ELECTION OF LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE.

I move: "That Deputy Séamus O Dóláin be elected Leas-Cheann Comhairle."

I move:

To delete all words after the word "That" and insert instead thereof the words:

"a Select Committee, consisting of eleven Deputies, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection, be appointed to revise the salary to be paid to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle of Dáil Eireann as fixed by paragraph 4 of the Report of the Committee on Salaries and Allowances, dated the 15th January, 1923, which was adopted by Dáil Eireann on the 24th January, 1923; that the quorum of the Committee be five; and that the election of a Leas-Cheann Comhairle be deferred pending the presentation of a Report in the matter by the Select Committee."

I want to say at the beginning that this is not the first move in a policy of indiscriminate and undiscriminating reduction of salaries. At the beginning of the last Dáil, when the Committee made certain recommendations regarding rates of remuneration for officers of the Dáil, they were without experience, and consequently had to rely upon procedure in other places and on what were estimated to be the duties of the various officers. I think it will be generally recognised by those who were members of the last Dáil that there was an over-estimation of the importance of the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle and an over-estimation of the salary value, shall I say, of the office. We are, therefore, now in a most opportune position, I think, to reconsider the question of the salary to be attached to the office. We are at the beginning of a new Dáil; there is no question of the personal relations of the late holder of the office coming between Deputies and their judgment as to what is right and fair to the ex-holder; we may discuss and consider the matter entirely afresh with a view to the duties attached to the office, based upon our experience of the past. My view is that the duties of the office do not warrant the payment of a salary of £1,000, that that is a matter that has a right to be considered, and the question will at once arise as to what would be considered to be legitimate and fair remuneration for the office, if the office is necessary.

I think the office is necessary, and I think that it is desirable at least that the holder of the office be in receipt of a salary over and above the allowance for expenses that he receives as a Deputy. His duties may be more onerous than the duties of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle of the last Dáil, but while in one respect they may be more onerous, in another respect they may be less onerous than was anticipated. For instance, the same duties did not devolve upon the last Leas-Cheann Comhairle as were anticipated in respect of Private Bill legislation, or in respect of the various committees over which it might have been thought that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle would have been required to preside. While it is desirable that the Ceann Comhairle should have somebody to throw responsibility upon while he cannot be present, or when he requires to be relieved, all these requirements can be well satisfied by the appointment of a Deputy who, while continuing his duties to his constituents as a Deputy, can also undertake the duties of Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

The moment is opportune, as I say, because there is no personal factor coming between the decision of Deputies in their view of what is reasonable and fair and their view of what is due to the holder or the ex-holder of the office. If we appoint a Deputy to the office the question at once arises as to whether we are treating that Deputy fairly if we make any change in the rate of remuneration. Therefore, I urge the House to agree that it is undesirable to make an appointment, and then to give consideration to the rate of remuneration. Any person who is appointed to the office before reconsideration has been given to the question of salary would have a right to consider that the salary would remain at the rate that has been in operation. It is because I think that no appointment should be made until this matter has been considered that I ask the House to defer making the appointment until that reconsideration has been given.

It has been suggested that the office might be filled by a Deputy working in an honorary capacity. That might be possible if we were to expect that for the future Deputies elected to this House would be people who had other means of livelihood, private means of one kind or another. If any such doctrine as that were adopted by the House, of course it would change the whole face of the legislative assembly and completely alter the representation scheme that has been adopted. I think it is, perhaps, unreasonable to lay down as the permanent condition of things that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, who will have responsibilities, as any Deputy who reads the Standing Orders will see—responsibilities which, in the absence of the Ceann Comhairle himself, are equal to the responsibilities of the Ceann Comhairle—should undertake those responsibilities without remuneration. I am ruling out the view that has been expressed that this should be an entirely honorary office. On the other hand, I think the duties of the office have been less onerous than we anticipated, and that they do not warrant us in paying a salary of £1,000 per annum. I therefore move my amendment, without naming the sum which is, in my mind, fair and reasonable, but leaving that question for discussion by the committee which will be set up if the amendment be passed. I merely urge the House not to make the appointment until this question has been considered—not to prejudice consideration of the question by making the appointment beforehand. I ask the House to agree with my amendment.

I should like to ask whether I would be in order in moving an amendment to Deputy Johnson's amendment. The terms of the amendment which I would propose would in effect be that an investigation should be made into the question of the salaries and allowances of all the officials and members of the Dáil. As Deputy Johnson has said, the time is opportune for an investigation into the question of salaries for the reason, as he stated, that there was a committee set up in 1923. But I submit that during the last four years the general condition of the country has so changed that it would be well at any rate to have a revision and re-investigation of the whole matter. While not against Deputy Johnson's proposal in principle, I think that it is too narrow, and that instead of setting up a committee to inquire into the salary of one official, it would be expedient to set up a committee on the lines and with the terms of reference of the committee set up in 1923 to go into and investigate the whole matter. Therefore, with your permission, sir, I would propose by way of amendment, after the word "revise" in the second line of Deputy Johnson's amendment, to delete from the word "the" to the end of the amendment, and to substitute therefor the following words:

"And report on salaries and payments suitable for the various offices held by Ministers, the Ceann Comhairle, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle and Teachtaí of Dáil Eireann and of officials of Dáil Eireann."

These words are taken from the Terms of Reference of the 1923 Committee. I am aware that under the Constitution the salaries of Ministers already appointed cannot be interfered with in the same Dáil, and personally I may say while on the subject that, if I had anything to say in the matter, I would certainly not be in favour of their reduction. I think that Ministers as whole-time servants of the State distinctly earn the present salaries allotted to them, but I do think that to propose to have one official's salary investigated, while not making a general investigation, is not the proper way to approach this matter. The country is going through a very severe economic crisis. There is a tremendous shortage of money and a considerable amount of unemployment. Our adverse trade balance is, if anything, slightly upon the increase, and I think it would be a good example for us to set up this committee once more to reinvestigate and consider whether the salaries and expenses now enjoyed by officials and Deputies are not in excess of what they should be. But to set up this committee would not in any way make it necessary that either the salaries or allowances should be reduced.

Are we going to set it up to increase them?

My proposal is to set it up to investigate, and not necessarily to reduce.

With a view to what?

With a view to seeing whether they are proper salaries and allowances at the present time in view of the committee, just as the committee of 1923 did. This would be a far better way to approach the question than merely to single out one salary and suggest that it requires revision. There is a motion on the Order Paper for Wednesday next, and I suppose I would not be in order in referring to it. If my proposed amendment were not acceptable to Deputy Johnson or the Dáil, I would ask Deputies to consider whether it would not be wise to defer setting up this committee for this one specific purpose, as proposed by Deputy Johnson, until they have considered the motion down in the name of Deputy Hewson for Wednesday next. That motion, it is true, suggests that there should be a general reduction, but if it were proposed, as it might be, that further inquiry should be set up as to whether the present salaries and allowances were proper, in view of the existing economic situation, I suggest that that would be the proper way to approach the subject. To tell the truth, the real method of approach in the interests of economy should be to have a general investigation into the whole Civil Service, but that would not arise upon the motion before us, and if we are to make a beginning, as suggested by Deputy Johnson, in economy in the conduct of our own House, it would be far better to have an investigation into the salaries and allowances of all the officials and members of the Dáil, rather than to single out one particular instance. That is the reason why I put forward the amendment suggesting that while agreeing in principle that the time is opportune for investigation, that it is not only opportune in regard to the salary of the official in question, but distinctly opportune to the salaries and allowances of the other officials and of Deputies. I ask, therefore, for leave to move the amendment.

The main question is a motion for the election of a Deputy as Leas-Cheann Comhairle. Deputy Johnson's amendment proposes that the election should not be proceeded with pending an investigation into the salary attaching to the office. That amendment is quite relevant and in order. Deputy Redmond is proposing a further amendment suggesting a wider investigation. The position, I think, is that Deputy Redmond's amendment would not be in order. It goes outside the scope of the main motion which concerns merely a particular office. I allowed Deputy Redmond to proceed, because, although I think a formal amendment on the lines proposed by him is out of order at this particular moment, the argument that a general, rather than a partial, investigation should take place appears to be relevant. I therefore, cannot accept Deputy Redmond's amendment, the matter of which I think should be brought forward by way of a motion rather than by way of an amendment to Deputy Johnson's amendment. I am not, therefore, accepting Deputy Redmond's further amendment.

The report of the Committee which was set up to consider this question in 1923 consisted of recommendations in respect of eleven items. Deputy Johnson takes from that report one particular item and his amendment comes before us at a time when a nomination is made in respect. of the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. My information is—I did not learn it until a couple of days ago—that the consideration of the salary attached to this office was before the Committee on Privileges during the lifetime of the last Dáil. I would personally have preferred if the matter were brought before the last Dáil in respect of the new Dáil and not now when a nomination is made, because whether we like it or not, the fact of the matter is that this amendment is brought up when a particular nomination is put before the Dáil. Eleven items are contained in the Report of the Committee which sat in 1923 and the salary attached to the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle is one of these. The Dáil is the most important institution of this State, and this office, in connection with which a nomination is now before the Dáil, is the second most important office in this most important institution of the State.

What are we asked to consider in order that the business of this Dáil will be concerned with the consideration of a couple of hundred pounds? Let us suppose, for a moment, that a reduction is recommended of a couple of hundred pounds. For the space of a week the most important institution in this State is not to be provided with the services of the second most important office-holder in this institution. That does not appear to me to be by any means a correct perspective of the situation. I am not satisfied that a mere reiteration of the number of meetings of the Dáil that are held, and a comparison of the number of days the Dáil sits, with the number of days in the year, give a true picture of the services of the person who occupies the position of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. One is presented with a picture of attendance here in the office or here in the Dáil at the hour of 3 o'clock on Tuesday until 8.30 on Tuesday night, and so on until Friday—attending on three days from 3 o'clock until 8.30, and attending here at 12 o'clock on Friday, putting his hat on at 4 o'clock, and walking out into the country, to spend whatever time he likes in amusement, and so on. That is not a correct picture.

Who drew it?

It was the Deputy's business to have drawn something like that, if he were going to make a recommendation here or going to ask the Dáil to reconsider the matter with a view to reducing the salary, because the time of the Dáil is not wisely spent in considering a reduction of £200 unless a case is made out for it. The Committee which recommended this salary contains the names of members of various parties. In January, 1923, having had an experience of three or four months, and the Leas Cheann Comhairle at that time having been laid up since the middle of December, the office being filled by somebody else in the meantime, even at that time there was consideration for him. We have had four years to reconsider the matter; not alone had we four years, but we had another Dáil, and the matter never came before us. It is all nonsense to say that we have now got no occupant of the office to whom any disrespect might be shown if we were dealing with his salary.

To return to the number of hours of attendance, the hours of attendance are not from 3 o'clock in the afternoon until 8.30. I have had the honour of waiting on the Ceann Comhairle in his own office here as early as 10 o'clock in the morning and as late as some hours after the Dáil had adjourned. It might be said in respect of my own office that I was free at 8.30 last night, but the duties of my office did not terminate until close on 11 o'clock. The duties of the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle, in my view, would require practically whole-time attention from any person fulfilling the normal duties of the office. We have sat repeatedly until 10.30 o'clock at night. I presume it will be admitted that a day's work is put in from 3 o'clock until 10.30, but it is not to be concluded that the person who occupies the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle does not attend here until 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I have been considering whether or not it would be reasonably possible for the holder of this position to transact any other business, to take part in any private business, and I satisfied myself that if I were the controller of a business, and that the holder of this office were one of my employees, I would not be satisfied with the attention he could give in any service, taking into account the length of time and the hours of duty he would require to spend here.

This proposal of a single office of the State to be considered by a Committee and to leave us without the assistance of a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, does not appeal to me. Deputy Redmond's suggestion does appeal to me on more grounds than one, not solely with a view to reduction. I explained here on other occasions, some years ago, that a Deputy travelling from Donegal, West Cork or Kerry, and spending ten or twelve hours in the train coming up, and ten or twelve hours in the train returning, and a few days here, gets by no means his expenses from his thirty pounds a month, and is there any consideration for that? Deputy Redmond's suggestion, to my mind, is a great, big comprehensive suggestion, one that merits our most serious consideration within a short period, but I am not at all satisfied that the respect due to this institution is shown, or can be shown, by accepting this amendment. I am not satisfied, from what I have seen of the attendance given by Ministers and by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that you can expect people's physique to stand the strain of continued hours of duty and continued attention to duty. There are various duties which fall upon this office in the normal sense which call for very considerable attention, and a considerable number of hours of duty. We have occasionally Private Bills to consider, and to my mind the study, care, attention and exposition of those Bills in this House would require the services of a Leas-Cheann Comhairle in putting them before us. I hope the Dáil will reject this amendment. I hope the Dáil will provide this institution with the holder of a second office, and that the Dáil will not agree to consider the question of a reduction of salary by perhaps one or two hundred pounds, and waste its time by depriving us of the services of this officer. I hope the Dáil will in time consider the suggestion that has been made by Deputy Redmond, and consider the whole question, and not a particular item out of a large number of items that ought to be considered.

In spite of the very strong case made by the President for rejecting Deputy Johnson's amendment, I am going to give it my support. In doing so, let me be quite frank in saying that no personality whatever has entered into my mind in giving my support to the amendment. I do not know that any individual was before Deputy Johnson's mind, or that that was in any way responsible for making him put down this motion. I would be surprised, I confess quite frankly, if he were influenced by that fact. The case that Deputy Johnson has made seems to me a good case. He is specific in asking that this Committee of Selection be appointed to revise the salary to be paid. I am sure that every responsible Deputy in the House will agree that salaries should be paid for services rendered. I say that salaries should be paid to Ministers and to Deputies for services rendered. If we are to go on that, and if a Committee is to be set up to investigate and make reports, then the salaries of some Deputies will grow to be much bigger than they are, while the salaries of others will grow to be much smaller. If the service rendered is to be the basis upon which payment is to be made, then Deputy Johnson is one whose salary will grow. There are few Deputies who have had as much experience of the work done in this House and done by officials, the Ceann Comhairle or Ministers, as Deputy Johnson, and few are more competent to pass judgment on the work done.

It may be that this House is particularly fortunate in having our present occupant of the Chair. The Ceann Comhairle is a man of ability and he puts a great deal of energy into his work. It is true, perhaps, that that is a factor in lessening the work that is to be done by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, and that possibly it weighs with us in determining whether or not there should be an investigation of the work to be done by the future occupant of the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I admit that, to some extent, I am at a loss to know just how much this new occupant of this position will have to do. I feel that there is every reason for an investigation as to whether or not his salary should be revised. I do not think that even the President himself will stand up for a policy that simply we must pay for our dignity regardless of the consequences. I do not think it is right that the President should ask the House to agree simply because a certain post exists that a salary must be paid to the occupant of that post regardless of any other consideration. I am not prepared to subscribe to that.

I feel that the House should support Deputy Johnson's amendment that this Committee should be set up. Let the President, by all means, go before that Committee and make the case which he has made here, and let the Ceann Comhairle be invited before that Committee of investigation to outline just exactly the duties of the occupant of the office. I agree with the President that for one hundred pounds or two hundred pounds we should not do something that would, perhaps, not be justifiable in the circumstances; but on the other hand, I feel that the opportunity is given us now to examine this position, to see the duties which the occupant of the office will have to perform in the future, and making all allowances for the dignity of this House, which every Deputy has the right to do his best to sustain, give the occupant of the post a salary commensurate with the work that is to be done. In saying that, I am not ruling out of account what Deputy Redmond has in mind and what evidently another Deputy has in his mind. My interpretation of what we may do in these other circumstances when this other proposition comes to be considered may be very different to Deputy Redmond's point of view. But we are not going to go into that now. We will have an opportunity later of passing judgment on this bigger question that the President says he would like to have considered, but we have got an opportunity to-day, and we can say whether or not an investigation should be made. I can see no valid reason on the part of the President for objecting to an investigation. I do not know what Deputy Johnson will have to say to this, but if I were a member of that Committee and if, on investigation, a case were made to me that the duties of the office entailed such attendance and work as to satisfy me that the salary at present attached to the office should continue to be paid in the future, I would support that, but I confess that it has yet to be proved to me that it is necessary to do so, and for that reason I am supporting Deputy Johnson's amendment to have a Committee set up.

May I correct a mistake? I do not know whether Deputy Baxter fell into it or not. This is not a matter for the Government, and I was not speaking for the Government on this motion. This was a report of a Committee set up by this House.

I said the President.

I did not attend the last Committee, and I do not intend to attend this one.

I want to say that my feeling about the matter is this, that I cannot see how a Committee could investigate and report on a matter like this with terms of reference such as they are, without information from others. If you take a few Deputies from the House and send them to make a report and if they cannot get outside advice, then their report will not be based on solid facts.

This Committee never got any advice from the Government in bringing in their report, and saw no member of the Government that I know of at the time.

I wish to detain the Dáil for a few moments while I give the reason why I cannot vote for the amendment proposed by Deputy Johnson. In the first place I think it is ridiculous to tackle the position of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle in the Dáil, and to leave the Leas-Chathaoirleach in the Seanad alone. If Deputy Johnson's motion was for a joint committee of the Dáil and Seanad to consider the emoluments of the Deputy-Chairmen of both Houses there would be more to be said for it, but what reasonable justification can there be for reducing the salary of an official who does help to do a considerable amount of work, and retaining the same level of salary to an official who is never practically called upon to fill the Chair?

On a point of order, may I point out that there is a constitutional provision that each House shall fix the remuneration of its own officers.

Its own Chairman and Deputy Chairman only.

That is the reason that I suggest a joint committee should be set up to go into the matter, and begin simultaneously in both Houses. I do not think the Seanad would object. There is one other reason that I do not think was alluded to in this debate, and which, to my mind, vitiates the whole effect of the amendment. The committee which sat in 1923 and framed Standing Orders for Private Bills, cast the whole responsibility of the supervision and conduct of Private Bills in this House upon the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. There were no Private Bills and no Private Business in 1923. That is a very severe and onerous responsibility, and it is concerned with matters affecting hundreds of thousands of pounds. I was Chairman of one Private Bill Committee myself, involving expenditure of something Like £250,000 on the harbour of Limerick. All these come under the direct supervision of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. If he does his duty properly, he has to acquaint himself with all the details and particulars of those Bills; he has to see that good committees are appointed to consider the Bills, and he has to be, in connection with the matter, absolutely disinterested.

The President put forward the view that he would not employ any person holding the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. The matter goes further than that. Not only should the Leas-Cheann Comhairle not hold any other employment but he should not be engaged in any occupation in connection with which Private Bills could be promoted. He should not be a railway director and I do not think he should be a director of a bank. He should not be interested in tramways or in motor services. We put the occupant of this office in a semi-judicial position and surely the salary of £1,000 is not excessive. I believe that argument might appeal to Deputy Johnson's Committee. But the argument against the setting up of that Committee, is, that until we have a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, we are at a great disadvantage in dealing with Private Bills. There is a Private Bill pending now, on a subject that I can only describe as of gigantic importance. It deals with the harbour of the city of Cork. Is that harbour to wait? Is the employment that the Bill will give in Cork, when passed, to wait while the Committee is investigating what the Deputy-Speaker in South Africa, in Australia, in New Zealand, and the Falkland Islands is receiving? The practical inconvenience of such a postponement, to my mind, outweighs that argument.

Would two days make a great difference?

Is the Committee to consist of Deputy Johnson? I am sure he would settle it in one day.

The last Committee sat two days.

The last Committee did not give to the matter mature consideration in that case. I am still more convinced than ever that it would be a failure in this instance.

The terms of Article 21 of the Constitution are:—"Each House shall elect its own chairman and deputy-chairman and shall prescribe their powers, duties, remuneration, and terms of office." The question of the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman of each House is a matter for each House, and I am not certain that it is a matter for a joint committee.

As I intend adopting the unpopular course of voting for not reducing the salary of a Government official, I crave the attention of the House for a few minutes to say why I shall adopt so strange a course. As I understand the position, it is that in the year 1923 a former Dáil set up a Fair Wages Committee. That Committee passed a Fair Wages Resolution, which was accepted by the House and has since been acted upon. I can hardly credit the idea that the Deputies on the Labour benches would not back me up in supporting a Fair Wages Resolution passed four years ago, and against having it turned down now. I should like to know from Deputy Johnson how far that resolution is to extend. Is it to be confined to a particular office or any particular type of office, or is it to go the length of the Free State, and are all Fair Wages Resolutions to be applied alike? I am in favour of fair wages, I do not care who the officials are. I would like to pay officials fair wages, and I intend to vote for the resolution moved from the Government benches, as put forward in its entirety by the President. I listened with much attention to the proposition Deputy Redmond put before this House, a proposition which was founded on good sense. He suggested that the time may have arrived —I do not say it has arrived; it is a matter for consideration—when a committee should be set up to investigate the salaries of all officials and, I take it, all employees. When that time has arrived, I should be quite prepared to support an amendment that the committee should have the power to investigate and review all salaries paid to officials, ministers and employees. That committee should also have power to consider whether they should reduce salaries, and whether they should increase salaries if necessary. You cannot have it all one way. You cannot take an isolated office with a comparatively small salary attached to it. That is not the way to tackle the question. Having that view and adopting an unpopular course in not being willing to reduce the salary in this particular case, I am going to support the Government.

I think the House ought to be grateful to Deputy Johnson for bringing forward this amendment, and the result it has had. We were almost amazed, when we heard the President congratulating Deputy Redmond; a kind word from the President to Deputy Captain Redmond! Of course, Deputy Redmond sought to perform something that would have helped the President's position in this matter; he raised a smoke-screen. Deputy Redmond started off by saying that this amendment was too narrow. I suggest what is really wrong with the amendment from Deputy Redmond's point of view is, that it is too definite for him. It is an amendment that he would have to vote for or against, and Deputy Redmond spent ten or fifteen minutes in trying to make his position clear. When we heard Deputy Jasper Wolfe chiming in, then, indeed, we had three very strange bed-fellows. Deputy Wolfe pretended to be terribly surprised at Deputy Johnson trying to reduce fair wages. There is an actual surprise in store for Deputy Wolfe, I presume, when he finds the Minister for Industry and Commerce supporting fair wages. The President talks about the duties of this office and the amount of work that had to be done in this office. I imagine most Deputies thought that there would be considerably less legislation in the next four or five years than in the last four or five years. Therefore there would be less work. I would point out to the President and the House that almost everything he stated about the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is true of every other Deputy in this House who does his work. Our work does not begin at 3 o'clock either. If the Deputies of this House do their work as it should be done, they should start at 10 or 11 o'clock in the morning, particularly if they visit some Departments. We all know the amount of time lost before any work can be done there.

So do the officials.

I quite agree. Really, all this talk about a general survey of the whole position put up by Deputy Redmond and supported by the President and Deputy Jasper Wolfe, is all so much humbug. It is a smoke-screen, a deliberate attempt to evade a very definite amendment, and all the House is asked to do is to set up a committee. The House is not being asked now, as the President tried to convey, to reduce the salary; it is asked to set up a committee which will inquire into what work is to be done by that particular officer, and whether that particular officer is worth £1,000 a year or not.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 31; Níl, 47.

  • Richard S. Anthony.
  • Patrick F. Baxter.
  • Henry Broderick.
  • Michael Carter.
  • James Coburn.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Denis Cullen.
  • John Daly.
  • Edward Doyle.
  • Michael Doyle.
  • Seán de Faoite.
  • Hugh Garahan.
  • John F. Gill.
  • David Hall.
  • Gilbert Hewson.
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Thomas Johnson.
  • Michael J. Keyes.
  • Thomas Lawlor.
  • Gilbert Lynch.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Daniel McMenamin.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • William O'Brien.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Timothy J. O'Donovan.
  • David Leo O'Gorman.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Timothy Quill.
  • James Shannon.

Níl

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Walter J. Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seán Brodrick.
  • Séamus de Búrca.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • Michael Davis.
  • William Duffy.
  • James Dwyer.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Seán Hasaide.
  • Alexander Haslett.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Mark C. Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • John Horgan.
  • John Jinks.
  • John Keating.
  • Patrick M. Kelly.
  • Myles Keogh.
  • Hugh A. Law.
  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Martin McDonogh.
  • P. McGilligan.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • Mícheál O Braonáin.
  • Risteárd O Conaill,
  • Partholán O Conchubhair.
  • P.S. O Dubhghaill.
  • E.S. O Dugáin.
  • John F. O'Hanlon.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Mártín O Rodaigh.
  • William Archer Redmond.
  • Vincent Rice.
  • Timothy Sheehy.
  • William E. Thrift.
  • Vincent J. White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Morrissey and Cullen. Níl: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Amendment declared lost.

On the main question, I desire to enter a protest against the election of the Deputy named in the main motion as Leas-Cheann Comhairle because in my opinion, to the best of my belief, he does not possess one of the essential qualifications that I think a person elected to that position should possess, namely, a thorough knowledge of the Irish language. The Constitution of this State says that Irish is the official language and in the Standing Orders it is laid down that it is open to Deputies to address the Dáil in either Irish or English. I hold that a person occupying the position of Leas-Cheann Comhairle who does not understand Irish will not be in a position to carry out the duties of that office to the fullest extent to which they should be carried out. It is further mentioned in Standing Orders that all orders and official documents shall be issued in the Irish and English language, and in the absence of you, sir, it will be the duty of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to superintend the issue of all such documents, and although he may be assisted by a very competent staff, the responsibility will be his and he will be forced to take the responsibility of authorising the issue of all such documents, the contents of which he does not exactly understand. It is the policy of the party opposite, the policy of the Executive Council, to encourage in every way the Irish language in this State. They have made it a compulsory subject for all examinations for persons entering the public service.

They have insisted upon its introduction into the schools, and have urged in some cases very strongly— amounting almost to coercion—public servants to take up the study of the Irish language. Men and women, I believe, have lost their positions through their failure to give the language the place it should hold in the life of the State. I take the President at his own word. He stated that this position was the second most important position in the most important institution in the State. The Dáil is now asked to support for the second most important position in the most important institution in the State a person who has no knowledge of the official language of the State. Irish is the official language of the State. That is stated in the Constitution. English may also be regarded as the official language, but it is stated definitely in the Constitution that Irish is the official language. The proposal is a bad encouragement to those who have taken up the burden placed on them throughout the country of official public service, and who made efforts to study the Irish language, to do their duty and everything possible in order to comply with the spirit of the Constitution to bring the national language back to its rightful place. The proposal will be pointed to by many of these public servants, on whom pressure was brought during the last three years, and on whom pressure is still being brought, as a bad example on the part of those who are proposing it.

I do not know if many Deputies will so soon after the election forget the pledges they gave. Many Deputies now present, possibly all Deputies, were asked a definite question by the Gaelic League, whether they were prepared to do their utmost to advance the Irish language in the Dáil, in all Government Departments, and in the public administration generally. Many Deputies now listening to me answered that question with a very definite "yes." I have a list of their names, and amongst them I find those of Deputy Séamus Burke, Deputy McFadden, Donegal; Deputy Finian Lynch, Deputy Peadar Doyle, Deputy Richard O'Connell, and others that I need not name. I put it to Deputies that now is the time that the definite pledge they gave on the eve of their election has to be carried out. The issue at stake is plain to everyone. I think the House would be setting a very bad example, and would in fact be giving away the question of the revival of the Irish language, if it supports for this most important position a person who has no knowledge of the Irish language.

I would like to ask in the first place, lest I should be flogging a dead horse, does the candidate not know Irish?

I think the Deputy was present at a meeting when the President stated that the candidate he had to suggest, whether Deputy Dolan is the candidate in question I cannot say, did not know Irish.

Is Deputy O'Connell proposing an amendment? Is he proposing any other candidate?

Mr. WHITE

Deputy O'Connell was not proposing an amendment but making a protest.

Perhaps I misunderstood. I took it he was proposing that the gentleman named on the Order Paper be not appointed.

If you want to take that as an amendment you may.

Would you not offer some alternative and name some other Deputy for the Chair?

Mr. WHITE

Propose yourself.

There are members in the Party opposite fully qualified to act.

We should not continue this debate without knowing whether or not Deputy Dolan knows Irish.

Question put. Division called for.

May I raise a question on a point of order?

The Deputy cannot raise a point of order while a division is being taken unless it concerns the taking of the division.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 54; Níl, 20.

  • Earnán Altún.
  • Patrick F. Baxter.
  • Walter J. Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seán Brodrick.
  • Séamus de Búrca.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • Michael Carter.
  • James Coburn.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Michael Davis.
  • Michael Doyle.
  • William Duffy.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Seán de Faoite.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • Hugh Garahan.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Seán Hasaide.
  • Alexander Haslett.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Mark C. Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • John Horgan.
  • John Jinks.
  • John Keating.
  • Patrick M. Kelly.
  • Myles Keogh.
  • Hugh A. Law.
  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Martin McDonogh.
  • P. McGilligan.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • Martin M. Nally.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Partholán O Conchubhair.
  • Timothy J. O'Donovan.
  • P.S. O Dubhghaill.
  • E.S. O Dugáin.
  • John F. O'Hanlon.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • William Archer Redmond.
  • Vincent Rice.
  • Timothy Sheehy.
  • William E. Thrift.
  • Vincent J. White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.

Níl

  • Richard S. Anthony.
  • Henry Broderick.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Denis Cullen.
  • Edward Doyle.
  • John F. Gill.
  • David Hall.
  • Gilbert Hewson.
  • Thomas Johnson.
  • Michael J. Keyes.
  • Thomas Lawlor.
  • Gilbert Lynch.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Daniel McMenamin.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • William O'Brien.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Timothy Quill.
  • James Shannon.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P. Doyle. Níl: Deputies Morrissey and Cullen.
Motion declared carried.
The Dáil resumed consideration of the Estimates in Committee on Finance.