A Cheann Comhairle, with your permission, I should like to state for the information of the House that during the recess I had meetings with the Leaders of the Fine Gael and Labour Parties at which we discussed the procedures of the Dáil for disposing of financial business and considered the changes which might facilitate its fuller discussion and at the same time, permit all financial business, including the Estimates, to be disposed of before the summer recess.
It was agreed that:
(1) the Vote on Account should be taken in the Dáil soon after its reassembly following on the Christmas Adjournment and in advance of the publication of the Book of Estimates, the topic for discussion on the Vote to be selected by Parties in Opposition. It is assumed that procedure on the Central Fund Bill will remain unchanged;
(2) that wherever feasible, Estimates should be grouped for purposes of debate and that in particular, the following Estimates should be debated together: (a) Defence and Army Pensions; (b) Special Employment Schemes and the Public Works group of Estimates; (c) Lands and Forestry; and (d) all Finance Estimates;
(3) early in each year the Party Whips will meet to select some Estimates to be circulated and debated in advance of the publication of the Book of Estimates;
(4) the Committee on Procedure and Privileges to be requested to devise a Standing Order which will provide that on the conclusion on the debate on an Estimate when a division is challenged, the division will take place at 10.15 p.m. on that day if the Dáil be then sitting, or if the Dáil should have risen before 10.15 p.m. on that day, at 10.15 p.m. on the next day on which the Dáil should be sitting at that time.