The first amendment stands in the name of Senator Sir John Keane.
FISHERIES BILL, 1923. - CIVIL SERVICE REGULATION (No. 2) BILL, 1923—FOURTH STAGE.
In Section 4, Sub-section (2). To add at the end of the Sub-section the words "and also to the citizens of any co-equal nation of the British Commonwealth of Nations that accords to the citizens of Saorstát Eireann identity of treatment with its own citizens in respect of regulations for appointment to and service in its Civil Service."
The Seanad will remember that this matter was discussed on the Committee Stage in a somewhat different form from my amendment. As the Bill now stands, or as the amendment which was proposed in Committee stands, it is to the effect that all citizens of the British Commonwealth of Nations, irrespective of what rules they have of admission to their Civil Service, should be allowed to compete for our Civil Service. My amendment omits that, and confines a right to enter, to those citizens of any co-equal nation of the Commonwealth that gives to the citizens of Saorstát Eireann identity of treatment; in fact, reciprocity of treatment. I do not think I need say much to commend the good sense and justice of this amendment to the Seanad. Our position as a co-equal member of the British Commonwealth has been fully and adequately recognised, more especially by the manner in which we were received, and the status we were given at the recent Imperial Conference. The fact that we are equal carries with it the right to do what we please. But it also, I think, carries with it the obligation to be fair and generous, and that is what the amendment intends to ensure. It does not seem to me that our citizens in practice would be seriously prejudiced with regard to their service at home in the Government service of this country. I do not conceive a very large number of citizens of other nations competing, but if they do compete, I think they should be entitled to do so. I do see a desire for some time to come on the part of the citizens of this country to compete for the Civil Service and other public positions in Great Britain. I am not saying whether it is a wise thing or an unwise thing that they should do so, but we must yield something to tradition in those matters, and tradition will persist for some time to come, and those whose parents and kin were in the British Service will, to a certain diminished extent, wish to continue the process. I do not think there is any danger that the British Government will retaliate. I do think we should not put ourselves in a rather undignified position. That is why I would commend this motion to the Seanad. There is a further danger, perhaps imaginary, that if this is taken up by other than the British Service, it may extend to other professions, banks, and a number of large employers. I think that would be equally undesirable. Bearing all the facts in mind, I hope this motion will be accepted by the Seanad.
I beg to support the motion of Senator Sir J. Keane, and to associate myself with everything that he has said. The narrow limits that otherwise would have been adopted would infer, to my mind, that we Irishmen had not confidence in ourselves to hold our own in intellectual competition. I remember some few years ago I had the privilege of visiting the United States and Canada. I was greatly struck with the fact that from New York to Chicago, and from Montreal down to Indianopolis, in the middle west, a tremendous number of Irish people were filling positions of prominence throughout Canada and the United States. They were cordially welcomed and given the highest positions in the land. I am aware at the present day that in the universities in this country, the National University and Trinity College, I suppose—I know it occurs in the National University—when there are posts with valuable emoluments vacant for professional men, notices are put up in the Universities advertising the fact and inviting graduates to enter into competition for such posts. That broad-minded spirit obtains throughout the British Commonwealth of Nations, and is Ireland alone to adopt this singularly insular attitude of boycotting students, or valuable applicants from other parts of the world? I sincerely hope the amendment of Senator Sir John Keane will be adopted.
As one who proposed the amendment in Committee, I should like to support the modified form now brought forward by Senator Sir John Keane. I agree altogether in that modified form with what has been said by Senator Sir John Keane.
I am sorry I must disagree with the statements made by the last two speakers. I recognise that there is a great deal to be said for the views they put forward from the point of view of those young Irishmen and women who want to go abroad to England and other places, and make their living, and live there. There can be no question that it will be a disservice to them if they are prevented from doing so, by an attempt at reprisals. There is, as Senator Sir J. Keane said, not likely to be any reprisals, but in any case, there is a good deal to be said from that point of view. There is another and more important point of view to be taken; that is, the position of the Irish people wishing to remain in Ireland. Those who have spoken already have been dealing entirely with those who want to go and live out of Ireland. While I wish those every good will, I think it is our duty to look to those who wish to stop in Ireland. I am not much interested in Irish people who wish to go abroad and live abroad. Our idea ought always be to serve this country and the people in it. This country has suffered for a very long time from the best of its people going abroad, and serving abroad, and remaining abroad. I have lived in many parts, and all over the world I agree that, as Senator Haughton said, Irishmen are at the head of the State, Commerce and everything else. What would have happened if those young Irishmen stopped in this country? Does anyone tell me that men like Henry Ford would not have made opportunities? It is the people of brain, intelligence and energy who make opportunities, and a great loss to this country is that the centre of its intelligence has been drained. London has been like a sponge spread out over Dublin and the banks of the Liffey, soaking up all the intelligence and money of Ireland, and squeezing them out on the banks of the Thames. In the same way our people have gone to America. My view is we ought to do everything we can to make people stop in this country. Even if they are prevented from taking up positions abroad, so much the better for Ireland. We will have them here pushing our business. When I compare those Irishmen abroad with those here. I see we have only the leavings and dregs of a great nation which extends all over the world. All the best of the people are abroad. Here we are left in a poor way. In the last debate it was pointed out that employers of labour, and leaders of Commerce, were not progressive. Why? Because all the great people have gone abroad. I am not impressed by those arguments by which we are induced to send abroad our people. Let us keep our people at home. If we do we will have a great nation.
I think it is an insult to the national pride that this country should be asked to accept gifts from Canada while it refuses to give anything in return. It is, I think, an insult to the country to suggest that it is to be kept up by law and artificial barriers. The last Senator has described how in various parts of the world he found Irishmen occupying most important positions. These Irishmen should be able to occupy them at home without the law making a barrier to put them into them. If we do not pass this amendment we will have a precedent in this country for keeping out the experts from abroad whom we require and putting into position the ignoramuses at home whom we would be glad to lose. We will constantly have to import able men to teach this country many things that Irishmen had no possibility of acquiring. Every country in the position of this nation, at the beginning of its career, has to import talent. You are now to create a barrier which will make it impossible to do so, and, with the insulting theory that good intellects at home require protection. It is only the bad intellects at home that require protection, and I hope they will never get it.
I opposed the form in which this amendment was introduced on the Committee Stage, and I still feel obliged to oppose it. The remarks passed by Senator Yeats make me feel that it is obligatory on me to set forth my reasons, and more particularly my reasons with regard to this matter. I would be glad to know from Senator Yeats which of the co-equal nations of the Commonwealth accord these facilities? From the last debate it would seem they had all agreed. My information derived from expert opinions is that they did not. I wrote to London and from the answer I understand that in the case of Great Britain the Civil Service is open to all citizens from any part of the British Commonwealth whose parents were also citizens. In other words, if you are outside England there is a slight difference in so far as if we were to adopt for the sake of argument a German who became nationalised as an Irish citizen, he would find that as an Irish citizen he would be eligible but he is ineligible on a purely technical point. There is a difference even in England, as they do not open to all members of the Commonwealth their Civil Service. In connection with the Foreign Office there are restrictive provisions.
In other parts of the Commonwealth the conditions are not the same as in England. Generally speaking most of the Civil Service appointments are open on certain conditions to members of the Commonwealth. Preference is given certainly to members of the Commonwealth. In Australia and South Africa I am informed three years residence is necessary to be eligible for their Civil Service, so that the principle of equal treatment has not been accepted. If my information is correct, and I have it from the Secretary of the Empire Parliamentary Association, and he ought to know, this amendment would not have any effect. Personally, I do not believe if the Seanad inserts this amendment that it will help our relations with the Commonwealth. I desire to see this country co-operating fully and fairly with the other nations in the Commonwealth, and I am prepared, having accepted that position, to say that we should loyally accept any obligations, whether legal or moral. I am convinced that the best interests of the Commonwealth in this country are to be served by co-operation, rather than by obligation. I think some arrangement might be made for a mutual agreement by which, after a certain term of residence, Irish citizens would be eligible for appointments in Australia and elsewhere. I am not against any such mutual arrangement of that kind that might be made from time to time.
I cannot help feeling that when England finds it necessary in the case of the Foreign Office to make restrictions, our Government might also find it essential to have restrictions. I oppose the amendment, as I think it gives an impression without creating the reality. The Bill, to which this amendment has been introduced, is, because of the necessities of the situation, a drastic one, and it gives the Government and Ministers the minimum amount of latitude with regard to examinations. The drastic character of the examinations has the effect that only candidates of a very high standard are going to apply from distant countries. I am convinced from the fact that I have been in communication with people from different parts of the Commonwealth, and with the Parliamentary Association, that the circumstances in which the British Civil Service is open to members, with one exception that I have mentioned, are purely technical, and there is not the slightest danger or likelihood of there being any change.
In any case, what I do suggest is, that if it is found desirable to open our Civil Service under certain restrictions to all members of the Commonwealth, it should not be done hastily at this stage. It should be done after a report by the Minister or a Committee, so that we should have full knowledge of the existing conditions in the Commonwealth. In conclusion, I would like to say that I feel rather strongly that we must not hastily jump to the conclusion that our relationship with the Commonwealth forces on us obligations other than obligations of good feeling, good sense, and confidence. I feel that if we were to press this matter here possibly we would not be doing good service to the Commonwealth idea.
I should like to correct a small matter. In my day the qualification for the Civil Service was British born, and that included, most unquestionably, Canadians, in the opening for the Civil Service. I believe it is practically the same to-day. It was mentioned that the Foreign Office was excluded. That, I think, we can understand, but I believe I am correct in saying that all the offices in the Civil Service throughout the Empire—to make it as wide as possible—are open to British-born subjects, which, I understand, would include those of the Irish Free State.
On a point of explanation, I do not want to put my opinion in any way against that of the Senator. What I said was, it was open to British-born, whose parents were also British-born.
I have listened to Senator Douglas with great interest, but, after listening most carefully, I really can hardly understand what he is driving at. The Bill shuts the door which the Senator says ought to be kept open. He says we ought undoubtedly to approach all the different nations of the British Commonwealth, including Great Britain herself. We should try and make the best arrangements we can with them. If this clause allowed us to make those arrangements, none of us would oppose it at all, but as I read the clause, it does not give the Government a chance of doing anything in the way of making reciprocal arrangements. Senator Sir John Keane's amendment certainly does. It gives our Government the right to make similar terms for Irish Free State citizens to compete for appointments in all the nations of the British Commonwealth, on exactly the same lines which we will allow them here. But, if we do not allow them to compete here, and if they take us up, we shall most undoubtedly not be able to make any such arrangements for our own use or our own people. I notice one peculiar thing in this clause, as it stands in the Bill. The words are used "born in Ireland." We admit, at least, that the Six-Counties are not to be barred out. We admit that it is inherent in Irishmen that they should be free to compete. To take up one small part of what I might call the British Empire—the Six-Counties—and say that they are to be allowed to compete, but outside of that nobody else is, I cannot see any logic in support of it. Undoubtedly, it is a very wise thing to do. I think it is the best thing in the clause, but probably the clause, as a whole, is what Senator Yeats said; it is a clause which implies that positions in our Civil Service can only be held by Free State citizens, that all other competition is barred out. I do not for one moment believe that that is the case. We have never seen it in the past.
Ireland was part of the British Empire, but in the ordinary way all our main posts were filled by Irishmen. Senator Colonel Moore said that we had plenty to export too and very brilliant people they were. To bar out any competition in the matter, except from Irishmen, and to run the risk of having all our surplus young men ruled out from competition abroad is, to my mind, very foolish. We know that it is the brains-carriers who are looking for employment outside and they are the people for whom it is very hard to find employment now. To think that the small Civil Service that we will have here in the Free State is going to be anything like sufficient to swallow the best of our youth is to my mind impossible of upholding. Senator Col. Moore would rather run the risk of all the youth who have to look abroad for a living having their chance entirely taken away from them, than to expose our young men to foreign competition for our own Civil Service. It seems to me that that is a cowardly policy for our Free State to follow. Senator Sir John Keane says that it should be open to citizens of any co-equal nation of the British Commonwealth of Nations. That gives our Government the full right to take care of our citizens who wish to get appointments abroad. They should have equal rights with what is given here. I should say that that would be an excellent move in the interests of our educated and brains-carrying youth. The clause, as amended in that way, would be infinitely better than it is at present.
Before the Minister replies, as regards the difficulty pointed out by Senator Douglas, namely, that in many of our sister Dominions there are conditions which clog the immediate right to competition in their Civil Service, I suggest that Senator Sir John Keane's amendment would cover the whole ground if it was put in this form "Or who are otherwise qualified under reciprocal treaties arranged between the Free State and any other co-equal nation of the British Commonwealth of Nations." It will have to be the subject of negotiations and if you put it in that way it will cover the entire ground.
May I ask a question? Would that make it perfectly clear that in any negotiations that take place there will be an absolutely strict interpretation of the exact conditions that apply to their own citizens? What I wish to suggest is that Australia has not found it wise to have exactly the same conditions for her own citizens as for British citizens. We may wish to have the same thing.
I had that very point in my mind. I was about suggesting that the qualification would be such as would be provided by reciprocal treaties between co-equal Nations of the British Commonwealth and the Free State.
Would not the other be taken as governing it; that is my point?
If the words "or who are otherwise qualified" were added after "citizens" in line 38, it would meet the case.
I am sorry. I was not quite clear on that matter.
I do not wish to detain the time of the Seanad. Probably most of what can be said about this amendment has been already said. I would like to take the opportunity of telling the Seanad how this thing works in practice. There are some vacancies in England for veterinary inspectors under the Ministry of Agriculture. Quite lately I was asked if I would recommend two young men from this country. That was because I was one who was likely to know something about veterinary surgeons. I do not believe they were asked for specially because they were Irishmen, but they were asked for. I have recommended them. I believe they have still to go through some form of examination. Whether they get appointed or not, they go there on equal terms with anyone else, and there was no objection made to them because they were Irishmen. If we pass the Civil Service Bill in the form in which it is, without Senator Sir J. Keane's amendment, we could not reciprocate in such matters. And every Irishman would feel that he would be put in the position of having it said that we could not stand on our own feet and take on anybody at even weights. That is why I shall vote for Senator Sir J. Keane's amendment.
I should like to oppose this amendment. I do not wish to say very much. I think what I said against the previous amendments applies to this amendment. I agree with the point of view which I think Senator Sir J. Keane holds, that this is not very much a practical matter. Almost the same people will come into the Civil Service whether this amendment is passed or not. I think the Seanad might as well realise that it is discussing a matter of theory for all practical purposes. There is not the slightest danger of any British retaliation. The British Government has its own reasons, and very good reasons, for leaving its Civil Service open. It does what suits itself. We should do what suits ourselves, provided we are not under any obligation to do something that does not quite suit ourselves. Under the particular obligation that we have taken, we simply do what is best to get the best Civil Service for this country, a Civil Service that will serve this country best. There is no parity in the case of Canada. Canada is not like this country. Canada is sending out advertisements and doing its best to attract population to it. But it does what suits itself, and we should do what suits ourselves. There is nothing in this Bill which says anything about bringing in experts from abroad. We may bring in experts from abroad, from the Commonwealth or from France or Germany. This Clause in the Bill deals with the ordinary examination in which there is open competition, an examination in which the ordinary clerks for doing the Civil Service work will be selected. Without passing this Bill, we can bring in any experts we wish. But we must have regard to the history of this country, and we must not ignore the feeling of the country when we legislate. There is no doubt that the passing of an amendment such as this, of no practicable importance at all, would be misunderstood, and would be resented by the majority of the people of the country. We have suffered in this country by being ruled from outside and by having every item of our national life dictated to by foreign officials. The country desires that the Civil Service of Ireland should be composed of men who would be inspired by patriotic feelings. If we give them such a service as that there will be confidence in it, and if, you do not do it, there will be discontent, and we will not get as good results as we would by having such people. We cannot ignore history nor the feelings of the people of the country, and these are important factors. In fact, these are the only factors, the feeling of the country and the interests of the people —the getting of the Civil Servants that will suit ourselves—that we have to consider.
Senator Douglas is quite right. What we do about this will have no effect at all on the good relations between us and the other members of the British Commonwealth. If we pass the Bill as it has been put up, it will not exclude any substantial number of people outside who would not be excluded by the unattractiveness of our service to them or probably the types of examination and the subjects that would be put up. The passing of an amendment of this sort, to my mind, will do one thing, and one thing only; it will irritate a large number of people in this country, and will do something to take away the confidence that there ought to be in the Civil Service, which is a very important part of the machinery of the Government.
I would just like to ask for an intrepretation of the clause as it stands. It reads to me in this way. In line 38 it is stated that competitive examinations "(with the exceptions hereinafter in this section mentioned) shall be open to all persons desiring to attend the same who are born in Ireland of Irish parents or who are the children of such persons." Now, those born in Ireland of Irish parents go abroad, get married, and have children abroad who are citizens of other States in America. Can those children who are born in America, and being American citizens, be eligible to come back here and compete for these examinations?
I think so.
If that is so, it is sufficiently wide in its meaning to attract those who have Irish leanings and Irish blood in their veins, and to attract them to these examinations. I suggest that it is only by some sentiments of that sort that we can ever hope to get any competition from abroad for our examinations. I do not think this country will afford sufficient allurements to the citizens of other States to compete, and the only hope we can have of getting competitors from abroad would be that sentiment would attract them. The children of Irish parents born abroad are sometimes more Irish than the Irish themselves, and they would come with added experience and knowledge to our country, and I think it is in that sense that we are quite justified in leaving the clause as it stands.
Were you asking whether the words "such persons" in the section apply to one parent only, or both, because I think it applies plainly to both?
The examination shall be open to all persons desiring to attend same who were "born in Ireland of Irish parents."
There is no doubt about that, but you are asking does "who are children of such persons" mean the children of any one such parent, or does it mean the children of both?
I mean the clause is vague, and that is why I asked the question.
It would be a very good question to put at the first competitive examination.
For the purpose of helping us to decide how to vote here. I would like to have it clearly defined.
If the parents are Scottish, or English, and their children are born in Ireland, was it the intention of the Government to exclude them?
I am afraid we would have to leave some of these points to judges to settle ultimately. The original intention was to restrict the right of entry into the Civil Service by competitive examination to citizens of the Saorstát, to children of citizens of the Saorstát. Ultimately it was decided to widen the door, as has been done in the clause. I do not suppose that the questions asked are going to influence anybody, nor would my answer, in the voting. I will not attempt to go into them in particular, as I take it they are only asked from the point of jocularity.
I think Senator Kenny's question is a very proper one, because if it is intended to leave the privilege open to children whose parents are living abroad, but where one of the parents was born in the Irish Free State, if it is extended to them, that would be a liberal application. But if it means, as I think it does, that the children "of such persons" means both parents, therefore to entitle a child born of an Irish family to compete in the Irish Free State, he or she would have to prove that both were born of Irish parents in Ireland.
That was my view certainly.
I gather the amendment proposed goes further, and is less restrictive than mine, and with the consent of the House I should like to substitute it.
It would read in this way, in order to meet the difficulty suggested as to the different arrangements that might be made in each Dominion, and to suggest a general statement opening the competition to persons, after the words citizens "or who are otherwise qualified under reciprocal treaties arranged between the Free State with any co-equal State of the British Commonwealth of Nations."
May I point out if one of the parents was Scotch and the other Irish, the child would not be eligible for an appointment in Ireland.
I do not think that Senator Yeats understands in the least what citizens of the Saorstát mean.
It is not a question of citizenship, but of birth.
Senator Sir J. Keane, your amendment, no matter how put, would have to come after the word "citizens," otherwise the people you are providing for would come in without paying fees or possessing the necessary qualifications.
I did not intend——
After the speech made by the Minister in charge of the Bill I should like to explain the position in which I find myself. I listened with great interest to the speeches made by Senator Sir J. Keane and the other Senators who have spoken in favour of the amendment, and I need hardly say I sympathise entirely personally with them. I feel it would be in many respects deplorable that it should go forth to the world that in what are the early days of our existence we looked at this matter in a purely parochial sense. I am speaking with some interest on the subject because we have had a case recently in the National Gallery. We extended the applications for the position of directorship of the Gallery to the whole world, and we got 130 applications from Germans, Austrians, Frenchmen, Italians, Englishmen and so on, and the majority, quite within rights, no doubt, said: "This is a case where none but Irish need apply." That was really the effect of it, and I think it was a very deplorable effect. We took a man whose ability and qualifications could not have been on the same footing as others who had applied. There is no use asking for applications if you do not consider them when they apply, and after what the Minister said, we have to question ourselves whether we are going to do more good or harm by accepting this amendment. I think most of the Senators who spoke in favour of it have admitted that for all practical purposes there will be no reprisals from the other units of the Commonwealth and we will not suffer in that respect by any barring of our young men applying for positions in the Commonwealth. If there was it would be a most deplorable result, because this small Civil Service of ours could not afford scope for all our young men.
I have no sympathy with Senator Moore's view of trying to establish all our young men here in Ireland, and prevent them going outside its waters.
I think that would be a very unhappy state of affairs. The Minister said that in these things he spoke with some authority and from what we have seen of him and know of him he always speaks from conviction. We are all satisfied that he is doing things for the best interests of the country. He would do anything to defend those interests and he said deliberately that this would provoke great feelings of resentment on the part of a considerable section of the Irish Free State. We know unhappily that in the last two or three years there has been great division of opinion and that that division still exists. We do not want to increase that feeling or to do anything that will intensify it. And when the Minister tells us it will not have any practical effect and will not make any difference one way or another, but that it would undoubtedly provoke feelings of resentment amongst the Irish people here, I feel I am not justified in voting for it. We should try to bring the people together as much as we can and endeavour to forgive and forget the past. In the course of a few years, the men now opposed to us, if the occasion arises, would be the first to welcome Englishmen and any other members of the Commonwealth into Ireland. At present one can understand there is some feeling against it, and in these circumstances I shall be obliged to vote against the amendment.
- Samuel L. Brown, K.C.
- Richard A. Butler.
- John C. Counihan.
- William Cummins.
- J.C. Dowdall.
- Thomas Farren.
- Capt. Joseph Henry Greer.
- Sir John Purser Griffith.
- Henry Seymour Guinness.
- Benjamin Haughton.
- Arthur Jackson.
- Rt. Hon. Andrew Jameson.
- Sir John Keane.
- The Earl of Kerry.
- Thomas Linehan.
- James Moran.
- John Thomas O'Farrell.
- William Butler Yeats.
- Thomas Foran.
- Dr. Oliver St. John Gogarty.
- Mrs. Alice Stopford Green.
- Cornelius Joseph Irwin.
- Patrick Williams Kenny.
- John MacLoughlin.
- Eamonn Mac Giolla Iasachta.
- General Sir Bryan Mahon.
- Colonel Maurice Moore.
- George Nesbitt.
- Bernard O'Rourke.
- Dr. William O'Sullivan.
- James J. Parkinson.
- Col. Sir William Hutcheson Poë.
- Mrs. Jane Wyse Power.
- Dr. George Sigerson.
- Mrs. Eileen Costello.
- Peter de Loughrey.
- The Dowager Countess of Desart.
- Sir Nugent Talbot Everard.
- James Green Douglas.
I beg to move amendment 7—Schedule. To add after the words "Gárda Síochána" in lines 25-26 the words "(or Civic Guard)."
I formally move this amendment.
I hope the Senator will not persist in this foolish amendment.
I think the Senator could find some more suitable adjective than that.
Surely we are not going to reverse our previous decision. The words "Gárda Síochána" were inserted in the Bill.
I would remind the Seanad that Sub-section 2 of Section 1 of an Act passed last year, the Gárda Síochána Act, provided that the force is to be called the Gárda Síochána. While the amendment will not do any harm, it seems to me to be superfluous.
I am against this amendment for two reasons. Civic Guard is not the translation of the word at all, although I dare say that some Senators imagine it is. Síochána really means "peace"—and the phrase means Peace Guards. It seems ridiculous to have two words used. When we had policemen no one thought of calling them anything else. We were not allowed to have Irish words, and in former times my friends were put in prison for putting their names on their carts in Irish. Really, I think we ought to be allowed to call our policemen what we like, but I do not want anyone to be sent to prison for doing so.
I did not know until I looked up the Orders of the Day that I was to move this amendment. I saw the name, but I was not able to translate it. I think if our country is going to adopt bilingual procedure, such as they have in South Africa, while we would like to see the Irish language preserved, it is prejudicing individuals to make it compulsory to adopt certain phrases. I venture to suggest that it would be more consistent to give us the option of calling them Gárda Síochána or Civic Guards.
The question troubles me very much. If I am attacked by a footpad and wish for protection how can I call for that protection by using words that I cannot pronounce?
What are we considering? Have we in the Seanad altered the Civil Service Regulation No. 2 Bill as passed by Dáil Eireann? I have got this Bill and I see that the words Senator Haughton referred to are given as Civic Guard.
Perhaps Senator Jameson does not know that in Committee I was asked by the Minister to alter these words to Gárda Siochána.
They are altered. Wherever Civic Guard occurred, on the Committee Stage the change was made into the words that appear on the Order Paper. We are now on the Report stage and it is open to Senator Haughton to move this amendment again.
What was before the Seanad originally was whether they would substitute for Civic Guard the two other words on the Order Paper. That was agreed to, and no amendment was suggested. An amendment is now proposed whereby wherever these words occur they should be given in both languages.
Amendment put and declared lost on a show of hands.
I move: Section 8. To delete the Section and to insert in lieu thereof a new Section 8, as follows:—
(1) The Commissioners shall conduct all examinations in Saorstát Eireann which are by statute or other authority required to be conducted by Civil Service Commissioners, and shall also conduct all educational examinations, whether competitive or qualifying, for the time being required by law to be held for situations in the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann or in the Dublin Metropolitan Police, the Gárda Síochána, or any other police force in Saorstát Eireann, and shall also if so required by the Executive Council, or by statute, conduct examinations for situations in the service of any local authority, and shall also conduct such other examinations as the Executive Council shall from time to time require to be conducted by the Commissioners.
(2) The Commissioners may with the consent of the Minister for Finance, from time to time make regulations for the conduct of examinations to be held by them under this section.
This is a very long amendment, but is does not mean very much. When the Bill was first drawn up it was proposed that the Civil Service Commissioners should hold examinations for positions on the local bodies, as well as positions in the police and so forth if it was so desired by the Executive Council. We deleted the words "Executive Council" and the result of that situation is that nobody can be appointed to any of these local offices except after examination by the Civil Service Commissioners. Personally I am strongly in favour of all these positions being eventually determined by examinations held by the Civil Service Commissioners. We have not yet reached that stage. Apparently until an Act is brought in amending the system of Local Government, it would not be possible to make the change. As regards the police, I do not know if it is suggested that the appointment of ordinary police constables should be as a result of a Civil Service Examination. That would be the result of this amendment.
It is conceivable that many of these positions will have to be filled on the recommendations of the responsible authorities, and they may have to pass qualifying examinations, not necessarily Civil Service examinations. Therefore, I think we went further than we intended in our proposal.
Your amendment does not make it compulsory to hold examinations, for example, for the Defence Forces or the D.M.P. The words are: "and shall also conduct all educational examinations whether competitive or qualifying, for the time being required by law to be held." If the law does not require them to be held this does not apply.
That is a point. Some appointments may have to be made before the law is amended. Apparently, there is some doubt as to how they are to be made in view of the amendment, and the redrafting of the amendment is obviating the obscurity. It might be a matter of administrative urgency.
I am not sure what this exact alteration is.
On the last occasion that this Section was before the Seanad it was amended by striking out in line 4 the words "Shall if so required by the Executive Council." The result of that was this, apparently, that in so far as the existing law required competitive examinations as a qualification for entering into any of these forces, competitive examinations are to take place whether required by the Executive or not.
This amendment restores these words.
It puts the words in later on.
I take it that the amendment is one introduced by the Ministry to meet a point raised on the discussion.
Who are the Commissioners? Are they opposed to the Civil Service Commissioners, or are they the same people?
The same people. This is an amendment we agreed on with a view to carrying out an undertaking that was given when the matter was last before the Seanad. It does not go the whole way, but it goes a certain distance to meet Senators, and I think goes as far as we can agree to go at the present time. It makes it compulsory that the Civil Service Commissioners shall be the body to carry out any examination by law required in respect of the Police Forces or the Army, and also any examinations that may by Statute be required to be held to fill any local posts, either now or later on. It does not compel the Civil Service Commissioners to hold examinations for local appointments until legal changes have been made which would make it necessary for their findings to be given effect to.
I am sure it is hardly necessary to say that the Section as amended carries out the promise given by the Minister on the last occasion.
There is no doubt about that.
The question was raised by me during a discussion when you made the suggestion that instead of the words I put down, the matter should be left over for the Minister to bring in a new amendment. If that is so, as far as I am concerned, I quite accept what has been done.
I would like to be in the position, perhaps for the first time to-day, of being quite clear about this amendment. Does it mean that if this motion is not passed the police and the Army will be free from examinations? Does it mean that the Civil Service Commissioners must examine for the police and the Army?
As a matter of fact, an amendment was passed when this Bill was before the Seanad a week or so ago, the result of which was, that if the Bill passed without this amendment, or something like it being inserted, the Civil Service Commissioners would have to hold examinations before a surface man could be appointed by a local Council or before a private could be recruited into the Army.
I move in Section 9—"To delete in line 43 the words ‘Minister for Finance,' and in line 49 the word ‘Minister,' and to substitute therefor in each case the words ‘Executive Council.'" This matter was discussed more or less informally on the Committee Stage, and the Minister made a statement on the subject that I must confess did not satisfy me. For that reason I now move this amendment. I have no doubt that there may be some legal technicality or fictions involved in relation to the individual and collective responsibility of the Minister, but as the Section now stands, in plain English the Minister for Finance has power to control the whole of the Civil Service in respect of classification, enumeration, and other conditions of service. I am not satisfied that that is a position that makes for good business. I quite agree that there must be some regulations made, and that in matters of finance and in co-ordinating financial affairs the Minister for Finance is the proper person. I do not believe, if the Minister is to act as the Section indicates, that it is wise that he should have a sort of over-ruling power in all Departments. I suppose it will be argued that there is an appeal, and that it is not done by the Minister for Finance as an individual or a Minister, but by the Minister for Finance because of his collective capacity. I confess I do not understand the point. There may be some obscure point of Constitutional law, but I prefer to argue the point in plain English. It gives the Minister for Finance powers to regulate and control all other Departments. That, I think, should not be so. If you are to control a Department it should be done by the Executive Council.
I thought I had made the position moderately plain. Under the Constitution the Minister for Finance is one of the Ministers who must be a member of the Executive Council. The Constitution also lays down that the Executive Council shall be jointly and collectively responsible for the Departments administered by the members of the Executive Council. In all matters with which the Minister for Finance has to deal he is subject to be overruled by the Executive Council as a whole. In all matters in which they are likely to disagree with him, he must enter into consultation with them. As a matter of fact, financial matters are of such importance, and involve so many other considerations, that a Minister could not take it on himself to decide without consultation.
The only thing that would be effected by the passing of Senator Keane's amendment would be that a large number of routine and unimportant matters would have to be brought before the Executive Council quite unnecessarily. Now, a great number of matters have to be brought before the Executive Council, and if routine and unimportant matters were brought before them to take up their time, that would clog up the business of the Council and would deprive the members of the opportunities they should have of conferring on broad matters of policy. It seems to me this amendment, if passed, will not increase in any way the control of the Executive Council, but it may burden the Executive Council with the consideration of matters which ought not to be brought before it, because of their unimportant nature.
Still I am not satisfied. If the Minister put in a form of words to indicate that the other Ministries are in consultation and concur, it would be better. I know it is a somewhat technical matter, but you are defining more or less the internal machinery of Government, and by this clause you are giving the Minister for Finance unduly wide powers. I have had experience of the system of Government which the present system is more or less following in tradition, and I know the embarrassing and clogging effect of some of those financial powers in actual operation. It is, if I may say so, in the dark that the Cabinet and Ministerial action is carried out. For the first time, now, there is an attempt to lay down by statute the relations between Ministers, and we have responsibility for regulating and co-ordinating Ministries. Under the British Constitution the whole thing was unwritten and followed custom and precedent. We did not know where we were, and there was a great deal to be said for that. Here we are abandoning the flexible method, and giving opportunity for more precise enactments. Personally, I do not approve of these far-reaching powers being given to the Minister, although I do not wish to underrate the importance of certain of his duties. Rather in his own interests, I do wish to see him relieved of detailed control and able to decentralise, as far as is safely possible, amongst his colleagues. It is because this will maintain centralisation and will militate against decentralisation that I move the amendment.
This would not relieve the Minister for Finance of anything. Matters coming before the Executive Council, if they are to be put properly before it, must be put by a Minister. Some Minister must be made responsible, and you cannot have things brought up in a casual way, or you are sure to have a mess. This will not relieve the Minister of any responsibility or work, but would throw matters of detail and routine matters on the Executive Council, taking up its time without achieving any good result. It is on that ground that I oppose it.
If it is incompetent for the Seanad to discuss matters of finance, are we in order in discussing the Minister for Finance? I would like to give my reasons for opposing this amendment, which seems to me rather unnecessary. I think the Minister ought to be kept in his own individuality as much as possible, and not fused with the Executive Council, particularly as he said he does not act executively without having consulted with his colleagues. As regards Senator Keane's reference to action in the dark, it is absolutely impossible to make public the mentality of the Executive Council. I am against the amendment.
Amendment put and negatived.
The amendment which I propose is:
Section 11, Sub-section (2). To add after the word "certificate," in line 7, the words "and every such notice shall indicate whether the certificate is issued after competitive examination, or qualifying examination, or upon such evidence as is mentioned in Section 6 of this Act."
This, I think, is a useful amendment, because any certificate which is given by the Civil Service Commission as a result of the suspension of these examinations must state specifically the grounds upon which that certificate is given. I think that will be a useful thing in the case of anybody seeking employment, and I beg to move it. It is really an improvement on the Bill.
I undertook on the last Stage that I would agree to some such amendment as this.
I beg to move to delete in line 11 the words "(No. 2) Act, 1923," and to substitute therefor the words "Act, 1924."
In view of the adverse vote on a previous occasion I withdraw my amendment, which reads: "To add after the words ‘Gárda Síochána' in lines 25 and 26 the words (or Civic Guard)."
The Seanad might have altered its opinion now. That concludes the amendments on the Report Stage of the Bill. I take it the Seanad will approve of disposing of the Bill now, and pass it through its final stages.