Electricity (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1961. - Electricity (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1961—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time.

I think it is necessary, when introducing this Bill to the House, and in the circumstances under which we are assembled, to give to members a brief outline of the history of the dispute which is threatening the country's electricity supplies and of the subsequent negotiations for the settlement of that dispute. I propose to do so very briefly, and if possible, to avoid covering facts which are well known to Deputies from the reports which have appeared in the daily newspapers. As the House is aware, the Minister for Industry and Commerce was directly involved in all these affairs from the beginning and if any information which I do not give the Dáil at this stage is required by Deputies, he will be available to supplement what I may say.

It was on 17th August, 1961, that the Labour Court made a recommendation in a dispute between two trade unions, the Electrical Trade Union (Ireland) and the Irish Engineering Industrial and Electrical Trade Union, on the one hand, and the employer group of the National Joint Industrial Committee for the electrical contracting industry, on the other hand, concerning the wage rates and weekly hours of electricians. Some 2,500 electricians in the electrical contracting trade were concerned in this dispute. The recommendation of the Labour Court was rejected by the unions concerned without being submitted to a ballot of the members and strike action was taken on Monday, 21st August.

When the strike commenced, pickets were placed on the premises of the E.S.B. and of the contractors. The E.S.B. reported that men belonging to unions not involved in the dispute were refusing to pass the pickets. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions interested itself in the dispute on the day it began, 21st August. When an indication was received that consideration was being given by the Congress to a suggestion that the pickets might be withdrawn if the E.S.B. agreed to enter into negotiations with the unions, the Minister for Transport and Power, after consultation with me and the E.S.B., informed the Irish Congress of Trade Unions that he had asked the E.S.B. to accept the proposal of the Congress that discussions be started immediately between the electrical unions and the employers, both the E.S.B. and the electrical contractors, on the understanding that pickets on the E.S.B. premises would be withdrawn.

It was announced that night by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions that a meeting of the unions with members in the E.S.B. had authorised the Congress to issue a decision to the effect that the dispute in the E.S.B. should be confined to the workers directly concerned, that is, to the members of these two trade unions, the Irish Engineering, Industrial and Electrical Trade Union and the Electrical Trade Union of Ireland. The statement added that the Congress had been requested to take steps with a view to arranging a meeting between the parties. In view of the gravity of the situation, involving as it did the possibility of a national emergency, the Minister for Industry and Commerce intervened on the following day, Tuesday, August 22nd. He had meetings with the representatives of the employers and representatives of all the unions concerned and also with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Arising out of these discussions, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions that evening published an announcement, signed by the representatives of all the non-electrical unions concerned, instructing their members, that is, the manual workers employed by the E.S.B., to return to work immediately as the E.S.B. had agreed that, immediately on resumption of work by the members of those unions, any wage claim served on the Board on behalf of these manual workers would be dealt with expeditiously by the Board. In the meantime, the employers and the representatives of the electrical unions had agreed to enter into negotiations under the National Joint Industrial Committee procedure but with a chairman appointed by the Minister. The Minister appointed the chief conciliation officer of the Labour Court.

The electrical unions thereupon issued a statement that evening to the effect that the discussions had been opened under the chairmanship of the chief conciliation officer; that a basis for negotiations had been agreed upon and accordingly that both unions now directed that all strike pickets be withdrawn immediately pending the termination of these discussions.

The negotiations continued on Wednesday, August 23rd, although the instruction regarding the removal of pickets did not become generally effective until mid-day. The manual workers meanwhile had not returned to work immediately but there had been some degree of return to work in other generating stations.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions issued a statement referring to the agreement reached with the E.S.B. in regard to the claims of the manual workers and indicating that while a substantial resumption of work had taken place throughout the country, that was not the position in Dublin. The statement said that the present negotiations relating to electricians were endangered by this situation and that further negotiations with other workers were contingent upon a complete return to work by all the members of the 18 unions concerned.

The statement indicated that, in the opinion of the Trade Union Congress, any workers who had not returned were acting directly against the interests of their fellow workers in the E.S.B. as well as against the national interests and that any workers who did not return must bear the consequences of their action.

It was learned the next day that, following that announcement of the Congress, the night shift generating station workers had taken up work.

A report was made to the Minister for Industry and Commerce on the evening of August 23rd that agreement had not been reached in the negotiations between the employers and the representatives of the electrical trade unions. The maximum offer the employers' representatives were prepared to make was an increase from the rate of 5/5d. per hour, recommended by the Labour Court, to 5/7d. on the basis of the adjusted hours of working recommended by the Labour Court.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce pressed the unions to submit this offer for the consideration of their members as he regarded it as reasonable that it ought to be submitted to the men for their consideration. He asked that a ballot be taken and that the pickets should not be replaced while the balloting was in progress. The unions' representatives gave an assurance that there would be a ballot but they declined to recommend the offer for acceptance or to give an assurance that the withdrawal of the pickets would be maintained. The Minister also asked for an assurance, which was given, that the unions would permit electricians to take any action that might be necessary to enable essential supplies to be maintained.

On the following morning, August 24th, the pickets had been restored on all the premises and the E.S.B. reported that the manual workers, notwithstanding the statement issued on behalf of the unions of which they were members, were again refusing to pass the pickets. The evening papers of that day and the morning newspapers of August 25th contained statements to the effect that the executives of the electrical unions had rejected the pay offer of an increase of 8d. an hour but that the ballot would proceed. These Press reports were subsequently stated by the leaders of these unions to have been made without their authority.

The result of the ballot, which became available on the evening of Monday, August 28th, showed that there was a substantial majority against acceptance of the offer. When reporting that decision to the other parties to the dispute, the union representatives denied they had issued any public statement of rejection prior to the commencement of the ballot or that they had recommended their members not to accept the offer.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce then asked both parties to meet him again on the following day. He asked them to come invested with full plenary powers and, in the case of the unions, if necessary, to bring their entire executives. On Tuesday, 29th August, the Minister met the parties to the dispute separately and suggested that the matter be made the subject of consideration by a special tribunal or court or board—the name did not matter—of inquiry which would be presided over by a supreme court judge and consist of representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, representatives of the electrical trade unions, representatives of the E.S.B. and representatives of independent contractors. The Minister indicated that the terms of reference of the court would be to investigate the claim and to make an agreed recommendation or, in the alternative, a recommendation by the chairman.

The Minister said he would be prepared to make arrangements for the setting up of such a tribunal of inquiry, subject to certain conditions, which were: that the union executives would agree to recommend the findings of the tribunal for acceptance by their members; that a ballot on the recommendation would be conducted by the tribunal; and, thirdly, that on establishment of the court, the men would return to work immediately and all pickets would be removed pending the result of the ballot.

After discussion with the Minister, the employers' representatives ultimately indicated that they were prepared to accept this arrangement and the conditions attaching to it and undertook that they would for their part commit themselves to accept the findings of the tribunal or court. The union representatives, who did not have their full executive present, said that they were not fully mandated to deal with the matter. They requested that the constitution of the court be altered by omitting the representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and substituting an additional representative of the electrical unions and that the ballot should be conducted by the unions in accord with their normal procedure but with a representative of the tribunal present at the counting.

The Minister indicated that he was prepared to accept these changes in his proposals. The union representatives also indicated that they would not be prepared to recommend the resumption of work or the withdrawal of pickets because they did not consider that they would be able to secure their members' compliance with any such recommendation or directive. The employers' representatives, however, regarded the condition of return to work and removal of pickets as an essential condition of their acceptance of the proposals. The Minister informed the union representatives that a return to work and the removal of pickets appeared to be a necessary condition and asked them to consult with their executives and discuss the matter further with him the following morning.

On Wednesday last, 30th August, the union representatives informed the Minister for Industry and Commerce that they could not agree to the proposal that work should be resumed and pickets removed. They claimed their mandate did not extend that far. The Minister indicated that he would be prepared to modify these conditions to the extent that he would be satisfied with an undertaking from the unions that they would urge their members to return to work. The union representatives also said they would not be prepared to recommend acceptance of the findings of the tribunal or court of inquiry. All efforts to secure the alteration of the union's attitude in that regard failed. The employers' representatives, on the other hand, were adamant on the acceptance of these two conditions.

In a last effort to find some basis of settlement, the Minister for Industry and Commerce asked the union representatives whether an offer of 5/8d. an hour would be recommended by them to their members for acceptance and whether they would be prepared to instruct their members to return to work and to direct removal of the pickets, pending the result of a ballot on that figure. After consideration, the union representatives indicated that they were prepared to recommend acceptance of a rate of 5/8d. an hour and to instruct their members to resume work, pending the result of the ballot.

Following consultation with the employers' representatives, a statement was then issued, of which the House is no doubt aware, and which included the announcement that the unions had undertaken to recommend these proposals to their members who would ballot on them and that they directed their members on strike to resume work at normal starting time on the following day, August 31st, pending the result of the ballot.

After midnight, however, on that day, that is to say, in the early hours of yesterday, August 31st, another statement was issued on behalf of the Electrical Trade Union (Ireland) and the Minister for Industry and Commerce was officially informed in like terms by the union. This statement was as follows:

On receipt of information by the strike committees that the members would not return to work until a decision was made on the ballot vote messages were sent to the executive. The Executive Council at a special meeting considered this position and have decided in the interests of all concerned to inform the Minister for Industry and Commerce that the arrangement is withdrawn and also to notify the parties to the strike.

It has since been announced, as Deputies will be aware, that the executive committee of the other trade union, the Irish Engineering Industrial and Electrical Union, regarded the terms negotiated as acceptable but in view of the attitude of the Electrical Trade Union executive, they were not taking any further action on it.

Yesterday evening, the Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions endeavoured, but without success, to persuade the Electrical Trade Union executive to reverse their hasty decision of Wednesday night or early Thursday morning regarding the agreement and to reinstate that agreement, and that is how the matter now stands.

I think we must accept that the prospects of settling this particular dispute by a process of reasonable negotiation have faded. In view of the grave consequences to the whole community which can follow on the prolongation of the dispute, the authority of the Dáil is now being sought for certain procedures which the Government consider to be appropriate to the circumstances. It is proposed, in the first instance, to establish the tribunal simisequence lar to that which was under discussion during a stage of the negotiations, as I have informed the House, which will be charged with the duty of determining what rate of remuneration should in all the circumstances apply to the persons involved in the dispute. It is proposed that the rate so determined will have the force of law and shall operate for six months.

I can say that while the proposals in the Bill permit of some flexibility, it would be the Government's idea that the tribunal contemplated in that section of the Bill should be constituted in accordance with the general lines that were discussed during the course of the negotiations. It may be that the tribunal would consist of three members or five, but in the Government's view, that would not be a matter of any importance. It is proposed to put in hand a formal inquiry into the procedures of the Electricity Supply Board for settling the remuneration of their staffs and for dealing with disputes about their conditions of employment and to make recommendations. It is expected that the recommendations resulting from this inquiry should be available well before the expiration of the six months during which the mandatory effect of the findings of the tribunal would apply.

It is made clear in the Bill—it is hardly necessary from a legal point of view but it was certainly desirable for the purpose of avoiding any possible misunderstanding—that the holding of the proposed inquiry into the procedures of the Electricity Supply Board in determining rates of remuneration and settling trade disputes does not involve any delay in dealing at once with adjustments of remuneration for any other category of workers employed by the E.S.B. in accord with the usual and established procedures and practices.

It is proposed also that the Minister for Industry and Commerce should be given emergency powers to cope as best he can with any shortages of essential supplies which may result from a total or partial failure of electric power. I have no desire to exaggerate what can be done by ministerial regulations in such circumstances. In the event of a failure of electric power either generally or over any wide area of the country, it is certain that very grave public hardship would be caused which no ministerial regulation of any kind could possibly alleviate. It would not be possible to prevent that hardship. While I think it is clear that the Government or a member of the Government should have power to do whatever can be done to ensure that hardships will be minimised, it would be an illusion to think they could be avoided altogether.

I am sure most reasonable people and members of the House will regard these measures which the Government propose to put in train as the very minimum which the Government could take in this grave situation. This is, of course, a crisis for Irish trade unionism as well as for the county but that is essentially a matter for the responsible leaders of the trade union movement. I, personally, have always believed that in normal times it is preferable to have rates of remuneration and conditions of employment of workers fixed by a process of negotiation and that belief is based upon my own personal experience over very many years that those charged with the conduct of such negotiations are usually very reasonable and responsible persons who have full regard to all the implications and consequences of their acts.

I want to make it clear that no other meaning or significance should be read into this Bill except certain specific proposals for dealing with one particularly urgent situation. It carries no implication of any kind in respect of wage disputes generally. The Dáil is aware, from the account I have given of these negotiations, that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, during the long hours throughout which the negotiations were in progress, tried very patiently to achieve a negotiated settlement and, indeed, he went to bed, as I did on Wednesday night, believing that he had at last succeeded in bringing that about. When, however, in respect of such a vital service as the supply of electricity, a position of deadlock has arisen and the danger of acute public hardship arises, we are forced to depart, if only temporarily, from these normal procedures and practices and to assert the right of the ordinary people, through their elected representatives, to protect themselves, without resorting to measures which can be regarded as unjust to anyone.

I do not consider for a moment that the great majority of the electricians who are on strike want to make war on the nation, to inflict hardship on their neighbours, to jeopardise life, to deprive their fellow workers of employment or to cause grievous loss of perishable foodstuffs now accumulating in particular volume from the harvest. The Government would, however, be guilty of a serious dereliction of duty if they were to stand inactive in the face of that prospect and it is our view that when more normal measures have failed to cope with it, the measures which the Government are now proposing to the Dáil are adequate to ensure that the just grievances of the workers concerned—whatever they may be, both their long-term and short-term grievances—will be investigated and dealt with.

I want to leave the House under no illusions whatever regarding the imminence of the danger of the complete failure of electric power. When this dispute began, the responsible senior technicians of the Electricity Supply Board did not consider that it would be possible to maintain a supply of power over the period that has since elapsed. They have kept going from day to day without being able to give any assurance that the crisis would not develop on the following day and the report which I have received from the Electricity Supply Board this morning indicates that is still the position. It is true that if the peak period of demand today is surmounted without serious mishap, then we have the weekend before us when the demand is normally at its lowest ebb, in which to try to get this situation resolved. That is one reason why I urge on the Dáil that the action which the Government proposes should be put in train today. The critical period can well develop on Monday and the Board have indicated that one serious major fault developing in a power station can have a cascading effect throughout the whole system and may eventually put it all out of operation.

I want the Dáil to understand that this is a matter of extreme urgency. I have no desire to spell out in any alarmist fashion what the consequences of a power failure can be— I am sure Deputies will be able to understand that themselves. It is hardly necessary for me to say that it is far from being the intention to do any injustice to the men involved in the dispute. Our concern is expressed in the proposals which we are putting to the House to find a fair and equitable basis for the termination of this dispute and to do so in circumstances in which the normal process of negotiation cannot now work, in the interests of all the people of the country, including all the many thousands of workers in other employment which would cease if power should fail and indeed many classes of our community who will suffer with special severity if the dispute is not terminated.

I should like to say and to have it understood that if any alternative to the short-term tribunal which is proposed here—the tribunal that will deal with wage rates for the workers involved in the dispute—should come forward in the early future which would give equal prospects of bringing the dispute to an end, we would delay taking action under that section. I was informed this morning that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions are exploring that possibility but I gather they are not very hopeful of the outcome.

If the situation is not rectified soon by the procedures which are proposed in this Bill and otherwise, it will be necessary to call the Dáil together again to consider what further action should be taken in those circumstances and that will be done. I feel sure no responsible member of this House who understands the full implications of the situation which the Dáil has been called upon to consider can find any substantial objection to the proposals I am putting forward. What I am saying is that the Government will be prepared to consider any suggestions that may be ventilated or any amendments that may be put forward.

Business suspended at 12.15 p.m. and resumed at 1 p.m.

On a point of order, within the short time at our disposal, the Labour Party asked to have accepted by the Ceann Comhairle an amendment, portion of which, we are informed, is not acceptable. I should like to ask the Ceann Comhairle why. Perhaps I might read the amendment for the benefit of the House? It says:

That the Dáil declines to give a Second Reading to the Bill on the grounds that it deliberately abolishes the fundamental rights of trade unions and trade unionists, that the proposals contained in the Bill will create an atmosphere which will hinder the amicable settlement of trade disputes, that the Taoiseach be requested to convene a conference of the electrical trade unions and employers under his chairmanship, with a view to seeking a satisfactory settlement to the dispute.

I have been informed that that part of the amendment which asks the Taoiseach to convene a conference of both sides is not acceptable to the Ceann Comhairle.

It is not acceptable to Standing Orders. It is not a reasoned argument against the Second Reading of the Bill.

In view of the drastic nature of the Bill——

I cannot say whether the Bill is drastic or not as against Standing Orders.

In an effort to have this dispute settled by agreement, the Labour Party felt that such a conference would bring about a settlement between the two parties.

The Deputy will realise that requesting the Taoiseach to call a conference to consider the matter is not a reasoned argument against the Bill.

The Taoiseach protests it is not possible to settle this dispute by a conference. We in the Labour Party believe that a conference under his chairmanship would settle it. The reason the Dáil has been reassembled is to present us with what the Taoiseach described as an emergency measure. This amendment has been put down because we in the Labour Party believe there is no real necessity for emergency measures.

I shall allow the Deputy to move the portion of the amendment which is in order.

I would prefer to reserve my comments.

The Deputy is bound by Standing Orders, the same as any other Deputy.

The time has been so short that it has not been possible to have this amendment circulated or to argue with the Ceann Comhairle on its merits.

If we had a copy of it?

I have just one copy of it.

Copies will have to be circulated.

Perhaps it could be typed while the Leader of the Opposition is speaking?

Is it desirable to debate it while we are waiting for its terms to be read?

If the House will accept it, I shall read it and the House can debate it sufficiently well. The stencilled copies will be circulated, once they are ready. It reads:

That the Dáil declines to give a Second Reading to the Bill on the grounds that it deliberately abolishes the fundamental rights of trade unions and trade unionists and that the proposals contained in the Bill will create an atmosphere which will hinder the amicable settlement of trade disputes.

I move the amendment:

To delete all words after "that" and substitute the following:

"The Dáil declines to give a Second Reading to the Bill on the grounds that it deliberately abolishes the fundamental rights of trade unions and trade unionists and that the proposals contained in the Bill will create an atmosphere which will hinder the amicable settlement of trade disputes."

I do not want at this stage to refer to the second portion which is not acceptable to the Ceann Comhairle, but I propose to refer to it in the course of my remarks. The Taoiseach this morning stressed to the House the implications there could be in the event of a failure of the electricity supply. All of us appreciate the repercussions of an electricity failure. In an effort to prevent such a breakdown, the Taoiseach proposes a piece of legislation which, I might as well say at the start, is not acceptable to the trade unionists of this country. He may have the best intentions in the world —I do not know—but the Labour Party believe that this legislation certainly is not in the interests of the workers of this country and I am empowered to say that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions certainly would not accept this proposed legislation.

The Taoiseach gave what he said was a factual report of the negotiations between the electrical trade unions and the employers from 17th August. He described the efforts made by these two parties and by the Minister for Transport and Power, and particularly by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to try to resolve this dispute. I think the Taoiseach might have gone back a little further than 17th August. I know his immediate concern may be the prevention of a power failure, but this particular dispute did not start on 17th August. It seems to me, from what the Taoiseach has said with regard to the possibility and consequences of a power failure, we must also appreciate the value of electricians in the life of this country. The Taoiseach has stressed the value and the necessity for electricity. Too few people altogether have stressed the importance of electricians. The Taoiseach has said that workers may suffer. A great many people are under the mistaken impression that it is the electricians who are at fault. They forget there are two sides to every dispute. There are two sides to this dispute and the E.S.B., and employers of electricians generally cannot evade their responsibility in this dispute. There is a responsibility on the workers but there is also a responsibility on those who are primarily responsible for the production of electricity in this country.

The negotiations which have taken place since 17th August up to yesterday, or the day before, may seem to have been confused. Employers may have been at a disadvantage; the workers' representatives may have been at some disadvantage, too, in that they were merely negotiators. In negotiations, employers may make authoritative statements, may agree on the spur of the moment at a conference. Trade union representatives are merely negotiators for the group on whose behalf they negotiate and, in any decision that may be reached, they are subject to the ordinary rank and file of the trade unions.

I do not want in any way to belittle the Minister for Industry and Commerce. There is a debt due to him for the pains he has taken to resolve this dispute. He has spent, I know, long hours in bringing the two sides together in an effort to get some agreement. It is not with any idea of belittling the Minister that I now suggest that the Taoiseach might intervene and convene a conference between the two sides. I do not think that the E.S.B., in particular, have shown much initiative in this dispute. The Minister for Industry and Commerce intervened, I understand, at the request of the Congress of Irish Trade Unions. The E.S.B. did not apparently make any move to get together with the opposite side with a view towards settlement of the dispute.

I know that the E.S.B. have internal machinery for dealing with wage and salary claims. I do not believe that machinery was fully implemented or fully utilised before this issue came to a head in July or August. As far as I am aware, the wage tribunal gave a cursory examination to this claim. No detailed examination was given. There is the possibility that, had such an examination been given, some agreement might have been reached. As far as I am aware, the tribunal gave the claim a formal hearing and then washed their hands, so to speak, of the matter and threw it over to the Labour Court. The Taoiseach has described what happened since the Labour Court recommendation was issued on 17th August.

I do not like the provisions of this Bill. I do not believe they are designed to satisfy the aspirations of either the employer or the employee. In this instance, I am more concerned with the employee. There is a bad smell off this Bill. There are phrases in the Bill which appear to be very Fianna-Fáilish. I do not know why the Taoiseach took this opportunity to bring forward proposals similar to proposals embodied in the past in other pieces of Fianna Fáil legislation. I do not know what he hopes to achieve. This seems to me to be very like the big stick—jackboot legislation. I am not in a position to confirm or deny what the Taoiseach said with regard to the imminence of an electricity breakdown but reports in the newspapers over the last few days would suggest that there is no immediate danger. The Government, therefore, would seem to believe that negotiations, in relation to this dispute, should be discontinued and Dáil Éireann should be asked to pass legislation which will force employees to accept a wage determined by the proposed tribunal. The workers will naturally resent this. This is setting a pattern that may be followed by other Governments. It is setting a pattern that may be followed by the present Government.

The Taoiseach may say that this Bill applies only to those employed in the E.S.B., and in electrical engineering generally. It is nevertheless a pattern. Who knows but that in three months, six months, or six years' time, there will be a demand either by the Government of the day, or someone else, to invoke this type of legislation to resolve some other dispute? Electricity is important. So is bread; so is transport; so is gas; so is water; so are hundreds of other things. We all appreciate the importance of electricity to the community and to employment generally. But other things are also important, and I should like to know if this will be the pattern for future legislation if a dispute arises affecting the national interest.

Section 3 provides:

The Government may by order appoint a tribunal to determine the rates of wages to be paid to electricians involved in the present trade dispute.

Subsection (2) provides:

The tribunal shall consist of a chairman and at least two other members.

Subsection (3) provides:

The determination of the tribunal shall be final and its terms shall be accepted and observed by every person affected thereby.

There is nothing vague about that. It is not wrapped up in flowery language. Does it mean that if this tribunal says that electricians in the E.S.B. are to get X shillings per hour, the electricians must accept that? What does acceptance mean? Does it mean they must work for the E.S.B.?

It could not mean that.

If this tribunal determines that electricians must accept X shillings per hour, how can the Taoiseach, the Government, or anyone else, insist on their going to work? I do not know how effective this provision can be made. I do not know how much more effective it could be than the proposal put forward by the Labour Party that a fresh effort be made by the Leader of the Government, the Taoiseach himself, to resolve this dispute. He has had a lot of experience in these things. He has been Minister for Industry and Commerce for 20 years and I believe with his experience and with an appreciation of the situation, the situation which he so vividly described this morning, he would get these two sides, the workers and the employers, to come to an amicable settlement but he is not prepared to try that. Therefore, it seems, to me we must suspect a motive in the legislation and the proposals embodied in this Bill.

I quote subsection (4) of Section 3:

It shall not be lawful for any employer to pay to any person to whom determination of the tribunal applies wages at a rate other than that so determined.

We have accepted in this House legislation which provides for a minimum rate of wages. We have done it through the Agricultural Wages Board and through some other bodies as well. We have not on the Statute Book, as yet in any case, legislation which, in effect, says that employers may not pay more than a rate laid down by the tribunal such as suggested here. I was reminded this morning that we had a wages standstill order and that various employers were prosecuted because they paid more than the wage fixed at that time. Here we have a situation in which, if an electrical contractor in the city of Dublin wants to pay 1/- or 2/- per hour over the rates determined by the tribunal, he can be prosecuted. If he continues to pay that rate, he may be fined an extra £20 for each day. Eventually, he may be imprisoned for giving a man a few pence or a shilling per hour over and above the wage fixed by the tribunal.

These are questions the Taoiseach will have to answer. These are proposals which will do nothing more than to antagonise the employees, in any case: I do not know about the employers. These two proposals, one of which would seem to have the effect of making them work and the second which prevents their getting any more than the wage fixed by this tribunal, are calculated to do nothing but antagonise those who are involved in the present dispute.

Under Section 4, it is proposed to establish a commission of inquiry into the procedure of the Electricity Supply Board for the determination of the remuneration of members of their staff and for the settlement of disputes relating to their conditions of employment, and to report and make recommendations thereon to the Government. I suppose one could welcome that proposal. I must confess I am not conversant with the type of machinery employed at the present time in the E.S.B. but it does seem to me that while it might work pretty smoothly for one section of the employees in recent times—it does not seem to have been geared up or oiled as well for those who are involved in this dispute.

Section 5—I do not know whether such a situation would arise or not— provides for the making of regulations by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to regulate and control supplies and prices in the event of the type of emergency which the Taoiseach visualises. Section 6 deals with penalties. Therefore, we must relate Section 6 to Section 3. I wonder what will happen if workers refuse not by any demonstration but merely as individuals, to accept this wage award? As far as I can read this provision, it means if they do not turn into work, they will be fined £100 and, the proposal goes on to say, may be imprisoned. What sort of legislation is that? What sort of proposals are they?

I should have given the Deputy a full hour.

If I have misinterpreted the proposals in this Bill, may I say that while the Taoiseach did devote quite a time to a history of the negotiations from 17th August up to date and while he did talk of the repercussions throughout the country if there were a power-failure, he did not treat in any detail of the proposals in the Bill. Might I say, with respect, it is the duty of the Taoiseach to treat of the details of the Bill, to explain, if that is the reason for my misinterpretation, the parliamentary draftsman's jargon? Again it does seem to me what I have said in respect of jackboot methods applies in respect of these fines embodied in this piece of legislation.

It is also clear in all these negotiations and during the time of this dispute that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have done a great deal in an effort not alone to bring the two parties together to have the dispute resolved but also to see that the main services of the country were not disrupted. May I repeat what I said at the beginning of my speech? The Irish Congress of Trade Unions do not agree that the proposals in this Bill are the right method to resolve the dispute. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is representative of half a million workers. As the Taoiseach has said, they are men of responsibility. They also appreciate what a dispute of this kind might mean to the country generally, to the consumer and to the employees.

May I read this statement which they have issued and which the Taoiseach and the Dáil should hear? It says:

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions considers that the decision of the Government to seek emergency legislation from the Oireachtas to enable them to impose wage rates fixed by compulsory arbitration for prescribed periods on electricians now on strike is unnecessary and unwarranted.

While recognising the serious nature of the present dispute in the Electricity Supply Board and the electrical trade and the urgent need to reach a settlement, the Congress holds that the background to the dispute and the issues involved should not be lost sight of nor should hasty and even panicky measures be taken.

In the first place whatever views may be held about the nature and the extent of the claims of the electricians it must be emphasised that the workers on strike are constitutionally entitled to make such claims and to withdraw labour in support of them. To that extent the electricians' strike is a normal wage dispute and their efforts to obtain fair and adequate remuneration for their skilled labour should commend itself to all fairminded people.

It must also be asserted that the employers bear a very considerable share of responsibility for bringing about the present dispute by their failure to meet their proper obligation to seek a fair settlement through negotiations carried on with good intent before any question of strike action was contemplated by the trade unions. Instead they precipitated a crisis by throwing the wage claims into the Labour Court without even a pretence of genuine negotiations.

The fact that contact was only re-established between the parties to the dispute and negotiations opened up and offers made through the intervention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce on the initiative of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, is indicative of the failure of the employers to measure up to their responsibilities.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, has, from the first day of the strike, sought to limit its spread in order to facilitate opening of negotiations. It is regretted that these efforts to confine the withdrawal of labour to electricians as a condition of bringing about discussions and settlement, while at the same time helping to avoid any major power failure, were not wholly successful. Nevertheless, it was only through intervention of Congress that the deadlock was broken, negotiations opened up, and progress made to a point where it was possible for the trade union negotiators to recommend acceptance of proposals.

The inability of the trade union executives to give effect to their undertaking to bring about a return to work while a Ballot Vote was proceeding has been a definite setback, yet the good intent of these responsible trade union representatives should not be impugned, but full consideration given to their very great difficulties and the extremely tense and confused situation confronting them.

Because a great measure of responsibility rests on the Electricity Supply Board for the outbreak of this dispute due to the marked discrimination shown by them in their different approach to wage and salary claims from the manual, clerical and supervisory sections of their staff and the Board's failure in the present dispute to effectively negotiate, the Congress holds that there is an immediate and urgent obligation on the Board and the electrical contractors to re-establish direct contact and discussions with the Trade Unions to secure the settlement which all who are acquainted with the dispute know to be possible and realisable. Let the employers now take the lead, which they have not hitherto done, and not wait to be again dragged reluctantly into negotiations. They have as much, if not more responsibility to make every effort to reach a settlement, than any other party to the discussions which have gone on since the first day of the strike.

Emergency Powers to fix and control wage rates for any section of workers should not be sought by the Government nor granted by the Oireachtas.

While the powers sought by the Government are specifically related to the electricity dispute, it must be realised that once the principle of using emergency powers to determine and enforce wage rates on any section of workers has been resorted to, it may then be extended and applied against any other sections of workers engaged in legitimate and constitutional wage movements.

Further, it should not be overlooked that government wage control has been experienced before in this State, but that was at a time of national emergency, whereas today not only is there no such national emergency but economic conditions are such as to justify and warrant considerable improvements in the living standards of all workers through enhanced wage rates.

While the services of Congress have not been availed of by the trade unions involved in the wage claim since the point at which Congress was instrumental in bringing about the opening up of discussions on the first day of the strike, Congress has done and will continue to do all possible to bring about a speedy and acceptable settlement of the issues in dispute, while at the same time striving to ensure that the withdrawal of labour be confined to those who made the actual wage claim.

Congress reiterates that it considers that the immediate responsibility for bringing about resumption of discussions and reaching a settlement devolves upon the employers. Consequently Congress strongly urges that no recourse will be had to emergency legislation which is repugnant to the whole concept of democratic government and a negation of workers' rights to bargain collectively.

With that, the Labour Party fully agree. It is a statement of the executive of a Congress representative of half a million workers. I want to make a last minute appeal to the Taoiseach to accept the amendment tabled by the Labour Party or that part of the amendment which seems not to be acceptable to the Ceann Comhairle. I ask that the Taoiseach now make an effort to bring these two parties together. I believe that if he does that, there is every prospect of a settlement. I do not know why he is so reluctant to do this.

There is no reluctance. Why was there not a settlement?

The Taoiseach might hear the unions' story on that. We again stress the danger of such legislation. Does not this smack of a wage freeze?

It does to me. It may not to the Taoiseach because he has a different concept of wage freezes from the concept we have. We all know what his draft proposals were in 1947; we all know what he intended to do. All of us would appreciate if the Government, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, made an endeavour to amend the present Industrial Relations Act passed in 1946. The Taoiseach and the Government would have been better employed if over the past four and a half years they had gone into negotiations with the trade unions with a view to getting acceptable machinery. Rather than dickering around with referenda, Electoral Acts and all the petty pieces of legislation which they brought in over the past four and a half years, they would have been better employed in getting some agreement with the workers in order to prevent the situation which the Taoiseach described this morning.

What will workers think of this? They must accept this wage; if they do not, they will be penalised. If the employer pays the worker a half-penny more than the wage set down by this tribunal, he will be prosecuted and fined and may eventually be sent to prison. That is not the type of legislation which Irish workers are used to; that is not the type of legislation they expect from an Irish Government. That is the type of legislation which was hinted at by the Taoiseach. It is the type of legislation that the workers will always resent and bitterly fight.

May I second this amendment? What is the position? If an amendment is tendered, have I the right to second it?

Surely I am entitled to be heard?

Yes; the seconder can speak also. I call Deputy Norton.

That is unusual.

Surely that is very unusual?

It is unusual to have an amendment——

This is an unusual Bill.

Surely an amendment to a motion for Second Reading does not require a seconder? Nobody seconded the Taoiseach's request that the Second Reading be passed. The Taoiseach proposed that the Second Reading be passed and he had no seconder.

Surely the Opposition are entitled to be heard after the mover?

Deputy Dillon will be heard.

Deputy Corish had not an amendment prepared in a form which the Chair would accept. He then asked to be allowed to speak to his amendment.

I moved an amendment.

He then asked to be allowed to move an amendment verbally. He was allowed to make it. We have not yet seen the terms of it. Understanding his difficulties, we agreed. I now offer to speak on the Second Stage of this Bill. Deputy Norton seeks to second this amendment which we have not yet got. I submit I ought be called.

I am not endeavouring to delay Deputy Dillon's contribution to the debate but I am waiting for the amendment to be circulated and it is being circulated now. Deputy Norton offered to second the amendment.

I am convinced this Bill is the product of hasty thinking and I believe it to be an ill-considered approach to the problem which it seeks to solve. It has all the evidence of having been put together in a scissors and paste fashion in trying to find some remedy for a situation which I am convinced will yield much more satisfactorily to a more intelligent and more persuasive approach to the matters in dispute. As Deputy Corish said, some of this Bill is a replica of the 1947 wage freeze Bill which we found in the Department of Industry and Commerce in 1948 when the Fianna Fáil Party went out of office. Some of this Bill has the same type of phraseology as was used in the Emergency Powers Orders which governed wages during the war. Portion of this Bill reminds me of the case of the employer in Athlone who during the last emergency gave an increase of 2/6d. per week in wages to his employee, an increase not recommended by a wages tribunal, and who was fined because he valued the wages of the employee higher than did the tribunal.

I ask myself, and the Taoiseach should ask himself, is there anything on the horizon today which justifies resort to or the adoption of methods of this kind? Every time a Minister goes on a platform or goes to a public function, we are told of the prosperity in which the country is gambolling at present. We are told that the economic situation is steady, that we are moving out on the high road to prosperity, and that all the indications are that we are entering a period in history of economic regeneration. Yet in the middle of it all, we get a Bill of this kind which, if anything, is calculated to bedevil the whole situation and bedevil it with that important section of the community without whose co-operation there can be no economic renaissance or regeneration, namely, the Irish trade union movement.

This is clearly a challenge to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. It represents for them a frustration of all they stand for. I think it represents for them, too, a feeling that whatever the Government may say about their goodwill in this respect, there is a very thin veneer between the Government and their attitude towards the trade unions. This Bill unfortunately provides every justification for such a belief.

What does this Bill do? First of all, it deprives those people affected by this strike of their age old and natural right to withdraw their labour because it provides that a tribunal will be established representing both sides and with a chairman If both sides disagree, then it is the chairman's decision which will be effective. In effect, what the Bill says is that once the chairman decides the wages at which the electricians should work, then, although they have a natural right to strike under the Constitution, a right that has been given every approbation in the past by Papal Encyclicals, and although by custom, they always had the right to strike, once this tribunal is set up and once the wages are fixed, their right to withdraw their labour has been cancelled, automatically destroyed and undermined by a Dáil convened by telegram, for the purpose of what? For the purpose of invading one of the most fundamental rights which the trade union movement has always cherished. I can see no reason for that today and when I remember that efforts are being made at this very moment to get the trade unions and employers together again this evening to settle the dispute, I ask myself what is the necessity for a Bill of this kind with a transcendent effect on the rights and future of the trade unions of this country?

Nobody has missed an electric light since this dispute started. The country goes about its normal business. Lights are on everywhere and neon lights abound in the city. Nobody has seriously suffered. Yet while that situation is there, almost at the point at which it could be settled by some sagacious handling, we get a Bill which does in respect of the trade union movement what we have never tried to do in the past 40 years, during the existence of an Irish Parliament. I know of nothing that justifies it. If the Taoiseach or the Minister for Industry and Commerce will get the unions and the employers together this evening, there is so little difference in this case it would be settled this afternoon.

There is no difference between them. There was an agreement made between them.

I do not want to discuss the merits of the case; I want to try to get a settlement. I think this is essentially a case where we want light and not heat about the whole business. There might have been a ballot if there had not been a condition that they should go back to work.

That condition was not imposed; it was accepted.

They said it was——

What condition?

The resumption of work. It was agreed to. Nobody forced them.

Who agreed?

The Trade Unions.

Not by the members concerned.

Order! Deputy Norton.

Even if the Taoiseach will permit himself to believe that there was some misunderstanding about all that, would it not be better to make another effort now rather than introduce a Bill——

I have said that if anything happens tonight, or tomorrow, or any time, which holds out a prospect of a settlement, that section will not be brought into operation. What further undertaking can I give?

The Bill is a disgrace to democratic Parliament because it invades rights recognised in the Constitution and in Papal Encyclicals. In fact, this Bill does violence to an International Labour Office Convention, which accepts the right of the workers to withdraw their labour. Here we are saying: "Because there is a difference of perhaps one penny between what you are offered and what you will settle for, the whole fundamental rights of trade unionists and the trade unions must be invaded."

What about their responsibility to the country?

I have no doubt that the Deputy will give the benefit of his wisdom to the Dáil, but this is still a free Parliament——

They have their responsibilities to the country.

The trade unions may be gagged in the future but they are not gagged yet and they can talk, and they will talk, whether with or without the Deputy's benediction. What the Government are doing here is making a frontal attack on the very basic principle which the trade unions regard as their most cherished possession.

The difference between the free man and the serf is that the serf is compelled to work by his employer's control over him or by the economic pressure upon him. The free man is entitled to withdraw his labour when he likes and when he wishes and to choose his employer. Here, an effort is being made, however, to say: "Once a chairman fixes your wages, then you must accept that wage; you will get no more; whatever rights you have in respect of strike action are being swept away by the terms of this Bill." I see nothing to justify that and I see nothing to justify it, with the knowledge that at this very moment efforts are being made to get both sides together to settle this relatively infinitesimal difference between one side and the other.

I want to refer to the statement made by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in the document which they have issued to the Press. They say, as one of the reasons this Bill should not be introduced:

Because a great measure of responsibility rests on the Electricity Supply Board for the outbreak of this dispute due to the marked discrimination shown by them in their different approach to wage and salary claims from the manual, clerical and supervisory sections of their staff and the Board's failure in the present dispute to effectively negotiate, the Congress holds that there is an immediate and urgent obligation on the Board and the electrical contractors to re-establish direct contact and discussions with the trade unions to secure the settlement which all who are acquainted with the dispute know to be possible and realisable.

Everybody knows that the E.S.B. made settlements with their clerical and supervisory staffs.

Other people keep the E.S.B. going. There are electricians; there are maintenance men. The electricians and the maintenance men said: "Well, if this cake is big enough to give the supervisory people and the clerical people such a fair slice, we also helped to bake it and we also want to get something too." They move in to get an increase. What has happened? The Electrical Trade Union have been waiting for a long time to get a satisfactory settlement with the Board but have never got it. The maintenance people have had their claim in, I understand, for many months and, so far, have not even got an offer from the Board, nor has the claim been referred to the workers' tribunal in the E.S.B.

Can anybody understand the atmosphere that is created when a clerical and supervisory section got a settlement last year which I think they regarded as good, whereas the maintenance people and the electricians can get no satisfactory offer at all? Some offer has been made to the electricians all right but the others do not know anything whatever as to what they are likely to get when it is on offer. I do not know any more certain way of causing confusion and irritation and of creating a spirit of jealousy than that kind of lopsided way of handling the worker.

It is not that the E.S.B. cannot afford it. Anybody who has seen their recent accounts will know that, in fact, they are £1 million better off now than they were last year. Thanks to the fact that the Shannon rolls down to the sea, they saved more than £400,000 because the year was a wet one. Their charges were reduced because they were able to turn on the Shannon waters for a longer period than previously. Therefore, they picked up nearly half a million pounds on that. The additional charges they imposed brought them in another half a million pounds so that there was a sum of £1 million there more than was there in the previous year.

Can anybody blame the electricians if they say: "This one penny more for less than 3,000 workers will not take a big bite out of the £1 million?" Surely a responsible statesman can create an atmosphere in which this situation will not lead to a dislocation of the power reserve of the country? I believe it can be done but people are now fighting for their faces. There is one vital thing in Irish political and Irish economic life—the Irish face, in a political dispute of this kind, is more valuable than the whole E.S.B. plant.

I think a settlement can be got and got this evening if people will stand back and look at the situation broadly against the whole economic picture, against the improved financial position of the E.S.B. If that is done, we shall not need to resort to hasty and ill-considered legislation of this sort, nor shall we need to soil the Statute Book with this legislation which seeks to handcuff trade unions and trade unionists. If it goes on the Statute Book, then, in a month or two months' time, there may be similar trouble in the Gas Company. The Government may be told: "Look, do you remember that Bill which was passed on that Friday afternoon in September? Use that against the gas workers as well."

It could not be. This Bill deals with one situation.

The hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob. The same hand as wrote this Bill will write another one and stick in "gas" as well as "electricity". Later on, we may find that transport should be governed in this way. Once the Government themselves teach people bad habits, they will find these people calling on them from time to time to teach the trade unions manners and to give them legislation of this kind.

The Government are unwise to equip themselves with this legislation because of the danger of using it on some future occasion. There is no justification for using it now. I want to repeat the exhortation in the original amendment we offered to the Ceann Comhairle, that is, that the Taoiseach or the Minister for Industry and Commerce, or both of them, should go this evening and have this business settled. I think that if both sides were to meet this evening, the situation is such that it would almost be virtually impossible not to settle it this evening, if they approach it in the proper spirit.

It appears to us on these benches strange that with a Board responsible for the administration of the E.S.B. in the country and with a Minister for Transport and Power, we have managed to slither into the highly undesirable situation which we heard described by the Taoiseach when introducing this Bill today. The temptation to comment in greater detail on that aspect of the situation is strong but I do not believe this is the appropriate time to conduct an inquisition into where the responsibility for that deplorable misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance truly rests.

We as a Parliament are today confronted with the situation described by the Taoiseach and we are bound to accept as reasonably accurate what we have heard the Taoiseach tell us in what I interpret as measured terms. I interpret this Bill as an instrument designed to provide all parties to this dispute with a cooling off period. I want to say with emphasis, and I think it requires to be said, that when we come together to consider matters of this kind, it is incumbent on us all to remember that before we are legislators or employers or trade unionists or consumers, we are all fellow members of one community, bound one to the other, with mutual responsibilities and that we ought not to try to create false differences beween ourselves in regard to fundamental beliefs.

I hold it as a fundamental belief, which I believe is shared by every Deputy, on whatever side of the House he sits, that free trade unions are an essential element of a free democratic society. I certainly would be prepared to defend that principle with all the resources of which I dispose and, in saying that, I speak for the Party of which I am the leader. But I have got to bear in mind, as I imagine every other Deputy has to bear in mind, that there are hospitals in this country dependent on electric power; there are iron lungs working at this moment which if arrested for any protracted period, might mean the death of a neighbour's child; there are operating theatres that cannot be operated without electric power. We have become so accustomed to the use of electric power that in many spheres we have become perhaps too dependent on its ready availability.

I have to think, as I am sure every other Deputy has to think, that if power is suspended in this country, not thousands, but hundreds of thousands, of wage earners will find themselves without employment, many of them with large family responsibilities having a very narrow margin and in a very short period will find themselves running into debt. I have to think, as every other Deputy has to think, of masses of cold-stored produce, both in deep freeze and in ordinary refrigeration, some of which rapidly, some of which less rapidly, must deteriorate to the point of destruction. I have to think, as every other Deputy has to think, of thousands of farmers up and down the country who have become dependent on electricity for their normal daily work.

I have to think of the cows which have never known hand-milking, that have been accustomed to the use of a milking machine and are not susceptible today to hand-milking. I have to think of the variety of other confusions that will arise which it is unnecessary to catalogue in detail but which must be present to the minds of us all.

In those circumstances, we certainly would infinitely prefer to see this trade dispute, as any other trade dispute, settled through the ordinary channels of trade union negotiation. We believe it is the right way to settle it; we believe it is the healthy way to settle it and we believe it is the democratic way to settle it. But the Government come to the House and tell us they are in an acute crisis and they want some means to overcome this acute crisis and we understand the Taoiseach to say: "I seek to enshrine no principle in this Bill; I am coming here with a purely emergency measure to deal with a present acute emergency."

I am not pressing him, and I am not pressing the House, to determine today who is responsible for that emergency. Somebody is and some day we will have to hold inquiry into that question and establish that responsibility, but today we must think of our neighbours, no matter who they are, our neighbours who are trade unionists and their rights; our neighbours who are sick and their rights; our neighbours who are seeking to maintain their families by their labour and their rights; and the farmers who are trying to get their living and their rights. Trying to weigh up all these obligations for which this House is ultimately responsible, when the Government come to us and say: "This is the only way we can see our way through this immediate emergency," I reply, on behalf of this Party: "If your purpose is to purchase time so that people's tempers can subside and what Deputy Norton has rightly referred to as ‘face' can be expeditiously saved on all sides, we think you are entitled to this legislation, if this is what you say will get you through your difficulty."

The fact that we say that does not exclude at all the urgent desirability of resolving this difference by the ordinary methods of negotiation, if that is possible. We regard that as an infinitely preferable method than having recourse to Section 2 or Section 3 of this Bill, not merely because we share to some degree the apprehension Deputy Norton referred to, that this would be establishing a precedent. I want to say on behalf of this Party, whether this Bill passes or not, this is no precedent and will never be quoted in this House as a precedent with any warrant of authority to bind this Party. We accept no principle as established by Section 2 or Section 3 of this Bill. We regard these sections as merely the Government's best device that they can think of to get them out of the crisis in which they find themselves at the present time and in which we all have become involved.

We affirm most emphatically our belief in the free functioning of trade unions and we repudiate the principle of wage freeze or the claim to set aside the fundamental right of trade unions freely to negotiate for their members with their employers. We are confirmed in our presumption that no principle is here enshrined and that this is a device primarily intended to get a breathing space in which wiser counsels can prevail on all sides with a view to ending the present emergency by the knowledge that this Bill is strictly limited in its life of six months and that at the end of that period, this Bill ceases to operate and that every Order made under it also ceases. As such, and if this is the best the Government have to offer us to resolve the present situation, we think they are entitled to have it, on the clear understanding that if, in the meantime, any prospect of substituting for the machinery of this Bill the machinery of negotiation and agreement can be availed of, the Government will seize that opportunity and act upon it.

There are certain details, however, in the text of the Bill to which I wish to direct the attention of the Taoiseach and which, I imagine, had I the opportunity of doing so earlier, might have avoided misunderstanding. Subsection (4) of Section 3 says:

It shall not be lawful for an employer to pay to any person to whom the determination of the tribunal applies wages at a rate other than that so determined.

I can only assume, as I have done, that where a man is at present receiving a wage at a rate other than that prescribed by the tribunal and which happens to be higher than the tribunal rate, it will not become a criminal offence to continue to pay him that rate. If that requires clarification, I think it ought to be made clear. I think —I should like to hear the Taoiseach's view on this—that under subsection (6) of Section 3, we must face the fact that this tribunal is merely a tribunal in name, that in fact it is an arbitrator, because even if you have a tribunal of two or three, with a chairman, representative of the workers and of the employers, even though you get an agreed recommendation from the two lay members with which the chairman does not agree, that is not a unanimous recommendation and thereupon it is the chairman's recommendation which becomes the verdict of the tribunal. In effect, then, this tribunal is not a tribunal but an arbitrator.

A single arbitrator.

I do not know if that is the intention of the Government. I do not know what is the intention but in fact the ultimate result is that you have an arbitrator.

I heard the Taoiseach say that it was intended to ask a Supreme Court judge to preside over this tribunal. I want to enter acaveat on that. I mentioned this before on a similar subject because I believe it to be a grave matter and one to which we have not made sufficient reference in the past. Judges are appointed under very special conditions by this House to preserve their independence and their detachment, to ensure their utter impartiality for the purpose of providing judicial tribunals before which citizens can vindicate their rights and I suggest this perennial practice of calling on judges of the High Court or the Supreme Court to engage in activities wholly alien to the purpose they are ordinarily called on to serve as judges should be ended. There must be some responsible elements in the community on whom we could draw for the purpose of presiding over a tribunal of this character, other than the judiciary, and I urge the Government most strongly that the less the judiciary are drawn into these extraneous activities, the better it will be for the society to which we all belong.

If we are to approach this question from the point of view of the common interest, if we are to accept that the primary concern of all of us is to put an end to a situation which is deteriorating to the point where essential services would be suspended and grave, irrevocable damage might be done, surely we ought all combine here today in any effort that will bring this dispute to an end? If we can do it by negotiation, by understanding, by agreement, that is infinitely the better way, but if that is not possible and if the Government of the country come to the Oireachtas and say: "We have done all we can in that sphere and we are prepared to do more if anyone will do it with us, but in default of that, in respect of this dispute alone, categorically repudiating that we establish any precedent, reaffirming the infinite value to a free, democratic society of free and independent trade unions, we ask these powers lest worse befall," is this House to say to the Government: "You will not get them"? They tell us they are in a position of deadlock; that they cannot get any further, go backwards or forwards or any other way and that these essential services are breaking down and are we to reply today: "Well, let them"?

I do not think we can; I do not think we should. But if we give the Government this Bill, we should say to them: "If it is possible at all to resolve this matter by negotiation, make the effort even though you fail." If there is a reasonable hope of another try producing results, make it, and state, before this debate concludes, your views on specific details to which I have referred and let us all avail of this opportunity jointly to reaffirm our belief in the fundamental, democratic principle that free trade unions are an essential element in a free society.

None of us desires emergency legislation. I do not believe that anybody in the House thinks it desirable or appropriate for the Oireachtas ever to intervene in the ordinary course of trade negotiations but none of us ought to recoil from our duty of bearing our share of the responsibility for all categories of the community whose very existence may depend on the maintenance of power and light supplies. It is in the urgent hope that the damage that has been done through failure on somebody's part which has got us into our present situation can be remedied that we are prepared to give the Government the legislation they ask for, but in giving it, we here assert again our confidence in the fundamental belief in the freedom of trade unions and reiterate that Sections 2 and 3 establish no precedent for future legislation in any dispute that may arise. They should rather impose upon us a clear duty of ensuring that we are not allowed to drift into this kind of crisis again.

There is one last point that must be referred to before I conclude. This is the Government's proposal; I do not know whether it will work or not. It is manifest that nobody can make men work who do not want to work. I have never known of any country in the world where compulsory arbitration worked and I do not know that it is going to work here but the Government come to us and say: "This is our last remedy for the situation in which we find ourselves." I pose the question again, what is our answer to be? Are we to say: "Let the controversy which flows from this dispute flow indefinitely", or are we to say that we feel these powers are necessary and that we will give them, with the injunction that the best way to settle the dispute is by negotiation and ironing out?

From the statement made by the Leader of the Labour Party and his seconder, we can gather it is suggested that that possibility is not ruled out. The Government should investigate the significance of their contributions to this debate and, if possible, act on them. If not, here is your Bill, but, for heaven's sake, whether it be by your exertions or that of the electorate, do not let the Government, the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Minister for Transport and Power of any future Irish Parliament land us in the kind of dilemma in which we find ourselves today.

This is said to be a trade union issue but the fact that this Bill has been put before us leaves us, who are not trade unionists, no alternative but to intervene. I have, like Deputy Dillon, taken whatever steps were open to me to try to decide as best I can on the merits of the case made to me. I have also attempted to decide whether drastic measures such as those included in this Bill could indeed be permitted.

Deputy Dillon, supporting the Taoiseach, poses the question—a very serious one: what are we to do in the present crisis? Are we to wash our hands of any decision and let the terribly serious consequences which might flow from such inaction actually happen? Deputy Dillon paraded for us the sick in the hospitals, the disabled and the consequences that might follow any breakdown in power. I do not think that anybody who knows my stand in public life over the years could seriously suggest I would dismiss that as an unimportant consideration in this dispute. However, I do not think we are left with no alternative.

I do not think we have to shelter behind inaction. It is not a question of saying that if things are going to happen, let them. There is the alternative, in order to prevent things breaking down, in order to prevent these serious consequences from which hospitals, farmers and food supplies might suffer, of giving a fair wage to the workers. That is the alternative. I believe it is an alternative which has not been seriously considered by the employers in this case, or indeed by the Government. The Government have very great powers in a matter such as this.

Deputy Dillon makes the suggestion that we should all unite in this great effort, that we should not try to create false divisions between different sections of the community. There is no such question before us. There are very real differences in our case. We operate in a privileged society and it is because the Government believe in that type of privileged society that they are now faced with this crisis. I am not being wise after the event when I make that clear. The Minister for Industry and Commerce recalls well that I queried on a number of occasions in the past the efficiency of the Labour Court. I pointed out several times that the Labour Court had made a number of bad decisions—anti-worker decisions—and that it had had to reverse those decisions and that the end effect of that was that the Court gradually—whatever it had done in the beginning—began to lose the confidence of the workers. That is the type of thing that leads to a crisis of this kind.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce refused to take that suggestion seriously at that time, reiterating his Government's confidence in the ability of the Labour Court to handle these grave disputes. To-day, as a result, we have as the end product one of the most blatant police laws ever submitted to a democratic Parliament. Of course it illustrates in words of two syllables, in a damning way, the Labour Court's failure to deal equitably with the great matters which have come before it. I wonder whether, even at this stage, the Government are still going to cling to the Labour Court as an efficient and a just piece of arbitration machinery?

It must be quite clear to the Government now that at last, whatever their faith may be in the Labour Court, it is not shared by the average trade unionist. If the Labour Court is to continue, then the only purpose is to provide a number of well-paid jobs for the boys to do completely useless work and in fact damaging work. To my mind, the Labour Court is incompetent to do a job. The Government may not believe it is a fraud; everybody else does so believe. This crisis is a Government-created one. It is the most absurd situation that we have ever seen. The prisoner in the dock today is the unfortunate worker on strike and the crisis was created by the refusal of his employer to pay him a just wage. He is in the dock indicted with threatening to cause a breakdown in our whole national economy. With one voice, the Taoiseach says: "These are reasonable men." In another part of his statement, he says it is impossible to make a reasonable settlement when you are dealing with unreasonable men. He cannot have it both ways.

Who are involved in this dispute? The Taoiseach asks us to protect the public interest. Are these people not members of the public? Have they not interests that should be protected? Have we any right to protect them? Have they any constitutional right to withdraw their labour? Have we a right in this House to override those constitutional rights by legislation? I recall well that members of my own profession on another occasion on the question of hospitals, disease and the right to live, when better health services and so on were proposed, because the proposals did not meet with the financial needs of the members of the medical profession at that time, succeeded in sabotaging them. Nobody suggested it would be necessary to bring in any compulsory legislation of this kind in order to bring them to their knees.

The Taoiseach's whole record has been a rejection of controls of any kind. This crisis is created, on the one hand, by keeping on an effete, useless instrument in the Labour Court; and it is being brought on also by the fact that the Taoiseach has refused to consider the question of controls where his own friends are concerned, the industrialists and the manufacturers. There is to be control on the worker's income—control on his wages—but no control on dividends, no control on profits, no control on prices. What is happening here is the moment of truth for the Government. One of the cleverest newspaper campaigns I have even seen has been carried out by this Government since they took office. The Taoiseach used the newspapers and the journalists in order to publicise one word and to create one myth. That one word is "prosperity" and that one myth is prosperity. The tragedy is that the Taoiseach and his colleagues have come to believe in the myth that this is a prosperous society and that this is a prosperous economy. I am very glad that the workers in this instance have ripped to shreds the fake, fraudulent facade of prosperity—the myth this Government have created that we live in a prosperous society here.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Being a Taoiseach and being a Minister over too long a period means, as far as I can see, that you tend to get out of touch with the ordinary, simple, mundane things like eggs, milk, butter, bread, tea and sugar that the housewife has to try to keep in her basket, if she is to keep her children fed and her husband fed after a hard day's work. While at home and abroad those with the full bellies have swallowed the story of prosperity, the worker looking for wage increases is looking for them on the basis of the real needs of his own family. The legend of prosperity is not enough to keep his family fed and that is why he is demanding the increase which is being demanded here.

The Taoiseach has refused to consider the re-establishment of the Prices Tribunal; the Taoiseach has refused to put any restriction or stay whatever on prices; the Taoiseach has repeatedly refused the restoration of any form of subsidy in order to reduce the prices of essential commodities for the consumer. Refusing to consider the question of subsidy to reduce the prices of essential commodities, he is now refusing to consider the trade unions' demands to compensate for the increase in prices of essential commodities, following withdrawal of food subsidies. He is trying to have it both ways. In that way, he is in the process of making the greatest blunder of his political career.

For some time, the most extraordinary fact of life in this society has been that the trade unionist has been trying to see the virtue of marking time in his wage demands. According to reliable trade union statistics, information produced here one and a half years ago, it has been shown that the real take-home value of workers' wages are the same to-day as they were in 1930. Yet we are told about an expanding economy. We are told that the country was never better off. It is quite true that a small minority in the country were never better off; they were never better off at the expense of the workers. Now the time has come when the workers are going to assert themselves and insist on having a larger share of the cake. In order to prevent them having that, the Taoiseach has now introduced this repressive, coercive legislation, the product of the Brains Trust—the Federation of Irish Manufacturers.

It is conceivable that the Taoiseach had a crisis on his hands when he was dealing simply—and I say "simply" advisedly because it is relatively simple —with the electricians' strike. What he will have as a result of this headon clash, this insolent challenge to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, nobody can guess. Quite clearly, they have been challenged. What their answer is to be is their own business. They have been directly challenged by the Taoiseach. This dispute now becomes a much greater one indeed. This dispute involves the whole future existence and value to the workers in Ireland of the trade union movement.

One of the other factors which have led, in my view, to the creation of this present crisis in their affairs is the Government's attitude to semi-State companies. Everybody knows that I am a socialist and that I believe in public ownership. I also believe in criticising the failings of certain organisations. I have repeatedly pleaded with the Government to make these organisations amenable in some way to this House so that we might be in a position to question them in matters of policy, if we so decided, from time to time. Repeatedly, the Government have said they propose to deal with that matter, but, in the last analysis, they have done absolutely nothing. Just as with the cost of living, they have let it slide. Just as with the Labour Court—they have let it go blundering on making mistake after mistake—so with the E.S.B., Bord na Móna, C.I.E. and all the others. I have criticised all these in the past but the Government have refused to take the necessary steps to make these bodies amenable to this House.

As Deputy Corish said, a great deal of fiddling legislation—referenda and so on—have had to be considered and discussed in this House, wasting time, while these very much more important matters from the point of view of the national interest were ignored, and these were the matters we should properly have been discussing here. If we had been in a position to question the E.S.B., we could have found out why manual workers—linesmen and so on—having submitted a wage claim as far back as March last should have to wait until now to have that claim considered by the E.S.B. It will now be considered in the heat of this dispute. The workers are given an assurance that, if they go back to work, the claim will be discussed expeditiously. If "expeditiously" in August, or September, why not "expeditiously" in March last? What is the reason for the delay? Is it not the fact that they are encouraged to go back now in order that they will act as strike breakers and make it impossible for the electricians to continue the dispute?

The Electricity Supply Board have shown themselves to be distinctly partisan in their assessment of their employees, discriminating in their assessment of the value of their employees. Deputy Norton mentioned the fact that quite considerable increases were given last November, increases varying from 10 per cent. approximately to 17 per cent. in some cases. Those increases were given to people drawing anything from £450 a year to £2,500 per year. I do not begrudge any of these people these increases, but many of those in receipt of £2,500 a year collect, in addition, certain bonuses and subsistence allowances of one kind or another. Their claim was met without any great difficulty apparently. Certainly they were not compelled to make the appalling sacrifices that the unfortunate men now on strike are compelled to make. There was no outcry in the Press because of these increases last November. There was no suggestion that it was a scandal that people in receipt of £20 a week should get an increase.

What is the approach today? What is the propaganda disseminated with regard to the electricians? That they are overpaid as it is. Nobody suggested that these others—the white collar workers—were overpaid when the man in receipt of £20 per week had his salary increased to £30, and the man in receipt of £30 had his salary increased to £40, and the man in receipt of £50 had his salary increased to £60 per week. Of course, these were the white collar workers—slightly higher up the line! That was all right. But it is not all right when it is the unfortunate manual workers who are trying to house, feed and clothe their families and educate their children. They are hounded, not because they ask for £20 per week but just because they ask for a little over half that.

The position with regard to these electricians who earn, perhaps, £20 per week is that they earn that amount by working overtime. I do not believe any man in his senses, irrespective of what section in society he operates in, be he an electrician, a clerical, or an administrative worker, wants to do a minute's more work than he absolutely must. I know I do not, and I do not believe anybody else does, either. I think overtime is absolutely wrong and it surprises me that trade unions tolerate it. It surprises me that they should tolerate a situation in which a man is compelled to do overtime in order to make a just wage, a wage which keeps him and his family in reasonable comfort.

Anybody who saw the submissions of the E.T.U. to the Labour Court and examined the items listed on a comparative price basis as between 1939 and 1961 cannot but appreciate that this is no outrageous demand; a visit to the cinema for self and wife once a fortnight, clothes, sugar, butter, tea and so on—the simple essentials, the necessaries. Anybody who examined that submission could not but appreciate that this is no unreasonable demand, made by unreasonable men, in order to try to bring the economy to a standstill. This is a demand made by men whose children will go hungry unless this increase is given, whose children will have to go out to work prematurely because the parents cannot afford to keep them at school, whose children, if they fall ill, will go without medical attention because the parents will not be able to meet the medical fees. It is as simple as that.

There is no underground movement operating in these unions. These men do not think in ideological terms. They are not looking for a workers' republic, much as I should like them to do just that. They are looking for very simple things. They want clothes on their backs. They want to look respectable when they go out on the streets. They want to get their children properly educated. They want to be sure of a doctor when they fall ill. They want to be sure of a roof over their heads. That is all it is.

I was amused recently to read of the Taoiseach talking about the Encyclical,Mater et Magistra. The Taoiseach quite failed to deal on that occasion with matters concerning the treatment of workers and the need for providing socialised medical services and proper educational facilities and the responsibilities of employers. Perhaps he might like now to re-read the Encyclical and act in accordance with it. In the provinces in Britain, the areas in which wages are lower as compared with heavily industrialised urban areas, comparable classes get 6/6d., 6/7d., or 6/8d. per hour—nearly 1/- more than the highest equivalent class here. In addition, the worker in Britain knows that he can call on the health services there, should the necessity arise.

What does he do here? Because of the Government's failure, he goes grovelling to the dispensary doctor and if he is not eligible for a blue ticket under the means test, the pauper laws, and so on, he pays whatever the doctor likes to charge him. When he wants medical care, drugs and medicines of one kind or another, the Minister for Industry and Commerce has seen that he will pay whatever price is fixed by the chemist because the Minister took no steps to reduce or control the price of medicines, to see that these people are charged a reasonable price for these essentials that will save lives. Do they worry about hospitals and the sick? Why do the Government not give them a free health service?

The Deputy is getting away from the Bill. A detailed discussion on the health services is not relevant on this Bill.

I merely refer to it as one of the amenities which their brother workers in Britain get without paying for it directly. The worker there is better paid per hour; he has a free health service. In addition, his children are educated and his aged parents are cared for in reasonable comfort, with the reasonable standard of dignity befitting their position, unlike here where they are thrown a miserable 30/- pittance in their old age to starve to death.

That is the fabric on which this crisis was created. It is the Government's own doing; it is their own crisis. The people in the dock should not be the workers; they should be the Taoiseach, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Health, the Minister for Social Welfare, the Minister for Education. Those are the guilty men, not these unfortunate men who are trying to keep their children fed. This is one of the smoothest, slickest, meanest sleight-of-hand tricks ever perpetrated in a democratic society. They have driven these unfortunate men on to the streets; they have driven them out of their work by repeated blundering on their part. Then they have the impudence to threaten to lock them up, if they do not feel satisfied with empty bellies. When their children waste or fail in front of them, the Government pass it off by saying: "We are doing well in the United Nations." If these people cannot afford a new suit and have to go around in rags and if they cannot afford the simple amenities of the average household, the Government will tell them: "There is a law against disliking these things. You will be fined, No. 1, and you will go to jail, No. 2, if you do not like them, if you do not share our feeling that this is a prosperous society and an expanding economy, that things were never better. How dare you think otherwise?" Their attitude recalls the remark of Marie Antoinette: "If they do not like bread why do they not eat cake?" That is what we will get next from them. How far out of touch can a Government get with the needs of the ordinary worker, the needs of the white collar worker and the wage earner? Talk about who is the man in the moon! The whole Cabinet of the Irish Government live there permanently.

One of the sad things one finds, of course, is misrepresentation of the striker. As I have said before, these men are ordinary men like ourselves with ordinary, simple needs. One of the things they have tried to make clear, in spite of the thick-headed imbeciles in the Labour Court, the Arbitration Tribunal and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, is that these are simple needs, that they cannot and will not be fobbed off with anything short of these needs and these needs are around £12 a week.

These men, because they are on strike, are now getting £2, £2 10s. or £2 15s. a week. Does anybody think it is fun to go on strike, to parade up and down in all weathers picketing a premises? These men would be much more satisfied at work. To strike is the only weapon they have. It is their final appeal. Common sense not having prevailed, they must use the only force they have.

This Bill is a most insolent anti-democratic, arrogant usurpation of the powers of the whole trade union movement. The proposal in Section 3 (6) is an outrageous one. Let me be blunt. I have always held that judicial appointments were political appointments and that in arbitration proceedings, no matter who the judge is, he will make a political decision in his arbitration findings. If any trade union leader sits on this tribunal, he should be shamed out of the country because if his opinion does not meet with the approval of the Government's nominee as chairman, it is just wiped out. He has the final power, the ultimate decision. He can perform the Neroesque gesture of turning down his thumb: if they do not like it they will pay a fine or go to jail because Nero says so. Even in the Supreme Court, the decision is made by three out of five. That is the final decision of the court, a much more superior and important court than this. Yet we have this insolence, to ask grown men who have reached the peak in such an important body as the trade unions of this country to sit on a body of this kind where their final decision may be expressed by the whim of the political nominee of the Party in power. Surely the Government do not think they will get away with it?

Then we have these extraordinary penal provisions. There is a fine on the one hand. A £10 a week worker will be fined £10 or £20, a continuing fine endlessly and, of course, not being able to pay it, he will go to jail. Unless I am misreading the Bill, if the trade union leader refuses to tell him to reject the offer made by this court, does he not also go to jail? All Deputies who refuse to accept such a decision and who decide to support the workers in their struggle—do we go to jail also?

(Interruptions.)

It might suit many of you. That is the position you are at last reduced to. The Government have blundered into this situation. Here is the way they are treating perfectly ordinary decent men. They are threatening them with jail, if they do not obey the final ukase——

The Deputy is the only honest man in the world.

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for that compliment. They are threatening them with jail if they do not accept the ukase of the political nominees of this Government. Deputy Dillon, no matter what his position is, cannot prevent the establishment of this precedent. He can give his word that he will not use it but there are more in this House than Deputy Dillon. Indeed, it is difficult to see a Government formed completely out of Deputy Dillon's Party for a long time to come. Therefore, the question of whether he uses the precedent or not hardly arises.

The case made by the Taoiseach, supported by Deputy Dillon, is that the consequences of the strike are serious. It will cause great public inconvenience. It is a valid case but a strike is resorted to only in the last analysis when the worker has found it impossible to get a reasonable set-up, to use the Taoiseach's phrase. We are seeking to establish a dangerous precedent and it is a bad precedent. I do not think this is the only decision open to the Government. Deputy Norton, who has long experience in trade union matters, said they were on the edge of a settlement. A settlement is possible. How can the Taoiseach expect a body of the prestige of the Trade Union Congress to negotiate under the threat of this legislation? They are being told: "Settle or else—" This is a challenge to the whole trade union movement. In the words used in the old Wild West: "You can now put up or shut up." That is what they are being told.

It is clear that the E.S.B. have mismanaged the situation very seriously. There is a great sense of grievance amongst the workers because of the discrimination in favour of a certain class of worker as against another class of worker. The position at the moment in relation to certain of the manual workers is that if the manual workers who work 48 hours a week were to work a 37 hour week, a rural labourer would get £4 12s. 6d. and a district labourer £7 13s. Clearly, the E.S.B. has allowed this differential to develop between the different kinds of work. There is a difference in the way in which pay claims are handled and then there is a difference in the way in which pay claims are eventually settled.

The Government have failed in many aspects of the life of our country. They have failed to make the E.S.B. more amenable to this House. They have failed in allowing the cost of living to increase so as to create serious hardships on the workers, leaving them no alternative but to make these demands. I hope the Taoiseach will listen to the appeals made to suppress this legislation in the interests of what he seems to want most—harmony in industry. Certainly, in my view, the decision to bring in this legislation represents a very grave blunder indeed on the part of the Government. I do not think it is needed at this time. I think that there is an alternative solution to the problem.

I think it is wrong to represent to the public that there is no alternative and that there would be great public inconvenience unless legislation of this nature is brought into operation. There would be no public inconvenience and no hardship on the public if the workers' reasonable demands were met by the employers. There would be no need for the strike and there certainly would be no need for the breakdown about which the Taoiseach seems to be so worried. I should like to conclude by adding my voice to the voices of members of the different Parties here who objected to this Bill and I ask the Government to withdraw it.

I should like at the outset to state that I approach the consideration of this Bill, I hope, with a sense of responsibility. With that sense of responsibility, I regard the prospect of this Bill becoming law with very profound uneasiness. Deputy Dillon explained the attitude of this Party to the Bill. I think he approached the matter with the same sense of responsibility and with the same feeling of uneasiness as I do. I appreciate the difficulty of the Taoiseach particularly and even the Government in trying to solve the almost insoluble problem which has faced the country in the past few days.

What I find most difficult to understand is how we find ourselves here, facing this dilemma. The Taoiseach tells us we must accept his word—and of course we do accept his word—that he would not be here recommending these proposals to the Dáil today, were he not convinced of the profound danger facing the country because of the situation created by the strike in the electrical industry. We have to accept that statement from the Taoiseach as the responsible Prime Minister of the country. At the same time, he tells us that an agreement was reached the other night, largely through the efforts of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, between representatives of both parties to the dispute. Both parties apparently thought the matter was at an end, but then the public woke up to find that the agreement was not an agreement at all. What has happened? Personally I cannot find out what has happened. That is the dilemma we are in. The Taoiseach says that the country is facing a serious position, as undoubtedly it is, and at the same time, we are told that agreement was reached and nobody knows why the agreement broke down.

Why are we faced with that serious situation when if Deputy Norton is right, as I believe he is, there is only a very narrow gap separating the parties? Apparently agreement of both workers and employers was arrived at both as to the terms and as to the resumption of work. I do not know whether the whole situation comes down to this. The terms of payment are agreed upon, but we are facing this situation and facing the passing of this very obnoxious Bill— because that is what it is—because the employers say: "We will not agree finally on these terms unless the pickets are withdrawn" and the trade union representatives say: "We will not withdraw the pickets". Am I right in saying that that is the issue that has brought us here today?

That is not true.

That really the question is of withdrawing or not withdrawing pickets?

If I had been called when I stood up, I would have been able to explain that position to the Deputy.

I did not catch what the Minister said.

The Deputy is not quite right.

I gathered that impression from the Taoiseach's speech. Again, when Deputy Norton was speaking, the Taoiseach intervened and I took down his words. I may not have heard him correctly but I thought he said something like this: "Negotiations resulted in agreement and why was there not a settlement?" He said something like that. Am I correct in that? There was a settlement and I think he said the Minister went to bed to have a very well-earned rest after his very laudable efforts. What is the issue between the parties? We should know that, first of all. We cannot really arrive at a sound judgment in the public interest until we know whether the gap is narrow or whether it is wide enough to justify the drastic proposals in this measure.

I am sure the Minister will understand that I am seeking information because I got that definite impression from the newspapers and certainly I got it from the Taoiseach this morning. Is that the position, that the only thing separating these parties is whether there will be a resumption of work or not? The employers are adamant on that and the workers are equally adamant on it. Surely we have not gone a long way in trade union matters and in considering trade disputes when the employers insist that the workers must resume work before they will negotiate? I thought that was as dead as Queen Anne. I am not purporting to assess or trying to assess where the responsibility lies between employers and employees for the breakdown of these negotiations. I have not got sufficient material to know and certainly it struck me as being very extraordinary, if I interpreted the Taoiseach aright, that all that separated the parties the night before last, all that resulted in the breakdown of the agreement, was the question of resumption of work.

If that is so, then surely we should not be in the position we are in today. As I said at the start, I appreciate the Taoiseach's dilemma. He has put us in the same dilemma. The negotiations have broken down and I have not sufficient information to know why. The Taoiseach tells this House that this is the only way he can resolve the grave public danger that faces the country. Anybody facing that position, whilst disliking the proposals intensely, could not take the risk of refusing to give them to the Government, but at the same time we do not know what caused the breakdown. That is what is operating in my mind.

If I were to give an opinion on this Bill as it stands, I am not at all sure that it will achieve the purpose the Taoiseach hopes and thinks it will achieve. My own opinion is that it will not achieve that purpose. There are two purposes to be achieved in the present position. One is to settle the dispute and the other is to ensure a continuance of essential public services. Deputy Corish in moving his amendment this morning said there were two parties to the dispute. There is a third party. There are the employers and the employees but there is also the public whose interests have to be looked after. We have a duty to all three parties, but, above all, we have a duty to the public.

There has been grave anxiety during the past few weeks, particularly during the past few days, as to the possible effects of the strike and the breakdown of essential services in our electrical industry. There has been grave anxiety and it was all the graver by reason of the succession of strikes and disputes in other essential services to which Deputy Dr. Browne and others referred, and on which I hope to make one or two remarks. Is this Bill going to achieve either or both of these purposes? I doubt it very much. I am saying that in all sincerity and I hope that whatever remedy is arrived at, the dispute will be settled amicably.

First of all, there is a trade dispute. That is admitted. Trade disputes carry with them certain privileges to the workers and certain obligations for their employers. They are pretty well known but I should like to know from the Taoiseach whether he has had the highest opinion available to him as to whether this Bill is in accordance with the principles of the Constitution. I express no opinion on this. As I have frequently said, I express no opinion on the constitutionality of any measure before the House but I think in fairness to the members of this House and, in particular, to the Taoiseach, I shall direct his attention to the fact that grave constitutional issues may arise.

I should like to know if the Government have been assured by the highest legal opinion available to them that this Bill does not infringe the provisions of the Constitution. I am not raising that point merely for the sake of making a point—far from it —but it is better that we should face that issue now because as surely as we are here today, that issue will be raised inside the next few weeks in the courts if this Bill becomes law. I think that is a matter on which the House ought to be assured by the Taoiseach before this Bill is passed.

The principle that has been laid down by our Supreme Court in constitutional decisions is that when a Bill is enacted by our Legislature, there is a presumption that they know or believe they are not doing anything unconstitutional. I have my views on what that principle laid down by the Supreme Court does mean, in effect, in relation to what we do in this case. As I said in another context in another place, if anybody like me should ever raise the point that a measure or portion of a measure we are passing through this House may be unconstitutional, Deputies would almost hit that person with the nearest copy of the Dáil Reports they have at hand.

Be that as it may, that is the principle on which the Supreme Court act. I should like the public as well as Deputies to be assured that the Government have assured themselves, so far as they can do so in a difficult matter of that kind, that the provisions of this Bill do not contravene the provisions of the Constitution. That is my first view as to whether this measure will achieve its purpose.

Finishing, again, on the question of trade dispute, when this measure goes through and a tribunal is set up and the tribunal makes a determination as to what the wages are to be and that are to be accepted, what will happen then as regards this trade dispute? A trade dispute involves the right of peaceful picketing which involves legalised committing of a nuisance in connection with the employer's business. Will this Bill affect that position? It is essential for us and for the public to know these matters.

If this measure says the tribunal is to fix the wages, in doing so, expressly or by inference, will it make illegal the picketing of premises involved in the trade dispute? I notice the Taoiseach is shaking his head to indicate that it will not. That is a matter on which there may be a variety of opinions. At all events, I think the public ought to know, and certainly the trade union movement ought to know, that that is not the intention of this Bill does proit may, inferentially, be so. If we look at it, we find that the Bill does provide that the determination of the wages to be paid in reference to people involved in this trade dispute shall be binding on and accepted and observed by every person affected thereby. There are, then, a number of sections providing for offences and prosecutions and punishments. One of them is that any person who contravenes whether by act or omission, or attempts to contravene any provision of this Act or any order made thereunder shall be guilty of an offence. If a man said: "Those are my wages; I shall not take them"—I shall put it no further than this—is it not at least arguable that when Section 3 says that the determination of the tribunal shall be final, that the legal wages to be paid to the people employed in the concern where the trade dispute exists are to be such as determined, that means that that is the law, that is the lawful wage——

The employer must pay.

I know he must. Therefore, if he pays any more, he is guilty——

Or any less.

I am looking at it from the point of view of the workman. Here you have something that says: "That is the lawful payment." The trade dispute is a dispute with regard to wages. I submit that this Bill is at least capable of the argument that when the tribunal has fixed a rate of wages, it is the only legal rates of wages and any dispute with reference to any increase of them would be unlawful and therefore any picketing would be unlawful.

It is not the intention of the Bill and if any amendment would make that intention clear, I should be prepared to accept it.

I am not a draftsman; I am pointing out what is in the Bill. The Taoiseach will get his legal adviser to advise him on what I am saying. That is all I want.

I suggest there is a very valid, cogent argument that, once these wages have been declared to be the legal and only lawful wages applicable in this dispute, any further picketing for the furtherance of these wages is illegal and therefore the picketing is unlawful. The Taoiseach says that is not the intention. Therefore, it is better to have it clear. I think I have possibly done a useful service in bringing this matter into the public light and letting everybody have a look at it.

The settlement of the dispute is what I have been dealing with up to this. Will the Bill settle the dispute? I am testing this measure, if you like, by putting the case as far as ever it can be put in the country way so as to test the scope of the measure. Will the effect of this section, if it comes into operation and the tribunal make a determination, prevent other negotiations? Will it be illegal to have any further negotiations for wages after that? It seems to me that it will.

I tried to make it clear and I hoped the House would understand that if there is any prospect whatever of bringing this dispute to a termination by a process of negotiation, this section will not be operated. It gives a method—it may not be the best method—in circumstances where no negotiations can produce that result.

I appreciate what the Taoiseach says. I am looking at the matter a step further ahead. It is a natural consequence of the passage of this Bill that the people affected by it will, to put it mildly, be very annoyed. I think I am right in saying that it will not create an atmosphere very favourable towards negotiation between now and the setting-up of the tribunal. Therefore, if this measure is to have any effect, when the tribunal is set up, it must operate and when it operates it must fix a figure. Then some well-meaning person says: "Let us have another go" and then do it again in six months——

Any Order made under this measure can be repealed.

It can be revoked inside six months.

Will this have the effect of preventing negotiations? What the Taoiseach says is obvious. Apparently the section itself is permissive, not mandatory. The use of the word "may" has very frequently been held to be mandatory, notwithstanding its permissive character. Assuming it is not obligatory to set it up, he can then hold the threat over the parties that it will be operated if a settlement is not achieved. That will not be conducive to any goodwill or good feeling.

The second purpose of this Bill is to enable the essential services to be carried on. I think the Taoiseach in opening the Bill said that there was not very much hope of very effective measures being taken under the powers taken in this Bill. I should have thought that perhaps a better approach at the moment, as a first step, would be to take the powers the Taoiseach has in Section 5, leaving it then, while those powers were there, to any persons of goodwill in the country to see if any further negotiations can take place. The insertion in the Bill of this clause dealing with the setting-up of a tribunal may have an effect precisely opposite to what the Taoiseach thinks. It may exacerbate the position rather than bring about a climate where negotiations may favourably be considered and brought to a successful conclusion.

I can appreciate the Taoiseach's feelings that he should not be called in at this last minute to act as a court of appeal, so to speak, from his Minister for Industry and Commerce and to bring the prestige of his position to bear upon the position for the purpose of trying to bring about further negotiation to effect a settlement and that somebody else might be brought in instead. I agree with Deputy Norton that because there is apparently a narrow gap between the parties, the situation is such that it may well ease itself in a more satisfactory way than through this Bill, and that pending the passing of this Bill in this House and in the Seanad certain prominent persons, whose names I do not wish to mention in this House but who are experienced in the moral aspects of trade disputes, might well be asked to come in and bring their knowledge, their experience and their sympathy both from the point of view of the rights of the worker and the obligations of the employer, to bear upon a proper settlement of this dispute. That might well be a much more effective method than even the method suggested by Deputy Corish.

The Taoiseach, in the course of the early part of his remarks, said that this was a crisis for trade unionism. I think it is. He is quite right in that. It is also a crisis for the third party in this dispute, the public. The public has been suffering in recent months from, perhaps, a reaction over the innumerable trade disputes that exist in England and trade disputes in this country vitally affecting the interests of the country, both its economic interests and its very means of livelihood and very means of continuing as a people. We have had a threatened strike in the building industry which would cause tremendous hardship in holding up supplies. There has been a strike in the cement industry, a threatened strike in the gas industry, in the bread industry and in the electricity industry.

The Taoiseach did say that this is not to be a precedent. That is what he meant, I presume, when he said that this Bill carries no implications with regard to trade disputes generally. I take it that is merely a method of saying it is not to be a precedent. I think this Bill ought to carry implications in regard to trade disputes generally. The time has now come when, in the interests of the third party, the public, employers and trade unionists should get together and see in this Catholic country whether we cannot find some other means of ensuring that the proper rights of the working man and woman are respected by the employer, that the employer recognises his obligations and, at the same time, the worker recognises his moral obligations to the community as well as to himself and to his family and to his employer.

This gives a good opportunity now of taking stock. We have had people giving well deserved compliments to one another for the part they took in trying to bring about a settlement of this dispute. The Minister was thanked, and properly thanked, by the parties to the dispute for his effort to bring about a settlement. The Congress of Trade Unions were complimented on what they had done and they well deserved that. They gave a headline which I hope will be followed in future. They certainly gave a very good example in connection with this dispute and their conduct in all this matter has been above reproach and something for which the country ought to be very grateful.

In that set of circumstances, when we find ourselves here faced with a dilemma such as we are here faced with to-day, the Government bring in a Bill that can be attacked as it was attacked by Deputy Dr. Browne, on the one hand, and justified, as it was, in the public interest, on the other hand, by the Taoiseach and, at the same time, give rise to grave uneasiness in the public mind generally and certainly in the trade union movement as to the effect it may have upon their prescriptive rights of withdrawing their labour and picketing and all their hard-won privileges over the years. Surely this is an opportunity of taking stock in the interests of the country and in the interests of workers and employers?

There were references of a sneering character by Deputy Dr. Browne to the Taoiseach's reference to the Pope's Encyclicals. The Taoiseach was quite right in making that reference and I commend him for it. We are a Catholic country. We have headlines in these Encyclicals of the social principles on which the Catholic Church acts in relation to workers, industry and employers in their relationship with their employees. We have headlines we can well follow as a Catholic country. We can, by adapting them to our own conditions, bring about some different kind of approach here to trade disputes than merely following British trade unionism and all its connotes and all the difficulties, trials and class wars it brings about in England.

I submit through you, Sir, to the Taoiseach that this is now a time when we can do a great service to the country, that the Taoiseach was wrong when he said that this has no implication for any other trade dispute. It ought to have. It ought to bring realisation to every section of the community, whether workers or employers, of their obligations as well as their rights both to themselves, their families and to each other and also to the country. If we approach that problem with the example given by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in intervening in this dispute, in getting employers' organisations together with them to try to find some method conformable to our own traditions here and to our own moral standards of settling disputes between employer and workman on the basis of Christian charity and on the basis of the good of the community and the good of the workman in particular, we shall be doing a very good day's work.

This Bill represents on the part of the Government an effort to avoid the dire consequences which the failure of power supplies would bring about in the country. In bringing the Bill before the Dáil, the Government realised that there was a danger of provocative speeches from one side or another and we got, indeed, a rather provocative speech from Deputy Corish. The Government realised that Deputy Dr. Browne would parade his workers' socialist republic bandwagon through the course of the debate. He did, and from it he poured contumely on the heads of the Government as a whole and on the heads of individual members of it, alleging incompetence against various people, including people who cannot defend themselves in the House and, of course, in the process tried to drag on to that same bandwagon the men now out on strike. I hope these men will see through his shallow efforts and that there will be no further attempt to make speeches in the course of this debate such as we had to suffer from Deputy Dr. Browne.

I shall not defend myself or any member of the Government against the charges Deputy Dr. Browne has made, nor shall I attempt to defend the Labour Court against similar charges. I will say, however, in relation to his attack on the Labour Court, that where it appeared to the Government that certain awards of the Labour Court were not being accepted by the parties to the disputes, I was charged by the Government to review the legislation which set up the Labour Court originally and I made public statements to that effect. Immediately afterwards, I saw the Labour Court as a body and I proposed to proceed from there to consult with labour interests, trade union interests, employer interests and have had some consultations, but not large-scale consultations. The reason there were not large-scale consultations was that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Federated Union of Employers had made arrangements to get together and, in fact, did get together, to discuss labour relations—to what extent I do not know yet—and I did ask that I be kept fully informed of the progress of these negotiations.

The reconstitution of the Labour Court is something we cannot rush into lightly, something that will require grave and mature consideration on the part of everybody concerned with it. I might say, in reference to the proposed review of the functions and setup of the Labour Court which I announced, that announcement was followed by statements from responsible executives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions averring and repeating their confidence in the Labour Court as established. However, I propose to pass from that and come to the immediate problem the House is discussing.

Let me repeat what the Taoiseach said in his review of the situation and what Deputy Costello has just referred to. The Bill carries no implication of any kind as to the generality of trade disputes. It is designed, as I said at the outset, to meet a crisis which the Government are advised, by those who know best, threatens the country. That crisis, fortunately, has not come upon us but on the Monday the strike proper commenced, the best technical advice available to the Government from the E.S.B. was that such a crisis could come about at any moment. They had not any previous experience of meeting the situation with which they were faced on that Monday, but it could readily be understood by anybody that a major defect in any one of the generating stations, or in more of them, could have, as the E.S.B. described it, a cascading effect and leave the country without any light and power over a very large area.

I am not going to detail the consequences that would have on life, on patients in hospitals, in iron lungs and such. I need only refer to the prospect I was faced with as Minister for Industry and Commerce when I received requests from industrialists all over the country who feared the consequences, not only for their own employees, and other immediate consequences, but the consequences it could have for their plants and the prospects of ever getting those plants, in some cases, to work again. I need only instance the oil refinery which I understand closed for a short period. A sudden failure there, with crude oil in the pipe lines, might render millions of pounds worth of plant irretrievably useless. The Irish Glass Bottle Company, a big employer in this city, would have been in the same position. There are mines in different parts of the country whose owners informed me that a power failure would have the effect of flooding the mines irretrievably. From that, I could only deduce that the cost of putting these mines back into operation, draining them, would have been so high in relation to the output from the mines as to render that undertaking uneconomic.

I was told that flour supplies depended on electricity and that the baking of bread had now come to be dependent, in the main, on electricity and that in the event of a sudden breakdown, thousands of pounds worth of material was in danger of being permanently damaged. However, that crisis has not been reached and I think at this stage one must pay tribute to the supervisory staff, the engineers and others in the E.S.B. who have contrived to maintain supplies. They deserve the best thanks of the community.

The question asked was: Should the Government have waited before taking some action until power failures were effective? The Government were pressed on all sides to take steps but refused to do so until ordinary—and even extraordinary—negotiation procedure had broken down. My intervention in the dispute is, perhaps, well known but for the benefit of Deputy Costello, who asked the question, perhaps I can enlighten him on the point of difference—if there is any difference —or as to the extent of it between the parties. Another reason for referring to it in any detail is a remark made by Deputy McGilligan, whether it was intended to be helpful or otherwise, in the course of Deputy Norton's speech.

The Taoiseach has very objectively stated the course of events in this dispute and the subsequent negotiations. These negotiations as has been said, produced agreement. When I came in a second time my purpose was not so much to put up figures on which one side or the other might argue and perhaps ultimately agree: rather was it to produce some form of negotiation or some other form of ventilating the claims of the one side and the other that might produce that agreement. I used as the pattern, as is now well known, the tribunal which was successfully established in the course of the C.I.E. dispute. The conditions laid down for the establishment of that tribunal were not my conditions but conditions mutually agreed between representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Board of C.I.E.

These conditions were that the establishment of such a tribunal should be followed immediately by a return to work and an undertaking that the recommendations of such a tribunal be recommended to the employees by the trade unions for acceptance. That followed the pattern which had been fully approved and indeed encouraged at the time by Congress through its very high-ranking representatives.

Late on Wednesday, when it seemed to me that the prospects of establishing such a tribunal were dim and that there was a danger of another breakdown which, if it happened, might make it very difficult to get the parties together again, I asked the trade union representatives with whom I was then discussing the position whether, they having refused another settlement, an offer of ?d. on the usual conditions would be acceptable to them. I told them I had no authority from the employers to make such an offer, that I had not intended it to be my function in these negotiations. They asked me to withdraw for a short time to give them an opportunity to consider. Without any further argument or any attempt whatever at pressure by me, the trade union delegates present said: "We are prepared to accept the figure of ?d. an hour and to recommend our members to accept that figure and to direct them to go back to work while a ballot is being taken on it."

From there, I went to the employers and ultimately got approval for these terms. There was no attempt whatever on my part to impose any of these conditions. They were accepted by the union representatives and ultimately, as I said, between the parties and endorsed by full meetings of the separate executives of these unions. Deputy Dillon has affirmed his belief——

What happened then? The Minister has brought it up to the point where the union and the employers agreed. What happened then?

I am coming to it. I was opening that part of what I had to say by referring to Deputy Dillon's affirmation on the freedom of the trade unions. I think that freedom is bound up with the authority these unions vest in their executives. Unfortunately, in this case, the executive of one of these unions, having exercised their authority, found it was flouted by some ordinary members of their union. The executive then rescinded the approval to the agreement.

What authority was vested by the members in the executive, if there was any authority at all?

I asked the representative of the union to come to me on the second occasion, vested with full plenary powers and, if it seemed necessary to them, I made the suggestion to bring their full executives. I was told the representatives of the executive who met me were fully mandated but subsequently they said their mandate did not extend that far. Having put the figure of ?d. an hour to them, they accepted it and subsequently added the approval of the full executive. Representatives of the E.T.U. visited me early on Thursday morning and told me that the executive, having approved the agreement, ultimately rescinded it.

There seems to be a conflict. It is alleged they had a mandate to accept an offer, but, on the other hand, it is said the mandate extended only to recommending the acceptance of the offer. I am not trying to catch out the Minister; I am only trying to get it clear.

They said they would recommend it.

But not accept it.

I am only suggesting to the Deputy that if a person in my position, acting as a mediator, cannot act on an agreement achieved, it will become very difficult for anybody to negotiate in such disputes in future. Trade union freedom must surely depend upon the authority that is placed in the hands of the executives and on the unions, as a whole, accepting the decisions taken by the executives.

That is agreed, but what authority was vested in this case?

The extent to which they had authority is a matter between themselves and the members of their unions. Deputy Corish will know, as the Taoiseach mentioned, that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions spent some time asking that the Electrical Trades Union executives would exercise the authority that Congress thought was properly vested in them. I hope I have made clear what happened up to the time I procured agreement.

Was it agreement to recommend or agreement on the terms?

Agreement on the terms.

On the terms to recommend—to put the terms to a ballot of the members. Was that not all it was or have the papers been misleading us?

The statement, as issued and approved by both parties before leaving the Department of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday evening, said that the proposals provided for payment of ? an hour, on the basis of the Labour Court award, that the union undertook to recommend these proposals to their members who would ballot and that they would recommend to the members to resume work, pending the result of that ballot.

That is clear now.

It was clear all along the line. I procured that agreement at 8 o'clock and in order to facilitate a return to work I asked Radio Eireann to break in on a programme at the earliest possible moment to announce that statement. Radio Eireann did so at 8.30.

That did not mean that the union executive accepted the agreement on behalf of their members.

It was an agreement to recommend.

Our negotiations at that stage had brought about a settlement but that was recinded.

If you call that a settlement.

However, the Government have brought this Bill before the Dáil in order to protect the community against the consequences of an electric power failure. If, in the meantime, any effort is made to bring the parties together the Government will not, as the Taoiseach has said, implement the proposal about the tribunal. Not only is that the intention of the Government but I have been in touch with a high executive officer of the Congress this morning who is reporting to me on his efforts to bring the parties together. I would not presume to advise that Congress member on the best methods to bring that about but I have offered him the benefit of my experience in this dispute. I am keeping in touch with him and if, at any stage in the next few days, the prospect of settlement by peaceful negotiations offers, the Government will welcome it and the Government and I will do anything to facilitate such a settlement.

I want to repeat that it is not the intention in this legislation to set any pattern or precedent. It is a temporary measure, clearly defined as such, in a situation that never arose before and may never arise again, affecting an essential service in which an agreed settlement proved ineffective. I want also to repeat that the Government were urged during the course of these negotiations to take action. At no stage during the negotiations was any threat used against these workers. I did on several occasions try to impress upon them the consequences of a power failure and on the occasion to which I have referred I asked the unions to accept this situation and to treat the offer of 5/7 that was made as one that I thought should reasonably be considered by their members.

It is not for me to defend the E.S.B. in any way, but some members of the Labour Party who have spoken have drawn a contrast between the manner in which claims of manual workers and those of supervisory and clerical workers are treated. Deputy Dr. Browne, in particular, referred to increases of £10 and £20 per week given to people on the clerical side. The E.S.B. have told me that the increase offered of 5/7d. per hour would place the manual workers, taking 1939 as a base, on exactly the same comparative basis as the clerical workers. I am not putting that forward in any way as an excuse for the E.S.B. but I think it ought to be fairly said, in so far as allegations of inordinate increases in clerical workers' scales have been made.

Again, I should like to say that if any prospect of peaceful negotiation presents itself, it will be availed of. The week-end will at least offer a breathing space so far as the imminence of a power failure is concerned. We do not know when such a failure will occur. Machinery, moving parts, have been going for the past fortnight practically without any repairs or maintenance. It is reasonable to expect that these will become affected by inattention. I am not going to deny that the unions have promised to service these, but it is by no means certain that the service they can afford to give to a breakdown of a major nature would be sufficient in any way to avoid the crisis against which this Bill is intended to provide.

May I intervene to inform the House that the Party Whips have met and have come up with a proposal I am prepared to agree to? It is that the discussion of the Second Reading of the Bill should finish at 5 p.m. and that an hour will then be available for the Committee, Report and Final Stages of the Bill from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

We are agreeable to that.

I speak as one who over 20 years ago, as an employer representative on a Dublin area council, had experience of many disputes. It was pleasing to hear the Taoiseach pay tribute to the men he met representing the various unions, and the tribute can be reciprocated by reference to the Taoiseach's handling of difficult situations. After paying that compliment, I must say I can find nothing to admire in this Bill. It has already been described as obnoxious and diabolical. My superlatives may not be sufficient. Is there any justification for this House trying to take away at this stage the right of individuals grouped in unions to withdraw their labour? Has any consideration been given to the possibility that the introduction of this Bill, instead of tending to ease the situation, may in fact aggravate it? Has the Taoiseach any special measures to prevent a sit-down of all workers this week end?

For a long time past, the man-in-the-street has accepted the fact that the Labour Court did not matter because the Minister would intervene. That has been accepted by the employers, too. Such intervention is proof of the failure of the Labour Court as an instrument to mediate on disputes. I am satisfied the Minister for Industry and Commerce will be complimented on his handling of the situation, just as the Taoiseach was in the past. Can there be any justification for the failure of one party or another? We can still remember plenipotentiaries and their powers, but, in my experience, they have only the power to report back to their members.

I do not wish to go into the rights and wrongs of the dispute—that has been amply covered—but there is just one point. Reference was made by Deputy Dillon and by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that this dispute may affect unfortunate people in iron lungs. The Department of Health have taken care to ensure that will not happen. Alternative arrangements are available in our hospitals. We have no guarantee that there will not be a breakdown, even without an E.S.B. strike. I do not think the relatives of those so affected should be made to feel disquiet because of such statements.

The Taoiseach indicated when questioned that under this Bill a person who paid more than the rate laid down would be guilty of an offence. It is accepted that estimates from the E.S.B. are invariably higher than those received from private electrical contractors. Perhaps the Minister is not aware that many electrical contractors have been paying as much as 1/- an hour above the rate for a long time past?

I entreat the Taoiseach to withdraw this Bill. I am sure he now realises it will not serve the purpose intended. I know the anxiety that he and the Government feel in regard to this national crisis. Are statements that the agreement was accepted by the representatives sufficient justification for the introduction of this Bill? Is it a justification for taking away the rights of these workers? Are we now to do what no other member of any of the democratic nations has had the temerity to do? I am reminded forcibly of some of our international figures today who indulge in this threat of war, this threat of what will happen, this threat of what may happen.

It is suggested now that even if this Bill is passed, it may not have to be enforced. Has the Taoiseach grown so remote from his people in this city as to think now that this threat will bring about an end to this dispute? Surely the proper thing to do now is to withdraw this Bill. Surely the best alternative to this Bill is the implementation of a suggestion I have put forward on no fewer than three occasions in this House, namely, the appointment of a Minister for Labour. Remember there was a Minister for Labour in the First Dáil. If such a Minister were appointed, he should be the chairman of this proposed tribunal, with one representative of the employers and one representative of the workers and responsibility for the findings of that tribunal would then be the responsibility of the Government.

I cannot understand the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition. On the one hand, he agrees that the exigencies of the situation demand this Bill; on the other hand, in his concluding remarks, he said he does not want to take away the rights of the workers. I cannot reconcile the two statements. If the Taoiseach can honestly say at this stage that he believes this Bill will solve the present dispute to the satisfaction of all concerned, I shall accept it. He has had a vast experience as Minister for Industry and Commerce in the past. He has handled standstill orders in relation to wages and commodities. Now he comes here with this nightmare proposal, this piece of mid-summer madness. How he can introduce a Bill like this into a democratic assembly is beyond my comprehension.

I support the amendment moved by the leader of the Labour Party. The amendment makes the issue before the House a clear-cut one. It is not a question of the rights and wrongs of the employers, on the one hand, and the workers, on the other. It is a question as to whether this House should give any Government the power the Government are seeking in this Bill, a power which removes from trade unionists, from workers, from citizens, certain rights.

The Taoiseach and the Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke briefly on the present situation. I have listened to the debate since it started and I have yet to be convinced that the Taoiseach or the Minister really believes that the situation is such as warrants the power sought in this Bill. The Taoiseach told us that the best advice given to him by the experts of the E.S.B. was that the country would be faced with a crisis in relation to light and power sometime after next Monday. I think it is fair to say that the experts of the E.S.B. made a similar pronouncement last week and the week before.

That is perfectly true, but we are at least two weeks nearer to the crisis now.

No—generation continues.

Both the Leader of the Fine Gael Party and Deputy J.A. Costello have pointed out that, once this Bill is passed giving the Government certain powers, it will be on the Statute Book for all time. Even though this Government might not use these powers for very long, or perhaps not at all, a succeeding Government could invoke these powers, should any situation arise in the future which appeared to them to warrant the exercise of such powers. Powers might be sought, should a dispute occur which might interfere with supplies of gas. Powers might be sought, should a dispute occur and Aer Lingus cease to operate. The Government could decide that they wanted a tribunal set up to deal with the dispute.

The Taoiseach and the Minister for Industry and Commerce may have the best of intentions. The Minister has been doing excellent work; he has made strenuous efforts to try to settle the dispute. If the Government are concerned with powers and if they are concerned with the present situation, perhaps they might consider not just what has happened in the past two weeks but what happened for several weeks back. Did the E.S.B.—that strange body whom nobody can question and about whom nobody can get any information in this House—and the electrical contractors make any effort to get together and solve this problem? From the reports, it would appear as if their main concern was to throw the case into the Labour Court as quickly as they could. Then when the recommendations came to be made, they just sat there. They apparently were little concerned about the situation in the country, the situation Deputy Dillon described this morning. They were evidently prepared to sit down and do nothing until the Irish Congress of Trade Unions contacted the Minister for Industry and Commerce who, in turn, acted and has acted repeatedly.

This trade dispute, which is not the last one this country will have, is somewhat different from many other trade disputes that have taken place over the years in that its effect may be more widespread than that of the normal trade dispute in a particular industry. Nevertheless, all that the workers are doing in this matter is taking advantage of their right to prosecute claims for increased wage rates. Their right is to negotiate and, if they cannot succeed through negotiation, to try to enforce the claim by strike action and by picketing. The effect of the Bill before the House is to remove from those workers those rights. If this Bill is passed, it will remove from them the right to negotiate on anything beyond a figure set by a chairman of a tribunal and it will certainly remove from them the right to prosecute any claim beyond a figure mentioned by a chairman of a tribunal. If this Bill is passed and this tribunal is set up and awards a particular figure, according to this Bill, no higher figure than that can be paid by the employer to any person.

Subsection (2) of Section 6 provides:

Every person who aids, abets, assists, counsels or procures another person, or conspires with another person to commit an offence under this Act shall himself be guilty of an offence.

Quite obviously, if a tribunal makes an award and the workers, whether collectively or individually, say: "We are not prepared to accept that award," if they take any action to try to persuade the employer to go beyond the terms of that award, they are guilty of an offence. In other words, if they say: "We do not propose to return to work under the figure set down by that tribunal and we propose to continue to picket," they will be guilty of an offence under this Bill.

The Taoiseach says that is not the case. Is that right?

Of course not.

It is not the intention?

What is in the Bill is clear. If we wanted to put that in the Bill, we would have put it in. It is not there.

Supposing, as Deputy Larkin says, a tribunal makes an award and a group of people get together in an effort to persuade others not to accept the award, is that an offence?

As far as the employer is concerned, he must pay.

I am talking about the men.

That is not what is in the Bill.

If men get together to persuade others of their comrades not to go to work——

I think we had better let Deputy Larkin proceed. He at least is not trying to be mischievous.

Is it an offence?

As far as I can see, this Bill does not apply only to the Electricity Supply Board. It applies to every electrical contractor. It is in general terms but it becomes ludicrous in this respect: at the present time we understand there are contractors paying electricians a higher rate than was mentioned by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. If the Taoiseach advises me that it applies only to the E.S.B., then the necessity for the Bill grows even less.

I do not know whether it is a fact but it has been mooted in certain circles that the E.S.B. itself would not have any specific objection to a somewhat higher offer than that made, but, because they are involved with the electrical contractors as a body, they are going along on the basis of the same offer. However, a Bill which would put manacles on the E.S.B. and yet permit electrical contractors to pay wages freely negotiated is a ludicrous type of legislation.

What we in the Labour Party seek is that this House shall not interfere with the right of trade unions to prosecute their legitimate claims for increased wages and shall not interfere by giving powers to the Government to set up the machinery of compulsory arbitration. As was suggested by Deputy Corish at an earlier stage, with a little more patience and a little more understanding this matter could be settled. The intervention of the Taoiseach on the lines suggested earlier today would no doubt create a situation and an atmosphere in which the dispute could be settled amicably.

The problem appears to have narrowed itself, and to introduce legislation of this nature may have an effect that possibly the authors of the Bill would not desire. This Bill can be described almost as an implement of compulsion because if the House passes it in its present form, the electricians and the other workers who have been refusing to pass the pickets will be told: "We are giving the Taoiseach power to set up a compulsory arbitration tribunal and if you do not settle, we will use this machinery on you."

Surely this is not the way to deal with a problem arising from a claim for increased wages? It has been admitted, in fact, by the E.S.B. last year that there was justification for increasing substantially the salaries of the clerical, administrative and technical workers. Surely it is not the best way of dealing with it at this stage to say to the sections of workers in the E.S.B. who are seeking adjustment in their wages that unless they settle, their claims will be referred to a compulsory arbitration tribunal and that they will have to take what they get?

I wonder if the Taoiseach has given any thought to another aspect of the matter as it affects the E.S.B.? I think it is generally true to say that in the past 20 or 30 years the E.S.B. have operated a policy, the result of which is that the clerical or administrative staff salaries not only compare favourably with the salaries of those in other public undertakings but have been for years somewhat consistently in advance. I think it is fair to say that the E.S.B. salaries have been used as a headline in negotiations. The same Board that down the years adopted this policy have apparently adopted a completely different policy as regards the manual workers—the electricians, craftsmen, labourers and everyone else in their employment. Their policy in this regard down the years has been to try to tie those rates to the mean level of rates outside. Having regard to what happened last year and to the attitude of the Board to the situation which has brought about this present position, this policy should be re-examined. In regard to every claim of electricians, craftworkers and manual workers down the years, the policy of the E.S.B. has been to use all the machinery, all the delaying tactics and to throw the claims to the tribunal and let them go.

It is proposed to have an inquiry into all that.

I am glad of that. That section of the Bill would get the support of this Party. I am afraid, however, that it does not result in making the other portion palatable here or palatable to the organised workers in any part of this country. Compulsory arbitration is not acceptable. It is true that in the case of C.I.E., by agreement and with the assistance of the discussions of the Minister for Industry and Commerce there, when a dispute reaches a particular point, it is possible to have the issue referred to and decided by a system of arbitration. That is one thing. There are systems of arbitration covering various people and various employments but they are not systems of compulsory arbitration as is set down clearly in this Bill.

This is a Bill on which Deputies are asked to say to the Government: "You, tomorrow, may use the powers to compel electricians, on the one hand, and the contractors of the E.S.B., on the other, to submit their case to a tribunal and the decision of the tribunal shall be final." That is objectionable. We would press upon the Taoiseach even at this stage to consider dropping this Bill. If the dispute can be settled on an amicable basis, it would appear that we have wasted a lot of time here to-day on this matter.

The serious matter which faces this House is that it is being asked to withdraw from these workers the rights which they hold at present. The most serious aspect of the matter is that no matter what assurance is given by the Taoiseach or the Minister for Industry and Commerce and no matter what statements are made by Deputy Dillon or Deputy Costello, this Bill, if it is passed, gives power to a Government to use, in certain circumstances, compulsory arbitration procedure. Other workers would be liable to be affected by the same type of procedure, if and when some other Taoiseach wished to bring in a similar type of Bill. The Minister for Industry and Commerce told us that the gap is narrow but it might be well for the House to realise that there is normally no special power put in the hands of the executives of any union to make decisions for their members—decisions as to the level of wages and hours of work.

I do not think the Minister suggested that. What the Minister asked was that either the whole executive should come or that those who came should be authorised to decide.

There are normally no special powers placed in the hands of the executives of any union to make decisions for their members—decisions on the level of wage rates paid, working hours and on the type of conditions trade unionists should enjoy. They are not left with the executives of any union—even the whole executive. They are decisions that normally can be made only by the workers; they are the people who make the decision.

There are occasions where an executive or a negotiating committee may be given a mandate in advance to tell the employer the terms on which they can settle but there appears to be some confusion in regard to this question of the mandate. The Minister for Industry and Commerce told us about the agreement to recommend. It was quite clear, listening to the Minister, that the offer which he had initiated with a view to trying to bring about a settlement was short of the mandate which the electricians' representatives had. It did not equal it. Therefore, there could be no agreement to settle the dispute. Apparently, it was agreed to recommend a certain figure. That is a completely different situation from what was suggested—that a decision as to the actual figure had been arrived at. That can be made only by the workers concerned. That is the normal procedure in any dispute. This Bill is not necessary and it can be damaging in present circumstances. A most unfavourable atmosphere would be created, if this House gave the Government power to establish a compulsory arbitration tribunal.

On a point of order, I want the advice of the Chair regarding procedure arising out of the fact that we are following a somewhat unusual course to-day. Having heard certain speeches from the House, and particularly from the Labour benches, and recognising the desire to clarify the Government's intentions with regard to Section 3, I propose to move an amendment in Committee. I think it desirable that I should give notice of that fact, having regard to the terms of the time motion. I shall arrange to have it circulated before Committee Stage.

Can the Taoiseach give the terms of the amendment?

It is to insert at the very beginning of subsection (1) of Section 3 the words "if the Government considers that there is imminent danger of a cessation or serious curtailment of electric power arising before the settlement of the present trade dispute." In other words, it is to make it clear, as I tried to do when speaking, that the action under this section will be taken in only two contingencies. One is where apparently no settlement by negotiation is likely and that serious public hardship, due to a power failure, is imminent.

Before Section 3?

At the very beginning.

What happens Section 6?

Section 6 of course has to be related to the rationing powers to be given to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. However, I I shall have this amendment circulated.

It is hardly necessary at this stage to say that we on this side regret the circumstances that have resulted in the Dáil being called together and the necessity for the introduction of this legislation. That view has already been fully expressed on behalf of this Party. We are, however, convinced that in the last analysis in a matter of this sort the interest of the community is paramount and must be so regarded. This matter hardly provides the occasion for a general review of industrial relations, but, on the other hand, we cannot blind ourselves to the facts and circumstances of this dispute. As has already been said, this is a small community and it should be possible to devise machinery which would enable the whole question of industrial relations to be conducted on a rational basis.

I believe the manner in which the Labour Court has worked has been satisfactory on the whole and that it has been so regarded by employers and trade unionists, but it is obvious that recent developments have seriously impaired the effective working of the Labour Court. It is here that I believe the Government have a duty and while no one is anxious to exacerbate this situation, there is evidence of delay on the part of the Government in introducing proposals, either for new legislation or amending legislation. The community generally are tired of the numerous strikes which have occurred. They adversely affected those directly concerned particularly but many of the industrial disputes that have occurred over the past 12 months affected the community far more seriously. It ought therefore be the duty and the responsibility not only of the Government but of the employers' representatives and the Trade Union Congress to submit proposals, either jointly agreed or after discussion with the Government, for legislation which would provide adequate machinery for disputes of that nature.

It is not when the dispute reaches the point to which this dispute has developed that legislation of that sort can be considered in the atmosphere in which it should be considered. That brings this further consideration: why is there a lack of confidence in the Labour Court? One reason is that whenever there is a difficult problem or a difficult dispute, the Labour court is supplanted by somead hoc tribunal or arbitrator. I have no doubt the Government realised that a very serious situation developed when an ad hoc tribunal was set up to deal with the C.I.E. dispute. That, in effect, meant the end of the Labour Court as an effective instrument.

These decisions cannot be lightly undertaken or adopted without examining their possible consequences. I believe the criticism expressed here today in this matter is a valid one and unless there is no alternative available, anad hoc tribunal is not the appropriate body to deal with this matter. The Labour Court over the years has functioned effectively, and, in the main, functioned to the general satisfaction, but if, when the Labour Court is faced with a difficult question, an ad hoc tribunal or arbitrator is appointed, it is inevitable that any further case that comes before it, particularly a difficult one, the effectiveness of the Labour Court will be seriously impaired and impaired before the court considers the particular question, because those concerned will doubt the efficacy of going before the court and having the court decide the particular case.

There is one other matter in this dispute which merits consideration, why is it necessary to establish a commission of inquiry as set out in Section 4? I am not referring to the particular dispute it is intended to cover by the tribunal in Section 3, but it is well known that there is available to the Electricity Supply Board a tribunal which dealt with wage problems. Why has that tribunal not worked? Why is it necessary to have a commission of inquiry and why has the Minister for Transport and Power not used his functions as Minister to see that that tribunal operated? We now have two Ministers dealing with a problem which formally was the responsibility of one. It should have been possible for either or both of them to see that the existing machinery was put into operation. It is another thing if having been put into operation, it does not prove effective or capable of dealing with the problem, but as far as we understand it, this machinery has not operated in this case and the responsibility is that of the Minister for Transport and Power as the responsible Minister. In fact, this section is a stringent criticism of his lack of action in this regard.

There is another matter which I believe has contributed to this situation and the attention of the Taoiseach should be directed to it. That is, the continuous chat from Government Ministers about boom conditions. Speeches have been made throughout the country that we are in a buoyant state and in a period of economic growth. These speeches have been epitomised in a phrase in Britain: "You never had it so good." That phrase was used just two years ago. The repercussions of that phrase have been felt by everyone in Britain in the past three months. The present British Government have seen the repercussions of the use of that phrase.

Ministers here have not used the same phraseology but they followed the same line. I suppose the Taoiseach cannot prevent the Minister for Transport and Power from pontificating at various gatherings but if he must pontificate, the Taoiseach should try to get him to talk on something like Yeats or Georgian housing or on something that cannot do any harm. However, keep the Minister for Transport and Power away from economic speeches that cause damage to the community and damage particularly to the weaker section.

There are one or two matters in the Bill that require further elucidation. I understand that the Taoiseach expressed the view that it was proposed on the earlier tribunal to appoint a judge. We have expressed the view, which I believe is sound, that judges should not be used for matters of that sort. Their constitutional functions are defined. The habit has grown up of using judges for a variety of tasks. In fact, one or two judges appear to have more work to do outside the courts than in them.

There is also a distinction between asking a judge to preside over a commission of a particular character which ultimately involves recommendations to the Government and presiding over a tribunal of this sort, the findings of which may conflict with the law and on which the courts may ultimately have to express an opinion. There is a vast difference between the case in point and that of a judge presiding over, say, a Commission on Income Tax or a Rents Commission, or even on the question of university accommodation, which subsequently must or may recommend proposals to the Government.

However, in this instance, just as in the case of thead hoc tribunal established to deal with C.I.E., there is a definite difference, a difference which, as a result of the findings of the tribunal, may involve the persons concerned in getting into conflict with the law and ultimately finding the matter before the courts. That, I believe, is bad practice and has probably, to some extent, been followed here because of similar practice in Britain. However, they have courts on many different levels there and they have judges available in a different way from those available here and, even there, I do not know whether it is followed strictly.

The other matter is whether it is clear under Section 3 (4) that it will be illegal for an employer to pay a higher rate than that determined by the tribunal, even though he is not directly concerned with this dispute. Simply because a specific rate of wages is determined by the tribunal, if an employer pays wages in excess, is he liable to a penalty? I should be glad of a clarification on that matter.

My final point is to ask whether, during the operation of this measure, the Trades Disputes Act is suspended or whether it still continues in operation.

Like other members of the Labour Party, I have to say that there is much in this Bill with which we cannot agree. Take, for example, Section 3 (6):

In the event of the tribunal not being unanimous, the determination of the chairman shall be the determination of the tribunal.

In other words, there is dictatorship there. It would be as well for the Taoiseach not to have anyone else there. We have that same experience in relation to the Agricultural Wages Board where the chairman can be a law unto himself.

Subsection 4 deals with the commission of inquiry. The very fact that the Taoiseach now promises to appoint a commission of inquiry into the E.S.B. is in itself an admission that something has been wrong all the way through, as we know to be the position and as has been pointed out. Because of neglect to appoint such a commission many months ago, we are now faced with this problem.

Then take Section 6. Who for a moment could tolerate what is here before us? It is alleged that this is a temporary measure to deal with a temporary situation at a certain time but there is nothing on God's earth to prevent a Government in the future from saying that each problem is of a temporary nature. Mention is made in Section 6 of offences, prosecutions and punishments. If this Bill is enacted, we now know the penalties that can be provided in the future, not alone in this particular case, in connection, first of all, with the officials of unions who may negotiate with employers to give more than is set out by the tribunal. Because of that, they will be guilty of an offence and the employer also can be guilty of an offence. They can all be charged and fined jointly and individually. Also, that can apply in the case of a group— another union—who are advocating support from some other quarter.

It is no use for the Taoiseach to say that this measure is of a temporary nature. This Bill purports to say that we want it for six months and that we shall not use it if all goes well. The fact is that permission is given to the Government, when this is passed, to use it—to use Section 6 and to use Section 3 (5) in making a dictator of a chairman of a tribunal. It is also admitting the ineffectiveness of the present situation regarding the E.S.B. by Section 4. It is admitting now that there is a necessity to appoint a commission to go into the affairs of the E.S.B. which is something many of us in this House asked for over the years and, unfortunately, never got.

There are three minutes left.

That is all I require. As far as I am personally concerned, in rural Ireland there is very little trade unionism. There is no political kudos to be gained by me in anything I have to say now and in the near future, it might even prove to be the reverse. In view of the serious situation that has arisen, I must clarify my position. First of all, I want to say to the Taoiseach that there is a lot of truth in the old saying that you can lead a horse to the water but that you cannot make him drink. I am not comparing the workers with horses or anything like that when I use that saying.

Steps of a compulsory or oppressive nature will not achieve the results the Taoiseach seeks. Every Deputy is anxious to ensure that the weaker sections of the community shall not suffer through any action taken in connection with the power to strike. I feel that the steps taken in this measure carry greater danger to the weaker sections of the community, over a longer period. When you antagonise the trade unions, as this measure will do, the consequences in rural Ireland will be very serious indeed.

In his efforts to solve this problem, the Taoiseach is liable to bring about a state of chaos in every business concern in this country. Whether or not we like it, the Taoiseach is now interfering, although he says it is only in a temporary way, with the fundamental rights of trade unionists. It is not my function or that of any rural Deputy who is not a trade unionist to deal with their functions. That is a jealously guarded power. As far as they are concerned, the Taoiseach and the Government have taken steps to break that power.

The Taoiseach may say that this is only for six months but the next Taoiseach or the Taoiseach after him could say that it would be in the national interest that the small farmers or the workers in rural Ireland should get the same treatment, if, for instance, they failed to bring their foodstuffs to factories because they were not satisfied with the price. If we take this measure as serious, are they not also likely to be treated in the same fashion as the trade unionists, depending on the type of Government in power? It is in the interests of all sections of the community to see that rights that are there now are not infringed.

So far as rural areas are concerned, I think they themselves will realise that there is grave danger to their freedom in the measure which at the moment may appear to them to be of immediate benefit to themselves. There is of course jealously created in many respects by various Governments between the rural community and the towns and while, in the immediate future, this measure may give an opportunity to the Government to reap certain benefits, or even to hold their own, by saying: "These people are looking for so much"—I am talking now of the way country people will look at it—when the people realise the dangers involved, that the trade unions can cause greater chaos, the Government who introduced this legislation will suffer the fate they undoubtedly deserve.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 106; Níl, 17.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beirne, John.
  • Belton, Jack.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Burke, James.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Coburn, George.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Hogan, Bridget.
  • Johnston, Henry M.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy Michael J.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lindsay, Patrick.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Maher, Peadar.
  • Manley, Timothy.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Donegan, Batt.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Galvin, John.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Moloney, Daniel J.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • O'Toole, James.
  • Palmer, Patrick W.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Russell, George E.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Teehan, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Wycherley, Florence.

Níl

  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Byrne, Tom.
  • Carroll, James.
  • Casey, Seán.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Everett, James.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, Denis.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Norton, William.
  • Sherwin, Frank.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Tierney, Patrick.
  • Tully, John.
Tellers:- Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Loughman; Níl: Deputies Larkin and M.P. Murphy.
Question declared carried.
Main motion put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 105; Níl, 17.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beirne, John.
  • Belton, Jack.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Coburn, George.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Hogan, Bridget.
  • Johnston, Henry M.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lindsay, Patrick.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Maher, Peadar.
  • Manley, Timothy.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Donegan, Batt.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Galvin, John.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Moloney, Daniel J.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • O'Toole, James.
  • Palmer, Patrick W.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Russell, George E.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Teehan, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Wycherley, Florence.

Níl

  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Byrne, Tom.
  • Carroll, James.
  • Casey, Seán.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Everett, James.
  • Kyne, Thomas.
  • Larkin, Denis.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Norton, William.
  • Sherwin, Frank.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Tierney, Patrick.
  • Tully, John.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Loughman; Níl: Deputies M. P. Murphy and Larkin.
Question declared carried.