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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Vol. 188 No. 11

Business of Dáil. - Civil Liability Bill, 1960: Money Resolutions Proceedings.

While you were out, Sir, I raised a question in relation to the Order of Business to-day and I want to make it perfectly clear that I made no suggestion then, and do not do so now, that there was nothing more involved than a genuine mistake —by whom I do not know. Item No. 6 was not ordered. Item No. 6 is not, in fact, among the Orders of the Day. It appears in the top half of the Order Paper, so to speak, and it would be quite impossible for the orderly conduct and business of the House if something not ordered were taken without its being expressly put to the House that it was being taken out of regular procedure without leave of the House. I made the submission earlier —I agreed I would leave it until the Second Stage was over—that the motion for the Money Resolution should be deleted from the records of the House or rescinded, or whatever the procedure is, and that the Resolution would be put down for to-morrow morning.

It is in order to move a Money Resolution at any time before the Committee Stage. So as far as that part is concerned, the motion for the Money Resolution was quite in order. There was no order made that the Money Resolution should be taken and in allowing the Money Resolution to be brought before the House, the mistake was entirely mine and I take full responsibility. There was no intention to deceive the House, no intention to put anything across the House that the House did not want to discuss. If you look at your Order Paper, you will see item No. 11. I merely glanced at "Civil Liability Bill (Motion for Money Resolution)" and I assumed that the motion for the Money Resolution was to be taken. That is the position. I regret any inconvenience caused to the House——

It could happen to anybody.

——and if there is a desire that it should be rescinded, of course I shall accept a motion to that effect.

May I again make it clear that there was no suggestion of anything other than a slip-up, and no suggestion that anybody was trying to put anything across the House, but there is a principle that business which has not been ordered should not be taken, because if it is taken and if this went by default, then it could perhaps be quoted as a precedent at a later stage and I think the proper thing would be to rescind the motion. Certainly we shall not offer any objection to its being taken first thing tomorrow morning.

The position has been explained by the Ceann Comhairle and as the Money Resolution has been passed, even though it was not ordered, would it not be just as well to leave it as it is in all the circumstances?

I do not think it can be. If it was within the Orders of the Day, I think you could, but in fact it is not in the Orders of the Day but only in the preliminary part of the Order Paper. If it was in the Orders of the Day, I would agree with the Parliamentary Secretary, but it is not. It is in the top half, as we call it, and in those circumstances I do not think we can. As I understand it, anything which is not ordered and which is in the top half of the Order Paper, in order to get into the Orders of the Day, has to be moved by the Taoiseach at the sitting of the House.

I think there is scarcely anything that the Dáil may not do in respect of its procedure as long as there is unanimity.

With all respect, we have been told we could not do certain things, although we were agreed.

We are in the hands of the House.

Does Deputy Sweetman still insist?

I think it would be better and more orderly.

The Ceann Comhairle has ruled that a Money Resolution may be moved at any time if Standing Orders allow.

The Standing Order is perfectly clear that a Money Resolution can be moved at any time prior to the Committee Stage. It is perfectly clear on that subject. I think it is universal practice not to move the Money Resolution until after the Second Stage and prior to the Committee Stage——

That is correct.

——because you do not move to provide money until you have agreed to the principle of the Bill. It would be better to keep to the habit we have formed over the years.

I should like to support Deputy Sweetman. What I would be afraid of, if we allow this to go in the way it has gone, is that a precedent might be assumed to have been made— I do not agree one has been made, but it might be assumed—and might become dangerous. There is no time lost because the Money Resolution can be formally moved tomorrow.

If it is in order I move that the proceedings on the Money Resolution, considered inadvertently by the House today, be declared null and void.

Question put and agreed to.

I am obliged to you, Sir, and to the Government for meeting a matter of principle. If it was done wrongly now, it would be quoted hereafter and the person who quoted it would not have gone back to look at the debates to see the circumstances in which it was done.

The Committee Stage will be arranged tomorrow morning.