The Deputy had that fact in mind, and he knew—to use another maritime metaphor— that this argument was very likely to founder upon a point of order. What I had to say in that regard can very well wait for another day. I will content myself with saying that we on these benches feel that a further examination into the whole banking and financial system of this country should be made, and this time it should proceed, not upon the hypothesis that we should remain linked with the currency system and banking system of Great Britain, but that we ought to secure and maintain control of our own financial affairs. It is quite obvious that at this stage I cannot state in detail our objections to the Bill. I cannot pursue a considerable number of points which are of great public interest, and which might very well be discussed at this, the last opportune occasion upon which they can be discussed here. But, having said what I have said, I would wish to say this: that there is one other ground of objection we have to the passing of this Bill, and that is the manner in which it has been driven through this House by the bloc vote of the Government Party and re-voted in the Committee. In that process the rights and legitimate wish of the chief Opposition Party in this House were ignored, and their chosen representatives were excluded from the Joint Committee appointed to consider the Bill in detail. What that has meant to this discussion, what it has meant to the Bill, and what it has meant to the country is exemplified by what took place here to-day.
In the minutes of evidence I see that counsel for the promoters referred to the point which I myself endeavoured to raise here, the fact that £2,769,000 of Irish money is being loaned at the present time to another Government at a rate of interest less than half of what our Government has to pay to the same lenders. That fact was brought before the notice of this Committee, but beyond a very cursory examination of one of the witnesses who appeared in support of the Bill, no action was taken by this Committee. I say if this party had been represented, as it was its right to be represented, upon that Committee, by its chosen representatives, we would not have been precluded from discussing this matter here to-day. The Committee would not have been permitted to deal with that important matter in the perfunctory way in which it was dealt with. I believe if our representatives had been upon that Committee our Government, instead of to-day having to pay five per cent. upon its Exchequer bills, would be in a position to raise a loan of two and three-quarter million pounds at 2½ per cent. That is how the partisan action of the Government in this matter has reacted upon the Dáil, upon the Exchequer and upon the country as a whole. But it has had very much more serious consequences. After all, possibly another Government may be able to secure this loan at this particularly favourable rate of interest. But what happened when this Bill was before the Dáil has set the whole trend of future private Bill legislation in this House; it has created a precedent which, however unworthy of imitation, is likely to be invoked in the future, and from the point of view of the promoters of this Bill these facts have been most regrettable. This Bill, which was a matter of national concern, has come to be a purely party measure. It has indicated that the affiliations between this large public banking corporation and the Government Party are closer than they ought to be, and are of a nature that other parties, particularly the chief Opposition Party, and the general public must view with alarm and distrust. Whatever legislative decisions or arrangements have been arrived at in consequence of such relations, such decisions and such arrangements cannot endure and will not be permitted to endure. This Bill has not been examined by a Committee truly representative of this House. Instead it was sent to a packed Committee.