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Dáil Éireann debate -
Friday, 11 Nov 1927

Vol. 21 No. 13


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.

In so far as this Bill purposes to make arrangements for the restoration of the ordinary elections triennial or otherwise, of local bodies, we have no objection to it, but several people have mentioned objections to me. While it is admitted there would be a saving in having urban elections and county council elections on the same day, nevertheless there is a fear that there will be confusion when the different lists of candidates are presented to people, especially illiterate and semi-illiterate people in the country. I wonder if the proposer of the Bill would give consideration to that aspect of the question. The saving that would be effected is undoubtedly an advantage that makes an appeal to us, but we would like to have further consideration given to the question so far as it relates to having the elections for these two types of bodies on the one day. We are not satisfied that it is necessary to postpone the elections for the boroughs of Dublin and Cork for such a lengthy period as is proposed The excuse is that the report of the Greater Dublin Commission will have to be considered. That report was published practically a year ago, and surely one year ought to be enough for consideration even of such an important subject by the Department concerned, and to have gone carefully over it. No doubt the Department went over the evidence as it was published during the time the Commission was sitting, which spread over a fairly lengthy period. We are not satisfied that another year or more is necessary in order to give conditional consideration to that report, and for proposals in connection with it, or otherwise, to be brought before this House. We think that between this and next June would be ample time for dealing with the matter.

On this side of the House we object on principle to the suppression of these bodies. We have protested against that, and will continue to protest. We do not see that there was any necessity, at any time, for suppressing these bodies, and we certainly do not agree that the suppression ought to continued any longer. We see no just reason for it in reference to these two bodies, against which no charge of corruption—although frequently made in the public press and elsewhere—has ever been proved. We object strenuously to the continued suppression of these bodies, and the taking away from the citizens of rights which they fulfilled to the satisfaction of those who had elected them in days gone by. Therefore we cannot accept the principle in this Bill, so far as it concerns the suppression of these bodies, and unless we get a promise that by next June the elections that ought to have been held long before now will be ordered by the Ministry we cannot agree to the proposal. Similar things might be said with regard to the other suppressed bodies which the Minister referred to when introducing the Bill. However, there might be some bodies about which there might be discussion as to the advisability of allowing a little further time to put affairs, that may have gone out of order during the period of stress, into proper condition to be handed back to the people. We feel, at any rate, with regard to the Dublin and Cork County Borough Councils, and the other bodies associated with them, that they have been suppressed improperly, and that we cannot give assent to a Bill of this kind, which proposes to continue much longer than is absolutely necessary their further suppression.

In my opinion, the Bill as outlined by the Minister, is one that reflects the opinion generally of the people of the country. As far as I could gather from Deputy O'Kelly's remarks I think there will be general agreement that June is certainly a better time for holding municipal and county council elections than January. We all agree on that. It is certainly an advantage to have an election for the county councils and the urban councils on the same day. As well as a saving of money there is a saving of time. People going to vote have a grievance if they are called on to do so in January for the urban councils, and a few months later for county councils. I think there will be general agreement on that. and that there is no necessity to deal with the matter at any great length. I would like to express my satisfaction at the indication that has been given by the Minister, that we are to return in local government to administration by the elected representatives of the people. While I say that I want to make it quite clear that, as far as I know, the Government were justified in every case in which they appointed commissioners. I do not agree that local government should be carried out by commissioners. I think the people's representatives should govern, but, from whatever causes, we all know that interest in local bodies by the electors seemed to die out. They did not take the interest they should in the local bodies. Although the Government has been attacked for appointing commissioners I hold they were justified. I do not know any place in which commissioners were appointed where the local bodies did their work, or made any attempt to do so. At the same time this Bill indicates that we are going to return to government by elected representatives, and we all hope the electors will show their interest in the elections of the new bodies that will have the spending of the rates and will elect men who will do their duty.

I suppose Deputy O'Kelly would object to my saying that the Government were quite right in their decision with regard to Dublin. I suppose I will be told that I am from the country, and that it is only Dublin people have a right to interfere. I hold that every citizen should have a voice and an interest in the management of Dublin, in which we all have a pride. Dublin is the capital of Ireland and, in addition, all citizens of the Saorstát contribute towards maintaining its importance. The Government institutions, for one thing, the cost of which the people of the country contribute to, tend to make Dublin an important city, and we would all like to see Dublin not only the first city in Ireland, but the first city in the world. The Government will have the support and the cooperation of everybody, I believe, who has the interests of the country at heart, and particularly the interests of Dublin, if they go slowly in their efforts to make it a great city, a city that we can all be proud of. I stood up as one who has been a public representative for a great number of years to make it quite clear, as the Government have been criticised so severely because they appointed commissioners, that after making the fullest inquiry possible I am convinced that the Government have not appointed commissioners in any place where local representatives did their duty, and to express the wish that greater interest will be taken in local administration.

Might I ask the Deputy to tell us in what respect, if any, the Borough Council of Cork neglected its duty before it was dissolved? Was there ever a case against the Borough Council of Cork? "Wanton neglect of their duty" was, I think, the expression used.

I do not want to make a case against Cork Corporation or against any elected body, but in discussing the thing with people from Cork, as I have often discussed things with Dublin people, the general impression I got was that the appointment of a commissioner was justified. I am glad that that state of affairs is going to disappear. I would not like to say anything that would be taken as a charge against Cork. The probability is that those elected in Cork and Dublin were doing their best and acting honestly and conscientiously, but I am sure Deputy French knows that most municipal bodies inherited a good deal of incompetency.

The Deputy is opening up a new field now. I think if he apologised to Cork, and left it at that, it would be better.

That is exactly what is needed.

I want to make it clear that I did not stand up to make a charge against any council.

Am I to accept that as a withdrawal?

I suppose I am at liberty to speak for Limerick, and that there will be no interference with me if I do so. While we can prove no corruption in regard to the Limerick County Council, there is, at the same time, general dissatisfaction with its administration——

The Deputy is now advocating, on this Bill for fixing the date of local elections, that a local body shall be dissolved by the Minister. He cannot do that.

Arising out of a remark made by a Deputy on the opposite benches—I apologise for not knowing his name—I happen to be a country Deputy—rus in urbe—and where I come from we are not egotistical enough to believe that we are capable of carrying out local administration, and that the people of Dublin, our principal city, the city we are so proud of, are not capable of carrying out their own administration.

I agree with Deputy O'Kelly about the inconvenience caused by having the two elections on the one day. I can give the Minister an instance where there were fifty-four candidates for urban and county council elections in one area, and great inconvenience was caused in connection with a large number of illiterate voters. There were nine vacancies in an urban ward and we had twenty candidates, and there were six vacancies for the county council, and we had eighteen candidates. There were fifty-four names for the people in one ward to vote on. I am certain, as a result, that the true opinion of the electors was not expressed when there was such a large number of names submitted to them. January is a suitable month in urban areas, where people have not to travel a long distance to vote, but for county council elections I agree that the month of June is the best. But if there could be some arrangement whereby such a number of bogus names were not put up for the number of seats, as in the case I have mentioned, the objection would probably be lessened.

A deposit.

I would like to supplement the remarks which have been made by Deputy Everett with regard to the holding of both elections on the same date. Undoubtedly there would be a saving—possibly a considerable saving—on the rates as a result, but more important even than that saving is the securing of the opinion of the electorate in a clear manner, so as to ensure the efficient administration of local affairs. I remember that on the occasion of the last county council elections in Dublin there was also an election for the Rathmines Urban Council. I am not a very ignorant person, but when I got into the polling booth and got both ballot papers, not having taken the precaution of noting down the names I wanted to vote for, I was so confused that when I came out I was horrified to find that I had voted for a couple of Cumann na nGaedheal candidates. In cases such as that cited by Deputy Everett, where a voter in a country town may be presented with two lists totalling over fifty names, there is bound to be confusion, and the result of the election is more chance than anything else.

The Minister stated that the whole question of city management would have to be reconsidered, arising out of the Report of the Greater Dublin Commission, but, as Deputy O'Kelly has pointed out, the Greater Dublin Commission was set up in June, 1924, I think, and it held numerous sittings, reports of which were published, between that and November, 1926, when it reported—a full twelve months ago. Surely if the Department is doing its work the whole question of city management arising out of that report should have been considered before this. The Minister states that he hopes the report will be considered before March, 1929. I think that it could easily be considered before then, and that legislation could be framed to give effect to its recommendations in time to enable the election for the Greater Dublin Council, or whatever body will be established, to be held in June of next year, that is, eight months ahead, the same time as the elections for other local bodies. I would also like to know if the Government have accepted the principle of the Greater Dublin Report. Do they intend to introduce legislation to give effect to it? Is that legislation being prepared, and when do they hope to introduce it?

Deputy de Loughrey said that the Government were justified in suppressing the Dublin Corporation. What was the justification? We are entitled to know that when we are told that the action of the Government was justified. In what way was it justified? I understand that in Kilkenny borough the treasurer, or some other official, was responsible for the disappearance of a considerable sum of the ratepayers' money. That did not happen in Dublin. Why was the Kilkenny Corporation not suppressed? There was evidence of serious mismanagement there, but there was no such evidence in the case of Dublin.

It will all come in good time. It may reach there yet.

Are you expressing a hope for its suppression? I think you had better stick to Dublin.

I suppose so, as this is rather a sore spot with you. I think the explanation offered by the Minister that the election for the Dublin County Borough is to be postponed for another 15 or 16 months, because the report has not yet been fully considered, is not the correct explanation. It is obviously not the correct explanation, because the report could be considered, as I said, and legislation introduced in a much shorter space of time than that. Can we be informed as to what the correct explanation is? We are opposed to this postponement and, being opposed to it, we are going to vote against this Bill. While that section remains we will oppose the Bill through all its stages. We believe that the people of Dublin should be entrusted with the administration of their own local affairs. We believe that the action of the Government in keeping that control out of the hands of the people is no justification whatever for this postponement. On this matter we stand to advocate the rights of the citizens of the city to have a direct say as to the manner in which the money collected from them in rates is going to be spent.

I rise to make a few remarks on this Bill—not on any matter connected with my own constituency, but in reference to a matter connected with the County Dublin. I notice that under the Bill the rural district council elections for the County Dublin are not going to be held until the year 1929. With regared to the Balrothery Rural District Council, I understand that a lot of people in North County Dublin, workers and others, consider that this Council is not carrying out its work in the way it should, especially in regard to the manner in which it is treating the workers. Certain delays have taken place with regard to relief schemes in North County Dublin on the part of that district council. As this district council will not, I understand, come in under the Greater Dublin scheme, I think the Minister has not made out a case why the elections for this rural district council should not be held next June.

Before Deputy Gorey speaks, and as he is one of the representatives of Kilkenny, I would like to say that I am not going to have a discussion on the Kilkenny Corporation, even though Deputy Lemass did make an allusion to it.

I do not want to interfere with the Corporation at all. I want to say that it is quite apparent that as regards election for local bodies, the people do not come forward to the poll in very large numbers. We had an explanation perhaps from Deputy Lemass as to the want of interest in local elections and as to the necessity for appointing Commissioners. He said he was horrified, in voting for somebody perhaps on his merits as an administrator, to find that he was altogether wrong from the political point of view. I think we have too much politics in local elections. If we could concentrate more on merits in local administrators and pay less attention to politics we would be going in the right direction. I rise to support the point of view that if you want to get representative bodies elected the way to do that is to have the two elections held together. That I think is the wise course to follow both from the point of view of economy and from the point of view of having representative bodies returned. In the case of minor elections you cannot get the people to come forward and vote. I think if the two elections were held together it would have the effect of getting more people to come and vote. I hope the Minister will adhere to his original intention of having the two elections on the one day.

Coming as I do from an urban district I welcome this Bill and think it is a capital idea to have the two elections held on the one day. In Midleton, the town I come from, a local election costs £90. We also have to pay our share of the election expenses to the Cork County Council. There will be a big saving of money, therefore, by holding the two elections on the one day. I think you are also more likely to have a large poll by having the two elections on the one day than by having them on separate days. With regard to the point made by some Deputies that confusion would be caused by holding the two elections on the one day because of the use of two ballot papers, I do not think that is likely at all. The ballot papers will clearly indicate that one relates to the urban council election and the other to the county council election, and as far as the electors are concerned I do not think they are so dense that they cannot read them. As regards illiterate voters, of course no difficulty will arise in their case, because the names on the ballot papers will be read out for them by the presiding officers.

There is only one point which I would like to bring to the notice of the Minister, and it is this, that I think the local authorities ought to be consulted when a list is being made out of the places at which polling booths will be situated. In the town I come from this is a source of complaint for the reason that the people in the southern portion have to go to the northern portion in order to record their votes and vice versa. I think it would be much more desirable, in the case of people living in the southern portion of the town, that booths for them were provided in the southern end and have the same arrangements for people living in the northern end. I hope that matter will receive attention. I welcome the Bill, because it will lead to economy in the expenditure of the ratepayers' money.

I would like to say that I am inclined to the view expressed by Deputy Lemass and Deputy Everett as to the confusion that will arise by holding the county council and urban elections on the one day. There are, for instance, eleven representatives for one ward in the town of Wexford, while the area that takes in the town has seven representatives on the county council. By holding the two elections on the one day, you will have, therefore, the people called upon to elect and vote for eighteen people on the one day. I think the Minister will admit that will create a great deal of confusion even in the minds of educated people. They will get confused when presented with two large ballot papers with a big list of candidates printed on them. In the case I have quoted it would, I think, be reasonable to assume that there will be at least 36 candidates, that is, two for each vacancy. I fear it will prove a colossal job for many voters to mark the two papers intelligently. I think the Minister should reconsider the position so far as that aspect of the question is concerned.

The Deputy who has just sat down made an appeal to the Minister to have something done with regard to the situation of the polling booths. As far as I understand, that matter is left entirely in the hands of the local returning officer, whether the secretary of the county council or the clerk of the urban authority. I think if proper representations were made to the returning officer on this matter that he would make arrangements to suit the requirements of everyone. That, at all events, has been my experience. So far as the Labour Party is concerned, we are going to support the Bill for the good things that are in it. We are not going to vote against its Second Reading, but on the remaining stages we will take every opportunity that presents itself to vote against the clause which prevents elections being held in the cities and towns where commissioners have been appointed. I make a last appeal to the Minister to reconsider his decision with regard to holding the two elections on the one day.

What I would like to see is a re-grouping of the districts forming the electrol area. That is a cause of more contention in country districts than anything else. I know electoral areas for which they return nine members. That, to my mind, is ridiculous. First, you will have 30 or 40 candidates for that area and, secondly, what is everybody's business is nobody's business, and the nine men elected do not know what particular portion of that area they represent, and the business of the area is not properly looked after. I could give an instance in County Roscommon, in one particular area, where nine members have to be returned. Four were returned from one particular end of that area and the other five were scattered around with the result that the largest portion of the area had no representation at all. I think the districts ought to be re-grouped and instead of having nine representatives elected on the one ticket, there ought to be three areas and three elections, and you will do away with the confusion of having a large amount of candidates. The voters would know their own men and whom to vote for. I urge upon the Minister for Local Government to try and include re-grouping of the districts with a view to making the local election areas smaller than they are.

I have had as much experience of elections as most members of the House, and have definitely come to the conclusion that there is scarcely any country in the world which can present such an intelligent electorate as Ireland or persons more capable of appraising the relative qualities of candidates. Unless one is particularly interested in adherents of a particular political party not having taken the precaution of learning its list of candidates there is very little danger of the confusion which has been mentioned, and the saving effected is considerable. It is well known, I think, in those districts where elections took place during the winter—January—that it was an unseasonable time, and that people had not a great desire to travel in order to vote, that canvassing and all the rest of it is difficult, that every effort should be made to limit the cost of national and local institutions, and that this is one way in which we can do this. Going forward a little bit, I wonder whether it is wise to bring political considerations into the realm of local politics. After all, anyone with experience of local bodies realises that there are very marked political differences between very good administrators, that you will find from all parties an effort in connection with local administration to do the business which is set before them, apart from political considerations and opinions altogether. That, at any rate, has been my experience. There were members of the old Unionist Party of whom I had experience who were good and others who were bad administrators. There were members of the old Home Rule Party excellent administrators. Some members of the Sinn Féin Party to which I belonged were excellent; there were others to whom I would certainly not give that character. There is no monopoly of keen administrative capacity in any political party, and when it comes to a question of waterworks, a sewage scheme, a housing scheme, or anything of that sort, one's political opinion does not give any particular insight as to the best method of doing that work.

The problem is not whether local authorities were rightfully or wrongfully disbanded during the last few years. It is to get a new system better adapted to the needs and necessities of the moment. Take Dublin as an example. It does not require any great examination into history to disclose that the control of the City of Dublin has varied considerably within the last hundred years. You had the Municipal Reform Act of, I think, 1839 which gave the modern Corporation of which the great Irish leader of the time became the first Lord Mayor. It was not a good Act, but was a marked improvement on what had prevailed previously, and later when the Local Government Act of 1898 came along, that marked a considerable difference in the administration of the city. Now we have an opportunity of considering what is best in the modern circumstances, and I hesitate to agree with Deputy Corish or Deputy Lemass that time has been wasted to the extent of twelve months since the report came in. Supposing it has. We have now to consider what has been recommended in the report. We have got to send recommendations to the draftsman, to get legislation introduced, and to deal with it here. All those steps will take a considerable time. Is it likely, with the best will in the world, that it is going to be done before March, 1929? At most, what is hoped to be saved is nine months. Are we going to divide on this measure for nine months? If my advice were asked I would say that it ought not to be done by June. It is not a political question. It is a question we will be judged on by the people who give votes. We think the Act, when introduced and considered in all its phases, will exhibit, in the course of time, infirmities which might be remedied if we had taken a little more time and given a little more consideration to its subject matter. The question is what can we do now to deal with a new situation. Anyone who has had experience of public administration in Dublin or Cork realises how complicated it is. Deputy O'Kelly is well aware of one particular phase of the Sinn Féin programme which had to be abandoned in the light of experience. The protest against the police rate had to be abandoned for the reason that it was discovered if the policy had been insisted upon something like twelve or thirty thousand pounds worth of valuation would escape all liability and the persons responsible for the consolidated municipal rate would be saddled with a cost of a halfpenny in the £1. I was certainly amazed, year after year, in connection with the administration of the city, its ramifications, and so on. The only question which, I think, divides us on the merits of this measure is: can the report which has been made be considered and can legislation be introduced so as to allow for election to the cities of Dublin and Cork earlier than March, 1929? Deputies have said June next year. I do not think it is possible. I do not think it would be wise, if it were possible. I think it would require more consideration and ought to get it, and I hope, as a result of that longer and better consideration, that it will reflect credit not alone on this Bill but on the City of Dublin.

There is one matter which I consider of sufficient importance to bring under the notice of the Minister, and that is the extraordinary number of eligible voters who have been omitted from the voters' lists in recent years. I understand the rate collectors are responsible for making out these lists, and I suggest that the Minister ought to take steps to bring the matter under the notice of the county councils, or the rate collectors, so that it will not occur in future. Innumerable people with large property and eligible in every way are left off. I would be sorry to suggest deliberately left off. There is one Party that takes more interest in elections than others, and this is a matter of very great importance. These large rate payers have had no opportunity of voting at several elections in succession. I certainly stress the point as very important, and of not being of particular advantage to any Party, as it interests all.

So far as the statement made by the President with reference to the report is concerned, I find myself in entire agreement with him. It is not a matter upon which the House should be divided. But I am at a loss to know why it is that the case of Cork should await the publication of the report of the Greater Dublin Commission. I do not want to express an opinion one way or the other as to the desirability or undesirability of the appointment of Commissioners in the case of Cork and Dublin, but whatever may be said for Dublin, I do know there was no case of corruption proved against the Cork Corporation. At the same time, I must say that perhaps in Cork we were lucky in regard to the Commissioner. The Commissioner has done some very useful work. In connection with the whole business, if we are to be perfectly frank and honest with ourselves, we must admit that throughout the whole administration in this country there was a certain amount of corruption. That cannot be denied, unless we want to blind ourselves absolutely to facts. It is perhaps a habit of mind we have got into for many years to assume that we are all angels and that our administrators have been archangels, particularly those who are anxious to get into public life. The Cork Corporation undoubtedly did make mistakes, but I suppose all human institutions make mistakes. We are told that to err is human.

I submit that there is a phase of this question which possibly has not struck many Deputies; that there is a lack of public and civic spirit growing up as a result of the continuation of the system of Commissioners. Whatever may occur in connection with the Greater Dublin Report, that is a phase of the question which I am sure should appeal to Ministers. There is no doubt, as I said, that perhaps we have been lucky in the Commissioner. We have some little experience in Cork of certain Commissioners who were equal to any Czar of Russia that I ever heard of. But so far as the present Commissioner of Cork Borough is concerned, I think he has given a certain amount of satisfaction. While wishing for the return of an elected representative body modelled on the lines somewhat of the old Corporation, I hope that careful inquiry will be made as to reforms effected and other matters, and also to be sure that there is a general demand on the part of the people for the return of this old institution.

In this Bill there is a provision which appears to me to be very desirable, that the election should be held in June instead of January. As one who has some little experience of elections, I think it will be generally agreed that one is much more likely to get a representative opinion from the electorate in June than in January. Weather, to my mind, has a tremendous influence. That has been my experience.

We get a better result in September.

From my experience of elections, I have no hesitation in saying that we are much more likely to get the electorate to record their views on the different candidates and proposals put before them in June than in January. Therefore, I plump for June. Something has been said about the delay that has arisen in giving legislative effect to the recommendations of the Greater Dublin Commission. As one who has been in the Dáil for some four or five years, I have nothing to say against the Government for delaying legislation, but I have a great many accusations to make against them for rushing legislation. Personally, I am extremely glad that this important matter has been left over, and that legislation in connection with it has not been rushed, as it has been in connection with other matters.

A further advantage from the delay is that we will have the views of the Deputies who now form the Opposition. If this measure had been introduced earlier, we would not have had the advantage of those views. I think it is desirable in local, as in Parliamentary elections, that every encouragement should be given to electors to record their votes. There has been too much apathy amongst all parties in the past, and in connection with local elections I know of no factor that is more likely to increase that apathy than removing from voters the obligation to pay rates. I do not know of any greater incentive to electors to vote than the fact that they are personally responsible for the payment of the rates. They will have an interest in seeing where the money is expended, and in those who will have the spending of that money. If we want to promote a real civic spirit in city and urban areas, the responsibility for paying the rates ought to be on the individual householder.

I should like to say that we approve, in the main, of the terms of this Bill, and are not anxious to go into the Division Lobby against it on Second Reading. Two points have been brought forward. The first is the question of having the two sets of elections held on the one day. That is a question of balancing, so far as I can see, the economy that will be effected by it with the confusion which it might possibly cause. Without having an opportunity of estimating in full what the saving will be, and of running through the various divisions to get an idea of the chance of confusion, I find it difficult to make up my mind as to whether the confusion should be risked for the sake of the economy which is proposed to be effected by it. However, on that matter, it is possible that on the Committee Stage we may be able to get further information, and may be able to make up our minds definitely about that.

The other matter is a more serious one from our point of view. We all know, when there is a rush of work and a number of things going on, each contending with the other for precedence, that, unless pressure is put on, the legislation which has been indicated by the President with reference to Greater Dublin might be unnecessarily delayed. We are anxious to see Dublin governed once more by its own citizens, and Cork once more governed by its own citizens, and unless we get some assurance that the time is going to be shortened, we will be compelled to oppose this Bill on the Second Reading. There are more than six months from now until June. I expect this measure has already received consideration by the Executive Council, and that, perhaps, the heads of the Bill which it is intended to introduce have been sent to the draftsman already.

And the real occasion when we will want time is when the measure comes here. We have a certain amount of experience of what is happening in this House in respect to Bills. The general pressure of public work prevents due consideration in detail of them here. and what we are anxious about is this: that the Bill should be brought in as soon as possible. We think three months from now should be sufficient time to get the heads of the Bill presented, and get the Bill prepared.

It has not been considered by the Executive Council yet.

It is already for twelve months before the Executive Council.

No, before the Minister.

The report was furnished over twelve months ago, and now if we are to wait until March, 1929, it is going to lie with the Minister, or wherever it is, in cold storage for another four or five months. If we want it brought out and settled we have to put pressure of some kind, and we believe that another three months —say, until March—would be quite sufficient time to get that Bill considered by the Executive Council. Another month would give time enough to have it prepared, and then we would have a month or so in which the Bill could be properly discussed in this House. So that we think that it would be possible if the Executive Council get a move on to have the Bill in time for the June election, and that the part that seems to penalise the people of Cork and Dublin and other places, could be omitted. We would like to know from the Minister for Local Government, or from the President of the Executive Council, whether there is any chance of getting this brought forward by June?

I do not see the slightest possible chance. The Executive Council has not yet considered the Minister's recommendations on the report. But apart altogether from that, even if the Executive Council had so considered it, and agreed on the heads of the Bill for the draftsman, I see very little possibility of getting the Bill from the draftsman at any earlier period than three months from the date on which he is presented with the Bill. It must be remembered that the springtime of each year entails much more work on the draftsman than any other time. The Finance Bill and other Bills that have to be considered take up a considerable amount of time and I do not see any likelihood whatever of this Bill coming from the draftsman within four or five months from now. I hesitate to think that the Bill will come from the draftsman within six months even with the best will in the world.

Would the President consider the advisability of postponing the elections until September; and then bringing in a Bill?

I am interested in the civic rights of the people of Cork, being a member of the Cork County Board of Public Assistance. On that Board we have ten representatives from the Cork County Council. The Cork Corporation are entitled to six. Commissioner Monahan represents the six from the Corporation and has only one vote. I do not think it is fair on a board like that, where the interests of the rural population are represented in such numbers that the citizens whose interests come into direct conflict with them should be deprived practically of representation. I do not think it is fair or just that the citizens should be deprived of their proper representation. On one occasion, recently, Commissioner Monahan, who is also in charge of the Cork Mental Hospital, threatened the County Council with a writ for the non-payment of money which should be paid to the Mental Hospital. That money amounted to £5,000 but it was already paid and the Commissioner, afterwards, admitted that he had overlooked the payment. Does the Executive Council think that a Commissioner who overlooked the payment of £5,000 and threatened the County Council with a writ, is a better person than direct representatives elected by the people of Cork?

I want to protest most strongly against the elections being arranged for June. I do not think the constituency I represent is alone in the view that I present on its behalf. It is most important, in my opinion, that, as Deputy Good says, the people should be got to vote. In the constituency I come from, at the last June election, in the Achill district, there were 1,300 migratory labourers away in Scotland and England. In the Ballyhaunis district and in other places a similar state of things obtained. The holding of elections in June would disfranchise a number of voters. There are other constituencies, how many I know not, that would suffer in like manner from a June election. This is so important I could not help protesting in the strongest manner against the arrangement. I consider it is too serious to let pass without protest. I hope this arrangement will not be final, and, in fact, I hope it will not take place.

I object to the Bill in so far as it makes for the postponement of the elections of the dissolved bodies. The fact that certain bodies have been dissolved has been interpreted by some people as a definite accusation against the character of these bodies and their members collectively and individually. To my mind, the Minister for Local Government is postponing unnecessarily the calling together of those bodies, or giving the people an opportunity for electing their own representatives. I personally express disappointment that there is not, through the Bill, a definite change which I think the people of the country were looking forward to when anticipating the introduction of the Bill.

There is an idea amongst a considerable number of people that the existing bodies, as they are at the moment, are too large, and that if the membership were reduced it would tend towards greater efficiency. I am one of those who believe that. I would frankly state it in formulating a Bill affecting the future administration in the Borough of Cork, and I would advocate a reduction of the number from 56 to somewhere between 16 and 20. I think that would tend to more efficiency, and I believe that what could be said of the City of Cork could be said of almost every county council and urban council throughout the country. I am rather disappointed that such an improvement was not suggested by the Minister in this Bill.

I do not want to be led into a controversy, for instance, against the present Commissioner in Cork. Like Deputy Anthony, I am not going to deny the fact that he has done a certain amount of good. But I think Deputy Anthony might also have suggested that there was nothing he performed that could not be performed equally well if the members of the Borough Council of Cork were allowed to remain in office. The Minister for Local Government has in his office a statement of the defence made by the County Borough of Cork. I am prepared to stand by that defence, and I am prepared to make that defence before any Deputy here. I am prepared to make it before any three Deputies on the opposite benches, and I am prepared to say and to prove that there was no case established at the inquiry in Cork against the integrity and honour of any member of the Cork Borough Council. I am prepared to stand on that. The matter is old now, but the fact that a body has been dissolved allows an individual to stand up and say that the bodies that were dissolved wantonly neglected their duties or refused to do their duties. There was no such charge proved against them. It was easy to set going the forces which were behind the dissolution of the Cork Corporation, but since these forces are now absent there is no need of further reference to them.

I want to stress the point that Deputy Corry has made. At the present moment the South County Board of Public Assistance is composed of ten members of the Cork County Council. The Borough Council of Cork, that is, the Cork citizens, are entitled to five representatives on that Board. Commissioner Monahan represents the Borough Council. He has one vote there. I think I am right in stating that he, himself, publicly resented the position he was left in, when he was voting for the whole contribution from the City of Cork to the whole scheme of the South County Board of Health, and he was left at the mercy of the ten members of the County Council.

The Minister suggests that the Cork Mental Hospital Committee of Management will be reformed after the June elections. Will the same apply on the Board of Management and will the city be again represented by an individual, and will the individual have only one vote? I am not really questioning the matter of votes. It is a matter of opinion. I am one of those who believe that really five Corkmen can express the needs of this institution better than one individual could express them. I am not saying this now in any personal sense. I believe that as regards the old Poor Law system inasmuch as it referred to the workhouses, the improvement, at any rate in the Cork Union, justifies the change from the old to the new. Making that definitely clear, I would suggest to the Minister to give us some argument, for instance, as to whether Cork stands on a par with Dublin. I am admitting that I am prepared to agree to a change as from the old to the new, but I cannot see how Cork is on a par with Dublin. The President said it was impossible to bring in legislation for Greater Dublin in time for the June elections, but if there is an excuse in the case of Dublin there is no excuse in the case of Cork. There is no suggestion for a Greater Cork. All we want is to have Cork as good as it was in 1922.

It could not be greater.

I will accept the correction from Deputy O'Kelly. It could not be greater. I say that if there is an argument for postponing the elections in Dublin, there certainly is no argument in the case of Cork. I do not want to be put in the position of admitting a comparison between the old body and the affairs as administered at the moment. It has been suggested by Deputy Anthony that everybody must remember there was corruption in public life in Ireland. I must say that I found perhaps less corruption amongst public representatives than I found in my ordinary experience in commercial business. Public representatives have not been corrupt, speaking generally. To my mind, there was less corruption in public life than in ordinary commercial business. That is my view about this matter of corruption in public life. I am certainly going to admit that things happened that might better not have happened. But they happened far less in public bodies than they did in ordinary business. On that I am prepared to stand.

What business is the Deputy speaking of?

I mean ordinary commercial enterprise. I must certainly say that the people of Cork must be assumed to be as good judges of honesty as the people that Deputy Good represents. The honesty of a people is reflected in their public representatives. And the sooner Deputy Good gets that fact into his head the better. No man can tell me that commercial life is one hundred per cent. honest and that the administration of public affairs, because it happens to be somewhat democratic in Ireland, thank God, is going to be the hall mark, the absolute hall mark of dishonesty and corruption. Let us have a definite case.

We have had a reduction of 4/- in the rates in Dublin.

I do not want to be drawn into that, but I can turn round and tell the Deputy that the rates have been increased in Cork, so that if you had a reduction in Dublin you had them increased elsewhere. I would like to know from the Minister when will the Deputies of this House have an opportunity of getting the information that would be of use in this matter? Would it be infra dig, would it be asking too much, would it be asking for something that we are not entitled to get if we were to ask if he would give us some idea of the intention of the Executive in this matter? I suggest that, as one who definitely believes that every Deputy is interested in the future of local government in Ireland, and I believe that the measure to be brought in should be a Bill framed on the advice of the whole House rather than a measure fostered by one party. You have here the position that we want to get down to something solid and definite in local administration, and whatever criticism, at any rate, will come from these benches will be offered more in the spirit of advice than in a party spirit. If it could be possible to get this Bill through without division no one would be more pleased than I. But I will certainly oppose it while it contains a section which prevents people who are qualified to govern their own city from being given an opportunity of doing so.

I desire to say that I am in entire agreement with the views of Deputy Lemass and Deputy Corish as to the confusion that is bound to occur by having two sets of ballot papers and two different presiding officers at the polling booths. Confusion is bound to result from the holding of the county council and urban council elections in the same room, using different coloured ballot papers. It has been pointed out that in many cases there would be twenty or thirty candidates and although we may be very highly educated in the matter of elections as, no doubt, we are—although perhaps the President himself on one occasion had some difficulties over an election—the average elector will find this proposed method very confusing. As regards the President, I think on one memorable occasion he had difficulty with his ballot paper. Under this proposal the elector would be getting not one but two ballot papers. In the case of the President he had only one ballot paper and he had only one election to deal with and yet he did not fill the paper up properly. I think the people in the urban districts if they are handed two ballot papers with ten or fifteen names on each will hardly be likely to do their duty in marking them correctly and we will not have good councils as a result of the confusion at the elections.

Anyone can understand the position at the polling booths where possibly there are fifteen or twenty candidates on each paper and one can realise the state of mind of the elector when one considers the confusion that arises out of one ballot paper alone not to mention two. Before he finally decides on this matter, if there is no very serious objection to it I suggest the Minister should consider amending the Bill so that the elections should not be held on the same day and in the same booth, I refer to the urban elections and the county council elections.

On the point of correction, I should like to mention to the Deputy that on the occasion he has referred to there were 100 candidates whose names were on the voting paper and I was interrupted in the course of the marking of the paper when I had got as far as the fiftieth preference.


I also object to the delay in the elections for Dublin. I do not see what further advantage Deputy Good's people have to gain by disfranchising the citizens. The citizens of Dublin well know, and I am sure the President knows it better than anyone here in the House, that for many years a great tug was going on between the Chamber of Commerce and the Dublin Corporation. It was a most extraordinary thing to see that the people who stood for the citizens' rights for many years gave in when they got control themselves. That was a most extraordinary position. The Commissioners have done very drastic things since they came into power. The principal object, to my mind, for which they were put there was to reduce the wages of the workers. They have got on fairly well in that line, I must say. The last reduction in the wages of the workers was followed a fortnight or three weeks later by an increase of £200 per annum for each of the three Commissioners. That is one point.

A short time ago a lease was given to the Tramways Company—I suppose Deputy Good and his friends are interested in that—for another forty years. The tendency in the old Corporation was that at some day or another a party would get into control which would put the Tramway Company in its place. They were fighting, as the President knows, for the lighting of the city, and there was a constant pull between the Chamber of Commerce, Deputy Good's people, and the people's representatives to prevent the lighting of the city falling into the citizens' hands. Luckily, although we had not our full freedom, we did not hand it to the Chamber of Commerce, and it remained in the citizens' hands. I do not know what further schemes may be on foot to delay the elections for another twelve months. When the time comes I suppose we will be told there is another fait accompli, and we can do nothing more about it. When the time does come we are going to see that Deputy Good and the people he represents will get their right share of representation and no more.

Hear, hear.


The Dublin citizens will also know, the President included, that the Corporation of Dublin, when the people were properly represented about 1898, took over a legacy from Deputy Good's people, the Unionist element that had run this city, and that gave it the name of dear, dirty Dublin. When they tried to extend the boundaries they got the bankrupt townships of Clontarf and Drumcondra. They put down new drains, and they improved the city in every way, and then they got closed down.

Is this an Omnibus Bill?


It is a matter that has to be inquired into. We would like to know what game is on foot. Is it simply the difficulty of carrying through the elections, or is there something else like a tramway lease put in the way? I believe that that lease would not have fallen in for another seven years. Perhaps I am not right, but why did they not wait until the new body was elected before the lease was given to the Tramways Company? I think those matters are relevant to what is under discussion. Why should the nominees of the Government have given away a lease of the streets of Dublin to the Tramways Company which has always been inimical to the interests of the citizens? A big point has been gained by starting labour on the down grade. You would think they would have more decency than to increase their own salaries by £200 a few weeks later.

I find myself in agreement with many of the provisions in this Bill, especially as regards the holding of the elections on the one day and the postponement of the urban elections from January until June. That has been done at the express wish of many of the urban centres, because in making their estimates they were under the impression that the elections would not be held until June and therefore they failed to make any provision for the holding of an election in January. As regards the suspension or dissolution of the Corporations of Dublin and Cork I wish to state that perhaps if those bodies had looked after the business affairs of their respective cities a little better and left out the political side, these Corporations would probably be still in existence.

I wish to make my position clear. I am not an advocate of filching all powers from the people. I am strengthened in that opinion by what prevails in England, and after all, England did not become great by doing things wrong. At the present time, she is not willing to take away any powers that are conferred upon, or that the people enjoy. Consequently I think that the Government should lose no time in providing that the people of Dublin and Cork see to it that if these powers are restored they will look after the interests and safeguard the interests of the ratepayers who reside in those cities.

I certainly agree with holding both the urban and county council elections on the one day, and I do not think that confusion will exist to the extent which we are led to believe by the statements of some Deputies. It is about time that we in Ireland, considering the amount of money spent annually on education, should be able to have, at least, sufficient education to mark a few ballot papers on the same day. For that reason I am more or less in agreement with the provisions of the Bill and I hope that in the near future the rights that have been taken away from the citizens of Dublin and Cork will be restored. If you take away rights from the people they will, perhaps, ultimately cease to take any interest in local or national affairs. A great deal has been said for the dissolution of the Dublin Corporation but I would like to suggest to the people who are always too ready to magnify the faults, or rather the supposed faults, of that corporation to cast their eyes a little northwards and magnify in the same way the faults committed by the Belfast Corporation. In justice to the Dublin Corporation I think it should be said that they have carried on the affairs of the city, at least equally as efficiently as their neighbours up North. I will support the Bill, especially as the elections will be held on the same day, thereby, as the Minister for Local Government has said, effecting a considerable saving to the ratepayers in urban centres.

In regard to the confusion that may arise by holding both the urban and county council elections on the same day, I should say that the matter was very carefully gone into before I included it in the Bill, and I am quite clear that a little more consideration of the matter would show that confusion is not likely to be as great as has been suggested, if, indeed, there is likely to be any great confusion at all. There was a time, as Deputy O'Hanlon stated, when district councillors and urban councillors were elected on the same day. The proposal here involves that, so far as urban people are concerned, they will have the urban councils to vote for and in the urban districts, whilst voting for the county councils on the one day they will also vote for their urban representatives. It is not, I submit, placing too great a strain on townsmen to ask them when voting for the county councils also to vote for their town representatives. The point has been urged that that system provides great difficulty for the illiterate section of the population. I do not think that we ought to cut out a thing that is a clear economy of money and of time, simply to cater for a section of our population which, considering, as a Deputy has said, the amount of money spent on education, we ought to expect would be very rapidly passing. If we did not take them into consideration, it might be worth while to hand over the money saved to the Minister for Education to see what he could do for them.

On further consideration everyone, I hope, will agree that the most suitable arrangement is to have elections on the one day. The point has been raised about the large number of candidates creating some confusion. We have already powers by which county electoral areas can be regrouped, if there is a case made for doing so, and the same applies to urban districts. In Section 14, there are powers given to the county councils for the convenience of voters to make schemes for polling booths. I think we have already powers with regard to the other point. As to the question raised by Deputy Shaw about voters not being on the list who ought to be on it, he referred to some people who were not able to vote at several consecutive elections. There is responsibility on the proper officials for having the register correctly made out, and very drastic steps have been taken by the Department from time to time to see that that duty is properly carried out. It is, I am convinced, a very difficult duty and, while the Department will do everything on its side to see that the register is true and accurate and as perfect as possible, there is responsibility on the individual voter, for whom arrangements are made yearly to inspect the register at suitable places, to see that his name is included and if not to make his claim. That particularly refers to people who complain that they have been off the register for a long time. There will be as good a register as possible, and nothing will be left undone to see that slackness is not tolerated. Several persons have, as a matter of fact, been severely taken up departmentally because they failed in their duty on the matter, but we do ask for some of that civic spirit, about which Deputy Anthony spoke, particularly on the part of those who have complaints to make that they are not on the register. Deputy Kilroy raised a question about migratory labourers. So far as the county council elections are concerned, we simply changed the date from the beginning to the end of June, and the month of June is practically left unchanged. It may be worth taking notice of that point, but these labourers have suffered under the same difficulty for years past.

Is the Minister aware that these migratory labourers go to England and Scotland about the 20th June?

That would give ground for complaint, undoubtedly, but if you put back the elections earlier than the 20th June you get into difficulties with regard to the register. As regards the position of Dublin and Cork, I did not anticipate that I would leave Deputy Lemass under the impression that the existence of the Greater Dublin Commission's report was the complete explanation of our proposition not to have the Dublin elections before June next. I must say that if there had been time to complete the examination of that report in time to have legislation introduced the elections in Dublin would take place in June. I do not know that the question as to the dissolution of the Dublin and Cork Corporations really arises on this matter. So far as I am concerned, steps were taken to dissolve them, and they were dissolved, and legislation was introduced which enabled those Corporations to be run by Commissioners up to, but not later than 31st March, 1929. I am prepared to leave the matter at that for the purpose of getting the present legislative proposals discussed on their merits. In my opinion, you cannot hope to get the Greater Dublin Commission report sufficiently examined and legislation introduced and dealt with in this Dáil sooner than the beginning of 1929. The best contribution that anyone can make to the proper solution of the problem of Dublin and Cork is to realise the fact that underlying the whole question of the government of these cities is a big financial problem and a big engineering problem. As a matter of fact, I have a small committee thoroughly investigating the whole financial aspect of the Greater Dublin report, so that there will be nothing left unsurveyed when we come to put down definite proposals, and nothing of financial importance will be left unprovided for. At the same time I have an engineering committee looking into the engineering and general physical side of the Greater Dublin report. Nothing will be left unsurveyed in that direction either.

Would the Minister state when he hopes to have the recommendations arising out of the report ready?

I cannot say. All I can say is that I hope to urge on the work of examination in such a way that I could put a case before the Executive Council, let them take their decision on it, then let it go to the draftsman and give him fair time to see that in framing his legislation everything is properly covered, and then give this House sufficient time to consider the matter thoroughly. I hope to be able to do that, and allow the election on the new basis not later than the 31st March, 1929. I am stretching my hopes when I say that, because the problem is a big and intricate one. I quite appreciate the value of pressure, but pressure that would obscure my judgment, or make me rush others into a consideration of important matters in a way that would not be fair having regard to the importance of the subject they have to consider, we ought to avoid, because it would not do any good.

Deputy French stated that proposals for the governing of Dublin and Cork should be considered in a non-party way. As to the question of the new arrangements for the government of our city, I certainly can say that as far as I am concerned I am facing it in a non-party way, and I do not know anyone with whom I am in touch who does not look on it as an important and detached problem. Whoever can contribute towards an effective solution of these problems can have all the credit and acknowledgement to which they are entitled. Some Deputies consider that because a body is dissolved there is a suspicion of corruption and all that implies. I think the President stated on a particular occasion that he came across very little corruption in public life, either in the Dublin Corporation or elsewhere. If steps were taken to dissolve Cork and Dublin Corporations it was in the interests of better organisation of civic government, and better efficiency and economy. I do not want to raise the question as to whether or not that has been accomplished, because we ought, I think, put that behind us and look at the provisions of this measure to see if it provides the way in which we can better order our local government elections in future, and in the case of Dublin and Cork face the question as to whether there are not matters so intricate and important as to warrant the spending of a little extra time in their consideration. That really is the point that has to be considered.

Deputy Cassidy asked why elections for certain rural councils in Dublin were not allowed to take place. We considered the whole question of County Dublin. The town of Balbriggan lay outside the sphere likely to be involved in any Greater Dublin boundary, and the Bill provides for the election of the town council in Balbriggan next year. So far as the other rural councils are concerned, not only are they to some extent involved in the Greater Dublin area, but there is also the point that the Poor Law Commission's report has made certain recommendations. County Dublin is the only place where rural district councils exist, and as a result of the consideration of the Greater Dublin report and the Poor Law Commission's report, it may not be necessary to continue the rural councils in Dublin, so that there is little justification for having an election for these next year when they may not be required to exist for more than two years. In the consideration of this Bill both on Second Reading and on the Committee Stage I would ask that we simply face the question as to how we can best order local government elections through the country generally, and in the case of Dublin and Cork how we can best make a contribution towards seeing that the future government and administration of these two important cities will be placed on the most effective and efficient basis, giving satisfaction not only to the citizens of these cities but to the country generally.

Am I to understand that under Section 14 the Minister is prepared to give favourable consideration to recommendations from boroughs and county councils with regard to regrouping for electoral purposes?

No, for polling purposes only. In so far as it may be necessary to regroup any electoral division for the purpose of representation I feel that we have already these powers. Any representations along these lines could be considered and effect given to them.

What would the Minister consider should be the maximum number of representatives to be elected from any one area? Would he not say four or five would be sufficient?

I would like to give some consideration to that point.

Does the Minister understand that the old grouping is very antiquated? I recommend him to take parish and rural areas into consideration when regrouping.

The Minister did not answer the question I put to him about the representatives of the Borough Council on the Mental Hospital Committee and County Cork Board of Public Assistance. I am not yet satisfied that postponement is necessary in the case of Cork for dealing with the report of the Commission on Greater Dublin. I cannot see how Cork is very materially affected by that report.

If the city is suffering any disability with regard to representation on the South Cork Board of Health or the Mental Hospital Committee, if the Deputy has any representation to make in the matter I will see to what extent there is power at the present moment to give representation on these bodies other than the Commissioner. That is a matter that I think can best be dealt with if referred to me as a separate case. As to the Cork Commissioner being continued until such time as we take decisions with regard to Dublin, the Deputy has made a suggestion that implies that a definite and perhaps big problem is involved there, and I think he is aware that there are a number of very prominent citizens in Cork who, I think, were going to sponsor a Bill dealing with the government of the city at one time. I do not know why they left it aside, whether they were influenced by the fact that the Greater Dublin Commission had reported and wanted to see what was coming out of the consideration of matters in connection with Dublin. We are certainly going to come up against the consideration of principles and matters of organisation which would be of use perhaps when fully considered before the question of Cork is dealt with. Cork will perhaps not suffer particularly in waiting for an additional twelve months before decisions along these lines are taken. If the Deputy suggests now that the Cork Corporation ought to be elected in June, that would be simply rushing the matter, and he could not tell whether he would be sorry for it or not. Really nothing can be lost by postponing the matter for an additional twelve months, particularly when by doing so there will be, I hope, the benefit from having the whole problem of Dublin considered. This is only 1927, and one does not know what might happen in Cork when it starts growing.

I am admitting that much might not be lost, but there might be a lot gained, if the Minister would reinstate the Borough Council. The question of representation of the Borough Council on these two committees—I am not making a personal matter in regard to the continuance of the Commissioner, but the city of Cork is entitled to five representatives, and at present it has only one. I think members of the Borough Council absolutely established their competency to be on these boards previously.

Does the Deputy suggest that Cork is suffering except in what he thinks is prestige?

As a member of the Board of Assistance I will guarantee Cork will suffer.

I will not go so far as that, but I will say frankly that anybody who has had experience of, for instance, the South County Board of Public Assistance must recognise the great change for the better that has been made within the area under its control. It is undoubtedly a credit, and credit is due in a small way to the members of the original Board of Public Assistance. But I contend that the Commissioner, although he is absolutely competent and a man of merit, has not intelligence equal to the intelligence of five individuals, who would possibly be able to give advice equally as good as his. The city is suffering from the absence of four individuals, who should be working and serving it economically under the scheme.

I will certainly be prepared to consider the Deputy's representations in the matter, and see whether, under such powers as we have, additional representation can be given to these two bodies. Meanwhile, I suggest to him that he ought not to obscure the major matters that are in the Bill.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá 67; Níl, 58.


  • Ernest Henry Alton.
  • James Walter Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Ernest Blythe.
  • Séamus A. Bourke.
  • Michael Brennan.
  • Seán Brodrick.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • Edmund Carey.
  • James Coburn.
  • John James Cole.
  • Martin Conlan.
  • Michael P. Connolly.
  • Bryan Ricco Cooper.
  • William T. Cosgrave.
  • James Crowley.
  • John Daly.
  • Michael Davis.
  • Peter de Loughrey.
  • James N. Dolan.
  • Peadar Seán Doyle.
  • Edmund John Duggan.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Osmond Thos. Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • Daniel O'Leary.
  • Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
  • John J. O'Reilly.
  • Gearoid O'Sullivan.
  • John Marcus O'Sullivan.
  • Patrick Reynolds.
  • Martin Roddy.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • John Good.
  • D.J. Gorey.
  • Alexander Haslett.
  • John J. Hassett.
  • Michael R. Heffernan.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Mark Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Michael Jordan.
  • Patrick Michael Kelly.
  • Hugh Alexander Law.
  • Finian Lynch.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Martin McDonogh.
  • Michael Og McFadden.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Joseph W. Mongan.
  • Richard Mulcahy.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • Martin Michael Nally.
  • John Thomas Nolan.
  • Bartholomew O'Connor.
  • Timothy Joseph O'Donovan.
  • John F. O'Hanlon.
  • Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
  • William Edward Thrift.
  • Michael Tierney.
  • Daniel Vaughan.
  • Vincent Joseph White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.


  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Neal Blaney.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Patrick Boland.
  • Daniel Bourke.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Henry Broderick.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • Archie J. Cassidy.
  • Patrick Clancy.
  • Michael Clery.
  • James Colbert.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Dan Corkery.
  • Martin John Corry.
  • Tadhg Crowley.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Seán French.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Samuel Holt.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Stephen Jordan.
  • Michael Joseph Kennedy.
  • William R. Kent.
  • Frank Kerlin.
  • James Joseph Killane.
  • Mark Killelea.
  • Michael Kilroy.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas Mullins.
  • Timothy Joseph Murphy.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Patrick Joseph O'Dowd.
  • Seán T. O'Kelly.
  • Matthew O'Reilly.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • Thomas P. Powell.
  • Patrick J. Ruttledge.
  • James Ryan.
  • Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
  • Richard Walsh.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and MacEntee.
Motion declared carried.
Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, November 17th.