In Committee on Finance. - Oireachtas (Payment of Members) Bill, 1933—Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time." This Bill is consequential on the passing of the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Act, 1933. Section 4 of the Oireachtas (Payment of Members) Act, 1923, provides that the allowance and travelling facilities to be paid to and received by each Deputy shall commence and be payable as from the day on which he shall take the Oath, which was formerly prescribed by Article 17 of the Constitution, after his then last election to the Oireachtas. As this Oath is no longer part of the Constitution, the section mentioned has ceased to operate and the present Bill provides for the commencement of payment of the allowance and travelling expenses to members of the Oireachtas elected after the passing of the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Act, 1933. In the case of a member elected to Dáil Eireann at a General Election, Section 2 of the Bill provides that the allowance and travelling facilities shall be payable as from the date on which the Oireachtas is summoned to meet after the General Election, subject to prior compliance by the members with the Standing Orders of Dáil Eireann. In every other case payment is to commence as from the date of compliance with the Standing Orders of Dáil Eireann or Seanad Eireann. Sub-section 1 of Section 3 of the Bill follows the lines of Section 5 (1) of the 1923 Act. In sub-section (2) of Section 3 provision is made for the first time for the payment of expenses incurred by a member of the Oireachtas in travelling to Dublin for the purpose of complying with Standing Orders on a date prior to the date of such compliance. Sub-section (3) of Section 3 follows the lines of sub-section (3) of Section 5 of the 1923 Act. Section 5 of the Bill provides for the payment of the allowance and travelling expenses to a Deputy elected during the period between the passing of the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Act, 1933, and the passage of this Bill into law.

There will be little or no additional cost to the Exchequer as a result of the Bill. It is true that the grant under sub-section (2) of Section 3 of travelling facilities on a date prior to the date of the actual compliance with Standing Orders will entail some small additional expenditure.

I object to the passage of this Bill. We are again discussing the question of the Oath, and its repercussion has again come home, as I warned the Minister, again and again. It is not my business to do the work of the Attorney-General, but I think he will have to bring in further Bills to deal with the Oath. I object to the Bill because we are asked to become accessories to the fact, after the Treaty has been broken. For the first time a Deputy took his seat last week without taking the Oath, despite the clear provisions of the Treaty. It was rather astonishing that the Deputy concerned should be representing Dublin University. Dublin University has been always somewhat rebellious from the time it was founded down to the time of Edward Carson, and it was only right that a representative of Trinity College should be the first man to commit an overt act—breaking the Treaty. I have examined this Bill, and I want to be quite sure that this Bill does not place us in the position of accessories after the fact. Believe it or not, last night I read the Treaty after many years, and I was amazed. The experience was like a forced landing by mistake in another planet. The Treaty is in a most extraordinary position. Half of the clauses have not been fulfilled. If the Attorney-General reads it he will find that practically half the Treaty is still waiting to be carried out. Many of the clauses of the Treaty are obsolete, having fallen into disuse through neglect. Article 6 is of very great importance, as it deals with national defence. I think it has lapsed owing to the failure of both Governments to put it into effect. There are also Schedules to the Treaty. At any rate, that particular Article has been broken by the overt act of a representative of Dublin University. This is a Bill to treat such Deputies as if they were not breaking international law, and to pay them their allowances, the same as other Deputies. I think they should be penalised for breaking the law and for that reason I object to the Bill.

Question put and declared carried.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, November 29th.