OIREACHTAS STAFF. - ELECTORAL BILL, 1923—REPORT STAGE.

Section 19, Sub-section 3:—A candidate may, before the expiration of the time appointed for receiving nominations but not afterwards, withdraw from his candidature by giving a notice to that effect, signed by him, to the returning officer: Provided that the proposer and seconder of a candidate nominated in his absence out of Ireland may before the expiration of the time aforesaid, but not afterwards, withdraw such candidate by a written notice, signed by them, and delivered to the returning officer, together with a written declaration of such absence of the candidate.

I move an amendment—"To delete the word ‘giving,' in line 6, and substitute therefor the word ‘furnishing.'"

This is not entirely verbal, but I have an idea that it will be accepted by the Minister. If it is, I will not argue it.

I beg to second.

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Section 19, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.
Section 51, Sub-section 2:—Each of the following persons shall be disqualified from being elected or sitting as a member of the Dáil, that is to say:—
(a) A person who is undergoing a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour for any period exceeding six months or of penal servitude for any term imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction in Saorstát Eireann;
(b) An imbecile and any person of unsound mind;
(c) An undischarged bankrupt under an adjudication by a court of competent jurisdiction in Saorstát Eireann;
(d) A person who is by the law for the time being in force in Saorstát Eireann in relation to corrupt practices and other offences at elections incapacitated from being a member of the Dáil by reason of his having been found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction in Saorstát Eireann of some such practice or offence.
The following amendment stood in the name of Mr. Douglas:—
"To add after the word ‘offence' the following proviso:—‘Provided always that the disqualification effected by this sub-section on account of a sentence of imprisonment or penal servitude shall not, in the case of a person who is a member of the Dáil at the date of such disqualification, take effect until the expiration of thirty days from the date of the sentence, or in the event of an appeal, from the date of the order confirming such sentence."

I beg to move the amendment which stands in the name of the Leas-Chathaoirleach. I do not propose to make any long speech about it unless the Government object to it, in which event I will have to get up again. I think it is a good amendment, and that it makes for the improvement of the Bill, and probably the Government will agree to it.

I beg to second.

This amendment prevents disqualification taking effect until an appeal has been heard, and gives a further interval of thirty days even after the appeal has been heard, so that in case there has been a grave miscarriage of justice—and such a miscarriage might occur—the facts might be brought to light and suitable action taken in the way of remission of sentence, so that the disqualification might not take effect at all. I accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Section 51 as amended stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I move:—"To insert immediately after Section 54 two new Sections as follows:—

55. (1) If at a general election any person is returned as a member of the Dáil for two or more constituencies, such person shall, by writing under his hand delivered to the Clerk of the Dáil before taking his seat for any one of such constituencies, declare which one of those constituencies he elects to represent in the Dáil, and if he does not so deliver to the Clerk of the Dáil, such declaration in writing within one month after the first day on which the Dáil sits next after such general election he shall be deemed to have elected to represent the constituency in which he received the greatest number of first preferences.

(2) So soon as a person so returned for two or more constituencies elects or is under the foregoing Sub-section deemed to have elected which of such constituencies he will represent, he shall be deemed to have resigned his seat or seats in each of the other constituencies for which he shall have been so returned.

56. No member of the Dáil shall, while holding his seat, be eligible to be a candidate at a bye-election to the Dáil."

It is a very important amendment, though I say it who ought not to say it, but as the Minister accepted my poor lame duck the other day and made a proper gander of it, I presume it will also be accepted by him. It occurred to me that the question of privilege might possibly be raised on this, as it is a matter that purely deals with the Dáil, and we, the Seanad, are making this amendment, but as it has now been accepted by the Minister, I presume that that objection will hardly be made.

I beg to second.

I accept that.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 55, Sub-section 2:—
(2) Each of the following persons shall be disqualified from being elected or sitting as a member of the Seanad, that is to say:—
(a) a person who is undergoing a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour for any period exceeding six months, or of penal servitude for any term imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction in Saorstát Eireann;
(b) an imbecile and any person of unsound mind;
(c) an undischarged bankrupt under an adjudication by a court of competent jurisdiction in Saorstát Eireann;
(d) a member of the defence force of Saorstát Eireann on full pay;
(e) a member of any police force in Saorstát Eireann on full pay;
(f) a person either temporarily or permanently in the Civil Service of Saorstát Eireann unless he is by the terms of his employment expressly permitted to be a member of the Seanad;
(g) a person who is by the law for the time being in force in Saorstát Eireann in relation to corrupt practices and other offences at elections incapacitated from being a member of the Seanad by reason of his having been found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction in Saorstát Eireann of some such practice or offence.
Amendment in the name of Mr. Douglas:—
"To add after the word ‘offence' (paragraphg), the following provision:—‘Provided always that the disqualification effected by this Sub-section on account of a sentence of imprisonment or penal servitude shall not, in the case of a person who is a member of the Seanad at the date of such disqualification take effect until the expiration of thirty days from the date of the sentence, or in the event of an appeal, from the date of the order confirming such sentence.’”

This is simply carrying out the purpose of the amendment that the Government accepted a short time previously. I move it.

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Section 55 as amended stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

AN LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH

Amendment 5 is in the name of Senator P. de Loughrey, and he is not present to move it.

May I be allowed to move this amendment? I think it is a useful amendment and may very well be added.

I beg to second that.

The amendment is merely to adopt this particular form. As far as the main point is concerned I am quite satisfied, but I do not know what the original form was. I have not it with me, but I think the description of one of the gentlemen here might be changed somewhat. For instance, Patrick O'Brien is described as a gentleman. I really do not know that that is a description of anybody in particular. I understood it was a rather exploded term for one reason or another. I suggest that that description might be left out or changed to something else.

AN LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH

I think it has been agreed between Senator de Loughrey and the Government that this particular gentleman is a gentleman.

I have no objection to putting in any other appellation. There is just one thing about this form I should like to say before it is passed. The names in large characters should be brought out in the margin as in the form already in the Bill. For instance, "Doyle, James," should be out at the left-hand margin. It is only a typographical matter.

Would not the form suffice without the descriptions "dentist,""chemist," etc?

There is this difficulty to be met, that sometimes two candidates of the same name could not be distinguished from one another by their address. If you had, say, John Doyle, of Cork, and John Doyle, of Longford, the address would be sufficient to distinguish them, but in a country constituency the two candidates might live in Dublin, and the address in that case would not serve to distinguish them to the ordinary elector. It is thought, therefore, that the best way of distinguishing them is to describe them by their occupations—lawyer or farmer, or so on.

AN LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH

Do you wish to move an amendment to the amendment here, Senator Moore?

I think the Minister might see his way to accept an amendment, but I do not want to press the matter.

If Colonel Moore suggests any other form I am quite prepared to take it.

It might require too much thought.

AN LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH

I should not like to ask that of any member of the Seanad.

Amendment put and agreed to.

AN LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH

The next amendment is also in the name of Senator de Loughrey.

I beg to move that amendment—"To insert after the word ‘characters' in line 14, page 50, the following:—‘Whenever the surnames and the first of the other names of two or more Candidates are the same, there shall be also printed in large characters so much of the description of each of such candidates as appearing in their respective nomination papers, whether rank, profession, occupation or abode as will, in the opinion of the Returning Officer effectively distinguish such candidate."

I beg to second it.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put: "That the Bill as amended be received for final consideration."
Agreed.
Question put: "That the Bill do now pass."
Agreed.