and I do not think that my statement made any difference to getting Second Reading at the time. I only made the statement very casually. I do not say that my statement in introducing the Bill was very casual, and I do not say that it had any profound-effect on deputies, or that they did not realise that it was a very important Bill. I only mentioned casually, as I say, that certain points in which certain deputies were interested could be brought forward by way of amendment, but now I find that they are out of order.

In view of the fact that I indicated that these amendments could be brought forward, I suggest, with the leave of the House, that the Bill be referred to a Special Committee. If the Money Resolution is passed it obviously will rule out some of these points, such as that in regard to fee farm grants, as it makes it impossible to increase the cost of service outside what is contemplated in the resolution. I suggest to adjourn the Money Resolution—at least, not to take it to-day— and I suggest also that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee of nine members, to be appointed by the body constituted for the purpose of appointing Select Committees. We could deal then with these points that have been raised. I think that there should be some sort of agreement that in Committee we will not roam too far afield and, generally speaking, deal only with the points raised on Second Reading, and which now would be out of order. In addition to the amendments that would be in order, these should only be dealt with by the Committee. Land law is a very wide and extensive subject, and a great many people have different views on almost every problem that arises, so that it could easily happen that a large number of amendments of all kinds could bo introduced in Committee. I think there should be some sort of general understanding that only amendments indicated by deputies on Second Reading should be introduced, as well as whatever amendments I may find it necessary to introduce myself.

That is a different thing.

Mr. HOGAN

I think that that is meeting the case fairly. My amendments would be a few small amendments of detail which would raise no question of principle. From day to day you discover in the Land Commission that there is a certain procedure that could be shortened and a certain procedure that could be bettered. There are a few points which I would like, as a result of six months experience, to introduce into the Bill. They would not interest most people. They are important only in regard to the day-to-day machinery of the Land Act. I would like, however, to have a general understanding not to roam too far afield in Committee and to deal only, as far as possible, with those amendments which were indicated on Second Reading.

Will the Minister or, perhaps, you, sir, explain whether it is a Special Committee that is to be set up under this Bill?

The words which the Minister should have used were "Select Committee."

I think that the Minister is trying to close the door at a certain point. If we have the right to introduce amendments in Special Committee we should have the same rights as we have here and introduce amendments in the ordinary way, just as we are entitled to do so here. I would remind the Minister that he does not appear to have as much doubt now as he had on Second Reading in regard to some of these matters. As a matter of fact, in regard to fee farm grants the Minister said, "If you press your amendments you will carry them."

Mr. HOGAN

When did I tell the deputy that?

Not in public. The Minister was evidently speaking from inside information from his own party.

Mr. HOGAN

I will be extremely careful what I say to the deputy in future.

Speaking from memory, I do not know that we omitted any point in Second Reading on which we desired to introduce amendments. If there is any particular point, I do not think that we should be precluded from raising it, and I do not accept the Minister's suggestion in that connection. I do not think that there was any doubt at that time about dealing with the Bill in Committee in the ordinary way, and it has only recently been discovered that we cannot submit amendments. I am not prepared to accept any restriction with regard to amendments. I am, however, prepared to accept the Minister's suggestion to refer the Bill to a Select Committee.

The real difficulty is that the Minister made certain suggestions without adverting to whether these suggestions were feasible from the point of view of procedure. He desires to be in the position of keeping his promises to deputies, and the procedure which he is now putting forward is one that has been suggested by the Chair. When an amending Bill, a Bill to amend a principal Act, is introduced, all kinds of amendments to the principal Act are not in order. Amendments, to be in order, must be relevant to something contained in the amending Bill. That is one restriction. There is a second restriction, namely, that when a Bill needs a Money Resolution, before the Committee Stage, deputies in Committee may be, and must be, precluded from proposing amendments for which no provision has been made in the Money Resolution. On both these counts, certain amendments, which Deputy Gorey and other deputies desire to move, could not be moved if we took this Bill in a Committee of the whole Dáil or in a Special Committee. The suggestion now is that the Bill should be sent to a Select Committee which would consider the Bill and make certain recommendations. In that Committee, amendments, such as those in regard to fee farm grants and other matters, could be discussed, and the report of the Committee to the House would enable the House itself to discuss these particular questions and give an opportunity to Deputy Gorey, and other deputies who are interested in these matters, to raise them in the House, not merely by way of discussion, but with a view to getting a decision on them. The Select Committee will be free to take into consideration any recommen- dation it pleases. The Minister, in suggesting that there should be some restrictions on the number of matters to be considered, made the suggestion on his own account.

Of course if there is any haste for getting this Bill through at any time the Committee could be instructed to report back on a particular day. I think that in itself will be sufficient to prevent the Select Committee roving too far from the principal Act. If the Minister accepted any of the suggestions or recommendations of the Select Committee about fee farm grants, or any other matter, he would need to discharge the Order for the present Bill and bring in a new Bill, and a new Money Resolution. What is being done is an endeavour to meet deputies and in no way to circumvent them.

It will be in the memory of the Dáil that what was known as Senator Butler's Bill was withdrawn under specific conditions.

Mr. HOGAN

Would the deputy say what conditions?

The Minister had deputation after deputation waiting on him. I cannot say on what point at the moment. The Bill was withdrawn because the Minister was to introduce a Bill dealing with these rents, some of which were embodied in it, and others which the Minister said he could not accept. We were to have the option of moving amendments urging our point of view on the Committee Stage. Is not that so?

Mr. HOGAN

In view of that statement I want to make one point clear. The deputy said that I made some promises to introduce a Bill embodying certain points dealt with in Senator Butler's Bill. I have done so. Every point I said I would deal with I did so in this Bill. Is that clear?

I agree that every point the Minister said he would embody he has embodied in the Bill, but it does not meet our view. The Minister has done so in certain specific matters. What he has done is all right, but he does not propose to go to the extent that we want to go. On the other matters we were promised liberty to introduce amendments on the Second Reading. Now we are debarred, and I think what the Ceann Comhairle has suggested is a way out, to let a Select Committee deal with the matter and report. You will then have a new Bill and we agree.

I am one of those who suggested certain amendments to the Land Bill, amongst others the amendment regarding fee farm grants. I am perfectly prepared to accept the Minister's suggestion, which I think is a fair one and made in good faith, in order that he should endeavour to carry out his previous undertaking to set up a Select Committee. I am anxious to know at this stage whether the report of the Select Committee will be presented to the Dáil before any subsequent Bill is proceeded with embodying any of the suggestions of the Committee, because we have had experience in other matters, where Select Committees were appointed, and the report was not published or furnished to the Dáil when Bills were about to be proposed, embodying certain procedure.

There has been no example of a Select Committee or any committee appointed by this House that did not report to it.

That may come up later.

It cannot come up later; it is a question of fact. The House never appointed a committee that did not report to it, nor could a committee appointed by the House report to anyone else. That is the essence of the situation.

Perhaps I was not particularly accurate when I said a committee appointed by the House. I was referring to a committee appointed to consider amendments to the Constitution and report, which report has not been published.

We will take the motion of the Minister for Agriculture when it arises later. The statement by the Minister for Industry and Commerce is to be taken on the adjournment.

I move:—

Go ndintear Ordú na Dála den 27adh Abrán, 1926 (Suidheanna na Dála) do chur ar ceal.

That the Order of the Dáil of the 27th April, 1926 (Sittings of the Dáil) be discharged.

The effect of that is that the Dáil will adjourn at 8.30 instead of 10.30 p.m.

Motion put and agreed to.

I propose that the order of business be as set out in the Orders of the Day with the exception of Item No. 14, "Army Pensions Bill, 1926."

Before passing from this matter, I would like to have some assurance as to when this long promised Bill will be circulated. We had a First Reading and we were promised plenty of time to consider it before the Second Reading. The First Reading was taken in July. Presumably the Bill was ready then but it has not been printed yet. I am referring to the long promised Army Pensions Bill. Can we have any assurance as to when it will be in the hands of deputies?

I think I will be able to answer the deputy, within a fortnight. I would not like to confine myself to any closer date and I think the reasons are obvious. We required the assistance of the Attorney-General in dealing with this Bill, but he has not been available owing to the Conference for a very considerable time. That has held up this particular Bill and some other measures. That is really what has been responsible for the delay.

Was the Attorney-General's advice not available before the order to have the Bill printed was made?

It was available but the matter had not been completed. When we introduced the Bill we indicated that it would be circulated in a short time. The Conference and other matters have taken up much more time of the Attorney-General than we anticipated, and we were unable to avail of his services.

Would it be correct to say that the real trouble in this matter has been the Department of Finance?

I do not think so. At present I am not in a position to confirm that statement.