The point we were at when this debate was adjourned was, whether or not the particular method of dealing with a President, whom it is desirable to remove, as laid down in the Draft could be improved. I suggested that the Dáil, as such, would not, in my opinion, be a good court to try a matter of fact. I was suggesting that, while I thought the Oireachtas a perfectly proper body to initiate a proceeding of this kind, and one which would be very definitely concerned in the public conduct and suitability of the President, and have a very definite duty in the supervision of and making effective any assurance that that conduct would be right and proper, I did not think they were themselves the body actually to try him. I was suggesting that we might, by leaving out the word "impeached", make sub-section (1) of Section 10 of Article 12 read: "The President may be charged at the instance of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the Seanad or Dáil for treason as defined in this Constitution, or for other misconduct unfitting him for his office", and that then it should go on to say that the question of fact shall be decided by a court acting for the Oireachtas set up hereunder, whose decision shall be accepted as the decision of the Oireachtas. I can quite see that the Oireachtas itself might desire to keep it within its own control and to take full responsibility for any action taken in relation to that officer; but it might very well hand over the trial to some body, set up under the Constitution, which could not obviously be set up ad hoc, which would not be influenced in any way by the personality of the man himself, or the particular circumstances—some particular body which would exist before the offence for trial and which would exist after the offence for trial.
There is one other point which has been raised with which I should like to deal and that is the question suggested that any form of trial here, whether you call it impeachment or otherwise, is equivalent to a criminal trial in the ordinary sense of the term. I expressed disagreement with that view on the Second Reading and I think that that disagreement has been endorsed by Deputy Lavery, when he states that the only specific sanction and the only sanction which is contemplated in this clause is deprivation of office. It seems to me to be equivalent to a case in any local authority or civil service or anything of that kind where a man might be dismissed from the service for an offence without any relation whatever to what action would be taken afterwards by a court. That is borne out by the actual wording of sub-section (3), clause 8, of Article 13 which says: "No action at law or in equity or other legal proceeding, civil or criminal, shall lie against the President during his term of office". That, I think, makes it perfectly clear.