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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 15 Feb 1934

Vol. 50 No. 10

Electoral (Revision of Constituencies) Bill, 1934—First Stage.

I move for leave to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to revise, in pursuance of Article 26 of the Constitution, the constituencies (other than University Constituencies) by which the members of Dáil Eireann are elected and, in consequence of such revision, to alter the number of members of Dáil Eireann and for those and other purposes to amend the law relating to the election of members of Dáil Eireann.

When is it proposed to take the Second Stage of this Bill?

On this day week.

When will the Bill be circulated?

Immediately the Order is made by the House it will be sent to the printer.

I must protest against the House being asked to take this Bill this day week. As far as we understand from the published references in the Press in connection with the matter, this is a very far-reaching measure that apparently has been very fully considered by bodies outside the Oireachtas. The Minister should appreciate that it is unreason able to ask the House to take this Bill on this day week.

It will be a very simple Bill.

I want to protest in the strongest possible way against the proposal to take a Bill of this kind on a week's notice, in view of the fact that we have not yet seen the Bill.

Even if the Bill is circulated on Saturday it would be Monday or Tuesday before some members of the House get their copy of it. I think it is unfair to Deputies, representing constituencies that are far distant from Dublin, to ask them to take the Bill on this day week. It will give them no opportunity to prepare amendments.

There will be no need to prepare amendments for the Second Reading. I expect the Bill will be in the hands of Deputies by Saturday.

Again I protest against the taking of the Bill on this day week. For a couple of weeks past the contents of this measure have been discussed in the Press and very explicit statements have been made that different parties in this House have had an opportunity of reviewing and considering it.

That is not correct. There is no truth in that statement.

The statement has very definitely been made.

I know that.

By the Deputy's Leader, and it is untrue.

Does Deputy Norton consider it reasonable that a Bill dealing with the redistribution of seats and changing the size of the Dáil should be introduced and discussed on Second Reading in less than a week after Deputies have had the Bill in their hands?

May I say on that point that if the Deputy can induce his Leader to withdraw the untruthful statement which he made about Labour Deputies being invited to a Fianna Fáil meeting to discuss the Bill I will answer his question.

A question which does not bear on the subject before the House.

And the General's statement was very far away from the truth.

I think Deputy Norton might be satisfied now when he realises that General O'Duffy has asked not to be taken too seriously.

I would strongly appeal to the Vice-President to relent. This is obviously a measure which demands very careful consideration.

I agree that it is a measure that requires very careful consideration, but again I assure the House that it is a very simple measure of about eight sections, only four of which are likely to cause much discussion. If the House wants an extra week to consider the Bill it may have it.

Much obliged.

Now that the Minister has softened somewhat, I want to make another appeal to him: that he will cause to be put in the Library a district electoral map showing an outline of any new constituencies that the Bill deals with.

I will see that one is hung up in the corridor.

Second Stage ordered for Wednesday, 28th February.