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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 14 Feb 1935

Vol. 54 No. 12

In Committee. - Electoral (Revision of Constituencies) Bill, 1934—From the Seanad.

The following appeared on the Order Paper:
Seanad Eireann has passed the following resolution:—
That it is desirable that a conference be held between members representing the Seanad and the Dáil for the purpose of considering the amendments made by the Seanad to the Electoral (Revision of Constituencies) Bill, 1934, with which the Dáil has disagreed and on which the Seanad has insisted:
That five Senators represent the Seanad at the proposed Conference;
That a Message be sent to the Dáil acquainting that House accordingly and requesting its concurrence.

I do not know what the procedure is for dealing with a resolution of this kind—whether it has to be moved or whether I should simply state the Government's attitude towards it. The Government's attitude is that we cannot see our way to accept the suggestion that has come down from Seanad Eireann. The Bill was fully discussed in this House and also in the Seanad and, as it stands, the Government are satisfied that it is an improvement and that it embodies the ideas which the Government wish to have passed into law. The Government cannot see that any suggestion that was not made when the Bill was before this House or the Seanad is likely to be made which would be of any advantage. There were certain amendments suggested in the Seanad to the Bill as sent up from the Dáil and while, both in this House and in the Seanad, suggestions were made that we did not pay the respect that was due to county constituencies, the chief amendment offered in the Seanad erred just as much in the same direction. The difficulties that we had in arranging boundaries were repeated in the amendment offered by the Seanad. They did not respect boundaries any more than they were respected in the Bill as introduced and passed here. I cannot see that any useful purpose would be served by the suggestion offered by the Seanad and therefore do not propose to agree to accept it.

We have no intention of discussing this Bill again, but we consider that there are many glaring anomalies in it. We consider that the Seanad suggestion ought to be agreed to and we shall, therefore, vote against the Government's proposition to disregard the Seanad's suggestion.

Mr. Lynch

I think that there is a strong case for some consultation with the Seanad in this matter. I have in mind one amendment which was discussed here in reference to the constituency of Kerry. There was one amendment with reference to one constituency which was accepted by the Dáil on a free vote. The House decided in favour of retaining Limerick, I think it was, as one constituency. In the case of Kerry the matter was also left to a free vote of the Dáil and an amendment in my name and that of Deputy O'Sullivan was only beaten by a majority of one or two. Shortly after that decision had been taken by the House some of the Kerry Deputies, who had voted against the amendment, actually came to me and asked by what method they could revoke the decision they had taken. Apparently, they did not understand that the Whips were off in relation to that amendment. If they were given the opportunity again, if I interpreted rightly what they said, they would have preferred to have left the Kerry constituency as it was; that is, having seven members instead of being divided into two constituencies of four members and three members.

I am speaking without having looked at the Seanad amendment, but I think included in it was a proposition to retain Kerry as a seven-member constituency. If that is so, there is a case for discussion between a Committee of the two Houses, to see whether an agreed Schedule could not be arrived at which would satisfy all Parties. I do not see that any harm could be done by having a consultation of that kind. In fact, it might be a very good precedent to create, so that such discussions would take place between Committees of the two Houses sitting jointly where differences have arisen. As a result of such a meeting on this occasion there would probably be a Schedule arrived at which would be more satisfactory, from every point of view, both to Deputies and to the electors.

I should like to appeal to the Minister to give this matter further consideration. There is no immediate hurry to give immediate effect to this Bill. Nothing is to be gained by rushing it. As far as I can understand, there are many Deputies, on all sides of the House, who did not properly understand proposals which were carried, simply by a majority and without reasonable cause. As Deputy Lynch pointed out, a precedent might be created which would bring about a better understanding in important measures of this kind.

It is rather late to begin now.

It is never too late to mend your hand.

There is a lot to learn yet.

In making this appeal I should like to point out that the Bill, once it becomes law, is one that cannot be changed for a long time. This should not be approached in a Party spirit, but in a spirit of reasonableness, and after calm consideration by everyone concerned. There are local matters which were not taken into account when the Bill was going through this House, and I question if they were before the Seanad either. Both Parties might be susceptible to reason if they had a little more information. There are anomalies in the Bill, particularly with regard to Cork and other constituencies, which would want to be reconsidered.

I do not think I have anything to add. The amendment proposed regarding Kerry was unquestionably carried by a majority, as were most of the amendments that were put up, but, if they were not accepted unanimously, they would have to be carried by a majority of some kind. I do not think the Bill was rushed when going through the House. There was a great deal of discussion, not with many Deputies on the other side of the House, but with a few, and with some Deputies on my own side. When Deputies belonging to one constituency came to me to discuss the proposals in the Bill, I found it difficult to get agreement at any rate on my own side. If there was any agreement, generally, in the end, it was to leave the Bill as it was, because the amendments suggested raised greater difficulties and greater anomalies. Even if we had a Committee of the Seanad and the Dáil sitting together to discuss the Bill, I do not see that we could arrive at any better conclusion.

Question put: "That the Dáil do not concur with the Seanad in their request for a Joint Conference."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 56; Níl, 40.


  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Davin, William.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.


  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dolan, James Nicholas.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Good, John.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil adjourned at 7.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 20th February, 1935.