That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Constitution.
I gathered from what Deputy Corish said on the first Bill that it is the intention to oppose the introduction of this Bill also. Therefore, I propose under the appropriate Standing Order to make a brief statement explaining broadly the purpose of the Bill. The Bill proposes to give to the people the opportunity of deciding at a referendum whether the relative majority system of election, with the single non-transferable vote and single-seat constituencies, should be adopted for Dáil elections. The Bill also provides for the establishment of a Constituency Commission for the purpose of determining constituencies and for the automatic re-election of an outgoing Ceann Comhairle as a second Member for an appropriate constituency. Details of these proposals will be available when the Bill is circulated.
In view of an obvious misunderstanding of the ratio of Deputies to population, as indicated by Deputy Corish of the Labour Party, I should like to say that there is no question of tolerance between 20,000 and 30,000. The Dáil in its legislation may adopt any number between 20,000 and 30,000 and whichever number is adopted, the existing Constitution requires that the same number of the population per Deputy, as near as is practicable, should be in every constituency.
This is the second Bill. It was the intention to introduce both measures in one, and with due authority from the Government, the Minister for Justice made the announcement, but the Government were entitled to reconsider the position.