Local Government (Dublin) Bill, 1933—Second Stage.

The special commercial franchise and separate representation of commercial electors on the Dublin Corporation which this Bill proposes to discontinue was introduced as part of the Local Government (Dublin) Bill, 1930. The attitude of Fianna Fáil was clearly disclosed on the Second Reading of that Bill. It was then said that the Bill was evidence of the fear of the common people by those who said they only wanted the will of the people to be put into execution; that it was a vicious effort to restore the old ascendancy on the necks of the Dublin citizens, and was a return to the autocracy that was fought for centuries. It was pointed out that the principle of giving a man votes according to the size of his bank balance—for that is what it amounted to—was bad, and one that no democratic institution ought to stand over, and that the proposed new franchise was an insult to the common people because it was an effort to render their representatives on the council impotent. Introducing the Bill, the then Ministers asked to have it explained whether there were wanted on the Council of our municipalities men who are highly skilled but who are so very much immersed in commerce and business that they will not turn to the task of facing the ordinary electorate for local government election purposes. The answer is in two parts, the first is we want competent representatives, and the second we do not want men who will not do what are the ordinary duties of every citizen unless they have a special franchise and rights.

One might infer that but for the commercial franchise, business interests would have been unrepresented on the City Council, but that did not prove to be the case. The ordinary members of the Dublin Corporation are drawn from a wide variety of businesses, professions and classes.

Assuming this commercial franchise had all the merits ascribed to it, the electors enfranchised thereby might reasonably be expected to make some use of it. During the period between the passing of the Act of 1930 and the Corporation elections there was not sufficient time available to permit the making of a house to house inquiry to find out particulars of all electors entitled to the commercial franchise. Instead, wide publicity was given and electors were invited to send in claims —and that involved a minimum of trouble in return for the right of entry into this privileged coterie. Notwithstanding the drive made, only 1,048 entries appeared on the commercial register whereas a complete register would have contained over 2,500 entries. It may be truly said that the best comment on the franchise was supplied by the people the Bill sought to enfranchise, for more than half either did not want it, or were too indifferent or apathetic to claim it.

From any survey of the growth of democratic institutions there emerges one salient feature and that is the gradual widening of the basis of popular franchise. The historical gradation seems to be: (1) Aristocracy, (2) Plutocracy, and (3) Democracy. The provisions contained in the Commercial Franchise Act was a futile attempt to revert in time to a system of Government that is now outworn. I am aware that it was contended that the objects of the legislative provisions embodied in that Bill was to give representation to business people possessing offices or commercial concerns in the city, but disqualified on the grounds of residence outside the municipal area. But the Bill itself, as it came before the Dáil and passed into law, effected far more than this trivial modification of the law. It created within a democratically elected assembly a reservation based entirely on wealth, access to which was restricted to a particular class and it set up a most dangerous precedent for the perpetuation of class conflict. It provided emphatic and unanswerable argument for those who would contend that there was one law for the rich and another for the poor. In short, it was the nucleus of a scheme which, if generally adopted, would necessitate a fresh agitation for franchise reform such as most people thought was settled a century ago. It will, however, be observed that this daring and reactionary experiment was not attempted outside Dublin; seemingly some slight political insight remained and the municipal constitution of Dublin was the only one to be stigmatised with this inexcusable reversion to the discredited principles of plutocracy. The object of the Bill now before the House is to remove that stigma and to restore to the ordinary local government electors of Dublin County Borough the complete control of their municipal franchise.

So far as any claim may be preferred by non-resident business people, it may be noted that the wide periphery of the new city area has included most suburban claimants to municipal franchise. Accordingly, I move the Second Reading of the Bill to discontinue this system. The total membership of the Corporation is not proposed to be reduced on the passing of this Bill and the Borough Electoral Area Order of 1930 will be amended so as to distribute over the existing borough electoral areas the five seats at present reserved to commercial members.

The statement just read by the Minister indicates a certain amount of hesitation in its preparation, and a certain lack of appreciation of the historical events of the last few years. In the first place, when this commercial register was instituted it was opposed by two Parties in the Dáil—the Fianna Fáil Party and the Labour Party. The Fianna Fáil Party, with all the lustre it had achieved by its criticism of the measure in the Dáil, went before the electorate, as far as my recollection serves me, with 19 candidates for membership of the Council. Many of them were prominent representatives. Some of them were already aldermen. No less a person than the Minister who has introduced this Bill had been an alderman of the Dublin Corporation when he went before the electorate on that occasion, and he came back a councillor. Another member of the Party who was a T.D. was not elected at all. That would be irrelevant but for the references in the speech of the Minister to people who did not approve of this proposal. At that municipal election, out of the 19 candidates put forward by the representatives of the Party opposite, only six or seven were returned. And the electorate returned a much larger number of persons who stood as representing what was called the commercial interests or the business interests. There were 30 vacancies and out of that 30 only six or seven candidates representing the Party opposite secured seats. That shows the people's appreciation of the criticism to which I have referred.

What was the underlying principle with regard to the commercial register? The electorate, at the present moment, is so arranged that there are very large constituencies. This is not the moment when persons who have huge business, considerable industry or manufacture, have at their disposal very much time to woo the electorate. They, as a rule, do not take part in politics with the same vim as the ordinary public representative does. They are engaged in doing their ordinary business, and one can quite understand in that way the reluctance on the part of men with very big businesses to enter into municipal politics or even to come into politics at all. The consequence is that that particular order of the community is practically unrepresented. Is it good business or good administration, is it good for the management of the city, that trade, and persons engaged in trade, such as industrialists, manufacturers and people having large commercial interests in the city, should be almost divorced from representation in the municipality? I do not think it is. I think the more one can associate the representatives of those big industrial corporations, commercial undertakings or manufacturing concerns, with the business of the city the better it would be for the welfare and for the management of the city.

In so far as the management of the city is concerned it might be said to be divided now into two classes. There is the administrative portion of the management, which is concerned with the city manager; and there is the question of policy which comes before the municipality itself and upon which the Council can pronounce and decide. Now this commercial register was welcomed by the business interests in the city. It was welcomed by more than the business people in the city. The ordinary man in the street seems to appreciate the advisability of having representatives of those who are largely responsible for the business of the city in the municipality. It enables the ratepayers who had very considerable business interests in the city to get direct representation. It gives the Council an opportunity of keeping closely in touch with industry, with manufacture and with commerce.

To a person weighing up whether or not he would engage in industrial enterprise, it would be an inducement to know that his colleagues in business would have a voice in the representation of his interests and in the management of the city. The register brought industrialists, commercial men and the ordinary elected representatives of the people into close touch. Each gained more knowledge of the difficulties of the other, and they saw how much they had in common rather than how much there was in dispute between them. We had an example in this House within the last few years of the usefulness of that community of interest which is inseparable from any assembly in which there is goodwill. There was a trade dispute in Dublin which lasted two or three months. The predecessor of the present Ceann Comhairle was well known to what one might call the spokesmen of the two parties. He had earned the good opinion of both these parties in so far as they were represented in this House. It looked as if they came to the view almost at the same time that he would be an admirable person for settling that trade dispute. They arrived at that conclusion by reason of their association in this House, their knowledge of one another, and their opinion regarding the capability and character of the person concerned. No sooner had the request been made to the ex-Ceann Comhairle than he got to business and composed that dispute. These are some of the advantages which come from close contact between different interests in a matter of common interest. The common interest of the people of the city is its development and its good management. A register such as this gives an opportunity to people accustomed to the running of big concerns, people having wider and greater opportunties than those engaged in smaller businesses, to see how developments can be carried out. They are, perhaps, brought into contact with some of their own employees and that leads to community of interest. I think that the commercial register has given satisfaction not alone to commercial interests in the city but to the people of the city and that there is no real case for repealing what has been in existence for only three or four short years. As usual, we get a red herring drawn across this matter as across other matters which come before the House. The institution of this commercial register, we are told, was a sop to the old ascendancy. There are as many persons with Gaelic names returned as commercial representatives of the City of Dublin in proportion to the whole number as there are persons with Gaelic names in the Ministry.

Perhaps the Deputy will correct me by giving the numbers.

His bluff is called.

Nobody can draw the line in this country as regards people who are not of Gaelic extraction becoming more Irish than the Irish themselves. Attempts have been made now and again to do it. So far as politicians are concerned, it depends very largely on what side these people are. If they are on a certain side, absolution is given at once in respect of any infirmities there may be in their genealogy or, in fact, in any other respect. If they are not on that side, then they are open to every possible suspicion. If people are really interested in the advance of public administration, if we want to attract to the public service of the State people who will be of advantage to it, let us not be diverted from that task by talk about ascendancy. Most of those who speak about it know little about it. In connection with the running of the city, one could imagine a sensible, level-headed proposition coming from the ascendancy and the microscopes of the Gaels being directed towards it while they say: "It must be wrong because it comes from that source." How many of the Wide Streets Commissioners were of Gaelic extraction? In the building up of the country we want the assistance of all the people. We want that community of interest of which I have spoken. It is necessary not alone in the management of the city but in the development of its business, trade and commerce. We want to assure people who put their money into manufactures or industry in the city that they will get fair treatment and a voice in the management. The voice they are allowed is a light voice having regard to the general principle embodied in the Bill of 1930 which in essence, took administration from the municipal council and gave them policy. Has there been anything materially wrong in the policy advocated by those who were elected on the commercial register? Did they abuse the powers or privileges—if they are to be regarded as privileges—they got under that Act? I knew, at least, one of those representatives who would have been elected in the ordinary course by the citizens but at that time the electorate was not so large.

This Bill is not a good Bill; it is not a good amendment of legislation. If we go on at the present pace, in respect of practically every measure that has passed the Oireachtas we shall have to look up subsequent statutes to see how much it has been altered and made worse. If there were no other advantage in the commercial register, the fact that it offers an inducement to industrialists and manufactures to start operations in the city is a good recommendation for it. That is a recommendation that this Ministry above all should not object to. I oppose the Bill.

I rise to say in very few words that I am opposed to this Bill. The statement made by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health that the principle involved here is a choice between autocracy and plutocracy, on the one side, and democracy, on the other side, is a ridiculous piece of clap-trap of which, I think, he ought to feel thoroughly ashamed. Looking around the world at the present day, it would be hard not to consider that there is almost as much reason for describing democracy as an outworn system as for so describing either of the other systems. As a matter of fact, this Bill does not involve any such choice as the Minister suggests at all. This Bill, as we all know perfectly well, is merely part of the general plan for having all the affairs of this country, including the most minute affairs, governed by a political caucus. What the Government is attempting to do is to establish not a democracy but a "caucocracy."

I should like to make a few remarks on the commercial register, which the Minister has assailed. The Minister says there was no demand from business firms to get on that register. I am not in a position to check the figures which he has mentioned, but I do know that there was a considerable amount of discontent amongst the commercial community because of the omission of a large number of names from this register. I know that a number of firms did make efforts to get their names put back on the register. I say that there was an omission of names in the case of the commercial register, and it has occurred in other registers as well, but perhaps there is no connection between them.

The Minister mentioned something about giving votes according to the size of a person's bank balance. I do not know whether the Minister was listening to the President's speech a short time ago, but in it he stated he would have given full de-rating to the farmers only that he could not afford to see the farming community having no interest in the spending of the rates. There is an old maxim: "No taxation without representation," and I assumed that the President wished to give an interest to the people whose money was being spent—to give them a direct interest in controlling expenditure.

I think it is ludicrous to suggest that the presence of five commercial representatives will have an adverse effect on the decisions of the Dublin Corporation. I do not know if the Minister has made any census in relation to the business representatives of the Council. Speaking as a commercial representative, I say that the Dublin Corporation could do with even more commercial representatives than they have at present. I say that without casting any aspersions on the people who have other qualifications to be elected to the Corporation. The Minister referred to the disparity that this will cause and said that this is only taking place in Dublin. I think it is quite a common thing for people who know the city to find that there are firms with valuations running into four figures who have not a solitary vote out of the whole of their business premises. Of course there are caretakers and people with other qualifications who have a vote for those particular premises. If that is not taxation without representation I do not know what to say.

The Minister has not, apparently, looked to other countries to see how far this precedent has been followed. To go no further than across the Border, there is an Act there setting out that "where any company on any qualifying date has occupied as owner or tenant any land or premises in a local governing electoral area and is separately rated for the relief of the poor in respect of such land or premises, such company shall be entitled to have a person specified to be registered as a local governing elector in respect of the said lands or premises." I do not know how far such a proposition would be considered by the Minister as undemocratic, but it certainly gives the business community an interest and a representation by reason of the representatives that they elect to the Council. I do not know whether the Minister will agree with me or not, but I say that the Dublin Corporation would be improved if they had a very much larger membership of people who would understand commercial problems.

I do not know who wrote the statement that the Vice-President read, but it seems to me that whoever wrote it was writing out of his hat. The Vice-President has stated that progress has been from autocracy or plutocracy to democracy. In relation to democracy he proceeds to assume that it is of its nature essentially good and presumably that applies to the matter we have under discussion. I think the movement has been from democracy to plutocracy and, anyway, I do not know what all that has got to do with local government. The historic case made out for democracy was that a government, being sovereign, has power to legislate, to make laws intimately affecting and regulating the lives of the people. An element of justice enters into the arrangement whereby all people whose lives may be regulated by the sovereign power of the government, functioning through legislation, may have some control.

These local governing bodies have no such legislative power at all. They have not the power to make laws intimately regulating the lives of every section of the community. The local governing bodies have the function of assessing and collecting rates and then distributing that money. There are numbers of people in any district who are not affected by that power of the local governing body at all. The original idea of democracy as I knew it was that as far as possible the arrangement should be that every section of the community should be represented. I deny that democracy has anything to do with local government; it has only to do with a government with power to legislate, a government with sovereign power. What was the original purpose? The original purpose was that every section of the community should be represented and should have some say.

The Vice-President used the word "ascendancy." He thereby is assuming that there is one section of the community which he designates under the term "ascendancy." If there is such a section that section, by all ideas of justice and by whatever is good in the principle known as democracy, has the right to be represented. The Vice-President is proposing a sort of majority rule whereby the majority will be in the position completely and for all time to tyrannise over the minority. The Dublin Corporation collects money from ratepayers. The Vice-President calls this a form of plutocracy. As Deputy Dockrell pointed out, there are ratepayers in the City of Dublin who have no vote whatever.

When we were protesting about outside Governments, if anybody suggested that people should have a say in the making of laws in this country though they would not be affected by them, we would denounce it as tyranny. The Vice-President, in the high name of democracy, which he completely misrepresents, proposes that the Bill should be altered in such a way that it will actually create a situation whereby the people affected, the ratepayers, are going to be disfranchised. So far as I know there is another Bill on hand which is going to propose that people who are not ratepayers are going to control and decide what rates are to be paid.

I only got up because it seemed to me to be perfectly ridiculous for the Vice-President to stand here and misrepresent this Bill and misrepresent the true meaning of democracy as this Bill actually does misrepresent it. This Bill is arranged for this reason that the Government Party know very well that they have greater support amongst the irresponsible members of the community than they have amongst the responsible members of the community. The Minister can look down his nose upon this question of valuation. There are numbers of people in every city who have a great deal of money in the bank but whose actual rateable premises are very little. On the other hand, you have quite big firms in the City of Dublin on the border of bankruptcy, and as far as their balances in the bank are concerned they consist of overdrafts.

This commercial register is not correlated to bank balances at all. It is correlated to one of the interests of the parties in the matter which is under discussion, namely, in the election of a body that has the power to assess and levy rates upon the people. It seems to me a perfect, just and proper arrangement, and I would wish that the same arrangement would be extended more generally so that we would have a system of representation in the Dáil which would ensure that the interests likely to be affected by the work of these bodies should be represented in them instead of, as the Vice-President seems to think, having some slave party here described, as he describes it, as the ascendancy party, and that it should be for all time completely dictated to by what he would call the majority.

So far as I see, the Government is cutting everything except ice and increasing nothing except registers of unemployment and of voters.

I fail to see the necessity for this Bill at all. It is true, as the Vice-President said, that when the Greater Dublin Bill was going through and when the commercial register was compiled and representations given on that register to the commercial people in the city the Fianna Fáil Party voted against it. But Fianna Fáil fought the municipal elections a little less than three years ago, and out of an elected representation of 30 members they secured only five seats. That is what the local government electors thought of the Fianna Fáil opposition to the commercial register. That commercial register returned five members to the City Council. But the register is not composed of nor were the candidates in that election confined to the section of the community styled by the Vice-President as the ascendancy. As a matter of fact, three of the returned five members were well-known nationalists in the City of Dublin. One has since died, and he was succeeded by a man who, for the last 50 years has been actively occupied in the national and public life of this country.

Any experiment in trying to help local government should at least get a fair chance. This register is in existence only since October, 1930. If there was any justification for the amending or ending of that Bill the Vice-President should have made that justification instead of talking wild platitudes and appealing to the proletariat and so on. If the Vice-President went over any business of those five representatives elected on the commercial register to the Dublin Corporation and saw how they acquitted themselves in the last three years, he would see the position for himself. As a member of the Corporation, I can say that they have acquitted themselves at least as well as any other group of representatives there. Why the commercial register should be abolished now I fail to understand.

After all the Dublin City Council is charged with receiving roughly £2,000,000 a year in rates and spending that £2,000,000. I was not here when the Bill was passed. But I know what prompted this commercial register. I know what the idea of having this register was. It was, as Deputy Cosgrave said, bringing the commercial community into closer touch with other sections of the community. It was also prompted by good business reasons and I think it was justified. Why should that register be ended now? I am sure the Vice-President, who fills a responsible position as Vice-President of the Executive Council and head of a Ministry would, if he were asked to sanction promotion in his Department, sanction promotion for the very best man. Surely he is not going to come to this House and say: "I will promote the most popular official regardless of merit." If you want merit in administering a business which consists of the collection and spending of £2,000,000 annually you surely must pay some regard to the merits of those charged with that responsibility.

If the Vice-President wants Dublin to be deprived of the business trained minds we are likely to get from the commercial register and substitute these or have the risk of having them substituted by people of the mentality of those who shout "Up de Valera" and "Up the Republic" then we will find a very serious situation in the City of Dublin. Not only will that be serious to the commercial community but to the working people of Dublin whose work and whose employment are dependent on the ability with which the commercial life of the city is carried on and on the ability with which its municipal life is administered. It is a business proposition in my opinion to retain this register as one way of getting business talent into the Corporation. If the Minister stands for the opposite proposition—and that is really what he is standing for—that the man who has never run a business or the woman who has never run a business is a better man or woman to run the business side of the Corporation than are people who have made a success of their own business, then in that case I certainly will not agree with him. In support of this measure the statement has been made, in criticism of the commercial register, that bank balances should not speak. If the Vice-President had much knowledge of commercial or business life he would know that the business community do not speak from bank balances but very often, unfortunately, they have to speak from bank overdrafts. It is the men of enterprise with bank overdrafts who are running the business and industrial life of the City of Dublin at present. The people with the bank balances are those who live in sweet suburbia drawing dividends and not concerned with the business or commercial life in the city.

Deputy Dockrell has appropriately put it that the inherent principle in this Bill, and what the Minister is advocating is taxation without representation. It was to abolish that principle that some hundreds of thousands of American citizens gave their lives in the Civil War. I am sure the Minister does not want to reintroduce a principle here that has been annihilated the world over. To reintroduce that principle in the name of democracy is only of a piece with other things introduced by the Government in the name of democracy. As a member of the Dublin Corporation, I consider that the commercial register has helped in the efficient running of that body. To the country Deputies who could not have experience of the magnitude of the matters dealt with by the Dublin Corporation. I can say that that register has helped in the efficient running of the city. I hope it will continue, and that these false and irresponsible appeals to the proletariat will get from this House the same response that the electors gave to a similar appeal two years ago when it was made to them and beaten by six to one.

I say with some regret that I was disappointed with the Minister's statement. I had learned to look upon the Minister as one of the most reasonable and most broadminded members of the Government. I am afraid the statement which he made this afternoon, and which I am sure, knowing parliamentary procedure as I do, he had no part in the preparation of, will not improve his reputation, at all events from the point of view from which I have judged it. The Minister stated that the Act which gave representation to commercial classes was a class proposal, and for that reason objectionable. The Minister is one of those useful citizens who has given of his abilities to the government of the city. I only wish there were more like him, because one finds amongst a large number of people a disposition to leave such matters as the government of their city to others. I hold that there is cast upon them an individual responsibility to do their part in sharing the government of our city. The Minister, however, has classified the Act which was passed as class legislation. I look upon it from quite the opposite standpoint. If this Bill passes through this and the other House, what will be the position of those to whom the former Act gave representation?

The Minister will agree that one of the modern problems in local government is to get representation for those who pay taxes. The Minister heard in 1930, when the former Local Government Bill was going through, that more than a moiety of the ratepayers of Dublin had no representation on the Corporation. He did not challenge that statement; in fact, that statement was supported by a member of his Party. It was to do away with that class legislation that the proposal was carried. The difficulty arises in modern times owing to the changed condition of business. In old times in our city and other cities it was the custom of those who ran a business to live over the business. It is not necessary to look up the history of the City of Dublin to prove the accuracy of that statement. Owing to the changed conditions not alone have the people who pay the rates and who run businesses moved to other districts, but business itself changed and made another difficulty. Most of the businesses started in this and other cities now are run by companies, many of them joint stock companies, and many of them public companies. The difficulty that confronts legislatures like this is how best to give representation to the taxation paid by these companies. That is the problem and the reason why the Bill was brought in in 1930; because a large moiety of the taxation paid in Dublin was without representation. It was not the method suggested by business men on that occasion. If the Minister proposes to do away with that method of giving these bodies representation, what method is he going to propose instead? I do not say that this is the best method, but I will say for it that it has only had three years' trial and, in my humble opinion, knowing something of corporate matters, it has given excellent results. I do not say for that reason that it is ideal. If the Minister has any other proposal to put forward, let us have it and debate it, but to take away this and to give no representation to more than a moiety of the ratepayers of Dublin is doing something that is grossly unfair and unworthy of the Minister.

One of the difficulties we have had for years past, and in this I think Deputy T. Kelly will bear me out, is to get businessmen to come forward for the Dublin Corporation and other bodies like it. I have had something to do with trying to get businessmen to come forward, and they have told me over and over again that if they were to face an ordinary election as we know it in the City of Dublin for the Corporation they would not be returned. That statement was challenged. I remember going on a deputation to the City Hall many years ago to urge a reduction in taxation. After we had discussed the business for which we had gone there, and for which the Corporation had received us, some of the members of the Corporation said: "Why do not some of you businessmen come forward and give us the advantage of your experience on the Council?" I remember on that occasion we had a very enterprising businessman leading that deputation, and he said he would go forward at the next election. He went forward at the next election and he was not returned. That shows that you cannot get representation for this particular class of taxpayer under the ordinary methods. Special methods are necessary, and all countries are trying to devise methods which will meet the difficulties. All countries are agreed, as far as I know, that this particular section of the community should get representation. I do not think there is a person in this House who will challenge the fact that they are entitled to representation. The only question that can arise is as to how that representation can best be given. That is the problem that is before us at the moment. In this discussion I would urge that the members should devote their particular proposals to that end. As I said, I am not in any way wedded to this particular proposal. It has achieved good results. I do not think anybody would challenge that, but if it is possible to get a better proposal I certainly for one would not oppose it. It is necessary and essential and only fair that these taxpayers should get representation.

Those who were in the House when this Bill was going through will remember that it was pointed out that in important thoroughfares like Grafton Street, Dame Street, College Green and other areas, there was scarcely a vote giving representation to the larger commercial houses in those areas—amongst the largest ratepayers in the City of Dublin. There was scarcely a vote in one of those business houses, while the caretakers employed by those people, and their families, had votes; the people themselves who pay the taxes for the caretakers had no votes. That is not a principle that any person who looks into this problem will stand up for. I really would urge on the Minister, if he does not think this is a desirable proposal for giving representation, that if he has a better proposal he should let us have it, and let us discuss this matter on its merits and see if we can do something better. If he puts forward anything better I can assure him of my support, but I cannot support the proposal to take away this representation under the circumstances, until I see something better put forward in its place.

I am definitely opposed to this Bill. I think it is ill-conceived, and I am greatly surprised at the Minister for introducing it. For 18 years I have been a member of public boards. For four years I was chairman of one board, and I want to say that the business men on that board were my greatest helpers whilst I was chairman. They had the business training, and they looked at the spending of the ratepayers' money from a purely business point of view. Many occasions arose on which we had to approach banks and make deals for overdrafts and so on, and in every case we had to fall back on the businessmen, as they had the training and knew how to approach the subject. To the Dublin Corporation, of which I am now a member, we have businessmen elected. The Minister himself has been a colleague of mine on that Board for some time. He resigned to take the position he now holds. I would think the Minister, in justice to those men, would say that they have been most useful in performing the duties required in the Council chamber and outside it. He might ask me: "Why cannot those men go forward and get elected as you are yourself?" I am a businessman too, and a substantial ratepayer. He might say: "Why do they not go forward and get elected by the plain people as you do yourself?"

As Deputy Good has said, it is almost impossible to get busy businessmen to go forward for the Corporation. We find the greatest difficulty in getting busy men who are running huge businesses to spare time to come in and look after the interests of the city. Therefore, it should be made easy for those men to get representation on the Council. The Minister might say: "Why cannot they go forward and get elected as you do yourself?" I certainly should not like to be the person to propose to a busy businessman to get up on a public platform in Dublin and appeal for votes to elect him to the Corporation, to give his valuable time to looking after the interests of the ratepayers. He would be met with a shout of "Capitalist," and other insulting epithets. I do not blame any businessman for not coming forward and allowing himself to be the cockshot for the meanest man on the street who wants to insult him. The introduction of that commercial register was a safeguard against things like that. This cry of ascendancy is certainly a catch-cry for the mob. The Government Party is very good at catch-cries. When it is not ascendancy it is freemasonry, and so on; unfortunately, our people sometimes believe them, with the result that they are where they are today, with their catch-cries and false representations. I am definitely opposed to the introduction of this Bill, and I say it would be a sad day for the Dublin Corporation when it has not a businessman elected on its Board.

The Minister has made it very difficult for Deputies to discuss the proposal on its merits. Deputy Good has attempted to do so in a reasonable kind of way, and I would ask the Minister in replying to try and deal with the merits of the proposal and the Bill he is proposing to repeal. It is true, as Deputy Good said, that at the time the measure was originally introduced the estimate of the valuation of the then City of Dublin was about £1,200,000, and that the estimate made of the valuation of the premises that were uncovered by direct voting power until the commercial franchise was set up was approximately £600,000. Now the valuation of the city has been increased, by the extension of the city, to about £1,900,000. I think it would be desirable if we could have an estimate from the Minister as to what exactly is the valuation on which the commercial register in the new city is based.

The commercial register originally prepared was a register in respect of, I think, about 2,400 premises. The total local government vote, I think, at the present moment is about 140,000. If the position is that it can be verified that the commercial register in the City of Dublin at the present moment is over £600,000, we then have the position that one-third of the rates in the city will come from people who will have no direct representation in the administration of the city if the commercial register is wiped out. I should like the Minister to defend the position he proposes to create by which taxation will be raised to the extent of perhaps one-third of the total taxation of the city from members for whom there is no representation in the Council. The second merit in the proposal was, as Deputies said, that it did enable persons engaged in business in the city, as distinct entirely from administrative bodies, in which public business plays a very important part in maintaining the lives of the people, and particularly the lives of the people whom the public administration of the city is intended, to some extent, to look after, to take part in that business; and the integration by direct representation of the commercial community of the city on the City Council, with work every day carried on by the people of the city, and every day administered in the city, is a most important matter.

The commercial register did find an arrangement by which persons representing the commercial life of the city, who would not have to run the gamut of ordinary public election except in so far as they were elections amongst their own fraternities, could be elected to the City Council— men who would bring their business experience and their wide range of understanding to bear upon the affairs of the city. Such people are used to handling very large numbers of employed people in their business.

One of the things that is most pressed, at the present day, upon the representatives of the City of Dublin, from the Dublin Union Committee, is the case of maintaining a large number of additional unemployed men in the city. It is important, with that responsibility upon them, that they should have closely associated with them people without any political tinge, men ordinarily carrying on their business in the city, men giving employment who would be prejudiced in the giving of that employment if, as a result of non-representation on their part in city affairs, city affairs are either badly managed, of if sufficient attention is not paid to the fact that a considerable increase in the rates will prejudice their power of giving employment.

That representation is being swept away, and, it is a strange fact, in reference to the proposal to sweep it away, that we have had no criticism good, bad or indifferent as to the work of this representation upon the City Council. Deputies have spoken of the excellence of the work of such people on the City Council. I should like the Minister to say if in any way the work of the Council had ever been made difficult, or its excellence reduced in any way by the representation on the Council of the commercial community in this direct way. The Minister has not discussed the merits either of this representation or the services that this particular representation has given to the city. Deputy Good asked was there any other better way of giving it. If the principle is admitted that with a big valuation, or the consideration of the big amount of taxation that is raised from those people, should bring representatives into the City Council, I do not think that a better or more simple way could be devised than the commercial register. And that is so if only for this reason that it takes a number—an important section of persons carrying on their life in the city—a definite group in themselves, completely detached from anything like politics and entirely representing the commercial community and enables them in that way to express their views. The Minister has not examined the merits of any of these things. His proposal is, in fact, a kind of political sandbagging of administrative capacity and administrative capacity linked up with commercial experience of the objects from which these representatives are drawn. The Minister's aim is entirely, and I think he would admit it frankly, political in its objective.

I would not mind the Minister starting out to get wild animals if the Minister were a wild animal tamer, but I think he is setting out to create a force that he will not be able to direct. He introduces here the cry of class; he stigmatises the proposals embodied in the commercial register as class proposals. I want to stigmatise the Minister's proposal as a class measure and intended to start all sorts of class feeling. He is throwing to a certain section of the electorate a bit of imaginary meat. He is throwing them the commercial representatives on the Corporation, the representatives of the commercial community in Dublin, men who are there simply because they have money in their pockets. The electorate are going to be fed upon that particular type, and are not going to have anything that will enable them to work out their own political salvation, or to attend to their own administrative interests in a way that will give the community the best results of satisfactory administration with whatever resources they have.

The commercial register was not based upon wealthy representation. Many of the people on it, as Deputy Belton said, carried on business in the city and helped to give employment and helped to take people off the hands of the Dublin Board of Public Assistance, but were not necessarily wealthy in terms of the valuation of their premises, in which they gave employment. The representation given in this franchise is representation based upon the value of the fabric these people are maintaining, and the maintenance of which is giving ordinary employment in the city and maintaining the real life of the city. I say the citizen who thinks he is hammering down class barriers, and taking something from the hands of the wealthy and distributing it amongst the poor, when the Minister destroys that particular type of representation, is simply being fooled as to what he may expect in the future. Representatives of this particular kind are closely integrated to our commercial life, and the general carrying on of business in the city would be a greater guarantee for employment than the wiping out of this register, or the taking off the register of every single one of those people or of every single person who had a bigger income than £25 a year. The Minister is thinking and working upon entirely wrong lines in moving for the removal of this representation from the government of the city.

I cannot make head or tail of the speeches made in opposition to this measure. But for the fact that I did not want to have it stated that there was not a single Fianna Fáil representative, in addition to the Minister, to stand up for the Corporation of Dublin, I should not now intervene. What is the nature of the opposition to the Bill? Deputies should know that the Corporation system of election is the same as that for the Dáil—proportional representation. Are we not told that that ensures, with mathematical accuracy, that minorities will be represented? Why, then, this business register, unless something else is to be secured? Cleverly enough, the Cumann na nGaedheal crowd, prior to the last municipal election, selected a number of men as their representatives and dubbed them "business candidates." They turned out to be wolves in sheep's clothing. As soon as they got entrenched in the City Hall, they became out-and-out Cumann na nGaedheal supporters. Even the five business representatives always went with them. On every occasion on which an attempt was made by resolution or motion to represent the popular view, the whole crowd were entirely against it. There were about five Fianna Fáil members, four or five Labour members and a couple of Independents on the Council. I was one of the last class. I have since been converted. I say without the slightest hesitation that the men sent in on the business register were excellent men and splendid representatives. I have not the smallest doubt that, under a system of proportional representation, they would be returned should they offer themselves as candidates. But why should I—men like me have to do the same—have to go round every evening to the street corners of Dublin and render myself hoarse making speeches and trying to instruct the electorate as to the reason they should vote for me and others, while the business register candidates have to do nothing but sit in their offices and get letters sent out asking the people to vote for them. There is talk about ratepayers and the amount of valuations. Who are the ratepayers of Dublin? The population of Dublin is about 450,000. The real ratepayers are the working classes and they are the people who should have ample representation on the City Council and on every other council. Do Deputies understand that people of the working class have to pay for a tenement room —very often a basement room—from 10/- to 14/- a week? The landlords of these premises state that the reason they have to charge these rents is that the rates in Dublin are so high. In whose interest should there be strong representation on the Council except in the interest of the people who have indirectly to pay these rates and who have to pay these heavy rents?

I should like you to find rooms for 2/6. I wonder at your saying such a thing.

The case you mention is an exception. To say that 13/- or 14/- is charged for a basement kitchen is very far-fetched.

That may be, but it actually exists. I think you will agree that I have almost exceptional means of knowing those things. I have been connected with the Housing Committee of the Corporation for the last three years and during many years in a previous period. Applications come in by the thousand from people living in those places and paying exorbitant rents.

Hear, hear!

I know houses where there is a flat rate of 10/- a room charged. Statements were made here some time ago about the awful crime of personation which Fianna Fáil are supposed to have indulged in. Why not give these five business representatives a chance of having personation too? They will get elected hands down, if we are to believe all the statements made here regarding the way Fianna Fáil members were elected. At any rate, personation would be no harm. It is a good turn. If a man is dead and you knew the opinions he held while alive, what harm would it be to vote for him? If a poor man is sick in hospital and not able to get out, surely it is a good turn to see that his vote is registered. If he has gone away and his neighbours know his opinions, I do not see any harm in personation. I think I encouraged a lot of that class of thing in my day. At one time, I saw that the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland voted right—the first time in his life that he voted right. He did not get up early enough and he waited for his breakfast before he came to the polling station. When he went into the booth, he found that he had been voted for. He was very indignant but he should have got up early and not minded his breakfast. He should have done his duty to his country first.

Are we to take these as instructions to Fianna Fáil candidates in the Dublin elections?

Yes; vote early and often and maybe the cry will not then come from the benches opposite that we only returned five or six members. We may return a great many more. I hope that our own Party and the Labour Party will be much better represented in the City Council in future than we are at present.

I should like to explain to representatives of other constituencies that the powers of the Corporation are extremely restricted. Three-fourths of the original powers we possessed are now in the hands of an official known as the City Manager. That he is a very excellent official I admit, and that he does his duty remarkably well I also admit. He has developed the habit of bringing in members of the Council as a consultative body. He might not have done that if he did not like. He might not have consulted any of us, according to the letter of the law, but he does that on most matters arising in connection with the government of the city. The system is undemocratic at its best, and we have it at its best here. It is not right. The control of the staff is in his hands. All contracts are sanctioned by him. We know nothing about contracts until he reports that he has accepted the tender of this or that firm.

The Deputy is aware that there is nothing about the City Manager in this Bill.

Not directly, but indirectly there is. Having regard to the tone of the speeches delivered on the opposite benches, I am anxious that Deputies should not vote in ignorance on this Bill. I was alarmed when the Leader of the Centre Party opposed the Bill and said that it was merely put forward to perpetuate a political caucus. There is no political caucus, at least so far as Fianna Fáil representatives on the City Council are concerned. If there is any political caucus it belongs to the Party opposite. They are absolutely and completely in control of the Dublin Corporation.

It is in good hands.

That is your opinion, but it is not mine. I am prepared to do my level best to alter the situation as quickly as possible. I ask Deputies not to accept the position suggested by those who have opposed the Bill. This Bill is a step towards the democratic government of the city and I do not think that Deputies should oppose that in principle. If they do, I fail to understand them; but, of course, there are many things happening here that I do not understand, and I dare say during the next five years there will be many things that I will not understand, if I remain here —I hope I will not. I am making my protest now against the spirit of the speeches that were made by opponents of the Bill.

This Bill should be accepted on its merits, but apparently that is not to be. Political prejudice is sticking out a mile, and that has been the case since the first speaker stood up. He talked about the number of representatives, and said that Fianna Fáil, out of 19 candidates, got only six in. He ought to be perfectly satisfied and he ought to let it go at that. This Bill is, in my opinion, a further advance towards the control by the people of the municipality of Dublin. We expect a much bigger advance, and we will get it very soon. This is our first advance towards the democratic control of the city, control by those who have to pay the rates. I hope the Bill will pass with a very big majority.

Deputy Kelly made a statement at the commencement of his speech. I did not like then to correct him, because I might possibly disturb the current of his speech. He said that he was waiting until the Chair called upon him. The Chair does not usually call upon a Deputy except when two Deputies rise to speak.

Maybe I was wrong.

It was just a misapprehension.

Mr. Rice

I am glad for two reasons that Deputy Kelly addressed the House on this measure. In the first place, I am glad to see that he had the courage, as he said, to be one other person than the Minister who was prepared to stand up to defend the Bill. I am glad for the further reason that he has explained some of the tactics by which elections have been and can be won, not that we intend to adopt them. Anyhow, his remarks throw a somewhat lurid light on the way in which elections have been won. Those of us who stood as candidates in the City of Dublin during the last election had some experience in that respect. We saw motor cars touring through the north and south constituencies in the city and also through the county with active young supporters of Fianna Fáil, usually two young men and two girls. They drove from polling station to polling station and, in the words of Deputy Kelly, they voted early and they voted often. It was refreshing and pleasing to hear Deputy Kelly saying, in reply to Deputy Mulcahy, that these were the tactics and the instructions for the winning of elections, and presumably they also will be during the next election that will be held in the city.

I did not say so.

Mr. Rice

That was the answer the Deputy gave when Deputy Mulcahy asked were those the instructions that would be followed out in the next election. Deputy Kelly said there was no harm in it and he gave instances where the dead and the sick were voted for and he added that that was no harm. The whole thing throws a lurid light on how elections have been won in this country during the last 15 months. That is an admission from a member of the Fianna Fáil Party.

We knew it before; the courts proved that.

Mr. Rice

We have the admission now from their own benches. I can only regard this Bill as a political manæuvre. Deputy Mulcahy gave the figures as to the representation of the business community in Dublin. One third of the total rates of the new city area, £600,000, is paid by the people represented by the members on the commercial register. They have one-sixth or one-seventh of the representation of the city, but they pay one-third of the rates. We are told it is an advance towards democratic Government when the proposal is that they are to have no representation at all. They will, in fact, have no representation if this Bill is passed. Governments before have got into trouble over standing for the principle of taxation without representation. You have taxation, although you may call it rating, without representation here. It is proposed to abolish representation as regards the people who pay one-third of the rates of the city.

I do not understand what is the object underlying the Bill, except that it is a political manæuvre. It is a gesture to the people outside who hold that people who have any property or who pay heavy rates should have no representation. What influence can five members have on a council of this size? If they are put in there to represent the business people, what influence can they have on the determinations of that body? Deputy Kelly talks about giving representation to the working people. Deputies on this side of the House stand as much for the workingman getting representation as do Fianna Fáil Deputies, just as much. The working people of Dublin, if they wish, can return every member of the Corporation other than the business members. What representation is there to be for the people who pay this heavy taxation if they are not allowed to retain the five members they have? Under this Bill you will have a Corporation elected on a popular franchise and there will be no representation of business interests at all. Members popularly elected will have no advice from people with business experience as to how they are to carry on the business of the Corporation. Is that a desirable state of affairs in a city like Dublin?

Deputy Kelly referred to the way the Corporation has been managed within recent years. I think it has been very well managed and the business has been well carried out. No finger can be pointed at the way in which the work has been conducted by the five business representatives. Deputy Kelly is sore because Fianna Fáil got such a small representation in the present Corporation. I think the small representation was due to the fact that a healthy public opinion had been created by Cumann na nGaedheal. They advocated the principle that the representatives on local bodies should not be chosen on political grounds. Fianna Fáil decided to send forward nearly 20 candidates. They labelled them Fianna Fáil and they stood as politicians and they got only six returned. It was a good thing, in my opinion, on the part of this Party, to encourage the feeling in the country that politics should only be for the Dáil and that as regards local bodies politics should be left out. We advocated the idea that people with Fianna Fáil or Cumann na nGaedheal leanings, if elected on local bodies, should administer the local work and carry on business in the very best way they could, forgetting their politics while they were there.

Let them be members of the Dáil and put forward their political views here but when on a local body let them deal only with the question of local administration and give of their best in that, regardless of what their political feelings may be. This is a reversal to a bad system of having on local boards people labelled as belonging to one political party. The best interests of the people of this country will not be served as long as that system is carried on and as it is proposed to carry it out in relation to the wider needs of this country in general. It is a bad step for every section of the people and bad especially for the poorer sections of the people of this country. For that reason I say this Bill should be opposed by every one who wishes for the prosperity of the country.

As one who strongly in the first instance opposed this type of Bill when introduced here I have very great pleasure in voting for the abolition of this special type of representation for election of representatives of the people of Dublin Corporation. Deputy Rice has repeatedly stated that this Bill is a political manoeuvre on the part of the Fianna Fáil Government. I could equally say that the introduction of this principle of a commercial register was a political manæuvre on the part of the people who introduced it in the House. If the same principle and the same type of voter had been set up in order to elect local representatives in Cork, Limerick, Waterford and other places throughout the Free State one would have to say that the people who introduced the principle were at least consistent even though they were wrong. I do not see how any particular body of people no matter how or where or when they were born should have any privileged position in selecting the representatives of the people in the Corporation.

What is the privilege?

The special type of principle that is used in selecting members which the ex-Minister for Local Government and Public Health introduced in the Act of 1930 applies only to the Dublin Corporation. I am not going to be interrupted by Deputy Mulcahy who found it very difficult to justify the introduction of his Bill in the first case and failed utterly in this House in the case he made against the abolition of this principle.

I thought the Deputy got up to argue his case.

To fight his case.

The reason for rushing that Bill through is to enable the Dublin Corporation elections to be held on the ordinary date. Unless the Minister explains it one finds it difficult to understand why the election is to be held in other parts later on, and different treatment meted out in the case of the Dublin Corporation. I do not know if there is any reason for this differentiation or special treatment for the City of Dublin while leaving Cork, Limerick and Waterford to come on in November next.

I could tell the Deputy.

I feel as one who opposed this principle when first introduced that I will have great pleasure now in voting for its abolition.

I wonder if we are to have a new axiom enunciated from the Opposition Benches—the axiom that people of property will never get working people or propertyless people to vote for them no matter what their message may be or what reasons or arguments they put before the electors. That is the underlying principle and argument of every speech I heard from the Opposition on this Bill.

It is rather a curious position to take up on the part of the Opposition. We have also Deputy Mulcahy asserting and Deputy Belton repeating that the five representatives who were elected on the Dublin Corporation under this register were as good as any on the Corporation.

I did not say that.

The Deputy's question was: "He would like the Minister to say whether the performance of the business of the Council has suffered in any way because of having the commercial representatives on it."

I asked the Minister to deal with the Bill.

That question seems a very negative way of supporting his case against the Bill. It seems to me it is up to Deputies Mulcahy and Belton to say that the men elected under this register are men very superior in intelligence and knowledge to the men elected in the ordinary way. As Deputy Kelly asked, is it not an extraordinary thing that men who have much more leisure than the average man, men who should, because of their superior position, be much more capable in putting their case before the public, should be saved all that trouble that other people are put to? Is it not the case that the whole system of democratic government is founded on the theory that reason will ultimately prevail if people are given responsibility? Yet in face of that we have been telling those on the commercial register: "We do not expect you to go and suffer the agony of an election; we do not expect you to go out and argue with the working people; we do not expect you to try to convince them that if you are elected, rates will not be so much of a burden, or that there will be more money for the improvement of their city." I suggest also it is a curious thing that the Opposition generally are prepared to sacrifice that education of the populace that ought to be implied in any election so important as the election of a new government for the city.

They are getting educated and it is not free education.

That is a very cheap remark indeed. Does the Deputy not admit that there is a big educational advantage in an election where in people are asked to consider different policies, when they are asked to consider particular problems, and for two, three, four or five weeks these problems are put before them by the best minds that are available? But Deputy Mulcahy and his friends say not at all, it is useless; the best way to elect representatives is to judge them by their property.

It is afterwards the education comes.


Even the argument that the people affected by this Bill are the biggest ratepayers in the city was controverted in the discussions that took place here upon the extension of the Poor Relief (Dublin) Bill. On that occasion Deputy Good said that as far as the ordinary business people are concerned increases in rates are invariably transferred or passed on by the business people to those with whom they do business.

In face of the poor case that has been made for the retention of this principle I can see no reason why this Bill should not go through. People of every class should be encouraged to face the responsibility of government. I should like to make this further point that if the general population have not developed the responsibility that the Deputies opposite feel they should have with regard to the government of their city—if the masses have not developed that responsibility during the period when they had not a majority of representatives—then I think that is an argument for extending the responsibility so that it may be seen whether, when they have complete responsibility, they will be more capable and more efficient in regard to the government of their city than they have been under the tutelage of those who are supposed to have superior gifts and superior minds for this purpose.

I think the case that has been made for the retention of this type of what I still maintain is class legislation on our Statute Book here is a very poor one. The commercial register was introduced for the first time in connection with the Local Government (Dublin) Bill, 1930. If ever there was class or political legislation it was exemplified in that measure. The Minister and his colleagues and those who voted for it I believe voted for that measure and for the inclusion of that provision in the Local Government (Dublin) Bill for purely political purposes and no other. That is my honest belief. They saw that their power was dwindling, and dwindling, too, in the capital of the country. They saw that some supports must be got and some efforts should be made to sustain the hold that they had for a number of years on the political life of the city and they introduced special legislation, class legislation, political legislation of this kind into a local government measure of that type. It is to get back to what I regard as the fair system, the democratic system, of leaving to every citizen, including the special class Deputy Good has in mind, the right to stand for election and be elected—every taxpayer and every citizen and, to my mind, every citizen is a taxpayer who lives in the city and pays rent in the city.

Will the Minister give votes to the citizens?

They have not got them now.

They have votes—every one of those who lives in the city and who pays taxes in the city will have a vote.

Will the Minister tell me how he could get such a vote for a limited liability company?

I cannot say how you could get it unless under legislation of this kind and I would not give a vote to a limited liability company. There is an old saying that a limited liability company is a thing without a body to be kicked or a soul to be saved. We want in the municipal life representatives with bodies that can be kicked and souls that can be saved.

You take their rates and give them no representation.

A limited liability company may be taxable but a company could not run the city.

It has no vote.

We want the individual citizens with intelligence and bodies and souls, and they would be better than any soulless or bodyless affair like a limited company.

It pays rates, but it has no vote and no representation.

I have no objection to businessmen being elected to the Dublin Corporation. I have known over a period of 26 or 27 years practically all the members of the Dublin Corporation, including the businessmen, those who represented business, but not specially as such, and I found them as good citizens as any others; I will not say any better. Generally speaking, citizens of Dublin whom I have known in a public representative capacity, including the business representatives, have done honour to their city.

Including the antique furniture.

Including what Deputy Cosgrave used to call the antique furniture. They did credit to the city and helped other citizens to run the city. On and off, mistakes were made by representatives, including the business representatives. I have no special desire to get business people out of public positions. I should like to see them come in. I join with Deputy Good in wishing that we could get more of them.

Can they have votes?

They have votes. They have the same right to election as any other class in the community. Why do they not use it? There is a lack of civic spirit not alone in the business community, but in too many other communities in Dublin. There is not the same interest in the city and in the wants and needs of the city exhibited in Dublin as in cities in many other places. I wish we could develop and encourage the growth of citizenship amongst our people, particularly amongst the better off classes. I do not think it would be a help to spoon-feed them and encourage them by legislation such as was included in this Local Government Act. Deputy Cosgrave, who spoke first against this Bill, referred to the commercial party, the party that Cumann na nGaedheal formed specially to run not as a Cumann na nGaedheal Party, but as a commercial party. They held meetings in certain clubs in the city, of which we got full accounts later, to encourage people to set up a commercial party for Cumann na nGaedheal to run as commercial men. They got their party together and ran them as commercial men and got a considerable amount of success. Having got that success, where is the necessity for running a second party as business men with a specially privileged franchise? The Cumann na nGaedheal Party got their men in under the name of a commercial party. Deputy Cosgrave spoke of the success of the commercial party. As they were so successful and, as he said, they got so many eminent commercial men elected, where is the necessity for a special privilege to get these special commercial men elected?

They were not run as commercial members. They were run as the constitutional group.

They had a variety of names. One day they were called commercial men and the next day the constitutional group. God knows what they will be called the next time.

Does the Minister agree that £628,000 out of a total valuation of £1,222,000 should be without any votes? Is that a reasonable proposition?

I maintain that citizens who are businessmen, or associated with companies, or ordinary wage-earners, can have votes.

They will not get votes.

The companies will not.

Will you make some arrangement by which these companies who pay this large volume of rates will get representation? You are taking it away from them.

I certainly will not give a vote to a company.

You say they should have votes, but you will not put up any proposal.

They want votes for dead bodies.

Deputy Cosgrave said that the existence of this commercial register had a big influence on the heads of big industrial and commercial undertakings. I know that the Cumann na nGaedheal Party are very closely associated with some heads of big industrial commercial undertakings. The Treasurer of their Party funds should have some knowledge of some of them. That kind of person was possibly in the mind of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, and this Bill was probably put on the Statute Book as a result. That was behind it, and was, I believe, why these people, as far as my information which I believe to be reliable, goes, in large industrial and commercial undertakings in Dublin had subscribed largely to the Party funds.

May I say that that statement is a libel on the business community, and ought not to be made?

I believe it is. I think you are quite right, that it is a libel on them to say that they subscribed to such a Party.

The Minister alleges that the business community subscribed in order to get the Bill through. I say that that is a most unfair statement.

I did not say the business community. I said certain individuals.

That they subscribed in order to get this Bill through.


The Minister thinks that the businessman who gives a political bribe for anything less than a tariff is a simpleton.

This was a receipt for the subscription.

We had in the Dublin Corporation, long before ever such special legislation was thought of, the heads of big successful commercial enterprises and industrial enterprises, and I expect we will have them again. There is no reason in the world, as Deputy Moore suggested, why these people should not be elected in the future as they have been in the past. There were men put in on this commercial register, I think, who were formerly in the habit of standing for election in Dublin. They got elected. Why should they not stand again irrespective of the commercial register, and why should they not be elected if the people are satisfied with the ideas they propound on the public platforms?

As to the question of politics in these elections, I think it is more honest to declare what your politics are. That is the view I took three years ago when an election was held for the Dublin Corporation. I took the view that it was honest to stand up and say you belonged to such a party; that you had such politics; that you were not unnecessarily going to bring politics into discussions on local affairs, but that at any rate your politics were such; you did not deny them, and you went forward associated with those politics, and asked for their votes. If they did not want you, well and good.

Why should municipal authorities mix themselves up with politics? We have too much politics in this country altogether.

I think we have not.

With fewer politics we would be better off.

I do not agree at all. What is politics? What is the meaning of the word "politics"?

The science of government.

And if we want to govern here, a municipality or a country, we will have to know a good deal about politics, and have many political discussions.

Butter politics.

I do not think I have anything further to say on the matter. The legislation was bad originally. Those who proclaimed for so long that all they were anxious to do was to stand for the will of the people and abide by the will of the people, ought to abide by the will of the whole people and not be getting exotic supports of this kind to help them in their old age, to help them in the days when they feel that their strength is leaving them, that they are crippled, and that they want crutches to help them keep their grip on public life. This is a crutch which lasted them a little time, but we are striking it from under them, and they will probably feel the need of it in the future.

Would the Minister say what is the special reason, if any, why Dublin—the principal city in the State—should have an election on the basis of property representation, and that the elections in the other areas throughout the country are being postponed in order to have election on the basis of adult suffrage?

There is nothing in this Bill about the coming elections. There was an Order made a few days ago postponing the local elections. That did not include Dublin or Cork.

So you are going to have election on the basis of property representation in Dublin, and all the other elections throughout the country will be on the basis of adult suffrage?

On the basis of the law as it stands.

Question—"That the Bill be now read a Second Time"—put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 68; Níl, 40.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).


  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Good, John.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Kent, William Rice.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Traynor; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 24th May, 1933.