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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 4 May 1932

Vol. 41 No. 10

Business of Dáil.

The business will be as on the Paper. There is a question about meeting on Friday. If we could get all Stages of the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Bill through to-day, we could adjourn until Tuesday.

The President said last week that we were only sitting on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and now he states that there is a question of meeting on Friday. Who raised that question?

I am raising it.

It is better to say that then and be honest about it. The President said that he wanted to get through all Stages of this Bill to-day. That is absolutely indecent.

As the Deputy knows, there is tremendous pressure of work at present, and it has to be done.

I do not see any of it being done.

We want to get time to do it.

You are absorbing the time otherwise.

If we are going to have a repetition by each member of the Opposition of the arguments of those preceding him, we will not be able to do the work. We shall have to get some agreement about ending this at some particular time. If not, we shall have to use the usual methods.

There are two parties to most of these things now. This is a serious measure. There is no doubt about that. The sole desire of the Party opposite is to wrap the green flag round them in connection with this Bill.

Mr. Boland

And you the Union Jack.

It has been torn from them and they have been exhibited in various colours. We are not to be entitled to do that—to put before the people what are the issues in connection with the Bill. Each member of the Opposition took up the discussion of this measure in a sensible way and, as some Minister said in a moment of lucidity, each from a different angle. What happened on the other side? We had two or three speakers and, after a very long while, the rear-guard was brought up. Most of the time on the last occasion on which this Bill did take some time was taken up by Deputies opposite or Ministers—I do not know which, because there is a limit to human endurance and I was not here for it. The fact is that this Bill could have been disposed of if the President or the Ministers had the persuasive power which they ought to have to prevent those on the opposite side from speaking who ought not to speak. After being told that we would not sit on Friday this week, we are now told that there is a question of coming back on Friday. There is a usual method of dealing with business in this House on elsewhere. On this side of the House we have a body of reasonable Irishmen, and there is no reason why they should not be consulted in that respect. What reason is there why the Chief Whip, or anybody representing the Government, could not get into communication with some person qualified to speak for the Opposition to ask for accommodation in respect of the business of the House? There is only one answer to that, and that is that there is an inferiority complex on the part of the Ministry or the Chief Whip. I shall be as easy as possible with them and am prepared to come down to their level, if they like, in order to meet them in every way that is reasonable. The President is asking for all Stages of the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Bill. We do not expect a General Election within three or four weeks, and I want to know what case there is for that.

Other work.

I should like to see some of the fruits of the work which we are told is being done. Yesterday we had five important motions on the Paper. Were there any facilities granted in respect of them? Two of them were not discussed at all. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is usually entered in the long distance races of the Party, was asked to limit himself for once and to give us the important factors of it. Is it because we were accommodating yesterday that we are asked to be accommodating to-day and on Friday?

Accommodating to the extent of 58.

Fifty-eight what?

The full strength you could muster in the Division Lobby against us.

I think I shall leave the Minister alone. He is really not up to the weight, and I shall leave him on one side. Accommodation is asked for. Why could it not be asked for from 10.30 a.m. to-day?

I understand it was impossible to get any of you.

Did the President inquire from 10.30 up to 12 o'clock?

I made inquiries yesterday and I understand that there was difficulty and also to-day.

My idea of difficulties is that they are there to be overcome.

You were not there.

To proceed to overcome them, not to say, "This is too big a proposition for me." Yesterday I inquired in the Ceann Comhairle's Office what information there was in respect of business, and I was told there was none. No information in the Ceann Comhairle's Office about business! Who will Ministers take into their confidence?

The Ceann Comhairle knew all the business that it was necessary for him to know.

If he did he kept it to himself. I believe that if he was in possession of it he would have given it to us. I want something like a business proposition put before us. When it is put before us we shall consider it.

At present the business proposition is "That the Dáil sit later than 10.30 p.m. to-night, and that the Order for Adjournment be taken not later than 12 p.m."

That is an hour and a half extra. We can dispute that for an hour before the closure is put. I put it as a sensible business proposition to anybody here, is not that what we are invited to do? It is absolutely unnecessary. If that is the line of action that is going to be taken then the consequences are upon the Ministry.

What do you suggest?

No information was given to the House as to the desire to rush through Item 2. We are not obstructing Item 2. Let it be put down in the usual manner and there will be no obstruction in respect of it next week. It will get through, but not at lightning speed. If every Minister makes the same sort of contribution towards expediting the work that the Minister for Finance makes, I think I need say no more on that. What other business is required? Is the Dairy Produce Stabilisation Bill required?

Yes, we would like to have that Bill.

Is Item No. 4, the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway Bill, required?

Yes, if we can get it to-day, too.

I submit there is no great necessity for a Bill of that sort to be rushed through all stages. There is no harm in keeping it over for next week, and then we promise facilities in connection with any of the measures, but I do say, in all seriousness, that unless a very special cause occurs for it a measure ought not to go through all its stages so rapidly as that in this House. May I point out that five Orders were discussed here yesterday?

Only four.

I thought it was five, but, at any rate, in respect of two of them amendments had to be made in the Orders. That had to be done with the members of the Executive sitting down—everyone of them with a wet towel around his head, with no noise or criticism; everyone agreed; and the various staffs at their disposal, and yet they had to bring in alterations of the Orders here. Is not that so? (Laughter.) I did not invite Ministers to laugh at their own stupidity or their own speed. The fact is that the horse that falls in the race does not usually win.

Ask the former Minister for Local Government about his reconsiderations.

The former Minister for Local Government is not in fault now. When he was the Minister you were very easy about it. I am prepared to go on with the Committee Stage of this Bill. I am not responsible for the Independent Deputies in the House, but I am prepared to use any influence I have with them to get it through the Committee Stage. I am prepared to allow the Dairy Produce Bill to-day, but I am not committed to all the Stages of the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway Bill to-day.

We do not want all the stages just now.

What is the necessity of moving that we should sit until midnight? If there were to be obstruction we could teach Ministers and Deputies something about that if we liked. We are not going to do it, and have not done it.

I am not going to oppose this Bill by obstruction.

The position is that we only want the Second Stage of the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway Bill. We expect really that it is unopposed.

Yes, the Second Stage is unopposed.

Very well. The Dairy Produce Bill will take some time.

It ought to. I take it that for the purpose of expediting business Item 4 would come after No. 2.

That is the Removal of the Oath Bill. We want to get rid of that Bill and to get on with the other parts of the work. It is obvious from the debate we had on the first amendment that we will have a repetition of arguments one after another that have been used on both sides of the House and no progress will be made. It is absolute waste of time to continue on the lines we are going. We see no reason why that could not be disposed of to-day.

The Committee Stage, yes, and the Second Stage of the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway Bill.

Is it not quite clear that as far as this is concerned when the Oath Bill passes Committee Stage it is finished.

Oh, that is another question. Let us start with Item 4, the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway Bill, then take Item 3, the Dairy Produce Bill, and then I guarantee the Committee Stage of the Removal of the Oath Bill to conclude before nine o'clock.

Then if we will take up to the Fifth Stage?

Oh, no. That is not fair.

It seems to me that if the argument put forward by the President were to hold, then after the Committee Stage of every Bill the remaining Stages would be taken the same day. The President told us he is in a hurry to get the Oath Bill out of the way in order to get on with the work. It is a pity that he did not get on with the work before getting on with the Oath Bill. The President said that on the Third and Fourth and Fifth Stages we would only have a repetition of the arguments on both sides. Must not that happen with every Bill introduced into the House? I did not hear the President advancing any argument whatever as to the urgency of having the Bill completed to-day. If he gets the Second Reading of the Dairy Produce Bill, the Committee Stage of the Oath Bill, the Second Stage of the Dublin and Blessington Bill, I think he will have done a good day's work. I remember on former occasions listening to the President and to the present Minister for Industry and Commerce and other members of the present Government denouncing the late Government, and quite properly denouncing them for what they themselves are now attempting to do. I have heard the Minister for Industry and Commerce get up and denounce Deputy Cosgrave for trying to stifle the House.

But I did it gracefully.

I heard the President when in Opposition on more than one occasion say it was outrageous that Deputies did not get an opportunity of considering Bills after Committee Stage in order to see if there were any amendments to be introduced on Report Stage. Now the President, to use a phrase we heard from him the other day, is not too long in office and certainly not long enough to have forgotten what his own views and opinions were in Opposition.

It might save time if I accept Items 4, 3, 2 in the order they stand on the Agenda.

I take it the motion to sit late then is not moved.

I will withdraw that motion and if Deputy Cosgrave gives me a guarantee in respect to the items I have mentioned I shall accept it.

The House at its rising to-day will adjourn until when?

Can we take that later?

Certainly not. We were told last week it would be Wednesday.

Very well, Tuesday then.

We object.

Wednesday, so. That is agreed.

All round agreement; everything is splendid now.