WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY SITTINGS.

I beg to move:

Go dtiocfidh an Dáil le chéile ar 10.30 a.m. Dé Céadaoin, 27adh Meitheamh, 1928, agus Déardaoin, 28adh Meitheamh, 1928.

That on Wednesday, June 27th, 1928, and on Thursday, June 28th, 1928, the Dáil meet at 10.30 a.m.

I understood there was agreement about this because the Dáil is not sitting on Friday.

It is sitting on Tuesday.

The request was that we would not sit on Friday, that day being a holiday of obligation. That matter could not be decided by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, and I fixed a number of sittings for this week which would obviate the necessity of meeting on Friday. I understood there was general agreement. The question as to whether or not the House would sit on a holiday of obligation is a matter that is open for decision later on.

We are agreed that there should not be a sitting on Friday, but we do not agree that we should be sitting twelve hours continuously—sitting from 10.30 a.m. until 10.30 p.m. to-morrow and Thursday.

There will be an adjournment for lunch for an hour and a quarter or an hour and a half—if we had an understanding that the adjournment will be for ninety minutes exactly and if there would be no objection to ninety minutes—somewhere about 2 o'clock

Our understanding was that Tuesday was to be instead of Friday—that we would sit on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week instead of the usual sittings of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Our objection is sitting, as indicated by this motion, from 10.30 to 10.30, that is, a twelve hours' continuous sitting, in which we believe that the best work cannot be done.

I mentioned on Friday last about sitting on Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, and on Tuesday, and I stated that there would be an adjournment for lunch on the Wednesday and Thursday for an hour, or for longer than an hour if there was a request for that. I do not mind ninety minutes, if it is not more than ninety minutes; but that was the understanding on Friday. I think I announced last week that it was our intention to adjourn in about a fortnight, that we hoped to introduce a motion for a Vote on Account which would leave over until the autumn discussion of the Estimates which had not been considered, allowing something like forty hours for discussion, and I understood that there was general acceptance of that.

No, there was certainly no common agreement. The President has added on another matter now that we never heard of before— the Vote on Account. We will oppose that.

It is a matter of information. I am not taking decision on that.

My understanding on the last occasion was that we were taking on Tuesday instead of Friday. We are very glad that that arrangement has been come to. On the other hand, we oppose sitting from 10.30 to 10.30, because we think that a normal sitting ought to be sufficient, and we believe that better work would be done if that was adhered to. This question of rushing through legislation unnecessarily is something that we will not agree to.

Why was there no meeting of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges to get agreement? I submit that it is totally outside the ordinary practice of this House to have decisions of this kind rushed, without having them considered first of all by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

Does the Deputy mean that the Committee on Procedure and Privileges should consider the question of meeting at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday?

Of going for twelve hours. The whole arrangement is so fundamentally different from our ordinary arrangements that it is a complete breach of the spirit of working the Parliament. The Committee on Procedure and Privileges is there specially for the purpose of getting certain understandings from various parties on matters of this kind. The whole thing has been set aside suddenly, and we have been faced more or less with an accomplished fact.

Speaking on behalf of Deputies who come from the country— and I think I can speak for all Parties in this—if we hold sittings on Tuesday and not on Friday, it still means four days for country Deputies. If we have to sit here until 10.30 on Thursday night, it will mean that another day is broken for country Deputies, that they cannot go home until Friday, and it is just as convenient for them to sit here until 2 o'clock on Friday, as it is to go away on Friday morning. It means practically the same thing. This arrangement will not assist country Deputies, and it has been come to without consulting them.

I do not often agree with Deputy Gorey, but I agree with what he says now. It makes no difference to country Deputies whether they sit here until 2 o'clock on Friday or whether they finish at 10.30 on Thursday night. But the object of doing it in this particular case is, frankly and publicly, to recognise that in this Catholic country—no "ssh, ssh" about it——

Ah, give us a rest.

——that in this Catholic country we will deliberately make certain sacrifices to pay honour to holidays of obligation, and it is for that reason that in this particular case we do deliberately choose, even if it is inconvenient, to meet on Tuesday rather than on Friday. I shall not get home one bit earlier. I shall have to keep the holiday of obligation here, as Deputy Gorey will, but the fact remains that we will be telling the people of Ireland that in this Catholic country we do respect a holiday of obligation, and that we will do so in spite of the "ssh, ssh, sshes" from those Benches opposite.

I only want to ask for information—to leave out this nonsense. Are we discussing the question of whether we will sit from morning till late at night on Wednesday and Thursday, or whether we will be sitting on Catholic holidays?

We are discussing "ssh, ssh, ssh."

Which question are we discussing? Are we discussing the question of sitting on Catholic holidays or are we discussing the question as to whether we are to sit all day on Wednesday and Thursday?

We are discussing the question as to whether the Dáil should meet on Wednesday and Thursday of this week at 10.30, not the question as to whether we are to sit on Catholic holidays. On that particular question agreement was reached that we would not meet on next Friday, Friday being a Catholic holiday of obligation, but with the view of leaving the whole question as to whether the House should, in practice, sit on Catholic holidays open for the Committee on Procedure and Privileges to report to the House on. If we do not sit on Friday the question need not arise before Friday, but it will arise later. The decision with regard to Friday is merely with regard to this particular instance, and it does not govern the position generally. What we are discussing now is whether the Dáil should meet at 10.30 on Wednesday and Thursday, and we are deciding that only.

Might I suggest that this other question as to whether we are to sit on Catholic holidays or not be decided as soon as possible, so as to prevent Deputies from advertising their religion?

I agree, but I suggest that it should be decided in order that Deputies opposite may be deprived of the opportunity of advertising their irreligion.

This is all hypocrisy.

I did not think we had sunk so low as to try to make political propaganda out of Catholic holidays.

Ssh,ssh.

There is no "ssh, ssh" about me, and Deputy Flinn knows it very well. I am just as capable of and as fearless in expressing my views as Deputy Flinn ever was, but I hesitate to bring a question like this into a discussion of this kind. It is simply nothing else than making political capital out of religion, moryah!

I rise to protest——

Deputy Gorey has made a statement already. I think he ought to make no further statement.

I wanted to answer the hypocrite over the way.

I think, having regard to the respect that we owe to the House, that the aspersion that came from the opposite benches that we on this side have been guilty of irreligion should be withdrawn.

Certainly not. I ask that it should be left.

I quite agree. Between you and me there should be no withdrawal.

It is not worth while, but really it is worth while that we should think of where we are and what we are discussing. It is not worth while casting aspersions at each other in cold blood, with no anger and no feeling behind it. I think I will put the question now.

Before the question is put, I would like to say what the position of our Party is. I was approached last Friday and was told that both the big Parties in the House had agreed to this arrangement as it appears here. That was the information I got, and, on that assumption I also agreed to the arrangement, but if this agreement has not been reached, if it turns out that an agreement was not in fact made, and that there was a misunderstanding, I hold myself free to vote against the motion.

I asked, and am entitled to an answer to the question: why the Committee on Procedure and Privileges was not consulted? I am referring purely to the sittings on Wednesday and Thursday from 10.30 a.m.

I do not think I should answer that question.

I imagine that you would be in a position to do so.

I am not. The position is that a motion was made to sit at 10.30 on Wednesday and Thursday this week only. The Committee on Procedure and Privileges was not consulted. In fact I do not know whether it could have been consulted in the circumstances of last week, as the House met in such a way that it was impossible for the Committee to meet. The arrangement was only for this week and is not a general arrangement.

I simply want to see where we stand in the matter. As I understood the President his motion referred to to-day only, but when I looked at the motion here I saw that it had reference to Wednesday and Thursday, and I wanted to indicate what our position will be with regard to Wednesday and Thursday. I did not know that the motion on the Order Paper had been moved.

The order for sitting until 10.30 to-night has been made.

The other two I am opposing.

I consulted the Whips on the other side on Friday and I understood there was an agreement. That was the impression I got and I conveyed it to other people.

I was speaking to Deputy Duggan about the matter, and we agreed that there should be no sitting on Friday, but that the Dáil should sit on Tuesday. The Government have a majority to put through a decision to meet on Wednesday and Thursday, starting at 10.30 a.m. and finishing at 10.30 p.m. We submit that if the majority does that they will be doing a bad thing, that is, if they want to have the business properly discussed. It is too much to ask the Deputies to sit the twelve hours on end and to prepare in a proper manner for discussions in the Dáil. We are not coming here simply to discuss some work that has been prepared for us and to give a decision on it; we have to make up the work each day before we come to the Dáil, but sitting for twelve hours on end gives Deputies no opportunity to make up that work. The Government can put through this motion to sit for twelve hours on Wednesday and Thursday, but we submit that they should not do so, and that the proper thing to do is to meet in the ordinary way from 3.0 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.

The Deputy does not deny that he reached an agreement with the Whip on the other side with regard to Wednesday and Thursday last week.

Tuesday instead of Friday.

The whole thing.

Not the whole thing.

The Deputy is entitled to go back of his bargain if he likes, but the bargain was made.

Mr. BOLAND

That is a thing we do not do.

The bargain I made was this—and it was no bargain——

Well, an agreement.

It was no bargain.

Mr. BOLAND

Take your time.

Deputy Duggan asked if we would meet to-day instead of Friday, and I said "All right, we are quite agreeable to that." We are quite agreeable to meet to-day instead of Friday. The Government can put through a motion to sit for twelve hours, but they should not do so if they want the business to be properly discussed. If they do not want the business to be properly discussed the proper and the cheapest way for them is to do what they did in 1922—suppress the Dáil altogether.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 54; Níl, 22.

  • Ernest Henry Alton.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • James Walter Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Ernest Blythe.
  • Séamus A. Bourke.
  • Seán Brodrick.
  • Alfred Byrne.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
  • Martin Conlon.
  • Michael P. Connolly.
  • William T. Cosgrave.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • James Crowley.
  • Eugene Doherty.
  • James N. Dolan.
  • Edmund John Duggan.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Richard Mulcahy.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • Joseph Xavier Murphy.
  • John Thomas Nolan.
  • Richard O'Connell.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Bartholomew O'Connor.
  • John F. O'Hanlon.
  • Barry M. Egan.
  • Osmond Thos. Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • John Good.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Michael R. Heffernan.
  • Michael Joseph Hennessy.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • Mark Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Patrick Michael Kelly.
  • Myles Keogh.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Finian Lynch.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Joseph W. Mongan.
  • Daniel O'Leary.
  • Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
  • Gearoid O'Sullivan.
  • John Marcus O'Sullivan.
  • William Archer Redmond.
  • Martin Roddy.
  • William Edward Thrift.
  • Michael Tierney.
  • George Wolfe.

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • James Colbert.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • William O'Leary.
  • James Ryan.
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and M. Conlon; Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.

With regard to the sittings of the House on to-morrow and Thursday at 10.30 a.m., as now ordered, the Chair has power under Standing Order 21 to suspend the business for a period, if requested. Apart from any agreement that may be arrived at, I propose to suspend the sittings to-morrow between a quarter to two o'clock and two o'clock for at least one hour, or any longer period over that that may be agreed upon. I understand that a suspension before two o'clock, from the point of view of the restaurant, is undesirable. I am, therefore, choosing a quarter to two o'clock, or two o'clock, but not later than that hour, for the suspension.