ORDUITHE AN LAE. - JURIES BILL, 1927—COMMITTEE.

Sections 1 and 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 3.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, every male citizen of the age of twenty-one years or upwards and under the age of sixty-five years who, either in his own name or in a trade-name and whether alone or jointly with any other person or persons or as a member of a firm or copartnership, is rated for the relief of the poor in respect of land in a jury district shall, if the total rateable value of all the land in respect of which he is so rated in such jury district equals or exceeds the minimum rating qualification for such jury district, be qualified and liable to serve as a juror for the trial of all or any issues which are for the time being triable with a jury drawn wholly or partly from such jury district, unless he is for the time being disqualified for or exempt from serving as a juror.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this section, every male citizen of the age of twenty-one years or upwards and under the age of sixty-five years who is not qualified and liable to serve as a juror by virtue of the foregoing sub-section and whose wife is rated for the relief of the poor in respect of land in a jury district shall, if the total rateable value of all the land in respect of which his wife is so rated in such jury district equals or exceeds the minimum rating qualification for such jury district, be qualified and liable to serve as a juror for the trial of all or any issues triable with a jury drawn wholly or partly from such jury district, unless he is for the time being disqualified for or exempt from serving as a juror or he proves to the satisfaction of the registration officer that he never had any interest in such land and did not directly or indirectly provide any of the purchase money thereof and that he has not a separate income, earned or unearned, sufficient for his own maintenance.

In the absence of Deputy Magennis, I move:—

"In sub-section (1), line 50, to delete the word ‘male.'"

I have very little to say upon the amendment except that I desire to remove this very definite and, I think, positive slight against women voters. I think it is entirely retrograde to pass an Act which, as I said before, is the complement of citizenship, as exemplified in the voting list, and specifically to exclude women voters and citizens from one of the liabilities, one of the obligations, imposed upon them by virtue of their entry into the rights and privileges of citizenship. I am not going to attempt, at this stage, to enlarge upon this matter. All that need be said can be said on the Report Stage, but I dissent from the view that seems to find expression in Deputy Sir James Craig's amendment, and I lay stress upon the fact, not that women desire, or should be given, the privilege, but rather they should be made to realise that they are equally bound with men citizens in the obligations of citizenship, and we should not positively legislate in this matter against women citizens as such.

I desire to support the amendment on the grounds, as stated by the last speaker, that under the existing law women are entitled to practically all the advantages of citizenship, and that it would be a retrogade step to legislate in the direction proposed, namely, that they should be immune from some of its disadvantages. Whether women are desirous of serving upon juries or not, is one question. That they should be eligible to act in this regard on behalf of the State, is another question. Because in the past women have not served to the same extent upon juries as men is no reason why in the future they should not be as eligible as in the past. For various reasons women may have been exempt from such services. In some cases they have asked to be exempt, and in others they have been challenged either by the State or by the parties concerned, but, whether they have served or not, whether the numbers that have served have been small or not, whether, through no fault of their own, these numbers have been small, I think the principle should not be departed from that women citizens, who enjoy to-day equal rights of citizenship in regard to the exercise of the franchise, equal rights in regard to participation in various branches of the different professions, equal rights, or duties, in regard to the support of the State, particularly in regard to taxes — women have to pay taxes just as men have — and who desire to act upon juries should not at least by special legislation, be deprived of that right.

What I mean by my last words is this: Men are entitled to act on juries now, but men can be challenged either by the State or by the parties to the cause of action. Let women be entitled, as they have been in the past, to act, and let them also be challenged if the parties desire to challenge them. Why should they be put upon a different plane from men in this respect? Because so few of them have served in the past I think is the very reason why they should still be entitled to serve, and not, as has been suggested, a reason why they should now be deprived of their right to serve. If any party to an action desires to challenge a woman at present he is entitled to do so, and he would be in the future if this amendment were carried, and on the question of cost I fail to see how the fact of empanelling women to act on juries will add anything to the present cost of registration. If he can, I would like the Minister to explain whether the passage of this Bill will be a saving of cost to the State or not, because I am not in a position to see how it could be. If he would explain that, it would be valuable information. But apart from that, even if it were to cost the State extra, the great principle of equality of status is there; the great principle as recognised by law in this country. Women have at present the same advantages as men. I believe that in this respect they should have the disadvantages. They might be irksome, but I feel sure that in the future, as in the past, judges will take their position into consideration if they claim exemption. They have claimed exemption in the past, they have been challenged, and few have served. The same may obtain in the future, but at any rate let us not deprive citizens of the State, because they belong to one sex, of a right which they are as much entitled to as they are entitled to bear the burden and have the duty of paying for the upkeep of the State. If women are eligible for taxation I say that they are eligible for taking their part and performing their duties by serving upon juries, and I hope that the House will not take this retrograde step. It will really result in nothing, and it will mean that we shall be the only country in the world which has given women anything in the nature of equal status and has gone back upon that position and taken away something from them which they have heretofore been entitled to enjoy.

The effect of this amendment, if carried, would be to resurrect and re-create the position as it was under the Act of 1919. Up to 1919 the woman juror had no existence in fact or in law. Under an Act passed in that year in the British Parliament women became qualified for jury service on a parity with men. We retreated somewhat from that position in our Act of 1924, which laid down that women who applied for exemption from jury service would be granted it automatically. Under the operations of that Act the great majority of the women who possessed the statutory qualifications for jury service did, in fact, express a desire to have their names withdrawn from the register. There remained a very small proportion, possibly ten per cent. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that of that minority which remained at least another ten per cent. remained only because they had omitted, through thoughtlessness, to do the positive thing that would secure exemption for them. When these women received their summonses to appear in court and to hold themselves available for jury service they were very much dismayed, and some of them managed to make things quite as uncomfortable for other people as they felt they were for themselves. The Clerk of the Peace and other officials around the courts were besieged with applications for exemption on various grounds, some of the grounds being, of course, quite good— that they had young children at home and did not know what was happening to them, that they had to prepare the meals for the household, and so on.

It is not any use pretending that the question of women jurors does not present very much greater difficulties than the question of jury service for men. It does. A little experience is worth a great deal of theory, and the experience of the various officials of the courts, in connection with the operations both of the 1919 Act and the 1924 Act, has shown, at any rate, that there are difficulties surrounding the question of jury service for women that are not involved by the question of jury service for male citizens. In effect, in this Bill of mine the State takes the view that the woman juror presents difficulties that make the service that one could secure thereby administratively not worth while. The State asks to be dispensed from the task of vetting and sifting the innumerable grounds for exemption that may be pleaded by women, grounds more numerous, more intricate, and more compelling than can be devised by the most subtle male shirker. The position of the normal male citizen eligible for jury service is essentially different from the position of the woman citizen. A man can be absent for a day, or a couple of days, from his household, as a rule, without any very serious consequences accruing to anybody. He can lunch out, and it does not follow that the other members of his household have to do without their lunch. He is not, as a rule, charged with the care of young children, and so on, and there are other considerations which constitute a sharp discrimination between the sexes when one comes to consider a question of this kind.

Deputy Redmond mixed his terms a little. He talked at times of this being one of the disadvantages of citizenship, and again he talked of the right. We should make up our minds one way or the other on the matter. If it is a disadvantage from which we propose to exempt women, in common with the Governor-General, members of the Oireachtas, and other people who are set out in the Schedule, then clearly there ought to be no objection. But when one talks in the next breath of the great principle of equality of status, it remains to be asked whether that principle is in fact involved. The Deputy would surely recognise the distinction between equality and identity. In another connection much has been made of the phrase that there can be equality of status without identity of function, and I submit that this matter which we are considering is a case in which that proposition is profoundly true. It is not an infringement of the principle of equality of status to say that, all things considered—and there are many things to consider — one is prepared to dispense women from the burden of jury service.

Deputy Redmond asked me to make a case on the cost aspect. I put it to him that the 1924 Act had this result: The officials engaged in the preparation of the register had to put on the register in the first place all women possessing the statutory qualifications, being householders, rated to such an extent, and so on. Then, circulars went out to all such women drawing their attention to the provision in the Act which enabled them to secure exemption on application. Then the applications came pouring in in the name of nearly every prospective or potential woman juror, who applied to be struck off the register. There remained then about ten per cent. of the whole, and at least ten per cent. of that whole turned out, in fact, ultimately to be a most reluctant ten per cent., who had merely omitted to take the positive step that would secure exemption for them, and I can assure the Deputy that they made matters quite uncomfortable and unpleasant for the various officials around the courts when they turned out in response to summonses for jury service. Now, the time of an official is cost. I could not give the Deputy £ s. d. for the thing, but he can take it that all the administrative trouble was ludicrously out of proportion to the net result. Forty women jurors in one year means, in fact, cost to the State. The demand on the time of its officials means cost—the changing of the register, the putting on of all the names in the first instance, and the striking off of 90 per cent. of the names, and then the inevitable wrangling with regard to the remainder, as to whether it was a tyranny or not, an outrage or not, that they should receive their summons and have to leave their children unguarded at home and their husbands without their lunch.

It is said that this exists elsewhere. That in itself is not a complete case. It does exist elsewhere, and the circulars that go out to the woman juror elsewhere in fact make a farce of this great principle of equality of status which Deputy Redmond has enunciated and defended, because these circulars are simply the straightest of straight hints to the woman juror whose name is on the register that if she cares to plead illness — and a particular kind of illness is very plainly indicated — then, of course, there is no more to be said on the matter. It is simply an invitation to the reluctant woman juror to plead a particular condition of health, and that is the end of it. Is it all worth while? What proportion of the women electorate of this State want to undertake this duty of jury service which is unpleasant for anyone? I may be met, of course, by the debating point: if you leave it freely to men, what proportion of them will want to undertake it? But suppose I put it this way: what proportion of the electorate as a whole, men and women, would like us to take this step of reverting to the 1919 Act position with all the administrative difficulties, all the administrative anomalies, and all the administrative evasions that that implies?

I recognise that here in and around Dublin there are a small number of women — I do not really put it higher than, say, 3 per cent. of the whole — who say that the State should compel the 97 per cent. of women, who shrink from this duty of jury service and all the strain — physical, mental and nervous—that it involves, to serve, in order, forsooth, to vindicate this great principle of equality of status. Many of these women are themselves outstanding examples of the capacity of woman to take their place in public life and to render useful service. But are they normal or the exception? I submit to Deputies that they are the exception rather than the normal, and that they are well aware themselves that they are the exception rather than the normal. Because they would be quite willing to undertake this duty, it is scarcely a reasonable thing that they should come along to a Minister and say: "Look at us; we are quite ready to undertake this duty, and we insist that you shall compel the 97 per cent. of our sister citizens, who are not at all willing to undertake this duty, to do it," in order to vindicate some principle that is said to be in the balance — the great principle of equality of status.

That is not my proposition.

The effect of the amendment, if carried, is to go back to the full-blooded 1919 position, that all women are qualified for jury service on a parity with men. This amendment is different from the amendment which follows, in the name of Deputy Sir James Craig, which we can discuss in its order. This amendment resurrects the position of the 1919 Act, of compulsory jury service for women on a complete parity with men. I am told there is the franchise. One of the first Acts of this State was to extend the franchise to every citizen, man or woman, of 21 years of age or upwards. I am told there are women in professions — solicitors, barristers, the stock exchange. Certainly, I myself would object to any bar to the woman of capacity who feels an aptitude for a particular line of life entering that line of life. Women are eligible for membership of the Oireachtas, and women are eligible for the various professions. Certainly. But surely one recognises the distinction between an outlet for an individual woman, for the capacity and talent and aptitude of an individual woman, and this proposal to impose on all the women of the State a duty which is onerous and unpleasant even for male citizens, and which inevitably would be ten times more onerous and more unpleasant for the woman citizen.

I am told all that is Victorian — that it is Victorian to suggest that the sordid, unpleasant case, which inevitably crops up in the courts from time to time, is any more unpleasant for the potential woman juror than for the man. That is simply not so, and that simply never will be so. These sordid, unsavoury cases are unpleasant for anyone who has to do with them — for the prosecutor, for the judge, and for the male juror. But I do not accept, and I wonder do many accept the proposition, that it is merely Victorian to suggest that these cases would be any more unpleasant for women than they are for the man who has to do with them.

If you go back to the 1919 Act, then what will happen in effect is that by far the great majority of these women will claim exemption on various grounds. There will be the duty, if we are to carry out the Act conscientiously, of vetting and sifting the various pleas for exemption put forward, and of deciding on their merits whether this woman's children are of an age to look after themselves, or whether it would be a danger for them to have the woman absent on jury service for perhaps four or five days in succession; whether a husband could not as well get his lunch in a restaurant as be served at home during the days on which his wife would be absent. Then there would be these pleas of health grounds and so on. There are circulars issued to women in England, as I say, inviting them to claim exemption on certain grounds — circulars which I feel would inevitably be branded as improper and indelicate if issued from a Government office here.

You can do this, you can resurrect the 1919 Act and pat yourselves on the back, and say you are vindicating the great principle of equality of status. What you will in fact be doing is imposing a wholly unnecessary and disproportionate burden on the officials who have to transact the administrative side of the business of the courts, and you will be passing an Act which will be resented as a nuisance and a hardship by a great many decent citizens, men and women, up and down throughout the State. The 1924 Act gave you the measure of the desire of women to have this great principle vindicated in this way. When it was left open to them to secure exemption simply on application 90 per cent. of them applied. If you go back and demand that the State take on the burden of imposing compulsory jury service on women on a parity with men and, in consequence, the burden of vetting and sifting all the thousand and one excuses that will be put forward for abstention and so on, then you are simply doing, in a light and casual way, a thing that will involve enormous trouble and considerable cost to the State machine.

The Minister's case is one which could quite as well be applied to every legislative change which has resulted in the enfranchisement of any section of the population at any time because it involves administrative difficulties. It involved administrative difficulties when the franchise was extended to the "lower orders." It certainly involved administrative difficulties when the franchise was extended to women. My objection to this measure in its present form is that it seeks at one fell blow to substitute male citizens for citizens. It wipes out with one swing of the axe all that has been achieved in the direction of equalisation of citizenship between the sexes. Administrative difficulties will, of course, arise. I am quite sure that administrative difficulties have arisen in the law courts when women became entitled to act as solicitors and barristers. So far as I know there is nothing in our statutes to prevent a woman barrister becoming a judge, and that would involve administrative difficulties. You can object to anything on the ground of administrative difficulties, especially when it raises a large question of principle like this.

Surely it is a question of degree.

The Minister says it is a question of degree. He says: "To clear away the difficulty, let us make one sweep and say ‘male' where a female is one of the possibilities in this matter." I think it is wrong; I think it is retrograde, and I think that ultimately it is going to be damaging.

The next step, perhaps, on the part of the Minister's successor, or perhaps on the part of the Minister himself, if certain developments took place, would be to include in a new franchise Bill "male," and I am sure the Minister would find a good excuse for saying that the Constitution can be amended. Administrative difficulties will stand in the way of any enlargement of any franchise anywhere. The suggestion has been made by the Minister that those persons exempted in the Schedule are parallel with the proposal to exempt women from serving on juries. I would like the Minister to consider what principle is involved in making these exemptions. We have exempted the Governor-General, members of the Oireachtas, members of the Defence Forces, members of the Gárda Síochána, Peace Commissioners, members of the staff of the Oireachtas, officers employed in the Courts, persons in the Civil Service, barristers and solicitors. It will be for the Minister to justify these exemptions. I take it the principle involved in this is that they are doing a certain public service which would be deteriorated if they were drawn off to engage in jury service. In some of these cases you are giving a double exemption; you are giving exemption to women as solicitors and as women.

If the difficulties that have arisen, administrative difficulties and difficulties in regard to mothers with families, and so on, are of great concern to the Minister he can extend his list of exemptions, but do not simply gather under one term one sex and exclude under another term the other sex. I think the principle is bad and retrogressive and that it will be ultimately damaging to the good government of the State. I asked the Minister on the previous discussion if he could say how many women had been challenged. He said, and emphasised again to-day, that a very small number, about 40 women jurors, served, but he was not able to say how many had been challenged by the prosecution, or the plaintiff, or the defendant. I think it is necessary to have regard to that number if one is going to lay any particular stress upon the number of persons who have actually served, but it is a comparatively small matter how many have and how many have not served. In my view, the evil of this thing is an Act of this kind which involves, I think, the codifying of the law regarding juries, to say that in future no females will be allowed to serve. I think that is bad, and I hope the House will vote against it.

I desire to draw attention to the attitude that has been adopted by the Minister in regard to this section. He has endeavoured to impress the House with the effect of the amendment, if carried, but I would like to bring the House to a consideration of the effect of the section. If passed as it is it will mean that no woman will be allowed to serve upon a jury.

On a point of order, I ask, are not we discussing the amendment and its effect?

You cannot discuss the amendment without discussing the section.

Surely the thing that matters is the effect of the amendment, if carried. It is the amendment that is under discussion and not the section.

Do I understand that the Minister is, on a point of order, asking whether I am entitled to discuss the section or not?

My point of order is that the thing that matters is the effect of this amendment. It is the amendment that is before the House. If the Deputy is not standing over his amendment let him say so.

The Minister would like to discuss the effect of the amendment. It is put down as an amendment to the section, and I presume that in order to understand the effect of the amendment one has to discuss the effect of the section. Generally the reason for introducing an amendment is to amend a section. One is entitled to point out what the effect of the section would be if not amended, and what it would be if amended in the direction sought. I am endeavouring to point out that if the section were not amended the result would be that no woman would be allowed to serve on a jury. The Minister says that if the amendment is carried the effect would be that women would be compelled to serve on juries — he has used the word "compulsion." My answer is that women would not be compelled to serve upon juries. They would be empanelled to serve upon juries, but they would have all the means at their disposal, as they had heretofore, to claim exemption from service.

I know the Minister is referring to the Act of 1924 as distinct from the Act of 1919. Leaving aside the Act of 1924, and say it had never existed. I am perfectly convinced, if women applied for exemption from service on juries, that the judge for the time being would be prepared to be extremely lenient in his exemption, and as far as that goes I am quite in agreement with the Minister as to there being probably more difficulties in the way of women serving than men. I frankly admit that, but that is not at the same time going so far as to say that no woman, however anxious she may be, shall be permitted by this State to serve upon a jury, and that would be the effect of the section if this amendment were not carried. The Minister has said I have rather mixed up the terms "right" and "disadvantage." Among rights is the right to do one's duty. There used to be a certain number, not many, who were not, through some oversight on the part of the Revenue Department, charged with income tax, and who actually put the money into an envelope and sent it to the Exchequer as conscience money. I say they had a right to do that — they had a right to perform their duty. If certain women think that they should be entitled to do a thing which to others may seem irksome, is that a reason why they should be deprived of the right to do it? I do not think it is.

We have heard a great deal in days gone by about making sacrifices from patriotic motives. Does the Minister mean to say that there is not a certain right to make sacrifices, and because a sacrifice in itself is not a very advantageous thing, should the person concerned, and who has no great pleasure in making it, be deprived of the right of making that sacrifice? I think because service on a jury is in itself irksome, that is no adequate reason for saying that women should be deprived of doing what might be irksome. This section, if the amendment were lost, would deprive a person, because she happened to be a woman, of the right of performing a duty as a citizen. It will mean once and for all that we have decided by this proposal and the principle which it involves that because a person happens to be a woman she shall be deprived of a right which is, or should be, inherent in everyone enjoying the present Constitution. The Minister cannot ride off on the explanation that if this amendment were carried it would necessarily follow that all women would be compelled to serve, because there is no question but they would be given a greater latitude than men, but the great principle would still be preserved, and that principle is that they should not be deprived of what is one of their inherent rights.

I agree that there is a good deal to be said for the point made by Deputy Redmond with regard to the right of a citizen to discharge a duty to the State, but in considering the effect of this amendment and the section, we have to consider what the effect of the Bill will be on the citizens of the country. When we are deciding here on the type of citizens who are to serve on a jury, I think we have to understand the conditions in the country and ask ourselves how far is it possible that this type of citizens will be prepared to discharge that duty — to come out and do what the State asks of them. A few days ago I met, in a county town, a farmer who lived 25 miles out. I expressed some surprise at seeing the man, and he replied that it was his disagreeable duty to come there as a juryman. He said: "I have to be here two or three days, and I wish I was at home." I agree that a large number of male citizens would be delighted to be relieved of this obligation. It may be possible to delete the word "male" and leave conditions behind in the section whereby the woman juror would be entitled to serve, but at the same time could be relieved from serving on the jury, provided she made application, but I am inclined to believe that many of our women would not make such application.

We know quite well the little attention that is given to many circulars like these distributed to people throughout the country, particularly in the rural districts. I can imagine a farmer's wife getting such a circular as this and paying very little attention to it and, as a result, finding that she was eligible to serve on a jury and getting notice to attend and having to go perhaps 20 or 25 miles to the county town. She may have to remain there for a couple of days, perhaps be ordered to stand by and be called again to serve on a jury in one of our county courthouses, where the accommodation is not as satisfactory as some of the judges would like to have it. I wonder would our farmers' wives be satisfied if we impose this obligation on them. I recognise that there is, particularly in the city of Dublin, a particular type of woman who is very competent and who is prepared to discharge this obligation to the State, but the conditions are very different in the city from what they are in the rural districts.

Is a farmer's wife not competent?

I am not discussing at all the question of competency. I am trying to visualise the conditions, say, of a citizen in Rathmines and a citizen in a very remote part of my constituency, say, where the Shannon rises. Imagine the difficulties a woman would have to overcome in travelling 20 or 30 miles to a county town to serve on a jury as against a lady who can travel on a tram car to the courts. While undoubtedly it is a splendid thing to have that type of woman citizen who is prepared to attend and who has the leisure to do so, and at the same time has such confidence in her ability to discharge her duty and face up to unsavoury problems and investigate them, we have to consider that in rural Ireland many of our men are not prepared to come away from their homes and their possessions. It costs some of them a good deal more than they can afford to spend. If they do not attend there is a fine and sometimes a fine that they can ill afford to pay. If we are to impose that obligation on our farmers' wives I do not think that they will be a bit grateful to us for our point of view that we are recognising their equality with men, and I feel that instead of, as Deputy Johnson puts it, placing them at a disadvantage, instead of making them appear like inferiors, we are paying a tribute to them; we are recognising the difficulties they have to face, and out of consideration of the fact that they are women and physically less well fitted for onerous work than men, we are prepared to relieve them of these obligations. There may or may not be something in the point of view expressed by the Minister as to the difficulty in administration but that I think should not be the main consideration.

I know we are not entitled to discuss the amendment suggested by Sir James Craig, but I think that instead of deciding to impose obligations on citizens who will hardly be conscious of the fact until a judge decides that they are to pay a fine for nonattendance, we will be well advised to consider whether it is sound judgment on our part or not. I believe that the case can be met another way, and that the people who are prepared to give public service on juries in this country can be met in a way that will be just as satisfactory for them and much more satisfactory for the great majority of the women of the country who would be very glad to be relieved of this obligation.

The second speeches of Deputies Redmond and Johnson, to my mind, were rather more illuminating than their first, because they showed their hand more. I can see quite clearly now what they desire. We are to say legislatively, out loud and in public, that women are to perform jury service on equality with male citizens, and we are to say administratively and in private, with bated breaths, that in fact they are not. Deputy Johnson says: Do it in another way, do it on the sly, do not write into the body of your Bill that women are to be exempt from jury service——

As women.

As women, but write into the Schedule of your Bill that mothers of families and women in charge of households shall not be expected to perform these services. Now that is nothing but a farce. It is the normal and natural function of women to have children. It still is the normal and natural function of women to have charge of households, to a greater or lesser extent, and to write into the body of your Bill that women are to perform these services on equality with men and then proceed under various heads to exempt women seems to me an idle performance.

Deputy Johnson says, of course, that mothers of children would not be expected to perform these services. Should we write into the body of the Bill that male citizens rated on a particular poundage should be liable for jury service and then proceed to say that if they are fathers of families and have businesses one would not dream of expecting them to do anything of the kind? It seems to me it is very analogous to the suggestion made by Deputy Johnson. Deputy Redmond followed on a somewhat similar line. He would like to see sternly in the Bill wholesale jury service for women, but he is quite sure, and the Deputy knows the judges, that any judge would be extremely lenient in his exemptions. Really, it comes to this, that for the sake of this high-sounding principle of equality of status we are to say one thing legislatively and for the sake of the differences that exist we are to say another thing administratively. That way does not commend itself to me. I do not know whether it will commend itself to a majority of Deputies, that we should in fact pass a provision in an Act which we do not mean and which we know cannot be administered, and we are to rely on our judges and on our officials, so that where we cry parity they shall cry lack of parity and recognise that and act upon that lack of parity. I do not want to create by legislation a purely nominal farcical position. I do not want to have to send out from the administrative offices of the court the kind of circulars that go from the administrative offices of the court in England; in fact, say, plead a particular kind of illness and it is all right. To say women shall be qualified on an equal basis with men for jury service and shall in fact perform that service, and then proceed to say if they are discharging any of the normal, natural functions of women in the body politic they are exempt is, of course, a farce, and the kind of farce that we ought not to write into our legislation.

Does the Minister describe it as a farce to give women the option of serving on juries?

I will talk about that on Deputy Sir James Craig's amendment.

To my mind, if this amendment is not passed this section will deprive women of the right of serving on a jury.

The Deputy's amendment imposes compulsory jury service on women who possess the qualifications that are assigned in the Bill to men. I am speaking of the Deputy's amendment. I will speak on Deputy Sir James Craig's amendment when it is before the House.

Does the Minister say that Deputy Sir James Craig's amendment will enable women to serve on juries if this section is passed as it stands?

The section as it stands is not before the House. The Deputy's amendment is before the House. If Deputy Sir James Craig's amendment is lost, then the section as it stands will be before the House. For the moment I am addressing myself to the Deputy's amendment.

Not my amendment.

He is apparently uncomfortable about it. He spoke about rights, the right to make sacrifices and so on. There was a distinguished colleague of the Deputy's in the Party and in the Parliament to which he belonged some years ago. Speaking about the treatment of certain prisoners who were charged, I think, with murder, he deprecated that treatment, and said if they were guilty they had a right to be "hung."

He said "hung," in fact. I understand in America one individual was found to insist on his legal right to be electrocuted after the court had sentenced him to be electrocuted, and when people wished to commute the sentence. Now this right to jury service on the part of women is very much on a parity with that. There are those who are vocal in their insistence on that right, and if we were to give way to those and write into the Bill this provision for compulsory jury service for women throughout the State in response to the pressure of these alleged spokeswomen, then you will find very many vocal, and highly vocal at that, on the other side of the issue.

I am opposed to the Deputy's amendment, perhaps because I have a better conception than he has of what it would mean in practice, of what it would mean administratively, and also because I am opposed to the farce of saying legislatively a thing that you are not prepared, and that you know you are not prepared, to enforce administratively.

I am not backing this amendment on the ground that it is the right of women to serve on juries. I believe it is a normal obligation on women citizens that they should fulfil the duties of citizenship with men and have the same power of making legislation, the same power of appearing in the courts as plaintiffs or defendants, and the same responsibilities as witnesses, prisoners, wardresses, solicitors, barristers and doctors. They have claimed—a three per cent. minority of women have claimed— these rights and they have won them for the whole, with the Minister's plause.

Now, having got those rights, those rights having become part of the normal life of this country—women having privileges of citizenship, and power and authority equal with men—they should equally bear the obligations. When we set out deliberately to deny that in the first operative clause of the Bill, we are giving them a privilege which, I suppose, Mr. Belfort Bax, who recently died, and who was the great advocate of masculinism as opposed to feminism, would have thought a privilege that could not have been enacted in this country, of all countries.

This is supposed to be a country of realists and we are now asked to give this special privilege to the sex which Deputy Baxter suggests to the House is the weaker sex. Imagine Deputy Baxter, with his knowledge of farm life, talking about the wife of the farmer as being the weaker, the more delicate sex. I do not know what County Cavan may be like compared with other counties, but there are Deputies in the House who dare not go home and say the farmer's wife is not fitted to do the work the farmer is able to do; that the farmer's wife is less competent than the farmer himself either for physical labour, for sizing up the value of a bargain, or for sizing up the liability of the plaintiff, the defendant or the prisoner in a case. I question whether Deputy Baxter, if he preached that doctrine in Cavan, would be back here in the next Parliament.

I do not plead this cause because of the rights of women. I plead it because, having got certain privileges and rights, they are bound, speaking as a sex which has claimed citizenship, to undergo the penalties and responsibilities of that citizenship. Now, let us come to the practical working out of this matter. We are dealing in this amendment with a vital principle which is going to determine the form of the Act dealing with juries. If this House decides that women ought to serve on juries, then you may have to alter the conditions of service generally. You may have to recast your Bill; it may require administrative changes. You have drawn up your Bill, and the whole jury system has been drawn up, on the basis of male citizenship only. It is only a few years since women came into the privileges of citizenship and it is coming slowly upon them that those privileges involve responsibilities.

I am quite prepared to say that once you admit the principle that women have the rights and duties and obligations of citizenship in respect of jury service you may have to recast your law regarding jury service, certainly the administrative provisions respecting it. You might have to say one of the functions of citizenship as it affects women has to be taken into account, and there may be exemptions—a much wider range of exemptions. But you have already exempted many people in this schedule, and that is quite indefensible except on certain grounds of public principle and convenience. I am not afraid to make the suggestion that if you are going to agree that women must serve on juries you may have to recast your methods and administrative provisions. The Minister puts forward the suggestion that I want to pretend to claim the right for women to sit on juries and then to secure their exemption in practice. That is not the case.

It is what you said.

What proportion of the women that are eligible under this Bill are mothers of young families? What proportion of them are householders who could not, without an immense amount of inconvenience, leave their duties?

We are to set up a court to try that?

I would not. I would adapt the administrative methods that are at present in operation.

What the Deputy would need is a court with a jury of women to decide on the question of the degree of inconvenience in each case.

The Minister has had some experience, and he has acted himself as a court in making this First Schedule; without having to set up a court of either men or women, he is the court in this schedule. There is another aspect of this matter that I think it necessary to mention. I have said you make no provision in your statutes regarding the administration of justice that a woman must not be compelled to be a witness; that a woman is exempt from subpoena. You may compel them; you may put them through all the difficulties and trials of a criminal charge of an unpleasant nature. You have a person in the dock who is a woman. You are not exempting her, and the proposal is that the woman in the dock or the witness may not have a woman on the jury to whom to look for the kind of sympathy that is possible between women and that may not be possible between men and women.

You are deliberately going out of your way to penalise women in that respect. The poor woman in the dock, or the woman who is being compelled to appear in the witness box— you are imposing a penalty upon those women by your deliberate denial of these obligations, and by the deliberate privilege that you are granting to a sex, the sex that would be of the class who would be serving on juries against, as it may well happen in the majority of cases, the woman in the dock who is unfortunately less well-to-do. I think, on many grounds, this amendment ought to be carried. It will cause administrative difficulties; it will involve administrative changes; but those ought to be faced when you are recasting your law relating to juries.

Deputy Johnson talks about our being realists. I suggest, with regard to Irish rural life, that I am, at least, as much of a realist as he. I have certainly more experience of it. When I used the term "women are the weaker sex," I used it in a particular sense. I want the Deputy to visualise conditions as I have seen them. I have gone into the Circuit Court in our county town. Farmers came to that court a distance of 30 miles. They had to employ motor cars in a county badly served by railways. They had to hang around the courthouse for three days, sometimes longer, and they were that length of time away from their homes. You meet those men strolling through the streets after serving on one case. They may be permitted to leave or they may have been ordered to stand-by for one day and be called, probably, on the following day. I am convinced that for that kind of life a woman is not as well fitted as a man.

Alter the kind of life. It is not good for the man either.

I agree, but we are trying to legislate under conditions as they exist. I do not know what Deputy Johnson has in mind that would make it possible so to alter the conditions which he complains of as to make the work more satisfactory to women. He would want to change the present conditions when imposing those obligations on women. Every rural dweller knows that what I state is true. We feel it would not be sensible; it would be ill-advised to expect our women to go into the county towns for two, three, or four days, away from their homes and leaving the care of their homes to others. Women are not as well able to do that as men. It is because we feel we are conferring a favour on women that we urge this course and not because we seek to deny them a right. We believe they are anxious that we would confer this favour on them.

I would like to point out, again, that we are now discussing an amendment to Section 3 (1). The effect of the amendment would be that women would be qualified to act as jurors. The effect of the amendment not being carried would be that women would not be qualified to act as jurors. If sub-section (1) is carried, then there is a subsequent amendment down in which it is stated "women who are otherwise qualified for serving as jurors." I cannot see how, if sub-section (1) is allowed to stand, the amendment which is proposed to be inserted before sub-section (2) is at all in order. If sub-section (1) is not amended, whereby women shall be qualified to act as jurors, how can it subsequently be suggested that women who are qualified to act as jurors should be entitled, on expressing their desire to do so?

If we pass sub-section (1) as it is, it will mean that no woman will be qualified to act as a juror. I do not desire to go over the ground that has been covered beyond saying that, whether you call it a right, an obligation, or a privilege to act upon a jury, there has been no argument brought forward by the Minister to show why women should not be entitled to act upon a jury. The question is not whether they should be all compelled to act upon a jury; the question is why should they not, if they so choose, be entitled to act?

If they so choose? Does the Deputy stress "if they so choose"?

On that point, I would be prepared to bring the position about in one of two ways—with a preference for one over the other. The first way would be that all women should be eligible for service on juries and that there should be certain exemptions. The other method would be that all women who expressed themselves desirous of serving should be eligible for service on juries. That would be another way of arriving at the same conclusion. Personally, I should prefer the first way, and that is why I am supporting this amendment. I should prefer the principle to be continued, that all women should be eligible, but that they should be entitled to exemption for certain reasons or when they have made a case to the satisfaction of the judge. That is the alternative I would prefer, because it preserves the principle of equality, of right, obligation and status. But I would be prepared, in the event of that not being acceptable to the House, to accept the other alternative, which would be that any women desirous of service should be entitled to serve. That is my position in the matter. I would call the attention of the House again to the effect of not passing this amendment or some such amendment, because if we pass sub-section (1) of this section it will mean that no woman will be entitled to serve at all. How we are, then, going to consider the amendment saying that women may be entitled to serve, I cannot understand.

I do not know the volume of demand for this privilege that exists in the city of Dublin, but I do know that in the country areas there is absolutely no demand for the doubtful privilege of serving on juries. If the Minister could even see his way to extend this relief to a good many men, they would be very grateful to him, as are the ladies living in the country areas.

Could the Minister give us any indication of what his action is likely to be on amendment 2? Some of us are rather in a difficulty over this proposal. We have the case of the ladies advocated eloquently by the gallant bachelor on my left, and we have the case on the other side put forward by what I may call a hardened Benedict. One is somewhat in a difficulty as between the two Deputies. If the Minister would give us some indication as to what his attitude will be with regard to amendment 2, it would make the position clear so far as I am concerned.

I am largely in agreement with what Deputy Good says, but we ought to have a further explanation from the Minister before we take a definite decision on this amendment. As Deputy Redmond says, if we pass this section of the Bill, there will be no use in passing amendment No. 2.

Deputy Redmond has, I think, succeeded in creating a certain amount of confusion in regard to that matter. The point is that amendment 2 is an amendment to the section and the section will not have been passed before amendment 2 is proposed. The section will be still before us.

Then the amendment is incorrectly drafted, because it should be "to delete the word ‘may' and to add..." Is not that so?

No. I am not prepared to say that this amendment is perfectly drafted. It is no part of my business to declare whether amendments are or are not perfectly drafted. The position in the present case is that amendment 1 is an amendment to accomplish a certain thing. Amendment 2 is an amendment to accomplish something less than that. Therefore, amendment 1 is proposed first. If amendment 1 is defeated, amendment 2. which seeks to achieve a lesser thing, is in order. When amendment 2 comes before the Committee, the section will not have been passed.

On the point of amendment 2 being in order, would you be prepared to say that if sub-section (1) of Section 3 is passed as it is amendment 2 will be in order? Amendment 2 says:

"Subject to the provisions of this section, every woman citizen of the age of 21 years or upwards and under the age of 65 years and who is otherwise qualified for serving as a juror may have her name placed on the panel of jurors of the jury districts for which she is qualified by expressing in writing to the Registration Office of the district her willingness to serve as a juror."

Sub-section (1), if passed as it is, will provide that no woman shall be qualified to act as a juror.

The matter appears to me to be quite simple. We take the Bill by sections and not by sub-sections. We take Section 3 and we deal with an amendment to sub-section (1) of Section 3. When we have disposed of that amendment, we have not passed sub-section (1) of Section 3 as an entity. We have simply disposed of an amendment to the section. If amendment 1 were passed, I think amendment 2 would become unnecessary. It would not be moved. But if amendment 1 be not passed, then amendment 2 is an alternative amendment to the section. Again, I would point out that we are not going by sub-sections but by sections. There seems to me to be no difficulty in the matter at all. Is the point of order settled?

The only difficulty I see is this: if amendment 1 is not passed and if amendment 2 is to be the only amendment proposed to this section, it will mean that every woman citizen who is otherwise qualified for serving as a juror shall be entitled to act. But this particular section will have stated in sub-section (1) that no woman will be qualified.

Is not the Report Stage the proper stage for making any drafting changes that may be necessary as a result of amendments being carried, if they are carried?

I pass from the question of drafting, with the remark that if the first amendment is not carried and the second amendment is carried, the section in the Bill will be in very bad drafting shape. With regard to the principle of the Bill, I personally do not approve of the bald amendment in its present form. At the same time, I do not approve of the Bill as it stands. If we had further information from the Minister as to what his intentions are as regards possible amendments which may be introduced at a later stage, we might be in a position to take a more definite decision. I am largely in agreement with the theoretical argument that women having certain privileges and rights, such as the right to the franchise, the right to appointments in the Civil Service, and having established equality of status with men in different walks of life and in such things as games, they cannot claim—theoretically at all events—exemption from duties which all other citizens are bound to discharge. I am also aware that there are certain reasons—physical reasons, perhaps—why there should be more easy exemption in the case of women jurors than in the case of men jurors. If we were to go back to the position under the 1924 Act, I think it would be better than at present. As the Bill stands, and as the amendment stands, we do not go back to that position. We simply go back to the original position, in which women were not bound to serve on juries at all. Unless the Minister can give us some further explanation as to what his intentions are with regard to any possible amendments, including amendment 2, I feel that, in support of the principle that women must have obligations if they are to have privileges and rights, I shall be obliged to support the amendment.

I am glad to know that Deputy Heffernan opposes the bald doctrine put forward in the Bill. Since the debate on the Second Reading I have had the advantage of studying the reply which the Minister for Justice delivered. I was interested to notice that at the conclusion of his speech he declared that this is the case for the Bill:

A few words in a Constitution will not wipe out the differences between the sexes either physical or mental or temperamental or emotional, and the Deputy knows it.

The reference was to me:

But it suits him to pretend that it does. It does not. The case is this: The vast majority of the women citizens of this country, as in most countries, dislike this work, dislike it intensely and would be grateful to the Government that would relieve them from it.

"And would be grateful to the Government that would relieve them from it."

Many people in the country have wondered at this extraordinary change of front—that whereas in 1924, less than three years ago, a Bill of exemption was introduced by this very Minister and passed in this very House, there should now be brought forward a proposal to preclude women from service on juries. But the explanation is there, sir. The President alleged in regard to a certain amendment of the Senate recently that it was dictated by a desire to catch votes. I wonder would it be a fair retort to read out of that confession of the Minister for Justice that this measure with regard to the exclusion of women from jury service is dictated by the same lofty purpose. The case is this: "The vast majority of women citizens of this country, as in most countries, dislike this work, dislike it intensely, and would be grateful to the Government that would relieve them from it. We can afford to relieve them from it." I do not believe that in the history of Parliament there is any precedent for a proposal to relieve a section of the community from a duty merely because they find the discharge of that duty irksome. The Minister's argument, I daresay, was intended to be cumulative —the argument that women did not like it, and therefore they should be relieved; that it costs money to put names on the list, and to provide accommodation in the Law Courts. All these added together necessitate the Constitution being set at nought. Article 3 of the Constitution was quoted by Deputy Johnson. There is one portion of it which was referred to by the Minister as "a few words in the Constitution." Deputy Johnson and I had a large share in introducing these words into the Article. We both put down the same amendment. I had an advantage of priority of time. We both made the same case and the Constitution, as a result, contains these words: "Every person without distinction of sex, domiciled," and so on, and then conditions are set out to be satisfied, "is a citizen of the Irish Free State and shall... enjoy the privileges and be subject to the obligations of such citizenship."

These are "the few words in the Constitution" which the Minister says do not count as a set-off against his conception of certain facts. Of course, the allegation of criticism dictated by bad faith, and by the suppression of knowledge, which I am alleged to have, counts for nothing. "A few words in the Constitution will not wipe out the differences between the sexes... and the Deputy knows it. But it suits him to pretend that it does." All these facts of psychology and morbid psychology at which the Minister hints were known to us when Article 3 of the Constitution was enacted. Not only that, but every member of the Dáil was aware of the Sex Disqualification Removal Act, 1919, and, consequently, must have been alive to the fact that the phrase, "shall enjoy the privileges and be subject to the obligations of such citizenship," embraces in its scope women who became citizens.

The main argument in this case is the small percentage of women who acted on juries. In the interval, I made it my business to inquire about the figures. Women who have taken an interest in the matter and who are, no doubt, sneered at by the Minister because they take an active participation in public affairs, have assured me that the actual reason for the small number of women who served on juries is the persistent practice of ordering women, who attend in court to serve as jurors, to stand aside. Several who have experienced the treatment have told me that they wait about the courts, are not called, are there day after day, and, eventually, when by chance they are called, they are ordered to stand aside. No wonder, with these practices prevailing, the total number of women which statistics can show as serving on juries would be very small in the last few years. As regards the question of expense, it has a double reference. The provision of proper rooms and equipment in the courts is needed in any event. It is notorious, in the larger towns especially, that women witnesses, or women who are requisite to be in attendance, have no such facilities as the ordinary decencies of life would require and, because the courts are so far behind the requirements of civilisation in the twentieth century, that is to be the reason why women of public spirit who are anxious to take part in the administration of justice are to be precluded.

To which amendment is the Deputy talking?

The Deputy says "women of public spirit who are anxious to take part in the administration of justice."

My amendment is framed to get ríd of sex disqualification, to obviate the effect of this provision that only men would be called.

I thought that the Deputy might be speaking to Deputy Sir James Craig's amendment.

I am quite sure that the Minister knows very well what I am speaking to. He ought to have learned by this time that these interruptions and other unmannerly manifestations are not going to prevent me doing my duty. The Minister made great play about the cost of preparing lists. The answer to that was made repeatedly on previous occasions by Deputy Johnson and others. The same reason would be valid, the same argument unanswerable, for taking away the entire franchise from women, but it would not achieve the same object as desired here, popularity with the men. The Minister gave his purpose away when he made the revelation that "the vast majority of women citizens would be grateful to the Government that would relieve them from it. We can afford to relieve them from it." Why is not the same solicitude shown with regard to women nurses, women barristers, women lawyers of every type? The fact is this, the Minister autocratically desires to interpret Article 3 of the Constitution as if the words ran—"jury service is an obligation of male citizenship." It is against that doctrine being put into operation in the Act that my amendment is directed, and the Minister knows that perfectly well.

If the Deputy's case is that the Bill is unconstitutional then I have only to say——

On a point of explanation, I have said no such thing, and, following the language of the Minister, the Minister knows it.

I am not going to be deterred "by interruptions or other unmannerly manifestations" from saying what I want to say. If the Deputy's point is that the Bill is unconstitutional, I only say that it does not lie with me, or with him, or with the Dáil or Senate to say the last word on that. My advice is otherwise. I have been urged to say what my attitude to a later amendment is going to be. I doubt if it would be in order to explain my attitude to any amendment except that before the Dáil. I consider I have done that.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 19: Níl, 46.

  • Seán de Faoite.
  • David Hall.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Patrick McKenna.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • William Norton.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Mícheál O Dubhghaill.
  • Mícheál O hIfearnáin.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • William A. Redmond.

Níl

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breahnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • John J. Cole.
  • John Conlan.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Michael Egan.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Good.
  • John Hennigan.
  • William Hewat.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Seosamh Mac a' Bhrighde.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhiure Mac Eochadha.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Michael K. Noonan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Parthalán O Conchubhair.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill. Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Luimneach).
  • Seán O Raghallaigh.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Nicholas Wall.
Tellers:—Tá, Deputies Magennis and Norton. Níl, Deputies Dolan and Sears.
Amendment declared lost.

I move:—

Before sub-section (2), page 4, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

Subject to the provisions of this section, every woman citizen of the age of 21 years or upwards and under the age of 65 years, and who is otherwise qualified for serving as a juror may have her name placed on the panel of jurors of the jury districts for which she is qualified by expressing in writing to the Registration Office of the district her willingness to serve as a juror.

I think the Minister has proved his case that the present arrangement is a failure. I am quite free to admit, and he himself admitted, that many women are quite capable of performing the functions of jurors. I would go even further than that and say that it is most desirable in many cases that women should serve on juries. But my own experience coincides with the experience of the Minister, that very few women want to have this duty thrust upon them. I want to emphasise what he has already referred to, that between the ages of, say, twenty and forty, the majority of women are performing more signal services to the State than if they were serving on juries, by performing the functions of motherhood and in looking after their homes. Where these functions are denied to women from any cause I think it is quite desirable that these women should be allowed to perform the State functions, which I think their other sisters are fairly debarred from carrying out. The Constitution, it is pointed out, has given them equal rights as regards citizenship, and a great deal has been talked about the equality of women with men, the greater part of which is rubbish. If the women are the equal of men why are they not carrying sacks on their backs down on the quays, why are they not following the plough? Women are not the equal of men; they are far better. They are able to perform functions that men can never perform, and therefore it is rubbish to talk about equality. If women wish to remain at home and look after their homes, their husbands, and their children, they should not be compelled to serve as jurors. Therefore I have put down this amendment, which appears to me to be the most sensible solution of the question, and it ought to suit those women who desire to serve as jurors.

The Minister has told us that he believes only about three per cent. of women were anxious to serve as jurors. I believe we should give any woman who desires to serve on a jury the privilege of doing so. I would have such women made amenable in the ordinary way to the law, have them fined if they do not attend, and have them subject to any limitations that are placed on male jurors. I think after the amount of oratory there has been on the previous amendment that there is no use in going into the difficulties; as a matter of fact, I think that at least two of the speeches were in favour of this amendment. I have very great pleasure in moving it, and I am quite sure that the majority of the House will agree with me that it is a reasonable solution of this difficulty.

I am prepared to accept the principle of this amendment. I would ask the Deputy to agree to my submitting the exact framing of it to the Parliamentary draftsman and for me to bring up an official amendment on the Report Stage. I do not accept the amendment with much enthusiasm, because I doubt if it will be very pleasing or very satisfactory to anyone. Within the last four or five days I had a deputation from a women's organisation, and I took the opportunity of asking them for their views on this amendment. They made it clear to me that they set no store on it, that they did not value it, that, short of a full-blooded acceptance of the 1919 position, they would as soon have no provision for any jury service on the part of women. However, while I suppose the view expressed by that deputation is a factor, is something to be taken into consideration, it did not prevail with me to the extent of deciding me against the acceptance of the Deputy's amendment, and I will bring up on Report Stage an official amendment embodying the principle at which he aims.

I thank the Minister, and I wish to say that, of course, I did not show the amendment to any legal authority. It was drafted on the spur of the moment in the Lobby, and I will be very glad to have it changed in any way the Minister likes.

I wish to protest against the idea that the proper claims of women citizens can be met by an amendment of this type. Suppose that in Deputy Sir James Craig's amendment, instead of "every woman citizen" we had "every male citizen ... may have his name placed on a panel of jurors of the jury districts for which he is qualified by expressing in writing to the Registration Office of the district his willingness to serve as a juror," would the Deputy think that the whole idea of the jury system as part of the administration of justice had been met? Is not this a discrimination against women as women? Whereas men, regardless of the expense of the preparation of the lists, are to have their names set down on the lists of those who are qualified to act as jurors in the jury districts, only these women will be eligible who are willing to make the sacrifice of so serving. It is common case as between the Minister and the rest of us that nobody greatly cares for jury service, particularly when certain species of cases are under consideration. But the discrimination is secured between the woman citizen and the man citizen by assigning this task of taking part in the administration of justice only to the women who ask to have it so assigned to them. It is a most extraordinary provision to set out, especially in a new State that claims it is creating good precedents for itself, a most retrograde idea. I mentioned in discussing the previous amendment the practice that has prevailed in certain of the courts of discouraging the attendance of women jurors. There is not one record of a woman juror being fined for absence. There are cases that can be produced of women who have been practically solicited to go home, not to press their right to be called upon a jury. Now, what will happen in order to prove that women are shirkers of this part of citizenship? Those who have the public spirit and the sense of citizenship so fully developed as to have their names registered for jury service will be penalised. Those who are partisans of the exclusion of women from public duties will have those devoted few at their mercy. They can be summoned on every jury, particularly for unsavoury cases; they can be ordered to stand by; they can be kept waiting day after day in the court, neglecting their home affairs and their business; they can have their patience exhausted and worn down, until eventually the tenuity of attendance on the part of women will be held up to show that women do not want this duty, and that the few who thought they did have learned the bitter lesson that they were better off without the privilege and the task. I say that this can happen, because this stand-by procedure has been deliberately practised in the last two years.

The Minister did not properly represent what was stated to him by the deputation. I have at first-hand from those who spoke to him on the deputation the words they used. He has taken the colour and the force out of them by his peculiar method of quotation. They said they would rather have the grievance of being dissatisfied citizens who had been unjustly treated—that was the effect of their words—not that they preferred to go without. The Minister is a proficient in those methods of attributing to people words that are a colourable imitation of the original. I have no doubt that Deputy Sir James Craig is animated by the highest motives in proposing this amendment, but without knowledge of the facts of how the dice are loaded against women who attend in court to act as jurors; he was not alive to the possibility provided by the proposing of an amendment like that, and I knew perfectly well that the Minister would accept it.

I had an English friend who once advocated that jury service should be confined to half-pay colonels and pensioned civil servants. I know Deputy Magennis would never go so far as to associate himself with any English idea, but if he could bring himself to do it, I almost expect him to become an advocate of something of that kind in order to level up the men and women, and have it restricted also to men who are willing or in a position to undertake jury service. His description of the hardships suffered by the woman juror was a very strong argument against his own amendment now disposed of. For myself, I welcome the fact that the Minister has adopted the principle of this amendment, for two reasons. The first is, that it does remove any conception or any imputation that a woman is not fit to act on a jury. We all know that there are women of leisure—who, I hope, will undertake this responsibility, in spite of the gloomy picture drawn by Deputy Magennis—who are eminently fitted for and would make very desirable jurors, and I hope that they will be found on the register. The second reason is that this does give an opportunity to those women, who are alive to their responsibilities as citizens and are anxious to undertake jury service, to educate the rest of their sex. The numbers registering themselves under the scheme at first will probably be small, but as jury service becomes more familiar, as women—who, after all, are comparatively recently enfranchised and comparatively recently endowed with those duties and rights—gradually come to understand the true responsibilities of citizenship, we may anticipate the number will increase. If and when the number is increased to anything over 50 per cent. of those qualified to serve, I have not the smallest doubt that the full step will be taken that Deputy Magennis desires, and all qualified women will be made eligible. It does give a chance for the future, and that is the reason that I am in favour of it.

I think I had better withdraw the amendment.

I take the view that this amendment is more harmful than beneficial. It has been common ground in this discussion that jury service, particularly in criminal cases, is not a service that is eagerly sought for by anybody, that in fact it rather imposes a distasteful obligation. What is proposed here seems to me to lead to the selection from amongst women of a small number who are inclined to be morbid—the kind of women who follow the courts in the hope of hearing unsavoury cases, the people who have been referred to in certain courts as people who ought to be excluded. You will find amongst women, as amongst men, sections who would like to follow criminal proceedings for the morbidity attendant upon them. You will get an undue proportion of such women amongst those who are going to apply to be put on for jury service, and I think that is not in accordance with the theory of jury service—that is to say, that you are going to get twelve persons, an average public opinion, to estimate the value of the evidence as it is placed before them. I say that by this you are going to leave it open to a certain number of women to apply, and of that number who apply you will have an undue proportion of those who are simply eager to follow criminal proceedings. I think that that would be a practical defect in this Bill from the point of view of court procedure and the legal system that we have adopted. I think that the Bill would be better without that and that the effect of the amendment would not be to better the jury system but to worsen it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

What, exactly, am I to understand is the fate of the amendment? Is it the Deputy's wish that I should bring up an official amendment on the Report Stage?

That was the condition on which I withdrew it. Let the Minister bring up an official amendment embodying the principle.

I thought the Deputy made some comment, that in view of the attitude taken by certain Deputies he wished to withdraw the amendment altogether.

Section agreed to.
Sections 4 to 42, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 43.

What I have to say on this section applies to one or two others. There is in sub-section (4) of Section 43 a condition that the fine to be imposed on such a juror shall be one not exceeding £10 and not less than £5, unless the judge is satisfied that there was a reasonable and sufficient cause for the non-attendance of such juror. That again involves the principle of a minimum fine. I do not know why we should do that. The judge is supposed to be the best judge of that. It is his business to see that the cases before the court are tried, and it seems to me to be unnecessary to impose upon him the obligation, if there is to be a fine, to impose a fine of not less than £5. There have been a great many advocates during the last few days of giving discretion to the justice in a certain matter, and I am sure that they will all rally in their opposition to removing the discretion from the judge. I would ask the Minister if he intends to stand by this minimum penalty. I hope it will be possible to delete the words at this stage, but if not I will put forward an amendment on the Report Stage. There is no need to impose upon the judge the obligation, if he is going to impose a fine, that it shall not be less than £5.

I do not agree with the Deputy that it is in fact an infringement on the discretion of the judge to name the amount in that way. The Deputy did not read the sub-section as a whole—he omitted a rather important part of it:—

At the conclusion of every such calling over, the names of the jurors who did not answer on such calling over shall be called over again, and as each juror's name is called, unless he then answers, evidence shall be given of the service of the jury summons on him and the judge, if satisfied that such summons was duly served, shall impose on such juror a fine not exceeding ten pounds and not less than five pounds unless he is satisfied that there was a reasonable and sufficient cause for the non-attendance of such juror.

If the naming of a minimum sum like in the Bill is going to conduce to a better attendance of jurors, that is its justification, and I consider that the words "unless he is satisfied there was a reasonable and sufficient cause for the non-attendance of such juror" gives a sufficient discretion to the judge. A juror on the qualifications set out in the Bill is a fairly substantial person, and in justice to his fellows on the panel it does not seem an excessive thing to name £5 as the penalty for absence without reasonable or sufficient cause. Provision is made that the judge shall impose a fine not exceeding £10 and not less than £5 unless he is satisfied there was reasonable and sufficient cause for non-attendance of the juror. It does not seem to me an unreasonable provision. If there is any substantial body of opinion in the Dáil opposed to it I would be prepared to modify it, but it seems to me if a particular class of persons in the community have to perform this service that then it is justice to the whole to lean rather heavily against the defaulter, and I do not consider that we should lean less heavily than a sum of £5.

I think the Minister is bearing very harshly and very inequitably on the jurors as a whole. After all, when you are dealing with a body of jurors you have to consider that there are people to whom £5 is not a very great imposition, and, on the other hand, there are people to whom £5 would be a very excessive punishment for non-attendance as jurors. A minimum fine of £5 over a session might amount to a very large sum indeed, a sum that even the wealthiest person would find it difficult to meet. It might happen that if a juror did not answer his name the judge might, perhaps in a fit of temper, owing to the non-attendance of the juror impose a fine of £5 all round, and you might have a situation created which would be a very unjust one as regards the community as a whole. The Minister takes a high line always, pointing out that it is the duty of everybody to carry out the duties imposed on them as citizens of the State, and that sort of thing. One would like to live up to that, but we are dealing with a body of citizens, good, bad, and indifferent, not all of whom are willing to discharge their obligations in the high manner the Minister would like.

And the Deputy would like?

I have a good deal of experience of human nature, and I find that the policy of perfection however desirable it may be is hard to achieve. A fine of £5 in many cases could not be paid, and in other cases it would be a great hardship on the individual. I think this is a provision which ought not to be in the Bill, and I support the protest against the minimum fine of £5.

I am glad Deputy Johnson has raised this point, because I have already, in the Dáil, opposed the principle of the minimum penalty. I think in our legislation the tendency has been to establish a standard of minimum penalties which are greatly in excess of the requirements, and in my opinion greatly in excess of the capacity of those who are penalised to pay. It seems to me that the idea at the back of the mind of the Minister, or of the draughtsman, with regard to penalties is that the value of money has decreased until it is worth only about one-fifth of what it was in pre-war days, and that consequently justices ought to impose fines which are four or five times as great as those imposed pre-war. We find from local newspapers that a series of fines are imposed on people by District Justices throughout the country which in most cases are greatly in excess of the fines imposed in pre-war times. There is not very much more money going about now than in the pre-war days, and the average profits or earnings, in many cases, are not much in excess and in some cases are even less than they were pre-war. There is no doubt whatever that the imposition of a fine of £5 would be a great hardship on many jurors. I think the judge should be placed in the position of being able to impose a fine in accordance with the capacity of the person to pay. I am quite sure there are many people who might for one reason or another not attend court to discharge their duties as jurors who would be quite unable to pay a fine of £5. The Minister has asked for an expression of opinion on this matter. I believe if he takes the general opinion of the Dáil it would be against the imposition of such a large minimum penalty. I am opposed to the imposition of any minimum penalty. I think it ought to be left to the discretion of the judge, who is in the best position to decide the gravity of the particular offence.

So far as I am concerned I think there is some need for a minimum sum. I would be quite prepared to put in £2 instead of £5, but I think a minimum ought to go in.

Because of the experience I have had I wish to join in the protest against this severe fine.

What severe fine is the Deputy talking about now?

Mr. BYRNE

The £5 fine.

But I have mentioned that I am willing to make the minimum £2.

Mr. BYRNE

I have known small shopkeepers to abstain from jury service to earn £1 or £2 on a busy day. I suggest that even £2 is a rather heavy penalty. I am glad the protest against the imposition of the larger fine has been successful in getting it reduced.

I would much prefer there should be no stated minimum in the Bill. I do not think it is desirable. If there is to be a fine, then the judge is entitled to say what the fine should be.

I disagree with you.

I will ask at a later stage that the principle of a minimum fine in this matter be deleted. I do not want to be taken as accepting the view that there should be a minimum placed in the section.

I would like to say briefly on that, that at times there is manifest here in the Dáil a disposition to give too wide an interpretation to judicial discretion. There is judicial discretion in the matter of deciding whether or not a reasonable and sufficient cause exists for the non-attendance, but it is not so much a matter of judicial discretion as a matter of policy to say what consequences shall follow abstention by a juror without reasonable and sufficient cause. I think we should name some consequence, and I think it would make for better attendance of jurors if the Bill named some consequence. If £5 is too large as a minimum, then let us change it to something less, but there is need for a minimum figure. I am entirely convinced that it would be bad to be without it. I submit that there is as good a case for a minimum figure as for a maximum. You say the fine shall not be greater than £10. Is that an encroachment on judicial discretion? Why not let the judge impose £100? After all, he is the judge. We appointed him, a very great person removable only by a vote of both Houses, and we should have implicit confidence in him. You put in the maximum, and I submit there is a good case for putting in a minimum. It is not a case for judicial discretion to say what consequence shall follow abstention without good and sufficient cause. It is a matter of policy. The Oireachtas is entitled to name a particular consequence and say that shall follow if the juror absents himself without cause that the judge considers adequate. The discretion lies in considering whether or not the excuse is adequate, and the Oireachtas is entitled to say that if there is no excuse which the judge considers adequate then a penalty not greater than X pounds and not less than Y pounds shall follow. This hobby of judicial discretion can be ridden to death. It can be ridden so far as to constitute a real encroachment on the powers of the Oireachtas.

I would not like to appear ungrateful to the Minister for the concession he has made. Even accepting the Minister's argument that a minimum fine should be embodied in the Act, I still think £2 is excessive. After all, it is not a criminal offence for a man to abstain from going on a jury. I hope this is a matter that can be regulated later and that we will be able to come to an agreement on it. People summoned to attend on a jury are not often able to do so for one reason or another. There are classes of men whose weekly earnings would not permit them to pay a fine of £2.

Another matter for consideration is that there are different classes of jurors and there are different districts in the country. A judge might have in mind what would be a reasonable penalty having regard to a particular class and a particular district. He would say that a certain penalty was required for a particular class of case, considering the type of man and the district. Such a penalty in that district for such a type of man in its effect might be double the same penalty in another district for another type of man.

I am entirely in agreement with the Minister that it is absolutely necessary to have a minimum fine. I also agree with him in his idea of considering the reduction of the minimum fine to £2. If it was thought that a man could get off with a fine of 2/6 or 5/- the abstentions would be enormous. The fine must be such that it will still be unpleasant to pay. If the fine was only 2/6 or 5/- there would be any amount of trouble and any number of abstentions by people who could very well attend.

Section put and agreed to.
Sections 44 to 49 put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 50 (mode of swearing a jury) stand part of the Bill."—(Minister for Justice).

The question we have been discussing again arises under sub-section 5 of this section. There is here not the same way out as the Minister said he found in a previous section. There is no suggestion as to reasonable and sufficient cause; there is no question of the judge's discretion of any kind. I am not sure how far the Oath Act carries us, but I am doubtful whether there is any provision made for oaths to a person who is neither a Christian nor a Jew, as stated, in the latter part of the next section, but possibly the Oath Act of 1888 covers such exceptions. If it does not, I think it ought to be covered. In any case I think the minimum of £5 in this sub-section ought to be deleted. The judge should have some discretion in view of the reasons which might be put forward by a juror as to his refusal to be sworn or the method of swearing, which would constitute an oath. I ask the Minister to take into account, before the Report Stage, that particular sub-section.

Sub-section (4) of Section 51 reads: "A juror who states that he has a religious belief but that he is neither a Christian nor a Jew may, if the judge so permits, be sworn in any manner which he states to be binding on him." I think in view of that the person who is neither a Christian nor a Jew, nor a person who is prepared to avail himself of sub-section (4) of Section 51, deserves a £10 fine. However, if the Deputy is strong in his view and puts down an amendment for the Report Stage I will consider it.

Section 50 put and agreed to.
Question proposed: That Section 51 (Administration of Oaths to Jurors) stand part of the Bill (Minister for Justice).

Following on the point the Minister has raised—"A juror who states that he has a religious belief, but that he is neither a Christian nor a Jew," and who is prepared to take the oath in a from which he states is binding upon him—the judge has to satisfy himself that such a statement on the part of the juror would constitute an oath for him. I connect that with the previous sub-section. I want to protect the odd man in 50,000, 100,000, or a million if you like. It ought not to be made obligatory that he should be liable to a penalty of £5. However, if the Minister will look into the matter between now and the Report Stage I will not press it.

I want to ask the Minister what provision is made for the man who is neither a Christian nor a Jew and who states he has no religious belief.

He will be ordered to stand by.

Section 51 put and agreed to.
Sections 52 to 70 put and agreed to.
FIRST SCHEDULE.
Persons Absolutely Exempted from Serving as Jurors.
The Governor-General.
Members of the Oireachtas.
Members of the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann on full pay.
Members of the Gárda Síochána.
Persons holding any paid judicial office in Saorstát Eireann.
Peace Commissioners.
The Attorney-General of Saorstát Eireann.
The Comptroller and Auditor-General.
Members of the staff of the Oireachtas or of either house thereof.
All officers and servants employed in any office attached to a Court of Justice or to the Chief Justice.
Persons in the Civil Service of Saorstát Eireann not otherwise exempted.
Clergymen in Holy Orders and other persons who teach or preach in any religious congregation and do not follow any secular occupation.
Barristers-at-law actually practising as such.
Solicitors actually practising as such, including solicitors employed at a salary or otherwise to render services as solicitors exclusively to their employers.
Persons actually employed as clerks on work of a legal character by solicitors who are themselves exempted or entitled to be exempted as such solicitors.
Licensed medical practitioners actually practising as such, including licensed medical practitioners employed at a salary or otherwise to render medical services exclusively to their employers or to any particular class of persons.
Registered dentists.
Pharmaceutical chemists duly registered who are the sole proprietors of a business and have no duly qualified assistant.
Persons actually employed as professors, schoolmasters, or teachers in any university, college, school, or academy.
Masters of vessels actually employed as such.
Duly licensed pilots.
Persons who cannot read or write and persons who from lunacy, imbecility of mind, deafness, blindness, or other permanent infirmity are unfit to serve as jurors.

I move the amendment standing in the names of Deputy Crowley and myself:—

"To insert before the words ‘Registered Dentists,' line 26, the words ‘Veterinary Surgeons.'"

As the law stands veterinary surgeons are exempt from service, and the object of this amendment is that under this Bill they will still be exempt.

As the law stands veterinary surgeons are not expressly exempt, and if this Bill passes it makes no change in the extent to which they are at present exempt. The position is that licensed medical practitioners were always exempt, and that exemption is continued in the present Bill. In 1904 the High Court construed the earlier Act and decided that a duly qualified veterinary surgeon was entitled to exemption from serving on a jury as being a licensed medical practitioner. The case, for record purposes, is Wray v. Allen. In view of that decision of 1904 the present Bill does, in fact, confer exemption. If the Deputies care to withdraw their amendment on an undertaking to bring in an officially drafted amendment on the Report Stage, that is, if they prefer to have something expressed other than to rely on the fact that the High Court has found that veterinary surgeons were, in fact, covered by the description "licensed medical practitioners," then I would undertake to look into the thing and probably to bring up an official amendment on Report Stage. But the veterinary surgeon is covered, and this Bill makes no change in the law as it affected veterinary surgeons.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

To delete all words from the word "duly," line 27, to the word "assistant," line 28, both inclusive, and substitute therefor the words "and druggists who are duly registered."

A druggist is in the same position exactly as a pharmaceutical chemist. He cannot leave his shop open; otherwise he is liable to a prosecution.

I did look into this point, and I found that the Juries Procedure Act, 1876, exempted pharmaceutical chemists, duly registered. The Bill limits this to persons who have no qualified assistants to carry on in their absence. I think that is a fair provision and that that exemption is wide enough. The Deputy seeks to get back to the old wider exemption and to widen it further by including druggists. It was found by a body that examined into this question in Northern Ireland, where druggists abound rather more than in the Free State area, that druggists had not a sufficient case for exemption, and the report mentioned that they differed from pharmaceutical chemists in that they are not permitted to compound medicines from doctors' prescriptions for human consumption. I do not know that there is any reason to take a different view in this matter than has been taken elsewhere. The druggist, unlike the chemist, is not permitted to compound medicines for human consumption from doctors' prescriptions. What, then, is the case for exemption? We do not propose, in fact, in this Bill to exempt all pharmaceutical chemists. We say that a man who has a qualified assistant who is capable of carrying on the business in his absence, must do jury service. But Deputy Cole seems to wipe out that; he dispenses all pharmaceutical chemists, regardless of whether they have qualified assistants capable of carrying on or not, and, further, he dispenses this additional class of man, the druggist. What is the case really for dispensing the druggist from jury service? It cannot be said that he might be urgently needed to compound a prescription for a dying patient, because he is not allowed to compound for human consumption. Therefore, I would like the Deputy to give us rather more clearly than he did, in moving his amendment, justification for such a claim to exemption on the part of the druggist, and also to tell me what he complains of in our provision that a pharmaceutical chemist who has a qualified assistant capable of conducting his business in his absence ought to serve on juries. Because he is challenging two things. He is challenging that qualification of ours with regard to the chemist and in addition he is seeking to include in exemptions the druggist. I invite him to give his reasons.

The druggist is a person who is distinct from the chemist in that he does not dispense prescriptions, but in other ways he is in a similar position. He can only keep open on condition that he is there, or some qualified person is there to take charge in his absence. Immediately he leaves an inspector or somebody else may come in and ask for a certain drug and, if he is not given it by a qualified person, the druggist is liable to be prosecuted. If you bring him to court to serve on the jury he has either to close his shop or run the risk of a prosecution. That deals with the druggist.

As regards the pharmaceutical chemists, the Schedule reads: "Pharmaceutical chemists duly registered who are the sole proprietors of a business and have no duly qualified assistant." If the pharmaceutical chemist happens to be qualified and he is left in charge of a branch business, if he leaves that branch business the business is not being legally carried on. An inspector may come in and get a prescription, or drug, made up, and there is no qualified person in charge. My contention is that when a man is qualified as a pharmaceutical chemist he has to be in charge of a shop; that shop cannot be carried on in his absence. In the case of a man who has a shop of his own he has to employ an assistant to take charge while he is away. It is a rather difficult position. It may work all right in a city where there are plenty of men to be got, but in the country you cannot get men in sufficient numbers; you cannot get men to come down from Dublin for a couple of days to assist. It is a very important matter, and if you allow one you should allow all. They are both in a similar position and, as I have indicated, it will be either a question of closing the shop or running the risk of prosecution.

I do not know what impression the Deputy made on the minds of other Deputies, but he did not convince me there was a strong case for the acceptance of his amendment.

I wonder would the Minister reconsider this schedule before the Bill comes to the Report Stage? It seems to me the exemptions are not wide enough. A sailor who happens to live in Dublin does not seem to be exempt from serving on juries and probably he would not be here at all at the time he is summoned. I am not speaking exactly to the amendment; I am merely appealing to the Minister to have the schedule reconsidered so as to cover any reasonable cases. I would like to instance the issuing of a summons in connection with a jury in the case of a director of a company who is non-resident here. He gets his qualification as a juror on account of his directorship, but he is not resident in the country. I have known a case where a director was summoned regularly on a jury although he lived in Glasgow. Obviously it would be absurd to expect a man to come from Glasgow to serve on a jury here. I desire to draw the Minister's attention to such cases.

In reference to Deputy Cole's point, I happen to know of small towns where there are no pharmaceutical chemists but where there are druggists. As a matter of practice, while the druggist may not be able to compound a doctor's prescription the people who require simple medicine must go to that druggist. There is, of course, the big consideration that drugs not compounded are easily mistaken one for another by incompetent or unqualified persons and I think there are grounds for the case that Deputy Cole made. I happen to know quite a number of towns where there are no pharmaceutical chemists but where the operation of providing simple medicines is in the hands of the druggist.

The Deputy did seem to me to make one point arising from the cumulative effect of these two provisos. The pharmaceutical chemist must be the sole proprietor of the business, and also have no qualified assistant, in order to secure exemption. The Deputy seems to me to establish a case for the pharmaceutical chemist who is put in charge of a branch business in a particular place. He could not be exempt at all, even though he had no assistant, because he was not the sole proprietor. If that is a correct interpretation of the exemption clause there would seem to me to be a grievance. The whole business would have to be shut up and perhaps people deprived of the very necessary process of getting prescriptions made up except under great difficulty, if the pharmaceutical chemist was away and the business had to be closed.

I would be willing to consider the word "proprietor" in that context and the question of whether some wider word might not be used. What is really meant is the person in charge of the particular shop, and having no qualified assistant there who would be capable of keeping open in accordance with the law during his absence. In connection with Deputy Hewat's point, I would refer him to sub-section (4) of Section 3:—

A person shall not be qualified or liable to serve as a juror in respect of a jury district unless he is entered as a Dáil or a Local Government elector in the register of electors for such jury district.

The non-resident scarcely comes in there. The Schedule can, no doubt, be considered, and any suggestions that commend themselves as reasonable will, of course, be considered also. But Deputies should remember if we go on pleading exemptions for this class and that class we are making considerable inroads on the numbers of those who are available and in that way are probably increasing the frequency with which particular individuals will have to be called.

Would it not be better to have a real live panel rather than, as in the past, a panel of dead men and others who could not serve? All those have to be eliminated and the panel made useful. It simply meant in the past that the sheriff, in order to get a jury, had to summon about three times the number he required.

Yes, and the Bill, as the Deputy will agree, is designed to remedy imperfections in the jury system as he knew it in the past. Any reasonable suggestion will be considered.

On a point of order, are we entitled to discuss the Schedule on Deputy Cole's amendment? I have one or two remarks to make, and I will make them now if it is in order.

The amendment has to be disposed of first. Does Deputy Cole withdraw the amendment?

Is the Minister considering it?

No. I will consider the word "proprietor" in the context, but I am not prepared to accept the Deputy's amendment suggesting the inclusion of druggists. There are not many druggists relatively in the Saorstát compared to Northern Ireland. There a Commission which sat and investigated this whole question of jury service in detail rejected the claim for exemption of the druggist as distinct from the pharmaceutical chemist, and I see no reason for taking a different view on that matter.

Would the Minister tell me what I should advise the druggist to do? If he does not close his shop will he be exempt from prosecution?

I would advise him to be very careful.

He is bound to be prosecuted if he is not there.

Amendment put, and negatived.

Question proposed—"That the first Schedule stand part of the Bill."

When I read this schedule I came to the conclusion that the Minister for Justice anticipated at some future date being tried for his life, and he determined that Deputy Magennis should not be on the jury, because it seems to be expressly framed in order to exempt Deputy Magennis. He is exempted as a Deputy and he is is again exempted as a professor. Deputy Johnson spoke of a double exemption, but Deputy Magennis has a treble exemption because, if some unforeseen calamity occurred—and it would have to be a calamity unforeseen, because if he foresaw it he would provide against it—that removed him from his seat and his professorship, then he would return to practice at the Bar and get exempted as a practising barrister.

I admire the foresight, ingenuity and skill of the Minister for Justice. There are, however, one or two exemptions he has not included. He has overlooked the case of Extern Ministers who are not members of the Oireachtas. I think they ought to be considered so that, let us say, the work of the Ministry of Fisheries or the Ministry of Local Government and Public Health should not be paralysed by having the Minister waiting about in the passages in Green Street Courthouse.

Another case for exemption, somewhat more substantial, would be the servants of local authorities. We exempt civil servants, but no exemption is given to the employees of local authorities. Now there are in the Saorstát a number of urban councils which employ a very small number of officials. The council most present to my mind employs only two, a town clerk and an engineer. Undoubtedly very great inconvenience would be caused if the engineer was taken away from his work of supervising the laying of new watermains, or other inspection work, and had to be present on jury service for three or four days.

It is rather difficult to frame a clause that would give them exemption and would not give exemption to the people working on the road, and other persons who receive payment of any kind from the local authority. There would be a certain hardship, and it would exist not only in the township I am thinking of, but in many small towns in the country. Local authorities have a limited number of officials, and their absence would be detrimental. I ask the Minister to consider that point before the Report Stage.

Then, again, I find that the Attorney-General is exempted. He is one of the three distinguished people who occupy a line by themselves, the others being the Governor-General and the Comptroller and Auditor-General. I have always thought it a magnificent thing to be a general, and I regretted my military career stopped short of putting me in a position to associate with— well, not to associate with, because they were very kind to allow me to do so sometimes, but to be placed on the same level with those authorities. Might I suggest to the Minister that the case of the Attorney-General is covered by the provision for the practising barrister. If the Attorney-General is not a practising barrister, it is very hard to know what he is. I have so often been rebuked by Ministers for introducing amendments which sought to add unnecessary verbiage to Bills that when I discover verbiage in a Ministerially-drafted amendment I cannot resist drawing attention to it. I hope the Minister will bear these considerations in mind. I admire the Schedule as a whole. I admire it particularly because it produces convincing evidence that somebody in the Department of Justice has read the Pickwick Papers. Otherwise, the exemption of a chemist who has no assistant would hardly have found its place in the Bill.

In reference to Deputy Cooper's suggestion, I would suggest that the best way for the council he has in view to succeed in getting its employees exempt from jury service would be to employ women.

I thought we were all agreed that the business of sanitation was one to which women were not suited.

I will consider between this land Report Stage those points in Deputy Cooper's speech which are considerable.

First Schedule ordered to stand part of the Bill.

In connection with the Second Schedule we have a lot of enactments which are, in large part, repealed. It seems to me that it would be easier in some cases to embody in the Bill the portions of the old Acts that are not eliminated than to have reference back continually to those old Acts. We have a reference here to the Juries Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1876. The whole Act, except Section 13, is repealed. It seems to me that it would be easier to eliminate that Act altogether and to embody Section 13 in the present Bill than to have a reference back to this old Act. That would get rid of obsolete legislation. The criticism I offer applies to the entire list in this schedule. The Acts in almost every case are repealed in greater part. When the Minister was repealing portions of those Acts, he might have gone a little further and repealed the whole of the Acts while retaining in the new Bill those sections which he did not desire to discard.

The standard of drafting that prevails here, as I am sure the Deputy is aware, is very high. It is one of the things that are commented upon with admiration by officials and governmental people elsewhere. I am not in a position to be dogmatic as to those repeals and partial repeals. I myself have very little doubt that the Parliamentary draftsman has done the neatest and most orderly thing in the matter. I should think that the portions of Acts that are not repealed are matters that have no special relevancy to the purpose of this Bill, but which it is not advisable to eliminate from our code entirely. I should think that if you were to embody in the Bill every provision of every old statute which you cannot afford entirely to dispense with, you would have a very long and very complicated Bill.

Second Schedule ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported without amendment. Fourth Stage fixed for Tuesday, 8th March.