PUBLIC BUSINESS. - COURTS OF JUSTICE BILL, 1928—REPORT—(RESUMED).

Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
Section 5. To delete sub-section (1) (a).

We oppose the principle contained in Section 5, and we are doing it by an amendment to delete sub-section (1) (a). On the Committee Stage we tried to and succeeded in deleting what then was sub-section (b), but we failed to delete sub-section (c), so, in order to get rid of what we considered a wrong principle in this Bill, we are now attempting to delete sub-section (a). To refresh the minds of the House I will just read the section again:

(1) In addition to the jurisdictions conferred on the Court of Criminal Appeal by Section 34 of the Principal Act, the Court of Criminal Appeal or, on appeal, the Supreme Court shall have the following jurisdictions, that is to say:—

(a) the Court may notwithstanding that they are of opinion that a point raised in an appeal might be decided in favour of the appellant, dismiss the appeal if they consider that no substantial miscarriage of justice has actually occurred.

We were glad to see the House taking up an independent attitude at the earlier stage of this Bill, and that after careful consideration it rejected the point of view of the Minister for Justice and deleted a clause which contained a principle, which the House rightly considered was a faulty innovation, an innovation into the law which was dangerous to the subject and was giving too much power to the judge to the extent of ousting, or, at least, usurping the jurisdiction of the jury by curtailing the chances of clemency which might accrue to a person who is being tried. We argued this matter before, and I hope when we argue it again that the House will take as open-minded a view of it as it did before, and form its own judgment, and delete sub-section (a). We argued before that the machinery of the law is there against one man, that the whole forces of the State are there against one single individual, that prosecuting counsel has had ample opportunity of drafting the indictment properly, that the judge has had ample opportunity of charging the jury properly, and that, therefore, there is no reasonable excuse for the jury making what amounts to a purely technical mistake. It is merely to prevent the person charged from getting the benefit of a technical mistake that this clause is here at all. In most cases a mistake made by a jury will be made on the ground of error, either by the prosecuting counsel or by the judge. It will not occur very often, and, when it does occur, we consider that it would be a worse evil to give a judge power to assume the position of a jury than even if one criminal were to escape.

The Minister for Justice seemed to be dissatisfied that when we had our own way on one sub-section, we did not agree then to the other sub-sections, but it is necessary to point out that we did not agree to sub-section (b). In general, we considered that it was not a proper principle to apply. When we consider the Bill as a whole from the point of view of criminal proceedings, this is the most important principle involved in the Bill apart from the question of the Irish language. It is what you might call a sort of omnibus Bill. It deals with what the Government considers to be defects in the original Bill. It is not a Bill containing one principle and carrying out the consequential results of that principle. It is a Bill dealing with various matters. A most important principle from the purely legal point of view is contained in this Section 5. If Section 5 is passed as it stands, we naturally object to (b) as much as we did to (a) but we cannot delete (b) because we were defeated on the Committee Stage. So in principle we consider the whole Bill as wrong and from that point of view we are opposing it and we are opposing, in particular, Section 5 of the Bill.

I was rather struck by one expression used by Deputy Little in his remarks, and I propose to confine myself to that aspect of it. He said that it is to prevent a person getting the benefit of a technical mistake this section is here at all. Is it Deputy Little's position that a criminal should be allowed to escape punishment because of a technical mistake? No machinery is perfect and we must contemplate that now and again in the course of the administration of justice a technical mistake would be made. Apparently, Deputy Little's position is that if such a mistake is made and that when a person who has admittedly and obviously committed a crime has the luck to have such a mistake made, in the conduct of the case against him, he should be allowed to escape. That is an argument I think which will not commend itself to any Deputy on any side of the House.

I think the Deputy is rather misrepresenting me.

I took down the words as they were uttered by the Deputy and I repeated them.

I said that that was the lesser of the two evils and that the greater evil was to give too much power to the judge.

Question —"That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the Bill"— put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 67. Níl, 51.

  • William P. Aird.
  • Ernest Henry Alton.
  • James Walter Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Ernest Blythe.
  • Séamus A. Bourke.
  • Alfred Byrne.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • John James Cole.
  • Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
  • Martin Conlon.
  • Michael P. Connolly.
  • Bryan Ricco Cooper.
  • William T. Cosgrave.
  • James Crowley.
  • John Daly.
  • Michael Davis.
  • Eugene Doherty.
  • James N. Dolan.
  • Peadar Seán Doyle.
  • 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.
  • Finian Lynch.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Martin McDonogh.
  • 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.
  • Vincent Rice.
  • Martin Roddy.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
  • William Edward Thrift.
  • Michael Tierney.
  • Daniel Vaughan.
  • John White.
  • Vincent Joseph White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.

Níl

  • Denis Allen.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Neal Blaney.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Patrick Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carty.
  • Archie J. Cassidy.
  • Patrick Clancy.
  • James Colbert.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Dan Corkery.
  • 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.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Timothy Joseph Murphy.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Patrick Joseph O'Dowd.
  • 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 P.S. Doyle and Conlon; Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Davin.
Motion declared carried.

I move amendment 2:—

In page 3, line 8, to delete the word "substantial."

This amendment is brought in at the request of the Labour Party, and I do not think that it makes any very substantial difference.

Perhaps the Minister could give us some idea of the difference made.

I think the deletion of the word has practically no effect, because I think that every miscarriage of justice will be a substantial miscarriage; but objection having been raised to the use of the word, I expressed my willingness to delete it.

Might it not come into the mind of a judge that the miscarriage of justice was more or less of a technical rather than a substantial nature?

I have already stated that I think every miscarriage of justice is substantial. I cannot regard any miscarriage of justice as trivial.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment 3 and that part of amendment 8 which deals with Justices of the District Court are outside the scope of the Bill. They deal with the qualifications of judges generally, and an amendment was already ruled out in Committee dealing with the question of the age of judges. Amendment 7 is in order, as it deals with assistant justices only. The Bill actually creates the office of assistant justice and sets out some qualifications. Amendment 8 can, I think, be put in order by deleting from it the reference to Justices of the District Court, so that it will read "shall be appointed by an assistant justice." The question of the qualifications of judges generally cannot be raised on this Bill. I am disposed to allow amendments 7 and 8 to be debated together. They are alternative propositions referring to assistant justices only. I take it that would meet the wishes of the Minister and Deputy Fahy.

I move amendment 4:—

In page 4, line 55, Section 11, to delete sub-section (5).

The words to be deleted have been put into the Schedule of the Bill, and it is merely changing the form in the Bill.

I think that is a mistake. If you take a sub-section and read it down, you like to have at the end of the sub-section an indication of what is amended in the original Act. You might not advert to the Schedule until afterwards. It is more compact to have it in the section than in the schedule.

The form adopted now is the more usual form. If the Deputy will turn to the last amendment on the Paper he will see that this and two others are being put into the schedule. That is the view of the Parliamentary draftsman as to the correct way it should be done — the more artistic and the more usual way. If I might say so, that is my own experience of what would be more useful.

I think the other is a more hum-drum sort of way. You read the section and find it there without having to turn over.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 5:

In page 4, line 56 and 57, Section 12, to delete sub-section (1).

That is the same class of amendment. This is also putting into the schedule what is now in the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 6:

On page 4, line 63, to delete the word "Act" and substitute the word "section."

This is a mere drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
The following amendments appeared on the Paper:
7. In page 5, line 1, Section 13, to insert before sub-section (2) a new sub-section as follows:
"(2) After the 1st January, 1935, no person shall be appointed as assistant justice unless the Minister shall certify under his hand that such person has a competent knowledge of the Irish language."— (Proinnsias O Fathaigh.)
8. In page 5, line 21, before Section 14 to insert a new section as follows:—
No person admitted to practise as a barrister or admitted a solicitor after the passing of this Act shall be appointed a Justice of the District Court or an assistant justice unless before he is so appointed he satisfies the Minister that he possesses a competent knowledge of the Irish language.—(Aire Dlí agus Cirt.)

It is generally admitted that neither the benchers nor the Incorporated Law Society have been notorious for Irish-Ireland proclivities or tendencies. Even in the Gaeltacht Report it is admitted that the law courts have been one of the great instruments for Anglicisation and an obstacle to the re-Gaelicisation of the country, and every opportunity should be availed of to force the hands of the two branches of the legal profession.

I know they are hedged round with charters and privileges of all kinds, but the Dáil has an opportunity here of doing something towards the Gaelicisation of the department of law. We are supposed, on both sides of this House, to have the ideal of a Gaelic State. We can now take a step towards the realisation of that ideal. As amendments 7 and 8 are to be taken together I might state that I am pleased to see this amendment put down by the Minister for Justice, and I would like to understand the implications of it. It is usual, I believe, to, appoint to such posts only barristers who have ten years' practice. I do not know if the same rule obtains as regards solicitors.

I am not quite sure of the exact words, but I think that it is six years for barristers and ten years for solicitors. That is my recollection. The Deputy will not take me as being completely accurate. I know there is a limit of course.

That would mean that for one branch of the legal profession this amendment would be of no value for six years and for the other branch for ten years. It cannot become operative until after these periods, and even after these two periods there would be no compulsion upon the Minister to see that the assistant justice selected could conduct the business of his court in Irish, because he would be left a wide field of selection of present practising barristers and solicitors to be selected from. I have an objection to the Minister's amendment, which applies equally to my own amendment, and that is that it might be better to say: "Unless the Civil Service Commissioners are satisfied that the candidate has a good knowledge of Irish and can transact the business of the court through Irish," rather than leave it to the Minister. In practice, I suppose that is how it would work out. I do not know whether the Minister himself would take on himself to judge if the candidates had sufficient knowledge of Irish, but if the Minister would add that to his amendment he would expand it in some way so as not to leave a mere minority, as they would be even in six or seven or ten years' time, qualified to do the business in Irish. In fact, it might be a small minority, or only a minority of a minority might take up the study of Irish. I do not know if the Minister could make Irish compulsory for the examination of the two branches of the profession; it would be much more effective——

I have no powers.

I was afraid so, because I know such things were considered before, but if the Minister would add "no person admitted to practise as a barrister or admitted a solicitor after the passing of this Act shall be appointed an assistant justice unless before he is appointed he satisfies the Minister that he possesses a competent knowledge of the Irish language." I do not see why the amendment such as I have suggested could not be added to that, and that after the 1st January, 1935, no person should be appointed an assistant justice unless the Minister or the Civil Service Commissioners shall certify that such person has a competent knowledge of the Irish language. I wonder would the Minister consider adding that to his amendment? We would have something effective then, because although it is good to see the Minister's amendment, and it goes somewhere towards Gaelicising the courts, it would have very little effect, I am afraid, inside the next twenty years.

Amendments 7 and 8 are now being taken, Amendment 8 reading: "No person admitted to practise as a barrister or admitted a solicitor after the passing of this Act shall be appointed an assistant justice unless before he is so appointed he satisfies the Minister that he possesses a competent knowledge of the Irish language."

I agree with Deputy Fahy that his amendment and the amendment I propose are not all inconsistent. But I cannot accept Deputy Fahy's suggestion that the two should be put into one for this reason: that it would be limiting too much, in my opinion, the field of choice. The main object of appointing a District Justice is that he should be competent to carry out the duties of his office.

Would the Minister allow me? I would like to draw his attention to the fact that we were speaking only of assistant justices here and that they will be a very small minority of District Justices.

There are only four, but an assistant District Justice must be competent to carry out the work of his court. Every person who becomes a litigant in the courts is entitled to have a competent judge to decide between him and the other person with whom he may be engaged in litigation. The competence of the justice in his judicial capacity is the first thing that we must look for.

Has the Minister not sufficient optimism as to our national language as to hope that by 1935 he could get four lawyers with sufficient knowledge of the Irish language to conduct the business in Irish?

Would the Deputy allow me to make my point? Possibly I may be able to answer him and he may not have to put these questions if he allows me to proceed. The first thing I said we must look to is competence. It is not everybody who is called to the Bar or everybody who is admitted a solicitor who is competent to act in the humblest judicial capacity. The assistant justices now have a great deal of work to do. They have a great deal more than the old Petty Sessions work to do. They have to do a great deal of civil work as well as administering the ordinary criminal law. They have to administer the law of contract, for instance, up to a very substantial figure. They must be men who have a very competent knowledge of law. This amendment only deals with four particular positions. There are only four Assistant District Justices, and there may not be another appointment between this and 1935. I do not know when there will be another appointment. No one can say. After 1935, or for that matter before 1935, if competent men have applied for vacant posts, if this Party is in power, the men who have a competent knowledge of Irish will get the preference. But if no competent man with a knowledge of Irish applies, what are you to do? Either to leave the post vacant or to appoint an incompetent man? I would ask the Deputy just to consider the real history. The Deputy, I think, is on the eve of joining the profession himself and he knows a good deal about this profession. I would ask him to consider that situation.

There are very few men at the Bar and very few solicitors who do know Irish at present. Where are they to come from? Also the Deputy may say some will set to work and learn Irish now but it is not easy to acquire a spoken knowledge of Irish and I think it would be rather a catastrophe if a judge were hearing in Irish who was not really a fluent Irish speaker; he might easily make a mistake. He would have to be very good at Irish or not hear his cases in Irish at all. It is very difficult for a man say of thirty-nine to acquire a really correct accurate knowledge of spoken Irish. If such a man is produced no doubt he will get preference from any Government which is in office, as far as we can see the likelihood of what Governments will be in office after the year 1935. I would suggest to the Deputy that he should be content with the amendment I have put forward. Sometimes mistakes may be made by going too fast. You may sometimes defeat your own aims by going a little bit too fast. You may do harm where you would like to do good if you speed up too much. If you do the first lap of a half-mile race too fast you may be beaten long before you reach the winning post, and we have a very long and difficult course to run before we manage to make this country an Irish-speaking country, and we may do ourselves a considerable amount of harm if we speed up too much in the beginning. I would suggest to the Deputy that that motion of mine which I believe will make the majority of persons at the Irish Bar and the majority of Irish solicitors take up seriously the study of the Irish language would be far more beneficial to the Irish language than the Deputy's motion and I would ask the Deputy to be satisfied with the suggestion I have made.

I wonder would the Minister be prepared to accept the suggestion of Deputy Fahy with respect to replacing the word "Minister" there by the words "Civil Service Commissioners" and also adding —"competent knowledge of Irish" is very indefinite —"a knowledge of Irish which would be sufficient to enable him to use the Irish language in the performance of his duties." What is meant by a competent knowledge of Irish would be made more explicit by a statement that it is a knowledge which would enable him to use the Irish language in the performance of his duties, to use the Irish language exclusively, if such were needed.

As far as a competent speaking knowledge of the Irish language is concerned what a District Justice would really require is not necessarily a competent written knowledge. A competent spoken knowledge I apprehend would satisfy Deputy de Valera.

No. What I mean is a knowledge of Irish that would enable him to do all his work in Irish if necessary so that there would be no doubt as to his competency to conduct his cases in Irish.

I think we could devise now a form of words to that effect, but I do not like the suggestion about the Civil Service Commissioners, that is to say, about the mere holding of an examination. I think, after all, that whoever is the Minister for Justice can be trusted to satisfy himself. I do not like entirely this idea of an examination for judicial appointments. It is a little, if I may say so, retrograde.

It depends on the examination. We may have the same idea, and we do not want to quarrel about words. I am talking of the same kind of examination as the Minister has in mind. The examination of mine is the examination conducted for the specific purpose of finding out whether the applicant or person about to be appointed had in fact a knowledge of Irish sufficient to enable him to carry out his duties properly.

Does not the Deputy think that that would be satisfied by trusting your Minister for Justice? I at present know at the Bar everybody who has or who has not a competent knowledge. I would not know amongst solicitors undoubtedly, but then I would immediately make it my business to see that an official of my Department — and there are excellent Irish speakers in my Department — had a conversation with the proposed District Justice.

I ask that because in connection with local government appointments and other Bills that are being discussed we hear a lot of the Dáil divesting itself of patronage and so on. Here is a case where we want this put beyond yea or nay as regards the competency of a person to use Irish in his work.

I ask the Deputy not to press that matter too far, because I think these Civil Service, appointments stand on a rather different footing from judicial appointments.

Not the language part of them.

The Deputy understands me when I say that. The status of a judge ought to be different from the status of a civil servant. In public opinion I think that is so, and if judges were pressed to go in and pass examinations I do not think they would have exactly the same status in the country that they have; and status, I submit for the consideration of Deputy de Valera, is an important thing. This is only for assistants at present, but I ask the Deputy on behalf of his Party to accept my amendment.

I think the Minister has adverted to it that these appointments as I understand them are made on a different basis from those of the ordinary civil servant. I think the question of the appointments made by the Minister or the Executive Council——

The Executive Council.

A different question of responsibility comes in for those appointments, and I think the Minister ought to be made to accept responsibility for appointing the proper person. Suppose we find a man appointed who had not a competent knowledge of Irish, it may rest with the Minister for Justice to divest himself of the responsibility for the appointment and try to put it on to the Civil Service Commissioners. I think it would be better from the point of view of Irish that the responsibility should be definitely put on the Minister, who would be answerable directly to the Dáil if that were done. I am just throwing that suggestion out. It would be preferable from the point of view of Irish.

There is a point arising out of Deputy O'Connell's suggestion. The suggestion to put in anyone else except a Minister is constantly made. When responsibility is placed on a Minister definitely in a statute dealing with this or any other matter the Minister may always be questioned about it in the House. The matter is always capable of being raised in some way in the House, whereas if it is not fixed on the Minister he may not be questioned on it. For example, in one particular measure the Chief Justice was given certain powers instead of the Minister. The Minister later refused to answer questions on it, and quite properly refused and it was impossible to raise the matter here. If it is left to the Minister he may, by some process in the Dáil, be made to answer in these matters. We are discussing now only the appointments of four assistant district justices. The important thing is amendment 3, which has been ruled out of order, and which contained the main principle. There is nothing to prevent the Minister from introducing that principle into an appropriate measure. The particular amendment before us is dealing with a much smaller thing.

On that particular point, by enlarging the title of the Bill could not we discuss this?

I do not think so.

Is it not because of the title that it does not come in?

No, it is what is in the Bill. We are discussing something that is not in the Bill at all. In the Bill that is before us there is nothing about the qualifications of judges as such. There is something about assistant justices, and in that way Deputy Fahy's amendment is completely within the scope of the Bill. The principle contained in amendment 3 is a wide principle applying to a different kind of judge altogether.

With respect to the point that has been made by Deputy O'Connell about the responsibility of the Minister, it is very little use when the judge has been appointed that we should be able to question the responsibility of the Minister. I would like to see an arrangement by which this could be done properly at the beginning.

Mr. O'CONNELL

You cannot do that at all, I think.

I agree with you, A Chinn Comhairle, that the main principle is really contained in amendment 3. Nevertheless I feel bound to say that I regret very much the introduction of this amendment by the Minister. What I have to say, no matter what Deputies may think, is not prompted by any anti-Nationalist feeling whatever. In fact, I could have used almost the identical words of the Minister himself in proposing his amendment in saying what I have to say against the amendment. I do not believe that this kind of policy will secure the object which is aimed at. I believe it will actually militate against that object and militate very strongly. Whether that is the correct view or not, it may be said that time alone can tell. Personally, I am convinced that that will be found hereafter to be the truth. But, as the Minister himself said, the most important thing in connection with judicial matters is to get the man who is the most qualified from the legal point of view for the particular post that he is asked to fill. The essential thing for the common people and everyone else in the country is that the law should be administered by the best people. If it were a case, as the Minister said, of two men who were equal in other respects then, by all means, apply a condition like this. If it were the case that the District Justice or the Assistant District Justice had to administer the law in an Irish-speaking district, then the man who could not speak Irish, obviously, would not be as well qualified for the work as the one who could, but for the great good of the people of the country the essential thing is that the law is administered in the best way. Therefore, I regret this very much. I believe when the time to which his amendment refers comes to operate he will be curtailing too much the sphere from which he can make his selection for such appointments as will then have to be filled. I feel bound to express that regret and, if it were any use, I would go so far as to carry my protest into the lobby and vote against it.

I am not quite sure whether the Minister is prepared to extend competence so as to make it quite clear that the knowledge referred to is one that would enable the judge to do his work through the Irish language.

I would say competent to discharge the duties of his office in the Irish language.

In reply to Deputy Thrift, it might be said that this amendment will place the two professions in such a position that those who are going to be in the future competent men will before that have learned Irish.

That is part of the fallacy.

I would like to supplement Deputy Thrift's remarks. I think the Minister is now narrowing down the sphere of these appointments to the South of Ireland. This amendment will cut out any law student who may come from the North of Ireland, and a very considerable number come from the North, to practise in the Free State even at present. I do not think that is wise. Personally I am very anxious that the work of spreading the language should proceed in a thorough and scientific way, but I think this will more or less be another line of division between the Irishmen of the North and the Irishmen of the South. I am sorry that this rule should be made absolute. I think caeteris paribus when you have two men of equal judicial standing and experience the Irish speaker should get the preference. I would extend that principle to other appointments than the Bench. But to make it absolute I think is at present inadvisable.

Mr. O'CONNELL

I wonder does Deputy Alton understand the meaning of this particular amendment that we are discussing now. I do not think he does. He thinks it has a much wider application than what Deputy Fahy would say it has. It is merely giving a warning to anybody who comes into the legal profession, either as a solicitor or a barrister, not that he cannot practise in an Irish court, but that he need not look for an appointment as an assistant District Justice after this date. That is all the amendment means. It does not mean very much indeed, but such as it is I welcome it from the Minister. It does not seem to me to limit the field very much, and possibly it will act as a slight encouragement to young men coming into the legal profession to take up the study of the language. It will have that object and, in so far as it has, it will do good. I do not think anybody can argue that it limits, to any great extent, the field of selection for these appointments.

Perhaps Deputy Fahy could speak with more authority on this subject than I could, but I imagine that unless a boy had a very early training in Irish he would not have much chance to obtain a competent knowledge of the language so as to enable him to act as a District Justice using the language daily in his courts. Deputy Fahy, perhaps, could enlighten me on that point. I think the boy who does not take up Irish at a very early age would not be able to acquire a competent knowledge of it. That is what I, a priori, think.

Is that not an argument in favour of compulsory Irish in the North-East?

In the North they have not this opportunity of learning Irish in the primary and secondary schools.

It is an argument in favour of compulsory Irish up there.

Is the Minister willing to accept the amendment?

I am willing to meet Deputy de Valera, because it is an extension of what the word "competent" means. I would be willing to meet the Deputy to this extent: "Unless before he is so appointed, he satisfies the Minister that he is competent to discharge the duties of his office through the medium of the Irish language."

The new section would, therefore, read as follows:—"No person admitted to practise as a barrister or admitted as solicitor after the passing of this Act shall be appointed a district justice of the Circuit Court or an assistant justice unless before he is so appointed he satisfies the Minister that he is competent to discharge the duties of his office through the medium of the Irish language."

Is there agreement to alter the amendment to that effect?

I take it Deputy Fahy agrees to withdraw his own amendment in favour of that?

I am withdrawing my amendment in favour of that. In regard to what Deputy Alton has said, I might say that I know men of 40 years and over who have acquired at that age a fluent knowledge of Irish. I am not very fluent at it myself, but I was 21 years of age before I knew a word of it.

Amendment No. 7, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 8, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:—

In page 5, line 43, Section 15, to add a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) Notwithstanding anything in clause (iii) of paragraph A of Section 77 of the Principal Act, the District Court shall not have jurisdiction in ejectment for non-payment of rent in respect of tenancies less than tenancies from year to year or where less than one year's rent is in arrear.

This is simply bringing the powers of the District Court into line with the powers which the Circuit and High Courts have in the matter of ejectments. In the High Court and in the Circuit Court there is no power to bring an ejectment unless there is a year's rent due, and this is making it clear that the District Court shall have the same power. Of course when there is less than a year's rent due there is always a remedy for getting possession of your house by serving a week's or a month's notice to quit. But the actual ejectment does not lie with the High Court, and therefore, as Deputy J.T. Wolfe put it, should not be in the Circuit Court either.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 10:—

In page 5, line 51, to insert in brackets after the word "order" the words "(not being merely an order returning for trial or binding to the peace or good behaviour or to both the peace and good behaviour)".

Section 17 restores the old powers of appeal and enlarges the powers of the Bill very considerably. It was left out in the drafting of the section. There might be an appeal from an order merely returning a man for trial or binding him to keep the peace. Before the passing of the Courts of Justice Act there was a right of appeal and in both cases they should have been put into this section originally but through an oversight they were left out. I am now moving to accept them.

Amendment agreed to.

I desire to move amendment 11:—

In page 6, lines 5 to 7 inclusive, Section 17, to delete sub-sections (4) and (5).

This is also a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I desire to move amendment 12:—

In page 6, lines 8 to 10 inclusive, to delete Section 18 and substitute a new section as follows:—

Sub-section (4) of Section 88 of the Principal Act is hereby repealed and in lieu thereof it is hereby enacted that whenever any person charged with having committed an offence is lawfully arrested such person shall, unless the Justice of the District Court assigned to the district where such person was arrested is immediately available, be brought before a Peace Commissioner and such Peace Commissioner, after hearing such evidence as may be offered, shall remand such person either in custody or in such bail as he shall think fit and remit the case for hearing before such justice to the sitting of the District Court hereinafter mentioned, that is to say:—

(a) if such person is remanded in bail and there and then finds such bail to the next sitting of the District Court for the district court area in which such person was arrested, or

(b) in any other case to a sitting of the District Court at a named place in the district where such person was arrested to be held within eight days after such arrest.

This is an amendment which is entirely in favour of persons who have been arrested and who are remanded. It enables the District Justice to remand them to a place more convenient for themselves than the next court in the actual district in which they were being held.

Amendment agreed to.

I desire to move amendment 13:—

In page 6, line 24, Section 20, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(2) Paragraph 4 of section 10 of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851, shall apply to cases of summary jurisdiction within the Dublin Metropolitan Area in like manner as it applies to cases of summary jurisdiction outside the Dublin Metropolitan Area."

This is an amendment to Section 20, and that section was designed to bring the position in the Dublin courts into line with the courts outside. The District Justices have the same power now in Dublin as they have outside. It was designed that the Statute of Limitations should be the same in Dublin as outside, but it was pointed out that possibly the Petty Sessions Act would not apply to Dublin unless there was a special section making it apply; that is to say, if they deleted the old Dublin statute and did not make the Petty Sessions Act apply, then there might be no limitations at all, so in case that might be a sound argument I am moving this amendment to make it perfectly clear.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 14:

In page 6, line 25, before Section 21 to insert a new section as follows:

"The enactments specified in the Schedule hereto are hereby repealed to the extent specified in the third column of the said Schedule."

As I have already explained, it is simply putting certain things into the Schedule which apply to different parts of the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move amendment 15:

In page 6, line 28, to insert a Schedule as follows:—

Schedule.

Enactments Repealed.

Session and chapter or year and number.

Short Title.

Extent of Repeal.

14 & 15 Vic., c. 95.

The Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851.

Section 24, paragraph 5.

30 & 31 Vic., c. 114.

The Court of Admiralty (Ireland) Act, 1867.

Sections 87, 88 and 89.

No.10 of 1924.

The Courts of Justice Act, 1924.

Sections 62 and 85.

Amendment agreed to.

We are opposed to this Bill on the ground that it does not meet with our views, particularly in regard to the section dealing with retrial and the other sections that we debated.

Question—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 61; Níl, 51.

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

Níl

  • Denis Allen.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • Neal Blaney.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Patrick Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carty.
  • Archie J. Cassidy.
  • Michael Clery.
  • James Coburn.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Dan Corkery.
  • Martin John Corry.
  • Fred Hugh Crowley.
  • 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.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Stephen Jordan.
  • Michael Joseph Kennedy.
  • William R. Kent.
  • James Joseph Killane.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Michael Kilroy.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Ben Maguire.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Timothy Joseph Murphy.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Matthew O'Reilly.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Martin Sexton.
  • Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
  • Patrick Smith.
  • Richard Walsh.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies P. Doyle and Conlon; Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Fifth State fixed for Friday, 6th July.