I desire to move the Second Reading of this Bill. The immediate object of the Bill is that the urban elections which are normally due to take place on the 15th January next will be postponed until June, and also that the elections for county councils due to take place in the beginning of June will be postponed until the end of June. In so far as the urban elections are concerned, the change will mean that the elections will be held at a more suitable time both from the point of view of the persons voting and from a financial point of view as regards the business of the councils. There will be less dislocation of the work of the schools, and there will be a pretty definite saving by the proposal in the Bill that the urban elections will be held on the same date as the county council elections in sixteen urban areas. The electors in the urban areas are also voters in the county council elections. By having the elections on the same day there will be a certain amount of saving. For instance, in the case of the Dundalk Urban District Council, there would be a saving of £185, one-third of which would be saved by the urban authorities and two-thirds by the county. In the case of Rathmines the saving would be, approximately, £236, of which two-thirds would be saved to the county and one-third to the urban council. There are 61 urban districts and 23 towns not urban districts, so that there will be a rather substantial saving. The postponing of the county elections from the beginning to the end of June is to avoid the complication that at present arises when the new register is introduced every year on the 1st June. It is proposed that the county councils elections will in future take place between the 21st June and the 1st July, inclusive. Having the elections at the end of June will avoid the present complication with regard to the register. Certain local authorities are at present dissolved, and the position with regard to these will be that, in the case of Cobh Urban District, Tipperary Urban District, Offaly County Council and Board of Health and the Cork Mental Hospital Committee, the elections will take place, but in the case of the urban districts of Trim, Ennis and Westport the elections will not take place. The statutory period under which these bodies can remain dissolved will not have expired at the end of June next year, and, therefore, the Bill does not arrange that elections will take place in these particular places.
Should it so happen that circumstances in connection with these particular bodies would be such that an election might be warranted, then under the powers vested in the Minister an order could be issued, if so desired, that the elections be held in any or all of these places at the time of the other election. In the case of Dublin borough and county, and to a certain extent in the case of Cork, there is a special problem, and the case of Cork really hangs on the fact that, arising out of the Greater Dublin Commission Report, the whole question of city management will have to be considered. It seems undesirable that the Commissioner should be removed from Cork city until the Greater Dublin Commission Report has been considered and proposals formulated in the light of the consideration of that report. In so far as Dublin borough is concerned, the statutory period for the Commissioners in Dublin city will expire on the 31st March, 1929. It is hoped by that time to have fully considered the Report of the Greater Dublin Commission, and to have proposals made for the Government of Dublin city. For that reason, it is considered undesirable that there should be elections either for the county council or urban or rural districts in Dublin. It is proposed to postpone, elections in the county or county borough of Dublin until a date not later than the 31st March, 1929. The Bill is intended to restart the regular triennial election period that really has not operated since 1914. The Bill makes certain provision with regard to the taking up and laying down of office arising in a consequential way out of the introduction of the fresh triennial period. The Bill also makes provision by which the county councils will have authority for arranging or controlling their schemes of polling districts and polling booths, in the same way as the county councils now do so in respect to the Dáil elections.