Committee on Finance. - Presidential Establishment Bill, 1938—Committee Stage.

(1) The emoluments and allowances to be received by the President in pursuance of Section 11 of Article 12 of the Constitution shall be at the rate of ten thousand pounds per annum, whereof five thousand pounds shall be the personal remuneration of the President.
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I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (1), line 22, to delete the word "ten" and substitute the word "five".

I consider that a salary of £10,000 is altogether excessive, having regard to the resources of this country and having regard to the population of the country. We have to face the fact that this is a partitioned country and, being divided into two parts, and under two Governments, we have got two figure-heads holding positions somewhat similar and being paid for holding those positions. We are here proposing to pay in this portion of the country over which our Government have control, a sum of £10,000 to a person to act as the figurehead of the State. We have also to face the fact that the people in the Six Counties will be paying a somewhat similar sum for another figurehead. I think this policy of setting up the head of the State who has very few useful functions to perform is an absolutely wrong policy. To begin with, we have to face the difficulty which the people of this country have to meet in endeavouring to provide for the finances of the State.

The Taoiseach has stated here that the Government have no gold mine at their disposal. It might be well to point out that neither has the taxpayer, and, before providing a sum which the average taxpayer will consider excessive, we are entitled to know for what purpose it is required. We have been told that this very large and generous salary is necessary in order to provide for entertainment, the entertainment, I suppose, of visitors to this country, or distinguished citizens in the country—I do not know which. If there is entertainment to be provided at the public expense, we are entitled to know who is to be entertained, why and how.

A good deal of criticism has been directed against the Government during the past few years for distributing free beef and milk to the idle poor. If this is a proposal, as it seems to be, to distribute not alone free beef and milk, but also free brandy, whiskey and champagne to the idle rich, it is not one of which I think the people of the country will approve. It has been said that the distribution of free beef and milk has had a demoralising effect on the poor and the unemployed. I do not know whether this new proposal will have a similar effect upon the people who will enjoy the benefit of this entertainment, but I leave that matter to the Minister's conscience.

I cannot see any benefit to be derived from the expenditure of such an enormous sum on entertainment, and I cannot see from what source the plain people of this country can be expected to provide the money that is required. I may be told that this means a reduction of only £5,000 in the Estimate, but I know that in the country districts it requires a considerable amount of energy on the part of the Government and their servants to collect £5,000. In my, own constituency I know that the flying squad have had to visit quite a large number of holdings in order to collect even £5,000. They have had to travel over mountains and bogs, and they have visited many homes where they found nothing but poverty and destitution. Here it is proposed to spend this enormous sum on a purpose which cannot be justified.

In addition, we know that the provision of this money imposes a heavy burden upon working people, who have had their cost of living increased by taxation. These people who have to pay higher prices for the necessaries of life will naturally ask why should we be taxed in order to provide entertainment for people who are regarded either as distinguished citizens or visitors. I think the policy of the Government should be to exercise the most rigid control over expenditure of this kind, and for that reason I am suggesting that this amount should be reduced. I think the State should err more on the side of economy than on the side of generosity. The working people who want to get unemployment assistance or home help have to establish a very strong case, and we know there is very close supervision over the few miserable shillings distributed to the destitute. There should be greater supervision over any benefits distributed under this measure for the entertainment of distinguished people, important or otherwise.

We are told that international courtesies demand that visitors to this country should be entertained. I do not know how far that goes. I do not know whether it entails maintaining everybody who comes to this country and claim they are distinguished visitors —keeping them in luxury at the Viceregal Lodge. I know that some time ago our Minister visited London on important business. They went over, as we were told afterwards, to whip John Bull. While they were on that business they stayed in hotels and, from reports in the public Press, they paid their bills when they were leaving.

So that it does not appear that they were not entertained free of charge while in London. Therefore, there does not appear to be any very strong case established for providing free entertainment at the Viceregal Lodge either for visitors from abroad or for any section of our own citizens. Since there does not appear to be such a need for such elaborate entertainment there does not appear any reason why a salary of £10,000 should be provided for the President. I think that in expressing this view I am expressing the view that was held by the Minister and by members of the present Government up to very recently. Speaking in the Dáil on the 13th July, 1928, the Taoiseach stated in reference to the salary of the Governor-General, which was, I think, £10,000:—

"We think that it is ridiculous that this small country should be spending so much on two figure-heads, one in the north of the country and one in the south. Between them they have a personal salary of £18,000, £3,000 more than the President of the United States gets. The United States have about 117,000,000 of the richest people in the world. Their head is not a figure-head. He is an active President and does his work as actively as any Prime Minister would do it and he is only getting from this huge population £15,000. Look at this country with less than four and a half millions of people where you are paying two figure-heads the sum of £18,000. I say it is wrong. It does not induce the ordinary taxpayer to pay taxes. I put it to the Labour Party. They will admit if they want social services carried out it will depend on the willingness of the ordinary taxpayer to pay his taxes to the State. Do you think it is going to make for willingness in that respect for them to see £3,000 more than is paid to the President of the United States paid to two figure-heads in this country?"

That was the position that prevailed in 1928 and that was the way the present head of the Government looked at it. I think it applies just as well at the present time and will apply as long as this country is divided into two separate States. Apart from all that there is another aspect of this question which does not seem to have occurred to the members of the Government. If any individual citizen is called on to provide or if he intends expending money upon any particular branch of his business or upon the improvement of his home or holding or anything of that kind the first thing he will ask is: "Is this a permanent business?" If a man is going to spend money on improving his house he will ask himself first of all: "Am I going to live permanently in this house?" The people of this country have a right to ask: "Is this position of Presidency a permanent one?" Is it one which is to endure and to continue? If it is not then the case for spending a very large amount of money on its establishment rests upon a very weak foundation.

Anybody who considers the matter carefully will come to the conclusion that the presidential establishment is not one that is going to last, and it is not going to last for the simple reason that it has not a sound foundation to rest upon. The President has no ordinary function to perform. Neither is the system under which he is elected calculated to fit in with the duties he is called upon to perform. As may be generally acknowledged, the duties and functions of the President in this country are to a large extent similar to the functions of a constitutional monarch in other countries. There is this essential difference, however, that whereas a constitutional monarch is or may be a person of very little political talent, the person who is going to occupy the position of President in this country will be a person of outstanding political talent, because he has got to contest an all-Ireland election against opponents. The man who is going to contest an election in this country for the Presidency and to secure election thereto, has got to be an outstanding politician with the vicious tendencies that characterise the politician in this country. That man is not going to live in idleness when he gets power in his hands. You will, therefore, have the position created in this country in which a terribly able politician will be placed in the Presidency and an equally able politician occupying the position of Taoiseach. You will have created a State with two heads, a ship with two captains—a condition of affairs which cannot last except a short time. There is certain to be a clash between these two forces because it is absolutely inevitable that the person who occupies the position of Taoiseach and the person who occupies the position of President are bound to clash. On that account you have not got a position of stability. For that reason I believe that the Presidential establishment will be discontinued. All common sense people will demand its discontinuance even before there is need for another election for the Presidency. We know the difficulties that arose and that had to be surmounted in order to avoid an election for the first President.

Such a position cannot continue. Because it cannot continue, it is foolishness on the part of the people of Ireland to vote a large sum of money for an institution which is bound to collapse simply because it is built upon an unsound foundation. There is only one type of head of this State who is likely to remain permanent and to command the permanent support of the people. That is the head of the State who is really exercising the functions of government. That is to say, the man who is head of the Executive Government, or, alternatively the person who occupies the position of Chief Justice. Either of these two positions would be natural for the head of the State to occupy. The position of a limited monarch who has got to face difficulties that no constitutional monarch has got to face, who has to stand before an audience, will be a very different type of personage from any constitutional monarch in any country. All that means that this position of Presidency cannot last, and because it cannot last it is foolish to vote money in any large sum providing for its establishment. The case for reducing the amount allowed rests upon two grounds. First, the inability of the people of this country to pay such a large sum, and in the next place the disadvantage which it would mean to burden the people and the difficulties which it would place in the collection of revenues. Together with that, there is the amount of discontent it would create amongst the taxpayers generally.

In addition you have the fact that no useful national advantage will be derived from the expenditure of this money. It will simply mean providing entertainment for a new type of aristocracy which will be attracted to the Viceregal Lodge. No benefit will be conferred on the taxpayer, and, in addition, no useful national advantage will be derived, as I have said.

I cannot accept this amendment. The speech to which we have just listened, dealing as it did with the functions of the President and the disadvantages of the present system as compared with the advantages of an alternative system, would all be very interesting if it had been delivered 18 months ago in this House; but the fact of the matter is that since then the Constitution has been given effect to, and has been accepted, I think, by all Parties in the State. The only thing for us, therefore, is to implement the provisions of the Constitution and to put into effect the recommendations of the committee which was set up to consider what provision properly should be made for the maintenance of the Presidential office. Not merely was the Constitution before the people, but the report of the committee dealing with this matter was published, I think, last November, and has been before the people since then. I think I may venture to say that the recommendations of the committee, at any rate in regard to the office of the Presidency, have met with almost universal acceptance. In view of that fact, I do not see that there is any reason why, in regard to the figures mentioned in this first section of the Bill, we should do anything else but give effect to the recommendations of the committee which are supported, I think, by all Parties in the House.

I listened to Deputy Cogan supporting his amendment, and I frankly admit that I was anything but convinced. The mere form in which he presented his case showed a lack of belief in his own amendment. In so far as his speech dealt with the office of President, it dealt with points such as whether we should have or should not have a President, and, if we had a President, whether the duties concerned could not be combined with the duties of Taoiseach or of Chief Justice. Now, there might or might not be a certain amount in that, but, rightly or wrongly, those points were decided long ago by the Dáil and subsequently met with the approval of the people. That having being done, irrespective of what any of our views might have been with regard to the necessity or the desirability of this office, the office has been created; it is the law of the land, and the only reason that has any of us here is to make laws in the hope that, when they are made, they will be respected. That side of the question does not arise now. What does arise now is, when the office is legally established, when a head of the State has been legally appointed by the Dáil, by the people, and by the representatives of the people, whether we will then place that individual and his office in a position of high dignity or otherwise. That is the question.

The Deputy's case was half an argument against the office, and the other half an argument against giving any money with the office. There would be some justification if his amendment were to the effect that no salary should be paid and no allowances made, but in so far as the case made was against any expenditure in the office, though having subscribed to the expenditure to a degree, then it was inconsistent to start to argue that there should be no expenditure whatsoever in connection with the office. The Deputy put a question as to what type of entertainment it was designed to carry out. Well, nations, just as individuals, have got to be guided by and have got to learn the lesson and follow the example established by tradition, custom, and precedent. We may be only a small nation, but we are a mother race and a motherland, and we are in a position to have an influence in this world far and above our strength or our wealth. This is a spot that attracts visitors from all points of the world and from the greatest countries in the world.

We have established—and I believe deservedly so—a reputation in the past for courtesy, kindliness, and hospitality. That reputation has been established by the individual in the house or in the hamlet. It would be acting untruly to our traditions if, as a State, we were to trample on the customs and the traditions built up by the people themselves. Now, with regard to the amount of money asked for here, any of us can make a political speech with regard to taxpayers and taxes, but the amount of money asked for to maintain this headship of the State and all the expenses associated with that office to entertain visitors on behalf of the whole lot of us—the amount of contribution that is required for that would be 3d. per farmer per year, or 1d. per taxpayer per year. Now, I believe that there is not a taxpayer in the whole of Ireland mean-spirited enough or sufficiently poor-spirited to begrudge a penny per annum in order to uphold the dignity of this old land of ours and in order to ensure that within the world community of nations we would never have to bow our heads as a mean-spirited country in returning the hospitality which we receive from others.

Amendment put and declared lost.

With regard to amendment No. 2, Sir, since it is more or less conditional on the first amendment, I do not desire to press it.

Amendment No. 2, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 1 stand part of the Bill."

On the section, Sir, it is provided that "the emoluments and allowances to be received by the President in pursuance of Section 11 of Article 12 of the Constitution shall be at the rate of £10,000 per annum, whereof £5,000 shall be the personal remuneration of the President." I do not think we had from the Minister for Finance any indication as to what the allowances were intended to cover. This section is somewhat related to Section 2, which provides that "it shall be lawful for the Minister for Finance, out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, to provide and maintain for the President an official residence, to defray the expenses of the office establishment of the secretary to the President, and to provide for the President such facilities and services, and such other things, as the Minister shall from time to time determine to be necessary or proper." I should like to know what is it intended that the President should provide out of the personal salary of £5,000, and what out of the allowance of £5,000?

Is it intended that the cost of any personal services, such as wages or salaries of domestic or clerical staffs, should be provided for out of either, and what are the commitments of the State under Section 2? We ought to know what is the gross total of our expenditure on this office. If the State were to provide for the President anything like the services formerly provided—unnecessarily, I think—for the ex-Governor-General, the total bill would be quite a considerable one. I want to know whether any portion of the responsibility for meeting expenditure on that former grandiose scale is now going to devolve upon the person who is to get £10,000 under Section 1.

I think the sub-section, so far as the element of personal remuneration is concerned, is quite clear. That would be in the nature of a Presidential salary, a salary which attaches to the office, and which would be subject to income-tax. The net amount, after deduction of tax, which the President will receive, will be considerably below £4,000.

About £3,000. A little more?

I cannot say exactly how much. It may depend on other considerations. The other £5,000 is intended to defray the cost of running what may be described as the domestic and general side of that establishment, including chaplain, housekeeper and all the other staff and domestic servants; maintenance of the President's car; a certain allowance towards entertainment, the sort of entertainment which he would find personally unavoidable because of the fact that he occupies the Presidential office; the cost of dress allowance for the staff; and to provide generally for certain other contingencies that may be expected to arise. That is so far as the £5,000 is concerned. The services which are to be provided under Section 2 are mainly those which were dealt with when the Estimate for what was described as the President's Establishment was before the House, that is to say, the secretariat of the President. That part of the secretariat which is of a Civil Service nature will be defrayed mainly out of the moneys to be voted by the Dáil from year to year under Section 2. As I have said, it is not possible at this stage to give any firm idea as to what they will amount to. As the Deputy will understand, we have to be guided by experience, but the one thing which we are bound to do under the Constitution is to fix a certain sum which will be regarded as emoluments. That is dealt with in Section 1. The variable expenses of the establishment, which, of course, will be determined actually by the part which the President plays in the enactment of legislation and in certain other aspects of our public life, will possibly fall to be met in some part at any rate under Section 2.

In the report of the committee which dealt with the matter of Ministerial and other salaries, the type of expenditure which was met out of moneys annually voted by the Oireachtas for the Governor-General's establishment was set out in Appendix 7, page 47. It was there indicated that a variety of expenses—such as the salaries of the controller of the household, chaplain, private secretary, clerk to comptroller, typists, telephonists, allowances of two aides-de-camp, and insurance contributions—amounting in all to £1,825, were met out of a provision made by the State, apart from the personal salary which the Governor-General then received. Is it intended that the State should bear those services so far as they are necessary under Section 2 of this Bill, or will any portion of this expenditure be met by the President out of the allowance of £5,000?

The domestic staff— the exact personnel—has not yet been settled; the chaplain, the housekeeper, the butler, the footman, all those people who are necessary to keep that large house running smoothly, will be a charge on the second £5,000, on the moneys provided under Section 1 of the Bill. In addition to that, some part of the cost of dressing certain members of that staff—whatever the dress allowance may be—the cost of running the Presidential motor cars and various other contingencies, incidental expenses which are bound to arise, will all be borne on the £5,000. The salary of the secretary to the President, that is the Civil Service head of the secretariat, and the Civil Service salaries generally, will be borne out of moneys provided under Section 2 of the Bill.

I take it then that so far as the establishment is concerned, the President will pay for his entire domestic staff out of the £5,000 provided under Section 1?

But in respect of his secretarial staff, that is the staff necessary to discharge the functions of his office, that staff being a Civil Service staff, will be provided for and its cost defrayed by the State under Section 2?

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 2.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

On Section 2, would the Minister say what is the estimated cost to the State of the provision to be made under this section? Is it going to bring the total expenditure up to £15,000 a year or £20,000? Can we get any idea as to the cost?

I have not got the exact figure at the moment. The Deputy will remember that an Estimate of, I think, £4,000, which included £1,200 as a provision for motor cars, was before the Dáil. That roughly —plus any additional cost for the maintenance of the grounds and so on, which may be necessitated by the fact that the Presidential residence is now occupied — represents the total amount which will be provided out of voted moneys. I have not got the exact figure, but the Deputy will remember that there was an Estimate of £4,000 odd, and from my recollection £1,200 of that was for the purchase of motor cars. There was a certain other item for official travelling expenses, which was more or less a token, and may not be used at all. Whether it is used will depend on the number of functions which the President is asked to attend in other parts of the country during the year and to which he may have to travel in a certain amount of state. That was also included. If you deduct, roughly, £1,400 to £1,500 from the amount of the last Estimate, you will get the cost of the Presidential secretariat as distinct from the Presidential establishment. In addition to that, certain extra expenditure will be necessitated by reason of the fact that the residence is now occupied, over and above what is necessary when the residence is not occupied. The principal expenditure, I may say, is in respect of the grounds and the garden, and that is practically the same irrespective of whether the residence is occupied or unoccupied, because the gardens and all those other things have been maintained and would, I anticipate, continue to be maintained even if the house were completely closed. There will arise certain items also for the maintenance of the structure, other elements of wear and tear, and lighting and heating, particularly of the State apartments. I have the Vote now for the Deputy. The Vote was for £4,048, of which there were incidental expenses, £100, and telegrams and telephones— all official—£500. It is not anticipated that that amount will all be spent, but a large margin has been provided for contingencies. There is also £1,200 for the purchase of motor cars. The total cost of the Civil Service secretariat, excluding those items, is £2,148. As I said, that amount, plus the cost of maintaining the occupied residence, will make up the full total.

What is the estimated cost of maintaining the residence? It cost the State a considerable sum when formerly a Governor-General was in residence there. Appendix VII, page 47 shows that aides-de-camp cost £749; rates, £565; stationery, etc., £120; post office, £65. The maintenance of premises and gardens, fuel, light, furniture and cleaning cost £9,350. Under that roof alone £10,849 was spent. Is it intended that the expenses will resemble the previous figures? Are fuel and light to be paid for out of the President's allowance or salary, or is the State going to pay for them?

The place will be heated and lighted for him. I do not know if the provision was actually spent in the financial year. I believe that in no year, so far as I recall, did the total expenditure for fuel, the gardens and grounds, amount to more than £6,000. That is my recollection. I know that when the place was unoccupied the cost of maintaining it was £3,000. Since the last Governor-General was there, certain arrangements have been made with regard to the gardens which will, we hope, reduce the cost of upkeep. Some of them have been let and it is not the present intention to reverse that policy. They will continue to be let until we see what the cost may be. It may be taken that the net cost actually arising of the occupation of the residence will not be much more than £3,500.

Do you think there is a constituted right to let a portion of the new President's grounds?

It is a new establishment, in the sense that it is being provided for the first time.

I should like if the Minister for Finance could give us some assurance on this question, apart altogether from the odd few thousand pounds additional that the upkeep of the President's establishment may entail. It has been suggested that a new residence of a cheaper kind is going to be built for the President. I ask the Minister to give the House an assurance that nothing like that will be done until after the passage of three or four years, so that we may really see the new office of the President and his establishment in their proper perspective. A very considerable amount of effort, as well as a considerable amount of money, both State money and private money, has been spent, as well as losses to individuals, in order to destroy the authority of democratic institutions that we have here. This office of President is, as it were, the last improvement, or the last want in the institutions set up here as long ago as 1922, that it was claimed would make them truly democratic. A great deal may be said for or against that. But that case has been made, and when we got the position of President passed by this House and by the country, by putting the key-stone to our democratic institutions in setting up that office, we should not begin to patch, to chip and to chop in a way that is going to prevent us finding out whether the office is going to make for a gracing and strengthening of our democratic institutions. Do not, within the first one, two or three years of the institution of the office of President, demolish that by building a small residence for him within view of the present building, so that we will have our principal State building like a new housing scheme alongside a demolished workhouse. Something has been said about the exorbitant amount of money paid as salary to the President, and the excessive amount of money required to keep the place running. I do not believe that matters, because most of the money is going to go in employment. When we consider the amount of money spent in all kinds of ways, in the development of a scrap of employment here, and a scrap of employment there, the number of people employed, and the number leaving the country, we may very well afford to have some of them engaged in keeping the Presidential grounds in order, giving an odd coat of paint to some of the windows—and some of them want it badly—or papering the walls, which badly want papering after the period during which the premises were unoccupied. I do not want to develop that side of the matter, but I ask the Minister, in spite of what has been said with regard to the buildings and the premises, to give an assurance that the President is going to be allowed to occupy them for a reasonable number of years, so that we may judge if the residence he is occupying is being kept in a dignified and a stately way. Deputy Norton cannot have it both ways. I plead that the grounds should not be divided up and let to an odd market gardener here and an odd market gardener there. If the President, as an institution, is worth keeping, it is well worth keeping in a dignified and stately way, and it is worth while keeping the gardens by giving employment, if only to bedeck the place. If the vegetables increase too much, they can be disposed of by any Government Department, even by marketing, and if a few heads of cabbage, a few potatoes, onions or tomatoes affect the agricultural position, let them be given to some charitable institution, of which we have many. My main plea is that the residence, which the President occupies, should be kept up in a dignified and an effective way, and that we should not look at what the cost would be, until we had an opportunity of seeing what the value of the Presidential establishment was going to be, politically or otherwise, to the country.

It is important that the Minister should, at this stage, issue a statement on behalf of the Government, that this residence is going to be used by the occupant of the Presidential office for a reasonable period of years. The Minister knows that statements have been circulated in the newspapers to the effect that a small residence is to be provided later on. This question has a very important bearing on the answer given to Deputy Norton, on the question of the upkeep of the Presidential establishment, and also, I suggest, has a very important bearing on the figure to be set aside for the personal remuneration of the President. I notice in the report of the commission that, when dealing with the question of personal remuneration, they say:

"The amount of the personal salary to be provided for the holder of that office should, in our view, be related to the probable nature of the establishment, and the style of living which the holder will be expected to maintain."

A word on that matter from the Minister would be a useful guide for those of us in the future who would have to defend what is now being done by the terms of this Bill. I am not grumbling at the amount set aside for allowances, because I assume, and hope, that the amount set aside under that head will be spent in the most useful way possible, but I have a strong personal objection to such a high figure being set aside for personal remuneration unless it is made very clear by the Minister what kind of establishment is going to be maintained by the President, and that to that extent, at any rate, this Bill will conform to the wishes of a majority of the members of this commission who reported to the Minister on the matter. I, personally, strongly object to even the President of this State getting a higher rate of personal remuneration than, say, the Taoiseach or the Chief Justice. The Minister has pointed out that the amount of £5,000 is subject to income-tax. So is the salary of the Taoiseach. So, I presume, is the salary of the Chief Justice. I do not think that the President of this country, either now or in the future, no matter who that person may be, will have duties to perform half as onerous as the Taoiseach of the future or the Chief Justice of the future. Salary, or personal remuneration, as it is described in this case, should have some reference to the service rendered by the individual who is going to be paid by the taxpayers. That is a personal point of view, but I would strongly urge and press the Minister—and we are entitled to press the Minister—at this stage as to whether it is intended that the present occupant of the position of President will reside at the Viceregal Lodge for a reasonable period or whether, as reported and stated elsewhere, it is intended at a later date, less than seven years at any rate, to set up a Presidential establishment on a smaller scale elsewhere.

I would just like to say that there is no man in this House nor in Ireland less disposed to speak disparagingly of what our President should have than I am; but listening to all the talk, and especially from Deputy O'Higgins, about maintaining the dignity and honour of the country, I want to say that these are trifles light as air if we have not with them at the same time a fair share of comfort, contentment and happiness among the masses of the people. I am not agreeable that the President should have £5,000 while the Taoiseach has a lesser salary. We were reminded by the Minister in his opening statements that the Chief Justice had £4,000 a year. One thing strikes me in all the speeches—a lack of that sense of reality about the whole thing. Do we realise that the country could do without a Chief Justice? I submit that the country could also do without a President, but you cannot or could not do without those who produce and prepare the food and other necessaries of the nation. I say there is a great lack of a sense of reality about the whole of this discussion. I am not agreeable that the President should have £5,000 a year and, furthermore, I am not satisfied that that office is not going to cost more than £15,000 a year, and that we will see further about it later on.

I simply wanted to say that we must uphold the dignity of such an office. Attacks were repeatedly made against this office in the past and yet it was generally recognised that the President of the State was able to uphold the dignity and exercise that hospitality to representatives of other countries, that such an office demanded. I think it would be very much lowering the dignity of this country were we not to have a President of the State exercising that dignity in his office and extending that hospitality and performing the various functions that are associated with such an office. If we are not to go back to a system of almost savagery, I think we will have to have certain degrees of office and I for one strongly support the proposal.

I do not know whether I would be in order in going back over the ground which has been traversed by Deputy Hickey.

In fact, Deputy Hickey was referring to Section 1, which has been already agreed to.

I would just like to say that I concur fully with what Deputy O'Higgins and Deputy Brooke Brasier have said; and only that I do not wish to occupy the time of the House I would dwell on that possibly a little longer. With regard to the point Deputy Mulcahy has raised as to the period during which the present residence will be occupied, I desire to say that, even from the point of view of the occupant, that residence is not altogether an ideal one.

It was built a long time ago. The main portion of it was built a long time ago. Then there were various annexes added and it is not the most convenient residence possible. In addition the fabric itself is not of the soundest. A great deal of the fabric, I understand, may be due for renewal within the next ten or 15 years. However, I can reassure the Deputy on this point: the present intention is not to pull down the existing building but to do as he has suggested, that is, to allow an experimental period to elapse and then to see whether another structure might not be more suitable. I can assure the Deputy that, as far as I personally am concerned and my colleagues, we are all very anxious to ensure that the official residence which is to be provided under the Constitution will be one which will be worthy of our people. I take the point of view that a certain amount of symbolism enters into all this thing. People associate a graceful, tasteful residence with certain official positions, and if a person is called to the headship of this State then I think nobody would grudge anything within reason which would befit that office. I think that we are not unreasonable in any proposals that are now before the House in this Bill. We have in fact kept the figures. I personally think, on the low side, the reason being that there is a constitutional bar against any reduction, while on the other hand we do not want to make what may be excessive provision at the outset. But it may happen that as this office establishes itself in the hearts of the people, and as we all come to rally round it as the keystone of our State and as the central focus of our national life, we may desire to attach a little more ceremony to it. I think we would be making a great mistake if we believed the Irish people have not a regard for ceremony and pageantry. They have. You have only to go to some of our football matches and see how it breaks out there as the teams march in procession around the field. We are not that sort of race which does not find anything in nature to delight the eye or the other senses. We have an artistic temperament and I am perfectly certain, if we left it to the voice of the people and if we were to put it to the vote of the people to say how this residence would be maintained, they would all say that our country and our State should have a symbol which would be worthy of our past.

The funniest thing in this discussion on the Presidential establishment has been to compare the pageantry of it to a football match.

That is quite wrong. The Deputy knows that as well as I do.

I want to get from the Minister, who has now reached Olympian heights about this, if he has some idea as to what the total cost is going to be. Under Section 1 we are going to pay £10,000, £5,000 personal salary and £5,000 for allowances. Now we have a supplementary Estimate of £4,048. I want to know how much it is going to cost the State to provide for the maintenance of certain services which were formerly provided for a Governor-General, namely, the maintenance of the premises and gardens, furniture, fuel, light and cleaning. Are all those services going to cost £10,000?

I do not know. The Deputy will have to wait until we have had at least a year's experience, until the residence has been occupied for a year. We will then be able to tell him more exactly. I cannot give him any further information than I have given this evening.

Most citizens in the country have to find out before hand how much they have to spend in the year and what provision they have to make for their sustenance and the maintenance of their household. Surely it is not unreasonable for a Legislative House such as this to ask what it is going to cost the general taxpayer to maintain the residence for 12 months, bearing in mind that there is to be a statutory provision for £10,000. How much more is it going to cost in order to provide for this establishment? Are we going to spend another £10,000 under Section 2, or £15,000? When everybody has finished talking about the tinsel of office, it might be well to get down to hard tacks. Deputy Brasier talked about going back to savagery unless we spend £10,000 on this building.

What else can you call it?

I know a lot of people who would be quite willing to go back to savagery if they got £1,000 to spend on their households. The Deputy talks about going back to savagery unless we write cheques every day in the week for the upkeep of this place. What is the total cost going to be? We know of £10,000 and another £4,000, but how much more are we going to spend on the maintenance of the establishment, providing furniture, fuel, light, cleaning, etc.? These are all questions which ought to be answered. We got that information on other matters and we got estimates of expenditure on other matters. Why not on this Bill?

It is correct to say that the estimate you get, as Deputy Norton knows, with regard to any service or establishment, is rarely contained in a Bill which lays down the rate or the figure for all time or for a number of years. The estimate you get with regard to any State establishment is a year to year estimate. If any of those estimates were submitted to the Dáil without even a month's working experience, then that estimate would be, to say the least of it, rather misleading. The points made by Deputy Norton are points that were considered by the commission. The commission endeavoured to get such evidence as they could on these points. They came to the conclusion that it was unreasonable to expect anything like a cut and dried estimate with regard to the running expenses of an establishment that was not yet in being.

I take it that under this particular heading an estimate will be submitted from year to year and that within nine or ten months we will be through the estimates dealing with the figure or series of figures put up to us. Criticism or observation with regard to the cost of the establishment could very well wait until we have had nine months' experience of working. That would be a fairly reasonable standard to accept with regard to the working for future years.

We were all concerned on this point, but we were convinced—and I think it is mentioned in some portion of that report—that this type of expenditure, in the early stages at least, should only be taken in hops from year to year until we saw what would be a reasonable figure for the establishment and then we could deal with it in the ordinary course of events through a yearly estimate. I think that is referred to in the report, but I am only speaking from memory.

Deputy O'Higgins seems to be anxious and appears to be in a position to make a more convincing case for the passage of the Bill than the Minister has attempted to make. I would respectfully point out to Deputy O'Higgins and the Minister that this report was submitted on the 16th December, 1937, and there must have been a good deal of consideration given to the whole question of the cost of the Presidential establishment between the date the report was received and the present time. I would again lay particular stress on the section of the report which Deputy O'Higgins, I am sure, is supporting. It says that the amount of the personal salary provided for the holder of the establishment should be related to the probable nature of the establishment and the style of living which the holder will be expected to maintain.

This is a Bill proposing that certain emoluments and remuneration will be paid to the future and present occupant of the Presidency. That section of the report must have been carefully considered. The Minister went a little bit further in his last statement when he said that the occupant of the Presidential post will keep the present establishment for an experimental period. He did not even go as far as Deputy O'Higgins went. He did not say that it would be for nine months or 12 months or for seven years. Is the present occupant going to occupy the Viceregal Lodge, in view of the cost of its upkeep, during his lifetime, or will provision be made that he will live there for seven years? Is this experimental period going to last one year or seven years?

Which way does the Deputy want it?

I want to know what, in the opinion of the Minister and his colleagues, will be the length of the experimental period during which the occupant of the position will reside in the Viceregal Lodge. If he is going to live there we can all have some idea, from the cost incurred in the past, as to what the future cost will be. If he is going to live there only for a year or two, and get a smaller establishment, as has been mentioned, the emoluments, allowances and personal remuneration would have to have some relation to the upkeep of the smaller establishment, if there is going to be one. The Minister should be more precise and give more information, especially in view of the fact that he has the report in his possession since the 16th December.

I do not know whether Deputy Norton or Deputy Davin are at one in this matter.

You need not bother about that.

Deputy O'Higgins and the Minister are.

We would like to have some harmony and unity on the Labour Benches, even on the Labour Front Bench.

You need not bother about that. It is nearly as harmonious as the Cabinet sometimes.

I gathered first from Deputy Davin that he was concerned that the present Presidential residence should not be vacated too hurriedly and that he rather took the view of Deputy Mulcahy, that it ought to be kept for a number of years. I am not so certain that that was Deputy Norton's view. I am not certain yet what Deputy Norton's views are in regard to the Bill. When Deputy Davin spoke last he seemed to take it for granted that the occupation would be only for the period of one year. I said nothing which would justify him making such an assumption. I did say that I felt that the question of the vacation of the Presidential residence and its replacement by a more modern structure would not arise for some years.

I think it would take a considerable time, even if it had been decided that the residence would not be vacated for a number of years. I said that it was neither convenient nor comfortable for the occupant. Structurally, it is not the soundest, and because of that fact we may be compelled to consider proposals for a new residence altogether. However, that matter is very much in abeyance, and I can assure Deputy Mulcahy that it seems to me as if the present residence is going to be occupied for a number of years.

Section 2 put and agreed to.
SECTION 3.
(1) A pension at the rate of £1,200 per annum shall be granted by the Government to every person who, having held the office of President, ceases to hold that office for any reason other than death or removal from office under Section 10 of Article 12 of the Constitution.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In line 42, page 2, before the word "held" to insert the words "for not less than seven years".

The object of this amendment is to ensure that if the President is to be paid a pension at the rate of £1,200 per annum it should be only after he has held the office of President for not less than seven years. In recommending the Second Reading of this Bill to the House, the Minister for Finance spent a good deal of time paying a tribute to the care with which the committee dealt with this question of Ministers' salaries and pensions. He praised the great care they bestowed on the task allotted to them. The committee who dealt with that matter with meticulous care and with the scrupulous desire to be fair, recommended, so far as the majority are concerned, that a pension of £1,200 a year should be paid only if the President held office for seven years. Now we find a Bill presented to us which makes it possible to pay a pension of £1,200 per annum to a President who may not have served in the office of President for a week. Speaking here on a former occasion, I quoted a case where it was possible for the President to be appointed on Monday, have a row with the Government on Tuesday, resign on Wednesday, and on Thursday make an application for a pension of £1,200 provided here under Section 3. He would be legally entitled to claim it. This may appear to be an extraordinary case, but why should we draft a section in such a loose way that it is possible for any person to do this.

Some of the most eccentric things in history have been done not by workingmen but by holders of high offices. We might well have a situation developed where a person might be appointed a President and after serving for six months or a year, begin to dislike the task and clear out. Does the Legislature intend to give a pension of £1,200 under these circumstances? I do not think it should. We are providing a salary of £5,000 for the President, an allowance of another £5,000, and we are spending £10,000 in maintaining his residence, providing fuel, light and various other things, so as to equip it for him. I think it is not unreasonable to say to the President that if he is to get a pension of £1,200 a year he ought to stay in office for at least seven years. He should not expect to resign from office and get a pension of £1,200 for anything less than seven years' service. Yet that is the minimum which this amendment seeks that the President should serve before being entitled to a pension. As the section is drafted, it is possible for him to get out after a year's or a month's or a day's service. To avoid the possibility of that occurring, the amendment recommends a minimum of seven years. I think we should close the loophole that is in the Bill by its insertion.

Providing a pension for this position is really absurd. Any citizen who has the ability, the intelligence, or the political talent to attain to this position of Presidency is well able to look after himself. It is possible for a citizen to attain this position at a very early age, and for the remainder of his life, after serving, say, perhaps, seven years, draw this pension. That is absolutely absurd. This country is developing into an island of politicians and pensioners. In a very short time there will be nobody in this country who is not in receipt of a pension, and we will have sitting on the benches here almost a complete Party of ex-Presidents, all drawing pensions. We ought to face up to the fact that the position of President can only be attained through an all-Ireland contested election. Having regard to the fact that it is only a man of outstanding political ability who can succeed in out-classing and out-distancing all his rivals in getting to the Viceregal Lodge, can we not realise that a man of that type is quite well able, when his term of office expires, to take care of himself? He is not likely to become destitute. If he is destitute, notwithstanding his extraordinary talent, it will be shown that it will be through some moral defect in his own character. A pension of £1,200 a year will not prevent that type of man from being destitute, because it will be possible that he will be the sort of man who does not know how to keep money. This position can only be attained by a man who may be anything from a thimble-rigger to an archangel. He certainly will not be a fool, and since he will not be a fool he will be quite capable of taking care of himself without inflicting a burden on the people to provide him with a huge pension.

I hope, even though we have to refer to the Presidential office, that we will keep clearly in mind what the office is. It represents the headship of this State. Whoever is called to it will be chosen by the people, whether by agreement, as in the case of the present President, or by election. At any rate, he will be taken as a person whom the majority of the people of this country regard as worthy. The people of this country will not choose a thimble-rigger. There ought to be some sort of bridle upon our tongues when referring to the prospective occupants of this office. I believe that whoever is chosen will be a worthy man and a worthy citizen. As to what his position may be when he leaves office, we must remember that he will possibly be chosen for those qualities which do not enable a person to acquire a great deal of worldly goods.

Most people who may be called to that office will be called to it because they had devoted more attention to public concerns and to the concerns of the people, of the nation than to their own personal concerns. Moreover, so long as they are in the Presidency they will not be able to attend to their own personal concerns. I think, therefore, that it will be found that when they leave that office they will be much more likely to be poorer than when they entered upon the office. I cannot conceive how anybody will leave that office better off than he was when taking up the office. I cannot conceive of any honest man leaving such an office better off than when he came into it. And I certainly think that anybody who has once occupied that office would not be the best fitted to go out again in ordinary industrial and commercial competition to try to secure for himself a competence. It must be remembered that he will have been in a position in which he will have been divorced from professional or commercial life, from everything pertaining to business life. While in the office, he will have cut professional ties and will be expected to cut them because, in that office, he has on occasions very great powers. The Deputy may not be aware of that fact, but under the Constitution the President has almost the power, in certain circumstances, of turning out the Government. It certainly would be very desirable, therefore, from the public point of view, that the person occupying that office should be above all suspicion of acting, in any occasion, in his personal capacity, or that he might be serving a private interest. Therefore, as I say, he would have to divorce himself from all his preceding occupations, and having served the State for seven years, or for 14 years, as might be the case, he is likely to go out of office unfitted to take up the threads of ordinary professional or commercial life again. Surely, then, there is an obligation on us people who take a man up, who lift him up and put him on a pinnacle among us, to see that when his term of office expires his private personal circumstances will not be a matter on which we can reproach ourselves.

It is because the committee and the Government realise that these are the conditions which are likely to exist that we have decided that, as a right, a person who is once called upon to be President of this State will be safeguarded against what would be the almost inevitable consequences to himself of having occupied that office. It is only right that, at any rate, when we take him up and make him head of our people, his future will be secured and that he will be able to move among us in fairly easy circumstances, in circumstances which I hope and anticipate will enable him to devote a great deal of attention to public concerns of a non-party nature, and which will enable him to serve the State in the capacity of an elder statesman, in the same way as people elsewhere have been able to avail of the services of men who have held exalted positions and who, in that capacity, have rendered great service indeed to their respective countries in periods when their peoples have been under great stress and strain. That is the sort of person we want for this office, and that is the sort of position that we want our ex-Presidents to occupy here. I do not for one moment believe that the President's usefulness to this country will cease when he has laid down the office of President. I feel that, among us, there are many matters to which in other countries persons of means devote their attention, matters to which here, unfortunately, for one reason or another, we do not find people in a position to give attention in a non-party or non-partisan way. In regard to such matters, as I say, ex-Presidents of this country would be able to render great service to this nation, and that is one reason, apart from our obligations in the matter, why it would be in the interests of this country to ensure that our ex-Presidents would be able to serve us in the way I have tried to suggest.

Now, with regard to the point to which Deputy Norton's amendment relates, we have considered this matter very carefully. I think that, in regard to the particular implications of this section, we might possibly be in a better position to appreciate them than the majority of the members of the committee. One thing that is clear is that the President is to have a particular responsibility in regard to the Constitution, and on occasions he may have to take action which would be at variance with the wishes of the Government of the day. It is, in my view, of the first importance that, in regard to his Presidential functions, the President should be put in a position — particularly in connection with those functions which put on him the obligation of a personal decision — of the greatest possible independence, financial and otherwise, and that accordingly, even though it might involve a situation of the sort that a President would be elected by the people and that then, within a comparatively short time, he should feel compelled because of some constitutional position to resign his office, he should be able to do that in the knowledge that, at any rate, he would not have to leave in circumstances which, in view of the fact that he occupied an exalted position, would be comparatively humiliating to him. For that reason, accordingly, I feel that he ought to be in a position where he could exercise his individual judgment in the freest possible way.

Take the case which Deputy Norton has put before the House. He has suggested that a President might be elected and, within a comparatively short period, decide to resign office. I assume that if he had resigned because of some physical or mental incapacity we would all feel that there was an obligation on the State to provide for him. He would have broken down in our service, and accordingly, so far as the question of his mental or physical incapacity was concerned, I feel that there could not be much difference of opinion. I think that the only point on which there might be difference of opinion would be where the President, although in possession of all his faculties and in good health, felt compelled to resign. Now, what would be the kind of issue that would make a man, who was fitted to be our President, resign? Remember, underlying the whole Constitution, and underlying the proposals of this Bill, there must always run the assumption that the person who is elected as President is fitted to occupy that office—fitted by character, fitted by talent, fitted by capacity and fitted, above everything else, in his desire to serve the people. What, then, would be the kind of thing that would make such a man resign his office? Surely, a person of that type, once he is elected President, will not want to resign or to relinquish that office, and will not relinquish that office, in mere pique? He will want to continue in an office which reflects " >great dignity on him. He will want to maintain that office in a dignified way, and I certainly do think that no person who is fit to be head of our State is going to resign that office, as Deputy Norton has suggested, in mere pique, nor do I think that, if the issue is ever put to the people, they are going to choose and to elect as their President a person who is unfit for or unworthy of that office. I think that is the assumption on which we must proceed in regard to that matter.

Here we have an office filled by a worthy person, and we find that a situation arises in which he is compelled to resign. What is that situation likely to be? It is surely going to be a difference of opinion upon a matter of great constitutional moment to the people of this country—something so grave that he feels that in order that they may have an opportunity of taking a decision on it he must divest himself of the honours which they have placed upon him—that he must relinquish this high office to which they have called him in order that the Irish people may have an opportunity of pronouncing upon this difference which has arisen between him, on the one hand, as the guardian of the Constitution, and the Government, on the other hand, as the Executive of the day.

Surely that is the one thing against which a democratic State ought to put no barrier, surely if there is one thing about which we ought to be concerned to see that the provisions of the Constitution are given the fullest possible effect to, it is an issue of that sort. Therefore, we should not—and it is what has really compelled the Government to come to the conclusion which it has embodied in this Bill—put any deterrent in the way of a President who feels that he must resign upon a constitutional issue of high moment, and allow the people, who under the Constitution are the masters, to decide the issue for themselves. It is for that reason that I, at any rate, would feel very strongly that there should be no qualifying period attached to this pension. I believe that in practice the position will remain the same; that in practice we shall get a President who will serve the full term of office, because I feel that the Government on the one hand and the President on the other will be concerned to give full effect to the provisions of the Constitution. But supposing a constitutional conflict should arise between those two powers, the President on the one hand and the Executive of the day on the other, and that it can only be resolved by the people, we should certainly put no barrier in the way of a President who feels that the Government proposes to do something which he regards as so contrary to the Constitution that the people should have a voice in it. I think that instead of deterring the President from doing his duty to the people we ought to encourage him, and certainly we should not, by putting a qualifying period in the Bill, make it even superficially more difficult for the President to do what he would consider to be right and fair.

The Minister is trying to work off fairy stories on us in regard to this Bill, and this bogey-man role which he has adopted in this matter is entirely on a par with all the dignity which he is seeking to weave around this office. We had a committee, to which the Minister paid great tribute in the beginning, considering this matter. Finally, the majority of the members of the committee agreed that after holding office for seven years the President should be eligible for a pension of £1,200 a year. Other members thought he should hold office for 14 years before he got it, and I am not sure that some of them did not think he ought to get none at all. That committee considered all the matters to which the Minister has just adverted. It was only after they had given the matter very careful consideration that they prescribed that the President should serve a period of seven years before being entitled to a pension. I know nobody else in this country who can get a pension of £1,200 a year after seven years' service. Yet, we propose to give the President a pension of £1,200 after probably seven days' service. Why should we do it in connection with the President? After all, we ought not to elevate the President so high that his conditions of life bear no relation to the conditions of life of our people. That is what we are doing in this Bill.

The Minister tells us that the person who is likely to hold office must be ensured against the possibility of losing financially if there is disagreement with the Government. That is a case against the appointment of any President having a dual authority and responsibility to the people. That was one of the fears expressed when discussing the Constitution, and that is one of the fears which arise out of the present crazy method of electing the President. We give him functions comparable to those of the French President, and we allow him to be elected in the hurly-burly manner in which the American President is elected. That was a complication which we foresaw when we were discussing the Constitution, but it is not an argument against saying to the President: "If you serve seven years you will get a pension of £1,200 per year." If this office of President is going to give us the type of person who will not exercise his judgment in the manner that his conscience dictates because of fears that he may lose something, then we are opening up dangers and throwing upon the office much more realistic doubts than were formerly held. I think it ought to be possible, in the circumstances of this country, to get men who will express their judgment on the rightness or wrongness of an issue without regard to whether or not they suffer consequences. It is quite good for the President, and it is quite good for the Government to know that if there is something wrong at least the feelings of the people cannot be benumbed into smothering it with the knowledge that if they go quietly they will get a pension of £1,200 a year. We have seen some of those things happen here in recent years. It is much better, if there is to be a row between the President and the Government, that it should be a public row causing a constitutional crisis, so that the plain people of the country will know what the row is about. When you make provision for telling the President: "Slip out quietly; smother this row; say you are tired or say you are sick and you will get a pension"; that is the most dangerous kind of financial chloroform that can be applied to smother any kind of constitutional crisis.

As I said before, we are only asking the President to serve for seven years. If he serves the nation for that period he will then get a pension of £1,200 a year to enable him to adjust himself to private citizenship. It is not a terribly onerous task for a man to serve seven years and conduct himself reasonably for seven years, after which he will get a pension of £1,200. We give nobody else a pension of this magnitude after such a short service, and we ought not to give it to the President unless he serves a minimum period of seven years. The committee which considered this matter are on my side in the amendment that I have proposed, and I think we ought not to be carried away by this awe-stricken reverence of the Minister for Finance for this office. We ought to do something in a reasonable way as if we were dealing with an ordinary citizen. He is not one who is called on to render to the nation services which demand the exercise of any special qualities or attributes, but services which every patriotic citizen in a less spectacular way is rendering to the nation every day of the week.

Question put: "That the words proposed be there inserted."
The Committee divided: Tá, 10; Níl, 73.

  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Davin, William.
  • Everett, James.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Norton, William.
  • Pattison, James P.

Níl

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Friel, John.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.
Tellers: Tá: Deputies Everett and Keyes; Níl: Deputies Little and Smith.
Amendment declared lost.
Section 3 agreed to.
SECTION 4.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a pension at the rate of five hundred pounds per annum shall be granted by the Government to the widow of any person who—
(a) died while holding the office of President, or
(b) died while in receipt of a pension under the next preceding section of this Act, or
(c) was, immediately before his death, entitled to be granted but was not actually granted a pension under the next preceding section.
(2) No pension shall be granted to a person under this section unless or until she applies to the Government for the grant hereof.
(3) No pension shall be granted under this section to a person who has re-married after the death of the husband in respect of whose death such pension could (but for this sub-section) be granted.
(4) Every pension granted to a person under this section shall—
(a) if such person applies for such pension before the expiration of the period of six months beginning on the death of her husband, commence on the death of her husband, or
(b) if such person applies for such pension after the expiration of the said period of six months, commence on the date of such application.
(5) Every pension granted to a person under this section shall be charged upon and payable out of the Central Fund or the growing produce thereof to the said person until, in case she re-marries, such re-marriage or, in case she does not re-marry, her death.

On behalf of Deputy Cosgrave, I move amendments Nos. 4, 5 and 6:—

4. To delete sub-section (2).

5. To delete sub-section (4).

6. In sub-section (5), line 26, after the word "person" to insert the words "from the date of death of her husband."

Amendment No. 4 seeks to delete the provision under sub-section (2). Under the section as it stands at present the widow of an ex-President, in order to be entitled to the pension that is provided for her, would have to make application for the receipt of the pension. I think that is out of keeping with the general tone of the Bill.

Having considered the matter, I am of the same opinion as the Deputy and I am prepared to accept his amendments.

Amendments put and agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 5.
.......
(2) Where a person to whom a pension has been granted under this Act becomes a member of the Oireachtas, the amount of such pension shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other Act, be reduced, so long as such person continues to be a member of the Oireachtas, by the amount of any allowance to which such person may be entitled under statutory authority by virtue of such membership.
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On behalf of Deputy Norton, I move amendment No. 7:—

In sub-section (2) to delete all words after the word "shall," line 35, to the end of the sub-section, and insert the following words, "remain suspended so long as such person continues to be such member."

The effect of the amendment would be that if the ex-President becomes a member of this House he will not be entitled to any pension. I think that is reasonable, and if I seek no other argument than the argument used by the Minister for Finance when we were discussing the amendment upon which the House was just divided, I think I can find some ground for a convincing case for this amendment. If the President, having ceased to occupy that position, comes back into the hurly-burly of politics, it is clear that he cannot render that unique service to the nation that the Minister for Finance visualised a few moments ago when he spoke of that kind of great national service that could still be rendered by the ex-President of the State to the State. It does not seem to me that that idea would fit in with the position of a President who would return to active, perhaps violent, participation in politics and still retain the emoluments that followed from his office when he was in a position of detachment and isolation. I think there is a very good, sound, commonsense case for deciding that the President, having fulfilled for a certain period the office of President and then having relinquished it for one reason or another, should not be a member of this House and at the same time receive emoluments as ex-President.

About the purpose which is sought to be achieved by this amendment I have rather sympathetic views. I certainly think that it is undesirable that the President when he vacates his office should re-enter politics, but I do not think that this is the appropriate place to try to impose a disqualification upon him. I will concede that we have in the Bill, as drafted, by making the proviso that where he becomes a member of the Oireachtas, the amount of such pension shall be reduced by the amount of any allowance which any such person may be entitled to under statutory authority by virtue of any such membership, certain disabilities on the Presidency; but that is rather an indication to the President that, in view of the provision which is being made for him, it is at the same time in our view undesirable that he should re-enter politics when he relinquishes office. It is a sort of gentle hint. People may differ as to the wisdom of hinting in that way, and might say there ought to be a positive disqualification imposed on the President. There is something to be said for that point of view, but if so, it ought to be done in a Bill in which that particular principle could be discussed at great length and all its implications examined. To go the distance that Deputy Norton suggests, and virtually to impose a heavy penalty upon the ex-President if he became a member of the Oireachtas, is a matter which, I think, would require a great deal of consideration, much more consideration than, in the particular circumstances under which this Bill is being considered, we are able to give. Accordingly, for that reason I would not be prepared to agree to the amendment of Deputy Norton. I think that is a matter that ought to be considered alone and as a separate issue, and not mixed up with this question of pension at all.

Amendment withdrawn?

No, Sir.

If the amendment is not withdrawn I would like to say too that, while you might sympathise with the idea, to put these words that Deputy Norton's amendment suggests should be put into this Bill reduces the Bill to a kind of will where a man leaves his money to his wife on condition that she does not marry again and I think that, like the amendments that were agreed to just now, it is really out of keeping with this type of Bill and, as the Minister for Finance says, if objections of this particular kind or disqualifications of this kind are to be put in it ought to be in a separate Bill.

I am in agreement with the Minister for Finance in his conclusions but I think his premises are very poor. I think if he wants to exclude Deputy Norton's provision on the grounds that he suggested, he should logically take out, I think, the whole of Section 5 or, at any rate, the greater part of it and introduce it as a separate Bill, because, leaving out the question of the Oireachtas, sub-section (3) refers to public funds and the funds of a local authority and so forth and I think, if the Minister's contention is that this Bill is not the proper place to do it, then he should not have to do it. I would like to suggest the advisability of removing that section and submitting a separate Bill to deal with the matter, preventing an ex-President from either taking up work payable out of public funds or in the Oireachtas.

There is a difference between the case covered by sub-section (2) and the case covered by sub-section (3). In the case of sub-section (2) a member receives an allowance towards his expenses as a member of the Oireachtas. In the case of sub-section (3) the ex-President would re-enter public employment in some way and naturally not in a political capacity. There is underlying the whole pensions code a provision that where a person re-enters public employment his pension normally lapses. That is a contingency which is covered in sub-section (3). In connection with sub-section (2) I would say that there is a great deal to be said for the point of view that Deputy Benson has submitted. That is, that this matter ought to be dealt with in another Bill. I am not quite logical in regard to sub-section (2). It is put in there as a sort of indication that we do not anticipate these problems.

What is the difficulty in putting this amendment into the Bill? The Minister was on the same point on the last occasion. Would not this effectively suspend the pension during membership of the Oireachtas?

The Deputy may say there is no difficulty about putting this amendment into the Bill. There is not, of course; the Deputy can put down the amendment as it is not contrary to the principle of the Bill. But discussing it this way as a minor matter when, in fact, it imposes a major disqualification on the President—that raises an issue which ought to be thrashed out very fully, and should not be thrashed out fully on this Bill. If the Deputy wishes to go all the distance he proposes in his amendment, the thing to do would be to bring in a Bill to disqualify the President from being a member of the Oireachtas.

The object which we seek to secure is that if we are going to pay the President £1,200 as a pension for life, and pay it to him under the provisions of this Bill after he has served for one day, the only case for doing that is to enable the President to rehabilitate himself financially in private citizenship. The Oireachtas is going to make provision for such financial security as £1,200 will provide for the holder of an office who, during his period of service, has had a personal salary of £5,000, plus allowances. There may be a case for doing something along these lines, even on that generous scale, if the person ceasing to be President is going to be a private citizen or become engaged in work of a social or charitable character. But there is no case for giving this gentleman a pension of £1,200 if he is going to come back into public life, perhaps lead a party or endeavour to establish a party and enter into the hurly-burly of political life as we know it in this country. If that gentleman can display, by his re-entry into public life, a capacity for putting up with the hard knocks of public life in this country, then I think the case for having any tender regard for him when he becomes a member of this House has ceased to exist, and he ought, on becoming a member of the House, just be the same as every other member of the House, and not be entitled to the special provision we are making for him in this Bill.

It is quite undesirable that a person who has been a President should be able to switch over almost immediately from being a President to being a very active politician. That is possible under our Constitution and the Electoral Act. We cannot to-day amend the Constitution or the Electoral Act, but we can, by the insertion of this amendment, tell the ex-President or the President who is contemplating re-entry into public life that if he goes into public life and becomes a member of the Oireachtas, it is going to cost him £840 per annum, and he is not going to carry his pension back into the Oireachtas. If you do that, it will have a very steadying effect on the turbulent political tendencies of a President or ex-President. If he knows he has to pay that amount of tribute annually for his re-entry into public life, it may have a very steadying effect on him and, until such time as we can impose other limitations on the President electorally, I think at this stage we should impose a financial handicap so as not to encourage those people to come back into public life.

Unless you do that you will get completely away from the notion of a non-party President, of a President holding the scales evenly as between one party and another, as between the Executive and the citizen. I want to impose a financial handicap on an ex-President so as to deter him from coming back into public life, and I want to ensure that we do not make provision for a pension for a person of that kind, because there is no case for it.

Some of Deputy Norton's observations are rather surprising. Normally one would think that a man who represents the Labour Party would take a more generous or liberal view of this situation. In seeking to provide for every possible eventuality, it may be that we lost sight of at least one important phase in this case. There are very few cases of persons having been in the principal position of any country resigning and going into what Deputy Norton calls political warfare, or the turbulence of politics. Presumably at some time or other we will get rid of this turbulence of politics in this country, particularly having regard to the changed policy which the Government have shown here in the last few years, if we were to go no further.

Now, let us examine what has happened in other countries. There has been one case in my own recollection in recent years on the Continent of a person who occupied even a more important position than that of Uachtarán in this country, and I think there was general satisfaction in his own country when he entered the Parliament. On one occasion, having been beaten at the polls, he was subsequently persuaded to come in and save the economic and financial situation in that country. Is it to be the rule in our law that, in the event of having a situation such as that in this country, a man who may happen to have no means of his own is to be prevented, by reason of the very great sacrifice he has been called upon to make, to come in and help the country, apart altogether from the mere question of party politics? If there is to be any respect or consideration for a person occupying this high office, I think that the first consideration of a legislative assembly should be that we would have it in our code that that respect was to be shown and, in addition to that respect, that we would record it in our law that we would not start off with the suspicion that people going to occupy this office are going to be so politically-minded that we have to take the precaution of preventing them ever again entering into the political arena. It is quite possible that those who will occupy this office in the future, as those who have occupied similar offices in the past, will be elderly men, and elderly people do not, as a rule, ambition turbulent Party politics. I think we might take the risk of passing this section in a non-Party fashion, telling the President and his successors that we have sufficient faith in those who will be appointed that they will not abuse the confidence of the people and that they will not take part in turbulent Party politics.

I join very fully in the hope that Deputy Cosgrave has given expression to, that politics in this country in the future will not be as turbulent as in the past. There has been a suggestion that there is likely to be a change in Party politics in the future, and that there will be less bitterness. At all events, it is an inspiring sight to see people who have been so bitterly opposed to each other in the past voting together on this Bill. That leads me to hope that we will henceforth see a better feeling between the people in this country and that the leaders will join together to support the proposals——

Will the Deputy please keep to the terms of the amendment.

Well, I hope that in the future they will all come together in support of proposals for the betterment of the country. In this particular amendment it is suggested that ex-Presidents should be debarred from pensions if they re-enter politics. I think that any fair-minded person will agree that that is a sensible proposal. A person who held the office of President is not by the amendment debarred from taking an active part in the public life of this country.

There is just another point in connection with this section which occurs to me with force. The generosity which is shown in this Bill in regard to the ex-President as compared with the treatment given to the ex-President's widow or children is very remarkable. No matter what action the ex-President takes he is guaranteed a pension of £1,200 whereas the widow of an ex-President is only assured of a pension of £500. She will lose this if she commits the offence of getting married again. Each of her children will also lose. The fact that there is such differentiation shown between the treatment meted out to the ex-President and the treatment meted out to his widow and children shows that this Bill has been very carelessly drafted.

I am afraid that the examples that Deputy Cosgrave gave us do not fit the circumstances with which we are dealing in this Bill. I am sure Deputy Cosgrave is familiar with the activities of a person who occupied very high office in this country, an office calling for impartiality, prudence and care in the discharge of his duty. When that person left that office he became a very turbulent politician. I am sure if anything could be done to prevent that or a similar thing happening in the future, Deputy Cosgrave would support it and so he should vote for my amendment.

In this country we have, in the main, three Parties. These are the Fianna Fáil Party, the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party. Now let us suppose that a President was a paragon of virtue, the most impeccable person who could be found in the country, and he seeks after occupying the position of President to become a member of this House. What are his chances of doing so? Did we not see that the most cultured person who went up seeking election to the Seanad did not get a single vote? As a matter of fact, the present President was once defeated as a candidate for the Seanad. That was done by people over 30 years of age who voted in that Seanad election. The most exalted person in the world could not get elected to the Dáil —there are perhaps a few exceptions —but the main pass for a Deputy's entry into this House is through membership of a Party and the more turbulent the Deputy is the better is his chance of getting in. Those are the circumstances of life.

If an ex-President is to seek admission to this House, after retiring from his office as President, he will come back with either a Fianna Fáil, a Fine Gael or a Labour label around his neck. He is not going to come in and display any great impartiality in the Legislature. He will come as a supporter of the Party who are sponsoring him. He will be committed to a certain social and economic programme. He may not believe in everything in that programme but, generally speaking, he will vote with the Party. That is the only way in which an ex-President can come back to public life under our elective system. We are in that situation under these circumstances providing him with a pass.

Now, if an ex-President is being brought by a political Party into the Dáil as a member, that Party should be prepared to under-write his loss. There is no reason why the State should pay a pension to a person of that character. We live in Eire 1938 and we ought make sure that we apply our thoughts to that problem in such a way as to fit the circumstances of to-day. Knowing that the President can only come back to the Dáil as a rabid politician under the electoral system that we have, this amendment should be agreed to. An ex-President may have excellent qualities but, in the main, he is a Party member if he joins a Party and that is the only way in which he can get back. If he does get back he must come back as a champion of a political Party. The political Party should under-write his loss. Certainly the State should not pay.

The difficulty I find in debating any matter with Deputy Norton is that one never knows whether he is speaking for or against the proposition. The speech he has just made is an excellent speech against his own amendment for he has told us how difficult it would be for an ex-President to get into this House. The Deputy professes to be a democrat. Yet he would deprive the people of some one constituency or another of the services of an ex-President did they call upon him to serve them. The Deputy would impose a certain disability on such a constituency. The House, at any rate, has agreed that an ex-President is entitled to a pension as a right for services rendered to the Irish people over a long or short period whatever it may be.

Looking at it in the abstract and whatever the dangers which might attend that course might be—the position in which Deputy Norton would want to put this citizen of Ireland, who has secured a pension, as of right, for services rendered to the nation, is that if he comes into the Dáil he loses his pension. There is no other person in the State who is put in that position. If an ex-member of the Gárda Síochána, having earned his pension, enters the House as a Deputy, nobody is going to victimise him and take his pension from him if the electors of a constituency send him here to represent them. If ex-civil servants or ex-officers of the Army—all of whom in their own particular professions and in the office to which they have been called have been supposed to serve the people in a non-Party way and in a purely non-partisan fashion— should enter this House, they would not be called upon to forfeit their pensions during the period they were members of this House. Therefore,prima facie, it would appear to be unjust to put one who had been the occupant of the highest office in the State in a more unfavourable position than these people would be in. The Deputy, however, would propose to do that, and to do it by what I regard as a side-wind because, after all, the principle in this matter has not been debated at any great length nor have all its possible implications been explored.

Let us take a case which might arise, one such as was referred to by Deputy Cosgrave and which is very pertinent to this issue. Supposing a person, by common consent, had been chosen as President of this State—as has occurred in fact, and as I believe will be customary in the future —and that in that office as President of this State he had displayed certain qualities which, when a national emergency arose, indicated to every thinking person that it would be right and desirable, even though he had retired from the Presidency and gone into private life, to ask him to sit in this House. Supposing that it might be evident to the general mass of the people and to the leaders of the several political Parties that he ought to be asked, in the special emergency which had arisen, to sit here in this House and possibly to take charge of a Government are we going to penalise him? Now, that is not an illusory or far-fetched situation to conceive. Deputy Cosgrave has reminded the House that ex-President Poincaré—I think that is the person he had in mind— was called upon to take charge of the Government of France when the economic position of France was very precarious. There has been even a more recent case, where ex-President Doumergue was called upon to form a Government when political conditions in France had become very dangerous and had become so strained that people were afraid that there might be a civil cataclysm there which would upset the whole State. At any rate, we only know that in comparatively recent times, in regard to a great nation and a great republic, that position of emergency has arisen where an ex-President has been called upon to take an active part in politics. If that emergency or some similar emergency ever arose in this country—and it might; it is not inconceivable—why should we, simply because we want to prevent what, I readily admit, would be an evil and disadvantageous situation where an ex-President might come down straight from his office and rush immediately into politics again—really I think to the discredit of the high office he held —why should we, in order to prevent an unworthy person carrying on in that way, prevent or impose some disability on a worthy person who had been called upon to take his part in a national emergency? That is what Deputy Norton proposes to do.

The fact is that, as the law and the Constitution stand at present, an ex-President has the right to go up for election in any constituency and be returned by the people. If he has that right under the Constitution and under our electoral law, it is not right or just in a Bill of this sort to penalise him—because that is what it would mean—if he exercises his rights as a citizen. If Deputy Norton wants to attain his purpose and to prevent an ex-President from ever sitting in either House of the Oireachtas, this is not the Bill on which to do it. It should be done by an amendment of the electoral law or by an amendment of the Constitution. When a proposal of that sort comes before the House it can be fully examined and all the implications of the proposal can be gone into. Deputy Cosgrave has pointed out some of the implications, which I have tried to reinforce. If all the implications of a proposal of that sort were examined here and fully discussed, it is just possible—it may even be probable, but certainly it is just possible—that the House as a whole would come to the decision that, although the present situation may leave itself open to undesirable developments, nevertheless the remedy may be worse than the disease and it would be better to leave the present position as it is. If the House comes to that conclusion upon that matter, then obviously, it would be wrong for the House, I say, in a Bill of this sort to penalise an ex-President because he exercised his rights under the Constitution and according to the electoral law. If you want to penalise him you have got to penalise every other ex-officer or ex-servant of the State.

Surely there is no comparison between the high office of President and the office of the other ex-servants of the State to whom the Minister referred. So far as I remember the discussions on the Constitution and all the glorifications of this office since, the office has been deified into one where the occupant is supposed to have qualities and to enjoy respect which is not pertinent to any other office in this State. The Minister has talked about inconsistencies in making speeches. We have listened to two entirely inconsistent lines of argument in the Minister's statement. He talks about its being wholly undesirable that some person should leave the office of President and come in here as an active politician, while at the same time he has asked us to say that this amendment is entirely unjustified, and he has told us a fairy story about some national emergency which would be likely to arise here in the future when all the people and all Parties would unite in asking some person to come in here and take the country out of some unhappy situation. Now, we are not children here and we know that, if such a situation should arise —and it is very unlikely, and the Minister himself is contributing as much as he can to see that it will never arise—it will be quite easy for people in this House to make provision for this superman who is going to make the sacrifice of coming in here and leading a Party and a Government. It is quite clear that the whole purpose of the office of President, with the extraordinarily generous salary and provisions that have been attached to it, and the amazing inconsistency of people who view that office now with so much reverence, after having spent years gibing at the occupant of a similar office in the past and having spent years in pouring all the scorn they could on the salaries and emoluments attached to it—it is quite clear that the purpose of the office, or what is intended by the office, is that the person occupying it should be entirely above Party politics.

Having been above Party politics for a certain number of years, we are asked to say that there should be no obstacle to that person becoming a Party politician, becoming a violent partisan in Party politics afterwards. I think there is a sound case made for the amendment, and I hope the Deputy responsible for it will press it to a division.

I should just like to say one thing. The Minister tries to make a point about the fact that an ex-civic guard or a soldier or an officer can come into the Dáil even with a pension and serve here as a member of the Oireachtas. That is true, but he does not come in with a pension of £1,200 a year in his pocket, and he does not get a pension of that dimension for one day's service or a week's service or a year's service.

Who said the President will?

An ordinary guard has to serve 25 or 35 years before he gets a very small pension. The same applies to an army officer. A soldier would want to serve all his life in the army and be in a few campaigns before he got a pension equivalent to what would be paid to an ordinary employee, let us say, of the Dublin Corporation. Those are not cases at all comparable to the one with which we are dealing. The President is going to get a pension of £1,200 a year for life, possibly for a month's or a year's service. He is going to be put in a specially privileged position. He is going to get a better and softer pension than anybody else in the country. Then we are going to sort-of asphalt the road into the Dáil, so as to give him a pension of £860 a year plus his Dáil allowance. There is going to be no impediment to his doing that, lest we might remove some of the tinsel from the office. The attitude of the Labour Party on this matter is perfectly logical. If the person is to rehabilitate himself in private life, that is one thing. If he is not, but wants to come back into public life, there is no case at all for giving this generous pension. Then, again, we had the bogey-man talk on the part of the Minister. He told us a crisis might develop in this country such as might unite 3,000,000 people, the three Parties in the House, and numerous others outside it, into praying that one man would come into the Dáil and lead the nation out of the land of economic bondage and into the promised land. The Minister for Finance said: "Do not do anything in this Bill to prevent that happening," and we are being told that while the guns that were used in the civil war are still smoking. Do we not know perfectly well, if we want to be realists at all, that those things do not happen?

Did we not see a civil war in this country which produced a resort to methods of that kind, and did we see it succeed? We are being asked to provide for something which happens once or twice in the career of a nation and never again. We are being asked to provide for that one possibility in this country. We are going to open the way to every person who desires to vacate the office of President and come in here as a partisan politician with a pension of £860 a year. There is a case for giving a pension to a person if he is going to retire into private life. There is no case for giving it if he is going to come back into public life in the only way in which it is possible to come back into public life in this country, namely, by being an active member of some political party.

The Minister talked about a crisis that might necessitate this man being brought into the Dáil. If this country is ever going to be confronted with a crisis which it cannot surmount unless by paying a pension of £860 to a man brought back into the Parliament to serve the nation, then the people have not the capacity for having a Parliament functioning in this country. If a situation of that kind develops, and a person who is going to be the economic saviour of the country is going to be brought back into the Parliament, surely it is not above the wit of man, as we know it here, to devise an arrangement to meet the situation. We have been passing Estimates in this Dáil to compensate people who installed totalisators at greyhound courses. We are going to pass another Estimate in regard to old cows for Roscrea. Surely we can get over a situation of that kind by giving a similar allowance to such a person, a person who is regarded by all parties in the State as an economic saviour? The Minister talked all bogey-man talk. There is no case against the amendment except that you want to carpet the road for the ex-President to come back into the Dáil and be a violent Party politician. If he is going to do that, the State should not be asked to pay for it.

I think there is rather a mistake in this wording. We are invited by the two Deputies who are supporting the amendment almost to indulge in the prophecy that we are to have future Presidents here who may occupy office for a short time and then retire and come into politics. It is most unlikely. I hope I am not entering into the realm of prophecy when I say that, but it is obvious that they will not be young men who will be appointed to this office: they will be men fairly advanced in years. It is my own experience that that type of person is not much use in a turbulent political atmosphere.

It may be a stop-gap.

Assuming that it were a stop-gap, it does not bear the same character that we heard from Deputy Everett or from Deputy Murphy. This is not the time or the place to discuss how this office is to be filled, but it so happens that it is filled just now with fairly general agreement, and it ought to be discussed in the absence of the personality of the person. When we speak of £1,200 a year being a large pension, we must take into account what expenses the person in question is likely to have to meet in filling that office—and they are considerable, much more than quite a number of people probably think they might be. They are considerable, and they are likely to be so for the future. During the last few years we have pensioned off one civil servant and one police officer. In the case of the police officer I think his pension is about £833 6s. 8d., or something like that. He would be in exactly the same position, except for £6 a year, so far as coming into the Dáil is concerned. Deputy Norton's amendment would place the President in a far worse position than either of those two. It is quite true that the length of service for which the President is asked is only seven years, and may be less. In very few cases have people who have been heads of State resigned merely for the purpose of taking a pension. After all, you appoint a person of character, a person with some sense of responsibility, and none of them that anybody ever heard of relinquished his office merely for the purpose of drawing a pension.

It is an office of great responsibility, one that should command respect, and, I again appeal to Deputy Norton to look at the matter from that angle, and to say that if there are going to be abuses, we are not the people who have a suspicion of abuses, as we confidently expect that those who will hold the honoured position of head of the State, will have sufficient sense of responsibility to appreciate, not only the delicacy of their position, but the general conduct that people would expect from persons holding that office.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 10.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Benson, Ernest E.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Friel, John.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Davin, William.
  • Everett, James.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Norton, William.
  • Pattison, James P.
Tellers:- Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Everett and Keyes.
Amendment declared lost.
Sections 5 to 9, inclusive, and the Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

Can I have the remaining stages of this Bill now?

I object.

I understood that there was agreement on the last day that we would get all stages of this Bill to-day.

There was no consultation with the members of this Party, and I think we have still the ordinary rights, and will insist on them, too.

The Deputy may insist on his rights, but all that that is going to mean is that the Seanad will not possibly dispose of this Bill to-morrow.

We are not terribly concerned about that aspect of the case. This is an important Bill.

Probably not, but at the same time it may mean that the Seanad will be brought back a week later just for the mere purpose of considering this Bill and no other measure.

If the Minister is advised that there has been agreement on this, whom has the agreement been between?

The new alliance.

I did not say that I was advised. I was in charge of the Bill here on the last day and I asked that we should get all stages of the Bill on that last occasion. The leader of the Opposition very readily agreed then and appealed to the leader of the Labour Party to agree also. The leader of the Labour Party stated that all he wanted was to have his amendments discussed, and I certainly understood that we would get all stages here to-day.

The leader of the Labour Party and the representatives of the Labour Party as a Party in this House will have to be consulted as well as the leaders of other Parties, and if you want agreement you will have to talk to your Parliamentary Secretary on these matters.

The negotiations were across the floor of the House, and I thought no great difficulty would arise.

Report Stage ordered for Thursday, 21st July.