PUBLIC BUSINESS. - CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT No. 6) Bill, 1928—REPORT.

I move the amendment standing in the name of the President:—

In page 1, line 40, before the word `members' to insert the word `the.'

It is obvious that the omission of the definite article was simply a slip. It will make the Bill then read "at which the electors shall be the members of Dáil Eireann and the members of Seanad Eireann." At present it reads "at which the electors shall be members of Dáil Eireann and the members of Seanad Eireann."

Amendment agreed to.

I move: That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration.

As we indicated at every stage of this Bill, we intend to oppose it. Our main objections have been stated at length, and I do not know that any good purpose would be served by repeating them at this stage. From our point of view, the electors of the Seanad, if they are not to be the people — and we indicated why we thought it right that a change from that should be considered — should certainly not be more than one step removed from the people. We were prepared to abandon, if you like, the method of election by the people, provided that the election of Senators, if you are going to have a Seanad, was going to be by those who were directly representative of the people. Now, the Dáil could be regarded as the country in miniature; with the exception of one section of the people, the electors would be represented here, and, therefore, if we had an election by this House, we might expect that the results would closely approximate to what would be the results if the election were by the people as a whole. But that principle is immediately destroyed when you allow Senators themselves to vote. When you remember that the Seanad consists of sixty members, and that the quota at an election would be somewhere about eleven, you realise that the Seanad is capable by itself of electing some five to seven Senators. Then we object to it particularly because of the fact that the Senators who may themselves be candidates, could, as is proposed in one of these Bills, be allowed to vote at their own election. We think that the number in the Seanad, if we are to have a Seanad, is much too large, and the fact that you are maintaining a large number is going completely to destroy the idea of having the Seanad representative of the people by election through this House.

We tried, by various steps in other Bills, to get the Executive Council to modify its attitude with respect to the number in the Seanad and with respect to some of the points that I have just mentioned, and it has been in vain. Therefore, there is nothing left for us to do, seeing that our efforts to amend this Bill have all been without fruit, but definitely to vote against it. That we propose to do.

We want to make it quite clear what the position of the Labour Party is in regard to this matter. I think that our attitude has been quite consistent. We object to this Bill, as the Fianna Fáil Party are objecting, not only because the Seanad has the right to vote but also because the right of electing the Seanad is being taken away from the people. Deputy de Valera said that his Party would be satisfied if the power of voting were restricted to members of the Dáil, as you would get substantially the same results as if it were an election by the people as a whole. We do not hold that view. We think that there is a much greater principle involved in this question than that touched upon by Deputy de Valera. It seems to us that it is quite wrong for this House to take away from the people what we regard as a fundamental right. Our view is that so long as there is a Seanad it should be elected by the people, and not by the Dáil or by the Dáil and Seanad voting together. For that reason we oppose the Bill at every stage.

This is one of the series of Bills which have been introduced, as the President said, to implement and regulate the Constitution. It is a bad Bill. It was, in the first place, carelessly drafted. It was a hash and a mess, as the Minister for Local Government described another Bill. It was patched up on Report Stage by trivial amendments, the necessity for which was overlooked in the haste in which the Bill was drafted and rushed into this House. It contains a number of bad principles. In so far as it proposes to take from the Seanad the obviously false claim which they could have heretofore advanced to represent the people, or any section of the people, it is not so objectionable as it might be in other matters. Deputy Morrissey made some reference that the Bill is designed to terminate the method by which the Seanad is elected by the people. Deputy Morrissey knows that in the one example we have had of a Seanad election no such claim could be advanced as that the Seanad was in fact elected by the people. There is certainly nobody in the Seanad who could claim to represent any substantial section of the Irish people. The entire number of members elected on that occasion were elected on a 25 per cent. poll and under conditions which cast very grave suspicion upon the whole method of election.

The people got their chance anyhow.

And the people indicated what they thought of the Seanad by refusing to come out and put people into it. A big majority of the people gave a clear indication as to what they thought of the Seanad. They did not consider it necessary to walk to the poll to elect people to that institution.

What about the county council elections?

The same might apply in a number of cases. The fact remains that if we can learn any lesson from the election that did take place it is that 75 per cent. of the people did not want to elect the Seanad, and if the Government were anxious to implement the will of the people they would introduce, not a Bill of this kind, but one to abolish the Seanad entirely. The attitude of our party has been made clear, namely, that if there is to be a Seanad it should be one which will not occupy a false position in relation to the people, but it should be a Seanad closely held by this Dáil and subordinate in every way to it. If the system of popular election is abolished, there should be a system by which Senators would be nominated and elected by the Dáil. The proposal which gives to Senators the right to nominate and vote for their own successors is fundamentally bad. The Seanad consists of people who, as I said, cannot claim to be representative of the people. The majority of them were nominated and the remainder were elected from a nominated panel by a small minority of the people. They include amongst their numbers members of an alien Parliament, and to give a body of that kind the right to exercise considerable influence in the election of members to that body is something which no democrat, or anyone with any respect for democratic institutions of government, would tolerate.

There is contained also in the Bill the principle of secret voting in the Seanad election. Not merely are members of the Seanad and Dáil to elect the Seanad, but they are to do so in secret. The people are to get no indication as to how their representatives vote. They are to be left in the dark. If there is to be an election in this Chamber for the Seanad it should be by the open votes of Senators and Deputies. They should be forced to come forward and indicate clearly for whom they are giving their votes. While there is, of course, adequate justification for secret voting by the people there is no justification for secret voting in this House. We are supposed to come here as representing the people, as representing our constituents, and we should not be asked to do anything in secret. Knowing as we do that this Seanad is getting increased powers and is being put into the position of being able to hold up for a long period Bills passed by this House, we should hesitate to have men put into that position of power as the result of a secret ballot. The Bill will, no doubt, pass. It has already gone through three stages and the same majority which put it through three stages will put it through the fourth. It will pass and subsequently it will become law if the Seanad are satisfied with the bargain. We should clearly recognise that the Seanad are in the position of dictating their terms in relation to this measure. The Seanad can, if they choose, hold up the Bill until an election on the present system takes place. Thus we are not free agents in the matter. This Bill has been offered to the Seanad as part of a bargain, the other part being the increased powers which are given to that Chamber. As I say, the Bill will become law if the Seanad are satisfied with the bargain. It does not matter what we think about it. It is for the Seanad to be satisfied, and if they are satisfied, the newly constituted Seanad will be elected on the very undemocratic system provided in the Bill. If the Seanad were a real live institution serving a useful function in the State there would not be a single voice raised on this side of the House to object to its election on a popular system.

It is because the Seanad is nothing of the kind; it is because that in the Seanad are entrenched the standardbearers of Imperialism in this country; it is because the Seanad is intended to act as a brake on any national legislation introduced here, that we think that a strong case can be made out to justify the abolition of the system of popular election and the substitution for that system of a system which we approve of, election by the Dáil, but certainly not the system which is mentioned here.

No doubt if the Minister for Finance says anything in conclusion—he said nothing in introducing the Bill—he will tell us that this Bill has got to go through as all the other Bills which were introduced here a few weeks ago have got to go through. The Constitution has been strained; Standing Orders have been strained, all for the purpose of getting this series of Bills enacted by this House. The motion which we had the other day in relation to Constitution (Amendment No. 10) Bill, declaring it to be necessary for the preservation of the peace and safety of the State, was justified on the same grounds that the guillotine motion in respect to this Bill is justified. As the Minister for Finance said, having started upon these Bills, we have got to put them through. He said it would be better never to have started them if they were not prepared to push them through by every device which suggested itself to them. That is a phrase of which the Minister for Finance is apparently very fond, because I happened to be looking up some old debates in this House, and he used the same phrase on another occasion—on the 17th November, 1922, when there was a debate on the subject of the first executions. He said: "It would be better never to have begun asserting the will of the people if we were not prepared to go through with it." Having begun asserting the will of the people in 1922, he made up his mind to go through with it, but something happened, which was not revealed to this House, and which resulted in asserting not the will of the people, but the necessity for enthroning an unrepresentative oligarchy in a position of authority in this State.

As Deputy de Valera said, it is too much to hope that some ray of light will penetrate into the abysmal darkness of Cumann na nGaedheal in this discussion. It is too much to hope that even at this late stage they will get a lucid interval, and it is probably no use in appealing to them or arguing with them. The only thing they rely upon is weight of numbers in this House. Having carefully weighed up the situation, they find themselves in a position to put the Bill through, irrespective of any arguments, and they find that there is no necessity to justify it. Relying upon weight of numbers, they are steam-rolling it through the Dáil. I notice that at some future date we will have a discussion upon a motion which deals with decorum and decency in this Dáil, but I do not think it is treating the dignity of this Dáil decently to have a Bill of this nature steam-rolled in this manner through it. If members opposite thought that this was a representative body, that this was a body to which the ultimate authority of the Irish people was delegated, they would not treat it in this manner. They would attempt to advance some pretence of an argument before thrusting such a very serious constitutional amendment as this down the throats of Deputies. I hope that those who realise that they are not bound hand and foot to the Cumann na nGaedheal chariot, and who are elected to come here as the upholders of the Constitution to the last comma, will do what they were elected to do on this occasion. If they were not hoodwinking the people when they were elected, I think they have now an opportunity of upholding the Constitution in a particular item. Surely they did not qualify their statements to the people and say that they would only uphold the Constitution in respect of Articles which were also being upheld by the Executive Council. They qualified their statements in no way. If they did not mean that they were going to uphold the Constitution, if they meant that they were going only to uphold those sections of the Constitution which all honest Irishmen are ashamed to read, let them say so the next time they are seeking election from the people and they will get their answer on that occasion. But if they want to uphold the Constitution, realising that they have the balance of power in the House and that they can defeat the attempt to tear up the Constitution now, they can do so, and I have no doubt that their constituents will be anxious to see how they vote.

I have been very much touched by the appeal made by Deputies on the opposite benches, and by Deputy Lemass in particular, and I take the earliest possible moment to respond. His appeal on the ground of constitutionalism comes home very deeply to me. I think I am one of those who spoke a great deal on platforms about this matter. I have had the advantage of listening with considerable care throughout the series of debates upon this and other allied Bills, and I notice that throughout certain theories underly the arguments from the opposite benches, no matter what the Bill or motion may be.

Among others, Deputy Lemass has just indicated one. There is the suggestion that when we speak of supporting the Constitution, we mean that the Constitution is therefore something fixed and sacred which can never in any sense or in any comma be altered. The people whom we addressed must have known, and did undoubtedly know perfectly well, that one of the features of that Constitution itself was the freedom which the Oireachtas had left to itself for altering the Constitution within eight years.

Only certain clauses of it.

Oh, no. You will find that so far as the Constitution goes, there is liberty to amend at all times, but I think I know what Deputy Cooney means. There are certain clauses of the Constitution which form part of the Treaty, but the provisions relating to the clauses in the Treaty are governed by the Act enacting the Constitution.

The Treaty-bound Articles are sacred.

I notice that throughout these debates there is an abstraction continually in the minds of Deputies opposite which is sometimes called "progressive" or "Nationalist forces," sometimes called "the people," sometimes called "democracy." Now I really do not know what these things mean, if you are going to separate them from the individuals who make up the Irish nation, and if you do not separate them from the individuals who make up the Irish nation, then the Seanad itself is as much a part of the Irish nation as any of the rest of us. I notice another assumption in these speeches—Deputy Lemass seemed to be abandoning it in his last speech, but it ran through all the other speeches — that somewhere or another there is in the people a passionate desire that they may be allowed to vote for this very body which Fianna Fáil wants to abolish. I had the pleasure of listening to Deputy Hugo Flinn the other day, and in the attitude of the Emperor Napoleon, in the manner of a later Chatham, he told us that somewhere, somehow, some time the wrath of the people would vent itself on those dastardly creatures who were thwarting the will of the people, and that these forces would arise and slay us.

I am sure our blood will curdle. I suppose it is because I am an old, impenitent politician that I remain cool. I could not help remembering, in particular, what Deputy Lemass has just confessed with extraordinary frankness, that this passionate desire on the part of the people to be allowed to elect Senators was shown up at the last election when less than twenty-five per cent. took the trouble to go to the poll. This is the right which they value so highly that because we propose to take it away they are presently to arise and slay! Finally we are told that all Second Chambers are bad, but a Second Chamber not directly elected by the people is worse than bad.

I am going briefly to examine these two or three propositions, not in the light of the study, but in the broad daylight of practical experience. I have already dealt with the suggestion that there is this passionate resentment on the part of the people against the removal of this particular provision. I will say no more about that. Let me take for a moment the other one: That a Second Chamber must be bad and that a Second Chamber not elected by the people must be very bad. As to a Second Chamber being bad, that is purely a matter of opinion. I can only say that I entirely disagree with Fianna Fáil Deputies about that. I believe that in every country, and not least in this country, a strong, impartial, independent Second Chamber is of first importance to the good government of the State. If there is to be a Second Chamber how are you going to get the best kind of Second Chamber? I pay Fianna Fáil the compliment of supposing that if there is to be a Second Chamber they desire that it should be a good one. Although some speakers left us in a good deal of doubt, I am sure that represents the more general view, and I am sure it is the view of Deputy de Valera. If there is to be a Second Chamber, how are you going to get a good one? I would lay this down to thinking men as axiomatic: Whatever is to be the character of the Second Chamber, there is one thing it ought not to be, and that is a mere replica of the First Chamber because it will be either of two things: If it is a weak Second Chamber, it will be subservient, and therefore useless; if it is a strong Second Chamber, being at the same time a replica of the Dáil, then it will be a dangerous rival. There are these two obvious difficulties about any general form of popular election for the two Parliamentary bodies in the State. The Second Chamber will be either one or the other. I do not think, as a matter of fact, that there is much fear of the Seanad here ever being, under our Constitution, a serious rival to the Dáil. I cannot think that anybody can believe that. There is a very real danger—there certainly would be a growing danger—if the present system were to be continued, lest the Seanad should become a weaker copy of the Dáil, in which case, to my mind at least, it would serve no useful function.

I heard the other day a eulogy of the American Senate from one of the Deputies opposite. I have not a great knowledge of the American Senate and I do not know how far that was deserved. At any rate, it is obvious that we cannot reproduce anything like the American Senate in this country, so that I am content not to reveal to the House where I myself would place the American Senate in the list. Again, on the point of theory and practice, I dare say I shall be regarded as very reactionary if I say that I think that in practice, as distinct from theory, probably about the best Second Chamber for its work in the world is the British House of Lords. There was never such a clash of theory and practice. In theory a more absurd body than the House of Lords could not be got. A man sits in that assembly— nominally sits in it, probably does not go near it — but is entitled to sit in it either because he is the son of his father or more probably, the son of his grandfather——

Your genealogy and your Constitution are about equally good.

——or else because he is a rich man who has bought his way there. That, of course, has been furiously denied, but that really about represents the position. A more absurd system could never have been invented out of Bedlam. Never out of Bedlam was there anything so absurd as these qualifications for sitting in a Second and Revising Chamber. But how does it work? The House of Lords has about 600 members; two-thirds, probably five-sixths, of the members never go near it. What is the result? What remains are probably the most experienced, the wisest, the most judicially-minded, the most disinterested body of public men you can find. Why? Because what are left are men who, with rare exceptions, either served in great Cabinet offices and have all the accumulated weight of the experience of great office behind them, or have been heads of the Civil Service, or men who have administered great territories, or great soldiers, or, to a lesser extent, men at the head of great businesses. In practice, as distinct from theory — believe me I speak from some knowledge of it, because I have watched the proceedings of both Houses for a very considerable number of years very closely and have attended debates in both—the result is a House which, on the whole, I do not believe, except in moments of great passion—and that is a time when no Second Chamber is likely to be at its best — is probably the best revising Chamber in the world. Had we need, I am so reactionary that I should not shrink from establishing the old House of Lords in this country, but it is not practical politics, and we may leave it aside. Do we not need some body, however we can get it, of people who have got the detachment, the experience, the knowledge, the disinterestedness, to revise our work? Will Deputy Lemass, for example, suggest that all the legislation passed here in the Dáil is perfect? Are we so impeccable, are all our Bills so admirably drafted, are all our Ministers, in Deputy Lemass's opinion, such supermen, is the vote of the majority in this House so conclusive on all equities, that there is no need at times for revision in another place? If we have that need, as I have already suggested, we shall not get the best people by popular election.

We require a new aristocracy.

I am not sure that the old one would not do.

A DEPUTY

Brush up the old one.

Let me put another point: Is it altogether wise? There comes a time in most men's lives—it will come even in the life of Deputy Lemass, although he is a pretty young man— when they are still fit for a good deal of useful public work, but when they are no longer fitted to undergo the strain necessarily inseparable from the work of a democratically-elected Chamber.

Or all-night sitting?

Yes, if you like. The constant visits to constituents, rattling about over bad roads in motor-cars, travelling backward and forward, the daily post bag, the long hours, and all the rest of it, there comes a time of life when they can no longer face that. It becomes too irksome, and later on impossible. There may be amongst such men—even Deputy Lemass will grow old, and even his youth and vigour may fail to continue such work —but it would be very sad that the Saorstát should be deprived in another place of the growing experience and knowledge which Deputy Lemass will then have. Surely it would be very unfortunate if the mere chance of popular election were to deprive the State of such services. I venture to suggest we should try the plan suggested by this Bill. As to whether it is the best possible plan for creating a second Chamber, I do not know, but it seems to me to be a great improvement upon the first, and therefore with that tempered hope and reasonable scepticism proper to a person of my age and of my temperament, I shall continue to support this Bill.

Deputy Law has treated us to a very instructive address. The only thing is that Deputy Law seems to have completely forgotten or left out of account what we on this side regard as essential in the consideration of this question. That is the fact that this country is neither united nor independent. As soon as we get to the position where we are both united and independent, I think we will then be in the position to discuss—and I hope we will have adequate knowledge at our disposal and better advice than we have had from this Committee—what exactly ought to be the principle upon which a Second Chamber ought to be elected. As a matter of fact—although Deputy Law has done his bit at bye-elections, as I have myself—he contending that on the one side lay the supreme mandate of the will of the people, and that there was no alternative to that but anarchy, desolation and civil war, and I do not know how many other things—although the Deputy has stressed that outside he now finds himself in the extraordinary position inside this House—where, as I have already said, you have practically all parties represented and where you have typified a certain stage of stability and security that you have reached outside—Deputy Law is not in a position, or at any rate I have not gathered it from the remarks he made, to make up his mind or to state the arguments upon which he made it up, that this right to elect the Seanad ought to be taken away from the people and given, not to the Dáil itself, but to the Seanad also. Now, arguments will be advanced, of course, with regard to the position in other countries. I think the fact that the country is partitioned, that it is not independent, and that you still have those oath-bound clauses which Deputy Law told us we cannot change, means that no change at all except one that is absolutely urgent and which all parties in the House can be agreed upon, ought to be made in the Constitution for the present. All this gives me the idea that the Government Party are now, with great hurry and great rush and great make-believe, and with nothing at all behind them in the form of analogies or parallels, or precedents or arguments of any kind, that, in spite of their lack of efficiency in all these matters, they are simply trying to rush through everything in the hope of securing that a certain state of affairs which they cannot secure in other ways is put in the way they require.

They are asking the Irish people to sign their name to a cheque and they will fill up that cheque. Why do they not leave these questions open while it is painfully evident that we cannot have unity upon them? Why cannot the Government Party be satisfied with the way things are progressing? Why are they not satisfied to work with the support and the co-operation of all members on this side of the House in the schemes of economic revival and reconstruction that we have heard so much about? Why are they in such a hurry to rush through all these Constitution Bills at this juncture? I shall be delighted if some members of the party opposite give us proof that the history of the peculiar circumstances of this country are behind the Government.

The only excuse I can find is that they do not want a general election to settle this question. They do not want the straight issue of the Seanad or the Constitution to come before the people. They have taken away the right to do that by means of the Initiative and the Referendum. They talk about their general mandate upon the question of the will of the people. Deputy Law says the people understand the Constitution. The people do not understand the Constitution. It would be interesting to know exactly how many printed copies of the Constitution are in existence in the country, to find out to what extent in the colleges and schools the primary elements of the Constitution have been examined and studied. It would be interesting to find out how many members of this House could give a verbal explanation of the Constitution and its chief clauses. I submit the country does not understand the Constitution, nor has the Constitution been put before the country in a proper manner. It was put before it on a certain date in 1922 and since that the Government Party have taken every opportunity they have got to say "the people are with us," and then to come along and say, as Deputy Law has said, "The people do not desire a certain thing. We know that the people do not want to elect this Seanad. We know the people so well and what they want that we are going to step in between the people and those people who follow Deputy de Valera, lest the people should still be misled and deceived." I submit the people do not understand these issues, that the proper way to make them understood by the people is to have a constitutional committee in which everybody can have confidence, which will examine the whole question and consider it in a spirit of judicial detachment and which will have in view the whole question of the unity and independence of the country. This Committee will in other words take for granted that there are certain aspirations which the party on this side of the House represents, that there are certain traditions in the Irish nation and that you cannot wipe out these things in one moment and say that just because a Seanad election is pending you must rush this thing at all costs; that there must be no discussion about it as time is too precious. In the name of goodness did anybody ever hear of the Government of a young State setting out on a difficult task of building a national policy by rushing through this difficult question without giving any arguments to support it, and by remorselessly using this machine of the guillotine and closure to carry it?

Now the American Senate is the Senate of a large country. It fulfils a special function—that is, it fulfils the function of the Federative principle of America. It brings together the representatives of all the States, and it is absolutely necessary, therefore, to knit up all the different State interests of America and to give the country some central control. Therefore the United States Senate is a body of extraordinary importance in the history of the country, and is elected, as far as I understand, by the people. Now we have the other extreme—the British House of Lords. If we had the old aristocracy here that we had at the time of Grattan's Parliament, I think Deputy Law's arguments would have some force. We have not that old aristocracy. They were not prepared to accept the principles which the common Irish people sought and which they struggled and fought for. Because they did not accept those principles they are gone. They are not coming back. If they had been here and had participated in our fight they would have been of immense value to us. Their talents and attainments have gone to build up the British Empire in other directions, but they are not here. If they were here they would have the special training which would entitle them to special consideration. They would have in addition the fact that they were residing in the country, but whatever remains of them and seeks position in the Seanad to-day has behind him or them only the melancholy history that at all times in the stages of the country's struggle towards freedom they were out against it. Then, when they discovered disunion in the ranks of the common people they thought they would climb into power on our backs. They are not going to do so, not at least without a severe struggle from this side of the House. They have no sympathy with the traditional aspirations of the Irish people. They are out to thwart them, and if they get this new power I have not the slightest doubt but that they will continue to do what they did in the past. Their pitiable and mean little attitude yesterday evening in Dublin indicates that this spirit of slavery we hear so much about is more dominant in them than in any other class of the Irish people. They cannot rise to an occasion. Are we now to place power in their hands, they who have been the hereditary antagonists of our race through all time? Furthermore, in the English House of Lords they have an aristocracy trained in diplomatic work for generations. They are acquainted with the problems of the Empire and conditions in other countries. They are of immeasurable value to the British Empire in that way. Furthermore, the English House of Lords has certain judicial functions to carry out which the Seanad of the Irish Free State has not. In England, for that reason, for the reason that it was brought more up to date, its powers curtailed, new blood introduced and the law lords brought in to strengthen it, in connection with its special legal function, the English House of Lords is on a different plane from our Seanad here.

If there are to be changes I submit those changes ought to come after a full and frank discussion when every member of the House is satisfied that his constituents understand the question thoroughly and that on each particular Bill a Deputy is able to get up and say that he has discussed the matter at issue with his constituents, that his constituents have given him a certain mandate or that at any rate he understands their view-point: he may or may not accept it, but at present our constituents do not understand these questions at all. I cannot understand why a better procedure could not be adopted: the Government had full experience of the last Seanad election, they knew the people did not turn out and that there were certain defects in the method of election. They had a right to make an arrangement to remedy the defects for the ensuing election. Instead of that, they take advantage of the opportunity to appoint a committee, and because that committee which we, on our side of the House at any rate, would not regard as having any special qualifications or knowledge which would enable them to deal with the matter from the point of view of the common Irish people brought in a certain verdict in accordance with the Government's policy and, I suppose, largely governed by the wishes of the Government in this matter, we are simply asked to take the results of that committee without consideration, without any argument being advanced in favour of them and to pass them here simply as if we were parts of a clockwork machine.

In connection with the question of the method of election, apart from the fact that you are giving to the Seanad certain powers to elect their own members, that in particular you are giving to the nominated members, who have no speak whatever of popular sanction or democratic election behind them, the power to elect themselves, you are in the position in this Bill that you do not know exactly what Senators are going to participate in the election. Can we regard legislation as being serious, well thought out, or as being conceived with the best interests of the country in view, when it is not specifically stated whether or not outgoing members of the Seanad are going to have a vote? If they are not, why is it not definitely stated in the Bill? As far as I can remember, the Ceann Comhairle in a previous stage of this debate was asked the question whether the members of the Seanad who are outgoing this year would have the right to participate in this election. I am not clear on the question, and I submit to the House that it is really nonsense to pass a measure of this character when we do not know definitely who are the persons who are going to participate in this election.

There is also the point with regard to useful public service and the panel. I admit we would have reason to modify our views on this side of the House if we could foresee how the panel of candidates is going to be selected, or if we could see what interests in the country are going to be represented there or what persons will be deemed to have had useful public service. If we could foresee that, if we had before us now some idea of what the panel will be, some idea of the candidates, from which we will have to select future members of the Seanad, I agree we might modify our policy, but we are being asked to give to the nominated members of the Seanad the right to elect their own members in the future (as well as giving that right to this House) without even knowing where the candidates are coming from, who is going to select them, or what the basis of their selection is going to be. In the very same way as we have had all those Constitution Bills dumped upon us and rushed through in the most unseemly manner, we are going in a few weeks more, perhaps before the session closes, to have dumped on us in the same way a certain panel of candidates selected by whom I do not know. A panel of names will be put before us; we can discuss them as long as we will as we have done in the case of the Bills in connection with changes in the Seanad, but the majority is there: it does not matter what arguments or appeals are made for unity in the country the Government majority will sit stolidly there and at the end of it all will pass this thing through.

If you are going to do that, you are not going to give the Party on this side of the House the feeling that they have a real voice in the selection of the Seanad. You are giving them the feeling that although they have advanced to meet you, although they have come in here and proffered their advice and co-operation in schemes and measures for the general benefit of the country, when it comes to a question of whether the Cumann na nGaedheal Party is going to hold its present majority and to remain in office for as long as it will, the Fianna Fáil Party can expect no fair play whatever; that once the question of the right of the Government to stay in office looms on the horizon, then no argument is going to count; it is simply going to be a Party question. Governments will change and must change, and in all this matter you are setting very dangerous precedents; you are doing things which a future Government may do. It may harp back on your action now; it may say that you did certain things, that by the force of your majority here, in spite of the fact that you had no clear mandate from the people, and that the Opposition did not and could not accept the principle of nearly all these Bills, and in spite of the opposition of the Labour Party as well as of the Fianna Fáil Party, you rushed them through. Will not that be a precedent for a future Executive? Will it not be in its power as well as it is in the power of the present Government to try by means of subterfuges of that kind, by appointing committees and then by rushing through decisions of these committees with a party majority, to create again in the country that feeling of instability and insecurity which the Government Party claim they have put an end to? If there was any spark of statesmanship or of national feeling or even of democratic feeling on the opposite benches; if the members of the Party opposite could only see themselves for once as representatives of the plain people of Ireland, who have got so far and want to go further, if they could only recollect what all parties who still hold national aspirations stood for a few years ago, I venture to say that they would not be dominated by this thought of getting Government measures through as quickly as possible and by means that would not be adopted by any assembly that was really conscious of its dignity or that really felt it had the power of the people behind it.

Again, sir, I would like to give way to some member of Cumann na nGaedheal rather than to speak myself. I think that has been the habit of all members on these benches throughout these debates, to attempt to get other portions of this House, silent and apparently moribund, to come out of their grave clothes. However, we did have Deputy Law. He took the earliest possible moment! How long have we been discussing these constitutional amendments that this is the earliest possible moment in which Deputy Law can get up to say what he did say as one who is anxious to advocate constitutionalism? He rose at the earliest possible moment to advocate constitutionalism, but—his whole speech is in the but—he was prepared to advocate constitutionalism, but—it is all buts—he will not advocate constitutionalism in any manner which will interfere with the permanence of possession of power by the party to which he belongs. He will rise at the earliest possible moment to advocate constitutionalism, but, to use his own words, he will do it with reasonable scepticism. No wonder it took him so long to find the earliest possible moment to advocate constitutionalism. Will he and the other members of his Party go down among the plain and common people of this country and advocate constitutionalism with a reasonable scepticism? Was it the reasonable scepticism that deluged this country with blood? For which of the "buts" were all these millions of money poured out? To advocate what kind of constitutionalism and in what kind of a hurry were blood and treasure poured out with reckless extravagance in this country? A reasonable scepticism ! That is the spirit. Reasonable scepticism! The scepticism that Deputy Law is in a hurry at the earliest possible moment to advocate is the informing principle of constitutionalism in this country. If this House takes that as the standard of decency and honour in discussion it has had a very good exemplar in Deputy Law. If the people want representatives who will come to the discussion of their constitional questions with reasonable scepticism they have a perfectly good representative. But if they want men who will regard constitutional questions in this country as matters of importance, matters which affect their ordinary lives and which may influence the whole lives of their children, I certainly do not think that they want them to come to the examination of it in a spirit of reasonable scepticism and dominated by "buts." Take a specimen of the reasoning that is offered you. The House of Lords is perfect because it is absurd. Make the Seanad absurd so that it may be perfect. That is what your representatives are sent back here to say in the face of the Dáil. I do not think the Press will quote that in that exact form, and that is the exact form and meaning in summarisation of all that Deputy Law said in favour of the House of Lords. The fewer people that attend the more perfect ! If you want a good Seanad make it perfectly absurd and you are going to have it absurdly perfect. "It is axiomatic," he says, "whatever else may happen, that your Second Chamber should not be a replica of the First. Therefore, get the First elected on principles of proportional representation."

Except in so far as it is made worse by being infiltrated with its own opinion of itself, it is going to be, under this Bill, a replica of itself. If his principle is right, his reasoning is wrong. If he is to be taken as a good and sound reasoner, if the axiom he puts forward in favour of this Bill is right, he should vote against the Bill. He speaks of the lack of a passionate desire on the part of these people for reform. Are the desires for reform so passionate that we must put off all ordinary legislation that was laid down for us? Is the desire so passionate that we must throw over the Estimates until the Autumn; that we can leave good and important Bills undiscussed; in order that we should stay up all day and all night? We were willing to stay up more nights than they were, in order to discuss those matters. There is no desire, he says, no sign of a desire, on the part of these people for constitutional reforms. That is the reason why we are taking them. I suppose. A reasonable scepticism as to Deputy Law's belief in the things he professes to believe in is a reasonable inference from the speech of Deputy Law.

At a very early stage in this Bill we asked the question which is again being asked by Deputy Derrig—where is there an indication in the Bill as to who shall elect the Seanad? That question was not answered the first day we asked it. We were insolently and ignorantly refused information on the matter. It was refused ignorantly and insolently by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health when he was asked during the stages of the Bill to give that information. That information is refused now. It is a matter for the lawyers to decide afterwards who shall elect the Seanad. It is a matter for the lawyers to decide what is the meaning of the Bill that we are passing through the Dáil in such a hurry. Three or four words would make it clear if they chose to make it clear. That is typical of a good many Bills. It is not the slightest use to ask those men what their intention is, because this House at the present moment is trying to push through a Bill which failed to carry out the one thing which it was declared it was intended to do. That is the Mutual Insurance Bill. It is not the slightest use going to them for inspiration. We are entitled to have the plain meaning of these Bills written upon their faces. Either through incapacity, through plain insolence or through a desire to hide the truth and to leave it to the probable and sympathetic consideration of the lawyers, this Bill has been left in this inchoate fashion. We are leaving a Bill now as regards which we do not know—there is no means except the assurance, for what it is, of the Ministers opposite—whether twenty outgoing Senators are going to vote for themselves before they go out. As far as I understand it, that is the intention of the Government. These twenty outgoing Senators before they go out, or in the process of going out, or after they are gone out, are to be competent to vote that they shall stay in. It is a bad Bill from the point of view of drafting. It is a bad Bill from the point of view that it deliberately sets out to hide from the people what their representatives do with the authority which has been given to them. It is laid down in this Bill, and the only thing that is clearly laid down as far as I can make out, is that this nominated Seanad and this Dáil shall from a panel which has not been selected, set up on a principle which has not been decided, made up of men whose qualities have not been defined, will, by a secret ballot, select a Seanad. Why should my constituents not know whom I am voting for? Why should the constituents of the dumb-driven cattle on the back Benches of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party not know for whom they are voting?

We will know all right for whom we will vote. That is certain. We are not as blind as you are.

No doubt some people will disclose, well, for a consideration. No doubt it is known to the House already how some of the canvassed votes are going. No doubt someone will get to know what caucus lists are prepared, but my constituents have no means of knowing, and they are entitled to know from the official records of this House how I cast my vote and for whom I cast it.

Put it in the Press.

That would not be an official record. I want to know why should this information be kept from our constituents, whose authority we are using? Why should they not be told for whom we cast our votes? Why should that be kept from them? When the Seanad is reconstituted to contain the elements of evil from the point of view of the ordinary people in this country, why will not the people be in a position to know what Deputies put in those key-men of national evil? Perhaps it is not, save in a spirit of reasonable scepticism, we may regard it that our constituents are not concerned with what we do with our votes once we are given them. It is all part of the game, part of the pretence, part of those long years of pretence in which the Front Bench opposite, and their faithful supporters, have advocated one principle and followed another. They profess one belief and have shown another practice. They profess to believe in the liberty of the ordinary man in this country to govern the country. They profess to believe in the importance and sacredness of the Constitution which they have upheld, while in reality they have advocated it with a reasonable scepticism without the slightest regard for the liberties of the people or the sacredness of the institutions which they profess to honour. This Bill is a rotten, badly-drafted Bill, because its principle is beneath contempt, because it is intended to fit into the bad old system which this Dáil was supposed to be created to destroy, because it fits in perfectly with the whole of the other ten Bills which are now before the House, to tear out of this Constitution everything that is of value in it that they can lay hands on, to tear out of that Constitution everything that was in it that was of value to the liberty of the ordinary man and the possibilities of national development in this country. For that reason every man who is not merely a cipher, who is not merely a voter in the lobby, every man who has any regard whatever for the purpose for which he ought to be here, in an assembly of Irishmen, will vote against this Bill.

Like Deputy Flinn and Deputy Derrig I feel that sufficient justification has not been given to the House for the passing of the Report Stage of this Bill. It has been claimed by the Government on many occasions that the Seanad is an important, essential and powerful component of this Constitution and of the system of Government which has been established under it. If that is so the method of electing that Seanad must be equally important and equally vital to this people. This Bill proposes to deprive the people of the power of electing that Seanad directly, and instead to entrust it to a joint sitting on which the Seanad, largely a nominated assembly, will have equal rights and equal franchise with the members of this House who have been elected by the people.

One would think that a change of that description, a very far-reaching change in this Constitution, should at least have some solid argument advanced from the Government Benches in support of it. The only argument given by the President in introducing the measure was the old argument that the Bill was to implement the decision arrived at by a Committee sitting in secret, whose whole proceedings were secret, whose discussions were secret and whose conclusions were pre-determined by its very composition. This Bill is not the result of any deep political thought. It is the result of a political bargain, a shameful bargain entered into by the Government, professing to be the servants of the common people, with the Seanad, directly and originally constituted not as the instrument of the common people of Ireland but as the instrument of the ascendancy which had privilege here under the old regime. It is in virtue of that bargain, and not in virtue of any advantage or benefit which the people will receive from the change, that the Government have introduced this Bill and now propose to put it through.

What argument have we heard in support of it? The only argument was put forward by Deputy Law, and I suppose we ought to be very grateful for the speech, even though the things he did say were not very substantial, not very cogent, and, I take leave to believe, not very sincere. The only argument he could advance for the change was, that as we could not bring back the old aristocracy which sold this country once, and I am quite certain would be perfectly capable of selling it again, we could take a little plate powder polish—that was Deputy Law's plea, a plea for a little plate powder—in order to make the Seanad a little more ornamental since it cannot be made a little more useful. Hungering after the House of Lords, the Deputy, with a little reasonable scepticism, as Deputy Flinn has already explained, pleaded for a Seanad.

Now, the question of bi-cameral Government in our present circumstances is altogether beside the point, at least so far as we are concerned, because we are not here to discuss the merits or the demerits of that system. We are here to make our position plain in regard to the Seanad. We are anxious to change this Constitution fundamentally. We realise the Seanad was put there to make the change more difficult. We agree with Deputy Law that in those circumstances it would be fatal that there should be two organs of Government in this House claiming to derive authority directly from the people. It would be fatal in view of the future to which we look forward, to the time when some day or another the people electing the representatives to this Dáil will declare by their votes that they wish this Constitution to be changed in every essential element—to be changed in regard to those Articles which, at the present moment, the President denies this Dáil has power to change or alter. We are looking forward to that day and we are anxious to bring about that change with the least possible civil strife and confusion. We believe that, so far as our policy is concerned, it is essential, if there is going to be a Second Chamber in this country and under this Constitution, that it should derive its authority from and immediately through the elected Deputies, so that if the need for it arises we can deprive it by our votes in the Dáil of that authority and we can carry through speedily, expeditiously, and quietly the changes which the people have shown by their votes they desire to be made in the Constitution.

A sham Seanad.

What justification has the President for the proposals that he now puts forward? Under this Bill there are to be two factors, two sections, taking part in this election to the Seanad. We have first of all the representatives of the people who are seated in the Dáil and who derive their authority from the people. At least we claim that by virtue of Article 2 of the Constitution which states that all authority, legislative, judicial and executive, is derived from the people. They have in view of that a certain right to endow in the name of the people another body, if they care to, with authority. But what is the position of the other factor in this election? You have the people coming from the Seanad who never faced the voters at an open election; you have a nominated element taking part in this election, a nominated element which does not derive its mandate from the people. That element is to have equal rights, an equal franchise, with those who do derive their authority from the people. Is not that a perpetuation of privilege under this Constitution? Those people who never have faced the electorate and who have been appointed by nomination possibly because they happen to be friends of some person who is a friend of the President, and certainly not because they have any particular special merit, are to have equal rights with the people's elected representatives. The nominated element is going to have equal privilege in the election of a Seanad with those who were directly elected by the people.

That, as I have said, is a perpetuation of privilege. Those Senators who toil not and who do not spin are, under this Bill, now to be endowed with the regenerative faculty of an oyster. They have other characteristics of the oyster as well. You have only to look at the reports of the Seanad, that little slim, flimsy volume of two or three pages which we get at rare intervals; you have only to look at the number of Senators who attend in the Seanad and who try to exercise the functions with which they were normally charged under the Constitution to realise, as I said before, that Senators have more than one characteristic of the oyster. They sit quietly with their shells open and take their sustenance, which the tide of the Constitution washes to their maws. They take £360 a year, every single one of them, and up to the present they have lamentably failed to discharge a single duty entrusted to them, or a single obligation imposed on them by this Constitution. The ostensible justification for them is mainly that by checking, impeding, retarding, criticising, they can hold up and amend legislation hastily conceived and passed with indecent expedition through this Dáil. When, in any single constitutional crisis which this State has faced since 1923, when the rights of the subject under that Constitution were taken from him, when Article 6, which declared the liberty of the citizens to be inviolable, was suspended, when, at any moment when the rights of the common people required to be defended as against the aggression of the Executive Council, did the Seanad ever exercise that power of retarding, revising or criticising the hasty legislation which emanated from this House? It is true that on one occasion, or possibly two occasions at any rate, during the debate on the Public Safety Bill one Senator urged that in view of the changed circumstances, in view of the fact that there was coming into this Dáil another Party, it might be called on to support an alternative Government to the Government whose only weapon of government was that of repression and coercion, there seemed to be some possibility that the Executive Council would henceforth be constituted by men who desired to govern by conciliation and forgiveness, the Vice-President who now proposes to endow that Senator with an additional faculty said that he was suffering from senility. The other Senators who ought to have resented that insult, and ought to have had the manliness to stand up in defence of him betrayed the fact that they themselves were sensible of their own deficiencies. These men who, by their passive acquiescence in that insult, admit that they are now senile and effete, but they are to be endowed with additional power, with further privilege, by the Bill we are now considering. With regard to the drafting of the Bill, we had to-day to accept an amendment, introduced on Report Stage and at the last moment, to make the Bill read sensibly. That amendment was introduced as a result of the criticism levelled at the Bill from these benches. It was an amendment which proved that the members of the Government who introduced it never even took the trouble to read their own measure. Otherwise they would have seen that the omission of that little particle, that little definite article, from a particular line made it quite possible that, whatever the intention of the Government may have been, it could be held that only a certain section of the Dáil would be privileged to exercise the franchise in electing the Seanad. That is the Bill which the Government introduced. This is the defective malformation. It was introduced to this House by a Government that never attempted to justify it by a single argument, and, from the circumstances which I have related, it is proved that they did not take the trouble to read it.

You do not think that it was aimed at the Deputy's Party?

I cannot quite grasp the appositeness of the Minister's interruption.

Think over it.

There is a further point, and I think we are entitled to an answer upon it before the Bill goes. through. I know it is going through. The Government have long ago thrown aside any pretence that they govern or legislate here in the interests of the people. They legislate avowedly in the interests of a Party, and, because the purposes of that Party can only be served by maintaining in power and by endowing with additional powers the ascendancy class who compose or constitute the majority of the Seanad, and because the votes of that ascendancy class in this Dáil are essential to the Government to enable it to remain in office, we know that the Government have thrown aside all pretence that they are governing for the people. They are now legislating for their Party and are determined to rush through this Bill no matter what arguments are adduced against it. Before the Minister does that, I think, at any rate, that the dignity of this House and honour, truth and justice entitle us to demand from him an answer to the question addressed to him, not only to-day, but on every Stage of the Bill — First, Second and Committee Stage — and to ask him whether or not it is intended to permit the retiring Senators to vote in this election or whether it will take place after the vacancies have occurred. That is the categorical question which I put to the Minister. I challenge him to answer it. His silence is suspicious.

How many times does the Deputy want that question answered?

Plainly, once. I ask the Minister is it the intention of the Government to take this election at such a period that retiring Senators will be entitled to vote for their own re-election or whether it is proposed to hold the election afterwards?

Until such time as Senators retire they are Senators.

That is the point.

It is proposed to hold the Seanad election before the 6th December. The retiring Senators will be Senators on any date prior to that and they will vote in the election.

That is the first time we have got that.

Incidentally, if Senators are compared to oysters and reference is made to their reproductive capacity, it should be mentioned that if all the fifteen outgoing Senators combined to vote for one of themselves alone, they could elect that one Senator but no more.

I take leave to doubt that. The total electorate would be 212. There are a number of electors who will not be available. The quota will be roughly about 10, even if all the electors are available. Therefore, if some electors are not available, and if the fifteen retiring Senators are available, because they have more than half the quota necessary to elect a second Senator, they could elect at least two.

That is, if, and if, and if.

Exactly, but we are entitled to take the worst case, because the worst case involves this principle, that a certain number of men originally nominated are now to have this special privilege.

The Deputy should not always expect the worst.

From this Government we have no reason to expect anything else but the worst.

There are higher powers.

Has this Government ever set an example of magnanimous, reasoned, honourable government in its treatment of this House? Could we ever expect anything from the Government in relation to the national position but the worst? Therefore we are entitled to expect the worst now. Arguing from the worst possible case that you can take, you have certain people, who were originally nominated and who therefore have no direct mandate from the people, put in a specially privileged position under the Constitution. Is that not a defect in the Bill?

To face the real worst, would the real worst be that fifteen could elect two?

The real worst might be this. Take, say, the Chairman of the Seanad or any particular member—I do not want to particularise or be personal. Take some other member. Is it not quite possible that some of the originally nominated members can be appointed for the rest of their lives by virtue of this Bill and by virtue of this method of election, and can continue to remain as Senators without having their names placed before the people or without seeking the people's mandate? Is that not possible?

Do I understand the Deputy to say that the nominated part of the Seanad could reproduce itself in such a way that at least one of them would be indefinitely kept in the Seanad on the original nominated basis?

I say at least one, or perhaps more. I say that it is quite possible that certain members originally nominated could be re-elected, in part by their own vote, if you like, and in part by others, and re-elected by this Bill time after time without once presenting themselves to the people.

It is a simple mathematical question, and if you get it down on paper you will be clearer on it.

I am perfectly clear about it. I can see how it will operate, and, because I see that, I say that this Bill is an attempt to create a specially privileged class in this country—people who would never receive the confidence of the people, whose sole claim to special treatment is that they were coercionists, rack-renters, place-hunters, or in some way or other the tail of the British régime in this country. That is why this Government, which professes to be a democratic Government, which professes to make operative the will of the people, five or six years ago plunged the people into war, spilt Irish blood and wasted Irish treasure, all in the name of, and for the glorification of, the Irish people, and as the result of it six years afterwards we find the same Government doing everything to bolster up and enthrone in perpetual possession the old ascendancy gang against whom all efforts were directed in the past.

I thought I had said all I intended to say on this Bill on Second Reading and in Committee, but I find that Deputies whose Party voted in favour of this same Bill in a Committee now come into the House to criticise the Government for introducing it. I cannot understand exactly what their attitude is. It is a remarkable fact—it may be a coincidence— that Deputy Ruttledge, who voted in the Committee for the motion that it was not desirable that the people should elect the Seanad, has not been in this House since the Bill was introduced. He, I think, could throw a little light on the attitude of his Party towards this measure. Why the Fianna Fáil Party went into a Committee to vote that this election of the Seanad should not be entrusted to the people and why they come into this House afterwards to criticise the Government for bringing in a Bill in accordance with the report that they themselves, through their representative, voted for, is a situation which I may be too old-fashioned to understand. This Bill is an amendment of the Article dealing with the mode of election to the Seanad, but there should be another Constitution Amendment Bill introduced to deal with Article 2, which says that all powers are derived from the people. If all powers are derived from the people and if by this Bill we are going to take the power to make laws out of the hands of the people, the first step should be to introduce a Bill to deal with Article 2 of the Constitution as well as the other Articles which we are going to alter. It would, I think, be no harm to read Article 2 again, because, as far as I can see, Deputies who have been opposing this Bill so far were really talking to the gallery. It reads: "All powers of Government and all authority, legislative, executive and judicial, in Ireland, are derived from the people of Ireland." How does this Article read when we take from the people the election of the Seanad? That Article will have to be amended.

Deputy MacEntee says that he knows that this Bill is going through. Knowing that this Bill is going through, knowing that his Party voted in favour of the Bill being produced, he comes into the House and in the shelter of safety, in the shelter of the majority Party, he has put up a mock opposition to taking away the rights of the people by saying that they are prevented from doing anything. There is, however, a consistent method by which the Fianna Fáil Party, after voting in favour of this in Committee and after encouraging the Government to introduce this Bill, can ascertain whether public opinion is against them. There is a very simple method. Will they say, when it comes to an election after this Bill is passed, will they have the manliness to say: "We will refuse to vote under the circumstances, we will not vote in the election of a Seanad" Will they say: "We will have neither hand, act nor part in the election of a Seanad which is to be elected only by the Dáil and the Seanad. We, as a Party, will abstain, as we do not want representation on this effete body"? That is the consistent attitude for them to take up. I am sure we would admire that attitude, but I have grave doubts that they will adopt it, because they, as a Party, know very well that the system of election which they voted for themselves— taking it out of the hands of the people—worked out mathematically gives them a much larger representation than if they went before the people. That is the sum and substance of the mock opposition to this Bill. There is no sincerity in it.

I oppose this Bill because I believe in the will of the people. Parties and Governments have fallen, and will fall again when they forget the people. Parties will fall in this country, and perhaps sooner than they think, and perhaps Governments, when they take away the rights of the people. I have been before the people many times and the people have rejected me many times, but the will of the people prevailed and I accepted it. I stand for the will of the people to be accepted by everybody and that the people should have the power and the right to authorise us as an elected body to make laws. If that power is taken from the people, then the people will find another method of dealing with both the Dáil and Seanad in the near future.

Is that a threat?

You may take it for what you like. You will know it when you go before the electors next. Since I voted on this measure in the first instance, I have consulted with many of my constituents, and not in one case did I find one to tell me that I did wrong. I believe that if Deputies had consulted their constituents since the introduction of the Bill they would find that it is a most unpopular measure. Very possibly the Opposition Party have found that out, hence their peculiar attitude in voting in Committee for this change in the Constitution and coming to the House and absolutely voting against it. I voted against this Bill because it proposes to take away the rights of the people. I hope the Fianna Fáil Party will adopt the suggestion I made and not soil their hands by voting for Senators when they do not believe that the Seanad is wanted and when the people have no right to vote on their own.

Deputy O'Hanlon does us a great injustice when he says that our opposition to this Bill is mock opposition. It is not mock opposition in any way. We are, and have been all the time, against the principle of Senators taking part in this election, and the very fact that the Seanad takes a part in it vitiates the whole measure.

What about the people?

The people have an ample opportunity of asserting their authority. I am talking about principles and not about this House, because the will of the people at present is not represented by the Government Party. But, generally speaking, the legislative House is the one House which represents the sovereignty of the people for the time being, and that, together with the Referendum, gives all the expression of sovereignty which the people can derive from representative government. There are more direct forms of government where you have not representative government, but government direct by the people. There you have the people exercising their authority as masters in their own house all the time. But, under representative government, you have a House which is the legislature, and the Seanad is not essentially the legislature. Powers are not taken from the people so long as the powers of legislation are not taken from the Dáil. That, I think, is a fair answer. I am sure that I am closer to Deputy O'Hanlon's point of view than he thinks, and he will find that most of the members of this Party are just as anxious to see that the Irish people are masters in their own House as he is.

Does the Deputy repudiate the vote of his representative on the Committee?

It does not require any repudiation on my part. Deputy Ruttledge has been ill, and if he were here he would be able to explain the current of the discussion at that time, and he will be able to explain the matter, of which I am not cognisant, as I was not present at the Committee. Anyone who is not present at a particular Committee is not in a position to explain any particular attitude taken up. It is in this House that a Party will declare its policy, and it is by the conduct of the Fianna Fáil Party in this House that we know its policy. I believe Deputy O'Hanlon wishes to be fair to us, but it is not a fair thing for him to say that we put up a mock opposition to this Bill. We are as anxious to have a good Constitution as anybody else.

The speeches made from these benches this afternoon have been listened to by only a small proportion of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. If they were really anxious for the country's good, they would have shown in one way or another that they appreciated what had been said from this side of the House. They seem to be in the condition of people suffering from insomnia. They are in an uneasy state of wakefulness. They are not sufficiently awake to exercise their minds upon the serious problems before us. Whatever the mystery of it is, they are not trying to think out the problem, and this afternoon's proceedings are a good example of how this assembly is not a deliberative assembly working for the benefit of the people. If the Whips were taken off and the question was discussed, not from a Party angle but from an angle in which each one would think out for himself what would be the best thing for the country, you would get a very different atmosphere. Recently it was pointed out in another country that Party government had destroyed a certain assembly as a place where any real statesmanlike thinking could be done because of the way in which the Party tyranny was exercised. The same is true here. A very reasonable proposition has been put from this side, that the whole Constitution should be submitted to a special Committee to try and arrive at the very best Constitution possible for this country, taking into consideration the traditions of the people, their aspirations towards freedom and unity, and, if you like, the fact that there is an element in the country which is not yet assimilated into the nationality of Ireland. It is only through such a Committee, appointed with the good-will of this House, and on the basis of agreement, that you ever could carry or establish a Constitution which will be binding on the country.

The very essence of a Constitution is that it should in some way or other represent a basic agreement of all parties, that it should be out of an agreement coming from all parties that its permanence should arise, and not because it is forced from above down on us. You have only to look at the way that this Constitution has been imposed upon us. We have been told, time after time, that—and we know it —there are certain elements in this Constitution that have been imposed from outside. If after the war, let us suppose, a Constitution was imposed upon Germany by France and the Allies which had in it certain clauses binding them to give allegiance to a British scheme would anybody consider that that was really the national Constitution of the German nation? So, too, here not only have we this clause imposed upon us, but we have an element introduced into our national life and given an importance wholly out of proportion to its numbers and to its value to the State. I am not against a Seanad in a free Ireland, with expert knowledge placed at its disposal and which will be a body rather advising than a body with a veto, and that it will be able to give us the benefit of its knowledge and experience. But I am not in favour of the present Seanad, which was originally a concession made to the reactionary elements in this country, and which is being maintained by the present amending Bill upon the same basis.

It is all very well to argue that there will be only a small number of non-elected members left in the Assembly after the next election. The Minister for Local Government has argued that there will be only one or two non-elected. But in connection with the Constitution you must look at the principle. A vitiating principle is a matter that should not be in any constitution. The matter of mathematics is only a very minor one; the important question is the question of principle. Deputy O'Hanlon is hardly consistent when he urges the Fianna Fáil Deputies to refrain from voting at the Seanad elections. I do not know whether we will vote or not at that election. But certainly I can say he has not convinced me that he is consistent in his attitude that he represents the will of the people, because he ought to say that if he cannot get the kind of election he wants the next best thing is that those who really represent the people should take as full a part as possible in the election in order that to that extent the people should be represented. This Bill just exemplifies what is being done in all these matters. A line is being taken by the Government of trailing its coat in this country in order to create dissension. Instead of looking for agreement it looks for disagreement. Its purport in doing that is to impose its will upon the country and upon this House, to keep down that element of nationalism represented by the aims and objects of the Fianna Fáil Party.

How are they to know when there is agreement?

Agreement in this House very quickly shows itself. If the intention was such that there should be agreement it would be very rapidly arrived at.

If the representative of the Party in Committee agrees to a certain thing would that not be an indication of agreement.

It would.

It would all depend upon the particular measure. You are trying to argue that because——

With regard to this particular measure——

Of course it does not, because to begin with the whole committee was agreed it was a sort of experiment inquiring into a matter, and that they were to report back to the Party as well as the House. Every individual member is free to take his own line until the time comes for general agreement in a Party. After all the Deputy is the last man in the world who should argue about independent action. He himself was independent for a long time before he changed his attitude and joined the Government Party. He should be the last person in the world to object to any individual expressing an individual view upon a question.

The Deputy said nothing at all. He has indicated that if a certain line were taken unity would follow.

I cannot follow the Deputy. I see absolutely nothing in what Deputy Ruttledge has agreed to. If Deputy Ruttledge were here he could give a perfectly satisfactory explanation not only of his attitude but also of the attitude the Party has taken up. Deputies are trading on the fact that one of the leading members of our Party happens not to be very well at the moment.

I am sorry to see people taking up an attitude that is merely factious. The Minister for Finance on one occasion said that it must be admitted—I am not giving his exact words—the will of the people must be asserted, that it was necessary to go through with asserting the will of the Irish people.

May I remind Deputy Little that it is now 5.15 and under the special resolution of the House the time is expired for the discussion of this question and that it should be now put.

Are there only two hours allowed for this stage?

Question—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 61. Níl, 49.

  • William P. Aird.
  • James Walter Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Séamus A. Bourke.
  • Alfred Byrne.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
  • Martin Conlon.
  • Michael P. Connolly.
  • Bryan Ricco Cooper.
  • William T. Cosgrave.
  • James Crowley.
  • John Daly.
  • Michael Davis.
  • James N. Dolan.
  • Peadar Seán Doyle.
  • Edmund John Duggan.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Barry M. Egan.
  • Osmond Thos. Grattan Esmonde.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Alexander Haslett.
  • John J. Hassett.
  • Michael R. Heffernan.
  • Michael Joseph Hennessy.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Mark Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Michael Jordan.
  • Patrick Michael Kelly.
  • Myles Keogh.
  • Hugh Alexander Law.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Michael Og McFadden.
  • Joseph W. Mongan.
  • Richard Mulcahy.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • Martin Michael Nally.
  • John Thomas Nolan.
  • Bartholomew O'Connor.
  • Timothy Joseph O'Donovan.
  • Daniel O'Leary.
  • Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
  • John J. O'Reilly.
  • Gearoid O'Sullivan.
  • John Marcus O'Sullivan.
  • Patrick Reynolds.
  • Martin Roddy.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
  • William Edward Thrift.
  • Michael Tierney.
  • Daniel Vaughan.
  • Vincent Joseph White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.

Níl

  • Denis Allen.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Patrick Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carty.
  • Archie J. Cassidy.
  • Michael Clery.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Richard Corish.
  • Martin John Corry.
  • Tadhg Crowley.
  • William Davin.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Patrick J. Gorry.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Hogan (Clare).
  • Samuel Holt.
  • Stephen Jordan.
  • Michael Joseph Kennedy.
  • James Joseph Killane.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Michael Kilroy.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Ben Maguire.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas Mullins.
  • Timothy Joseph Murphy.
  • Patrick Joseph O'Dowd.
  • John F. O'Hanlon.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Matthew O'Reilly.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Martin Sexton.
  • Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
  • Patrick Smith.
  • Richard Walsh.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Duggan and Peadar Doyle; Níl: Deputies Gerald Boland and Cassidy.
Motion declared carried.
Fifth Stage ordered for Thursday 5th July.