COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR-GENERAL BILL—FROM THE DÁIL.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

This Bill has been sent up from the Dáil, and deals with the appointment of a Comptroller and Auditor-General.

Are we in order in discussing this Bill at all? Is it, or is it not, a Money Bill?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That will be one of the most difficult questions that ultimately may arise. I do not think it arises directly in regard to this Bill. You are entitled to discuss it. Even in regard to a money Bill you are entitled to make recommendations. I do not think this is a Money Bill in the strict sense, but I am not to be taken as deciding it, because I did not anticipate the question.

The same question was put to the President of the Dáil, and he would not say at all.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That shows I am following a very excellent example. I suggest this is a very urgent matter, because the Auditor-General should have been appointed at the beginning of the year, and no expenditure can be incurred, in the ordinary way, until he has been appointed. Therefore, the matter is very urgent, and that is the reason it appears before you to-day, and having regard to its urgency perhaps the Seanad would take the course they took with regard to other Bills and allow the Standing Orders to be suspended so that this Bill could be put through all its stages.

I beg to move that the Standing Orders be suspended to allow the Comptroller and Auditor-General Bill to be taken.

Question put and agreed to.

I beg to move that this Bill (Comptroller and Auditor-General) be read the first time. I do not know if we could put it through all its stages now in one motion.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

That will be open to you now that the Standing Orders are suspended. You can move that the Bill be passedin globo or in various stages.

I move that it be passedin globo, as I do not suppose the Seanad desires to discuss the matter at very great length. With regard to the point raised, as to whether this was a Money Bill or not, you are asked to answer that conundrum. But no one has been competent to answer it, and it is not a conundrum to which you can reply. There is no certificate from the Speaker of the other House that this is a Money Bill. Under the Constitution the Speaker of the other House has to certify on any question when it is a matter of doubt about a Bill being a Money Bill or not. When a Bill comes to the Seanad the Speaker of the other House has to append his signature and certify that it is a Money Bill. That has not been done here. All I have to say is that this Bill is absolutely necessary. The appointment of this official — Auditor-General — is a matter of the very greatest importance to the taxpayers generally. This official will be one of the most important personages we have. He will be the taxpayers' sheet anchor, and I think he should be appointed at once. I think the Seanad is perfectly right in trying to expedite his appointment.

I have much pleasure in seconding the motion. I realise it is essential that it should be passed as quickly as possible. It is laid down in the Constitution that such an official should be appointed, and there is no use in wasting the time of the House discussing it; so we should facilitate the Government and pass it in the interests of the country.

I should like to support the proposition, but I think it would be much better in principle that we should put the Bill through the various stages. I am not referring particularly to this Bill. The Bill, I think, should be put through the various stages, if possible, without debate. That means that no Senator will be deprived of the right of moving an amendment if it is possible to do so. In the form proposed now it seems to me that would be very difficult. I do not wish to press that point now, but I was going to say what Sir Thomas Esmonde referred to— that there is a certificate attached when a Bill is a Money Bill. May I go further, and point out also that, under the Constitution of this House, there is power to dispute this, even if there was a certificate. That is a matter of importance, and should be understood, and I suggest that Senators should read the clause of the Constitution referring to it. I think it is one of the clauses that are tolerably clear. With regard to the Bill itself, I agree with the other statement that it is a matter of very considerable importance that the person who is to be appointed to the office of Auditor and Comptroller-General will be appointed to one of the most important positions in the whole of Saorstát Eireann. This official will be a trustee of the whole Oireachtas to see that no money is expended which has not been sanctioned in some form or other by proper legal methods, by the Dáil, or by both Houses, as the law may stand in a particular case. He will have the power of withholding sanction of the payment of money until he is satisfied there is a legal warrant for the expenditure. Therefore it is only right that his position should be that of practically a Judge, only removable by resolution of both Houses, as provided in the Bill. I think it is well the importance of this position should be understood, and I very much hope that the Dáil, which is responsible for the appointment, will find a very competent, and the very best, man for it.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Do you propose that the Bill be put through all its stages?

That is what I wish to propose.

I second it.

If it is the desire of the Seanad I shall withdraw my motion, but I intended to move that the Bill be put through all its stages.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

It has been proposed and seconded that this Bill pass through its various stages.

Agreed.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The motion is that leave be given to introduce this Bill.

Agreed.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The motion is that this Bill be now read a second time.

Agreed.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The motion is that this Bill be now considered in Committee.

Agreed.