OIREACHTAS STAFF. - CENTRAL FUND BILL (No. 1), 1923.

Motion made and question proposed: "That this Bill be now read a second time."

This is a Money Bill which involves two sums, first, Supplementary Estimates amounting to £692,914, out of the Central Fund, for services ending on the 31st March of this year, and the second deals with the issue of £14,099,174 for service of the year ending 31st March, 1924—that is the next financial year. The third section gives power to the Minister for Finance to borrow; and the fourth section deals with necessary adjustments which have to be made by reason of the fact that we did not collect, during the current year, our own Customs' dues independently; that is to say, that there is a pool, as far as the Customs' dues are concerned, and they have got to be attributed, and the basis of attribution cannot properly be fixed until after the close of the financial year. It is to enable necessary adjustments to be made that this particular clause is inserted. I am sure that in the ordinary way opportunity should have been afforded to the Seanad to make any recommendations that it thought fit, but this year, owing to causes which are fairly manifest, it has not been possible to introduce this particular Bill in time to afford that opportunity. The Dáil has been working at considerable pressure and continuously, I might almost say, since the setting up of the Saorstát. No time certainly has been lost either as far as the Government or the Dail is concerned in dealing with legislation and other matters, but it will be realised that having had to set up a new Board, that is the Revenue Commissioners, and having had to apportion a considerable amount of the staff ordinarily engaged in doing work in the Finance Ministry, it has not been possible to introduce this particular Bill in time to permit of the consideration of any recommendations that the Seanad is entitled to make on a Money Bill. I put that with some force to the Seanad, because unless this Bill passes this week there is no money in the Exchequer, and there is no money to discharge the various public services that are administered by the Government. I make that explanation so that there would be no misunderstanding regarding how this matter arose. I do not want to dwell too often on this question of the relative positions of the two Houses, but it is possible in assemblies like these misunderstandings may often arise over small matters. Now, in this case there has been no want of respect on the part of the Government towards the Seanad. If it were not for the cause I have mentioned opportunities would have been afforded for the necessary recommendations entitled to be made on a matter of this kind. I put it with all the force I can command that it is essential that this Bill should pass before the end of the financial year to enable us to carry on the public services.

AN LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH

I take it that the Seanad wishes to meet the request of the President.

I think we might agree to suspend the Standing Orders, and I beg to move their suspension.

I second.

Agreed.

I think everyone will be agreed on this matter. We are thankful to the President for having made his statement on the matter. I think it was not necessary to put the matter strongly, because we are all with him.

Question: "That the Bill be now read a second time," put and agreed to.
Bill put through all its further stages without discussion, and passed.