An Bille um An Tríú Leasú ar an mBunreacht, 1968: An Dara Céim (Atógáil). Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1968: Second Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following amendment:
Go scriosfar na focail go léir i ndiaidh "Go" agus go gcuirfear ina n-ionad:—
"ndiúltaíonn Dáil Éireann an Dara Léamh a thabhairt don Bhille ar an bhforas gur togra atá neamh-dhaonlathach go bunúsach an togra sa Bhille suas le 40 faoin gcéad de bhreis ionadaíochta sa Dáil a thabhairt do roinnt saorá-nach thar mar a thabharfaí do shaoránaigh eile."
To delete all words after "That" and substitute:—
"Dáil Éireann declines to give a Second Reading to the Bill on the grounds that the proposal in the Bill to provide some citizens with up to 40 per cent greater representation in the Dáil than other citizens is fundamentally undemocratic."
—(Deputy Cosgrave.)

During the past few weeks, I heard many statements about PR. I was very hurt by the uncharitable statements made here about individuals who were not present. We should view this attitude adopted by Members of the Oireachtas as lowering the prestige of this Parliament. If anyone has anything to say about anyone else who is not present, he should say it outside the House, and if he does not say it outside, he should not say it at all. In my short time in the Dáil, I have found that people claimed the privilege of this House to abuse others.

On a point of order, if I am not mistaken Deputy Burke is getting confused. He is confusing the Planning Appeals Bill with the referendum.

I thought we were speaking about the referendum. The only real mortal sin these people have committed politically is that they were not members of some of the Opposition Parties. They were alleged to be members of Fianna Fáil. Great things have happened in our time and if a few of our citizens, as a result of the good management of Fianna Fáil Governments, and as a result of the way the country has been administered, have become reasonably wealthy, thanks be to God that is so.

We did not have to collect sixpences in tin cans.

I did not interrupt the Deputy when he was speaking.

I have not spoken yet.

If it is a crime for any man to become reasonably comfortable under very good government —and let me repeat that great things have happened in our time——

Queer things.

I do not want to interrupt the Deputy——

Bear with me, Sir. I do not say anything personal about anyone. I have enough to do to look after myself without saying anything uncharitable about anyone. I condemn this action here. I do not feel it is worthy of our Deputies. People can throw stones in this House against anyone they like because they know they are protected. I am not dealing with individuals. Quite a number of Deputies engaged in this.

I thought the Deputy was talking about the Minister for Local Government.

It was Deputy Colley who spoke about low standards in high places.

Do not tempt me. It was alleged that if PR were abolished, Fianna Fáil would be in power for all time. The people of Ireland have this opportunity to make their decision. The people of Ireland have defeated Fianna Fáil before, and they have defeated Fine Gael and Labour. I am very sorry for the Opposition because they adopted the pessimistic attitude that if we had the one-seat constituencies, Fianna Fáil would be in power for all time. I want to congratulate the Opposition on the wonderful opinion they have of us. It is a wonderful tribute to us that they think we will be in power for all time with one-seat constituencies.

It is a terrible prospect.

There must be some good in some of us when their verdict is that we will be here for all time if PR is abolished.

Is there any Deputy who would not be better off when elected in a one-seat constituency than in a multi-seat constituency? There are five Deputies in my constituency which runs from the Scalp in Wicklow down almost to Drogheda, across to Blessington, and over to Lucan and Leixlip. The five Members representing that area would sometimes need to be at four meetings at the same time. You would need to be a Jekyll and Hyde. If you go north one night, you must go south, east or west the following night.

You may go west. That is the trouble.

I feel that when the matter is put properly to the voters, they will say to themselves that they can elect one Deputy in a constituency of approximately 20,000 people. However, that particular Deputy can give that area more help because he will be able to concentrate all his energies there. He is bound to be able to look after it better than would be the case in a multi-seat constituency such as my constituency is at the moment.

Nobody knows who will win the seat in any constituency and, within reason, I feel there is no point in saying: "Fianna Fáil will win the seat", "Fine Gael will win the seat" or "Labour will win the seat". It is a lot of presumption to say that any Party will have an overall majority. We do not know what will happen.

If I live until 31st May next, I shall be 24 years a Member of this House. I have found that, in a multi-seat constituency, the competition is not from the Opposition at all but from one's own people—and from the Opposition people, too.

Now, now.

No matter who they are——

Speak for yourself.

This is what they are afraid of. They are afraid of the potential candidates in the constituency.

In every Party, if you have two or three running mates with you in a multi-seat constituency, each one wants to get in himself; that is human nature. If it were not that way, they would be no use as candidates. The result is enmity and ill-feeling which is not good for one side of the House or for any Party. Consider it from that aspect and then consider it from the logical aspect of one Deputy representing 20,000 people and being responsible for them and trying to help them as best he can.

It has been alleged that if, for instance, a Fianna Fáil Deputy is elected to represent the single-seat constituency then all the people who support Fine Gael and the Labour Party will not go for assistance to the Fianna Fáil Deputy for the area. I never ask anybody whether or not he or she voted for me. Directly one is elected to a constituency, one is there to serve all the people as best one can, irrespective of whether or not they voted for one. I never stoop to that level at all. A man has often said to me: "I voted for you at the last election." My reply is: "I did not ask you whether or not you voted for me. If I can do the job for you, I shall do it if it can possibly be done and I do not mind about anything else."

I do a job in this House. I do not intend to say anything personal about anybody but I appeal to the House to approach this question in a very sane way. I consider that the outlook in relation to election to a seat, under the proposed system, should be: "My chances are as good as the other fellow's." The fact is that nobody knows what Party will be returned if the single-seat constituency system is adopted.

Furthermore, for local elections, the single-seat method would be easier to operate. As a member of Dublin Corporation, I represent, with three others, an area comprising approximately 40,000 voters. The whole thing is ridiculous.

Will the Deputy propose a change in the electoral system for local authorities as well?

I am dealing with the one question now.

Does Deputy Burke want to make it easier for Deputies and more difficult for members of corporations and county councils who are not being paid?

That is a debatable point. If one is elected to represent a small area under the local authority system, then the people there would receive better service. I am putting up this case the same as I am putting up the case for the Deputies. We are not Jekylls and Hydes. We cannot be in two places at the one time.

He never managed that, either.

That is true. Nobody can manage these things. However, if the House and the country considered this proposition very seriously, we should be doing something worth while for posterity. Another thing it will ensure, as far as the country is concerned, is that we shall always have a stable Government that can rule. If it is the Labour Party or the Fine Gael Party are in government, or if Fianna Fáil are in government, they should be in a position to carry out their programme and their programme should be carried out.

The Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party say we are trying to disfranchise a section of the people. God forbid that we should do that. There is not a man in this House who would not die to uphold the right of every man in this country to a vote. That is what men have died for. That is democracy in action. It is not true to say that this is a Fianna Fáil ramp. I feel that the Opposition have dealt with this whole question from a very narrow viewpoint and that the arguments they put forward were made in an effort to misrepresent the Government. It may well be that if I stand for election in a single-seat constituency, I shall be defeated and may never return to this House. However, while I am a Member of this House, I desire to make some contribution towards the national wellbeing because the nation must come first. I am convinced that what the Government propose is in the best interests of the nation and is the right thing for them to do.

I am aware that adverse comments are being made about this Bill. A number of people have said that Fianna Fáil want to remain in office. I am aware that we were given a completely wrong slant on television. If we adopt the single-seat constituency method of election to Dáil Éireann, then the person who goes forward for election from the Fianna Fáil Party, the Fine Gael Party or the Labour Party will be fighting on his own and his only opposition will be the candidates of the other Parties. We are all colleagues in this House. Good luck to the man who is elected, no matter what his Party may be. His job will be to serve every person in the area he represents. In my estimation, we shall then have a better Ireland. We shall bring about a feeling of general goodwill and, if I might say so, charity and goodwill towards public representatives and Members of this House as a whole. All of that will be for the betterment of our country.

Anybody who looks upon the matter from the point of view I have just mentioned must surely feel it is worth giving the proposed electoral system a trial. If, as a result of our experience, we find that the single-seat constituency system does not suit the temperament of the Irish people, well, things have been changed here before. People often make up their minds and then change their minds on greater enlightenment. Lawyers and judges and other people will do it. Anybody who feels he knows everything the first day and who condemns everything because he feels he knows all and has an answer for everything will not solve our problems at all.

I ask the House and the country to consider the viewpoints I have put forward because I feel it is in the interests of our nation. I have no doubt that my friend, Deputy Cluskey, will be returned in his area: more power to him.

Thanks very much indeed.

Is Mother's Day past?

Beware the Greeks bearing gifts.

I shall bring another Labour Deputy in with me, too.

Good luck to him.

Deputy Treacy shows the benefits of a classical education.

Do not worry; I get in on merit.

It is a great tribute to Fianna Fáil that the Opposition are afraid of us under the single-seat electoral system. They have no reason at all to be afraid. We are all human beings and we all struggle to get into this House. I want to thank the Opposition speakers for the wonderful tribute they have paid to us in saying that they are afraid of us in one-seat constituencies. They have no reason to be afraid because they are all good fellows and have looked after their affairs and I am sure they will manage to get a big number of seats in the single-seat constituencies. At least they should give the proposal a trial. I shall not delay the House further.

Could you not increase the number of seats and settle it all before you sit down?

Thank you very much, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, for your indulgence I am sure Deputy Corish has already spoken, but if not, I hope that my appeal will not fall on rocky ground but on arable land.

Quite a while ago we in the Labour Party came to the conclusion that it was a tremendous pity that Fianna Fáil imposed the necessity for this debate on the country. We do not see that any useful purpose is being served by occupying the time of the House and the Government in debating an issue that was decided by the people only eight or nine years ago. At this stage of the debate it is very difficult for any Deputy to speak. Anything that could be said has already been said but we think that, although we consider it an unnecessary exercise, the debate has been imposed on us and on the nation, and we feel it is our duty to spell out as clearly as possible what motivated the Fianna Fáil Party in this action.

We do not believe for a moment that many of the backbench Fianna Fáil members who have spoken in this debate want to see a change in the present system or that they anticipate a change. That is why they have been able to come here, admittedly under the whip of Fianna Fáil, irrespective of their own thoughts or beliefs on this subject. It is well known that these backbenchers do not contribute in any way to the formulation of policy; they just do as they are told. In this instance they have been fortunate in that they could have what they believe to be the best of both worlds: they could come in here and make pleasant sounds so far as some Government members were concerned and still be assured that the people have already indicated quite clearly what they intend to do regarding the proposed change in the electoral system.

The Labour Party have no difficulty in its attitude towards proportional representation. It is a fact that we are the smallest Party in the House and Fianna Fáil have had the audacity to try to put over on the people the idea that their main concern was to ensure the growth and effectiveness of the Labour Party. How even Fianna Fáil could imagine that the people would be so lacking in intelligence as to believe that that Party would take an action such as this—and this does put their prestige very much in issue—in order to further the interests of another Party which they have done everything in their power to annihilate over the years, escapes me. I do not believe that their desperate action—I am speaking about the Cabinet because as I said backbenchers do not count: they are not considered or told—was a unanimous decision within the Cabinet. I firmly believe that those who ganged up together within the Cabinet, Deputies Boland, Haughey, Lenihan and Blaney, will find when the result of this action and its inherent consequences to Fianna Fáil are known when this proposal goes before the people, that there will be an even greater division in the Party than there was over the election of the Taoiseach.

How any Government or any individual who at any time aspired to enter public life and went before the people offering their services and offering to represent people in Parliament and form a Government for the people of the country could take such an irresponsible action is beyond me, especially when we are faced in this country with unemployment to the extent of even the official figure given here today by the Minister for Labour which was something in the region of 66,000. This is not an accurate figure: the real figure is far in excess of that. In a country that is recognised as having one of the most deplorable and unchristian social service systems in Europe, a country with housing problems that can only be described as staggering and whose health services are anything but enviable, how a Government or any collection of men could brush all these things aside and proceed to spend a considerable amount of the taxpayers' money on an exercise designed for purely one purpose, to perpetuate Fianna Fáil rule perhaps not for all time but for all time that matters as far as the individuals who decided this issue within the Fianna Fáil Cabinet are concerned, is beyond me.

30 years.

As a fairly young Cabinet, they probably tried to look ahead 30 years, and they milked the country to suit their own advantage. They could not care less.

We will have it both ways; under PR and the straight vote. This is the point the Deputy is making. Talk your way out of that.

If the Deputy wants to talk, I will be sitting down fairly soon, but I doubt if he will follow me.

One would wonder, if, as Deputy Carter mentions, PR has been so good to Fianna Fáil, why they want to change it. It is not a very difficult question to answer. In the last general election, particularly in the urban areas, the Labour Party showed very significant gains. Prior to the 1965 general election, there was one Labour Deputy representing the city of Dublin, and in the 1965 general election, the Labour Party returned to this House six Deputies, a very significant increase. Prior to the last local elections, the Labour Party were represented by five councillors on Dublin Corporation. They are now represented by 13 aldermen and councillors, also a very significant increase.

I believe that the Fianna Fáil Party —and let us not underestimate their intelligence or their political cuteness; that would be a drastic mistake— recognise clearly the writing on the wall and that as far as PR is concerned and as far as Fianna Fáil are concerned, the jig is up. If they cannot win the game under the present rules, they have no hesitation in changing the rules. This attempt by Fianna Fáil was inspired by one thing and one thing alone, by fear, fear of losing power, fear of not being able to deliver to the Taca merchants what was promised to them in return for their very generous subscriptions to the Party funds. I believe that the people who make up the membership of that organisation known as Taca are of the type who can never be satisfied, who can never get enough or demand enough. Fianna Fáil find that under the present system they are not able to deliver enough, and these are the hungry, power-mad young men to whom Fianna Fáil find themselves so closely related and so deeply indebted.

We have also seen, particularly prior to the last general election when selection conferences were being held around the country, very definite and desperate efforts being made by the all-powerful Fianna Fáil organisation to try to dislodge some of their old, less disciplined members such as Deputy Corry, who, in his own misguided way, has given a lifetime of service to the Fianna Fáil Party in Cork. However, the need has now arisen to push aside these old weary warriors and make room for the young executive type that make up the Taca organisation. I have the menu here of their second annual dinner if anyone would care to read it.

The trouble was that Deputy Corry and a few more like him were not disposed to listen to the youngest Cabinet in Europe when it came to telling them that they could not go forward in their constituencies. The same exercise was tried with the last speaker, Deputy Burke, because he was becoming a serious embarrassment to the sponsor of the abolition of PR, the Minister for Local Government, and when they found that they could not dislodge him, they decided: "Right: we will recruit a new boy who has the GAA wrapped around him, and he might dislodge him."

If you cannot lick them join them.

Fianna Fáil have been able to pursue that policy: if you cannot lick them join them. We are at a slight disadvantage. We have principles and integrity, and we are not prepared to sacrifice our principles or our integrity in order to get on the gravy train or on the bandwagon like some of your MacGreevy merchants in Taca. Fear makes men do foolish things at times, and goodness knows, this is a very foolish thing that the Fianna Fáil Party allowed the hatchetmen in the Front Bench to talk them into, to go again to the Irish people after slightly over eight years, to tell them: "We recognise the fact that you rejected this a very short while ago in a referendum, but we also recognise that you are a very gullible lot. We have been able to fool you on other issues for a long period of time."

The Labour Party keeps on expanding all the time. Deputy Coogan has joined them now.

In letters of gold.

(Interruptions.)

This is a very cosy conversation.

It has nothing to do with the matter before the House.

Fianna Fáil have been able, over the years, to fool the people. They have called themselves the Republican Party and that lasted for quite a while and it secured sufficient support for them to hold government for some time. Then in recent years we have heard some of the university socialists, such as the new Minister for Education, with the help of some runaway trade unionists like Deputy Dowling and Deputy Moore, trying to convert this into the Workers' Party, the friend of the workers. That lasted for a somewhat shorter period but it proved to be successful even if it was short-lived. Now we have switched and we are going to recognise the Fianna Fáil Party as the Party of the progressive, young, ambitious executive. While I never agreed with the first two descriptions, the Republican Party or the Workers' Party, I have no argument with Fianna Fáil when they describe themselves as the Party of the young, ambitious, greedy, ruthless, unscrupulous type of mohair-suited executive.

I have no recollection of any Fianna Fáil man so describing himself.

Well, if the Parliamentary Secretary would like me to read from the second annual dinner, Gresham Hotel, Dublin, Thursday, 29th February, 1968——

On a point of order, how can you read from a dinner?

Are you worried? I will read out the names of the committee of the organisation known as Taca. The patron is Charles J. Haughey.

Well described as patron.

For such a crowd, what better patron could you have?

I should like the Deputy to return to the Bill now. I should like him to relate his remarks to the Bill.

The Parliamentary Secretary challenged my description of the mohair-suited, ambitious young men. I describe them as Desmond MacGreevy, Dillon Digby, Noel Griffin, Gerard Jones, Eoin Kennedy, K.P. O'Reilly Hyland, Denis McCarthy, John Reihill and Sam Stephenson—I heard that name before. The rest are not important; they are only small fry. However, the Fianna Fáil Party——

We are a wonderful outfit, are we not?

Fianna Fáil.

Efficient?

Dillinger, Mussolini and Hitler were efficient. No one ever doubted their efficiency.

All those fellows came to a sticky end.

Do not worry.

I do not say that you fellows will not come to a sticky end either.

Is there any other bit of praise left?

If your sense of values is so distorted that you regard that as praise, you have my sympathy.

These are all IRA pensioners, fellows who fought and nearly died for Ireland—that gang.

A combination of fear of losing power, commitment to these people who have filled their coffers, the results of which we have seen in the by-elections, the posters every ten yards, the paid hatchetmen from all counties——

And Deputy Coughlan's double-decker buses. What do they do with the buses?

They send them to Kilkenny on exhibition, as you have never seen them in Kilkenny.

Do not forget you are in the Confraternity.

I would rather be in hell than in Taca, or anyone belonging to me.

That is not a very nice way for a prefect to speak.

I am a commandant.

A combination of the commitment to the type of people I have described, the fear of losing power and the very real and serious difficulty that has arisen between Fianna Fáil Deputies in their constituencies——

You will never have that problem.

We will. We will have the potential for it but not the problem, I agree. If you look at who inspired this, you will see that, first of all, it was the Minister for Local Government. He has been in serious trouble in his constituency because of the effectiveness at funeral attendances of Deputy Burke. Another one responsible for it and backing it all the way, and not only from the personal point of view because he has had considerable backing within the Cabinet because of the potential danger to the whole Party which exists in the feud between the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce——

This is the Sunday racing which we were looking for a short while ago.

We have seen it in the open when the rivalry for the leadership of the Fianna Fáil Party was in progress and this matter burst into the headlines and everyone realised at last the greed, the lust for power and the ruthlessness——

And arrogance——

You can say that again.

I did not like to mention the word "arrogance"; I did not think it was necessary. It is well known, not perhaps to the public in general but certainly to those who have any close connection at all with politics, what the situation is in this constituency; it is a serious situation to have two Ministers, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, representing the one constituency and contending one against the other. When that situation is multiplied, though not to quite the same high degree, in the other constituencies around the country in which the same kind of rivalry exists—a rivalry which was acknowledged by the Taoiseach in his opening statement—one can readily understand the reason Fianna Fáil seek to make this change and are so desperate and so foolish as to think they can put it across on the Irish people.

Fear makes people do foolish things. God knows, Fianna Fáil have done a very foolish thing this time. I do not think they should take any consolation from the fact that they have been able —I am not too sure by what means— to persuade a now Independent Deputy in this House to throw out what some appear to consider a liferaft to save Fianna Fáil in their horrible dilemma. I do not think they should take too much consolation from that because I am firmly convinced that the Irish people are not prepared to buy this. Fianna Fáil seek to change that which is enshrined in the Constitution for the purpose of ensuring the continuance of democracy in this country. It is my sincere hope that this referendum will be put to the people as soon as possible and, in order to allow that to be done, I will sit down without further delay.

Most of what could be said for proportional representation has already been said and there is little I can add at this stage which might enlighten Deputy Dowling, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, or any other Fianna Fáil Deputy. However, one never knows. Not so long ago, in 1959, this same proposal was put before the people. It was a package deal—the election of the President and the abolition of proportional representation. The President was elected and the referendum on proportional representation was defeated. I am confident that when this referendum is put to the people, it too will be defeated, not by 30,000 votes but by a much greater majority than that.

The referendum in 1959 was actually carried in County Donegal, but I am quite satisfied that, if this proposed referendum were confined only to County Donegal, it would be defeated there on this occasion. Many members of the Fianna Fáil Party in the county council—some closely associated with one of the Ministers whom Deputy Cluskey accused of being primarily responsible for having this manoeuvred through the Cabinet—share my view in this, as do a few members of the Fianna Fáil Party in the Upper House. Some of them live in hope that, if constituencies are realigned in Donegal and if we have the straight vote, they may be promoted to this House. I shall not stand in the way of anyone who aspires to be a member of this House but, if the conduct of the Fianna Fáil Party is to be judged by the manner in which they conducted themselves in a recent county council meeting at which a ratepayer was being appointed, then God save the people in Donegal. Deputy Dowling smiles. He wonders what I am hinting at. If he goes down to the Library and takes out last week's papers, he will see to what I am referring. I will leave it at that. I wish to strike a note of warning. The Parliamentary Secretary was exercised about some descriptions applied to the Fianna Fáil Party.

Arrogance, ruthlessness, bloodthirsty, lust for power— a big long litany.

(Interruptions.)

I am afraid I will be out of order if I speak any more. I never like to be out of order.

The Chair appreciates that.

I want to examine now how this proposal will affect the people in Donegal and the political situation there. We have approximately 108,000 people and we have two constituencies which return three Deputies each to this House. Prior to the last carving up of constituencies, there was a four-seat constituency and a three-seat constituency. The former Minister for Local Government, when he revised the constituencies, either got his geography mixed up or his compass went mad because he ended up by calling one constituency North-East and the other South-West and some parts of the South-West were so much east that they could almost be said to belong to Tyrone. The people in my parish, which is east, are described as being in the South-West constituency. I have no doubt that if Fianna Fáil have their way in any future realignment of constituencies, they will not be concerned about the good of the people. What they will be concerned with will be who will use the hatchet when it comes to electing a Taoiseach, a Government and dishing out the jobs.

We have at the present time two constituencies, each sending three Deputies to the House, and if common-sense is to be observed and if the Constitution is to be honoured, it should be one constituency sending back five Deputies. This will be conceded by anybody with limited intelligence who devotes any time to the political scene in Donegal. In that five-seat constituency, with the Ceann Comhairle being returned unopposed, four seats would be contested and it would be physically impossible for Fianna Fáil to get three seats out of the four. Fianna Fáil would lose one seat and that must be so obvious that it scarcely needs mention by me.

However, it is to Fianna Fáil's advantage to change the rules while the game is on. I am prepared to debate it with any Fianna Fáil Deputy, and any Deputy of my Party is prepared to debate it with any Deputy of the opposite Party sent here from the same constituency. Having listened to the debate, any Deputy will have learned that it is to the advantage of Fianna Fáil to change the rules while the game is on.

We can take South Leitrim or Roscommon and put up a similar argument. We can take the constituencies in Cork-the one in which two by-elections have been fought might be an exception—or for that matter, we can take any constituency in Ireland which at present returns four Deputies. Needless to remark, the fourth seat is usually held by Fianna Fáil and if that is not an abuse of PR, I do not know the meaning of that word. We have had arguments from Fianna Fáil Deputies on the desirability of having stable government but is there any member of the Fianna Fáil Party, any member of the Government, who can reasonably put forward the argument that in a four-seat constituency, they can have a majority? There could be a landslide for one side or the other.

In South Leitrim, a traditional Fine Gael stronghold, Fianna Fáil have so designed the constituency that the fourth seat goes to Fianna Fáil, thereby diminishing the Fine Gael majority. In South Leitrim, Roscommon and one of the Dublin constituencies—I do not forecast the result of the East Limerick by-election—it would be very difficult for Fianna Fáil to get two seats out of three. If county boundaries are to be adhered to, the two constituencies in Limerick will each return three Deputies and the Parliamentary Secretary cannot by the longest stretch of his imagination, foresee the same number of Fianna Fáil Deputies——

The Deputy is making a very good case for the straight vote.

I am not. I am pointing out that the present system, given a fair chance, is a good system. It has sent the Parliamentary Secretary here If it were not for it, he would not be here.

I would be.

Look at the figures. I do not wish to be personal. I remind the Parliamentary Secretary that the humblest Deputy has the same power, the same right as a member of the Cabinet: he might be the most vocal or the most silent, but when he walks through the barrier, he carries the same power as the Taoiseach or any other member of the Government. I do not know why the Government suggest that the present system is a bad one. No matter which system we have, it will have its faults and its merits, and I cannot see why the Government wish to change our present system of voting and presume to have the wisdom to foresee that stable Governments will be returned under the straight vote system. Can Deputy Gibbons or any Fianna Fáil Deputy guarantee to me that, not after the first election on the straight vote system but after the second or third, there will not be 73 Fianna Fáil Deputies, 47 Fine Gael and 22 Labour Deputies—the same numerical strength as we have?

The Deputy is arguing from a childish viewpoint.

It is a viewpoint. We have argued this during the past six weeks and I have yet to see Deputy Carter offering.

The only time his name has appeared in the debate reports has been by way of interruption, and pretty ignorant interruptions at that.

A childish point of view.

It is a point of view, and Deputy Carter cannot by any calculation guarantee me or any other person that under the straight vote the strength of the Parties will not remain numerically the same. If there are to be 144 Deputies returned, no matter which system you use, you cannot guarantee what the people of Ireland will think in five, six or seven years.

That is true.

Then, why change the rules? It is quite reasonable to conclude that Fianna Fáil have used every aspect of PR to abuse the system so much that by now they have exhausted their energies. The system is beyond abuse as far as Fianna Fáil are concerned.

We will teach you a lesson.

Far off fields look green and I do not wish to debate PR as it appears to Deputies in Mid-Cork, South Kerry, North Kerry or Waterford. I represent the people of North-East Donegal. I know the people there and I know how they look at it and it is my duty to put their views before the House. I am prepared to debate these views with the Minister for Agriculture, who has not spoken, with the Minister for Social Welfare, who has not spoken, or with Deputy Cunningham, who has not spoken.

Or even with Deputy Cosgrave?

Deputy Cosgrave has spoken. I am prepared to discuss with all three the merits of PR as it appears to me and to them in Donegal. They have not spoken. The people of Donegal know that I am talking broad commonsense. They understand why I am talking and it is for that reason that I oppose any method the Government may use either to change the present system or the system proposed by an Independent Deputy. I do this not to protect my own political future in the House but because I have consulted the members of my Party. We have had meetings in different parts of the constituency. We had them many months ago, before I expressed a personal opinion, and I can say without fear of contradiction that not one person in the Fine Gael Organisation in North-East Donegal expressed anything but objection to any effort by the Government to change the electoral system.

I have the same story to tell the Parliamentary Secretary in relation to what the Fianna Fáil Party describe as tolerance. Not alone have I elicited the opinion of the Fine Gael organisation in Donegal but I have also consulted other people whose opinions I would be guided by and they see no reason why £100,000 should be spent in trying to have the electoral system changed, thereby giving the House a new lease of life.

It will cost more than £100,000. That was the figure in 1959. Surely it will cost more now?

Do not change it now. It is on the record too many times.

If it will cost more, I will not dispute it. Whatever the figure is, whatever the Parliamentary Secretary may mean by slick remarks across the House, let me say that I do not believe that even he is fully in support of the Government move.

Do you not now?

I welcome Deputy Cunningham to the House. It is a pity he was not here earlier. I hope that when I sit down, Deputy Cunningham will give us his views on proportional representation. Come to think of it, Deputy Cunningham is about the only Deputy in the Fianna Fáil Party who should be spearheading the abolition of PR because he knows that under the provision of the Constitution which says that 20,000 people will return a Deputy to this House, he might not be here after the next general election.

I understand you are having some trouble yourself.

As I see it, the Fianna Fáil Party have failed and failed miserably to provide a decent living for people in Donegal and emigration has taken a number of my supporters, a number of Deputy P. O'Donnell's supporters and a number of Deputy Cunningham's supporters. Deputy Cunningham knows that the Fianna Fáil Party have failed to provide houses for the people to live in. We will not go into that one too deeply because we might take a few votes from Deputy Cunningham and make it more difficult for him to get here. He knows that social services are so inadequate that people are leaving County Donegal and going to live with their sons and daughters who have been given decent houses to live in in Derry and Tyrone.

That is not true.

Of course it is true. I know dozens of them.

They do not qualify for the first seven years.

What is the Deputy talking about?

What you are talking about?

Deputy Harte walked into it.

Deputy Cunningham must know that people have come to him asking him to make representations to see that their rights are given to them.

Deputy Harte was talking about people going into the Six Counties and getting social welfare services.

Yes, of course.

They cannot get them.

Is Deputy Cunningham so dense——

There is no harm in trying, Paddy.

——as not to see the point I am making that if a man who has worked a long time in County Tyrone or County Derry——

——and has lived all that time and reared a family in County Donegal——

You are mending your hand.

At least do not be ignorant about it.

Do not be cross about it.

I think Deputy Harte should be allowed to make his own speech.

I am only giving him my assistance.

If Deputy Cunningham wishes to take me to task on this——

——let me get down to brass tacks. Deputy Cunningham knows a certain gentleman——

Who shall be nameless.

If the Deputy wishes I will name him. I am talking about a gentleman in the district of Muff whose name hit the headlines of the local newspapers in the last month or two. That man has lived or worked in Derry City for the last ten or 12 years. If that man should retire when he reaches the age of 60 and go back to live in Northern Ireland, does Deputy Cunningham tell me now that he loses all benefits for seven years?

No, I did not say that.

Make up your mind. Do you wish me to name that person?

You said people were going in to get benefit in Northern Ireland.

How many people have sons and daughters working in Derry? How many people have husbands working in Tyrone whose families are being reared in Donegal?

What has this to do with legislation?

It has this: as a result of the bad social services, bad housing, bad administration, the population has reduced so much in County Donegal that there will only be five Deputies returned here and Deputy Cunningham is the one who will be left out. I do not wish to be personal with Deputy Cunningham. I am merely expressing what is common knowledge in County Donegal. Deputy Cunningham is boxed in by Lough Foyle on the one side and Lough Swilly on the other.

It is a nice little box so.

It is a very nice box but we got three seats out of six in the local elections.

The Deputy said before the last election that he would lead me by a mile.

No, I am never boastful. I am one of the most humble and most modest Deputies that ever came into this House.

Deputy Harte is very modest.

In spite of the interruptions of Deputy Cunningham, of the Parliamentary Secretary and indeed of Deputy Carter, I will make my own speech.

It is about time.

Deputy Carter should keep out of it. When Deputy L'Estrange was making his speech here Deputy Carter should have been here to debate the straight vote and PR in Longford-Westmeath.

I am here now.

There is no use in being here now. I am not interested in Longford-Westmeath. I am interested in Donegal.

So we have noticed.

I am prepared to debate the merits or otherwise of PR as I see it in Donegal with Deputy Cunningham, with the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, with the Minister for Social Welfare or indeed with any other Deputy who cares to debate it with me in this House or at any other venue.

Let them all come.

I am quite certain that the people who have sent me here and the people who have sent Deputy Cunningham here will come to accept and agree that the only reason Fianna Fáil propose to amend the Constitution is not in the interests of the Irish people but to protect individual Fianna Fáil Deputies as indeed the case is in County Donegal.

What Fianna Fáil referred to as the tolerance proposal is more intolerance. While the people of Donegal might like to have as many Deputies or more than the people of Dublin, I can quite categorically state here and now that the people of Donegal will reject the proposal of the Government to abolish PR and they will also reject the Third Amendment, the tolerance that Deputy Cunningham boasts about, not because they do not want to have extra TDs in Donegal but because they do not want to protect the Fianna Fáil TD. There is enough deadwood in the country without having too many silent backbench members of the Fianna Fáil Party.

When Fianna Fáil Deputies were making their case in this House, they continually referred to the fact that they wanted a strong Opposition. What great gift have the Fianna Fáil Party to judge the merits or see the qualities of a good Opposition? Do they want the type of Opposition they provided in 1922? Is that how they judge an Opposition? Do they want an Opposition like the Fianna Fáil Party provided in 1948 when they voted against the national loan? Is this the type of irresponsible Opposition they want? Is this the quality they want in Opposition Deputies? Do they want an Opposition like the Opposition, the backbenchers of which led certain protesters in Dublin to strike in 1951? Is this the type of Opposition Fianna Fáil are talking about? Is it to provide this type of Opposition that the bloodthirsty back-benchers and front benchers of Fianna Fáil are anxious to change the rules of the game?

Thirsty.

Bloodthirsty.

Is this the type of Deputy the Fianna Fáil Party want on this side of the House?

No. We want an Opposition composed of Deputies like Deputy Harte. If we had an Opposition like that, the country would certainly do well.

We would be away in a hack.

Deputy Molloy would do best to remain silent. I wonder what the Fianna Fáil Party really want? Do they want a good Opposition or do they want a strong Government? If those are the arguments put forward for the changing of the Constitution they should make up their minds. I have stated here by way of interruption, but I will put it on the record of the House, that if the Fianna Fáil Party want good Opposition I ask them to hold the next general election under the system of PR without changing the constituencies and they will have the opportunity of providing an Opposition in this House. Let us be frank in this House. I do not know whether this will influence members of the Fine Gael Party or whether it will influence members of the Labour Party but I believe that if a certain speech had not been made during the 1965 general election campaign, the result might have been different.

The speech made in Tullamore.

It was made in Tullamore by Deputy Corish. There is a widely held opinion that if Deputy Corish had not made that speech the Fianna Fáil Party might not have been returned to this House as a major Party. If they were returned they might have been returned as a minority government and if they were a minority Government they would not have dared to bring in those measures into this House. The only reason they brought in those proposals is that they were lucky enough to win by-elections where they had strong support and where the Opposition were not lucky enough to win except in one.

I am opposed to Fianna Fáil and no doubt Deputy Corish is opposed to Fianna Fáil. I am prepared to go along the lines advocated by Deputy Hogan of South Tipperary, when he spoke in this House, that this country cannot afford another term of Fianna Fáil maladministration and corruption. This country cannot afford another term of the Fianna Fáil Party handing over powers and rights to men who hide behind the scenes, as read out by Deputy Cluskey, the previous speaker, to men who belong to Taca. This country must, in my opinion, get rid of this force which has crept into politics unnoticed. This is a fact. I do not have to repeat it every time I come into this House. No Labour Deputy has to repeat it every time he comes into this House. I would be failing in my duty——

If you did not repeat it every time it would be all right.

Not outside.

Deputy Cunningham's calculations misfired in Donegal on Monday week last. Keep quiet. Bí id thost. I would be failing in my duty if I did not say to the people of Ireland that I am prepared to join hands with anyone who can put Fianna Fáil out of office. I am prepared in the interests of the people——

Any dog or devil who offers.

It has been done before. No doubt what the Fianna Fáil Party are most interested in doing is keeping the Opposition Party and, indeed, the Opposition members of different Parties separated so that they can——

So that there will be a Coalition.

Your Party is split up the middle and divided. Is your Party united on this?

Is Deputy Cunningham's Party not split? I am not denying it. We have the Fianna Fáil Party parading in here and telling us that they agree unanimously with what is being proposed. This is a cod. Does Deputy Molloy, or any other Deputy over there, seriously believe that anybody in his right mind would accept that 74 or 75 men could agree unanimously on anything?

It is true. I was there. How do you know what went on?

Did Deputy Cunningham ask me a question? Did he ask me was our Party united? Does the Deputy want an answer?

You know the answer.

I can inform Deputy Molloy, if he has manners to listen, that if one reads through the Dáil debates and looks through them repeatedly one will come across Deputy Molloy as the chief interpreter of the Fianna Fáil Party. He is not that long here. The ballot papers are still wet.

You are not much longer here.

I am slightly longer. Does Deputy Molloy really want to convince me or anybody else that his Party are unanimous on this? Members of the Fianna Fáil Party in private conversation with me told me that it would be senseless to do away with PR. Do you wish me to name them?

Would the Deputy come back to the Bill?

I will not name them.

We knew you would not.

If Deputy Cunningham tempts me, I might name them.

How much do you want to be tempted?

Just let me tell Deputy Cunningham a story.

Once upon a time.

When I was in the Philippines.

Before the Bill was introduced, a member of the Fianna Fáil Government, whom I consider a friend, indicated to me that he was not prepared to go along with the abolition of PR but that it would be foolish not to accept it because it would get rid of the Labour Party.

That is an old story.

Is this a true story?

It is bound to come.

This is the type of thing which prompted Fianna Fáil Ministers to introduce PR. Deputy Cunningham knows that the former Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party advised his Party that unless Fine Gael accepted the straight vote it was not to be introduced.

He did not.

It is on the records. Read it.

Deputy Harte thinks he knows the secrets of the Fianna Fáil Party.

I am glad Deputy Booth has arrived.

I am glad Deputy Coogan has arrived.

Deputy Booth and I exchanged a few words by way of interjection a fortnight ago. The Deputy spoke about Germany and said that it was under PR that Hitler came to power in Germany and that the same type of election that sends Deputies to this House also sent the Nazis into the Reichstag under the leadership of Herr Hitler. Many reasons are given for Hitler's success, if it can be described as such, in the late Twenties or early Thirties. In Germany nobody in his wildest imagination can seriously suggest that Herr Adolf Hitler was elected and kept in office for democratic purposes.

He was elected by democratic methods but once he got into office, he asked for the same powers as the Fianna Fáil Party are asking for. Once he got there, they could not get him out of it.

How long was Hitler elected before he became a dictator? The Deputy does not know.

I will send you this book by Vernon Bartlett.

Read it first.

I have read it and it shows the similarity between the Fianna Fáil Party and the Nazi Party in Germany. I quote from page 101 ofNazi Germany Explained by Vernon Barlett:

The one bond of union between the millions of men who look to him as their leader has been the desire to overthrow a system of government which, to their mind, was unsuitable for their country.

A foreigner, no doubt.

What does it mean?

What you are suggesting to the Irish people—that the system of election is not suitable for sending people to this Parliament. I quote from page 102:

There are, as far as one can see, three main tendencies that are making themselves felt. It is difficult to know how much Hitler depends upon the people around him, and how much they depend upon him— difficult to know, in other words, whether he is just an animated and earnest figurehead or whether he has his own ideas of government and seeks people who feel the same way as he does ....

There are, in the first place, the people on the Right, the industrialists who have helped him in the past so that they might use him for their own ends.

That is the Hitlerism of Taca, the Taca of Nazi Germany speaking. These are the type of people who got Deputy Booth into power by democratic means.

Is the Deputy serious? If so, he should take the silly grin off his face.

That is the lowest form of wit.

It was not meant to be funny; it was a serious suggestion.

Is the Deputy about to read more about your man Hitler?

I am quite certain that Deputy Booth made certain remarks as to how Nazism came to be in Germany. It is difficult to say to Deputy Booth that he is wrong because what he said is true, but it is only partly true. I quite agree with Deputy Booth that Hitler came into power in Germany in 1931.

It was 1931.

It is quite true that he came to power by democratic means. This is a recognised fact but there are other things involved. The economic structure of the country was chaotic. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were so severe that it made people grasp at the last straw——

That broke the camel's back.

——and represented Hitler as the one hope for the German people. These were the things that brought Hitler to power. It was not what brought him to power that made him what he was. What really was his fault in Germany in those times was that Hitler was supported by wealthy people who could not get into politics under a democratic system but who were prepared to back the myth of Hitler and having sent him so far along his way, they could not stop him. I do not wish——

I do not think Deputy Harte should be stopped.

I am not going to stop him.

Deputy Booth and I disputed about what brought Hitler to Germany. I do not profess to be an authority on the recent history of Nazi Germany.

The Deputy is doing fine.

He should read his history.

I have read my history. Deputy Booth should ask the back-benchers to have some manners.

Have some manners.

You agree I was right all along.

One of the principles enshrined in the Constitution of the Nazi Party was that of Nazifying Germany.

That sounds fair enough.

It does; it is very relevant. I quote again from page 109:

"Nazifying" the State has been a little more difficult. Thousands upon thousands of officials have been retired on pension and Nazis have taken their places.

Is this what Deputy Booth is trying to get? Is he trying to get an elected dictatorship into this House?

Do not start throwing those accusations at this Party. Members of your Party founded the Blue-shirts who were going to do for Ireland what the Brown shirts were doing for Germany and what the Blackshirts were going to do for Italy. You are on dangerous ground.

Deputy Harte should be allowed to make his speech.

I do not want to argue with Deputy Briscoe. He and I are on friendly terms outside this House. My Party have some respect for democracy. The leader of the Party you claim to be a believer in, went in his tall hat to the German Embassy to sympathise with the Germans on the death of Hitler. What did Deputy Booth say then? Thank God, I have not blood on my hands. I was young enough not to know what was going on in Nazi Germany. What was the stand Deputy Booth took then? He cannot blow hot and cold.

I was in the Army, and I could not blow hot or cold.

It was a pity you did not stay in the Army. You should have stayed in it. There is another thing——

Are we leaving Germany?

Before you leave Germany, will you say what Fianna Fáil got out of it?

Will Deputies allow Deputy Harte to make his speech?

I should like to quote fromEncyclopedia Britannica, Volume 2, 1966 edition. I do not wish to quote at length but this is really relevant:

Once in power Hitler proceeded to establish an absolute dictatorship.

What is the Deputy quoting from?

If the Deputy had been listening, he would have heard. The stenographer heard and the Chair heard. I continue the quotation:

He secured the President's assent for new elections on the grounds that a majority in the Reichstag could not be obtained after all.

Is this not very relevant? Is it not relevant to the argument that it is reasonable to expect that under the present system the Fianna Fáil Party cannot hope to have a majority in this House?

At the next general election. I will not be so bold as to forecast what will happen at any future election. This is common property. All the national newspapers, all political commentators, maintain that under the present system Fianna Fáil would be reduced to an approximate strength of 66 to 67 Deputies. That, I might add, is under the present structure, the present constituencies, the present frame of mind of the electorate. Is this not exactly what the Taoiseach is asking, that we have a new system of democratic election? Is this not what Hitler asked in 1931, when elected— a new system to give him a majority in the Reichstag so that he would have dictatorial powers and, having got dictatorial powers from a very highly educated people, he proceeded to cut them to pieces? Does Deputy Booth not agree with me on that score?

I did not expect you to. I am only quoting fromEncyclopedia Britannica. What are we to expect if the Fianna Fáil Party get elected as a dictatorship in this country?

Hitler burned the Reichstag.

I have every confidence in and respect for the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch. He is a man that I cannot say anything about but he will not be there always. He will not always be the man in the saddle. I should hate to think of what certain junior Ministers in his Cabinet would do if they had the same power as he has. Maybe it would be on a miniature scale but, nevertheless, it would be an abuse of democracy. I wonder what the attitude of certain Minister would be if they had the power of Taoiseach.

What junior Ministers would do does not arise in this discussion.

This is a proposal to change the electoral system and, to me, with respect, it is very relevant. I wonder what the Minister responsible for putting farmers in gaol for claiming democratic rights would have done, to what extreme he would have gone, if he had been Taoiseach. I wonder what would have happened last week if the Minister responsible had had the same arrogance as certain other Ministers, when men were put in gaol for protesting because they were offered as little as twopence an hour increase on a wage of £12 a week.

The Deputy's Party supported that legislation.

This is what I will protest about in this House. This is what I will fight against and this is what I will dispute with Deputy Cunningham, if he cares to take up my challenge, at every chapelgate in North East Donegal.

You were here when you voted for that legislation.

For which legislation?

Which caused the thing last week.

For which legislation?

The ESB Act.

The ESB Act— and voted for it.

I did not vote for it. Consult the record.

Your Party voted for it.

I do not have to consult the record to know that Deputy Cunningham supported it. These are the efforts which make me afraid when certain members, no doubt expressing their Party's view, seek a change in the electoral system so that they can get dictatorial power. At the moment it may seem innocent, even foolish, to protest against it but there is no given guarantee that some person with the same mythical powers as Hitler had——

The same what kind of powers?

——could not get into power through a democratic process and then become as arrogant as the most arrogant of the Fianna Fáil Ministers in the Cabinet at the moment.

Hitler was as arrogant as the Fianna Fáil Ministers!

There was another gentleman in Nazi Germany, Josef Goebbels and his job in the Party was not to build a Germany, not to cure the ills affecting the social services, not to build autobahns or private houses but simply and solely to be Minister for Propaganda and we all know the success he made of that. His maxim was that if you tell a lie big enough and often enough people will believe you. Can we again make a comparison between Nazi Germany and the Fianna Fáil Party?

Oh, yes, do.

Do we know not that prior to general elections we had promises like 100,000 new jobs, that people were told to get their sons and daughters out to work, that wives were told to bring their husbands back from England?

And there are 100,000 fewer in employment than there were in 1957.

As Deputy L'Estrange says, there are 100,000 fewer in employment—and these are figures out of the Taoiseach's office—than in 1957. Does Deputy Booth care to dispute that?

I dispute the relevance of it.

Because it hurts you.

It does not arise.

It arises——

The Deputy may not discuss the whole economic position of the country on an amendment of the Constitution.

A Budget speech.

In Volume 233 of the Official Report for 21st March, Deputy Booth dealt at great length with the electoral system, as he saw it, in Germany. He then proceeded to France and from there to Italy and eventually came back to Ireland.

Dealing with electoral systems, not economic positions.

Deputy Booth dealt with the electoral system to which he attributed all the faults and the ills under Hitler. I am debating the point with him and expanding my argument inasmuch as no one can prove to me that at some future time, if dictatorial powers are given to the Fianna Fáil Party, some person like Hitler cannot come along and create someone like Josef Goebbels. No one, not even Deputy Booth, can tell me that that will not happen. If Deputy Booth can tell me that it will not, I will not dispute his word.

What will happen if for some reason or other there is a social revolution in this country and somebody comes to the top, as Hitler did in Germany, and wins the imagination of the Irish people and has at his mercy a democratic system such as you now ask for? To what extreme can he go? Is there anyone here who can say that you can stop that man? Under the Constitution he would be doing nothing wrong until it would be too late. This is my argument. This is why I prefaced my remarks by the statement that under the present system every Deputy, no matter how humble or silent, has the same right in this House as the Taoiseach or any member of the Cabinet when he walks into the division lobby. This is a divine right given under an electoral system suited to the Irish people, a system which may not be perfect. No system is perfect, not even the system in use in the United Nations.

I think "divine right" is a little out of date.

It is a God-given right that you are trying to take away from them.

If you read your Bible, you will not find anything in it about electoral systems.

Catholics are now advised to read the Bible and I might take the Deputy's advice.

You will have a hell of a long look if you are searching for advice on PR. It is worth trying anyway.

Irrespective of whether Deputy Booth disputes the terminology with me or not, he cannot get away from the argument that given an electoral system, in certain circumstances, any man cannot do in the future what Hitler did to Germany. It was Deputy Booth who raised this hare. I am quite prepared to debate it with him. I do not profess to be an authority on the recent history of Germany. In my leisure hours, I have consulted a number of books. One was by the late President John F. Kennedy, whose views disagree violently with the views of Deputy Booth, as reported in the Official Report in volume 233 of Thursday, 21st March. This book,While England Slept, was written by the late President Kennedy when doing his thesis in 1940. It is in the libraries of Ireland for students of history like Deputy Booth to consult. If Deputy Booth is right, then President Kennedy is wrong.

So is Vernon Bartlett, and so is Winston Churchill. I am only quoting what they have said. If they are wrong, I will humbly apologise to Deputy Booth, who indeed has more wisdom than all these gentlemen put together. Deputy Cunningham's mathematics are as disturbed as his history. Deputy Cunningham devalued the £25 million loan to £30 million. It is a pity he is not Minister for Finance.

We will compare our honours course in leaving certificate, and compare marks if you like.

Do not boast about it.

I am not boasting. I am only asking a comparison.

Do not be throwing any low punches.

Is yours meant to be a high one?

No. If the Deputy wishes to tell the House that he finished his education and I did not, I do not feel ashamed of that. I will tell Deputy Cunningham something he does not know: ability without education has taken more people to the top——

This is entirely irrelevant. Unless Deputy Harte comes back to the Bill, I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.

I am dealing with the electoral system.

The Deputy is dealing with everything under the sun.

In fairness to the Deputy, Sir, he is dealing with a lot of interruptions.

I am quoting from volume 233 of the Official Report, in which Deputy Booth went to great lengths to explain to whatever Fianna Fáil Deputies were present that the system of election which operated in Germany pre-Hitler was the reason Hitler came to power. Therefore, the Irish people should change the electoral system, because look what Hitler did to Nazi Germany. I have quoted certain remarks from the bookNazi Germany Explained by Vernon Bartlett and I have quoted from the Encyclopedia Britannica. I am saying that I disagree with Deputy Booth, and in so doing, I am exercising my right as a Deputy. I am explaining to the House why I disagree with him. If I am called to order because I have to reply to interruptions by Deputy Cunningham, Deputy Carter and Deputy Molloy—who have not spoken —I beg your indulgence, Sir, but it is not my fault. I am just putting the record right.

If we have to spend £100,000 to ascertain what system of election the Irish people want, why not have the referendum on the same day as the next general election? The cost would be minute compared with the figure admitted by the Minister for Finance, and Deputy Corish said it would be much more than the £100,000 the referendum cost in 1959. What is the rush? Why do certain members of Fianna Fáil want to change the electoral system now? It has been with us since 1918. It has been discussed by public representatives since 1911. Why change it now? Has Deputy Booth any objection to holding it on the same day as the next general election?

The Deputy was here when I spoke and he alleges he read my speech afterwards. I made it very clear.

Maybe your words did not synchronise with your thinking?

If you look at the record, you will see I made it perfectly clear.

The reason Fianna Fáil will not have the referendum on the same day as the next general election is that they know it is possible they could lose the general election and then it would be the duty of the new Minister for Local Government to draw the new constituency boundaries. They would lose the initiative. It is not in the interest of the Irish people that they wish to change the rules while the game is on but in the interest of the Fianna Fáil Party.

Deputy Booth claims to be an upright Deputy—and, even though I am debating with him, he is a man for whom I have the utmost respect—but, like every other member of Fianna Fáil, he is trying to confuse the issue. I want to ask him what is the objection to holding the referendum on the same day as the next general election. Rumour has it that there could be a general election at a very early date. That is the privilege of the Government to decide. Whenever it comes, I will just have to accept it and see what I can do about getting re-elected.

It will have been nice knowing you, anyway.

Whatever note Deputy Cunningham passed to Deputy Booth to interrupt me, he should have had the courage to get up and say it himself.

It was not my note and it was not a note to interrupt you.

Many arguments have been put forward as to why we should get rid of proportional representation. We had Deputy Booth telling us we should get rid of it because it was the reason Hitler came to power in Germany. But then we had Deputy Gilbride from Sligo telling us we should get rid of it because it was imposed on us by Great Britain. It was not imposed on us by Great Britain. This is something we accepted. If Deputy Molloy states that certain members of Fine Gael are not behind this, I will not deny it. At least, they have openly admitted it. That was the decent thing to do. Certain members of your Party have not that decency in them. What did the former President of the country, the late Seán T. O'Kelly, say in the Dáil on 21st March, 1934? He said:

I still stand for proportional representation. I believe in this country it is suited to the needs of the people and I would vote against any Bill that proposed to abolish the system.

That does not prove what you wanted.

What has come over the Fianna Fáil Party since Mr. S. T. O'Kelly said that in 1934 ?

There have been some changes. That is 34 years ago.

Is it that in 1934 the Fianna Fáil Party were the workman's Party, that they represented the working men, the council workers, the quarry workers, the road workers, the small farmers, the forestry workers——

The fishermen.

We now have, as Deputy Cluskey described them, the mohair executives in the city of Dublin, the chaps who come in here to the Fianna Fáil Party Rooms and have more influence than Deputy Cunningham, an elected representative of the people, the guy who comes in to the Parliamentary Secretary and talks to him about the type of work that could be done by the Board of Works in the city of Dublin——

If you have evidence, produce it.

——the type of work which his predecessor was responsible for doing in Templemore. What contract was there for the Garda barracks in Templemore?

We are not going to discuss that on an Amendment of the Constitution Bill. It is not relevant and has no connection whatsoever with the Bills before the House.

I suppose it is not really relevant.

If it is not relevant, that ends it.

Surely I am allowed to expand my argument and say that under PR the people have a right to select one, two or three members of a panel of candidates put forward by any political Party, and that no candidates should be foisted on them as would be the case if the straight vote were introduced? Do we not know that there are people closer to the centre of gravity than Fianna Fáil back benchers? Do we not know that there are people in this infamous association or organisation known as Taca——

That is a dirty fourletter word and should not be used in Parliament.

Do we not know what the situation is in any safe seat in this country? Instead of giving a contract to these gentlemen, Fianna Fáil can give them a safe seat and their more loyal supporters will have to vote for them, or lump it. That is the democratic system about which Deputy Cunningham wants to boast. Is he ashamed of the present system? Is he afraid that some person will be selected by the Fianna Fáil Party in North-East Donegal and he will have to run harder to get there? Does he not know—and I know he knows—and accept as a reality that some day some one will challenge his right to represent the Fianna Fáil Party just as someone might challenge my right to represent the Fine Gael Party?

Kitty Murphy in Clare?

(Interruptions.)

Does Deputy Molloy remember that Mr. Tom Walsh's daughter was selected in Carlow and was rejected by the Fianna Fáil National Executive?

Deputy Davern is looking for a better type of Deputy.

Rude interruptions will get Deputy Molloy nowhere. We know how he climbed on the back of Deputy Bartley to get in here.

I stood on my own two feet.

Let us get back to the Bills.

Lest Deputy Molloy should think Fine Gael are the only Party to do such things as he alleges we did in Clare, what happened in Wicklow?

Is the Deputy talking about the Labour Party?

I should like to tell the Deputy what happened in Wicklow.

It does not seem to be relevant.

Does Deputy Cunningham feel that our system of election is unhealthy? Does he feel it is wrong that any member of the Fianna Fáil Party who believes in that Party has not got a democratic right to seek a nomination in North-East Donegal? He might succeed in replacing either Deputy Cunningham or the Minister for Agriculture. Is that what Deputy Cunningham is protecting? Is it the system of election or his election? That is what I want made clear.

Fianna Fáil know that certain members of their Party must fall by the way in the next general election. I do not know who they will be, but they are going. He knows that certain threemember constituencies will be amalgamated with one or two-member constituencies and that five-seat constituencies will be made up, and he knows very well that one member of the Fianna Fáil Party will go. In Donegal, all the Deputies are geographically placed by their home positions and none really steps on the toes of the other. That is fair play. I am glad Deputy Brennan has come into the House because he might tell Deputy Molloy something he does not know. If Deputy Molloy wants to know what I am hinting at, let him ask the Parliamentary Secretary in the silence of the Party Rooms because he might be embarrassed if it came out here.

Does Deputy Cunningham feel that he should change the system just to protect his re-election to this Parliament or does he feel that would be in the best interests of the people who send Deputies here? That is what is confusing me. If I thought for a second that the straight vote was a healthy system of election, irrespective of the result for me, I would opt for it.

Does the Deputy want my answer?

I will sit down in a few minutes and the Deputy can accept my invitation to speak. He would be the first Deputy from Donegal.

We will let the people decide.

I would vote for the abolition of PR——

We are not voting for it here. It is the people who will vote on that.

I am giving my views. I have extended many invitations to the Deputy before on different matters.

The people did not ask for it.

I challenge Deputy Cunningham to debate this with me in this House or in any town or village. He can invite the Royal Showband or whatever band was in the hotel in Bray the night before the election. They celebrated victory before they got it.

Deputy Harte should get back to the Bill.

If Deputy Cunningham wishes to debate the merits or demerits of PR with me, I extend that invitation to him. I will debate it with him. We should not annoy people like Deputy Cluskey who is not interested in Donegal to the same degree as we are, or Deputy O'Connell who has no interest in what is happening in Donegal. He might have a passing interest in it but that is about all. I extend this challenge to Deputy Cunningham openly. I will debate with him or any member of his Party the merits or demerits of the different systems of election which have sent him and other people here.

I will take you on. I will beat you in Donegal. We will take you up in Donegal and I will beat you on it.

Very good.

Is Donegal County Council meeting nearly over?

They will have a meeting under section 4.

If the present system is to be changed then, as I say, there is no reason why it cannot be changed on the occasion of the next general election. There is no great rush. I cannot see any reason why the present Government cannot stay in office under the same democratic right that sent them here three years ago. They are no less powerful today than they were three years ago. They are no less powerful today than they were ten years ago. Why all the rush?

Under the Constitution, we shall definitely have an election within the next two years and possibly, under a political system which generally sends the Government to the country before the statutory period is up within the next 12 months. Why can we not wait? What is the reason for all the rush? Is there not a very simple reason for it, namely, that, under the present electoral system it is a foregone conclusion that the Fianna Fáil Party will lose their majority in this House which they have at the moment—artificial as it may be? As I have already said, they have won by-elections in constituencies where it would be impossible for any other Party to win them. Deputy Sylvester Barrett from Clare is an example of that. In a constituency such as Clare, it is a foregone conclusion that the Government Party would win a by-election there.

I wonder what the position will be in Clare at the next general election. Indeed, I wonder what the position will then be in the city of Cork where there are at present four Fianna Fáil Teachtai Dála out of five. One, no doubt, must go and, in all probability, on the results of the last by-election, two will go. Therefore, it will be physically impossible for the Fianna Fáil Party to hold four seats out of five according to calculations based on the last by-election results in the city of Cork where the Fianna Fáil vote dropped dramatically. Is this not the reason for all the rush? Is this not the reason the Taoiseach, even, is in favour of this proposal? Is this not the reason certain power-crazy men in the Fianna Fáil Party are claiming the same right as Adolf Hitler claimed in Nazi Germany in 1931?

Is the reason Fianna Fáil must have the referendum before the next general election not so as to have the decks clear and the constituencies rigged and the system designed not in the interests of the Opposition but in the absolute interest of the Fianna Fáil Party? Is this not the reason a Minister of State bluntly said to me privately "Back the straight vote and you will get rid of Labour"? Is this not the reason certain Fianna Fáil Members were canvassing the opinion of the Members of the Opposition Parties in the Lobbies of this House in an effort to find out how they were thinking? Is this not the reason the Fianna Fáil Party are divided as to whether or not it is right to abolish proportional representation now?

Did Deputy Seán Lemass not tell the Fianna Fáil Party to introduce proposals for the abolition of proportional representation if the Fine Gael Party accepted it, but not to touch it if the Fine Gael Party opposed it? Is this not the reason certain people say: "If Fine Gael oppose it, we shall have someone to put forward an amendment"—as an Independent Deputy of this House has put forward an amendment? Is this not the reason we shall have all the arguments of the Fianna Fáil Party to explain why they meant A was not A or B was not B when they want to assert that a single-seat constituency with a single transferable vote is not a system of proportional representation?

Is that not the codology that is going on in this House at the moment at a time when we should be discussing more urgent matters such as the housing crisis in this city and the provision of money to meet the housing problem that is so serious in various parts of our country? Should we not be providing better social services than the services which are an embarrassment to public representatives who, out of force of duty, represent a constituency such as I do and who are compared with people in public life in Tyrone and Derry when comparisons are made between the social services in Northern Ireland and those in Donegal and in the rest of our country? These are embarrassing situations. These are the things I am not proud of.

Will Deputy Harte please listen when the Chair addresses him? I would point out that we are discussing the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill. On this Bill, the Deputy may not ramble over every question.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

As I was saying, the time of this House has been wasted——

Hear, hear.

——for the past six weeks.

——for the past six weeks—discussing something that the country has already decided, less than eight years ago, it did not want. We would be better employed discussing measures more pertinent to be discussed in this House. We would be better employed in an examination of the public conscience of the Government. We would be better employed in asking ourselves the question: "Can we not make better provision for the unemployed in this city?"

I would remind the Deputy that the only point before the House is the Bill, the Third Amendment to the Constitution Bill. All the other issues raised by Deputy Harte are not relevant.

I submit to the ruling of the Chair but I just wish to say that I think it is a sad state of affairs whenever a Government, for no reason other than to perpetuate their own political existence, introduce a measure that will cost this Dáil valuable time and our country an immense amount of money, money that could be used in providing necessary things for our people. As the Ceann Comhairle will not allow me to expand on that, I shall leave it at that and leave it to the imagination of the people who are in need.

Arguments have also been put forward by Deputies such as Deputy Dowling that it is nearer the ideal to have a small constituency. Deputy Dowling represents a city constituency and a twopenny bus ride would take him to his Dublin constituency. In other words, what the Deputy wants is a constituency where he walks down one side of the street and up the other and may then say that he has made an intensive tour of his constituency.

I do that in any case.

Not only that, but in today's national papers we see that Deputies are to receive almost 100 per cent——

We cannot have a discussion on this matter. I have an idea that the Deputy is talking for the sake of talking, and if he cannot come to the Bill, I shall ask him to resume his seat.

It is long past time.

I have given the Deputy every latitude——

Deputy Carter's remark is a reflection on the Chair.

It is not a reflection on the Chair.

I do not wish to come in conflict with the Chair but I resent very much the inference that I am speaking for the sake of speaking. I have a contribution to make here and if it does not appeal to the Ceann Comhairle, I do not apologise. These are my views and I am going to express them.

The Deputy's views are relevant on the business before the House but not on other matters.

I do not wish the Chair to tell me that I am speaking for the sake of speaking.

I repeat the statement I made that it is evident from the Deputy's speech that he cannot say anything on the Bill. If he cannot, I shall ask him to resume his seat.

I was dealing with Deputy Dowling's remarks last night here when he said that it was nearer the ideal to have a small constituency and I was about to ask whether he was thinking of himself or of the people who vote for him. Was it nearer the ideal for the Deputy or for the people?

For both.

At least Deputy Booth is prepared to compromise. I represent a constituency in which I can travel 55 miles in a straight line without leaving it, in two or three different directions. I can say that any person who has found fault with me is either a crank or a person who does not understand. If Deputy Booth came in contact with as many people in his constituency as I meet in mine, he could truthfully say here that the number who say to him that the constituency is too big and that he should get a smaller one is a very small number indeed. The problems that are discussed and the conversations that take place between a Deputy and a constituent very seldom turn in that direction. I cannot see why the only Deputies who have made a case for the single-member constituency in the Fianna Fáil Party are Deputies representing Dublin city. Take two streets and you have a constituency in the city of Dublin. What sense does it make? What kind of an arrangement would it be? Deputies from rural Ireland who represent a Party and are elected to Parliament make sacrifices to be here. There are Deputies who get into politics for what they can get out of them: most of us try to avoid losing by being in public life.

Deputy Cosgrave——

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Colley, Deputy de Valera, Deputy Seán Lemass.

Please leave Deputy Dowling alone. He seems to think that the only Party that is unanimous on this question is the Fianna Fáil Party. Deputy Booth refused to pledge his word of honour when I asked him was the decision at the Party meeting unanimous. The Deputy is an honourable man and I did not pursue that line of argument. Deputy Dowling tells us it was unanimous but it is not on me he is reflecting but on his colleague, Deputy Booth. I know as well as Deputy Dowling that the Fianna Fáil Party were not unanimous and there is no point in trying to persuade me that they were, any more than the Fine Gael Party were unanimous or that the Labour Party were unanimous.

That is what the Deputy says and I have no reason to doubt it, but you cannot hope to get a number of people together at any level, even a football club, who will agree unanimously on any particular point. You cannot convince us that all the people in Fianna Fáil are out of step except our John—or should I say, our Jack?

Democracy works strangely. In a two-Party or three-Party system everything presented to the Dáil by the Government will no doubt be discussed by the Government Party, and if the Party by a majority decide that it is to be put through the Dáil then, irrespective of what views a front or a backbench Member may have in the Party room, he is committed by a democratic process that exists in this country to toe the Party line. Likewise, if the same proposition is being discussed in the Fine Gael Party room, the members examine it and debate it and decide by majority vote whether they should oppose it or accept it or try to amend it, and any Member of the Party who disagrees with the majority view will have to toe the Party line when the matter comes up in the House. It is the same in the case of the Labour Party; the same process operates. This is pure democracy and I do not despise any member of Fianna Fáil who disagrees with the present Government's proposal to abolish proportional representation but what I do disagree with is their castigation of the Fine Gael Party because certain members of Fine Gael have openly expressed their views. I disagree with their "holier than thou" attitude.

We know that some members of Fianna Fáil do not agree with the present proposal and I openly admit that members of the Fine Gael Party have expressed the view that they are in favour of the single-seat non-transferable vote system. In a democracy that is bound to happen. On many occasions if a free vote were taken in this House when certain Fianna Fáil Deputies are walking behind their Leader into the division lobby against their consciences—the crisis is not anything as great as we have in Vietnam—on any vote whatever that is put before the House, these Deputies have the consolation of knowing that members of the Opposition are voting against the proposal when if they were free to do so they would vote for it. We can all agree that if a free vote system were in operation in nine out of ten or perhaps 99 out of 100 cases we would come up with the same result. But we must have the Party system. Why then do certain Fianna Fáil members play on the fact that members of the Fine Gael Party have said something in public on this issue?

Fianna Fáil have forgotten one thing. They have been led into an attitude of complacency, into a fool's paradise, into believing that the Fine Gael Party were divided on this issue and would break. Let me say, as a member of that Party, that it is a democratic Party and if the result had been the other way, I should have accepted it. That is democracy and that is why I have been speaking for the past hour-and-a-half for the retention of proportional representation. I believe it is a good system and that the Irish people believe it is a good system. I believe the Fianna Fáil Party are having second thoughts about it, that they are in full retreat and looking for a way out. Why is it that some Ministers have become very pally with a certain Member of this House in the recent past? It is very interesting to read in the national papers where a Member of the House——

It is now 7 o'clock, and I am calling on the Member nominated by the Labour Party.

I just wish to say——

I am calling on the Labour Deputy.

I had only two more words to say.

The business before the House, the Second Stage of two Bills purporting to amend the Constitution, is of vital concern to the people. However, it appears to me from listening to and reading some of the contributions made in the course of the debate that the concern of Ministers to remain in office, of Parliamentary Secretaries to hold their positions and possibly to secure promotion, and of Deputies to retain their seats, are the matters that are under consideration and not the basic rights of the citizens who sent us here. Whether a Deputy heads the poll or not is immaterial under the present system; we have equal rights in this House. Therefore, I propose to open by commenting on the proposal relating to the introduction of a certain tolerance in the constituencies.

We in this country profess to believe in democracy, profess to believe in the common name of Irishmen, profess to believe that Irishmen, women, and children should have equality of opportunity in their own country. We know that many thousands of them have not got that, because of the society in which we are operating. We are operating in a capitalist society which is admired increasingly by the principal spokesmen of Fianna Fáil, including, to their eternal shame, those who personally have been associated with the trade union movement. This is a society which places the importance of profit above the importance of the human being. It may well be that we have, to some extent, public ownership in this country, but that is only because of the utter failure in past years of this private enterprise economy function.

It is important that whether Deputies come from Wicklow, Galway, Cork of Dublin, they should speak here as equals, having been sent here by people who are equals. The tolerance proposed in this Bill must be obnoxious to anyone who believes in democracy. Is it suggested for one moment that a civil servant living and working in Dublin is less worthy than a civil servant who may in the years ahead be sent from Dublin to live in Castlebar; or that a worker in the bus company in Cork is less worthy than a bus worker in the city of Sligo; or that a forestry worker in the Wicklow hills has any less right to equality of treatment in the matter of voting than the forestry worker in Mayo?

This Bill proposes for the sake of convenience, as it says—but for some other purposes also—to give less value to the vote of people in certain areas than to the vote of the same type of person in other areas. What is alleged to be the justification for that? It is to secure that there will be a greater number of Deputies from the western areas than from the southern, eastern and midland areas.

I have heard often enough both inside this House and outside it that this Dáil and the Government had a responsibility to all the people. In regard to the situation in the West, the Government have at times brought before this House special provisions which afforded financial and other assistance to the West. In introducing this proposal the Government are, by inference, admitting that they have no solution to the problem of depopulation in the west of Ireland. For 30 years or more they have talked about it. They have established commissions and introduced special schemes. They have appointed Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to deal with it. But basically they are saying in this Bill before the House that they do not believe that this problem can be solved. Therefore, they want to throw a sop to the people living in the western counties by saying: "You may have more Deputies per constituency than they will have in the east, the south or the midlands."

It is time the Government started to acknowledge the reality of the situation and confess their inability to cope with this problem of the west, and even to confess that over the years they were not really making any serious attempt to deal with it, that they were only thinking in terms of providing financial assistance to keep things going. By no exercise of logic can anyone come to the conclusion that this type of problem can be dealt with by having two, three, or six more Deputies in the area than the people would be entitled to in accordance with the population ratio. They have not been too badly represented here in the past. Their voices have been heard and if the voices of Deputies from urban areas had been as loud and as persistent as the voices of Deputies from rural areas, including the West, probably we would have heard a lot more about the problems of the people living in urban areas. A government elected by this Dáil are elected on the basis of collective responsibility but it is suggested that they can avoid that responsibility by saying: "Well, we will give you two or three more Deputies and they will be able to go round and talk to the people, smooth their brows and tell them there is a fine time coming in ten, 15 or 20 years time, and that is the way we will tackle the problem."

Galway is a city in which there are large numbers of people, shopkeepers, bankers, people engaged in commerce and people engaged in the newspaper industry; yet it is suggested that because the city happens to be in that particular place, the vote of each person will have more value than the vote of the very same type of people living in other areas, not only in other urban areas on the eastern seaboard but more value than those in areas which are sparsely populated in other parts of the country. There was a report in one of the newspapers on Monday about a decision of the Supreme Court in the United States of America in regard to what is called tolerance. According to the court, in fixing boundaries of the constituencies, equal regard should be had for the population. It does not apply all over the States at present but it is important. They may be starting to wake up.

That decision was in favour of the principle that the population in each constituency should be regarded as the same as in any other constituency. This is of vital importance to the citizens. It may not worry Deputies very much but it worries me as a person and it certainly worries the people I represent. Although I may be only the fifth Deputy in my constituency, and that after a week's counting, nevertheless I am well aware that it worries a lot of people, even those who did not vote for me in the last general election. It is even out of time with modern developments in economic matters. Years ago, there was a real problem in regard to wage rates but now in most industries negotiations at a national level provide the same basic rates whether you live in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Sligo, Ballina or elsewhere. Workers in the various industries, whether the sugar confectionery trade, the cement industry, mining, or tailoring, would resent in this day and age being told: "you have to negotiate for a different level because you come from Galway," or "You must take ten per cent less because you come from Mayo, or even less because you come from Ballyhaunis." They would resent that, and quite properly resent it.

The approach nowadays is to strive for basic wage rates and basic conditions so that across the board there will be equality. Yet, at this stage, the Government want to say: "We do not want equality in the value of votes". I am prepared to accept that when boundaries are fixed, it may be possible to get nearer to equality and that there might be changes, because of developments, over the years; I am quite prepared to accept that with the passage of years, with the change of population, the continued flight from certain areas, this situation could arise. I am also quite prepared to accept that even though you have equality, you might, in the intervening years at a by-election or an election, go slightly off the path, but to set out deliberately and say in respect of one area that a Deputy can be elected for a population of 17,000, while in another it may take 26,000, is a negation of every principle of ordinary justice. It may suit Fianna Fáil but there are a lot of things which suit Fianna Fáil which do not suit the rest of the country and perhaps we are starting to realise that.

They have had a preponderance of representation in the western counties but with the growing tendency for support to be withdrawn from that Party, it is quite clear that they will use every gimmick and every type of argument, legal or otherwise, to try to secure that they will remain in the Dáil in large numbers and remain in office. Three or four Deputies more than they were entitled to on the western side might well maintain them in office for a period. On a number of occasions they were maintained in office by the support of five Independents. It is quite clear that the proposal outlined by the Taoiseach, when opening this debate on 28th February, is designed basically to look after the interests of Fianna Fáil. We are quite well aware that over the years the Fianna Fáil Party— even though they introduced the Offences Against the State Act, even though they introduced anti-trade union legislation and even though they introduced wage standstill orders— claim to be the Party that broadly represent the people. Nobody is going to deny that they have got the major share of support over the years. How they got it is a not a matter we want to discuss at any great length now. The fact is they got it and they are very anxious to retain it.

As I said earlier, the really important issue in relation to tolerance is that the people be satisfied that, as Irish men and women, they have equal voting rights. If we cannot secure equal voting rights for all our citizens, how can we hope to secure any other basic requirement for them? It is a Gilbertian situation because, if one takes population trends, one will find that over the years there has been a flow from the rural areas into the cities and towns and, had this proposed legislation been in operation heretofore, these people would find that, in the urban areas, their votes decreased in value; in the rural areas 17,000 votes would be sufficient to elect a Deputy whereas, in the urban areas, a Deputy would need over 26,000 votes to be elected.

I do not agree with Deputy Harte that the problems facing the Deputy representing an urban constituency are simpler than those facing a Deputy representing a rural constituency. All Deputies have their own problems. All Deputies have to do a great deal of work. Not for one moment would I suggest that a rural Deputy has not a great many problems with which to cope in his constituency. The Taoiseach, speaking on this particular aspect, said that a considerable part of a Deputy's work on behalf of his constituency relates to matters within the competence of a county councillor. We are discussing on this Bill the question of representation. If we are going to approach the matter from the, shall I say, county council point of view, then we will have to look at the matter again.

It seems to me that the Taoiseach is not clear in his own mind as to what are the duties and responsibilities of the Government and the Members of this House. One moment he is expatiating on the Deputy who spends a considerable portion of his time doing county council work, very valuable work, indeed, and part of the Taoiseach's argument is that there should be more Deputies in the West so that they can do more county council work. Does the Taoiseach want Deputies in this House? If they are going to spend their time running up and down every boreen and concentrating on county council work, then I cannot understand how they will contribute to the legislative processes in this House. Are the Taoiseach and the Government aiming, somewhat awkwardly perhaps, at a situation in which there would be only two Parties in this House—a Government Party and an Opposition? Is it their hope that they can continue to make more speeches outside the House and keep their Deputies trotting around the country looking after purely county council matters?

The Taoiseach talked about the responsibility of a Government to govern. May I suggest that in a democracy Parliament can function reasonably and properly only if it has the confidence of the people who elected it? If a Government lacks that type of support then it will gradually drift into autocracy. We know where that ends. But that kind of attitude is no stranger to Fianna Fáil because they would love to be in a situation in which they could say. "This is the position. You accept it, or else."

Tolerance has been dealt withad infinitum and I suggest that the basic question before the House is: Is each Irish man's or woman's vote going to be of equal value? That is the only question for consideration under this Bill? Anyone who suggests the vote should not be of equal value has no regard either for himself or for the people who sent him here. Fianna Fáil have not done badly under proportional representation. It has served them well. I have here a journal issued by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in February last. There are one or two important statistics in it. Proportional representation has the attraction that the major Parties get the edge of advantage. In the 1957 election, Fianna Fáil polled a total of 592,700 first preference votes, representing 48.3 per cent of the first preference votes cast. They secured 53.4 per cent of the seats. Labour, in the same election, polled 111,700 first preference votes. The percentage was 9.1 but the seats won represented 7.5 per cent.

In the 1961 election Fianna Fáil polled 511,800 first preference votes. Their share of the first preference votes was 43.8 per cent and their share of the seats was 49 per cent. Labour, with 136,700 votes, got 11.7 per cent of the first preferences and secured 10.5 per cent of the seats. In the 1965 election, Fianna Fáil, with 597,400 first preferences, got 47.8 per cent of the first preference votes but secured 50.3 per cent of the seats. Labour, with 192,700 first preference votes, received 15.4 per cent of the total first preference votes and 14.7 per cent of the seats. In the same election, Fine Gael, being the second largest Party, had a slight edge.

Therefore, from the point of view of getting the electors' support, Fianna Fáil have done well through PR. Why then do they wish to throw it overboard at this stage and why do they attempt again to throw it over, having tried and failed nine years ago when the general public of Ireland, the voters, told them they did not want the change? One of the peculiarities of this—it has been the subject of comment for a long time—is that a commission which sat during many months under the chairmanship of a Fianna Fáil Minister, allegedly examined the Constitution to see in which respects it might be considered necessary or advisable to go to the people and ask for amendments. The commission issued a report expressing their views, and they had views on a number of Articles of the Constitution, but it appears to me that Deputies who sat on that commission, and to some extent Fianna Fáil Deputies, were guilty of permitting themselves to be deceived in relation to the purpose and object of the commission.

We must approach this matter from the point of view of the ordinary voter, not from the point of view of Deputies or of Parliamentary parties. It must be approached from the point of view of the ordinary voters who, contrary to what the Taoiseach thinks, have quite a degree of intelligence. They have been able to use PR intelligently during the years. The Taoiseach seems to be satisfied that is not so and he said so in his opening remarks on these measures. He suggested the people of this country intellectually are not capable of using PR.

Let us have a quotation, not the Deputy's interpretation.

The Taoiseach said a lot of things but the general terms were——

If the Deputy can substantiate that, I should like to hear it.

We might be able to find a quotation to throw light on the problem. One of the suggestions made by the Taoiseach, reported at column 1957 of the Official Report, Volume 232, was:

A further defect of the present system is that with large constituencies and a large number of names on the ballot paper, the voter is not given the opportunity of giving a considered decision. Many voters know little about most of the candidates. Often they are not even familiar with the Party or the policy of the Party to which the candidates belong.

Where is the reference there to their intellectual capacity?

At this point of time Fianna Fáil must have failed in their much vaunted propaganda machine if they cannot let the people know who the candidates are. Of course, in the case of Fianna Fáil the people could not possibly know what their policy has been before an election because their policy, if any, has been kept a deep dark secret. In many elections Fianna Fáil have gone to the people on the basis of "Vote with Seán Lemass" or "Send back Dev". That was Fianna Fáil's approach to the electorate—to suggest to the people to make up their minds to let Lemass lead on, to give them the face of either de Valera or Lemass on posters.

The Taoiseach talks about policies. I should like to know when Fianna Fáil put a policy to the people before a general election. They had "Let Lemass lead on" or "Do not desert the Chief". They offered 100,000 new jobs. I am prepared to admit that on many occasions people were deceived in that way into supporting Fianna Fáil. They were not deceived by any policy put before them. They were not deceived into supporting Fianna Fáil by weakness or failures in PR. Let me say about PR that a Parliament is just not a place that elects a Government. It is not just a place where people come who also operate as county councillors. It is a place and should be a place where any significant section of the community if they have a point of view or a policy should be in a position to nominate people to represent that point of view and to secure that, given reasonable support in the country or the constituency, they could have a spokesman here speaking and advocating that point of view in the councils of the nation.

I am not talking about religious minorities. As far as the Labour Party are concerned, the matter does not enter into it. The Labour Party have no religious boundaries. Men who worked and fought and died for the labour movement were of all religions and none. We have no racial boundaries either. We say that in a developing economy or in a stagnant economy, and sometimes it is very hard to understand what type of economy we have here, it is prudent and proper to secure that if there are dissentient sections of any kind that have significant support, they should be given an opportunity to voice that support here in Parliament and nowhere else.

Let me put a very simple and direct query to the Taoiseach. He is not only Taoiseach; he is a prominent and, I think, a conscientious member of Fianna Fáil. Can he honestly tell me across the floor of the House that he will worry very much about a problem put to him by a person who he knows is a convinced and vocal opponent of Fianna Fáil? Will he bother looking after the problem of a Labour man who is intent on developing the labour movement? Will the Taoiseach or any of the Fianna Fáil Deputies pay any real attention to the problem of that man? Let me be honest: If I know a chairman of a Fianna Fáil cumann in my constituency who spends his time organising for the Fianna Fáil Party and if he comes to me, I am likely to tell him: "Brother, go back to those you worked for". This is what they are at, taking it down to the ordinary low level of the man in the street.

In a single-member constituency, possibly 40 per cent of the people have somebody whom they have a right to go to because they support him or his policy. The rest of the people go on sufferance. We know very well in the Labour Party that Fianna Fáil members and Fianna Fáil supporters and Fine Gael members and Fine Gael supporters and Sinn Féin members and Sinn Féin supporters if the working people have a problem, the first thing they say is: "What are the Labour Party doing about it?" They know that this is the only Party who have that commitment.

We have had a surfeit of percentages. We have had calculations of what will happen when three-seat constituencies become one-seat constituencies. We have had calculations of what will happen to four and five-seat constituencies but the basic thing— proportional representation — is a matter of importance to the people, not to the Deputy. What Deputy and what Minister has a right to think that he should set out norms? We are supposed to be a representative gathering.

Let me quote the Taoiseach again. At column 1946 of Volume 232 of the Official Report, he said:

A considerable part of a Deputy's work on behalf of his constituency will relate to matters within the competence of the county council. He can, therefore, serve his constituency more effectively if it is wholly within a particular county.

According to that, he wants to draw boundaries with no regard to population. Let it be said that even though the figures show that the major Parties at any particular time are the Parties who will gain slightly under the operation of PR, we are happy with it, not because of the number of Labour Deputies who come here to Leinster House. We are not worried or concerned about the future in this matter. The future takes care of itself. We are concerned lest in any part of our country what has happened in the North for the past 40 years may happen where there is a situation where there are constituencies in which the electors, the citizens, have never exercised their vote. Under the system in Britain which is supposed to be an object of admiration by the Taoiseach, almost the same thing has happened. There have been contests in many constituencies there that were only a formality because everybody knew in advance who would be elected.

If one examines the results of elections in a five-seat constituency in the Dublin area, it has been demonstrated beyond all doubt that the ordinary citizens know what they are doing when operating PR. Since the last general election, Fianna Fáil have two Ministers in the House, Fine Gael have two members in the House and the Labour Party has a member. Perhaps three people were fighting for the last seat, close enough, but nevertheless on the first preference votes, Fianna Fáil got what they were entitled to and Fine Gael and Labour got what they were entitled to. In the previous election the situation was that Fianna Fáil got the seat because they were able to secure a little bit more of the proportion.

I do not think there can be any validity in the argument put forward that PR of itself leads to a proliferation of Parties. Parties may start up under any system of voting. If they do not get the support of the populace, they die. That has happened in relation to this country. We have had various Parties from time to time who get a number of seats in this House and they have not been able to continue because they have been unable to secure sufficient support in the country, so they die. There is one thing, however, that proportional representation has demonstrated quite clearly, that is, that it is possible, and not only possible, but readily realisable, that in any multiple-seat constituency, where there is a cross-section of opinion, that can be represented in Dáil Éireann. If Dáil Éireann is not a representative body as well as a legislative body, I do not know where we are and I do not know what democracy is.

The Taoiseach, if he says that Dáil Éireann is only a body who deal with legislative business, would want to make some change in the administrative process under which the Order Paper on many occasions is filled with queries arising on purely administrative matters, matters raised by Deputies regarding their constituents and on which they can secure an answer here. If this is a representative body, surely it is proper to secure that it continues to be a representative body, on the basis of the Constitution adopted in this country and endorsed again nine years ago.

Maybe there is some merit and some validity in the suggestion that Fianna Fáil are realising that finally after many years the position is starting to develop to the point where they as a Government may well go out into the wilderness and remain there for quite a number of years for the good of their souls and for the good of the Irish nation. One thing about continuance in office is that it has the effect on the holders of those offices over the years of increasing the practice and habit of making announcements and propounding proposals, that should be announced and initially discussed here in this Chamber, outside this House. This itself is an affront to democratic government in which the Taoiseach and his Ministers are supposed to believe.

There are comments that proportional representation sends bad type Deputies into this House. I do not know about this. I do not claim to be a good Deputy but certainly I would hesitate very much to suggest that the Deputies sitting on the Fianna Fáil benches, on the Fine Gael benches or on any of our benches, are not individually good Deputies. If the Taoiseach accepts that, I do not know what the Fianna Fáil Party have been doing over the years because they have been selecting the people who contest the seats for them. If all their back-benchers are such dumb dogs that they cannot participate properly in the life of this House, whose responsibility is that? It is that of the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Party.

Will there be any cure for that if you go away from proportional representation? You can go over to the British House of Commons and you will find a lot of dumb dogs in all Parties there. It is one place where dumb dogs get into safe seats. The Taoiseach should resent the criticism of the competency of Deputies seeing that such a great proportion of them are members of his Party. If he accepts the criticisms which many people on this side of the House think are more than justified, then he accepts a stricture on his predecessors in office, on the chairman of the Fianna Fáil Party and on Fianna Fáil itself for many years. Maybe by a stroke of the pen they think they can now turn the Dáil into a place for up and coming professional politicians. If they do this, this will become purely a professional Chamber. If that is the objective of the Fianna Fáil Taoiseach and his Ministers, I do not know what will happen this country in the years that lie ahead.

The Labour Party believe in proportional representation. They are not worried about it, contrary to rumours and statements by everybody else. They are worried, however, that any significant section of the community should operate, not in this House but outside this House because for too many years the dialogue and the dichotomy was not across the floor of this Chamber. If you bring about a state of things that will in any way reduce the reasonable chance of doing so, you are creating a situation which you may not be able to control in the years that lie ahead.

I know the Taoiseach has the reputation of being an excellent Corkman. We all agree that he personally is an excellent man. However, I would like to ask him has he any less entitlement to be treated equally than, say, the former Minister for Lands, who comes from Mayo because if you think in terms of the vote, it means that the votes of one or two of his Ministers will in fact be worth more than his votes. Is that not a Gilbertian situation?

The value of a Minister's vote, or the votes of a backbencher of the Fianna Fáil Party will in fact be worth more than the votes of the Fianna Fáil Taoiseach because Fianna Fáil no longer believe, if they ever did believe, in equal rights and equal value for everyone's votes and one man, one woman, one vote will not yield seven-eighths of his vote or one and one-quarter of a vote. I ask that these two proposals be rejected.

It is my duty now on behalf of the Fine Gael Party to close this debate and to state again succinctly our views on those two proposals, and in the course of doing so, to deal with some of the arguments that have been advanced on their behalf by the Government, and also to deal with certain irrelevant considerations which have been introduced into this debate. May I start by saying that whatever I have to say I say on behalf of a united Party. The views I express are the views that will be expressed on our behalf throughout the country in relation to any issues that may arise from our decision here tonight.

First of all, may I refer to what I regard as the minor proposal, the Bill dealing with tolerance? We are opposed to that Bill for the reasons that have been stated here so often. We regard it as undemocratic. We regard it as a proposal designed to create distinctions and differences among our citizens. The Taoiseach, in introducing the Third Amendment Bill, advanced many reasons. He stated, in effect, that this Bill was necessary, because, otherwise, it would be necessary in the revision of constituencies to go over and transcend county boundaries and recognised administrative areas and that a new series of geographical areas in the country would emerge.

I want to state that, in our view, those reasons are spurious and it would have been far better for the Taoiseach to have admitted the true reason for this Bill: to meet the mounting anxiety and the growing concern of Fianna Fáil Deputies in western areas who find inevitably a situation in which they will no longer be called on to serve in this Parliament. As Article 16, 3º, of our Constitution stands at the moment, there is ample power, ample authority, given to this Dáil to provide in relation to constituency revision for everything that the Taoiseach urged as a reason for this Third Amendment Bill.

Reference has already been made to the view of the Supreme Court in the case reported in 1961 Irish Law Reports. At page 182, when the Supreme Court was asked to consider this very Article, and they were asked to consider how far Dáil Éireann was entitled to go in accordance with the words "so far as it is practicable" in relation to what should be the population figure for each constituency, the Chief Justice said:

Secondly, it is contended that the requirement of the same clause that so far as practicable the ratio of members of each constituency to the population of each constituency should be the same throughout the country has not been complied with. The English text requires that this uniformity should be achieved as far as practicable. It is, however, argued that the Irish text is more stringent and requires that this uniformity should be achieved "as far as possible." It is submitted that there is thus a conflict between the two texts which in accordance with the provisions of Article 63 must be resolved by accepting the Irish text.

The same point was taken in argument in the case ofO'Donovan v Attorney General (1) before Mr. Justice Budd, in which the question for decision was whether the Electoral Act of 1959 was valid. This Court agrees with the conclusion which Mr. Justice Budd reached and with the reasoning upon which he supports it. He held that no material discordance exists between the English and Irish texts of clause 2, 3, of Article 16. He proceeded upon the basis that the clause, properly construed, means that the ratio specified must be the same throughout the country “so far as it is practicable.”

The Chief Justice goes on to quote Mr. Justice Budd:

Applying that to sub-clause 2, 3, I therefore reject the view that an all but mathematical parity of ratio is to be attained and I construe the sub-clause as meaning that a parity of ratio of members to population in the constituencies throughout the country is to be attained by the Oireachtas as far as that is capable of being carried into action in a practical way having regard to such practical difficulties as exist and may legitimately, having regard to the context and the provisions of the Constitution generally, be taken into consideration.

The Chief Justice went on to say:

The sub-clause recognises that exact parity in the ratio between members and the population of each constituency is unlikely to be obtained and is not required. The decision as to what is practicable is within the jurisdiction of the Oireachtas.

In those circumstances, with that definition by the High Court in the land as to what our Constitution means, I would like the Taoiseach to express to the House, in concluding, why it is necessary to go to the people to delete sub-paragraph 3 of Article 16 and substitute an entirely different Article. What is the purpose of it, except to give the power without any constituency commission, except to give the power to a Fianna Fáil Minister to arrange and so arrange existing constituencies in order that those due to fall will be preserved for a little while. There is no other reason for it. It would be far more honest if that were said and expressed as the real purpose behind this amendment.

May I say, before I pass from it, that references have been made in the course of arguments on the Third Amendment Bill to the difficulties that people living in rural Ireland have in contacting their Deputies. I noted with interest as published in yesterday's paper that the Minister for Transport and Power had this to say at a Comhairle of Fianna Fáil:

Of supreme importance was the development——

He was talking about public relations——

—of special new public relations policies in the big city areas where contact with the electors in between elections and the securing of interest among younger people were far more difficult.

According to the Minister for Transport and Power, it is in the big city areas that contact between the Deputies and electors is far more difficult. I recommend the Taoiseach to consider that view put forward by the Minister for Transport and Power. That is as much as I want to say about the tolerance Bill. I do not think it is worthy of any more comment and I think the people will reject it, if the people are asked to decide it.

Now, I come to the Fourth Amendment Bill. Over four weeks of this Dáil's time has been spent in large measure in discussing this matter. This Parliament represents a people who have suffered from many social ills. We have had emigration which has depleted our countryside of the hopeful and the ambitious. We have had unemployment which has made an absurdity of 46 years of home government, yielding today a figure of 65,000 out of work. With an outmoded system of health services, with poor housing and social conditions, with poverty and destitution in many parts of the country, for four weeks this Parliament has been engaged in a discussion not concerned with measures of social reform, not concerned with the things that are biting deep into our people, but with measures to ensure the electoral success of Fianna Fáil or other Parties in future elections, with a proposed Amendment of our Constitution, of our electoral system, which was designed and voted on and contrived by 75 Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party and which, with the background of our social conditions, is regarded by them, in the words of their Leader, as the most important measure that has come before this Dáil.

Shame on those who think that a measure of electoral reform of this kind could be regarded in our Parliament in our day as the most important measure that this Dáil could consider. Those who hold that view find themselves far removed from public opinion and far removed from the grievances and the difficulties and the problems which beset so many Irish families and Irish people today. It would have been far better if these four weeks and our time and our energies had been devoted to a sane and constructive discussion as to how best we, in our time and we in this Dáil that was elected with such high hopes less than three years ago, could improve the lot of those we represent.

This measure, in my view, was introduced in an atmosphere of cynicism and it was received, I believe, by the people with widespread suspicion. It is well to recall that it had been preceded by the establishment of an informal Committee on the Constitution. The purpose of that Committee was to review the constitutional, legislative and institutional bases of government in this country under the provisions of the Constitution. That informal Committee came into being following a letter of invitation sent by the former Taoiseach to the Leaders of the two Opposition Parties in the Dáil. In August, 1966, so far as my Party was concerned, we entered on that Committee in good faith, feeling that we were called upon to enter into constructive discussion with members of the Government Party and Members of the Labour Party so that our Constitution if it required amendment could be considered constructively and objectively by Deputies of Fine Gael working with others. We understood that we were taking part in an orderly examination of our Constitution. We had no suspicion that the Committee that we entered upon was to be used as a blind or a facade for power plotters behind the scenes.

The approach to our work on the Committee—and when I say "our work", I am glad to be able to say that it was the approach of every member of the Committee—Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael—is set out on page 2, paragraph 5 of the Committee's report, where it is stated that early in our deliberations, we decided that where it was not possible to reach unanimity on any matter, we would set out the substantial arguments for and against each provision under consideration, leaving it to the Government of the day to decide the items they would select for inclusion in any legislative proposals that might emerge.

While we had no guarantee that any recommendation made by us would be accepted, we certainly did expect that any subsequent legislative proposal for an amendment of our Constitution would, at least, be a matter that we had discussed fully and constructively and objectively at meetings of the Committee. How wrong we were. Here we have in this Fourth Amendment Bill a proposal that no one raised before the Committee, that not one member of the Fianna Fáil Party, headed by Deputy Lemass, even essayed to have discussed. Here we have a proposal in respect of which a member of the Fianna Fáil Party said: "We are not putting that forward, because it is as dead as the dodo. The people decided against it and they will do it again".

That this was clear, even from the records of the Committee, appears from page 22, paragraph 61, of the Committee's report. That paragraph reads:

The question of adopting a different electoral system for Dáil elections was considered by the Committee. The substitution of the present system of proportional representation by the alternative vote was proposed and the arguments adduced for and against it are set out here-under.

That was the only proposal put forward. It was put forward on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party members of that Committee by Deputy Lemass. If one reads the arguments put forward, one sees with interest that Deputy Lemass—and I challenge his denial on this—Deputy Andrews—and I challenge his denial on this—Deputy Molloy—and I challenge his denial on this—and two Senators of the Fianna Fáil Party in putting forward arguments in favour of the alternative vote were also arguing strongly against the British system of election because here is what they had to say—this is on page 24, paragraph (q) of the Committee's report:

One of the most serious objections raised in the past against the first past the post system as an alternative to PR was that it could give rise to a government which does not have the support of the majority of the electorate.

"One of the most serious objections to the British system of election," says Deputy Lemass, Deputy Molloy, Deputy Andrews and two Fianna Fáil Senators, "is that it could give rise to a government that does not have the support of the majority of the electorate." How right they were; how right they are; and how they will have the support of the Irish people very shortly in favour of that point of view.

I want to know—perhaps we can learn from the Taoiseach—what happened after the meetings and considerations of this Committee. Just before last Christmas, the Chairman of the Committee, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, came to the Committee and said: "Look; as a matter of urgency, I want you to release that report so that I can give to the Government the proposals and discussions with regard to electoral reform." He went on to say that this matter would have to be considered by the Government as a matter of urgency. He got the report from us —in fact, he got the entire report— and away he went. I have no doubt that he is a man of honour. I have no doubt that he was dealing with us in abona fide manner. I have no doubt that with his other colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party, he felt he was bringing to the Government as a proposal put forward by the Fianna Fáil Party, a proposal against the British system and in favour of the alternative vote, recognising that other members of the Committee put forward arguments against it and were not in its favour.

But the Minister for Industry and Commerce and Deputies Andrews, Molloy and Lemass did not count very much with the power-plotters who were waiting outside, with the people who were prepared to use this Committee merely as a subterfuge to put forward a proposal which they knew had never been considered and to give it an aura of respectability as if it emerged from this Committee. It did not, and I hope the people of this country will fully realise that. After the 75 members of the Fianna Fáil Party met and considered it—and I have no doubt squeezed one another's arms and were lectured to and hectored by the Minister for Local Government, Deputy Boland, and all the hardheaded politicians who believe in the power of the machine to override and to crush all opposition—and when they came out to announce that the Government had decided to put forward this proposal, this very proposal which had been rejected by the Irish people nine years ago, there were cynics whistling around Leinster House and outside. Is it any wonder that the ordinary people regarded this decision with the gravest of suspicion?

I do not think this debate has removed the cynicism; I do not think this debate has allayed the suspicion. I think this debate has convinced more people that there is something stirring in Fianna Fáil that is not good for Ireland, that there is something there in the back of that Party that is trying to reach forward and grip the liberties of the ordinary people of this country.

The Taoiseach said that Fianna Fáil have always been opposed to PR and that they have always been in favour of the British system, although he did not use those terms—he called it the system providing for the relative majority. Did the Taoiseach mean that when he said it? We have always been in favour of proportional representation and we have been consistent in this view, he says. I have no doubt when the Taoiseach said that, he was saying something he believed in, but it is not true. The Fianna Fáil Party's views on this matter have changed dramatically from time to time during the 46 years of government here.

Let us remember—and it is worth recording—that under the Constitution of Saorstát Éireann, which was prepared by the Constituent Assembly in 1922 and subsequently approved of by the people of this country, under Article 26 of that Constitution, there is this provision and no other referring to the Members of Dáil Éireann: "The Members shall be elected upon principles of proportional representation." No minimum number of Deputies, no defining of what system of proportional representation should be followed. A fluid, flexible provision in the first Constitution of this State. The Electoral Act passed in accordance with that Constitution provided for proportional representation as we know it based on the multi-seat and single transferable vote.

Throughout the first ten years of this State, in the face of anarchy, chaos and civil war, in the face of an attempt to pull down this Parliament, our Governments were able to function and provide orderly, legitimate Government elected under the system of proportional representation. Everything continued from 1922 right up to 1936 for 14 years. That provision was the provision in our Constitution which provided for our electoral system——

And brought Fianna Fáil into Dáil Éireann.

And brought them in. It was a great thing for Ireland. I hope, whatever we decide on, the Irish people will decide never again to have a situation in which legitimate Parties are forced outside Dáil Éireann. But in 1936, 14 years later, Ireland was asked to pass a new Constitution. It was proposed and brought through this Dáil by the Taoiseach's predecessor as leader of the Fianna Fáil Party. We know what he said; I am not going to quote it again. Having looked at what was in the 1922 Constitution, he said to himself: "That is not good enough. I am going to ensure that this excellent system, that has served this country so well, will be defined in our immutable law, in our basic and fundamental law, so that no political Party in the Dáil can ever change it." He, therefore, brought in the system of proportional representation we know today providing for multi-member seats and the transferable vote. Why did he do it? Because he thought it was the best system. He was not alone in his views. The man who succeeded him as the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party, Deputy Seán Lemass, also held precisely the same view.

Why then do we have the present Taoiseach, Deputy Jack Lynch, as the third leader of Fianna Fáil, coming before the people and saying: "We have always been consistent in our opposition to PR; we have always been in favour of the British system"? It is not so; the people know it; and it indicates there is something very queer behind all this. I want to know why Fianna Fáil have changed their view. Is it not clear that the view has been changed amongst Fianna Fáil because they realise that PR will no longer produce Fianna Fáil victories, and, of course, it will not?

PR has its critics and its enemies. No system is perfect. No perfect system can be devised by men. It is designed to reflect in political representation current public opinion. Once public support for a political Party drops below 50 per cent of the electorate, then ideally this should be represented by a majority against that Party. What is wrong with that? I say "ideally" because it does not always happen. Why should it not? Why should a Party that fail to convince a majority of the electors that their policies are right and correct and good for the country, feel aggrieved if they are not given a majority of the seats? Surely it is democracy that they should not.

If I or any other person engaged in politics failed to convince a majority of the people that I am right, and that the stand I am taking is the correct one, who am I then to complain afterwards if the people decide against me? Democracy is designed to ensure that the opinion and the view of the majority in relation to matters of policy will be reflected by representation here in this House. To permit things to be otherwise is to negative democracy and that, I assert, is what the British system of election does no matter what term or description you apply to it in this country.

Fianna Fáil have been invited to look at Wicklow. Look at Wicklow. I am glad that a sense of fair play and the principle of individual liberty are not dead among the hills of Wicklow. In Wicklow 70 per cent of the voters were against Fianna Fáil.

Hear, hear.

No matter whom they voted for, they were against Fianna Fáil and, despite all the money spent by Fianna Fáil in that election——

Hear, hear.

——and despite all the groups sent down there to lecture and hector the electorate, 70 per cent—seven out of ten—of those who voted, declared themselves against Fianna Fáil. Under the British system, a Fianna Fáil candidate who polled just 30 per cent of the vote would have been elected, and there would not be any representation for anyone else.

Hear, hear.

The one who got 30 per cent would be sent to Dáil Éireann to represent the people of Wicklow.Quo warranto? By what right? In what circumstances could it be justified outside England—and I doubt if it will be there for much longer—that a candidate polling 30 per cent of the votes and with 70 per cent against her could come in here and say: “I represent the people of Wicklow?” Let it be clearly known that, in the view of the Fine Gael Party, what could have happened in Wicklow could happen in any part of Ireland.

Hear, hear.

Let it be clearly known that in our view the machined minority of 30 per cent could win all the seats in every area throughout Ireland—machined and controlled and directed in one way. The more candidates who stood, the less the chance of those opposed to the machined 30 per cent. Are we to prevent candidates standing? Under this system will not one of the efforts be to split the votes amongst those opposed to Fianna Fáil? Will not one of the efforts of the Party with power, with money and with a machine, be to ensure that nuisance candidates stand in order to destroy their opponents?

Are we to have a situation in this country which already obtains in the North where there are people who are members of the community who have never cast their vote in any election? God knows that in this country we are proud of our citizenship. We are proud of the fact that through the turmoil and persecution of many bitter years we got the right to control our own destiny. Are we to have a situation where under the British system of election there will be frozen constituencies, constituencies which will never be contested, with decent Irish citizens not entitled to express their view on national policy?

That is what Fianna Fáil are putting forward, and that is what they call democracy. I do not believe their proposal is honest. I do not believe the arguments put forward for it are believed in. We used to have the argument of instability. That was nine years ago. After almost 50 years of native Government we have had five heads of Government here, and they talk about instability. They also say PR is difficult to understand. As has been pointed out, it is only the voters now 70 plus who when they first used their vote ever used any system other than PR. Irish people know it and understand it. That is what is causing fear to Fianna Fáil.

We have the argument that it is necessary to give people who got the vote since 1959 a chance to decide this matter. That takes the biscuit and the bun rolled into one package deal. That seems to suggest that there is no reason, if Fianna Fáil are defeated, as they surely will be in this referendum, why next year we will not have another "go" because there will be a fresh number of voters on the register. The best argument of the lot, and one which shows how desperate the Government now are, is that the object of this referendum is really to help Fine Gael.

When the Greeks bear gifts!

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. I certainly look with fear at the Fianna Fáil Greeks around this Parliament at the moment. I suspect the crocodile tears. I can imagine how frequently at night time Fianna Fáil Deputies and Ministers meet together with moist eyes and with their Taca friends saying: “Really, we will have to do something to help Fine Gael.” Do not let them worry about Fine Gael.

The Minister for Education, the day after he assumed that new title—he should study his figures—talked about Fine Gael—the impertinence of him— being a decaying Party. Let him remember that each time the people have had an opportunity of voting in the past ten years the percentage vote for Fine Gael rose from 32 to 35, 36, 37 and 38——

Hear, hear.

——while at the same time the percentage votes for Fianna Fáil dropped from 57 to 51, 50, 49, 45.

Hear, hear.

Where is the decaying Party? If there are people pursuing and being pursued, we know who is being pursued and we know who is getting worried because they feel the hot breath of pursuit down the back of their necks.

Hear, hear.

No matter what system of election we have in this country, this Party will do its duty. No matter what electoral system we have in this country, this Party will contend and contest for what we think to be right. No matter what electoral system we have in this country—whether it be the British system or any other system —we shall fight for the policy and the principles we regard as proper. I believe that, in so doing, we shall have the support of the Irish people.

I now want to come to something which I think must be dealt with. I challenge the Taoiseach to tell Dáil Éireann and the people tonight what he will do about Deputy Norton's amendment.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

We have had far too much of a situation in which there are groups of people around different corners of the corridors of Leinster House. There has been far too much grabbing of arms and whispering from behind hands, and so on. Let the Taoiseach come clean. The one disadvantage he would have with Deputy Norton's amendment is that a situation might arise, as it did in Wicklow, where he would not and where his Party would not win the seat because it is necessary, under Deputy Norton's proposal, that a candidate end up with the majority of the people behind him. It is not possible, under Deputy Norton's amendment, to have the machined 30 per cent disenfranchisement, disenfranchising the 70 per cent against them.

If the motives are pure, if there is honesty behind the Fianna Fáil Party, if they are really worried about the electoral system, if their real concern is not to perpetuate themselves in office, let them come now and tell us what they will do with Deputy Norton's amendment. They will not have it, of course, I have no doubt. It is too dangerous to them. I can assure the House that the way Fianna Fáil conducted this debate and their effort to jockey for position indicates clearly what their motives are. They are concerned with bringing about an electoral system in this country under which, and by means of which, majority rule will end and cease to operate. They think that, by so doing, they will build for themselves a position in power which would break the hearts of decent people trying to get them out.

I believe proportional representation, as we know it now, is the right system for the Irish people. I believe proportional representation, as we have known it—it is 50 years in operation here now—is the kind of system the Irish people will hold fast to. Deputy Aiken, the Minister for External Affairs, insulted the memory of the late President Arthur Griffith when he had the audacity to say that proportional representation was imposed on the Irish people by the British: it was not. It represented part of the dream of Arthur Griffith as to the way this State should grow up—a State comprising amongst its citizens people with different backgrounds and varying views. Arthur Griffith looked forward to see this State value and practise liberty and value and operate democracy. That is why proportional representation was first introduced here. That is why it became the platform of Sinn Féin. That is why, after the 1918 general election, when the first Dáil came together, every one of them—Deputy Seán Lemass, the President of Ireland and everyone else— was in favour of proportional representation because it was born of the ideology and the broad vision of Arthur Griffith and that is why it went into our first Constitution.

Proportional representation is no British stunt. It is no British measure. It is something purely Irish. Those who want to destroy proportional representation want to put back the hands of the clock and to have a situation such as we once witnessed in Ireland in 1918 when, in the last general election conducted under the British system, there was wiped out, never to be seen again, a political Party that had served this nation well, a Party to which my own forebears were opposed but a Party which nevertheless had given sterling service in bitter and harsh days to the Irish people at a time when they were wresting back from the landlords their right to own their own land. That Party was wiped out because there was no proportional representation in 1918.

The Irish Parliamentary Party disappeared into the dust of history. What a different story we might tell of Ireland had proportional representation been in operation then.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

Had the Irish Parliamentary Party, although defeated, been entitled to sit in Dáil Éireann, there to be opposed by a government composed of Sinn Féin, and been able to give that Government constructive advice and to help with the growing-pains of an Irish State, I do not believe—if we had had proportional representation in 1918—we would ever have had a "split" or ever have undergone the bitterness of a civil war. These are the "might have beens" of history. It is something we should bear in mind if we are again being invited to give into the hands of one political Party the power to destroy an Opposition, to drive out from Dáil Éireann legitimate representation by people who are entitled to be in Dáil Éireann. The danger is that, in driving them out, we shall drive them underground and that we shall have a situation in which this Parliament is no longer representative of the Irish people.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

We who sit on the Ceann Comhairle's right are faced with a common danger. I believe we have a common cause to fight. There is talk about the need for an alternative government. Make no mistake about it: that need is there. When we hear Fianna Fáil Ministers expressing concern about their successors, let it not be said that any group of Irishmen sent here to represent the Irish people will allow a situation to continue in which tired, reluctant, disillusioned Ministers are permitted to cling to the office from which they want to be released.

The time has come for a new move in this country to ensure that, as rapidly as possible, as soon as the people can vote again, there will be in this House, sent by the Irish people under the system of proportional representation, a Government that will sweep Fianna Fáil from office.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

That is the need of the time. That is the challenge of the moment. We have developed our policies. We know precisely what we want. We know precisely the kind of Ireland we should like to see. We say that from the Government now, and increasingly from this on because they have been so long there, there will come no dynamism, no new thinking, no new policies but tired Ministers who are there so long and who have grown so accustomed to the flattery of office that they think they possess instant knowledge and an immediate ear to all of Ireland's problems. That is why we have this referendum. That is why these measures are being put forward—because a tired, disillusioned Government unwilling to face the inevitability of the next general election, devoid of any fresh policy, of any fresh ideas, can merely think of the easiest means of contriving a sleazy way of staying in office.

This country cannot afford that kind of situation: this country needs a new movement and new thinking. Perhaps, after all, those who devised this proposal and those who brought it into being have done a good day's work for Ireland. Perhaps, after all, from this there will clearly emerge the demand of the people to see a government alternative to Fianna Fáil elected to office. We are prepared to do our part in Fine Gael to see that that is done and to ensure that the policy we believe in will command majority support throughout the country. We will beat Fianna Fáil under PR. Let them have no worries on that score.

When this referendum will go to the people I do not know. There is a great move now—I do not know whether the Taoiseach will indicate to us what the Government's policy will be—and I can see a situation in which a fog will be created covering the retreat of the Government because they want to drop this proposal now like a hot potato. They are afraid of the people; they are afraid of what they have put forward. Let them have the courage now to say at this stage: "We are dropping this proposal; we are not going forward with it." If they are not prepared to do that, let them put it before the people as quickly as possible and I will guarantee that people all over Ireland will say "no" in no uncertain manner.

When Deputy O'Higgins has to speak in such an emotional fashion, and having regard to his usual performance in the House and outside it, when he can supply reasoned arguments rather than emotional outbursts, it gives an indication of how much he believes in the kind of contentions he is putting forward here on behalf of his Party.

The House has had ample opportunity to debate these two Bills. Nobody can suggest that the pros and cons of both measures have not been put forward adequately and sufficiently. A number of Deputies on both sides of the House, of course, reverted to the old arguments, and a number of them on both sides have made genuine efforts to be constructive in their approach to this debate, but there were many Deputies on the other side who, producing what they thought were arguments, were only repeating time-wornclichés and catchcries that mean nothing when they are examined home.

There were many allegations and charges made against the Government in bringing forward these proposals. Some Deputies even alleged against us the basest of motives, for example, clinging on to power, jobbery, arrogance and so on. Deputy J.A. Costello made such a contribution, one I did not expect from him, but I can deal with that in more detail later on. As far as the leader of the Fine Gael Party is concerned, I can sympathise with him in the dilemma in which he found himself, but, with due respect to him, his opening speech, it seems to me, was made without any regard whatever to the speech I made in opening this debate. So much so that, having listened to him, I was tempted this evening to repeat some of the arguments I made when opening this debate. But, I think that this is hardly necessary, particularly having regard to the reasoned and closely argued speech made by the Minister for Local Government.

However, there are a few points I should like to comment on in relation to the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill—that is, what is known as the tolerance Bill. I should like to emphasise again that what this Bill proposes is nothing more than that the people should be given the opportunity to decide at a referendum whether or not the Constitution should be amended so as to enable the Oireachtas, at the next and at future revisions of constituencies, to determine constituencies on the basis which the framers of the Constitution contemplated and which the Oireachtas at all times accepted.

As a result of the movement of population as disclosed in the last census and in accordance with the decision of Mr. Justice Budd, the boundaries of constituencies will have to be changed before the next election, in accordance with the present Constitution and the provisions of Article 16. They will have to be changed to such an extent that county boundaries will have to be breached all over the country, that is, of course, unless the Constitution is changed in that respect. I think it only right that at this stage we should inform the people of what the difficulties are in this respect and give them the opportunity, in the only way it can be given to them, that is by way of referendum, to decide whether they want to continue with this breaching of county boundaries and the creation of a jigsaw puzzle of constituencies throughout the State.

I should like at this stage to refer to some of the arguments put forward by prominent members of the Opposition when the 1961 Electoral Amendment Act was brought before the House. That was the Act that had to be brought in in order to conform with the decision of Mr. Justice Budd, the Act that was subsequently, as the House is aware, submitted to the Supreme Court to determine its constitutionality. On that occasion, the late Deputy Norton said:

I do not blame the Government for introducing a Bill to deal with this situation. A Bill had to be introduced. That was inevitable after the decision of the High Court but it is quite clear that the Constitution which imposes upon us the responsibilities now clearly defined by the Court, is a Constitution which should be amended ...

We agree wholeheartedly with that point of view, with that suggestion made by Deputy Norton.

He went on to say in the course of the same debate:

I think the decision of the judge compelling us to butcher these constituencies in this way is not a satisfactory solution to the whole question of the delineation of constituencies.

These remarks are contained at column 231 of the Official Report of the Dáil Debates of 12th April, 1961, in case any Deputy thinks I am quoting him out of context. This butchering of constituencies will have to be done unless the people first are given the opportunity of changing the Constitution in this respect, thus giving the Dáil the opportunity of determining the constituencies in a reasonable way, in a way, I repeat, that the Oireachtas and all Members of the Oireachtas thought was the best way, in a way the framers of the Constitution contemplated, as I have said, and which the Oireachtas accepted up to 1959. This Bill has that purpose and no other.

We have been accused of breaching the maxim of one man, one vote. That argument can be repudiated, and I repudiate it in the strongest possible terms. Relating representation to population rather than to electors is in itself a breach of this principle, if principle it is, of one man, one vote. It obviously gives a higher value to a vote cast in built-up areas; and this has been proved, that a vote in these areas is up to nine per cent of more value than a vote in the less populated areas, and in at least one case it can go up as far as 33 per cent. Where then is the validity in the argument that we are trying to change a system and put the position into reverse? On the contrary, we are trying to maintain a system that was operated and understood by the legislators and by the people over the past 25 or 30 years.

It is standard practice abroad to base constituencies on local administration and judicial divisions not only in deference to local sentiment and for administrative convenience but also— and let me stress this—to avoid the danger of the arbitrary determination of constituencies by any Government. Up to 1959 it was the standard practice to base constituencies on county boundaries, on county administrative areas, and to have due regard to the difficulties of rural electors.

The intention of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 1959, in this respect was, as I said, endorsed by the Leaders of all the Parties in the Dáil. When, as a result of the High Court decision, we had to change it in order to conform with the Constitution, not only Deputy Norton but Deputy Corish, Deputy P. O'Donnell and every other Deputy of the Fine Gael Party said that this ought to be changed. Now we are giving them the opportunity of changing it, and again, because Fianna Fáil put the proposition forward, they say there is something sinister in it. There was nothing sinister in this proposition when Fine Gael and Labour encouraged us to change the system in 1959.

This is the first reasonable opportunity that we have had to try to effect this change which was made necessary by the movement in population that the 1966 census disclosed. I might say that on the last occasion when this was being considered by the House there were in existence departures from the one man, one vote principle much greater than those that we now propose. However, in this debate on the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, the Opposition, instead of concentrating on the real issue, have concentrated on this spurious catchcry, one man, one vote. Most of the Deputies from the other side who have spoken in this debate either have missed or avoided the vital point that representation based on strict equality of population per member makes the urban vote more valuable than the rural one.

Deputy Cosgrave inquired whether the proposed tolerance is based on the national average population per member or on a figure that will vary depending on how the constituencies are distributed. I do not know if time will permit me to give a detailed answer to that question, but I shall come back to it if time permits. By and large, the proposal provides for a situation in which, in the case of one-member constituencies being adopted, the quotient in each constituency would be on average of the population, the same in each area. In the event of the Fourth Amendment Bill being defeated in the referendum, then there would be a slight change. If the Bill was carried, no account would be taken of the seat of the Ceann Comhairle; on the other hand, that is, in the event of thestatus quo being maintained, account would have to be taken of the Ceann Comhairle's seat.

Deputy Cosgrave, in dealing with this point, argued that as the Oireachtas may, in determining constituencies, have regard to factors other than population, there is no necessity for the tolerance proposal. He quoted from the Supreme Court judgment on the constitutionality of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1961. The Supreme Court judgment did indicate that the Oireachtas, in making revisions of constituencies, may take into consideration factors such as the desirability of adhering to county and other boundaries and the existence of divisions created by such physical features as rivers, lakes, mountains, and so on.

While the judgment pointed out that the problem of what is reasonable in achieving uniformity in the ratio of members to population in each constituency is primarily one for the Oireachtas, it stated that the court may be informed—that would be in future boundary determinations—of the difficulties involved and may pronounce on whether there has been such a serious divergence from uniformity as to violate the requirements of the Constitution. In other words, the Oireachtas will have to go to the Supreme Court on every occasion and in every respect where there might be difficulty. There is, of course, no means of knowing in advance what the Supreme Court would regard as a serious divergence from uniformity, although, by implication, it accepted the general approach of Mr. Justice Budd. Hence the need to write the tolerance into the Constitution.

Deputy Cosgrave also said that there are a number of theoretical defects in PR but as far as stable government is concerned this country has had what a number of people have described not as stability but stagnation. I should like to make a few remarks on this claim about so-called stagnation in government. The fact that a government with a small majority, or even no majority, survives in office for two-and-a-half to three years can hardly be adduced as an argument in favour of the present electoral system, since a government in such a position and so handicapped must constantly be watching over its shoulder anxiously avoiding, as far as possible, politically unpopular decisions likely to bring that government down. Experience here and elsewhere has shown this to be so, but I suggest that government stability ought not to be measured in terms of the number of years a government succeeds in clinging to office. Stability means more than that surely. Our contention is that whatever measure of stability we have got in the past was due largely to historical reasons.

In opening the debate, I referred to the divisions that the Civil War created. These continued for many years in varying degrees of intensity, almost up to the present time. For many years our people had been voting on the great political issues which divided them. These were the abolition of the Oath of Allegiance, the battle for the retention of the land annuities, the enactment of the Constitution itself. These issues were so large in the public mind that they dominated all other issues and, therefore, the people voted on one side or the other because these issues were there. Even during the war years, we had the main aim of trying to maintain neutrality, but even then it took two elections to do the work of one. Today these big issues are no longer there; most of them have already been decided upon. Surely, however, it would be too much to expect that the pattern of our political life could, under the present system, further evolve without serious disruption or even upheaval?

I want to ask Deputies on the opposite side this question: Is it or is it not true that under the system that we now have it is extremely difficult to secure an overall majority? This is the 18th Dáil, the 15th Dáil since the temporary Government of 1922, and as far as I can remember, in 11 elections out of 15, we either had a minority Government or a Coalition Government. Are we to regard the future prospect of weak, unstable governments with all their evils, as a mere figment of the imagination? It is, I submit, a stark reality. I agree with Deputy Cosgrave that what all of us here have to do is to ensure that we act as trustees for the country and for the future. But what will those who come after us think of us, what kind of trustees will they regard us to have been, if we sit around and do nothing? What will they think of us if we sit around and wait for possible chaos to develop? When that happens, it is obvious that it will be too late to find an effective remedy. It is extremely difficult to find a remedy that is both generally acceptable and really effective but we should be sufficiently honest with ourselves to admit that there is a need, and an urgent need, to do whatever we can about it.

If there was ever a case where prevention is better than cure, I submit this is it. This may well prove to be our last chance to resolve this serious problem because once we arrive at the situation where no Party can from its own strength form a Government a collection of whatever bits and pieces that may be lying around will have to be made so as even to make the attempt. We will then have reached the point of no return and there will be no parliamentary means left to us to get out of the mess.

I would like here to comment on the speeches made by Deputy Norton and other Deputies on particular provisions of these two Bills. First of all, I want to say that Deputy Norton's contribution was a very constructive one. He obviously studied the matter very carefully and went into the pros and cons of the different electoral systems thoroughly. I do not think that the sincerity of his speech can be questioned and I should like to compliment him on his approach and on the manner in which he presented his case to the House. He told us that he will move his amendment proposing the single-seat constituency, based on the present proportional representation system, on Committee Stage. Let me here and now take up the challenge of Deputy Tom O'Higgins. If he thinks he is trying to embarrass me in throwing it down I want to say without prevarication that we in the Fianna Fáil Government and in the Fianna Fáil Party are still firmly convinced that the single-seat, straight vote system is the best for this country——

Deputies

Hear, hear.

——and that remains our position.

Very few clapped.

There was only one "hear, hear" when Deputy O'Higgins was speaking and that was from Deputy Dillon.

That was a record.

Let me say, in regard to his taunts about the Constitution Committee, that this Government have no responsibility for that committee, or for its report. As Deputy O'Higgins knows, it was an informal committee. I want to say, too, that we as the Government have no responsibility for its observations, whether on the issue of proportional representation or on divorce for that matter——

It was a waste of time then, was it?

A waste of money.

(Interruptions.)

Order. Previous speakers were not interrupted, and perhaps the Taoiseach would be allowed to speak without interruption.

Yes, they were.

There were no interruptions suffered by any speaker since I came into the House.

There may be other provisions in these two Bills which Deputies may seek to have amended, for example, the constitution and the powers and procedures of the commission proposed to determine the constituency boundaries. There may also be views about the power to be given to the Dáil to modify the report of the commission by simple majority vote, and the proposed extent of the maximum permissible divergence from the national average of population, but these are matters of detail which are appropriate to the next Stage. As has been said, the Government are open to constructive thought and argument which may be brought to bear on these.

Deputy Tully expressed surprise that I did not know how the proportional representation system of election to Dáil Éireann worked in practice. He was referring to my reference to the random element of the transfer of surpluses. He also said that what I described was the system of election to the Seanad rather than the Dáil. Deputy M.J. O'Higgins and Deputy Donegan also criticised my speech for this alleged inaccuracy. This criticism is an indication that these experienced Deputies do not know how proportional representation works in practice in this country. I say that very deliberately and with some experience because I have taken part in counts and I have assisted returning officers. I have seen how random bundles of surpluses are taken and distributed for further inclusion in the count. When a Deputy reaches a surplus on his first preference votes, then his second preferences are distributed to the remaining candidates. But only a proportion of that surplus can be distributed and that proportion is taken off the top of each bundle and circulated with the remaining candidates' papers.

That does not happen in Louth, and never will.

(Interruptions.)

That provision is a legal requirement under the Third Schedule of the Electoral Act of 1923, as amended by the Electoral Act of 1963, and, if that does not happen in Louth, then Deputy Donegan should not be here.

Every vote is examined for a surplus.

At a Seanad election count each paper is given a value and where a surplus is transferred all papers are transferred at a fraction of their original value.

In the Dáil election every single vote is examined.

I have worked on both sides and I think I have a better knowledge of the systems than Deputy Donegan.

(Interruptions.)

Order. Would Deputies allow the Taoiseach to speak?

(Cavan): Answer Deputy O'Higgins: is the Taoiseach accepting Deputy Norton's amendment?

I have answered that question.

(Cavan): I do not think so.

If there is a challenge to be thrown out, I will have a challenge to offer in a minute and we will see what Deputies opposite have to say then. Deputy Dillon inquired whether there would be a Bill setting out the words that will appear on the ballot paper. That is a fair question and it is one that should be answered. In accordance with section 21 of the Electoral Act of 1963, the proposals will be stated on the ballot papers by citing the Short Titles of the Bills. The electors will be asked on one ballot paper whether they approve of the proposal to amend the Constitution contained in the Third Amendment Bill, 1968, and on the other ballot paper, whether they approve of the proposal contained in the Fourth Amendment Bill, 1968. No further details will appear on the ballot papers.

So the only thing to do will be to vote "No" to both.

Will the Deputy wait? The Deputy has a vested interest in proportional representation and there are a few Deputies behind him who ought to look out for their seats, especially Deputies near Dublin, because this fugitive from proportional representation by-elections having now got Deputy Timmons at his hip, will be moving into somewhere else near Dublin next.

(Cavan): Honest Jack is coming out in his true colours now.

(Interruptions.)

If the Taoiseach will allow me——

I will not. I have a limited time.

(Interruptions.)

(Cavan): You cannot take your defeat in Wicklow.

We took what Deputy Tom O'Higgins had to offer without interruption and I am, at least, entitled to the same courtesy and, even if I do not get it, I shall continue speaking.

Deputy Fitzpatrick has already spoken and he should now allow the Taoiseach to speak.

I have been dealing with the question raised by Deputy Dillon and I have said what will appear on the ballot papers. On the last occasion the Attorney General advised that any paraphrase of the words in the Bill, or any other matter put on the ballot paper, could cause the referendum to be set at naught. Anybody could challenge it in the Supreme Court because it could be maintained, and established, that what the Dáil indicated was not what the people were asked to vote on. However, there will be cards issued by the returning officers giving information identifying these two Bills—incidentally the ballot papers will be in different colours—and stating what they propose. There will also be information on posters displayed in the polling booths. That was done on the last occasion and that is all that can be done within the requirements of the law, as advised by the former Attorney General, and that advice has been endorsed by the present Attorney General.

I should like now to come to the speech made by Deputy John A. Costello. I am sure that, if he reads his speech in the Official Report, he will, on reflection, agree that there is very little in it on which he could pride himself. In making the type of speech he did he contributed little to a mature and serious consideration and discussion of the issues involved in these proposals.

(Interruptions.)

He said, in the course of his remarks——

(Interruptions.)

If the Deputy wants to drown my voice then I shall repeat what I am going to say elsewhere and possibly get more publicity for it.

The O'Higginses were working and dying for Ireland before the Lynches were ever heard of.

I came in here without any hereditary tradition. I came in in my own right and I am glad to be here in my own right. Deputy Costello quoted some eminent person as saying: "If they want it, it must be wrong." That is the view of the Government's proposals attributed by Deputy Costello to some eminent citizen. He did not choose to identify the person whose cynical attitude this was, but Deputy Costello searched the years as far back as 1911 in pursuit of arguments to bolster up his case and went to great pains to reiterate the views expressed by himself nine years ago. But he was not so meticulous in his research as to give us the benefit of the contrary views to which he gave expression here when he was opposing the enactment of the present Constitution.

I have the quotations here but I shall not weary the House with them, but this is an indication to Deputy O'Higgins that there has been a change of mind on his side of the House and he should not allege against me that I have ever changed my mind about the merits or demerits of proportional representation. I have always held, and always will, that it is a bad system and that the straight vote system is the best system and the system this country should have. In the days to which I refer, Deputy Costello was, of course, heavily involved in a kind of suffragette movement, telling the women of Ireland that their liberty would be denied them and that they would be sold into bondage and slavery. Remarks in this debate likened the Government to the "Yes-men" who supported Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin in destroying liberty in Germany, Italy and Russia. Deputy Costello, of all people, ought not to make allegations like that because it was not from the Fianna Fáil benches that admiration for either the Black-shirts or the Brownshirts ever came nor was it our side of the House who ever expressed hopes, so warm and so fervent, for the triumph of their methods as to attempt to put them into practice here. It was we in Fianna Fáil who ensured that these methods would not be put into practice here.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

(Cavan): And we secured freedom of speech.

(Interruptions.)

Order. Would the Deputies allow the Taoiseach to make his speech?

I do not know what type of service Deputy Costello thought he was rendering the country in his attempt to denigrate and blacken his opponents in this way. What headline does he think he sets for those of the younger generation who may aspire to take part in the public life of this country by lending his hand to the furtherance of a type of campaign, which I certainly, and very many others, would not have expected from him? If Deputy Costello has a case to make, let him make it. But let us have an end to these charges of debauchery in public life, political indecency, expediency, jobbery and all the rest of it. I think Deputy Costello has a sufficiently formidable task facing him to explain to the people why he has changed his own views on this subject and why he is now opposed to the views expressed by so many of his present and former colleagues, by his former Minister for Finance, his former Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon—I shall not quote him because his views are well known throughout the country—by his own protégé, Deputy Flanagan, and, indeed, by Senator Garret FitzGerald.

To come back to Deputy Cosgrave's remarks, he has fallen back on the old argument that the reason why the Government want to change the electoral system is that the majority which Fianna Fáil have at present is unlikely to exist after the next general election. Other Fine Gael and Labour spokesmen have been saying that because Fianna Fáil, as they put it, are losing the game, we want to change the rules. I do not think it is Fianna Fáil who have been losing the game, as Fine Gael and Labour would like us to believe. In the present Dáil we have won five out of six by-elections with a net gain of three seats. I wonder how much more are we supposed to do in order to qualify as winners.

Talk about votes.

Or moral victories? Deputy O'Higgins said that with 30 per cent of the votes we would have succeeded in Wicklow under the straight vote system. In fact we got 37 per cent. The Fine Gael candidate got 30 per cent and had 70 per cent of the votes against him in first preferences——

They exercised their second choice which you want to do away with.

Fianna Fáil Governments have been returned to office in every election except two in a period of 36 years. If, therefore, the perpetuation of Fianna Fáil in power was the object of what we are doing here—the change in the system of election—I wonder what better system could we have procured. The fact is, of course, and Fine Gael and Labour are afraid to face up to it, that the people have constantly given their support to Fianna Fáil because they have had constant confidence in our policies. Therefore, unlike Fine Gael, we can confidently ask the people for their support whether under proportional representation or any other system; and we can be assured that we will emerge always as the main, the dominant Party——

Were it not for Sherwin and Carroll you would not be.

It has been said we are anxious to hang on to power. Of course we are anxious to continue in office to implement our policies for the betterment of the people. The achievement of power ought to be the objective of any responsible political Party, but I doubt if it is the objective of the other two Parties. Fianna Fáil will give way to better government if such is provided after it has at election time put forward clearly defined policies in advance of an election and has had the people's endorsement for them. Let a conglomeration of Parties, like that which composed the two Coalitions, come together in advance of an election and tell the people what they are going to do. It is not good enough to claim, as Deputy Tom O'Higgins suggested, that because the government in power did not get a majority, a conglomeration of Parties with conflicting policies did. This is the situation we had before and which can happen again.

That is what is worrying you.

It is a negation of democracy and a confidence trick on the electorate for people elected in that way, for people with divergent policies to come forward after the election and form a government on a basis that was not presented in advance to the people. That would be a form of government for which the people had not voted. It is not enough to say that because the Party in power got an insufficiency of votes that the people voted for a conglomeration of all the others. The people did not do any such thing unless the Parties said before the election that if they procured a majority they would form a government and said which parts of their divergent policies they would implement and which part of their divergent policies they would put in abeyance. Putting policies into abeyance must be done before, not after, the election.

Deputy M.J. O'Higgins said it was the people's right to vote for a Coalition if they wanted that. Let me issue one challenge since one is issued to me: this is my first challenge. Deputy Tom O'Higgins spoke of a government instead of Fianna Fáil. He did not speak of a Fine Gael Government. Does that mean—does it imply—that if Fine Gael and Labour together have sufficient seats after the next election that they will form a Coalition? If so, let them say so. If the people want a Coalition they are entitled to have it if that is what they are asked to vote for.

And Fianna Fáil are not entitled to stop them.

We have had two Coalitions and if we are to have another in the circumstances in which the last two were formed the people will not have voted for a Coalition.

They voted to get Fianna Fáil out on the grounds that the stink was so awful anything could happen. They got Fianna Fáil out.

They did not vote for the turnover tax.

I hope I shall be given a reasonable opportunity to make up for lost time. Deputy O'Higgins and the Opposition Parties know very well that it is a cynical denial of the people's constitutional right for Parties after an election time to decide——

Will there be another——

Be quiet, Martin : I will take care of them. I want to say that it is a denial, a cynical denial, of the people's constitutional right at an election to decide on a broad national policy and to choose the Government to put that policy into effect. Coalition Governments are not chosen by the people: they are formed behind the people's backs and one of Deputy O'Higgins's colleagues, Deputy Hogan from South Tipperary, was at least honest in his approach to this question and I compliment him for it. He wants the Coalition to be formed before the election and the bargaining to be done in front of the people and that the Parties would be prepared——

Where did you do the bargaining with Sherwin and Carroll?

Deputy Hogan from South Tipperary said he did not think it was possible under the present electoral system for Fine Gael to provide an alternative government. Labour's chances of doing so he described as futile. He is right and every Member of the House knows it to be so. So do the voters. Under the present electoral system it is obvious that neither Fine Gael nor Labour can hope to assume Government as a single Party. Deputy Tom O'Higgins, in speaking of a single Party, said he spoke for a unified Party. There are two Fine Gael Deputies in Laois/ Offaly and they cannot speak in a unified way even in Laois/Offaly. It is now well known that at the Fine Gael Party meeting they discussed this proposition. My information is that a majority of one voted to retain the present system and that many prominent members of the Party—I am not referring to Deputy Cosgrave—advised the Fine Gael Party meeting that the only prospect they had of securing Government was the single-member, straight-vote system. Nevertheless, they choose to reject that system and I suggest that they cannot be serious in pretending to form an alternative Government as long as they are in favour of retaining the present system.

It is obvious that, as I said before, they are quite content to act like lotus eaters in the doldrums, that they are quite content to languish in the comparative unresponsibility—I am not using the word "irresponsibility"—of Opposition or at least the majority of them are prepared to do so.

Tell us what you are going to do about Norton's amendment?

I have already referred to that.

Like the man in the Park, you evaded it.

I have answered that question and if Deputy L'Estrange cannot behave himself, then he should get out if he cannot listen to me.

Deputy Cosgrave spoke of stagnation. I would like to ask why is there stagnation and what is the cause of it. It is because there is so much of it in the Fine Gael Party and in the Labour Party that it has spilled over into public life generally. The challenge to get rid of it is for Fine Gael and Labour to accept or reject. The present system protects minority parties from the harsh realities of political life. It creates laziness and that is what it has created in the Parties opposite. It enables Deputies to sit back and coast along in seats that are safe and secure. Deputies are absolved and Parties are absolved from the need to formulate and define policies or even the trouble to think about the kind of society we want. It produces the type of stagnation that the Parties opposite have denounced. It produces inertia and the results are as we have seen in a half-hearted Opposition on the part of both Parties on the other side.

You admit we have stagnation.

I would ask Deputy L'Estrange to restrain himself.

Let us look at what the Labour Party aspire to in this respect. Do they aspire to another coalition with Fine Gael, assuming that under the present system as is generally accepted they will not form a government of their own. If so then they should declare this now or at least in advance of the next election or is their purpose to hold the balance of power?

We will look after ourselves.

I have been asked questions and I have dealt with them. I am entitled to ask questions of the other side. Let us examine this balance of power. I have no doubt this is one of the objectives of the Labour Party.

No, sir.

If in the next election Fianna Fáil do not get a majority of seats and if a combination of Labour and Fine Gael do get a majority will Labour vote with Fine Gael against a nomination by Fianna Fáil for Taoiseach or will they vote with Fianna Fáil against a nomination by Fine Gael for Taoiseach or will they abstain?

What would you propose in that situation?

(Interruptions.)

If we find ourselves in Government as a result of such a situation I want to assure the Labour Party that they will not be the tail that will wag a Fianna Fáil Government.

A Deputy

You were glad to have us before.

You may end up a dog without a tail.

If we find ourselves in Government as a result of such a situation, we will carry out our policies, irrespective of what the Labour Party think, and if they want at any stage to exercise their prerogative to put us out of office in such circumstances, then they are welcome to exercise that prerogative.

(Interruptions.)

In such a situation, the Taoiseach has said he will do the Pontius Pilate act and wash his hands.

I said no such thing.

You Cassius has a lean and hungry look.

God bless us, none of them has a lean and hungry look.

Not since 29th February.

Fine, well-larded politicians all.

I think I am entitled to my time to speak.

I wonder would Deputies allow the Taoiseach to speak? Do Deputies want to hear the Taoiseach's speech?

It pains me to hear the Fianna Fáil Party described as lean and hungry.

Fine Gael should consider themselves in that position. If they want to be wagged by a Labour tail they are welcome to it but we in Fianna Fáil will never be a puppet Government at the whim of any minority Party in the House.

What about the turnover tax?

What about Sherwin and Carroll?

If Fine Gael want to live in that situation, a situation that under PR the next election could bring about, they are welcome to it.

The Chairman of the Hospitals Commission is still there.

Will the Deputy be quiet and give me a chance?

Can we have some order in the House?

If Deputies cannot take what I have to say, I had to take it from many Deputies during the course of the debate. I have only a few minutes to finish and I am entitled to the courtesy of being allowed to do so.

You can get injury time.

I ask for lost time, not injury time.

Deputy Hogan suggested, and I think he was right, that there is not an effective Opposition and in order to produce an effective Opposition that Fine Gael and Labour ought to get together, but what heart searching there would be!

We will look after ourselves.

There are many conservative Deputies in the Labour Party on whose conservative heads the workers' socialist republican hat fits very badly and if this coalition came about what heart searching and heart rendings there would be there and what sore heads there would be to give effect to this socialist workers' republican philosophy which has not yet been defined either for the people or for us.

(Cavan): A definite yes or no to Norton's amendment. We defy you.

The Taoiseach is entitled to make his speech.

This is the kind of situation we have to deal with. Those are the realities of what we are proposing to the people. I have suggested that if perpetuation of this proportional representation system will make for unstable government it will make for the type of government Deputy Corish probably wants.

And the straight vote need not necessarily correct it.

This is one of the most important issues to be considered and decided upon. It is not sufficient for anybody to say that the present system is fairer to minorities. I would like to know where are the minorities in this country. The farmers are a minority. Industrial workers are a minority, business and professional men, lawyers, teachers—these are all minorities.

What about Taca? I suppose they are a majority now?

Non-Catholics are a minority. All of them, I suggest, are represented and well represented in the political Parties as we now know them in this country.

I want to ask the Taoiseach a question if I may.

I have only a few minutes. I suppose you do not want to hear what I have to say. I did not interrupt the Deputy's brother. When I say something that hurts, they come in with their interruptions.

This is typical free speech from the Opposition.

If there is a scintilla of evidence that any minority, any genuine legitimate minority, in this country has in any way been restricted, victimised or otherwise unfairly treated and if this is the only method of ensuring that they would not be so treated, then by all means have the PR system. I do not object to minorities in this country. They are not afraid of Governments in power and they have no right to be because there is no evidence of any unfair treatment against the minorities in this country. The contrary is the case.

It is Taca they are afraid of.

There are people who for their own dubious reasons are anxious to retain the present system. They are anxious to ensure as far as they can the continuance in this country of weak and insecure governments. There are people who for their own dubious ends are prepared to fasten on to any grievances, genuine or otherwise, of sections of the community and to exploit them for their own ends. We have had such agitations. Agitations for legitimate purposes are all right but some people have been prominent in agitations who do not care a thrawneen for the particular sections of the community who are agitating. They sought only to disrupt and they sought only to ensure that their own dubious ends, as I have said, would be served by weak governments that would pander to their whims and the pressures they would exert. This is the type of government which the present system of PR is likely to throw up in this country in the future. Deputy Larkin, when speaking a few moments ago, said that the Labour Party were not concerned about the future, that the future will take care of itself. Fianna Fáil are concerned about the country's future.

The Fianna Fáil future.

Your political future.

Are you finished? I am going to spend the time here until I have finished what I have to say.

I want to say that on any fair test, the system which we propose is the best system. The single-seat constituency system would eliminate unhealthy and undesirable rivalries. It would prove to be a unifying and not a divisive force which the multi-seat system is and has proved itself to be. In any true democracy, the objective of the electoral system should be not to underline the divisions which go to make up society but rather to promote common aims. A change to the system we propose would produce more realistic political attitudes. It would give to the country a greater unity of purpose and would bring the political process into closer contact and greater harmony with community life. Attention would be focused, as it should be, on the importance of the local community and on the needs of the community.

Modern Ireland needs a dynamic political system which the one we now have is certainly not. What we need to do is to preserve and guarantee the people's right to designate their rulers and to give to the people the most effective means of giving effect to that right. This is and ought to be the purpose of an election. An election is not a gallup poll. What we need to ensure is that the Legislature will not be hamstrung in its fundamental function of electing and upholding a truly stable and effective administration. What we need to do is to provide for our people the best means we can devise so that they can have available to them a clear choice between clearly defined policies and alternative governments. I believe that with the single-seat straight vote system, not only will we have government with the power and authority to assume control but we will have an opposition with clearly defined policies to whom the people can turn if they are dissatisfied with the government in office.

You can do what you like with the majority you have.

It is a poor reflection on the intelligence of the people for Deputy Corish to say that. In 36 years we have failed to secure office only twice.

(Interruptions.)

I know I cannot say anything more now about the Parties opposite. Maybe I have said too much about them for their liking.

There are obvious risks we ought to recognise that are inherent in the present system, risks the nation cannot afford to run any longer, in our submission. What we need to do now is to insulate our country against these risks, the danger of a succession of government crises, with all their disastrous consequences. What we need to do is to make the future of democratic government in Ireland safe and secure and that is what we propose to do. What is involved here is not any limitation or restriction of the democratic and parliamentary expression but its eventual survival, not any muzzling of public opinion but the guaranteed preservation of its free expression. It is for these reasons that we are asking the Dáil to give a Second Reading to both these Bills.

Give us a yes or no on Deputy Norton's amendment?

May I ask the Taoiseach a question? It is not a contentious question. It is a matter of fact.

The Chair cannot decide if the Taoiseach will answer questions.

On the assumption that the two Bills will be passed by Dáil Éireann, has the Taoiseach any idea when the referendum will be held?

Give us all stages.

If you give us all Stages, it can be held soon.

Has the Taoiseach any idea at all?

I have not. It will depend on the course of the remaining Stages. The Seanad debate and other requirements have to be taken into account also.

Will the Taoiseach give us a straight answer about Deputy Norton's amendment?

Cuireadh an cheist: "Go bhfanfaidh na focail a thairgtear a scriosadh".

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand".
The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 62.

Tá.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Don.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fahey, John.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Foley, Desmond.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Norton, Patrick.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Wyse, Pearse.

Níl.

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Coughlan, Stephen.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, Denis.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Mullen, Michael.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Connell, John F.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Tierney, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Godfrey.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.
  • Tully, John.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Carty and Geoghegan; Níl, Deputies L'Estrange and James Tully.
Question declared carried.
Fáisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis glacadh leis an gceist.

Anois, an bhfeiceann tú, tá an uimhir ag tuitim síos, nach bhfuil?

Tá ár ndóthain againn.

Cuireadh an cheist: "Go léifear an Bille an Dara hUair anois".

Question: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time", put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 59.

Tá.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Don.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fahey, John.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Foley, Desmond.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Norton, Patrick.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Wyse, Pearse.

Níl.

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Coughlan, Stephen.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, Denis.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Mullen, Michael.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Connell, John F.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
  • Tierney, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Godfrey.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Carty and Geo ghegan; Níl, Deputies L'Estrange and James Tully.
Question declared carried.
Fáisnéiseadh go rabhthas tar éis glacadh leis an gceist.

When is it proposed to take the next Stage?

We will order it for 23rd April.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 23rd April, 1968.