With your permission I desire to draw attention to the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary promised to make a certain amendment in the Bill which he has not done. I find from the report that the Parliamentary Secretary did, in fact give an undertaking that he would insert an amendment providing that the Minister for Local Government would be consulted in regard to certain matters. The Parliamentary Secretary said: "What I am prepared to consider is, in the event of a local authority raising an objection, as they are entitled to do, to mention specifically the Minister for Local Government. I am prepared to mention the fact that he would be consulted in the event of such an objection being raised." The Parliamentary Secretary has not made any provision for that. Perhaps he would look into it before the Bill goes to the other House.
Arterial Drainage Bill, 1944—Report.
We have considered the matter very thoroughly and we deliberately decided not to make the provision sought.
I withdrew the amendment in view of the undertaking. We would have fought it harder and divided the House if the Parliamentary Secretary had not given the undertaking to provide for consultation with the Minister for Local Government.
I am afraid we shall not be able to meet that.
I think the Parliamentary Secretary gave some undertaking.
To consider it.
The Parliamentary Secretary's words were: "What I am prepared to consider is... to mention specifically the Minister for Local Government". Deputy Allen backed me on this matter but I would have pressed it to a division if the Parliamentary Secretary had not given the undertaking.
I have considered it.
We interpreted your words to mean more than considering it.
I considered it all right.
You would not trust the Minister for Local Government— that is what it means.
It all depends.
I think that Deputy Bennett felt that because the Parliamentary Secretary did not agree to the safeguard recommended by the Drainage Commission, that is an appeal board, he might perhaps have considered linking up the Local Government Department in this matter and that that would be some little safeguard, though not very much.
Would it not be a strange thing to put the Minister for Finance in the position that his decision could be reviewed in this way by the Minister for Local Government?
What I wanted was some definite connection in the Bill as between the commissioners and the Local Government Department, but the Parliamentary Secretary has definitely decided to keep the Minister for Local Government out of it.
When is it proposed to take the Final Stage?
I should like to have the Final Stage now.
Why not to-morrow?
I want to get the Bill to the Seanad on the 6th December. Deputies, after all, have been pressing for the fixing of the appointed day, asking when will the appointed day be fixed and when will this or that be done. After all, I agreed to have the Bill re-committed.
You got it through very expeditiously.
The Deputy was not here yesterday. I was slogging away the whole day, and when I think of all the trouble I took to facilitate Deputies and that they will not give me the Fifth Stage now, it tends to sour me against making any concessions in future.
Why not put the Final Stage down for to-morrow?
Will the House meet to-morrow?
Of course it will meet to-morrow.
I am not sure.
We have not finished the Mental Hospital Bill.
Give me this Bill now.
If the House is to meet to-morrow, you will get this Bill to-morrow.
Is the Deputy going to oppose the Bill?
We are going to express opinions on the Bill on the Fifth Stage. There have been 64 amendments, and we have not seen the Bill as amended on Report.
I want it to go to the Seanad on 6th December.
And you can fix a meeting of the Seanad for 6th December.
I think the House is treating me most ungenerously.
There was a big volume of work on this re-committal. The Parliamentary Secretary re-committed the Bill, and we have spent nearly two days considering it. It is hardly fair to expect the House to pass the Bill now without seeing what it is like. The Parliamentary Secretary did not meet the House so very much on the various points raised. On the other hand, I want to say that if we are not meeting to-morrow I think it is only fair that the Parliamentary Secretary should get the Bill to-night. If we are meeting to-morrow, we should get an opportunity of discussing it.
It is not certain.
What is the hurry about this? We are told it will take five years to put the machinery into operation, and 28 years to complete the drainage. The Parliamentary Secretary re-committed this complicated Bill, to which there were 64 amendments, quite a number of them his own. The House dealt with the matter from 7 o'clock until 9 o'clock last night, and from about 5 o'clock until let us say 8 o'clock to-night. A total of only five hours has been spent on 64 complicated, technical amendments. I think the Parliamentary Secretary has got every possible facility. There has been no obstruction, and everybody has aimed at improving the Bill. I cannot understand why the Parliamentary Secretary wants us to pass a Bill, which has been amended in 64 separate respects, before we have seen those amendments carried into the Bill.
If I were sure that the House intends to sit to-morrow——
There is no doubt that it will sit to-morrow.
What purpose is to be served by holding over the Bill until to-morrow? I do not complain as to the manner in which the House has met me; although I must confess that a lot of time has been expended in the discussion on all the stages of this measure, I have no complaint to make about the manner in which the House treated me, but I want to get the Bill to the Seanad on 6th December. In reply to Deputy Norton, it is common knowledge that I have been pressed, not only here but outside, to give some indication as to the possible date on which the appointed day could be fixed, so that work which would be necessary could be carried out in advance. If the House feels that this is an urgent matter, I think it might facilitate me in this very minor respect.
We have got to get time for a discussion on the adjournment in accordance with customary practice.
That has got to be provided for. Have no doubt about it at all. The Minister for Local Government may not like it, but there is no question about it. It has got to be provided. Lest there should be any doubt about it, I am strongly objecting to this Bill being taken to-night, and my objection must be sustained under Standing Orders, even though the Minister for Local Government says "Oh".
If I had adopted that attitude——
Your friends are your worst enemies.
Perhaps this would be the best way to fix the matter: if there is a decision not to meet to-morrow, we will pass the Bill to-night. If there is a decision to sit to-morrow, we will take it to-morrow.
I object to this Bill being taken to-night. Therefore, it cannot be taken.
Many thanks to the Deputy.