Section 2 formally confirms the agreement interpreting and supplementing Article X. of the Treaty, which is based on this Bill. As I indicated on the Money Resolution, we should like to have some definite declaration from the Minister for Finance as to whether that agreement is, in fact, based upon the decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; whether we are to take it that the fact that he has entered into such an agreement with those who were parties to the appeal to the Judicial Committee is an indication that he does accept and feels himself bound by the decision. As I was saying, when the Minister was speaking in relation to this matter on the Second Stage I thought that he took rather an optimistic view of the present position of appeals to the Judicial Committee. He stated that the judgement which had been delivered in this case had occasioned such denunciations, even in the British Parliament, that the Judicial Committee has received a shock from which it will never recover. He went further and said that the result of the blunders committed has been to bring the question of appeals from this country to the Privy Council to an end. I should like to know whether we are to take that as a definite indication of the Government's future policy in this matter, because, strange as it may appear, there are people on the other side who do not think that the question of appeals to the Judicial Committee has been settled either by the statements which the Minister has made in this House or outside it or by the agreement which has now been entered into. For instance, I notice that in the House of Lords to-day Lord Danesfort has given notice that he will on Wednesday, 13th November, raise the question of the Free State Copyright Preservation Act and its bearing on appeals to the Privy Council. Therefore, as I said, this matter is not nearly so dead or so dormant as the Minister led the House to believe when speaking on the Second Stage.
It had been our intention, if we had been so permitted by the Chair, to introduce into the Bill a Preamble which would definitely clear away the ambiguity and doubt which now exist. That Preamble would have made it clear that in introducing the Bill the Minister was in no way questioning or accepting any disclaimer that the Supreme Court of Saorstát Eireann had not on the 1st day of April, 1929, in the case of Wigg and Cochrane finally determined the meaning and interpretation of Article X. of the Articles of Agreement, and that this Bill was being introduced altogether independently of any decision which the Judicial Committee had given in the matter. That is the position which we would like to see the Minister take up. It is the position which we had hoped to offer him an opportunity of taking up, but, unfortunately, in this matter the rules of order were against us. However, the Minister is not bound by the decision of the Chair, which I do not for one moment contest, that a Preamble of the nature which I have indicated would be out of order, and he himself might even now, I think, by leave of the House, or upon the Report Stage, introduce such a Preamble to the Bill as would clarify the uncertain position. Unless, however, the Minister does indicate his willingness to introduce such a Preamble, or to agree to accept it, we on this side of the House will have to vote against the adoption of Section 2.