asked the Minister for Local Government if he has under consideration any proposals to amend the Constitution to provide for the abolition of the Seanad.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Seanad Éireann.
The answer is "No".
Question No. 4.
Sir, excuse me. First of all, I anticipated the Minister's answer. Without reflecting in any way on the Members of Seanad Éireann, will the Minister not agree that any independent commission who will make a factual appraisal of the role played by Seanad Éireann in the public administration of this country can come to one conclusion only and that one conclusion is that it is an ineffective body by virtue of the limitations imposed upon it and the narrow scope of its powers; that it serves no purpose and, as at present constituted, should be abolished and save the cost which this House imposes on this country of £2.8 million?
The all-Party committee did not come to that conclusion.
Question No. 4.
With reference to the Minister's comment on the all-Party committee I would point out that it was set up with one purpose only, namely, to support the subtle move of the Minister for Local Government and his colleagues in Government to abolish proportional representation.
That was not very subtle.
Having failed miserably in that, this, what would be termed, infamous committee has not met since 1967.
Is the Minister further aware that the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Government for a number of years, Deputy Seán Lemass, when he retired from that post, commented adversely on the Seanad? Is the Minister not aware that Deputy Seán Lemass, a Minister of State for over 30 years and Taoiseach for a number of years, has expressed the opinion that this body served no purpose in Irish public life other than to provide soft jobs for political friends of the different political Parties?
We cannot have a speech.
Sir, I am asking a question. I am entitled to ask a question. It is my job and purpose to ask a question and you have no right to interfere with my rights here, as Ceann Comhairle. I am asking the question until I get the answer. I am quite conversant with Standing Orders.
Will Deputy Murphy please restrain himself? Question No. 4.
No, Sir, I am entitled to get an answer to my supplementary question. That is my right here and, no matter how much all Deputies respect the Chair, when the Chair is in error I think it is quite in order to point it out.
According to the Deputy, the Chair is always in error.
Deputy Murphy was disappointed with the Labour Party rally last night.
With the permission of the Chair, I propose to raise the subject matter of this question on the Adjournment this evening.
Deputy Murphy did not wait for the reply.
It was the Chair stopped us. Tell us what Deputy Seán Lemass thinks of it.
The reply is that I am not so aware. The question asks if I was aware.
Further to the Minister's reply, am I to assume from his latest statement that he is not aware of the comments made by Deputy Seán Lemass quite recently on the merits of the existence of our second House of Parliament—Seanad Éireann? Am I to understand that the Minister did not read these comments, that the Minister did not hear of them and that nobody mentioned them to him? Is that so?
Is this Labour Party policy?
Yes. We do not want waste. We are against wanton expenditure and we are against the continuance of this Second House. But, Sir, you will communicate with me later?
The answer to the Deputy's supplementary question is "Yes".