PUBLIC BUSINESS. - CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT No. 10) BILL, 1928.—THIRD STAGE.

The Dáil went into Committee.
SECTION 1.
Article 14 of the Constitution shall be and is hereby amended by the deletion of the words "and Initiative" now contained therein.

The amendments on the Order Paper seem to me to be contrary to the principle of the Bill, at least to section 1.

We are opposed to this section of the Bill, the purpose of which is to delete the Initiative and deprive the people of the right to initiate laws. As far as we are concerned, I have already indicated that we regard that as an important right which should be preserved for the people. It is not necessary, except perhaps in summary form, to repeat the arguments which I have already used. The principal argument is this: that there are questions which had best be decided by being separated from other questions and put as distinct issues. It is easy to imagine, at a General Election, a party being elected to which the people would be prepared to give authority on broad general terms, but there were certain particular points of their policy to which the people as a whole objected, or that there were certain questions in which the people were interested and on which it was likely that party would not take action. As far as we are concerned, we believe there is one particular question—this is an example —in which the people would be very glad to have an opportunity of declaring their will when separated from other issues. I indicated that by saying that the people wished to change Article 17 of the Constitution. A petition brought here to this House, signed by over 96,000 persons, indicates the widespread interest that there is in that particular matter. If the Initiative is deleted from this particular Article of the Constitution, it is only the preliminary to deleting it elsewhere, as we can see from the whole Bill. On that account, we intend to oppose the section, because we believe that the Initiative ought to be preserved for these reasons. It has worked satisfactorily in other places and is, I submit, a particularly satisfactory way of dealing with a situation such as in our circumstances we are likely to have to deal with. The events during the last four or five years were such that we believe the people have been confused. My point of view is that they have been deliberately confused as regards certain issues, and we want to give them the opportunity of separating these issues and have them brought up for separate decision by the people.

The real purpose of this is to regularise and to implement the democratic rights of the people. I could quite understand a case being made in respect of certain alterations in the Constitution by giving a larger number of electors such a right.

The number that is down in the Constitution would represent approximately three per cent. of the electorate. Now the position would be that three per cent. could put into motion something which 60 or 70 per cent. of the electorate do not want, and impose considerable expenditure on the general community. As regards the particular question mentioned by the Deputy, three per cent. of the electorate could seek to make a majority of the representatives of the people carry out the policy of a minority. That is not democratic, and I do not stand for it.

Section 3 of the Bill is the really operative section as regards Article 48.

Might I ask the President what is the basis of his thought at all? Is it not clear that before anything can be passed there must be a majority of the people in favour of it? If we talk about majority rule at all, where are you going to get it more clearly expressed than when a single definite question is put to the people, and they are asked to decide upon it. Talking about the majority party having to carry out the will of the people, I understood they were supposed to be the Ministers of the people, that their object was to carry out the policy that the people agreed upon and not to impose some policy of their own on the people. The whole question of the Initiative is clearly to indicate that the people want a certain thing to be done. If the Executive do not want to do that, then the remedy is to get some people who will do it. As far as we are concerned, we believe that when there is a clear question settled by the people, by the majority vote of the people, that it is the duty of the Ministry to implement that and carry it out as their policy.

Did I understand you to say, a Chinn Comhairle, that it would be better to discuss the whole question on section 3 or can we discuss it on this question?

Section 1 is in the Bill merely because of section 3, and I think that it is on section 3 the provisions of Article 48 can be discussed. The whole machinery of the Constitution provides the matter can be discussed on Section 3 rather than on Section 1. I would be much more satisfied to allow section 3 to be discussed widely than to allow the whole matter to be discussed on Section 1, on which the matters in Article 14 do not really arise.

Article 14 when passed will read:—"All citizens of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) without distinction of sex, who have reached the age of twenty-one years and who comply with the provisions of the prevailing electoral laws, shall have the right to vote for members of Dáil Eireann and to take part in the Referendum—" and then the words "and Initiative" are omitted, and it follows on: "All citizens of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) without distinction of sex, who have reached the age of thirty years and who comply with the provisions of the prevailing electoral laws, shall have the right to vote for members of Seanad Eireann." That, of course, is amended by another Act, so I need not refer to that. There will not be much left of Article 14 by the time the amendments are passed. It is in respect of this Article it is sought to deprive citizens directly of their rights to the power of the Initiative, for Article 48 rather puts into force what Article 14 lays down. Article 14 gives the right to all citizens of the Free State to take part in the Initiative. Of course, the Initiative is an experiment in a sense. The argument that the Initiative has succeeded or not succeeded, or that some particular measure has not existed before, is a relevant argument, but it should not carry much weight with a country trying to break new ground in democratic methods. Even if the Initiative has failed in other countries, or had not been properly tried, that is no reason why it should not be tried here.

Once it is put into the Constitution there is every reason to give it a fair trial and experimenting properly with it before it is turned down. The whole attitude of the Government in this matter is one very definitely distrustful of the people, and is a gradual departure from relying on the people for any liberal institutions. The people are quite as intelligent as those who are at the head of the Government, and in the end representative government may be found very imperfect indeed. There is a good deal of fiction talked about representative government, a good deal of what might be called myths gathering round the sacred institutions of representative government. It may be found in the long run that a more sensible, but in some ways perhaps less picturesque, way of dealing with certain matters of local government may be found in direct government and not in representative government—I mean a meeting of the people or a direct judgment by the people, and not a judgment merely by representatives of the people. There is no reason why people should not be educated up to such a standard that they would be able to think in masses as well as to think as individuals.

There is no reason why on large issues they should not have the power of Initiative. People cannot develop their strength unless they try and practise. No matter what people are put to they must develop the strength to do it. They must be educated to do a thing. When they are given the right to do something and they try to do it they will get to know how to do it. If that right is taken away on the grounds they are unable to do it, that is stultifying oneself entirely. Once the Initiative is there the people should be given the opportunity of trying it. When we had supplied the opportunity by the petition the reasonable thing was to see whether it was going to work properly or not. The argument that there is apathy in the country, or that the institutions of freedom have not been exercised, or that the people should lose their institutions simply because of the amount of apathy, would also apply to the present Government which depends on a minority of 61 representatives out of a House of 153, but the Government is not going to go out of existence simply because it happens to be in a minority. Similarly, if the Initiative was supported only by a minority that is no reason why it should not be recognised. The people as a whole should have the right to exercise their powers, and if they do not that is their business and it is no reason why their rights should be taken from them.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 48; Níl, 27.

  • Ernest Henry Alton.
  • 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.
  • Barry M. Egan.
  • Osmond Thos. Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Michael R. Heffernan.
  • Michael Joseph Hennessy.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • Mark Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Patrick Michael Kelly.
  • Myles Keogh.
  • Finian Lynch.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Joseph W. Mongan.
  • Richard Mulcahy.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • John Thomas Nolan.
  • Richard O'Connell.
  • Bartholomew O'Connor.
  • John F. O'Hanlon.
  • 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.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Daniel O'Leary.
  • James Ryan.
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
Tellers.—Tá: Deputies Duggan and Conlon; Níl: Deputies Allen and G. Boland.
Motion declared carried.
SECTION 2.
"The Constitution shall be and is hereby amended by the deletion of Article 47 thereof."

I move:—

"To delete all words after the word `deletion' and substitute the words `in Article 47 thereof of the words `or of a majority of the members of Seanad Eireann.' "

The Bill is one to delete Articles 47 and 48 and Section 2 is to delete Article 47. I do not think that this and the next amendment are possible amendments within the principle of the Bill.

Might I suggest that the way I looked on it was that the possible deletion of Article 47 was a short-cut to dealing with the part intended for the Seanad. After all, the only reason that it should come into this set of Bills is that it should define the relation of the Seanad. The object of the amendment is to delete from Article 47 the portion relating to the Seanad. To delete the other portion would be to strike, first of all, at the powers of the minority here, which were definitely guaranteed by the Constitution, which was taken by the Executive to the country and lauded from one end of the Twenty-six Counties to the other. To take away these rights of the minority without reference to the people is wrong and is also something which, I think, members of this House ought to oppose as taking away their powers. Therefore, there are three things referred to here, namely, the powers of the Seanad, certain powers of the Dáil, and certain powers of the people. If this Bill is to go with the other Bills, it is not unfair to presume that it is going with them because it refers to certain powers. I submit that the amendment should be considered.

I am afraid that that is an argument on the merits which the Chair cannot meet or deal with in any way. I have given the matter consideration. The Title and the contents of the Bill are very clear. The Bill is to delete Articles 47 and 48. The line of argument which the Deputy has been using would be open to him in opposing the section and endeavouring to retain Article 47, which could then be amended, but the Bill is not one to amend that Article. The principle of the Bill which was dealt with on Second Reading is that Article 47 be deleted. That leaves a possibility of deleting the operative section, but I do not think that the operative section is open to amendment of this kind. Indeed, I am not clear that it is open to an amendment of any kind.

Can one not amend the Title of a Bill?

Yes. If the amendment were relevant to the contents of the Bill it could be inserted and a consequential amendment made to the Title, but the amendments on the Order Paper appear to be contrary to the principle of the Bill, which is to delete Articles 47 and 48. Apart from the Title, I am going on what the Bill contains rather than on the Title.

That is on the assumption that this Bill has a scope independent of the other Bills, that it is not one of the series at all; that, over and above anything which it may do as one of the series, it has wider powers. If that is your interpretation of it——

I am not called on to interpret the Bill as one of a series but as a Bill which was given Second Reading. What the House has given Second Reading to is a Bill for the deletion of Articles 47 and 48, and all that appears to be open now is opposition to the section rather than an attempt to retain Article 47 partially. I am not called on to decide the other question.

I suppose we are in order in opposing the section. Article 47, as I indicated, might be included in a series of Bills of this kind, and the deletion of it might have been put down in a Bill simply because it had reference to certain powers of which it was proposed to deprive the Seanad. The Article itself gives power, first of all, to two-fifths of the members of Dáil Eireann to demand in writing the suspension for ninety days of any Bill passed by a majority. It gives power also to the majority of members of the Seanad to do the same thing. The result of these powers, particularly those of the Dáil, if exercised, would be to send any Bill which passed both Houses to the people for final decision. That power of final decision gave the people the power of veto, which is a very important one. In other Constitutions the power of veto over acts of the Legislature is given sometimes to the Chief Executive—a partial or suspensory veto, and in some cases there is power of complete veto. To give such power to anybody but the people is unreasonable. The people ought to have that power and be in a position to say that a certain measure, which it is proposed by a majority to pass, shall not be passed.

It is only fair and reasonable that, if they are the fount of all authority, they should be able to exercise that authority in some really effective way. There is no way so effective as the way of the Referendum. I know, of course, it might be abused, but the fact that a thing which is useful and right may be abused is no reason why it should be completely blotted out.

As, for example, wine.

Yes. I have never stood for Prohibition, and the President ought to know that, just as he always knew that I did not stand for Prohibition. If you take wine as an example, it simply means that I believe in temperance, but I do not believe in putting unnecessary temptation in the way of people who take drink to excess. The question here is of a different character.

Oh, no; that is our point.

That the people, in other words, cannot be trusted with power? Why, then, consult the people at all?

Oh, yes, the people at all times.

Why are you taking away the power to consult them at all times?

That is another matter.

However, I had better continue——

I say it is only reasonable if the people are the fount of all authority on all questions that they should ultimately decide all questions, questions as to the laws that ought to govern them, and particularly questions about the Constitution, which was to be the fundamental law governing all the other laws. I think I indicated also that as far as I was concerned I did not think that power ought to lie anywhere except with the representatives of the people—the power of sending back laws. I think there ought to be a fair proportion of the elected representatives required in order to compel a Bill to be submitted to the people, and the number asked here is two-fifths. It seems to me to be a very fair number. It means, for instance, that in this House it would be necessary to have 61 or 62 signatures—62 would probably be held to be the number—before a Bill could be referred to the people. That would mean that there would be substantial opposition to the measure from the representatives of the people, and those who would demand that it should be sent back to the people would be taking a certain responsibility upon themselves. If it were a frivolous demand, they would be running a certain risk when they came before the people later for reelection. The people would say, "Very well, you abused the power which you had on a certain occasion; you caused money unnecessarily to be spent." I think that would be a sufficient safeguard for the people, and would ensure that this power of the Referendum would not be abused.

A good deal was said about it when the Constitution was going through. One section, for instance, said that it was likely to be a clog upon legislation, that it was going to be used in a reactionary sense. Well, if we are going to admit the principle that the people are to be the ultimate masters, I hold for one that we must be prepared to take it when it is a clog as well as in the other direction when it is an incentive to action. We must look at our own circumstances. After all we are not sitting down and theoretically examining these questions. We must regard our own conditions; our people are conservative and the barriers there as to progress are many. The clogs on their action generally are very great. One should not be in a hurry, I will admit, to give any further powers in that direction, but again I say that if we are going to accept the principle that the people are ultimately to be masters, to decide all questions affecting the general interest, we cannot get over the fact that they should be permitted directly to decide upon questions whenever they are considered sufficiently important to be referred to them by such a large minority as two-fifths of the total number of members here.

I objected to the Seanad and that was why the amendment was put down. I object to giving that power to the Seanad, particularly the Seanad that you are going to have. It is a Seanad not directly elected by the people. There are objections to having a Seanad directly elected by the people. We have mentioned these in another connection. Seeing that the Seanad that is going to be the Seanad here are divorced largely from the people, we think it is improper that they should be in a position to hold up legislation by referring it unnecessarily back. That does not, we think, apply to the case where we have 62 members out of 150, or two-fifths. When you have such a proportion opposed to a measure, and when they are prepared to take the responsibility of referring, that power should not be denied them. We are opposed, therefore, to the deletion of Article 47 on that account —that it takes away from the representatives of the people, the members of this House, the right which they understood they had and which the people understood they had. Finally it is taking away from the people the opportunity of finally deciding. There is a further safeguard beside the safeguard of having to get as many as 62 members to make the demand; there is the safeguard that that is only sufficient to suspend the Bill for 90 days. After that, within the 90 days, a petition must be signed by not less than one-twentieth of the voters on the Register. That is a safeguard against arbitrary action on the part of the representatives. Not merely must there be 62 representatives, but they must be able to get, within 90 days, something like 90,000 signatures. When you can get 90,000 signatures within 90 days against any particular measure, there must be a good deal of public interest in it and of opposition to the particular Bill.

As to the Referendum, as was stated in one of the papers this morning, there would have been conscription in Australia had the people not possessed the power of the Referendum. I believe there will be many occasions here on which the people will regret that this power of the Referendum has not been retained for them, should it be taken away now. These are, in the present connection, the considerations which have decided us to vote against the deletion of this Article 47. We believe that it is not playing straight with the people to take away this Article without giving them an opportunity of expressing their will upon it, in view of the fact that at several elections the democratic nature of this Constitution was held up as a reason why it should be supported and why the Executive that was in favour of this Constitution should be returned.

Perhaps it would not be out of place to refer to the final sentence in this Article which says:—"This provision shall not apply to Money Bills"— there is good reason for that, of course —"or to such Bills as shall be declared by both Houses to be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety." I am quite sure that anybody taking that Article and voting for that sentence in it did not think that it would ever be used to call upon the House to declare what was an obvious falsehood—to declare that in connection with the present measures there is any urgency, in the sense that there would be in the case of a Money Bill, or that there was involved a necessity for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety. We got notice of a certain motion which is going to be moved under this Article, and when we see the use that it is proposed to make of that Article, one only wonders why anybody bothers about the Constitution at all. We held certain views about this Constitution generally before we came here. Since we have come here we have not seen very much which would cause us to alter our views. We have believed all the time that it would be used in a partisan fashion; that one section would use it to prevent the Irish nation from marching ahead, and that whenever they wished to abuse or ignore it they could do so. Our opposition to the deleting of this particular Article is because of the principle contained in it, but as far as I am concerned for one, the moment this set of Bills has gone through, if they do go through, whatever little regard I had for it up to the present will have vanished. I for one will believe, if we are going to be reasonable at all, that everyone will regard themselves here as being in an assembly for which there is no fundamental law. I am very glad to accept that position any day, but the Executive are not honestly declaring that to be the position. They want to maintain and to carry on the camouflage that there is a Constitution—that they will use it to interfere with their political opponents, use it simply for that purpose. But from the point of view of getting respect for it as fundamental law, that respect must have vanished from the mind of anybody who saw what happened here on Article 48, what is happening now in connection with this particular Article, and particularly what is going to happen in connection with the application of the last sentence in that Article. For my part, I am quite glad—very happy about it. I hope everybody in the House will realise that the position we are arriving at is one in which this House and its will to do anything is to be sovereign; that we have definitely arrived at a position in which we will say that there is no fundamental law whatever; that this House is sovereign from day to day; that what it does to-day it can change to-morrow without any restrictions whatever, except the momentary restrictions which may be law; in other words, we are getting rapidly to the stage in which there is no fundamental law. If that be the purpose of the Executive and their action at present, I for one will welcome it. The only thing is that I would like to have it clearly declared, and not simply a pretence being carried on that we have a Constitution to which we must give a certain amount of obedience and respect.

During the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill most of the discussion centred round Article 48, which provides for the Initiative. That was the impression one got from listening to the debate. Little was said, especially from the Government Benches, with regard to Article 47, which is the subject of this particular section. To my mind, no good or sufficient reason, in fact no reason, was put forward from the Government Benches that I remember to justify the deletion of this Article 47 from the Constitution. Whatever semblance of argument there might be for the deletion of the Initiative, in my opinion, there was none for this one, and there is none for this one. This Article provides a check on legislation introduced into the House by an unscrupulous Executive and forced through the House by a small majority. That was the object of the Article—to give the right of check to a minority, and, as Deputy de Valera said, it is only in the case of a substantial minority that that right is given. Two-fifths of the Dáil are empowered under this Article to hold up legislation for 90 days during which it is possible, on the application of a certain proportion of the voters, to have the matter subjected to a Referendum—in other words, to have the question submitted directly to the people and to let the people decide. As I said, that was put in definitely as a check on legislation that would interfere with or infringe the rights of the minorities. With its disappearance there will be no check. An Executive elected, let us assume, and returned to power on whatever specious pleas, such as are put forward at a general election, will have complete power to do almost whatever it likes for the period of five years. There will be no check upon them. This Executive that we have here are removing the last check which is in the Constitution upon such power. They tell us they have authority for that. Where is the authority from the people? We have it from the President that this was put before the people at the last election. What proportion of the President's manifesto, issued on the 25th August, did that particular question occupy? I have not the manifesto before me. I wonder could the President tell us whether it is mentioned in that manifesto that he proposed to take away this power from the people which was given them by Article 47? I do not believe it is in his manifesto at all. He comes here now and tells us that he has authority from the people to remove this Article and that he is acting in the name of the people. If he is genuinely acting in the name of the people, he should not be afraid to submit this question to the people. That he is afraid to submit this question to the people and that he is not sure what their decision would be, he has already given evidence of in the motion that appears on the Paper this morning. The question of expense is mentioned. It was mentioned that a small proportion of the people could set certain machinery in motion. Why should not a small proportion have the right to set the machinery in motion if they wish to do so? If it is thought that a proportion of one-twentieth is too small and not a sufficient number, they can increase it.

The President has no evidence whatever to justify his contention that this will be used for vexatious purposes or to clog legislation. After all, a substantial number of Deputies—two-fifths—will not, purely for the sake of clogging legislation or hindering legislation, submit a question of this kind to the people time after time. They know it would destroy their political future if they adopted measures of that kind, and it is only when they believe that the question was a substantial one, on which the people as a whole felt very strongly, that they would take the risk of submitting a question of this kind to the people and getting their decision upon it. If the majority of the people decide that the question is one that ought not to be adopted, what right has the Executive here, who speak in the name of the people, to put it into force?

The majority of the people are the majority of those voting!

Mr. O'CONNELL

The majority of the people who voted are the people that put the Executive into power. If you insist upon the point in one case you must insist upon it in the other, and also insist that before any Executive can claim to have power in this House a majority of the voters on the register must have voted for them. Is the President prepared to take that view? He knows if he took that view he would not be in power to-day. If the principle is good in one case it is equally good in another case. If it is necessary that the majority of the people on the register must vote in the case of the Referendum to decide the question, then it should be equally necessary or proper that a party that claims to have power should get a majority of the voters on the register and not a majority of the votes cast in the election.

This Article was put in by the Provisional Parliament which framed this Constitution to show that the people had power and always would hold that power. The President talks a lot about democracy here. The tendency of a democratic people always is to resist the power of the Executive. It may not be necessary for us to say anything about this particular Executive to realise that an unscrupulous Executive is a possibility and, therefore, it was the object of the framers of this Constitution, and the people who passed this Constitution, to take measures to protect the people against that possibility or contingency, and now, just because there is an obedient majority in this House prepared to follow this Executive into the Division Lobby on a matter of this kind without question, it is proposed to take away this check from the people, and it is proposed to adopt methods that are not worthy of any Executive in order to carry out the object of preventing the people having a right to say whether or not that should be done. I think that every right-minded person is in duty bound to protest in the strongest possible way against the action of the Government in this whole matter.

This Article has been in the Constitution since December, 1922, and only on one occasion during those years did two-fifths of the members of the Dáil sign a requisition to hold up any measure—once in six years. If one were to pay attention to what Deputy O'Connell said, one would think that this was a sort of right that was exercised freely during that time, and that the Government was now seeking to take away this power of which there had been full enjoyment during that period of time. The only enjoyment of that power in that whole period was one petition presented to the President of the Executive Council which was not followed by a petition, having the names of only five per cent. of the electors on the register to protest against that Act being passed into law.

Mr. O'CONNELL

That is the best proof against its being wrongly used.

The Deputy went on to say something about an unscrupulous Executive which is a thing to be feared. There is to be no fearful and unscrupulous two-fifths. None whatever; they are to be all correct.

Mr. O'CONNELL

The people have a check on them.

An unscrupulous majority of the people!

The scrupulous are all on the side of Deputy O'Connell and Deputy MacEntee. Every one is unscrupulous except those two. A Government might get returned on specious pleas. Deputies on the benches opposite and on the Labour benches have excellent experience of that matter. They have been trying to get power for five years. They have had excellent opportunities of examining their electoral propaganda to see what pleas they could put forward in order to try to secure power, but they have not got it. Let us at least be candid.

Mr. O'CONNELL

They have not the Press behind them like you.

Let him hang himself.

I did not state, probably at the last general election, that so far as this Article was concerned that I intended it should be moved out of the Constitution.

Mr. O'CONNELL

It is so important now that you are breaking the Constitution in order to remove it?

Not at all. It is not broken; we have it.

Mr. O'CONNELL

Read the last sentence of the Article.

I have read it. I have it off by heart. It is one of those Articles that in normal circumstances never would have been put into an Irish Constitution.

You wanted to deceive the people.

Will Deputies restrain their ardour.

That was the reason.

Not at all. The Deputy was not here and could not know.

I know it very well.

The whole fact of the matter is this: the Executive get authority in this country, or in any other country with proportional representation, and they must have support from other parties. When Deputies speak about unscrupulous tactics on the part of an Executive in those circumstances they know very well that they are exaggerating, that it is pure exaggeration. They will know, if they look at the history of this country for the last four or five years, that in connection with ordinary Parliamentary work numbers of vacancies occur in constituencies and this question and other questions are raised there.

And other questions.

And the work of the Executive, the general tenor of legislation passed there, is canvassed at the elections in those constituencies and at general elections and before general elections take place. I submit that it is the height of nonsense, simply nonsense, to be talking about those things and talking about the taking away of the rights of democracy. We must secure the rights of democracy, and we must see that the will of the majority of the people is going to carry. It does not happen that on every single issue that is presented to Parliament it is possible to get a decision in connection with that from the people. But there ought to be finality, and finality can only come through the ordinary methods of Parliamentary representation and decisions in the Parliament. I would like to know if it is within the experience of Deputies who have made an examination of the Constitutions of other countries whether such a thing as this is included in the Constitutions of other countries, whether it would not make for instability rather than stability, and whether it would not make for less respect for the institution of Parliament and less confidence in Parliament if this were the practice and the usage in the ordinary way?

Why did not the President say that when it was being put through?

He forgot it.

As I said before, the people who put this through had less Parliamentary experience than the Deputy has—and that is not said in any way disrespectful to the Deputy. The people who put this through were here in Parliament, having had, perhaps, two or three months' normal experience of a matter of this sort. They never before had to consider the question of Bunreacht, as it is called.

Would it not be more accurate to say that they then had more regard for the will of the people?

They have the same regard for the will of the people now, and that is much more than the Deputy ever had or ever will have.

How do you know that?

From his form, as we say in other matters. We need not get hot about this matter. Why do we put the number at two-fifths, and why do we select 90,000 electors? I may say that 90,000 electors represents five per cent. of the people. That number could be easily secured as objecting to a law, and they may hold up legislation for a very considerable time. That, I say, is a clog on the working of Parliament, and it ought to be removed from the Constitution.

There is probably no Deputy in this House who is so capable of advancing fair argument in support of a rotten cause as the President. In the discussion on the first section of this Bill he described it as a Bill to regularise and implement the democratic sections of the Constitution. We have heard him make audacious statements before, but that statement, I think, was quite enough to take one's breath away. A Bill to regularise and implement the democratic sections of the Constitution! Does the President contend that Articles 47 and 48 are not democratic sections?

They are not? Then the discussion on these Bills that we have been proceeding with was at cross purposes. That discussion was at cross purposes all the time. What is democracy? Is it undemocratic to provide that the people may, by a majority vote, sanction or withhold their sanction from an Act of this House? Is it undemocratic to provide that the people may, by majority vote, initiate and pass legislation with or without the consent of the majority of this House? Is it undemocratic to have a majority vote of the people prevailing in any issue? If that is undemocratic, then what is democratic? If these are not the democratic sections of the Constitution, I would like the President to refer us to them. Is Article 17 a democratic section? Is that the section which it is hoped to regularise and implement as a result of the passing of this Bill? If that is not a democratic section of the Constitution, what is?

I have recently studied this Constitution very carefully. In the course of the debate on the Second Reading of one of these Bills I went, one by one, through the sections of the Constitution which I considered undemocratic, but Article 47 and Article 48 were not in the lot. I did not consider them undemocratic. The President, I think, can fairly be said to be a prohibitionist in the matter of democratic rights. He will regularise and implement the democratic sections of the Constitution by putting them into cold storage, where they cannot be touched. But does he not think that when he has carried his constitutional amendments and has prohibited democratic rights in the Free State, that a situation might arise here very similar to the situation that arose in America after the prohibition on liquor was established—that as people in America went looking for liquor surreptitiously, other people might go looking for liberty and freedom surreptitiously? When all these democratic rights have been implemented and legalised out of existence, and when the only things left will be the sections which bear the hall mark "made in England," is the situation which will then exist in this State likely to be preferable to that which now exists?

This Constitution, as I have already stated, was always rotten in the major part of it, but there were a few clean spots in it, a few spots which do recognise the fact that the Irish people have some rights in this country. Even these spots the President is proposing to rub out, and then there will be nothing left except sections which provide that the Irish people must subordinate themselves to an external authority under certain circumstances. That is all that will be left, and that will be the fundamental law of this State and we will be glad. We will be glad because there will be less hypocrisy about it. The President has excused himself about this Article on the grounds of ignorance— that it was on the grounds of ignorance these sections were introduced into the Constitution in 1922, when the Constitution was being enacted, and when he was a much more innocent and less experienced man than he is now.

He said, however, something that I thought extraordinary and which, I hope, he will on some subsequent occasion amplify. He said that in ordinary normal circumstances this Article would not have been in the Constitution. I hope I am correct in quoting his words. What were the abnormal circumstances, apart from the President's ignorance, which resulted in putting this Article in the Constitution? What circumstances existed in 1922 that do not now exist and which forced upon the Executive of that day the necessity to put Articles of this kind in the Constitution?

Principally inexperience.

No, not principally inexperience, but principally their deep experience in the gentle art of deceiving the people.

The people in 1922 were not as well informed about the status which they had gained as now. It was necessary to put some sugar on the pill, some gilt upon the gingerbread. It was necessary to have in the Constitution one or two Articles like Articles 47 and 48 which could be quoted at elections, and which could be advanced to justify other serious steps which had subsequently to be taken. That is the real reason why Article 47 was put into the Constitution. It was the necessity of gulling the people that constituted the abnormal circumstances to which the President referred. We are back to normal again.

Has the Deputy any idea now of how many times it was raised at the elections?

I am quite certain that the will of the people at the elections was raised——

Would I be in order in moving that this debate be adjourned until we have had an opportunity of looking up and bringing into this House all references to this matter of the will of the people made by the President and his Party—

Or would the President move the adjournment of the debate on our behalf?

No. Deputy Lemass.

I would like to give an estimate that some sentence about the necessity of implementing the will of the people, or something about democratic rights, must have been spoken during the last five years by at least twenty times the number on the register. There are approximately 1,700,000 on the register. That would imply that on 34,000,000 times these sections and these words were referred to.

No—not even the multiple, not even five times in my recollection were these Articles referred to. I never heard them mentioned.

There are 65 Cumann na nGaedheal members here, and I will ask them—I will ask Deputies Connolly, Bennett or Bourke, how many times did they talk about the will of the people in their constituencies?

Not about Article 47.

What is Article 47? Article 47 is the Article that provides that the will of the people in certain circumstances can be made prevail. Did Deputies Connolly, Bennett, and Wolfe tell the people, when seeking election, that they were going to abolish the section of the Constitution which guaranteed that the will of the people would prevail?

The people know very well where respect for the will of the people was.

They know it now; they did not know it then.

And they knew it then.

They were not told in last September that the Constitution was to be abolished.

And it is not being abolished. You had a right to talk about the will of the people in 1921. That was the time to talk about it. That was the time when the people had a right to be consulted.

The Deputy will have to confine his attentions to the Bill and not let us get back to 1921.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle has scruples about going back to 1921, but there was no time in the history of this country when the members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party did not express themselves ready to accept the will of the people at all times and the people as the final arbiters. The will of the people was to be supreme, and the democratic sections of the Constitution were to be accepted.

And you never accepted the will of the people.

Will Deputy Connolly accept it now?

Is the Deputy prepared to get the will of the people now as to whether this section of the Constitution should be abolished—is he prepared to put that to the will of the people?

We always did accept the will of the people and always will.

If any member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party is prepared to accept the will of the people on this issue, I trust that next Thursday, when the motion of the President on the matter of urgency concerning this Article is brought in, that such Deputy will vote against the motion, which says that "the passing of this Constitution (Amendment No. 10) Bill is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace and safety." The abolition of this Article may be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health and safety of Cumann na nGaedheal, but I do not think it has anything to do with the nation. We should remember that the Irish people have not got a very long experience of self-government, and their views concerning self-government are likely to be considerably influenced by the votes of those here.

Deputy O'Connell referred to the possibility of an unscrupulous Executive coming into office, but the people are wondering if there is any possibility of a scrupulous Executive ever coming into office. They have had no experience of one, and they are beginning to think that an honest Government is an unrealisable ideal, when they see those whom they elected to implement this Treaty and to preserve this Constitution against the attacks of Deputies on this side of the House, coming before the House with ten Bills in order to abolish every section in the Constitution which has any meaning, because the remaining sections in the Constitution about His Britannic Majesty and the rest of it are largely meaningless, except in so far as a certain amount of force can be advanced to make them operative. The President, of course, has tried apparently to search the Constitutions of the world to see if he could find therein any justification for the abolition of this Article. Did such an Article exist in the Constitution of any other country in the world? I remember the time when the President as a member of the Sinn Féin Party was very glad when the news came here that as a result of the Referendum in Australia, invoked by Archbishop Mannix, the proposal to conscript the people there to fight England's war in Europe was defeated.

I was not here then.

You were on the run.

I do not recollect it.

In any case, there was proposed an enactment there that was directly contrary to the will of the people, and that enactment was defeated, and it was defeated by reason of the fact that an Article providing for the Referendum under certain circumstances did exist. Let us have straight talking in connection with this. If it is proposed to strip the people of their democratic rights, let us say so. If it is proposed to hold up this Constitution to ridicule, let us say so and we will be with you. If it is proposed to scrap this Constitution let us say so and we will be with you, but let us not take the democratic sections out of this Constitution with the cry of the will of the people on our lips. That is merely hypocrisy. It is merely an attempt to deceive the people. The assumption that because you have done it once you can do it twice is wrong. You deceived the people when you put in these sections. Do you think you can also deceive the people when you take them out? The people of this country have been easily deceived in the past. They have shown themselves to be what is commonly called "green," particularly when arguments are advanced in support of certain Articles, arguments similar to those advanced by the President here this evening. But they cannot be that soft that they are supposed to be taken in with sheer nonsense like that. It was President Lincoln who said something about deceiving all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time. He knew what he was talking about. President Cosgrave and his henchmen will, undoubtedly, succeed in deceiving some of the people all the time, but is he absolutely certain that he will succeed in deceiving all the people all the time?

Nobody could do it.

I am sorry to hear the President express such a lack of confidence in his own ability. He has been trying very hard. He has done his best. He sees failure; he knows that he cannot carry that out, and that sooner or later he will be found out. That is something pleasant to look forward to. But as regards the Deputies who sit behind him do they think that in cooperation with him they will be able to carry out this bluff? I regret to remark that there are only one-tenth of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party here in this Chamber, only one-tenth of these men who were such vehement defenders of this Constitution some few months ago. One would have thought that these men would have had the decency to come to its funeral. They will not even come to listen to the arguments for maintaining the Constitution. They prefer to sit out in the Lobby waiting for the Division bell to ring in order to come in and vote it away. I hope that if we cannot succeed in teaching what the Minister for Agriculture calls "the proper canons of political honesty" to Deputies in this House that some knowledge of what is going on here will filter through to the people. I hope so. I am not very hopeful that it will. Remember, there is between this House and the people a very definite barrier, constituted by the daily Press. But it is just possible that some idea of what is happening, some hint of the truth, will get to the people, and if it does, do you think that the will of the people will be that the democratic rights which were given to them by this Constitution should be taken away from them?

Do you think that the people are so willing to believe in the inspired wisdom of Cumann na nGaedheal that they will surrender any and every check which they possess upon the actions of Cumann na nGaedheal? Let this Article go. It has got to go. A majority of this House has decided. It is well, from my point of view, that any Article of this Constitution which could, in any conceivable circumstances, be referred to as a justification for retaining it should be wiped out. The Government intends to have nothing in this Constitution but the naked truth, the naked truth that this is a subordinate State and that the ultimate authority in this State is not the people or the representatives of the people. When nothing else remains in this Constitution, I can assure you that the Fianna Fáil Party will be very glad to spend a few pounds in printing and circulating it so that the people will get a fair idea as to what the fundamental law is. At present we would hesitate to do so because of these Articles which were inserted in the abnormal circumstances of 1922. These Articles were written by people who were determined that the pill would be well coated with sugar. They were written by people who knew their job, just as, now that the success of their task has been amply proved and that the people have, by repeated elections, shown their gullibility by re-electing the present Executive, the necessity for keeping the sugar has disappeared, and all these Articles are in consequence being deleted. Very well. If, however, there are in this House any Deputies who are really honest and who stated that they were prepared to support this Constitution, if there are any Deputies who meant what they said when they went to the people and asked to be elected in preference to members of the Fianna Fáil Party because they were constitutional, I hope that they will indicate their honesty, when the Division bell rings, by their votes on this section.

Deputies on the other side talk about democratic Articles of the Constitution and about the elimination of these Articles. To my mind—and I know that Deputy Lemass will smile when I say this—it is in the interests of democracy to do away with the Referendum and the Initiative in the Constitution, because when we talked about the will of the people and government by the people when the British were here we talked about self-government. But what Deputies opposite fail to realise is that the fundamental need is government. The mere fact that people have to live in society means that they must be ordered and regulated, and therefore there is a need for laws. That is a fundamental ethical principle in what you might call the ethics of the citizen. If you say to all the people: "You are the people who are to decide how this country is to be managed," the ordinary experience of humanity is that if you leave it to the people it becomes anarchy, because there are mutually contradicting and mutually warring sections and interests in the people. Therefore the people select a much smaller body from themselves to govern the country, to organise and to maintain law, and to institute order in the relations of the people. The outstanding way in which that is done here is by a general election.

Followed by "an indication of appreciation."

I am afraid the Deputy will have to wait some time before he receives any indication of appreciation.

I do not want to be insulted by an indication of appreciation from you.

That is an insult you will not suffer from.

No, I do not think so.

Or even from your own party, I think. When the general election is held we, as the Government Party, have, with some sense of responsibility, to put before the people a coherent programme. On the other hand, the people who are in opposition are in a position—I am not blaming them for it—of presenting to the people for the purpose of misleading them things which are mutually contradictory. Does any Deputy suggest that if you put to the people by Referendum, "That taxation be abolished," they would not be in favour of it? I have no doubt that on that point Fianna Fáil could get a great majority. On the other hand, if the Labour Party put forward for a Referendum, "That old age pensions be given to everyone over thirty and that they be £1,000 a year," we would all vote for it. But the two things are mutually contradictory. We have heard of adult suffrage——

Might I point out to the Minister that the Referendum here only applies to Bills that have been passed through this House?

And it does not include Money Bills.

So that old age pensions do not come under it.

In order to accentuate my point, I am, as a matter of fact——

You are a stranger to the truth.

In order to accentuate your method of argument you are talking nonsense.

Well, I do not talk quite as much nonsense, either in quantity or quality, as the Deputy who made that remark.

You certainly amuse the House occasionally.

We have here adult suffrage. Why is it adult? Because the democratic act of making a government is an adult act and requires thought; it requires a certain weighing of pros and cons. When we have a general programme put before the people, the people have to swallow a certain amount that they do not like in order to get a certain amount that they do. Necessarily. Nobody likes paying taxes; even the members of the Government Party are not at all anxious to pay taxes, but it simply has to be done. The Referendum is a means of deluding the people. On the one hand, you have here the Government responsible. What we do we have to stand over. We are accused of having done certain things in the past, and rightly accused, if you like. We stand over what we have done, but if this Dáil was so arranged that we might have a sort of back chat across it, when certain things we take responsibility for are mentioned, we could refer to certain things done, I believe, on the responsibility of the people in opposition, but for which they have never been put in a position of having to stand over. I suggest that a general election is an adult act by adults. A democratic system of government requires something from the democracy. It requires that they should weigh what they consider is most important in their own interests, or in the nation's interests, and that they should say: "In order to have this, which we consider a pre-eminently good thing, we must swallow this which we consider not at all a good thing, but which we think is worth while accepting in order to have the greater good." If you segregate each particular item and put it to the people, how are you going to have any coherent form of government? Is there going to be democracy? There is not. There is actually going to be a form practically of minority government, because although you may have a majority—different people making a majority in each case for each individual item—when you get the whole policy, the whole system of government, the whole method of regulating the lives of the people and of conserving and adding to the production of the country, would there be any majority in the people who would stand for all that is there? There would not. You take a general programme and you put it before the people. If you are elected as a government you fulfil that programme as far as you can, and you have to stand up before the people and answer for not having fulfilled what you have not done. This other system is a system that is naturally popular with people whose whole programme is an attempt to delude the people, and I will give one definite instance of how this thing can be used. Deputies on the other side have been around the country. First of all they called upon the people——

The Minister must deal with the section.

Give him enough rope.

I want to deal with——

The Minister must deal with Section 2.

Mr. BOLAND

Do not stop him.

Deputy Flinn will have to let the Chair judge what will be allowed and what will not be allowed.

We are making an appeal.

The Minister and every other Deputy must discuss Section 2 of this Bill.

I hope to confine myself to it. Under this section any matter can be put to the people, not directly under this section, but in a way that would lead up to its being done under the section presumably. The question of Article 17 in the Constitution has been raised. You go to the people and you put Article 17 to them——

Would the Minister explain how Article 17 can be put to the people under this?

Article 17 has nothing whatever to do with Section 2 of this Bill.

Would the Minister explain how it could be done under Section 2?

I will not allow any discussion of anything except Section 2 of this Bill.

Then he cannot go on with his example.

Hard luck!

I was dealing with Referendums in general. I was saying that a point could be put to the people for them to vote yea or nay on, and that that point is not an isolated point; that you can put one single point to them, and that they may say: "Yes, we would like that." It is not necessary to put before them that, in order to have that, they must also have something else.

Terrible war.

Possibly, terrible war. You could certainly put a thing to the people and they would say: "That is a thing we want," and they might incidentally, in getting that. get terrible war. Therefore, I say that having a general election requires adult thought. This other matter, which it is admitted now has been a failure in practically every country where it has been instituted, is an attempt to, as I might say, spoon-feed the people, and in spoon-feeding them incidentally to drug them. Democracy, I understand, is putting responsibility upon the people. The Referendum, as it would work out, would be taking responsibility from the people. Everybody could vote for the thing they liked on any Referendum that is put before them, and a man could get up afterwards and say: "Oh, yes, I voted for the abolition of taxation, but I had no idea that that would mean the abolition of old age pensions as well." Or a man could get up and say: "Oh, yes, I voted that all the people who fought on any side should get pensions, but at the same time I had no idea that that was going to add to taxation."

Mr. BOLAND

Only the winners get those pensions.

Democracy requires a certain amount of moral responsibility to be taken over by the people. The Executive act is bound by the Government they elect, acting in their name. But you cannot have a Government operating in a country when it may have mutually contradictory mandates put up to it. Is there anything wrong with the democratic system we have here—a general election, people going up with a programme and having to stand on it?

The people might vote for Cumann na nGaedheal.

There is this, that it demands a certain amount of thought by the people. But there are people whose stock in trade is to prevent the people thinking, that the people must be beguiled, wheedled, promised this, that and the other thing, and naturally, of course, the Referendum is very good there. Does democracy ask anything from the people? Are the people to be exempted from the trouble of thinking? They are not. Because if they are to be exempt from the trouble of thinking disaster might very easily overcome the country. If the people did not think we might possibly have the Opposition in power.

Mr. O'CONNELL

Why not give them a chance of thinking on this Bill?

Do not interfere with him.

The people will have a chance of thinking on this Bill, and of every other act of the Government, when the election comes along.

Mr. O'CONNELL

Too late.

The life of a nation is very long, and the maximum time before the next election is held is something a little over four years. Every act we do we will come before the people and stand over. We will not go before the people and say there is a change of heart since——

Mr. BOLAND

No wonder you would stand up when you cannot get away from it.

I am sorry I did not hear what the Deputy said.

Mr. BOLAND

It was loud enough.

The people will have a chance of judging this act and every other act of the Government.

Can you not prevent them?

No. We are not trying to prevent them. I am not a member of the Fianna Fáil Party at all. The Deputy seems to be making a mistake. But on every act we have got to be judged, and I suggest that no Government can be judged by a system of governing by Referendum, which is really cousin-german to anarchy, because you cannot have a comprehensive, coherent Government where one body of people may make a majority on one point, and another body of people may make a majority on another point. Under the system of general election the majority of the people if they like can vote for Fianna Fáil with all their promises and find out their mistake afterwards, or on the other hand if they like they can vote for the Government they have, with a restricted programme and restricted promises, because we have had the misfortune, if you like, to have been governing here for some time, and know that we cannot promise beyond our powers of fulfilment. That is, to my mind, a perfectly legitimate and easily worked form of democratic Government. I admit that it requires a certain amount of thought on the part of adult voters. Under the Referendum system you could have, not in this country, but in other countries where women are in a majority, the women voting in a majority in favour of conscription for the men.

Does the Minister realise that only Bills passed by this House can be subjected to a Referendum by this Article?

I understand that.

Then do not give such foolish examples as that.

They are not foolish examples. I am answering a certain remark I heard from Deputy Lemass, in which he said that every democratic Article of the Constitution was being abolished. I maintain on the contrary that the form of Constitution we must have here, if we are to have a Government of ordered society, is a form of democracy which demands some thought from the voters, not a form of democracy where voters can just vote on individual points. A Bill passes this House. I give this as an extreme example, and I admit it is not governed by this Article.

Why give it?

Because it hits one in the eye.

It is irrelevant.

Mr. BOLAND

"It can't be did."

If I took time and if I was allowed to go on without interruption I could refer to a number of things——

This Bill, for instance.

This Bill can be judged at the next general election.

Why wait for that? Would the Minister tell the House, supposing this Article is removed, what is there to prevent the majority passing a law to the effect that there should be no general election for the next fifteen years?

There are means of preventing that.

There is no check in the Constitution once you remove that Article.

There are means——

Will the Minister point them out.

The Minister must be allowed to continue without interruptions.

You must let me assert that there are means of preventing that. On the one hand the people elect a Government. Certain restrictions must be put on that Government. But you can put such restrictions on that Government as would prevent it functioning at all.

There comes the modus vivendi; you put on so many restrictions that you make government impossible. Then you come back to the position so loved by some people, the position of anarchy. People have to put certain confidence in a Government when they elect it, and you have to rely on the fact that if the Government is governing in direct violation to the wishes of the people, that Government cannot prevail for long. You must trust them. If on the contrary you say once a Government is elected. “We never knew what villainy it might do.” It is quite a legitimate thing to say. But you have to bring a certain amount of commonsense to bear on it; you have to trust that the people in voting will have some regard for ordinary honesty, ordinary patriotism in candidates. You may make a mistake, I quite agree. But are you going to prevent a coherent Government for all time in this country because once in 300 years you may have a Government remaining in power a month or a year after it has forfeited the people's confidence? I suggest it is a matter of commonsense. Does any one say that a system whereby the people have two coherent policies that mutually contradict and have to decide one way or the other between them is not democratic? Why? Because it requires a certain amount of thinking on the part of the people. When you have a system where each individual thing is voted on individually by the people does that make for government by the majority? Necessarily it does not. You have a whole programme of the work of government of the country, and you have a majority for each individual point, but for the whole coherent system of government you may not have one person in favour of it in the whole country.

How many majorities could you have at the same time?

You could have as many majorities as you had individual points to submit to the people, but you would not necessarily have a majority for a whole coherent system of government. Out of three people, A, B, and C, the position might be this, that A might vote for one thing and B and C for another, and if you were to add D, E, and so on, you might have an unlimited number of permutations. All that I am protesting against is the suggestion that doing away, if you like, with these ultra modern fancy things, which may look splendid enough on paper, is undemocratic, because to anyone who takes the trouble to look into them it will be seen that they are splendid machines for misleading the people and for making the whole machinery of government impossible in this country. They would leave the position such that it would be impossible to carry on government. From my point of view at least, the one thing that is pre-eminently necessary in this or any other country is government. It may not necessarily be perfect government. Necessarily above all things, what a government is required for is to maintain law and order and to regulate the mutual relations between the people of a country. That you must have. Under a system of government of the people declaring their will by Referendum on each individual point you may make that essential moral good impossible in this country.

Deputies opposite talk about democracy. I am talking about democratic government. You can have a democracy which amounts to anarchy, and that is a thing that I have no use for. Under the form of democracy, as understood by the Deputies opposite, each person might be having his own will in the most perfect fashion imaginable, but it would not be government and, therefore. would be bad. Democracy, if it means anarchy, would be bad. I think that the government that we are proposing here is a democratic government. The system that Deputies opposite are associating the word democracy with is not necessarily going to give you a democratic form of government.

Why did you not say that when the Constitution was being passed? Why did you vote for what is here then?

We were quite young and inexperienced then. We were very conscious, when we passed it, that there would necessarily be many imperfections in it. We were very conscious of that. But we arranged that the Constitution could be changed by ordinary legislation over a period of eight years after its passing. Our experience during the last six years has been such that we are satisfied that that period of eight years is not by any means sufficient time to enable us to make changes in the Constitution. Do Deputies on the opposite side maintain that the Constitution as passed in 1922 should be inviolable and unchangeable for all time?

Would the Minister state what experience he has had of the working of Articles 47 and 48 of the Constitution since they were passed?

Or the ill-effects of them?

From the position that I have occupied I have necessarily been forced to give a certain amount of thought as to what government means, and as to the ethical effects of what government is, and as to how government can be achieved, especially in a country where we had short experience of government. I have given more thought to it than I did six years ago. I am satisfied above all things that an alien government is better than no government. A bad government is better than no government. I suggest that any form of democracy that is imposed or is accepted in any country is imposed as a test. And the test is: Does it unfailingly provide that there shall be a government to order the affairs of that country? If it meets that test then it is bound to stand for a time. If it does not it stands condemned on the face of it. I suggest if Deputies opposite would consider the system of the Referendum they would be satisfied, after very little thought, that that system does not necessarily make for government. They will be satisfied, I think, that it is pre-eminently a machine that could be used for the negation and for the destruction of government and as such has tremendous potentialities for bad in it. Deputies have pointed out that an absolutely irresponsible government might carry on for a long time after it had ceased to serve any useful purpose, and to prevent the possibility which, if you like, might happen once in 100 years, you are perpetuating a system the whole effect of which and almost necessarily the effect of which is a negation of government. A negation of government is anarchy which, I admit, might be desired by a number of people in this country, because they have no experience of it possibly.

But there is one definite ethical thing, and that is government. I know no better way of securing that than by the ordinary system of general election. The system of the Referendum I regard as something which is definitely harmful and interferes with that system which provides for democracy. It puts upon democracy the necessity for thinking and it permits a coherent policy of government being carried out by the men elected by the people to do that. The Referendum is aimed against that. It aims at very great perfection, but in actual fact it falls into an abyss of imperfections. I maintain, with all honesty, having given the matter possibly more thought than Deputies opposite, that the system of the Referendum has nothing essentially democratic in it. It looks simple, of course, and would be splendid for a good many people. The most perfect form of government would be that every man should come into the Dáil and air his own views. That would be splendid democracy, but it would not be government. There are many things that, superficially, look splendid and perfectly simple, but when you come to examine them closely they are not nearly so splendid or simple as they look. The Referendum looks a splendidly democratic thing, but there is nothing necessarily democratic in it. Where it has been worked it has not necessarily led to the will of the majority prevailing as regards the government of a country. The will of the majority may prevail on one point, but the will of the majority does not necessarily prevail as regards the whole government of the country. That the will of the majority should prevail as to the whole system and programme of government and as to the working of government in its generalities is more important than the triumphant victory of the will of a majority of the people on any one given point. When Deputies suggest that the taking away of the Referendum is undemocratic, they are suggesting what is the contrary to the truth. I quite believe it is possible to have a better and a more democratic form of government than the existing Parliaments. It is quite possible that there is a better way of forming a government and of running a country than by an ordinary general election, and of the majority so elected forming a government. There may be better ways, but if there are, let us hope we will some time here adopt them. I do not agree that the Referendum or the Initiative is the better way. On the contrary, there are much worse ways. They stand condemned because they do not make for government at all. They make for anarchy. The Deputies opposite may want that. I am not sure that they do not want it. If they do they might as well get up and say that they want it, and not say that their hearts are burning and that tears are welling in their eyes at the mention of the word "democracy" and the will of the people.

The last general election cost a lot of money. If I had all the money that was spent on that general election, and if I wanted to use it in the most effective possible manner in order to win a general election for this side as against that side, I would ask permission to bring the Minister whom we have just heard and precisely the speech he has made on to a platform for exhibition before everybody in Ireland who was capable of thinking. "Allow me to assert," he says. That is his argument, that is his answer—the modus vivendi is when you have piled so many restrictions on something that you cannot act. That is the man who wants the country to think and to abolish Article 48 in order to teach the people to think. He tells us that government by all the people is anarchy, but that government by the select people whom he thinks think is not anarchy. That is what he wants. He was going to give you a coherent programme. You heard it. You know now what a coherent programme is. You know what sounds sound like when coming right out of a vacuum. Certainly no House, no debating society, let alone any legislative assembly, could with any respect for its reputation let loose to the world to be seen by the world as an exhibition of its capacity the incapacity of the incoherent programme to which we have just listened. Imagine a responsible Minister who tells you that the majority of these people are capable of voting for old age pensions at 30, with £1,000 a year each. That is a coherent programme. That is part of the talk you get from somebody who wants to educate the people into thinking. If the people thought and saw, something would very rapidly disappear, for nothing more completely descriptive of the word “dud” than the speech which has come from the Minister for Defence has certainly never been delivered in a third-rate debating society held in a lunatic asylum. This is adult.”“It requires adult thought.” What adult thought means I do not pretend to know. I have seen children who thought a great deal more clearly, certainly more coherently, and who were infinitely more capable of expressing themselves than some adults who lecture this country on the necessity of being taught to think—by duds.

We had a cousin-german. What the cousin-german had to do with it I do not know, except that we are railroading through this House a Bill which will enable the cousin-german to administer officially. What the connection is between the cousin-german and the subject before this House I do not know. I am going through the Deputy's speech—I beg your pardon, I beg the House's pardon, I beg the pardon of the people of Ireland by having to call him Minister. It requires apparently, according to him, more thought to buy a pig in a poke than to buy it by looking at it. And really thoughtful people, people educated in the standards of intelligence and coherent thinking, with modus vivendi and a cousin-german educated in that style in which it is thought sensible for them to buy a pig in a poke. Before these brilliant people decided to find out what fools they were when they put in things for the purpose of fooling the people under this brilliant Constitution, as it then existed, you did elect under proportional representation certain people to govern the country through this sovereign assembly of a sovereign State for five years, and you gave these people continuous control, negative and positive, over everything they did. If they passed bad laws, you left in possession of the people the powers to prevent them from putting those bad laws into operation. If they did not pass good laws it would be another of their follies and stupidity and inexperience which were represented by 1922, and in the ignorance and incapacity of the Irish people to govern themselves, you gave them power if these people were sent back here who did not pass good laws to compel them to do so. Now, after four or five years of intensive thought and experience, so acute and broad that it possibly could not be found on any other benches but his own, and probably never outside a head as large as his own, he has discovered that is not good enough——

The Deputy ought not to be so personal in his remarks.

I am speaking exactly what the Minister had the impudence, unrebuked, to say to us—we hadn't intelligence.

The Deputy is quite in order in dealing with what the Minister said, but it is not desirable to be making references to the personal appearance of any Deputy in this House.

I was dealing with the inside of the Minister's head, not the outside.

The Deputy will have to get away from personalities in this House.

The Minister lectured us upon the necessity of thought. He told us how much experience he had and how much thought he had given to it, and he said that we had not and could not. What is wrong in my replying to that? It does seem as if we had a sort of one-way valve here in which Ministers are allowed to pour out of their experience and their wisdom insults upon these benches, and no answer must be made. Well, so long as that is understood——

Deputy Flinn has no right to say that —no right whatever. It is a most uncalled for remark, and must be withdrawn immediately.

Withdrawn immediately. The next thing the Minister said was that he had to go to the perfect democracy. He had to stand up before the country in four years' time. Why? What is to make him? What is the necessity? Precisely the same machinery can be used to say that it will be fourteen years or forty years. There is no necessity whatever. "Oh!" he says. "Allow me to assert." Certainly that is all we get.

The whole argument is assertion and assertion again, and, if you do not accept the assertion, well then you have the Division Lobby and the Closure and that settles it. That is a democratic argument. I have been looking for a definition of democracy which would fit into the coherent programme and the cousin-german. Someone once said that the word "democracy"—and the learning, experience, and erudition of the Front Bench will check me if I am wrong—was derived from the Hindu-neolithic root "demos" and the Arabic word "krazi"—the most crazy system of government that ever was inflicted upon a race. That definition fits in perfectly with the description of democracy as given by its inspired exponents, who have discovered after six years that they were infinitely too democratic six years ago because, they assert, it is more democratic that a House should be elected which for five years could do what it liked, good or evil, which during those five years could gerrymander the constituencies, which during those five years could abolish proportional representation, which during those five years could refuse to go back to the people until it liked, which during those five years could manipulate taxation any way it liked for the benefit of a class, and which during those five years could take all authority out of the hands of the people, even when they go to them, and make a farce of going to them by building up over the head and top of the nominal democracy an assembly which remained an outside authority and which does not care two pence halfpenny what the people require, and which under the Constitution is not required to care what the people want. That is democracy. Buy a pig in a poke. Send your members here. Have no control over them. Let them do what they like. Of course, you have to think a lot, you have to be highly educated in a particular form of thinking, you have to use a thinker to the nth power, before you could possibly evolve a system of government, at any rate before you could evolve an appreciation of a system of government which would enable you to say that in buying a pig in a poke and electing a House over which you have no control is more democratic and gives you more control, gives the people more control, than you have within the narrow bounds and limitations of this sovereign people and this sovereign assembly: than you now have when the people have continuous control, positive and negative, over every act of the Executive and over every act of a majority in the Dáil which is not an absolutely overwhelming majority.

The President—some more of the coherence—spoke of an unscrupulous Executive. He does not like that Executive. What is he saying now in abolishing Article 47? He thinks that we are up against the risk and danger of an unscrupulous majority of these people. Remember, nothing else can do any harm. First, you have to have a very considerable proportion of elected representatives here who are in favour of consulting the electors upon this point. Secondly, you have to have a very definite number of the electorate who will go to the trouble and individual expense in order to express the desire that the wish of a large number in the Dáil shall be implemented by the people being consulted. Then you have to go to the people, and unless you are up against an unscrupulous majority, or unless this country has reached the stage of mental degradation which is represented by it being true that the majority knowing the facts would vote for old age pensions of £1,000 at the age of thirty, no harm could be done. Yet it is necessary immediately for the public safety because we are getting rid of that clause also to get rid of this thing. Deputy Connolly thought it was necessary for the public peace, health and safety that we should abolish this. This man will not even concede vaccination to the public health, but will tear out of the Treaty and Constitution this democratic provision without any hesitation, without any waiting, without asking the people whether they want it taken out or not, under the pretence and farce that it is immediately necessary for the public health and safety of this country.

Is the Deputy dealing with the section or with the motion of the President?

This is a part of Article 47, and I think it is rather unreasonable that——

I asked the Deputy if he was referring to the section or to the motion in the name of the President.

I am referring to Article 47.

Then the Deputy is in order.

The President looks forward to the time when we, or somebody, shall have failed to deceive the people, and when that time comes he suggests that a general election will put it right. It will not have to put it right, because we will have locked the door in advance, we will have locked the door after the horse has been stolen. What the House wants to realise is that this Referendum is the only effective protection in the Constitution against the utterly illiberal use of a majority. Once that goes, anything is possible, and in a House which has in its recollection the Public Safety Act, which has in its recollection a general election run as the last general election was run, it is nonsense to ask that House, and through it to ask the people not to envisage the fact that utter illiberality, utter criminal folly, may not have its seat in the Executive Council itself. The only protection is the Referendum. Remember, it is only a majority of three that is behind the whole of this. People on both sides to-day are down at the county council elections, but the clear majority on this issue is there. A change over of three men and this Government, these changes of the Constitution and this impertinence to the electorate will disappear. The members of Trinity College, the members of the National University—highly democratic institutions —three members of the Farmers' Party——

I do not suppose that there are any of them here, but three would change it over. That is what you are resting on. That is your whole majority. That is your whole sanction. That is the whole machinery which enables you to pass these Bills, and say that they are urgently necessary for the public peace and public health of this country. Yet you throw ridicule on the idea that democratic veto or veto of an adult electorate might not be thoughtful enough, even if it was a majority, to enable the people to correct a fundamental wrong which will be done.

There will, when this is passed, be handed over to the Executive, if they dare to use it, absolute power. Nothing can hold them. It is under that power they are putting over this Dáil a Seanad which can hold up for twenty months anything done by the Dáil. It is under that authority they are making George, King of England, capable of being a member of the Executive Council of this House, and it is under that power, when the restraint of the Referendum is taken from them, they can do any other Party thing, do any other sectional thing, do any other anti-national thing, do any other "coherent" thing, coherent with their policy of anti-nationality, coherent with their policy of sectionalism. There is no limit. "Allow me to assert," says the apostle of thinking among the common people. There is no protection when it is gone. All you have got to do is to find out whether you have got your men in the House or not. Three men more and you can do what you like. I do not know whether you can succeed in keeping silent the Minister, who had no more sense than to make the perfectly silly speech which he did make, but within these limitations all power which is in the control of the people to-day disappears from them when Article 47 disappears from the Constitution. That might be all right if you did believe that on the front bench, animating that majority of three, there were those inspired supermen, there were men with a full sense of responsibility and a full knowledge of what was required in the Government of Ireland and that outlook upon her future such as they ought to have, but have they? Would you trust them? Would you yourselves individually, in relation to the affairs of your private life, employ them? Which of them— these people who, when the Referendum is gone, will have the complete power to decide on the future of this House, on the fundamental law of this country— would you employ in your private business? To which one of them would you pay a salary for commercial purposes? Is there one of them, the Minister for Fisheries, the Minister for Defence, and after you heard the Budget statement of the Minister for Finance——

A DEPUTY

You are not in Galway now.

I am going to Galway again. The Minister for Fisheries— would you employ him? Would you employ the Minister for Defence for any commercial and productive purpose? The Minister for Agriculture has told us his own value in the profession in which he has been trained. From what you know of the Budget of the Minister for Finance, would you appoint him as a cashier in a retail grocery?

Is it in order to discuss the Budget on this Bill?

I am not discussing the Budget.

Notwithstanding that, the Deputy is a long way from being in order on the speech which he is making.

So long as the House knows that they are putting into the hands of men of the capacity they know and into the hands of a party with a record such as they know, so long as they know that in abolishing Article 47 they are giving them power to do anything else they like, and so long as the House is prepared to take responsibility for it, well and good, but the writing is on the wall. The day of judgment is coming——

What about North Dublin?

We will tackle North Dublin. The day of judgment is coming. Take the speech delivered by the Minister for Defence. Take him round the country and say: "This is the Minister whom we have appointed. This is the sort of capacity which we have. This is the sort of intelligence which stands upon our Front Bench and represents the Irish people in its sovereign assembly," and the one thing that will be written on the wall will be: "Away with the whole lot of the duds," and with them will disappear the danger to democracy in this country, the danger which is represented, not by this Bill only, not by all the Bills they have introduced, not by the Public Safety Act, or all the other twaddle they have introduced, but by the mentality which was capable of all these Bills, capable of the Public Safety Act, capable of these ten Bills, capable of insulting this House, and, through this House, insulting the people by saying that they were consulting their interests and that they were consulting their rights, that they were paying tributes to democracy in taking from the people of this country the power to control the Dáil which they had elected and the power to decide even whether they should elect a Dáil.

I will try to keep as far away from the point as Deputy Flinn did.

Mr. BOLAND

Or the Minister who preceded him.

Mr. HOGAN

I was not here.

The Minister ought to be allowed to proceed without interruption.

Mr. HOGAN

He can interrupt me later. I will try to keep as far away as possible from the point as Deputy Flinn did. Of course, there is this difficulty in dealing with these points, that they have been dealt with a hundred times over, time and time again. Speaking personally, I hate repetition. It overwhelms me. I hear the same stale arguments repeated day after day, week after week, year after year. It has only just one reaction on me. It has a certain amount of disgust and a certain amount of appreciation. I appreciate the mentality of people who can get up and repeat the same thing, the same stale, silly arguments, knowing that most of them, because I give them credit for some intelligence, are entirely unsound and entirely false. Yet they can get up day after day, week after week, year after year, and repeat these arguments with a certain amount of freshness which I envy, and generally repeat them as if they believed them. What is all the pother about? Articles 47 and 48 are to be taken away, and the entire power of the people is to be removed with that removal. That is the whole contention. Do people seriously call that a contribution to this debate? There is a good lot to be said for the Referendum. Personally, I strongly disbelieve, and always strongly disbelieved, in the Referendum.

You did not always say it.

Mr. HOGAN

I believe I did. I do not regard the issue as of any importance, but I do realise that a case could be made for the Referendum as a democratic expedient, and that a case could be made for the Initiative as a democratic expedient, but there has been no attempt on the Benches opposite amongst the people who profess really to believe in the Referendum, really to understand it, really to appreciate its special uses, to make the special case that could be made for it. You are too lazy. Deputies will not settle down to the hard work of making up any case. Instead, they simply indulge in generalities—there must be some intelligence left, even in Deputy Flinn— which they must know are entirely foreign to the point. Look at this! "All power leaves the people when Article 47 is taken away." That is the Deputy's statement. I chanced to come into the House and listened to it—I could be better engaged elsewhere. And this in a country with adult suffrage—I am tired of repeating this; it appals myself to repeat it, but I have to do it when I hear these things—this in a country where every man and woman has a vote!

Will the Minister allow me, as I am rather anxious to come to close quarters on the matter? The point was this: If the Referendum goes, and if the same machinery is to be used, is there anything which you are prevented from doing?

Mr. HOGAN

I do not quite get the point.

I will take a very simple case: Could the same machinery be used by the same majority to abolish proportional representation?

Mr. HOGAN

Will you allow me to deal with that after this? I want to deal with this first. Could the same machinery be used to abolish proportional representation? I take it the Deputy means that the abolition of proportional representation is an extremely big, important and fundamental issue which could not be abolished by a mere majority among parties. That is the point.

Of three or four among parties?

Mr. HOGAN

I leave that point for a moment. I was dealing with the argument made in his speech—because I expect that he would put up his best arguments in his speech—that all power leaves the people when Article 47 is taken away. That was his statement. He is speaking in a country where you have adult suffrage, where there is proportional representation at present, and where there must be an election at least every five years.

You might change that too.

The Minister is anxious to——

Mr. HOGAN

I will come to that point. That is the existing position. There is no talk of changing that, and there is no proposal here to change that.

Mr. HOGAN

Can the Deputy not let me develop my argument? He may find that I will answer the point by anticipation. At present, and since 1922, that is the position. We have had the 1922 election, and the less said about that by Deputy Aiken the better.

And for you too.

Mr. HOGAN

I will say for both of us, then.

Mr. HOGAN

There was the 1922 election. Up to a point that was a free election.

Until the Pact was broken.

Mr. HOGAN

No. We had the 1923 election with adult suffrage. Our police, our Army and the forces of the State were deliberately used to enable the people to vote as they wished.

A DEPUTY

In one way.

They ran away with the ballot boxes in some places.

And 30,000 prisoners kept in!

Mr. HOGAN

Did that affect the issue? There again is an example of what I said. Deputy Ryan knows that is no answer to my contention—that there were 30,000 prisoners is really no answer, but is a quibble.

That has nothing to do with this Bill.

Mr. HOGAN

I am dealing with the argument of Deputy Flinn. With very great respect, I think the point that we are taking away the power of the people by removing Article 47 is a valid argument, and that my reply is valid also. We had an election in 1923; we have had two or three since—I forget which—all held under these conditions: adult suffrage, proportional representation, with no intimidation—so far as we could see there was to be no intimidation; and yet under these circumstances we are told that we are taking away the power from the people. Do you really believe that?

A DEPUTY

Yes.

Mr. HOGAN

Is there any country in the world where the ordinary citizen has as much power and, if so, name it? Let me go back a little further. I am entitled to say this without interruption, because I have been listening to gibes for the last fortnight or three weeks on this question. Who ever attempted to stop the people from exercising those rights? The Deputies sitting opposite, and well they know it. Who first of all refused to accept the people's will? The people who refused to accept the majority of seven on the Treaty—a majority of the Deputies of all Ireland.

You did. You say we started the war.

Mr. HOGAN

I did not interrupt you.

No, but you are asking a question.

Mr. HOGAN

I have listened to Deputies talking drivel for the last three weeks and I might be allowed to attempt to answer them, even if it is drivel.

We listen to you talking it.

Mr. HOGAN

Do so. When I hear all this talk about the will of the people I am entitled to examine the credentials of the people who are so exercised at present over an expedient which is a rather esoteric expedient and which is adopted in very few countries, so exercised because they say they want to have all the minutiae of machinery that may make the will of the people effective. Who ever attempted to interfere with the will of the people? Deputies opposite.

You did.

Mr. HOGAN

Have the courage to admit it; at least be logical in your policies. There is a lot to be said for a dictatorship. You attempted one, but you failed. It is a position you could defend; it is at least a manly position. This attempt to bring off a dictatorship, this attempt to interfere with the will of the people, followed by an attempt to prove that you are the only champions of the will of the people in the country, is positively nauseating, is not believed by anybody, and does not carry any conviction with me. The will of the people has been well expressed in the last six or seven years under great difficulties. We established a state of affairs under which the will of the people must prevail in this country. We gave them five or six chances to say what their will was. It is not an answer for any Deputy to say: "You have a small majority." Such a majority as we have is the sovereign will of the people for practical purposes, and there is no alternative to that state of affairs but anarchy—none. I am not going, as one citizen, to accept a dictatorship from the Deputies opposite or from a minority in the country. There is going to be only one dictatorship in this country, and that is the dictatorship of the majority—do not misunderstand me when I use the word "dictatorship"; do not play on the word; it has been used—and that dictatorship of the majority must prevail, and there must be no question as to whether the majority is made up of people who have a national outlook or who have not, or who have this, that, or the other. There is only one doctrine that must apply to those people, and that is that they be Irish people.

Why did you not always tell them so?

Mr. HOGAN

Certainly I did. If they are bad, then it is the Irish people who are bad. If they are virtuous, then it is the Irish people who are virtuous, and if they have vice, then it is the Irish people who have vice. It is not for us to criticise them. Moreover, we should not be told that there are merely different parties in this House. They have not all been on the same ballot elected here as Deputies, but there are fundamentals upon which different parties agree and there are fundamentals upon which different parties disagree. But when any issue is put up here the majority, no matter where it comes from, must be the sovereign majority of the country. It does not lie in the mouth of any man on the opposite benches, no matter what traditions he has or pretends to have, to criticise one single man who walks into one single lobby to vote. All this nonsense, all this criticism on those lines has gone on for three or four years. No wonder we do not understand and are incapable of appreciating the meaning of the word "democracy" or the idea behind free constitutions. Deputy Flinn made what he thought was quite a good recovery in attempting to put a more specific point. He could have put a more exaggerated case. He could have said, "Assume you have a majority at the present moment you could decide to go back to the Union." Could you do that? The Party majority that put that issue merely before the country and got a majority for it would be entitled to do so just as they might be entitled to join France or any other country, but it is not a sound point. First of all, if you put such a proposal forward you would not get a majority for it. Never in any circumstances.

We all know that the Party machine is necessary. You cannot carry on day after day the humdrum, monotonous work of politics without a Party machine. The Party opposite is the best regimented Party in the whole House. I shall pay it that compliment, but when it comes to a fundamental issue you must have sufficient respect for members to feel that each man will think for himself; that each man will ask himself what is his duty to his country and to his constituents, and will act on that, and if he does not we should really ask England to take us over. But this is not a fundamental issue, as every Deputy knows. What is the origin of this. I feel very strongly tempted to deal with Deputy Flinn when he talks nonsense about Ministers opposite and said "You would not employ them at £2 a week." That is merely an expression that I myself would use about Deputies on his side of the House. I will not go into it now, except to say that we did quite a lot in the last five or six years, and even before the last five or six years, when there was very little sign of Deputy Flinn. I listened to Deputy Flinn when he talked about the Minister for Defence. There was very little sign of Deputy Flinn then.

Or of Deputy Hogan.

On a point of order. What have we to do with what Deputy Flinn did six years ago?

Mr. HOGAN

That is a most cowardly interruption. It is typical of Deputy Little. Why did Deputy Little not make that objection when Deputy Flinn was talking. I heard Deputy Flinn talking about the Minister for Defence. The Minister for Defence is able to defend himself and does not want protection from anybody.

He has a good Army behind him.

Mr. HOGAN

He has a tip-top Army, and he is well able to talk for himself. The Minister for Defence was doing good work in this country when the times were very difficult. There are Deputies opposite who know that he did good work, and where was Deputy Flinn then?

Where was the Minister for Agriculture then?

Mr. HOGAN

I will tell you.

You tried to back a winner and well you know it. You succeeded, too.

Deputy Boland will have to restrain himself.

Take your medicine.

Let someone else say that.

Mr. HOGAN

I do not know any Deputy who has the faculty of pretending to be stupidly honest as well as Deputy Boland. He knows I never tried to back the winner.

You did try to back the winner in 1921, and you ought to be complimented upon it.

Mr. HOGAN

Where were you? I think you were the same as myself, fooling around Ballykinlar. These are the people who talk loudly.

The Minister will allow me. He must get back to the question before the Committee, and he must be allowed to make his speech without interruption. Deputy Flinn was allowed to make a long speech without any interruption; that was right, and other Deputies should be allowed to make their speeches without interruption. There are members on the Fianna Fáil side——

The Minister is more amusing.

Mr. HOGAN

I am not. I listened to the attempted insults from Deputy Flinn, and I am entitled to reply to them if there is any sense of fair play. He picked out the Minister for Defence. I look across at the benches opposite. There are people who pride themselves on their ancestry and their long tradition of national service. They listen to Deputy Flinn talking about the Minister for Defence, and not a word of protest. They all know as well as I know that the Minister for Defence did good work in this country long before some of the Deputies on the opposite benches were active, when the times were more dangerous, and when it took a man of some courage and character to do it. Times are quiet now; we made them quiet. Every one who wants a stage can come out and say what he likes. Deputy Flinn now is a patriot, a Republican, a hero and a martyr, and Deputy Fitzgerald is a chancer, "backing a winner," like myself.

A dud was what Deputy Flinn described him.

Mr. HOGAN

Yes, exactly. The help of a great many men was wanted in those times, but Deputy Flinn was not so anxious then to volunteer—for the Irish Army, anyway. I heard a lot of talk about ex-soldiers on the benches opposite. It amazed me to hear them talking about ex-soldiers, and about what defence there was for certain people entering other armies, and so on. If they had any sense of humour they would not say these things.

The Minister is wandering from the Bill.

Perhaps the Minister will tell us to whom he is referring.

Mr. HOGAN

I am dealing with you, for one. I will deal with you afterwards.

I will deal with you all right.

Mr. HOGAN

Indeed, you will not.

You have not been able to say——

Mr. HOGAN

As a jack-in-the-box, the Deputy in the back bench opposite cannot be beaten.

You will be beaten when I have finished with you either inside or outside the House. Were you ever in any army?

The Minister must address the Chair and deal with the Bill.

Mr. HOGAN

I am dealing with the Bill, and I am trying to deal with Deputy Flinn's point.

We must have some semblance of order. The Minister will have to deal with the Bill now.

Mr. HOGAN

I am almost finished. I am told the writing is on the wall. Of course, Deputies mean——

A DEPUTY

That you will have to go.

Mr. HOGAN

We have heard that song before; that we will have to go. I know that Deputy Carney is hurt, but then he was asking for it.

I am not hurt. There is nothing to be hurt about from you, you scrounger.

On a point of order, the Deputy should be required to withdraw that.

Mr. HOGAN

No. Do you think that anything that Deputy says about me makes the slightest difference to me?

It makes a good deal of difference to me in this matter. I am going to insist that the Minister will conclude his speech on this Bill and will deal with the section, and there will be no further interruption.

Mr. HOGAN

I will deal with this one point. Deputy Flinn ended with this sentence, "Away with the whole duds." You will find that this is relevant to the Bill. We have heard that song before. Is not that very statement an admission that the people are sovereign and that they will have their rights? There will be another election, I am sure. I suppose that I could not go into any speculation on the matter now. If I stated that I am perfectly certain the Party opposite would never get a majority, they would not believe me. You could say that is a perfectly reasonable contention for a member of one political Party to put forward; there is no more in it. But supposing you do get a majority, I am absolutely satisfied. You are then the majority party. It means that you are then the masters of this country. You will find nobody on your flank. I will be a good looker-on, and I will be anxious to see whether all this talk about the great programmes—I do not want to mention them specifically—means anything. I will be anxious to know whether, in regard to these great political and economic programmes, you will be able to carry them out; whether you really mean what you say and whether you will have the guts to carry them out. I doubt it.

The Minister for Lands and Agriculture, who has just sat down, apparently did not advert to his continued absence from the House last week when the Second Stage of this Bill was being discussed. He began his speech by saying that no argument had been advanced in justification of Article 47 and that the case for the Referendum had not been argued upon its merits. I do not want to recapitulate all the arguments that were used by the Deputies on these Benches on that matter, but certainly we did show that Articles 47 and 48 had a very special place and a very special value in this Constitution. The Minister asked in what other country had the people so much power as here. Apparently he wants to make the case that because we have universal suffrage in this country exercised by citizens who attain their majority, that the people here have a special and unique power. This is not the only country where such conditions prevail. Great Britain, America and Germany have similar conditions and, so far as the fact that every man and woman in the Free State is entitled to vote is concerned, it does not at all justify the statement which the Minister made, that in no country in Europe had the people so much power as in the Saorstát. What other justification has he for the statement? So far as the Constitution is concerned, at the present moment the people have certain rights and liberties which are enjoyed by other States; but the people in this country have no more rights and no more liberties than are enjoyed, if you like, in the most democratic States in Europe or America.

The Minister asked what was the justification for the Referendum. The justification for the Referendum is this —the old principle that for every power and every authority for which you cannot provide a superior, you must at least provide an equal; that is, if you want to preserve the fundamental liberties of the citizens. It is a fact admitted by those who are competent to analyse and judge upon these matters that representative government throughout the world has very largely broken down, in so far as, at the present moment, the principle that there was safety only in the division of political authority or power among several components of the State, has now practically broken down everywhere. The power that the head of the State had has disappeared in so far as England is concerned and, I admit, in so far as the Free State is concerned.

Does the Deputy admit that seriously?

I do admit it, if every Article in this Constitution is honoured and given effect to; but if you are going to emasculate the Constitution as written, then it is a different matter. We do not know what hidden power may be controlling the Executive Council. We know very well it is not the Dáil that controls the Executive Council; we know it is not the Cumann na nGaedheal Party that controls the Executive Council. We have had several instances in the past few weeks showing that the policy pursued by the Executive Council is dictated, not in this House, but by some power outside this House, by some power that is not afraid to voice the policy which it desires the Executive Council to follow. What we want to assure ourselves is, that upon great vital issues affecting the rights of the people and the liberties of the State, a substantial minority, a minority sufficiently large to prevent an abuse of the power already existing in the Constitution will be able to refer such matters to the people.

I do not wish to enter into a sidetrack and to show why if, in fact, the people have power under this Constitution, the trappings, the fictions and the symbols of monarchical institutions, as the late Vice-President and Minister for Justice described them, should disappear from this Constitution as being dishonourable symbols and trappings which we, representatives of free men, should not wear. I will get back to the question of the Referendum. I was saying, I think, that representative government has largely broken down, because, in fact, political power at the present moment, practically in every country in the world, is concentrated in the hands of the political Executive. The theory at one time was that the Executive was responsible to the Houses of Parliament, to the legislative assemblies which elected the Executive. But in point of fact the Executive Council controls those Houses now and we have seen measures—and those Bills which we are discussing at the present moment are examples of such measures —discussed not in this House, but discussed at a meeting of a little committee, the reports of whose proceedings have not been published. We have seen Bills introduced here by the President and the only argument he advanced in support of them was that these Bills were giving effect to the findings of a Joint Committee consisting of six Deputies from the Dáil and six members from the Seanad who met in Committee, discussed in Committee in private certain Constitutional changes.

That was an example, one example of the position of affairs to which representative government has been reduced. It is not the worst example. We know very well that the Executive does meet in secret and discusses certain matters in secret, advised, not by Deputies in this House, but by interests outside this House, and it then comes before the Dáil, puts before it a legislative policy, and demands that the Dáil should pass that programme under the penalty that, if they refuse to pass it in the form in which it is presented, the discussion is to be closured, that the health of Deputies is to be broken down in order that these Bills should secure free passage. That is what has happened. Up to the introduction of this Bill for the repeal of Article 47 the minority in this House who do represent a section of this nation—the minority on these Benches represent what will one day be the dominating factor in the councils of this nation— had some redress. They could take the matter out of the hands of a tyrannical Executive, and it could be referred to a court of the people. That was a great safeguard which minorities had, and it does not matter what political complexion the minority may have, that was a great safeguard which minorities have under this Constitution. I think, speaking on the Second Reading, I said that I was perfectly certain that those who were interested in the drafting of this Constitution, particularly the two men who made themselves the principal sponsors to the Irish people for it, welcomed these Articles, and saw the advantages that would be derived from them and the safeguards they would afford to the people. Deputy Flinn asked the Minister what the position would be as soon as these Articles disappeared. The Executive Council are proposing to repeal Article 47 of the Constitution. It has been stressed time and again in this House that Article 17 has a special significance in the Constitution. Article 47 has an equal significance in the Constitution. I believe it was thought one of the Articles which would remain in that Constitution for all time. If you refer to Article 50 you will see that Article 50, which is the Article which gives power to amend and change this Constitution, has one sentence which is very significant. It says: "Any such amendment may be made within the said period of eight years by way of ordinary legislation and as such shall be subject to the provisions of Article 47 hereof." That was to show that any Constitutional amendment under Article 50 should be referred to the people by a Referendum in order that it might have the people's express sanction.

Does the President of the Executive Council propose to honour that Article of the Constitution? The President has given notice of motion, and that notice of motion is to declare that the Bill to delete Article 47 is a Bill declared by both Houses to be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety. And the grounds upon which the President asked the people to renew their confidence in him in 1927—he may have changed his tune in September, 1927— at any rate, the ground was this: he asked them to return him to power in order that he might maintain in its entirety this democratic Constitution. I remember when certain by-elections were being fought in the Irish Free State, when we on these benches founded the Fianna Fáil organisation and launched an attack upon the Oath, that the President came out with a statement that this was the most democratic Constitution in the world, and that in order to safeguard the people from the abuse of power on the part of the Executive, there were Articles 47 and 48 in the Constitution. He referred in glowing terms to the Referendum and to the Initiative. When we see the President now come into this House and asking the House now to delete these Articles from the Constitution, it reminds me of a few lines I once heard and which I remember:—

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,

"And your hair has become very white,

And yet you incessantly stand on your head,

Do you think at your age it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to the son,

"I feared it might injure the brain.

But now that I am perfectly sure I have none,

Why, I do it again and again."

"The Daily Mail."

Why do you not quote something about Peter Pan who would not grow up?

The President is the Peter Pan of finance, of public finance. He has never grown up.

I think if you said he was old——

He is old, he is so old that he is in his second childhood. As I said, the President, when I contrast his speeches in 1926 and 1927 with his attitude in the Dáil now reminds me of Father William in the poem and the whole Executive Council reminds me of the same thing. There are some men who will go down in history, I suppose, as the fathers of the Constitution. The President, I may remark, will never claim that title. He reminds me rather of the step-father, or, if you like, the person who has taken Britannia for his paramour and is now engaged in strangling his luckless offspring. This Constitution is the result of a bargain between Ireland and England. When the Irish people tried to make use of this to advance the traditional cause of Irish liberty the President proceeds to delete from it every single Article which gives the people control over the Executive Council and that would make that Executive Council carry out the people's will. It was urged—it was argued by Deputy Thrift that certain legislation, particularly legislation to delete Article 17 from the Constitution could not be considered in this House, because it would be ultra vires.

Would the Deputy give me some idea where I would get that poem he recited?

Sure. I will give you the end of it too, afterwards.

It is not for publication.

Will he give me the author of it and where he saw it?

He does not know.

I am very anxious to get it.

To get back: I was talking about the importance of Article 47. We have seen that the legislature has no control over the Executive. The Executive becomes a mere party machine which can, and does, introduce and pass legislation which it is afraid to justify and which it cannot justify by argument. I was going on to point cut that Article 47 had been deliberately introduced into the Constitution in order to provide that safeguard. At the present moment, under Article 47, a substantial minority in this House, whose ordinary fundamental rights are infringed and violated by legislation passed in this House, can appeal to the people, and, as I think I said before, the sense and the feeling for justice and equity in the mass of the people is so great that they would prevent a flagrant injustice being done to any minority inside this State. But if you remove this Article 47 what safeguard or what control have you over the Executive? The Executive, backed up by the majority which deletes this Article, can introduce, after it has been deleted, a Bill to prolong the life of this Dáil. I do not think that there is any power in the Constitution which would prevent them from doing that. I ask the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware of any power which would prevent an Executive, backed up by a majority of seven in this House, from introducing such a Bill and carrying that Bill through this Dáil by exactly the self-same methods as they have used to carry these Constitutional amendments to-day?

I think I dealt with that point.

A Bill to prolong the life of this Dáil for ten or fifteen years.

Mr. HOGAN

I think I dealt with that point in a most concrete way, and over a more extravagant Bill.

I ask you to deal with that point. I ask you to answer yes or no. Is there any provision in this Constitution which limits the life of Parliament and which will compel the Executive to appeal to the people?

Mr. HOGAN

I think 76 or 77 Deputies are a majority in this Dáil. There are 76 or 77 arguments. You ask me if there is any power to prevent an Executive from doing a certain thing. Assuming that a majority of the whole Dáil is 77, there are 77 arguments.

These 77 arguments have already been used to prevent an appeal to the people upon an amendment of the Constitution. Do you not think that these 77 arguments could be used to prevent an appeal to the people by a general election, particularly in view——

Mr. HOGAN

Do you think it?

Do I think it?

Mr. HOGAN

Yes.

Well, I have a certain opinion of the Executive Council. I have seen their methods in this House, and certainly I do not regard it beyond the range of probability that if they thought it was necessary, in order to carry out their policy of Anglicising this country, if they thought it was necessary, in order to secure them in office and in power, they would introduce a Bill to extend the life of this Dáil. Remember, they have done it once already; they introduced a Bill to extend its life from four years to six years, an extension of 50 per cent. What is there to prevent them from introducing a further Bill?

The objections of the minority. The last election was objected to on the part of the Deputy and his party.

And I think the result of it was objected to by the President and his party. It did not quite come up to their expectations.

They were well satisfied.

I remember the shrieks the last time and they are still ringing in my ears.

took the Chair.

If the Executive Council thought that the sectional interests of its party would be served by extending the life of the Dáil for any term of years, even ten years, I believe that they would do it. I am fully convinced, having witnessed their proceedings in this House, having seen the Minister for Finance hand in a motion to curtail discussion upon this most important Bill in Committee to four hours, having seen the President, by the abuse of his majority, compel the House to sit through a night discussing important Constitutional amendments, I believe that the Executive Council would be capable of doing anything in order to secure and to serve the ends of their party. I am sure that under such an Executive Council there is not a single right of the citizens, whether it be of liberty, or honour, or of property, which is secure. And the one safeguard that there was for such right, the one safeguard which prevented abuse by the Executive Council of its powers, was Article 47 and Article 48 of the Constitution. If these Articles are removed what redress has any minority in this House? The law will afford them no protection. The Executive Council, which sets such a bad example in other matters, has set an equally bad example in this. It has created the worst of precedents. The law will afford nobody in this country any protection, because the law is not permanent; the law only stands so long as it is not in conflict with the wishes and desires of the majority party in this House.

We have seen them introducing laws which have been retrospective in effect —the Public Safety Act and numerous Treason Acts, every one of them with that defect and all in that respect fundamentally bad. What is there now left in this country which will prevent that Executive Council from introducing laws, making them retrospective and depriving certain citizens, otherwise of good fame, good standing and good reputation, of their liberty, simply because they happen to thwart or in some way to oppose the policy of the Executive Council? The judiciary affords the citizens no protection either. The judiciary is appointed by the Executive Council and can be removed by a vote of this House, and the majority in this House is controlled by the Executive Council. The Minister stated that there was only one dictatorship that he was prepared to recognise, the dictatorship of the majority will of this people. Very well. We wish to appeal to the majority will of this people in reference to this Bill. We wish to put this to the people and to ask the people to decide it. Will the Minister for Agriculture accept the verdict of the people on that specific issue? It can be set before them, not entangled or confused by any secondary issues. There is no question now about the Oath; there is no question now about the Treaty; it is a question of an Article in the Constitution which secures certain rights to the people. The Minister for Agriculture— if he will listen to me for a moment— stated that the only dictatorship which he was prepared to recognise was the majority will of the Irish people. I ask him if he will submit that Article to the Irish people by Referendum, not as dictators, but as judges, and if he will accept the decision of the majority, or is he afraid of the decision? Why has there been such haste to pass all this legislation through the House? The single question of the Oath in the Constitution cannot be referred to the people. Why is it that the single question of Article 47 in the Constitution, which gives to the people the right to exercise a veto. and which is, remember, the only veto which can be effectively exercised in regard to legislation passed in this House, is not referred to the people? There is no other effective check. If a check is going to be effective it must be capable of being exercised within a period of time which will prevent the ill effects of the legislation that is going through from being exercised. The veto, in order to be effective, must therefore be applied as speedily as possible if the law which is found to be unjust, or which is found to be ultra vires, if you like, is not to operate.

There is no effective veto in the Constitution, except the power of veto in Article 47, and there is no other power, no other authority, which can rightfully exercise such a veto. I am sure that there is no Party in this House at this stage that would permit, say, the Governor-General to exercise a veto. And yet there must be some arbiter who can say, before a law is given effect to, that the people as a whole will have an opportunity—if the disadvantages, defects or evils of that law are so manifest as to make it judicious —to see that the people as a whole should get an opportunity of exercising such a veto. There is no other authority in this House that can give the people that power except Article 47. Most other States have sought it in vain—now that the powers and functions generally delegated to the heads of Government have, so to speak, atrophied. We have it in Article 47. It has been said that it was never exercised up to this. I think that is a sound indication and a very strong argument that this power will not be abused.

A proposal to submit to a Referendum was once formulated. It was not proceeded with, because people thought that the Referendum was an instrument that should only be invoked as a last resort. Because people have not invoked it during the six years the Constitution has been in force, because people have not invoked that Article of the Constitution unnecessarily, that is, I think, a very strong argument why it should be allowed to remain in. At any rate, the powers given a minority in this House, the powers, if you like, even given to the Seanad, have not been abused, and therefore it cannot be said in justification for the Bill now before us that these powers have got to be removed because they have been abused. I think that was the main strain of the arguments advanced by the Minister for Defence. The Minister for Defence—and this is the extraordinary thing about him—seemed to me to be incapable of understanding Article 47 of the Constitution or, at any rate, failed to understand it. He talked about referring a single question to the people, as to whether taxation should be abolished or not. Article 47 of the Constitution does not propose anything of that sort. Article 47 reads: "Any Bill passed or deemed to have been passed by both Houses may be referred to the people by Referendum." Any Bill, not any single proposition that taxation should be abolished, not any single proposition that a man should have two wives, but any Bill which has been introduced into this House, which has gone through all stages, being subjected, with the kind permission of the Executive Council and the Minister for Finance, to discussion and criticism in this House, should then in its final and complete form, be referred to the people as a whole for their final decision. I think that is what we are contending for in regard to the Referendum, not a Referendum to refer an individual proposition which, when worked out in detail, might result very differently from the ordinary interpretation or the ordinary opinion which people at first glance might form upon it, but to submit legislation which has been thrashed out in this House in its final form to the people as the final arbiters and judges. That is the purpose of the Referendum in this Constitution, and I think it will be conceded that it is a very good provision; that it does give to the people, at any rate, control over the Executive. It prevents the abuse of Executive authority and gives to the minority the only safeguard and protection they have under the Constitution, and because it does accept to the fullest the principle which the Minister for Finance has so often give lip service to in this House and in the country, the majority will of the Irish people upon any domestic question, we are asking you to retain it in the Constitution and asking the House not to pass this section of the Bill.

It is an interesting coincidence that the Government distrust to such an extent two-fifths of this House, that they are afraid two-fifths might abuse the principle of the Referendum, and they are determined to abolish it. That is one of their arguments. It is a curious coincidence that they are themselves as a Party dependent upon exactly two-fifths of the House.

They returned at the General Election with 61 members, and they added, not by means of amalgamation of programme, not by any definite statement of a programme of a coalition, but by giving a Government position to one individual of a Party, and entering into certain arrangements in some cases with persons who were returned to this House on second preference votes from Republicans.

That is all nonsense.

These are the facts, and I say that is the strongest argument for retaining the Referendum. Even supposing it were not a question of wangling a majority, getting a majority by means and methods such as we saw in the case of Mr. Jinks, I suppose that was the sovereignty of the Irish people in the opinion of the Minister for Agriculture——

I must say that I have more regard for the sovereignty of the Irish people.

Will you tell us what went on beforehand? You have begun at the wrong end.

If you were here half-an-hour ago, A Chinn Comhairle, your hair would have stood on end. If I had as much regard for the dignity of this House as you have, I should be sorry to see the things going on that did go on, and the way in which the Minister for Agriculture went back over what someone did in 1922 or 1916.

In '98.

Surely I am entitled to do that occasionally. I object to being barred out entirely.

There is less than an hour left for this discussion, and the more relevant it is the more effective it will be, I presume.

I think, apart from this, which is incidental to the moment, that where you have proportional representation, where you have groups coming back, each with a certain set of mandates, if it is necessary to amalgamate, or for certain groups to come into coalition to carry on Government, which I admit is so, then a Referendum is absolutely essential, because you must have machinery to test whether the people as a whole approve or, at least, do not violently disapprove of measures carried through by that coalition. I think the President argued that where you have proportional representation a Referendum is not necessary.

I think he reverses the real truth, that where you have proportional representation, if you are not to carry on government by minority rule pure and simple, you must have the machinery of the Referendum there at least for the purpose of two-fifths of the House, which represents a substantial body of opinion behind it. You should then have the machinery for finding out whether their objection is a popular objection or not. I think that is reasonable and logical, and that it is approximately scientific. In contrast to that, you have the contention which is in its own way logical, that no matter how a minority is scrambled or wangled together it represents the sovereign people. That is not a joke. That is a fact, and that is the fact as regards the present majority which is ruling in this country. It is argued by the President that there would be a danger of a minority vote with the Referendum. Suppose there was a minority vote with the Referendum. Suppose it was four-seventeenths and a minority to that extent. The support which the Cumann na nGaedheal Party got at the last general election was 400,000 out of a total electorate of 1,700,000, so that any argument of that sort, if it holds good against the Referendum, holds equally good against the existence of the present Government. There is one remarkable anomaly in the present Bill. In Article 14 there still remains established the principle of the Referendum, because it says that "all citizens and so on" shall have the right to vote for members of Dáil Eireann and take part in the Referendum and Initiative. The words "and Initiative" have been deleted, but the word "Referendum" remains. Later on in Section 4 of this Bill a portion of Article 50 is going to be deleted, but the words "submitted to the Referendum" will not be deleted. They will be left, so that we are actually destroying the only possible form of machinery to implement the principles established in these two Articles. We are destroying the only means of carrying out effectively the principle laid down in two other Articles of the Constitution. It is a common trick to say, "Oh, yes; I am in favour of the principle in general," but the hypocrite, when it comes to its real application, takes good care that it is made impossible, and that is exemplified in the present Bill.

The President referred to the one instance when Article 47 was put into force. It was done at the instance of the Labour Party, together with the Fianna Fáil Party, but I think mainly by the Labour Party, in order to postpone the coming into force of an Act which imposed an affidavit or oath. The President argued that because that was not carried out in the full that it was a proof that this particular Article should be scrapped altogether. Obviously, it was not necessary at that time to carry that out to the full, and for this reason—that another petition had already been initiated which would have covered the whole ground. If that particular petition had been carried out, it would not have been commonsense to carry out two petitions at the one time dealing with the one object. The argument of the President was flippant and was really an insult to the intelligence of the House. Any stick is good enough to beat the Fianna Fáil dog. I have some notes here dealing with the speech of the Minister for Agriculture, but I am afraid, now that the Ceann Comhairle is back in the Chair, that I will have to confine myself to the section before us.

The root of the matter is this. There are two sets of principles embodied in the Constitution, and two sets of people see that Constitution from two different angles. There is one set of Articles which gives in this so-called Irish Constitution to British influence a very definite and established power and right. There is a set of Articles dealing with that. From one side of this House they are regarded as the root and vital part of the Constitution, and any attack upon them is described as wrecking the Constitution. On the other side of the House, and also on the Labour Benches, to some extent at least, there is a different view: that the root of the Constitution is in the Irish people, and that the Irish people ought to be the only people concerned in the Constitution, as occurs in any free country in the world, and that these are vital clauses. I submit that amongst those clauses there is the principle of the Referendum, and that in the long run either one or the other set of principles will have to go, either the principles vesting power in the people and in the machinery of the State must go, or else the clauses dealing with the supremacy of England over Ireland must go.

I desire to make a few remarks lest my silence might be taken as acquiescing in a statement which Deputy Little made at the opening of his speech. I want to correct the statement he made. He referred to the Government majority and to the number of its supporters in this House, He said that in order to get a majority the Government had entered into an arrangement with a member of the Farmers' Party. I want to make the position clear in view of the fact that statements of the same kind may be made in the course of the debate by other Deputies on the benches opposite. The position is that the Government did not enter into any arrangement with a member of the Farmers' Party. Any arrangements that they entered into were with the Farmers' Party as a whole, and with the full consent and support of the Farmers' Party as a whole.

The argument was put forward by Deputy Little and also by Deputy MacEntee against this Bill that the provisions for the Referendum and the Initiative in the Constitution would prevent a corrupt, unscrupulous or tyrannical Executive Council from doing certain things. My opinion is that while constitutional checks will prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation, that legislation being passed in good faith by a particular House of the Parliament, I do not think that any checks can be devised which will frustrate the policy of an unscrupulous Executive, supported by an unscrupulous majority in the House.

Are you speaking from experience?

No. Tyrannical action would most likely be taken in the Executive sphere, and a certain course of action along executive lines would enable any checks that might be devised to be overcome or evaded. I may be permitted to repeat what I said on a previous stage of the Bill, that ultimately there can be no protection for a minority except a sense of fair play on the part of the majority. If there is a Parliamentary majority supporting the Executive in power, and if the Executive determines on a particular course of action, if that majority supporting them is unscrupulous, then nothing can be devised that would prevent them carrying out that line of action. No constitutional check can be devised which would prevent them from carrying out their policy. Checks were provided, such as the Second Chamber and the delaying machinery designed to prevent legislation initiated in good faith, but which may be wrong or ill-considered or panicky legislation, from being passed. If you had an unscrupulous majority in power the Referendum would be of no advantage. Taking a Referendum as governed by the ordinary electoral legislation, that legislation could be altered and so changed by an unscrupulous majority in the House that the Referendum would be no test. I think it was Deputy MacEntee who said that a judiciary might be overawed or over-ruled by this unscrupulous Executive with a majority. Then without altering the electoral legislation at all it would be easy for the Executive to make the Referendum no test. Deputy MacEntee asked if we were taking away these particular Articles what was to prevent an unscrupulous Executive from passing legislation to prolong the life of the Dáil to ten or fifteen years. I believe, but Deputy MacEntee might not regard this as any safeguard, that if such legislation were to pass, the Governor-General would be entitled on his own initiative and without the advice of the Executive Council to issue a proclamation dissolving the Dáil, so that the people might be consulted.

If there were an Executive with a majority in the House that would be prepared to go the length of prolonging the life of the House indefinitely it would be easily possible to conduct elections on such a basis that it would be unnecessary to pass any legislation prolonging the life of the House. I think there is no use in discussing these particular Articles along the lines that they provide a safeguard against an unscrupulous Executive backed up by an unscrupulous majority in the House. If Deputies would consider how elections might be conducted, and how as a matter of fact they are conducted in a great many countries that are supposed to have very democratic constitutions and very democratic electoral machinery, they would see that the safeguard lies really in public opinion and some sort of moral standard being held by any majority that may be in power. We must look at these proposals not as safeguards against the tyrannical majority, but simply as ordinary legislative checks designed to prevent hasty or wrong-headed action. I believe they are not good. I believe that they call on the people to do things the people should not be called on to do, and that the people would, in this country at any rate, show great reluctance to do it. We know how difficult it is to get a reasonable turnout of voters even when an election to the Dáil takes place. For the purpose of deciding the fate of a particular law it would certainly be a matter of the utmost difficulty to get any poll that would prevent a Referendum being an utter fiasco. You would have a very small poll and with a great number of voters not having considered the merits of the proposal before them.

Unless it was something of outstanding importance you could not get the ordinary people who are preoccupied with their own affairs, and who have very little opportunity of coming together and discussing these matters on their merits to turn out and vote on the day of the poll, although by providing transport it might be possible to get a certain number. People regard the elections as a certain burden and a burden which they would not carry in such a way as to give a satisfactory result if called on too often. In any case much legislation of the utmost importance to the people is specifically excluded from the operations of the Referendum. At present Money Bills are excluded, and it would be possible to get the vital parts of a great deal of new legislation through in a Money Bill, supplementing it by further legislation passed separately, and which perhaps would not be a Money Bill, but which could not be very well challenged, the main principle having been passed as a Money Bill, if it were found necessary, because there was a great resort to the Referendum to do such a thing. We really come down in this to the question as to whether we think that representative government can work, and whether we think that representative government with a wide franchise and a fair arrangement of constituencies is a good thing or not. Many of us agreed to provisions of this sort when we had given very little thought to the matter; when we had very little experience of carrying on government, or even of discussing matters with the people outside, because there was great interest in the country, great enthusiasm, during the Sinn Féin movement, and some of us perhaps were inclined to think that you could have that interest maintained in ordinary hum-drum legislation.

I think it is evident to everybody that you cannot get a lively interest in ordinary legislation. The reasonable, and the best, method is to have as democratic a system of election as you can have, and to allow the freely-elected representatives of the people to come together, to hear the arguments, and to decide on behalf of the people, and then to go back and meet whatever fate befalls them at the hands of their constituents, and either have a renewal of confidence or be replaced by other people who may undo what they have done. No machinery can be invented that can prevent mistakes. You could not even prevent a reversal of policy, prevent a law from being pealed, if it were made necessary to have a majority vote of the people for it before it was enacted, because experience of the working of that Act might show that it was wrong and would have to be reversed. If representatives of the people do wrong and their actions have to be reversed, that is no argument against depending on the judgment of the representatives of the people.

I believe if people come together in good faith, freely chosen by the people, if they look at problems put up to them, if they hear the arguments of their colleagues and opponents and come to a decision on them, you will get generally a very much closer approximation to what the people want than you could get by having a Referendum on which very few people would vote, and of which a great majority of those who would vote would vote without having given any serious consideration to the question involved. I believe it is no respect to the people to try to make them do work which can only be done by special machinery and which cannot be done directly. As I said before in repect of these Articles, long before there was any question of the members of Fianna Fáil coming into the Dáil, long before there was any question of presenting a petition under one of these Articles, members of the Executive Council met together to consider what changes ought to be made in the Constitution, and they reached the view that these Articles were unsuitable, unworkable, and, so far as an attempt might be made to operate them, they would tend rather to prevent what the majority wanted being done than to help to get it done.

It will not take very long to say what I have to say on this subject. First of all, however, I would like to say a word or two in connection with what the Minister for Agriculture said. He made it very pointed that he was making a reference to me in a statement which he made. He made an oblique sort of reference to the fact that I was in the British Army. I wish to tell the Minister this—he is not here at present, but he will get it in the records; I do not like to make a song about it—I never have; but from 1916, when I went to the Volunteers with my own rifle, I stuck by them until 1921, when the Minister was conspicuous by his absence. With regard to the matter under discussion, the country has it generally, so far as I have been able to hear, that any Article of the Constitution may be changed, including Article 47, by the Executive, if it is in the interests of the Irish people, and if it is not, and if, at the dictation of some outside power, there is some Article which may not be changed according to them, it will not be changed by the Executive Council. That is the opinion of the people, so far as I have been able to gather. Article 47 gave the people a certain power to do something if they wanted to do it. Although they did not happen to be a majority in the country, at least it gave them a chance of having the matter referred to the will of the people. We have heard a lot about the will of the people for the last five years, and it has been drummed into us incessantly that the will of the people must prevail. Why, then, should the people not get an opportunity of deciding what they would or would not like?

We have a lot of pleas put forward to the effect that this Referendum, this Initiative, might be used in futile efforts to do certain things, that it might be overworked in minor details. To my mind, all that is camouflage, because the whole thing is done with the object of obscuring the main issue, that is, there is a fear that if Article 47 were allowed to remain, and if action could be taken under it, the people might give a certain verdict which was not in conformity with the wishes of the power behind the Executive Council. When that might be so—I do not say that it would be so—the Executive Council found the best thing that they could do was to introduce certain Bills to amend the Constitution, particularly to wipe out Article 47, although in every election the Cumann na nGaedheal party have been engaged in they have always told the people that the Constitution could not be changed by one iota. Article 47 was, to a certain extent, a safeguard to the people. It could be used to do certain things which the people might want to do. It is not obvious that the people would, if, say, Article 17 were put to a Referendum, agree to its abolition, but even the fear of the will of the people was sufficient to cause the Executive Council to bring forward Bills, particularly this one, with the intention of abolishing Article 47 altogether. The Constitution, as a whole, is supposed to have been built on a certain bedrock and foundation, and, so far as I can gather from those who have spoken on the benches opposite, that bedrock and foundation seem to have been the Schedule to the Treaty, but it is questionable whether the foundation on which this Constitution was built is still in existence, and, if it is not in existence in its entirety, then the Constitution might be standing on something that is particularly rotten.

For instance—I will not go into this, because it would not be in order—two fundamental and vital articles of the Treaty were removed, and they applied particularly to us in the North. These were Articles 5 and 12. Therefore the foundations upon which the Constitution was built presumably have been undermined, and the Constitution, as it stands at present, cannot have been built on a foundation which was intended to last.

We have got a stage higher than the foundations on this particular Bill.

This Article 47 is just as important an Article in the Constitution as any other. For instance, Article 47 must be just as important as Article 17 or any other Article of the Constitution. If Article 17 is so important that we are threatened with immediate and terrible war if it be abolished, then I hold that Article 47, which gives a certain amount of power to the Irish people, is just as important as Article 17, and if England would go to war with us over Article 17 I do not see why we should not be entitled to say that Article 47 is as important, and to do anything about it, even to go to war if necessary. I do not see how the Executive Council can come along here with ten Bills inside ten minutes and change the Articles of the Constitution, while if we attempt to do anything inside Article 47 of the Constitution to amend another Article we are threatened with immediate and terrible war.

After the flippant jocu-the vituperation of my fellow-county-cies of the Minister for Defence and the vituperation of my fellow-countryman, the Minister for Agriculture, it was pleasing to hear some arguments put up by the Minister for Finance. The majority of the speeches on the other side were characterised by the speakers having recourse to the old debating stratagem of raising arguments that were never made by their opponents and then overthrowing them. The President said that this matter and others were before the people at several general elections and that the people had given their decision on them. His words were: "This question and others and the general tenor of legislation, that was put before them at the last election." That is precisely the point. Very little stress was made on this matter of abolishing Articles 47 and 48 at any meetings at which I was present, and I was present at many. Other interests cut across it— farming interests, land annuities, housing, etc. At elections you have many interests fighting their own side— agriculture, brewers or distillers, Labour putting their point of view before the people, and a matter like the abolition of Articles 47 and 48 of the Constitution, if before the people at all, receives very little attention. The President spoke of a reference made by Deputy O'Connell and Deputy de Valera to a possibly unscrupulous Executive. It is not beyond imagination that we might have such an Executive.

Hear, hear.

He said that it was strange that the Executive should be unscrupulous and the minority ought not be unscrupulous. He forgot the fact that if the alleged unscrupulous minority, 60 members of this House, insisted on getting a Referendum to the people, they are staking their political future on that, and if it happened on two or three occasions within the life of Parliament, there would be no political future for these sixty members, I am quite certain, so that there is a great difference between an unscrupulous Executive and a possibly unscrupulous minority. On this point, one of the methods of getting people interested in legislation or in Parliament, or in the use of or in the working of Parliament would be the Referendum. The President said that the people or the Committee that drafted the Constitution, and the Parliament which agreed to it, had no experience. They have had no experience of this Article, and the exercise of it has been found wanting. Deputy O'Connell said that on the only occasion on which there was some intention of making use of it, it was not pursued to having the actual Referendum, because it was appreciated that it is only in very important cases such steps should be taken. That is an argument in favour of maintaining it. The Minister for Defence spoke of putting individual pieces of legislation before the people, spoke of it as the usual means of government. Nobody ever dreamt of making this the usual means of government. It would be a very serious matter, I maintain, before sixty members of this House would be satisfied to put it before the people on Referendum, or to demand that it should be put before them, and if there were sixty members of this House so opposed to any legislation brought in here as to demand that it should be so put, I should say that there would be very good cause for it. It would be done after giving the matter thorough consideration and having it very well weighed.

The Minister for Defence spoke of a modus vivendi, and he went into the realms of government and the functions of government, but this is a modus negandi so far as the Constitution is concerned. He also referred to a general election and to a coherent general programme, and said that there would be two opposite programmes before the people at a general election besides programmes of a general character, but the programme might be an agreed one, I maintain. The three parties were agreed upon the question of the spirit duties and as to legislation in that matter at the last election. Many points in both programmes could be agreed upon, and even are agreed upon. But, at any rate, people have many things to consider, and they do not give full consideration to every particular point. There is need for the people to think. We are told that there is adult suffrage and that people think at the time of elections. But it is the same adult suffrage that will be there for a Referendum, and they are more likely to think more clearly when there is only one point to be considered. There is opportunity for the majority party to put a matter fully before them, and they are more likely in the majority of cases to have the Press at their backs also. They can get their case put thoroughly before the people. Of course, it was nonsense for the Minister for Defence to talk about a Referendum on the question of having taxation abolished and providing pensions at thirty. These are matters which are quite irrelevant to the discussion. A Referendum under Article 47 gives also, he said, a means of deluding the people.

There is no opportunity for deluding the people if both sides, those for and against, have the opportunity, in the Press and on the platform, of putting the case before them and explaining all the points and all the consequences. I am quite sure that whatever Government would be there would not let the people be deceived as to the possible consequences of their action in such an event. The Government have a sense of responsibility we are told—they have to stand over their acts. But the people in exercising their rights under the Referendum have a responsibility also; they have to stand over their acts. It is they pay eventually and they are the masters. Submitting each individual item of legislation to the people —no one has suggested any such thing. Even if the Referendum were never used—it might go for 20 years and be unused—it is a very good thing to have there as a check, a very excellent thing.

The Minister for Agriculture says that it is a matter of no importance. If not, why this rush legislation? Why come in in the middle of the Budget and the Estimates and everything else and pile all these Amendment Bills on top of us, particularly this one? Why not leave it over for another 12 months, if it is a matter of no importance? I think it is a matter of grave importance. It is showing a tendency which is very dangerous. The Minister for Agriculture was asked: "What is to prevent the Executive from abolishing proportional representation? Instead of answering that question, he put up another argument, that nobody in this House would stand for—union again with England. Nobody suggested that. No answer has been forthcoming as to whether in the same manner proportional representation could not be abolished by a majority vote. The President said—I think it was at the penultimate election—when there was talk of abolishing this oath of allegiance, that not one Article, not one line, not one syllable, not one comma of that Constitution would be changed. I believe these were his exact words. Now we are changing whole sections of it, the sections that I maintain are democratic.

The Minister for Agriculture spoke also of the liberty that the people enjoy, as in other States. The danger I see is that we are not a normal State. We maintain that it is not a normal State. This country is divided into two states and we have not full freedom in either section of it—more limited in one section than the other— and that it is towards preventing the people from achieving full freedom that methods might be used, as exemplified in this present instance. That is one of the reasons we on these benches have for strongly opposing it. The Minister for Finance said that the tyrannical action of a majority could not be countered in this way by the Referendum. I think the tyrannical action of a majority here in legislative matters would likely raise a revolt which would secure that two-fifths vote required to get a matter referred to the people.

The Minister said we assume an unscrupulous Executive. I say this honestly, the Executive is unscrupulous in trying to get this legislation through and in trying to abolish Articles 47 and 48; that is an example of unscrupulous action on the part of the Executive. What is to stop the same Executive from postponing elections for a few years on the same plea that such postponement is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace? They could change any Article of the Constitution, except, of course, Article 17 that they do not want to change, on the same plea. They are to be the judges. It would be better to let the people judge in these particular cases.

The people, we are told, should not be called upon too often. We do not intend to call upon them too often. It is a safeguard that would be very rarely used, and that might not be used more than once in a decade. The small poll is another objection. If a matter was important, and unless a Bill was important, it would not be put to the Referendum. I think you could get public opinion excited over it. You could get a much larger poll then at a General Election, on one definite point, and you would get a very definite decision upon it. One example upon which a Referendum might be taken would be the question of prohibition. Suppose that question arose here, and it is not outside the bounds of possibility that it should arise, it would be a good question upon which to go to the people, holding up legislation and letting the people judge. I am not a prohibitionist, and we on these benches are not prohibitionists, but it might arise in ten or twenty years' time that you might get a Dáil that would be of prohibitionist tendencies, perhaps bitten by the microbe from the United States, and the Referendum would be a very good means of deciding upon that question. We got one valuable lesson from the Minister for Finance. I think he made his case well, and we got the excellent lesson from him as to how it would be possible to break or evade the Constitution. The members of the Executive, we are told, thought this Article was unsuitable and unworkable. This Article did not get a fair trial, and I believe its abolition now is a danger to the country. In that I might speak personally, because I was consulted by many who had grave doubts when we came in here. I pointed out that some things might be done under the Constitution, and this was one. That goes now. Other Articles will go subsequently, and what answer will I give then, when these safeguards are gone but to say, thank God; they have no respect for the Constitution, and if we get the opportunity we will have as little.

It being now 8.10 p.m., and the period prescribed by the Order of the Dáil of the 20th June having expired, the Chairman proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary to bring to a conclusion the proceedings in Committee.

Question put: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 31.

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

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and M. Conlon; Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Question: "That Section 3 stand part of the Bill," put.
The Committee divided: Ta, 52; Níl, 31

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

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and M. Conlon; Níl: Deputies Allen and G. Boland.
Motion declared carried.
Question: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill, put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 32.

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

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell
  • William O'Leary.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and M. Conlon. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Question: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill," put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 31.

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

Níl

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

Before you put the Title——

There cannot be any further discussion.

But the Title is out of order.

resumed the Chair.

Question: "That the Title stand part of the Bill," put
The Committee divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 32.

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

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and Conlon. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Bill ordered to be reported without amendment.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported without amendment.

When is it proposed to take the Report Stage?

To-morrow.

Might I ask if it is in order to take the Fourth Stage of a Bill with one day's notice?

It is. No notice is required under Standing Orders.

Supposing we wanted to put in amendments on the Report Stage, should we not be given time to have the Bill considered with that in view?

This Bill has not been amended in Committee. If the Report Stage is fixed for to-morrow amendments will have to be accepted without notice.

I submit to you that if it is understood that the Report Stage is one for which amendments can be put in, the Report Stage must come at an interval which will enable amendments to be put in in an orderly manner, unless the Standing Orders are suspended for the purpose, and I suggest that the Standing Orders did not contemplate anything of this kind, I mean that in allowing amendments to be put in on the Report Stage they contemplated that there would be a legal interval, and that it should not be a matter of concession by the Chair. For instance, undoubtedly the Chair would have discretion under the rule to accept or refuse. But the putting down of amendments for the Report Stage must be a right, and therefore there must be a legal interval during which a Deputy can put in his amendments in a legal manner.

The Standing Order is quite clear. Standing Order 90 says: "When the Preamble (if any) and the Title of a Bill shall have been considered in Committee, the Bill shall be reported with or without amendment to the Dáil, and an order shall then be made for its consideration on Report." For the making of that order no notice is required. But the Dáil is, of course, the master in the matter, and if an order is made for taking the Report Stage to-morrow it necessarily means that any amendments will have to be accepted by the Chair, if the Chair considers them in order, without the usual notice.

But in exactly the same way if the House is master of itself, that may mean the majority of the House is master of itself. We could be told to go straight on with the Report Stage now, without any possible means of preparing amendments. I suggest that is an evasion of the rights of the House, of which the Chair ought to be the guardian.

Might I draw your attention to Standing Order 94, which says: "Amendments may be moved on the Fourth Stage, but no amendments previously rejected in Committee of the whole Dáil shall be in order." That says quite definitely that amendments may be moved on the Fourth Stage. Now, under the Standing Order dealing with amendments, Deputies putting in an amendment to any motion or any Bill are required to give two days' notice. If they are required to give two clear days' notice they could not possibly do it if the Report Stage is to be taken to-morrow.

The Minister for Finance on the Finance Bill for 1925 or 1926 gave notice, I think, to suspend the Standing Orders in order to enable the Report Stage to be taken on the same day as the Committee Stage had been taken, or on the next day.

There is no notice now required for stages of Bills, and it is not a matter for the Chair to decide on what day the Dáil will order a Bill to be considered. The Chair has no power to rule the motion out of order, even if it were proposed that the Report Stage be taken to-day.

May I submit that though there is no direct intimation in the Standing Orders in relation to the time on which a Report Stage would be taken, that the rule must be read in relation to the fact that there is a definite Standing Order which says that a certain legal limit of time shall elapse between the putting in of amendments and its orderly discussion. It must be a matter of right for the members of this House to put forward their amendments, and not a matter of permission, and if it is the rule that a majority of this House can go on with the stages of a Bill, without leaving that interval which is legally necessary under the Standing Orders for the putting in of amendments, then the putting in of amendments ceases to be a matter of right and becomes a matter of permission. That is a very serious dereliction from the rights of the House. I suggest that in the light of these rights you must rule—I should not use the word "must"—in the sense that it is essential, obviously, that the thing must be governed by a purely mandatory provision in the rules. It is a very serious thing if we are to have discretion exercised outside the obvious meaning of the rules. Those of us who desire rigorously to remain in order will read these Standing Orders with great care, and will attempt to understand them, and we will fashion our conduct and work according to them. A man would know that this provision was on, and, knowing the circumstances of the case, he would know that it could be passed by a majority to-day. But he would also know that he had a legal interval in which to put in amendments. What I am suggesting is that you, sir, cannot interpret one rule of the House in a manner which will take away the rights which are specifically accorded to the ordinary members of the House under any Standing Order.

Is it not a fact that the Standing Orders were amended, and that the provision which existed in the old Standing Order requiring that notice should be given for stages of Bills was deliberately deleted? Is it not a fact further that the right of proposing amendments for the Report Stage exists for the purpose of enabling consequential amendments to be inserted in case important amendments have been passed in the Committee Stage, or to enable amendments to be inserted dealing with some points that had only come to light during the course of discussion on the Committee Stage? But is it not a fact that amendments normally should be proposed during the Committee Stage and passed, if they are to be passed?

Dealing with the points which have just been made by the Minister for Finance certain considerations have just come to light. Deputy MacEntee attempted to call the attention of the Chair to a point of order just as you were about to put the question with regard to the title. Notice would be required to examine that matter carefully. We would require some time to have that matter set right. As Deputy Flinn has pointed out, it is not fair that a matter like this should be in the discretion of the Chair solely. It ought to be a matter of right, and I think it is according to Standing Order 94. That Standing Order clearly implies that amendments may be moved, and in another Standing Order we have it that certain notice must be given of amendments. It is clearly implied that proper time should elapse so that notice of amendments may be given in a proper way.

There is no doubt whatever as to the meaning of the Standing Order. Apart from the history of the Standing Order, the Standing Order itself says that on the conclusion of the Committee Stage an order shall then be made fixing a day for the Report Stage. That order may fix the Report Stage for to-morrow. It is not for the Chair to decide upon the merits of a motion as to whether or not the House should fix the Report Stage for to-morrow. Usually these orders are made by agreement. In the event of agreement not being forthcoming in this case, I am prepared to put the Question so that the House may decide it, but there is certainly no power in the Chair to refuse to receive a motion that the Report Stage be taken to-morrow on the grounds that sufficient notice had not been given or that no notice has been given. There is no doubt at all about that.

What about Standing Order 94?

I think Standing Order 94 must be read in conjunction with Standing Order 90 for the fixing of the Fourth Stage of Bills without notice. I am quite clear that once a Bill comes into the possession of the House, the House can fix the dates when its various stages are to be taken.

Where does Standing Order 90 say that the time for the Report Stage shall be fixed without notice?

It does not say it.

That is the point.

We say that this has to be considered in relation to the rights which are guaranteed by the Standing Orders to the ordinary members of the House, that is the right to provide amendments to a Bill. If you rule that they have the power to go right on with the Bill now, it would be utterly unreasonable to expect us to prepare amendments now. The Standing Order says that amendments may be moved. That means that they must be capable of being moved. We cannot put them in except by permission and in this matter we have a right, but when a right falls into a permission it ceases to be a right. That is logical. You may have, say in Russia or some country like that, trial by jury by permission, but it is not a right. There is no right in anything which somebody has the discretion to refuse if he likes.

The Deputy made that point of order before. I have no doubt whatever with regard to my ruling. What I am ruling is that an order may now be made for the consideration of the Report Stage of this Bill to-morrow. There can be no doubt at all about that. The question is then a matter for the House, and not for the Chair, to decide. Deputies are simply urging points of order which I am quite clear have no validity as points of order. The question whether or not the Bill ought to be considered to-morrow is one for the House and not for the Chair to decide.

Surely we are in order in asking you to quote the Standing Order which gives you the right to allow such a motion to be made. We are contending that the Ceann Comhairle is bound by the Standing Orders as set out in this book. Standing Order 94 states that amendments may be moved on the Fourth Stage, while, Standing Order 25 states: All motions, to be put on the Order Paper for any day, shall be in writing, signed by a Deputy, and shall reach the Clerk not later than 11 a.m. on the fourth preceding day. Any amendments to such motions shall be in writing, signed by a Deputy, and shall reach the Clerk not later than 11 a.m. on the second preceding day. Provided that by permission of the Ceann Comhairle, motions may be made on shorter notice.

There is one Standing Order which makes it quite clear and says that amendments may be moved on the Fourth Stage of a Bill. There is another Standing Order which says that amendments must be put in on the second preceding day. Seeing that these two Standing Orders are there, I submit that before the Chair can accept a motion which runs counter to them that the Chair must quote some other Article in support of its decision. The Chair and the Minister must keep within the Standing Orders as set out here unless they move to suspend them altogether. There is only one way in which you can get the Report Stage of this Bill considered to-morrow, and that is by moving the suspension of the Standing Orders altogether.

In regard to the points made by Deputy Aiken, I submit that Standing Orders 94, 90 and 25 must be read and construed together. I do not see how one can escape that. Obviously the purpose of the Report Stage is to give Deputies adequate time and opportunity to consider a Bill which has just emerged from Committee. I do not think that those who drafted the Standing Orders ever contemplated that we should proceed to-morrow without notice from the Committee Stage to the Report Stage of this Bill. At the present time it is too late to comply with the requirements of Standing Order 25, and I wish to enforce that point with reference to the Report Stage of this particular Bill. As Deputy Flinn has said, we have the right to submit amendments. I presume that that right is intended to secure to us and to provide that we can give the notice required by Standing Order 25. The two things must be taken together. If we have the right to put in amendments, then we must also have the opportunity of complying with the requirements of Standing Order 25. That, I think, is the important point that we cannot lose sight of. If we have the right under Standing Order 94 to move amendments on the Report Stage, then we must have, in the exercise of that right, the opportunity of complying with Standing Order 25 with regard to the giving of adequate notice.

Does Standing Order 25 apply to Bills at all? I think it applies to motions.

The Deputy must know that before a Bill can be passed that a motion must be made to pass it.

I submitted the question to the Ceann Comhairle, and not to Deputy Aiken.

I submit to Deputy Thrift, through the Ceann Comhairle, that he cannot get the Government out of this difficulty in the way that he got it out of another difficulty.

On this question what is put to me in effect is this: that Standing Order 25 governs the stages of Bills. Standing Order 25 provides "that all motions, to be put on the Order Paper for any day, shall be in writing, signed by a Deputy, and shall reach the Clerk not later than 11 a.m. on the fourth preceding day," and that notwithstanding anything contained in Standing Order 90, that Standing Order 25 applies to all orders made for the stages of a Bill. That is the contention. Let us examine it and see exactly what it means.

Might I point out that in regard to amendments on the Committee Stage of certain of these Bills to amend the Constitution, you insisted that the requirements of Standing Order 25 should be fulfilled and that you ruled out of order certain proposed amendments, amendments which were of vital importance, because they did not comply with Standing Order 25, in respect of which two days' notice only had been given.

That is not so.

Will the Deputy indicate what section of the Bill?

There is a considerable number of amendments.

They were amendments to a motion tabled by the Minister for Finance in regard to the time to be allotted to the Committee and Report Stages of certain Bills.

There is nothing in the point.

There is a certain analogy. You required notice in respect of one aspect of the business of the House, that Standing Order 25 be fulfilled. I think you ought to insist on that in connection with what might be regarded as more important business.

I think there is a lot to be said for the philosophy of Shylock.

I am anxious to know before you start ruling, a Chinn Comhairle, whether it will apply to all motions and not to stages of Bills?

I do not intend at this or at any other stage to give a ruling on anything more than on the point before me. What I am asked to hold is that Standing Order 25 applies to the Orders made for the consideration of a Bill on various stages. If I were so to rule, the result would be that when leave had been given to introduce a Bill notice would require to be given of a motion, which motion could not be considered until four or five days later, for the taking of the Second or any other Stage of a Bill. That motion would become an order if it were passed. The order would fix the Second Stage for, presumably a later period still. It amounts to this, therefore, that between the First and Second Stages, and the Second and Third, and the Fourth and Fifth Stages, there would always be four days, and probably a longer period, for while there was merely a notice of motion the House would not know on what day the Second and other Stages of the Bill would be taken. I am asked definitely to rule to that effect, and the effect of so ruling in this particular instance would mean that the Minister would have to give notice before 11 o'clock to-morrow to allow four days for the Report Stage of this Bill.

That would not suit.

The Deputy must not be more insolent than he can help. Deputy Flinn makes a persistent effort to be insolent here to the Chair, and there must be some limit to that insolence of Deputy Flinn. He has made points of order and repeated them to-night over and over again. He must now listen to the decisions regarding the point on which I was asked to rule. On the point that the Orders relating to the taking of the stages, that these must be subject to the provisions of Standing Order 25, there were Standing Orders made in 1923, which included a Standing Order having reference to the taking of the Fourth Stage of a Bill. That Standing Order has since been amended. The Standing Order was Order No. 86. It read:—

"When a Bill has been returned from a Special Committee, or from the Dáil sitting in Committee, notice shall be given of a motion to receive the Bill for final consideration."

The present Standing Order 90 on the same matter reads:—

"When the preamble (if any) and the title of a Bill shall have been considered in Committee, the Bill shall be reported with or without amendment to the Dáil, and an order shall then be made for its consideration on report."

The meaning of that Order so amended —and when it was being amended it was discussed on this basis—is that no notice was required for fixing Stages of the Bills. I am unable to hold, therefore, that because of the provisions of Standing Order 94 that amendments may be moved on Report Stage, that the provisions of Standing Order 25 should apply to an Order fixing the date of the Report Stage. I hold that under the provisions of that Standing Order clearly no notice is required. It is a matter for the House to decide whether it will or will not take this Bill to-morrow, but manifestly, as I said in reply to an inquiry at the beginning, if the Report Stage is fixed for to-morrow, the Chair in such circumstances would normally have to waive the question of notice with regard to amendments. That appears to be a consequence. The notice for the Fourth Stage to-morrow is in order, and I am now accepting that motion. The motion is that the Fourth Stage be taken to-morrow.

We intend opposing that for the reasons given already, that sufficient time has not been given to prepare amendments. The ruling that has just been given would make it discretionary for the Chair to accept amendments without notice. Members, I think, ought not to give up their right and have it replaced by a purely discretionary power in the Ceann Comhairle. It seems to me that when it was agreed that notice should not be given for the various Stages of Bills that dispensed with notice, inasmuch as it was known to everybody that these Bills were going through and that notice was not necessary. I hold it should have shortened only from four days to two, in other words, that proper time should be given to enable amendments to be prepared and submitted. My interpretation of the change in the Standing Order is that it cut down the time from four days to a minimum of two days as the time to give notice of amendment. There is no use in stressing the matter further, but I intend not to allow that right to be waived.

I, too, protest against the proposal of the Government to take the Report Stage to-morrow. The President has given no reason for this unseemly haste. He has not given any reasons why the Report Stage should be taken to-morrow. As has been stated, it would not be possible to have amendments ready to be moved. I hold that the action of the President and of the Government in fixing the Report Stage in such circumstances is an invasion of the rights of other Parties in the House. I do not think there is any justification for it. I will object to the Report Stage being taken to-morrow.

While we accept the ruling you have given, I should not like there should be any misapprehension as to what I was arguing——

Are you arguing a point of order?

I am arguing on the motion to take the Report Stage to-morrow. I do not hold that it is necessary there should be four days' notice of a particular motion in relation to the Fourth Stage of a Bill. I submit that the Government in fixing a date for the Report Stage ought to bear in mind Standing Order 25.

Though it may not be necessary for them to give four days' notice, they ought to remember that Deputies, in the exercise of their rights to propose amendments on Report Stage, ought at the same time be given an opportunity of fulfilling Standing Order 25. As Deputy Flinn pointed out, when a right degenerates into a permission it speedily ceases to be a right. That is very important, and I think we ought to take it into particular consideration. I suggested to you earlier this afternoon in connection with a certain matter, with the notice of motion in the name of the President in relation to the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10, that that notice of motion need not appear on the Order Paper to-day, and that he could come to you and ask you in the House, in exercise of your rights under Standing Order 25, to dispense with that notice of motion. You said that that was a matter on which you would not like to be asked to rule. I submit that the same thing applies here. There may be very important proposals coming from this side of the House, not in relation to this Bill only but possibly in relation to other Bills, proposals which may be very controversial, and I submit it would not be fair to come to the Chair and say that he should permit these proposals to be introduced here without notice of motion required by Standing Order 25.

If you are unwilling in one case to be placed in that position you ought to be equally unwilling in all cases, and therefore the Government should not put you in the invidious position of having to grant that permission. They ought to arrange their legislative timetable in such a way that Deputies will be able to exercise their rights under one Standing Order and, at the same time, comply fully with the conditions required by another Standing Order. I put that to the President through you, that all this pother would be saved if he simply decided that instead of taking the Report Stage to-morrow he would take it on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, the first day on which we meet. That would give everybody an adequate opportunity of dealing with this Bill as it emerged from Committee. It has not been amended in Committee, but it is the only one of the series of Bills to amend the Constitution upon which there has been any sort of discussion. There has been an interchange of arguments in Committee, and in our opinion there are certain important ways in which the Bill should be amended. We submit, in view of that fact, that the President ought not to proceed with his expressed intention of taking the Fourth Stage of the Bill to-morrow, and that he ought to fix a date which will enable Deputies to comply with Standing Orders.

The Bill is one which, from all I heard during the discussion on Second Reading and in Committee, does not lend itself much to amendment, less perhaps than any other Bill. A copious number of amendments were put down, and very favourable and ample opportunity for discussing them has been afforded, and Deputies have availed of it. In the circumstances I do not see what use there would be in affording extra time. In any case, it is a Bill which has not been amended up to this. In the ordinary way if a case were likely to be presented for the reception and consideration of amendments to the Bill it would be one thing, but we are really exaggerating, and we know we are exaggerating, if we make statements that the time allotted or allowed would not permit us to hand in amendments. If I permitted time from this to Doomsday, Deputies would not hand in amendments.

Would I be in order in proposing an amendment at this stage?

This is a question of fixing a particular day. The making of an Order of this kind rarely gives rise to debate. I propose now to allow statements on behalf of the different Parties in regard to the making of the Order. If it will meet the Deputy, I will accept an amendment and put whatever question is necessary.

My amendment will be to the effect that instead of taking the Report Stage to-morrow it should be taken in sufficient time to allow amendments to be put in—that is, to allow two clear days. That seems to me to be the least period that should be allowed.

The motion is that the Report Stage be taken to-morrow. I think the Deputy's amendment will have to take the form of substituting for "to-morrow" some definite day, either Thursday or Friday.

Thursday would not give us sufficient time. I am very anxious that that right of, at least, two days' notice should be retained, and that there would not be a precedent for denying that right.

I think if the Deputy decides to take Friday——

It has been decided that we are not sitting on Friday.

In the circumstances, the first day that would meet the Deputy's point of view would appear to be Tuesday.

If there was a shorter period I would mention it, but I must insist on the two days at least.

I wish to speak on Deputy de Valera's amendment.

The amendment has already been spoken to, and I do not think we can have a general debate. There is before the House now a motion that the Report Stage be taken to-morrow and an amendment to delete the word "to-morrow," and substitute the words "Tuesday next." I will hear one statement from Deputy Aiken.

I wish to place my views on this matter before the House. We have definitely a Standing Order which says that amendments may be moved on the Fourth Stage. The Standing Orders were drafted to protect the rights of minorities in this assembly. The majority are pretty well able to look after themselves always, but the Standing Orders were drafted with a view to so arranging business that minorities and individual Deputies in the House could put their views before the House on any questions which arose. There was discussion on only one clause of this particular Bill on the Committee Stage. The last four clauses of the Bill were put without discussion of any description. Standing Order 94 had some meaning and, surely to goodness, we are not here to act at complete variance with that Article without amending it? If two days' notice had to be given, so that amendments may be moved for the Report Stage, surely that period at least should be allowed or this Standing Order 94 ought to be amended, so that when Deputies come into this House they will know where they are.

Has a motion been moved fixing the time for the Report Stage?

An Order has been made with reference to the time to be allotted.

Is there not a motion to have the Report Stage to-morrow, and has that motion been seconded?

There is no necessity. The motion is that the Bill be considered on Report to-morrow. Deputy de Valera moved an amendment to delete the word "to-morrow" and substitute the words "Tuesday next." I am putting the question that the word "to-morrow," that is to say, the word proposed to be deleted, stand part of the motion.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 32.

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

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P. Doyle. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Question put: "That the Bill be considered on Report to-morrow."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 30.

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

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • William O'Leary.
  • James Ryan.
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and Conlon. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Ordered accordingly: That the Report Stage of the Bill be taken to-morrow.

May I submit that we have not yet definitely decided when we are to take it, because I should like to have a definition of "to-morrow." I hold there is no legal definition.

I shall give the Deputy a definition if the Deputy asks me to-morrow.