Sittings of Dail—Motion.

I should like to make a statement regarding the hours of meeting next week. The Whips have been meeting and have come to an interim agreement regarding hours of meeting for next week. I want to propose that it be made an order of the Dáil in accordance with that agreement. I accordingly move:

That on Tuesday and Wednesday next the Dáil shall meet at 2 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 11.30 p.m.; and that the interruption of business provided for in subsection (2) of Standing Order No. 20 shall take place at 11 p.m.

We agree to that proposal but I think it is appropriate to say at this stage that if the Parliamentary work is to be properly done there must be some kind of programme arranged. The practice has always been that, prior to Christmas and up to the introduction of the Budget, the bulk of the legislative work was undertaken even though we had to carry the later stages of Bills forward into what we ordinarily call the financial year. This year the Government have sought to produce a vast bulk of legislation which should have been dealt with very much earlier in the year and which is now being submitted to the House, some of the Bills not having yet been printed.

What I want to direct the attention of the Government and the House to is this: to get legislation of this kind properly considered in the House it is extremely difficult if it is delayed in its presentation to this stage of our proceedings. We are prepared to agree to these longer hours of sitting, but it is important that this should go on record for the benefit of people who are not familiar with the proceedings of this House. They may not appreciate the difficulty of maintaining constant attention to the business of legislation because they are not aware of the variety of other duties that devolve on Deputies during the remaining hours of the day. The arrangement now proposed is the very limit which is consistent with any attempt at efficient legislation and I would invite the Government to review its programme very carefully in order to fit in whatever requires to be done before the end of this session within the hours that are proposed.

The Deputy will appreciate that the element of urgency arises out of the need to complete the financial business before the Vote on Account runs out. So far as possible the Government will confine time during the next three weeks to the completion of the Estimates and the Appropriation Bill although there may be some need to depart from that arrangement, and in one matter I have addressed a letter to the Deputy which he will receive shortly.

As regards legislation I think most of the long Bills which the Government contemplate for this session have already been disposed of or are in progress through the House. While there are a number of Bills which have not yet been introduced or circulated none of them, I think, is likely to be the subject of protracted discussion in the Dáil. Nevertheless the Deputy will appreciate there are perhaps some special circumstances prevailing this year why the Government would like to leave the legislative programme fairly clear.

You do not expect to be back to finish them?

Che sera sera.

No one will blame you for taking precautions.

Question put and agreed to.