The point I wish to make is that the section of the Constitution—I do not propose to read the entire section—provides that the Chairman of Dáil Eireann shall certify any Bill which, in his opinion, is a Money Bill, to be a Money Bill, but, if within three days after a Bill has been passed by Dáil Eireann, two-fifths of the members of either House by notice in writing addressed to the Chairman of the House of which they are members so require, the question whether the Bill is or is not a Money Bill shall be referred to a Committee of Privileges. The constitution of that Committee is defined in the section. The Joint Committee recommend that Article 35 be amended by the substitution of seven days for three days so that the period within which that notification by two-fifths of the members must be given will be extended by four days.
There is also another alteration suggested, and that is that two-fifths of the members of either House should retain the power by notice in writing of having this Bill referred to a Committee of Privileges. It is also provided that a majority of the members of the Seanad present and voting at a sitting of Seanad Eireann, at which not less than 30 members are present, shall decide that the question whether a Bill is or is not a Money Bill shall be referred to the Committee of Privileges. The one purpose of the Bill is to alter the period of three days to seven days and give to the Seanad a power which it is obvious even from the Report of the Committee it is not desirable the Seanad should have.
In so far as that is the case, it could be argued that the introduction of this Bill is primarily intended to occupy the time of the Dáil uselessly. The amendment which it is proposed to make can be legitimately described as a frivolous amendment. The powers given to the Dáil and Seanad under this Article have not been exercised. The period which the Article allows for the exercise of these powers is quite adequate. The introduction of a Bill at this stage, in view of the congested state of the Order Paper and the anxiety of a number of Deputies to take summer holidays, is altogether unjustifiable. I think, therefore, the Dáil should refuse a First Reading.
If the Bill gets a First Reading and comes up on the Second Reading we will be able to discuss only the principle of the Bill and we will have to confine our remarks to what is contained in the Bill. My arguments now are intended to convince the House that the Bill should not be introduced at all. The Article of the Constitution to which it refers is an Article which gives the Dáil as well as the Seanad powers in respect of Money Bills. I do not know whether it is intended in this Bill to limit the powers of the Dáil in that matter. I take it from the Report of the Joint Committee it is not intended to do so and that it is merely intended to extend the time during which the Seanad may make up its mind whether or not it is going to contest the Ceann Comhairle's definition of a Money Bill.
The attitude of this Party, of course, is that the Seanad should not be there at all, that they should have no power whatever to interfere with a decision come to in this House. I do not intend to press that point now. The point is, if Senators cannot make up their minds in three days as to whether a Bill is or is not a Money Bill, they cannot make up their minds in seven days, and that it is only a waste of time and money to print this Bill for the purpose of extending the period. I think, therefore, that this Dáil should refuse to give the Bill a First Reading. I think, if they are to do so, they cannot be annoyed if the duration of this session is unduly prolonged, and if the summer holidays which they are looking forward to should be put back indefinitely, because when you have the Government dealing with frivolous matters of this nature it cannot be expected that the more serious business which appears on the Order Paper can get the attention which it deserves and which we hope to give it. I would like to know before the Bill is put to a vote if it is intended to alter the definition of what is or is not a Money Bill. A Money Bill, as defined in the Constitution, is——